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Our Parents: 1936

Our Parents: 1936

November 1936. "Burial ground in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania." Medium format negative by Edwin Locke for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Composition, plus

The "derrick", most likely a headframe for an underground coal mine, makes nice contrast and an interesting composition for this photo. Very unique headstone, in my estimation, too.

If you want to read something interesting, do a Google on the Westmoreland County coal strike of 1910-1911, and the jailing of women along with their young children.

Mine nearby?

The structure behind (to the west of) the cemetery has two large cable pulleys on an axle, and cables running down the vertical and angled parts of it, which makes me wonder if this was related to an active mining operation.

By the way, the former Westmoreland County Volkswagen (and later ex-Sony) manufacturing plant is located not too far west of this location.

The thing in back

It's a mine pithead.

Tower Tale

The metal tower supports the lifting mechanism for access to a coal mine shaft. You can see the sheaves for the lifting cables at its top. Westmoreland and Fayette Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania were a rich source of metallurgical (coking) coal from the Pittsburgh seam until the mines played out in the mid-twentieth century. There is a line of coal hoppers at the right of the photo. The counties are littered with the remains of beehive coke ovens. A brief history of coking in the Connellsville region of Fayette County is here:

Aunt and Uncle

John R. Hunter was the son of Jesse Hunter who is the brother of William.

I also like bluson's comment about Derrick.

Middle Presbyterian Cemetery

Jane Giffen Hunter April 2, 1814 - September 16, 1881
William Hunter January 26, 1811 - April 16, 1875

I can't find any indication on Find-A-Grave that John R. Hunter, buried beside them, is a relative. I realize it doesn't make sense (due to the proximity of the graves) but the family trees on all of their pages are pretty extensively documented (parents, spouses, siblings) and they don't match up.

The structure in the background isn't there anymore. I'm thinking observation tower (they're common in Pennsylvania, although more on battleground sites than in cemeteries) but from this angle I can't find any way you'd climb up. Somebody help me see it.

Incidentally, a 13-year-old boy fell 40 feet from the observation deck of the State of Pennsylvania Monument at the Gettysburg National Military Park on May 24th. He was airlifted to Penn State Hershey Medical Center with severe injuries.

Be careful in cemeteries.

Jane and Bill are still there

... but Derrick is out of the picture.

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