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Coal Miners Memorial Sagamore Mines, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA, U.S.A.


Sagamore: Coal Company Patch Town: Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA, U.S.A.


Coal Mines of Armstrong Co., PA MAIN INDEX

Sagamore Mines,
Sagamore,
Cowanshannock Twp.,
Armstrong County,
Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

A Tribute to the Coal Miners that mined the Bituminous Coal seams of the Sagamore Mines, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Compiled & Edited by
Raymond A. Washlaski

Raymond A. Washlaski, Historian, Editor,
Ryan P. Washlaski, Technical Editor,

Updated June 8, 2010

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Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
[Located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad.]
[Sagamore Mines were closed by the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company, in March 1950.]
See: Sagamore No. 1 Mine, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
       Sagamore No. 2 Mine, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
       Sagamore No. 13 Mine, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
       Sagamore No. 17 Mine, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
       Sagamore No. 18 Mine, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA

Sagamore No. 1 Mine (ca.1905-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, near Sagamore, Armstrong Co., the Sagamore No. 1 Mine was located in Indiana Co., PA
Owners:  (ca.1905-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, DuBois, PA
[Most of the Sagamore Mines are listed under the Armstrong County, PA Index]

Sagamore No. 2 Mine (ca.1905-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners:  (ca.1905-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA
               (ca.1910-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA

Sagamore No. 3 Mine (ca.1905-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners:  (ca.1905-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA
               (ca.1910-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA

Sagamore No. 4 Mine (ca.1905-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners:  (ca.1905-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA
               (ca.1910-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal Mining Company, Du Bois, PA

Sagamore No. 11 Mine (ca.1917-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, near Sagamore, Armstrong Co., the Sagamore No. 11 Mine was located in Indiana Co., PA
[Sagamore No. 11 Mine was listed as being idle ca.1917.]
Owners:  (ca.1917-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, DuBois, PA

Sagamore No. 12 Mine (ca.1917-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, near Sagamore, Armstrong Co., the Sagamore No. 12 Mine was located in Indiana Co., PA
[Sagamore No. 12 Mine was listed as being idle ca.1917.]
Owners:  (ca.1917-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, DuBois, PA

Sagamore No. 13 Mine (ca.1926-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, at Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1926-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, DuBois, PA

Sagamore No. 17 Mine (ca.1926-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, at Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1926-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, DuBois, PA

Sagamore No. 18 Mine (ca.1926-  ?  ), located on the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad, at Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1926-  ?  ), Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Coke Company, DuBois, PA
              (ca.1943-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company, Indiana, PA
              (ca.1950-  ?  ), Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company, Indiana, PA

A portion of the USGS Smicksburg, PA 15min. Quad Map ca.1909, showing the Sagamore area of Armstrong County and the Plumville Area of Indiana County.
(Map courtesy of the US Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)

An undated photo of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Railroad Station at Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA.
(Courtesy of the Special Collection Library, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Library, Indiana, PA)

In 1920 FBI agents from Pittsburgh arrest nine miners at Coal Run, Indiana County, for communist activities. Two are considered for deportation. State Police and FBI agents later arrest an anarchist at Sagamore, Armstrong County, for possessing a large quantity of anarchistic literature.

In 1925 miners strike at the Buffalo & Susquehanna Mines at Sagamore and DuBois. Bombings, demonstrations, and evictions characterize the conflict.

from "Simpson's Daily Leader-Times," Kittanning, PA, June 22, 1931

SAGAMORE MINE CLOSED Men Still Out

The three mines of the Buffalo and Susquehanna Coal Company at Sagamore are still idle today.  The mines were closed down Friday.  James Caseley, Superintendent, is out of town and could not be located by the Leader-Times this morning.

A. J. Skomo, Pete Shulik and Anthony Gasparino, charged with stoning an automobile owned and driven by J. M. King, assistant mine foreman, and hurling a rock that inflicted a scalp wound to James McKee, 18, were back in the county jail, awaiting action of the grand jury in September on charges of aggraveated assault and battery and Sam and Tony Rizzio, brothers, were in jail for five days for disorderly conduct following hearings Saturday afternoon before Frank J. Atkins, Justice of the Peace.

Walter Cree, a sixth youth, was discharged.
[from the "Simpson's Daily Leader-Times," Kittaning, PA, June 22, 1931.]

From the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Dec. 24, 1942
Sagamore Mine Taken Over By R. & P.
The Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company today announced that on January 1 next, it has taken over the Buffalo & Susquehanna working at Sagamore and will assume active control January 1.  It was announced that Superintendent Plant and other personnel will remain under the new management.  The Sagamore mine, located at the junction of Indiana and Armstrong Counties employes 350 men and has an output of 2,000 tons daily.
[from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Dec. 24, 1942.]

From the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, April 1, 1950

Sagamore's Only Industry Closed

What will happen to the town of Sagamore?  Will it become a "Ghosttown" now that the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal Company has been forced to close down the coal mine?

Those are the questions being asked by residents of that town and many Indiana County men who have found employment at the Sagamore operation.

Although the town of Sagamore is located just across the Indiana County line in Armstrong County, coal company officials have records to show that many of the former employees of this operation are residents of Indiana County, some even residents of Indiana Borough.

The residents of Sagamore, in many cases, were regular shoppers in Indiana and the loss of their business will be felt in many sections of this county.

The closing of the mines at Sagamore, coupled with the curtailed operations at the Yatesboro mine, also owned by R. & P., was a blow to nearly 500 families in the area.  Their everday existance has suddenly been interrupted and they find that they have no source of income to provide the necessary things of life.  What will they do?

Here is a striking example of the importance of the need of industry to provide employment in this area.  When there is no employment, people must move to other counties and to other states to secure employment.

What is the future of Indiana County if industry is not provided for those who wish to make their homes here and want to work here?

Yes, "It is later than you think!"
[from the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, April 1, 1950.]

Benjamin Trunzo's Memorories of Sagamore:
To the men working in smaller "country-bank" mines or if no electricity was routed out to the cross entries, spraggers and motormen were replaced or supplemented by four-footed haulage. Benjamin Trunzo, of Beyer, recalls his experiences:

At Sagamore, we had big motors to haul coal, but we used mules to haul coal from the rooms to the main heading. For a while, I worked as barn boss in Sagamore's underground mule barn in mine No. 13. We kept the mules underground to save time as it would have taken over An hour to drive the mules from outside to the face. It just looked like a regular barn in there. We had 10 mules; two to a stall. All hay and grain was taken in by mine cars and we had to have; iron doors on the barn to keep the mine rats out of the mules' feed.

Some mules stayed underground all the time unless they were taken outside for new shoes. People always thought that mules kept underground went blind, but that isn't true. When we took them outside for any reason, though, we'd keep then. blindfolded for a while and let them get used to the light gradually.

A lot of men were afraid to drive the mules because they could reach around and bite or kick you. third.jpgAnd some were so smart the'd stand real still while you harnessed them, and hooked the cars to the singletree. Then with one quick motion, they'd lift a hind hoof and unhook the cars and just stand there and grin at you or run off. Part of my job as barn boss was to take the green mules into the mines to try them out. I'd put lines on them and see if they'd obey my commands. If they acted real mean or wouldn't work, we'd send them back. Some of the-mules were real good workers and the fellows would make pets out of them and feed them tobacco and pieces of bread. I particularly remember Topsy, Tom, Skip and Daisy.

Once at Sagamore we had a driver named Old Man Fulton who really liked the mules. This fellow could throw his voice. He'd pretend to be a mule, and make the animal say, 'Hey, Hurry up in there, I'm loaded and ready to go!' But if the mules acted up or wouldn't pull, some men would get real mean and beat the mules with whatever they had handy. After all, the miners were paid by the ton and had to get that coal out.

Spraggers and motormen were also an unknown luxury to young boys who worked in old-time mines as doorboys, sometimes known as "trappers." Trappers, from the earliest days of the industry until the World War I era, were among the lowest-paid underground workers, usually averaging around $1.60 per day. According to a state law enacted in 1915, no boy under 16 could be employed in a coal mine, but Ben Trunzo went to work as a trapper boy when he was 14:

I didn't want my dad to know I was working; he thought I was too young. So I got a job as a doorboy. I worked from 7:30 in the morning until 3:30. That way, I was home and cleaned up before he got there. My dad didn't find out for quite a while because he worked twelve hours a day at Sagamore drying sand for the motors to use -- sand was sprinkled on the rails to help gain traction going up or down a grade. Trappers were responsible for the opening and closing of underground ventilation doors. In those old mines, they had a system of doors between sections to direct the flow of air. Air was supposed to go up the main haulage and back to the fan. So a trapper sat all day by his door with an oil lamp on his cap. There was a 'manhole' -- a shelter hole in the wall by the track. The motorman would blink his motor light at me, and I'd throw the switch and open the door for him. Then, I'd jump into the manway until he was past, and run out and close the door. A trip would come along about every hour. Was I bored or lonely? Well, it was my job.

In spite of his many hours spent underground, however, Ben took advantage of the schooling available to him, and had the chance to go to the Indiana Normal School and become a teacher. Instead, he chose to remain in the mines and eventually necessary certificates to attain the position of mine boss.

While many boys entered the mines as doorboys, most went in with their fathers to learn their mining skills from the best teacher available.

"One of the reasons men took their boys into the mines," says Ben Trunzo, "was to get more cars to load. A man alone could get only four or five cars a day, but if you had a son with you, you might get ten or even twelve.

Trunzo stresses the importance of going into the mines with one's own father or older brother:

When I started loading my dad was still making so much money outside drying sand that he hated to quit, but he did so that he could take me in himself. But after a short time, he broke his collarbone in an accident, and he was finished. So I started going in with an old man I knew. But do you know, that old guy cheated me something awful! If we loaded ten cars together, he would put his checks on six or seven of them. If we loaded nine, he'd leave me four. He says, 'But I'm an old man'.

After a while, Jake King, the superintendent, felt sorry for me, and even though I was only sixteen, they gave me a room of my own, even though you were supposed to have at least a year's experience at the face. But the boss told me, 'If you see two lamps coming, you'll know I have the mine inspector coming with me, so you run out into the crosscut and pretend you're looking for your pick or something.' I did real well for myself and loaded six cars a day.

Roman Catholic Church Sagamore Closes: ca.2007
Parish mergers, closings in Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg since 1951
Closings and suppressions (did not include a merger or new parish)
Sacred Heart Parish, Sagamore, Pa, closed in May, 2007,  because of structural and safety issues with church building.

Sagamore: Coal Company Patch Town:
Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA, U.S.A.

Coal Miners Memorial Sagamore Mines,
Sagamore, Cowanshannock Twp., Armstrong Co., PA

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