by Polla Horn
for The Frostburg Express
Malcolm Layman: Family Looking Out for Family
Mary Nelson & Daniel Layman
sons Malcolm & Burhman
Daniel Burhman Layman and Mary Nelson were married in 1891. Just nine years later, as residents of Frostburg, Daniel and Mary were busy raising their five children, carefully stretching Daniel’s coal mining wages. By 1910, there were four more children in the household. Daniel, now working in railroad construction, was putting food on the table for a family of 11. The Laymans were familiar with the mines around them and knew Consol Mine #9 quite well. This mine was located in Zihlman, near the upper leg of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad. It consisted of six drift openings in the Tyson coal seam. The Annual Report of the Mine Inspector describes the “ventilation as satisfactory and being produced by steam driven fans.” The report continues to say that “drainage is very difficult, but is kept in a lawful condition by holes driven into the big vein below, and by ten large electric pumps. The coal is undercut by machine and by hand pick, then hauled to the tipple by motorized cars.” It was one of the earliest mines in the Cumberland coal region to tap into the Tyson seam, and it became one of the largest in terms of output.
One of Daniel and Mary Layman’s sons, Malcolm, worked in these wet but “lawful” conditions. Malcolm married Hazel Thomas on November 17, 1917. He was twenty, she was nineteen. Their daughter, Hazel Elizabeth, was born a year later on September 30, 1918. On August 1, 1919, Malcolm Layman went to work in Consol #9. His beautiful little girl would soon enjoy her first birthday party, and a new little brother or sister was on the way. All seemed satisfactory in his world until the roof of #9 fell, crushing the life out of him.
Two months later, on October 2, 1919, his infant son was born. He was given the name Malcolm James Layman. In 1921, Hazel Layman was living on McCulloh Street in Frostburg, a 21 year-old widow with two tiny children. She was not well. Hazel died on March 20, 1923 of “a lingering illness” leaving behind her four and a half year old daughter Hazel Elizabeth, and her three and a half year old son, Malcolm James.
Daniel and Mary Layman, still grieving over the loss of their son Malcolm and their daughter-in-law Hazel, lost another son in 1924. Burhman, age 28, was killed in a motorcycle accident which also claimed the life of their nephew, Arthur.
Despite their sorrow, Daniel and Mary Layman maintained a thriving home. They are found in the census of 1930, living on Welsh Hill in Frostburg. Four of their grown children and two of their grandchildren (eleven-year-old Hazel and ten-year-old Malcolm) are living with them. Although the two orphaned children probably didn’t remember much about their parents, they grew up in a grandparents’ home full of laughter and love. Daniel Layman died in 1944 at the age of 76. His wife Mary followed him two years later at the age of 78.
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 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.
Contact 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.”