Tony, Mark and Austin Plucker and former family members have more than 130 years of service at Evansville, the current Lehigh Heidelberg cement plant. They were reared in Molltown, Berks County, and graduated from Fleetwood High School.
Tony was hired in 1989, starting as a feed operator and repairman.
Today, he is a payloader operator, saying, “I move material at the plant each day, which includes 70,000 tires a week. They are used as alternate fuel. Old-timers Richard Hottenstein and Ray Weindt shared their years of work experiences with me.”
In this third column, I am speaking to Mrs. Janet Johnson, a Nazareth High School graduate whose great-great-grandfather William Henry Heimer served with the 153rd Regiment in the Civil War. The soldier was born in Plainfield Township, Northampton County.
As a young man, you could find him plowing with horses, planting and harvesting grain on the George Bender farm in Plainfield Township.
William was first married to Anna Rebecca Schaeffer in 1851. Two weeks after their first child, Louisa Rebecca, was born, tragedy struck the family. His wife, Anna, died.
In this second column, we are in Colonial America during the American Revolution following the Heimer family in Plainfield Township, Northampton County.
Charles Heimer saw war approaching, so he joined the Northampton Militia. His son Adam followed his father’s example and joined at the age of 14. Charles had a busy life as a part-time militia member, farmer and grist mill operator.
In our last column, we indicated he received land warrants signed by Benjamin Franklin, president of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Council, acquiring 172 acres.
A few weeks ago, I was given an email from Janet and Bill Johnson of Mechanicsburg. Our loyal readers know this writer has no E, F or G mail!
They have done an extensive genealogy on their family history dating back to the American Revolution and Civil War. Both Janet and William graduated from Nazareth High School. Mr. Johnson had a long teaching career at Mechanicsburg High School.
I have completed reading the book “Geography, Geology and Genius,” written by Martha Capwell Fox, a friend. Martha is a passionate historian who has authored a number of books pertaining to our local history.
I have used some of her research for my columns. One of my other favorites is “Catasauqua and North Catasauqua,” which she wrote in 2002.
Martha serves as historian and archives coordinator at the National Canal Museum in Easton.
A few weeks ago, Bob Mentzell, a friend, former outstanding teacher at Northampton High School and current school board member, forwarded this writer a series of photographs showing my father, Anthony Pany, working on the Smith farm in East Allen Township during the Great Depression.
Anthony emigrated to the United States as a youth from Austria. His education in this new country was limited. In order to help his large family, he was hired as a farm hand on the Smith farm.
Mrs. Fiori was born in Lock Haven. The family later moved to Skippack, where she attended and graduated from Perkiomen Valley High School in 1971. Answering a newspaper ad, Judy was hired at the Keystone sales office in King of Prussia as a secretary clerk at a salary of $7,000. Keystone later had an office in Allentown before moving to Airport Road in East Allen Township.
Judy recalled, “Our office had 15 employees, and we were responsible for all cement sales. Our president was Gary Pechota, and vice president for sales was Bob Aichele.”
Today, I continue my 2001 visit with Mr. George Maureka on Penn Street in Bath.
At age 15, he started to work for a Bath plumber for $8 a week, allowing George to learn the plumbing trade. World War II interrupted his plumbing career. He would serve with honor in Gen. George Patton’s Third Army.
Returning home, his father wanted him to work at the Penn Dixie Cement Company like the rest of the family. Area cement plants needed employees, and dozens of men were hired daily at local plants.
The year is 2001. I’m over on Penn Street in Bath with Mr. George Maureka, a former Penn Dixie employee, who is sharing his memories of the Great Depression. His son, also named George, was an outstanding student of this writer at Northampton High School.
The family resided in a company home. The home had running water, but they needed the kitchen stove to heat the water. The only heat was provided by a kitchen stove, which was located in what is the present basement of the home.
Remember when our high schools offered courses in typing, shorthand, office machines and bookkeeping? Today, offices have been transformed by computers and modern technology. A number of years ago, Kathy Unger, a friend and former secretary at the Penn Dixie Cement Company, wrote me a description of her position.
Kathy graduated from Nazareth High School in 1956. An excellent student, she was hired and trained to fill in for other secretaries during vacations, maternity leaves and illnesses.