Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
nmjfi"iimiovi.mj4 1 vnvm p ' nxpr'-w --v-
Bridget planed md sved the best
she could. She had great hoifes for
.little Johnny. He would surely be" a
scholar and make famous the Mc
Caffery name but all her hopes and
struggles went for naught. Owen's
funeral had left them hopelessly in
debt, and the earning of the boy and
H '' ill J J- 111 -fS
Clarepce Darrow, Famous American
Writer, Lawyer and Friend
of Organized Labor.
girl could not keep the family alive.
There was really nothing left but to
send Johnny to the breaker. The
law had humanely said that a child
should be spared from the mine until
he was twelve yekrs old, but Bridget'
soon saw that this law was no pro-
I tection against poverty and want; so
she went to a Justice of the Peace
and swore that Johnny's age was
twelve, and sent hjm to the breaker.
She somehow did not think much
about this oath. In fact, she almost
felt that Johnny was twelve years old.
She knew of other boys of the same
age who were at work. .
Well, Johnny went to the breaker.
He was half-way pleased to be re
leased from school. If there is any
place for a boy more cruel and hope
less than the breaker, it is the or
dinary public school.
Johnny lived about half a mile
from the breaker where he went to
work. Over and over again, he had
seen the huge rough black building
standing up against the sky, and just
beyond, the great pile of refuse which
they called "culm" that loomed up
higher still; especially at night, they
, rose up somber and black, like the
mountains just behind "The front
of the building was a hundred feet
high. It sloped slowly and evenly
down to about twenty-five feet at the
rear. Its great sides were dotted with
windows little gray spots in the vast
surface of black, weather-beaten
boards. Johnny had never seen a
cathedral, but from the stories that
his teacher told at school he thought
this building was about the size of
one of those medieval temples but
it was a temple built, not" to God,
but to Mammon.
Along the side of the great building
ran the zigzag stairs, and, in the
early morning light and" sometimes
before the gloom had been fairly
driven away, little boys tugged up the
hundred steps to the breaker's top.
Here the cars of coal were raised In
an elevator and then dumped into a
chute, and went sliding and scatter
ing down through a myriad of sieves
and troughs; through turning wheels
and the jaws of the great iron rolls
which crushed the large lumps into
little blocks; on down, down, down
until it landed in the huge pocket
at the back of the breaker; twenty