The Richmonds, their two sons and grandchildren, are the last family still remaining in the area once known as Lindytown.
When all their neighbors packed up their belongings and moved out of town to make way for Massey Energy’s surface mining operation, the Richmonds chose to stay.
“So, I asked my two sons what they thought about it and they said, ‘it’s whatever you’re going to do.’ And I said, ‘I’ll tell ya, as far as I’m concerned, I’d as well stay here and endure whatever it is that it might be, you know?”
“Well, for as long as we can…because, this is home, we’ve been here all these years, and we’ve made a good living here. And I’m 85 and I could see no benefit in moving into a strange place with strange neighbors, and what have you, you know?” Richmond explains.
With active mountain top removal mining taking place within sight of their kitchen window, the Richmonds say they’re not overly concerned about their decision to stay. Rather, the couple says they’re aware of the dangers and have decided to endure what troubles may arise.
“One of the options, if we wanted to stay, was that they would give us $25,000 and I told them, it was nothing but hush money to keep your mouth shut from griping about dust and stuff.
According to Richmond, his family was offered a large amount of money from the coal company to move out of holler that he and his family have called home for more than 63 years.
“They offered me a good price for this place; they offered me $175,000 and free rent on a nice home further up the holler. But they’re interested in getting the people out of here in case something serious happens.”
“What we signed, a waiver for the dust and the noise, is entirely different than what the damages would be. They can’t force me to move. I own this property; they don’t own it. They can’t force us to move,” Richmond says, and pauses before saying, ‘Now, they may kill us…” and lets the thought trail off.
“But, anyhow, that is what we’ve decided to do. We’ve decided to endure the noise and dust and stuff,” he says.
According to Richmond, upon being given a written letter that outlined five options for area residents from Massey Coal Corp., a family meeting was called to discuss what decision the Richmond family would take.
“I called all my family together in this living room, and we discussed it. We decided that, with our boys being raised right here and going all the way through school, and my coming out of Raleigh County after the war, World War II, and I came over here in 1946, after I was discharged, we would stay. When I was discharged from the service, my dad had got a job in the coal mines around here, and so I moved here,” Richmond says.
Memories of a family’s life spent together can be found all throughout the Richmond home.
“I built these walls here in 1949; we were married in 1947. That son of mine, who lives right down there, was 2 years old when I poured that concrete outside,” Richmond recalls, explaining that he dipped his son’s feet in the wet concrete and his wife had the shoes bronzed as a memento of the occasion.
“We have very fine particles that can get through the crevices and it’s hard to have a home that is completely air-tight and so we have some dust that filters inside. I have more lint coming from the furnace than anything else. On the porch outside, I washed my house down just last week with a high-powered washer, but it still looks pretty good to me. And I guess that if I’m satisfied, that’s all that matters,” Richmond says.
“I decided we were going to stay here unless – unless things get so bad that we’re almost forced out,” the 85-year old World War II veteran says.