Elmer Larry Click known in the artifact collecting community as the “Clickster” was born in a small mining community in Caretta, West Virginia in the early 1940’s. The town was named Caretta after Etta Carter, the wife of George Lafayette Carter. The mine located there during that time was Carter Coal and was later named Olga Coal Company. During the 1940’s and 50’s Caretta was a thriving coal mining community. Larry went to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades at the Caretta Grade School. It is now a Community Center and has a Mining Museum which Larry set up for the community. Larry’s Grandfather, Ruben Redford Click, raised him and his brother, Buddy, from the age of three years old. Ruben (nick-named “Fatdaddy”) had nine other children to support so he worked in the mines, lived on a farm, drove a dry cleaning truck, and picked up many other jobs to earn a living for his family. Early in Larry’s teens Fatdaddy moved to the little town of War formerly named Miner’s City. When they moved to War, there was one Company Store and a mine called Warrior Coal Company which Larry knew well because he would ride his bicycle to the Coal Company Store where he would purchase a Pepsi Cola for 5cents. (See image below and notice the Pepsi in Larry’s right hand). From War, Larry moved to Hartwell, WV and considered that home until he was drafted into the U. S. Army. While Larry was away Fatdaddy worked at and retired from the Briquette Plant in Berwind, WV. When Larry returned to WV in April of 1963, his wife to be (Dorothy Lee Altizer) had moved to Hartwell. Larry was at the Coal Company store talking to a friend when this pretty tall blond came to the store. Larry’s friend introduced Larry to Dottie and the rest is history. In fact 48 years of history. In 1993 they were visiting a cousin in Morgantown, WV and were told something was going on over at WV University. Larry had been collecting all kinds of mining stickers since 1980 and decided to check out what was happening at the college--thinking maybe he would find some mining stickers. Well, no stickers. But that was the beginning of his artifacts collecting. The room at the University was full of collectors, including Paul Johnson who Larry bought his first oil wick and Junior Wolf safety lamp from. Larry already had one Auto-Lite cap lamp that belonged to Dottie’s Dad who was a coal miner. He and his cousin found two carbide cap lamps (Guy’s Droppers) in their Great Aunt’s trash dump but didn’t think much of them at the time. Shortly after the show the Clicks traveled to Deerfield, New Jersey. They stopped at an antique store there and while Larry was looking at a couple of beat up Auto-Lites, Dottie came around the corner with her hands behind her back and asked Larry “Is a Gee Bee a good lamp?” In awe, Larry asked, “where is one?” Dottie pulled the lamp from behind her back and that was the first lamp they found. It was all down hill from there. Larry started at the top and worked his way down. At the show he had met another nice collector, Mike McLaughlin, who was working in Alexandria,Virginia. He was ready to sell his collection and frequently visited Larry at home. He gave Larry a picture of his lamps and told him to put them on the table next to where Larry sat. Larry looked and looked at them. Larry asked Mike if they were for sale. His answer was “yes.” Eventually Larry purchased Mike’s eleven lamps on April 25, 1995. The lamps are all unfired: EverReady, Scoby Duplex, Loop Hook Square Lite, H. Gall, Union Carbide, Black Diamond, unknown Baldwin (which later was determined to be a Roach Lamp), Dotted Defender, DryLite, Brass SunRay and Baldwin Bug. From there it was Mining Artifact Shows year after year. Some shows were in Scranton, PA, Frisco, Colorado, Park City, Utah, Ouray, Colorado, Nevada City, California, Johnstown, PA and Grass Valley, California at our old friend and Larry’s Mentor, Errol Christman’s Estate and anywhere there were Auctions, Antique Stores, Friends Homes, etc. Our Friends and Fellow Collectors are welcome to visit any time.
|Larry & his Brother "Buddy" at War, WV||The Warrior Mine at War, WV|
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The "BIG ELEVEN"
These lamps are all unfired:
EverReady, Scoby Duplex, Loop Hook Square Lite, H. Gall, Union Carbide, Black Diamond, unknown Baldwin
(which later was determined to be a Roach Lamp), Dotted Defender, DryLite, Brass SunRay and Baldwin Bug.