by Bucky Schriver
for The FROSTBURG EXPRESS
Loss and hardship in small-town Moscow
Growing up in the small town of Moscow, our lives were filled with the accompaniments of coal mining culture. The constant rumble of coal trucks passing our house, the creaking, clanking wheels, the blaring horn of the coal train that woke us only briefly from our sleep, and the persistent parade of black-faced miners were a normal part of growing up in the Georges Creek Valley.
Alice (Warnick) Green was my Sunday School teacher at the Moscow Church of the Nazarene. She seemed the very embodiment of Christian piety. As a child, I knew that Alice had no husband, and it was only years later that I learned that Clarence Green was killed in Barton's Swanton Mine. On March 7, 1946, Alice became a widow with three children. At the time, the family lived in a house rented from the Campbell Coal Company in the Laurel Run section of Moscow.
As so often happened with the Georges Creek families, death in the coal mines came to haunt their family more than once.
Twenty years earlier, Alice's father, Harry Garfield Warnick, died in an accident similar in nature to the one that claimed her husband. Harry Garfield Warnick's death left his wife Mary (Timney) Warnick to fend for herself with nine children. She was also pregnant with the couple's 10th child.
The sadness and hardship caused by the deaths of the miners was often magnified exponentially by the number of children they left behind. Already living a day-to-day existence, large families were cast adrift in an uncharted sea of grief and poverty. May we never forget the names of our coal minere whose lives were lost.
"For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn
Or busy housewife ply her evening care
No children run to lisp their sire's return
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share."
~Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard
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 Valley 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
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