Huerfano County, Colorado
Oral Interviews

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George and Josephine Zanon

Contributed by Karen Mitchell
Interviewed by Rosalyn McCain
George Manuel Zanon, born 2-11-1912
Parents - Fortunato Zanon and Eugenia Iob
Paternal Grandparents - Luigi Zanon and Rose Zanon
Maternal grandparents - Antoni Iob and Celestina Iob
Ethnic group - Italian
Family origin - Cumevo, Italy
Date of family arrival in county - Father naturalized Nov 2, 1904 in Trinidad District Court

Josephine Maria Pisarczyk Zanon, born 3-9-1912 in Walsenburg, behind saloon
Parents - Albert Pisarczyk and Annie Crump Pisarczyk Blotnick
Grandfather - John Potralski. Name changed to John Crump when they came ito America from Poland. Born in Krako, Poland
Ethnic group: Polish
Family origin- Poland
Location of first family settlement - Martin Lake( See Joe Crump's datasheet)
Kinship ties - Uncle Joe Crump; Daughter Georgette Fringer, Pueblo; Daughter Sandra Wilkins; Son, Ronald Zanon in California

305 East 5th, Walsenburg, Colorado
November 19, 1979

George: My family came in 1923 from a coal camp called Cass. It was a small camp between Hastings and Delagua.

Josephine: My mother was from Pueblo. Her family had the Crump Ranch. They came from Rye to Martin Lake. Then they moved three miles east of town in a brick house where Corsentino's later bought. Uncle Martin was named after Martin Lake. My grandmother had 20 children. Ten of them lived. There are four of them living now. She had two girls, and the rest boys.

Josephine: I was born on 7th Street where the Zudars house is now. My dad had a saloon, and I was born in the back of the saloon. That is the block where the playground is. It was a rock and adobe house. It had a marble fireplace and carved woodwork. Jeanette Thach tried to save it, but it was torn down. I grew up in that house. After I married, Joe Psarsick sold it to the city. My mother, Annie Psarsick Blotnick had it. She was married twice.

My mother got shot through her dress trying to save someone during the strike. One of the Lenzini brothers, Sandy's brother, was killed during the strike. Carlo Bak's father was killed, and Carlo became the man of the family.

George: My mom and dad lived at Ludlow. They left Ludlow for Trinidad because my mother was pregnant with me. I was born in February, 1913. In 1904, my dad came to Hastings as a mule driver. He left six months before the big Hastings explosion. He came from Cunevo, Italy. That is in northern Italy near the Brenner Pass. He sent for my mother after he got here. They were married here. He had not mined in Italy. He was from a farm family. He moved to Trinidad. He bought a saloon in Trinidad where the Riverside Drug Store is now. He ran it until Prohibition started. He had one year to sell all the liquor he had in stock. In the meantime he had become a carpenter. He became the camp carpenter at Hastings. He kept the homes of the miners in repair. Then he moved back to Trinidad, and then opened the Cass Mine in 1920 or 1921. Then he moved to Walsenburg in 1923 and opened a bake shop. His sister's husband ran the bakery at Ludlow. He had his bakery where the Walsenburg Utility is now. The building caught fire after six months. Then he went back to carpentry.

During Prohibition there was bootlegging everywhere, allover the county, down south and everywhere. Aguilar was a big bootlegging town. There was a $500 fine, so it wasn't worth it.

I went into the printshop in 1928. When I worked at the news- paper, I delivered papers by tractor when we had deep snow. 33 years ago, our son Ronnie was in the hospital, and there was snow to your hips. Six years ago there was 30 inches at Christmas. We used to get more snow than we seem to now.

My parents didn't talk too much about the strike. My wife's mother was crossing the street on the 800 Block of 7th street. She was helping a man out of a saloon, and got shot through the skirt. That was the same incident when Carlo Bak's father got shot.

My dad was diversified. He could do what needed to be done. I worked my way up from janitor to owner. Both my wife and I grad- uated from high school in 1930. There were 45 in my wife's (Josephine's) class in the high school, and 26 in my (George's) class at St. Mary's.

Victor Mazzone was a real storyteller. He was the brother of Herman and Isabel Mazzone. He used to come by everyday during Prohibition and spin yarns.

In 1918 when the Armistice was signed, all the miners at Hastings went crazy. They shot off dynamite and everything.

My wife's family had a ranch at the Walls where Armano Cassai has now. It belonged to the Baione Family once. Then the Bailey's. That was when she was a little girl.

My dad went down to Rome as a chimney sweep during the winter- time when there wasn't much to do on the farm.

Josephine: My parents were Polish. My grandfather used to seine fish out of Martin Lake. He also seined those two lakes east of town for catfish, suckers and bass for the Negroes. He would sell them to the Negroes. We also sold eggs, butter, cheese, and milk. My grandmother would peddle it in the spring wagon. She had cottage cheese and chickens, also. They raised everything. I loved to go stay with my grandparents, especially Grandma. She was 5' 2" and she was as broad as she was tall. My mother took after her.

There used to be 20,000 people in the county. You couldn't walk up and down Main Street on Saturday night. Everyone came in for groceries, and a nip, and a dance. The ZMP Lodge, the Polish lodge had dances.

George: I started at the newspaper office as a paper mailer and janitor in November 1928. I graduated from high school in May 1930. Then I started to work steady the Monday after the Friday I grad- uated. In 1929 I was a stero typer. The paper was called the Independent. In 1930 it was the World Independnet...Keith Chick was the boss or manager. The office was where Dr. Vialpando's office is. Then I was the linotype machine operator for years. Then I learned the whole trade. I was the back shop man. John Denisi had the paper in 1952. I bought into the paper then with Mr. Skewes from Mississippi. In 1964 I sold the paper, and I kept the commerical printing end of it.

I was practicing basketball, and the coach asked me if I wanted a job. I was an usher and janitor at the Rialto Theatre on Main Street up by Biondi's Sporting Goods Store, two doors down the block. There used to be three theatres in town: The Strand Theatre where City Hall used to be before we came here. Then there was one past the Firestone Store. Paul Krier ran the Star Theatre where the theatre is now. Then the Valencia came in. The talkies came in in 1933. The Rainbow Man was the first talkie here. Then the Fox came in, and it's been here ever since. It was really exciting to go to the first talking picture.

I used to hold down two or three jobs. The newspaper changes over the years have not been too radical until the last 10 years. We used to use hot type, hot metal to make up forms. Now it is all offset. It went from semiweekly to daily in 1938. We got a new big press then. That was the biggest change. The last 10 years has gone to offset. You just paste up and offset it. There is not as much manpower needed to publish. I sold the business in 1975 to Mr. Does. I worked 12 years by myself. I was in the back too much. Does sold to McGraws. McGraws sold to Kessingers. We were still running hot type when we sold. There were earlier changes in the machinery, but it was still the same principle. Now type can be set electronically by computers.

I have my mother's birth certificate from Cumevo. My parents were married March 4, 1905. My father was naturalized in Trinidad District Court November 1904. Jesse C. Northcutt was the Judge. I have those papers also.

My son Ronald lives in Bueno Park, California and is an auto mechanic for Sears. My daughter Georgette Fringer lives in Pueblo and is a surgical nurse at Parkview. My daughter Sandra Wilkins is a secretary for the Assistant District Attorney here in Walsenburg .

In the 1880's the newspaper was called the Huerfano Cactus. In the 1890's, it was the World. CU came and got all our old files while I was still running the business. Jeannette Thach was involved in getting the papers to CU for microfilming.

People helped each other more and thought of each other more in the old days. There was more cooperation.

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