The living condition of miners was shocking and horrid. They lived in shacks inside their patch village (neighborhood) which was owned by the coal company. As well as the coal company owning the houses they also owned the schools the church the store where they inflated prices and forced miners to buy there supplies there by threatening them there jobs if they didn't. They even owed the police.
As the coal companies continued to treat miners with deplorable working conditions, low wages and bad living conditions the miners retaliated. As a result of this, secret societies where formed to protest the coal company's by damaging, and wreaking havoc and terror through out the coal company. The secret societies would burn bridges, destroy machinery, derail coal cars and threaten mine bosses.
Although things where not in the best of circumstances, the miners still managed to have plenty of fun. Baseball and Football games between the different patch villages where of the biggest thing. Every different patch on Sunday would go and watch their patch play another patch team. Other recreational thing where dancing jigs, playing cards, reciting poems, telling stories, singing ballads, and other competitions such as racing and weightlifting.
Teenagers of the coal mines back then probably weren't at school they most likely would have been working in the coal breakers for 10 years already sorting the ruble from the coal until they where old enough to work in the mines. Although there was a law against child labor, they're where no birth records. So fathers would get an age blank certificate and fill it out to whatever age they wanted their sons to be and for 25 cents they could have it notarized.
Being a miner was a very dangerous job. Some of the dangers miners faced where cave-ins fires, deadly gases, and medical and health problems from over exposure to coal. Probably the most common one however was black lung disease. An estimated 1 out of 40 miners die from black lung disease or also known as coal workers' pneumoconiosis which is a lung disease caused by deposits of coal dust in the lungs. It is the result of inhaling coal dust over a long period of time. It spreads on the lung blocking airways and even people with a small case can of black lung can lead to a more serious version of the disease called progressive massive fibrosis which leads to large scars. Preventing black lung is crucial. There is no cure for the disease so preventing it is very important. To prevent black lung you need would to reduce the amount of coal dust, by possibly putting in a ventilation system, and wearing a mask that can filter the air.