Skip to Main Content

OH184 Douglas H. Cates Oral History

Douglas H. Cates Oral History

Collection Title: Jackson Purchase Oral History Project – Duvin Mine Explosion

Series Number: OH184

Interviewee: Cates, Douglas Hayes

Interviewer: Robyn W. Dunn

Date interviewed: 22 November 1995

Processed by: Processed by Benjamin J. Drake I September of 2012

Date processed: October 1, 2012

Description: 2 sound discs (77 minutes)

Abstract: Douglas H. Cates provides a firsthand account of the Duvin Mine explosion that occurred on July 14, 1939 in Providence, Kentucky. The disaster killed twenty eight miners and left ten wounded. He describes the conditions faced by coal miners in central Kentucky in the first half of the twentieth century. Cates details various aspects of coal mining life, including the company stores, “flickers”, accident compensation, wages and comradely among miners. He concludes by describing various events related to the unionization of the coal miners in the 1930s.

Biographical / Historical note: Douglas Hayes Cates was born at Providence Kentucky on September 4, 1921. He was raised in a coal mining family and was seventeen at the time of the Duvin Mine Explosion on July 14, 1939. He was one of the last miners to escape the mine after the explosion. After the accident, he returned to coal mining and retired as a miner on September 10, 1988.

General information: No user access to original recordings. Use audio user copies, digital derivatives, transcripts, and/or tape indexes. This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Permission for reproduction must be requested from Murray State University.

Subject Headings / Descriptors:

Cates, Douglas Hayes, 1921-

Ruckman Coal Company.

Duvin Coal Mines (Providence, Ky.)

Coal miners – Kentucky – Webster County.

Coal mines and mining – Kentucky – Webster County.

Mine explosions – Kentucky.