for The FROSTBURG EXPRESS
by Polla Hammond Horn
ANDREW WALKER & FRANK STROTHER
Sometimes the research on our Georges Creek coal miners leaves us with more questions than answers. Such is the case with Andrew Walker and Frank Strother.
Nine year old Andrew Walker worked with his father, George Walker, in the new Lord Mine and is the youngest miner on our list. He was crushed by a fall of top coal on December 29, 1899. Little Andrew lived for four days suffering from his injuries without benefit of professional care. There was no hospital until 1913. We don’t know where Andrew lived, who his mother was, if he had siblings, or where he is buried. Andrew didn’t live long enough to enjoy a Christmas gift that year, if he was given one, or even to have his name on a census list. Except for two small articles in the Frostburg Mining Journal we wouldn’t know that Andrew had lived those short nine years.
Frank Strother, age 16, came to Frostburg from Berryville, VA, on his own. He arrived in Frostburg in September 1897 and found a job at Ocean Mine, staying from house to house, eating and sleeping where someone would take him in. He found temporary residence with Thomas Farrell and then with Thomas Capel of Frostburg. Just two months after arriving here he was killed by a fall of coal at Ocean Mine on November 19, 1897.
All we know about Frank is that he had grandparents living in Berryville, VA. They were notified of his death. Frank was buried in Frostburg at Percy Cemetery. Quite a large number of people attended the funeral and “the remains of the poor fellow were put away with as much attention as if he had been one of us.” No mention is made in his obituary of a mother, father or siblings.
His grandparents did not attend the funeral.
Why was Frank here? Where were his parents? Why did his grandparents not have his body sent to Virginia? These questions lead one to think that Frank Strother might have had a rough 16 years.
There’s not much here to help us remember Andrew and Frank. We’re counting on our readers to help us honor these young men and others like them who never had the privilege of being a child.
The Coal Miner Memorial Statue Fund is accepting contributions for the placement of an educational memorial near the crossroads of state Route 36 and the National Road in Frostburg. A bronze statue will honor all of our Georges Creek miners and name those who perished while mining. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to the Foundation for Frostburg CMMSF, P.O. Box 765, Frostburg, MD 21532.
We welcome updated information and encourage your participation.
Polla Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bucky Schriver at email@example.com
to share your thoughts and stories.
Be on the lookout for future Miner Recollections.