Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Story 2: Big Grandma's Secret and Early Married Life

In this series of stories, I am writing about my maternal grandmother, Goldie Witt Cole.  My sisters and I called her Big Grandma.

Story 2:

Many years ago as I was sourcing my family tree, I looked for the marriage record of Big Grandma to my grandfather, Robert Cole.  I used FamilySearch.org and put in the parameters for a likely marriage in Lee County, Virginia.  You can image my surprise when I saw this:


I was not expecting to see TWO marriage records for Big Grandma.  There was obviously a story behind this!  I asked my mother.  Mom said that back in the 1980's, her sister-in-law had been doing some family history and ran across the same record.

Quiet speculation arose and one theory was that Big Grandma used Robert Sybert to make Grandpa jealous so that he would marry her. But that doesn't seem to fit.  Her marriage record to Mr. Sybert was dated July 1928, but she didn't even meet Grandpa till 1930, as far as I can tell.

Then, I found Robert Sybert's "second" marriage record.  It was dated DECEMBER 1928. Interesting!!  Maybe it was the opposite and rather than Big Grandma marrying Mr. Sybert to make Grandpa jealous, she actually did it to make Mr. Sybert's girlfriend jealous!!  After all, he married just 5 months later!  Maybe their little plan worked!

Big Grandma married my grandfather, Robert Cole, on 11 November 1933 in Lee County, Virginia. Grandpa was a coal miner and they lived in a coal camp after they were married.  I am not sure which coal mine he was working at when they first married, but it would have been Kemmer Jim or Bonny Blue.



Bonny Blue Coal Company was in Lee County, Virginia.  There are several really nice pictures online of this mine.  Here are a couple of my favorite.



Learning about life in a coal camp kind of reminded me of when I lived on an Army post.  The coal camp housing was all alike and they had their own post office and commissary.  They even had their own 'money' which was called "script".  I have attached a picture of some of the coins my uncle still has in his possession as well as a little better picture I found online.






Big Grandma was married to a coal miner until Grandpa's death in 1958.  Her 3 sons and 3 sons-in-law all worked in the mines.

Grandpa's jobs in the mine were timberer and driller.  A timberer would sure up the ceilings of the mines with timber supports.  A driller would drill holes in the rock and fill with dynamite.  Wait, did I say "dynamite"?  You are going to want to hear that story! Read about the 4th of July no would ever forget here.

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