Western Coal Mining  Company Store

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Ruth (McNeil) Zemlock

Company Store and Post Office
 Circa 1960s

Company Store
Circa 1960s

March 6, 1908 Pittsburg Headlight mentions Manager of store as Harry Blair

Memories of Western Coal Mining Company Store
While I am not a coal miner, I’ve been married to a coal miner for 61+ years.  I was hired in 1941 at the age of 19 as a clerk at the Western Coal Mining Store in Franklin, Ks. Which is located at the corner of what is now known as 2nd and Broadway. I was hired as a “dry goods girl”, but of course, this job required you to work on the grocery side of the store, too.  There were two fellows, Jack and John, who worked there as well as “Mr. Butch” who ran the meat department. Oh, what a sour outlook on life he had.  The men would come in from the mines to buy soup bones and they would accuse “Mr. Butch” of weighing his thumb when charging for the soup bones.  Cost of the bones was 10 cents per pound.

The worst part of the job as dry goods girl was when customers wanted to buy carbide or coal oil for lamps or potatoes.  You had to go into a dark, smelly, cold part of the building to get the items.  The boys would not go for the things.  On the dry goods side, we sold yard goods to women for the family’s clothing as well as yards and yards of off-white canvas which was used to repair and patch the knees of the miners’ pants.  We had one lady every day who came in for a box of penny matches (she was a heavy smoker). On occasion she would buy coal oil for lamps.

I was hired by the late Jules LaBenne, whose office was on the balcony of the company store and close to the big “pot bellied stove” that heated that area.  You couldn’t get too far away from the stove in winter, as the company store was a “big barny old place to be”. 
Memories of Ruth (McNeil) Zemlock, wife of Anton “Tony” Zemlock
I can remember walking by the old company store and being so scared we all ran.  Memory of Sherry Pichler Crepinsek
I can still see the old "Company Store" filled with hay.     Memory of Joe Lee Maghe
The Company Store was as you remember by the old post office and always full of hay (always a dark, mysterious and scary place for us boys to explore - at least until I got old enough to haul and stack hay in it for Cukatji's?? and then the mysterious part faded)
Memory of Jim Thornton
The following poem was on the back side of each page of the order book in the Western Coal Mining Company Store.
You need your money
And I need mine
If we both get ours
It will sure be fine.
But if you get yours
And keep mine too
What in the world
Am I going to do?
Memory of John Ziegler

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