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Well, I asked my wife, and...

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on August 30, 2003

In Reply to: Re: Coal cracker posted by Brian from Shawnee on August 29, 2003

: : : : : : I am having trouble posting to "coal cracker." So I'm trying it as a new discussion. Here goes:

: : : : : : I'll look up "coal cracker" in my regional slang dictionaries this evening. I've never heard this phrase -- I'm a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia. I've done some online research and searched new and used bookstores trying to locate a miners' slang book. No luck yet.

: : : : : From coalregion.com:
: : : : : "The word, "cracker" was another term for a breaker and "coal cracker" was used to describe a miner."

: : : : Thanks Bruce! Especially for the online Coal Speak Dictionary. I've been looking for one of those forever.

: : : Thank you Bruce and ESC. So, it seems that "Coal Cracker" is local to the central PA coal mining region, after all.

: : Brian, since presumably you're in at least occasional communication with your wife, how about asking her what her understanding of the term is, and report back to us here?

: Good idea. I'll give it a try.

Well, I asked my wife what she knew about the term "Coal Cracker", but all she knew was that she thinks she first heard it when she was a teenager, which would have been in the mid-1970's. She comes from the small coal mining town of Mount Carmel (current State AA football champs) and she's a coal miner's daughter. I'm sure the term predates my wife's first knowledge of it by many years, since it seems to be endemic in the area. The term does refer to anyone who lives in or comes from the area where anthracite coal mining once dominated, even if nobody in their family ever worked in the mines, although I would think it's most appropriately applied to people of working class background from the various white ethnic groups traditionally associated with coal mining. I would defer to coalregion.com for further details.