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Contributed by Karen Mitchell Interviewed by Rosalyn McCain Herman F. Mazzone, born 4-2-1903 Parents - Charles Mazzone and Caroline Largo Massini Maternal grandfather - David Largo Massini Ethnic group - Italian Family origin - Father born in Tennessee; Mother born Genoa, Italy, to Cincinnati, Ohio to Memphis Date of family arrival in County - 1871 Location of first family settlement - Walsenburg Kinship ties - sister, Isabel Mazzone; niece, Alyne Tressel; two children in California, Annette Engles and Peggy Mintz
This is Rosalyn McCain, and I am talking with Herman Mazzone at his
home in Walsenburg.
RM: When did your family first come to Huerfano County?
HM: My father came first. He came in 1871.
RM: Is that right, that's very early isn't it?
RM: And where did he come from?
HM: He came from Cincinatti.
RM: Cincinatti, and what brought him here, what was his interest here?
HM: Well, his brother-in-law had an idea of establishing a farm out here
where he could raise thoroughbred race horses. He was a man engaged in the
jewelry business in Cincinatti, and he was wealthy, and this was kind of a
hobby for him to raise race horses and rare air in high altitude air. He
thought he could raise better race horses. So he came out here and bought a
farm and he brought my father with him. His name was Herman Duhme, and he
established a homestead out on the Santa, Clara and he bought a lot of property
in Walsenburg, in Huerfano County. And he did come out and start to raise
horses, and he got interested in the country, and he loved it. But his wife
didn't agree with him. So he stayed about 4 or 5 years and left. But in the
meantime he established the first newspaper in Walsenburg and.
RM: And what was the name of it?
HM: I can't recall right off. I think it was Walsenburg World, something
like that. Anyway he left, and my dad in the meantime put up a saloon and
started in the saloon business. Later he got established as a citizen of
Walsenburg. Of course this was before Colorado became a state.
HM: It wasn't a state at that time. It became a state in 1876, so as I
recall he was elected the first mayor. My Dad was.
RM: Is that right?
HM: Yes. In the meantime before Herman Duhme left, he was also elected to
the state legislature, and there's been some history written about him, which
Mrs. Walker has in La Veta. There is a letter there written to one of the
county officials after he left here, telling his life in Huerfano County.
You can get that from that source. In fact I have a copy of it here. And
that's the extent of our family, that is up to the time he raised a large
family. In fact there's 13 of us in the family, and I was the 13th.
RM: You were the last son.
RM: I was the last son.
RM: That is a big family.
HM: And my dad built many buildings in Walsenburg including where the present
Black and White grocery store is. That's where his original saloon was.
RM: Is that right?
HM: Yes. Well, I take that back. He had a saloon down on Main Street in
the 700 block before he put the saloon up to where it was before he retired,
and he still owns some property in Walsenburg, as a result of his coming to
Walsenburg, and building up the town. At one time he had five mercantile
buildings on Main Street. He built all five of those mercantile buildings.
RM: Is that right?
HM: Yes, and that's about the extent of the Mazzone family.
RM: Now, where did your mother come from?
HM: She came from Italy.
RM: And when did she come to the county?
HM: She came here in about 1872 or '3 or somewhere around there and married
shortly after she came.
RM: What was her maiden name?
RM: Did she come here with her family?
HM: No, all the Mazzone family, all 13 were born here.
RM: And where did she meet your father?
HM: In as far as I know, he was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and he was
married in Cincinatti. And she came over from Italy to meet him and married
him through family connections. Notice in the olden days I suppose the family
made arrangements for weddings, one family matching up the daughter and son
of another family.
RM: Did she know any English when she came?
HM: Not too much. She acquired most of her English. She was born in Italy
in Genoa, Italy, and of course she could talk Italian, and he could too. My
dad could also talk Italian but he was born in the United States, so he naturally
taught her most of her English, and she became very fluent.
RM: So did they marry young? Did she start having a large family when she
HM: Yes, they were married quite young. I forget just how young they were,
but it was quite young.
RM: And how many brothers and how many sisters did you have of the 13.
HM: Well, let's see, there was 7 sisters and 6 brothers.
RM: A nice big family. You didn't get bored growing up then, did you?
HM: No. Honey I tell you not.
RM: A lot of things going on?
HM: He was among the first families to come here outside of the Spanish
people that lived here at that time like the Jose DeLeon family. Practically
all this area in here, East of Main Street was the ranch that they owned. In
fact, at one time they were contemplating naming the town Jose DeLeon, to the
DeLeon families. Then of course the Atencios took over the, what they called
the Atencio sub division. It was just east of the city limits at that time.
And they had that as a ranch for a long time until it eventually became sub-
divided into lots and blocks and was added on to the town.
RM: So Walsenburg really started as a ranching area then, didn't it?
HM: Oh, yes.
RM: What are the changes that you've seen in those terms going from a ranch-
ing area to..
HM: Well, shortly after my dad was here, he was the first person to burn
coal. They didn't know they had coal here. He bought a coal stove which
was startling to most of the inhabitants at that time. And they never seen
a coal stove before. Of course, coming from the East he knew about burning
coal, and so he started taking coal out of this vein that nobody owned at
that time. I mean it was owned, but It wasn't promoted and developed. And
he started using coal before the coal mines ever began to open up. And I
can't tell you the dates they first opened the coal mines.
RM: Now was your family ever in the coal business?
RM: They never got into mining?
HM: No, I think before any local people got interested in the coal mines
the CF&I saw the advantages of taking up most of the land around here for
coal purposes when they established the CF&I Steel mills in Pueblo. And
this was a likely spot for coal which tere using a lot of to develop steel.
And they acquired most of the coal land around here.
RM: So they were the ones that bought the land first and were the early coal
HM: Of course, later then some of the local people like the Dicks and George
Bruce and there was Turner, John Turner and several others that were local
people, you know who came long after the original families came and opened up
RM: So they were the independent operators here?
HM: That's right. There was several of those.
RM: Now were they mostly pretty small operations, or were some of them rather
HM: Yes, they were small in comparison to CF&I. CF&I had, oh, I'd say about
6 or 7 large mines, real large mines, like Pictou, Walsen, Rouse, Lester,
Pryor, and then the other mines were owned by local individuals, independent
miners, like Ravenwood, Morton, Delcarbon.
RM: And who were the different owners of the different mines?
HM: Well, a fellow by the name of Tommy Thompson organized the companys
called the Calumet Fuel Company. It was operating just south of Walsenburg,
at a coal camp called Ravenwood. Then there was the... He also mined north of
Walsenburg called, I can't think of the name right off, but he had 2 or 3 mines.
And then a fellow by the name of Turner, Jim Turner started the mine at Del-
carbon and it was later sold to the Delcarbon. Well, it was latter called
the Delcarbon Coal Company. And oh, there was several mines. Then there was
a mine up around La Veta called the Oakdale Coal Company, and that was indi-
cidually or independently owned. But all other mines, most all the other mines
were CF&I owned. And they produced demestic coal for wide spread use, not
in the county, particularly Huerfano County. These small mines generally
furnish coal to the surrounding areas here. They didn't commercialize their
coal like the CF&I. In other words what I mean by commercializing is they
didn't ship it very far.
RM: So they were locally owned and they really distributed there coal fairly
HM: Fairly locally, yes within the state, let's say. Where the CF&I shipped
great distances. They were big company and still are.
RM: That's right. Now were there differences in the conditions in the
HM: You mean, the size of the veins? Yes. The veins were different veins
like the Cameron vein and the... Oh, I don't know the names of all the
different veins of coal, but some of them were lower into the earth than others,
and some were higher. Some were 4 feet high. Some were 6 or 7 feet high and
so forth. But I would say probably the CF&I had the best mines. The independents
had good mines too. Don't misunderstand me, but they didn't have good coal
and good mines, and they did a very good job on developing, considering they
were small and limited to the amount of capital that they could put into it,
because after all it was venture capital. It went into developing these
coal mines. Just like any other new development takes Capital. And you have
to risk that capital in order to develop it.
RM: And how about the safety conditions in the different mines? Did they
HM: Very poor. The safety wasn't considered that essential in those days.
There was a lot of lives lost in the coal mines in those days. I recall at
least 3 explosions, that killed all the way from 25 to 150 men. In fact one
of the largest coal mine disasters, even to this day, was down around Hastings,
just about 12, 15 miles from here. And there was, I think 125 if I recall
that lost their lives in that explosion. Well now, that is due to the fact
that they burned open lamps. By open lamps is open flame lamps. They didn't
have the electricity in those days in the method of mining with electricity.
So sparks setting off gas in those mines was very dangerous. That's what
developed all the mines inspectors and all that sort of thing after the state
became the state, and they demanded more safety. The people demanded more
RM: So it was a matter of a build up of gases within the mines that caused
a lot of explosions.
HM: That's right.
RM: And what were the things that they did later to prevent that?
HM: Well, they had the safety lamps, which they brought in and were required
to use before they let people go in to an opening or a new entry, we'll say.
And they'd check it before they'd use picks or shovels or anything else to
dig out the coal, even mining machines. And by that when then, of course,
later came the electric lights, battery lights, but they were on the caps.
And prior to that time they had the open flame lights, just like a candle,
only it was a big wick. Of course you should get all this information from
RM: Well, I've talked with quite a few of them, and some of them are not as
articulate. I mean, you get a feeling for what the conditions were but they
aren't as articulate in expressing the things that you're talking about, I
HM: Thank you. That's rather complimentary.
RM: They talk about the explosions, and they talk about the build-up of
gas. But they don't really come down to specifics there. Some of the things
are left a little bit vague, and I think sometimes they didn't just always
HM: Well, the principle advancement in safety was caused by the unions demand-
ing that there be safety measures taken. Of course, naturally when people
demand things why the state or the politicians do something about it. And that's
when the mine inspectors came into vogue, and they inspected all mines regular-
ly. They either had to go through and improve their conditions so that the
mines would be safe. And incidentally it was for the good of the companies
and the individuals that operated the mines anyway because they were responsible
for the lives, and it would cost them money when they had an explosion. So
naturally they went along with all safety majors willingly.
RM: Now did the mine inspectors come after the strikes, or did they have them
before the strike started?
HM: No, generally after the mine inspectors got into play, there were less
strikes actually than there was before. Seemed as though the mine inspecting
laws came as a result of the union demands, and naturally that curtails strikes
because the demands were met. Then of course, later they demanded more pay
and more safety measures and other things like Workmen's Compensation Laws
that came into effect after that, and all these things developed as a result
of changes in the way of living. Just like anything else that progresses,
you don't stay still or stand still. You keep moving or you go backwards.
And that's what happened in the whole area.
RM: And now in talking with some of the people that their families started
in mining, and they were able to save enough money to buy ranches. You know,
going back to some of the wages that they made, it just seemed to phenomenal
when they, you know it seemed like they started with so little, and they had
to really scrimp and save.
HM: Well, of course, living costs were compensive with the wages. In another
words, wages and living costs just go hand in hand, just like they are today.
People are making $15, $20 a day, $50 a day, coal miners are making as high as
$50 a day now when they used to get $6.25. but their living standards are
higher, but they're not accomplishing any more than they did in those days
with $6.25. They could buy a pound of butter for 15¢ in those days, today
what is it? Close to a dollar.
RM: $1.50 or $1.70. As everything else, it goes up every time you go to the
HM: That's right. inflation is taking over.
RM: It sure is. Now did your family, did your brothers and sisters stay in
HM: No. Most of them did. No, I wouldn't say that they all did. There's,
one of my sisters became a nun, another one married and moved back east and
another one married and moved to Fort Collins, and the others stayed here, and
they just lived and died here.
RM: And what kind of businesses and different ventures did they go, into the
ones that stayed here?
HM: Well, as I say, my Dad started in the saloon business, and then my brother
started in the jewelry business and eventually went into the insurance business,
and I went into the insurance business.
RM: Did you have a partnership?
HM: Yes, and in fact I just retired 2 or 3 years ago. And the rest of the
boys have passed away. One of them was a painter and a paper hanger, and
another one was a common ordinary laborer. In fact he was getting ready to
go to school when he passed away. So the only brothers actually, the men in
that family, that went into business was myself and my brother, Victor Mazzone.
And the girls married, and as I said moved away. Some of them moved away, and
some of them stayed here and married and lived here.
RM: And who were the ones that married and stayed here?
HM: Well, my sister, Freda married Frank Yono who is a contractor, and they
both have passed away since and my sister Lena married a dentist in Fort.
Collins, and they both passed away since. And my older sister married a
fellow by the name of Tressel, and she lived in Galesburg, Illinois, and they
both passed away. They left families.
RM: And so are there many of the children of your generation living in this
HM: Not immidiate family, no. I'm the only immidiate family here. But we
had neices and nephews here.
RM: And who is Isabel Mazzone in relation to you?
HM: She's my sister. She's one of the sisters.
RM: She's a sister that did stay here?
HM: Yes, she stayed here, and we're the only 2 left of the 13.
RM: Is that right? So was she one of the younger sisters?
HM: No, she was older. She was much older than I. In fact she's about 93 now.
RM: Is that right?
HM: Yes, I'm 76. She's a lot older, and she's very capable and able yet at
her age. He memory isn't too good.
RM: It's amazing seeing some of the old people around here, how well they do
HM: There isn't too many left. Now I can think of a lot of families that are
just absolutely gone, like the Sporleders. There's just few of the Sporleders
left, and Unfugs and Dicks, and Walsens, they're all gone. The Walsen family,
the town was named for. I don't think there's any of them, well, there isn't
any of them living in Walsenburg anymore. There's l or 2 in Denver. But
those are most of the old ones and the Blickones and the Chatins, and Kriers,
and The Agnes' those are all old time families that I can think of right off.
RM: That's right, some of those there aren't really any of the old people
left, are they?
HM: There's not too many of the real old timers here.
RM: That's right. Now, how would you say the look of the town has changed, the
HM: Physical changes, there's been quite a few. Not as many as you would
imagine for as old as the town is. Simply because after the coal mines closed,
when there was a lack of demand on account of gas and oil coming in, the town
ceased to progress. And all it had left after that, you see the town mush-
roomed and grew very fast during the demand for coal, and when that stopped
as a result of the influx of coal and oil, and the use of coal and oil and gas,
the town sort of disintigrated for a while. And it all depended solely on
cattle raising and what little farming there is here. There isn't too much
farming here. There's quite a bit of cattle raising as you found out probably
up in La Vet and that area.
RM: That's right.
HM: But other than that they had no other resources. Except in later years,
after the coal mines closed, the tourist travel began to come into the town,
and that caused some development, some advancement but not enough to keep up
with the rest of the state. And of course, Trinidad has been hurt in the
same way. But it's coming along just like Walsenburg is now. It's beginning
to develop as a result of tourists and other means of communication and desires
of other people moving here and retirements and stuff like that. There is a
possibility of the town to grow, but not as rapidly as it did during the coal
RM: Yes, that was when it really gained in population, and people just poured
into the area.
HM: Oh, yes. It mushroomed.
RM: Now, how about the composition of the population when the mines were
going? There were people from many, many different nationalities here at
that time, and what was that like?
HM: Yes. Well, that's typical of coal mining. Most of the miners that came
here were from Europe, alot of Scotch people, lot of Slavs, lot of Italians.
Very few of the natives took up the coal mining industry such as the Spanish,
and the Mexicans from Old Mexico. They didn't particularly, as a whole, go
into the mining business. It was new to them and they didn't adventure as
much as the people from Europe that had worked in the mines in Europe and had
experience in coal mining. And when they came in this country and had been
working in the coal mines in Europe, allover Europe, England, and Scotland,
they came here and they followed where ever mining was being developed. And
I know a lot of families that I could name that came from Europe, like the
Youngs and Mac Anally's, and a lot of people that came from Europe and estab-
lished homes, built businesses after they worked in the mines for awhile.
They saved their money, and went into business. A lot of people from Europe
did that, worked in the mines for ahile. Just like you say, farmers developed
RM: It's real interesting talking with some of the mining families and seeing
how some of them stayed with the mining. They didn't go into other fields, and
others just as soon as they had a chance really branched into other activities.
RM: Well, it's surprising. Well, it isn't surprising because they had to do
something. But when the mines closed here, I can't tell you exactly what the
population of the mining community was, but I would say roughly that there
was probably 5 or 600 families that had to leave here as a result of closing
of the mines. And naturally they went into other things and other places.
They, a lot of them went to California, Texas, and all over the country, where
ever they could find work. And very few of them left here. I would say there
was probably less than a hundred families that left here that are still working
in the coal mines.
RM: Now, how about the time of the strike? What was the effect that the
strike had on the community here, on the business community in general?
HM: Well, I can't say that it had any, too much effect on the business community.
It caused a lot of hard feelings between, well, it developed into a political
battle almost, where the politicians began to take sides, one for the company
and the other for the unions, and that's always bad for any community. And
if there was any harm done by the strikes at all, it was in that regard. Other-
wise the strikes probably had more to do with developing the coal industry,
and a better industry than it was prior to that. Because I can recall prior
to the last strike we had, was very serious. And at that time Fockefeller,
Sr., had controlling interest in CF&I, and he came out to Walsenburg to see
what the situation with the coal mining industry was. And he was the originator
of what they called the Rockefeller plan, which gave the coal miner a voice in
the operation of the coal mine, which was a big step forward. And this was
originated probably to some extent by the Union organization that demanded
these things. And he followed through by accepting their demands and doing
something about it, which he did. And that was a big help. Not only in the
safety of the mines but better living conditions around the coal camps. He
established YMCA's for the enjoyment and pleasure of the people who lived in
those camps. Because they didn't have transportation in those days. They had
to live where they worked.
RM: That's right. They couldn't just zip into Walsenburg, could they?
HM: That's right. They didn't have automobiles. No one had automobiles at
that time. So communication, when you had to travel 4 or 5, to 15, 20 miles
to go to work, you couldn't live in Walsenburg. That's why there were so many
coal camps around here. There was more people living in coal camps than there
was in Walsenburg.
RM: So between the miners and the ranchers there was a larger population out-
side of town probably than right in town wasn't there?
HM: Oh, yes. The population outside of Walsenburg was much greater than the
population of Walsenburg.
RM: How about the influence of, or the coming of, the railroads? What kind
of influence did that have on the town, and when did the railroads come in?
HM: Well, the only thing that the railroads contributed to progress or develop-
ment was the fact that they built railroads to many of the coal mines. As far
as transportation, bringing in tourists or sight-seers or vacationers, that
wasn't in the picture at all. They had no reason to develop that in any way.
As I say the principle purpose of the railroads coming in at all was to supply
and take out coal from the Huerfano County. And of course, naturally, not
only taking out coal from Huerfano County, but bringing in merchandise. That
was the only way we had of getting merchandise in here. And then, too, they
had to establish a line from Denver South through here, and this was merely a
branch for a long time. The main line went 6 miles east of here.
RM: And that was to Cuchara?
HM: That's right. And railroads didn't have too much to do with the develop-
ment of the County except, as I say, by taking out coal.
RM: So it was in their relations to the mines that they went important.
HM: Right. Of course I guess that's true of all the strike and the effect
of the community. How about the atitudes of the community, the business
community, and how was the community? Was it united or was it divided?
HM: Well, I would say it was pretty much united with respect to the sympathy
for the strikers. I would say the majority of the people in the community
including the merchants and the population as a whole sympathized with the
miners rather than the company. But there was a few, not a few but a hard
feeling or a ill-feeling between the people that sympathized with the campany's
problems as well as there were a few that sympathized, or many that sympathized,
with the Union's attitude. And of course, these differences of opinion always
RM: Who were the people, or what segment of the population was more sympathetic
to the companies, to the mine owners?
HM: Well, I can't say as a group what group was sympathetic one way or the
other. I think it was mostly the influence of the companies through their
political influence. Otherwise the town as a whole, naturally, was sympathetic
to the miner because they supplied the revenue for the merchants to exist on.
So naturally all the merchants were sympathetic to the miners, rather than the
companies. However, there's quite a few that was sympathetic with the company's
position too. They had their problems, as well as the Union, just like they have
today. There isn't one side in any conflict of interest.
RM: Doing this interviewing has been interesting. There have been days when
I'll talk to somebody in the morning who was a miner and somebody in the after-
noon who wasn't a miner, and they'll talk about the same event at the same
time seen from totally different viewpoints. It's just fascinating because
nobody's prevericating. That's all what they saw, and it's just fascinating.
HM: That's right. It's true, and there's got to be two sides to every story,
and that's the way it was. I think you have to say the influence the company
had on many of the population was motivated by the companies and probably in a
propaganda way and got them to sympathize with them politically or in other
ways. Here's one of the reasons why there were disagreements and differences
of opinions. When the strikes occurred, naturally the company tried to continue
operating, and they'd bring in other people who the Union called strike-breakers
and red necks and different other things. Well, these people had to be
protected. Otherwise the coal miners and the strikers would kill them, which
wa a lot done. So the County officials had to protect the property of their
citizens and tax payers. So the company demanded protection, and they got it.
They had to give it to them, whether they wanted to or not. So this created a
difference of opinion.
RM: Am I correct that some of the people that were brought in as strike-breakers
were recent immigrants from Europe who didn't really speak English or..
HM: No, I wouldn't say that. No I can recall having heard that they brought
in people from Texas who were native Texans that were considered strike-breakers
here. In fact one of the most bloody strikes we had here was brought about by
the fact that there was people brought in from Texas that were hired by the
company to protect the companies and also work in the coal mines to keep them
going because after all that was their way of staying in business, you might say.
RM: So they brought in both strike-breakers and guards.
HM: And guards and then made demands on County officials and also on the
State. In fact, they had the State militia. And one time here during one
strike they had the United States Army. It was so bad.
RM: Now that was in 1913.
HM: Yes. 1913-14 strike.
RM: No, I have read accounts of that, and a great deal of mention is made
of Jeff Farr but I really haven't gotten..
HM: Yes, I knew Jeff Farr.
RM: I haven't really talked to many people that have said too much about him.
HM: Well, at that time he got involved naturally because he was a sheriff of
Huerfano County. He had to get protection when the CF&I asked him, demanded
him of it. So he supplied some of, not all of the guards or deputies, but he
did have to take that side. He couldn't help it. He couldn't go against dis-
organization and turmoil and mob violence either. No officer can do that.
RM: Now was the strike more or less a turning point in his career?
HM: Yes, it could of been. He was very powerful as a politician and he was
a very shrewd politician. In many ways he knew how to handle people, and
naturally he was very powerful. And I knew him very well. He was a very
forceful man and a good politician, But he was also a good officer. He had to be.
RM: That's right, and after the strike was there more feeling against him on
the port of the community?
HM: Yes, I think probably there was. There was enough that it created an
opposition to his political power that they were able to get rid of him. Yes,
it had tremendous effects on him, on the election.
RM: Sound like in a way he was caught in a situation that he couldn't really
do much about in terms of maintaining his own position.
HM: No. In a case of that kind where you choose sides whether it's voluntary
or involuntary, you get caught in the middle, and that's what happened to him,
RM: Now was there much feeling among people here that the State government, the
Governor or somebody else, should have done more or done less than what they
did in the situation.
HM: No. I think it's just a matter of evolution. These things have to
evolve as they go along. You don't just change things overnight regardless
of what it is. It has to gradually make the changes because if you met all
the demands of labour, or vice-a-versa if you've met all the demands of the
corporation, and have it done immediately, it would upset the whole scheme
of things. These things have to come about gradually. You just don't force
them on people, just like that. So I'd say that it took many years to develop
into what it is today in the way of safety and mine operations in the way of
cooperation between the companies and the miners. And there's been a lot of
things that developed. For instance, I can recall where there's been a lot of
coal miners that were probably strictly opposed to company operations and who
had something to do with the leading against the companies in the strikes.
Later they got mines of their own and formed partnerships, family partnerships
and other partnerships and operated mines of their own. And they saw the
companies side then, and they became company people just like they were fight-
ing against when they were coal miners. So it had to evolve into various
things which couldn't have happened during the days of the strikes. You'd
never think of a coal miner organizing a partnership and opening up a mine,
because they were so strongly against company operations that they wouldn't
think of it. But after these things evolved and developed, they opened mines
of their own. In fact most of the independent mines that were operated here
in the last 15 years were operated by coal miners.
RM: That's real interesting.
I was going to ask you about who some of the outstanding political figures
have been through the years that come to your mind, people that you recall.
HM: Well, you've mentioned Jeff Farr. He was the original political leader
that no one excelled in any way at that time. And then came after him a
fellow by the name of Sheriff Nealy who defeated him. He wasn't such a power-
ful leader, but he did defeat the big leader. He was king at that time. Then
one of the outstanding leaders of all time politically was a fellow by the
name of Clyde Johnson. I don't know whether you've heard of him or not, but
he was one of the most outstanding political leaders. He held office as
County Commissioner for years and couldn't be defeated by anyone. And inci-
dentally he wasn't a bad Commissioner. And since then we haven't had any real
outstanding leaders of any party, that's compared with those that I've mentioned
RM: And how is the County gone in terms of Republican Democratic Swings?
HM: Well, it's been Democrat practically ever since the defeat of Jeff Farr.
Jeff Farr was a Republican. And when he was defeated the Democrats have
practically held power here ever since. And that's the way it is today.
RM: Have the different ethnic groups traditionally been Republican or Democrat?
HM: Well, originally the original ethnic groups were all with Jeff Farr,
speaking in Spanish people, if that's what you mean by ethnic groups.
RM: Well, and then the different, the Italians and the different ethnic groups
that were miners. There's been such a mix of backgrounds here.
HM: Well, it's hard to say who they... Predominently I would say Democrat now.
In the Jeff Farr regime they were predominently Republicans as he was.
RM: So it's been a pretty much a county-wide shift hasn't had much to do
with the different groups.
HM: No, it's pretty much the same today as it was 30 years ago.
RM: And how have the different ethnic groups gotten along? How have they
related throughout the years, and what have been their relationship?
HM: What do you mean politically?
RM: No, socially between each other.
HM: Oh, socially I think the ethnic groups and all other groups get along very
well. I don't think there's any animosity between any of them.
RM: And how about, you know from the early day up until now has intermarriage
between the different groups been pretty open?
HM: I think so. I think the Spanish people and the Italian people and even
the Scottish, they stuck to their nationality principally, and still do to a
great extent. There isn't too much intermarriage with any form of nationality.
It seems as though that was dramatically established when the people came into
this community. They came in as groups. In another words, Welch people
that worked in the coal mines, they stuck with their Welch friends, principally
because of language barriers probably. And the same way with the Scottish
people and the Italian people and the Spanish people and so forth. They just
sort of congregated with their own groups, and it still is pretty much that
way today. But not as extensively as it was 30 or 40 years ago, naturally,
any more than it is anywhere else in the world. They are intermingling with
people, and racial problems are being eliminatted to a great extent. I don't
think we have the racial problems we had. I don't think we ever had racial
RM: Has the situation with the schools changed at all? Is it much the same
as it always was?
HM: Well, what do you mean? With respect to educational know. How or what?
What do you mean?
RM: Well both that and composition of the schools and St. Marys, for instance.
HM: Well, St. Marys of course has taken a hard lick because of the inflation,
I think, more than anything else. They can't afford to maintain the school
under the present inflationary trends. Because in the first place, they have
instituted so many new needs of education, like laboratorys for instance. You
have to buy all the equipment to supply a laboratory. And that's just one
thing. Then your Physics and all you different advancements and ways of
education have changed so much that it costs a lot of money to operate a school.
A Catholic school or Parochial school just can't keep up with that trend. And
then the cost of teachers. They don't have the sisters that used to teach the
Parochial schools. They don't have them available anymore. And it has changed
the way of education in the county, ubound to.
RM: And how about the role of the churches generally? Are there different
churches now then there once were? Have some come and gone?
HM: No, I don't think so, I think there's just as many churches as there
ever was. I think there's less opposition, and there's more harmoney between
churches now then there ever was before. One church used to look down upon
the other. That existed not only in Walsenburg. It existed allover the
world. But I think there's a feeling now that religion is religion. It can
be practiced, and everyone respects the other fellows religion, just like
they did politics. That's changed. So I don't think there's any differential
RM: Was there ever a time when any particular religious group had more problems
or felt discrimination, in this community, do you think?
HM: No, I don't think so. It's been predominatly Catholic in this community,
well, ever since the town originated, but that hasn't caused any religious
conflict of any kind.
RM: And how about the role of the church in the community. Has that changed?
Is it more active, less active? Did it used to have more of less activities?
HM: Oh, I wouldn't say it's more or less active. I think they still take
their religion and all sects as seriously as they ever did in a way.
RM: And how about social events, celebrations, holidays? Have they remained
much the same or have they changed?
HM: Well, I think all social events have changed, just as it has allover the
world. Television has changed that's because where we used to have parties
and dances and socials and community get-togethers, they don't have those
things as much anymore as they used to. Because in the old days before tele-
vision, radio and modern inventions people had to get out in order to provide
entertainment for each other, or else get outside entertainment, and that
caused community gatherings.
RM: So it made for a more closely-knit whole community.
HM: I think so, especially in smaller towns, and I don't know what the
situation is in the larger cities, but I know in Walsenburg, it was more
like a big family years ago.
RM: And you don't have that same feeling about it?
HM: No, I don't think so, I don't think we have the community gatherings to
compare in any way with what we used to have.
RM: Think there's any way to get back to some of that?
HM: I can't see how. No. Not as long as there's entertainment in the home.
RM: Everybody has mentioned both the television and automobiles as having
had such an influence.
HM: That's the big change. In fact, the automobile has caused more changes
and revolutionized the living conditions in the county more than anything,
I think. They travel from city to city without even thinking of doing it.
They just take it for granted. They do it.
RM: Of course, if we run short enough on gas, we may change our ways.
HM: I don't think they're going to change anything.
RM: Just keep doing it as long as they can.
HM: Well, I about told you all that I can think of, and in answering your
RM: Well, I think I have pretty come to the end of my list of things that I
was interested in talking to you about. Unless you have any other things that
you think of.
HM: I don't have anything unless you want to ask any further questions.