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chalk-eye n

1 A worker hired as an assistant or substitute by another worker, esp a miner.sAppalachians

  • 1928 TN Div. Mines Annual Rept. 25, We had an old darkie digging coal and he had a chalk eye. . . The mine foreman said: “Jack, there is a loose piece of slate over you, I see you have some props there, set one at once.” According to the Chalk Eye, as soon as the foreman left, Jack said, “He don’t need to tell me where to set a prop. I was mining coal before he was born.”
  • 1932 (1970) Natl. Comm. Defense Political Prisoners Harlan Miners 169 seKY, You see there are men who do not know enough to work by themselves, but if you put them with someone they work all right, and so I hired two chalk-eyes to help me in my room, and they used to work good.
  • 1957 Hewes Boxcar 78 sAppalachians (as of 1936), Poverty-ridden mountain folk worked to erect new buildings on their new homesteads; their labor time at about thirty cents an hour was credited in lieu of cash toward ownership. During the construction phase they received cash grants for food and other essentials. Soon they organized a racket, hiring substitute laborers at five cents an hour and paying the substitutes out of their own cash grants; these substitutes were the “chalk eyes” colloquially named for their starvation-ravaged countenances.
  • c1988 in 2011 Portelli They Say 136 seKY, They called these boys that worked under old miners, they called them chalkeyes.

2 =chalk.

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contains DARE survey quotes
  • 1969 DARE
    Qu. EE6c, Cheap marbles
    Inf KY24, Chalk-eyes.