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Catalog Number 2005.048.0001
Object Name Tape, Cassette
Scope & Content An oral history of Tom Nelson's experience in the slate industry, as recorded on audio cassette tape by Stephen Williams on 3/6/2003.

Mention of A CENTURY OF HARD ROCK, C.H. Nelson was great grandfather of Tom, Thomas Nelson was grandfather; he had a grocery store at first, bought quarry just east of ?. C.H. Nelson died at 47 years of age of appendicitis. Tom was too young, became partner later on. Rising & Nelson owned (quarries?) #4, #2, Bush, (Switch Rd.), #11 near St Catherine, one in North Poultney; sales offices in Boston, NY, Chicago, New Orleans.

Tom saw grandfather, part of ad in NY that said he used shoes in quarry for 20 years. In 1915, there was a cave in on Warren Switch at night. Tom's grandfather's brother left the company at that time, divided houses owned in West Pawlet. Electric power came in 1913, before that used horses, hand steam power. Mickey sold scrap iron during WWI.

The quarry stick was 235 feet in quarry # 4, now town dump area, called "Big Stick" area because the stick fell there. At present, Steve Williams runs the company as a broker, has slightly different name now., changed products to flag stones in addition to roofing. Early 1950's rock, (James Mertz, Willis Bronkey) tried to make use for slate dumps, made artificial stone from slate and resin, pressed by 50-ton press, made for countertops, ended when press broke. (Pat Mohan move to Kentucky, used sandstone in same process).

Memories of the history of the slate industry:
West Pawlet was populated with Welsh, Hungarians, Irish; 2 hotels, lots of rooming houses, many fights, especially Saturday nights, 5 bars just over the border. The quarry doctor (Horner) was paid 5 cents/week to care for injured quarrymen.
Tom's grandfather operated the "personnel office" from his house, also had barrels of cider. One young boy hit a blasting cap, severely injured, no safe area to deep dynamite, no workmen's compensation.
Creator Williams, Stephen T.
Title Tom Nelson, Oral History