Shovel helper

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Thu Mar 24 10:53:51 EDT 2016

My grandpa did this type work for the old WV State Road Commission on Route US 52 near Welch. He used to talk about working on the cuts going toward Williamson back in the thirties. 
Papa was one of those men that started working in the mines as a youngster. Thankfully, we have laws that now keep children from those jobs.

He was a miner, town policeman, steam shovel helper, farmer, warehouseman, railroader, husband, Dad, grandpa and friend. 
We miss him.   

Howard Leedy
Bluefield, WV

-----Original Message-----
From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:59 AM
To: N&W Mailing List
Subject: Re: Shovel helper

Many large machines have (had ?) a ground man to assist with the work. 

On a drag line, he wascalled the Greaser. On small cranes the railroad MW Department used, he was sometimes called the Crane Attendant and, in addition to other things, handled the switches as the crane moved around. I have also heard him called the Hook-Up Man (i.e., the person who connects the hook to the load or chain or sling.) 

I have no systematic knowledge of this topic, and these are only observations made from conversations I heard years ago. I never worked around a real steam shovel, but the above may give you some ideas. 

     -- abram burnett 
(First Turnip-Farmers of Virginia)

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