The left over coal that was not a good enough quality to sell was dumped on a "gob pile".
Many poor families picked over this gob coal to burn in their heating stoves in the winter.
Some men even made a living picking gob coal and peddling it around the neighborhood.
If you were a coal miner you were entitled to so many tons of "checkoff coal" each year,
meaning the discounted price was checked off your pay check.

As a child we lived close to Old Ben #9 switch yard. Sometimes the engineer would bump
the cars a little harder and knock off some coal which all the neighbors picked up for heating.

One more thing I remember about living next door to #9 mine. On wash day you always check
the direction of the wind that day. The train put out black specks of dust and it would land on your
clean laundry. If that happened you had to be sure and not touch the laundry until it was bone dry,
then you could give it a good whack with your hand and knock off most of the black specks.