Monday, June 27, 2016

The Good Old Days Weren't: West Pittston, PA

My paternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister in West Pittston, PA. I recently got access to some of the letters received by his wife.  One thing they show is the conditions around 1900 in that area

In 1907 Ada seems to have written to a prominent Presbyterian layman, looking for a new post for her husband, based on the fact his voice and his health were being injured by the atmosphere (I assume a combination of the smoke from household stoves and fireplaces and the fumes which were a byproduct of coal mining). After they moved to Minneapolis, he got a letter from West Pittston recounting their search for a replacement, and describing the family's reaction to a settling of the earth, caused by a mine collapse under the town.

It turns out that event doesn't make the history books, or Wikipedia, but the CDC has an amazing list of mine disasters here.

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