Vol. 4-Interview-Zurko


Denis Kercier 7/19/72 Mary Zurko

The propriotors of the company store were Mr. Kellep in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Evan C. Reese, and then Mr. Shoepok. There was anything – would take you out of town in a car to get any furniture you wanted. It would be delivered to the company store. “Bridgie” O’Donnell worked for Evan as bookkeeper. He lives on Washington Street in Freeland. His phone number is listed under Nellie. The contents of the company store were yard goods: cottons, linens, silks, “outian” flannel which was used for girls’ winter slips and nighties; paints: lead based, enamel, stain; shoes: work, boots, rubbers; molasses in a keg; vinegar in a keg or cask; box cakes: ten pound box of good cakes or cookies, approximately 21/3 x 1′ x1′ of Hitchmen’s brand and crackers in boxes with lids on top; patent machines; shave cream: ready-made clothes; hardware: tools, rakes, brooms, brushes, etc. ; fresh fish: flounder, shad, smelts, oysters; kitchen cabinets from $60 to $65; young plants, seeds, fert ilizer, feed; rugs, curtains, draperies, thread. Proprietors went to surrounding towns to get people goods they wanted. They got them wholesale. Mr. William Bachman took weekly orders, house-to-house. He came around on Friday with the store wagon full of sauer kraut, fish, cake, and all kinds of food.

(c. 1905) A roving gang of fellows went all oer the area. They tried once to break into homes but were chased by a group of Eckley “vigilantes”. They shot at them “low” so as not to hurt them. “Only trouble we ever had.” Coal and Iron Police watched for coal pickin! “If you were arrested, the company would fire you. So you had to move to a new town or change your name.” Most of the people who changed their names and/or moved did so to avoid paying their company store bills. If caught picking coal, the Coal and Iron Police would chase the “thief” and/or break their buck ets. Union people had arguments but never really battled.


Denis Mercier 7/19/72 Mary Zurko

There used to be a bake oven located in what is now Teddy Shane’s garden. It was brick with a top made of iron. It burned apple wood. Other locations are one on Back Street and one near Bertha Falatko’s.

{illustration of bake over showing brick, open “door”, iron grille, wood fire, and dimensions]


Denis Mercier 8/1/72 Mary Zurko

Mary Zurko’s mother was blamed for her last two children, twins, being miscarried into the night pail. “It’s damn good for you. You only went ot Hazleton for nonsense,” people said. Actually she went to shop for her children.

Young kids used to hitch rides on the beer wagon or any itinerant merchant who passed through; especially favroed were wagons going to Freeland or Hazleton.

Remedies: Every January, sulfer and molasses tonic. If you get a cut, put a rboad leaf from a plant on the cut to stop bleeding and cleanse it. If you had a carbuncle, you got pine sap or pitch and mixed it with Fels-Naptha Soap to make a paste. Apply to the carbuncle to get the core of the infection out. Flax seed used to make a poultine. Put it in hot water to make it. Some people said they “had to have a bottle of beer to make them strong.” Women especially drank a bottle before doing garden work.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier.  8/21/72

DM: About the archways in the houses, I know everybody did that, but what was the reason? Was it because the parlor was no longer used for sleeping, or what?

 MZ: Oh, we never slept in the parlor.

 DM: Well, some houses were so full of people that they had…

 MZ: Oh, they had to where there was a number of people. You know, in this house we had…

 DM: When your husband did that, what was the reason for it?

 MZ: Well, Denis, you see that was the kitchen, that room there, that tiny area that was the kitchen. See, there was no other room on the other, on that other part. Just a little canopy-like over it, a little shed, you know. Just to enter. You know, about this wide…

 DM: About two and a half feet wide — real small.

 MZ: Yeah. And the window was over on that side there, see, and then it would give you light to your kitchen, you know? Before that was built. Because my husband…

 DM: The window was over here?

 MZ: Right over there, that wall over there. Right over there. But that’s the original doorway — no, right over here — where are you looking?

 DM: I don’t understand this kitchen…

 MZ: Wait a minute. The kitchen window, that window, was there, John. That one was. That was an original. And there was a window there. And a window was here.

 DM: Oh, I see. Okay.

 MZ: And the winter spigot was here. But then this room wasn’t on, see. There was only this little shelter, you know.

 DM: The sinkwas there at the far corner of the house. What direction is this? This is north up this way?

 MZ: Yeah, I guess.

 DM: Yeah, the northeast corner of the house, yeah. Yeah. The northeast corner was the kitchen. See, I want to get this on here, because it doesn’t, when you show me it doesn’t get on the tape recorder. So I mean, the northeast corner of the house was the kitchen sink, with a window above it…

 MZ: Oh, I see. Yeah.

 DM: And where was the stairway? Where did the stairway go?

 MZ: Well, see, this was an enclosure, understand.

 DM: Yeah.

 MZ: Soe, this was the kitchen. And the stove, the heating stove, was ight here.

 DM: Here, I’m just gonna put it up here (the recorder).

 MZ: Well, then this was all enclosed here, see. And the door was right here, the door you’d take to go into upstairs. This was enclosed here, see.

 DM: The door to the upstairs was over on the northwest corner.

 MZ: This is an odd house. And you see, the kitchen pipe – there was no heater in here, when I came down here. The kitchen pipe went up through there and then up through the room and then into the chimney. In that room. But, see, there’s no pipe goin’ up through this room now. This pipe goes up into the middle bedroom now.

 DM: That’s where your new chimney is.

 MZ: Yes.

 DM: That’s a strange place for it…

 MZ: Yeah…

 DM: Because most of them are over in the corners of the rooms…

 MZ: Well, you see, there was no chimney — there was a chimney there, but, you see, it was all enclosed, you know, that you couldn’t see it. It was in the wall, inside of the wall.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier 2 8/21/72

 DM: Yeah, but now this is a different kind of house, because it’s one of the single dwellings…

 MZ: Yeah.

 DM: And it’s a long, narrow structure.

 MZ: But that was the original stairway.

 DM: Okay, I see. That stairway was always there.

 MZ: This was all enclosed here.

 DM: Is that the original balustrade?

 MZ: What?

 DM: Is that the original bannister?

 MZ: Oh. Oh, no. Huh-uh. That wall was enclosed, too.

 DM: So, there didn’t need to be one, o there was ust a handrail…

 MZ: No, because that was a good thing to do, because your heat always goes to the ceiling, you know. And it goes high, and then it brings your heat up stairs a litte. Alot of people had registers in the wall, to bring their heat up into the bedroom.

 DM: You mean up in the ceiling.

 MZ: Yeah. You know, some had a heating stove. Now, we lived uptown, we had it in the floor. Pop had it in the floor. It gave some heat but not that much, you know.

 DM: That’s how Emory’s is right now.

 MZ: In the floor?

 DM: It’s up, on top, yeah. I mean, it’s in the ceiling of the second room, and then it goes right up into the top room.

 MZ: Well, we didn’t have any uptown. WE lived uptown, we didn’t have any. Well, I said to my husband a couple of times, why don’t you put a register in here? It’ll bring heat up into the front bedroom, you know, the master bedroom.

 DM: Right.

 MZ: Ahh, he said , we don’t need that much heat, he said. A little cold air will do us good!

 DM: It must have gotten awful cold in the wintertime.

 MZ: Oh! They used to wear — his mother lived here, you know, and then she re married, and then she left him, and then she came bacl, and then she went back! Ha! HA! Love’s great! Ha! Ha! Ha!

 DM: Indeed.

 MZ: So, then when I came here, I did away with – they had feather beds, you know. I don’t like them feather beds. They put one of them on, Denis. on a real cold night, they never knew it was cold outside. I mean, you got out of bed in the morning… ha! ha!

 DM: Was this like a feather tick, on top of a regular bed spring, bed mattress?

 MZ: Yeah, yeah. A lot of people used them. We never had any.

 DM: Um-hmm. But, your husband put this archway because it would get more heat into that part of the room? He was all worried about the bottom part, but not about the top, huh?

 MZ: Well, he wasn’t really for the archway. He said to me, you know, Mary, what is gonna happen here, he said, you’re gonna cave the whole house in. It’s gonna give away. Well, God bless us, it’s up, it’s up forty years and it hasn’t come down yet.

 DM: No, the only rough spot are those two little boards on the bottom that have turned upwards, they’re warped.

 MZ: Yeah, they’re warping.

 DM: But they’re not gonna go anywhere.

 MZ: I don’t think so.

 DM: Those pillars aren’t gonna go anywhere. Did he do all that himself? Those


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –3– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


are beautiful.

MZ: No, Paul Fatula did it. He was a carpenter. My husband cut it out, understand. It was just perfectly plain. And we didn’t want this, this doo-dads under here. We just wanted it plain, you know. He didn’t want the openings or anything. Just a plain wall, archway, you know?

DM: Do you remember what year that was, approximately? Because I’ve been told that other people do that, I mean, people did this about the same time. This became a kind of fad…

MZ: What year did you get?

DM: Well, I don’t remember the year, because I didn’t get the information, but I remember looking at somebody’s notes…

MZ: I see. Our marriage forty-six…I think it would be in about 1935 or so.

DM: 1935. Was that about the, did you know other people in town that were doing the same thing?

MZ: Very few, very few.

DM: You were one of the first ones.

MZ: Yeah, uh-huh. Because, I know my neighbors over here, Feisners, Doctor Feisner’s mother, they had opened theirs, then, too. Or did they? No, they didn’t. Mr. Kascak opened his. He’s a carpenter, too.

DM: I figured that. He’s a good carpenter, yeah. Is his son there, still? Or did his son go back?

MZ: No, he’s away for the weekend. He went down to Leavittown, I think. He’s a teacher down that way.

DM: I’m hoping to get an interview with him on gardening. He’s a good gardener.

MZ: Oh, the father.

DM: Oh, yes.

MZ: He didn’t have too much this year, though.

DM: He’s got his whole yard planted with stuff.

MZ: Yeah, but, it didn’t do so hot. He had beans, he had peas. But his tomatoes are like everybody else’s, you know, there’s not that much to them, they’re nice and everything, but they’re not ripening. I see two on mine today, they look as though they’re getting a different color, I think they’re gonna ripen. Maybe this hot sun will do it, you know?

DM: You mean your beans aren’t ripening?

MZ: No, I never raise beans, because you know what happens? The rabbits eat the–he fences his in.

DM: Yeah, I was gonna say, he’s got little fences all over the place. What was that?

MZ: Who’s there?

DM: Maybe your door just blew.

MZ: No, I think maybe something fell.


DM: You taught Sunday School in the church, then…

MZ: I never taught Sunday School…

DM: Then you can remember about how the basement used to look. Have you been up there recently?

MZ: We never taught Sunday School in the basement. We always taught Sunday School after Mass on Sunday. After [handwritten, illegible] Mass.

DM: Weren’t there two Masses, one at seven…

MZ: No, no, no. See, there were priests stationed here years back, a curate and a pastor, you know? But, then they stayed right in the house, understand.

DM: That was the Gaffney house…

MZ: Where Gaffneys are livin’ now. That was a way back.

DM: There was a pastor and assistant pastor? Wow.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –4– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


MZ: Oh, yes, they…

DM: Do you remember their names? I think I know them, but I…

MZ: Father [handwritten, illegible] was here, Father Brettany.

DM: Breckney?

MZ: Brettany.

DM: Brettany.

MZ: Brettany. I guess you’d call it Brettany. Yeah, he was here. Well, he was the older pastor, you know. Oh yes, that house was heated by steam. You know, they had the, see the colliery up here, the colliery, the colliery, that’s not the original breaker.

DM: I know.

MZ: You see, the breaker was back farther. And they had a steam line, you know, because see they had it runnin’ out into Number Ten, and from Number Ten it went into Number Six, and they had an engine house at Number Ten, they had an engine house at Number Six. Well, that steam line carried the heat all the way to them homes. And then it carried the heat to the pastors’ house up here.

DM: In the rectory, is it still steam-heated, or did they have to convert it back to coal?

MZ: Oh, no, see they, I don’t know if you would remember these steam lines, they were away up high…

DM: I’ve heard about them, other people have said things about them…

MZ: Yeah. Well, then that’s just, then the pipelines went into the homes. They even had a what-do-you-call-it there, a hothouse, you know, with flowers.

DM: Right. What other homes besides the rectory got steam heat?

MZ: Oh, I don’t think any others. I think they all, I don’t know about down there where Father, where Father, where Reverend Arland was. Reverend Arland was down in the house where [handwritten, illegible] live. I heard Mother talk about that. Because he was the pastor for the Presbyterian or, whether it was the Presbyterian or Episcopalian. But he was a resident there, Father, or Reverend Arland. My mother I just heard talk about it, you know.

DM: I know the heating system of the church is an old stove, with a big register above it. At least that’s the last one they had in there. Do you remember that, in the basement of the church? Right under…

MZ: Oh, yeah! They have a register…

DM: Right where the altar is…

MZ: Well Jimmy has that in his hallway yet, unless they took it out.

DM: No, there’s still one in the church.

MZ: Oh, there’s one in the church, too, but there’s one in his hallway, in his home.

DM: Oh, I haven’t seen that, I haven’t been…

MZ: See, but John put hot water heat in. You see, John Gaffney. John put that in, the radiators ran around in there, now.

DM: No, but I mean in the church itself, there’s only one stove. It’s a rather modern one, by coal stove standards, but it’s a, it’s one of these, it’s got a radiator on top, and it’s got a great big, huge, real, what do you call it, register, above, and it comes out right where you would open the sanctuary gates, the communion rail with the two gates that swing open? Well, right where they would swing open, that’s where the thing is. Remember that?

MZ: Well, see, you could come, you could come right through the yard from the rectory, right into the basement, you know, instead of coming around, you know. It’s still there.

DM: I know that.

MZ: Yeah, and then there were seats down there, you know, and they used to…


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –5– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


DM: In the basement? What kind of seats?

MZ: They used to have long seats, you know.

DM: You mean the old pews?

MZ: Yeah, the old pews. And they used to hold bazaars there, and they held fairs there years back, I heard them say. I don’t remember that. I heard mother talk about it. That’s when the pastor was there.

DM: What kind of social things besides maybe the bazaars, like booths, there were booths, and people, you know, you throw darts at balloons, or what? What do you mean by bazaars? What was a bazaar?

MZ: Well, they had a dance with it, you know, and they had chancing off different things, you know. Just like a, like punch boards, or I don’t know punch boards, but you took a chance on whatever, you know, what they had there to put off. And they sold ice cream and candy and people donated cake, and people donated everything like that towards it.

DM: And that was a main social activity of the church?

MZ: Yeah.

DM: What other kinds of things did they do? Anything else? Did they have anthing like chicken suppers, or spaghetti dinners, or all that stuff? Nothing?

MZ: Oh, no, we never had that there, uh-uh. They had picnics there, they had picnics in the churchyard. And, I remember three of them there, being there.

DM: What would happen at those picnics? Just a gathering, a pitch-in supper kind of thing?

MZ: Yeah, people would donate, you know, and have hamburgs [sic] and hot dogs and whatever, you know? Ice cream and cake and candy! Beer, and, ha, they say they serve the beer there, one, you know, too. Well, what picnic doesn’t serve it any more, you know.

DM: Did they have an elaborate…

MZ: No, no liquor.

DM: No, but I mean did they have an elaborate system to get around selling it? Did they have to buy tickets?

MZ: Yeah, most of the time you had to buy tickets.

DM: Little paper tickets, the regular kind?

MZ: Yes, uh-huh. We had nice affairs there, we used to get a lot of people there, you know.

DM: Any dances in the basement?

MZ: Oh, yes, at the bazaars they did.

DM: What kind of dances?

MZ: They’d pick up a couple of musicians, you know, and have a, not a whole band, you know.

DM: What would it be, just polkas, and?

MZ: Waltzes. Waltzes.

DM: Very reserved…

MZ: Very reserved, yes. We didn’t do the tango, or the split, or whatever, you know. Ha ha!

DM: Ha ha!

MZ: The tango, I tangoed!

DM: But not in the church basement!

MZ: Not in the church basement! We tangoed down there in the school! They used to have dances down here once in a while in the old school.

DM: The older one? The small one?

MZ: Oh sure. See, there were, was it six rooms there. I guess to eighth grade was it? Yeah, that’s right.

DM: Down here now, behind [handwritten, illegible]?


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –6– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


Yeah, by [handwritten, illegible]. Oh, it wasn’t quite behind [handwritten, illegible], it was near it. Oh, coal dirt, God bless it, you’d be neat, you’d walk down from the school you’d walk down that old coal dirt road, rainy days or whatever, to get a penny’s worth of candy, you know, or something like that, or a pack of gum or peanuts or, you know how kids are!

DM: And the coal dirt was everywhere!

MZ: And the coal dirt was everywhere! Oh! As soon as you touched it, your hands were filthy. You put your arms on the seats, when you’d come home at night they were black. All over your good, clean white blouse, and all whatnot! Oh, they were the days, honest to God!

DM: Were these affairs, these bazaars and picnics and things, usually held on Sundays? At the church?

MZ: No, we had them on Saturdays. I think there was one time there that they had it two days. Saturday and Sunday. And that last one we had, I think, up there. They didn’t have no more picnics there. It was too much, you know, for, too much to be cleaned up, you know, after the picnic was over. Because see, Mr. Coyle lived in there then, you know.

DM: Mr. Corley?

MZ: Mr. Coyle.

DM: Coyle. Lived where?

MZ: See, he lived in the church, he moved in after, who lived in there first, well the Roritys lived in there.

DM: In the church, or the…

MZ: The rectory. The Roritys lived there, after the pastor, see they left here and then it went over to St. Ann’s you know, over at Woodside? You know, there was a church. That was torn down. Well, the Rority family moved in there then. And they stayed in there, and the house was left vacant for a while, and then Mr. Coyle come, I don’t know where he came from, did he come down from Jersey or where he came from, but he was a shovel man, an engineer man on the shovels, you know? And he came and his family, and they stayed here a long, long time, but then Neely O’Donnell then moved in, he was married to my cousin…

DM: What was her first name?

MZ: Who is that?

DM: O’Donnell.

MZ: Neal, his name was, [blank space]. He moved in there then, and he lived there until she, well, he passed away and then his brother Frank lived there and Frank passed away, and then my cousin Ann, she got so depressed, and you know, she took a slight ah, she had, not polio, what do you call it, something on the order of polio…

DM: Some sort of paralysis?

MZ: Serp—

DM: Multiple sclerosis?

MZ: That’s no, not multiple sclerosis, no.

DM: Muscular dystrophy?

MZ: Muscular dysty. Uh-huh.

DM: That’s even worse than polio…

MZ: She was, you know, shaky and everything. And then they put her down in St. Michael’s, in Tamaqua, and then she died down there. So then, Cornelius O’Donnell, that was a grandson of…

DM: Cornelius?

MZ: Conelius, yeah, he was younger then, his wife died, and he was livin’ up there and his two sons. And then I used to go up and take care of them, you know? I’d cook their meals for them and clean the house and wash for


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –7– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


them and everything. But then it got so much for me that I couldn’t do it, because I had my mother over here, then I had my own home, and it was just too much for me, I couldn’t do it. So then he broke up the house then, and then after he broke it up, then–they wanted my mother and I to move up in there. Father Hopkins, he was the pastor over at St. Ann’s. My mother wouldn’t move up. She said, you’s’ll all go out at night and leave me in alone. She was afraid up there–so, then after they moved out, why, our Jimmy took up there. So he is there yet. He’s been there a long time.

DM: I was going to say, he’s been there for, what, that was about, what, 1939 or 40? Or later than that.

MZ: My mother, was my mother livin’ then? Oh, yes, she was. Mom died in ’55. Yeah, I guess it was in about the forties, maybe, in the forties. I don’t remember.

DM: Well, okay. But I just wondered, yeah, how long he had been there.

MZ: Yeah. So, Jimmy is there yet. And I guess he’ll be there until–he was told he was only gonna be there until ’75. I don’t know whether there are any facts to that or not.

DM: He was told he could only stay there until ’75? I know nothing about that.

MZ: But John, see John, but John didn’t care. John said, ‘Til 75? He said he could be froze to death! So John put the, he put the heat in. He got this furnace I think from some fellow that was gettin’ rid of it. They are all gettin’ oil in, you know, now. And he got this–he’s a very handy boy, he is an electrician and can do anything, you know–so, he got this furnace from somebody, and he installed it in the house. But, he says, ’til 75, there’s a lot of things that could happen. Oh, McCarthy had told him that, That’s the fellow’s name. I was trying to figure his name out, and honest to God–Tom McCarthy. And he said ’75. But, he said, there could be a lot of things that could happen.

DM: And there will be. There will be.

MZ: I know. And he didn’t just come right out and say that they were gonna have to get out. It could be–and John said this furnace that he got, that they can convert it to oil, you see, which he intends to do, I guess.

DM: I know that that house has a lot of history. A lot of interesting things. A lot of interesting people have lived there. Do you remember, well, you went to that church, didn’t you?

MZ: Oh, yes.

DM: Do you remember if there were any kinds of distinction about where you sat? I know a lot of churches, even Catholic churches…

MZ: Oh, no, uh-uh. You always knew the seat…

DM: Did you have your own pew, in other words?

MZ: Well, you had your, you know, you didn’t have your own pew, but you always sat where you, you know, first started. But on Sundays, when you got up there, maybe you got up a little late, somebody else had it, you had to stick yourself in some other seat, you know. No, no, we didn’t have that. That was no distinction here.

DM: But, I mean, there were no, like, the “higher-ups” in the town didn’t sit up front, and the lower people sit in the back, or, none of that stuff?

MZ: Well, some people made a habit of sitting up front, you know. Some people made a habit of sitting in the center aisle. Some people made a habit of sitting in the back, which happens right now.

DM: Oh, yeah, that’s what I mean. I jsut wondered if that was the same…

MZ: When I go to church, I go to church at St. Ann’s, with Jimmy. I go to St. Ann [blank space] with Jimmy. Well, his brother and his wife, and, they all sit in the back! Which, I never sat in the back, you know? But I have to


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –8– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


sit with, to be sociable with the rest!

DM: I guess, if they take you, you gotta sit where they do.

MZ: Oh, yeah, I’m glad to get there, ah, Denis. I’m really glad to get there. If I didn’t go over with them, I’d have a heck of a time gettin’ to mass. But our Margaret Maloney doesn’t like to go to Saturday night mass. She’d rather go Sunday. She says, she thinks you’re not goin’ to mass when…

DM: It doesn’t seem right, I know. I know what you mean.

MZ: I said, well, my God, Margaret, if it wasn’t right, I said, the Pope wouldn’t give us permission to do what we’re doin’. You have to do what he said, if you want to live your life. Whatever you want to be.

DM: Part of the problem is that they, you know, part of the reason why I think it was changed is because of traffic problems on Sundays. There are so many people going in and out of churches that, they all drive their own cars, that I think it was a practical consideration, too.

MZ: Well, I don’t know if it is as congested as it was, you know, on Sundays now, in Freeland.

DM: Well, I know where I go to church in New Jersey, boy, there’s a big jam. They have to have policemen directing traffic.

MZ: Oh, they do in Freeland.

DM: Do they really?

MZ: When Saturday night mass is out, they have a police there on the corner, you know. Yeah.

DM: Well, that’s what I mean. I think that’s part of it.

MZ: And they have it on Sunday mornings. They have it down at the, now, where Polish is coming out, and the Slovaks, and St. Anthony’s–well, Poli[sic], that’s St. Anthony’s–no, St. Anthony’s is Italian. Well, they almost get done at the same time, some of them, you know? Well, there’s an awful jam, and cops there, directing traffic. Which is a good thing, you know. They have plenty of accidents.

DM: Yeah, because the regular people who are driving through town don’t understand that there is a church letting out, and all of these people have to come out.

MZ: That’s right, and there’s a lot of people come in here, you know. Especially in the summer, into the Poconos and different places. We’re goin’ up to Mt. Airy on, not Mt. Airy, Pocono Playhouse, on Thursday. The Senior Citizens!

DM: Well, I have you have a good time.

MZ: Ha, ha! Why, hell, you can be a Senior Citizen when you’re fifty, you know!

DM: Is that true? Is that all you have to be? Oh boy!

MZ: Yes, so you’re a Senior Citizen, boy!

DM: I’ll be there in twenty years!

MZ: Ha ha! You have a long time yet!

DM: Well, I’ve lived longer than that, so it’s not really that long to me.

MZ: Oh, you never know when you’re goin’. It’s a big gamble, isn’t it?

DM: When you were going to church, did you remember whether the women and children attended more regularly than the men did? Or were the men just as religious as the women?

MZ: Oh, they were all religious here in town, the people. Well, see, most of the time, we only, the Slovaks didn’t go to our mass. Oh, it’s just recently that they started goin’ to, that they would start to go to our mass. Of course, the children–when the nuns came here to instruct the children for confirmation, but they all received in their own church, you know, their own first communion.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier –9– 8/21/72 Tape 21



DM: Now, wait a minute here. The nuns? From where? Freeland?

MZ: See, there was a convent in St. Ann’s, you know, over at Woodside. There was a convent. And the nuns came over here. But then when the church done away with Woodside, then they built in Freeland, where St. Ann’s is now. Well, there was a convent there, and the nuns were there. Those nuns came over and instructed the children. But they didn’t come over after mass on Sunday. They came over on Saturday to hear–and the priest came over here to hear confession and communion on Saturdays, after there was no…

DM: After there were no regular priests here?

MZ: Priests here, yeah.

DM: But, ah–you brought something out, I can’t remember what–oh, ah, the nuns would instruct the kids for confirmation here in this church, but they were received at another church?

MZ: They would instruct them for…

DM: This was after this church ceased to function?

MZ: No, they would go to, no, they never, they didn’t, they went to Sunday School up here, if they were Polish or Slovaks, or if they were Italians, or whatever, you know. they went to Sunday School here. And those nuns would instruct them for, you know, catechism.

DM: Was this before or after you taught Sunday School?

MZ: This was after.

DM: Yeah, okay.

MZ: And then, well we instructed them, but the priest would come over, too, you know, to instruct them for first communion.

DM: Yeah, I would think so.

MZ: Yeah, the priest came over. At our confirmation, you know, and…But then, you didn’t get confirmed up here. You got confirmed in St. Ann’s, see. Because they didn’t have all the equipment there that…

DM: Oh, I see. I wondered why they would leave and go some other church. Okay, that makes sense.

MZ: But when they were confirmed, you see, the Greek children, when they’re baptized, did you know, that when they’re baptized, they get confirmed and, baptized and confirmed at the one time. But, you see, Polish and Slovaks and the Irish kids, and, you know, German or whatever you are, you know? They get confirmed in their own church, you know?

DM: But once upon a time, they would get first communion instruction up here, confirmation instruction, the whole business. Would the bishop come and confirm them?

MZ: Oh, in Freeland, yes.

DM: I mean, were they ever confirmed up here?

MZ: Oh, years ago, yes they were.

DM: This was part of the bishop’s…

MZ: Yes, yes. But I wasn’t confirmed here. I was confirmed at Woodside.

DM: We can only go back so far, you know. The people here don’t go back as far as their church does.

MZ: Sure. There was a lot of changes made, you know? So…

DM: Was there any school that that church was affiliated with, other than the Sunday School? Any other instructions for kids. Anything like CCD, for kids who don’t go to a Catholic school, or anything? You know, the equivalent of a CCD now? You know what I mean? Any kind of instructions for kids who didn’t go to a Catholic school?

MZ: No, the only instruction was for the Catholic kids, that’s all. Well, if they wanted to be a Catholic, you know, they’d have to go through a little rigamarole.


Mary Zurki interviewed by Denis Mercier –10– 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


DM: Right. But, what ethnic groups did go? You say, any ethnic group? Any member of any ethnic group who was a Catholic could go to that church. There was no Italian group, and?

MZ: Well, there was, years ago, Mother said once in a while that the Protestant boys and the Protestant girls would come with their boyfriends, you know, years back, you know.

DM: No, but I mean, it didn’t matter if you were, let’s say an Italian Catholic in Eckley, you didn’t have to go to an Italian church someplace, you could go right up here?

MZ: No, you’d get instructed here, and they would acknowledge it, you know, in their churches, you know.

DM: No, but I mean, did they have regular Sunday, did they go to church every Sunday up here, or did they have their own ethnic churches?

MZ: Well, most of them went to their own, you know. But, as buses and what not, you know, people didn’t have many cars, and them who didn’t have a car, went up here to Mass, which was, which was…

DM: Yeah, because, I was gonna say, what could you do, what, I mean, you know…

MZ: That’s right!

DM: I mean, who kept this church going since 1871 or whatever it was when it was started…

MZ: That’s right, sure. And it was lovely. It was really nice to get to Mass up there. Which, I think, if the town keeps, if the town grows a little bit more, maybe then we will have a pastor comin’ here, because I’ll tell you why they could, they could even bring a pastor up from the monastery down in Sybertsville. Father Roman comes up here, and he doesn’t have Mass at St. John’s every Sunday. Of course he couldn’t make all the Masses, you know, to be a, a, way of doing it, you know, I mean, and arranging it to have–well, there are so many priests down there, I imagine they could come up. Or else he could send up one of the pastors over from St. Ann’s. And there’s a lapse between Masses there, because they have an eight o’clock and they have a ten, and they have eleven-thirty. Well, why couldn’t he come over here and have a nine? ‘Cause he has a little time from eight o’clock to make nine o’clock Mass here.

DM: You would think that they would be able to activate the Eckley RC church again on a visiting priest basis anyway, organize it that way.

MZ: Well, you know, there’s nothing in it. But one time they even had a choir there, you know. We sang in the choir and everything, and it was so nice there. The organ is there yet, or isn’t it?

DM: There is an organ up there, but it’s, I don’t know whether the barnacles have gotten to it, or what, but it’s all chewed up.

MZ: That’s a pretty old organ. That’s a real old organ…

DM: They’re gonna put that back together, and I think, as long as they’re gonna put the church back together, they ought to make it an operable church, you know. One that you can go and worship at, not just to look at.

MZ: Oh, I imagine…Oh, and we had, after, see and when we had those picnics, they, they re-done it, you know. You know, the money that was made from the picnics, you know? They re-done that church, it was beautiful…

DM: Is that the new walls that they put on, the new designs on the walls, and forth

MZ: Oh, yeah! It looked gorgeous. Until the place got a mess and started to leak and what not. Is the roof on there now?

DM: Yeah, there’s a new roof.

MZ: Oh, yes, that’s right, there is.

DM: Do you know what year that was, that they renovated the interior?


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -11- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

MZ: Oh, God, Dennis, I couldn’t tell you.

 DM: Well, you know, within maybe ten years. Just take a rough stab.

 MZ: You know I think that was in the thirties.

 DM: In the thirties sometime? And, you know what they did? I don’t know whether you know this or not, but I was looking at it – they have just hung fancy wallpaper on that church. That’s all they did. There was, I see the way the church was decorated and painted before, that was done right on the walls, then over that they put what amounted to cloth wallpaper. Heavy cloth wallpaper. And now all that’s falling down.

 MZ: Oh, yeah, it’s blistering a long time. You could see it blistering on the wall. You know, when we went to Mass there, it wasn’t too safe when we went to Mass there, because it used to fall down, you know?

 DM: Oh, really, that stuff used to fall?

 MZ: Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t heavy or anything, you know. I mean, it was gettin’ that it had to be re-done and that was it. But then when the priests were transferring to Freeland there, then, you know, they got, it was, some Sundays it didn’t pay them to come over here, really. If the Sunday was bad, people would go to Mas sup here, other classes, you know. But, if the Sunday was nice, everyone took off to their own churches. So there wasn’t too many Irish people here, you see?

 DM: Was this considered primarily an Irish church up here?

 MZ: Oh, yeah, that was all Irish Catholics, yeah. Well, it was open to everybody, you know, you wanted to go to Mass, it was open, you know.

 DM: But I mean, Irish Catholics…

 MZ: That’s right, but I mean who gave the original parish, you know. But you know, years back, too, now like, there’s a lot of Polish, and now buried in St. Ann’s, you know, and there were a lot of Polish that were christened up in this church up here, but there wasn’t convenience to take them to Freeland or whatever. I’ll bethcha Mr., did Mr. Solkowsky give you’s any information, Joe?

 DM: He talked to me about woods lore, I talked to him about gardening.

 MZ: Oh, he could give you a lot of information, because he’s pretty old. Joe is. Yeah. He’d be the only one. Bruno should know a little but, don’t he?

 DM: Isn’t he Protestant?

 MZ: Bruno? Laganosky? No!

 DM: Oh! I though they were Protestants.

 MZ: No! Bruno is Polish!

 DM: Well, I though they were, you know, I didn’t know they were Catholics.

 MZ: Oh, yeah, Bruno is Polish.

 DM: He never mentions going to church. Does he still go to church?

 MZ: Oh, yes, he goes to church every Sunday morning. Yes he go, when he goes to Mass on Sunday mornings, he goes to his daughter Carrie’s, you know.

 DM: Well, he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t volunteer information. You have to ask him a question. He’s very open, and he’ll talk to you and tell you any thing you want to know, but you have to ask him. He won’t volunteer anything. So he never told me about that.

 MZ: See, his daughter, she just became a widow about two years ago, you know. She’s a lovely girl, Carolyn is. She has one boy.

 DM: Um-hm. I met his son Tom.

 MZ: Oh, yes, and Stanley. Stanley’s down, he’s in the FBI.

 DM: Yeah, I know who he is, but I don’t know, I didn’t meet him, I met Tom.

 MZ: I don’t know, is Tom a graduate from Scranton U?

 DM: He’s a foreman at some plant isn’t he?

 MZ: RCA. I don’t know where Tom granduated from. But Stanley is a Scranton U.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -12- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1


 DM: To get back to the church, were there services of any sort other than Sunday services? Were there things like stations of the cross and the whole b– you know, the whole Catholic ritual abotu the – like Holy Thursday and Good Friday and …

 MZ: Yes, he’d come over and have stations of the cross. But that was done away with, too, you know.

 DM: Well, toward the end, I imagine it was.

 MZ: He’d come over on Saturdays and hear confession. Go up there to church and hear confession.

 DM: But, when you were, let’s say, attending that church regularly, when that church was in its full bloom, there were other services, let’s say – oh, boy – let’s say, forty hours’ devotion, did they ever have that?

 MZ: Well, not in my, not that I can remember, Dennis. But there was, you know, when the town was full of, this town was all Irish, you know. And this was the Protestant end down here, you know. It was, they were all the bosses and different things, you know, the high muckety-mucks!

 DM: Is that significant? Is the location of the Catholic church significant, that it was “uptown” where all the Irish and the miners were, and the bosses, and the muckety-mucks, were down here and all the Protestants? Is that really, I wondered about that…

 MZ: Well, all the Protestants lived down here, yes. Mother would tell you that. But, mind, the mingled. They mingled, you understand. There was a lot of Catholic girls married Protestant. My aunt, in fact, she married John Hill, he was Protestant. And there was a MacHue girl, she married an Aubrey, Mrs. Haughman’s sister, Mrs. Haughman’s brother, she married. Oh, yeah, a lot of the girls married the Protestant boys, you know.

 DM: But it was kind of significant that that church was up there, where the Back Street was and all?

 MZ: Oh, yeah, and the Back Street had a lot of Irish on it. Oh, that was…

 DM: And all of them went to…

 MZ: Yes, they were Irish, too, yeah. But then, as they needed the miners, they were immigrating from Poland and Slovaks, Czechoslovakia, and Russians, you know, and, come in here, yeah…

 DM: A lot of them are still surviving today.

 MZ: Oh, yeah.

 DM: Well, there are only three or four Irish families in town.

 MZ: that’s all there are, my brother Jimmy, and – Jimmy Denion – and me and Margaret!

 DM: And you and Margaret! That’s right!

 MZ: And I don’t make no, I don’t metion about goin’ to church. I go with Mrs. ??? to Saint John’s, and I go to Saint Anne’s and what not. I have my sons married to Polish girls, and my daughter is married to a Slovak fellow, and…

 DM: That’s almost inevitable, though, because look how many Slovaks and Poles there are around here.

 MZ: And my other grandson, he is married to a Protestant girl. So you, there’s no distinction made.

 DM: I wanted to ask a couple other questions before – I don’t want to keep you too long, but I wanted to ask about, how was the, do you remember how the church was built? In other words, I don’t mean, how it was put together with wood, but where the money came from. The company didn’t make that, make this thing, did they?

 MZ: You know who put this church up, Dennis?


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -13- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

DM: I wish I did.

 MZ: The people of the town, of the Irish distinction. Is the ones who donated to this church, and they are the ones that put that church up. They all donated. And then they had different things going on, you know, every once in a while, to stimulate more money…

 DM: In other words, there was a debt incurred…

 MZ: Towards the, that’s right, and mother said it didn’t take very long for the church to be built. Because, mother, mother lived right up there, you know when Thomas Turko lives? Well, mother and grandmother lived in that house.

 DM: Then, they, did they do it themselves, I mean, did the carpenteres from the town do it, it was made by the people of Eckley?

 MZ: Oh, yeah, a lot of people, yeah, sure…

 DM: It wasn’t hired out to some other construction company?

 MZ: Not that I know of. They did some of the work. But I guess, like the interior, you know, you had to have somebody do something, you know, because they had a lot of contracts, you know, yeah.

 DM: Oh, yeah, sure, but I mean the building itself, the building itself was built by the…

 MZ: Oh, yeah. If the roof was bad, well, the roof was bad, there, one time, and all the men, it didn’t make any difference whether you were Irish or Polish or what you were, they all went up and put the roof on.

 DM: Beautiful! That’s great!

 MZ: Sure. Yeah!

 DM: How did the minister, or well, how did the priest, get supported? Were they supported only from collection?

 MZ: That’s right.

 DM: I bet in the “good old days”, the collection was pretty good.

 MZ: My mom worked there, she worked there once in a while, you know, at the church, until she got married, and, in fact, Father ? christened me. Father Brettany cristened my brother John, he christened Joe, I think, too.

 DM: And back then, it was early in life, right, a couple of days old, maybe a week or two?

 MZ: Oh, yeah, well Joe was born, John was born in 1900, and Joe was born in 1902, in other words, just like stair steps! Ha! Ha! No time lost, Dennis!

 DM: That’s a good old Irish Catholic family! I know the kind very well!

 MZ: Oh, my mother, she said, oh, she used to laugh at that, honest to God, she said, you know sometimes I have a little barrel of diapers to wash! Ha! Ha!

 DM: There’s nothing worse that that, though, to wash!

 MZ: I’d use Chux, these Chux are good now…

 DM: And Pampers and all that.

 MZ: Sure. Is your little boy trained?

 DM: He can’t make it through the night sometimes. Sometimes he forgets to wake up and he wets. But otherwise he’s all right.

 MZ: Well, he’s only young yet.

 DM: He’s three.

 MZ: Oh. Well now, I wouldn’t, you know sometimes some people, you know, they get so disturbed because they do that. And it’s foolish to try to, to scream at them all the time. Because that just scares them. They stop it.

 DM: The priests lived off the collection alone, or was there any, like diocesan support. let’s say for the rectory or anything?

 MZ: I don’t remember that. I don’t think so. I think they lived with the support of the people.


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -14- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

DM: Just straight money from the collection?

 MZ: You know, your dues to the church, you pay in every month…

 DM: Now, what do you mean, dues?

 MZ: You know, a dollar a month you pay, to belong to the church. You know? They come around collecting it.

 DM: They had that?

 MZ: Oh, yes. And, you know, many Catholics were here then, you know. There wasn’t too many Catholics towards last. It had to abolish, you know.

 DM: Were the dues like pew rent, let’s say?

 MZ: A dollar a month we paid. And then, besides your collection, then you had a Christmas collection, you had an Easter collection, and you had your faith (?) collection, and whatever else…

 DM: Were there ever special collections for, let’s say, a family in town, or anything like that?

 MZ: Oh, yes, they contributed. Yes, they did. Yes. Oh, yeah, they all did.

 DM: But the dues. I’m not really familiar with dues. I’ve heard it called other things.

 MZ: And then they’d have a collection for coal, you know. All communal. And it’s just like it is today, you have to contribute to heat, you have to contribute to plate collection, you have to contribute to charity, you have to contribute to whatever else, you know. There’s always something on your envelope.

 DM: Yeah? Are each envelopes marked for what it is?

 MZ: Yeah. Same way as it was years ago…

 DM: Did you have envelopes like that? When this church was going?

 MZ: No, no, they didn’t have no envelopes. They just…

 DM: They just announced what it was and…

 MZ: Announced what it was and that was it, you know.

 DM: Well, I think that’s a little better than envelopes, except that, well, I don’t know, what do you think of this? I don’t know whether they do this at Saint Anne’s or not, but – do they publish a financial statement every year?

 MZ: Oh, yeah.

 DM: To say who gave what, you know, in their envelopes?

 MZ: Oh, yes, you get your statement in February.

 DM: I was always amazed at how much my father gave. He and another man always used to support the church, practically.

 MZ: Oh, well, there’s a lot of people do now. He gets a marvelous collection. Now, Sunday, what did he make last Sunday? Wait ’til I see, I have a program around her. Last Sunday he made, his Sunday collection was four hundred and thirty dollars and forty-five cents.

 DM: Wow! I’m not too impressed by ti – how big is the church up there? See, we, the one I go to isn’t that big a church, we get something like seven or eight hundred dollars a week, and we’re losing money. We can’t pay the debt.

 MZ: Well, that church is paid from Freeland.

 DM: Oh, well that’s why he’s not worried then.

 MZ: That church is paid for. But, you see, some people, in the improvement, there’s an improvement fund there, too, you know. See, he did announce one time at the alter there, Father did, he says, don’t think because that improvement fund, er, that church is paid for, that you don’t have to contribute to the improvement fund, because the church still has to be kept up? You know? Well,that was three hundred and seventy-four dollars. And the holy day was three hundred and forty-five dollars. But he seems to be very much enthused about it. Father Carr had been asked on Saturday night, and he said Father appreciates for what we gave, you know, for the, each Sunday. Well, you see, you get how much from the improvement fund – well,


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -15- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

that would be, that would be, four-thirty and three seventy-four, and the holy day was three-forty-five, and that was a day by itself, you know.

 DM: That’s not bad at all. No, I see now, I see now what you mean.

 MZ: I don’t think it is. But you see, there’s all classes go to there, too. You know? But they won’t give to the improvement fund. They’ll give to the plate collection, but you see, they won’t, because we have envelopes for that. They’ll give it in cash, you know. But they don’t give that much. Because you’re sitting beside some of them, you can see what they’re doin’, you know! Ha! Ha!

 DM: Well, I’ve got a couple more things I would like to ask. I know you are probably wanting to get back to work, but…

 MZ: Um-hum.

 DM: I really am happy that you could do this, because I figured I would have to make an appointment to see you later on today, tonight, but, a couple other things that I think will kind of tie up some loose ends – do you know anything about how the priests were selected, or was it just the regular diocesan, you know, the bishops ordering…

 MZ: Oh, yeah, they were appointed by the bishop.

 DM: And this was a regular, full-fledged parish at one time.

 MZ: Yes, it was.

 DM: Did you ever know about any priests who could “express a wish” to be here, to come to Eckley?

 MZ: Well, I have heard of a lot of priests, I still hear of a lot of priests today, that they would like to have an appointment to a different parish, you know, they would rather go here or go there.

 DM: Did you ever know about the priests up here? Did they ever request, let’s say, to the bishop…

 MZ: Well, Father Fallaghy, when he left here, I heard mother talk about it, when he was appointed at Freeland, he said he was very, very, very dispressed (sic) when he had to leave Eckley. Well, you know, because he was here for a couple of years, you know. And he got so known here that among the people, that he missed them like everybody else.

 DM: But he didn’t ask to come here, though, probably the bishop sent him?

 MZ: Oh, yes, nobody in Eckley know him them, you know.

 DM: I see.

 MZ: I can just about remember him. Just about, you know.

 DM: Yeah, I imagine so. What did the priests do in the community besides just run the church? Were they considered very influential people, or?

 MZ: Oh, yes, mother says when they lived uptown, Father Brettany used to come to visit every blessed morning after the Mass, you know? Every blessed moring he was down. He’d have his cup of coffee, she said, he had just had his regular breakfast, but he had to come down to have a good cup of coffee and a couple slices of home-made bread! Ha! Ha!

 DM: I don’t blame him! I’d be there, too. You know me!

 MZ: Of course, they, the housekeeper that kept house for him, she baked bread, you know, but he said, Granny baked the best bread in Eckley!

 DM: I don’t doubt it at all! Did he socialize a lot, did he…

 MZ: She said to our father, I’ll tell you what you are doin’ with me, now, she said, you’re just makin’ me feel good! Now listen – her name is, her name was, they used to call Nancy, you know – and he said, now listen Nancy MacHugh he said, I’m not tellin’ you that, he says, that I don’t believe in my own hearth that you don’t! So, mom said towards, Granny got to believe him that he liked that bread. But she said she did make wonderful bread.

 DM: Well she must have. I’d like to.…


Mary Zurko interviewed by Denis Mercier -16- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

MZ: Oh, home-made…Mother baked good bread, she baked good bread, too. But she said, I could never beat Mom’s bread, she said, Mom always made such good bread. It always had a taste of bread!

 DM: Did the priest go around and visit a lot of people like that? I mean, did he have a lot of favorite…

 MZ: Oh, yes. He used to come down and see my mother, he used to come down and see my mother. And now, Father Kelly – there was another curate came, Father Kelly – came then, and he came down to see me and my mother. And he had to come down to see “that black-eyed little girl”! I was the oldest.

 DM: So they did mix well with the people, they didn’t just stay up there in the rectory…

 MZ: Oh, yes. They mixed with the Protestant people, too. Oh, yes. He used to make his visit to all the – he’d go down to see the, Reverand Ireland and all, you know, way down the street and all, they’d mingle.

 DM: If there would be a church picnic or something, would be play, too, sometimes, or was he very old and very dignified, or what? Would he get out and play with the kids and stuff, in the town?

 MZ: They’d play baseball and whatnot, sure.

 DM: He wasn’t old and stuff, and…

 MZ: No.

 DM: …nasty, kind of grouchy guy?

 MZ: Hm-umm. Mother used to say, when Father, uh, Doctor O’Neill would come, if there was a maternity case in town, you know, years ago you never went to hospital, and if there was a maternity case, and maybe it would have to be down in the valley, in Sandy Valley, and the doctor would have to go down the hill, you, to get to this maternity case? Well, when he got down there, he would examine her, the woman, you know, and he always knew the hour that it would come, you know how doctors are? You dilate, you know, and they know just when it’s gonna come! Sometimes they really don’t be there! So, he come up, Doctor O’Neill would come up over the hill with the horse and buggy, and would stop at the priests, if it was one o’clock or two o’clock in the morning – at Father Brethany’s. And he’d ring the doorbell, and Father Brethany would get up and say, “Who’s There?” Mom said he had a very long voice, and Doctor O’Neill said, “If there was ten dollars here, you’d get up!” He’d say to Father Brethany!

 DM: He would always attend a child first, around the area? You mean, he would be there?

 MZ: Doctor O’Neill?

 DM: Or no, no, I mean the priest.

 MZ: Oh, no, no. I’m talking about Dr. O’Neill.

 DM: Oh, oh. Okay.

 MZ: I’m talking about the doctor that would come into visit him at that hour of the morning. Mom would tell me that, you know. And he’d open the dorr and let him in, and he’d have I guess a wine, or whatever he would have, and go back down and deliver the baby! Ha! Ha! And then he’d come back up, and maybe he’d stay there all night.

 DM: Did the priest run around and give last rites, let’s say, to the dying?

 MZ: Oh, yes.

 DM: Did the priest ever go in the mines? That you know of? Let’s say there was a man trapped and he was dying, let’s say, would he give the late rites right in the mine?

 MZ: I think so, yes. Oh yes, sure.

 DM: Did they bury people fromt his church at all? I mean they didn’t…that’s another thing that I wish I could take you right up there. I wish we could


Mary Zurko interviewd by Denis Mercier -17- 8/21/72 Tape 12-1 fly on a magic carpet so we could get up there real quick and…

 MZ: Well, they buried them from this church, I guess, years back, way back, but I really, I wouldn’t know that…

 DM: It looks to me like there are a couple up there. There are no stones, but the way the ground looks, it looks like…

 MZ: Oh, they didn’t bury them up there.

 DM: That’s what they say, but it looks strange to me in a couple of places.

 MZ: Oh, see, the Molly Maguires…

 DM: Oh, I know where that was. I know that’s all a fake, but I mean there’s a place, well, the church is like this as you go up the street. Right back in here, if you turned before you got to the church and walked straight back, you’d see, about ten, fifteen feet out from the church, you’d see ground that looks like it was dug up a long time ago, and then, you know, the settlling as the coffin settles.

 MZ: Not that I heard, I never heard of it…

 DM: It looks like four or five people are back there. Now, not the fake one that the Molly Maguires put up, but the other area, looks to me very much like…

 MZ: I never heard of people being buried up there, Dennis, really, but they’d have a funeral mass there, years back, you know, I guess. And then take them from here and bury them in Saint Anne’s, or wherever they were gonna be buried. They used to take the Polish people in, I know, and Slovaks in, years back, if they wanted to, you know, have a Mass for them, and then take them over and bury them in Saint Anne’s. Because there was quite a number of them, there are stones over there, that have Slovak names on them. Or christened, you know? Childeren were christened. It was quite a few of them that was christened, I think, by the church up there.

 DM: Ah, the only other thing I can’t quite figure out–was that rectory built at the same time the church was?

 MZ: People built the whole thing, Dennis, that church…

 DM: People built that church, too? That’s why that home is so much different from the rest.

 MZ: The people built that whole thing, yes, sir. Father Brethany says, it’s all your people’s church. Yes, sir.

 DM: Then probably, I don’t know, but it looks to me like the church was not as expensive to build as the rectory was. The rectory looks fancier than the church…

 MZ: That’s a beautiful rectory…

 DM: And harder to put together…

 MZ: HHm, that’s a beautiful rectory. Were you through it, Dennis?

 DM: No.

 MZ: The rooms are huge.

 DM: I can see that fromt he inside, but I don’t know the Gaffneys that well, and I’ve only met a couple of them…

 MZ: The kitchen, see, they had it like an outside kitchen, you know, there, too, but they took that down, Gaffneys took that down. It was originally there. But, see, they did all their cooking and all their baking and everything out in that summer kitchen. But then the other, I guess they kept that door closed between, you know, but then, see, they never ate in there. They never ate in the kitchen. They ate in the dining area. Because that was heated, years ago. But then, as time, when the steam lines were taken down, there was only a, you know, I don’t know what Coyles had, I think Coyles just had a heating stoves, but they used to block it off, you know, and they go up into the, see, there are the two ways of going up into the stairs there. The priests had their own way of going up, through the front, and the maids had


Mary Zurko interivew by Denis Mercier 8/21/72 Tape 12-1

their way going from the kitchen up, you know, because you only had the one bathroom.

 DM: You say maids, were there more than one main?

 MZ: Oh, they had a couple maids there.

 DM: They had indoor plumbing up there, I assume.

 MZ: Hmm?

 DM: You said, going up to the bathroom? Did they have a full bath in that house?

 MZ: Well, no, they had two ways of going upstairs, you see. From the front you can go up–looks like a hotel in the front. Beautiful. THen they have a sitting room, they have a living room, and then they have a, go through a hall, and the hall takes you right out to the dining area, into the kitchen. But then there’s another way of coming in, if you want to enter the doorway, you want to go into the living room or you want to the dining, then you go out through the dining room and then go into the kitchen.

 DM: Oh brother. Were there more than one housekeepers, up there?

 MZ: Yes. They had the book and the maid. And then they had, there’s one bedroom upstairs that is a huge room, it has two double beds in, and you really couple put a cot in it, if you wanted to. And they have clothes closets, and they have the white room–of course, I lived up there with my aunt, you know, with my cousins–and then there is the fron bedroom, there’s one, two, three, not wait, one, two, three, four, five rooms upstairs. Then they have an attic, but you couldn’t very well sleep in it. I mean, if it was done over, you know, this would be all right. But the bathroom is very big. It’s a very big bathroom. And that house of _______ down there, that’s another one.

 DM: That’s a beauty. I’ve been through that. MX: Oh, yes, that’s nice. My aunt lived there.

Contributions Message

Ian Scheil, Melanie Akren-Dickson, Marisa Bozarth, Camille Westmont and Marie Maranki