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Erin Ann Thomas

Carbon County

Ghost Towns

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins I arrived in Scofield on a fall afternoon when the hills were sprinkled with rows of gold-leafed quaking aspens, set off by the green-black of pines. I got out of my vehicle and shivered. The air had a cold, moist edge. I hesitantly jiggled the door of the saloon, unsure about entering if it yielded. I pressed my face up against the window to peer inside. Above the bar a sign …

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Sam Quigley: A Miner’s Miner

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins There are better and worse ways to run a coal mine. Several months after the Crandall Canyon accident, I traveled to central Utah to meet with the former Vice President of Operations at Andalex. Sam Quigley had quit when Robert Murray signed the deal to take over the company. The contract went through at eleven o’clock in the morning, and Sam’s office was cleaned out by noon. He was familiar with …

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Remembering Crandall Canyon Mine Collapse: August 6, 2007

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Since the Sago disaster, a coal mining accident occurred within twenty miles of Skyline. On August 6, 2007, the roof collapsed on six miners retreat mining in Crandall Canyon, trapping them 1,500 feet underground. The mining company Andalex had just been bought by Robert Murray, of Murray Energy, a company out of Cleveland, Ohio, with such a bad reputation in the East that nobody would give him a mining permit in …

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Zeph and Maud

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins Lily Maud Rencher, after finishing her normal degree at BYU Academy, taught school for a year in St. George and then moved to the small town of Cleveland to educate the children of farmers and miners. Miss Rencher—called Maud—was a large woman. Her Swedish, Irish, and Welsh background had not blessed her with beauty. At school she had been a student body officer, and in the words of one of her …

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May God Forgive

The Weekly Snippet: Selection from Coal in Our Veins  (the event that convinced my great grandfather, Zeph Thomas, it was time to leave Castle Gate, Utah)  In 1925, racial hatred hit a climax. Milton Burns, a company official, was allegedly killed by Robert Marshall, an African American miner. The June 15 incident is still a divisive issue in Carbon County, so even current historians retell the story with different slants, some emphasizing the culpability of Marshall and others focusing on …

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