CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Fall 2018 issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine is now available for purchase at select retailers and/or by calling the GOLDENSEAL office. GOLDENSEAL, West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life since 1975, is published quarterly by the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. Attached is a list of retailers where GOLDENSEAL magazine is available.
The entire 80-page issue is dedicated to the Farmington No. 9 Mine Disaster, which occurred 50 years ago, on Nov. 20, 1968. Seventy-eight men died in No. 9, making it the deadliest coal mine disaster in the United States since 1951 and the deadliest in West Virginia since 1940.
This issue outlines how the tragic events unfolded in a small Marion County community. When the initial blast occurred, 99 men were underground; only 21 made it out alive. Rescue teams tried for nine days to save the remaining 78 men before the Consolidation Coal Company sealed up the mine. This magazine includes articles by two ministers, the Revs. Richard O. Bowyer and D. D. Meighen, who provided spiritual and emotional guidance to anxious family members and friends during those nine days. An article by M. Raymond Alvarez examines how nurses from Fairmont Clinic provided round-the-clock help, as well.
By itself, Farmington is one of the most significant events in West Virginia history, but unlike earlier disasters, this one led to important changes in coal mining locally and nationally. This issue also looks at how U.S. Representative Ken Hechler and the “Farmington Widows,” stirred to action by the disaster, stood up to a reluctant federal government in Washington, D.C., leading to the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, the most sweeping mine-safety legislation ever enacted up to that point. Christine M. Kreiser documents how, following Farmington, rank-and-file miners bucked their own union to demand black-lung benefits and then ousted corrupt United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) leadership, following the gangland-style murder of UMWA dissident Joseph “Jock” Yablonski and his wife and daughter.
Other articles detail a deadly 1954 explosion in the same mine, the memories of two Fairmont reporters and a photographer—John Veasey, Peggy Edwards and Bob Campione—about those nine fateful days in November 1968, and a play about No. 9 written and performed by Fairmont State University students. Carl E. Feather visits with the owners of Alasky’s, a longtime Farmington business, and John Veasey reflects on the lasting importance of the annual No. 9 memorial service.
To order the Fall issue for $5.95 plus shipping or purchase a one-year subscription (four quarterly issues) for $20, or if your retail outlet would like to carry the magazine, call the GOLDENSEAL office at 304-558-0220.
GOLDENSEAL Magazine can be purchased at the following retail outlets: