West Virginia has lost a great man, Lawrence Sullivan Richmond, 85, of Lindytown passed away on Aug. 16, 2010, at CAMC General Hospital in Charleston, W.V.
Lawrence was born on Oct. 25, 1924, and was a son of the late Harvey and Nancy Jane Jarrell Richmond. He was a retired coal miner from Armco Coal Company with 30 years of service. He was a WWII Army veteran.
Lawrence his wife and son were some of the last residents of Lindytown. Lawrence and his family refused to leave their home in the ghost town that Lindytown has become. Most of Lindytown had packed up and moved on long ago as Massey Energy bought out the town to use it as a valley fill for its surface mine.
Unlike his neighbors, Richmond refused Massey's offer to buy his home of 63 years and move out of the hollow. Richard did accept $25,000 from Massey Energy for what he called "hush money" to cover any injuries or health problems his family may have faced due to the mining activity.
Richmond, who worked 30 years as an underground miner, told the Charleston Gazette why he refused to leave his home in Lindytown: "Home to me this late in life means to me just as much as that coal does to Massey."
Lawrence and his wife lived sandwiched in between mining operations. In front of their house the land is owned by Horizon, a subsidiary of Patriot coal; behind them is the Twilight mine.
Lawrence knew the dangers of remaining in his home, but he refused to be forced from his home. He lived with the daily blasting, coal trucks barreling past his home and the endless coal dust that thickly coated his house. The biggest danger to the family was a huge boulder that sat precariously above their home. A blast at the Massey Energy mine could easily send the boulder flying into their home.
Massey Energy bought up most of Lindytown and forced families to get out so quickly that they were unable to take all of their belongings. They promised residents they could come back but then refused them entrance when they returned. If families attempted to get their remaining belongings, Massey Energy called the law on them and threatened to file trespassing charges.
Today in Lindytown, most area residents are long gone. They told TIME magazine that "they were muscled out of their homes by Massey, whose representatives pursued them aggressively, phoning and visiting often. By acquiring property in the area, the company has expanded operations – literally into remaining residents' backyards."
Lawrence Richmond will always be remembered for his good heart and determination. He lived out his life in his beloved Lindytown. Sadly, he will most likely be the last person to do that.