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William Emmet Keating
Born and raised in Mt. Laffee in 1886, William Emmet Keating attained national prominence as a composer and performer of ballads, poems and songs about early 20th Century life in the Anthracite Coal Region. He was an original member of The Singing Miners, who, dressed in authentic miners’ garb (see picture below), performed indigenous Coal Region songs, ballads and ditties at folk festivals nationwide.Mr. Keating is profiled and many of his creations are presented in several prominent books about the region’s history and folklore, including: Minstrels of the Mine Patch, Pennsylvania Songs and Legends, and Black Rock: Mining Folklore of the Pennsylvania Dutch, all by George Korson; and St. Clair, by Anthony F.C. Wallace. His most acclaimed works include: "Down, Down, Down", an epic ballad consisting of more than 40 verses, and archived in the U.S. Library of Congress; "October On Mount Laffee’s Hills"; "The Driver Boys Of Wadesville Shaft"; and "My Wee Coal Hole".William Keating also wrote about some of his other remarkable experiences. For seven years, starting at age 14, he rode freight trains throughout North America. He also worked on a coal barge traveling from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. From there he shipped to work on the construction of the Panama Canal. As a 31 year old in the U.S. Army’s 79th Division, Private Keating fought in WWI’s Battle of the Argonne Forest, was nearly blinded by mustard gas in the Battle of Montfaucon, and had one of his fingers shot off in a subsequent skirmish.Mr. Keating died in 1964. William Emmet Keating
 
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William Keating



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