Pike County - Pond Creek

Fordson Coal Co. Store No. 7, McVeigh


The company store was once a vital part of life in the countless coal and timber communities all over Kentucky, but particularly in Eastern Kentucky. In this 1927 photo shared by Alice Whitt Patrick, 5728 14th Avenue N., Unit 302B, St. Petersburg, FL 33710-5861, is her father, James Walter Whitt, who was the manager of the Fordson Coal Company Store No. 7 in McVeigh on Pond Creek in Pike County, near the West Virginia border and Williamson, West Virginia. The company stores, which provided most everything from fresh beef, pork chops, and bananas; to wearing apparel and some furniture, were a far cry from the rural general stores. The company stores were the supermarkets of the then modern times, and charge accounts were kept for the company families. Most things were charged and the amount was taken out of the miners' paychecks. Prominent mine owners like Henry Ford would visit their properties. Their visits were celebrated at luncheons, leaving behind anecdotes that brought chuckles later. Henry Ford once sat with "Uncle" Taulbee Smith, a big land owner, at a lunch in the clubhouse at Stone, Kentucky. Hot coffee was served to the group. The coffee was so hot that Uncle Taulbee told Henry Ford that he would "sasser" his, proceeding to pour some steaming coffee in his saucer. Henry Ford reportedly followed suit, blowing on his "sasser" as well. Alice Patrick would appreciate hearing from anyone from Pond Creek who remembers the Walter Whitt family.