Finding Ancestors wherever their trails led with Genealogy Trails History Group

Ohio Genealogy Trails

Athens County Ohio


Athens, Hocking & Perry County
Coal Company Stores
 




The Company Store at Jobs, Ohio (Circa 1900)

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
 

THE TRUCK SYSTEM 

In 1885, a vast amount of valuable testimony was taken by an investigating committee in Columbus, Ohio, the witnesses being allowed the fullest opportunity to testify on all matters relating to the cause of strikes. The miners who testified, complained of the truck system as a disturbing element, and stated that the syndicate owned and operated company stores at every mine, and used a mild system of coercion to compel their employes to deal in these stores. Checks and orders were given, and miners were discriminated against who declined to patronize the company store. One of the witnesses submitted a statement from the Annual Report of the State Labor Commissioner to show that the prices charged for goods were much higher than obtained in neighboring cash stores. The following is the statement submitted:
Coffee, per pound, company’s store...............$0 20
    Do. cash store....................................18              
Tea, per pound, company’s store.....................91 1/2
    Do. cash store....................................70 1/2               
Sugar, per pound, company’s store...................12
    Do. cash store....................................11              
Ham, per pound, company’s store.....................18 3/4
    Do. cash store....................................17 1/2               
Bacon, per pound, company’s store...................18           
   Do. cash store...................................16 2/3                           
Flour, per barrel, company's store................8 64            
   Do. cash store.................................6 04                           
Canned goods, per can, company’s store..............18 
   Do. cash store...................................13                         
Men’s boots, per pair, company’s store............4 46      
   Do. cash store.................................3 67                           
Boy’s boots, per pair, company’s store............2 45 
   Do, cash store.................................1 80                           
Women’s shoes, per pair, company’s store..........2 90      
   Do. cash store.................................2 45                           
Children’s shoes, per pair, company’s store.....1 21     
   Do. cash store...............................  93                          
Calico, per yard, company’s store...............  11         
   Do. cash store...............................   9                        
Flannels, per yard, company’s store.............  49         
   Do. cash store...............................  44
Powder, per keg, company’s store................3 66
   Do. cash store...............................3 13
Oil, per gallon, company’s store................  97
   Do. cash store...............................  78
   In selling goods to their employes, no money exchanged hands. The company issued checks of various denominations, ranging in value from two cents to five dollars, redeemable in merchandise at the company’s store. These checks were issued after the amount called for was earned. The profits on the stores, it was claimed, was sometimes greater than those of the mines. This was the truck system.

The Company Store at Jobs, Ohio (Circa 1900)

The miners were bound to the company store through a system of scrip, which was really an advance of the next payday.  The use of script began as a service to families, but resulted over time in trapping the unwary in deep debt.  Each coal mining camp had different scrip so that a camp's scrip was only good at the Company Store in that location. 


Clay Company Store Book, 1909

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Gore Furnace Pay Slip, 1890

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

#10 Mine, Company Store, 1918

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Sunday Creek Company Store, 1910, Buckingham, Ohio 

Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

Company Store Inventory
Courtesy of the Mahn Center,
Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio




BACK -- HOME



Copyright © Genealogy Trails