SUNBURY — The public is invited to attend a discussion on Anthracite mining at the Northumberland County Historical Society meeting. The event was supposed to be Thursday night, but has been postponed until April 20. The guest speaker will be local historian and Lewisburg High School science teacher Van Wagner of Northumberland.
Wagner said, “I’ll be talking about the early era, early 1800’s, when it was predominantly Irish, Welsh and English, and the mining was just kind of kicking off and they were trying to do a lot of figuring out of the geology of anthracite. And then I will also talk about the heyday, which would have been the 1890’s and World War I. This is when they mined more anthracite coal then ever before and ever since.”
Wagner continued, “I conclude the program by taking us clear up to modern day.” He says he will remind the audience that many people still make a living mining.
And he says often times coal companies defined the town where they were located, “One of the best ways to illustrate that is to walk through the paying process of how miners were paid, especially historically, where you had literally a company town, where the company owned the houses, owned the mines, owned the railroads, and you could go one step further and say, basically they owned the men.”
Van Wagner is also a singer and songwriter and will perform some coal mining heritage songs. You can hear more from Van Wagner from WKOK Sunrise online at www.wkok.com. (Ali Stevens)