Long, long before there were machines that were deep inside the Coal Mine, the only way to move coal from one place to another is by a Horse or Mule that pulled a 1 ton or more cart thru the mine and up to the surface where the cart was unloaded and sent back down into the working mine.
Young boy’s called, Mule Tenders, such as this one, were a common sight in the mine. Working in the Mine, with only a candle or oil lamp, they led the horse or mule back and forth with a load of Coal. Back then there were no child labor laws like today. Boy’s had to work long, hard hours transporting the coal back and forth from deep inside a mine for way, way less than a dollar a day. Some of them worked right along with their Fathers in a man made hell.
Mules and Horses were the main mode of transportation for the coal. Most of them were kept down inside the Mine in stalls that were built especially for them. There were some animals that never saw the light of day for day’s on end. Some of them were killed or maimed in rock & coal slides that was always a danger. Not to mention breathing the Coal dust, that led to Black Lung Disease.
This Image was taken at the #9 Coal Mine in Coaldale, PA Museum. The #9 Mine was once a working Mine that hauled out many tons of Coal. Some of the Guides that now work for the Museum, were once employed by the Mine to dig and harvest the Coal. You can take a trip down inside the Mine on a “Steam Lokie” and actually see and feel what it’s like to be deep inside the earth with only a candle for light.
Thanks for your visit.