|Yolyn Post Office. A
dwelling recently stood on the right side. Now all that remains is straw covering a seeded
Letter to the Editor, The Logan
Banner, Jan. 11, 1998 This letter is in response to the story in last Sunday's Logan Banner
titled "Wooten says no conflict." Yes, Mr. Wooten, there is a definitely a
conflict of interest. You lied when you said Dingess-Rum did not force people to move from
Dehue and Rum Creek (Yolyn).Some of these people had to move two or three times within six
months to a year. Everybody received a written house notice from Dingess-Rum. What else
would you call this but force? Nothing was voluntary!
My niece had to move. She has children and did not
have income enough to go just anywhere. People ought to go up to Yolyn and take a look.
There is nothing there anymore.
So Mr. Wooten, don't act as if the people who rent from
Dingess-Rum are ignorant and don't know the truth. Most are poor, but a far cry from being
Vivian Johnston, Mt. Gay
Letter to the Editor, The Logan Banner, Jan. 18, 1998
I would like to respond to your article on Sunday,
Jan. 4, titled "Wooten says - "No Conflict." I am one of the many people
who rented a home from Dingess-Rum properties at Yolyn, that was forced to leave my
home. family has lived on Rum Creek for as long as I can remember and has attended
Bethel Chapel for over 50 years. rum Creek has always been a family-oriented community,
where our children were safe and happy.
The house we were renting was not falling down. My
husband and I moved into the house, laid rugs, and put in ceiling fans. The house we left
was in better shape than most of the houses we looked at to buy since our eviction notice.
We were not paid any money to help remodel the house when we moved in, nor were we paid
for these renovations when we were forced to leave. I do agree with Greg Wooten about one
thing though. Employees of Dingess-Rum did have to relocate also. Right off my head, I can
think of just one.
The same thing that happened to Dehue, that is happening
to Yolyn. The people being forced out of their homes. Homes they had occupied for years
and raised their families in. These communities hold so many memories for us. Now wen you
drive up Yolyn, you cannot even see where our homes had once been. these homes were torn
down as soon as we moved out. some were torn down before we got all our personal
The saddest part is that Dehue Church, Slagle Church, and
our Bethel Chapel are gone or will be destroyed. The only thing left in this community are
a few lonely trailers waiting for a place to go.
I agree that we need jobs in Logan County. But we also
need homes to live in. I have lived in a coal mining community most of my life. My father,
grandfathers, and my brother-in-law were all coal miners. My family has always supported
the UMWA and the miners, not only for what they were but what they represented--family. My
opinion of coal mining is changing.
Jane Dalrymple, Monaville
Yolyn in late October 1997. Some of the rubble left after
the fires. By mid-December all the trash and remains of houses had been removed.
Greg Wooten responds in The Logan Banner
First I want to say that just because there were
a few letters to the editor I really don't feel they represent the majority. You are
always going to have those that complain when you are running a business.
By allowing people to rent a house, in no way obligates
this company to provide them with housing forever. It is true that some have lived on our
properties for many years, but that was their decision.
As mining operations develop, often times the house
becomes a less desirable place to live because of mine dust, vibration and general
nuisance. There have been times in the past, and I'm sure there will be times in the
future when a decision will be made to eliminate certain houses from certain areas for the
very reasons I've given.
In Dehue Hollow alone, Dingess-Rum spent over $200,000
assisting 84 families to relocate to the Rum Creek area. They spent another $120,000 to
assist 54 families.
Wooten said in an interview recently that Dingess-Rum
does not plan to use the vacant land in Yolyn for housing. "Until mining is
completed, there are places that come into conflict," he said. "Our business is
natural resources management. Sometimes have to do things to allow the extraction of the
maxium amount of reserves."
In the summer of
1997, the small community of Yolyn existed, up Rum Creek about 12 miles from Logan. By
November, most of the houses had disappeared. As in Blair and Mud River, the elimination
of the hamlet has come about because of a large mountaintop mine nearby.
Arch Coal Inc. is mining mountains along one side of Yolyn and further down the road in
Chambers. The present mines will expand to more peaks and valleys soon.
The demise of Yolyn seems to have begun at the end of June when a hard rain fell in the
area. Part of a valley fill about a mile beyond Yolyn collapsed into the road. So much
earth and rocks filled the road that state highway equipment couldn't move it. The mine
had to bring in its own larger shovels and trucks. The state Division of Environmental
Protection issued a violation for the slide. Several of the residents filed complaints.
Lawsuits were threatened.
Yolyn was a mix of older houses and mobile homes. The land is owned by Dingess Rum Land
Company. Some of the dwellings, including older company houses were owned by Dingess Rum.
According to one resident of nearby Chambers, the people who lived on Dingess Rum property
had been promised they could stay there by the former manager of the company.
Since many of the residents came from coal-mining families, they accepted the concept of
living in company houses. Fifty years ago, miners' families lived in company dwellings and
shopped at the company store. The Yolyn residents also relied on the promises of the
former manager that they would always have homes. Some had been moved out of nearby Dehue
to Yolyn earlier in the year. So a second move was stressful. Though many received
monetary compensation from the land company, finding another affordable home was hard for
After the residents moved out, the houses were burnt in suspected arson fires. During
September and October, fire trucks seemed to come up the road about every third night. For
a time, the charred shells remained, along with assorted couches and televisions. But now
the only sign of former community is straw scattered over the bare ground where homes once
For John Harden, however, the death of Yolyn is just the price
of progress. He a member of the Slagle Baptist Church near the entrance to the mine. At
the public hearing on the expansion of the mine at Blair, Harden, an electrician at
Hobet, spoke in favor of the permit. He said he and his late grandmother came to Blair and
picked berries, He wore a red, heart-shaped sticker: "God Bless Coal People America
Needs Them." Harden attended the small Baptist church near the Yolyn Post Office as
well as the one at Slagle near the where the washout. Both have closed. "Last Sunday
Slagle Baptist Church at the head of Rum Creek had its last service. They are coming down
that hollow with the dragline," he said. "Progress had to go. People had to have
jobs. Krogers will not take petitions...I support 10 people in my house from my job...We
will gladly go because our people need the jobs. Do you realize that for every coal miner
that is working there is 10 jobs?"