|Object Name||Tape, Cassette|
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Interview with Carmen Debonis
Carmen Debonis-Granville. Started young, making motion at age 9 to 12 years old. At age 12, ran engine, after rigger fill, got job firing boilers. Family-Dan-father lived till he was 92. Worked to age 20, put last tramway rope in Raceville, 2 1/3 miles long to south Poultney. Brought slate to RR, took back coal. 1918, ready to go into Army, worked for D+H in Troy for 3 years, strike (I got 49 cents an hour) (refused piece work 85.00 per week) Worked in brewery for 15 years. Took care of blasting machines for 6 years.
How was it working so young?
Went to Night school, cold winter days, had stove in shanty. Lived 15 minutes away from quarry, over Pine Hill, walked to work. People killed in quarry, shut down when accident happened. "butt" of quarry, where they made the cut, 150 ft. deep. Gorden Roberts, lost leg, later supervisor of red print mill in Poultney. Trimmers, could make any size you wanted.
191, bought 1st car, ford, charged 25 cents, 60 hrs- $10.15 take home, got to keep 15 cents, went to movie for 10 cents, ice cream % cents. Sold car for $ 400 after paying $280 for it, bought 2nd car for $500.
Tramway-Raceville. Put new roof on it, got first one from England. Every other one had coal coming up, going down, everyone had slate. Had branch to Bush Quarry, worked in slate yard, ran engine till quarry closed, worked at Owens Bros, Sheldon, clay quarry, jared quarry, trimmer, splitter, ran engine, then cut blocks. Steam engines at first, electric power when I began, ran engine, made in PA (2 drum engine), drag-line to take off top layer, American Devil Engine, some quarries (Sheldons in So. Poultney had 4 engines) Open a "pillar", worked it down, then moved on. Dragged top (soil) cover off rock. In some quarries there was "muck" which had to be removed. Some had layers of clay cover, local men (G., SP, Poultney) When Mid. Granville vein "petered out", many moved to Granville to work the sea-green vein. John F. Williams (father) worked in Wales first, his mother died on voyage over, father left with 6 children, his fathers name was Ewen Williams. Gomer worked at 11 years old, went to quarry during summer to learn the trade. worked on a few oiece at Jaretts Quarry, when WW1 ended, quarries blew whistles, false alarm first then "real one"
trimming-trimmer got 2-3 cents more then splitter, thought trimmer was more important job, great skill.
did welsh really have greater skill?
Not necessarily, some did, some didn't.
Best you ever saw? couldn't choose
hazards? did you ever fear a job?
Hung block till men positioned it right, one black dropped by itself. Cable can also fall. Stick was a "leaner" it collapsed. Men once let loose a cable, I was saved by being in "low spot" near the stick. Saw men get thrown off a cable once, injured by cable, got hold of carriage till rescued. Worst was a Warren Switch, 13 were killed under cut caused collapse. At age 14, began steady work, finished school, 8th grade
shanty-what was there?
slate chips on floor, splitter, on left, was heap of blocks, on right bench was split slates, back wall trimming machine, 3 shelves for different size slates, other wall had "seconds" East-iron stove, soft coal, smokey sometimes too warm. In shanty, 3 people and block cutter, outside, made up "gang"
Blacksmith, had own shed, most were welsh at first, 4-5 years apprenticeship in Wales, took exam, highly skilled.
Beetles-made by smithy to split blacks, made chain links. Worked with Frank Jones, became striker for him, worked for his brother in South Poultney. Son Frank, Jr. worked for Hugh G. Williams, machine shop on River street.
|Title||Bob Bascom Interviews- Audio tapes|