Charles McIntyre - Introduction
ANDREA HAMMER: Today is October 3, 1991. My name is Andrea Hammer, and I'm here at the home of Charles McIntyre in Oakland, Maryland as part of the Garrett County Coal Project under the direction of Gail Herman.
Charles, you probably know or you're already aware that what we're trying to do in this project is to reconstruct, to the best we can, life in the coal communities in Western Maryland. So, for the record, could you begin by giving your full name, your birth date, and explain something about your connection with coal mining.
CHARLES MCINTYRE: Well, my name is Charles C. McIntyre, and my birth date is April 27, 1918. I lived in the coal mining community of Shallmar, Maryland and my father was mine foreman at the mine, and I used to go in the mines at different times with him to mark up the rock yardage, that's what they called it, the yardage, in the evening, because he had to have someone with him. That was cheap for the company because they didn't pay me anything. It was what I ate at the table.
AH: That was when you were a boy, and then what happened?
CM: I went to high school; we had to walk from Shallmar to Kitzmiller. We didn't have buses in those days. We had to walk the two miles, and it was a dirt road. We had, then I went from high school, I graduated from high school and went to Frostburg State. The time I worked for my uncle at night cleaning the chickens and stuff like that and I went to school in the daytime. I’d get on the bus, I’d pour myself on the bus and I’d ride from Cumberland to Frostburg. I did that for two years, and then I figured I'd had enough of it.
AH: So your major tie to the coal communities was through your father and through your experiences as a child?
CM: Yes. Through my father and my experiences in childhood.
CM: My father was also an electrician, that's what he started out as in the mines, then he moved up to mine foreman. Shallmar made their own power, they had 250 watts. They had their own steam engines and that. They had their boilers, and they fired their own boilers to make steam and made their own power. At night, at fifteen minutes to twelve, they would blink the lights twice and at twelve o'clock, they shut the lights off. Then they did not have any electricity until the morning until around about five o'clock, then they'd turn the lights back on so that the miners could get ready to go to work again.
AH: Do you know what brought your father to Shallmar?
CM: We were out in Pennsylvania, and he'd gotten a job with the Oakmont Coal Company, that was a small town up they called the Branch up from Shallmar. He got or had received this letter, is what he was telling me, that they wanted him to come up there as their electrician, but he went up there and got talking to the people in Shallmar. We weren't in Oakmont very long before we moved to Shallmar. We had, they had two -- we got to live in the, there was two bathrooms in the town, we had one of them. The boss’s home had a bathroom and the superintendent’s home had a bathroom.
AH: This was in Pennsylvania or where?
CM: This was in Shallmar. That was the only two homes that had bathrooms. They used to paint the houses every summer, and they really kept the houses up. They'd white wash the trees and the rocks and everything. Shallmar was really a model mining community at that time. They really did help the men a lot. They had a good ball team and everything. It was named after W.A. Marshall, and Shallmar is just Marshall spelled backwards. They just took it and turn it around and made the name Shallmar. Someone wanted to know before how Shallmar got its name, and that's how it was.
AH: And, Charles, how old were you when you came to Maryland?
CM: I came to Maryland when I was eight years old.
AH: So this was about 1926?
CM: Around 1926.
Charles McIntyre, Andrea Hammer
Photograph of Charles McIntyre taken at the Coal Talk opening at Garrett College in 1992
Garrett College, McHenry.
Coal miners--Maryland--History; Coal miners--West Virginia--History; Garrett County (Md.)--History; Allegany County (Md.)--History.
Western Maryland, 1930-1980