Sunday, April 20, 2008

Working in a Coal Mine

I may not have said this on the blog, but if you talk to me for any length of time about pictures you will know that I first started collecting family pictures by xeroxing them, then borrowing them and having them professionally copied, then buying a 35mm camera and lenses so that I could copy them. The 35mm worked pretty good, but I might be in Tennessee and not know til I got home in Medina and had the pictures made that five of them were blurry or something was wrong. I started looking for a scanner back when they ran about $4,000 a piece. I kept a watch on them knowing eventually they would come down. I finally got one, well I have three, but it always seemed like such a chore to sit down and do them. In the meantime, I wore out that old 35mm and I bought as close as I could get to it to replace it. Sad, sad results. I hated to switch brands since I had all the lenses in Minolta. I began looking at digital. Finally, on a trip to Washington DC, I needed to take pictures at a conference I was attending for work, and I broke down and bought a digital. It has one of those screens on the back, but it also has an eye to look through which I am still old fashioned enough to want.

I copied some old pictures I had. I started editing them on the computer and found that not only could I cut out the green lawn chair I might have used to place the picture on to copy it, but I could blow up the pictures and see much greater detail. I started copying a lot of the printed pictures that I had over into this format. I have over 8,000 pictures in digital now. Think about those tiny little 2x3 shots you have. I found one of my mom that I absolutely love. In it I always thought she was giving that kind of shy look that I often saw. When I blew it up she was smiling and happily looking at someone off camera. She was wearing jewelry and dressed very prettily. It just gave a whole new meaning to that picture. OK, now I have you curious, so here:

That's my dad's sister, Vera Edith Mullins Murphy, my dad, J. D. Mullins and my mom, Cora Bentley Mullins. Aunt Vera was in nursing school and my grandparents, Mom and Dad had gone down to visit her in Knoxville, Tennessee. When I had scanned a picture and blew it up, I got fuzzy pictures. When I take them with the digital I get so much detail.

Anyway, back to collecting and taking pictures. I decided that I wanted to retake some of the pictures that I had collected. I was in Millstone last October. I went to Uncle Joe to see if I could go thru his pictures. He said that he had given all the pictures to Kris, but he did have a few that he had come across. He said it was taken when he was working a mine that Uncle Willie owned. I forgot to ask him if he remembered who took the pictures.

I went online to the University of Kentucky's site called the Kentucky Virtual Library. I went through 50,000 pictures there and downloaded about 700 of them. A very few were actually family members, but the majority were places and things that I wanted my grandkids to be able to see. A good number of them had to do with mining and came from the Consolidated Coal Company's collection of pictures taken at Jenkins. I lost them all when my computer crashed in November. I had made copies on CD and given them out to family at our Mullins Reunion, but I haven't borrowed anyone's copy back yet to replace my own loss.

These are the pictures of Uncle Joe in the mines and are much better than any that were in the Kentucky Virtual Library:


  1. I don't recall who took the photo's, but I recall the reason they were taken. Mom's family in Massachusetts had no concept of what a coal mine was - hence the photos. I think these were taken at Uncle Willie's mine on the right fork of Millstone. abot a half mile above church. I remember going there when I was young - I think Dad had to feed the mules on the weekend sometimes.


  2. Karen,
    Your pictures are wonderful. Aunt Cora looks so sweet in this picture. Donna Jo looks just like her!
    I love Uncle Joes'. I have never been around a mine.So interesting!I don't know if you know it ,but Mom named me after Uncle Joe. She so loved her brothers!