|Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co.,
[A coal company patch town in Winslow Twp., Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.]
[Wishaw was first called Trout Run.]
[Located on the Reynoldsville & Falls Creek Railroad later it was the Reynoldsville & Falls Creek Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway, and the Jefferson County Electric Railway.]
See: London Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Sherwood Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Sherwood No. 2 Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Trout Run No. 1 Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA.
Trout Run No. 2 Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA.
Wishaw Mine, Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
London Mine (ca.1901- ?
Sherwood Mine (ca.1898- ?
Sherwood No. 2 Mine
Trout Run No. 1 Mine (ca.1904-
? ), located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway,
near Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Trout Run No. 2 Mine (ca.1904-
? ), located on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg Railway,
near Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Wishaw Mine (ca.1925- ?
|The map is a portion of the U.S.G.S. 15
min. DuBois, PA quad map ca.1924ed. showing Wishaw and the Reynoldsville
& Falls Creek Branch of the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburg
(Maps courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)
Influenza became epidemic throughout the United States in October, 1918. During that month 39 persons died in Reynoldsville, 35 in Soldier and 78 in Wishaw. In the latter town all, but 10 of the population of less than 400 had the disease. The central school building in Reynoldsville and the school building in Wishaw were used as hospitals during the epidemic.
|History of Wishaw
by Phil Mennitti Jr.
Wishaw was originally known as Trout Run, Wishaw was a large lumber provider settled by Scottish and English immigrants. Today you will notice Trout Run is a local stream.
In 1901 the R & P Coal company opened their first mine, and owner Adrian Iselin named the town after an important employee; W. I. Shaw.
The Mine was 1 of 2 biggest bituminous coal mines in Pennsylvania, it closed permanently in ca.1926.
The Mine operated 24 hours per day, with 3 shifts, year round, 5 entrances were used. Typically mining was a seasonal job with little work during the summers, due to low demand. However, Wishaw had a contract with the Johnsonburg Paper Mill, which kept our mines operating at full production 365 days per year.
The Greasy Dam was a pond located in front of the Tipple. Though it did have run off from the mines, the name was given as a derogatory label to the Italian miners. After the close of the mines, the Greasy Dam was a quick-sand mixture topped by about 6 inches of water. During the 30s a boy by the name of Nistret drown in the dam. The Dam was drained in the 1980s once drag mining began by the property owner, Erma Shaffer.
The Boiler House was 150 ft long and produced steam for operating items like miners tools.
The Engine Room produced electricity for the mines, and contained the large coal scales.
Harry Day was a popular foreman at the mines. Reportedly he was the only man not prejudiced against the Italian miners, and treated all miners fairly.
August Boldoff bought the mines and Tipple following the closing in ca.1926.
The Tipple was 3 stories tall. After the mines closed, the new owner: August Boldoff nearly died falling off of it while tearing the Tipple down.
ca.1926 the Rail Road tracks were taken out. The tracks had run in many places, among them include the valley behind Manco and Foradori/Srock homes which is now a stream, and crossed the trolley tracks at about the driveway of Phil Mennitti Sr., where they ran past the mines to the Tipple. Other tracks include the flat portions of land on the hill sides of the main curve, and leading toward Sandy Notos garage.
The main mine entrance can be seen in the wooded hillside at the rear of Phil Mennitti Sr.s yard, also still there is the ramp leading from the mine to the former location of the rail road tracks, where the coal was dumped into the rail cars.
A second set of mines were located over the North East hill near Monica Bobal's home. These were called the No. 2 Mines.
"The Company Blocks."
"The Blocks" were coal company owned double-family 2 story housing for Italian immigrant miners, mostly Sicilians. Located in the field behind the Gorofolo farm, currently the land is a horse field owned by the Torrells. Italian was spoken within. One non-Italian family resided here; Zukaskis.
The blocks consisted of 4 rows of homes, which were split into pairs facing each other. A street separated each row and had a communal water source at the center of both streets.
A Shoemakers shop, a United Mine Workers of America Union building, Marinars Grocery store, and Battaglias store were located among the Blocks. There was also a soccer field adjacent to the Blocks.
The union building held pie socials. This is where young men would meet girls by bidding on their pies. Often fights would break out; due to a young man's friends bidding up the pies.
A suspicious fire destroyed the Blocks October 17, 1924. The economy was poor and leading to the depression, most work was completed in the mines at the time. The cause of the fire was never determined. Every home had a 52 gallon barrel of wine in the basement.
Frank Vizza was paid by his grandfather, Gorofolo, to remove all of the basements and debris during the summer this land was purchased following the fire. This was just prior to the depression and all the local boys helping were paid in bushels of potatos each day.
At the base of the hill, near the train tracks of the mine,
were a row of low income shanty homes.
|Wishaw Mine Tipple and Power Plant, located near
Reynoldsville, Wishaw, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, ca.1920's.
(Postcard photo courtesy of Phil Mennitti Jr.)
|A map of the Coal Company Blocks at Wishaw, Jefferson
(Map courtesy of Jack Tabone and Phil Mennitti Jr.)
|The blocks of coal company built houses
at the Wishaw Mine, Jefferson Co., PA. The double-family miners houses
were of simple board and batten construction.
(Photo courtesy of Louis Foradori and Phil Mennitti Jr.)
|Wishaw, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania,
winter of ca.1907. The Coal Company built blocks of double-family houses
can be see to the upper left.
(Courtesy of Greta Notto, and the Jefferson County Historical Society, Brookviille, PA.)
|The Cribbs House, Wishaw, Winslow Township, Jefferson
(Courtesy of Barbara Terranova.)
|Carpenters and blacksmith at the Wishaw Mine, Winslow
Township, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania.
(Courtesy the Jefferson County Historical Society, Brookviille, PA.)
|The tipple crew at the Wishaw Mine, ca.1917.
(Courtesy of Stanley Brochetti, of Reynoldsville.)
|The 1923 class of the Wishaw School.
(Courtesy of Frank Nocerini.)
|The 1918 Spanish Influenza Epidemic at Wishaw
NINE DEATHS FROM SPANISH INFLUENZA
Condition at Wishaw in Jefferson county near DuBois, where the disease has been rampant for several weeks, is acute and strict quarantine measures have been taken. Nine have already died at that place and it is stated that several others are dying. Practically every resident of that town is sick with the disease and more than half of the cases are complicated with bronchial pneumonia. Physicians attending the cases believe that many more deaths will occire within the next few days.
Six died at Wishaw Monday and two the day preceding. One
Big Soldier resident succumbed to the disease Monday and yesterday morning
it was stated that several more were dying at Wishaw.
7 More Deaths at Wishaw
Heavy Toll at Wishaw
|Wishaw Events and Culture
by Phil Mennitti Jr.
World War I deaths include Pard Gustabella and Reed Dickey.
The main hill at the intersection of Wishaw Rd and Wishaw-Panic Rd was known as "Scots Hill."
The Ku Klux Klan had a large "silent" presence in Wishaw directed against the Italian immigrants. Crosses were frequently burned outside of the Blocks, and various Italian gatherings around town. At 14 years old, Frank Turk Nocerini, became the catalyst in a major confrontation which lead to the calming of most public racism within town. He read about targets of the Klan fighting back by burning circles. Frank removed the spokes of a wagon wheel, nailed it to a phone pole and burned it one evening in protest to a burning cross at a pie social. The location of this circle burning was where modern day Tomasura's home is beside the old Tavern. Before Tony Veitz built his home here there was a mine foreman's quarters which was located there. The mine foreman was a known Klansman, and he boarded teachers for the school.
1918 Wishaw had a successful Metro League Baseball team which lead to the beginning of the Federation baseball level.
"Translating" surnames was a common practice by doctors. Dr. King, and Dr. Bowser of Reynoldsville frequently "translated" names into German and recorded them onto birth certificates. This happened to the Vizza family, which is why several of the children carried different names. Joe and Tony were named Veitz, and Frank was originally named Vitz. Frank later changed his name legally to the family name of Vizza during his enlistment for World War II.
The legendary "Prince" lived in Wishaw during the 1920's. Prince was a beloved, highly intelligent, large, black, Chesapeake Retriever. The children of the town loved him and took turns riding on his back. Prince would walk to town with a basket around his neck, with a grocery list inside. The grocer would fill the order and Prince would walk it home. Many times he had eggs in the basket and he walked ever-so-carefully when he had the eggs, it was obvious that he knew that he had delicate supplies.
After 1924, many homes around town began burning down. The popular belief during those hard economic times was that the owners were intentionally burning their homes to collect the insurance money. An example was the Santini home where the current driveway to Danny Torrell's residence is located. Mrs. Santini ran into the burning building to save 2 of her children, all of whom perished.
Contrary to popular belief; the remains of the chimney and foundation from the home on the hillside across from Manco's Market was torn down, it was not burned down. Those remains were removed in May 2009 by the current property owner.
1927 a cattle disease brought government officials to town without notice. The officials executed all male cattle and left the cattle lay for the owners to bury/dispose of.
Trolley rides cost 5 cents. The trolley drove to Reynoldsville, Wishaw, Eleanora, Big Run, and Punxsutawney. Many of the miners were from Reynoldsville and made the commute each day by trolley.
During the 1930's Silas Buhite purchased the farm now owned by his step-son, John and Sue Horner. The previous owners were reportedly counterfeiters who passed off their printed money at fairs.
1934 the Trolley tracks were removed and the road was paved.
1934 Frank Turk Nocerini became President of the Sons of Italy and retains the title to date.
During the 1930s-50s the Homecoming was a huge event, centered at the school and ball field. Many tents were set up and most local women cooked and dished out meals; Rose Rinaldi, Agnes Mennitti, etc. The food tents were along the drive bordering George Day's yard, the Beer tents were located along the far corner of the trees which was center field, and the men had Bocce ball tournaments on the field. The events ended in the early 1970s.
1940 Wishaw had the Champion Soccer team.
During the 1940s Wishaw had its own Boy Scout troop lead by Frank Turk Nocerini for 4 years.
World War II deaths included 19 Wishaw citizens.
In World War II, Private First Class Frank Vizza earned: The Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, European Theater Badge with 2 Battle Stars, North African Theater Badge, Combat Infantry Badge for Sharp Shooting with Wreath, and the Victory Medal. These awards were bestowed upon Frank in 1984 after a federal review of war records.
At 38 years of age, Frank "Turk" Nocerini was drafted for World War II. The mine supervisors deferred Franks draft. Frank ran the company store during the war and handled the sugar rationing. He had to travel to a town named Eckell near Kittanning to obtain the sugar, but the company went bankrupt after 6-7 months.
Dr. Fugate from Sykesville made house calls to Wishaw. Most children born during the 40s and 50s were delivered by Dr. Fugate.
In 1995 George and Pat Day closed their pig farm, and focus on produce and vegetables to date.
A Pool Room owned by Victor Antonnini was located between Horners, and Foradori/Srocks homes. Victor was a miner that was injured on the job and became blind in one eye. He was compensated for his injury and used the money to open the pool hall. The building he chose was formerly a storage shed for the general store. The business remained open for only a few years. Victor went bankrupt due to his kind nature over-extending credit to deadbeat miners.
On the hill behind the Veitz/Tomasura home was a privately owned mine named the Country Bank mines.
Degeorges Grocery store was located along the main road where Eddie Manco's home is today. The store operated with the mines from 1901-1926.
Along the main road, the Bennini home was purchased by Tony Gallow around 1912 and converted into a grocery store. Gallows grocery store was converted to a Beer Garden/Dance Hall by Jimmy Gorofalo in 1926 with the mine closing. Tony Veitz then purchased the building and opened the Wishaw Tavern, he sold the business to Johnny Fumante and Joe Zukaskis in the late 1970's, in turn they sold the business to Bob Biggie, who sold it to Pauley Caltagarone who moved the business to Reynoldsville - Falls Creek road, and ultimately sold the building back to neighbor Tony Veitz for his personal wood shop use.
A Protestant church existed at the location where the Rail Road tracks crossed the Trolley tracks. Today this is just beside the 2 stall garage at the Manco home and across from the Chess driveway. Most Italians were Catholic and traveled to Eleanora for masses.
The Butchers shop on the main curve became a Grocery store and gasoline station closing in 1989. Some owners included: William "Bill" Finalle, and George Manco. It has existed more than 100 years. Mr. Finalle commit suicide in the small storage room on the far left of the building, he was in the final stages of cancer. Phil and Shirley Mennitti Sr. lived in the apartment portion of the building, from 1971-74, which was the room on the far right of the building and all the upstairs.
Westing & Carlson General Store was located to the right of the market/butchers and shop between Angeline Canton's home. The General store sold mining equipment, feed, shoed horses, and sold kerosene. In the days before plastic spouts, people would "cap" their kerosene cans using half of a potato. Westing & Carlson were bought out by a group of investors in 1915, the store was then operated by a Notto. Mr. Notto died during the flu outbreak, and the store closed there after.
Erma (Ghezzi) Shaffers home was originally the mine supervisors housing quarters. The home was purchased for $500 and included 90 acres of land.
Jack and Toots Chesss driveway became a gate to the cow pasture after the mines closed. The pasture extended through Phil Mennitti Sr.s land.
The Ghezzi home, located to the left of the mine supervisors quarters, had a fresh spring. A small shack was built around the spring which acted as a refrigerator. Mrs. Ghezzi made and sold cheeses, milks, and various dairy products from here.
One home further down the road from the Ghezzi's made wine. In 1916, the horseback riding State Police were investigating a murder of a young woman. They concluded she was killed by her love interest. They believe he had escaped by stowing away in a wine barrel and was shipped off out of town.
The Post Office was originally located where Sandy Notto's garage currently sits. Archie McDonald was the Post Master. Stamps for postcards cost 1 cent, and letters cost 2 cents. The vacant lot across from the remains of Mancos Market was the second location of the Post Office. This Postmaster was John Webb, who had a picture of Wishaw, Scotland inside. The Post Office merged with the Reynoldsville Postal system in the 1940s.
Siple's Upholstery is located at the intersection of Wishaw-Panic Rd and Eleanora Rd. The establishment has been in business for several decades and is still operated to date.
Art Bussoletti owned a barbershop across the street from modern day Siple's Upholstery.
2004 the 9-1-1 system updated. Instead of Wishaw addresses being R.D. #3 with a box number, each home was given an address on Wishaw Road, Panic-Wishaw Road, or Geno Road named by Tony Torrell in honor of Eugene Mennitti.
In the summer of 1990, cable television finally came to Wishaw. Before this, residents had to use antennas on the roof of their homes paired with rotors. A rotor was a box with a dial near the television which would mechanically turn the antenna outside for better reception. The only channels viewable in Wishaw by antenna were 3 PBS, 6 NBC, and 10 CBS, none of which were a clear picture and usually faded in and out of color.
At the intersection of Wishaw Rd, and Panic-Wishaw Rd, is the former location of the Wishaw School House. The remains of the out-houses still stand along the tree line. Frank "Turk" Nocerini retains the deed on behalf of the Sportsman's Club.
Adjacent to the intersection of Wishaw Rd, and Panic-Wishaw Rd, the flat vacant lot beside George Day's home is the former baseball field.
The Wishaw School House
Originally, this was a 2 story, 4 room school house operating from 1928 until 1952.
The school taught 1-8th grades, which was approximately 175 students per year. The average class had 10-15 students within. The grades ran paired 1st with 2nd, 3rd with 4th, etc. After the schools closing, students were bussed to West Side School in Reynoldsville.
Sam Early was the principal.
Some teachers included; Ira Bailey, Betty Mitchell, Thomas Brown, and Verda Yount. Many teachers were boarded at the mine foreman's quarters. This home has since been replaced by the Veitz/Tomasura home beside the old Tavern.
1918 the Spanish Flu outbreak took half of the population due to lack of treatment available for the Italian population. The school was converted into a hospital to care for the ill that October. Wishaw had one of the worst casualty levels in the entire country, one in every four died. The epidemic made headlines entitled "When the Pall of Death Hung over Wishaw." Five years later a follow up article was published called "Sidelights."
The school was the main hub of Homecomings. It also served as the starting point of the soap box derby races, officiated by the State Police.
The sportsmen bought the school in the late 40s early 50s and removed the top floor, converting the building to a Community Center. The building never had indoor plumbing, and was sided with blue shingles. The outhouses remain in shambles to date.
President of the Sportsman's Club; Frank "Turk" Nocerini holds the deed to the property. The sportsmen had meetings once a month. 125 members ranged from Punxsutawney to Reynoldsville. The Sportsmen would feed game, trap rabbits, play poker, and of course drink beer. The Community center had an organ and the members often sang songs.
In the fall of 1992, the building was demolished and the debris burned.
April 14, 1925
VICTIM OF WISHAW TIPPLE ACCIDENT DIED YESTERDAY
Samuel Clontz, of Reynoldsville, Succumbs to Pneumonia at Age of 30 Years.
Samuel Clontz, aged 30, injured a week ago today at the Wishaw mine tipple when a mine car ran over him crushing his right leg above the knee and the left leg below the knee, as he attempted to board it, died at 4:30 p. m. yesterday in the Adrian hospital. Following the accident both his legs were amputated and the victim of the accident rallied, but pneumonia developed causing death.
The deceased was born at Goat Hill a son of Jacob and Rachael Clontz and had lived all his life in the vicinity of Reynoldsville. He was a veteran of the World War, having served a year overseas. At the end of the conflict he came home and was united in marriage December 26, 1919, to Miss Mae Armagost in Reynoldsville. He was a member of the Red Men and the Protected Home Circle and was held in high regard in the vicinity where he had spent his life.
He is survived by his mother, his widow and two children: Irvin aged 4, and Irvin aged 18 months. Three brothers and one sister also survive: Lester, of Panic; John, of Brookville; Dallas and Mrs. Claude Brumbaugh, of Reynoldsville.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday beginning at 2 o'clock at the late home of the deceased and interment made in the Reynoldsville cemetery. Rev. W. V. McLain will officiate.
Memorial Wishaw Mines,
Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
Memorial Trout Run Mines,
near Wishaw, Winslow Twp., Jefferson Co., PA
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