Longwall Effects  











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Diary of Longwall Mining Damage 2004

Severe damage continues to occur to our farmland, buildings and water supply as a result of mining by the Ohio Valley Coal Company.


12/16/2004 (pictures)

Shirley and I walked the Far Strips area to look for subsidence reported to us by the deer hunter. We found the site that we believe he had seen but we did not get over the entire area due to impending darkness. We took measurements and photos of it. It was not as wide as the hunter reported but it must have impressed him because of the danger it presented. It was 7 feet deep and 27 inches wide and was cracked open for about 6 feet long. The crack ran for about 50 feet off to the woods and several deep holes were in it. It could be a problem for wildlife or any human who wandered into it. I called ODNR and OVCC on Friday to report it. I got recordings at both phones so I left messages.

Floyd Simpson

12/4/2004 (pictures)

This is the last day of deer (gun only) season for us in this part of Ohio. One of the hunters nearly fell into a hole in the area we call the “Far Strips” a hayfield bordered by a woods. He said it was the size of his pick up truck bed and about 8 feet deep.

Floyd Simpson

11/20/2004

7:14 AM… The James Kinney main house settled again with a definite “THUMP” sound. There seems to be a new separation of plaster along the ceiling in the downstairs hall.

Floyd Simpson

11/15/2004 (pictures)

ODNR-DMR represented by Mr. Tom Pulay and Mr. Dave Clark from the Cambridge office and archaeologist Dr. Jeff Reichwein came to the farm to look at the subsidence. They brought “longwall panel maps” along to compare the area of interest and the mine activity. It was determined that this was indeed longwall subsidence and it may have been caused by the collapse of the “gate”. A gate is a road made through the coal at the edges of the longwall panel to accommodate equipment, ventilation, and power to the longwall. When the mine has gone through on another pass the gate or road is allowed to collapse and sometimes this happens some time after the actual mining of the area. Their official opinion is that these subsidence holes and cracks can be filled in with out removing any soil. That might seem strange but it had to be determined prior to doing the work as this area is part of the 57 acre James Kinney Farmstead. If any soil had to be moved around or buried or dug out it would have required an archaeologist on site to examine the soil for artifacts and make a record of what is found. This is within a few feet of the original Drovers Trail of 150 plus years ago and now also listed as an Ohio Byway. Dr. Reichwein did determine that if digging of the foundation of the wood and coal house is to be done the coal company has to hire an archaeologist to be on the site during this work.

Floyd Simpson

11/9/2004 (pictures)

Mr. Ceicil got the fence up. He said he was not told of the need for it until yesterday. I helped him put it up

It was a cold but beautiful day. The pasture area now has several more areas that look like large pot holes developing. These are not really a hazard at this time but I will have to keep an eye on them as the grass will grow fast in the spring and I do not want to get my equipment into it like the haybine incident this summer.

Tonight a bat got downstairs in the James Kinney house. It had found its way from the attic through the exposed lath in the broken ceilings. Of course the lath is under the floor of the attic but that is not a sealed area once they get into the attic which is not insulated.

Since losing so much of the original ceiling plaster I have been getting more than a few attic flies and even wasps coming down from the attic. I stepped on one with my bare foot and got real surprise at how fast an old guy can dance on one foot!

Floyd Simpson

11/8/2004 (pictures)

There are more depressions and what looks like another subsidence crack starting farther out in the pasture area. Dr. Reichwein called to re-set the appointment to next week.

Floyd Simpson

11/4/2004 (pictures)

Mr. Ceicil got the temporary fence put up. The crack has now expanded to 160 feet long. He was able to get the fence up and connected to the hot electric fence I had in the general area. There have been too rainy today to get the dirt spread out at the Pryor place.

Floyd Simpson

11/3/2004 (pictures)

Mr. Luke called Mr. Ceicil to get a temporary fence put around the long subsidence crack in the pasture. I am still feeding hay.

Dr. Reichwein of ODNR scheduled a trip to see this latest development. He will be here next Wednesday.

Floyd Simpson

11/2/2004 (pictures)

Election Day, dirt was brought in to fill the depressions at the Pryor homestead, ridge top and the hole that caused my haybine to break this summer.

Floyd Simpson

11/1/2004

Randy Ceicil owner of Dirt Designs came out to look at the subsidence that occurred last winter. He is to bring fill dirt.

Floyd Simpson

10/29/2004 (pictures)

I called Mr. Luke to tell him to please get the fence built around the subsidence crack as it was a danger to the cattle. I got his recording. My temporary posts did not keep the cattle out of the area so I am forced to keep all the cattle in the other pasture that has been grazed out and have to feed hay to hold them over. Not at all economical for me as I sell pasture,not hay to the cattle owner.

Floyd Simpson

10/28/2004

Claude Luke (OVCC), Marvin Dalton (Woodwright Shop), and I met and discussed the wood and coal house situation. Mr. Dalton and Mr. Luke got along well. They agreed on the basic principal of how it should be restored. After Mr. Dalton left we went over to the cow pasture along SR 147 to see the subsidence crack which seems to be getting longer. (about 100 feel now). Mr. Pulay of ODNR was contacted and he is contacting Dr. Jeff Reichwein of ODNR, their staff archaeologist. My son Ron and I went back to take pictures in the late afternoon and not only is the crack getting longer but it is too deep to measure. It may go clear down to the mine that created it! I put up a temporary post to keep the cows from walking into the worst part but it needs a fence which Mr. Luke has agreed to have put in. After he left I was still in the pasture looking for other subsidence but my attention was directed to the cattle which were bawling in the other big pasture. They were telling me they were out of water. It had been at least 2 days since the last delivery. It takes about 1,000 gallons per day for this number of cattle and that is a full load for the Deans Water truck. I called Deans Water and they said they were sending a truckload tonight - it arrived here at about 10:30 PM. A load will only last until morning so they will have to double up deliveries. There is no natural water supply in the pasture now that the longwall has gone under. My developed spring, a USDA determined wetland and even the creek are dry, even in this extraordinarily wet weather year. This is a terrible loss to us!

Floyd Simpson

10/21/2004 (pictures)

I discovered a big subsidence crack in the hayfield that I am strip grazing for pasture this fall. I have been moving the electric fence over for about 1/5th of an acre each day to allow the cattle to get nice lush 2nd cutting hay that I did not have time to bale because of the weather and being out of commission due to the fall off the porch. This crack is close to the state highway and is consistent with the highway (SR 147) cracks in the pavement caused by longwall mining in July. I had not seen these field cracks when I put in the 1st cutting hay so it is very recent. This crack is 160 feel long and looks to be about 100 feet deep and about a foot wide some places. Cattle have been walking over it and evidence shows some have stepped into this crack. A broken leg on one of these high dollar cows and it would be an expensive cost to reimburse. Bueling cattle are a minor breed and these are breeding stock, I would not like to think of the cost to the breeder to lose one of them.

I have contacted the coal company and ODNR about this recent subsidence.

Floyd Simpson

10/20/2004

Mr. Dalton came out to look over the longwall damage. He seems very knowledgeable and took measurements. He will do a profile and proposal. Later he called me to ask how he would get paid and I referred him to meet with Mr. Luke about this.

A representative from the Associated Press from Columbus, OH came out to interview me as a follow up of their national article run last January when the house was undermined. I showed her a lot of the damage but not all of it as she had a time constraint.

1:00 PM The Dickinson Cattle Company came to move some of the cows and calves and the beautiful Buelingo bull back to their ranch near Barnesville. The Farm Bureau had a special meeting at Barnesville tonight with their lead lawyer who explained the line fence law and Farm Bureau's stand on that issue. Also, he gave some legal insight into longwall mining and the proposed legislation that was approved by the Ohio Farm Bureau last year at the annual convention.

OVCC had a truck load of crushed stone delivered to the driveway for the cattle water supply tanks as the water truck is making tracks in the field to get to the tanks.

Floyd Simpson

10/18/2004

Mr. Claude Luke of OVCC was back from vacation and we discussed the wood and coal house issue again. He said he had not heard back from the engineer who had come down from Pittsburgh. Later that evening Mr. Luke sent me an e-mail which was a copy of a memo from the engineer and the preservation company out of Wheeling saying they were working on a proposal. I had asked Claude if it was OK to bring another local person on board to look at it. I had found Mr. Marvin Dalton of nearby Bethesda who was a graduate the Historic Preservation Program from Bel-Tec College in St. Clairsville,OH. He was recommended by their dean, Dr. Mertz. We have set up an appointment for this week.

Floyd Simpson

10/12/2004

I called OVCC this morning. Mr. Luke was on vacation so I called David Bartsch to complain about nothing being done to repair the Historic James Kinney Homestead property. He said, “Floyd, I’m too busy to do anything for you!” That is when I called ODNR and another historic preservation expert who can come out and look at the property.

Floyd Simpson

9/28/2004

I woke up with much difficulty in breathing. I got a quick response from my doctor to come in for X-Rays. The lab showed me the pictures and the doctor told me that I had a number of broken ribs on the left side and my breathing was difficult because the left lung was filling with fluid. In other words…I have pneumonia caused by the broken ribs. My doctor was quite put out about me “at the age of 71” going on roofs and ladders. Hey, the coal company left me with all that mess to my home and I felt that I had to do something! I have a degree of pride in the old place and OVCC had left it in a mess. I was put on “Light Duty” by the doctor and had to take antibiotics, get breathing devices and they wrapped me up like a mummy. I was hurting so bad that the light duty command was not hard to comply with even though the farm has a lot of demanding work to be done.

Floyd Simpson

9/28/2004

Floyd Simpson

9/27/2004

David Rucker of QES was here today to check the water from the springs and wells. The main livestock spring is dry, the developed livestock spring below the barn is dry, two springs in the historic old growth forest (on the National Register of Historic Places) are dry. One of these would give an indication of the perched aquifer viability. Huge trees like these 400 +year old giant oaks draw from the perched aquifers that lie within their root zone. I had David check the cistern (not on the list he normally checks) and it was also dry. Just last week after the big rains it was half full of water and now it is all gone!

Floyd Simpson

9/25/2004

This was a nice, quiet, overcast warm summer day. I was still unhappy that the coal company and contractors had not put the gutter and downspouts back on the summer kitchen and back porch of the main house. I had paid my roof contractor to replace the house gutter and downspouts early this year. The Hughes Corporation had removed all downspout (and gutters on the porch) so they could put the bands around the brick structures prior to mining. But no one even thought of putting them back! I had asked that they be replaced a number of times but the contractors never had a ladder with them or as one put it “We don’t do ladder work.” So…I set out today to put the porch gutter and downspouts on. The material had just been thrown out in my yard by the Hughes Corp. and I had to move it every time I mowed this year. Finally I took it back between the summer kitchen and smoke house to get it out of sight.

I had put the porch gutter and spouts on 7 years ago and I felt that I could do it again. Opps. I forgot, I am 7 years older and not as agile as my pre-70’s age. Unfortunately I had a nasty fall, from about 10 feet up. Landed on my face and chest. I am lucky that I only suffered face bruises and busted glasses and my chest hurts really bad like my ribs might be broken.

Hey, this was a coal company problem I was trying to fix! Oh, did I mention that it broke my nice watch. My family is very upset about this. Why can’t OVCC just take care of all these problems? They got the coal worth millions of dollars and now they are gone! They were being so good to me before they mined the coal, lots of rosy promises and now they are gone. A quote from my neighbor, Gary Habig who had his home severely damaged in July said “They were being so good to me before they mined and now they don’t want to do anything about the mess they made!” I think that about sums it up for us too. We surface owners are really subsidizing cheap energy — How about that Cleveland!! You Clevelandites turned on your lights this morning and never thought about our suffering to make life easy for you! PBS will interview me one of these days and I will relate that for their listing public to think about.

Floyd Simpson

9/24/2004

The Drovers Trail Scenic Byways brochures arrived today. The brochure includes a nice write-up on the Historic James Kinney Farmstead, but of course there was no mention of longwall mining. It was done by BCTC (Belmont County Tourism Council) through a grant to promote area byways and tourism. Other info on this byway can be found on www.ohiobyways.com website and copies of this brochure can be sent by requesting from: beltour@aol.com

Floyd Simpson

9/23/2004

Sandra Sleight-Brennen, WOUB radio reporter came out to interview me this AM. We mostly talked about damages to the historic property. She also wanted to see Dysart Woods again. I put in the rest of the day in the hay fields putting up round bales. I am about done for the season. Somehow I got through the summer with subsidence holes in fields, house plaster falling in on me, and two nasty floods. That plus this was just the wettest year on record and had to get hay to dry.

Floyd Simpson

9/17/2004

We are having rain from the remnant of another hurricane. This one was Ivan that caused additional damage to the SE USA and moved up the Ohio Valley to cause widespread flooding in our area. By 3 PM the basement was flooding with water gushing up from the subsidence cracks in the basement floor. The drainage put in the west yard seemed to be carrying the surface water away from the house but this rain so soon after the last flood found no place to go in the already soggy ground. The 14 foot trench west of the house was never completely filled as they had 4 or more truckloads of dirt that would not go back into the hole. Now it is probably a soggy, water logged mess down there that wicks back into the basement. The water was coming into the basement faster than I could bail it out. There are 3 old fashioned “stone drains” in the old house basement. In todays world these would be “French Drains” but in the 2.35’s the stone drains were quite adequate. With the combination of circumstances of the broken basement floors, the wick effect from the 14 foot deep trench not totally filled we had a great reservoir of water that was going into the basement. By 6 PM the basement was so flooded that the deep freeze in the hall was trying to float. The new furnace was in danger of getting water damage in a short while. I could not move the furnace but was able to pry the deep freeze up and put chunks of firewood under it to keep the motor parts out of harms way. I checked the deep freeze in the furnace room and since it was an old fashioned one with elevated legs under it I was not as concerned about losing it. In desperation I called the coal company and only got a recording. I called their contract plumber and they were all called in off the road because of flooding everywhere in the county where many roads were closed by flooding and washouts. My close neighbor, Neil Rubel said someone had borrowed his sump pump but he called most of the hardware stores in the area for me and found one left at the Barnesville True Value store. He drove over and got it for me and we started to pump at about dark. It did not seem to be making any headway as water was coming in as fast as the pump would take it out. At 8 PM the rain slowed a bit and the pump started to gain on the flood. By Midnight the rain cleared out and the furnace room and hall were draining down. I was still pumping at 2:30 AM and seemed to be ahead enough to take a cat nap. I was back at it by 6 AM and finally pumped out the rest of the water. The stone drains were working too but were not able to keep up with this much water. I called the plumbers back to tell them I had it under control (‘This would have been the group that would have had the permanent sump pump in if the weather had cooperated but who would have thought we would have seen the remnants of two hurricanes back to back here in Ohio! One report in the valley said we had just had 9 inches of rain. All Belmont County roads in the county were closed due to the emergency. The town of Neffs was nearly lost in these two floods. Pipe Creek road (the original “Grade Road” approved by the NW Territory Congress in 1801 )was washed out in the lower areas.

Floyd Simpson

9/13/2004

The crew got the barn area and summer kitchen trenches ready to be seeded and covered with straw. They put in a long, hot summer day doing this. The big project was to get the huge “step-stones” back at the cow barn door. I was able to finish mowing around the disturbed areas for the first time this year. It makes the place look much, much better. Claude Luke of OVCC came out to inspect the project. He approved the work Mr. Ceicil was doing (as did I) and gave him the project to fill the subsidence cracks in the hay field and the big hole in the yard at the Pryor farm.

Floyd Simpson

9/12/2004

They had two men working today. They got the house yard work completed and in the process they uncovered several iron artifacts. One looked like a well rusted penknife and the other possibly was a chimney top support. Drainage was a concern as the slope after trenching seemed to be allowing water to run toward the house. It is now channeled toward the lower garden.

Floyd Simpson

9/11/2004

The yard work is proceeding well even though the ground is still wet. Most of the work was done on the west side of the house where the 14 foot deep trench had been dug. They leveled the area and replanted the shrubs.

Floyd Simpson

9/9/2004

We had about 4 inches of rain yesterday through last night. It was the last of Hurricane Frances that had migrated up from Florida and had caused serious damage there last weekend.

At 8:00 PM I checked the basement and found all but one of the rooms flooded. Ever since the longwall went under the house and broke up the basement floors water comes up through. I have been here for 47 years and never had a problem with this in all that time, prior to the longwall mining. I have lost everything that was stored on the floor. I had moved a lot of stuff down to the floor off the shelves before the longwall came through as the house went through a leaning period and stuff had a tendency to fall off shelves if not secured. I called OVCC about the flooding. Mr. Luke is having their plumbing contractor come out and sump out the basement. After it is pumped out they are to put in a permanent sump pump to come on automatically when this happens. This might take three pumps as the rooms are divided by a hallway which has an elevated step at each door. No problem with the NW room as the longwall damage broke the step in two and water can enter the hallway easily.

Floyd Simpson

9/7/2004

OVCC had the new lawn service call me today. They would like to be here by noon today to level the trenches around the historic buildings. Remember, these ditches were dug here last November and December and they are still not leveled out, only backfilled. OVCC had promised to fill and reseed this in March this year. They never got it done and I have had to try to work around this mess with both my farming and my personal life even though I have complained to the coal company every chance I get. Frankly, the landscape around here is deplorable! I cannot get the lower door open on the barn to get to my barbed wire without a struggle. The area never was leveled and seeded as promised and tall weeds grew up where they just dumped most of the dirt back in the trenches. I could not come close to it to mow these weeds. The massive entrance stones are still stacked up in the yard. These need to be lifted up and placed back at the entrance as they were originally. I do not have the kind of equipment to do that. I have bale handling equipment, not dirt moving equipment.

I checked the long subsidence slip that appeared in the cow pasture near the loess mound and found that it had closed up by itself! Sometimes subsidence cracks will open up and then close up again. This does not mean there will not be the start of a slip at some future time as the subsurface has been fractured at that point and it is weak. A heavy rain or a future collapse of rocks under the area could open it up again.

Floyd Simpson

9/4/2004

ODNR-DMR sent a registered letter to confirm that they had approved the D-360 permit extension for 5 more years. There seemed to be a number of omissions in their report sent today as a number of critical questions which had been asked at the open hearing were not addressed. One question that was omitted was a request for confirmation that OVCC or any of its co owned companies or any company owned by any executive of OVCC that none of them were under suspension or under any violation of permit. This would include any state of any company the owner has interest in. One researcher had found a number of violations in another state. This seemed to be ignored by ODNR-DMR. I do not plan on appealing this decision as it seems to be almost a rubber stamp process once a mine gets a permit.

Floyd Simpson

9/3/2004

ODNR state director James Carnes came to look at the damages at Shirley's house and to talk with her about her water problems. This was his first look at what happens when this kind of mining causes surface damage.

Floyd Simpson

8/24/2004

Mellot Plumbing came out to take out the valve from the deep well at the new house (Shirley's). It seems that when they took out her pump they left part of the line from the well in place and put a valve in the line since it tee’s off to the water tank supplied by the coal company. The coal company wanted this done as they like to think that rural water comes back in several years after undermining and they would simply open the valve back to the well and take out their water supply. When the plumbing folks dug out the connection they found the area saturated with water. Was there a leak in the valve? I do not know but if it was then the valve could have been siphoning ground water right out of this mud pit and into her water system. If this had been a Belmont County Water supply hook up this would not be legal as no other line to any other water source can be connected to the county line. This is a law that protects the county water supply from having a contaminated water source backing up into the county line and causing contaminated water to get into the line that supplies other customers. The plumbers are going to “Shock” her water system with chlorine but first will take a sample of the water in the tank. The shock should kill any bacteria in the tank as well as any of the water line into the house.

I am putting in hay again on the Pryor farm, in an area that was not longwall mined so I did not have any surprises today.

Floyd Simpson

8/23/2004

Q.E.S. took water samples again at Shirley's house today. They had another “contaminated” report from last weeks sample. They also took samples at the Kinney house today too. The water at Shirley's house has a “green shine” to it. It looks like a thin film of oil on the surface. A sample of this was also given to QES. Mr. Tom Pulay of ODNR called to say the want to find out what went wrong. They are asking for samples to be tested at the state too.

Floyd Simpson

8/21/2004

I bought a good used cutter bar mower and mowed some of the cattle pasture across from the house. I had to go around a subsidence slip near the loess mound. Not a large one but would have been a problem if I had to mow over it like the hay fields. It is not a serious danger to the cattle because it is not that big but I will have to watch it.

Floyd Simpson

8/20/2004

Shirley is finally getting better. She is able to do some things for herself, but she is still not out of the woods though.

Floyd Simpson

8/19/2004

Grant Construction came and did the temporary repair on the porch floor that had sunk after mining. It is now safe to get into the house. The floor had dropped 8 inches right at the door, making it hard to get in or out. I paid for the repairs out of my pocket and will give Mr. Luke the bill when I see him next.

Floyd Simpson

8/16/2004

I took Shirley to see a doctor at the hospital, they tested her for coliform intestinal disorder and gave antibiotic treatment for same.

Floyd Simpson

8/13/2004

The lab report from QES today indicated contamination by coliform bacteria in Shirley's’ house water supply, supplied by OVCC. She has been very, very, sick for two weeks now. I am taking her to a doctor about her intestinal problems which could to be from this contamination. Both of us rely on water trucked into tanks that are piped into our houses. This is now our total water supply, for drinking, washing, etc. We are totally dependant on this water. I have not had any intestinal problems lately but do not usually drink directly from their supply, I have never trusted it. I use bottled water or I boil everything.

Floyd Simpson

8/11/2004

Mr. Jim Barnett of The Oregonian Press came out to interview me and some of the coal mine people, both union and non-union. We had a good field trip through the James Kinney old growth forest and he observed a subsidence crack in the road that was near the woods. He was impressed at how the ground moves and damage occurs due to the removal of the coal, even though it is over 500 feet below the surface. I also took him on a tour of about 70% of the Dysart Woods but he was running out of time before another interview.

Floyd Simpson

8/9/2004

Mr. Grant (Grant Construction Co.) came out himself to look at the porch floor. He said he could do it in an evening on his way back from another job, probably as early as this Thursday. I baled some nice square bales today.

Floyd Simpson

8/6/2004

I am mowing 2nd cutting hay today. I had told Mr. Luke he had taken so long to get the subsidence crack filled in the hay field that I had a new hay crop growing there now and could not let their contractor go driving a big dump truck through the standing hay crop until it was taken off. I got a call from a reporter from Washington DC who works for The Associated Press. His paper is interested in the Dysart issue and the Historic Kinney Farmstead and Homestead. I scheduled a time to talk with him next week.

Floyd Simpson

8/5/2004

Mr. Steve Avkakov and Mr. Tim Campbell (structural engineer) viewed the wood and coal house again. They were joined by Mr. Luke today also. They are preparing a step by step process to asses the damage, plan the restoration and establish a line of communication with SHPO and ODNR and OVCC to get the work done. Due to the constant movement we all agreed to delay the start of major restoration to the house and the other buildings until spring of 2005. The wood and coal house will have to be repaired as soon as possible, however. The porch floor will have temporary repairs to keep it safe to enter the house. I have approval to have a contractor do temporary work on it. That work will be done by Grant Contractors who can do the work as soon as next week.

Floyd Simpson

8/4/2004

Mr. Tom Pulay (ODNR-DMR) and Mr. Claude Luke (OVCC fieldman) came out at the same time to look at the new damages. Mr. Luke agreed to fill in the subsidence cracks and re-seed the field. Also, he was unhappy with the way his hired lawn care people had left the yard. No re-seeding or straw was put in the fill dirt they had spread. Nothing was done to fill in the smaller trenches around the side and front of the historic Kinney house, back of the summer kitchen, and around the barn. At the barn the surface was so rough that I had not been able to mow it all summer even though I use a tractor mounted finish mower in areas like that. It looks so un-commonly sad that I am ashamed of the way the coal company has left this usually well kempt homestead. I always kept it mowed and by August it would normally be standing tall with flowers and lawn well mowed and shrubs trimmed. The longwall mitigation work left it in quite a mess. Mr. Luke recognizes this as he has been coming here for a number of years and he sincerely feels badly that it was not done. He has gone through several lawn care companies this year and the fact that it has been a very wet year has slowed them down but this kind of mess should have been taken care of early in the year.

Floyd Simpson

8/2/2004

I called ODNR and OVCC. Mr. Tom Pulay of ODNR-DMR is scheduled to be out on Wednesday to see the previously describe damage. Steven of Heritage Architecture will be out on Thursday with an engineer from Pittsburgh to look at the coal house again. Today Mr. Charles Workman died. He died knowing that his widow would have to deal with the longwall mine damage to their house and property. Their farm is located at our south property line at the field where the haybine was damaged. I could actually see their house lean when I was working in the field across from their house. They lost their water and their septic system backed up into the basement. Mr.Dunfee lost one of his good springs in this area even though it was supposed to be too far away from the undermining but it was within the “angle of draw”.

Floyd Simpson

8/1/2004

While putting in hay I ran into another deep crack in the filed. There was no damage to the equipment this time but I had to watch out for it when I went through the field with the hay rake and baler.

Floyd Simpson

7/28/2004

More plaster is falling down in the hall at the stair landing. The floor of porch is worse. I am putting bricks in the hole to help fill it in so it is possible to get in my house. This is the main entrance to the house. Everyone comes through this door at the kitchen and the porch floor is falling in right at the door. The longwall is coming by on another panel just south of the buildings this week. It will soon be under widow Mayos’s house. She is confined to a wheelchair, has a nice frame house and good sturdy cement block garage. She has told me her well has never been dry, even in very dry years. I suppose that will be next on the list of damage by OVCC in this pass. The coal company has had water tanks and pumps installed at her place as well as the Joe and Paige Hart farm across the road.

Floyd Simpson

7/19/2004

Mr. Claude Luke (OVCC) failed to show up for his appointment. There was no message from him on why he did not come.

Floyd Simpson

7/16/2004

The cattle were out of water since last night. I called the coal company but got their recording. I called their plumber and got them to fix the tank overflow which had broken off, thus letting out all the water from the holding tank. The cattle were pawing at the dry creek bed trying to find water, but alas, it is dry as a bone now that the longwall has gone through. They are completely dependant on the two big tanks of water that are refilled by Deans Water Company. I called Deans and they came out from Wheeling, WV with a 1,000 gallon load and we got water going for the cattle again and Mal scheduled another trip for this PM.

4:00 PM
I checked and the new overflow had broken off. The cattle were roughing each other around trying to get a drink and broke the new plastic pipe off. I had a plastic garbage bag in the cab of the tractor and used it to plug the hole. The tank was slowly filling up as I left. I came back with a plastic pipe plug which I pounded into the hole along with the plastic bag to make a temporary plug. I called the plumber again but it was now after hours so I left a message. I have to be gone tomorrow so I could only hope my temporary repair would hold until the plumber could get back out and fix the hole with a real plug of the right size.

Floyd Simpson

7/14/2004

I discovered more cracks in the wall in the master bedroom.

Floyd Simpson

7/12/2004

While working in my office this morning a heavy cracking sound interrupted my work. I first thought something like an accident had happened out on the highway in front of the house. When I went through the hall to go outside to see what was the problem I realized that more of the upstairs hall ceiling plaster had fallen. It had hit the baseboard radiator cover on the way down. Another problem related to longwall is the caving in of the back porch floor at the main rear entrance. It is a full 3 inches lower at the new crack.

There is still no word from anyone from the coal company (OVCC) doing anything to restore the wood and coal house which is splitting and now is twisted on its foundation.

Floyd Simpson

6/24/2004

Steven Avdakov of Heritage Architecture Historic Preservation came in the morning to look at the wood and coal house. I also gave him a “walk through” of the house and Summer Kitchen. Steven is putting a top priority on getting the project going to restore this building. I am trying to get parts for the haybine that was damaged when it went into a subsidence hole. The main drive shaft ($135.00) broke in two. This damage to the haybine will really put me out of the hay business until the new part is shipped and gets installed.

Floyd Simpson

6/21/2004

Gary and Sharon Habig gave me a tour of their house that was damaged this weekend. The damage was very, very BAD. The basement wall on south side was cracked so bad that Gary said he slipped a tennis ball into the crack. It looks to me as though the house may have to be re-built or at least a lot of money will have to be spent for repairs.

Floyd Simpson

6/19/2004

I heard that OVCC is about to mine under my neighbors house, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Workman. They live on Dunfee Rd. at the end of one of my hay fields. Mr. Workman is not well, he is dyng of cancer.

Floyd Simpson

6/17/2004

Mr. Tom Pulay the ODNR DMR field representative came out to look at the subsidence in the hayfield and put flags around it. He also looked at the wood and coal house at the Kinney residence. He observed and noted the split upright timber inside the building that came from a subsidence crack. This timber supports the upper structure. Steve Adakov of Heritage Architectural Services will be out next week to look at it and hopefully will have a structural engineer from Pittsburgh with him. Mr. Pulay and I toured the virgin forest He took some digital pictures of the big 400 year old oak trees to send to the ODNR DMR chief, (Sponsler).

Floyd Simpson

6/9/2004

More cattle arrived. They found the other cows that came previously and they all came back to the new water tank to get a drink of water. All 47 head. The tank is only 60 gallon and big enough for about 6 head to drink at one time so there was a lot of shoving and pushing going on for awhile. The tank refills automatically so they do all get a drink. The original tank I had developed in this pasture held 700 gallons, is made of concrete and is big enough for a herd this size to get a drink in just a few minutes. Besides, there used to be water in the creek from the overflow from this tank and some will always go there if it was too crowded. But now there is NO water in the creek. The longwall mining has drained 10,000 gallons a day plus the seep springs contribution. It is all going down into the void left after the coal was removed, 500 feet down. We do not have a chance to recover our natural water now.

Floyd Simpson

5/29/2004

Dickenson Cattle Company brought a truckload of cow and calf pairs and we turned them into the pasture. Due to the lateness of OVCC in getting water we lost about 25 days of rent. It was good to see cattle in the fields today. I discovered a slip caused by subsidence in the field near the original cattle spring development. I need to call ODNR and OVCC to look at it but do not know that it will be a good thing for them to bring in dozers and trucks to fill it which will just tear up that much more pasture grass which the cattle need for feeding.

Floyd Simpson

5/25/2004

Mellots Plumbing came and finished the cattle water tank system. They turned on the water at the 4,000 gallon tanks and the tank filled and is ready for cattle. OES came to check the wells and springs. A limited flow was coming from the original cattle spring development but not enough to care for water needs of a herd of cattle. We just had 4 and a half inches of rain in the last week -- the flow will not be sustained at even this reduced rate they measured today. (Later note, it was dry again on Friday and not enough was collected in the tank to provide water to 5 head of cattle and 47 head of cattle are arriving.

Floyd Simpson

5/17/2004

Fitzpatric Roofing Co. came early today to examine the house roof. Troy and Lee put the ladder up to the two back chimneys to see why the new roof was leaking. Claude Luke had told me it was safe to put on the new roof and it was done after he told me that. Troy told me that the house roof had moved away from the chimneys on the SE and SW chimneys. This had happened since the new roof was put on this spring. He said it was obvious damage due to the movement of the house (April 8th) when I reported the last big movement. The roof started leaking at the first rain after that. The roofing company is sending the bill to OVCC.

Floyd Simpson

5/14/2004

I called David Bartsch, OVCC again to complain about nothing being done about the repairs which need to be done on the wood and coal house. This is something that cannot wait. The building is going to split down the middle if something is not done soon. David Bartsch said he has contacted one of the companies that did the architectural sketching and CAD/CAM work to oversee the work. Steve, the owner will personally come out and draw up plans for the restoration. First it has to be stabilized. I told David that this should not be delayed any longer as we could lose the building due to the subsidence damage. I got a letter from ODNR-DMR today with information about OVCC's expiring permit #D 360 (the permit which approved the mining under the Historic James Kinney Farmstead). A public hearing will be held on June 7th 2004 at 7:00 PM at the Belmont Technical College. I plan to have comments at this hearing.

Floyd Simpson

5/13/2004

The archaeologist hired by OVCC called to say he could not make it out here today. The water tanks are now in place, they are big gray round things that poke up from the lush green pasture field. Brown, grass-less streaks lead down hill to the tank the cattle will drink from. Concrete must be poured yet for the base and the aqua colored water trough will be set down on the base. The overflow will go underground for about 30 feet and empty on the other side of the new fence at the big walnut tree. The tanks are gray because of the insulated plastic covering and look a bit out of place across from the mid 1800's buildings and within 75 feet of the oldest standing building on the farmstead, a circa 1835 corncrib-wagon-shed. Jacks Lawn Service sent a man to mow the yard where the track hoe and skid steer equipment tore up the yard in December. He hit a number of the dirt piles and ruts left in the back yard but he did his best. I noticed that he had lost both taillights on the John Deere riding mower during this day. This job was to be done in March, but OVCC had trouble finding anyone to schedule the work. This made the job a lot harder for Jacks Lawn Service. This historic old homestead had become pretty "common" looking, all overgrown with dying shrubs and piles of dirt everywhere. At least the cables and corner posts and gutter snakes have been removed but even my summer kitchen and back porch gutters are still lying in the front yard. They really look out of place and are killing the grass where they lie.

Floyd Simpson

5/11/2004

Channel 9 TV ran a story today about OVCC polluting Capteen Creek. A man was interviewed who said he got his drinking water from a well near the creek and he had sores all over his body from bathing in the water. He was not drinking this water but he had been buying bottled water. The TV camera showed the creek running black with coal refuse that had overrun one of the slurry ponds upstream. This is a product of cleaning coal prior to sending it to a power plant in Cleveland. The washing of the coal takes out dirt, bits of coal, minerals, etc and is stored in large ponds which are created by damming up a valley.

Floyd Simpson

5/7/2004

David Soldo, American Archaeological Services came - he did not know that the water tank area across the road was his concern. He called Mr. Bartsch and then he went over to observe the work already done, however a truck load of topsoil had already been trucked off site. The plumbers needed to level the area and place sand on the ground as a foundation for the water tanks. This keeps any stones or pebbles,etc. from puncturing the plastic tanks. With 2,000 gallons of water the weight would push the plastic down so hard that anything rough under it would cause a puncture. David Soldo brought two of his workers along and they dug square holes in a line where the trenching will go to put in the water line to the livestock tank. They dug these about 20 inches square and down into the B horizon of soil and pushed every thing through a sieve. Nothing was found of interest but at the house David and Dr. Reichwein noted a glass bottle cap and a section of soup bone my dog probably buried. The trenching continued when the archaeological examination was completed. Some very fine pottery clay was found in one area and I saved a little of it to give to a neighbor who has a new kiln. Jacks Lawn Service came and conferred with Dr. Jeff about filling in the trenches next to the house once they are examined completely. They cut the half dead shrubs down and hauled them off. Mr. Soldo told me that the "hammerstone" I had given him that came from the top of one of the dirt piles was not really an artifact. It was all native sandstone (unusual for this area). He thought it was geologically caused by concretions on each side that caused the depressions. He said he looked at it with a magnifying glass to see if patterns of marks in the depressions were likely done by Native Americans. I asked him if there was evidence of mineral in the depressions that would indicate concretions had been there. He did not indicate that it was but, again, this might be something he will examine more closely at a later date. I would doubt that it was used by humans due to the fact it was a soft sandstone but it certainly was unusual and Mr. Soldo, Dr. Reichwein, and I were interested in it for whatever it is. It will be returned when the other findings are. Dr. Reichwein examined the wood and coal house and declared the damage to be "mine related" and needed to be repaired by historic standards according to the permit application. He said I should contact David Bartsch of OVCC and ask for restoration that is acceptable to the standards set forth and the coal company will have to pay for all this work.

Floyd Simpson

5/6/2004

A local contractor gave me information on how he would restore the wood and coal shed to historic standards, it sounds as though this should work but I am sure that the proposed procedure will have to be run by an approval committee of some sort. The two, 2,000 gallon plastic water tanks for livestock arrived and men started working on them across the road from the house. Unfortunately this involved digging into the ground in order to level the tanks. A message came in from Dr. Jeffrey Reichwein, ODNR archaeologist. He said the plumbers needed an archaeologist present to observe the "altering of any surface due to any mining activity". I went over and told the guys who were starting to dig and then I called David Bartsch of OVCC. He said that he did not know anything about any digging needed and said that Claude Luke had given the orders for the installation. The digging stopped and the men went home.

Floyd Simpson

4/16/2004

Mr. Claude Luke of OVCC came to see what he could do about some of the issues at the historic properties. He looked at the wood and coal house which is circa 1863. It is a wood structure with wooden pegs holding the foundation timbers together. The subsidence has caused an upright to split away. He said he would cover the cost of repairs. Said I should get a contractor to look at it and give an estimate. This would involve removing the 15 inch wide poplar siding at the middle to expose the upright timber and then cable the building back together so it could be secured somehow at the split. I'll check to see who can do this but it has to be done according to "historic standards set forth by the Department of the Interior". Concerning the yard that was torn up in December by the mitigation crew he is having Teter, Inc. come out to level out the ruts and remove the piles of dirt. The dirt is still piled up about 4 feet above grade at the west side of the house where the 14 foot trench had been dug. All the fill dirt did not settle into the void. It is very rocky. This pretty much ruins the looks of the west side of the house and yard. I have taken some pictures to post later. The shrubs were ruined by the track hoe and are half dead. They will be removed and replaced, he said. I told him about the roof problem (the new roof leaked after the last big "thump" of subsidence). This is a brand new roof! My roofer has called me to say he will come out to look at it. I got a registered letter today from David Bartsch, OVCC engineer, saying that the artifacts removed from the property are still in possession of their hired archaeologist in Youngstown, OH.

Floyd Simpson

4/8/2004

After a long time with no unusual cracking or moaning sounds and with the pendulums at a standstill it was a jolt to hear a loud noise in the basement part of the house and then find that the pendulums had all 4 moved and a new crack had appeared in the basement floor. The downstairs bathroom door has come alive with its own idea of drifting back to half open when it has been quite comfortable when closed. This shows that the house has a bit of a tilt again. Also the wood and coal house has developed a bulge in the middle. A main cross stringer has broken away from the upright and it is letting the building spread apart. If not fixed soon this building could just fall down. It has an original slate roof (heavy) on it so there is a weight concern. Also, the construction is such that there are no cross trusses inside. It is made to just fit neatly together and by the weight of the roof the top of the rafters fit neatly together by a common pressure. That is until now. The longwall has caused it to spread out and it will not be able to support itself. It has been there 140 years in perfect harmony with the engineering plan devised all those years ago. I also noticed that the step stone into the building is now cracked in two. But to look on the plus side....I am feeling much better now that the Carbon Monoxide is out of my house!

I took the digital camera up on the hill west of the house and took pictures of the hole and crack left in the hay field. This hole is big enough to drop a tractor or implement wheel in and break an axle. Will have to get OVCC to get it filled before we get much more growth of the hay crop. News on the internet from Pennsylvania is that some mining operations are being closed due to the mine not notifying residents 6 months before mining. OVCC did not notify OVAS, INC. that it would mine under its office at all. In Ohio a corporation is considered a legal resident and is a tax paying entity. The mining operation at the end of the year really put a crunch on OVAS, INC. in getting out a year end order to NASCO for an international shipment. The doors to the office would not open and the floor cracked under the desk when the longwall went under. This has been mentioned and placed in the minutes of the corporate record.

Floyd Simpson

4/5/2004

I received a check today, from Ohio Valley Coal Company, for expenses I will incur in an attempt to seal up the house and have it exterminated for rodents. This has become a serious problem again for the past 6 weeks. Hopefully we will be able to determine where openings are, due to subsidence, so that we can put an end to this problem.

Shirley Simpson

3/31/2004

For over a month I have been experiencing rodent problems in my home again, due to the damage done by longwall mining subsidence from June 2003 and continuing. I informed Claude Luke of the problems on March 8, 2004, at our meeting concerning resolution of all damages as a result of Ohio Valley Coal Company's mining activities. Subsequently I called and left a message for Claude Luke, Friday March 19, 2004, asking that he respond immediately in an effort to get the serious rodent problem resolved. He did not return my call, therefore I left a message for John Forrelli, President OVCC, on March 22, 2004. Following that message Claude Luke finally did call me, at which time I asked him for the money needed to hire help in finding the openings in the house, sealing them against further invasion, and subsequently having it exterminated. I was asked to fax the required info to him, which I did that same day. It was my understanding that they would provide the finances to take care of the problem, however as of this date they have not done so. Evidence shows that rodents have been upstairs as well as downstairs. The basement is filthy with rodent droppings. I have trapped some and poisoned some, which I have not found, causing a strong odor, and there are still live ones to deal with. When I had this house built it was with the intent of having a safe, secure, clean, rodent free, easy to care for home in our declining years. I certainly did not expect to have to deal with the stress of watching my house be trashed, see water leaking through the cracks in basement walls during rains, have cold air entering subsidence cracks, experiencing more bugs entering the house than ever before, and having to deal with a rodent invasion. At age 68 it is not my idea of peaceful enjoyment of one's property. The longer these things go on the more stress and inconveniences we have to endure. We, as landowners, would certainly appreciate being treated with respect by the company causing all the negative effects to our lives. As for any attempts to come to a settlement, nothing has been forthcoming by OVCC thus far. Building prices continue to escalate and construction season is here. As time passes, and the condition of the house continues to worsen, much more work will have to be done to the house so that I can continue to exist under these difficult conditions.

Shirley Simpson

3/29/2004

The roofers got all of the roof on and even replaced the black corrugated downspout that the mitigation crew put on in December. That makes the house look a lot better. Those thick, black pipes were always blowing in the wind and looked like big black snakes slithering down the front of the grand old house. Made it look very out of place. Mellots hired a "man lift" to come in so they could hoist the 45 foot of stainless steel corrugated pipe up in the air and then down through the chimney. I helped somewhat in getting it threaded through the elbow into the furnace as their two guys just ran into a tough situation without enough hand power to pull it through and get it snaked down from 40 foot up in the air to the furnace in the basement. Once it came through the elbow they were able to secure it to the furnace vent pipe. They got the whole thing done today and checked for leaks of CO at the junction at the furnace. There were none.

Floyd Simpson

3/26/2004

We went to Reynoldsburg and back. Fitzpatrick Roof Company got a lot done today while we were gone. They have now started replacing the roof on the north side of the house.

Floyd Simpson

3/25/2004

Mr. Mellott phoned me to see if they could put the liner in the chimney tomorrow. We had planned on going to Reynoldsburg to be with our son Randy and his family. They will have to do the work on Monday.

Floyd Simpson

3/23/2004

A nice day for a change, the weather warmed up and is sunny. My roofers came back and got a lot done on the south side of the house roof. They said that due to the longwall subsidence the chimney on the west end has moved since they measured it last fall. It will take more flashing material to make it right, Actually, the difference can be seen from the ground. I am unhappy that the flashing is not able to cover the base of the chimney on a level. But, due to the movement they had to place it there so the roof will not leak. My calculations show a 4 inch difference, that is just too much to cover with out showing that it is out of level now. My crew are very professional and do historic preservation contracts all the time. They did the best they could with the situation.

Floyd Simpson

3/22/2004

No one showed up last week to put in the new flu pipe for the furnace. The weather is cold and the furnace is running a lot. I try to stay out of the living room and keep doors open to the hall. My feeling is that with all the ceiling plaster which has fallen off upstairs the gas will just go out with the heated air. I can hardly keep the house warm with this big heat loss. I wear a coat in the house all the time and have a good electric blanket for my bed so at least I can sleep warm. My CO monitor continues to go off and the light lights up. The two that were left my Mellott Plumbing have gone back to zero and stayed there. I must have canceled out the memory or something as they both are dead as a door nail. They seemed to work at first and now are not operating. I do not understand how to use their monitors as no directions came with them.

Floyd Simpson

3/21/2004

Since our March 8th meeting with Claude Luke from Ohio Valley Coal Company, no attempt to make a settlement has been forth coming from them, as there has been no contact whatsoever. The rodent problem still exists and needs to be remedied immediately. Two calls to Mr. Luke relating to the necessity of addressing the situation have been ignored. The continuing stress of living with the many problems caused by longwall mining subsidence seems to be of no interest to OVCC. It is important to resolve everything, in order to attempt to return our lives to a more peaceful, far less stress-filled retirement life, and, hopefully, get back to a more normal existence.

Shirley Simpson

3/16/2004

Ohio Valley Coal Company has sent Mellott Heating and Plumbing Co. out to check the furnace and chimney. They checked the fuel ratio on the furnace (new in November 2003) and by changing it they got the Carbon Monoxide level down at the flu pipe to about half the previous level. That was a good thing to do of course but the exhaust gas still comes out in the house due to the subsidence cracks in the chimney. It is just less CO than before. They left two monitors for CO gas here for me to check the level. I have also left my battery powered device up near the crack in the chimney. One of theirs is at knee level at the hall stairs and the other is on the mantel. On the 16th the hall monitor showed a level of 24 and the one on the mantel showed 168. My monitor continues to go off when the furnace runs.

Floyd Simpson

3/15/2004

The Top Hat stove people came out today (The Endsley who was here is related to Rod Endsley who used to be with Anchor.) They came to measure the top of the chimney and the size of tail pipe from the furnace. The roofers were up on the roof and they helped Endsley measure as they already had the ladders and roof ladders up on the roof. It seems that a 9 inch flexible stainless steel pipe can be run down through the chimney and onto the tail pipe of the furnace. Mr. Endsley was concerned about me staying in the house with the CO monitor going off all the time and I have not been feeling well. Have headaches and feel lethargic, etc. I got a phone call from OVCC's Claude Luke in the afternoon and he was sincerely concerned as Mr. Endsley had talked with him about my symptoms. Claude told me to shut down the furnace and heat with electric heaters and he was sending someone over first thing tomorrow to set up more heaters and make sure my electrical system could handle the load and he is paying my electric bill. He was really concerned about my health and I appreciate that. Shirley wanted me to call my doctor - probably a good idea but I am working on my income tax and didn't want to break away. On another note: The roofers got all the metal on the south side of the house except for some of the flashing around the chimneys which are sealed already. The flashing is a permanent metal covering that fastens to the brick and sheds any rain away from the brick and onto the roofing. We are going to get snow tonight and rain mixed later so it is great to have the peace of mind that the roof will not leak on the south side anymore. The north side has not been much of a problem but it will be replaced also when the guys can get the weather to do it.

Floyd Simpson

3/12/2004

I was out of the house all morning, felt better. I came back inside for two hours and the headache started again. Mr. Jerry Endsley of Top Hats Stove and Pools called to set up a time on Monday to measure the chimney to see how much flexible liner will be needed for the chimney -- he said they have to get the bid in to the coal company for it first. I told him I would expect him on Monday but I have flu like symptoms. It was only 25 degrees all day, snow flurries. My roofers did not work today.

Floyd Simpson

3/11/2004

Not feeling well, headache and just can't seem to get enough sleep or rest. I think I called Mr. Clark again but am hazy about the activities of the day.

Floyd Simpson

3/10/2004

Today is a beautiful day for a change. My roofers came to continue replacing the original 140 year old slate roof with a slate colored, high quality heavy standing seam metal roof. This was an approved replacement by Mr. Steve Gordon of the Ohio Historical Preservation Office as standing seam was also used in 1863 as well as slate. Fitzpatrick roofers said they could see damage to the roof due to longwall subsidence since they last looked at it in November. (Mining occurred Christmas weekend in December.) They said it was, and I quote, "a fair amount of damage". Dr. Reichwein came out to see the artifacts and to see the damage to the house since he had been here last. One of the artifacts seems to be a nutting stone but it is rather unusual in that it is made of a square sandstone. It has dents on opposing sides and a small dent on one edge with some evidence of a man made groove along one of the larger dents. He thought it was made by humans. Another item was the ceramic piece found at the barn and left by American Archaeologist Services. He made notes of the items and left them here with my notes in the plastic bags. He thought the ceramic piece was early 19th century. Dr. Reichwwin was concerned with me staying in the house with the CO detector going off all the time. He asked me to call the ODNR regional office and talk with Dave Clark. I tried to reach him but Mr. Clark was out of the office. I left a message of basically what was going on.

Floyd Simpson

3/9/2004

Dr. Jeff Reichwein the ODNR archaeologist called to set up an appointment to see the artifacts found in the trench dug around the barn that was left here by coal company hired archaeologist when the trench was filled. There was a "legal notice" in our local paper that OVCC wants an extension of their 5 year permit. A number of local people are requesting a public hearing.

Floyd Simpson

3/8/2004

Diary-the lasting effects of longwall mining...

At 9:30 A.M. Monday March 8, 2004, serious negotiations commenced, concerning resolution of the many problems resulting from longwall mining under the new house. With Claude Luke, property manager for Ohio Valley Coal Company. Issues such as temporary housing and storing of all property while re-building is done, plumbing, landscaping, and water replacement were discussed. Most importantly, the need for quality construction, necessary to return the house and attached garage to pre-mining condition, using the guidelines provided by the structural engineer, is an integral part of this process.

In another matter, over the past week and a half, this house has again been invaded by rodents. Since we took considerable measures last fall to seal up, by mortaring, caulking, and foaming openings, when a similar problem occurred, we had not experienced another invasion until recently. Apparently, due to additional movement by the house, due to subsidence, it is likely that other openings have again allowed for entry by pests. This problem must be addressed now, as we continue to inhabit the house until such time as an agreement can be reached with OVCC. An investigation will be needed to assess the situation, and more sealing procedures will need to be done to keep these and other dirty pests from coming into the dwelling. An exterminator will also be necessary to resolve this problem, which has occurred just since longwall mining was done under the property.

Shirley Simpson

3/8/2004

We had a meeting with coal company land manager, Mr. Luke. Discussions concerned how OVCC will take care of the damages to the new house and replace water. Mr. Luke said he had Top Hats report on damage to my chimneys. He agreed to have them install an air tight, flexible stainless steel liner into the chimney and to vent my furnace flue gas that has been letting CO gas into my house. It is hard to not breath this gas as this is winter time and the doors are closed to conserve heat and of course this is when the furnace runs. I cannot escape it. I often have headaches and really do not feel up to par. Probably the only thing that is saving me is that the longwall mine damage caused the ceilings to cave in and I lose heat and gases from the furnace going up into the un-insulated attic.

Floyd Simpson

3/5/2004

Allegheny Restoration's Tom Anderson and Jon Smith came to look over the damaged James Kinney house and summer kitchen. Their company has done major restoration work for some time and has experience in restoration of historic homes damaged by longwall mining like the historic Thomas Kent house near Waynesburg, PA. I liked what they had to say about "preserving" not just restoration as in preserving what "horsehair" plaster is left can be done. I learned a lot from these gentlemen about the house's internal structure that I had not known in my 47 years of living here. The inside walls are not "tied" to the outside walls, for instance. Also, learned more about "horsehair" plaster. It is not really horse hair but it is called that. It is probably made with cattle hair, though. This is a little like the term "Mink oil" used to condition leather. No mink were sacrificed to make mink oil. The cracks in the hall walls caused by longwall mining actually relieved the strain of twisting of the house as the walls did not separate from the outside wall. This is now the expansion joint for the differential of outside temperature vs inside. All rooms in the house were shown to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Smith and they described what would need to be done to bring the buildings up to the Secretary of the Interior's standards. They said it would be best to wait for a year before starting as the house is still moving and will probably still move some even after a year - but that was the earliest they would want to start. They looked at the window lintel and the big hand carved foundation stone that broke recently. There is no way to replace the big stone to original unbroken condition. They can repair but not restore it to original condition. The carver has gone to his final reward at least 100 years ago. We cannot bring him back to redo another stone like this, especially since the quarry closed at the turn of the century too. This is irreparable damage done by mining and will "be a part of the history of the house now "the longwall damage part of its history" they said.

Floyd Simpson

3/4/2004

Top Hat Stoves and Pools representatives Jerry Endsley and Brian Flanagan came out at the request of Mr. Luke to see the chimneys. They examined three of the four (one is blocked off and never used). All three showed damage. The one used to vent the furnace had the most damage with wide cracks and fire bricks dropped down two inches in the back. The CO detector went off while they were here. They will give the report to Mr. Luke. of OVCC.

Floyd Simpson

3/2/2004

Mr. Thomas Pulay of ODNR-DMR met with Shirley to discuss plans to repair her house. A meeting is planned for the coal company to also meet with us. Mr. Pulay was given information about the company that is located at the old farmhouse that was not given notice of pending mining and disruption of business. OVAS, Inc. is an Ohio corporation and should have been notified 6 months in advance of mining.

Floyd Simpson

3/1/2004

The cracks are getting larger in front of house on State Highway 147. These cracks are several inches wide and are allowing potholes to develop along the curb side at the mailbox. East bound traffic coming up the hill has to run into these potholes or go across the centerline at the top of the hill to miss them. Not a good place to be across the centerline! New cracks now go across the highway at the end of Township Road 288 (Dunfee Road) It will be hard for the state road crew to fix this as we are still in the midst of winter.

Floyd Simpson

2/29/2004

I heard a loud "crack" at 4:45 AM and again a double "thump..thump" at 6:24 AM and the house shuddered as though the ground was settling under the house. More hairline cracks on the chimney that is in use for the furnace. The Carbon Monoxide detector goes off every hour. Usually during the time the furnace is running.

Floyd Simpson

2/25/2004

David Rucker of QES came to check the water resources for the farmstead. No change. The historic dug wells are empty of any water. Two livestock springs in the virgin forest area and pasture next to it and the barn livestock spring are at zero flow. He checked the livestock spring and collection tanks above the wetland last week and reported that it is still at zero flow. This can be seen today from the highway and it is still dry. (10,000 gallons a day should be going into the wetland to keep it hydrated. One can walk across the wetland without getting shoes wet now.)

Floyd Simpson

2/24/2004

I Suspected a problem with the dropped ceiling in the Northwest living room so I popped the ceiling panel up and was shocked to see massive loss the classic 1863 "horse hair" plaster that has fallen down from the ceiling and the wall above the front window. It has landed on the top side of the suspended ceiling tile. The other front window was not as bad but it is severely cracked across the wall and ceiling and will be the next big problem. The ceiling panel is bowed down and will have to be removed before it comes crashing down on my files and office use space. (I had moved items around to this room as I had damage above these files in another room used as my farm office but now I have no place to go).

Floyd Simpson

2/19/2004

Beautiful day here is southeastern Ohio. We took time away from the farm to be with Randy's family in Columbus, OH. We drove back through the western end of the Drovers Trail Scenic Byway and looked at the new Ohio Byway signs.

Floyd Simpson

2/18/2004

Mr. Tom Pulay, ODNR-DMR came to look at the damage done by subsidence. He had not been here since the mining took place. He took quite a few pictures of the damage. We looked at the newest damage to the lintel and the master cut stone, summer kitchen, barn and milk house and wells. We noticed that damage is occurring down under the master cut stone onto the cut stone under it. There must be a lot of strain on this corner of the house. I had also called Claude Luke (OVCC) and he said he would come look at it too as he was working in this area this week. He also updated me on the chimney exam. The man from Top Hats has another day job and has not got back to him on a time he can be here. I told Mr. Luke about the CO-2 monitor I have on the mantel and that it is going off every once in a while to indicate that there is a CO-2 problem. There are cracks in the inside chimney that are visible. I have a fuel oil furnace and it may not be as dangerous as natural gas but I am concerned about what other damage might be in the flue that would let hot gas or a spark into the house somewhere. That has the potential of setting my house on fire. The NorthEast living room has plaster coming down on the furniture and carpet. I had to put more plastic drop cloths down and clean up more mess.

Floyd Simpson

2/16/2004

Just discovered this new damage this afternoon to the James Kinney Farmstead main house. There is a break across a 9 foot long master cut foundation stone. This has occurred in the last 24 hours. These huge hand carved stones were made at St. Joe, a small community between Warnock and the Ohio River. They went out of the stone quarry business at least 100 years ago so it will be difficult to get an exact replacement. Probably the master stone cutter has gone to his final reward a hundred years ago too. I am very depressed over this finding. This breakage is directly under the window that has the broken lintel (i.e. NorthEast corner).
Deans Water brought 500 gallons for my tank. There is no indicator is on the tank so I never know how much water is in it but they keep it mostly filled up so it has never run out - yet, although Shirleys' water supply has.

Floyd Simpson

2/14/2004 (pictures)

I am over the flu enough to take pictures of the lintel breakage and the inside damage. Ohio Valley Coal Company has sent me a check for a tank of fuel oil to heat the house in January since much of the heat is going up through the attic now that the plaster has come off. This check is much appreciated. Mr. Claude Luke of OVCC has been thoughtful and helpful in this regard.

Floyd Simpson

2/11/2004

While showing the house to one of my hay customers, we discovered the un-explained sound of yesterday. A lintel (that is the heavy stone above a window) was broken in two. This was on the front of the house at the first floor window of the NorthEast living room. We went inside and took out the panels of the suspended ceiling and found extensive damage to the interior at the same location as the lintel. I hate to think that the other one will break too but that is a possibility. Damage also appears above the window that faces the barn but no damage is seen on the outside of the house. It seems that this corner of the house is being wrenched around. The damage inside has been initiated at the corner but has radiated cracks across the ceiling and around the top of the room. A week ago only a little damage was seen in this area.
A letter to the editor of the Washington Observer Reporter newspaper gave testimony to our case through Mrs. Williams of the historic Kent farmstead. Her house is similar and she was undermined two years ago. Her letter indicated that subsidence damage was still a continuing problem with her house.

Floyd Simpson

2/10/2004

The Ohio Department of Transportation has put up Drovers Trail Scenic Byway signs today according to an email received from Columbus. Have not seen them yet as I am not out much due to the flu. The floor in the kitchen went back to where it was before mining, but it left tile cracked at doorway. The house is still making strange sounds.

Floyd Simpson

2/9/2004

I noticed new cracks in the hall ceiling. Heard something like timbers cracking under the stair case landing. It is a built in cantilevered structure and something gave way inside the structure itself. That area is where the plaster cracked this time. Mr. and Mrs. Hart were undermined. Their son Joe said there was damage.

Floyd Simpson

2/6/2004

Deans Water came out and put in 1,000 gallons of water into the temporary water supply tank in the front yard.

Floyd Simpson

2/5/2004

Concerning them letting me run out of water this week: There were no issues with bad road conditions over the several days that they could have brought water before I ran out. I did leave a message for Claude Luke and one for ODNR telling them about the situation. I was given no reason by anyone as to why they didn't deliver earlier.

Shirley Simpson

Got a copy of the front page of one of the Pennsylvania papers sent to me by a lady who runs an advertising firm in that area. Her house was badly damaged by Consol some years ago. Due to the flu I had to cancel out on several meetings.

Floyd Simpson

2/4/2004

Ice still very thick everyplace. I had to call Deans Water service also. They are supposed to be keeping up with their 6 day schedule but have not. I do not have a way to determine how much water is in the tank as there is no indicator installed. The flu bug has me down, or is it from sweeping up the dust and pieces of ceiling plaster that is bothering my lungs?

Floyd Simpson

2/3/2004

Dean's water let me run out of water again this morning. I called and they said the driver was not in yet but they wrote it down. So I called Claude Luke at OVCC and left him a message informing him that they had let me run out of water again too. I had previously requested that they deliver water to me every six days since the low water monitor light is staying on all the time now and I never know how much water I have left at any given time. I think the last time the driver was here was a week ago today.

Shirley Simpson

Shirley reported that Deans Water Supply has let her run out of water. She is not a happy camper!

Floyd Simpson

2/2/2004

Pendulum upstairs has moved slightly to the northeast overnight. Same movement for the northwest living room. Dave Rucker came to check the wells and springs, no change, all dry except for the drilled wells.

Floyd Simpson

2/1/2004 (pictures)

I have had no peace of mind since longwall undermining caused the devastating diminution of my original water supply, a drilled water well. As drilled it had a 2.25 gal./minute recovery rate. Following the effects of subsidence, on July 24, 2003 Quality Environmental Services drew the well down and measured the recovery rate at .1 gal/minute, indicating that the well is no longer a viable water supply. The temporary water supply, which was forced on me, over my serious objections, by Ohio Valley Coal Company, consists of a 1700 gal. tank buried in the ground and plumbed into the house. Being underground and because that system was to be sealed by caulking, I believed that the potential existed for serious problems. At that time I offered to settle the water issue with OVCC. I requested that they hook this house up to the Belmont County water line, which runs along the state highway across from the house. OVCC refused to do that, insisting that the buried tank was what they were using and I had no choice in the matter. Was this an economy decision for the coal company? Each load of 1000 gals. of delivered water costs up to $140. Belmont County water costs about $12 for the first 3000 gallons, with the next 7000 gallons at a rate of approximately $3.75/1000gals. In addition I was assured that the underground tank system would provide me with whole house safe drinking water, chlorine free, with the installation of a charcoal filter. Water tests were taken indicating that the water was safe and chlorine free following installation. However, as time passed, and experiencing substantial rains, the water supply in the house was cloudy. The inline filter was changed a number of times but the water was never perfectly clear. I requested on no less than 11 occasions that it be re-tested for safe quality. On July 23, following a heavy rain, the water, coming from my kitchen tap, was very dirty in appearance. I called the plumbing contractor who passed that information on to OVCC. On July 24 they finally ordered another quality test and it proved to be contaminated with E. coli and coliform bacteria. Obviously surface water was entering the system, and no doubt had been for some time, as per the observed cloudiness of the water. QES purged the system with chlorine, flushed and refilled the tank on July 26, 2003. An ultra-violet light was then included in the system and the top was dug out in an attempt to re-seal the riser. Since that time the water coming in from the tank has tested positive for coliform bacteria on two occasions, but the water circulating through the house, past the UV light, has tested safe. For a time there were problems with the UV light monitor indicating that it might not be working properly. Since water tests are done occasionally, and the results not reported until the next day, if the UV light were to malfunction we could still be subjected to contaminated water. In addition, I have run out of water three times, and that could happen again. On a number of occasions I have had to call twice to get a delivery. During dangerous road conditions, the water delivery service does not travel, which is perfectly understandable. Finally, the stress of worrying about the availability of water, or lack thereof, and the possibility of unsafe water, only adds to the ever-present stress of dealing with the serious damage to one's home. The rebuilding of this house will be a major project. The disruption and inconvenience of being uprooted, moving everything out, with storage in a temperature and moisture controlled facility, easily accessible, during the process of rebuilding, is a necessity. When the rebuilding occurs, dated pictures will be taken and will appear on the www.countrymilefarm.com website for the public to view.
Note: The new above-ground temporary water tank installations were intended to eliminate any issues with E. coli and coliform bacteria caused by the underground tank installations. However, this has not proven to be the case. On 1/7/2004 the new above ground tank at the James Kinney Farmstead main house was also found to be contaminated with coliform bacteria.

Shirley Simpson

1/30/2004

Due to the bad weather the PBS television crew did not make it. It is delayed to another time. There is ice everywhere and I took a nasty fall today. Just got bruised up a bit. The mine is now under the Hart Barn. I went past there today and saw large cracks opening up the township road. One place is so wide that it looks as though it would have the road fall off into the valley if it was not for a large oak tree next to it. Cracks are up to the barn along the road. The coal company does not have water available for his cattle yet. Had been too cold to get the cement trucks out and pour the foundation for the tank. All of a sudden a lot of plaster let loose in the SE bedroom, the hall and SW bedrooms. It seems that the house is on a twist yet and this just keeps happening. There was a loud noise last night that sounded like breaking bricks or foundation. It is too cold to go out for an inspection and I am still pretty sore from the fall to take more chances on the ice which is 2 inches thick in places.

Floyd Simpson

1/29/2004

This was Belmont County membership kick-off day. We had 32 members even though the weather was cold and snowy. Many of the members were talking with me about the damage to the historic structures and other issues of mining in the area.

Floyd Simpson

1/28/2004

The issue of damage to the historic James Kinney Farmstead has attracted attention in Columbus. Farm Bureau Federation is interested in this issue due to their commitment to farmers property rights. Meeting was well attended even though the weather was snowy and cold. OVCC is about to mine under the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hart as the mining panel advances eastward from our homestead. I heard a loud snapping sound at the barn foundation today but could not see what caused it. It was loud enough to have been a major timber breaking. It must be under the barn as I looked it all over upstairs.

Floyd Simpson

1/27/2004

Mr. Claude Luke (OVCC) came by to see if I needed anything. I explained about the house being hard to heat due to the fallen plaster and he offered to help with the heating bills this winter. I gave him a copy of the last bill which he said he would pay. I showed him some of the newest plaster loss and the wall in the office that is cracked badly now. I also showed him the chimney that is used by the furnace which has developed serious cracks and is bowed slightly into the room. He promised to have TOP HATS Chimney sweeps come out next week and examine it to make sure it is safe to continue to use.

Floyd Simpson

1/26/2004

Mr. Kurt Stubbs came by and gave me a copy of the scheduled program of cables that were on the three buildings. He did a great job of detailing each day of service, how much tightening was needed, temperature, and all the information and how it related to the program designed in the mitigation plan. He was still monitoring the wells and springs but said they were still dry.

Floyd Simpson

1/25/2004

Very cold and snow/rain mix by evening. Did not get out to look at the outside bricks that were broken as I had planned. With this cold weather the house is hard to heat due to the high hall ceiling with the plaster off and the heat is going right up through to the un-insulated attic.

Floyd Simpson

1/24/2004

Quiet week so far as far as plaster falling. Getting calls from people who have seen the newspaper articles. The Dysart Woods issue is still making news. Ohio University has signed off on their appeal to prevent mining under it. Dysarts' old growth forest is only a little ways from our farm. I can look at the top of the "Red Trail" from my kitchen window.

Floyd Simpson

1/22/2004

The dug well at the barn is now DRY as a bone. This well may have been the first water supply for the pioneer, John Franz who had the first house just a few feet away. Possibly dug in 1795. The dug well at the house was dug in and was up and servicing the Kinney family by July 1863. Yesterday it was declared DRY. I had the contractor check the cistern yesterday too as it had been 8 feet down to water this past Monday. It too was DRY! The drilled well was still holding water but it has never been used except when Kinneys had a hand pump in it back in the 50's. On Dec. 22nd I filed a complaint with the chief that the dug wells and cistern were on the National Register of Historic Places and I considered them just as important to the James Kinney building complex as any other feature. I complained that they had been ignored in the mitigation plan that the ODNR chief had already approved. At this time I have not heard back from him or from Dave Clark (ODNR).

Floyd Simpson

1/21/2004

Dave Rucker of QES said not only the Franz well is dry but the dug well at the main Kinney house and even the cistern are dry. These features are also listed on the National Register as they are man made and of quite some antiquity and of necessity for the early residents of the James Kinney Farmstead. This is a very heavy blow to the integrity of the homestead. There are two drilled and metal cased wells and levels of them are falling too he said. He also reported that the spring in the pasture lot below the barn is now dry. This was the back-up water supply for cattle at the barn.

Floyd Simpson

1/20/2004

I have been working in the basement spraying foam in a lot of the cracks hoping that will keep out some of the cold air. While I have been working down there I have seen some new cracks in the basement floor that I hadn't seen before but at least some of them probably have been there for a while. Also I noticed that the baseboard in the kitchen area down there is no longer tight down on the concrete floor. There is a gap about 1/2 inch between the bottom of the baseboard and the floor. I just hadn't looked for that before and there are some new cracks in that floor also that may be just starting. Also I can see where some water has run in under a tv table that is down there since I moved it today. This house is such a mess I don't like to work down there but am trying to get some things gathered up and moved around from time to time.

Shirley Simpson

1/20/2004

Was away from the house some today to get groceries and send mail. I called Belmont Tech. College to talk with Mr. Dave Mertz, director. I asked him for names of some contractors that do quality restoration as I had been referred to him by Mr. Steve Gordon of the SHPO office. He gave me one name -- out of Pittsburgh that he was familiar with. He said he had been seeing the TV and newspaper reports about the historic buildings being undermined. He said he did not understand why the coal company did not go around. Mr. Stubbs reported that our main well is now DRY!! This is a terrible blow, it has only been dry temporarily on a few occasions since I have been here (1957) and it has supplied water for a 32 cow herd plus their calves, water for cleaning the milk processing equipment and our household. Recovery rate has always been excellent with it. This well has the farm history wrapped around itself. It was the original well for John Franz, the first white pioneer who settled here about 1795, before land deeds were given and he did get one when it was available but had to default on it's payment. The reason this farm and homestead is at this location is because of that one great resource - water, pure and plentiful and worth digging into hard stone down 33 feet. Dug by men who had only pick and shovel and a bucket with a rope and a strong boy that pulled the rocks and dirt to the surface. Mr. Franz and his family built a log house within 20 feet of this fine well. And yes, it was listed on the site map of the National Register of Historic Places.

Floyd Simpson

1/19/2004

More neighbors coming by to offer their services and to see the broken house. OVCC's public relations man, Steve Cohen, gave a statement to a Pennsylvania newspaper that the cracks were already there, opened up when the longwall went under, then closed up. May I note that this person has never been in my house! Also, OVCC pictures (and mine) taken before mining do not show this to be the case. This seems to be a primitive attempt by OVCC to deny damages that they legally have to pay for. I am still hearing loud noises inside the brick walls. I wonder if this from bricks inside the plastered walls finally giving way due to the twist the house is on. Another TV station just called to set up an appointment. The ceiling above the fireplace in the NE living room is cracking and bulging. The cracks extend now up above the dropped ceiling and with the panel removed it shows a serious separation up to the 2nd floor. This is the chimney that is used by the heating plant. Are the bricks also broken inside the plaster clear to the fire wall inside the chimney? Will fumes come out through this into my living room? I took the big tractor with the cab down to the cattle spring development and found that it is still completely dry, this is the one that feeds the wetland at the 200 foot mound. The wetland is still dry, can walk right across it now with no boots. I drove down to the 2nd pasture to the east and looked for water in the creek as it was dried up below the wetland also for 150 meters. There was water coming into the creek but it was past the pasture fence. this means that no water, even in the creek available for cattle in these two pastures. This area I looked at is all part of the 57 acres of the "James Kinney Farmstead" as it involves the intrinsic values of the farm as Kinney farmed it 150 and more years ago, i.e. crop, pasture, water supply, mound, and virgin forest. Part of this was undermined in June 2003 without filing papers with ODNR DMR concerning Process 106. The mound should have been investigated and documentation of the spring and wetland would have been needed. The Kinney trash dump was in this area and would be considered an "artifact field" by any competent archaeologist.

Floyd Simpson

1/18/2004

Barn bowing went back!!! Something structurally has been happening. Ceiling above my office on the first floor of the house is shedding! Also some plaster came through the panels of the false ceiling in the NW living room and came in on the piano. SW bedroom is now worse with new cracks opening up in the wall and extending up to and across the ceiling.

Floyd Simpson

1/17/2004

Barn is still bowed outward but have not found out what is causing this structural problem that has been caused by the longwall. It may be down in the pillar type stone foundation. Pendulum upstairs in the barn remains unchanged but the barn is 60 feet long with timbers that do not have a splice in them, each were made from a tree and were hand hewn. Just a little drop on one of the stone pillars could cause a problem. The house is definitely harder to heat due to the loss of hot air up through the places where the plaster came off and the bare lath is exposed. Since the attic is not insulated the heat going through the lath is lost to the outside world.

Floyd Simpson

1/16/2004

Went to Reynoldsburg to be with Randy and family. Was nice to get away for awhile from the "broken farm".

Floyd Simpson

1/15/2004

The Hughes crew was here at 7:45 AM getting cribbing off barn overhang and the corner posts off the house. I have to turn off electricity to the summer kitchen and other buildings while they get the top cables off. Cribbing was removed under the barn ramp. I noticed that now the north end of the ramp, just under the man entrance door has dropped down about 5 or 6 inches. This will have to be addressed as the ramp is designed to hold up a tractor, loads of hay etc. The ramp is independent of the barn foundation. Again the milk house was damaged a great deal just a few feet away while this main barn has flexed with the movement. The barn, although looking good from a distance, has developed a "bulge" out on the south side and on the west side in the area of the 4 windows. Could this be from a foundation shift? Whatever it is there is no visible problem inside but there is much of the foundation that cannot be seen without removing the floor. I note that the Ohio Department of Highways (ODOT) highway inspection folks are often seen going by the damaged State Route 147 area east of the barn. The separated sections of highway make a rumbling sound when cars go by. The Hughes crew got all corner braces off the house today. All cables have now been removed. The storm door was put back on the kitchen (at last!). This has been a big drain on my heating budget as only the original 1863 entrance door was keeping out the cold and it was not fitting the door case after the longwall went under.
4:00 PM Hughes men got all their cables, cribbing, plywood, tension sensors and miscellaneous supplies loaded and left. Everything was done except for filling in the little trench at the base of the foundation and getting the downspouts on. The heavy, sloped rock at the top of the basement entrance was not put back in place. Either the longwall action or the cables moved it several inches. Would not be able to get the "cellar door" to go back on with it that way. Not sure I can move it with the tractor and not sure I should as I am not equipped to handle it. In place of the nice white downspouts they left the long 4 inch corrugated pipes connected to the gutter. These long pipes carry off the rainwater from the roof to a point close to the highway. They look like big long black snakes coming down from the roof and running out in the yard. Not harmful, just not very neat for such an elegant house. I burned a CD of damages so far so it can go on the website. Heard loud "Thumps" again in the basement area at 7:00 PM.

Floyd Simpson

1/14/2004 (pictures)

The Hughes crew are still removing cribbing and cables. Mr. Polite, the hired archaeologist, came (late due to waiting for many school buses and even getting a ticket) from Youngstown office. He and David Bartsch of OVCC took off for the barn to find the pottery that Polite had discarded at the original digging of the barn trench. Since this site is within 50 feet of the original 1795 circa house Dr. Reichwein said these pieces would be pertinent to the site investigation. So Mr. Polite found these three pieces Bartsch and Polite were really "ticked" that I had told Reichwein about these shards. I gave them a rough time about taking these items form an artifact site on my property. I had them put the 3 peices of china on a piece of scrap wood and I took digital pictures of them. I noted that Mr. Polite stayed the rest of the day and did not find anything. He and I went over to the barn site and watched as the last of the trenching was done. In fact, we both saw it at the same time, a piece of china was in the backfill. He left it at the site in my care. I do not know why he did not want to take that piece along with the 3 others. Mr. Rucker of QES came to me with a long face this PM. He said the dug wells are going dry fast.Only 28 feet down to water in the circa 1795 well and it is 33 feet deep. Due to the predicted snow storm everyone took off about 3:00 PM today. Hughes guys had started at 7 AM so it still an 8 hour day and they drive for 90 minutes to get here from home at Ruff Creek, PA. Mrs. Stanford came to clean the house this PM. She was very sad about the condition of the house. She has been doing the cleaning here for over 3 years and feels attached to the old house. She brought her camera and took a number of digital pictures. She showed me a copy of a letter she received from Sam Spect, ODNR Division manager. He was responding to her letter at Christmas. He seemed to be blaming land owners for complaining when coal was taken by longwall even though we know of no longwall equipment in the US when any of the coal was sold. All the coal under our farm was sold to a room and pillar mining company and it was a long time before longwall mining came to the United States. No one who sold coal rights had any idea that such an invention would be used to cause such damage to the surface.

Floyd Simpson

1/13/2004 (pictures)

Hughes came out to take down cables. Started to fill in the trench west of the house without having an archaeologist present. Dr. Jeff Reichwein PhD (ODNR) was livid. He called David Bartsch and told him that an archaeologist had to be here during the back-filling. Bartsch was upset but Reichwein told him that he had been notified of the conditions of the permit to mine under this historic property a year ago. Bartsch was trying to call Dr. Soldo on his cell phone to have them bring out a certified archaeologist to monitor the backfill. Reichwein told me that the whole 57 acres of the James Kinney Farmstead was considered to be "an artifact field". Also, any cracks from the longwall in the fields were not to be filled in without an archaeologist from the state present. Dr. Reichwein called me at 1:45 PM and said he was in Bealsville on another project but would drop that and come right over. He arrived at about 3:00 PM, in fact he came rushing into my driveway with his state car. He observed the last of the filling in of the 14 foot deep trench west of the house. He mentioned to me that no archaeologist was on site as required in the conditions of the permit. This was a pre-determined plan by ODNR that OVCC agreed with to be allowed to mine under the historic property. He stated that the report by Soldo had been received AFTER mining had been done and had only arrived in his office this week. This report was "incomplete" and "poorly constructed" and was due before mining and subject to approval by himself and SHPO before going to the Chief of ODNR DMR for a final OK. I asked why an archaeologist was needed during back-filling and he said that it was because it was nearly impossible to use a track-hoe to take dirt from the pile and put it into the hole without scooping up some of the surrounding (as yet) undisturbed artifact field.(my yard). This disturbance makes it impossible for future investigation of that area. I remarked that I had never had the chance to use a metal detector in that area before they dug the trench. Not much chance of finding anything now, it is all mixed into a 14 foot hole. The Hughes operator was in a snit for being slowed up, he said they never had him stop for an archaeologist to watch him fill in a trench in Pennsylvania. I told him this was OHIO and it is done differently here. Needless to say, Dr. Reichwein was very unhappy with OVCC about this violation of the mitigation plan. QES's David Rucker brought bad news about the historic wells. Both dug wells are going down at a rate of a foot a day now, they will soon be empty. The drilled well at the house and barn are holding steady. None of these wells are being used now as OVCC has a "temporary" water supply piped into the house.

Floyd Simpson

 

1/12/2004 (pictures)

About the same. More smaller but long cracks appearing on the ceilings in bedrooms upstairs. Virgin forest still OK but the longwall must be under a part of it by now.

Floyd Simpson

 

1/11/2004

Nothing new except for plaster still coming down on the top of the false ceilings downstairs. Highway 147 is now worse. Cracks are wider. Basement floor at bottom of the stairs is heaved up and cracks done by longwall are now wider in two rooms. I walked the virgin forest and found no problems.

Floyd Simpson

1/10/2004 (pictures)

Kurt was here early in 3 degree weather - reducing tension to the cables. There were two loud "THUMPS" during the night - at about 2:30 AM and at 7:00 AM there was a house shaking crash. Did not find anything but I suppose that a rock deep in the earth below the house fell into a cavity left by the longwall mining. The "THUMPS" were from plaster falling from the ceiling in a downstairs room which resulted in it landing on the false ceiling. I took more pictures. This time 2 rolls of 35mm color in the house and 12 outside, also with the digital camera of the State Highway 147 which is badly cracked on the turn east of the barn. Three of these cracks go completely across the road and are wide, up to 4 inches! Five other cracks are associated with this area which was the south edge of the 900 foot panel. This is not a big traffic hazard unless they widen more but they are on a sharp turn of the road. With the snow cover and ice storms we are having and the fact that many travelers go too fast on this old "drovers' trail" it could be a hazard unless the Ohio State Highway Department does not get some patching done. The possible hazard would be that someone could hit these deformed pieces of pavement and spin across the road into oncoming traffic. I observed the milk house from the outside and saw that it has damage to cement blocks on all three sides now. I checked the pendulums in the barn and found that they were mostly back to the "start" position - just a little to the north. Found a possible reason for the "thumps" last night. The SW upstairs bedroom had more ceiling plaster loss above the window which was directly above the ceiling loss in the room below (office). Found some broken bricks on the house, summer kitchen is same inside and out.

Floyd Simpson

1/9/2004 (Kinney House pictures) (New House pictures)

Kurt is taking the pressure down on the cables, a little at a time as per the specifications in the mitigation plan. Mr. Hughes called me (mistakenly thought he was calling Dave Bartsch) said he understood that the damage to the house was "minimal". I corrected him on that assessment due to the extensive material damage to the inside of the historic structures. The Hughes Company will take the cables down and fill in the trenches on Tuesday. No visits by ODNR or coal people today. Bartsch is the only one to be here all week. Phone calls today to and from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in Columbus about a meeting later in January concerning Farm Bureau policies. They have been following the news of the mining under a sensitive historic site and are concerned that legislation has not been in place to protect it and other property rights of farmers. They stated that there is state wide concern in our issue here. They are also interested in the Dysart Woods issue which is getting press in Columbus too. Steve Gordon of the SHPO office left word for me on the phone recorder that he saw the papers and TV in Columbus and wanted to send me information by mail on restoration that will need to be done to the property. He also left the comment that "They never should have been allowed to mine under the historic property" Got a letter from a Mr. Crawford who is a historic interpreter for the Virginia Explore Park. A partial quote from him was "...Tragic, I only hope we, as a society will learn...Hell..I hope we're shocked! I am....Guinea Pig...I shudder!"

Floyd Simpson

1/8/2004

Our county Farm Bureau had a meeting with the county commissioners this morning. Discussion was centered on trash pick up, recycling, water lines being extended in the county and longwall mining that is taking water from farmers in the area which will increase the dependance on future County water supplies. Samantha Carroll is the county recycling coordinator and gave a good presentation to our group. I came home from the luncheon and QES had been here to take another water test since the last one showed positive for bacteria in my drinking water supplied by the coal company. The contractor is placing a new tank above ground at the new house today. They will eventfully remove the troublesome underground tank there and switch to the above tank. A local lady called David Bartsch today and gave him a piece of her mind about lying to the press. He had said the cracks were already in the house and had opened up when the longwall went under and then closed up afterward. She had been on a tour here before the mining and told him she had not seen any problem with the house before and wondered why he had lied about it.

Floyd Simpson

1/7/2004

Very cold weather and my ceiling is losing heat into the un-insulated attic. Also a heating concern is that the Hughes people took my storm door off the outside kitchen door due to the cables that go across the porch in front of the door. Heat loss out of the original door is making the kitchen cold. QES brought me the water sample that was taken Monday. It was POSITIVE for coliform bacteria at the inlet from the big plastic tank (water buffalo) in the yard. But it was negative for bacteria for a sample taken at a point after the UV light. I faxed a copy to ODNR at Cambridge with the comment that I did not like being experimented on. Channel 9 WTOV TV called for an appointment at noon and were here at 12:15 PM for another follow up interview. It was run at 5 and 6 PM today. There was more plaster loss and cracks developing at new places on the interior walls. They took pictures of the new cracks in the furnace room and walls. Kurt Stubbs started to reduce tension on cables today. It took him a long time. Snow and cold weather was a problem. He is so dedicated and determined to get the cables at the specified tension. I am sure he suffered from the cold but does not complain. 8:00 PM I heard three loud "popping" sounds"in the middle of the house -could not find anything wrong. But the last time I was upstairs after the TV interview another long crack had appeared from the ceiling down several feet on the east hall wall about 5 or 6 feet from the northeast bedroom door. I checked on the other side which is the stairwell an there were two small cracks starting. I checked the southeast bedroom closet and found a long, jagged structural crack had developed on the wall that corresponds to the one in the hall. This means the house has lost structural integrity in the middle hall support system. Not a good thing! Pendulums have not changed much but downstairs are centered now.

Floyd Simpson

1/6/2004 (pictures)

Pendulums upstairs still on "start" position. NE Living Room was same as last 3 days as it has moved to NE past the "start". Same for NW living room. SW basement room not back to starting position but is getting close to "start". SE Basement is past "start" and a little north. Obviously the house is on a twist. Got call from Scott Beveridge, Observer Reporter in Pennsylvania who interviewed me. More plaster came down today, some damage was done to the original hand painted baseboard woodwork when plaster came down in the south hall. Dan Scott came to look at the furnace. It is OK for now but he will come back this weekend to put straps on the pipes. He was concerned about the movement of the concrete floor under the furnace.

Floyd Simpson

1/5/2004 (pictures)

This day started with a big "THUMP" sound as more plaster came down in the hall downstairs. A little more has come down in the upstairs hall ceiling last night too. The pendulum upstairs is back to start and the living rooms downstairs are still past start and the two in the basement are not quite back yet and are slightly to the north side of start. A marble placed on the smooth ceramic stove top races to the north now, instead of to the west. Mr. Ernie Stubbs of QES came to get a water sample from the new water system. Kurt Stubbs checked cables --- all were OK and he checked the water in the wells again. The barn water level is up to 18 feet (static level). This is a record of 15 foot of water in the well that is 33 foot deep. He said surface water is coming in like a torrent. We have just had 3 inches of rain and water and mud is everywhere. The temperature is 38 degrees but the weather is changing to snow this PM. The OVCC survey crew came out and made measurements. They said the house and other buildings have dropped 4 feet since mining. (this turned out to be an error as it was 3 feet ) David Simpson, structural engineer, sent me a copy of what was sent to the coal company concerning his opinion of the safety of staying in the house. He stated that some "step cracks" were found outside the brick buildings he expected more to occur when the cables come off. I had another unexpected visitor drop in, Chuck (?) who will be undermined by the Century Mine as he lives down on SR 26. He said they should "OUTLAW LONGWALL MINING". Dave Bartsch, OVCC, came by at 5:00 PM. I gave him static about his public statement to the news media that "all the cracks were in the house before and the longwall opened them up and now that the longwall was past they closed up". I asked him why he said that and he said that his employee, Claude Luke told him. I gave him the tour and showed him the cracks that he said were closed up... and what do you know, they are all still very open, even getting more so every day. Dave Fitzpatrick called to ask about a schedule for putting on the new house roof. I had to tell him that it was still moving and it would not be wise to put it on for a few weeks anyway. But we get bad weather in January so this might not be possible anyway. I had asked Claude Luke and he indicated that he would let me know when it was safe to put it on.

Floyd Simpson

1/4/2004 (pictures)

Kurt was checking cables when I first got outside today He said the only cable that needed tightening was the one on the milk house. The weather is miserable with two inches of rain last night and more coming down. Everywhere around the house is a muddy quagmire due to the heavy equipment work done for the mitigation process. Mud is running into my dogs food pan from the big pile of earth from the house trench. I had to move her to the barn for safety. I went to church this morning and everyone was asking me how bad the damages were as they were seeing my picture in the papers and on TV a lot lately. One parishioner was from Columbus and saw it in the paper there. Got home and the phone was ringing and a cousin from Akron was calling to see how I was as she saw a full page on the plight of the James Kinney historic house in her Akron Beacon Journal. I had not heard from her for some years. Pendulums upstairs are still back at the start position. Downstairs they are still past the starting point. The basement pendulums are almost back to the starting position. While checking these pendulums I discovered something that never had happened before... the basement in the furnace room was flooding! Water was gushing up through a big broken hole in the cement next to the new furnace. I called my furnace man and also the coal company and they called their plumber to come out and sump pump it out. They were here in short order and got it under control.

Floyd Simpson

1/3/2004

Pendulums in basement are still 1/2 to 3/4 inch to the west. Some more damage is showing up in the floor of the basement SW room and under the new furnace. On the first floor the two pendulums are still about 1/4 of an inch PAST the start point while the one upstairs was right back at the starting point. More ceiling came down in the hall. Cracks have advanced in the center hall just above the hot water baseboard register and new cracks have appeared above the mantel in the NE living room. This is troubling as this is the chimney for the furnace. Claude Luke of OVCC and I looked at cracks in the summer kitchen. The big crack on the center wall has opened up again. It had been tightly closed several days ago. Mr. Luke said it would likely stay open now. The pendulum was stuck as the floor has moved upward into the free swinging pendulum. I tightened the string and it showed an overnight movement back toward start. The Barn has had no visible damage but the milk house has new cracks in the walls and floor. That pendulum was closer to the start position as I found after tightening this string also. It seems that the floor has heaved upward enough to lodge this one too. Mr. Luke came with me to look at all of this. He has been sympathetic and helpful. Mr. Stubbs checked and adjusted the cables at 8:00, 12:00, and 4:30 today. CNN today had a short story on wind farms Their science editor wrote that 6% of the USA has ideal locations for wind generators that could supply more than enough electric energy for the nation. My comment is "So who needs coal fired power plants anymore?"

Floyd Simpson

1/2/2004 (Kinney House pictures) (New House pictures)

There is more damage in the old house-cracks in the upstairs hall on wall next to Ron and Randy's room continue to lengthen and widen. There is also damage around the front portico. Also the floors in the basement show separation from the walls just like in my house and there is more cracking and heaving of the concrete floors in the basement. The milkhouse has sustained a good bit of damage but so far the barn seems to be pretty good. Some of the plumb bobs in the house went back to center and then started to move in the opposite direction from where they moved before. Some seem to be pretty close to back to start. The house is obviously still moving and is twisted. Claude Luke from OVCC had told Floyd that it was not coming down evenly.

Shirley Simpson

I found more damage that had been hidden above the false ceiling in the office. Plaster came down on my office chair and when I lifted the ceiling panel it was apparent that much damage was done to the plaster as well as to wall over the office door. Found some broken bricks on the south side of the house. Pendulums are back to start position upstairs today and downstairs in the living rooms but in the basement they are still 3/4 of an inch away from center. This means the house is on a twist! Not good for an all brick house! Later in the day the living rooms pendulums were PAST the start position, all in a few hours time. No one from ODNR, DMR or OVCC came today. Kurt Stubbs came and checked the well at the barn and it has gained a foot of water. Yesterday it was at only 7 foot of water when 11 foot of water is normal and now it has increased to 8 foot. The milk house pendulum is very far to the west, over 2 inches! The barn is OK but slightly to the west by 1/2 inch both upstars and downstairs. Son Randy was home from Columbus and got a good look at the damages done to this historic property. Neighbor Eric Ruble also came over to look at the damage. His farm will be mined in the future and there is much concern in his family too. A couple of strangers stopped in to look at the damage. One of the guys does some barn restoration and offered his help in any way he could. Received a report from Dan Schrum, OSM about his trip here.

Floyd Simpson

1/1/2004

No activity of officials here today. Kurt came and took care of the cables. Damage is showing up more in the basement. More ceiling damage and more cracks are opening up on the inside walls, especially troubling are those at the perimeter of the ceilings in the west bedrooms all along the wall. Looks like we have an outward movement of the house against the cables. New damage is showing up at the portico entrance, possibly due to the lack of cribbing inside the portico which is the largest opening in the brick house. Somehow these were forgotten when the house mitigation plan was effected. I am worried that in case of fire I might not be able to get out of the house. There are three doors to the outside and two are blocked by cables. The storm door has been taken off the kitchen so I can get out if I have to but in this cold weather it really makes a big difference in heating. Also, heat is going up through the ceiling lath and into the un-insulated attic. Hard to keep the house warm, even with the new furnace going full blast. Yeah, I'm having a "Happy New Year!"

I had a lot of company during this week. Folks who saw the TV shows (they ran re-runs a lot on this situation) and read the Wheeling and Martins Ferry papers had to come by and put in their 2 cents worth. Yesterday I was visited by ODNR Mines and Mineral dept.My homestead looks terrible now. Digging, tearing up my yards, putting cables on my buildings, and breaking so much of the interior.

The house was actually leaning toward the west at one point - at an incredible 8 inches lower on one side than the other. It has not come down straight as this morning one of the pendulums was right back to the starting point and all the others were still off. My house has been twisted in the process. I have NO ceilings left unaffected upstairs. A lot of it has fallen to the floor. Cracks are everywhere and even the inside walls which are brick inside and smooth plaster on the face are mostly cracked. At this time, 10:25 AM on New Years Day, the basement floor is badly cracked in some areas and not at all in two rooms.

The milkhouse which is attached to the big timber-frame barn was damaged. The floor is now cracked and it is leaning one way and the barn is the other way (according to the pendulums in both structures. The longwall mining has now gone past the last structure on the James Kinney Farm building complex and is now about 300 feet past the house and about 100 feet past the barn. Most damage at the milkhouse and barn will be done between Dec. 31st and Jan. 2nd. but of course we know that subsidence will continue at some degree for years.

The main well, dug about 1795 for the first settler, has been going empty at the rate of about 2 feet per day in the last two days. On Nov. 25, 2003, this great well had 11 foot of water (it is 33 feet deep), Today it only had 7.2 feet of water. This is a 6 foot wide dug well and one can figure how many thousand gallons it holds at capacity. Mr. Stubbs tested it today and said he could hear "a lot of water coming into the well" but the level is going down! Not a good thing. I believe we will lose this great asset to the farm by losing this well and the springs across the road which have already gone bone dry. What is amazing is the lack of damage up to this point to the exterior brick and foundation stone. I do believe that the banding has a big help in that regard. But, I still maintain, they should NEVER longwall mine under National Register of Historic Places property. I understand by yesterdays conversation with Mr. Kevin Ricks of ODNR that this is the FIRST time ever that any longwalll mining company in Ohio has mined under such a property and that the James Kinney Farm building complex was treated as a Guinea pig!

Floyd Simpson


 


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