(Image credit: Lewis Hines, via Shorpy)

Posted by Ellen

Arthur Havard was fourteen years old in 1911 when his picture was taken at work one day, outside the #6 shaft of the coal mine in South Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Havard's job was to drive the mules that hauled coal along tracks from the working face deep in the mine all the way up to daylight. Many boys worked in the mine for years as mule drivers until they finally grew big enough to wield a pick and work as regular miners.

It was another world back then. Yet it wasn't all that long ago; Havard's children were born in the 1920s, and some are still alive today.

Here is a description of how children worked in the mines of Pennsylvania, provided by the son of a mule driver like Havard:

My dad was a 'mule driver' in a Western Pennsylvania bituminous coal mine as a youth. His job was to guide the mule and coal cart on tracks out of the mine. On the way out, he would make sure that no clumps of coal would fall off the cart. If they did he would have to pick up the coal, climb to the top of the load and replace the fallen coal on top of the load. The coal company had a bell at the exit tunnel hanging down to ring as it was hit on the way out. If the bell did not ring, the team who cut, dug and loaded the coal would not be paid for a full load. He could never let that bell not to ring. That team of miners were his relatives and neighbors in the same Coal Patch.