Denis Mercier 6/20. ’72 Bruno Lagonosky
Kids didn’t get allowances like today. To get their school clothes, kids picked berries from sunup to sundown. Kids began work at fourteen, many as slate pickers. Age six through fourteen was education. Most got about eight years of formal education. Few went to high school. Marriage was, for a man, age twenty-two to twenty-five. There was no mandatory retirement. Men worked until they dropped or slowed down so much that they couldn’t work. There was no Social Security or pension. The poorhouse was the only answer. There was more respect for age then than now. Old people were sought after for advice.
he used to help his wife with the housework and dishes. He also did mostly lawn and garden work and picked huckleberries. His wife disciplined the kids. Saturday night the whole family went to the movies in Freeland. On Sunday he played base ball with the kids after church.
During the six-month strike of 1925, he picked berries and sold them for a dollar a quart. If he didn’t bought the groceries “on the books,” he would have gone bankrupt. is wife made the financial decisions, and snt the money. Everyone was happy.
Insurance wouldn’t take a miner. Benefit societies were formed. 31._5 was paid – in a month. The sick benefit was $5.00 a week. Terminal was $1, 00 in one payment. Jeddo-Highland paid life insurance on men. Coxe-Eckley didn’t. Sixteen-year olds were considered “boys,” over twenty-one men. These were divisions of the benefit societies. These socieities ran the picnics with raffles and benefits.
The butcher used to come around. Many did their own butchering. His wife cleaned chickens. Bruno had 250. He preserved the eggs in waterglass to sell them during the winter when chickens wouldn’t lay. They were also used for baking. Few fresh eggs were used for the table.
Company carpenters did work on the house.
Waln K. Brown 8/21/72 Bruno Lagonoski
[Drawing of school building showing inside configuration of classes]
The downtown school was a four room structure. Two grades were taught in each room, up to grade eight. There was a pot bellied stove in the middle of the room, this stove was tended by the teachers in that particular room. Each teacher had a desk at the front of the room, his back turned toward a blackboard which traversed the entire breadth of the room. There were two windows on each side of the building, with no windows at the end of the building. There were four rows of desks for the students in each room. These rows were divided by an aisle. The two rows of desks in teh middle accomodated two students, while the exterior rows were single desksThe building was 40
Waln K. Brown 8/21/72 Bruno Lagonoski
long, by 160′ long. Each room had its own private entrance from the side. The entrance to each room was a 48 x 6′ vestibule which led to the interior of the room. The school building was on a pitch, and consequently the room which was used to house the seventh and eighth grade students had a porch on teh exterior. Behind the school building were six rest facilities for the pupils. There were three outhouses for the girls and three for the boys. The boys rest rooms were grouped together, and a short distance away, the girls outhouses were grouped together. At the lower end of hte school building there was a shed which housed the coal and wood which were used to heat the interior of the building. The front of the school building faced the rear of the Presbyterian church, and paralleled the alley way behind the church. There was appoximately 25′ distance between the school building and the alley. On the other side of the alley was the fench which surrounded the church. There was one interior door in the school building, this door was between the rooms which housed the third and courth grade from the fifth and sixth grade. The childrens coats were hung on hooks in the walls.
Denis Mercier 6/13/72 Bruno Lagonosky
[sketch illustrating the “sprag” and how to get loaded coal cars up an incline]
[detailed sketch of harness for lead mule]
Denis Mercier 6/13/72 Bruno Lagonosky
[sketch showing the configuration of the mule barn]
[sketch of how to couple cars]
Denis Mercier 6/13/72 Bruno Lagonosky
A sprag was for the wheels or spokes, about eighteen inches long, tapered at both ends, and made of oak or some of iron. They had to be changed often because some would break. The iron ones often worked loose and fell out. The sprag put between two spokes stopped the wheels. It was lodged between the spoke and the bottom of the coal car. It locked the wheel so it would slide down a grade instead of rolling at an uncontrollable speed.
The lead muls of two or more mules had a lamp mounted above its head like a headlight. Some of the verbal signals to the mules were gee for turning to the right, pedaho for turning to the left, ho for stopping, and back up which was an infrequentl given command. A miner could get fired for killing a mule before the late ’20s and early ’30s. The driver had to feed and wash teh mules. There were seventy-two mules in Eckley at the “high point.”
Contract miners worked the “buddy system.” Bruno worked withMr. Siliwsly (.). The got $2.10 per car plus money for pro?, etc. The average was seven cars a day, $2.50-2.80. They had to buy a powder box with twenty-five #96 sticks. Holes were drilled and fired or dynamited. They later dug into pillars, backing out of mines, of seven foot widths. This was called “robbing.” One ton “buggies” might be used in robbing rocedures. They shoveled the coal into cars. Contract miners worked six to eight days a week and earned $34.40 per an. They could quit any time, but they usually worked eight hours.
In (?) 75 a month as contrasted to that in 1934, & c: .330 a month. However, the work was easier and steadier then, with no strikes. During the strikes foremen maintained the mules, boilers, etc., being company men on salary.
There were numbers 1, 2, 6 and 10 plus the “inside” slope in Eckley.
The “fireboss” inspected the mines for gas. Starting at 2:30 AM with a safety lantern, he had to go into all shafts by :00 when the men came. He had to handle the lamp carefully so as not to have the flame go out of the guaze. Guaze was stored along the sides of the shaft. The fire boss left his work, signaled all who came into the shaft, changed initials and date.
Denis Mercier 6/21/72 Bruno Lagonosky
Blasting or firing technique at the Eckley mines: Fire center holes first, then bottom. Top then came out like “a piece of cake,” but was usually broken up enough to load directly into cars.
Men in the Eckley mines “ate less dust” than those in other mines if they were careful and used picks, shovels, other hand tools, and no jackhammers. Smart, and not greedy, men would wait until the fus settled a ter firing the face of the breast. Eckley mine was naturally ventilated. There was no dust because lowing fans were used, as they were in Jeddo. In some of the other mines in the area, the dust problem was so acute that many men would have to give up mining after ten to fifteen years with arteracilicosis!
He varified George Surgent’s statement about the two houses, football field, picnic area, and baseball field above the Surgent house.
There were no “lawns.” Every square inch of earth around the house we used for gardens, mostly potatoes, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Livestock were also kept. They had to be fenced in from the garden in the side and front yards.
Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Bureau of Museums P.O. Box 1026 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD for Bruno Laganosky
Home Address: (street) 141 Main St (City, State) Eckley (Zip Code)
Occupation: Retired Miner
Hobbies, Crafts or Other Skills: Huckleberry Picking Champ of Town [?] [?] Walker?
Business Address: (Street) (City, State) (Zip Code)
Previous Occupations: (years) Pastural, Mule Driver, Miner, Asst. Mine [?]
Place of Birth: (town) Germany (State or Country)
Year of Birth: 1897
Other Places of Residence (years)
Father’s Name: Andrew Birthplace: Germany
Father’s Occupation and Special Skills: Miner killed in Mine 1918
Mother’s Maiden Name: Catherine ? Birthplace: Germany
Mother’s Occupation and Special Skills:
Bruno came to Eckley when he was 1 1/2 years old.
Denis Mercier 8/8/72 Tom Lagonosky (Bruno’s son)
“I fell once as a kid in the mule barn and ran a couple of railroad spikes into my knee. (I tripped on the feed car rail.) It wouldn’t heal, and it wouldn’t heal! Finally someone recommended that I go see Mrs. Nicholas, Emory’s mother. She put a slice of bacon and a “pig ear” leaf, (a broadleafed common weed) on my knee and told me to keep it there for several hours. My knee began to heal almost immediately.”
“In my youth (early ’50’s and late ’40’s) there were two “street gangs,” and you’d better be affiliated with one or the other of them! The “uptown” gang was called the “maple leafs.” The “downtown” gang was called the “stars.”
“Every one of the young guys had a good throwing arm. We had to. Someone was always chuckin’ somethin’ at you. Our favorite sport was sitting on the (Presbyterian) church steps and heaving tomatoes or other things at people we didn’t like or wanted to tease.”
“The stripping pit at #1 was measured once, and it was eighty feet deep. The water is very sulfurous, and many people threw dead animals in there. The sulfur in it would eat the carcasses right up. Even so, it was a favorite swimming spot for men and boys who would “skinny dip.” It didn’t dissolve us (miraculously), but we never had any corns, bunions, or warts on us: I can remember when there would be up to eighty people there at once. “One of the things that we used to love to do was get big Babe Horvath laugh when he was right out in the middle. He had a hearty laugh, and, of course, when you laugh, you will exhale and sink. Even though Babe would know we’d try to make him laugh, he still would! “Once I remember that Petrushka wanted to show everyone ‘how to dive like a submarine.’ He did it but he never came up until three days later when they threw a charge of dynamite in. People thought he was stuck under a ledge on the side, but the blast blew him free of it.”
Waln K. Brown 8-21-72 Bruno Lagonoski
[Drawing of the exterior of a rounded bake oven with dimensions marked]
Bruno believes that there were several bake ovens used in Eckley. These were built of either brick or stone, and were held together by mud. The front door was made of a metal plate. The women would make as many as from 15 to 20 loaves of bread at a time. The amount usually depended upon whether the family was a large one, or if the household had boarders. Bruno confirms that Anna Timko’s structure is not a bake over, but rather an out cellar. However, he says that the bake ovens were very similar in construction.
Bruno Lagonosky – House #141
June 5, 1972 – 10:30 AM-11:20 AM
Worked in mines 43 years – started at “bottom” and worked way uup to assistant foreman
Loves to pick huckleberries and goes every year – Waln has challendged him to a “picking duel”
Hard headed, but basically friendly
Date and Tape Name 8/21/72 Bruno Tape 52 Lagonosky Brown
1 German-born – came to U. St. 1 1/2 yrs age – To Eckley in 1934 Discussion on Churches in Village Presbyterian – Demolished c. 1920+ 2 School – New + Old – Old School – 8 grades – Building Plan 3 ” ” 4 ” ” Shanty Street – Company built fences Grade school + graduation 5 Teachers in School – Furnishing 6 Outhouses – coal shanty Playground was Coal Dirt Pile! 7 Patronage – Republican – Democrates! Saw Mill – Remains of Cutting – Stack Began 1840-50 – Torn down in 30 or 40’s 8 Shingles (Shingletown) Train Station – Small Lean-to 9 Coxe’s Own R.R. + Stations – Central R.R. + immigrants Demolition of Stations, etc. c 1900 10 Immigrations – Boarders School – New – Student Enrollment 11 Teachers – Eckley Band – Drum+Bugle BaseBall Teams 12 ” ” – Picnics – Town Lights Church Bazaars – Chance Games
Bruno Lagonosky Continued
13 Picnic Area + Baseball Field Band Stand for Orchestra Dance Floor 14 Area Cave-Ins Mule Barn – Hay Fields 15 Village Plan – c 1900-30 New School house – Lumber Yard 16 Cowtinsed – Lumbering 17 Village Population – Carpenters Bake Ovens – Separate Plans 18 ” ” – Out-cellars 19 Out-Cellars – Preserving Food 20 Smoke houses – Slaughtering 21 Traveling Stores Company Store (ownership) 22 ” ” – Operation 23 ” ” – Reese (Store Owner) 24 24 Senecsville (?) – Berry Picking 25 Huckleberries – Company Store 26 Holiday Celebration Horse Bus – Ball Games – Livery Stable 27 Horse + Surreys Barrooms – Saloons 28 Alcoholic Beverages – Brewing 29 Card playing – Socializing 30 Gardening 31 “
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky
WB: There are some things I want to know.
BL: Anything I can help you out with
WB: Well I’ll tell you, your Protestant right?
BL: No I’m not, no sir.
WB: Well your German.
BL: I’m Catholic.
BL: I was born in Germany, yes.
WB: But you’re Catholic.
BL: That’s right.
WB: Do you know anything about those churches that were over here the Presbyterian and the Lutheran Church?
BL: Only when they were up and when they were they had services in there.
WB: What can you tell me about those churches?
BL: Not too much.
WB: Is there anybody in town that might know about them, I’m just wondering.
BL: Well Ralph’s father belonged to them
WB: Ralph Ellis’
BL: They belonged to that church this is an Episopalian and the other one I think was Reformed the other was tore down, this was tore down in teh late ’30s
WB: Which was that
BL: This one right here/across the road the Episcopalian that was tore down in the late ’30s I was livin’ here when that was tore down, I came down here in ’34.
WB: How about the Presbyterian Church when was that torn down?
BL: I don’t remember, I’ll tell you the truth it was tore down much before this tho but I couldn’t tell you the year because I’d be tellin’ a lie
WB: About maybe 1910 or something like that?
BL: Later than that.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -2- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: 1920 maybe?
BL: It must have been started in the ’20s, the last year for the school house was 1911 the school was standing later than that it was tore down in 1911 maybe it was tore down ten years later because my last year down there was in 1911 then they build the on uptown, 1912 the kids went uptown that was it
WB: Well that school building back there you’re talking baout the 3 room school?
BL: Four rooms it was a 4 room school house
WB: Oh there were 4 rooms in there?
WB: I understood that was only 3 rooms.
BL: 4, first, second, third and fourth.
WB: They didn’t teach 6 grades there they only taught 4 grades.
BL: Now listen they taught up to the 8th grade in there. You passed that school you took an exam for high school see when I got out of there I had an exam for high school, I could go to high school from there but I went to work instead, I was 14, went to work at Hazle Brook.
WB: So that was 4 rooms like 2 grades taught in each room?
BL: That’s right. 2 grades taught in one room.
WB: That was a one floor building?
BL: One floor, that’s right, then the coal house and fire wood was a separate building and the outhouses were separate in the back see the new one that was up-to-date everything was inside, but not here everything was outside.
WB: Do you remember if that was one floor was it like
BL: One floor all the way from 1 to 4th
WB: I’m just trying to get an idea.
BL: And each room had a heater, a pot bellied stove in the middle of the room, sheet-iron circle all around as you know on a stand so your wouldn’t get too
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
close and get burnt.
WB: Was it shaped long or was it square?
BL: Long, 4 rooms you were this way see.
WB: Oh I see like one room, two rooms, three rooms and four rooms.
BL: And each room had 2 windows in the front and 2 big windows in the back with shutters on and the door came in off the sides too.
WB: Was there a porch that went down like this?
BL: Well the first room was pretty near on the ground but this one on the end was sort of, you know on a slant there was a porch, but the first 2 or 3 they were on the ground but the fourth was a little porch on see the ground wasn’t level you see what I mean see this was almost sittin’ on the ground there was a foundation stickin’ up in the back was a high foundation because the ground pitched but the front was down on the ground.
WB: Has the windows on the side here
BL: No windows on the side just the back and front, 4 on each room because 2 in teh front and 2 on the back.
WB: And the doors right between the windows here?
BL: The doors mostly on the side see this is pretty big so the windows went so doors here/on each side.
WB: Was there one for each room?
BL: And before you hit the floor there was a little entry built.
WB: Like vestibule?
BL: Yeh, maybe 6 x 4 or maybe, each one, everyone had that
WB: Where they hung their coats?
BL: No the hung everything inside on hooks.
WB: Hooks on the walls?
BL: On the walls between the windows there were hooks in fact I have some of them here yet.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -4- 3/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: There were no closets.
WB: And each one had a pot bellied stove, each one had a vestibule with a door that came in and each one had 2 windows, 2 in the back and
BL: And between the second grade and the third grade there was a door in between here and I don’t think they ever used it say this was the first grade and this was the second and between the second and third grade there was a door here in the middle, inside. There wasn’t in beteen the first and second there was none in the second and third there were.
WB: Is this the road here would this be Main Street
BL: It wasn’t a street this was the alley/of the churches you now what I mean soe there was a fence back of the churches right here and this was open ground here see you could drive there in fact this was in line with Shanty Street, not quite but pretty near, there was a little curve, Shanty Street set off/maybe 5 or 10 feet lower than the school Shanty Street road would come around this way, see?
WB: This was behind the churches in the alley
BL: Yeh, behind the churches say about 25 ft. from the fences to the school in back of the churches, churches had a fence front and back in fact the whole town had the same kind of fence, coal company took care of it.
WB: How the grades for instance you said this was first grade here, what grade would that have been?
BL: Well you went there 2 years like first and second and you got into this say three or four
WB: So this would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.
BL: When you got out of there you could go to high school if you passed, understand I did but I never went, lot of them did and years ago when you go out of high school you could teach but not today you got to go to college in
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -5- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
in fact this Kate Houser and Dora Konaro were the teachers they only went to high school and they were teachin’, I remember my teachers in these 2 grades and I remember my first grade teacher my first grade teacher was Molly Tisny
WB: Who was your second grade teacher
BL: Dora Konaro, 3rd was Edie Wyatt and Terry Garner and 4th grade was Peter O’Donnell and John O’Donnell, 5th grade was Edie Wyatt she used to live where Ralph Ellis lives and Terry Garner she left Terry Garner from Hazleton got in I remember then, that’s a long time
WB: Did the teachers have a desk in the front?
BL: They had a desk and a swivel chair, blackboard was in the one back and desk and chair was here, yes they all had desks.
WB: And say back here would that have been the blackboard?
BL: Yes, blackboard just on the one side the whole width of the room there were 3 or 4 big panels you know slate panels each room.
WB: And do you remember how many seats in each room?
BL: Well in the first 3 rooms the seats were all double and in this one they were all singles.
WB: Seven and eighth grade were singles?
BL: Yeh, all singles the other were all doubles, 2 rows on each side and the stove was in the middle nothing in between the rooms were pretty big. There was always an aisle between the rows I’d say about 4 feet.
WB: Just a guess, how wide would you say that school was? approximately?
BL: Length or width, the rooms were big, I imagine they were about 20 x 20. I think so, they were square, each room as alike.
WB: So it might be 40 ft. wide and 60 ft. long?
BL: Yeh, it was pretty long.
WB: That is a big school a hell of a big school. How about those outbuildings then.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -6- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Well they were girls had theirs on one side and boys on the other side, I think there were 3 on each side, behind the building facing down in the coal dirt, you know, facing not the front way but the back see the doors would be this way these were about 30 ft. from the school in the back.
WB: How about the coal shanty
BL: That was on the side towards, on the west side of the building.
WB: You got a hell of a memory
BL: Oh I’d say that was about 15 x 15, one story you had wood and coal in there the teachers had to take care of the fires each teacher, it’s not like now of course the teachers got boys you know there was always some teacher’s pet that would go down the teacher used to give them the key but that was her job. But that’s the way it worked.
WB: Was there a janitor or anything like that?
BL: Nothing, nothing down here no janitors but up there, yes. up there when they built that the janitor was there he took care of the furnace see there was a furnace up there steam heat and the rest rooms are in the cellar and sinks and everything in the cellar. Here we had to carry water to the school form the corner here with a bucket each room had a bucket and a dipper
WB: And when you were thirsty you just went up and took a drink?
WB: Well were there any other buildings outside?
BL: No, just the coal building and the rest rooms and the school that’s all.
WB: Did the kids have a play area?
BL: On the coal dirt right back of Pikers there was a big stack oh about 40 ft. high a round one you know years ago there must have been a saw mill we used to climb on that and jump off there into the coal dirt that was the playground. That’s the only playground we had, the coal dirt.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -7- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: Kids used to come back pretty dirty after school? Do you know how much the teachers got paid?
BL: I don’t know that but it wasn’t much another thing is you had to be in the clique to get teaching, if the Republicans were in force you had to be Republican your parents had to be Republican and when it was Democrat you had to be Democrat and then kick back to the directors, I think, every election well they’re macin’ now just the same.
WB: Yeh, I know they do the same thing now, I can’t believe it that’s the best description of that school I’ve had how come you got such a good memory?
BL: I never went out of town.
WB: But still there’s a lot of people didn’t go out of town that can’t remember a dam thing.
BL: I remember when I went to school.
WB: ANd some people don’t, how about was there a saw mill here do you remember?
BL: I don’t remember the saw mill I just remember the stack I believe all of these homes were built from that saw mill you go down there now and see the stumps 3 and 4 ft. in diameter where did that lumber go to.
WB: You’re right I figured that he houses were built
BL: The company that owned this owned the lumber they surely wouldn’t buy lumber for these homes
WB: It makes sense that they would have a saw mill here no one’s ever mentioned it so I didn’t know if it was down
BL: It must have been in the 1840s of 50s there’s nobody here that remembers that stack was still there of late I believe the last 25, 30 years was still standin’ who knocked it down I don’t know it ws nice and round it wasn’t brick it was stone you could go inside and shimmy yourself up to the top the outside you couldn’t because there was no grip that was a saw mill stack
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -8- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: I figured there had to be a saw mill around here but nobody ever mentioned anything about a saw mill.
BL: Someone said they made shingles too so you know they had to have a saw mill to make shingles
WB: Right, real true.
BL: I heard the old timers like they were old when I was a kid talkin’ about it but I don’t remember the saw mill.
WB: How about, do you remember anything about the train station that was up here, do you remember anything abou that?
BL: We had passenger service here on Sundays come from Hazleton and from Rowland you know where the baseball ground is uptown up on the bank the station was about 500 ft. up there, that’s where you got off.
WB: Was that just a little station?
BL: Just a little, there was nobody in there just like like this here where the kids wait for the bus, somethin’ like that.
WB: Was there a building there that somebody opened up and put stuff in like that?
BL: No, no, not Eckley.
WB: Just a small lean-to like where you could get in out of the weather/and stop once in awhile.
BL: In case it was rainin’ you could get out of the weather. I remember when that burnt down too.
WB: When did it burn down?
BL: Oh a good many years, there was an old standin when it was burnt down. See that was Coxe’s own railroad they shipped the coal from there I think to Perth Amboy. In fact I had a big picture of their shipping place at Perth Amboy I don’t know where the hell it got to, I think my daughter has it if I’m not
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -9- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
mistaken, when Lehigh/Valley were on the outs or somethin’ they’d ship their own coal Drifton, Eckley, Oneida all of their holdings you know.
WB: So they had a little shanty built up there.
BL: At Drifton they used to have a telegraph man that had a ticker that worked but not in Eckley.
WB: That was just a stop where they dropped passengers off?
BL: People used to come from Hazleton and then when payday used to come used to come with the passenger train the paymasters used to come right to the collier you had to get off at the station they paymasters would drop right in.
WB: I was just wondering because I was talking to Billy Nagle and he was saying something that there was a train station back of #10 there.
BL: THere was a platform that was years ago I don’t remember that Central Railroad had it there, that was before my time they claim that the people from Europe used to come on the Central Railroad and used to get off there, I don’t remember that.
WB: Because he was saying something to me of the effect that there was where the greenhorns would come in and they didn’t know where to go and that was when #4 was still back there #4 Street.
BL: Yeh, but I don’t remember that, see that railroad was connected on to White Haven at Penn Haven Junction and this one was just the opposite.
WB: That was knocked down before you can remember?
BL: Yeah that was knocked down before my time that I remember.
WB: So it must have just before becuase Nagle’s 85, something like that?
BL: Oh yeh.
WB: He’s only about 10 or 12 years older/than you so it couldn’t be too much before?
BL: When I was a kid I never went up that far either.
WB: That’s true, I just trying to get an idea when it was knocked down
BL: It was probably knocked down before the 1900s.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -10- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: Probably 1890s sometime.
BL: I heard them talk abou that how the greenhorns to get off.
WB: He said how the greenhorns used to get off and they didn’t know where to go so they asked where they could board and he said #4 Street took a lot of boarders so like the train man would say go down there where you see the lights they take boarders down there and they’d get more and more boarders down there/but that’s a long time ago that they kept them.
BL: Well I remember down at #2 at my time there was a lot of boarders down there in my time.
WB: In Eckley?
BL: And in Eckley.
WB: Where were there boarders in Eckley, because I guess #4 was down they didn’t have #4 Street? (since 1900?)
BL: Everybody moved in to town.
WB: So there were boarders all through the town?
BL: Yeh, in homes yes.
WB: Did the people keep many boarders?
BL: 2, 3 they couldn’t keep too many because there was no room. Everybody had a large family.
WB: It would he hard to keep boarders with 12, 13 in a house.
BL: Every house had at least 6, you know we had over 400 kids up there in that new schoolhouse.
WB: Really, that was the new schoolhouse.
BL: There weren’t that many here.
WB: About how many do you think was in that ? Old Schoolhouse
BL: Jesus I don’t know I think about at least 30 in each room maybe more.
WB: So maybe 120 or 130 in the old school house?
BL: Up to 200 I’ll bed you was here, but as the years went on there was more and
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -11- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
more all the time.
WB: Do you know anything about that schoolhouse that was right beside here, there was one here at one time?
BL: Where right here, I think that’s band houses/in the back that I have here now, I don’t remember them, I think they moved that in the back and there’s where they had a band, and then they used to practice.
WB: They used to practice on your back porch
BL: Under the back there the teacher use to live here in this house.
WB: So the Eackley band used to practice back there?
BL: Yeh, and they had a bugle and drum corp too.
WB: Eckley did?
BL: Oh yeh,
WB: A drum and bugle corp, where did they meet?
BL: I don’t know where they met, maybe in the same place.
WB: What was it like old veterans and stuff like that?
BL: No, it was from the town, them days was different, now days there’s nobody they get in an automobile and away they go, one time we had 2 or 3 baseball teams, where did you go, you went down to the baseball grounds or occupied something else, now today they don’t do that, automobile, take off and go, if you wanted to go to Freeland you walked over and back.
WB: You said there was 3 baseball teams was there a lot of group activities that people would get involved with?
BL: Well Sunday everybody would go down and watch a baseball game, everybody, you would see a game and 2 or 3 fights with the bargain.
WB: Well how would they make up these teams was it like maybe one part of town had one and another part of town had another team?
BL: Well this street had their own team and back each street had their own team, there was juniors, seniors and smallers one you know we had a good baseball team.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -12- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: I heard there was a good baseball team here.
BL: And then in later years we had a regular league, each town had 2 or 3 baseball teams, Eckley, Jeddo, Hazleton had a half dozen, Aden and McAdoo, Beaver Meadow, Freeland, Drifton, well play all them teams, had a lot of fights too
WB: I’ll bet especially when Freeland came in and played, you’d jump on the Freeland guys
BL: The poor umpires, I’m tellin’ you, they used to catch it.
WB: Were these any soccer teams or football teams?
BL: No, I don’t remember football or soccer these have Italians and “Botcha they called it well the ball but some of the old timers down here mostly on Sundays but that was mostly a few.
WB: THere was not that many Italians around anyhow.
BL: No, baseball was the main, oh yeh that was great, on Sundays they’d all go down and watch the game.
WB: Did they picnics there while you were watching the game?
BL: Yeh, in the summertime we used to have, pretty near every Sunday have a picnic game or no game we used to get these torches from the breaker to keep the place lit up.
WB: No kiddin’, well who would sponsor a thing like that?
BL: Well maybe a baseball team would sponsor or we have society here, maybe some church would sponsor, you know what I mean, somebody always would sponser. You didn’t have to pay nothin’ for the ground, just had to hire the orchestra, then they sold beer, ice cream stuff like that set up one of these, they used to call them a nigger/head on a hinge, you’d get 3 balls for a nickel and you knock them down – 3 and you’d get a cigar, that was a great sport one time.
WB: I’ve seem then your talking about like three little things like 2 on the bottom and one on the top?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -13- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
and then the back stop they had screening around and they guy 30 ft. away got 3 balls and then if you get it hit down you got a cigar and if you didn’t you got nothin’ that was a great sport.
WB: Did they have other games then?
BL: No that’s the only one we had here.
WB: Well there was, down there in that park there was a picnic area there and the baseball field there right?
WB: And in that picnic area didn’t that they have a band stand
BL: Yeh where the orchestra was, sure.
WB: But that didn’t have a top on?
BL: Oh no, no, just the bannister and it was higher than that floor maybe 3, 4 ft. fellows sat around.
WB: Do you remember who big that was?
BL: Well the platform was about 20 ft. square.
WB: And did you dance on that too?
BL: Yeh they had boards on, yeh people danced on there, I didn’t I didn’t know how to dance, people danced.
WB: Oh I see there was likea platform and then down below it a little bit there was more plank and
BL: That’s right.
WB: Was that platform screened or a bannister around it?
BL: On the whole floor there was a bannister and on the upper there was a bannister so no one would fall off.
WB: Especially if you’d get a couple of drinks and be dancing around, you’d have a hard time standing up, but that was in the picnic area too, did they have
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -14- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
picnic benches or anything like that?
BL: Nothing, open fields.
WB: And the people would lay cloths on the ground and eat their picnics off the ground, were there swings or anything like that in the area?
BL: Nothing at all.
WB: And that got destroyed I guess when they did all that stripping up there?
BL: Well they/under mined it and it/started caved in too/that’s why they got rid of the baseball ground/and put it up here, it was a nice ground down here.
WB: Yes I heard a lot about it, and a lot of the kids would go down there and walk with their girl friends
BL: See them fields down there they used to raise stuff on there, there was a big mule yard over here it was 72 years there.
WB: What would the company raise down here on that other field?
BL: They raised hay, that I remember.
WB: For the mules I guess?
WB: Were there anything else down there besides
BL: Just the 2 homes, one double and one single.
WB: ANd one was the guy that had the carriages that had the stable, right?
BL: Yeh, he used to run the bases with the horses.
WB: What was his name?
BL: John Cerilkson.
BL: Michael lived down there for awhile, sure on the end didn’t he tell you?
WB: No I thought they got rid of them houses before, a long time ago.
BL: Michael lived down tehre before he came here, that one house Ted Shane lived down there last that’s not too long they tore that down, the single was tore down quite awhile but not the double
WB: Was there 2 families that lived in that double home?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -15- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Piper lived in one side and some other party lived in the other side. the mule stable boss lived there for years that I remember.
BL: No, George Young lived down there. You know where Margaret Maloney lives now?
WB: Yeh that’s where they always lived. yes I was just wondering because that’s the only mule boss I heard about, the only (Maloney) stable boss. Now about up here I understand there was a field up here at one time where there still is that was a baseball field up here at Timko’s house wasn’t there, Annie Timko’s up around the mountain road where it turns around
BL: Up in back there where the field is now, yeh that’s the one after they couldn’t use that the company got a bulldoser and leveled that off water used to lay they put a pipe under the railraod track to drain it they couldn’t use that at one time that was always filled with water that went up to the railroad station too through the center of that there was a timber yard up there too.
WB: Yeh, where was that timber yard?
BL: Right up on the edge there you know where the foundation of that schoolhouse was?
WB: No, going up Main Street you turn right just as you turn
BL: You go all the way up you know where Jimmy Gaffney is right across from Jimmy Gaffney’s was the schoolhouse and then about 70, 80 feet above the schoolhouse was a lokey, railroad track and right along this railroad track was this timber yard big railroad track that used to bring this timber in in big cars big pine timber, that’s where they used to cut all the timber/up and lead it, for the miners up in there, there was 6, 7 men worked up there everyday and they sawed everything by hand and then later years they got a ripping saw in the beginning it was everything with a cross-cut.
WB: Where there any buildings up there?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -16- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Just a shack with a stove for the men to eat their lunch, just a little shanty about 8 ft. square and a stove in the middle and then they would eat their lunch there and if it rained they’d get out of the weather but there were no buildings. [Timber Yard]
WB: A log of logs and timber up there?
BL: My God yes, they cut all the timber and boards and things like that, we used to go up and steal the boards.
WB: Did it cover a lot of ground?
BL: Well it covered about 200 ft. in length and about 30 ft. in width.
WB: Bay I love asking you questions you give me the answers just like that. So there was that much timber, and that’s where they got the lumber for the mine
BL: Came on big flat railroad cars, all pine, they unload it on piles and then they’d cover up as needed to the men on flat trucks or in pine cars, on a flat truck they could load 6 pieces for gangway, that would be 9 ft. long at least 14 inches in diameter 6 pieces to a timber truck and the smaller stuff would be in cars, plant would be on the truck too in 4 ft. lengths.
WB: And they had 6 men working up there?
BL: Six or seven.
WB: Where they carpenters?
BL: No just ordinary laberers and then they had a man that would , he would take care of where they would get the orders, you know what size to cut them and he’d tell these men, he was the head man, he’d tell them what to cut and lead and he would put the name on wherever it’s goin’, maybe it was goin’ to this slope or that slope and so on see there were 4, 5 different slopes and that was all shipped from here and that was everyday, timber, plank loggin.
WB: They must have used a lot of lumber up there?
BL: Yes, there were about 400 men worked here.
WB: Oh in the Eckley Mines were there that many at one time?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -17- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Between Eckley and there were about 400.
WB: I just has a group of questions I wanted to ask, there was one question it had to do with the wood, Oh was there a carpenter shack or anything like that here?
BL: They had a carpenter place where they repaired cars that’s the only one, they repaired all of the cars then they repaired some of the homes Cash/was one of the guys that used to come down through the down put a floor in for you or a window easing or stuff like that there were 3 or 4 carpenters and there was a certain gang that repaired nike covers.
WB: There were certain men that worked on the houses, I guess?
BL: No if they had no work on the houses they worked on the cars, they weren’t too steady on the homes they didn’t do much fixin’ the homes only when they had to then they would take them off/the cars and put them on the homes
WB: How about were there any bake ovens dow you know of any bake ovens?
BL: A lot of them, a lot of them through the town that the women used to bake their bread outside in fract in Back Street where I lived my neighbors had one, I remember 3 or 4 in the town used to bake 15, 20 loaves at a time in there.
WB: 15, 20 loaves at a time?
WB: But not every house had a bake oven?
WB: Say for instance you had one in the back of your house would other people use it too?
BL: I couldn’t tell you that but there were 3 or 4 that used one.
WB: Do you know what they looked like?
BL: Yes, you know how the igloo is built, well same goddam principle.
WB: Like Annie Timko’s thing up there?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -18- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: You see where Annie Timko’s is there they kept it for a refrigerator that’s the way the bake oven is built you see that one built up there, then there was an opening in front here.
WB: Was the opening straight with the ground?
BL: No they had it pretty high up like with a big iron plate in the middle here
WB: So it would be right in the middle, this square piece here and that was a metal plate.
BL: We’ll say like a carbar this goddam thing was about 8, 9 fet. long.
WB: No kiddin’ that high?
WB: About 8 or 9 ft. high?
BL: Not high but long I mean wide across here.
WB: How high do you think it was?
BL: Oh I’d say about 4 ft. I remember then bakin’ bread in there.
WB: And they make as many as 15 loaves?
BL: Yeh, sure anybody that had boarders, no baker’s comin’ in town remember.
WB: What was that made of, was it made of bricks or was it made of rock?
BL: Bricks, rocks, and any goddam thing I don’t think there was any cement in to tell you the truth, how it stood up, I can’t tell you. They must have had soem goddam thing to hold it up. Some of them weren’t very rounded they used to have pieces of rails across up there where Mrs. Timko’s there’s a lot of sheet iron did you take notice?
WB: On the top?
BL: Maybe that’s the principle they had there too.
WB: But here is so big the you can walk in to it.
BL: Hers wasn’t a bake over hers was an out-cellar, they used to keep milk there to keep it cool there was no ice homes boxes then when ice boxes came out to had to buy ice and now we get the electric but I know right there on the Back
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -19- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
Street above Timko’s the next house you go up there in the next house the upper door and you go in there and there’s a cement one made in the ground you go up there and see it now.
WB: The one that’s right next to Timko’s?
BL: Up above/Same side you go up to the upper door that house is still standin’ you go up and there’s a cement one made out of cement you can walk into that one.
WB: And that one you think was a bake oven?
BL: No that was a out-cellar too, you can go up there and see it yet see they kept cows and used to keep the milk in there to keep it cool.
WB: Were there many of these out-cellers?
BL: No, no not many but where Timko’s is my father-in-law made that when he lived up there she didn’t make that that’s there years and years and years, that must be 75 years, 80 years old she didn’t make that.
WB: She said she didn’t make it she said it was there before, so I’m just wondering they would just have these out-cellars really like hers they didn’t have a basement.
BL: All of these Back Street houses, not of them had cellars.
WB: So did many of them have the out-cellars?
BL: Well not many, few. My grandmother when we used to get out vegetables she used to dig a hole about 3 ft. deep then put the vegetables down and then put a layer of straw, then a layer of dirt and then a layer of straw and a layer of dirt and then have an opening in /in the front with straw so if you wanted anything you dig in there like a dog and get it out, it didn’t freese.
WB: It wouldn’t freese in the winter?
BL: No because you had the straw and dirt and straw and dirt.
WB: Did many people do that to keep their stuff?
BL: Not many but some of them did.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -20- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: That’s the only way you could keep things, how would you kepe things years ago?
WB: How about meats, how did you keep meats?
BL: In the winter time they used to half a pig and turn it hang it up and freese it but in the summer I don’t know, I don’t remember.
WB: Where they many smoke houses?
BL: Oh yeh, there were quite a few smoke houses, oh yes everybody smoked their own Thanksgiving all you could hear pigs and cows squealin’ and then you’d see the smoke all winter time, yeh quite a few smoke houses.
WB: How many did you think there were?
BL: Well I know at least 2 I know.
WB: And then a lot of people woul duse the same person’s smoke house?
BL: That I don’t know.
WB: What did a smoke house look like?
BL: You know how these toilets in the back are built, the same goddam principle that’s the way they were made, same size too they used to hand the meat up on hooks and the smoke would come up and keep on smokin’.
WB: Where would they have the fire?
BL: At the bottom of the shanty I guess there were stone around so the shanty wouldn’t catch fire.
WB: I understood, I talked to someone that said sometimes they’d have the bake over here and then they’d have a little kit of fire maybe a couple feet away and then they’d light a fire there and they’d have some sheet-metal across up to the shed and then the smoke would go in that way that way it wouldn’t burn down I was just wondering if you knew if that was true or not?
BL: I couldn’t tell you I wouldn’t say yes and I wouldn’t say no I knew there was smokehouses, they’d smoke bacons, sausages, hams, now they don’t do that everythin gis needled.
WB: ALl you have to do is go down here at Jeanette’s
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -21- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: So there were smokehouses too?
BL: Oh God yes, see the meats, there was a butcher comin’ in every second day in the town so you didn’t have much trouble with the meat he’d bring the meat in every second day same thing with the grocery man, the grocery man used to come in not one, two three would come in to town not like now them days were on credit you never saw cash basis, them days you got everything till pay-day and then you paid beer man, butcher, and then the bakers started comin’ in and then people didn’t buy much bread them days everybody made their own bread and made their own yeast.
WB: Were there a lot of these traveling stores that came in here?
BL: Well there were 3 all told we had one that had a store down here in town too.
WB: The company store was right down here wasn’t it?
BL: Well in the beginning that wasn’t no company store not til Gerald Hyland (?) took it, that was regular
WB: Well Reesie owned it before Gen. Hyland?
BL: Yes Reesie then Shupak/after Reesie and then Gen. Hyland took it over and then it was company store and it my time it was no company store before Reesie Keller had it Reese had it for a good many years till he died, Coxe’s never run the company store not that I know.
WB: Because I heard people say that Mrs. Coxe would make certain that people would get stuff out of the company store she would pay just whoever was running it then
BL: Coxe’s never had the company store that I remember Gen. Hyland yes.
WB: General was the first one.
BL: Yeh, General was great for company store.
WB: Well you remember when Reesie owned the store did the company give Reese the pay checks and he would take the money off it?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -22- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: Well how would you get paid, up at the colliery?
BL: Paid at the colliery, every 2 weeks.
WB: But you bought off the books down here?
BL: You bought off the books/over here and you paid them, but the company did not give him no checks.
WB: Well I heard a lot of people say that a lot of times they’d receive the check with snakes across them.
BL: That’s right, when General Hyland had it if you’re store bill was higher than your earnings there was a snake across.
WB: When did Gen. Hyland take that store, do you remember?
BL: I think the first time they had it, they had it twice you know, in ’29 and they had it in the ’40s, I know they had it in 29 for a year or two and then they reverted back to the Coxe’s and then they took it back in the ’40s and then they had it for quite a few years then it was a company store.
WB: And then you’d get the snake across?
BL: That’s right, see I never bought anything, when I bought it was on cash basis, the only time I bought anything/up there was a suit of clothes that settled that see I had 2 boys for suit clothes but outside of that, they were too expensive.
WB: They were more expensive at the company store?
BL: My God yes you could get much cheaper elsewhere.
WB: Like where, from the traveling stores that came around?
BL: Yeh from the traveling places down here they were cheaper and better in town too, and he also had the post office in the store it was always there then the store shut down and they took it down where Gera lives now in the big house.
WB: Then the post offie was in Gera’s house?
BL: Mike ran that, but that was after the company store.
WB: But you said the company store was more expensive than the traveling store?
BL: Oh my God, yes.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -23- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
WB: How much more like a whole lot or a little bit?
BL: 2, 3 cents on each item and that would add up you know the people couldn’t afford it.
WB: No, hell no, I was just wondering why more people didn’t buy off the traveling stores than the company stores.
BL: It was handier to go down there.
WB: Besides I heard also
BL: Then they’d run over their bill and what did they care, some of them would spend so high, pull out and change their name and go elsewhere.
WB: Do you think that was the reason Reese would charge more because he got stuck a couple times? To make up the difference?
BL: I imagine they all do that evennow who do you think pays for, what about this shopliftin’ you pay for the shoplifters, they jack up 2, 3 cents on the item to make up fo the shopliftin’.
WB: Right. Do you think a lot of people stuck the store?
BL: No I don’t think so, not in this town.
WB: Because I heard the Reesie was a darn nice fellow, and he was real nice to people and everything.
BL: He was, see the strippins ? ? and he had 15, 20 boarders that just came across and he would furnish them with everything even, any goddam thing he didn’t have, if he didn’t have it he got it now he wasn’t paid the day he give it to them but when payday came they’d come down and pay him and they bought everything, sheepskin coats, boots and shoes and gloves and what the hell not, see, he would outfit them yeh he would outfit them with anything, now if you needed a bed they sold beds and if he didn’t have it he got it, he got a bed and mattress anything you wanted if you wanted a suit of clothes he got you a suit of clothes which he didn’t sell, shoes and gum, he didn’t sell no clothing, yard goods
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -24- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
for women, stuff like that, but if you needed a suit, he got it. And then on payday he’d go down there and collect.
WB: Would be collect or would the people bring the money to him?
BL: Well some of them/he’d go up and some he’d go down, but he didn’t get no checks the people/give it to him.
[Recorder turned off and then on again]
BL: You can’t crawl up there’s nothin’ up there, boy you ought’ve been up there in ’64.
WB: Back of Senecsville?
BL: Yeh, you ought’ve been up there then you oughta seen berries then.
WB: Well there aren’t that many berries around here now are there because there aren’t that many brush fires?
BL: No but you could’ve got berries/anywhere 30, 40 years ago would start burning on Monday and until the next Monday when the rain came, but no more an airplane comes now and puts it out.
WB: Did you learn to pick huckleberries when you were younger?
BL: I picked huckleberries when I was 5 yrs. old and I’m pickin’ them yet.
WB: You’ve been picking them for 70 years now that’s a lot of huckleberries.
BL: My grandmother would take me when I was 5 yrs. old you didn’t have to go far years ago you know where the reservoir isup here that was a great place for berries the whole side.
WB: Everybody used to pick huckleberries didn’t they?
BL: They used to go out with all the kids early in the morning till late at night that’s the way they made money for their school clothes, I picked huckleberries from sunrise till sunset not just one trip sometimes 2 trips, 3 trips and then they were 4, 5 cents a quart them days they’d start out at 10 then drop down to five in no time they’d stay at 5 and sometimes 4.
WB: And when there were strikes around here I guess the men would go and pick
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -25- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Everybody picked huckleberries, everybody picked huckleberries you’d get 20 qts. for a dollar and that was tough work well there was no trouble pickin’ 25, 30 qts. a day not in them days, no.
WB: That’s a heck of a lot of huckleberries though, would a man come in to town and buy them then?
BL: 2 of them just like you see now, he buys them up, no trouble gettin’ rid of berries, Reese down there he used to buy them, when he bought them he used to clean them, he used to buy them in homes maybe you seen them they hold about 12 qts. then he had a fan like and he’d take all the leaves out
WB: There was a huckleberries’ room in that store there wasn’t there?
BL: He didn’t put them in baskets like they do now, he’d put them in these boxes adn whatever he done down there I don’t know but he’d put them in/quart baskets, or some of them put in 12 qt. baskets I guess for bakeries these guys put them in quart baskets.
WB: So huckleberries were/really important at one time?
BL: Exactly, kids used to make enough money for their school clothes, everybody picked them, women, men and all you’d see the whole families go out early in the morning the woods were full of people.
WB: Did they do that in other towns?
BL: Every town did it.
WB: All the patch towns I guess?
BL: All the patch towns did it.
WB: Where there any special celebrations around Eckley?
BL: Not that I know of.
WB: Was New Years Eve a big time or Christmas, or any time like that?
WB: I was just wondering if on the Fourth of July they would have a band or something going on.
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -26- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Not that I know of there was generally a baseball game on the 4th of July and everybody would go down there, Sunday’s afternoon that was a game and if the game was out of town you know before the gasoline buses came in this fellow had horse buses and he’d take a bunch out.
WB: What did that horse bus look like?
BL: It was a long thing somethin’ like the tracks, you know on high wheels and 2 horses some of them had 4 horses we used to go from Eckley to Shepton on one of them buses by horse to play baseball.
WB: How many people would one of them buses hold?
BL: Well some of them would hold as high as 20.
WB: How many did he own down there?
BL: He only had one and he used to haul the girls from Eckley to Foundryville? to the railroad station when they worked in Weatherly he did that for awhile then he’d take the people from Eckley to Freeland they’d get half there/to Freeland and jump out he’d have a full bus form Eckley to as far as Freeland it would be only half full.
WB: So then he’d only get paid by half the people.
BL: That’s right, people you know were funny.
WB: Yeh they’ll try and gyp if if they can.
BL: Yes if you wanted a horse for hire you could hire a horse and a buggy.
WB: Was that like a livery stable?
BL: Yeh,/for him it was like a livery stable.
WB: Did he do anything else did he work in the mine?
BL: Yeh, he worked in the mine too, that was his side
WB: Did he it by his house, he had the single house, right?
BL: No he was boardin’ in one of them double houses, he was boardin’ in there, he was only a boarder and after awhile he moved down to Drums at the bottom of the
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -27- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
hill when he run the saloon.
WB: Did he have a special building to keep the stuff in?
BL: He had a stable like a garage he kept the horses, he had 4 horses and the bus was on the outside and 2, 3 buggies them with the fringes on what the hell do you call them?
BL: Yeh, one of htem he had, 2 horses pulled that, a seat in the front and a seat in the back, he had one of them.
WB: And he’d rent them out to people to ride around?
WB: I bet they were fun, did you ever take them out?
BL: Oh God yes a couple times, Weatherly, White Haven.
WB: What did he charge.
BL: One dollar no matter where you went it was one dollar.
WB: That was pretty cheap a dollar was a lot in those days but it was still pretty cheap.
BL: That was a lot of money in those days, when you wanted to hire a horse from Eckley to Freeland it was a dollar just that 3 miles.
WB: Where there any barrooms in Eckley?
BL: Nothing, the closest bar was in Sandy Valley at the bottom of the hill and Hazleton, that was the closest barroom.
WB: Well when the guys wanted a drink was there a saloon?
BL: They’d go to Freeland, a beer man would come around and you’d buy the beer, no barrooms but not in the town, it was Hazleton or Sandy Valley and Back Mountain was another one, that’s an old timer.
WB: Did many of the people make hootch around here?
BL: Well during Prohibition, yes pretty near every house, plenty of hootch makers
WB: Did they sell it or make it for their ownselves?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -26- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Make it for their own use I don’t think many sold it.
WB: I was just wonering if a couple guys would make a whole bunch and sell it they just made it for themselves?
BL: Everybody made it for themselves.
WB: Did the Irish make more than the Slavish people or did the Slavish make more than the Irish?
BL: There wasn’t many Irish around here any more it was mostly the Slavish that made it, mostly.
WB: What did the make it out of?
BL: Rye, raisins, wheat, corn.
WB: Did they little boilers that they put on the stove?
BL: I never seen one but that’s what they had, Piper said he used to travel with a guy that they made it and they’d spend all night you know they had it make it at nights.
WB: He’d get busted for that he’d get in trouble, if they caught you.
BL: Oh yes make it every second house made it some of them made good stuff.
WB: What was the difference how would they made a better whiskey?
BL: It all depends what you made it out of, some of them would make it out of but what could you expect if you got real stuff supposed you get rye made it out of rye alone don’t mix anything with it
WB: Then you’d have a good whiskey?
BL: But if you mixed all kinds of slop in it what would you expect.
WB: Sure, I’m just wondering did many of hte men get drunk and do anything around the town?
BL: If they got drunk they’d just sleep it off.
WB: When men wanted to meet say for instance guys were loafing together was there some place in town where they met pretty muchand stop to talke?
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -29- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
BL: Well the young fellows used to meet on certain house, certain corners on the street like where we used to live on Back Street that was a stop no matter when you went there, there was a bunch there, the older men they kept in the bouse they used to do a lot of card playing on the porches/years ago with the mining lamps you know we’d get some of this sod and give it to them that was a past time them days.
WB: I heard that they used to meet up here at Boots’ every once in awhile?
BL: Yeh, that was a great meeting place right on the corner.
WB: They’d play cards in the shop once in awhile?
BL: Yes there was always on the street there was always somebody there.
WB: And there was also a/little bench out there by the fence wasn’t there?
BL: Yeh, they had a bench there another place up there right across from the clubhouse on the opposite side Cusher used to live there, there was a bench there, they had 3 or 4 sons and the guys would do a lot of loafin’ there, yeh there was a bench there.
WB: Right across from the
BL: Yeh on the upper side where the house was tore down, you know where Annie there was a house there, on the outside of the fence there was always somebody there too.
WB: All of these houses had fences around at one time didn’t they?
BL: Everyone, fence front and back, sides, all around.
WB: Where they just boards that went straight up and down, right?
BL: No, corssways, 3 boards, no 4 boards and a tapping on top all around the churches and all the only thing htat wasn’t fenced in was the school, the one up town wasn’t fenced or this one, every thing else was fenced, well they had to have fence everybody had one instread of automobiles you see that nobody had grass everybody had vegatables from the front to the back of the lot, potatoes, corn, cocumbers and you know vegatables, not like now, nobody’s plantin’ a garden
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -30- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
years ago everybody planted a garden.
WB: When people planted a garden was there certain times when they planted the foods or did they just plant the whole garden at one time?
BL: They planted pretty near the whole garden at one time years ago the seasons were that you could plant much earlier than they can now I don’t understnad everything’s changed another thing 50, 60 years ago you didn’t have to spray anything now why is it if you don’t spray everything you don’t have anything.
WB: That’s a dam good question.
BL: I think it’s on account of your brush fires.
WB: You do, those brush fires would keep all the bugs out and stuff?
BL: Yeh, because they didn’t have no place to breed and they don’t comein if there’s no brush fires you can’t have nothin’ in the garden then goddam bugs/even eat roses and I never sprayed 50, 60 years ago, anything the only trouble we had was with potato bugs once in awhile but outside of that nothin’ else.
WB: How did you get rid of the potato bugs?
BL: Well, bruch them off or sometime put ? on, dust them but outside of that we didn’t have to do anything else.
WB: What was in the gardens anyhow?
BL: Well mostly potatoes adn we used to plant a lot of cucumbers, red beets, corn, cabbage and there were no rabbits like there is in the town now there are more goddam rabbits in here than in the woods, groundhogs, rabbits, squirrels and everything is in town, you didn’t see that before.
WB: Was there any special way those gardens were taken care of?
BL: Everybody had his own way, you watered them, bank up the potatoes, keep the weeds out or you’d have nothin’.
WB: But you’d get a lot of food out, save you money
BL: Yeh and there were a lot of plum trees down in this end of the town years ago
Waln Brown interviewing Bruno Lagonosky -31- 8/21/72 Tape 5-2
oh a lot of plum trees.
WB: And there were a lot of grape arbors and things like that?
BL: Yeh I have 2 of them now.
WB: I guess a lot of people grew grapes so they could make wine, right?
BL: I had 4, 5 bushels and nobody wanted them so I cut them down.
WB: But did many people have grapes?
BL: Not many but just like now you have them, still have them, when I moved here they were here and they’re still here I never got rid of them.
*Childrens Games + Past Times – Pg 34-35
Date + Tape Name Page Subjects 8/8/72 Bruno 1 Snake Stack – Old Sawmill Tape#& Lagonosky Children’s playground Dennis Mercier + *Coal Dirt-Coal Washings Piker Used by PP+L. Ferko 2 Man Talk – Town cleanup 3 Town Street – WPA – 1930’s 4 ” ” 5 Hydrants – Plumbing in Houses-Diagram 6 Water Lines laid in 1920s to Houses Buried Telephones Electric Lines – Maria 7 Map of Pipes + Wires Township Responsibilities – Garbage 8 Company Owned Town – Upkeep * Personal owners of Horse + Buggy 9 1899 – 1st Striping – #1 First Car in Town – 1918-20 “Overland” Bicycles – Adult 10 Town Government – Justice of Peace Coal + Iron Police 11 Voling – Polling Places 12 ” – Local Officials 13 Patronage – ” ” 14 Police – Law + order – 15 Arrest – J. of P. – Coal Stealing 16 ” 17 Mine Disaster – Death – Funerals Insurance – Benafits
Date + Tape Names Page Subjects 18 Mine Accidents – First AID 19 Fire – Flu Epidemic – 1918 20 Blizzards 21 Strikes + “On the Book” Check Cashing – No Bank – “Joe, the Motor” – Traveling Store Bus Service – 1930’s 22 Man Talk – Huckleberrying 23 Brush Fires 24 Foundations, Fam, School, Churches 25 Churches torn down – 1930’s Names of Streets 26 Positions of Houses 27 Shoemakers House – Road-Bridges 28 SteeamLine 29 Lokey engines used to fire-up the Steamlines Work-Gangs 30 Work conditions – Lay offs 31 Mine work promotions – qualifications 32 Importation – Welsh – German Miners 33 Social Distinction in Town 34 Children’s Games – Hoops – Boys 35 ” ” Girls Xman Party – Mrs Coxe 36 Remembering Xmas + School 37 Repeat Conversatism ” “
Denis Mercier inter. Bruno Lagonosky and Piker Ferko -1- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: Did anyone tell you we had a big stack down here along the schoolhouse
DM: Yes, George Petrushka told me that you guys used to jump off of it
BL: Yeh, it was about 40 ft. high, it wasn’t brick it was stone but it was round and on the top it had a collar made nice I think that was the stack for the saw mill if I’m not mistaken
DM: And that was 40 ft. high and you used to jump off it with umbrellas
BL: Yeh.. That was all coal dirt you’d jump and you’d jump into something soft you wouldn’t hurt yourself
DM: And that was one of the ways the boys in town would – the girls wouldn’t do it
BL: Yeh the school was only 300 ft. awayit was on the west side of the school
DM: That was the sawmill stack, and the girls didn’t
BL: Oh no
DM: Was this coal ash or dirt
BL: They used it, they picked it up and used it, it was coal dirt
DM: So it was all soft and kind of muddy when you hit it
BL: Yeh, see years ago a trough run right thru here right thru that yard there right in the middle of the yard
DM: Where Piker’s mother lives
BL: That’s right from the breaker right down that would drop all coal silt down there why a guy was pickin’ it up for about 15 years, that was about 16, 17 ft. thick
DM: What did they use the coal dirt for, for the blast furnaces
BL: Well P P & L was using it
DM: And they just trucked it out of here by the truck load
BL: Well they run it thru the breaker, you know, they used it
DM: And then thru the years that fence in back of Piker’s house on the other side was all piled up
BL: Pretty near the heighth of that fence all the way thru
DM inter. BL & PF -2- 8/8/72 DM: it’s hard to imagine that now it’s so pretty even tho they should Tape 7
DM: clear that out, it’s still pretty
BL: It’s hard but that’s the way it was
DM: What do you think, I know Mr. ? and because they cleared all this out now the snow’s going to right thru
BL: I think it’s nice
DM: It looks pretty but what about the snow
BL: Oh forget it
DM: You don’t care
DM: You’re an outdoorman you don’t much care, do you
BL: No that looks like somethin’ now
DM: I think it looks like a nice little place to take a walk
BL: Right, you could put a picnic table in there
DM: Exactly if we could get Ralph to move his truck, yeh I don’t like the looks of that truck sittin’ there in the woods, before it didn’t look so bad but now with that truck it’s not so pretty
BL: Yeh they could clear this side out too
DM: Yes, I noticed they did this before they did that, didn’t they, they out to clean those piles up and get that other junk out
BL: Yeh it looks nice I thnk that’s the way it should be and now that that Fairchild moved out of there and clean that up, that used to be a disgrace to the dam town all of the junk layin’ around
DM: Yes and that Max Kermellon’s junk yard in the back that’s not so easily seen
BL: Well in the back you can’t very well see it
DM: Well the three people down here are kind of mistakes made by us and we’d like to get them all out of herebecause they’re not miners they don’t think anything about the town they just thinking about a cheap place to live I wouldn’t worry about that, can you
DM inter BL & PF -3- 8/8/72 Tape 7
remember when the street was clay was it crowned in the middle or
BL: Yeh, it wasn’t exactly crowned it was pretty flat I remember when the road was all clay this was just paved in WPA times
DM: The WPA paved it
BL: No the WPA cracked the stone, I don’t know if they State paved it but the WPA cracked the stone by hand
DM: Well now up town there’s stone you can see by the side is that stone all the way across, underneath there
BL: Underneath there all the way up town, cracked by hand, and up there they even made the sides, you know
DM: Right, the little curbings
BL: Yeh, the curbings and the drainage ditches, WPA done that
DM: Now they have it covered up here but not up town
BL: No there never were curbings here, just from the corner there where the store is now all the way up town where you turn to Buck Mountain
DM: How come not this
BL: I don’t know, maybe they run out of money but they cracked the stone here for the middle
DM: Were they man from the local area on the WPA
BL: All local people
DM: All from Eckley
BL: Well maybe one or two but from surrounding towns, Freeland, Jeddo and so on anybody that was out of work
DM: If things get too much worse they say do it again
BL: In Eckley we’re pretty well fixed for jobs the mines are goin’ pretty good there were about 20, 25 men on on a crew
DM: How long it take maybe lay 10 ft. or were they working all over the place
BL: No, they kept on comin’ as they go well I wouldn’t know how long to lay 10 ft.
DM inter BL & PF -4- 8/8/72 Tape 7
I would say 2 or 3 hours any how and while one party was hauling this stone other guys were crackin’, see,
DM: And they would just work it like other street workers do
BL: Yeh, I would say that is 6 inches thick that base, all had cracked
DM: And where did they get the rock
BL: I don’t know I guess picked it up all around no trouble gettin’ rocks
DM: I was going to say it looks like Pennsylvania rock
BL: They got it locally right here
DM: And did they put clay on top of that or did the clay just get there, Oh yes, the clay was underneath that and then they put
BL: They didn’t put this fine stuff on they had this chestnut size, it was rough
DM: Did it seep nil like this new stuff does, leak oil
BL: No that’s the first time I ever seen it seepin’ I never seen this before
DM: Remember the day I was on a motorcycle, remember how hot and sticky it was I almost got the tires stuck
BL: No I don’t know, they done somethin’ the shouldn’t have, what ever they done I don’t know
DM: Put too much oil in the mixture maybe
BL: It was too cold when they put the road in that’s what I think, see they put that in in November, the top layer
DM: That’s not smart
BL: The next day a big snow storm and the temperature was down below freezing
DM: That’s the reason why
BL: I never saw it bleedin’ like that in my life
DM: Because I used to work on a work crew and we were not allowed to work if the temperature was under 50 it was a contractor, you know a contracting job
BL: You’d think the state would know better then
DM: Well I hate to apoligise for the state all the time but I do, that’s right this
DM inter BL & PF -5- 8/8/72 Tape 7 is a state highway that’s why we have to call in the State Police
DM: I think I have to ask you again, I asked you before but I don’t remember, my memory’s going on me already I think you said there was a hydrant up, right near Hoopers
BL: Right here, there was one right here where Petrushka lives the empty house right there, we used to carry the water from there to the school house
DM: Between Petrushka’s and the next house
BL: No on this side right on the corner
DM: On Bruno’s side of Petrushka’s, I’m putting that on so they know what I’m talking about
BL: We carried the water from there to the school house, now these homes from here down they always had water
DM: Always, even from the first day
BL: Not that I remember and that’s better than 70 years
DM: I know, that’s going back pretty well
BL: From there up and then there was another on/you know where George lives/that was the next one between Byron and
DM: Well Joe Byron had the other one, between George and Joy Byron
BL: And the other one was, you know where Rubin lives, right across the road there was one there, where that house was torn down, there was one there
DM: And they were old hand pumps
BL: They were no hand pumps they were connected on the lines, all you had to do was either open the valve or push a handle, they were connected on a stopcock
DM: I know what you mean because you even helped me draw a picture
DM: Pike last night told me they were pumps
BL: Why would you have hand pump you either had to/open a valve or they had a handle on see there was a stop cock on the bottom and it was connected on to the long rod and on top of the rod you either had a wheel or a handle
DM inter BL & PF -6- 8/8/72
DM: So they hydrants were not hand pumps but/just like big spigots Tape 7
BL: There was a water line in a hand pump you’d have to have wells you couldn’t put wells here it was under mines
DM: What are you doing telling all the guys from the Museum this stuff
BL: They were mistaken there were no hand pumps
DM: I didn’t think there were because you and George Byron and a couple fellows helps us draw a model of one, I remember that, you were working on it than George was working on it
BL: They had a line, you know but then in the early twenties they put this land all around and everybody got water in the houses, you see that, they had to do something because this line was about shot
DM: But the new lines are in the back
BL: Yes in the back but the old ones, I don’t know, they must have been in the front
DM: And they just left them rot there
BL: Oh yes they were gone
DM: Well it’s now very smart to dig it all up again, now the power lines are buried here
BL: Right along here, along side of the hedges, see that mark between the hedges and where they dug that bush out and that goes into the hole, telephone and, well when they put the mail box in they out thru telephone
DM: No kidding
BL: Yeh, they had one of these augers and they drilled right thru
DM: Did it cut off your phone service, I guess it out off everybodys
BL: Everybody’s, and 2 or 3 days after that they went over there and did the same thing there, oh the guy was mad
DM: Don’t they have the phone lines marked every so often when they have them buried
BL: Well for underground they have a yellow strip paper or plastic but when you’re diggin’ with an auger you can’t see, see they had these transformer boxes, there
DM: inter BL: & PF. -7- 8/8/72 Tape 7 one right there, see there’s one right in the garden, in the corner and one down there by that tree there
DM: I’ll have to go and look at that because I didn’t realize
BL: There’s oen up at Margaret Maloney’s at this side, you check that between Cash’s and Margaret Maloney’s on the right side going up
DM: They should know then if they line it up they can run a string between junction boxes
BL: Yeh, now you see the water company, I don’t know if this is plactic if a pipe locator would pick it up the water company anything that’s iron they have a pipe locator and they can locate it with that if it’s an end pipe they can’t locate it but then they have, every certain distance they have a map and they have measurements for a certain point, see and they still know where it is
DM: I was going to say they should have a map
BL: Then they chart this all on a map
DM: But still they do dummy things like drill a hole right down thru the middle
BL: That’s what happens
DM: When this street was clay how as it maintained, did the Coxe’s maintain it
BL: The township
DM: The township I am surprised I’d have throught the Company would maintain that
BL: No the township maintained it, the township use to fix it once in awhile the only thing the Company done, see in the alleys everybody use to throw all of their junk in the alleys all well after it was pretty well cluttered up the Company, a fellow with 2 mules and a wagon would come around and clean it up there’s where the people use to throw their cans, see this road as you go to Buck Mountain that time that wasn’t there that was an alley you had to go up the Back Street you know where the railroad track is you went up there then you went up the Back Street and up that’s the way it went years ago it just of late the WPA started this in the late 20’s and the early 30’s they done that but that was an
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -8- 8/8/72 Tape 7 alley before, see nobody had cars see everybody had a cow or 2 cows now you have an automobile
DM: Right, well then you have to get back there more now, yes that’s what I was thinking, how were they going to drive back there
BL: And everything was fenced front, side back and all everything was fenced
DM: Did you have the regular 3 board fence
BL: Four boards, well that was the company, they took care of that and then you had a gate, front and back and then you didn’t have lawns like they do now everybody had it planted, everybody had a vegetable garden
DM: We talked about this before there were no lawns like you see now it was all planted with something
BL: Yeh, everything was planted, there was no lawns, nobody had a lawn
DM: I didn’t know he drove one of those trucks, I thought he drove a car to work. When the street was dirt when the township came along what did they do did they put that sodium or whatever it is, on it
BL: No they just put clay on and when there was dust, there was dust that was it there was no such a thing as sodium choloride. I have a half a bag of it up in the back see that’s alright to keep the dust down and its good to put on the ice
DM: Isn’t that what you put on an ice cream freeser to make it colder
BL: I don’t think it was that
DM: Oh no you use rock salt
BL: Yeh, rock salt this stuff’s too powerful
DM: I know you know your stuff I’m not worried about that. In the days that you can remember how many persons had their own horses and buggies
BL: 2, only 2 people in the whole town, that’s all that I remember
DM: And who were they
BL: Henry’s and the Colly’s
DM: I don’t remember them being bosses
DM inter BL & PF -9- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: The Colley he was a boss at Hazlebrook and of late he used to take that horse over the mountain to Hazlebrook and Henry he was a strippin’ man but they never used the horse, they just had it for when they wanted to go somewhere in the wintertime with sleds, they’d hook them on to there and ride up and down
DM: Strippin’ man, back there did they have stipping operations, I thought that was a recent thing
BL: Oh no, they had strippins early in the 1900’s, this #1 Strippin’ were you down there, that was in 1899 my father was haulin’ coal in there already that was stripped before that they use to have to load ten cars for a dollar, that’s 30 tons for a dollar, yeh that’s the first one around here
DM: 1899 the #1 Stippin
BL: There used to be a bridge across that strippin with the water line went across the steam line was bent like Brooklyn Bridge on ropes and catwalk
DM: I think I saw a picture of that, I assume that after the first 2 people had buggies more people got them
BL: No, and nobody had a car until about 1918, 1920 and then they started to get cars, the first car in town was a Overland car
DM: Overland Willys
BL: Yeh, do you remember that
DM: I know what they look like, they looked about every other car except
BL: You had to put curtains on
DM: And they didn’t have spoke wheels they had solid wheels, solid steel
BL: These had spoke wooden wheels
DM: Oh that was a real oldie then, I seen some Overland Willys with steel wheels that looked like the old fashioned kind
BL: Yeh, and then the Ford came in, our neighbors got a Fod. Another thing years ago you never seen many bicycles in town anyone had a bicycle was a grown up, there was no kids with bicycles
DM: INTER BL: & PF: -10- 8/8/72 Tape 7 DM: Were they the high wheelers
BL: Yeh, no just like these, no I never seen one of them in town
DM: No I wouldn’t know what year they went in and what year they went out I know there’s still a lot of them around, people have them as hobbies
BL: Not in town
DM: Can we shift gears away from cars and talk about government, were there any local official like anybody elected to anything like the mayor or anything
BL: Sure we had a justice of the peace here in town one time and a constable
DM: A J.P., did he live/down here
BL: Yeh he lived right where Ralph lives
DM: Right in Ralph’s house
DM: And a constable he didn’t have nothing to do with the company
BL: Oh no that was township, the company had their Coal and Iron Police
DM: That’s true. well to get back to that the Coal and Iron Police were they people from Eckley
BL: No, they were from out of town in fact Hooper’s father was from Drifton and he was one of them and I don’t remember the names of others but they were 2 or 3 of them but they had to tend to Driton, Eckley, Oneida
DM: How did they get around to all these places
BL: Well one of them had a horse and he used to ride horseback and Hooper I don’t know how in the hecks he got around I don’t know if he came on foot or
DM: I’ll have to ask George about that
BL: I’m not so sure but he used to come
DM: Do you want to come over Pike, well I’ll ask him, do you want him to come over
BL: Let him over over
DM: Was there gun racks in the back of that truck
BL: I don’t think so
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -11- 8/8/72 Tape 7
DM: You’re in a strange mood today, everytime I see him wave his hat I know he’s in a strange mood, that’s the problem I’ve learned so much I can’t remember what I learned, it’s all on tape or on notes somewhere
BL: He was elected by the township and the voters
DM: Where did they vote
BL: Right up there in my place
DM: What do you mean your place
BL: Up in the band house in that old shack up there
DM: That was your polling place
BL: Sure for years and years and years
DM: Now what do you mean band house
BL: Well they use to have a band in Eckley and that’s where they practiced, the band house
DM: And where was this place
BL: Right in the back in the garden
PF: Right in back of the garage, that’s the place
BL: Now it’s fallin’ apart
DM: Well to me it’s brand new
BL: I really think that was a one-room school house one time and they just moved it over in the garden
DM: There’s a story about a schoolhouse around your house somewhere, not the one over here
BL: I thin it was settin’ on them rocks over there and they just moved it over and they used it for a band house and votin’, sure they voted in there since I’m here
PF: Yes and before you came here they voted there too, I was judge of election up there for 15 years
DM: Now if you guys vote you have to go up to Freeland
DM: INTER BL: & PF: -12- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: No you go up to the club house.
PF: But I think it’s comin’ to that when we’ll have to go to, because the expense to these town with machines
DM: Do they bring in voting machines
PF: Oh yeh
DM: That’s right in Pennsylvania they always do, that’s too much money
PF: Not the whole state
DM: I thought it was the whole state in Philadelphia they have every ward
PF: Yeh in Philadelphia but down by Williamsport they vote by ballot
DM: Well we vote my ballot down in New Jersey even for presidential election they don’t have any machines we can’t even get highways this good in New Jersey I think the mobs are taking it all
PF: You don’t pay taxes
DM: I certainly do
BL: My boy lives in Jersey
DM: And he votes by/paper ballot
BL: Cheez I never asked him, he lives in Westwood
DM: I’ll bet he does, where’s that, central New Jersey
BL: 130 miles from here
DM: Yeh it’s alright in north Jersey
BL: Not far from George Washington Bridge about 8 miles
DM: I lived in West Hill, New Jersey and that’s down south
BL: He built his house there, he works in New York
DM: Can you think of any appointed local officials any officials that was appointed by the state or the township
BL: Only supervisors, they had to run for that, they weren’t appointed, they were takin’ care of the roads
DM: In New Jersey they call them “free-holders” everybody calls tehm “free-loaders
DM inter BL & PF -13- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: Well that’s a good name for them
PF: That’s about all they are here
DM: They make a lot of money
PF: Yeh but they don’t do nothin’
DM: They don’t make too much money, what was the pay over here about $1,500 for a term
PF: Yeh but they didn’t do nothin’
BL: I know they didn’t
PF: That’s the same way now with the supervisors, what are the doin’
BL: Nothin’, and the school directors
DM: School superintendent
BL: No, school directors, the superintendent was appointed by the state, I don’t know
DM: And the school directors, where were they
PF: They took care of everything in the school
DM: Oh they were above the superintendents
BL: They took care of the teachers, supplies and books
DM: And that was a better job than say the superintendent of the schools
PF: You didn’t have to work and you get a kickback here and there and make a nice buck
DM: Politics and schools always seem to go together in this area of the country, I know it goes together all over the place but even more so here
PF: If you were a school director and you wanted your kid to teach school, you had to pay up
DM: That’s what I heard
PF: I know the ? and he even told my daddy that he paid $1,000/when the the Republicans were in for Johnny
BL: See the trouble here years ago when the party would change you were just out of
DM: If you wanted to buy your job back you had to cough up the money
DM inter BL & PF -14- 8/8/72 Tape 7
PF: That’s right
DM: Meanwhile the politicians were getting fat
PF: That’s true
BL: They’re still gettin’ fat
DM: True, I’m not saying things have changed a lot
PF: Yeh school directors use to be a big fight
BL: OH God yes
DM: You mentioned I think if I had to pick an influential woman in this town I think I’d pick Mrs. Vochack
BL: She’s about the oldest woman in town, don’t you think or the Fatula woman is older
DM: I think the Fatula woman in older, there are people that look up to Mrs. Vochack in this town and I was wondering when you guys were younger were there people that were not elected to anything but people that/you respected their opinions and you kind of looked up to them, do you remember that sort of thing
PF: We never had to look up to nobody in town
DM: What do you mean you never had to
PF: We never had to [Piker is too far from the recorder you can old get snatches]
DM: Oh I mean people that were admired by everybody, you looked after your own skin first
BL: It was everybody for himself, but we never had no trouble here of any kind
DM: Now about the Coal and Iron Police, I was asking Piker about this the other day if they would catch you they would just break your bucket and just send you home right
BL: 9 times out of 19 but sometimes they would take you in if you coudn’t pay a fine
DM: Yeh would the coal operator take care of that, the company deal with/you or
BL: They’d take you up to the Justice of the Peace, maybe you’d have to pay 2 1/2
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -15- 8/8 72 Tape 7
or 5 bucks
DM: The squire or somebody, then you’d have to pay a fine
BL: Oh yeh, he couldn’t getcha on pickin’ coal he’d getcha on trespassin’
DM: Then the coal was just left out of it, 2 or 5 fine back then that was a lot of money
BL: Sure it was a lot of money, but 9 out of 10/you’d run away and he’d smash your buckets and take them with him and that was it
DM: I don’t understand this, the Coal and Iron Police were by the Company the Company people, yet the offense that you committed was a civil offense so you had to go to a J.P.
BL: That’s right for trespassin’ on company property
DM: They couldn’t deal with you privately
BL: Oh no, they never did
DM: Oh I get it, I couldn’t figure how the company people could take you into a public court, I guess
PF: You were tresassing on their property they have you arrested then they had to justice of the peace
DM: But it was always the same guy
DM: Then they’d pop you with a $2 or a $5 fine
BL: It all depends how much they could get out of you if you had nothin’ and you wanted to go to jail why alright you were kicked out if they could scare you to pay the fine why
DM: They had to pay a dollar a day to keep you in jail
DM: So if you said I don’t have any money I got to go to jail, what would they do
PF: Nine times out of 10 they’d let you go they wouldn’t send you up to Lewisberry
DM: Which would cost them more money right so it was best to plead poor
DM inter BL & PF -16- 8/8/72
BL: Well I’ll tellI you everybody was poor
DM: I know you augmented your income by picking huckleberries, didn’t you for years didn’t you Bruno, you’ve been doing this since you were a kid
BL: I’ve been doin’ this since I was 5 years old
DM: 70 years of picking huckleberries and Wiley thought he could beat you, what a fool, what a fool, o.k. I got the idea about the Coal and Iron Police taking you to the court but were there any vigilantes/or somebody around here or, well like the day we were so stupid the kids were screaming and yelling nasty words and stuff and Wiley and I got out of bed and chased them down here and caught them right by Piker’s house were there any people that did that sort of thing
DM: Everybody just sort of took care of themselves
BL: That’s right
DM: No dummies would try and do something like that, no Piker put us in our places
PF: After they got out of that I asked them, What did you have to eat for breakfast
DM: And Wiley just went that high, it was funny. The nearest court was Wilkes-Barre. well the nearest court was right here, the J.P.
BL: We had one in Eckley
DM: And after that you went into Jeddo, right and then from there what was it, say Wilkes-Barre
BL: They’d look you up for a day or so in Freeland and then take you up to Wilkes-Barre
DM: The nearest jail was Freeland
BL: Yeh but they wouldn’t keep you there any longer
PF: Overnight usually
BL: They’s keep a drunk maybe 2 or 3 days in there and then kick him out
BM Were there a lot of those around
PF: got charged for it like everybody
DM: Yeh I know as long as you kept to yourself in your own house
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -17- 8/8/72 Tape 7
PF: if a guy got in trouble no one would say well I’m goin’ to have this sonofabitch arrested what could they do about it, you couldn’t do anything about it if they could do something like that you’d be arrested right away
DM: They’d run you in on something
BL: Things have changed
DM: What was that a big cigar he had in his mouth [truck went by]
PF: Probably, he’s always goin’ someplace
DM: What happened in the town when there was a disaster in the mines, was there a community reaction to it, did the people ban together and help the person
BL: Well they use to come to the wake and /spend all night wakin’ them till next morning and then they’d attend the funerals and see we had societies and they’d attend the funerals in a body
DM: Now societies, could/you go into that, a brotherhood or something
BL: Well the whole town belonged to it, to the one, see years ago insurance didn’t like to take you on account of you bein’ a miner so these people formed their own society and paid, it was a dollar and a quarter you started at and if you died you got $1,000 and that was it
PF: The Coal Company didn’t give you anything
DM: The Coal Company wouldn’t insure you either
BL: Not until 1918 and then they had compensation each child under 18 would get a certain amount/I don’t remember what it is, my father was killed in ’18 and my mother got for each one that was under 18 she got it but after 18 that was it
DM: Yeh, then you were considered an adult
BL: That’s right, and then if you got sick you didn’t get notin! you had to get killed to get anything
DM: You had to get killed to get $1,000 but that was better than what the Company
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -18- Tape 7 8/8/72
would give you because you had to put your own money into the society, right, There weren’t any fringe benefits or anything
BL: Well with the society if you were sick you’d get $5 a week but that was only for a certain amount of time of weeks after that, they couldn’t afford it either
DM: What about a mine disaster I know you had first-aid teams that would go
BL: We had first-aid teams, yes
DM: Let’s say 2 or 3 people would get trapped or badly hurt in the mines
BL: We never had more than 2
PF: We’d just help get them out
DM: Everybody would stop working and then what get them to a hospital as quick as they could then go back to work
PF: Yeh, get back to work
BL: Get them to a hospital with 2 mules and an ambulance
DM: Do you know what I found today under one of the houses I found a whole bunch of splints, real old time wooden leg splints
BL: I have a couple/short ones I belonged to the first-aid team
DM: /you have a couple short splints No I found a bunch of them they look like leg splints they were this long I don’t imagine peoples arems were that long, but they were in the original packets I grabbed them and tagged them and put them in the company store and the guys in Harrisburg will come and pick them up and do something with them, well that’s what would happen if a guy was hurt, what would happen if there was a fire in the mine
BL: We never had a fire, oh yeh we had one down at the strippin down there in the manway
DM: Was there a general reaction to that did the people get all/upset
BL: No, that wasn’t what you called a big fire
DM: It didn’t hurt nobody
BL: No it didn’t hurt nobody see that started on the outside and the Coal and Iron
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -19- 8/8/72 Tape 7
Police discovered it so they just set 2 or 3 pumps in there and they pumped water on it for about 3 weeks, you didn’t have to go in that was they water way that was the way the Eckley water was drained
DM: What would happen if there would be an epidemic of disease
BL: Well we had the flu here you would see a fellow tonight and tomorrow he’d be dead, that I remember, yeh that was bad, 1917 adn 18 oh there was quite a few died in town
DM: I guess there was no way to go out and get shots for it, you just had to pray that it didn’t hit you
PF: That’s right
DM: Well did anybody realize it was contagious and, you couldn’t go to a public gathering or if you were working in the mines you could get it form the next guy
BL: The doctor would tell you to stay in bed and if you got over it you went back to work
PF: There was no shots at that time, they’d give you a pill but that’s all
DM: But was there a widespread panic where everybody stayed home from work
DM: Did you realize that it was contagious
BL: Sure, because you’d see a man or woman tonight and tomorrow she’d be dead
DM: No but did you realize say like I had the bug and if I sat next to you I could give it to you
BL: We never even thought about it
DM: Now I’ve been hearing about these big snows that came in and Mr. Falatko’s and because they cut all the stuff down and the snow’s going to blow on his porch, I was going to say it might just go right by, what would happen if the snow was 4 ft. deep one morning would you just go out
PF: The Company men used to come down from the quarry used to shovel the roads
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -20- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: There was snow so high you could get in them windows them upstairs apartments there was a buggy there and they took the horse off and the buggy you couldn’t see, right there
PF: I remember when I was a kid you couldn’t get out the door you had to get out the upstairs window
DM: That was a lot of snow. What happened when there was as strike on, did everybody go out and pick/huckleberries and pray
BL: And the ones that didn’t pick huckleberries was home sittin’ around playin’ cards and if it wasn’t for the storeman that they’d get on credit why you’d starve
DM: A lot of people went on the book
BL: Everybody was on the book there was no cash you bought all your groceries on the book and you paid at the end of the month or the end of 2 weeks see they use to come around town years ago the butcher, the baker and the beer man, the
PF: The hootch-man
DM: Piker was telling me about these things yesterday and I think he remembers the horse and buggy days but most of the things he knows is about trucks, the automobile
PF: Telling him how Joe the Motor use to come in at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and wouldn’t go out until 3 or 4 the next morning
DM: That is what is unbelievable
BL: He use to cash all the checks
DM: But I can’t imagine waiting up until 4 in the morning to buy my groceries
PF: Well what were you going to do that’s the time he’d get down there
DM: Well you didn’t have no car, you’d walk from here, if you wanted to go into town you walked
PF: Yes but when you bought you’d buy enough for 2 weeks
DM: Yes but let’s say, this is towards the end of town and I’d see the grocer man at 3:30 down here it may take him another 4 hours to get to my house, he has to
DM inter BL & PF -21- 8/8/72 Tape 7
go to other places and fill the order, I couldn’t handle that
BL: He used to cash all the checks, see we paid by check for awhile
PF: It was that he would go back at the bank and he’d cash the checks to get money, that’s all he did, and 2 drivers just goin’ up to the
BL: We had it better off 50 years ago then we have it today, we had a bus service here which you don’t have now, we had good bus service
PF: And living was cheap
DM: How long ago was this
BL: In the late 30’s we had good bus service
DM: To Freeland or Hazleton or anywhere
BL: To Freeland and then from Freeland if you wanted to go to Hazleton you took the Hazleton trolley car
DM: The overhead electric jobs, do you know they still use them in Philly, you can still see them all over the place even near the University
BL: Yeh I know, when I was down at the ball-game I seen them
PF: City has them too down at the zoo
BL: Goin’ to see the Mets the 19th
DM: The Vets Stadium
PF: No the Mets at New York
BL: At Shay Stadium, I was in Philadelphia I don’t like the team
DM: What a bunch of rum-dums, I think, I don’t know
BL: They have a nice stadium, that’s a beautiful place, that’s the nicest place I seen
DM: But the hotdogs are 98c a piece
BL: And I was in Baltimore
PF: Boy these bugs are hitin’ already
DM: Yes they are, you guys will sit here all/night and they won’t bother you a bit
PF: That’s that perfume you put on
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -22- 8/8/72 Tape 7 DM: I don’t put anything on
BL: Where’s Wally
DM: Who knows
PF: He’s home drinkin’ milk
DM: No he’s not home drinking milk the last time I saw him he was getting ready to go out somewhere up in his end of town but I didn’t see him, when I went up to get the recorder he was saying I don’t know where I’m going but I’m going out and I said, o.k.
PF: I know where our friend Angie is and I haven’t seen here for awhile
BL: I seen her Sunday
DM: She was down here one day when you weren’t home, I don’t know what she wanted to talk to/you about but you weren’t home
BL: I was never home before noon until about a week and then I’ll be home all the time
PF: Did you go out to pick
BL: No I didn’t it was wet and it was kind of wet
PF: I know it was wet this morning I could see the
DM: You didn’t go out to pick
BL: I was out but I was where we were/on the bank but if you go in the mountain that’s a differnt story
DM: Why’s that
BL: It gets thick PF: There’s a bulldoser that goes thru
DM: Oh I see you get wet if the plants are wet
BL: I intended to go until I found out it was wet I said no, I’d better not
DM: The place that Piker told us about that road to Hazlebrook there’s lots of huckleberries there, they were already picked but a lot of bushes there
PF: There weren’t too many there I was down there twice
DM: Yes it’s right near the road it’s a lot easier to get to
BL: You ought to been here 30, 35 years ago you could pick berries anyplace
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -23- 8/8/72 Tape 7 DM: And there were people that ruined it too
BL: Whole families would go out early in the morning
DM: And I think everybody here that’s a huckleberry picker was talking about, I saw a mosquito go right up next to his arm then leave, I don’t believe it
PF: I told him if you bit you sonofabitch I’ll eat ‘im
DM: I forgot what I was going to saw, oh, I got lots of bites but not the right kind
PF: That;s that sweet Jersey blood
DM: I guess so, the Jersey mosquitos are all trained on me too they’ve broken themselves in but I can’t remember what I was going to ask you something about huckleberry picking oh about the fires the brush fires don’t you both agree that the brush fires
PF: They ain’t bad for nuthin’ around here
BL: 50, 60 years ago we had a vegetable garden and sprayed nuthin’ now since there’s no brush fires we can’t raise nuthin’ in the garden because a brush fire used to kill all that stuff it would start burnin’ on a Monday and would still be burning on a Saturday
DM: That mountain use to/burn
PF: Lokeys use to and a spark would fly out
DM: Now this summer even if there was a Lokey around it wouldn’t have caught on fire
DM: Because it’s too wet, this is the wettest summer I ever spent in my life
BL: We use to put the brush on fire purposely for huckleberries
DM: In the wet like this
BL: Anytime, we use to generally late in teh Fall or early in the Spring wherevery this is dry, see the first year you would have nuthin’ but the year after, oh lots of them but now if you’d do it you’d be put in jail
DM: Well that airplane will come over and spray it
PF: You would have to have a good wind to give it a good start.
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -24- 8/8/72 Tape 7 BL: You could go right back here at Piker’s and get all the huckleberries you want
DM: I thought that was all coal dirt back there
BL: From the coal dirt up
PF: At the edge of the coal dirt we used to call the fan the foundation is still down there yet
BL: There used to be a fan down there use to ventilate the mines
PF: The foundation is still down there
DM: Where the school foundation is
PF: The whitewash street, right behind it
DM: That’s where the school foundation/was, I thought the school was back
BL: No right in here
DM: And they tore that down before they built the churches
BL: No the churches were here when that was tore down
BL: Dorchak was knocked out got knocked on the head by a big 12 x 12, block
DM: From the schoolhouse when it was torn down
BL: No when the church
PF: He was right here at the opening and Poof and did we laugh
DM: I don’t know/if I would laugh or not I’d be worried if he’d live or not
BL: No this fellow built 2 homes that’s tore down since I’m livin’ here, in the 30s
DM: That was crazy of them to leave that big step there
BL: Well what would they do with it
DM: Well they could break it up
BL: See that was a wooden steps one time, now it’s a poured concrete
DM: They poured the form over the stone, oh now I know, well they could still bust it up, so that’s where the schoolhouse was
DM inter BL & PF -25- Tape 7 8/8/72 BL: And Billie ? had a garage where that car is
PF: Right in there he had a garage
DM: When the churches were there
PF: Yeh, he had a double garage there
DM: Between the 2 churches
DM: That didn’t add any class to the/neighborhood did it
BL: People didn’t go to them churches anyhow
PF: That’s why they had to close them down, they couldn’t even get 7c on a Sunday
DM: That’s what I was going to say everybody here is Catholic now
DM: That’s all the would collect
PF: That’s why they tore it down, it didn’t even pay for the coal
DM: Or pay the light bill, I’ll be darn. That was the 30’s, they both went down in the 30’s
BL: That one went down before that I don’t know what exactly happened that they tore it down
DM: The Reform Church or the Episcpal
BL: No this is the Episcopal right here that was since 1859 that was the Reform or something/but this was a bigger church than that
DM: But this one went down in the late 30’s and that
BL: I don’t know exactly, earlier than that tho, I don’t even remember who tore that down
PF: I can’t remember who
DM: To get on to something we/started to last night I know that this was the high class area of town, this was where the bosses lived and all did they call some of these blocks some names
BL: Not that I remember
DM: Just uptown, downtown, Shanty Street, and Back Street and Number 4
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -26- 8/8/72 Tape 7 PF: Yeh
DM: How many houses can you remember on #4 can you remember
PF: Don’t ask me I can’t remember
BL: I remember one and I remember one on #7
DM: You’re talking about Slope 7
BL: No, no, #7 was way out of town about a mile and a/half, Margaret Maloney’s people lived there maybe she told you that
DM: Yes that’s on somebody’s record someplace, but do you remember Shanty Street how many houses were on
DM: Only three that’s all the houses there were, the greatest amount we can find on any old map is 4
BL: There was one house down there on the corner in back of Fairchilds there was one settin’ there
PF: There was a guy/came here one time with a peg leg he was diggin’ back there he must have had something else hidden back there but
BL: And back of Fatula’s there was an extra house there, and you know where Fatula’s live there was a 3 family home there, right behind of Fatula’s
DM: That doesn’t show up on any record
BL: Oh yes that’s only been torn down of late
DM: Oh yes there’s an old foundation, o.k., was that a 3 family home.
PF: And then there was a house over here, do you remember Bruno
BL: Yes, that was a single home that was not Shanty Street between the house and Shanty Street there was one there in my time nobody/lived in there the windows were all out as I remember then right across the 2 homes that’s vacant there on the right hand side some P O something C had a club house there in that single thing
DM: Down here beyond the trees
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -27- 8/8/72 Tape 7
PF: No down below that road that goes up to the breaker
DM: That’s where the mule barn used to be
PF: No it was something like a shack that they have up in the back
BL: Some Lodge had that
PF: But that home beyond the trees that’s wehre the shoemaker lived, that single house there
DM: Do you guys know where the steam lines went across
DM: Yes it was even with the breaker but wasn’t there 2 of them
BL: One, over the road it went up high and then it came and over, all the way to the mountain
PF: All the way to #6
DM: Did they have the pipe bent or did they have it suspended on something
BL: No bent, up until the length of the highway and then down again and then every couple of feet they had a “U” in for expansion other words if it was straight you know what would happen
DM: Yeh but how come a “U”
PF: To cut the pressure
BL: A “U” maybe 20 ft. around
PF: The pressure would cut down with the “U”
DM: You mean a “U” like that, but the “U” went down
BL: And then down in teh crick they had a blow-off every couple minutes the water would gather in there and it would blow-off into the crick
DM: Would that make noise
BL: We used to, if you walked past it would scare heck out of you
DM: Yes I guess you going in the woods and then, this noise with the water and the steam, that went from this breaker to #6
DM: inter. bl & pf -28- 8/8/72 Tape 7
PF: That pipe that they took down, steam right that’s the one we have right in back of our house for a drain
DM: The old steam line, I got to go and take a look at that, I looked at it before but it didn’t make any difference to me
PF: That’s the drain I have back here it goes right from here down to that ditch
DM: I also heard something about you having the cornerstones of one of the churches under your porch
PF: My mother has that, that’s the cornerstone from this church
DM: Yeh I know yours was all cemented in
BL: And another steam line went, you know where schoolhouse and the church is up the breaker up to #10, from the boiler house up to #10 up the lokey track that was that was suspended on pipes and hangers
DM: Well the thing I saw, the picture of it, maybe that was it because it had, the one had like little sling-shots and the pipe went thru here
BL: That’s right, that’s the way they all were
DM: That’s the way they both were, o.k.
BL: And they were wrapped with asbestos and tar paper
DM: But now you just have the bare pipe, how thick was that
BL: 6 inch
DM: It looked bigger than 6 inches in diameter because they have pictures of people leaning/up against it
BL: Yeh well after it’s wrapped it looks 10, yeh and then we had another steam line goin’ to the pumps, from the same boiler house, 3 big steam lines, one goin’ that way, one goin’ this way and one goin’ that way
DM: But still it didn’t make living that inconvenient did it
PF: No it didn’t hurt nobody it wasn’t in nobody’s road
DM: And none of them ever blew up or caused any problems
8/8/72 DM inter BL & PF -29- Tape 7
BL: No never, one of the lokey’s blew up one Sunday, the fire box, just blew up
PF: Jackie Gaffney was on that
BL: Yeh it blew up one Sunday morning, nobody got hurt, he wasn’t in it
PF: See every Sunday each lokey would take a turn keepin’ the fire goin’
DM: What would cause it to blow up, too much pressure or what
PF: Maybe the pressure just built up, maybe no water, I’ll be back
BL: That’s the only thing I remember
DM: Do you want to take a rest I want to get my notes back together, remember that I talked about this to other people I got some varying answers when you guys would go out on a work crew, work detail, were they always the same ethnic group like all Irish or all Polish or
BL: No, mixed
DM: Everybody/was mixed up
DM: And was there any nasty things in the mines like people making jokes about other peoples background that sort of thing
BL: No not much of that
DM: What do you mean by not much, nothing more than the normal funny joking type thing
BL: You’d make a joke but no, nothing harmful
DM: Would the mine foreman pick a crew or, I know Piker said he could pick, like
PF: Up in Wilkes-Barre
BL: Over here the boss would generally pick the gang
DM: Pick a gang that he knew could work well together
BL: That’s right
DM: What did he do with the misfits, all the bums that didn’t work out
BL: Just had to keep them on once the union goit in, that’s all
DM: Well before the union got in, could they fire a guy, like if I was a foreman and I didn’t like you and I’d say Bruno take a walk
DM: Inter BL: & PF: -30- 8/8/72 Tape 7 BL: I don’t remember anybody gettin’ fired
PF: You didn’t have the labor then what you got you had to keep
BL: They were short of men you just had to keep what you had, that’s all, good or bad
DM: So short of men that they had to keep the dummies along with the good ones
BL: That’s right, see Jeddo Highland was issuing a $1,000 policy if you would come and work for them, and this company over here wasn’t well some of the people went there
DM: Oh I get it so you had to form your own societies
BL: But they had the low vein and a lot of people would come over here they couldn’t work this high vein
DM: I’m surprised that so many people moved out, got jobs outside of Eckley I thought if you lived in a Coxe Brothers house you had to stay with Coxe Brothers
BL: No you could go anytime you wanted to go
DM: But if you wanted to live in one of these houses didn’t you have to work
BL: Oh yes, you wouldn’t get the house if you didn’t work for them
PF: See they took the rent right off your pay
BL: Right off your pay check
DM: Rather than give it to somebody that would work for them
PF: Well then they didn’t have to send a guy around to collect rent this way they’d keep the fellow that worked for the company longer
BL: You couldn’t rent a home unless you worked for them
DM: Yeh but how did Piker go to Wilkes-Barre how did you go to Jeddo-Highland did you just move out
PF: That was a different story, you were laid off.
DM: When was that year that you were laid off, Piker
PF: The first time in 1939 then I was called back again then laid off again and called back again but then some contractors came here, I worked down there for them for
DM: inter. BL: & PF: -31- 8/8/72 Tape 7
oh hell I guess almost 8 years
BL: Started to lease them to these small ones
DM: You said that men were so hard to get, how did you advance from one job to another just the smartest ones or the best ones or the ones the foreman liked the best or what
BL: Well you take like the mule driver when he got tired of drivin’ mules maybe he wanted to go to contract mining or something well that was the chance for you to get that job you never drove mules all you/life you got tired of that
PF: And you were always lookin’ for more money
BL: You just had to meet certain qualifications
BL: Well they knowed what you could do and what you couldn’t do
DM: But who’s the guy I forget his name I learned so many new names, the Welsh mining forman that kept the jobs just for everybody that was Welsh
PF: Crabtree, that sonofabitch he should have died 50 years ago instead of just now
DM: He die just recently
PF: No he’s been dead awhile
BL: He ruined the town
PF: He didn’t know nuthin’ for nuthin and the boss you got today for bosses don’t know nuthin’ they don’t know what to do but now Bruno who wanted something about mining he couldn’t tell him what to do, he knew that’s what he didn’t like
DM: How could he come in new and tell you guys who had been working in the mines for years
PF: He had a good drag someplace I guess this Mafia or who in the hell it was I don’t know I guess it was with the Masons
BL: Must have been
DM: The Masons, what the heck would the Masons have to do with mining
PF: Well if you weren’t a big wheel you didn’t get in there
DM inter BL & PF -32- 8/8/72 DM: Oh brother, that’s really lousy, was it because jobs outside of the Tape 7 mines were hard to get, that everybody wanted to do mining work
BL: Well there wasn’t much jobs outside of the mines years ago, you had to leave and go to a city, there was no outside jobs like there is now, around here
DM: If I was the mining boss, if I was the guy in charge I would rather have guys like you that knew your business I wouldn’t care what group they were from as long as they do good work I’d pay you good and that would be the end of it, why would they bring other guys in that didn’t know it as well as you guys did
PF: Well look at Henry Jane when he went over to Germany how many Germans be brought back, and everyone got good jobs, the superintendent didn’t
DM: So he wasn’t concerned about getting good work for his money just getting his friends jobs
BL: That’s right
PF: Well the majority of the people had jobs, you know what I mean
DM: So you didn’t mind it then
PF: There wasn’t too many lookin’ for work then
BL: But they weren’t such bad workers that he brought along
PF: Only a couple but the rest of them were pretty good
BL: One fellow didn’t last long, he died, the fellow that run the pump over there, he didn’t last no time, one of the Germans that he brought over
PF: I don’t think there’s nothin’ left of all of ’em
BL: is still living
PF: Yeh, that’s all
DM: But you guys here in Eckley lived thru several, what, Crabtree brought in Welsh and the other guy brought in Germans
BL: He didn’t bring in many
PF: I guess about 8
DM: Look what’s left now, there are a couple of Irish people, and the rest of them
DM inter BL & PF -33- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: And at one time about 90% were was Dutch and Irish
DM: By Dutch do you mean Protestants, not Netherland Dutch
BL: Yeh Protestants, now it’s all the opposite
DM: The good old Catholics outlasted everybody
BL: See years ago when you lived on the Back Street you weren’t allowed to come down here they’d clobber yeh
DM: How badly were people treated when they came down here
BL: They say some of them were treated dam bad
DM: How were you supposed to get down to the store here
BL: The grocer man came up you didn’t go down to the store
DM: The poor kids and stuff had to stick up there
PF: The store had their own truck that went around peddlin’
DM: But if they came here, this was the high class section of town and the people got it
BL: You kept to your own end of the town
DM: Well I was wondering, when couples would be courting a girl and a girl was going together they would always walk around those blocks up there
BL: Oh they’d walk about but never come down to this end just up around
PF: And see you could go up to Back Street that’s where the road went right there
BL: That’s what I was tellin’ him, you would never bother down at this end
DM: Where the big cheeses all lived, and you moved in here when you were a foreman, right
BL: Yeh, in ’34
DM: Since ’34 you’ve been here that long
BL: I lived up town in 82.
DM: I can’t imagine you being nasty to some kid from some other/part of the town
BL: When I came down here this was different
PF: Everybody was civilized
DM inter BL & PF -34- 8/8/72 Tape 7 DM: You’re talking about the really old days
BL: Yeh when I came down here that was a different story
DM: This is a pretty good place I can’t kick, when you guys were younger you guys probably raised a lot more hell than you do now
PF: Well that was a different story too
BL: The kids weren’t too bad tho, they get in more goddarn mischief now I think
DM: I’m sure, what did kids do instead of getting into trouble back then
PF: They played games baseball and nippsie and hopscotch and shinny on teh stick and the cat would fly off and you’d get a black eye or a bumped head
DM: Is that where you swung the pole
BL: Yeh and that was dangerous, suppose that would fly off when you hit it and hit somebody in the face
PF: Oh it did a couple of times
DM: I don’t like the sound of it
BL: It still was played
DM: Do you guys remember the nippsies with the numbers on
BL: Yeh and out the notches out if it turned up on 1, 2 or 3 or 4 that’s how many chances you had it was round and pointed on both ends, mostly round and that’s another one you could hit somebody it the head too
DM: We found that out, we were playing some up there and we put one thru Ira Berger’s window it didn’t go thru it, it hit down in the corner and cracked it Walley really got a hold of it
PF: And the kids used to make hoops from barrels and roll them and take a wire and stand up like this and go from here up and Christalmighty back with that
DM: How do you mean with wire, that you pushed it with
PF: Or keep it in line, like this and this was your handle and you kept it in line otherwise
DM: Bruno was telling me when they used to jump off the sawmill stack do you remember
DM inter BL & PF -35- 8/8/72 when they used the umbrellas the old beer truck umbrellas to break Tape 7 the falls
BL: We used to see them jump without the umbrellas
DM: How did you climb up
PF: There was a hole in the bottom and you’d get inside and then you’d climb up
DM: They were rough bricks
BL: No bricks, all stones
PF: And you’d just shimmy up
BL: It was round but it was no brick
DM: What did the girls do, do you remember what they did, they didn’t roll/hoops
BL: They played jacks, and dolls if they had one, most of them didn’t have any we used to every Christmas, Mrs. Coxe used to give us Christmas presents, every Christmas, well the girls would get dolls and the boys would get a sled or a knife
DM: That’s if you didn’t go to the Presbyterian Church
PF: After that, that was out out just the ones that went to the church got
BL: Everybody got it that went to school that was the church that they were givin’ the presents this one here
DM: Yes I went up to see Mrs. Coxe’s grave the other day that’s pretty simple, very plain, yes up by the Drifton Church, very very simple unmarked grave. I heard things about the boys getting c aps you know with the little ear flaps
BL: Yeh the boys always got a winter hat and a sled and an orange and a box of candy that was your present
DM: Wasn’t there some years you got dollars and boxes of candy
BL: In later years they give money but I never got any
DM: How did you miss that
BL: Well I, when this school shut down they didn’t give no more presents I think that happened about 1910 or 11
DM: That early
DM inter BL & PF -36- 8/8/72 Tape 7
BL: I think so
DM: She didn’t die until 1916
BL: They use to give over here but the school didn’t get it you had to belong to the church but the public school didn’t get any
DM: 1911 and she didn’t die till 1916
BL: She didn’t die till later than that, she use to come every 2 or 3 weeks before Christmas to hear the kids sing the Christmas Carols she had a regular guy that would blow the whistle to tune up we used to call him “Old Star of Wonder”
DM: The old man that used to teach you to sing and he had rotten teeth
BL: I don’t remember any more but we used to call him “Old Star Wonder”
DM: Oh star of wonder, star of night
BL: Yeh, he used to blow that whistle for tune
DM: You mean that pitch pipe, that must have been something to see but he was hired by her and he used to visit all the schools, well he would come earlier and she would come later, and then before Christmas vacation she would come around with the toys
BL: Yeh we used to call him Star of Wonder
DM: Well if you got in on that you must have gotten a few presents from Mrs. Coxe
BL: Oh I got a few in my time, but when my kids started they didn’t get any any more
DM: Yes your kids would have missed that
DM: Look at Bruno sittin’ in his undershirt too like me [handwritten: Someone comes up and talks – a woman]
BL: I don’t think it’s that cold
DM: For a minute it was blowin’ cool breeze
PF: Even if I am a no good divvel she’ll still take care of me
DM: Well she’s a saint
Woman – I should be ironin’ clothes now
PF: It’s not what you should but whatcha did
DM inter BL & PF -37- 8/8/72 Tape 7 Woman – Here I’m takin’ off to see what they did to the bank
PF: O.k. good night
DM: What who did with what bank
BL: That dam bulldozer up there
DM: Is that what the hell that noise, that one night that they were making all those weird noises up there I couldn’t figure what it was it sounded like a big corn popper popping a big squeak, that was about 2 weeks ago I even called the State Police in it sounded to me like, when you stood out in front of Hooper’s office it sounded like somebody was stealing something out of the mule barn up there it sounded like it and I felt like such a nut and the police came
PF: Why didn’t you go over and check
DM: I was afraid to I didn’t know who I’d find
PF: A big man like you
DM: Yeh but I didn’t know who I’d find, if I would have found one of the residents of Eckley
PF: Well turn them in
DM: I wouldn’t want to do that but I figured it was a resident of Eckley or someone’s son or daughter I didn’t think it would be any outside people. Do you guys know anything about the sawmill
BL: I know nuthin’
DM: Nobody knows anything about the darn sawmill
BL: That’s way before my town, I think these homes were built from that sawmill
PF: That’s what my grandmother used to say I don’t know if she told the truth or not
BL: The only thing I know about the sawmill is the stack that’s the only thing that was left
PF: You see them trees how big they were
BL: Go down there and you can see the stumps
PF: Three or 4 feet in diameter, down in teh back
DM inter BL & PF -38- 8/8/72 Tape 7
DM: That was the foreat that was here first
BL: I imagine all the homes were built from that sawmill
DM: I know about that, but the sawmill must have gotten torn down
BL: Before my time, that I remember
DM: But there’s still some of the foundation left isn’t there
BL: Nuthin’ but the stack that I remember
BL: Of course the coal dirt covered it too
DM: That would preserve it too if it was covered up the weather couldn’t get to it
BL: But that stack was there for years, who took it down, I don’t know, it was nice and round and all stone
PF: You balance yourself and walk right up
DM: I know how to do that I can go up a door frame that way, one of my friends’ kids does that, scares everybody to death all the time did you do that when you were kids, climb up door frames
DM: That’s another strange activity you could get into, no I don’t know who in the heck knows about the sawmill, what about the old breaker, describe it
BL: No not me, that shut down in 1911 and then it started up to run these slate banks thru that was goin’ up until I don’t/know when, the breaker in 1911 that was the last time they prepared mine coal, the old way, see Coxe’s had their own railroad up there at that time we used to call that the DS & S Railroad that went from Drifton to Hazleton and I think their shipping point was at Perth Amboy if I’m not mistaken, I had a picture of Perth Amboy here for awhile, I don’t know what happened oh a hell of a big one, you seen it, I believe Carrie took it again oh it was about that long, they got that from Coxe’s office when they moved but then they converted that breaker into a washery and they ran all these banks there see right back of my place there was a bank, there was a hell of a big bank all the way thru and they run all of that thru with a conveyor line and in to and
-39- 8/8/72 Tape 7 took all the coal out after they were done then this guy came over there and built that thing, they tore, well they burnt that down and rebuilt that thing and run that coal dirt thru,
DM: What do you mean, that thing
BL: See that new breaker this fellow built this one but there was a/breaker on that place before that in the same place, that’s the second breaker built in the same place
DM: But wasn’t there another one right over here
BL: The old breaker, that’s rebuilt
DM: But the old breaker the real old breaker did it look anything like that
BL: No, not like this, it was sort of a square thing with plain on the one side mostly tin and windows and it was black
[women comes in and they talk to her]
DM: No I can’t find any information on the sawmill and the old breaker because it goes back before anybody’s memory, right
BL: The old breaker shut down in 1911 because I started in 1911 in Hazlebrook and that was the last year this breaker went I never worked on this one
DM: All you can remember was that it was made of tin, tin roof
BL: Mostly tin, and tin roof it wasn’t make like this one
DM: No this one is too fancy altho I’ve seen pictures of old breakers
BL: This one in Drifton was made alike
DM: He’s going to be madder then hell because I’ve been trying to pick up some beans I’ve been down to his house 3 or 4 times and he hasn’t been home but he came to my house one day and/I was told this, we weren’t home either, George Hooper said he came to my place, oh well I’ve had a lot of other/people angry with me so I guess I’ll survive this
BL: I’ll have to get a brush hook and get some of them trees out
BL: Yeh back here
DM inter BL & PF -40- 8/8/72 Tape 7
DM: Well I think I can call it a day, these guys are tired talking into this thing and me taking notes and not knowing what I’m talking about
PF: We ain’t tired we’ll talk all nigth, won’t we
DM: Don’t push me, no I want to leave you so you can have some fun without me
PF: I guess you’re gettin’ a blister
DM: Well I’m getting a blister and
PF: And your backend’s getting tired from sittin’
DM: Well the 3 of you are here and Wally’s fixing my dinner right now, we eat late dinners
PF: Poor Wally
DM: Why who do you think does the dishes
Date & Tape Name Page Subjects 8/22/72 Bruno 1 Streets + number of Houses W. Brown Lugonosky in the Town – 2 Styles of Houses Home Furnishing – c 1910 – 3 Wall – Ceilings – Lamps – Pictures Position for sleeping – 4 in Bed! 4 Mattresses – Bedding – Storage Carpeting 5 Kitchen-Furniture-Storage 6 Outside Cellars Sauerkraut Preserving Coffeee Making – Grinder Dish Washing 7 Summer Kitchen Lamps – Kerosene – “Rayo” Lamps 8 Larger Houses – Parlors 1930-40-Home Improvemetns 9 Curtains-Shades Clothes – Homemade 10 Kitchens – Larger Houses Working clothes – Bathing 11 Dining Room – Summer – Outside Father’s Role in Family Boys – Schooling + Work 12 Marriage – Ages of Male + Female Shared money – earned 13 Elder Family Members
Date + Tape Name Page Subjects 13 Poorhouse – Elderly poor Postion of Elderly in Family Home 14 Boarders Helped on special projects Company repari + maintanance Titles of Jobs at Colliery 15 Working Schedules Mining activities – accidents 16 Health + safety – 17 Women’s Role – Money Management Insurance Society – Team project 18 Views on Modern Welfare
W B inter. Bruno Lagonosky Tape #9 -1- 8/22/72 WB: Do you remember, well I know you can, when you were a kid, you didn’t live in this house, did you
BL: No I lived on the Back Street
WB: Can you tell me exactly how those Back Street houses looked
BL: You know Mrs. Timko’s house up there, they all looked alike no not alike the first 6.12 were bigger homes but from there up there were all alike, like Mrs. Timko’s, just the 2 rooms down and the one up that’s where I lived first house # 28 then we moved from # 28 down below on the same street but lower, but they were bigger 2 rooms down and 3 rooms up, we moved to house # 19, right where the breaker is, is # 1, the Mollie breaker
WB: That would be # 1
BL: Went from the left side 1 to left side 2 all the even numbers were on teh right hand side and uneven numbers were on the left
WB: And how many houses were back there, were there 60 houses of 30 or what
BL: I could pretty near tell you [and he starts from one counting] there were 10 big houses that’s on the lower and
WB: Now these are double houses, so that would be 20 homes
BL: No single homes all double, here’s the only place there were single homes, and the small ones were [start from one counting again] there were 18 small ones and all big ones
WB: So altogether there would be 56 homes back there
BL: Well you can pretty well tell if you you know where Washko and Sikora live up there look at the number on them homes and then you can figure out how many homes there were right away
WB: A lot of those foundations are setting back there anyhow
BL: Yeh but the numbers on the houses will tell you how many homes there were see that one home on the end was burned down but it was removed up there, then you get the exact number if you want the number on the homes on the end below
WB: inter Bruno L. -2- 8/22/72 Tape 9 the church then you’ll know how many homes were on the Back Street they were numbered
WB: You said the first ten were larger
BL: They had 2 down and three up and then the others had 2 down and one up and you lived in one of the smaller
BL: Yeh, for the first couple years then we moved to a bigger one and then I got married and I lived up on this street up at 82 you know where the is I lived there that house burned down I lived there at # 34 and from 34 I moved here and I’ve been here since
WB: Now those Back Street houses, the first one you lived in the small one can you remember, well how many kids were in your family
BL: There was 7 kids and my mother and father, in #28, that’s why we moved in a bigger one there was no room, and then we had our grandmother with us too
WB: Ten people how did 10 people sleep in a small house like that
BL: Upstairs, the parents were downstairs and the kids upstairs, then when we got into a bigger one it was much better, 3 up and 2 down and they were big rooms
WB: Now in the little house now the parlor was used
BL: That was a bedroom that was no parlor
WB: Do you remember what was in that room
BL: A bed, stand and a table and then in the kitchen there was a stove and a kitchen table, that’s all no carpets on the floors them days, all wood, scrubbed the floor they may have had pieces like that no rugs or anything, down here in these homes maybe they had,
WB: How about the walls, were they painted or whitewashed or what
BL: Papered and the ceilings were whitewashed and then if you wanted a ceiling they bought cloth and tacked the cloth on to make it look like plasterboard
WB: They had exposed beams, how about on the walls did your parents have religious pictures on the bedroom walls
WB: inter Bruno L. -3- 8/22/72 Tape 9
BL: Yes the Catholic people all did
WB: And did they have any lamps or any other pictures
BL: Kerosene lamps that’s all, they had a kerosene hanging on a bracket with a shade behind and then on the table they had a Rayo lamp, they’re nickel plate and round shade on they throw a lot of heat too don’t forget the wick was round maybe you seen them somewhere in town well in later years we had them
WB: How did 7 kids sleep in one bedroom upstairs
BL: 2 bed in/there just crowd in that’s all
WB: Well you had to have 3 in one and 4 in the other, how in the hell did you sleep in a bed like that did you have 2 down at one end and 2 at the other
BL: Just one on each side of the wall
WB: But how did the kids sleep in the bed
BL: Crossways, instead of lengthways you slept crossways
WB: Oh I see, that would have been crowded with that many people
BL: Well if you sleep crossways it’s not so crowded when you grew up you couldn’t so that but when you were kids you could do it I seen people up on the Back Street they slept on straw on the floor in my time, you know how the straw used to come in bundles, not in a bale, a bundle and it was tied around up untied that and laid it on the floor and the kids slept on that and listen we had no mattesses we slept on straw in a tick sewed it in and that’s what we slept in and when the straw got jammed up too much you changed it there was no mattress
WB: What held the straw inside for that matter
BL: Well you had like a mattress sewed in together
WB: Did your mom make the mattress cover out of cloth
BL: Out of cloth it was like something like this awning you get, heavy stuff the material was like that, I don’t know what the hell/you call it there was a name for it and that’s how you made it. no mattress and no springs either
WB: inter. Bruno L. -4- Tape 9 8/22/72 WB: I’ll becha that was pretty hard
BL: You got used to it like everything else, how did the Indians do, God they slept on the ground
WB: Well what kind of beds did you sleep on, were the regular kind of frames
BL: Iron beds, solid iron, they were rounded off and they had these brass jiggers on top and then later on they got brass beds I don’t know if you remember that now it’s all wood
WB: But you had 2 of them in there and I guess you didn’t have any carpeting on the floor so they would put one bed against each wall was there chests or anything in there for the kids to put their clothes
BL: Yeh, we had chests of some kind, trunk, I remember we had one of these that they brought from across like wicker, it was square, and we’d keep our clothes in that
WB: Were there religious pictures on your bedroom walls
BL: Well downstairs they had one the size of that, it was square the oval ones came later and the walls were the same, wallpapered and the ceilings were whitewashed
WB: There wasn’t any closets in those things upstairs was there
WB: Did you have hooks on the wall to hand your shirt and pants up
BL: Yeh hooks wee then later on they use to buy one of these wardrobes cupboards that you used to hang your clothes in for your Sunday clothes
WB: But when you were a kid you didn’t have that
BL: No, later
WB: And were there any girls in your family
BL: We had 3 girls, the boys slept separate and the girls slept separate
WB: Was there a screen between the beds or anything like that
BL: No we were all small and when we got bigger we got into a bigger house then they had their own room
WB: On the floor was there anything like rag carpets or anything like that
WB: inter. Bruno L. -5- 7/22/72 Tape 9 BL: Oh there was a piece thrown here and there but outside of that, well where you stepped out of bed there was a piece
WB: Any mirrors or anything like that on the wall
BL: Downstairs but not upstairs, see downstairs some of them bought one of these sideboard cupboards like something like we have now and the mirror’s right on them and the kitchen and kitchen cabinets like the one I have there
WB: That must have been a small kitchen in those houses
BL: Well it was like # 12, just a stove and a table and maybe that cupboard that’s all
WB: What kind of table a long table
BL: Something like the one I have in the kitchen you couldn’t keep a big table in there, there was no room
WB: Chairs or did you have benches
WB: And what about the walls there, I guess there was a lot of religious pictures
BL: There weren’t many in the kitchen, in the bedroom but not the kitchen the didn’t have too many pictures, where the heck would you get the money from, my father when he first come he worked for a dollar a day, for strippin, he had to load 30 tons of coal for that dollar, so I’m tellin’ you the money wasn’t there to spend you wonder why everybody picked huckleberries, picked huckleberries in the summer to get clothes and shoes for these children to go to school otherwise you wouldn’t have it when you were 5 years old you went out pickin’ berries wether you wanted to or not you didn’t say you didn’t want to go, you didn’t go, you didn’t eat
WB: In the kitchen Bruno was there a place where the dishes and the silverware was kept, pots and pans and things
BL: Well in this cupboard you had drawers the dishes were kept separate and some of the pans hung/on the wall behind the stove, you see some movies now that have
WB: inter. Bruno L. -6- 7/22/72 some of them hangin’ on, see them homes had no cellars either, the small ones now these bigger ones down here did not a big one but they still had a cellar but the upper ones there was no cellars up there that’s why these outside cellars that you see people built well that’s the reason they were built there wasn’t any cellar, keep your winter potatoes and stuff like that another thing every winter and every fall everybody put up a big 40 gallon barrel of saurkraut every family and buy 6,7 bushels of potatoes to live on for the winter, that how people lived, if you had no cellar you had to keep them outside
WB: A 40 gallon barrel
BL: Yeh, a wooden one I have one in/my cellar yet, everybody bought 100 bead of cabbage and stomp it with a/stomper some used to stomp it down with their feet
WB: And there wasn’t any sinks in the kitchen
BL: There wasn’t any water in the kitchen until the late 20’s you carried your water off of the street you boiled your coffee in a 5 gal. copper container and you kept that out in the entry and you kept that on hand and if you wanted coffee you just took a dipper and dipped it out of there, warm it and that’s the way you used coffee you use to boil your own coffee and grind your own coffee you had a grinder and you bought essence and you mixed in essence to make it dark
WB: And every house had their own grinder to grind their own coffee
BL: Yeh sure everybody had a coffee grinder
WB: If someone was going to wash the dishes what did they do just have a bucket
BL: A pan a regular dish pan you washed them in that pan and then threw the water outside
WB: But there wasn’t any sink that you could do this or a table to set it on
BL: No such a thing, you washed your dishes on a table and then you had to throw that water out
WB: Did that first house have an outkitchen to it for the summer
WB: inter. Bruno L -7- Tape 9 7/22/72
BL: They all had outkitchens every one, you see in the summer we’d move the stove from the kitchen to the outside in fact Ralph has one yet and my sister Bella has one/yet I don’t have any I tore mine down, every home had one on in the summer you moved your stove out and there’s where you kept your household things in there and then these 2 rooms were free for the summer, and then you’d bring your stove back in October, when it got cold, all summer you was there
WB: What was in that out-kitchen, your stove
BL: You put your stove and your table here and a cupboard or 2 in there in fact there was more room in there than in your kitchen because it was bigger, all wooden floors, no carpeting, the walls were plain boards but then we used to get these doolie boxes, those dynamite boxes and nail them on make them nice and smooth and then they’d paper over top of them or cardboard and that was it but there were no ceilings in them, just the roof and they were doubled you know
WB: And then you’d just have a kerosene lantern to see by
BL: Just a kerosene lantern the same, that generally hung on a bracket on a door casing see there was a bracket and the lamp set in there and then there was a reflector in there pretty near everybody had oneof them if you were reading then the Rayo lamp was kept on the table but then not too many people had them, then they had parlor lamps these big round, you see them in antiques sales now yet they had some of them in the parlors the people down here
WB: Where would you keep spices and all that in that outkitchen.
BL: You had cans, little containers, they were generally put in these cupboards some of them use to build shelves, like book shelves and kept them on these shelves, you use to go up to the timber plant and steal timber and make them
WB: Now how about the larger houses you were in was that, since it was larger I guess everybody slept upstairs, 3 bedrooms
BL: Then everybody slept upstairs, downstairs was [telephone rings]
WB: inter. Bruno L. Tape 9 -8- 8/22/72
WB: Well now the larger Back Street homes everybody slept upstairs so you actually had a parlor
BL: Well then you started buying things like this, a parlor suite, table in the middle
WB: Now describe what your parlor looked like, can you remember when you first moved in up there
BL: Yes, I can “pritnear” tell, we had a leather but smaller chairs, 3 chairs, they weren’t made like this stall they were wood and leather the same as the sofa that wasn’t made like this either, smaller
WB: And did you have carpeting on the floors then
BL: Well then we started, well most of the people had this rag carpet, no rugs that I remember, just pieces of rag carpet on the floor and then later in the 30’s up to the 40’s we started to get this kind, the walls were papered and and everybody that didn’t have the whitewash ceiling had this cloth nailed up to hide the beams it was all in one piece and the women use to sew this all up and it was nailed and looked like a regular ceiling, it was stretched tight some of them even had like this oilcloth for the table and put that on the ceilings but that was pretty tough, that was heavy there was a guy in town that use to specialize in that
WB: In that parlor was there any tables or lamps
BL: There was a table in the middle of the floor with a lamp on it
WB: Was it round or square table
BL: Well some of them had oblong tables, mostly and some of them had square ones, they were extension tables
WB: And that was in the center of the room, was there like a sheet over it or
BL: There was a regular cover on it, some of them had crochet stuff and some had plain
WB: And then on that table was an oil lamp there and how about pictures were there any family pictures
BL: Yes, some of the people did, a lot of people had these family albums and that might be on there
WB: inter. Bruno L. -9- 8/22/72 Tape 9
WB: And that might be on the table, now were there any other tables in the room
BL: Just the one in the center
WB: How about the windows, were there shades
BL: The windows were just like these, there were shades on them all and curtains like these
WB: What color shades
BL: Well most of them were green, not even tan, 90% were green
WB: And light colored curtains over top like in your house, were they homemade, did the ladies make them themselves or did they buy them
BL: 90% were homemade, not many bought, almost all women made their own clothes, if they couldn’t make them there was always one or two in the town that would make them, you’d have to pay a few pennies but that’s the way, they bought the dry goods down at the store, whatever you want, by the yard, and you got it made by these people if you couldn’t make it yourself there was no such thing as buying ready-made clothes
WB: So most people would make their own clothes even for the boys
BL: Yeh and you take like on kid would out grow the/clothes and the rest would fall into that category the same/way for the old people they’d remake those clothes from the older people to the kids, no waste like there is now, now everything goes into the garbage
WB: Now the kitchen I imagine the kitchen was then the
BL: Yes the kitchen was larger
WB: Was that regular wood floor too, in that kitchen
BL: All wood floors on them all there was no other kid of floors but wood
WB: And what was in the kitchen
BL: Well they had a kitchen cabinet, stove and then some of them used to build like I said, like a book shelves for dishes and then they use to put a curtain front so you couldn’t see them in one of the corners you wanted to know where the dishes
WB: inter. Bruno L. -10- 8/22/72 were that’s where they were
WB: And even in those houses they didn’t have any water at all, where was the water kept was it kept in the shanty or what
BL: You all had buckets and you had a bench outside your kitchen you had a little entry built like we have now outside, there was a bench there and the water stood on the bench there, and the coffee, you all had buckets mostly enamel buckets, and then you’d have a dipper, hand the dipper on a nail in back of it
WB: Was a lot of clothes kept in the little vestibule like, when you walked into the house, that little shanty that you walked into
BL: Well people didn’t have too many clothes
WB: But like work clothes
BL: Well most of the work clothes were kept in back of the stove to dry up see we use to work in the mines and we’d be all wet there was no wash shantys in them days so the clothes would have to dry up, we kept them back of the stove
WB: When it was wash-day where would the women wash the clothes
BL: Well if it wasn’t too cold she use to wash them in the entry place in the kitchen or outside with the tub and the washboard and when it was too cold they had to wash in the kitchen
WB: Wouldn’t you get water on the floors, wouldn’t that be tough on the floors
BL: Well you’d mop it up, those floors since they were exposed wood I guess they were scrubbed pretty often weren’t they
BL: Some of them scrubbed them every day you should see how nice and clean they were
WB: I guess that would look real polished too
BL: Oh sure
WB: And then each of those big houses had a summer kitchen in the back
BL: Every house in the town had a summer kitchen in the summer you moved outside
WB: Did some people eat outside on the lawn too
BL: Well they had no lawn but they’d eat inbetween the kitchen and the house, there was
WB: inter. Bruno L. 8/22/72 -11- Tape 9 WB: When you moved to the larger house and you had more room did the kids use the parlor or did they mostly stay out in the kitchen
BL: Mostly out in the kitchen and in warmer weather, outside
WB: If you hung around the house your mom or dad would find some work for you to do so then there were 2 different sizes here on the Back Street the smallones and the larger ones and
BL: Right from where the breaker is now up to the clubhouse were the larger ones from the clubhouse up was the smaller ones right in line with the clubhouse that was the end of the larger ones and then from there up were all the same size, no bigger or smaller
WB: Do you know if those houses were made at the same time
BL: That I could not tell you they were there when we come here, we come there in 1899 in that small house they were up then
WB: And #4 Street was knocked down
WB: I was wondering about the mining, well not, well for instance now the man’s role the father’s role in the family can you remember how you saw your father when you were a kid did you see him much, I mean was he always at work or did he have time to play with the kids
BL: They didn’t have too much time to play, in the beginning they worked 10, 11 hrs. a day, well in the wintertime it was dark when he left and dark when he came back
WB: So he didn’t have much time to spend with the children
BL: Hell no the mother spent most of the time with the children
WB: How about the sons, the boys started working when
BL: Some of them started as early as 12 on the breaker
WB: So when a boy started to work he was more or less thought of as a man in the family
BL: That’s right
WB: Well then I guess there were some that didn’t work, that just stayed in high school
WB: inter Bruno L. -12- 8/22/72 Tape 9
BL: Not many
WB: Most of them went to work
BL: Most, 90% went to work
WB: They’d go to 8th grade
BL: Some of them didn’t go to the 8th grade how could you make 8th grade at the age of 12, maybe 4th grade and then they went to work and some of them didn’t even go that far, it all depends, times were hard
WB: I was just wondering, I guess not in your family but do you remember any families where there were boys that were older say 19 or 20, 21 or 22 that weren’t married that lived at home or I guess most of the guys got married pretty young
BL: No they didn’t get married so young then generally 25 or better they didn’t marry as young as they do now, their girls did but not the boys maybe a girl would get married at 14 or 15 that was nothing uncommmon for a girl to be married at that but not a boy, the boys usually were older
WB: When these boys were living at home and the boy was working say for instance from the age 12 say picking slate or something say till they might be a contact laborer by 22 or 23 or in your case a foreman if they weren’t married did they turn over their paychecks to the family or did they keep a little bit of it or what
BL: That I can’t say but I think 90% was turned over and they just got, there was no such thing as an allowance for kids, we didn’t get no weekly or monthly allowance like they do today
WB: So you would just turn over your paycheck to your mother and she might give you a couple of dollars but the rest would go to keeping the house, pay the bills and everything
BL: That’s right
WB: You said you had a grandmother living in your house did you have a grandfather
BL: The grandfather was with the son and the grandmother was with my mother, the daughter
WB: inter Bruno L. -13- 8/22/72 Tape 9
WB: Did grandmothers and grandfathers get any kind of pension in those days
BL: Not here but when they left Germany they were getting a pension but when they left they lost it, see there was no pension in them days, for people the welfare is a God’s blessing but that’s only since 1939 up till then you had nothin’ if the kids couldn’t keep you, you went to the poorhouse and then down at the poorhouse you had to work they had chores down there now they don’t but they did them days were you ever down here at that the company owned
WB: No but I heard about it, they kept everything, cows, pigs, chickens they raised everything on a farm, they had acres, and arces of land down there but if you went down there you got a chore to do and that was your job till you died
WB: Say for instance a grandmother or a grandfather living in a household did they have special jobs that they had to do or didn’t they have to do anything
BL: Well they helped out like the grandmother use to help the mother with the children the grandfather use to help the son with the outside work pick up coal and wood and do some odd jobs there was always something to do
WB: Was the grandfather looked up to say like head of the household
BL: Not exactly when he lived with his son, his son was the head of the house
WB: Well was he looked up to as being wise or was he really respected by all the children
BL: Oh yes if you didn’t respect him you got whacked
WB: I guess he had some time did he spend some time with the children then
BL: Well he use to take them for walks here and there in the woods when it was nice, he’d take care of them
WB: Maybe withthe grandfather there he was expected to take care of the children
BL: That’s right, he was there to help out, not much, if he didn’t work he’d take care of the kids and see that they were out of mischief
WB: How about boarders
WB: inter. Bruno L. -14- 8/22/72 Tape 9 BL: Well it was the people that didn’t have kids that kept boarders, but them that had kids had enough without boarders
WB: But if there were boarders in the house did they have special duties they had to do around the house too
BL: No they didn’t do nothin’ they paid their board and that was it
WB: So they didn’t have to fetch water or, well maybe they would once in a while so really all they had to do was just work and pay thier board and sometimes I understand that some of the men might work on the house like put up a new shed or extend the kitchen or something like that and they’d get paid, maybe some free board
BL: They generally helped out free gratis, they’d help to do things like that
WB: That’s how these back sheds got put on right
BL: Do you how that lumber case, that lumber was stole from the timber yard the company didn’t give you that, then you would get it and if you were afraid you’d hide it and then get this soot out of the pipes and blacken it up so the wouldn’t know it looks new you built that yourself, the company didn’t build that, they only built the house and that was it, any addition was all built by the people
WB: But the company had to maintain things like the out-houses didn’t that
BL: Oh yeh they had to do that
WB: And maybe the out kitchen
BL: Well up to a certain time after that they left everything go that’s why them out kitchens fell apart a lot of people didn’t use them
WB: But the boarders and the people themselves made these extra sheds
WB: There were very different jobs around the mine, right
BL: There were lot of different jobs, there was a mule patcher, a helper and then there was a timberman and the timberman helper a laborer, a miner bottoman, a lot of different jobs see a bottoman had to do was see these cars goingup and down the slope when
WB: inter. Bruno L. -15- 8/22/72 Tape 9 the car came down you unhooked and then you unload it and sent the down that was his job all day
WB: He would just hook them up and unhook them
BL: That’s right
WB: Sunday was really about the only day off
BL: Sunday was the only day off unless, see years ago in the summertime there would be a lot of slack time and you were only working 4 days a week and then you’d maybe get 2 or 3 days off
WB: But usually if the breaker was working there were lots of orders so you worked 6 days a week and then Sunday was your only day off was Sunday a big day did the guys do anything special like go out and get drunk on Sundays
BL: Well some of them would go to church and back and comin’ back may be they’d have too much
WB: But were there special activities that happened on Sundays
BL: Well the only thing was baseball games in the summertime, that’s all, in the wintertime nothin’, baseball was the great sport in the coal region
WB: The different mine accidents that happened, what happened if a guy was hurt in the mine
BL: Well they had a first-aid team that would take him out and then they’d get a doctor and then the doctor would take care of him if he was hurt badly they’d transport him to a hospital
WB: Well for instance now if there was a mine cave-in and there was a couple guys trapped down in the mines who would go get them would guys volunteer
BL: The guys that were workin’ in the same mine with them would go and try and get them out, my father was killed in 1918 with his partner, 1918 August 6 my father and his partner was killed, the coal came down, they got them out, his partner was living my father was dead, but his partner didn’t live only about an hour after they got him out he had his chest crushed, oh I remember 9 or 10 in my time
WB: inter. Bruno L. -16- Tape 9
WB: That’s a lot of men, whenthere were accidents like that say for instance a couple of men got hurt real badly say for instance right after your father was killed did the men get together and say, we’re not going to work because the place isn’t safe, anything like that
WB: There wasn’t any trouble like that
BL: Nosir it was just an accident
WB: I guess the people got used to it being dangerous
BL: I didn’t think it was dangerous working in the mines, I worked 42 years I never was hurt oh I got a cut here and there but not to be out of work I put 42 years in it’s a job like any other, you can get/hurt on any job if teaching school you can fall down and break a leg
WB: Yeh but you won’t get caught in a cave-in tho, it just seemed like there was more chance in the mine
BL: That’s a lot of guys that said they wouldn’t go in the mines, well there’s a lot of jobs they’re doin’ I wouldn’t either, I seen a guy walkin’ a tight rope I wouldn’t want to do that, so he wouldn’t want to go in the mines well I wouldn’t want to do what he’s doin’ either
WB: Was there any special attitudes towards the old people/like did people get tired of them being around or did people get tired of them when they got old
BL: Well when they got tired of having them around them generally sent them to the homes, but not many, most of them out keep the grandparents, it was very odd to see some that didn’t take care of them of course that’s what they home was built
WB: Now when the woman got th emoney say for instance, do you remember how your mother handled the money when it came into the house
BL: Well she had to pay the butcher, she had to pay the storeman and there wasn’t any insurance but if you had insurance why you had to pay that
WB: What insurance would that have been, was that like with a fraternal organization
WB: inter. Bruno L. 8/22/72 -17- Tape 9
BL: No it was mostly Metropolitan companies come in later but before the insurance companies they used to have a regular society here in town and you paid a dollar and a quarter a month and if you died you got $1,000 and if you got sick you got $5 a week for so many weeks, I don’t remember how many, it wasn’t oo many weeks then after that the insurance, the Metropolitan came in
WB: Who took care of the society
BL: Well they had their headquarters in Scranton and see they had all of the branches in these little mining towns
WB: Was that a mine workers’ union thing
BL: No you didn’t have to be a mine worker, even the women had their own, the women had their own and the men and the boys had their own but after you got 16 or 18 you had to transfer from the boys to the men
WB: This was the same organization that took care of the men, women and children, right
BL: Mrs. Timko, her husband I think there’s still one of them societies goin’ yet but the one over here that I belonged to that’s out their headquarters were in Scranton and so much went to the headquarters and so much was kept here in case
WB: Well who took care of it was there somebody in town
BL: Well there was men elected, there was president, secretary and treasurer they had over 100, 150, 200 membership and they had 60 to 75 in the women’s so that’s the way it was worked and then afterwhile the insurance came in and the people were gettin’ away from this one you got an endowment a 20 yr. endowment and you got $1,000 if you died or not
WB: But did they have an office here or anything like that
BL: No you know the church up there next to Jimmy Gaffney’s there’s where they kept all their meetings in teh basement
WB: Where did they keep the money, in the Hazleton bank
BL: In Freland
WB: Was there many people that would collect on that you know
WB: inter Bruno L. -18- Tape 9
BL: Not too many, you had to die to collect or get sick
WB: If/you were a member of that and there was a strike did you get the $5 a week
BL: No, only when you were sick, when there was a strike there was no, I just read in teh paper yesterday that the taxpayers are supportin’ the strikers which I don’t think is right either, when they’re on strike 5 or 6 months they’re collecting welfare, well where does that come from and food stamps where does that come from and some of them are getting 90% of their salary without work, well you’d never go to work as far as that’s concerned, I don’t think that’s right if you’re on strike you shouldn’t get welfare I don’t give a dam who you are these operators of these plants why why they’re payin’ for the men that’s on strike
WB: You’re right
end footage 470
Marisa Bozarth and Camille Westmont