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The Anthracite Living History Group

The Anthracite Living History Group was formed a few years ago, the purpose, to preserve and foster our anthracite heritage. We place exhibits with ten life size mannequins, many artifacts and five live breaker boys. We try to teach how a miner and his family lived from different time periods. We are all volunteers except the breaker boys, they get twenty dollars each at every event. Someone from the UMWA must have spoken to them because at one time they were volunteers.
On September 10, we will be at the Avondale Memorial Service. All of the cost to exhibit fall on a few of us and we can't afford to do it without financial backing.

Joe's Breaker Boys at the 2004 Avondale Mine Disaster Memorial Service

Joe's Breakerboys at the Shawnee Fort Historical Marker Dedication

"Breaker Boys" were used in the anthracite coal mines to separate slate rock from the coal after it had been brought out of the shaft. They often worked 14 to 16 hours a day.

They also suffered from chronic illness and respiratory problems associated with inhaling coal dust.

These children, more often than not, quit school at an early age to help support the family. Their main function was to hand pick debris from the coal as it slid down the chutes. Their little fingers were subject to all sorts of atrocities, maiming or loss of a digit being the most prominent outcome. Death was no stranger, as some of the young lads fell into the coal crusher and lost their lives.

By the early 1900s, more than two million boys under the age of 16 were employed by the mines in these hazardous jobs, which paid a fraction of the wages of those whose job was far less dangerous.


Please help support the Anthracite Living History Group.
Contributions May Be Sent To:
Anthracite Living History Group
c/o Robert Hughes
485 Smiths Pond Road
Shavertown, PA 18708