January 1911. A lonely job. Waiting all alone in the dark for a trip to come through. Willie Bryden, a nipper, lives at 164 Center St. in South Pittston. It was so damp that Willie said he had to be doctoring all the time for his cough. A short distance from here, the gas was pouring into the mine so rapidly that it made a great torch when the foreman lit it. Willie had been working here for four months, 500 feet down the shaft, and a quarter mile from there. (Shaft #6, Pennsylvania Coal Co.) Walls have been whitewashed to make it lighter. January 16, I found Willie at home sick. His mother admitted that he is only 13; will be 14 next July. Said that 4 months ago the mine boss told the father to take Willie to work, and that they obtained the certificate from Squire Barrett. (The only thing the Squire could do was to make Willie out to be 16 yrs old.) Willie's father and brother are miners and the home is that of a frugal German family.
Photograph (5x7 glass negative) and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. | Click image for Comments.