Bon Jellico Families

The Kirklin Family

Submitted by Alene Kirklin Horner, Granddaughter


    Richard E. Kirklin (Rich) and Vina Mayberry grew up in Middle Tennessee. Both sets of ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland. Their first home was in the Cookville-Boma area. It was there that they started their family. Their children were Samantha, Luther, Isabell, Dona, Ella and Clyde.

    Rich and Vina came to Bon Jellico in the early 1900’s. Samantha, their oldest daughter, stayed in Tennessee for she had just married Sylvester Stewart. Rich got a job working at the coal scales, a job he held until the mine closed in 1937. Luther, the oldest son, was a machine operator. He also worked at Bon until it closed in 1937. Clyde, their youngest son, worked in the mine briefly.

    Rich Vina’s children and spouses were:
Samantha—married Sylvester Stewart and remained in Tennessee
Luther—married Mable Fritts, daughter of W. T. and Alice Fritts of Bon Jellico
Isabell—married Scott west, son of John West of Bon Jellico
Dona—married Everett Richardson of Upper Briar Creek
Ella—became postmistress of Bonnie Blue, Virginia Post Office
Clyde—married Rose Richey of Insull, Ky.

    Rich and Vina had 33 grandchildren; however, only two became miners. One of these, Ken West, lost his life in a mining accident in Pound, Virginia.

    Rich was industrious and thrifty. He utilized every inch of their “company” ground. A cowshed, pigpen, and a chicken house were a part of their mini-farm, along with a garden that held a variety of vegetables. The also had a small grape arbor, peach and apple trees. A nearby new-ground provided corn for the animals and cornbread for their table. The cornmeal was ground at a mill on the Cumberland River at Williamsburg, Ky., which was two miles away. The corn for grinding was transported on the back of a neighbor’s mule.

    When the mine was not in operation, Rich and Luther cut timber for the mine. The mine timber had to be straight, strong and of a particular wood. Each timber had to measure a certain length. They also cut wood that was called caps. These were placed on top of the timber to even out the support for the roof of the mine. This work was done with a crosscut saw, a broadax, and a variety of wedges. Sometimes I was allowed to help them stack the wood.

    The corn was gathered from the new-ground on clear moonlight nights in October. It was hauled to the corncrib in a big sled pulled by a mule. Vina tended the cow, milked the cow and made the butter for the family. She pieced and quilted many beautiful quilts. Rich lived for 68 years and Vina died six months short of 100 years.

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