Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Company Store


This picture was taken in 1938, and shows the Company Store in the coal mining town of Caples, West Virginia. Company stores extended credit to workers in the mine. The stores typically charged exorbitant prices. Typically it cost more to shop at the Company Store than what the miners earned. This created a form of indentured servitude, in that at any given time, the miners typically owed money to the story.

6 comments:

  1. Kind of like the Tennessee Ernie Ford Lyrics in "16 tons". Where has says "I owe my soul to the company store"

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  2. Notice how little that woman is taking away...wonder if it's a case of making do with less, or if she went to the store most days?

    And no letting the plastic bags hang off the end of your arm from the car to the front door; gotta actually hold those bags up...all the way home.

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  3. a great picture such as this is as close to a real time machine as man will ever see. great website thanks.

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  4. slactBack in those days people's shopping habits were different than today. Refridgeration was not as common as today. Most people had very small units or even ice boxes. My family operated a few small neighborhood kstores and I grew up listening to stories of how people would shop everyday for that evenings supper. Store owners also provided credit and even home delivery in some cases.

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  5. That lady in the black dress seems to be stepping along right smart.

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  6. The small lady probably wasn't quite what we would consider an adult yet. In those days it wasn't uncommon for a 12-13 year old girl to be married. My grandmother was 13 when she and my grandfather were married. He was a coal miner and they were payed 1/2 and 1/2 with cash and script. My grandfather didn't put his money into banks prior to the depression , he hid all of his money away in an old can. Then when the great depression hit he had all the money he needed in that old can. He didn't have to use the script for much because the family farm was pretty well self sufficient. They even grew their own sugar cane ( I didn't even know that sugar cane would grow in WV). As far as the walking home went..well thats how they did it. My grand father would walk the rail road track several miles to and from the mine ( Widen , WV) each day. My mother still has his old carbide lamp, but sadly he passed away before I was born.

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