Collections tells story of coal culture

PINEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - There are hundreds of history lessons and stories in Steve Cawood's collection of scrip, the coins issued by coal companies in Appalachia in the early 1900s for use in their commissaries.

There's the 25-cent piece from a coal company that President John F. Kennedy's grandfather owned in Bell County, and another piece Cawood received from the son of the man who was superintendent of a mine at Kettle Island that blew up, killing more than a dozen miners.

Cawood, 69, had an uncle who sold mine supplies, and he sometimes went with him. Scrip was still in use in coal camps at the time, and people would sometimes give him pieces, sparking a lifelong fascination.

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