Joe Hardy Family

Joe Hardy family

Colored Coal Miner

Joe Hardy was a colored coal miner working the various mines of Briceville. He died in 1933 and is buried in the Welch Cemetery near Beech Grove.

Joe and Mary Jane Moore Hardy had eight daughters: Eva, Stella, Hattie, Annie Mae, Irene, Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, and Sylvestia.

Sylvestia is the only one living. She married Benton Hopper from Oliver Springs in 1945. They moved in 1963 to a 200 acre farm on old Harriman Highway outside Oliver Springs. Benton died in 1990, Sylvestia had all four of her children, Jimmie, Sharon, Phillip, and Mona Lisa liviing nearby.

Mary Ellen and husband Randy Cozart, Elizabeth, Mary Jane, and Mary Jane’s mother, Granny Ellis, moved to FLint, Michigan, in 1955. Mary Ellen became a policewoman there. Granny Ellis died there in 1978 at the age of 104. Mary Jane came back to Oliver Springs and died there at age 81.

Hattie married Odell Phipps in Briceville and later moved to Oak Ridge. Their sons were Joe, George (Bobbie) Ben and Charles. Hattie died in 1974.

Sylvestia attended the colored elementary school in Coal Creek. Her sisters attended the colored school and church behind “Brit” Simpson’s store in the lower end of Briceville. It was torn down many years ago. After the church was gone, church services were held in an empty company house in Tennessee Hollow. Vas Huddleston was the pastor. Euly Cooper was a deacon in this church.

Other colored people living in Briceville in the 20’s to 50’s were Maggie and Vas Huddleston, Tom and Hattie Maxwell, Charlie and Emma Rutherford and son “Vic”, Jim Baker, Odell Phipps, George Washington, Jim Glass and John Jones. John died in Briceville around 1960. He is buried in Chattanooga.

From Briceville…the town that coal built.
By Gene White

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