Tuesday, June 3, 2014

John F. Froman, Coal Miner - 52 Ancestors

John F. Froman was a coal miner by the time he was 17 years old, in 1880, though he probably started when he was younger.  It's not surprising that he began work at an early age considering the times in which he lived and that his father, John Froman, had died when John F. was not yet 9 years old.  John F. was the oldest of 7 children, left fatherless with their widowed mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman.

John F. was born on January 18, 1863.  He attended school for at least a year or two and learned to read and write.  He may have taken on the role of man of the family after his father's death, or at least when he became a young adult.  In the 1880 U.S. Census he was still living at home with his mother and younger siblings in Pymatuning Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.  By 1900 he and his family had moved to Stoneboro, Pennsylvania.  In that year's census he was noted as the head of a household in a home where his widowed mother and widowed brother, Jacob, also lived. 

Life would have changed for him and for his mother and brother, too, with John's marriage on February 9, 1910.  John was a few weeks shy of his 47th birthday when he married Rebecca Lynch, a dress maker from Franklin, Pennsylvania, who was a few weeks shy of her 46th birthday.  He lived in Stoneboro; she lived in Franklin.  The distance between was 125 miles!  How did they meet?  How did John manage their courtship from such a distance?  However it was, he succeeded in wooing her and they wed.

Rebecca moved to John's home where his mother and brother were still living:  two families, same home.  It does cross my mind to wonder how newlywed Rebecca managed living with in-laws.  That can sometimes be a delicate balance.

In 1910 John is listed as a farmer in the census but in 1920, he is listed once again as a coal miner.  It would have been hard work for a man of 56 years.  By 1930 he was no longer working in the mines but was a laborer working on the streets.  I don't know but assume that might mean street construction and/or repair. 

In 1928 John's mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman died.  It must have made a difficult financial situation for John and Rebecca because he and Rebecca had taken in boarders by 1930.  The LeRoy Blackmon family, husband, wife, and 3 year-old daughter, were boarding with them.

John F. Froman died at the age of 73, on May 18, 1936.  Rebecca lived until November, 1952.  Having married late, they had no children.

This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


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1 comment:

  1. I wonder too about my ancestors who found a mate several counties away. Was there a mutual friend or relative? An ad in the newspaper?


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