KENNETH EDWARD FOY

Interviewer: David Neal                              Interviewed on: January 31, 2003

 

Interviewer:  Full name and spell it

Kenneth Foy:  Kenneth Edward Foy.  How old?  I’m 71.  1/4/32 is the birth date.  Wherever I lived in Franklin Township?  I lived over on Mohawk Road to start out with, then I lived in Franklin Center, then I been on Eureka Road at two places here since the early 50s.

 

Interviewer:  So you lived in Franklin Township most of your life then?

Kenneth Foy:  Since ’42, since 1942.  Yes.

Interviewer:  Since ’42?

 

Interviewer:  Tell us about your home in the early years.

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, now you’re talking over on Mohawk Road?

Interviewer:  Sure.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, when we first moved up here first, it was my grandfather’s old farm.  It was an old farmhouse, with porches all around the thing.  I can remember in the wintertime, I slept upstairs, and there was nothing but clapboards on the outside up there.  You’d go to bed at night, cover up and sometimes in the morning the wind would blow in between the cracks of those things, and you’d have a little snowdrift across your bed in the morning!  That’s how cold it was, but you didn’t mind it, you weren’t sick either!

 

Interviewer:  How was it heated?

Kenneth Foy:  It was strictly wood heat or coal heat over there, in the earliest one.  And of course there was no inside water.  There was no hot water.  There had an outhouse over there and stuff like that, and that was the way we lived.  When did we get electricity?  That was, well, Bob and I were talking about that yesterday, and we thought about the mid-40s when they got electricity around in through here.

 

Interviewer:  Now when they did that, did they just string up a whole road at a time and everybody connected, or was it a one at a time deal?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, Bob would know more about that than I would…

Bob: [a friend]:  More or less one at a time.  They’d take a road, but maybe only one or two families on the road would get electric.  Then maybe next year, they’d get somebody else.

 

Interviewer:  So you guys had a well?

Kenneth Foy:  Right, we had a well.

 

Interviewer:  How far was that from the house?

Kenneth Foy:  They had a pump right on the kitchen sink that went to the well.

 

Interviewer:  Oh, so you had inside water then?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, but you had to pump it by hand, so…!

 

Interviewer:  And when did you get like a hot water heater?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, that would have to be closer to the ‘50s, in there, ‘til we had the hot water heater.

 

Interviewer:  And inside plumbing?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, we had that over in Franklin Center, and that would have been about ’48.

 

Interviewer:  Toilet and everything there?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, all that.

 

Interviewer:  Who had the first radio?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, I can remember my Granddad had one of those little battery radios that he had to buy new batteries for it every so often.  That was before they had electricity over there.  Of course, you turned that on at night, they’d only listen to that for so long, and they’d shut it off to save the batteries.  They didn’t last too long then, like now.

 

Interviewer:  Now, what did you do with lighting before you had electricity?  Did you go with kerosene lamps?

Kenneth Foy:  They had kerosene lamps.  Some of them had those Aladdin lamps that used kerosene, but they were about as bright as this light that you got here right now.  They come out like a gas lantern.  They were a lot lighter, brighter than the other ones on there.

 

Interviewer:  How about a telephone?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, we had a telephone before we moved up here because my dad went to work on the highway department, and he had to have one so they could call him up.  That was down to Fairview, and that was one of those things where it would ring so many times and it was your ring, and so on and so forth.  It was one of those party lines.  We’d go from that there…

 

Interviewer:  So you had a phone pretty early.  You were probably one of the earliest people with a phone in the area.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, that was down by Fairview, though.  That wasn’t up here, see.  Up here, well, we had a telephone up there in the late ‘40s.  Over in Franklin Center there.  Who had the first television?  I remember Adrian Hayes, a neighbor of ours over there in Franklin Center.  They were the first to get a television in.  And of course, that’s where the people met at night for quite a bit.  We’d go over there to watch the television.  That was a big deal; something different to see there.  And that was about 1945 there.

 

Interviewer:  So you got to see footage of the War, and reports of the end of the War?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, like we were talking yesterday, some of us.  We got to see the inauguration of Eisenhower when he got to be President after the war.  That was on TV.  TV was better back then than it is now, that’s for sure!  They didn’t have all this junk on here that they got now!

 

Interviewer:  There wasn’t a whole lot of channels?

Kenneth Foy:  There wasn’t a whole lot of what?

Interviewer:  Channels…

Kenneth Foy:  No, no.  You got Channel 12 and that was about it I think, yes.

 

Interviewer:  Ok, what else do we have on here?  A washing machine?  A refrigerator?  Who had the first of those?  We’re talking about the moderns, not the older ones.

Kenneth Foy:  I can’t remember when, we had a refrigerator and stuff when we lived over there in Franklin Center.  And I remember at my uncle’s place, he lived over on Ivoray over by the cheese factory.  They had two wells on their place.  To keep stuff cold in the summertime, they’d lower stuff down into this one well.  Of course, water down in a well is 50; 52 degrees steady year ‘round.  That’s where they’d keep their stuff cold.  When you wanted something, that was your refrigerator and you’d crank it up out of the well again.  There was your stuff, your butter or whatever and so on.

 

Interviewer:  Now he ran the cheese factory?

Kenneth Foy:  My uncle ran the cheese factory over on Ivoray.  Louie McBeth owned it.  My uncle lived over there.

 

Interviewer:  Now a person I interviewed before talked about that, that there was dancing upstairs also in the cheese factory?

Kenneth Foy:  Not when my uncle was there.  There was never no dancing, no.

Interviewer:  It must be a different one.

Kenneth Foy:  So that’s over on Ivoray where Mikovich’s had a little country store over there.  It was like a little village over there back then.

 

Interviewer:  You mentioned when you moved to Franklin Center.  Where did you live there in Franklin Center?

Kenneth Foy:  At the second house in from the main intersection there, going south, on the left-hand side.

Interviewer:  On Old State Highway?

Kenneth Foy:  On State Route 98, yes, right along State Route 98 there.  Yes.

 

Interviewer:  So you were pretty close to all the stuff, the stores and…

Kenneth Foy:  Yes.  I was right across from the store there.  It was Rodak’s store, and he knows the ones that had the Rodak’s store before that, that they had bought it from and so on and so forth there; which is beyond or before me there.

 

Interviewer:  First car and/or truck?

Kenneth Foy:  We always had cars, even when I was a kid down to Fairview.  We had a little 1931 Chrysler.  My Dad named it Leapin’ Lena, because every time my Mom would drive it, why she was jerking the clutch…

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  Now we’re going to go on to family members.  Do you want to talk about your parents and siblings?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  My parents.  My mother was born right over on Mohawk Road on that farm that we moved to in 1942.

 

Interviewer:  And her name?

Kenneth Foy:  Was Thelma.  And there was a family of four or five girls in there and one boy.

 

Interviewer:  What was her last name?

Kenneth Foy:  Walts.  Art Walts was my Grandad; it was her father.  And Norma Walts.  And Art Walts, he was the one that hauled milk to the cheese factory.  That was one of his jobs and that’s what he got killed doing.  He got killed in an auto accident doing that.

Interviewer:  Oh really? 

 

Interviewer:  Do you know how many generations your family has been in this area?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, my great-grandfather, I can just barely remember him sitting on the front porch over there when I was really young.

 

Interviewer:  What was his name?

Kenneth Foy:  That I don’t know anymore. 

Interviewer:  Gramps?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah!  I just barely remember.  I had to be about maybe three years old or something like that.

 

Interviewer:  What was his last name?  Was he on your mother’s side or father’s side?

Kenneth Foy:  He was a Walts too, yes.  And on my Mother’s side over there, it was Lawrence I’m pretty sure there.  No, it was Lawrence on my Dad’s side there.  But they were both related to the Lawrence’s back in older days before that.  [Interviewee’s father was Kenneth Foy and Grandparents were William and Amy (Lawrence) Foy.]

 

Interviewer:  So they were some of the earlier people here, generations back?

Kenneth Foy:  Right.  They’re listed on a voting…one of those things there.

Interviewer:  On an older census?

Kenneth Foy:  Right.

 

Interviewer:  Siblings?  Do you have any?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, my brothers and sisters and so on and so forth?  Yeah.  I got two brothers.  One lives right down the road here at the house we moved to when we moved to Franklin Center, and the other ones down in Carolina.  And I’ve got a sister that lives over in Albion.

 

Interviewer:  What are their names?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  Margie Ryan from over in Albion there.  Art Foy from right down the road here and Norman Foy is down in Carolina there.

Interviewer:  I believe we have an Art on our list to interview later on also.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, you probably have him on your list there.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  Who were your other relatives in the Township?

Kenneth Foy:  My other relatives in this area?  Ok, my Dad was born right over here on Crane Road, if you’d go from here, it would be northeast for about a mile.  That’s where the old Foy farm homestead was, right there.  Then you go down to the corner of Crane and Silverthorn Road, that old schoolhouse that’s turned into a living quarters, a house now that people live in over there.  That was the old Foy School.  I’ve got an old map from 19-something that shows that as being Foy School over there.

 

Interviewer:  Your family started the school?

Kenneth Foy:  No, I don’t think they started it, but that was my family that lived around there years ago so they called it Foy Corners and Foy School and so on and so forth there.

 

Interviewer:  So you had your own Corners, anyway?

Kenneth Foy:  Evidently!

 

Interviewer:  Did any of your parents’ siblings live in the area too?  Aunts and uncles and things like that?

Kenneth Foy:  Do they still live in the area?

Interviewer:  No, did they back then?  Did you have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins around here?

Kenneth Foy:  Not a whole lot right around here.  I know I had cousins that lived over on Mohawk Road and then moved over to Cranesville.  Most of them moved out away from here, right.  On my Dad’s side, on my Mother’s side, I have got an aunt that lives over here yet--Swift, Helen Swift.  Of course, she’s been around here ever since she’s born.  She’s about Bob’s age here now, so…

 

Interviewer:  Let’s see here.  In your earliest memories, who were your friends?

Kenneth Foy:  Who were my friends?  Ok, Bobby Santos was my best friend when I was at the country school over in Franklin Center there.  That was a one-room schoolhouse.  Of course, he passed away a couple years ago here.  We’d ride our bikes to school or walk to school or whatever.  They could make you walk up to a mile to catch the bus.  Then in wintertime, an older guy by the name of Rouse, Frank Rouse, he used to haul us kids with a horse, a team and a sled.  He had it hooked up and closed in, looked like a little black hearse on the back and that’s the way we’d get to Franklin Center School.  He’d haul us from the corner of Mohawk and Old State Road and down to school.  Of course, we’d have to walk the first mile to get there to catch that, but you got to ride the second mile!

 

Interviewer:  But once you moved to the Center, you had a shorter walk.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah.  When I moved to the Center then, the teacher gave me a couple dollars a week to go in there and open up the schoolhouse in the morning and start the fire early, and get that going and get it warmed up there before everybody got there.

Interviewer:  Well, that’s a good deal!

Kenneth Foy:  One time, we even got a job over there working on fixing the outhouse roof.  Of course, when you’re a kid, 11-12 years old and somebody asks you to fix a roof, well that’s a big deal to help the guys do something.  We went and fixed the outhouse roof over at the school there.

 

Interviewer:  Who were parents’ friends; do you remember any of them?

Kenneth Foy:  Who were my what?

Interviewer:  Your parents’ friends…

Kenneth Foy:  My parents’ friends?  Well, someone named Luella Wells over in Franklin Center there.  That was about the ones they monkeyed around with the most there.  Of course, everyone was your friend—the Hayes’.  You knew everyone back then too.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  What was your fondest childhood memory of any season?

Kenneth Foy:  Of any season?  Well we used to enjoy Christmas back then.  They’d give the boys all time out of school to go down to Wilbur Jenness’ woods and cut a big old hemlock and drag it up and that was the Christmas tree for school.  And of course, we’d get an hour off for lunchtime, too, and we’d go down Rt. 98 to that first creek.  And we’d go down there and go skinny-dipping at noontime with the boys in the summer.  That’s where we learned to swim, down there in that little old creek.  Of course, kids nowadays you wouldn’t dare let them go like that, you know.  And they’d have a picnic.  They’d take us down to Howard’s fall at the end of the school year.  Which I don’t know, do you even know where that’s at or not.  It’s over on Falls Road, down there.  We’d go down, go swimming there and have a picnic and a hot dog roast.  And, nowadays, they wouldn’t let kids do nothing like that.  I remember when…Well, when that clock in the hall gets done…!

 

Kenneth Foy:  When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I went to the South Fairview School down there.  Back then, the teacher for the boys, at Christmastime, every boy got a jack knife.  Nowadays, the kids don’t even dare carry a jack knife to school.  And here the teacher gave all the boys one!  That was when we had those high-top boots; they’d have a leather pocket on the side of them to keep your jack knife in.  That was the style back then, and so on and so forth.

 

Interviewer:  Where was the South Fairview School?

Kenneth Foy:  Rt. 98, just the other side of Ryan Hill, over by Tannery Road.

 

Interviewer:  Now was that the high school?

Kenneth Foy:  No, it was just the first eight grades.  Four up and four down, it’s a two-level school there.  You’ll see it.  Its a little brick building turned into a furniture thing right now, where they sell furniture and stuff.

 

Interviewer:  What’s your fondest Christmas memory and gift?

Kenneth Foy:  Fondest Christmas memory and gift?  Not really anything on that, as far as that goes, but…  We used to, at Christmastime; we’d come up and go to Grandpa’s old farm where they moved.  And everybody would get together on Christmas.  That’s the time they opened up the front parlor and you were allowed in there.  The rest of the time it was closed up and that’s where they had all the antique photos of all the old people, and so on, in there too.

 

Interviewer:  Are those still in there?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, that house is gone now, so…

 

Interviewer:  What kind of Christmas gifts did you get?

Kenneth Foy:  Mostly clothing, utility stuff like that.  One time I got a new 22 rifle, when I was eight years old.  I still got that.

 

Interviewer:  How much of your clothing was hand-me-downs?  I know you had brothers.

Kenneth Foy:  Not too much.  We wore it out; back those days, so it couldn’t get handed down.

 

Interviewer:  Ok, well now we’re going to go on to marriage.  Who did you marry?

Kenneth Foy:  Helen Johnson, out here.  I’ve been married…How long have we been married--32, 33 years?  Something like that!

 

Interviewer:  You’re going to get yourself in trouble!

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah!

 

Interviewer:  And how did you meet?

Kenneth Foy:  We both worked at the same place in Erie, there.

 

Interviewer:  And where was that?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, we spent a lot of time in the Penn, Penn Brass & Copper.  People ask me where I worked, and I always tell them, well I spent 31 years in the Penn!  So…!

 

Interviewer:  Let’s talk about your wedding.  Where did you have your wedding and all that stuff?

Kenneth Foy:  At that church over to Springfield, by the Reverend Augustine.  Some of our kids there, and just a small ceremony and stuff.  Of course, we’d been married before, both of us.  She was widowed, I was batchin’ it with six kids, and I needed some help, and so, ok!

 

Interviewer:  Well, when did you meet your first wife?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, boy.  I was in the Navy then.  Back in 1951 or somewheres in that, ’50 or ’51.  Well, I was home on the weekend leave or whatever.  I met her, we got married, and we went from there, so…

 

Interviewer:  Now you mentioned you had six kids?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, two of them I adopted, and four of them are natural-born, and there were two more, my wife’s kids that she had when we got married here, too.  So, we had eight all together.

 

Interviewer:  Wow.  Do any of them still live around here?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah.  My son lives right next door here.  My daughter lives over on Kline Road; Denise Snyder married to Dennis over there.  And of course, some of my other kids retired.  They’re down there in Texas on a vacation living in an RV now. I’ve got another daughter lives in Texas.  She boards horses to make some extra money and drives school bus and stuff like that.  Another daughter works for state government down in Kentucky.  Another daughter in Florida works for a restaurant down there.  So…  And another lives right over here on Oliver Road too.  He’s been there for quite a while.  He’s back in like we are here.

 

Interviewer:  Now with your marriage, did you go away on a honeymoon?

Kenneth Foy:  Sure!  We went to Florida and went fishing and camping!  That was our honeymoon!

 

Interviewer:  What about your first wife?

Kenneth Foy:  My first wife?  Yeah, we went to Canada up there for three or four days, something like that…Niagara Falls.  The standard procedures back then, you know how that worked.

 

Interviewer:  Where did you live when you first married?

Kenneth Foy:  I was in the service, so we lived in Africa for a couple of months over there…North Africa and French Morocco.  And then come back here, we lived and we bought this house right down here on the road, back in ’54 I think I bought that.

 

Interviewer:  It had to be a big house for all those kids!

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, well…  Well, what children did you have, names and birthdates?  I could give you a list of them after a while.

 

Interviewer:  Ok, we talked some about schools.  Do you want to talk about all the schools that were around in the township?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  There was a school over on Mohawk Road over there.

Interviewer:  Do you know what that one was called?

Kenneth Foy:  It was Mohawk School.

Interviewer:  Ok.

Kenneth Foy:  And it was between New Road and Crane Road.  And that’s where my mother had went to school. Phone rings…”Helen, can you get that?”  That’s where my mother had went to school.  And then I went there.  We had the same teacher for my mother, and for myself and my kids, which was Bernice Allen.  Now she taught three generations.  My mother was just getting started in school there, and that was just when Bernice started teaching and go from there.  Of course, there was the Franklin Center School.  There was a Goodban School.  You’ve heard of that probably already too, which was straight down this road, down to Goodban Corners.  You’d go about one, two, three, and about four and a half miles north from here; right around the edge of the Township was Goodban School.  Then of course there was Silverthorn School on the corner of Old State and Silverthorn Road.  You’ve had that mentioned.  And of course, there was the old Foy Schoolhouse on the corner of Silverthorn and Crane.  Ok, that’s about all of them that I can remember.  Maybe Bob would know more of them, but…

 

Interviewer:  Did any of those go up to high school grades?

Kenneth Foy:  No, they were the first eight grades.  All of them the first eight grades; all of them one room.

 

Interviewer:  Where did you have to go to go beyond eighth grade?  Girard?

Kenneth Foy:  Beyond eighth grade, they bused us from Franklin Center over to Edinboro High School at that time, which is part of your college over there now.  And we had a bus, which had eight seats in it, four on each side.  And that hauled all the kids at that time.  That would have been about 1944, yeah ’44 or ‘45.  They could haul all the kids from Franklin Township in one eight seat bus to the high school; that’s how many of us went over there.

Bob:  And back about then, there was a lot of other kids we was hauling, students to go to high school in Edinboro.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, some of the kids drove themselves.  We rode our bikes to Edinboro High School and thought nothing of it, you know, from Franklin Center.  So what?  We got plenty of time.  We’ll get there on our bicycles, and ride home again.  Better than riding the bus!

Interviewer:  Bus for the wintertime!

 

Kenneth Foy:  Well, we used to play hooky out of school quite a bit over there too.  One day we played hooky out of school and the school nurse, she tried to catch us.  And we hid from her over in that old cemetery.  Then she turned us in to the principal, and so on and so forth.  And we knew…so we end up, we walked on over to Crane Road and a school bus come by there on the way home that night.  And of course, he stopped and picked us up there and gave us a ride the rest of the way home.  Then I played hooky with my other buddy.  We’d go hunting, why we’d have to go and sit up on that hill on New Road over there above 98.  In the afternoon, we didn’t have a watch so we didn’t know for sure what time it was, but we’d wait for the school bus went by.  Ok, the school bus went, then we’d walk on home.  So, we were safe that way!

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any of your teachers specifically?

Kenneth Foy:  There was a Mrs. Howard who taught English, which I did not like.  But she was a good teacher and if you would act interested or whatever, she’d give you a passing grade if you looked the part and you’d get by with that.  What good was English going to do you when you got out of school, though?  You couldn’t make a living talking, doing that!

 

Interviewer:  Now what school did she teach at?

Kenneth Foy:  What school did what now?

Interviewer:  Did she teach at?

Kenneth Foy:  That was the Edinboro High School.  Blanche Howard and Maude Howard; there were two sisters that taught there.

 

Interviewer:  What was your highest grade completed?

Kenneth Foy:  Twelfth grade. 

Interviewer:  Graduated?

Kenneth Foy:  Graduated, right.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any of your classmates?  I’m sure you do.

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, sure.  Like I told you, Bobbie Santos, he was one of my better friends and stuff like that.  Another friend of mine that we always played hooky with was Floyd Nicholls (?), and he’s been dead since about 1967, ’68.  He drowned out in Frisco trying to drag a guy in out there.

 

Interviewer:  Now you mentioned playing hooky a lot.  What else did you do when you played hooky besides hunt?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, we went hunting, went fishing, or, that was the main thing.  I had a 22 that I had traded a hunting knife for; single shot, and I had that laid out.  Of course, we walked a mile to catch the bus, so I had it laid out in the woods alongside of that, all ready to go, you know!

 

Interviewer:  Now what mainly did you hunt with the 22?

Kenneth Foy:  Rabbit, squirrel, deer, whatever, you know.  And back then; the land wasn’t all posted around here like it is now.  We used to take off every springtime, at Easter vacation.  We didn’t even have a regular packsack, but one of us would have a tarp and the other one had a blanket.  We’d put the stuff in there, roll them up and tie the two ends together. We’d hike from Franklin Center down to Girard on Elk Creek; camp out overnight, spear suckers and have one heck of a good time!

Interviewer:  That sounds good!

 

Interviewer:  We need to talk about farming.  You mentioned you moved to a farm out there.

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, that was my Granddad’s farm, which is on the corner of New and Mohawk there.

 

Interviewer:  What kind of farm was it?  What were the different crops?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, the main thing was dairy, which they sold the cream to the cheese factory.  Took the milk right over to the cheese factory at Ivoray.  And, of course, he raised a few hogs to butcher and stuff like that too.

 

Interviewer:  Now, did you do your own butchering?

Kenneth Foy:  Right, we done our own butchering and everything there.

 

Interviewer:  How did you preserve the meat?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  We’d cook up the sausage, and put it in a big old crock, and pour the hog grease over the top of it, put a plate on it and keep it where it was cool.  And that would keep all winter long, in that crock.  You’d just go down and dig it out whenever you wanted some more.  And if we had beef, I remember my Dad at Franklin Center; we’d have a half of a beef hanging up in the back woodshed.  Like in cold weather like this, that thing would keep all winter long.  You needed some for eating; you go out there and cut some off.  And of course, bacons and hams, why you’d smoke them up and stuff too.

 

Interviewer:  Did you have your own smokehouse?

Kenneth Foy:  No, we didn’t.  My Granddad had one over there, though, and that’s where he done it.  Then of course later on, we’d raise our own hogs then send them down to Brown Brothers to be butchered, down towards Fairview there, by Weis Library.

 

Interviewer:  How many hogs and cattle did you have on average?

Kenneth Foy:  On the average, now what year and average do you want to go by?

Interviewer:  Earlier on, when you were a kid.

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, when we were kids, we probably had eight or ten hogs.  And back then, the farmers around here; if they had 10 cows to milk, they could make a living off those 10 cows and 50 or 60 acres.  I used to haul the milk to the Carnation plant over to Cambridge and the co-op down in Saegertown.  When I was 15 years old, I started working for a guy named Marion Krautter down there.  And his wife would drive the truck down here because I didn’t have my license.  The next year, I got a license so I drove a truck myself.  It was a little 1941, with just about 300,000 miles on it.  I’d go around and pick up the farmers’ milk in the morning and haul that over to Cambridge Springs and over to the co-op in Saegertown, and drop that back…

 

Interviewer:  Now who was his wife, Krautter?

Kenneth Foy:  Clara.  Clara Krautter was his wife.

Interviewer:  Because I’m interviewing a Stella, I believe?

Kenneth Foy:  Stella Krautter?  She’s a lady that I worked for back then putting up hay.  Get her to tell you about the time she left the old John Deere F20 running all night long out in the field.  We’d come up a rainstorm; she had been raking hay with that.  She jumped off that and we got the other hay and went to the barn with it, trying to get it in before it would get wet with the rain, you know.  She forgot to shut that off.  Well, her husband went out the next day and there’s that old Farmall sitting there putsy-in’ along!  All night long!  I still remember that!  Her memory’s real good.  She’s in the Edinboro Manor.  You go in there and talk to her about that.

 

Interviewer:  Yeah, I am next week.  What kind of crops did you guys have?
Kenneth Foy:  What kind of?

Interviewer:  Crops.

Kenneth Foy:  Crops?  They were most of the old-fashioned rotation.  You’d plow your ground up and plant oats for the first year or wheat or whatever, then that would have to be seeded down, so you’d have hay the following year.  Then, after you had hay one or two years in there, then you’d plow down and start with corn again.  Then you’d go from the corn back to the oats, then the small grain, and rotate around like that.

 

Interviewer:  What kind of equipment were you guys using?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, my Granddad had an old, what they called a whoopee tractor, one of those homemade jobs.  You’d use an old truck or something like that, and shorten it up, put bigger wheels on the back and put chains on it.  Maybe you put two transmissions in to gear it down, and that’s what he done most of his farming with.

 

Interviewer:  And you’d just throw a plow on that?

Kenneth Foy:  He could pull a plow with the thing, or he could disc with it, and go haul hay with it and so on and so forth.  Ask Marion Krautter.  He had one made out of an old 1929 Chevy with an old truck engine in it, and a truck transmission and rear end.  And he done all his farming with that old outfit there.  Everybody had a homemade tractor back then.

 

Interviewer:  Yeah, I’d like to see some of those!

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah.

 

Interviewer:  Who got the first actual tractor, the real equipment?  Do you remember when that started coming in?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, my Dad bought an old Fordson tractor over by the old tannery, over almost to Girard, with the steel wheels on it and stuff like that.  And after he bought it, he drove it home to where we lived up on Mohawk Road, which is quite a ways with an old Fordson tractor.  It was one of those…it had a hotshot battery that he had to hook that up and crank it.  A lot of the farmers got their arms broke on those things because they would kick when you’d go to crank it over, you know, it would come back again there.  I’d use that thing to skid logs with.  About 1946, ’47, I learned to drive it.  I was so little, and the clutch went in so hard, you’d have to get up and stand on the clutch to get it to go down.  It had one of those old wooden-spoked steering wheels on it that kept coming apart.  And we dragged logs with it.  The radiator leaked, and every time I come across Elk Creek there dragging logs out with it, you’d have to stop and put some water in the radiator to keep it going, but it got there!

 

Interviewer:  Now, what about thrashers and planters?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok, now Don Vogt, right down the road here before you get to Old State, he had one of those thrashing machines.  He would come around every year and go from one farm to the other, do the thrashing here in one day.  That’s when you cut it with a combine, shocked it up, let it set dry, then you hauled it in on thrashing day, and went through the situation there.

 

Interviewer:  You talked about raising hay, oats and wheat.  Now, what did you do with it?  I’m sure you had excess.  Where did you take it?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, you took your grain and stuff down to Zortman’s feed mill, or the old Agway, or down to Edinboro to get it ground up and made into your feed.  Of course, you done most of it yourself back in them days.  Now they come right to your farm and grind it up right there for you, the easy way.

 

Interviewer:  So you used a lot of it to make your feed with?

Kenneth Foy:  You used a lot of it to make the feed for your own cattle, right.  Of course, this fella did have…He had just about a square mile, right across from where I live here right now.  It was an old man by the name of Lewis.  He was a grandfather to some of my cousins.  I used to plant that to buckwheat for him.  You’d go down that field and back up; you’d get in just about an acre planted in one round.  He’d start plowing in the spring, and then he’d start fitting, then he’d plant that buckwheat, then he sold that all over to the mill in Albion there.  They’d come and buy it.

 

Interviewer:  Now did you guys raise any food-related crops for yourselves?

Kenneth Foy:  How do you mean?

Interviewer:  Like vegetables.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, my Dad used to do a lot of truck gardening.  That’s when they used to have a route into Erie.  They’d go around with your extra stuff, on a Saturday, and haul to these houses.  They were looking for you to come around and keep them supplied with their peas and beans and all that fresh stuff out of the garden, cucumbers, you know, and stuff like that.  A lot of them had a regular route back then.  Dad done that in his spare time, plus his other regular job.

 

Interviewer:  What was his regular job?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, he worked for Fairview Evergreen Nursery for quite a few years when I was kid there.  They’d give you a house to live in; they’d bring you a load of coal every year.  We had indoor plumbing there too.  This was back when the Second World War started we lived there.  And we were allowed to keep our own cow in the barn.  And his job was mostly drive a team in the daytime for them, and there was probably 40 or 50 head of beef cattle to take care of there.  It worked out pretty good.  Fifteen dollars a week and a house to live in, and that was it.  So, you lived on it back then.

 

Interviewer:  Now, when you were living on your grandfather’s farm there, what kind of chores were you responsible for?

Kenneth Foy:  What kind of chores was I responsible for?  We didn’t live there only about a year.  Of course, we had chickens, and of course the cows and stuff.  We had to milk about two or three cows.  We didn’t sell milk then.  My Dad worked into Erie, and we got milk from there.

 

Interviewer:  Did you guys do a lot of canning?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh sure, we always did that.  My wife still does that here, too.  You canned up everything and you dried beans and stuff like that.

 

Interviewer:  You guys grew beans too?

Kenneth Foy:  Do what?

Interviewer:  You grew beans too?
Kenneth Foy:  Well, the green beans and your dried beans and stuff.  Now the dried beans, we used to pull all them in the fall and put them in a scaffold up overhead in the barn.  When you wanted bean soup, why you went up there and you filled a burlap bag with all them beans that you pulled.  You stomped that and beat it and everything else to get them beans to shuck out, then you’d go out where the wind was blowing and dump them out of that and all the beans would fall down and all the shucks and all that would blow the other way.  You had to ‘winnow them,’ I believe that’s what they called it.

 

Interviewer:  We got some different businesses.  If you want to go through those if you remember any of them and their proprietors.

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  Do you know where Clair Wright Road is, over there in Franklin Township?  There was a Clair and Mrs. Wright that lived over there.  He had a sawmill.  And I used to take logs over there to have him saw them up.  When I first started out to working at the shop, why I needed some extra money so I started making pallets for them.  I’d take them over and the old engine on the thing would start down through it and the thing would die down, and he’d sit there whistling, look off into space, and wait for it to speed up again and get the rest of the way through the log.  I’d have to help him after nights in the shop there, but we got the job done.

 

Interviewer:  What shop were you working at then?

Kenneth Foy:  The only one I ever worked in, Penn Brass & Copper up to Erie there.

Interviewer:  Oh.  You’re time in the Penn…!

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah! 

 

Kenneth Foy:  Johnnie Gnagi had a sawmill too.  What’s the name of that road over there?

Bob:  I don’t know what it is.  It’s just off of Stancliff Road.

Kenneth Foy:  It’s just off of Stancliff.

 

Interviewer:  Now you take your own lumber to be cut, right?

Kenneth Foy:  Right.  I cut the logs, took them over, and had them saw them up for me over there, yeah.

 

Interviewer:  Did you do it with the old axe style or did you get a chainsaw?

Kenneth Foy:  No, I bought a chainsaw.  That was in about 1954.  That was the first one of them too.

 

Interviewer:  How did those work compared to the ones today?

Bob:  The old crosscut, that how we used to cut them!

Kenneth Foy:  The ones today are a lot more dependable than the ones back then, sure.

 

Interviewer:  What about a blacksmith shop?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, where was there a blacksmith shop around here?  I don’t remember none.

Bob:  I never remember one around here neither.  One in McLane, but I never knew of any around here.

 

Interviewer:  You mentioned a cheese factory.  Where exactly was that located?

Kenneth Foy:  Ivoray Road and Crane Road.  It was just a little ways down onto Ivoray Road there.  And there was living quarters up over the top of it, and that’s where my uncle lived.  And a guy by the name of Louie McBeth owned the cheese factory.  That’s where all the farmers sent their milk in there.  Then they’d cook it down in those big tanks, all right?  Those tanks were about four foot wide by 16, 20 foot long.  Then they’d go in there and they’d slice that up once they got it all cooked down to, like, it was curd in there.  Then they’d put it into these big, round…what are they, 20 inches diameter cheeses, those round ones?  With the cheesecloth and salt and stuff and into boxes, and they’d put that into a big press.  It would probably be ten foot long, lined up with them cheeses, and squeeze that down in there with the big old crank they had on the end of it.  Then they’d set it in the back room to age.  It was all shelves in there with these cheeses sitting up there.

 

Interviewer:  Do you know what kinds they made?

Kenneth Foy:  Plain old yellow cheese is all I ever knew!

Interviewer:  Just good old American cheese!

 

Interviewer:  Ok, mechanics.

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, there were a lot of guys that were handy at being mechanics…

Interviewer:  Just about everybody was a mechanic!

Kenneth Foy:  They had to be a mechanic!  Like the guy I worked for, Marion Krautter.  He had this old lathe in the shop he had rigged up, and an old style hollow transmission he’d set different speeds on and so on.  A lot of homemade stuff back then.  You made do with what you had then.

Bob:  Old Marion had a machine shop over in Cleveland before he moved over here.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, Marion.  He knew about engines.  He’d overhaul engines or put a windshield in for people.  His brother Bob Krautter bought the place that we did live in Franklin Center and he had like a garage over there, too, where he done mechanic work.

 

Interviewer:  Merchants?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  Rodak’s Store, over to Franklin Center which is right across…  the kids would go over there.  We could go over there and for ten cents, why Mrs. Rodak would make you up a sandwich at lunchtime.  That was if you didn’t have a sandwich with you, you could do it like that and of course that worked pretty good there too!  And of course, there was Mikovich’s; they had a store over at Ivoray Corners.  They sold feed over there, and groceries and horse collars.  I can remember them hanging out in front there and stuff like that.  And, that store over there when we lived on Mohawk Road, it was a two mile ride.  But if Mom would run out of bread and she didn’t have any baked, I’d get on my bike and ride over to that store, to Mikovich’s at Ivoray, and get a couple loaves of bread.  Bread was eleven cents a loaf then!  And haul it back home on your bicycle and think nothing of it, you know!  Nowadays, kids, they got to be hauled every place!

 

Interviewer:  Now what were any other places around town that sold gasoline for automobiles?

Kenneth Foy:  Rodak’s sold gasoline at their store in Franklin Center.  They had one of those old pumps with the big old long handle on the bottom and the glass thing up to the top where you’d measured it out.  And after you got it up there, you’d drain it back into the car.  And they sold oil there.

Interviewer:  The old siphon style.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah.

 

Interviewer:  Any more merchants?

Kenneth Foy:  No wagon makers.  There was a lot of …there were feed mills around here, one right in Franklin Center.  Bob here, he worked at that one over there.  Ted Roan owned that.  And then after Roan, Sumner Wells bought the thing and had a feed mill over there.  I remember hauling feed out of there with Welly [Editor’s note—not on video, Luella was her name but we called her Welly] his wife driving that old truck that the brakes didn’t work very good and the steering was real loose, but we got the feed hauled with it anyway!

Bob:  Perry Mills in that old house that where he ground his feed was right in the house.

Kenneth Foy:  That’s where he done his?

Bob:  In the house.

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.

 

Interviewer:  What about stone quarry?  I know there was one around here.

Bob:  That’s down to Francis. 

Kenneth Foy:  No, I don’t remember that.

Bob:  Well, you remember where Howard Falls is down there, right.  Well, right there’s where the stone quarry was, on the east side of the Francis Road.

Kenneth Foy:  Oh.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any oil drilling or anything around?

Kenneth Foy:  No, there was none of those back then.

 

Interviewer:  No shoemakers?

Kenneth Foy:  Nope!

 

Interviewer:  I know there had to be some doctors or dentists, though.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, the nearest doctor was Doc Greer over in Albion there.

 

Interviewer:  You didn’t have any locals that made house calls?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, Doc Greer always made house calls.  When I was first married, we lived in Erie.  One winter, he would even stop in there because the hospitals would call him up and could use some help.  When he finished his things in Erie at the hospital, why he’d stop up at your house too, even if it were in Erie or whatever, yeah.

Bob:  Then there was Thompson (?) from McKean was a doctor.  He made house calls.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, Doc Florek used to make house calls out here in Franklin Township too.  My buddy, Bob Santos, they always had Doc Florek come out and stuff years ago there.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  Leather goods.

Kenneth Foy:  Nope.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  Tinkers and horse and cattle dealers.

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, horse and cattle dealers.  There was a guy by the name of, people always called him, he was a Jew, lived over on 99 there.  What the heck was his name?

Bob:  Goldsmith?

Kenneth Foy:  Goldsmith, yeah.

Bob:  He was a cattle dealer.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, he’d come around and buy your cattle once every…

Bob:  Then there was a Blount in McKean, a John Blount.  He used to do a deal with horses.

Kenneth Foy:  They always came around, hunting through the Township and anybody who had…

Bob:  Paul Soety used to deal in horses.  And Lewis over here traded horses with him, un-sight un-seen.  He’d brought a horse over, Soety brought a horse over.  He said turn it out.  So, he turned it out in the pasture.  And he asked him, “Where’s my horse?”  And he said, “Oh, down there by the house.”  And he walked down around there to the house; he couldn’t see nothing.  He said, “Well, it’s right down there.”  He said, “I haven’t seen it go anywhere else!”  So, he had to take him down and show him it was one of these old sawhorses!  He’d got hooked Soety quite a few times, so he got even with him!  What was that Lewis’s name over here, Kirk Lewis?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, that’s the guy I used to plant buckwheat for in the field there.

Bob:  Yeah, he’s the one that got even with Soety!

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, he used to come down, and he was so old then.  He just had that one Ford tractor.  He couldn’t hardly get on or off of that thing.  He’d bring candy down to my kids when I lived down here on the road.  He thought that was a pretty big deal when he’d bring them a little bag of candy.  He’d pretty near have to crawl on his hands and knees to get across that ditch to get up to the road to come over to the house there.  But he’d get out on that tractor and just set there and go all day long.  Steady with that thing.  Old Kirk Lewis.

 

Interviewer:  Did you do any trading?

Kenneth Foy:  Not a whole lot, no.  I do remember you were talking about businesses.  Do you remember the fox farm?  Has anyone told you about the one that Harris had over to the corner of …that was Fry Road…

Bob:  Well, it used to be Townline and Fry, no, Townline and Old State.  Now it’s Fry Road and Old State.

Kenneth Foy:  It’s over where the LeSuer’s live over there now.  He had a big fox farm right down the road there, with a walk-in freezer and stuff.  That was one of the businesses around here.  And they always done real well with that too.

 

Interviewer:  Now, did you ever eat fox meat?

Kenneth Foy:  Did I ever eat fox meat?  No.  I don’t think I’d ever want to!

Interviewer:  They mainly just did the fox pelts with the fox farm?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, they sold the pelts, that’s what they did.  They made a living with that, right.

 

Interviewer:  What did they do with the meat?  Was it used in feed or anything?

Kenneth Foy:  I have no idea what they would do after they’d skinned them out then.

 

Interviewer:  Well, now we’re down to the prices of things.  We’ve already talked about bread being eleven cents a loaf.  I got to get some of that!  Milk.  You probably didn’t have to buy a whole lot of it, did you?

Bob:  It used to be you could get three loaves for a quarter!

Kenneth Foy:  Ok!

 

Interviewer:  How much was that cheese down at the cheese factory?

Kenneth Foy:  I didn’t buy it.  I know it was reasonable.  All the farmers, they’d get the cheese back from there when they wanted some themselves.  They’d buy it there.

 

Interviewer:  Butter?  You made your own?

Kenneth Foy:  We made our own, right.

 

Interviewer:  Flour?

Kenneth Foy:  I didn’t buy the groceries back then, my parents did, so…!

 

Bob:  Back in the 30s, your kerosene was seven cents a gallon.  Fuel was six.  And you were buying gas for 18 cents a gallon.

Kenneth Foy:  I remember gas being 15 cents in Erie.  We’d go in there to do our shopping in there on the weekend.  My parents, they’d go once a week.  They’d go to the big store to get all their supplies in for the whole week, you know.  You’d see them signs--15 cents a gallon.  And they had Model As on just about every other corner it seemed like, with a 25 dollar price tag on them.  Well, don’t you wish you could buy one of them now for that!

 

Interviewer:  What about clothing?  Do you remember the prices for clothing at all?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, in the early 50s, a new pair of dungarees was $1.98.  I remember buying them then, yeah.

 

Interviewer:  And toys?

Kenneth Foy:  We didn’t have a whole lot of toys, not like kids do now.  We made a lot of our own or we were out doing something outside instead of monkeying around in the house.

 

Interviewer:  What about candy?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, when we went to high school over there, we used to go into…. Who’s the ones that had that Five & Ten over there?  Doggone it all!

Bob:  Well, Browns had it for a while, and then…

Kenneth Foy:  It was a family name, they had like a store…  Of course, candy was scarce during the Second World War.  If anyone had a candy bars…  We got out of school for about an hour or two.  Remember we’d go and fish off their bridge, down by the old feed mill?

Bob:  A lot of times years ago, they used to make their own candy.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, but if anyone had them, we’d buy that or buy cough drops or stuff like that.  And for a dime, you could get a dime’s worth of them Spanish peanuts, and they’d give you about a half a pound of them.  And you’d have them eaten by the time you got back to the high school, though, too.

 

Interviewer:  What about farm and land values?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, these 35 acres that I originally bought here…  I own another 60 over there too.  In 1961, I gave $1500.00 for it.  Now what’s it worth now?  See, you follow me onto that part, yeah?  The original farm over there, 60 acres with a house and barn on it, I gave $4800.00 for that.  I bought it in the early, mid-50s there, right.

 

Interviewer:  What were house values like?

Kenneth Foy:  A lot less than they are now, that’s for sure!

Bob:  You could rent a house for two dollars!

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, I suppose you could!

Bob:  Yeah!  You could rent a place for two dollars a month!

Kenneth Foy:  Well, I paid $50.00 a month for rent in Erie, back in ’53, ’54 then.

Interviewer:  Wow.

 

Interviewer:  What about furniture and household goods?  Do you remember buying your first furniture?

Kenneth Foy:  Buying the first what?

Interviewer:  Furniture.

Kenneth Foy:  No, I don’t remember buying much of that.  We’ve had everything we got here is homemade, been here and been around for a long time here!

 

Interviewer:  Now, your jobs.  You mentioned you’ve basically been at the Penn all those years…

Kenneth Foy:  No, I spent four years in the Navy.

 

Interviewer:  You mentioned baling some hay.  Was that when you were teenager?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  I used to work for a dollar a day for Howards, down on Rt. 98 there.  A dollar a day and your room and board.  They had an old hay baler.  They tied it up with those wire bales.  As they come through, you had to stand over there and twist them wires together to tie it up and stuff like that.  Then I worked for Jess Tarbell over to Edinboro on the farms over there.  I’d go out and hoe potatoes and help him with the cows.  They had a bigger dairy over there.  Of course, you made better money then, of course.  But living back over here to Franklin Center, I thought nothing of coming back over here in the evening from over there.  Ride a bike from back there, then I’d get up in the morning and do chores.  Kids thought nothing of it.  You could ride the highways then, it was safe, you know.  I worked for the Fairview Evergreen Nursery too when I was about 14 years old, yeah.  We got 40 cents an hour.  You worked 10 hours a day, six days a week, and got 60 hours for 40 cents an hour.  At the end of the week, you got an envelope with your name on it and 24 dollars cash in it.  That’s how it was back then.  Back then, you could get a double-dip ice cream cone for a nickel!

 

Interviewer:  And what was your job there in the nursery?

Kenneth Foy:  With the hoe gang or the weed gang, or whatever.  They put you with a whole bunch of people going down through the field.  Everybody had a row to hoe.  They done it by hand back then.  If you were a boy, you were expected to keep up with the men.  I remember I got in trouble there one time too.  There was a guy by the name of Doug Thrall (?).  They were always kidding about him, that he was afraid of mice, and so on.  And I thought, “What the heck?”  I was going down through, hoeing my row and I came across a nest of mice one day. I thought, “Hey, I’ll have some fun with this!”  So I went over and said, “Hey Doug, I found something!” and handed that out to him.  Poor old Doug, he just about passed out right there and had…Boy, old Charlie Hetz was the supervisor then, and he came over and gave me heck up one side and down the other, and said “Don’t you ever do that again!”  It was just something he was terrified of, like some people are terrified of heights and stuff like that.  I didn’t know he was that scared of them, you know!

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any old Civil War or World War I veterans living in the area?

Kenneth Foy:  There used to be a guy by the name of Grant that lived down west of Franklin Center on the Old State Road there.  And he always used to have all the flags out and people used to say that he was from the Civil War.  But his name was Grant, and that’s all I can remember of him.  Now this is way back…you’re going back to 1942, ’43, somewheres in that area there.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  Do you want to talk about churches in the Township?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, there’s the Franklin Center church.  That’s been over there for years.  I remember I even had the job…I lived right behind it.  I’d go over there and make sure you got the fire started for Sunday morning.  That’s all they had for heat over there.  Of course, sometimes when you’re a kid it’s kind of hard to get up.  But when people come into church and the place is still kind of cold, well you get a few dirty looks out of that!

 

Interviewer:  Well, who was the pastor over there?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh, boy, back then…I don’t remember that.  That’s too far back in there.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any other churches around?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  There was a church right down here to the corner on Crane Road, at Crane and Eureka.  Got that?  I remember going there once or twice for services, and they still had one of those old pump organs in there, where you’d have sit there and pump them while they played the things.  But that’s been gone for quite a while there now too.

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  What did you do for fun, entertainment and recreation?  We talked about hunting and fishing.

Kenneth Foy:  Well, we’d go swimming and stuff.  We trapped in the wintertime when we were kids.  You could always make a few bucks.  Muskrats were bringing in as much money then as they are now.  And if you could make three or four dollars a week with that, that’s pretty good money back then, you know.  And like I said, we used to camping and stuff like that.  When I worked for those Krautter's, and Vogt's down there doing haying, when we’d get done at night, Albert would let me have his car and we’d load up all the neighborhood kids, we’d go down to Struchen’s Flats, and we’d go for a swim down there.  That was a big deal.  And then they used to have box socials over there in the Town Hall down in Franklin Center.

 

Interviewer:  What are the box socials?

Kenneth Foy:  That’s where all the young ladies, they would pack up a box lunch or whatever and they’d auction them off trying to raise money for them.  Whoever pays the most money for it gets to eat dinner with that lady.  That’s the way it went there.  They’d decorate them all up and stuff like that.  I even tried to be an auctioneer there two or three times, and that worked all right there too.

 

Interviewer:  Were there any dances there in the Center, do you remember?

Bob:  I remember some dances down in the Town Hall down there.

Kenneth Foy: Where was this at?

Bob:  Down in Franklin Center there.

Kenneth Foy: They used to have dances in that Town Hall?

Bob:  Oh, yeah.  Upstairs, oh yeah.

Kenneth Foy: I know it was a big old hall up there.  I went up there and helped Thora Harris paint the thing one time.

Bob:  Oh yeah.

Kenneth Foy: They used to have the Ladies’ Aid over there too.  Once a week, when I went to the one room school, or once a month I guess it must have been they’d meet over there.  They always served dinner and we could go over there, to the Town Hall and eat.  The Ladies’ Aid had the dinner over there then.  And of course, you played a lot of music at home all the time.  You’d get together over to other people’s houses and with the guitar, accordion, fiddle, or whatever.

 

Interviewer:  What did you play?  Did you play anything?

Kenneth Foy:  I used to be able to play the fiddle a little bit.  You know Larry Pieper down here; you’re acquainted with him.  He works for the Township and he’s part of starting this thing up.  He and his wife got their own band and they’ve been playing for years now, too.  When we were kids, I was trying to pick the fiddle up, and Larry, he was a lot better than I was.  He could even pick one up and play it behind his head!

 

Interviewer:  You mentioned the school gatherings when you’d go and have the cookout and everything.  Were there any other church or school functions other than that?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, Christmastime, we’d always put on plays, you know, at the school and the parents would always come there at night or whatever.  They’d have the kids get up there and do skits and so on and so forth, which you always hated to do--get up in front of anybody and do anything like that.  And they’d have a Halloween program over there too.  I know I was outside one night and scraping the soap off my Dad’s windows.  The kids, they liked to go out and soap everybody’s windows and here Mrs. Mischler came up behind me and said “Ah hah, I caught you now!”  I stepped back and said “No, you don’t.  This is my Dad’s car, and I’m taking it off, not putting it on!”  So, she had to relax on to that part!

 

Interviewer:  What do you remember about politics and government early on?

Kenneth Foy:  Not a whole lot about the politics or government.  I remember they had what they would be the State Road Superintendent.  He lived over there on Old State Road.  It was Perry Mills.  And they had a pile of cinders they’d bring in there and dump out on the corner right there every winter.  And to get the road cindered and stuff, why, Tony Santos and maybe one or two other ones worked with him, they’d shovel those cinders onto the back of Perry’s pickup, down to Ryan hill they’d go with that thing, and as they’d drive up the hill, they’d shovel them off.  And that’s they way they spread the cinders back in then.  And of course, in the summer, that’s when they’d do the other maintenance work on the roads too there.

 

Interviewer:  What were the roads like generally?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  These township roads, every spring you figured you weren’t going to go.  Even when I lived down here back in the ‘50s.  The bottom would go out of these roads.  And after the frost run out, you’d park down on the hard road and walk back and forth.  Even in the ‘50s we done that, still then.  Johnny Gnagi used to be one of the old supervisors for Franklin Township years ago.  They bought an old Cletrac tractor.  They had a big v-plow on the front.  Can you imagine today trying to plow these Township roads with an old cleat track tractor and a v-plow?  And that’s the way they opened the roads up back then.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any of the assessors, constables, school directors or justices?

Kenneth Foy:  Assessors or constables?  No.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember anyone from the Township that went on to higher political office?

Kenneth Foy:  No, not really.

 

Interviewer:  How about old names of Township roads; roads that they changed the names of over the years?

Kenneth Foy:  Bob could probably tell you some of those.

Bob:  Well, there’s some change, yeah, but I don’t know over in this part of the country so much as over in McKean Township.

 

Kenneth Foy:  I can remember when the first snow blower came through.  We were snowed in over to Franklin Center.  State Route 98 was impassable.  Snow about three or four feet deep on that.  And they came through with a snow blower mounted on a truck.  It was the first one I had ever seen.  Of course, they were blowing it off to the sides.  They knocked out quite a few people’s windows in Franklin Center when they came through with that outfit.

 

Interviewer:  Was that in ’45, the bad storms?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, about ’45, right.

 

Interviewer:  Didn’t they have the Army involved in clearing the roads there?  That’s what I’ve been told…

Kenneth Foy:  We never seen no Army come out here, no.  I know Marion Krautter had a load of milk sitting in our driveway on the other side, and he couldn’t go through with it.  There was a guy with a semi, he camped out at Rodak’s for three or four days that time.  He was going to go; he had a load of perishables, soon as that snowplow came through.  And Marion told him “You’re going to go up there and get stuck.”  And the guy said, “I got a load.  I got to go.”  And Marion said, “You ain’t going nowheres.”  A second look at Marion, and he didn’t go nowheres either!  He didn’t try no more.

Bob:  Well, Banko had a store up there on 98.

Kenneth Foy:  Right.  Straight across from here on 98, there was a store too.

Bob:  In ’44 or ’45, you could stand in that store and you couldn’t even see a semi go down the road, they snow was piled up so high!

Kenneth Foy:  Well, this road that you came down over here…I can remember after I moved in here, that would have been about ’56.  We were snowed in, and they had plowed it up so far on each side it was one lane down through there.  It was like you said, you could sit on either side, and if you’d meet somebody, you’d pretty near have to get out and flip a coin to see who was going to back up to the nearest driveway.  We were that snowed in, they couldn’t even get through with snowplows.  They’d come through with crawler tractors down through this field there where that pond, that big pond is, to open up the road.  That’s the way they opened the road up back then.  Other than that, you walked back and forth.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any major natural disasters?  I guess that storm, that bad snow storm could count.

Kenneth Foy:  That would be about it right there.

 

Interviewer:  Now, you talked about snow plowing.  What ethnic backgrounds do you remember?  I know there were a lot of immigrants who came over.

Kenneth Foy:  There were a lot of Germans around here.  Like the Vogt’s and the Krautter’s, they were all German.  Two families and they inter-married there.  The Petrus’ over there, they were Slovak if I remember right.

Bob:  In 1919, just south of Goodban’s Corners, my folks lived there.  That was the year I was born.  My Dad drove his team in on the barn floor, got the barn door shut, and the barn went off over the top of him.

Kenneth Foy:  That was a pretty windy day then.

Bob:  That was a windy day!

 

Kenneth Foy:  I can remember them telling about my parents’ grandparents.  They would do their trading in to Erie.  My Granddad would get up and leave before daylight in the morning with a team of horses and drive them into Erie.  He’d take a load of hay with him, and maybe sell that load of hay in there wherever they kept horses into Erie.  I can still remember them going by and seeing the horses in town there.  Then, drive back home that night with your groceries and stuff like that and get home maybe midnight or whatever.  Can you imagine driving 40 miles in a day with a team of horses?!

 

Bob: Well, a lot of them took the hay into the Erie County Milk Plant.  They used to deliver milk in there with horses.

 

[Break in videotape]

 

Interviewer:  Now what was that store you mentioned?

Kenneth Foy:  McKinley Store in Franklin Center.  They’re the ones who owned it before Rodak’s bought the store over there.

Bob:  I don’t know what year your Rodak’s bought it.  McKinley was still there when we moved away in ’23.

 

Interviewer:  We were talking about different ethnic groups around here.  German families and . . .

Kenneth Foy:  There were German families around here, and there were a lot of Polish families too.  Next door to where we used to live on Eureka Road was a Polish family.  And that lady could make the grape wine for her husband.  And, boy, you never had wine that tasted as good as that was!  I tried it a couple times after I got out of the service, sparkling red and, boy, that was really, really good!  Ann Aleksiewicz, that’s what her name was.

 

Interviewer:  They had their own grape vines then?

Kenneth Foy:  Right, they had their own grape vines and stuff like that.  She made it every year for Frank, I think her husband was.

 

Interviewer:  Of a lot of the different ethnic families, were you close with any of them?

Kenneth Foy:  Well, I was close with the Santos’ over there, and they were Portuguese.  I remember Bobbie’s mother, Sadie.  She used to make the best spaghetti sauce you ever tasted too!  It would be out on the wood stove cooking all day long.  And she made spaghetti--they had the real stuff back then too!

 

Interviewer:  I was wondering about their food, too.  The German and Polish and different people…

Kenneth Foy:  We didn’t have too much of that German ethnic food or nothing like that.  No, they were just plain old meat and potatoes that was the main thing there.

 

Interviewer:  You mentioned the cattle guy was Jewish.  Did he live around here?

Kenneth Foy:  He lived on Rt. 99, over there almost where the high school is now.

 

Interviewer:  Now was he a fresh immigrant, the Jewish family there?

Bob:  They come over here in ’38.  They were from Germany.

Interviewer:  They got out in time.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, they got out from over there.  Well, Johnnie Gnagi, his folks were from Switzerland, so that’s Swiss on that part there.  G-N-A-G-I if you wanted to know how to spell it or whatever.

 

Interviewer:  You knew a lot of these families, then?

Kenneth Foy:  Oh yeah, you knew a lot of them.  Of course, a lot of them they would be speaking their Polish or Czechoslovakian or whatever and you couldn’t understand what they wanted to talk.  So you couldn’t understand them and they’d use that old language there.  Like that lady Sadie I told you about over in Franklin Center there.  A lot of them women would come there, and so most of them could only understood English, but some of them could understand the other languages, and they’d be yakking away at that.  Of course, the other women they weren’t very happy with that!

Bob:  There used to be a Slavic family lived down on Ivoray Road.  Used to come to the store over here when Roan was over here.  You remember Roan?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah.

Bob:  Well, I was working there.  Well, he came in there and he was going around telling me different items in his language and then he wanted me to tell them in ours.  You know, every day that it rained, he was up there and he’d go around telling me things in his language and then he wanted me to tell him . . . You know, we got so he could come in and tell me what he wanted in his language and I could go right around and pick it up.

Kenneth Foy:  It was like a homegrown grammar school over there!

 

Interviewer:  I’m sure a lot of these families were just learning English coming over and everything.

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, a lot of them were learning English just coming over here, right.

 

Interviewer:  I was wondering if you knew why any of them came over here and to this area in particular.

Kenneth Foy:  A lot of them came from the coalmines and stuff up here because they wanted to farm and they wanted some land of their own.  They wanted to get out of the coalmines and the steel mills down to Pittsburgh and get out in the country like they had lived in their homeland before.  That’s why they settled out around here.

Interviewer:  Ok.

Bob: Well, a lot of them, they’d come in, and they’d just keep moving in, farther all the time.

 

Interviewer:  Do you remember any diseases prevalent during your childhood?

Kenneth Foy:  No.  Of course, you always had the mumps and the chickenpox, the measles, and all that stuff, right. 

Bob:  Scarlet fever.

Kenneth Foy:  I don’t remember scarlet fever.  They used to quarantine for some of those things, though.

Bob:  Well, even for chickenpox and measles, whooping cough, they used to quarantine.

Kenneth Foy: Yeah.  They put a sign on people’s door “Quarantined.”  Remember ours would be in the window there?  I remember that now that you mention it, sure.

Bob:  My mother, I don’t know just how old she was.  Well, it was before 1904.  She had scarlet fever and she lost all of her hair.  I got a picture of her when she was 19 in 1904 and she had her wig on then.  And you know, everybody didn’t know she’d ever worn a wig.  They couldn’t figure out how come her hair never colored!  But she always wore that wig.  And neighbors and whatnot like that, they never knew the difference.

 

Kenneth Foy:  I mentioned in there that I worked for Krautter’s down there, too.  When I was working for Marion Krautter, his brother Carl up there had a team of horses that he wanted to sell.  Ok, at twelve dollars a week, I bought that team of horses for 60 dollars.  Two horses and a harness.  The harness needed a little patching and stuff like that.  Well, I had never plowed with one of those walking plows that you walk behind with the handles like the old cultivators.  Well, I tried plowing out in the springtime to get in there before Dad could get in there with a tractor when it was still wet.  But doggone it; I couldn’t get those things to walk straight!  So, I went back to the pasture and I practiced up and learned how to do that.  Then I come out here and then I plowed that field out there by the road where the people could see it.  And that team of horses, my buddy and I used them more for riding than we did anything else.  We’d ride them at nighttime with gunnysacks over our shoulders and ride them down to Elk Creek to spear suckers with a flashlight.  Come back home with them and of course smoke the suckers up and they always got used and stuff like that.

Bob:  There used to be a lot of suckers over here in Edinboro Lake.  But I don’t think you can even find one there anymore.

Kenneth Foy:  There used to be over on Crane Road in those creeks there, you could spear suckers in the springtime, but not now though.

 

Interviewer:  Now suckers, is that a fish?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, that’s a fish, yeah.  They run up the creeks in the springtime to spawn.  Like in Elk Creek down here, they’d come in from Lake Erie.  The creek would be black with them on the bottom there.

 

Interviewer:  Are they like carp?

Bob:  No.  Well, there was carp over there too.  But these are different…

[Light crashes.]

Kenneth Foy:  Well, that’s the end of that.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I guess we go without the light now.

Kenneth Foy:  It didn’t like those illegal activities we were talking about here!

 

Interviewer:  Ok.  What did people die from at an early age?  And what did adults die from in the area?

Kenneth Foy:  What was that disease where they crippled you?  Polio.  I remember my uncle coming down with polio when they lived over on Mohawk Road.  They had no telephone or whatever then and I remember my cousin, my girl cousin had to ride about two miles on her bicycle to give the Doc a call that night.  He ended up being crippled in his legs and stuff there too by polio.  That was one of the diseases back then.

 

Interviewer:  And that’s still one that’s with us, too.  Where are the different cemeteries around here?

Kenneth Foy:  Ok.  There’s a Francis Cemetery.  That would still be…is that still Franklin Township down there?

Bob:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Where’s that at?

Kenneth Foy:  Down off of State Road.

Bob:  I don’t know what road that is.  Is that Gudgeonville Road that goes right straight through?

Kenneth Foy:  Yeah, that’s got to be Gudgeonville Road.  (To his wife in the next room)  Is that where Francis Cemetery is, Gudgeonville Road?  You don’t know either?  Of course, there’s the old cemetery over here to Edinboro.  You know where that is right on the lake and stuff there.  There is some old cemeteries down the road here, but they’re not in Franklin Township too.

 

Interviewer:  Is there anything that we missed that you’d like to bring up?

Kenneth Foy:  That’s about all I can think of.  That’s why I had Bob along here.  I figured he’s got a better memory than I do.  If he remembers, he’s a better talker too!

Bob:  Well, you was doing pretty good there boy!

 

Interviewer:  Well, thanks for your time.

 

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Revised: 04/10/12.