Showing posts with label Bradytown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bradytown. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canoe Run and Cameron Mining-Frances Elizabeth Schwab Murray

My role as Frances Elizabeth Schwab's amanuensis is coming to a close.  
This is the penultimate post of her 


1874-start of mines and coke ovens
1905-end of when mines had good coal
1906-1908-opened other mines, but coal proved no good for coke
1911-1912-end of mines & ovens and Canoe Run

Canoe Run was known as Coal Shutes (ed note: a reference to the coal chutes) until 1903 or 1904 and about that same time Bradytown got its name also.  Up until then Bradytown was always known as The Mines or Mt. Hope. My mother was born in Coal Shutes in 1876.  The mines were operating then.  The Averell Harriman family built the coal chutes and ovens.  Andrew Brady was Superintendent of Emporium Iron Co. which took over Harriman works, named the mines after himself, built new homes on the hill for the miners’ families, about 20 in all. The houses were torn down sometime after World War I.  Also a school was built there and Carolyn Leckner was the first school teacher in Bradytown.  Mr. and Mrs. William Greenalch ran the boarding house up there.  The houses were about one mile from the tipple where the coal was run down into the crusher by the ovens in buckets on wire strung from tipple to crusher tower. A railroad ran from in front of the mine tunnels out tot the switch back beyond the tipple.  They had several high buildings for compressors and pump houses—and barns where they kept the mine mules.  Mules that was used at the mines couldn’t be used at the coke ovens; the mine mules were all smaller for they went way back into the tunnels to haul out coal in small, low cars holding about one ton of coal. 

I’ve gone into the mines with my dad.  At first the tunnel would be about seven feet high, but as you went further, it got lower and lower and, in one, the miners had to lie on their side to get at the coal 18 inches high.  That was called the Brady Drift.  Another was known as the Stewart Drift because it was put in on what was once known as the Stewart farm.  It was built in 1899 or 1900 by a firm from Ridgway, Elk Company I think they were.  The Stewart farm was owned by my great grandfather, Charles Stewart, Sr.

Before the June flood of 1889, there was houses built all along the level ground in Canoe Run, but the flood swept them away.  Later homes were built only on the higher ground. Closer to the ovens.  

There was about 100 veins, 50 on each side, a wide driveway on the top where the mules used to pull carts of coal.  The ovens had huge covers on the top, very much like sewer covers used in our streets.  The ovens were coaled from the top.  My grandparents ran the boarding house about 20 or 30 feet away from the cleated ramp that the mules went up and down.  In 1904 a company store was built , and awhile before, along bridge across the river.  Watching the men work was a big event to us kids.  The new crusher tower was built about 1900 by Hall, Kaul & Hyde of Ridgway.

Canoe Run Coal Buckets

I’ve been asked to tell a little about the coal buckets that used to bring the coal from the tipple at the top of the hill using wire rope strung from the tipple to the 3-1/2 story crusher built at the end of the coke ovens in Cameron.  That crusher was built by the Hall, Kaul & Hyde firm of Ridgway.  I remember the day after one bucket fell, loaded with coal, into the river.  It made a big impression on us kids, as we had planned to steal rides on the full bucket the day before the bucket fell.  [ed, note: The bucket was been retrieved and restored for the local museum in 1976.]

Ned Bray, son of Andrew Bray, who was Superintendent of Emporium Coal & Iron Co. and whom Bradytown was named for, rode the bucket down.  It was a dangerous thing to do, as the bucket tipped and emptied themselves and the full one started down before the empty one began to go back.  They worked just like the ski lifts do now.  It’s a wonder some of us kids weren’t killed, as we roamed over the coke oven top, up the steps to the top of the high crusher and sneaked into the tipple at the top of the mountain to try to sneak a ride down on the coal-filled buckets.

The New York corporation was supposedly composed of Averril Harriman, Delano (FDR’s maternal grandfather) and the president of the corporation, Quintard, who else was in it I could never find out.  Quintard built the first store in Cameron and in the store he also had the corporation’s office.  The corporation was called the Mount Hope Coal & Coke Company.

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Life Mostly in Cameron County-Frances Schwab Murray, 1966-Part 3

Before I jump to Part 3, I want to mention that, just before posting Part 2, I got the urge to research someone mentioned in that post.  When I typed from the original papers, I wasn’t really focused on content.  I just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.  But, a little section caught my eye when I was finally focused on content.  My grandmother mentioned her Uncle George’s son Howard (Stuart) being buried in Michigan.  I thought I might be able in get confirmation of dates or locations in her story.  Off to Google I went.  Search results led me to hypothesize her naming error for River Rouge.  Using River Rouge and the Ford plant references, I went to Google maps and found a large cemetery, Woodmere, instead of Wildwood. Turns out Woodmere has amazing records.  I found a record for Howard Stuart, age 1 year, 9 months, 2 days, born in Pennsylvania, residence on Peterson Street, who died of scarlet fever in 1906.  My genealogical motto:  Trust, but verify.

Earlier posts in this series:

Part Three:

I often wonder where the water is that we had 60 or more years.  In the creek it was bank-to-bank below our house.  A sawmill down from our house, across the creek had a spillway or boom built; the river was always filled with logs.  We kids used to cuff them although we were forbidden to do so.  They call it log rolling now.  One day I jumped onto a log and missed it, but hit a board on the boom.  It had a big spike in it.  It went clear through my foot.  One of the sawmill men came over, pulled me off.  Away I went crying, straight to my grandfather who always took care of all our sores or cuts.  He poured turpentine in that hole.  I can feel it yet.  And a slice of salt pork over the hole.  So I hobbled around on my heel for days.

Earlier, in the house where Alice was born, we had some little things happen, such as when Jennette took the shears and cut six-inch slits in a stand cover in our bedroom.  Here both she and I did our best to blame Walter Olkosky (the American Legion is named for him.  He was the first Cameron County boy killed in WWI).  His folks called him Waddick, Polish for Walter.  One time Mother had put her crock of cream and freshly churned butter in the springhouse.  We all went either to Cameron or to visit Grandmother Schwab, it was on a Sunday.  When we got back, Waddick had mixed sand in the butter and cream and dumped out all the pans of milk.  Boy, his dad almost killed him.  They lived across the road from us.  Several days later Jennette and I had a play house we took him to (he was one year younger than me) and fed him soap suds until he vomited. 

That cemetery I spoke of was where all the small pox victims were buried during the epidemic.  Several of mother’s uncles are buried there—Greenalch boys.  Bradytown was on top of the hill, so named for Andrew Brady.  There was lots of houses and a school house later.  Lena Leckner was the first teacher up there that I remember. (we all went to Cameron School, walked all the way, no nice roads like they have today, snow waist deep for us younger kids)  Mother’s Uncle Bill Greenalch and wife Julia ran the big boarding house.  Had lots of miners staying with her in Bradytown first called Mt. Hope.

We had a store and Post Office in Canoe Run.  The passenger trains used to stop four times a day.  Fred Webster was the manager of the store and ran the Post Office , too.  The coal company had an office in one side of the building and the company doctor, who used to come one or two days a week, had an office on the other side.  It was one story high, but larger than Joe Olivetti’s ground floor.  There was lots of nice homes in Canoe Run and we kids had great times there.  The oldest Minnow boy, Andrew, was hurt and died a few days later.  We used to swing on the steel cables.  He hit his head.  His sister Anna blew off several fingers playing with dynamite caps.  They were neighbors of ours.  John Minnow was the youngest of the family.  After we went to Detroit they built a school in Canoe Run in about 1904 or 1905.  Bruce Peterson was the first teacher there.  I wasn’t lucky.  They’d be no school-house in Canoe Run for me. 

When I started to school, we walked to Cameron--one mile-no bus, no cars, no snow plows, no paved roads, no cafeteria.  We carried our lunch in pails which had once held Karo Syrup or 5 pounds of lard, no fancy pail then.  School house was two story high—grades 1-4 downstairs , 5-8 upstairs.  One room, one teacher affair, heated by a pot-bellied stove in the middle of the floor.  No water.  We carried it from the nearby neighbor’s well.  Everyone drank out of the same long-handled tin dipper. Schoolhouse had the little houses out back—left side of field for girls, right side for boys.  This school burned in 1908.  We missed one week of school, but they set up school in the large dance hall of the Knights of Golden Eagle hall.  The floor was big enough to make two large rooms.  They rebuilt in 1909.  The school was a one story, two-room brick affair, heated by a furnace and built by the brick and stone masons—two brothers James and Mike Fitzpatrick.  It was torn down and the ground sold to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Schreffler who built their home on the land. 

When we lived across from the coke ovens there was a family lived along side of us, only one small child.  He used to lick his wife and she’d come to Mother crying and black-eyed.  One night he was beating her terrible. Mother went to the boarding house where a construction gang was staying.  They were building the new coal tipple and crusher.  All from Ridgway Murphy & Hyde Company.  Bill Leilous was among the gang, they got a rope and went after him, pulled him from under the bed and took him down to the crusher scaffolding and was going to hang him.  My grandfather chased them away with a shotgun.  He was the night watchman at the plant.  That’s the last time we ever knew that man to hit his wife.  That’s when Aunt Mellisa met Bill.  They were married two years later. 

My grandparents Stuart [ed. note: aka Stewart] ran the boarding house in Canoe Run, next door to where Dad built our house. Grandfather did all the oven watching.  Baked their own bread, rolls, pies and cakes in the big oven.  It was a big affair.  What good times we used to have there in that big place.  Grampa, or Pap (and Mam) as we called them until I was grown, Pap played the fiddle (he never said violin), Uncle Charlie the banjo.  Aunt Mellisa and Esther, the piano.  All were beautiful singers.

It’s a wonder some of us kids weren’t killed as we climbed and roamed over the oven tops—up the steps to the top of the high crusher where the coal buckets came down their wire and dumped ore as we sneaked into the tipple on top of the mountain to try to sneak a ride in the coal-filled buckets.  It was in this same crusher and tipple that Mr. C.J. Goodenough of Emporium and Billie Nunn was trapped when they tried to break the frozen coal.  Mr. Goodenough went through with only scratches, but Billie was heavier and got stuck when almost to the bottom and suffocated.  That happened after we came back from Michigan, must have been around 1910 or so.  Everybody in Cameron went to help remove the body.  It took hours to get Billie out.  The men worked by lantern light.  The coke ovens was no longer running.  They were dismantling the tipple and crusher and so there weren’t many men working in Canoe Run by then.  Billie Nunn was a brother-in-law of Harry Morse.  He left four small children.  The men had to work by lantern light.  Held service for Billie in the Lodge room upstairs of the KGE (ed. note: Knights of the Golden Eagle) hall at Cameron.

The little dinky engine went within 30 feet of our front door when we lived in the Block Row.  In 1917 Neva Jenks and Goldie Segee’s sister worked as bookkeepers there.  Later on they both were hurt, not serious, when the engine ran away and jumped the track down by the Valley Hotel.  Henry Morris was the engineer and his son Harry, fireman.