Vol. 4-Interview-Zahay


A. Veresano Interviewing Helen Fedorsha 6/15/72 Tape 14-2 Page 1

AV: Tell me about the problems they used to have with boarders.

 HF: Well, with so many boarders, and everybody, the guy used to come around with the wagon with the beer and the liquor. The boxes of beer were in the back of the wagon. The wagon was made something like , you know, those cars down there, no cover on it, and a seat there that a man used to sit on and drive the horses. Well, under this mat he would have the jugs of liquor, oh, big jugs. I believe we saw some of them down at the flea market Sunday, I was gonna call your attention to it, and then i didn’t. But we’ll go down to the flea market again, you’ll see the jugs down there. We used to have them for wine, and then when we quit makin’ it and we moved from there, I don’t know what we did with the jugs. They weren’t of value to anybody, so they probably were thrown out. They were earthenware, also, and of course, the guy would come in to the house, and if you wanted liquor, he would being whatever kind of liquor you wanted. And I guess there was rye whiskey, and I don’t know what else. Rye whiskey I know, but i don’t know what else. And he’d come in, and he had a funnel and a measure, and he would pour it into this measure and then pour it with the funnel into the jug. Well, all these men had a jug under their bed. That was the proper place to have it, and of course, they used to go on their little sprees, and then they’d start seein’, seein’ different kind of visions!

 AV: Visions, eh!

 HF: and jumpin’ out the windows and everything else!

 AV: Really?

 HF: Oh, yes, my dad says that he and … they were boarding in one of these little houses, and there was only a half a window in that room. Now people have built you know, they’ve just put big windows in, but, like Mrs. Timko has a big window in her upstairs, but in those days it was just half of one of these windows. And he said, he and another man, they drank, but not that way. He said, we have a job, he said, after they would get drunk, I forgot the name of the man but he used to mention their names. Well then they’d start seeing different things, and they’d want to jump out the window. So just the moment they would lay down, one of these guys would go on one of these sprees, and they’d have to hurry up and jump up from bed and try to hold him down. So, one day, they ot one of the guys, he was halfway out the window, and they got ahold of him and they put him back in – got hold of the back of hs drawers and they pulled him back in! And he said one guy came downstairs, and he had a wife and children in Europe, and he was chasin’ around with some woman here, and I think he had children with her. And he came down and he was standin’ at the stove and he was lookin’ into that fire, and he starts cryin’. And he said, what are you cryin’ about? Well, why shouldn’t I cry? Well, Why are you cryin’, what are you, why are you cryin’ ? Don’t you see those little children burnin’ in that fire? (That’s why he’s cryin’.) Well, he says we’re straining our eyes, we’re looking, we don’t see any, all we see is the hot coals, no children. And he was imagining, I guess his conscience was bothering him by what he was doing. So he was cryin’ that the children are burning in the fire. But they used to drink heavily. I guess that was the only way they could survive! It must have really been a picnic to have things like that happen. Already when we had the boarders that we had, I don’t remember too many of them. I know my brother-in-law boarded with us, and Andrew Gaydos’s brother, John, boarded with us. He boarded there until he got married. And then there was a man that then went out to the soft coal regions, out around Pittsburgh, and ended up in Dusquane. He boarded with us, he’s the man that I used to teach. He’s dead now. And then there was another man that boarded, and from our place he left for Europe, and what-


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ever happened to him during the First World War, I don’t’ know, because we never head anything about him after he left. So, they were the only…… oh, and I think, that man they used to call Big Andrew, I think he boarded with us for awhile. But they’re the only ones that I remember. But, like at Machella’s, My God, they had an array of boarders there!

 AV: Did they?

 HF: And then when the peddlers would come around, peddlin’ different things, they were usually Arabian. And they would have these like suitcases, and they would have dress material or shaving needs or shoelaces or pins and hairpins, anything that you needed. All these little things they’d have. Well, they used to, I don’t know how they’d come into town, did they come by train to Foundryville and then walk over here, or how they came in, but then they couldn’t finish the town in one day, so they would ask for a night’s lodging. And there was one man that stayed at our place quite a number of times for overnight. Well, they used to stay in Machella’s also There was always room for one more!

 AV: In Machella’s!

 HF: If there was no room anywhere else, there was always room for one more in there! And we used to wait for those peddlers, well, not as much for those peddlers, because after all they didn’t carry candy. And there was, down at the Eckley store they had candy, but who’s gonna be running down at the store all the time? If you wanted candy, you’d go to Freeland, and you had to walk. Well, you weren’t in the mood to walk all the time, everytime you wanted candy. So this one man came around, and he was in a mine accident, and he had lost his sight, his face was all, like, marked with blue, and the coal, when this blast went off, the coal imbedded itself and he had blue marks left on his face. And he was completely blind, and he had some of the fingers off his hands. And he used to come with a big basket …… and this was a big basket, not like that wicker basket there, it was made of different stuff, but it was a big basket with the handles on the side, and they had like a strap run across. There was a young boy that used to lead him around and he would carry, this old man would carry this basket, and the boy would hold him under the arm and lead him around. Well, when he’d come, he knew where the different things were in that basket, he could point them out to you. And we used to wait for him, because he always had candy. Different kind of candy, and we’d pick them out and buy them. And he had shoelaces, and he had any little thing that you needed, you know, those little things, and we used to wait for him. Today, my God, the kids wouldn’t even want that candy.

 AV: What kind did you have?

 HF: Well, it was usually lollipops, or something that didn’t melt. Because, chocolate he couldn’t carry around, especially in the summertime, or it would melt! But as long as it was candy, it was good.

 AF: So these were sort of overnight boarders?

 HF: Yes, they used to come into town, and then till they would peddle the town they would stay overnight and then you’d give them their breakfast, or you’d give them a bite to eat whenever they would come in the evenings. And in the morning when they would get up, you’d give them breakfast before they would leave. Well, we used to deal with this one man, his name was Mr. Toweel, and my mother never wanted to get anything from him. She told him, she said, Nick??? for the little bit that you ate, she said, many times you throw stuff out that you didn’t eat, so she said I’m not going to charge you anything at all for it. He was a very nice person. He had a son in Hazleton, I often see that name in the paper. And his son, I don’t now what Arabian


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people are, but his son had turned a Catholic, and he married a girl from Hazleton. And the old man was around until he wasn’t able to get around any more. And then we had some later on that used to come around with a wagon and horse and a wagon, they used to peddle.

 AV: What did they pay for their room and board?

 HF: Nothing. They’d want to give you something for it, but even for one night that they slept, you didn’t change anything. Then there were men, years ago, whether they were legitimate or not, I don’t know, nobody ever checked into it. But they would come around, and they were, from people who had lived in Europe and are in this country, and somebody would write to them and tell them they’d wnat to build a new church in that particular town that they came from. Well, then they would come around from home to home, and ask for a donation toward the building of that church. Well, one night there was a man that was around like that, and it was dark already, and he asked for a night’s lodging. And, oh, I was workin’ then already, because we had our Rover. And he had my room, the back room upstairs. And I slept downstairs on the studio couch. And as you came down from the upstairs, it wasn’t and open stairway, and when you came down from the upstairs, if you turned to the right you went into the parlor. If you turned to your left you came into the kitchen, and to go outside. So some part of the night, this man needed to go out, and naturally in a strange house you get confused, and there was just a dim light. And it just seemed that the minute I heard someone come down the steps I was wide awake. And I sat up and I was listening. And the dog, it was a pretty big dog, I guess he stood about this high, and he was part hound, but he was a very affectionate dog, and was layin’ at the couch. (That was Rover?) Rover. And he went to turn into the parlor, and when he did the dog growled at him. And the dog stood his ground, he didn’t move, just growled at him. And i quick sat up and I said to him, what do you want? And he said, Oh, I made a mistake, I made a mistake, I want to go outside. And I told him he should turn the kitchen light on, and I said you’ll find your way around. But you know, I was a little bit scared when that happened, because, you don’t know the people, you don’t, I said it was a lot of nerve to take in a person. But no one ever thought of these muggings or killings, or anything, never! You could take someone in that you didn’t know anything about, and they would sleep in your house that night, but they never abused anybody, they never stole anything. You could go to sleep and sleep peacefully, and you knew that they weren’t gonna do anything.

 AV: Even with girls in the house?

 HF: Yes, even with girls in the house. They never bothered. But like today, you’d be afraid to take someone in like that. Because you don’t know what they are. You don’t know what they can be accused of or anything. You don’t know whether they’re criminals or what they are. You’d actually be afraid to take them in . And how many times we had people like that stay in our place overnight. And then, natrually, whenver you’re sleeping, they can get around the house if they want to, but they never did. Never.

 AV: And, whose decision was it to take these people in?

 HF: Well, they would ask my mother and my dad, and then the two of them would talk it over. And, well, for one night they would take them in, let them spend the night. Where are they gonna go? There wasn’t any bus service, there wasn’t any way of getting to Freeland or anything. So they used to let them stay overnight. And as I say, they never got into trouble. And in the morning, you would fix a little breakfast for them, and they would eat and they would be on their way.


A. Varesano Interviewing Helen Fedorsha 6-15-72 Tape 14-2 Page 4

 AV: Did the women of the house ever have any other trouble with boarders?

 HF: No, not any, sometimes if a boarder got a little sassy, he’d be told off, and if he knew what was good for him, he’d keep his mouth shut, because he would be afraid to board anywhere else. And he had nowhere else to go, because he would board until they would find a girl that they would marry. And now, all they’re talking about it love, love, love! Well, I’ll bet anything that a lot of those men married not for love. They didn’t know the girls long enough. But, for convenience, because they didn’t have where to stay, they didn’t have anyone to take care of them. And this way, if they got married, and then housekeeping their own little place, they could do as they pleased, and they were taken care of. Because their meals were cooked for them, they were kept clean and everything. When I passed that remark off in my Anna’s when Eva was there, and I said they didn’t marry for love, I said, they married for convenience. And she said, Are you sure that’s all they married for? I said, well that’s all I know. So, I dropped the subject then, because I thought, I’m not going to get in deep with her. But I’ll always say that most of them married for convenience. A lot of them sent for girls that they knew in Europe. And they would send for them, they’d send them money for a passport, and they’d bring them to this country and they would marry them here. Because my mother was coming from Europe when there was a young girl that was supposed to come, she was to marry a man, and my mother got to New York, and, at Castle (??) where they used to, well, the immmigrant oficials used to see that they’re all legitimate and everything, and when he asked my mother where she was going , se didn’t know the English language. All she would say, she is going to Eckley. And the man said to her, are you goin’ to Eckley, or are you goin’ to Heckley? He said, because there are two places, Eckley and Heckley. Well, then she didn’t know what it was, she just understood that it’s Eckley. And there was a man standing right near her, and then he asked her in our way, he said, little girl, where are you going? Who are you going to? So my mother told him that she was going to her sister. And he said, what is your sister’s name? And she said Mary Stefan. And he said, Oh, you’re going to Eckley. He said, that’s where I’m from also. He came to meet the girl that was supposed to come. And she didn’t come that day, so then he, when he came into the house… Oh, no, this man, it wasn’t his girl that was comin’ over, but a man that was boarding in the house, I forget what he family’s name was… and, was it Gaspar, I don’t remember… and when he broth my mother over, well, my aunt was living there somewhere, but he brought my mother right into where he was boarding, and then had her taken over to my aunt’s place. And this man that was waiting for his girl to come from Europe, he was sleeping. And he came downstairs all thrilled, thinking that its his girlfriend that came! When he came down, he found out it wasn’t the girlfriend! The girl friend came later. But that’s how they used to do it, they’d send for a girl in Europe, and she’d come here, and they’d get married, and then where ever he was boarding, well, they lost a boarder there, but they were sure to get another one!

 AV: How did your mother meet your father?

 HF: She came to America and she was staying with her sister, and I don’t know who my daddy was boarding with, and that’s how they met. You know, they would all I guess the whole bunch would get together, because they were all from Europe. Any maybe they weren’t from the same town, but they would be from towns that weren’t too far away, and I guess the thing that would bring them together was the idea that thew were all from Europe, and they’d have plenty to talk about.

 AV: So she wasn’t sent for.

 HF: No, no. She came to America because she didn’t have anybody in Europe. She


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had an aunt, but her parents had died when she was small. She didn’t remember either one of her parents. She was raised by her aunt. So then, she had enough money to get a passport and come to America. She came here to her sister. And then, she met my dad, I don’t know how long she was here in America. And they got married. They were married in Hazleton because there wasn’t any Roman Catholic church in Freeland. There was St. Mary’s, but at that time the church had ruled, that you had to be married in the church of the girl. Now the ruling is if a Byzantine rite is marrying a Latin rite, they have to married, if the fellow is Byzantine, they have to married in the fellow’s rite. If he is Roman Catholic, then they still have to marry in the Roman Catholic rite. If the two of them are Roman Catholic, then they marry in either one of the churches, his church or her church. If they belong to churches in different towns. Then they can marry in either one. But with the Byzantine rite, you have to follow the man. At the one time, you followed the girl. So they had to go to Hazleton. And as I said, I used to hear them talking. They had to walk, they and two witnesses, I don’t know who their witnesses were – it may be on their marriage certificate, for all I know – they walked to Foundryville, they got the train at Foundryville, they went to Hazleton, they went to St. Joseph’s Church in Hazleton, they were married there, and after they were married they walked down to the train again, got the train and rode to Foundryville, and walked from Foundryville home! And they didn’t go on a honeymoon!

 AV: I guess it wasn’t the custom at that time to go on a honeymoon.

 HF: No, naturally it wasn’t. Oh, it wasn’t the custom for ages. Well, when Anna was married it still wasn’t the custom to go on honeymoons. Now, even though you have to loan them money so they go on a honeymoon. Even tho they don’t have their own money, they’ll loan money from the bank and go on a honeymoon.

 AV: So at that time they used to get married and set up their house right away?

 HF: Yes. Sometimes they’d have to board wherever they were until they got themselves all set up. But there were a lot of homes here, and they could get a home especially because naturally they kept it for their workers. The company had the homes, because the town was big here, and there was what they called Number Four, but I don’t remember the homes that were down there. Although I did hear my mother and dad talk about them.

 AV: What was Number Four?

 HF: That was down back of the church. There was part of the town down there. See, they used to build their homes where there were workings. And there was a slope down there, and there was a breaker down there. And they tried to build the homes, that the men would be close to the working. That’s how they used to build their homes. And then down at Number Seven, there were workings down there, there was a boiler house down there, there were homes down there.

 AV: How many homes at these places?

 HF: I don’t know how many were in Number Four, and I dont know how many were in Number Seven, because in Number Seven all I saw was the foundations. We used to take a walk out when I was just a kid, with my mother and dad on a Sunday afternoon. We used to take a walk out and we used to go down through the woods and we’d pick teaberries, 227 and then in the fall of the year we used to go for chestnuts. And we went down through Number Seven there, and I saw these foundations and I asked about them. And my dad and mother said, well, she said, These were homes. People used to live here. And I said, in the woods like this? And my dad said, that wasn’t all woods when people lived here. And he showed me the home where the Maloney family lived, that was Margaret Maloney’s grandparents. Margaret lives down near Mary Zurko now. That was her grandparents. They lived in that home and there were a number


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of families that lived in that section. But they, the company, built their homes wherever there were workings. And then their miners were close to their workings, they didn’t have to travel. So that’s how the town was set up. It wasn’t zoned, it wasn’t all laid out like they’re doing now, they’re building Model Cities, and you can’t build here because it’s a business section and you can’t build there because it’s a recreation section, and all that. In those days they didn’t do that, They just built the homes where the workings were, so the men would be closet to the workings.

 AV: Well now, you say that these boarders were looking just for a marriage of convenience to take care of them….…

 HF: Well that’s what I thought, because, how are you going to fall in love, when you meet a person and know them about two or three days, are you gonna fall in love with them?

 AV: Oh, that quick they married?

 HF: They used to marry quite soon. Because they, they, who wants to keep on boarding if they could get a place of their own? And, the girls that used to come here, they would have to do housework because there was nothing else to do, and there wer women here in town that had a good bit of boarders, they would have a girl working for them. But how much did the girl get? Today it’s not even pocket money. Well, I don’t really know, but i know it was very little. Very little. Even girls that went out of town to work there was a boarding house at Jeddo, and girls from Eckley here used to work at the boarding house. They were paid very low wages, very low wages.

 AV: Was there a boarding house at Eckley?

 HF: They said that there was a boarding house at Eckley. But not that I remember. The only place that I remembered was the home down by the store. It was in around wehre John Fatula lives, down there. There was a bigh home there, and when I remember it, it was four families were living in that place.

 AV: What did it look like?

 HF: Oh, it was a big home. It had a big basement that you could even live down the basement. And then they had the first floor and they had the second floor, and they had an attic, and they were big rooms. So now whether that would have been a hotel. I don’t know. And, but then when I remember it, there were families living there, it was the D??? family was living there, Andrew Gaydos’s brother was living on one side, and Mr. R??? was living in one side, and Agnes Zahay was livng in one side, and then I don’t know whether that would have been a hotel, I don’t know what it was. Or, a boarding house, I don’t know what it was. But it was a big building. And when they stated ripping up the town, they tore that down.

 AV: So the girls that came over from Europe.….

 HF: They used to go out and do housework for, anywhere that they could get, like in Freeland if there were Jewish families that had businesses, they used to go in and do housework for them. And that’s the way they would support themselves. So, when they had a change to marry, they married because then they wouldn’t have to get out to work.

 AV: These girls that came over, they didn’t stay with their parents, they stayed with.….

 HF: No, their parents would be in Europe. And they’d come over themselves.

 AV: Alone? Was that permitted?

 HF: Sure. Oh, yes, that was permitted in those days. Because there were a lot of single men coming over here, too. I understand that the coal companies used to have agents that went throught these towns in Europe looking for workers. And naturally the company would like to have the men marry and settle down. So a lot of single girls came to this country. Their parents


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were in Europe, and they’d come over to this country.

 AV: Didn’t their parents mind?

 HF: No, no they didnt mind (she leave the microphone) .… they’d have to learn to take care of themselves. They couldn’t depend on their parents all the time, and that’s how a lot of those things happened, that they would – and the immigration officials were not too particular on account of knowing that, well the country was just growing. And they didn’t care as long as a person was healthy, then you could come.

 AV: So the parents gave permission for their daughters to go, really trusting them then?

 HF: Naturally.

 AF: And you mentioned that you sister married one of you boarders. Did the parents mind if that happened?

 HF: Well, my dad didn’t say anything, and my brother didn’t say anything. He seemed to be a nice person, and my dad didn’t like the idea too well that she was so young. Becase she was just sixteen in January, and married in April. And my dad thought that she could have waited longer. But she married. And she had a good life with him. She was, after, let’s see, Pete was her first child, then she had a dead-born child, and then she had Helen. Well, I think not until afer she had Helen, I guess, that she got typhoid. Yes she got typohid after she had Helen. And that’s when she got this phlebitis. But the doctors didn’t know at that time what phlebitis was. And it wasn’t taken care of the way it should be. Because now with phlebitis they won’t let you walk, and then your legs are bandaged right away, and the doctors says that can happen- well, they used to call it a milk leg, but they said that doesn’t only happen when a woman has a child, that can happen after an operation. And it’s all the veins that do that, and he said it can happen after typhoid fever and after confinement. So she wasn’t even out of bed when she got this phlebitis, and then on top fo that she gets typhoid fever. Now where she got typhoid fever, nobody knows. They checked the water supply right away. But no one else in town got typhoid, with the exception of her and our Anna. And then there was one fellow that was living down in the valley, he got typhoid. They were the only three that we know of in this vicinity that got typhoid. Well, when our Anna was taking care of Mary, and Helen was just a baby, she was nursing. So, they found that Helen had traces of typhoid. She had a terrible diarrhea. Well, then, Mary had to give up nursing her, because they felt that she was getting typhoid from her. Annie took care of the baby, she took care of Mary, and Miss Smith was the nurse. She mad a basin of water with some disinfectant in the water. And ever time that our Anna would go up to the bedroom, she would have to wash her hands in this water. But one day Miss Smith came in, and – she used to come in four and five times a day to check on Mary – she come in one day, and our Anna wasn’t feeling good. She said, Anna, you’re sick. Oh, I only have a little headache. And she said, Anna, you’d better go home and go right to bed. I only have a little headache. I have this to do, I have that to do. So, all right, Miss Smith left, she went back home. She lived down in that house where Emil Gera is living now. And she comes up later, and our Anna is still there. And she said, Anna, I said you should go home, you’re sick. She said, you go home now, and I’m calling Doc Trigenmiller???. And he’s gonna come down and check on you. So, we already had gone to bed – there weren’t any televisions, they weren’t any radios, so there wasn’t anything to keep you up at night. You went to bed. If you weren’t either crocheting or doing something like that, you went to sleep. And then, another thing, but I guess then already we had electric lights. But at that time that you just had lamps, well you wouldn’t be sitting


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alongside of that lamp all night, like they do now. And I used to sleep with our Anna. We were in bed already, and there was a knock at the door, and my daddy went down to the door, and of course he wouldn’t open the door unless he asked who was there. If he couldn’t recognize who was there, he wouldn’t open the door for them. So Doc Tuckenmiller??? said, Oh, John, it’s only me. Well, my dad opened the door for him, and he said, Well, no one sent for you. What are you doing here? And you didn’t have to pay charges however they’d come down like that. You paid fifty cents a month and you were covered. You didn’t pay no eight dollars or ten dollars because he made a night visit. And he said, I came to check on Anna. Miss Smith called me and she told me Anna was sick. And you know, we have to worry about that typhoid. So he comes upstairs and he sees that I am in bed with our Anna, and he said to me, You get out! Out! You daren’t stay in bed with her, because we don’t know what she has. Well, a kid like that, I never had to go to the doctor or anything. My god, I had to get up, and I wasn’t dressed in a nightgown, I was in a slip. And I said, do I have to get out, right in front of him here? And I said, well I’ll get out when you leave. I (??) said you get out right now, and don’t you come back, either, until we find out! So, like it or not, I had to get out of bed. And he took a sample of blood, and he said he was going to send it in to the laboratory and let her know the next day. The next day he comes down and he said Anna, I’m sorry, you have typhoid. You can’t go down to Mary’s. And our Anna was very sick for awhile. And that’s where she got that phlebitis, from typhoid. Anna wasn’t taken care of, even though she doctored with different ones. None of them knew about it. That’s how she gets that open ulcer on her leg now, because that’s all from those veins breaking down.

 AV: So, in those days, when these men were looking for a wife, what did they look for in a girl?

 HF: A good worker. One that didn’t shirk her work, that would work! That would raise a family. That’s what they were looking for, most of all. And that she’d know how to cook in one way or another. They knew right well that she wouldn’t know how to cook just then, because none of them did. When they came from Europe they didn’t have to do that over there, or they didn’t have the methods that they had here. My mother had to learn, and my aunt – my dad often said that my aunt was a very good bread baker. But he said, you know, he said, that she would not teach your mother how to bake bread. Your mother had to struggle along, and he said how many times we had to throw that dough out. But he said, that’s the was she learned. And then Mrs. McGill was living here in town. At that time she was an old woman when I knew her already she was an old woman. But she was willing to help anyone. And she helped my mother along a lot. Because she didn’t know anything about starching, and the men used to wear these fancy shirt fronts, and the shirt fronts had to be starched. Well, my mother didn’t know anything about starching. Mrs. McGill taught her. And there wer a lot of other things that Mrs. McGill taught her. So they had to lear. And in the line of cooking, until they really learned how to do ti, I guess many times they spoiled something. That’s the only way they were gonna learn.

 AV: How could they tell if they were good workers, or good cooks?

 HF: Oh, I don’t know how they could tell, but any way, that’s what they were looking for, women who would work – there was a lot of work to be done.

 AV: How did the woman choose and decide whether she wanted the man?

 HF: Well, that I wouldn’t know. Did they just settle for a home, they wouldn’t have to go out and do housework for someone. And a lot of the marriages turned out very successful. Sure, there were a lot of marriages. Today when girls


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know fellow for years, they’re engaged and they’re going together for years, and their marriage turns out a flop. And of course these women didn’t have any choice, after they had a few children, there was a family to raise. Well, even though you didn’t have everything the way you wanted, you still stuck . Because there was a family to raise, and how were you going to raise them? There wasn’t any relief, no relief! So you had to raise your children on your own. And I think that’s what kept them together a lot. And then, they were starting up churches, and they didn’t have a lot of this silliness like some of the priests have today, they’re teaching what they shouldn’t teach, but everyone had a deep faith in God. And they felt that as long as they had faith in him, they would get along. And they did. Not that they didn’t have their little spats, mind. It wasn’t all honey, but they got along. Because I know my mother and dad had spats many times. Many times. But my mother just stayed. She’d keep her mouth shut. I told her one day, I said, I wouldn’t keep mine shut, I’d tell him what I think! And she said, oh, it’s not going to do any good. So she’d keep quiet. And he’d fume a little bit – because he was quick-tempered – but he could get over it real fast. And then he’d be sorry for what he said. But it was already said. Well, if he didn’t leave me anything else, he left me his temper! Yes he left me his temper!

 AV: What did they consider a good age for a girl to get married?

 HF: Oh, at that time they married early. They married early. I should think that some of those girls would be in their fifteens, when they would marry, because an awful lot of them married very early. Somehow, they managed to get along, they managed to raise a family, they kept house, well, of course they were used to hard work. Because, from the time we were kids, we had to help out, whether it was in the garden, or when, on Saturdays when we didn’t have school you’d go up in the slate banks and sit up there all day, picking coal. Today, the kids get an express wagon to play, for fun. We got it for work, we didn’t get it for fun. But, you never griped, there were so many of us picking coal, well, you’d try to beat the next one. How many buckets did you pick today? You were trying to beat the next guy, picking coal. And then, when huckleberries were ripe, you were in the woods. And you couldn’t say No, you’re not goin’. You were goin’ whether you liked it or not. I wanted to go to the movies one afternoon. I didn’t get there! My mother told me, you don’t have a can full – because I wanted to leave early. And I told her, and she says well I don’t have a can full. And I said well I’d like to go to see that picture. Well she said I couldn’t go with an empty can. So, I didn’t see the picture! And I didn’t open my big mouth at her, either. I kept quiet. I knew it didn’t do any good . I kept quiet. And I’m still alive – I didn’t see that picture, but I’m living. I’m not any the worse off! And in the fall of the year, you’d go for leaves. Well, that I liked. Oh, I still love to go for leaves. You’ve no idea how nice they smell! You know, when the leaves are dry, and you’re walking through those leaves, and they’re rustling around your feet and, and they smell so nice. You had burlap bags. You could buy them, because, you’d buy chop for the cow, and it came in burlap bags. You’d save those bags. So you’d take those bags, and you’d take long pieces of either clothing or a piece of rope, and leaves are light. You’d stuff the bags as full as you could stuff it. And then you’d have maybe four or five bags that you’d have tied into this express wagon with a rope, so they wouldn’t fall off. You’d bring them home, and then that was, they used to put that under the cow as a layer, that she didn’t have to lay on the bare floor. And in the wintertime that’s what the cow used to lay on. And then when they were cleaning the stable out – as you had to clean the stable out every couple of days if you wanted to keep it clean – well then all that went out on what you


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha Page 10 6/15/72 Tape 14-2

would call the manure pile. That used to be used on the garden for fertilizer and it’s better than any fertilizer in the world.

 AV: That was only for cows, you used the leaves?

 HF: Even for under pigs, so that they wouldn’t have to lay on the bare floor. And then you’d used some straw. But you made sure they weren’t on the bare floor. And even though the people weren’t educated, but most of them knew how to take care of animals. So that was our job there, we used to go down to Number Eight, down where I showed you that I though was the Number Eight slope. Well, down in that section – it’s all stripped now – we used to go down in that section. And the leaves would really be high. There were a lot of trees and they’d fall off, so they’d really be high. And, I used to enjoy walking through them, and they used to smell so good!

 AV: So, the kids were really brought up with work.

 HF: Yessir, they were brought up with work. No mini-bikes trying to shatter your nevers! As soon as they have a couple of pennies, they go out and but a mini-bike and they run it like mad! No sir, you didn’t see the kids do that!

 AV: So the girls at that sage were almost ready for marriage?

 HF: Oh, he didn’t exactly object, only he told her to be careful, that she is so young. But girls didn’t get out like they do today, you know, to travel around and meet different men. You didn’t get out that way, so a man that you knew and you thought you liked, you married, and that was it, you were settled.

 AV: What kind of standards did the girl have in looking, and choosing a man? Did she avoid certain characteristics>

 HF: Well, I think most of them would try to avoid men who drank heavily. And men who were good-natured, good workers. Because even then there were men amond them that would work a few days a week and take the rest of the time off., They didn’t want to work. Well, then, you were trying to be careful not to marry someone like that, because then you were in trouble.

 AV: How would you know?

 HF: Well, even in the one tonw, a small town like this, naturally you’d know about one another no matter how it is. People talk, and there’s nothing very secret. Everything is told, and especially women knew something about a man and they knew that, say, for instance, your daughter was going to be married and I knew something about this man that wasn’t too nice, well, I wouldn’t keep it under my hat, I’d tell her about it.

 AV: You’d tell the bride, or?

 HF: The mother, and tell the mother that tell her daughter to be careful.

 AV: Ah, hah!

 HF: Oh, yes, we didn’t even need a telephone in this town!

 AV: I believe it!

 HF: But everyone got along, regardless of what you were, were you Dutch, were you Irish were you Polish, were you Tyrolean, it didn’t matter. Everyone got along with one another. They didn’t say, oh, you’re this and you’re that, and you’re not good enough. Everyone was good enough for anybody.

 AV: Did they object to marriages between, like, Slavish and Irish?

 HF: No, not, ah, they had some objection to it, but not that much. If the girl insisted, then they went ahaed and they married.

 AV: which ones might they object to?

 HF: Well, really, I think the most they would object to is someone who was lazy, and someone who drank too much. They’d object to that, because they would just figure that she wouldn’t have a good life. And it was true that a lot


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha Page 11 6/15/72 Tape 14-2

of girls got married, but they married American-born fellows, not foreigners. American-born fellows. And they had a terrible life with them. They drank too heavily. There’s one in particular that I know, that, God, the poor soul got a beating on her wedding night. The bridesmaids all sitting in the room, and he came upstairs with something – our Mary was one of the bridesmaids, my sister, Mary was one of the bridesmaids – and, I don’t know, he had a couple drinks, well, maybe more than a couple. Well, they used to have big weddings. It wasn’t anything fancy, it wasn’t platter and all those fancy-dressed meats and everything, it was, no wedding cake, it was cookies, you had cookies on the table. And, he came into the room, I don’t know for what, but the bridesmaids were all sitting there, and she said something to him and she had her face slapped. Right on her wedding day. She didn’t leave him, though. Today, if a fellow did that, that would be the last he saw of her. She’d leave him. And she had a very miserable life for years. He drank heavily, and he believed in a wife being a servant, and she had her children quite close. She raised a nice family. And she used to get her beating from him. Because I used to friend with her sister, and I used to go to her house. And we used to walk home from church. Well, I guess on his way home he would visit every saloon that is around. By the time he got home, he was pretty well loaded, and when he’d get home, he’d start hollering for no reason at all. And if she answered, then she got it. So one Sunday afternoon, my neighbor saved her. He was chasing her down the alley, and there were, the Banks were down at the end of the street, and the neighbor stepped out and he stopped it. He waited until he knew that she was far enough away that he wouldn’t get her. So that kind of life you had. But, tell that to the kids today, they’d say, You don’t know what you’re talking about. That could never happen here, never. It happened.

 AV: What king of courtship practices did they have? Was there a customary walk, or something:?

 HF: They used to go out for a little walk, but there was no, well then in later years when they had picnics, well they would meet the girls at the picnics or they would take them to the picnic. But there wasn’t this going out for drives and all that stuff. That didn’t go on. After a little while the fellow would ask the girl to marry him and she would. Especially if she didn’t have parents here. Because she had to look out for herself.

 AV: Did they meet at certain places or talk together in the living room, or something?

 HF: Well, I doubt if they really came into one another’s home that way. They usually stayed out. and take a walk around, and sh’ed go home. Because, even when I already was working, and there wasn’t bus service, well, where are you gonna walk, to Freeland, and then be coming home at all hours of the night. So we used to stay in town, and it just seems that the home town, the girls here in town all went with their home town boys. They would pair off. Whether it was serious or not, it didn’t matter. You would pair off with someone, and you didn’t go to a movie, you didn’t go to a beer joint, you didn’t go anywhere but you’d walk around, down, I showed you where the Back Street is, Suzy Fatula was living right on the corner there. There was a flat board on that fence, we used to sit there. Today, if you did that they’d scold you! We’d be sitting on that fence, and we’d be talking, and not quiet, we’d be talking loud, and many times then we would sit there singing, on that fence. And her bedroom was right there in the parlor, and she never came out to holler at us. Today, I think you’d be shot at. Well, we’d all, everyone was kids, the boys weren’t much older than we were. And you’d pair off, and walk down the Back Street and around, down there where the bakery is


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha -12 8/15/72 Tape 14-2

574 now, you’d walk, that was the road that they used to go up to the colliery with. There was no name for it. And then you’d start walking up the Main Street. As you were walking up, maybe there was a couple couples coming down Main Street and then they’d go up Back Street! And, well, “Hello”, “Hello”! I can’t tell you how many rounds you’d make around the town, because around here it was an alley, where the street is now, that was an alley. And you’d walk up that way, and you’d start going down the Back Street again. And the couples that you met, you met them I don’t know how many times a night, and every time, “Hello”, “Hello”!

AV: How late would you do this?

HP: Oh, we were supposed to be in the house by nine o’clock or a little after nine, and 592 then if you would go out later you had to give an account of yourself. Today, my God, if you told the kids to do that, they’d think you’re crazy! And one night we were out – our mother and dad were out to a wake – and, oh, it was a beautiful moonlight night, and me and our Anna were out, and we were out later than we would otherwise be, and we’re comin’ home and we had that small window in the back room, and we used to keep a screen in there, but I guess the screen was taken out, the window was open, so, the curtains were short curtains, but they were blowing out the window. We’re coming down the street, and we can see this, and we thought, our daddy is waiting for us to come home, sitting at the window. So we came down to the house, and I didn’t want to try the door, our Anna didn’t want to try the door. But my mother used to leave the door open for us to come in. And we’d close the door after – well, usually my dad would come in after we came in the house and he would close up the door for the night. So I said to our Anna, Somebody’s sitting at that window! And the curtains were blowing out, there must have been another window open in the place, and there was a draft and the curtains were blowing out. So we come to the house, and we are afraid to try the door. We’re sitting around outside. We finally came to the conclusion, it doesn’t help to sit outside. No matter how early we came down, and we’re gonna sit outside, we’re gonna be out there late. So then they won’t believe us that we came home at that time. They’ll think we just came home when we rap at the door. We finally tried the door and the door was locked. And I said, well, I guess they are waiting for us. So we tried the door again, because I said to Anna, I said, You know, Anna, the longer we stay here, the later it’s gonna get, they aren’t gonna believe that we were here so long, they’ll think we just came home. And we tried the door again. My mother heard us. And she said she gave my daddy a nudge and she said, did you lock that door? And see, it was my mother’s job to fix things up for the night. My daddy never did, so he wasn’t used to it. And she said, Did you lock that door? And he said, I don’t know. And it was just a habit for him to slip the latch. She says, I hear somebody. And she said, I wonder if the girls are home? My daddy gets out of bed, looks in the back room, we weren’t there. So, he came down, and he opened the door, and of course we thought we were going to get a ripping out, because it was late already. Well, late in those days, today it wouldn’t be. Today maybe they wouldn’t be going out yet. And he said, how long were you girls out here. And we told him how long, and we were afraid to rap at the door. Well, he said, I was down, and when I was down, it just slipped my mind and I just slipped the latch and that’s it. You weren’t being watched!

AV: You mean, they would go in bed and trust you to come home?

HP: Oh yes, an order was an order. You were told what time you were expected 644 home and you, there were very few that disobeyed that order, very few. Because, you didn’t question them on it. They gave you an order, you didn’t


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha -13 6/15/72 Tape 14-2

647 say anything about, well, why should I, or anything of that sort. You didn’t say anything, you made sure that you were going to try to be home at that time. If you weren’t, you had to have a good explanation of why you weren’t.

AV: They would be in bed already?

HP: Oh, yes, they would go to bed. And like that night, my dad had to come down and open the door for us.

AV: How much older than the girls were these boys that were starting to court?

HP: Oh, they’d be old enough to be working. They didnt get married unless they’d be working.

AV: Unless they were full-fledged miners, or?

HP: Well, I don’t know, I would say the men, the men usually were in around twenty 656 or twenty-one when they’d marry.

AV: Would they be married if they were miner’s laborers, instead of full-fledged miners?

HP: Oh, yes. Oh, sometimes they worked for years before they’d be, before they’d get a promotion to something else. My brother-in-law was married and he was still driving a mules. He wasn’t a miner, he was still driving mules, then from that he went on to being a laborer, and from that he got to be a miner.

AV: So advancement to the position of miner requires not only training as a laborer but a position.…

HP: Oh, you couldn’t be a miner unless you passed an examination. You had to get a miner’s certificate. You had to go to a board, and you were asked questions you had to pass your mner’s test. Then you would get a certificate if you passed the test you got a certificate, and if you didn’t pass the test, then you couldn’t mine until you took another test. Until you would pass it. And.

AV: When they’d pass this test and get a certificate, were they automatically assigned a miner’s job?

HP: When they asked for a job as a miner, well, if there was an opening, he would get a job as a miner. If there wasn’t any opening, then he would have to wait his turn.

AV: And still work as a laborer.

HP: Yeah.

AV: Oh, what the woman’s role in getting some more food for the house? How 678 would she feed the family?

HP: Well, there were grocers that came into town. You didn’t have to go out of town to buy anything. Like now, if you need a loaf of bread, you don’t have it at home, you have to run to Freeland to get it, because nobody comes into town with the exception of that baker on Monday morning, and on Friday. But if during the week you would run out of something, you didn’t run to Freeland to get it, there was a baker came into town, there were grocers came into town, they’d come in one day, and they would ask you what you had to order. Well, you told him what all you wanted to order, he would mark it into an order book The next day he would deliver it for you.

AV: Was this when you were small, too?

HP: Oh, that went on till I was, I guess I was out of school Because when those wagons stopped coming here they came in what they called a store on wheels. Then they didn’t take your order, but they used to come in every day. You walked through it, they had shelves in there, they had everything displayed just like they do in a store. You would 698 pick out whatever you wanted.

AV: What about huckleberry picking” When did you start thaat?

HP: Oh we started that when we were just kids. About seven. We were going to school, and I think when you were going to school already, then you were old enough to go for berries.

AV: Oh, yeah!


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha -14 6/15/72 Tape 14-2

703 Oh, yes!! When the mother was going for them, you were going. You didn’t say no. They didn’t know what no was. If you said no, they didn’t know what it was. At least they let on they didn’t. After you got out to the woods, if you loafed, all right, but if you didn’t have your can full when they were ready to leave for home, then you really had to hurry to get your can filled

AV: You didn’t eat the huckleberries!

HP: Oh, yes, yes, we used to eat huckleberries. But we tried not to, because if you did start eating berries, then well, you were hungry for them, and instead of putting them in the can, you’d put them in your mouth. and that didn’t pay, because you couldn’t sell them! And you were out there because you had to help out the family. It wasn’t that you went out there, and whatever you picked and sold, that was for you. That went into the family kitty. Whatever was needed then, it was bought. You bought whatever.…if you didn’t need anything, you didn’t get it. If you needed something, you got it.

AV: How much could a kid bring back?

HP: Oh, some of the kids were good pickers. They could bring back as high as five quarts, if they were good pickers and there was a good spot to pick.

AV: Did little boys go out, too?

HP: Oh, yes, Boys and girls, made no difference.

AV; The mother went with them?

HP: Um-hum.

AV: When were the kids allowed to go alone?

HP: Well, if they knew their way around the woods, you know, if they knew how to get out. All right getting into the woods, but if you don’t lose your bearngs when you are ready to get out. So you really knew how to get around.

AV: When was the first time you went out alone?

HP: I never went alone, never. I’d be afraid. I never went alone. I always went with, if our Anna was going with someone, or Mrs. Dragonosky was going, I used to go with them. But I never went out to the woods alone. In the first place, I’d lose my bearings. I can lose sense of direction right away. And I could be going the opposite direction instead of coming out. Then I would lose myself, and there wouldn’t be anyone 740 to make a tape for you!


This tape is made on June 20, 1972 Frank Zahay Angela V. Side 1 tape 13

AV: So tell me about your first job in the mines here, when did you start work

FZ: Oh I started in the mines when I was about 18 I labored for my father and after that I quit and that’s when I got a job with the carpenters

AV: How long did you labor for your father

FZ: Oh not too long, too tough, tough when I was young so that wasn’t very good

AV: How did they fix you up to labor for your father did you ask for it did you ask to be his laborer

FZ: No the foreman asked my father and then my father asked me if I wanted to go in the mines

AV: And that was your choice of jobs at the time

FZ: There was nothing else around here but the mines, either in the mines or on the outside, run a car

AV: So what did you do as a laborer

FZ: Load cars and helped my father put timber across, drill holes

AV: Did you put in the dynamite

FZ: Oh yes the last we had what we called, you remember I mentioned them squibbs they’re not like a fuse [recorder off and on again] well do you want me to start

AV: Sure

FZ: We drilled holes and them in those days we didn’t have augers we had what they called drills, fish-tail drill, just like a fish tail, you worked it this way almost like hammering you worked it this way by hand the drill to make the hole and as you were doing that you had to turn it, see, maybe a drill about 6 ft. long and it was so heavy you didn’t have to hammer it you would just do this and everytime you bumped a call you you cut a call (or cawl) your turned it and that made the hole and when you were done enough to make powder bags, a regular round piece of wood maybe an inch or so in diameter maybe 16, 18 inches long and you’d wrap paper around that and then we had what they called miner’s


AV inter. FZ: -2-

soap and you’d wrap this paper around this stick and then you’d smear the soap along the edge of it and that would hold it together

AV: Was that really soap

FZ: Yeh black soap, yellow soap, miner’s soap we called it and then you took the powder you closed the end, one end was closed and first you would put in what they called a needle it was a piece of iron about maybe 7 ft. long that was tapered the end of it came right down to a point and the other end of it was maybe 3/8 or 1/8 inch and it tapered to a point you put that in first now you put your powder in and make a few of those powder bags you had time to put one in and then you’d tamper it see.

AV: What did you tamp it with

FZ: A regular tamper stick, you had to have it as long as the hole maybe, 7 or 8 ft and it was the size of the hole about inch and a quarter an inch and a half

AV: How could you tamp it when you had that needle stuck in there

FZ: Now wait and I’ll explain that, you put the needle in and then you put your powder bags in and you tamp them and it would shape it to the powder around this needle and when you were done with the powder you put powder bags in and you did the same thing with the powder bags, see and the reason that that needle was tapered so you could pull it out you pulled the needle out and the hole was left and that’s when the squibbs came in oh maybe they were about this long, I’d say about 6 inches long or maybe a little less and and powder in them like a paper tube at the one end, see and they were filled with powder and both ends were closed but the one end was kind of loose and sulphur on it and then you would light the sulphur and run away and when a spark would hit the powder this squibb would shoot into the hole and hit the bare powder and that’s what would explode it it was called a squibb not many know about squibbs and there are very few old timers left them later on they had fuses

AV: Now these squibbs let me see again, first you would put in the needle and then


AV inter. FZ -3 6/26/72 Tape 13

you would put in a dirt bag

FZ: No powder bags, you’d make the bags, you know how a rollin’ pin is, only these stakes they were a little smaller and you’d wrap the paper around that and then you’d put your soap on to hold it together and then you’d fill it with powder and you’d make as many of those that you would need

AV: When would you make them in the mine or

FZ: No in the mine, we used to have powder kegs we use to carry the powder down, kegs about this high about this round, 25 lb. kegs, black powder we used to get it 083 we used to make them in the mines

AV: You tamped it in with a tamper, which was a pole or a hollow tube

FZ: A wooden tamper, a pole, solid and after you got in all that you would want you would have to use a little judgment, you know, you wouldn’t put too much in or not enough both ways would give you trouble, see

AV: What kind of trouble

FZ: Well if you put too much in you would smash the coal up too fine, too much shovelin’ and if you didn’t put enough in your hole, what we call the hole would stick well the powder would go off and it wouldn’t do anything, you would either have to re-open that hole or drill another hole along side of it

AV: And then after you would tamp it in you would put in-what kind of bags

FZ: Dirt bags

AV: How would you make those

FZ: The same as the powder bags, the same way

AV: Only fill them with dirt

FZ: With dirt you know when you’re done drilling you get dirt out of the hole well you could use that or any dirt in the mine just so it wasn’t too coarse, you put them in the powder bags back of the powder or whatever you put in the hole, see and if you don’t tamp them when the shot would go off it would fire just like out of a shot gun, just thru the hole, and that’s the reason you tamp them


Av inter. Fz -4 Tape 13 6/20/72

I don’t know how to explain it to hold the explosion in there and it didn’t have a chance to come out thru the hole expand in the hole and bust the coal that’s the reason for the dirt bags. And then later on they used fuse was just like a clothes line(?) I guess you heard of a fuse that was just like a clothes line well you put that in at the first stick at the middle of the hole you put 6 sticks in, I’m talking about dynamite, now these are already made I think they’re 8 inches some were an inch and some were 7/8 of an inch about 7/8 of an inch thick and 8 inches long that was dynamite and maybe you’d put 2 sticks in, in the hole in the ground, now you don’t use a needle now, put 2 sticks in or 3 or whatever you wanted and then say you put 2 sticks in the first stick you would put a cap on the fuse

AV: What did these caps look like where did they come from

FZ: Oh they’re copper about the size of a pencil and maybe an inch and a half long

AV: Did you buy them from the supply shop

FZ: Yeh and glycerin or something in them and you’d strip one of these at the end of the fuse and you’d crimp it, you’d crimp the end of it so it wouldn’t come off the fuse, just the end of it not the end that the powder was in or it would go off just the end where there was no powder that’s where you would crimp and you’d make a hole in the dynamite and you’d put your fuse in there make it the third stick you put that in after that with 3 or 4 more sticks you’d put them in after the stick with the cap and then you’d out your fuse just the length of the hole if it was a bad place to get away you’d have to time your fuse

AV: How long did you make it

FZ: I just don’t remember any more a foot burns I don’t remember any more it burns quite awhile well then you would have to judge where you wanted to go to get out of the way and then you’d slit the end of it in the middle of the fuse there’s like a cord and there’s powder in that and you’d light that and it would keep on creepin’ towards the cap the flame would that’s the idea of havin’ that string


AV inter. FZ -5- Tape 13

Mr. Zahay has emphesema and as he talks the more out of breath he becomes and it is almost inaudible at times

in there I guess it kept burnin’ it always kept the powder burnin’ it just kept creepin’ into the cap when it hit the cap it went off it

AV: Where’s the squibb you didn’t have that

FZ: No a squibb is dangerous

AV: You didn’t have too far to run with that squibb did you

FZ: No you couldn’t go too far but always before you lit it you, you know were going to go mining was a hard job a dangerous job

AV: Yes I gathered

FZ: Yes I worked with my father and worked with other miners and then the boss came after me I worked in the shop, a car repairman

AV: Why did you change

FZ: Tough and wet

AV: Oh it was wet

FZ: Very wet, it was wringing wet all your clothes

AV: From the dampness

FZ: No the droppers

AV: Where did that water come from at the time

FZ: Who Knows, it seeped thry the rock thru the coal

AV: Where was this

FZ: This was at #6 but then I mined in #6 too and I mined in #2 and then I got a job at contract mining it’s just the same as piece work you got paid for timber, you got paid for props and they all had a price same thing with a car of coal well then whatever you made that was your that’s what they called contract but then a got a job of contract man you worked with repair work. I worked for that for awhile and then I got a job pump repair and installation so I worked at that for about 3 years at Buck Mountain we had what we called a pump house

AV: Oh yes what’s that


AV inter. Frank Z -6 Tape 13 6/20/72

FZ: An opening about be about 3 ft. square and about 12 ft. high and we had 4 pumps up there but at first it was like a tunnel in went in about 30 ft. and about 3 ft. wide and after that was all done we installed the pumps after the pumps were installed we built a wall a 3 ft. thick wall and a door the door was about 10 inches thick and about 4 ft. square and when the water would get high it would close this door and the pump house was completely under water in order to get in or get out there was 160 steps from the pump house that was one level up to the first level that was the only way you could get in there and at the other part of the mine where the pump house was that was all under water, see, maybe 50 ft. of water

AV: Why did they have it under water

FZ: Why the pumps would run(????????) too or they wouldn’t be of any use, sometimes the water would come in so fast that the pumps couldn’t take care of the water that’s the reason (??????????????) pump house

AV: Where did the water come from

FZ: Just like I said and in rainy weather mostly outside and it wouls come thru these cave-ins that was another thing that was a wet job, got called out any time of the night there were days that we had to work around the clock and you had to work because everybody depended on me and my helper if we didn’t take care of the pumps they couldn’t work

AV: So what year did you start laboring with your father

FZ: What year, maybe in ’16, 1916 yeh, because in 1917 I went on the railroad

AV: Then that was the next job, the railroad job, what did you do on the railroad

FZ: Fireman

AV: Which is what

FZ: You stoke coal into the boiler, make steam that was a hard job that was the hardest I ever worked, I was very young then too all they called me down there was “boy” because I was young that was a hard job and we use to work from Jim


AV inter. FZ -7 Tape 13

Thorpe to Jersey City 120 miles one way and coming back you had to go 156 miles and you would stock (?) maybe most of the time around 14 ton of coal

AV: What kind of coal

FZ: Soft coal, lump coal

AV: That’s why you say it was a hard job

FZ: It was harder than minin’, dirty and long hours

AV: And you thought that mining was hard

FZ: Yeh I worked down there just 2 years I worked on two different trains first one I quit I came back here and got my old job back

AV: As a laborer

FZ: Yeh, no as a miner then

AV: Oh you did become a miner before you left your father

FZ: No now just a minute, before I left my father, no. After I left the carpenter jpb then then I went in the mines and got a job as a miner and from there I went (???????????) and then I quit and came back and got my old job on the railroad again and by that time I was married and I wanted to move down there but my wife wouldn’t move down so I come back here and I’ve been here ever since

AV: What did you do on the railroad the second time

FZ: Fireman, stoker, yeh that was hard work I was about 21, the only thing that helped me out is that I was used to the scoop shovel from being a coal miner that helped me out but some of the boys that went down there they didn’t know how to use a shovel and they didn’t last long at all it was pretty hard because you had a hole about this big to throw it in and the train goin’ and everything shakin’ you had a hard time to stay on your feet but I was used to shovelin’

AV: When did you work in the carpenter shop

FZ: That was right after I quit with my father I was 16 maybe ‘


AV inter. FZ -8 8/20/72 Tape 13

AV: What did you do as a carpenter

FZ: Carpenter work, repair cars, and their homes

AV: So what would be a typical job that you would be assigned to do

FZ: Mostly on homes, repair homes, whatever the people wanted done, maybe put in windows or casing, mostly on roofs

AV: How did they arrange to have it done

FZ: What do you mean

AV: How did they arrange to get your services as a carpenter, did they call you

FZ: No I went to work every day and when I’d get to the shop the boss would assign us to different work, if there were too many cars to be repaired we stayed in the shop and repaired cars if there weren’t too many cars to be repaired he’d send us out to the homes

AV: What would be the typical kind of repairs that you used to do

FZ: Like I said, mostly windows, doors and roofs

AV: You mean replace broken windows

FZ: Yeh, some were pretty well rotted and the leaky roofs

AV: What kind of roofs did they have

FZ: Some, these single homes at the lower end of town we put shingles on the same as that are on now

AV: Which ones would they be

FZ: You know where Mrs. Ferko lives, down there in those single homes where they were mostly, most of them had shingles the other part of the town were mostly tar paper the same as they were before they put the shingles on

AV: Tar paper

FZ: Tar paper

AV: What were the original roofing on these company homes

FZ: Shingles I would say, and then I heard some of the old-timers say I know some of the roofs whether they were all that way or not, that they were sheet-iron,


AV inter. FZ -9 6/20/72 Tape 13 [Some kind of motor running ?????????????]

the Back Street homes some of those, see. These homes here were shingles and when the shingles went ba they put tar paper on, right over it, these homes here most of those single homes down there we put shingles

AV: You don’t think these homes had any of that sheet-iron for roofs do you

FZ: No, I don’t but some of the Back Street homes

AV: Do you think these were the older homes in Eckley

FZ: back of the church there were 2 homes back there

AV: What did they call them

FZ: I think that’s what they called #4

AV: No. 4 is that a street

061 FZ: No it’s just the number the big shots(?) called the homes when they mentioned it . I was around but I don’t remember a fellow that lived there was Joe Kirchner, he was much older that I am, we used to pal around together he told me he lived down there

AV: And who lived in the other home

FZ: Oh I don’t know

AV: What did they look like, these 2 homes

FZ: Something like these, this pattern

AV: Was it three stories

FZ: Two, something like these

AV: Did it have an attic on the third story

FZ: No, just 2 story that’s all

AV: Would it be a double home like this

FZ: They were all double homes then they had what they called Shanty Street

AV: What was that like

FZ: There were just 2 homes down there, those homes were something like this and right above from that that I don’t remember but I’ll tell you who told me, Helen’s brother Joe, he run a club once, and right across the street from the club room


AV inter. FZ –10 Tape 13 6/20/72

there were houses on that side of that alley were few homes I think they called that Shanty Street I’m not sure but there was one home down there that had 4 families but there were homes down there too

AV: You said there was a 4 family home

FZ: There was a 4 family home down there and some single homes but I’m just tellin’ you what I heard

AV: What would this 4 family home look like

FZ: Like these the only thing is it was big enough for 4 families, 2 rooms downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs for each family

AV: So they must have been 3 stories

FZ: No there were no 3 story homes, oh you know where Fatula lives down there the foundation beside Fatula’s house that was a big building too, that was 3 stories but they didn’t use the third story, just as an attic but my brother lived there, there were 4 families in here and that’s what they called a boarding house one time

AV: Oh the one outside of Marshlick

FZ: No, I told you where Fatula lives, way down, the big foundation this side of Fatula’s house

AV: Is it still there

FZ: Part of it is still there well that’s what they called the boarding house

AV: And that was a very large one, did it have a porch on front

FZ: Yeh a big porch on front, and it was way high too

AV: A high porch

FZ: Yeh they were on high foundations, big high porch, a nice porch

AV: Did it have many windows in it

FZ: Each family(???????????????)/ Two families in the front and 2 families in the back

AV: Why did they call it the boarding house

FZ: Years ago it was a boarding house


AV inter. FZ -11 Tape 13 6/20/72

AV: You don’t remember what they use to say about it

FZ: No

AV: And then they made it into a family house

FZ: A four family house

AV: Who used to live there which families

FZ: (??????????) and his brother lived on one side Davis/ and my brother lived on the other, on the back and one family was Rublic & Bradish I guess, there was 2 families in back there was a small street there and there used to be a home too across the street I think that was a 4 family home

AV: Oh another one, what did they call that

FZ: I don’t know but the old-timers said it used to be a mule stable at one time and then they made a 4 family home out of it

AV: Do you remember what that looked like

FZ: Yeh, I remember, these homes only just 4 families

AV: That’s interesting and it has all disappeared

FZ: Yeh all disappeared the Back Street that was a nice street especially we lived in No. 1, the first house I was single you know a boy we lived there and then there were 8 or 10 homes in that block, nice street, side walk on one side and willow trees on both sides of the street and then in summer time it was just like a tunnel the trees just grew over the street, a very nice street, a nice place to live

AV: And was there a hydrant in front of your house

FZ: Yes, we had one hydrant there and one on the other side not in front of the house no on one side there was a hydrant for 4 homes

AV: Where was it located in relation to your old house

FZ: Well we were in house #1, the first house, the hydrant was between the second and the third house, on the sidewalk

AV: And over here there use to be a hydrant


AV inter. FZ -12 6/20/72 Tape 13

FZ: Right down below Charnigo’s house

AV: In front of his

FZ: No below it, below Charnigo’s house there was a house down below that so the hydrant was between those 2 homes

AV: Who lived in that house that burned down

FZ: My brother-in-law lived on the one side

AV: Which brother-in-law was that, what was his name

FZ: He’s dead, you know Joe Sulkosky, and the other side a fellow named Barner Mile Barner, he still lived in Freeland

AV: Did he have a family was he married

FZ: He was married but I don’t think he had a family, that was too long ago I don’t remember

AV: As a carpenter you got to know these homes in the town very well, did you use to build out-houses for the people

FZ: Yeh we built out-houses, coal-sheds the only thing we didn’t build was you call it a shelter, a shed, you see this door over here, I built the outside door but right in front of that people built what we called a shed, you call it a shelter but the people use to have to build them themselves the company wouldn’t do it, but we built out-houses and coal-sheds

AV: Did you have a certain plan or did you just build them like that

FZ: No, well we had certain dimensions and that’s what we used on all of them

AV: So they came out pretty much the same way

FZ: We just knew the heighth and width

AV: Did you build those out-side cellars for the people, like Mrs. Timko has

FZ: No, people built them their ownselves, the same thing with the bake oven they built them too

AV: Did you have a bake-oven when you lived on the Back Street

FZ: No, we had no bake-oven


AV inter. FZ -13 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: And did you have a cellar

FZ: Yes we had a cellar, one of those out-side cellars you know what we often talk about

FZ: You know in later years, we lived in house #1, it had a small cellar only about 4 ft. high that’s all and it was cemented and all, a nice cellar but then in later years see everybody was (???????) and they stripped and when they stripped you know how far the coal was down below the cellar floor

AV: How much

FZ: About 3 ft. that’s all the surface was on the coal so we often thought of it but we didn’t know it a good chance to get our coal, yeh just about 3 ft. we didn’t know it until they started to strip and the way we used to build out-houses every family had a single out-house we built them together for both houses, like 2 single ones stuck together, just a partition in between

AV: And where would they be located in the back yard between the two yards

FZ: Yeh the same as now, but they were no good because you’d walk into a toilet and there would be someone else in there next door and you just had to watch and then later on I don’t know whose idea it was to change it, every family had their own

AV: How would you go about building one of those out-houses, what was the first thing you’d do

Fz Well you had men, laborers, that’s all they did they’d dig a hole and in those days they dug them deeper now they only dig them 4 ft. deep in those days they’d dig them 5, 6 ft. deep and about 4 ft. wide and the length of 2, I’d say 7, 8 ft. after puttin’ them together well first thing you’d do was build what they called a box, just like a boc, just the 4 sides

AV: What would you build that with, planks

FZ: Yeh, you’d make a frame, 2 frames and you’d nail the boards onto these frames and after it was built you’d lower it into this hole and on top of this box after the box was lowered into the hole, put clay all around


AV inter. FZ -14 6/20/72 Tape 13

to hold it into position

AV: Where did the clay come from

FZ: From out of the hole and then we built the toilet like I said the dimensions were maybe ?ft. top, 7 ft. front, 5 or 6 ft back that’s all

AV: Why did you make the hole 5 or 6 ft. deep at the time

FZ: Well in those days they made them deeper you wouldn’t have to do them so often

AV: They wouldn’t get filled up so

FZ: Yeh, now four feet, there’s a family can fill them up in no time

AV: Well what’s the next step then when you complete the outhouse

FZ: That’s all

AV: Did you build a frame

FZ: You start over again

AV: No I mean the top part of the out-house it would be on top ot the box

FZ: Yeh, the first thing when you built the box the top frame, the top frame is 8 inches wide, o.k. the plank for the box they only used half of the frame then the other half you would use for the top, you know what I mean now, and then we’d measure the front we’d out one plank square and the other plank we’d put whatever pitch we wanted on the roof, see, put the corners up, and we’d do the same thing with the 2 back corners and then we’d put our frame in between

AV: You would roof it with planks

FZ: Boards and tar paper

AV: And then you’d put in your sides

FZ: Yeh, That’s what I said, the box, the top frame was 8 inches wide, well we only used, see this is the top frame, we only used half of it for the plank on the box to nail on and then we’d have the other half for the boards for the top of the toilet to nail on and an extra frame for the bottom but then the top you had to make a frame you know

AV: And then you’d make the inside of the out-house


AV inter. FZ -15 6/20/72 Tape 13

Yeh we made the seat, each family had 2 holes on each side

AV: Why 2

FZ: Well I guess one was a big one and one was a small one for the children, mostly a big one an a small one

AV: Oh I see, and did you put any hooks or windows in there

FZ: No, you mean hooks on the door

AV: No hooks on the out-house, oh to hold the door close

FZ: And the outside all you had was a knob something like that there

AV: Like a latch on your cellar door

FZ: Yeh, some were made that you could lock them, see,

AV: That you needed a key to open it

FZ: No, no if you were on the inside you’d look it inside and nobody could get it open, you had to open it yourself this way

AV: And didn’t you have any light in there

FZ: No

AV: How would you get light, would you cut holes in it

FZ: Most of the people would put windows in, just big enough for 8 x 10 window pane

AV: Where would that be located

FZ: Oh anywhere, they had them on the door and some had them on the side, mostly on the side

AV: Did they have designs cut into the door for light, like you have that half moon on your door

FZ: No, if you wanted something like that you had to put it in yourself

AV: Why did they have that design for

FZ: It depended on the individual what he wanted

AV: Did they think it looks fancy

FZ: Yeh that’s why, made it look a little different, see I put the half-moon on see instead of puttin’ a square window in I put the half-moon it was up to the in-


AV inter. FZ -16 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: What other designs did they put in there

FZ: Mostly half-moon, some hole, mostly a hole for a 8 x 10 window pane, that’s all just a square hole put a frame around and put a window pane in

AV: How did you take care of the out-house, did you pour something in periodically

FZ: No we never did

AV: You didn’t put in any quick lime or something

FZ: No

AV: When did the practice come

FZ: Oh I don’t know most of the people don’t use it now not that I know of

AV: I heard that they put in some

FZ: Well some people do

AV: So how would you tell when the out-houses were getting filled up

FZ: You could see, I know when we lived on, this is a raw one, when we lived on the Back Street when I was at home yet out toilet was so full and the wouldnt give us a new one my father went to work and he raised the seat in order that you could sit on it and he went up after the boss a couple times boss by the name of Verdic and he wouldn’t give us a toilet and my father went up one day and said “Jim if you don’t give me a toilet, do you know what I’m goin’ to do,” and right alongside our garden was a pretty deep ditch, my father said, “Listen Jimmy if you don’t give me a toilet I’m goin’ dig a ditch from the toilet out to this big ditch andlet it run out in the ditch” so I guess he really thought my father would do it so they came down and gave us a toilet, that’s how lousy they were

AV: It was about time they did

FZ: As I said my father added 8 inches on so you knew where to sit

AV: So I take it the manure wouldn’t disintegrate that quickly

FZ: No, and I guess the reason that was there was a lot of paper too

AV: Oh yes what did you use


AV inter. FZ -17 6/20/72 Tape 13

FZ: Do you know what they used in those days, newspapers, people had no toilet paper then

AV: Of course not, newspapers eh, I guess it paid to buy a newspaper. So that was your experience in carpenter work

FZ: Yeh, oh I liked it I was always crazy after the railroad but I quit down there

AV: So when did you stop the carpenter work

FZ: When I went on the railroad, about ’17 I would say

AV: And then you went off the railroad and went back in mining after how many years

FZ: About 4 years on the railroad and then back mining for about 46 years

AV: What did you do down there when you went back

FZ: Well first, I started off when I went back as a contract miner, I started 514 where I left off, I asked for that we call for hourly change work

AV: Is that supposed to be a better job

FZ: Yeh, not so hard well the best part was that you were not in that smoke, foul air that the miner’s always had

AV: So the miner’s had a lot of smoke in the old days

FZ: Yeh, lot of smoke, now they have fans, electric fans, then they didn’t have no fans the ones that had fans would hire what they called a “fan boy” he would have to sit in what was called the gangway the place where the cars were and he’d sit and just keep on turnin’ to make air for the miners and that was no good either and then they got the electric ones

AV: How else did they get air in the mines to keep up the circulation of air

FZ: Most of the mines have big fans on the outside

AV: Run by steam

FZ: Yeh in the early days by steam and now by electricity, big fans maybe, blade maybe 12 ft. in diameter, (????????????), had no fans there were so dam many openings, cave-ins, the miners would take the coal out and it would cave-in, well that was an opening well maybe somewhere else the same thing would happen well then you


AV inter. FZ -18 6/20/72’d Tape 13

would have current inside the cave-in and some places were man-made openings used for that purpose

AV: And what did they call them

FZ: Air ways then the tunnel that you were lookin’ at and these airways is where you’d get your circulation

AV: These airways were they built along the pitch of coal or straight

FZ: Along the pitch

AV: And out to the surface

FZ: Yeh till you hit the surface

AV: I read somewhere where they had doors to direct the flow of air

FZ: Yeh they changed them every year we had at Buck Mountain, yeh at Buck Mountain but they were worked by a man

AV: What was the man called

FZ: Just a door man we use to call them a “door boy” young boys, at the owl hole we had 2 doors big automatic doors and the weight of the car or motor would open it

AV: But in the old days you had “door boys”

FZ: Yeh, they’d set and if the driver was at the mules, the driver would go in and would be at that side of the door and when he heard the driver comin’ he’ open the door when the driver went thru the door he’d be stayed at the other side of the door and wait till they came back to open the door

AV: Do you know anyone who did that job

FZ: No, that was too long ago

AV: Was that a good job

FZ: Yeh, that’s was a good job

AV: How was he paid, hourly

FZ: Yeh, hourly I don’t know how much

AV: You figure it must be pretty cheap

FZ: Yeh, they called them “door boys” then and I wasn’t much more than a boy either


AV: inter FZ: -19 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: And then when you went back you asked to be changed hourly

FZ: Hourly that’s what we call company man see

AV: And what did you do as a company man

FZ: Well when you start as a company man you do anything whatever need repair work maybe timber, maybe road work

AV: Railroad work

FZ: Yeh railroad work but in the mines in that order and from that I asked for a change to pump repairman so I worked at that I guess 35, 40 years

AV: Yes but tell me some more what this company man was supposed to do

FZ: Let’s start this way there is no pitch it is flat well the miner meets the coal the miner and the laborer they have to shovel this coal into the car and where there is pitch they build chutes above the gangway and they build what they call a battery, that’s to hold the coal back, props as many props that were needed it all depended on the grade of the pitch, put props up and they put planks across or what they called, trees 5-6 inches in diameter, they’d put them across maybe the poles reached 3, 4 ft. abreast depended on how wide the breast was and then put these polls onto the props to hold the coal back or otherwise you’d go down the gangway, well in between 2 props you’d leave an opening and in this opening they’d build a chute, what they called a chute, maybe 3 ft. wide and maybe a foot – 16 inches high and the coal would run into the chute and at the end of the chute there was what we called a lever there was a hole on one side of the chute you put this lever in there that was a piece of what we call malaggin’, it is a tree about 4 inches in diameter and about 5 ft. long and one side of the chute there was a hole and you put this lever in there and on the other side of the chute the plank, put a slit in there so the lever would sit down in there so the coal wouldn’t push it out and in order to load the cars all you do is lift that lever up and the coal ran into the cars you had no shovelin’ to do the coal came down from the pitch by itself


AV inter. FZ -20 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: That sounds good

FZ: They were good jobs, you’d load a car in a coule of minutes

AV: Who would push the car out of the way

FZ: Well they had drivers, and say if you only had a car or two you could move them yourself with a sprag, put the sprag in between the spokes and press down on it you could move it yourself but if you had more than one the driver jerked them up

AV: What’s that

FZ: Move the cars, with mules they chased the mules and they’d pull go so far and stop then in later years they got motors and the motors used to do that maybe you had 8, 10 cars and the motor was on one end and as you were loadin’ what we called the “patcher” the brakeman would signal to the motor man and if you had one car loaded he’d give him a signal and he’d pull the other under the whole chute & so on was

AV: So your job was to build these chutes

FZ: Yeh these chutes and some places where you couldn’t build a chute you’d build what they called a platform

AV: Yeh what’s that

FZ: Instead of the coal goin’ into the chute where you had no chute the coal would go on this platform and there you’d stand and lower it into the cars

AV: Why would you build a platform and not a chute

FZ: As soon as the miner got up a piece ways with whatever he was drivin’

AV: What kind of formation would this be of the coal would it be a steeper pitch that you neede a platform for

FZ: No hardly any pitch and if the pitch wasn’t big enough for the coal to run onto the platform some p;aces maybe the miner had to shovel 3 or 4 times from pile to pile to get it down onto the platform but then in later years you built what they called a trough chute, the chute that I’m taLkin’ about but the sides didn’t come up straight it was built this shape, rounded, the idea for that was when


AV inter. FZ -21 6/20/72 Tape 13

Your chute would fill up there was pitch enough for a flat chute enough for it to push down on to the platform but this round formation of the chute that’s what caused the coal to push down onto the platform

AV: And then you’d shovel it off of the platform into the cars, and this was done when there was hardly any pitch in the coal vein at all

FZ: That’s right, where there wasn’t much pitch, see, and places where you couldn’t even have a trough chute they had, where the coal’s flat, they had what they called “buggies”, a small car, oh about a quarter of a ton, smaller gauge than the regular gauge. We would push that into where we were mining and you’d fill it and push it out and dump it, some places into the big car and some places onto a platform then you’d have to shovel it off the platform

AV: And when the miner’s would mine on a pitch did you have to put in some more timbering as they climbed up the pitch would they have to put in some more logs

FZ: Yes you had to carry what we called a manway

AV: Now what’s that

FZ: See you drive abreast 16 ft. wide and some were 24 ft. wide and on the one side was called the rib and that side maybe they’d put up a line of props as you were goin’ up with the breast see, you put these up and on the inside you made a flank on there and you could fill this breast up with coal that your manway was always open that’s the way you traveled up and down until you got up as far as you wanted to go

AV: And did you blast from the manway

FZ: No just from the breast, the purpose of the manway was just for safety and travel and in some places they had 2 manways one on each side

AV: Why

FZ: Well that was for air circulation

AV: How did the air circulate from between

FZ: Well it goes up one manway and to the other


AV inter. FZ -22 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: Oh how would it get across

FZ: It would go up to the face

AV: And then these manways they’d have the coal completely taken out of them

FZ: Yes, this was the width of the breast, say 12 ft wide, maybe you’d line up props on this side from the rib, do you got it now, and as you were goin’ up on the inside you’d (????????????) and the purpose of the plank was to get the coal out of the manway, there were steps in there that you could walk up they weren’t steps they were just poles laid across

AV: Well how would you get the manway dug in the first place, you’d blast it out

FZ: Yeh you were goin’ up with the breast, see the face of the manway is about 6 ft. from the face of the breast, but anyhow when you had room enough to put in about 8 or 10 ft. of manway and you’d put the manway in as you were goin’ up the breast as you were takin’ the face off, do you get it

AV: And then what other kinds of work did you do as a company man, you said you fixed railroads down there

FZ: Oh yeh, we fixed tracks

AV: Did you go around locking for damaged spots

FZ: You wouldn’t go lookin’ they’d tell you about it, the driver’s the one that usually found out, cars would jump the track tear the track out and you had to go fix it, and maybe where the track was bad the cars would get off the road you’d have to go and help them put these cars on the road

AV: Oh you’d do do some pushing as well as building

FZ: Well you didn’t do much pushin’ if there was any pushin’ or pullin’ to be done you used the motor or the mules but you had to use a jack to lift the car higher than the rails and push it one way to get it down on the rails

AV: And what else would you do as a company man

FZ: Sometimes you had to fix these airways

AV: They’d get clogged up


AV inter. FZ -23 6/20/72 Tape 13

FZ: No broken boards and it was too much for the contract miner usually went after the boss, too much dead work see, you wouldn’t get paid for that you got paid 740 for puttin’ it in the contract miner did but if you got ahead of ’em why the company men went in to repair it was what we called dead work

AV: And did you do anything else as a company man

FZ: Well in those days there wasn’t much more to be done, later years, yes, you had the airline to take care of you had airlines to put up these breasts for the miners

AV: What are airlines like, pumps

FZ: Jackhammers, and we use to put airlines up from them and take care of the airlines along the gangway or if the jackhammer wouldn’t work take them down in the shop and take them apart and get them fixed

AV: You would do that as a company man

FZ: Yeh

AV: And did you have other duties

FZ: Always something different but that’s about it

AV: Did you like that job

FZ: Well it was better than contract work, contract work you’re always in dust and smoke you have all these miner’s with asthma, that’s how they get it, all the smoke and dust, you know, and when I mined in #6 me and my neighbor’s brother we worked together I say it was about a mile we were drivin’ just a hole not a breast, just a hole about 6 ft. square and the air was so bad coming home I took 6 rests or I wouldn’t have made it that’s how lousy you feel you get weak, you get headaches your temples you think are goin’ to push out, the back of your head, and you get very weak you go so far that you have to sit down or you’d collapse that’s all

AV: All from the dust


AV inter. FZ -24 6/20/72 Tape 13

FZ: No not all from the dust, the powder smoke, mostly dynamite, powder smoke isn’t so bad, but dynamite’s terrific

AV: You breathe it in and it does all that stuff for you

FZ: Yeh, oh it’s terrible, it makes you very sick too,

AV: How sick

FZ: You just keep on vomitin’ you think your insides are goin’ to come out

AV: That happen to you

FZ: Oh yeh a few times

AV: How do thay protect against it

FZ: The only way they can protect against it is the fans keep the face clean have fans run by electricity, electric motor, then they have canvas tubing about 8 inches in diameter, different sizes, coupled together some are 25 ft. length and some are 50 ft. lengths, hook them on to a pump as you go up they hook different sections together and start the fan keeps the face clean

AV: It’s like a vacuum cleaner

FZ: Well it just works the opposite way, it blows

AV: Did many miners have damaged by from this dynamite smoke

FZ: I htink that’s where your asthma comes from

AV: I thought it was from the coal dust

FZ: Both

AV: Gee that’s bad I never thought it would do that

FZ: I’d say it comes from both, mostly dust because that’s what clogs your lungs up but smoke is terrible it makes you sick

AV: So that’s why you liked the company job

FZ: Mostly because you’re out on what they call the gangway

AV: That’s the main tunnel

FZ: Yeh the main haulage and there’s always pretty good air up there

AV: And what did you call those side branching tunnels


AV inter. FZ -25 6/20/72 Tape 13

if the tunnel was flat what did you call the side tunnels

FZ: Just a branch, that’s all we called them at one time they use to drive all gangways and some places where the coal breaks off it’s hard to keep the timber the weight is so great it just, legs with the car on top, it just pushes these legs down into the coal and later on the cars won’t go thru they won’t pass you have to remove these and put higher ones up and see that was a lot of work in later years they started drivin’ tunnels gangways thru tunnels

AV: Now what’s the difference between a tunnel and a gangway

FZ: A tunnel is solid rock you have no timber in them, nothin’ at all and then from this tunnel you’d drive what they called sectional tunnels maybe that’s what you’re talkin’ about but these sectional tunnels you drive these tunnels until they hit the coal that’s how they get the coal thru these sectional tunnels instead of drivin’ gangway they drive these tunnels they have no timber in them once a tunnel is driven their very expensive stuff but a coal gangway always works, always works, even if it don’t sink it breaks the timber, the weight is too great

AV: If the timber breaks doesn’t that mean there’s going to be a cave-in

FZ: That’s why they have company men to repair these, to repair the broken timber some of the timber is no bigger than that whatchamacall it

AV: You mean that 24 inch tube the whole thing

FZ: The whole thing maybe it’s 18 20 24 inch in diameter and it breaks

AV: What kind of wood was it

FZ: In early days all they used was pine they claim it wouldn’t rot for them but in later years they used was oak or any kind of wood but in the early days all they used was pine and they use to load up here

AV: In the timber yard, which is located

FZ: Below where the church is, right above (??????) house that’s where the railroad track is on this side of the highway


AV inter. FZ -26-

6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: On the opposite side of the house from Gaffneys, the gangway is your tunnel that goes thru coal

FZ: That’s the main haulage, that’s what they call the gangway

AV: But when you have a tunnel that’s thru rock and you don’t need any timber

FZ: That’s thru solid rock and you need no timber

AV: Wasn’t it hard to dig or blast that

FZ: They had special contractors, that’s all they did drill the tunnels

AV: Did they drill it or blast it or both

FZ: Well first they had to drill it they had air drills and then they’d blast it before they could go home and by the morning all the smoke would disappear, see they had fans that’s what I’m talking about in this tubing, see, they’d start the fans and they’d have to put the tubing up, start the fans and by the morning all the smoke was gone and then the muckers would come in

AV: What were they

FZ: They’d load the rock up now years ago they use to do all that by hand

AV: Digging by hand

FZ: Not digging, just loading, they had air drills, you know, load it by hand by now in later years they have a muckin’ machine, in the order of a shovel, the muckin’ machine operator he’d slap it all to hell that’s all he did he’d load a car, take it away and come baack again for another one, just kept on goin’

AV: How far would they usually build this stone tunnel

FZ: Now see I was going to show you that and I forgot about it I’d say about between 2 1/2 and 3 mile

AV: And of course it would stay up because it was right thru rock

FZ: Well some places they’d hit a bad spot where the rock was bad it would break off but then they took care of that

AV: What kind of rock would this be, slate

FZ: No just regular rock


AV inter FZ -27 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: And then you got this thing built thru solid rock how do they tell where the coal was

FZ: Well they just know how far to go to hit the coal but the way it was usually worked was where there is pitch you have what is called bottom tock and top rock they’d drive this tunnel under the bottom rock and then they’d drive holes from the tunnel into the coal they just knew where to drill

AV: And then they’d have the side tunnels going off to

FZ: Well not where there was pitch, no if there was pitch you’d drive the holes from this tunnel right into the coal but on the flat then they’d drive what is called the sectional tunnels into the old gangway and that’s how it usually started they had these coal gangways and they couldn’t keep them up well then they started to rock tunnels and they they’d drive what they called sectional tunnels into the coal and they’d guide them so far apart that’s where they put the miners and the motor would push the cars in there, and maybe someplaces they’d drive something like a coal gangway but not a great distance

AV: When did they decide when this rock tunnel would be the best thing

FZ: I don’t know that started way a long time ago and the Jeddo-Highland started that

AV: And then they worked it at Eckley

FZ: Well Jeddo-Highland worked Eckley too for a long time

AV: Well which tunnels at Eckley were stone tunnels, which sloped had that, oh the Buck Mountain that was the only one that had a stone tunnel

FZ: Yeh that was the only one at Eckley

AV: So this #2 slope that was from coal

FZ: Yeh that was all coal there were no tunnels there, shore tunnels, same thing as #10 maybe some places you had a basin this shape,

AV: And the coal would mine in that shape

FZ: Same form as the bottom rock, see, it’s not a basin but the coal’s in this shape


AV inter. FZ -28 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: Oh a hump

FZ: Yeh, see, the hump, a gang was here, a gang was here and they know that there’s coal here and this hump here is rock well then they would drive thru this hump and get in to this coal here

AV: How about that, and this would be the various layers of the hump

FZ: Just take this bottom layer off and just this, the top

AV: And here’s the gangway

FZ: Yeh this is the gangway, there is no gangway here, here is the hump, just on top here around this way well here you have a gangway and here you have coal well then they drive a tunnel thru there to get into this coal, it’s interesting but it’s hard work, very dangerous work

AV: Why

FZ: Well there are places that you can’t see the top maybe 50. 60 ft. high and you don’t know what’s there you don’t know if it’s lose or what it is but you know there’s a lot of places the coal just keeps comin’ without fire

AV: Oh it does

FZ: Oh lots of places mountains there’s gold mine for the miners once they get an opening to start this coal it just keeps comin’ and comin’ you’d think somebody’s makin’ it up there

AV: You mean crumbled

FZ: Yeh all crumbled it’s just like a gold mine for miners

AV: What doe they call that kind of thing

FZ: Shelly coal

AV: Named after some man

FZ: No the coal is shelly most of it’s shingles and then in some places it’s almost like dirt, fine gets some lumps in it the size of your fist but that breaks lose the same way but where the coal is hard it is just terrible

AV: Where does the other parts of danger come in

FZ: Well it’s mostly soft coal or rock that’s the biggest part of danger


AV inter. FZ -29 6/20/72 Tape 13

AV: And that can happen any time even after the blast

FZ: Yeh and mostly after the blast

AV: Immediately after

FZ: Yes but there are a lot of places you can’t get at the top it’s too dangerous

AV: Why would they be so high that you can’t get at it

FZ: How are you goin’ to get at it

AV: Oh you mean you blasted a big hole or what

FZ: No it just keeps comin’ what I was goin’ to say where you can get at it and the way to make it safe when they drive a cold breast (?) I guess the guy from Ashland explained it to you didn’t he

AV: He was very fast, he had some explanation but very fast they didn’t have time to show us too much

FZ: Where they drive breast you see 24 ft. wide maybe their coal is 20,30 ft. thick well the way to mine that is they always take a skip off the top of the coal like this to keep to the top of the rock and as you go up you always test your rock and that way you’re always goin’ to make sure that you have enough coal under your feet that you can test the top, before you load it like I say you got to have a battery and when you fire the coal goes down to fire the battery and (??????) keep on firin’ it keeps on pilin’ up but when it get too close to the face well maybe you don’t have room to blast no more well maybe you load a few cars but before the coal gets too far from the face make sure everything is safe

AV: You climb on top of the rubble and test it

FZ: Yeh, same thing with the sides as you go up you always see that there is no lose coal hangin’ on the sides you goin’ cribba you have a bar or a pick and what’s lose you bar off and the top if there’s a slab of lose rock or somethin’ you have a bar one end is pointed and the other end is dull and you go on with the blunt end you tap the top and if you come to a lose piece your sound is different


AV inter. FZ -30 Tape 13 6/20/72

you can tell that piece has to come down so you put the bar down and some places you have to jumper a small hole, dynamite, do you know what I mean by jumper

AV: No

FZ: It’s a piece of steel, different lengths about this long, 20 inches or different lengths depends on what you need and the one end is sharp you know what a chisel is like just the same way only that it’s more round well you use that and you use a hammer and you put a hole in and maybe you need a hole 6 in or 8 inches or 10 inches and you put dynamite in that

AV: A stick

FZ: No you wouldn’t put a stick in, maybe a quarter or half a stick, that’s lose rock well that’s what they do you jumper a hole and put dynamite in that will knock it down it’s rock that you can’t bar lose. Yeh in a way it’s interesting for someone like yourself you know what I mean you don’t know what it’s all about just what I’m tellin’ you but if you worked there it’s very dangerous

AV: I know it’s one thing to read about it and then to look at it then another to have gone thru it

FZ: And like motor runners some of them did travel pretty fast not like on the outside you know but they traveled pretty fast and someplace there was timber you know what I mean, stick on one side and stick on other, big piece of timber on top like a crossbar like 3 of them

AV: What did they call the vertical pieces

FZ: Legs, and the top piece a collar that’s what we call them but other parts of anthracite they have different names for tham

AV: Such as what

FZ: I don’t know and all the fellow that worked at #10 from Wilkes-Barre they have different names for them but that’s what we called them and the motor goes along


AV inter. FZ -31 6/20/72 Tape 13

say 20 miles an hour and the motor is only say 6 inches away from this leg suppose he gets off the road, and I saw this happen in Buck Mountain my neighbor’s brother he was a motor runner

AV: Mr. Hart’s brother

FZ: No Mrs. Hart’s brother, the motor got off, knocked the let down, the collar came down on top of him now he was disabled for the rest of his life but that came down on top of him, so that’s the danger and when they get off the road that’s what usually happens or maybe on the other side where the timber is you say well they’re 3 or 4 ft from the road but you have a ditch there about 3 ft. deep with water so there’s danger on both sides

AV: You mean if the car would jump you’d go right in the water

FZ: Yeh and talkin’ about these automatic doors, the weight of the car opens the door see, and after it passes it closes automatically but a fellow downtown Clifford Falatkko he was a patcher and Helen’s brother was a motor runner now never mention it to Helen tho, he was a wild driver and I often told him, “John (I use to take care of the doors) don’t go too fast with these doors you know what will happen,” he was goin’ in one day and he was goin’ too fast and when he hit, he hit it too hard, and broke the rod that opens the door and the doors closed and this Clifford Falatko he was a patcher he was sittin’ on the front end of bar so the door hit his leg and his thigh bone came right thru, right thru clothes and everything the bone was jagged it hit the door I was there I helped get him out it just looked terrible it just looked like take a piece a round piece of wood and break it and after it’s broken hit the jagged ends, that’s the way his leg was that’s what I seen, that’s the danger

AV: What a messy accident that was

FZ: And he’s still still crippled and that happened years ago

AV: How did they get him out of there

FZ: We took him out on the same motor oh he was in the hospital for a long time and


AV inter. FZ -32 6/20/72 Tape 13

the only way he can get around is with a cane that’s what I say no matter what you work at it’s dangerous just like where I worked in the concealed pumphouse the water used to squirt all over I know sometimes I’d get tired of the work and the boss would ask someone else to work they wouldn’t work they were afraid to work if the log pushed in I wouldn’t have no chance aT all it was always dangerous, always and that lower tunnels when it rains that tunnel is half filled with water

AV: How did you get thru it

FZ: You wouldn’t work, I worked tho, I got thru from the upper level like I said there were 160 steps but the other miners couldn’t work sometimes they’d be off tor months, too much water

AV: How would they drain the water at the time

FZ: They’d pump it up to the upper level and then it would run out gradually

AV: And then these tunnels were sort of pitched to the opening and they had ditches on either side

FZ: Just on one side and with a heavy rain the ditch couldn’t take it

AV: Was it on the right side going in

FZ: Left side, we were on the right side, the ditch was on the other side

AV: Well I guess it’s about time

FZ: a long tunnel I guess about 1200 ft.

AV: I guess it’s about time for me to go now

FZ: I’m not in a hurry if you’re not, I guess Helen will be waitin’ for you

AV: Yeh I guess she will



Angela Varesano -1 8/16/72 Frank Zahay

The Falatkos lived here before Frank moved in in 1918. The house had just two rooms downstairs, two upstairs, and a small lean-to about 6′ x 6′ with a roof slanted against the house, off the kitchen. The front room had 6″ : 5/8″ thick boards all around the walls to protect them from the chairs; it was the height of a back of a chair, nailed thirty inches up off the floor. People painted them. They were nailed on the plaster lathe, and when the walls were plastered, it was plastered right with boards. The room was used before for a bedroom. Then it had a bed and maybe a chair or two. Clothes were hung on nails, mostly behind the door. These were Sunday clothes. Everyday clothes were hung in the kitdchen When he moved in, he used it as a sitting room. He had a parlor suite in here, a sofa with armrests on either the east or west wall, two high-back chairs on each side of the sofa, a high-back rocking chair on the west side, and a table in the center which is now the middle room. A phonograph was by the west wall. A cabinet was made of all “reed” for the Victrola. The table lamp was lit by kerosene lamp which had a round glass white with flowers. The walls were full of holy pictures, including a large crucifix on the north wall by the door. (Note: For details of holy pictures and placement, see photos of 8/5.) The walls were papered but not over the board. The ceiling was white-washed joyces. Later in the mid-1920’s he put up a cloth ceiling. This idea he got from a fellow (Horwath) who put up the first one in Eckley and who lived on Back Street. The ceiling was made of printed cloth and thin (house dress) material. Tacks (carpet) were used to put it up. He sewed the fabric which was one yard wide together to make a twelve foot square. Then he stretched the cloth and tacked the four corners. Start at one side and go from one side consecutively to other sides, folding the cloth over and under toward the top and stretching it to make it taut. This he did every five or six years. He took it down and put up “new stuff”. This room had a doorway with a door on it. [6’2 x 3′] In the original kitchen the dishes were washed in a dish pan on the table. There was a stove in the corner where the pan on the table. There was a stove in the corner where the hole is in the ceiling now. There was a wood table against the east wall corner (Now it’s out in the shed.) and four chairs. (Two are in the present kitchen and one rounded-back chair in the shed.) It had holy pictures on the east wall above the table and also on the west wall. The stairs upstairs had a door wih a latch on it. Pots and pans were kept in the shed. She washed in the shed also. A coal oil lamp lit the room and was kept on the table. The floor was bare boards. Lonoleum was put in in the 1920’s. Oil cloth was used like a tablecloth on the kitchen table.


Angela Varesano -2 8/16/72 Frank Zahay

The shed had a door to the outside on the south wall. Pans were hung on nails on the east wall. Shelves on the east wall held pots and pans. The west wall had a bench. On this a pot of tea or coffee was always kept for drinking. She washed clothes on a tub held between two chairs. Outside the shed there was a trough on a platform; it was a square box sixteen inches square, tapered to the bottom. Water was spilled in there. A pipe ran out from the trough into the garden and a small ditch in the middle of the garden which then led to a ditch that ran off into the street. The front bedroom whose window faces the north was used by him and his wife. In old times it had just one bed and one chair in each bedroom. When he moved in, he had a bed, a dresser, and two straight-back chairs. Clothes were hung from nails on the wall where the clothes closet is now, on a board nailed up there about five feet from the floor. The walls were white-washed, as was the ceiling. Later he papered them both, in the late ’20’s. A holy picture hung on each wall. These were smaller than downstairs pictures, about 1′ x 1′. The downstairs pictures were almost a foot bigger on both sides. Lighting was by a small kerosene table lamp. The floor had rag carpet runners around the bed on each side and from the door to the bed. The middle bedroom used by his two daughters held a dresser on the east wall, a bed with the head on the east wall, and a chair near the door on the north wall. The south wall had a small one-sash window. Rag carpets were on the floor from the stairs to the bed and around the bed. The stairs had the top closed off with solid boards in the place where the bannister is now, and as high as it is now. These were papered on both sides. The present kitchen was built in 1927. The cabinets were built in the early ’40’s. The summer kitchen was built by the company and was there when he came. The door on the south wall of the shed led to a boardwalk of eight feet which led into here by a door on the north wall. Where the hole is now on the east side, there used to be a stove. Pans were hung on the wall close to the stove. A homemade table was by the window with two chairs and two homemade benches. The west wall had nails with the man’s working clothes on them. Nails behind the stove were used to hang wet working clothes to dry. The floor near the west wall had wooden wash-tub, copper wash boiler and a washboard. There were three shelves on the north wall. Clothes were hung from the north wall too, work and “shifting” clothes or home wear. The original work extends twenty inches from the present shandy wall. The floor had rag carpets running from the door to the table. the walls held no holy pictures.


Angela Varesano -3 8/15/72 Frank Zahay 72

The present shed off the kitchen was originally an open porch. He enclosed it shortly after he built the kitchen. It was then used for sitting in the sunner. It had a homemade table on the west wall, about 30″ x 42″ with square legs. The back bedroom used by his two sons had one bed for the two boys on the north and east walls. It also had a small table on the west wall, a chair, linoleum floor, pappered walls and ceiling, and one holy picture on the east wall.

The attic was built so Frank could stay up late and read. It was built in the ’30’s for Frank’s use as a bedroom, apart from his wife in the front bedroom. It had a bed on the north and east walls with the head on the latter. There was a wash stand that is now in the center bedroom, a straight-back chair and one holy picture on the east wall. The floor was linoleum. Walls and the ceiling were papered. It had his reading material which is still there now: Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, and mechanics magazines.

The outbuildings included a coal shed next to the shandy. They got the materials six years ago from the Matisak house (Formerly, the McDermotts lived there.) when it was torn down. It is used to store coal in the winter so he doesn’t have to go out back The fence was put up by Paramount.

The outhouse was built by the company ten or eleven years ago. There used to be a double one in the space (indented) between Zahay and Hartz properties. The design on the door and glass were put in by Frank besides the peepholes and shutter.

The tool shed was built in the 1930’s. It was always used to store machinery and tools. There was a pot-bellied stove in the north wall. The garage and (annex) storage shack were built in 1924. The storage room had parts, junk, and things he could use like wood and metal parts. The original coal sheds looked like the one built fifteen years ago by the company. It was six feet high in the front, the back four feet, and a tar paper roof. The smoke shandy was built by Frank in the late ’20’s.


Angela Varesano -1 7/10/72 Frank Zahay

June berries are found near huckleberries. Huckleberries like to grow in certain places. When the brush burned out, two years later there were berries. A farmer in Albrightsville had a huckleberry farm. He burned the brush in alternate years. Now, firemen put out the brush fires right away, so berries do not grow; too thick. Fires burn out scrub and leaves clear the area for berries to ripen.

Strippings – Ruined a lot of berry patches, disturbed topsoil. Found berries on edges of strippings, clear spots needed.

There aren’t any nuts around here. There is a place on Buck Mountain where they used to pick Hazel nuts. Very scarce. Walnuts, chestnuts – quite a few, years ago, there was a place on Buck Mountain, Shedlock’s Farm along side the forest had lots of chestnut trees. Limbs hung over clear part of farm. Lots of trees. Some people picked chestnuts for trade for flour. Ate them roasted or raw, also used in stuffings. In Buck Mountain School there were a few big chestnut trees. At dinner time we would go up to pick a pocketful. Remember wild chestnuts are tastier than homegrown.

Used berries to sell huckleberries. A lot “put them up” – canned them. Except stoners – they’re not too tasty, lots of seeds.

Mushroons – never sold. A lot of people can them, used as food.

Pig nuts – Heard about from other boys. Never saw anybody eat them.

Canning mushrooms – Half-boil them, while water is still boiling hot with mushrooms, put in jar with enough water to cover them. Some people boil them right in the jar. Mother did it. Tried and worked, so must be ok. Added salt pepper, cut up onion. Boil it with the mushrooms. Cut up when boil, in small pieces, the was you would eat them.

Drying – The old timers used to string them (pieces cut small). Hung behind or above the stove. Takes awhile. When I dried them, I took a window screen, put on stove, put pieces on screen, would be dry in two nights. (2 days and 2 nights) You can tell if it is dry enough by picking up and seeing if shell is not spongy or soft. Used to watch mother string them with thread, the small pieces were 1/2″ – 3/4″.

Also, dried apples for the winter. Cut in pieces, string and hang above the stove to dry. To use dried apples, boil a bit (stew a bit) then use for a pie.

Dry chestnuts – Used one room for drying. Spread on floor to dry, used all winter. Otherwise, bugs used to get in. Used by peeling them and eating them. Some boil in salt water, or roast.


Angela Varesano 7/10/72 -2 Frank Zahay

Nipsy – Cut notches, put one notch in, turn it 1/5 diameter to put in as many as you could get in four or five notches. Whatever notch comes in, you have to make it in one jump, from where it lands to where you betted it. The other fellow jumps and has to make it back to the betting place in the number of jumps indicated by the notches. Girls seldom played it, it was a boy’s game, except tom boys. Started to play “from time able to run” Stopped playing once big enough to start baseball at ten or eleven. Nipsy was a small boy’s game.

House back of Surgent’s.

Davy Thomas Joe Goodwall foreman stable boss

There was a single home across street from this house, where Dave Ellis (“Chow Chow”) lived. A mean old man and his wife dried vegetables to put in the chowchow and hung upon the line to dry. He got mad and shot them off. Mean stable boss – always had a stick. In the morning had to clean mules. If he found dust on the back of the mules, he would raise hell. He was mean like that.

House: Like Max Marmello, about the same. Three rooms, down, two up. Had attic, but wasn’t used, not finished.


Angela Varesano 7/17/72 Frank Zahay

Photographic record of monel ring making:

16 Widen the inside of the hole to make room for the lead soder. 17 Sandpaper used to polish it. Clean the inside of the hole, polish it. and take the dust off with a rag. Vice is used to hold the rings while working on them. Mr. Zahay used these tools when he was making rings. 18 Special flux or soldering paste is applied. Some flux tarnishes when it is applied. The soldering iron melts the lead-tin solder. Before the electric soldering iron a copper soldiering iron was used and heated with a blow torch. The soldering iron must be tinned before it is used. 20 With the soldering iron, melt the lead solder around the hole. When it is cool scrape the lead off of make the hole fit the sulfer diamond. Fit the stone into the ring and smear the soldering paste over the stone and the opening on the inside of the ring. With the soldering iron melt the lead, alius filling Proceedure: in the hole and holding the stone firmly in place. Take a round bar or monel piston and dill the hole in the center the size of the finger. Slice off the width of the ring wanted with a hack saw. Ring is shaped with a file. Holes for the sulfur stones are made, if desired. Mr. Zahay had made a ring in 1961 but had not put in the sulfur stones. The ring was shaped with a square center hole and 2 small side holes.

The first task was to cut and file the sulfur stones to fit the holes. Select hard sulfur stones for filing. This was done by looking over the mass of loose, flat stones and picking them up and trying to file them on the grinding wheel. If it survived the initial filing, it seemed hard and could be worked with. The most desirable ones sparkled more. The stone is filed on a grind stone. The hand crank was turned with the right hand while the stone was held tight int the left hand. The left arm holding the stone was braced against the side of the body. The side of the stone is pressed on the grinding wheel and turned so as to get a round piece. This process is repeated until the stone fits the hole. The hole is tapered and the stone is tapered to fit. The stones often get very hot during the grinding process and a damp rag is used too cool it off. “When the stone gets hot press it in. It’s better than putting it in water because it takes too long to dry.” The rag is folded into a 4″ square. An electric grinding wheel can also be used to shape the stones. When all of the stones were shaped the next procedure is to solder them in place. The inside of the ring and the holes were sandpapered to prepare the surface of that the solder would stick to it. Soldering paste is then rubbed overt the holes and the inside of the ring. Ring is held in a vice during the polishing and. The electric soldering iron . Some head is melted on the tip of the iron and allowing and is smeared inside the holes and around the holes on the inside of the ring. When the lead has hardened the holes are scraped so that the stones would fit snuggly. Use a small 1 1/2″ pen knife blade.

Clamp the ring into the vice with the stones in place. Melt solder and let it


Angela Varesano 6/9/72 Frank Zahay

He was born in Stierdorf, Austria. Both of his parents were also born there. His father was Superintendant in the mines at Buck Mountain.???

In 1912 he started work in Eckley. Worked in the strippings.

Back Street was called Irish Street because they lived there. Welsh and English lived on Main Street (Big Street).

Owl Hole was the name for #7 slope. It is in the valley past the Catholic Church.

the Coxe’s owned the DS&S RR. Drifton, Oneida and Stockton were Coxe owned mining towns.

His first occupation was a spotter for the RR and the Buck Mt. strippings He also was a sand dryer (dryed sand over the railroad boiler – used to sprinkle sand over the track to stop train.) When there was an opening he took a job with the mining company as a carpenter. He worked in the carshops – fixed railroad cars and did repair work on the houses owned by the company. He remembers when the company would not allow the people to connect the shantys to the house. In the 1920’s and before that.

In 1912 he moved into his parents house. The Falatko family lived in the house before that.

He changed work again during WWI – he was a fireman on the railroad. He had a draft deferment. After the war he worked down in the mines putting up timber and building platforms. It was the only job available. Later he got a job digging out coal. He worked 30 years in the mines before they shut down.

Rates in mines. When they found a wide vein they used to leave columns 20 to 25′ thick of coal. When the columns began to crumble from increased rock pressure the rats would warn of impending danger by running out of the mine.

He worked putting timber up in a mine. In a gangway they placed the timber vertically along the sides and horizontally near the roof. Props were used if the roof was too high. Props are pieces of wood planking shoved between the roof and the timbers.

Before his time the Irish had control of mine labor. He heard old time Slovak miners tell about the Mollie Maguire organization. They abused the Slavic immigrants just for kicks, for no reason. When he was 6 or 7 years old he remembers hearing an old man talk about when the Mollies broke into his home and his wife saved him by embracing him and not letting him go. The Mollies left.


Angela Varesano 6/30/72 Frank Zahay

Monel rings and Sulfur stones:

Square or sulfur stones are found in roprock ie. soft rock, black sandy rock, black sandstone. Sulfur diamonds were found in certain kinds of black slate between the layers.

Monel – when they were repairing machinery in the shop there used to be pieces of this metal left over. Some call it “barnel” which is a mispronunciation. The monel from the worn out parts was used to make rings Proceedure: Take a rod and drill a hole in the middle with a high speed iron drill, the size of the finger. Slice off the width of the ring wanted from the rod. Shape it – the bottom will be much narrower than the top. Use an emery wheel and files to shine it. Use sandpaper and a buffer on a wheel to polish it. When the hole is made for the stones, drill a hold on the top. Start with a small size and file size you want to fit the stone. It should be tapered from the inside to the outside. Put it in the hole. Melt lead and pour into the space between the stone and the inside of ring Monel rings were used in the late 1920’s on into the 30’s and 40’s. Other items such as pendants, tie pins with sulfur stones, watch fobs of polished monel discs (these were not decorated as monel was very tough.)

People used copper belts – a band of copper in sections. It was worn next to the skin for some reason.????

sulfur stone – ——lead [illustration of style of the rings top view]

Stills: The still forms steam, runs through a coil, condenses and forms whiskey. The coil is about 20′ long and runs through cold water. There was a man by the name of Barnoski whose wife used to throw the mash to the pigs. They would get drunk and just sit there on their rumps and snort as you.

Miners needle – used with squib explosives. It was 6-7 feet long. It had a looped end and it was tapered. You turned it as you pulled it out of the hole. The taper and the loop would keep debris out of the hole, making the hole sides well tamped up as the needle was withdrawn.


Outside was just boards, nailed vertically. The roof was of batted boards. Batted = narrow wood stripps nailed over joints.



Bake Oven

Description of Barron family bake oven on Back Street.

[Front and side view of bake oven. Words in diagram are below]

Square brick chimney. Iron Handle. Sheet iron plate used as door. Oven floor. Mortared stone with dirt packed on.

Side view. Square brick chimney. Door. Front. Rear.


Frank Zahay Angela Varesano

[Bake oven cover diagram] Corrugated iron roof. Dome. Square “standards”.


Outhouse built by company carpenters. Frank Zahay Angela Varesano 8/5/72 10:30 am 12:30 pm 2 family outhouse

[Frontal view of outhouse with two doors] 8ft x 4 ft x 6 ft

[Side view of outhouse and drawing of outhouse handle] Roof pitch – 1ft overhanging roof 7ft in front, 6 ft in back

Handle Beleved piece of wood. Inside frame that outhouse rested on was formed of boards 2″ x 6″ x 12′


Frank Zahay #60 Angela Veresano 13 ( date and times cannot be read)

Diamond pickers wagon – a spring wagon: box size 6’x8′ Sides were made of boards. The back had a tailgate. (There is a partial drawing of the wagon), seat had a padded back, iron arm rest, leaf spring, footrest. Axle wheel is pointed out. Back wheel has leaf spring printed to left of wheel. (?) pointed out on back wheel. ( Below is a drawing of what looks like a top view of the wagon) (Ch?) underlined at top of drawing Leaft spring and front leaf spring are pointed out.


Frank Lahay #60 Angela Varesano 14 (?)/18/20 2:00 – (?) horse stable( underlined) interior detail hayrack ( underlined)in horse stable of John Krukowsky

Water for the horses was served in carrying buckets. Straw was used as bedding on the floor. The stable had a slanted roof, with the highest part oo the front. Other people used to make cow stables with gable roofs and make the part under the roof into a hayloft. Stables were about the same size ranging from 8′ x 12′ and 8′ x 7 ‘ to 12’ x 7 ‘ hayrack ( there is a drawing of a hayrack 6’ across and 6″ down with 5 separations) round (?), 4″ diameter nailed in wall (another drawing below the first)( words on drawing cannot be read) trough 10 sq (?) inches ( word lined out) wide + high.

6″ long dowels inserted in holes bored in upper + lower lagging ( (?) + “diameter) dowels are 2” diameter. Side view: ( there is a drawing) 4″(?)(?) nailed, arrows pointing to 2 points on the drawing 3 1/2 ft

It had pegs 1″ in diameter and six inches long were driven into the top frame of the structure to hold the harnesses. These pegs were along both sides on the 7′ walls.


Angela Varesano -1- 15 8/2/72 Frank Zahay

Photographs from 8/1 continue:

23 living room doorway made in the 1930’s, plastic overdoor used in winter to keep heat in the back part of the house

24 off 25 on phone book rack made in 1965 26 (???????????????????) 27 cloak rack and doorway to kitchen 28 footstool made in 1970 29 stairway, original 30 stairway close-up, door taken out in the early 1930’s because wanted it to look more modern. She put up drapes on a rod. 31 footstool 32 kitchen door with plastic heat screen 33 shed built in the late 1920’s for more room for the family 34 locomotive made by Steve Zahay in 1950 and worked on till his death in 1957 35 without tender roof. The lokie was modernized in the model as they made changes in the railroad lokies.

He got lumber from a empty house in Shandy Street that Charley Ray used to live in. Zahay bought the home in 1926 for $10. It was all good lumber. Some of the boards were twenty-two inches wide. This lumber was supposed to be from the woods that were near Emil Gera’s. George Freitzburger told Frank about this in 1918. He was carpenter foreman. He said there was a “regular little forest” in the area where there is now a flat, level piece of coal dirt. Through the middle of this pine forest, there was a stream with trout.

Framk remembers his mother saying how two old ladies came to visit her in the Back Street house #1 in the 1920’s and asked to see the upstairs, because they wanted to see the room they were born in. They said there used to be a carpenter shop in the yard where their father used to make coffins for anybod who died in town, out of pine trees chopped down from that area. Frank guessed the size of the building at 12′ by 8′.


Angela Varesano -2 8/2/72 1+6 Frank Zahay

It must have been a long time before because both women were about sixty five to seventy years old. The shop was located in the garden close to the alley.

35 back porch. The floor has been there since the early 1930’s, but the porch has been enclosed for two years. It’s used to store the snow blower and lawn mower. They used to sit there in the evening. He uses the table in cold weather to tinker on. Before they seldom used the floor, but he used to sit there in a chair once in a while. The lumber used to build the kitchen, shed, and upstairs was gotten from the 110 Shandy Street house.


Angela Varesano 8/12/72 Frank Zahay 17

Women peddlers used to come selling in Eckley. They came from Jeddo. Their burdens were carried on their backs in bundles. Sometimes they walked to Buck Mountain even. The bundles were a big square piece of denim and tied by the corners. They sold dry goods such as dress goods for the women. Most women made their own clothes. “Big Mary” was about thirty, rather chunky, and “pretty tall”. She was Arabian. They had a stand on four legs with a grinding wheel on it and a treudle. They sharpened both knives and scissors. The machine was carried on the back, and the peddler rang a bell as they walked up and down the street. Women or men used to take out things to be sharpened.


Angela Varesano 18 7/22/72 Frank Zahay

Railroad terms: Dead head would ride railroad in a coach because the other end needed a fire man. Others could do it too, such as brokemen and engineers. Fired stoked a locomotive.

Castle Garden used to be a mule stable. It was made into a four-family house.


Angela Varesano 19 7/21/72 Frank Zahay

Use of an alcohol blow torch: The original welding torch used by Frank Zahay to weld together splices in electric house wiring consisted of a tube filled with alcohol, a wick, and a two foot long rubber tube to blow through. It was tested to see if it was ready for use by blowing through the tube. If the alcohol isn’t heated, all you’d have blowing out is alcohol. If the alcohol is heated, a flame shoots out.

[Drawing of Original Blow Torch showing a cylinder with a wick on top and a foot long tube attached on the side of cylinder. The end of the tube is labeled blow here]

This model was used when he first started wiring homes in Eckley around the early 1920’s. A couple of years later they used a double-tubed torch. The electricians used their own initiative for its use. The price was $2, bought at Gennaro Bonoma’s in Freeland. To use fill both sides with wood alcohol from the bottom part. Unscrew the wick side too. Light the wick. Turn the nozzle over the flame to warm the alcohol in the second tube. This vaporizes the alcohol. When steam-like vapor comes out, the flame lights it and a torch flame shoots out two inches or so. This lasts for a hour or more. It is held an inch and a half from the solder wire. All the splices have to be soldered. Use the soldering parts to prepare the wires. It is used to solder splices in electric house wiring.


Frank Zahay A. Varesano 20 7/17/72

9:30 am.

Castlegarden or “Big House” 4 – family dwelling Located in back of “Hotel” + Doctors’ Office

[Drawing of the house showing 4 sections each having 2 windows on the second floor, the first floor has 1 door and 1 window; the side of the house shows 1 window, roof has brick chimney]


Angela Varesano 21 6/9/72 Frank Zahay

Indian doctors used to come around town on payday. They sold remedies such as snake oil, a cure all.

Mrs. Coxe was called the Angel of Anthracite Angel. In all the Coxe towns she did charity. Every year at Christmas, she gave the children presents such as sleighs or dolls. “strombetto” strumbetzl was a knitted cap with a tapering long tail on it. She has a music tutor come in to class before her visit to teach the children Christmas songs. She left a trust fund to continue her charity. Large families were helped by her, she has men taken care of when they were injured in the mines.

Fences made of horizontal boards 6″ wide with a flat board across the top kept the cows out of the garden and the chickens and geese in. There were at least 2 water hydrants on each block. There were a few bake ovens on Back Street. They were built by the tennants. A 3′ high foundation 4×6 raised the oven off the ground. The foundation was built of brick and mortar. The top of the oven was dome shaped about 3 or 4′ high.

Eckley was once called Shingletown because they used to make shingles there. It was also called Council Ridge. On a nearby hill there were big rocks where the Indians used to meet.

The buildings were painted red and black – red houses with black frames,

Company man is a man paid by the hour Contract miner is a man paid by piece work

Mr. Zahay used to build structures needed in the mine such as platforms. A platform was used to shovel coal up from a wooden platform to make it easier to shovel. Also made chutes — 1′ high made of planks — was placed at the face and was used to send coal sliding into a coal car instead of shoveling it. Not used unless the coal was clean. There was a danger of getting too much slate otherwise. “Court house” placed at the top of the slope that judged if a car had enough coal. Picked out certain cars and dumped them to inspect whether the coal to slate ratio was high enough. Inspected by weighing. Breaker boys — Man who ran the braker and drove the braker boys. He was often mean to the boys. He would hit them on the fingers with slate if they didn’t pick out enough slate. “Red toppers” was a name for raw fingers. A lokie runner was considered a better job than being a miner.


Angela Varesano -1- 22 8/18/72 Frank Zahay

The style of houses on Back Street in the 1 – 20 block toward the west end of town was similaar to the Denion/Barron home. It had two floors and an attic. The gables were facing the E-W and the roof on the North side was longer than that on the South side (it extended down farther)

They did not have a bake oven. The Barrons had a bake oven on Back Street. It was located in the middle of the garden. It had a square stone foundation. The mortar was made of mud and lime mixed together. The women used to pile in a lot of wood and burn it. When it turned to ashes, they’d rake it out and it was ready to bake, since the floor and sides were hot. The door was put in by pushing it in sideways and pulling it against the inside of the oven. Some had a wooden structure over it to protect it. (Four posts and a roof of corrugated iron nailed to a frame of wood.

Back Street houses had a summer kitchen, a shed in fromt of the kitchen door an outhouse and a coal shandy. Frank and his brother Steve built a shop to tinker around in down by the alley fence. (House #1?)

There was a fence all round the yard. On the alley, it was made of all kinds of board like a pickett fence. Everybody had a fence in the alley. This was usually 4 feet high. Up along the sides and front of the property, they had a fence made of horizontal boards (at least five), about 4′ high. This was common in most Back Street homes.

The garden was filled with vegetables, they (they Zahays) didn’t have it fenced off in sections. The bake ovens were located in the middle of people’s back yard and reached by a path, left unplanted

The railroad station (as described by John Fedorsha to Frank) Located up by #10, it was a small room building, about 12 x 16 feet. It was an office for the railroad agent. The telegraph was in that room. The railroad – D S and S (Delaware, Susquehanna, and Schulykill) owned by the Coxe’s (as described by John Barron, George Barron’s father to Frank). There was a platform at #10 when he got off in Eckley in the early 1880’s. At that time there wasn’t any building there. They used to run a mixed train, primarily it was a coal train with a couch at the end for passengers. The telegraph in the office was used to keep in touch with the train. Frank does not think it was used by the people. He never heard of houses built near the RR station. The track coming in were flat on the railroad bed – there wern’t any raised portions. There was a tresle at #10 where the DS&S crossed a road at #10. This was right across from the foundation of the oil engine house at #10. And old team road and lokie road used to run that way and trucks for colliery locomotive Station house – Frank thinks that it had shingled, and four windows.


Angela Varesano 8/8/72 -2- 23 Frank Zahay

See diagram: “Diamond” pickers – These men used to come in with a horse and a small wagon with bushels in it. He used to go around in the alleys and gardens with a fire shovel and buckets and a stick and pick up dog droppings. These were mostly Italians. They came maybe once every two weeks.

Farmers selling vegetables came in buckboards.

For transportation, people hired horses and buggies from John Krakowsky when they needed to go to Freeland and Hazelton. He boarded in # 70. He kept 3 buggies and 3 horses in a stable and wagon house in the yard right next to the alley. A roof supported by four post about 8′ high was used to shelter the 3 buggies. [??handwritten words] The horse stable was next to it. he rented it for $1 a day. See diagram:

Architecture of houses #79/77, 81/83, 80/78 The Mc Dermot house # 79 is now torn down. The style was that of the Sulkosky/Banas place #81/83. Frank remembers Eva (Sulkosky) Matisak having a coal shed (which is presently in his back yard) and a garage. Both had their shadies connected onto the house. Eva remarried and is now Eva Fogash. The two houses across from Sulkosky/Banas house, #’s 84/82 and 80/78 were the same style as #66/64Zahay/Hartz. Before it burned down # 84/82 was rented by the Stefanic family and the Fefick family. 80/was rented by Anthony and Eva Sulkosky and 78 was rented by the Shiner. Both homes had a stoop, 4×4 with steps up to the front door and no railing. Both had shandies separate from the house. They had a roof over the board walk from the shed to the shandy. Both homes had a shed built onto the kitchen door. #84/82 had a double outhouse and .. coal sheds. 80/78 had coal sheds and a double outhouse. Old Adam Zirosky the father of Eva, left the house to Tony Sulkosky. Mr. Zirosky built a cow stable. The stable was right on the back alley with the door facing East. It had a gable roof and a hay loft. It was 10′ x 12′ made of vertical boards with crakes batted with slab wood, ie. wood cut with the bark showing along the sides. Most stables were built like this The roof was also made of boards and batting.

Most of the single houses from Bruno Lagonosky up to Surgents were built for the foreman of the mining operations.


(Picture of front and left side of house. Front has 2 doors 2 stoops, 2 – 12 pane windows on first floor and 4 12 pane windows on second floor. Left side has 2 12 pane windows on first floor, 1 12 pane and 1 6 pane window on second floor and 1 4 pane window on 3rd floor.) Left side of house says “West” under picture. Front of house says ” Stoop, front door” under picture. Right side of house has ” E ” ( with arrow pointing down ). Frank Zahay A Varesano 2 24 8/22/72 10:00 – 12:30 pm. Back St. Home #1


Frank Zahay A. Varesano 8/21/72

[Shandy St house and gardens drawing]

W a window, 12 panes

upstairs bedroom single sash windows

end of st. fence single home summer kitchen [kitchen] front toom back room [living room] roofless porch gate coal shed board walk single outhouse


boardwalk summer kitchen front room or kitchen, back room or living room roofless porch summer kitchens family I family II

upstairs bedroom for double home front bedroom, back bedroom, single sash window


Frank Zahay A Varesano 10:00 – 12:30 pm 8/21/72

“The big house” or “Boarding House” [drawing]

Rudolph Zahay Porch

4 family dwelling


Frank Zahay A. Varesano 4 27 8/21/72 10:30 – 12:30 pm. ” Big House” or ” Boarding House” (Picture of front of 3 story house. Shed roof over 2nd story porch. Stairs on right and left side leading up to second level. Two doors on second level by staircases. Four 12 pane windows on 3rd floor.) Underneath picture of house is “N”.


Frank Zahay A. Versano 3 28 8/21/72 10:00 – 12:30 pm. House plan of Back St. house #1 Upstairs ( Drawing of rectangle divided into 3rds horizontally and the top 2/3ds divided in 1/3 section on the right side, running vertical with a small square on the right top of the rectangle with a small attached rectangle,). In the small rectangle it says “stairs”. In the first horizontal third there is a dotted lineabout 3/4 of the way down with a line pointing to the words ” ceiling begins to slope” In the 1/3 vertical divided section it says “Hallway” On the left side of the rectangle there is a zigzag line in the top 3rd that says ” half sash window”, the 2nd 3rd has a zigzag line that says ” full window”, the last third has 2 zigzag lines on the bottom with line drawn to them from the words ” full window”. for additional details, see tape of 8/21/72, Frank Zahay, 10-12:30 pm.


Angela Varesano 7/21/72 Frank Zahay


Speakeasies were private homes[?] used as saloons. Many made moonshine. People heard talk that they existed. You located them by talkin’ to friends. Fellows who did go would brag about it, especially if they “got a good skin full”, got drunk. Mr. Sherman, as a sideline, was a barber. He used to charge 25 cents for a haircut and give a shot of whiskey along with it. This was during the 1920’s. He lived on Back Street across from Mrs. Timko. He made moonshine. In Freeland there were licensed saloons.

There was a Game Club, as he heard it referred to. They hunted and stocked birds and rabbits. They bought dogs for hunting use by the club members. He never heard of any other club in Eckley. He never belonged to this club either. Therefore, his knowledge of clubs and their use in Eckley is not too great.

The Society was like a Greek Catholic Union. It was an insurance organization. It covered children until sixteen (he remembers sixteen as most probable), and then they were transferred to the men’s group. His parents paid for him maybe 15 cents a month. The benefit at death was about $100. He doesn’t remember the adult fee. He always belonged to it, besides regular insurance, until he was paid up. Now he’s a member. It pays benefits, last one $4 or 6, after you are paid up. You get dividents every few months.

Union meetings were held in the basement of the Episcopal church. Frank thinks the union had to pay a couple of bucks for use of the space. This was in the 1920’s.

His family never kept a written budget, “just bought what we needed.” His family didn’t keep one, nor did any family he knew of. When he started work, he turned over his check to his mother for the family use. When he was fourteen, she gave him $3 or 4, but he never indulged. Neither did his brother Steve indulge. His older brother did “like his booze,” however.

Henry Jayne, who was a boss, must have had a budget. He took care of the money. There were only four in his family. He talked about this to the miners. He figured everybody should do it this way too, should write out a budget.


Angela Varesano 7/28/72 Frank Zahay


Girls were under the control of their parents when they were in their teens. When they got married, they were under the control of their husbands. There were varying degrees of strictness by the parents and family. For example, at the age of sixteen, when he was “runnin’ around with” or seeing and talking to regularly a girl in town, and he was talking with her at the front gate, her older sister came out and called, “Mary, come in. Your father wants you immediately.” This family was considered very strict and didn’t allow their daughter even to talk with a boy for fear of her being considered too free. A boy was considered a man when he reached eighteen. Then he was also old enough to be married. When he first brought in pay, this did not mean he was considered a man. Around their twenties boys were considered old enough to drink with the men. They would go to bars such as The Blue Eagle and The Blue Pig which were outside of Eckley. Around sixteen or seventeen they were allowed to come in at whatever time the chose, as long as it wasn’t “too late,” 11 or 12 o’clock. Before that parents told them that they had to be in at a certain time. Boys used to hang around in gangs on street corners. At Buck Mountain the boys built a bummin’ shanty in one of the members’ yards this was built from gathered boards from old houses. They used to sit around and tell stories. They shanty was equiped with a coal stove. In winter the boys used to make their own sleds with iron work done by a member’s father. Many unmarried boys from Eckley left for the bigger cities and better jobs. Most came back to work in the mines since they were used to the place, having been born and brought up here. Here, everybody associated with each other, and there was a friendlier atmosphere.

Weddings were celebrated more for a good time than the religious aspect. There was lots of food at these affairs and lots of drinking. The groom provided the drink. When he got married, he paid for everything, even an orchestra. The celebration was held i the bride’s house. Women cooked the food bought by the groom. A day or so before the wedding they plucked, fried, and roasted chickens. Drinking included lots of beer and whiskey, beer by the keg. There was a gypsy orchestra from Freeland for dancing. The couple stayed with the bride’s parents until they got their own home. Sometimes this took a long time. It depended on whether you had contacts in the company. Those couples married in town usually stayed in town,


Angela Varesano 7/28/72 Frank Zahay 2 31

Funerals here in Eckley were ended by the men going to a bar and having a drink or so. The rest went home. These were not big affairs or eating parties.

The wakes were held at home, during which stories were told, drinks served, and sandwiches given such as when her brother died at Buck Mountain. There wasn’t much preparation for foods served at a wake. the coffin was paced in the living room. Men joked, told stories, played cards. Women were mixed in with the men, except when men wanted to play cards. Then they went into another room.

Christenings were big affairs. There was lots of eating and drinking at the parents’ house. There was no dancing. Neighbors and grandparents helped prepare food. Food was paid for by the father. It was considered a privilege to be chosen a God parent. One had to be of some religion to be one. Both were expected to give a gift to the child of either money or clothes. God parents usually gave gifts to the child until he was in his early teens. After a birth they waited for the christening to celebrate a week or so. At work the father used to pass out cigars. Boys were preferred by fathers since the girls didn’t get any work. The only work they could get was house work. A boy could work at nine years in the breaker. Boys were preferred because of the days when they would be bringing in money. When girls were fifteen or so, they could do house work. Unless they got house work, there was nothing they could do. There were considered a boarder to the family.

Holy Communion was celebrated with a party where close friends were invited, and there was eating and drinking.

Confirmation was accompanied by a celebration similar to Communion.

He built the room he uses for his present kitchen. It is in the approximate area that was between the original house, of two room downstairs and bedroom area upstairs, and the original summer kitchen. This latter structure is now used as a storage shed for tools. The area between the summer kitchen and house was covered with boards and roofed over, but it was open.


Angela Varesano 7/23/72 Mrs. Zahay 1

Holy Supper foods included pirohi; bobalkic with poppy seeds; mushroom soup; kolacki served with grated American cheese, prunes, potatoes, or ca[???]; fish baked with a bit of oil; raw apples; cooked prunes.

Oplatkis is a thin, flat unleavened bread that was bought from the church. It was served before the meal. These were eaten with garlic. To serve oplatkis they were ut on a plate, and each member of the family takes a piece, puts honey on it, and eats it. Frank Zahay commented that they used to say the garlic eaten on Christmas Eve had a meaning–in case you were bitten by a dog that had rabies, it wouldn’t affect you. Honey had a meaning too, he said. When it was dark, he lighted at least one candle on the table. It was a custom to wait “until the stars are out” to light them and start supper. Mrs. Zahay says this was done to keep the children from continuously asking when supper would be ready.

For mushroom soup wash mushrooms, cut them up, put in a pan, and boil with salt, onions, and pepper. Cover with water. Some add celery. To make zaprachen[?] take flour, a couple spoons and margarine. Brown it. Add some water and thicken. Add more water and thicken. Pour in the soup and mix up. Some put vinegar of two or three tablespoons in soup to taste. Some also add sauerkraut to taste or rice or cubed potatoes cook in with the mushrooms. She herself made it just as described above.

They used to put on cuts babkoveliski (grandmother’s leaves), also know as pig ears (cf. Ted Shand, 7/26/72). Parents used to put it on cuts. They say it stops the bleeding. Rabbit’s ear was the term suggested by Mrs. Mike Gera.

Mrs. Zahay’s father used to put up cloth ceilings, even for other people. He did it just to be neighborly; he did it for nothing. He used printed or white cloth. People started to tack up cloth ceilings, “tack the goods up,” when the many layers of white-wash applied to the bare ceiling beams began to crumble and fall on the floor. People used to take down the cloth, wash them, then tack it up again. One ceiling would last “a couple of years.” Both men and women used to help her father put up the ceiling. Some women did it; some were not handy enough. Afterwards, beaver board, like a stiff, pressed paper, began to be used for ceilings.


Angela Varesano 7/23/72 Mrs. Zahay 2

They used to have black bonnets with straw. A lady used to come around selling them, $100 or $1.25. There was another lady from Hazleton who came around with ladies’ and men’s under wear. She came in a car and sold factory goods. This was years ago. A lady, Mrs. Mulchitski used to make bonnets similar to Mrs. Zosak’s bonnet but with two slits unsewn on the neck area. Mrs. Zahay got Mrs. Mulchitski’s pattern and made bonnets to use while huckleberry picking, there were made of printed cloth.

(Drawing of bonnet showing stitching in front and unsewn slip in back)

Women used to wear long skirts and blouses. Skirts were made by gathering a straight piece of cloth and putting it onto a waist band. Some had buttons to close the opening; most didn’t because the skirt was so full. they used to make blouses that buttoned down the front and had plain sleeves with cuffs and a round collar. Both skirts and blouses were of a dark


Angela Varesano 7/23/72 Mrs. Zahay 3

color with small flowers print. Some blouses had a piece of overlapping material over the buttons in front of the blouse.

(Drawing of blouse collar – round)

Men’s clothes consisted mosty of dark suits, derbies (pincho), and high-button shoes for dress wear. For work were overalls, smock which isa jacket made of overall material, and boots. The boots had boot rags inside. Men wrapped their legs with old flour sacks over the socks as a protection against cold. They started from the feet and wralpped the cloth up the leg. All clothes wer patched because you couldn’t afford to throw them away. Sulfur water ruined the clothes worn in the mines. It made them yellow. When the man came home from the mines, all wet and soaked, you had to dry the clothes on the line or behind the stove.


A. Varesano interviewing Frank Zahay – 1 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

AV: What did you say about the mule stable again, you said it was extended east and west?

FZ: East and west, I think on the west side of the mule stable, there was another little building, I don’t know just how big it was – a feed house – from the feed house to the mule stable, a small car that would run in between that they used to haul their feed in.

AV: On tracks?

FZ: On tracks, yeh.

AV: How big was the mule stable itself, maybe 100 ft long?

FZ: No, I wouldn’t say a hndred feet long – just to give you a rough guess about 80 feet, 80 ft about 40ft.

AV: And then that little shed on the west end of it how big was that?

FZ: Oh that wasn’t too big either – well rough guess I’d say 20 x 40 and then between these two buildings they had a little trestle.

AV: And the trestle that’s where the car went on the trestle?

FZ: Yeh, between the 2 buildings.

AV: Does that mean the shed was higher than the mule building?

FZ: Well both of them were on foundations you know they had to come up above the foundations.

AV: And if that feed car went up on a trestle was that a very high trestle?

FZ: No it wasn’t very high, about five feet tall just above the foundation.

AV: How big was the mule yard, it extended from the east end of the building all the way down to the road like it is now?

FZ: Yes, the road wasn’t changed, yeh, I’d say from the east end.

AV: What kind of fence did you say it had again, wire?

FZ: Wire, and wire cable – wire posts and wire cable.

AV: You mean like steel posts?

FZ: No they weren’t steel posts they were wooden posts but then in later years, I’m not sure I don’t think it was all over the yard but some parts of the yard, I think stable has posts and pipe nailed on each end was flat so you cold put a hole in the posts, had posts and pipe nailed on, now whether it was all around I wouldn’t say.


A. Varesano interviewing Frank Zahay – 2 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: I think all around up each side the east end of the stable all around was this wire cable.

AV: And later years yu think they had posts in the ground, pipes with flattened ends nailed into the posts?

FZ: Yeh, now just maybe you’d say the width of the yard just on the east end of the barn or the stable.

AV: What in later years when would that be, maybe in the 30’s, the late 20’s?

FZ: Oh I’d make it in the early 30s.

AV: And then the rest of the fence was made out of posts in the ground with cable, wire cable, strung in between them?

FZ: Yeh, and from posts to post.

AV: How high was the fence?

FZ: Oh the fence was pretty high – I’d say at least 6 ft.

AV: And abut how many strands of cable hoisting wire did they use, about were there a whole lot of them?

FZ: No, not a whole lot.

AV: Well then there must have been some space in between?

FZ: Yeh, I don’t remember, well the posts was 6 ft. there should have been at least five strands on each one of them all around.

AV: There could have been more?

FZ: Yeh there could have been more but I don’t think there was any less.

AV: Where was this band house that you said?

FZ: It was right across the street from Emil Garret’s house.

AV: It wasn’t in the mule yard though?

FZ: No, no it wasn’t in the mule yard.

AV: So the mule yard didn’t extend out?

FZ: No not back to the road.

AV: This band house what did it look like then?

FZ: Oh, just a square building and it wasn’t too high, had a gable roof.

AV: Was the gable end facing the street?


A. Varesano interviewing Frank Zahay – 3 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Yeh, facing the street, that’s where the door was, I remember it was a gable shingled roof, it wasn’t too big, I’d say about 14 x 18 or pretty close.

AV: Just one story, right?

FZ: Yes, just one story.

AV: Do you remember anything about how the windows were or placed in it?

FZ: Just like the rest of the town I’d say, sash windows.

AV: Two in the front with the door?

FZ: Windows? oh the door in front that’s all, I would say 2 windows on each side but at the back I don’t know, oh they wouldn’t have any in the back anyway.

AV: What did you say that they used that building for? (Helen A[???] shoemaker shop tape 27-2)

FZ: They called it a band house. ?

AV: But you don’t remember it being used for band practice?

FZ: No I don’t, even they other one they called a band house I don’t remember.

AV: This one here did they ever use it for anything else in your time?

FZ: Yes, I think later on the coal company used it for storage, windows and such as that, you know, lumber.

AV: Did you ever hear from any old timers what it could be used for?

FZ: Band house, that’s all I ever heard.

AV: When was it torn down about, do you know?

FZ: No I don’t.

AV: Was it painted red?

FZ: Yeh, red and black trim, why did they paint this one down here red with white trimming, white doors?

AV: This band house you said it was in the yard in back of Bruno Bauskonoski’s[?]?

FZ: Maybe you better ask about it, but that was just an ordinary square building it wasn’t too big either.

AV: How big would you say?

FZ: Well I know they lived in it one time because the surface and they figured it wasn’t safe to live in, to stay in the house so they moved t up to this band house.


A Varesano interviewing Frank Zahay – 4 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

AV: Whose they?

FZ: Bruno.

AV: And how would you remember it, how square, what was the size of it?

FZ: Well there was only a door in front([????} school?) but the windows I don’t know whether it had one window in each side but I’d say one window on each side and no windows in the back.

AV: It was also gable roof with the gable facing in front?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: And painted red?

FZ: It wasn’t anything these home here now the paints worn off that’s how I remember.

AV: Did both of these band houses have this kind of weather boards on the outside?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: And what was it used for, do you remember, this band house in back of Bruno’s?

FZ: Well back as I remember it waws for voting place.

AV: That’s where you voted?

FZ: Yeh that’s where we voted.

AV: What did they have in there when you voted?

FZ: Nothing, just table and a voting booth, that’s all, just a booth with a curtain all a round.

AV: Did you register in there too?

FZ: No, when I registered I had to go to Wilkes-Barre to register, then in later years they used to come to Freeland, I don’t think anybody ever registered there.

AV: So that was just for voting purposes?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: Explain again where this building that you drew was – not this hotel that is shown on here but the other building that you drew, that you call the castlegarden that was near the hotel, if the hotel was here and the doctor’s office was here, you said there was a separate street like this way.


A. Varesano interviewing Frank Zahay – 5 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Just a short street, just as you came down from the breaker, well this side of this here ditch.

AV: That house was on it?

FZ: On the upper side of the street.

AV: And what did they call it as far as you know?

FZ: I heard some people call it the castlegarden and some people called it, the other building castlegarden.

AV: This one here?

FZ: The one on Shanty Street?

AV: And what did you call it besides castlegarden?

FZ: I called it what the other people called it.

AV: How many families in this?

FZ: There was 3 families lived in there, whatevers on the picture. (see m[??] illist.)

AV: You put 4 families.

FZ: Well 4 families then.

AV: Then it was facing east and west on the long end?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: Do you remember anything about the rent, how much that was?

FZ: No I don’t.

AV: And who lived in there, in these 4 places, I remember Andrew (Gudero)[?] saying his brother lived in one section.

FZ: No his brother never lived in one section, his brother lived in this side of the hotel, I don’t remember anyhow but I know Nichon lived on the end.

AV: Nichon?

FZ: Yeh, Bill Nichon and then there was a Smith family in there, there was a Braddock family in there and the fourth family I don’t know.

AV: And this is N I K O N?

FZ: No I thinks it Kun.

AV: This thing was red too, with black trim?


A. Versano interviewing Frank Zahay – 6 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Yeh, did you ever ask anybody else, maybe in the back where Mrs. H[????] and them lived, Mrs Maloney back here the Castlegarden was in somewhere.

AV: In back of Emory Nichols’ place?

FZ: Yeh, right around thre somewhere, on Shanty Street.

AV: Then who told you, John Fedorsha?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: What did he say that it looked like?

FZ: I don’t know what he said but there were 4 families or 6 families, I don’t remember, Mr. [????] family, he was born here, you know, he remembers a little more that I do.

AV: And did Joh Fedorsha tell you anything else about it?

FZ: No, the only thing he tole me wa and George Kushner told me – in back of the rectory there were 2 houses.

AV: That was on 14 Street?

FZ: Yeh that’s what they call 14.

AV: What did they look like?

FZ: I wouldn’t know but I’d say they looked like our homes.

AV: Like this home here?

FZ: Yes, like this one.

AV: Without the addition, they were double homes and they were 2 story with 2 bedrooms upstairs and 2 rooms downstairs?

FZ: Yeh, same as these and what most of them had was what we called a lean-to, a shed.

AV: Right outside the kitchen?

FZ: Yeh, some people made them very small, maybe 6 x 6, 6 x 8 no smaller than that what they were mostly used for were most everybody had a bench and the women used to keep their buckets of water there.

AV: And their coal too, or just their buckets of water?

FZ: Well you could say coal too, but in the summertime you kept your coal in a summer shanty that the

AV: Your brother that lived in the hotel had a garage and a tool shed built onto each other, out in the yard?


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -7- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: No not in his yard – a ways from his place I’d say up here [w??newhere.]

AV: Like in back of the doctor’s office, way in back in the field there?

FZ: Yeh, roughly but see more on this side of the doctor’s office, right around here somewhere.

AV: And this was the garage that he built and a tool shed that he built, right, for his own use?

FZ: Yeh, for his own use.

AV: In this tool shed, is that where he did all his tinkering around?

FZ: Yeh, that’s where he had his lathe and all.

AV: That’s not where he built that locomotive?

FZ: Yeh, that’s where he built the locomotive, no he built it in that shop but it was still over here before he moved it, he finished it down in here at the other place.

AV: And now this whole garage and shop is down in the [???? faded handwritten word] garden?

FZ: No next, next house, no one lives there now.

AV: Who were the last people that lived there?

FZ: My sister-in-law, she was there [blank space] he died there.

AV: When did he move it over there?

FZ: I don’t remember.

AV: And they just took the whole structure and moved it over there, when – 35 years ago?

FZ: Yeh I think, the son was born in that place, he must be around that age I’d say in the 30s anyway. There was a boiler house around here somewhere there I’d run it, here was the corssing and just the back street, I’d say the Lokey Run was around here somewhere.

AV: And it went up to the Lokey Run, it followed the Lokey Run? [steam pipe is handwritten above the words Lokey Run]

FZ: No, not all the way. The Lokey Run was more on this side of the breaker here anywhere along here and then from here just about where #10 is located this end of the paper, I don’t know but you could just run it straight.

AV: Then it went out to the Engine House at #107

FZ: Yeh, where the foundations are that we looked at.

AV: Did you say it partly followed the Lokey Road over here?


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -8- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Yeh, from that road only [blank space] one time because they used to run this Lokey to [blank space] Mountains and one morning the engine got off the road and they hit one of the standards, one of the pipes was hangin’ and knocked it over see that’s why I’d say from [blank space] at the crossing, ran the entire

AV: From the Wetherly Crossing up to #107

FZ: Well there was a curve in the Lokey Rd. made a bend in the pipe too same as the track.

AV: And from the engine house it also went up this little alley here towards #6?

FZ: Not the engine house, the boiler house to #6.

AV: Did it follow anything?

FZ: It followed the road that ran from the big street to the back street, it followed that.

AV: What was that called, just an alley?

FZ: We called it a street, see how the road runs clear up to Spungin here and out to #10, and years ago it didn’t, from the big street here it ran up to the back street, here’s where we lived, and then up along the back street and it made a right hand turn down to Tipkos, to get down to Buck Mountain and this – the way the road is now was later, that’s up to Spungins.

AV: And then the steam pipe ran straight out to #6?

FZ: Yeh, straight.

AV: To the engine House #6?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: How high was it off the ground?

FZ: Well it was pretty high because it crossed the highway over here, you know it had to pretty high, why I just don’t know.

AV: 12 ft.?

FZ: Oh it was higher than 12 ft.

AV: 15 or 20?

FZ: Yeh, easy 15′ it had to to cross the highway.

AV: And it crossed the main street?

FZ: No it didn’t cross the main street, here’s the main st. and here’s the back street.


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -9- 8/21/72 Tape 27-A

AV: When it went up to #6?

FZ: Yes to #6.

AV: How high was it when it crossed the main street?

FZ: Oh maybe 15, 18 ft. and it ran down, you know where Maxie lives – well on this side of the house up along the old store not too far away from the house.

AV: How big was this pipe, in diameter? [the words steam pipe are handwritten here]

FZ: Let me see the paper and pencil, the way the pipe line was hung, that’s the pipe and this is what they called the bonnet and your pipe line ran through there onto the pipe was supported on maybe a couple legs through here was a [blank space] and from here onto the pipe [blank space] and flexible a couple was side ways see brackets here and there in these pipes on the posts.

AV: There were other kinds of steel small pipes?

FZ: They were 2 inch pipes or so.

AV: They were to prevent the whole structure from falling over side ways?

FZ: Yeh, that’s right.

AV: About how many bonnets in between those things, how many pipes between those kind of supports, say every five pipes that had this kind of support?

FZ: Could be every five or six pipes.

AV: All you remember is 2 homes on Shanty Street?

FZ: No there were 3 homes they tore one down and the other 2 were always occupied.

AV: What did they look like, what style was it, like whose house around here?

FZ: Well they’re all the same style.

AV: It wasn’t like Andy Timkos style?

FZ: Oh no, I think they were the same style as Mrs. Horchaks down there or Helen’s over here the same thing, double homes and three of them, that’s all I remember, I think that’s all there were down there in that section but they stood away from some of those homes.

AV: What did the house that you bought look like, that $10 purchase, for the boards?

FZ: Well I don’t know, it was just a square building, 2 story building.

AV: Like 2 on the bottom, 2 on the top?

FZ: Yeh, the rooms were about 12 x 12, the 2 on the bottom.


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -10- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

AV: And this was a double home?

FZ: No it was a single home.

AV: Oh you said the homes were like Helen’s place and Helen’s is a double home.

FZ: Oh I was talking about the Shanty Street but this was a single home the one that I bought so it was like Helen’s home.

AV: And who lived in this home that you bought?

FZ: Charlie Ray had it last.

AV: Who else before him, do you know?

FZ: No I don’t, but I remember this he lived there when I was a young fellow and worked in the shop and he came up one morning to work and he said to Mr. Barrick, the day after the night that it rained see, he said, “Jim I want my goddam roof fixed,” and Jim Barrick said, “Why Charlie,” he said, “Why all night, last night I had to walk around my house with an umbrella.” So he’s the guy that lived in there last.

AV: And who lived in those other 2 homes do you remember?

FZ: No I don’t I, the last one that was torn down was the one that Fred [B??????] lived in so he lived on one side and a fellow by the name of [??????] he lived in the other one but the other home, I don’t remember.

AV: What did their yards look like?

FZ: The yards like up here – pretty big yards – maybe not quite as big because their yards were on the lower side of the house in back [blank space] I don’t think they were any bigger than these.

AV: They didn’t have any yard thing in front of the house?

FZ: No they all had in front on Shanty Street and right next to the street that’s where their shantys were and then the house, but we had our summer shanty in back here and that there’s in front.

AV: Oh, near the front entrance?

FZ: That’s right.

AV: Was it connected on to the house?

FZ: The only connections were what people built themselves, it wasn’t connected on to the house away from they house maybe there was 8 ft. away from the house.

AV: On all three of these homes

FZ: Yeh


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -11- 8/21.72 Tape 27-2

AV: So for the double homes there were 2 shantys?

FZ: One shanty, a continuous shanty, they had no separate shantys they were all connected, just the same that Joe’s over here see, just one shanty for both families.

AV: On that single house that you bought, that had one of those in front too?

FZ: A small one, about 12 x 12, there was a space about 8 ft. from the house.

AV: Were there boardwalks between there?

FZ: Yeh, boardwalk.

AV: Did it have a roof over the boardwalk too?

FZ: No, you mean between the house and the shanty, yes.

AV: It wasn’t enclosed though?

FZ: No it was [blank space] and then later years people enclosed like the kitchen there, just a spite fence between me and my neighbor that’s all.

AV: But as far as you know the Shanty Street homes had their shantys in front of their house, they had a boardwalk with a roof over it to connect it?

FZ: That’s all.

AV: See that was different from the rest, did they have any other kinds of out buildings in the yard that was different from anybody else?

FZ: No, the coal shed.

AV: Near the back of the house?

FZ: No it was near the street, near Shanty Street along one side of the street you know, it was – how would the coal mine[??] get to the lower [blank space] you know that’s why they had to have to build it in front.

AV: Then what else did they have, what other kinds of out-buildings?

FZ: Just their outhouse and maybe a chicken coop or so.

AV: Where was the chicken coop located for these people?

FZ: Down near [blank space] out near the end of the yard, back end.

AV: And that’s the only kind of outbuildings that you remember?

FZ: That’s all anybody had most everybody has a garage or a shop of some kind but in those days they had no garages and very few people tinkered around in the middle of the night.


A. Versano interviewing Frank Zahay -12- 8/12/72 Tape 27-2

AV: So they didn’t have tool sheds, did they have like hog shelters or cow stables down on Shanty Street, if there were only 3 homes, do you remember any cow stables?

FZ: Yes as long as you mentioned the cow stable I remember one family that lived in the second house a family by the name of [??????] and he had cows the boys used to peddle milk every morning before they went to school. I know quite a few people especially in the back street that had cows but but [????] lived in one house but who lived in the other on the other side I don’t know, I don’t remember.

AV: Where was the cow stable located?

FZ: Almost on the end of the yard, back part of the yard.

AV: And that’s where they had their hog shelters too, they had hogs down on Shanty Street?

FZ: I don’t know if they had any hogs or not I don’t think so, not too many people had hogs in town, mostly chicken, geese and ducks.

AV: Why didn’t they have hogs?

FZ: Oh I don’t know, I guess the butcherin’ part you know.

AV: Was it expensive to keep them?

FZ: No it was cheap to keep them in those days, its expensive to keep them now because you have to buy feed for them, in those days there was no refrigerators so there was a lot of waste, that’s what you feed the hogs with a little chop, you know.

AV: Why didn’t they like to keep them for the chore of butchering?

FZ: Yeh, becuase its not everybody that can butcher you know.

AV: And they didn’t have the skill to cut the thing apart?

FZ: Yeh, to cut the meat up and after butcherin’ there’s a lot you can do you know, you can make sausage you can make scrapple, I know my mother and father they used to make about 5 different kinds of bologna, they had no waste at all, the only waste they had was when you cleaned the intestines and the squeal, that’s all. They ate everything else, they made lard, they rendered their own lard, their bacon and then you had cracklins, you know what they are? you put them in mashed potatoes or when she baked bread you put them in the bread.

AV: Cracklins, you render the lard and then you have that crisp stuff that’s left over.

FZ: Yeh, them pieces.

AV: And scrapple did they preserve scrapple?


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -13- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Scrapple keeps a long time when I moved in here before I had a refrigerator I had a big pot or something. I sat it down on the bare ground in the cellar, put your stuff in there and put a lid on and keep if for quite awhile, instead of refrigerators.

AV: Wha’t scrapple made of or what did they make it out of here?

FZ: Buckwheat flour, and some cornmeal, that’s all.

AV: Well the way my mother used to make it is most of the bologna they used to boil it in a wash boiler, only you didn’t boil the sausage they used to smoke the sausage and that would preserve it all the other stuff (names different kinds of bolognas and worsts) you used to boil, sometimes the casing would bust and some of the meat would get out of it, the meat that you had in the water that you’d boil your bologna in that’s what they used for scrapple, mostly buckwheat flour. 378 (Tape was turned off)

AV: Krafsberg?

FZ: Krafsberg was the foreman.

AV: Down at the carpenter shop?

FZ: Yeh, he worked in the carpenter shop and on houses and the only thing I know is what he told me and he knew what his father told him.

AV: And that was the saw mill, what about it?

FZ: Well that the lumber that they cut was from the forest right from the Sonderdam and that is what most of the homes were built out of.

AV: And that’s where they made their shingles from?

FZ: Yeh, I think so.

AV: Do you remember if anybody mentioned that anytime that the saw mill was made of wood or stone or bricks?

FZ: Oh no, well I remember the saw mill that Mr. McGinty had at Magruton and I imagine they were all built in that order in those days the saw mill [blank space] that’s the cuttin’ part but the power was steam power and they used the slabs to fire the boiler to make steam and the [blank space] like most of the saw mills they’re not enclosed they’re just supported and a gable roof and the sides are open all around.

AV: That’s it?

FZ: Mr. McGinty finally had 2 and that’s what they were make like.

AV: So all these homes on Shanty Street were surrounded by a fence shaped like a picket fence with upright boards?


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay – 14 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: Not the fence just the gate.

AV: The gate was made with picket fence?

FZ: Well I wouldn’t say exactly like picket but upright boards.

AV: No spaces between them?

FZ: Oh yes, space between each board.

AV: That was the gate and the fence around the property here what did that look like, horizontal boards?

FZ: I don’t remember that too much but after the fence because they were all over the town, that’s this way.

AV: And between properties like that they had horizontal fences?

FZ: They had fences up and down.

AV: On the street, horizontal boards, and back there what kind of fences, and the end of the property here?

FZ: Up and down boards the same in the middle.

AV: I imagine in the back of the property they didn’t have them as well built?

FZ: No mostly just to keep cows out.

AV: This is the back street home #1?

FZ: No. 1, yes, upstairs.

AV: And steps going up?

FZ: Yeh, just a hallway now here were the doors that went in and this is a door that goes in, you go up these emplty spaces this is a window and this is a door and anothere window and the front froom you walked right into it and it had 2 windows in front.

AV: These were double sashed windows right?

FZ: Yeh, all double sash, all but ths one this is half a sash (see notes for illist.) and the reason for that was oh from about here the ceiling came down to about here it’s not a flat ceiling. Now there’s something else, here’s what I’m looking for.

AV: These are the 2 families?

FZ: Yeh, over here I run the overhere

AV: To show how it’s sloped down?

FZ: Yeh.


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay – 15 – 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

AV: What was the slope, it started to slope here and it ran from how many feet to how many feet, here it started to slope to a height to about how many feet do you know, not the ground but the floor?

FZ: I’m getting myself into something else, gee I don’t know, I’d say the rooms were at least 6-1/2 feet from the floor to the ceiling.

AV: At the peak?

FZ: See this is the attic here right across here and that wasn’t used.

AV: It was 6-1/2 from the ceiling to the floor and it started sloping here – began to slope to about how many feet off the ground?

FZ: You mean the floor in the room, oh to about 3 ft.

AV: These entrances are the main entrance to the house?

FZ: No, side entrances from the front of the room the main entrance came in this side here.

AV: Over the part where it slopes?

FZ: That’s right.

AV: What direction was these doors facing in?

FZ: The whole hosue was east and west, no this is west and this is east and you know they’re big rooms we call it the front room and that room was 16 x 18; 18ft. this was and 16ft across the front here.

AV: These were double homes – #1 was double homes?

FZ: Yeh double homes they were all double homes there were 6 of them in that block, double homes.

AV: Who was living with you or in the apartment next to you?

FZ: Well you see remember we were looking at names the other day and I said the names wer wrong, who gave you those names,Helen? Well you see Helen put down Rudolph the name was changed to Frank I took my fathers name and that’s the only mistake she made, was the first name, but the names are rihr I thought she meant the house Rudy lived in see?

AV: Now these doors were these facing Back Street or not?

FZ: Yeh, facing Back Street.

AV: How far from the street was the whole house?

FZ: Well we had nice side walks down there, the side walks I’d say were about 6ft wide and then up to the street, oh I’d say about 12ft.


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -16- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

AV: You mean cement side walks you had, boardwalks?

FZ: No just ground but they were pretty well tramped down.

AV: Then this other end was facing like north, where its sloping down it was facing north?

FZ: Yeh.

AV: Say that again, the castlegarden near the hotel and in back of the doctor’s office used to be a mule stable who told you that? ??

FZ: Why Mr. [blank space] mother when she was a girl she worked there, you know and that’s where she got the story from.

AV: She worked in the mule stable?

FZ: No, after they made a 4 family house out of it before it was a mule stable.

AV: The fence ran up to the west end to the mule stable and this part on Main Street what did it have?

FZ: This is the main street it came up from the side of the mule stable, oh up to about 50 ft. off the road from the west end of the stable up this way and then down this way, what did I say, 200ft. 100 or 150ft around there.

AV: And then was there any other part of the fence that extended on the other end of the mule stable?

FZ: This is the east end of the stable, no fence around there.

AV: Where was the entrance on Main Street?

FZ: The entrance must have been around here somewhere down towards this stable

AV: There was a kind of road going into it?

FZ: Yeh, there was a road going down into it.

AV: Where was the front entracne to the mule stable?

FZ: Oh, about the center.

AV: Facing the road?

FZ: Yeh, facing the street.

AV: Was this little road off to the stable was it a branched off dirveway or curved or straight up to the road?

FZ: Well I wouldn’t say it was a road it was a yard.

AV: Like a driveway where you’d drive the mules up to the sable?


A. Veresano interviewing Frank Zahay -17- 8/21/72 Tape 27-2

FZ: An opening and once you’d get into the opening you could go anywhere there was was no special driveway or anything, just a yard.

AV: So the front entrance was enclosed with the gate that’s why I’m puzzled this is a fenced off area back there that’s the yard, is there a gate around there, was there a gate around the front part of the building also?

FZ: I think there was but I don’t remember.

AV: 40ft. up from the stable the stable boss had a little shack?

FZ: Right there about 10 x 10 or so I’d say that anyway, painted red the machine shop and a carpenter shop that was all under one roof on #2 breaker and they had a warehouse that was a good size building and they had a water tank at Lokeys and they had a oil house and they had to have a hose house and then a duck shanty.


A. Varesano interviewing Helen Fedorsha -18- 8/21/72 Tape # 27-2

HF: Was Mr Barto working for Cox’s and he was living in Freeland and he was hurt I guess in the mines and he had his leg amputated and then he went into the shoe repair business and if I’m not mistaken I think he was I have an idea that he was way down on Ridge Street had a little shop there but then Mrs. Cox had, there was a house in the back of where Fairchilds’ were living right in the alley where Fairchild’s garages are there was a house in the back there it was a single home I couldn’t describes houses but it was a single home.

AV: Was it like something around here now?

HF: No, no it was a single home it wasn’t like Mrs. Timcos at all, and then Mrs. Cox had that house moved over to right across from where John [?etula] lives now and and that’s where, after they had the house all fixed up Mr. Barto moved to Eckley here and he had a shoemaker shop. They lived in a like in the back and in the front he had his shoemaker shop.

AV: How big was that thing?

HF: I wouldn’t know how big it was but a shoemaker shop was every bit as big as this kitchen.

AV: About 15 or 20 feet?

HF: It’s not 20 feet, I don’t think its 20 feet maybe it was I don’t know I should know because I measured for the carpet that time but I don’t remember what it is I wouldn’t know if its 15 or 20 feet anyway he had his machine in there and like a fence, a little bannister that when customers came in they couldn’t walk back in where the machinery was and all we used to sit there and he used to repair shoes and I guess we had that up until the time that he died because he died while here at Eckley I’m positive he died while here at Eckley and his daughter is married to Teddy Shane’s brother.

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Joanne Balay , Senick1929, judyak, Ann Kline, Daryl Bojarcik, Camille Westmont and Marisa Bozarth