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Testimony of W.R. Thurmond, given before the Committee on Education and Labor of the United States Senate, at a hearing had in the City of Washington on October 26, 1921.

The witness, having been first duly sworn by the chairman, testified as follows:

THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Thurmond, what is your position with the coal operators?

THURMOND: President of the Logan Coal Operators Association.

C: What is that Association?

T: The Logan Coal Operators’ Association is a voluntary association composed of 66 operating companies, located in that part of Logan County lying on the waters of the Guyan River, and operating 134 mines.

C: What percentage of the miners of Logan County belong to unions?

T: Only about 5 per cent, and none of them are in that part of Logan County. I have a map here that I think will show.

C: How much has your association contributed these different years to the payment of deputy sheriffs?

T: I have the years 1920 and 1921.

C: All right, sir.

T: The reason I did not go behind that year, you have that information in the governor’s investigation of West Virginia, which I understand was available to this committee.

C: Give us those two years.

T: Last year was $46,630, and was 4.9 mills on each ton of coal mined.

C: You have a system of assessing against each ton mined?

T: No, sir. I am giving you that for this reason. The newspapers had an article purporting that the Attorney General said to this committee that there was 10 cents a ton levied on every ton of coal shipped out of Logan County for the purpose of paying deputies, and I got this on this tonnage basis to refute that.

C: Four and nine-tenths cents.

T: Mills, not cents.

C: Oh, 4 mills?

T: Yes, less than one-half cent.

C: I do not remember that he said that, but he may have said it. Did he say it the other day before this committee?

T: No, the newspapers carried an article purporting him to have said that. I do not know whether he did or not. The public got that.

MR. AVIS: That 4 mills was for last year?

T: That was for 1920.

C: Can you figure any amount according to production of coal in tons among the officials?

T: No, sir.

C: What was it this year?

T: It is $61,517 up to and including September. Now, there are three reasons why there is an increase there this year, first the population of the county is growing each year, and new operations opening up, and we have more men, and the second reason is we are paying them a little more salary than last year, and the third and principal reason is this trouble which came on, and which we anticipated.

C: There were a good many new deputies sworn in during the trouble, were there not?

T: Yes, sir.

C: Did you people pay any of those deputies?

T: We paid that sum to the regular force.

C: How did you do that? Did you give a check to the sheriff?

T: Yes. We paid it to the bank. He rendered an account. Senator Shortridge asked if that was paid to the county treasurer. We have no county treasurer. The sheriff takes charge of those duties.

C: You paid that to the bank to the credit of the sheriff?

T: Yes, sir.

C: Did you pay it all at once?

T: Monthly.

C: Monthly?

T: Yes, sir. He gave us a statement.

C: How many deputies in 1920 did this $46,000 pay for?

T: I don’t know.

C: How many did they have in that county.

T: They have 54 now. There are 54 officers. That includes the sheriff himself and the elected officers.

C: It seems to me some one told us at Logan—and yet I do not want to be certain about that—that there were 50 deputies last year paid in that way.

T: I think you asked me that question, and I think you asked, “How many deputy sheriffs did you have?”

C: That is possibly true.

T: I said approximately 50 and I think later corrected the testimony and said I understood there were 54.

C: How many were there this year?

T: That is this year.

C: That is this year?

T: That is this year, yes.

C: You mean 1920?

T: 1921.

C: I am asking about 1920. You gave us the amount of money but I want to know how many deputies were employed in that way in 1920.

T: I don’t know.

C: You do not know?

T: No, sir.

A: I understood the witness to say the 54 included all the county officers.

C: I understood him to say there were some other officers.

T: There were six justices of the peace.

C: What salaries were paid to these deputies?

T: $175 a month.

C: $175 a month?

T: Some of them, and some $150.

C: Do these deputy sheriffs act as guards for your property?

T: No, sir.

C: They act as general deputy sheriffs?

T: Yes, sir.

C: Do they serve process around the county?

T: Yes, sir.

C: And arrest men who have no connection with your company?

T: Yes, sir.

C: Are all these deputies paid $175 a month?

T: No, not all of them.

C: The sheriff would know the exact number?

T: Yes, sir. He would know about that. I know they are not all paid that.

C: How long has that system of furnishing money to pay deputy sheriffs by the coal companies continued? How long has it been in operation?

T: I can not give you the exact number of years, but I think about 8 years.

C: Do you know whether that is carried on in any other county in West Virginia?

T: I don’t know, sir. The other gentlemen can testify to that.

NOTE: In 1921, Mr. Thurmond was chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee in Logan County, WV.