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The Miner's Daughter
Mary Jane (Kellock) Potter
With Her Mother, Elizabeth (McDonald) Kellock
And Her Sons, Curtis and Malcolm Potter
Photo Contributed by Ernie Hatton

Alexander Kellock:
From Nova Scotia to Bernice
Ernie Hatton has been a major contributor to the Sullivan County Genealogical Project for years. In January 2002, he sent to us the following incredible story--incredible both for its harrowing description of the life of a coal miner in late nineteenth century northern Pennsylvania, but also because of its very survival. From a handwritten account prepared by an old man on the last legs of life, the story has survived through two different typed transcriptions to become one of the most detailed and compelling descriptions of the harsher side of life in the coal town of Bernice, PA. Becasue the aging Kellock became a regular church patron in his later life, we also have a serial account of the various pastors to serve the church in Bernice, summarized in the poem which Kellock included as part of his story. The entire community of Sullivan County historians is indebted to Ernie for retrieving and preserving this unique autobiographical tale.


The Kellock Manuscript
A Sample of the First Typed Transcription
About 1925
Photo Contributed by Ernie Hatton

BIOGRAPHY OF ALEXANDER KELLOCK

Preface: Typed from original handwritten document in Dushore, Sullivan County, PA. Given to the family of George Gilbert Potter, the great-great-grandfather of Ernest Hatton, Jr., our contributor. Original of typed version held by Ernie. This Biography was taken from the handwritten original, written near the time of Alexander Kellockís death. He was living in Bernice, Sullivan County, PA at the time.

Alexander Kellock was born in 1842 at Albine Mine, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. He married Elizabeth McDonald of Nova Scotia and moved to Bernice, Sullivan County,PA, where he once mined. Their daughter, Mary Jane, married Daniel Warren Potter, grandson of George Whitefield Potter, son of Daniel Wellington Potter, nephew of George Gilbert Potter.

Note: Re-typed by Grace Parks, January 15, 2002. No attempt has been made to correct or change spelling variations used by the original author. For example he refers to the "Barslay" mines and "Barckley, PA", which are clearly meant to mean the mines and town of Barclay, PA. There are other misspellings as well, but we have left them alone. A cleaned up version of the story can be read at Kellock Biography--Easy Read Version.

At the solicitation of a relative who was an eye witness to severe injuries which I received while working at my side in a Coal Mine and seemed to him a miraculous escape from death; and that I am still living at 80 years and 8 months of age. I do not remember dates very well but the many physical accidents which seemed to be my lot. I have a vivid recollection .

I Alexander Kellock, son of Robert and Mary Kellock, of Albine Mine, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, do hereby certify to the truths of what I relate so far as my memory serves me. First accident occurred when I was five years of age trying to dig a little pit with a heavy pick; instead I nearly drove the pick through my foot. I do not remember any unusual events in my life until I was eight years of age when my mother took me to church, I remember so well how proud I was, as I walked by her side a little barefoot boy, but just as happy as tho I had been dressed as a Prince. I was a nervous little chap and on entering the church to see those strange people and as I listened to the singing I felt a sense of awe and reverence steal over me, it seemed Heaven to me and everyone was good except poor little barefoot me, and I began to cry. This might have been the holy spark first impression on my young and tender heart or mind. Altho poor I was taught by my mother about God and Heaven and to pray, no doubt this was the spirits early lesson. When eight or nine years of age I was sent to a day school. The Schoolmasters name was James Higgens I did fair credit to my teaching at this time we had a Sabbath school, which I attended, I learned quickly. I was given paraphrasing to commit to memory. They are taken from the old and New Testament scripture and put into metre, and formally sung in the Presbyterian Church as well as the Songs of David. In two or three readings I would commit to memory several verses well enough to carry me to Sunday school, but thank the Lord I have not forgotten them yet. When I get a start with very little coaching I can repeat them all yet. A Blessed stores while I live, and when I came to die: nearer than I think. I remember my face used to burn when I would answer a question that others would not or could not answer, than the superintendent would laud me before the school and I would make up my mind no more questions.

At the age of fourteen I was put to work. When fifteen I joined the sons of temperance. About this time I met with another accident while carrying bricks and mortar for a mason who was building a chimney. On descending the ladder as it was very cold I put my hands in my pocket, my toe caught on the upper second rung, I went down that ladder more swiftly than a toboggan slide, landing with great force on my outstretched palms on the frozen grounds, fortunately it was not my head, my arms and shoulders were so stoved up, it was four weeks before I was able to work. As a member of the Sons of Temperance I received a few dollars as a benefit which they termed it then. Having recovered from this injury I began work in the blacksmith shop, I think I should have been called calamity Aleck. The Smith had an iron in the fire, as he shoved off the excess of the glowing iron the sparks fell in my shoe, as I had on a woolen sock, the foolish Smith told me to put my foot in the tub of water. I continued to work the remainder of the day. Blood poisoning set in and suffered much pain for two weeks. When able to work again as I was a good striker I went to work in a Foundry, began the days work at 7 AM and continued until 6 PM had one hour for breakfast same for dinner went home for both. I had fourth of a mile to go and ran most of the way, One day as I ran I slipped on a rail as I crossed the track and hurt my shoulder badly as I hit the rail, but was at work in a week.

When seventeen years of age I shipped on board a vessel call the Co. of Pictou as a green hand under Captain George McKenzie of New Glasgow. We sailed _hediac, Nova Scotia with a load of deal for Glasgow, Scotland, from thence to Liverpool England, from there to Savannah Georgia U.S. Fifty days without seeing land. Then back to Glasgow where we took in a general cargo for the home trip to New Glasgow. One part of the cargo consisted of powder, which we took aboard the Sailboat another part consisted of liquor. There were two things I was afraid of on the home trip as we had both liquor and powder aboard, both harmless when left alone but they both raise hell where tampered with. Liquor is Hell and I believe had its origin there, and was as hell, as General Sherman once said Powder is the mind behind" the power which was on board if I remembered after a lapse of so many years was about midship, the sailors used to climb over with lighted candles to get at the liquor and brandy in cases; It used to make my hair stand on end as it were, to think of the risks they were running, but it seemed to me as much as my life was worth to inform on them. One of the Crew became very ill with small pox on the voyage, which he had contacted while ashore at Glasgow Scotland; we did not know of it at the time what the matter was. If the Captain knew he kept it to himself, I used to help to take care of him, change his clothes. I changed bunks with him as he was on an upper bunk and could not get out. When near port we could see he had small pox. We had to lay to and send for a doctor; they sent a man from Pictou town to wait on him. With one of our own men who had the disease; but that night the poor boy died. He repeated the Lords Prayer. The two men who were watching him were quarreling over cards half drunk and swearing. Poor Herbert was a good lad but oh to die in such surroundings. The ships crew was quarantined for a time in an old shed. The Doctor said one man had the small pox, so was kept two weeks longer; however it proved to be only a severe cold. On of the Doctors insisted that I had the disease but I told them I did not and if they tried to quarantine me any longer I would run away.

I thought I would have a little fun with this wonderful cape as a scarecrow, the girls in the neighborhood where I lived would often spend the evening with girl friends who would convey them home. I would start on the road with this huge cape around my shoulders, one hasty glance was enough. Off they would run like frightened deer, then they would go back to their homes with some young fellows with them, then I would hide and listen to the wonderful talks of the hideous creature which appeared to their exited fancies sever or eight fee high. In those days they all drank more or less. The company for which the coal miners worked kept so they got most of the small pay the men were working for. The miners received better wages than other laborers. Before a man could get employment in the mines he was charged $20.00 or more for the privilege of working there; the men outside had small pay and hard work on payday they used to deal liquor out by the bucket full, then the miners would start drinking and fights often occurred. Some were stalwart men and when the Irish and Scotch tempers were inflamed with whiskey neither willing to give up. I heard of one fight between an Irishman and Scotchman, which lasted one hour, and a half. My own father likes the drink too well and my poor mother had to work very hard to keep here children fed and clothed. She often worked far into the night under such conditions, although a strong woman she broke under the burden and died at the age of 65 years. I worked a couple of summers in the Westville Mines then removed to vale colliery.

I got a job tending stables in the mine, then it was that I met with another accident. The stables were on the landing next to the bottom, the chain runner was not down, or if he was there he did not attend to his job. The slack on the chain had gone under the car and one of the links caught on a belt and when the rake started, it came to where I attended to the stable and when I grasped hold to get on to it slipped, and I tried to jump off, thought the rope broke by the jerk which the slip made. The door of the car slipped open and it caught my foot between the bottom of the car and the door a space not more than an inch; my foot from the heel to the toe squeezed in that space and I was stretched out. I was dragged near the top of the Sloop a hundred and fifty yards. The cars were about six inches from the square timbers and I in between striking the sharp timbers. I felt as though my heart would burst; I kept my head in the car so to retain my senses all through, neither did I faint as I am not the fainting kind, quite calm in danger, thank God for that. Well I shouted out (my only hope) to the men on the opposite track going down to work, they heard me and pulled the roper and stopped the rake just in time, for if I had been taken a little further I would have been at the door head and mangled. God was kind and tampered the wind to the shorn lamb. When they came to me the door was jammed so tight on my foot that they had to get a hammer to knock the pin on the bolt up then they drew me up in the car, took me home. While the doctor was getting a box to lay my leg I got the men standing around to move my leg until I felt it going into place. When Dr. Mcgilvery came he asked who did this; in a weak voice I said I sir, and its alright and he put the leg into the box, put some batting tight against each knee, then I had my kind sister to nurse me and when my heel would ache lying in the box, she would raise my foot up. One week after I was hurt my brother was taken. My brother is better off and my dear sister who nursed me and the Dr. who waited on me. Booze took him, he drank so that his mind gave away. Why should I not condemn the snaky stuff? I was staying at my brothers at the time I got hurt. When strong enough to be moved I was taken to my home. At this time it bore the new name of Stellarton. My father was on his deathbed at this time; 1876. I assisted all I was able. I remember at one time I became a little slack in attending to all of his wishes thinking it was not worth while to attend to all the fancies that old and dying people indulged in. He wished to be moved in bed so on my crutches I tried to turn him but the effort was too much, I was hurt inwardly, I spit up about a gill of blood. Father died in May 1876. In about nine months when I had sufficiently recovered to travel with a staff I packed my trunk to go to Penna. But seeing my mother so frail I waited until I put her away. The loss of my kind mother was the hardest stroke with which I ever met of all the friends she was always kind to me. I believed her spirit has hovered over me all the years since she went to Glory. I then left for Penna. With a cane in my hand far from well, but still persevering I went to the Barsley Mine. where my brother Robert Kellock lived and boarded in his family. My brother had his two boys working in the mines with him. Robert 15 and George 13. Robert was killed shortly after my arrival. They had gone to the mine that morning intending to work one half a day and come home, go to church, as it was Preparatory Service for the Sacrament on the following Sabbath. Just as they were leaving a car came in and they said to their father, "you go and we will stay and lead on the car" a rock came down and landed on Robertsís head killing him instantly. His brother had to crawl over the gobs, get through to the next heading to get help. Their father had just got to the mine entrance when a message overtook him. My brother was prostrated he could not resume work for weeks they were fine boys. I took the fatherís place in the mine and the little boy and I worked together. He had received d quite a shock, he would, like sounding the roof too often, and I would put up a prop to please him where no prop was need. Brother and wife are bot dead but George and two sisters, John the youngest drove over from Phillipsburg Center Co. and made us a visit.

I continued to work in Barsley mine for some time then took a trip to Ohio. I worked a winter there, then went to Maryland in the spring. This was my second trip there, but I found my traveling was a waste of hard-earned money. I think we returned to Nova Scotia again but find I am mistaken, instead returned to Barsley Mines, and boarded with my brother Robert again just now I remember that a bad accident, I received the second trip I made to Barsley. At that time I could stand the cold well never bothered taking waste to the mine but now I can wear gloves in the summer when the days are chilly, but gone are those days of youth I heave a big sigh of relief for those days of yore never to return, but what is the use of sighing in such a busy world as this with time so quickly flying. I am looking in the glass while I write, at the blue lines in my face, to help while I trace. They call to mind the long ago and what did take place I think I was about 28 years of age at this time I went in the mine very early that morning had quite a little shift done before starting time. I had drilled my hole and was tamping it there what we call thing strip of rock came in the back of the hole on the bottom of said hole. Excuse me for saying so much about the brass in the hole, for this little piece of brass only can account for the shot going off prematurely for I had 3 rows of tamping and tampered hard and a little of the power must have got under the needle on the brass, it always did puzzle me, but the shot went off and my face bares the mark yet. I look in the glass and find it looks just as I told you. Some men on the other side heard me and they found me a gruesome sight crawling around and my eyes closed tight, sure I was blind but they made a mistake for I am writing this with no glasses nearing my 81st birthday. There was quite a hole driven in my forehead. A fool doctor came and threw water in my face. He went away said one eye was out had no hope of the other but my eyes were in a bad state. They sent for a woman who was a good nurse and she tenderly cleaned them and got a glimpse of her kind face for a second and it looked three feet long reminding me of the account of the man the Savior gave sight to. He saw men as trees walking. I to keep bandages for some time and my eyes were red and weak for a long time. My right eye has been a little weak ever since but the sight is good.

I will now account for another accident my brother-in-law a young lad about 19 who had not done any mining was working with me. I was lying down whacking away a chunk of coal ten hundred weight fell on my knee and Will in his fright raised that huge lump about an inch and then let go. It took him and two men he ran for to lift it off. The leg was not broken but the bone on the side of the knee next the chunk was cracked. It was a painful hurt. After recovering from this accident my wife and her brother Will went on a visit to Nova Scotia. Since then I have met with some narrow escapes and nerve racking happenings. This time I was working in a pit, and my buddy and I used to go through the bottom to eat our supper. It was night the cage was up and a box stuck in the cage, a lump of coal came down took the blaze of my lamp a half a second or less my head would have been struck. At another time I was waiting to cross a new bridge they were building. They had laid stringers about 60 feet on the first span mask. The ties were all the way across, a steam shovel was filling this span, and as the trip of cars left the bridge, I started to go across, but the stram was low and had not gone five yards or more when back they came. It was dusk they could not see me. I lay low and held onto the tie: as best I could with my mitt on, my head between the ties let the cars and engine run over me. Twice I could feel the frozen ice on the grease boxes, rap my head and the stringer shaking like an earthquake; a trying situation.

One more narrow escape, I was working in a coal mine in Maryland at the time my nephew was working with me, who was afterwards killed in the mines Barckley Penna. The roof was bad and we had left up about three feet of coal, we had taken the bottom coal up and was putting up a long prop; when I noticed a crack running parallel with the rib, had the prop out and ready when I thought I saw the coal move a little; I ran out, my buddy was angry with me and I call him but told him, he knew I was not a coward. Then we took a long rail and painted it to fill the crack. We could stand out of danger, had barely touched it with a rail when down came twelve ton of coal. If we had started to drive the cap piece I would not be here to tell the tale. I ran which I had never done before, premonition.

Now I must speak of my marriage. I went down from Bernice bought a fishing rod. Saw C.C. Blight, the supt. In the store. He asked me If I was going fishing, I replied I was on a home trip, about one thousand miles. He said "good luck" a big fish. I returned to Nova Scotia, my native land, in the month of May, made a pleasant visit with relatives and friends. Called to see Elizabeth McDonald an old acquaintance, so I told her it was high time that we two combined. Should fee inclined and make up our mind a clergyman to find: to time my so tight and stop my tramping around. After waiting so long I made short work of our courtship. As her father was a bible society man and away from home we took the law in our own hands. With the license in my hand, to a kind neighborís house we tied. A Mr. And Mrs. Dug Logan invited us to their house for dinner, and the Rev. McCurdy tied the knot good and strong, which has lasted a long life time. Our wedding took place in the town of New Glasgow, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, on the 16day of August 1879. We packed our goods and left for Bernice, PA. Where I had been employed for some time. Our passing the store after our arrive the supt. Was standing in the door. He greeted me. He said back again sandy boy; I see you have caught a big fish. If I had been a joker I would have said yes I stole it when the old man was away from home. We had to put up with small living quarters for some time as we could not get a house. We stayed in Bernice for some time. My oldest child was born there. Mr. and Mrs. Logan of New Glasgow at whose house we were married had moved to Bernice; as an old friend she cam to visit us at the time. I wished to name the baby Mary Ann for my mother, but Mrs. Logan insisted in naming her Jane instead of Ann for my sister of who she thought very much of. When she was nine months old we went to Nova Scotia on a visit. As I was considerably run down with hard work for a while it was a rest for me. Did some fishing, which was quite plentiful. After a pleasant visit and rest we returned to our home in Bernice, PA. Out of work. I went to Spring Mill mines. The boss there was a man with whom I had worked as a buddy in Barclay Mines, but there was no opening so they put me to work sinking an airshaft. After that was finished I got work in the mines, but houses in those places are scarce and hard to find. Often had to be content with what we could rent at least a couple of rooms. About one year after our second child, a boy was born named him Thomas after my wives father. As my wife was not strong we took another trip to Nova Scotia. I did not succeed in finding employment, and poor pay for what I did do. Tried to sell pictures, times were hard. When Thomas was four years of age Martha was born. About this time my little boy was vaccinated; as the smallpox came into this country, so we were compelled to have it done. He took cold catching poisoning. The neighbors thought we had diphtheria and kept away, but one kind neighbor Mrs. Dunbar said to her husband I am going to put old clothes on and call on those people with that sick child. He opposed her coming but she came and God Bless her for it. I had little boy in my arms holding his hand to keep him from tearing his face. I told her he was dying and she tried to cheer me. He died in my arms. We would have been alone but for this kind neighbor. She has gone to her reward long ago; but I can never forget her kindness a friend in need is a friend in deed. I surely was in dire distress. Worn out waiting on our boy for she my wife was not in good health. Having baby Martha to look after. I had always been of a serious turn of mind; had joined the church when young, but back slide, to my shame, but the lord did not leave me alone, but he drew very near to me sometimes brings affliction upon us when we see another way.

After my boy was buried I had to look for work; found employment in the Alvion Mines work there about six months but did not like it. I then went to work back in Sullivan county, Bernice, PA. We had to leave my family as I had no money to pay their traveling expenses. Boarded with my brother Daniel sent the first money I earned after paying my board to Mr. Downey, the merchant I traded with in New Glasgow and paid the bill I owed his brother Dr. Downey. I was very poor those days but hones. I went to Downey and told him I was going to the States and the first money I earned I would pay bills. In about three months I sent for wife and family. I like the Bernice people attended church as I was brought up to do so. I settled down as a staid middle aged man, honest and truthful. Did not indulge much in drinking take a glass once in a while, so things moved on in this way for some years. I did not attend the weekly prayer meeting, went as adherent to the Bernice Presbyterian church. There was a fine class of earnest t men who conducted the Sabbath exercises when a vacancy occurred. Led the prayer meeting in turn, seeing those men put their religion into practice. I began to sit up and take notice. My conscience kept saying to me "where art thou Elijah," where are the joys that you once experienced when first you gave your heart to the lord. So to quite the monitor within I started a family altar in the evening. The church people started cottage prayer meetings, this I thought was all right. It made the people more friendly, helped the first to burn on the altar (as it were

Well this was the beginning of a new era in my life. I took the church people into my life. I started to go to church, prayer meetings also to the cottage meetings. Being always of a different turn of mind it was quite a while before I took part in the meetings I would pray when called upon, but testifying was more difficult; but I was truly awakened and kept at it. The Bernice church as a Mission church, we could not pay the minister all of his salary and sometime a vacancy would occur. Then those advanced would lead and open the meeting; any that felt like taking part could do so, each one putting in his mite. Some could not pay much, but would lead in turn. When we had our regular preacher which was most of the time, he would have members conduct the prayer meetings, the same as when we were alone; at the close of the meeting it would be announced who would lead next night. A fine way causing those expected to lead, to search the scriptures and study. Well it was not long before they thought to elect me for one of the elders, I had no ambition for the office, farther than being of service for the church, but I felt glad that I stood high enough in the estimation of the good people to be honored by the appointment. We had four elders in our little church on the hill. I retired from the eldership in 1911 after having served for 11 hears, most of the time as clerk of sessions, I went confess Satan got hold of me when I resigned serving as elder when I might have served two years long, until I moved down here the truth is more active we re in religious work the warmer our hearts are, except we are sharers in the work. I like to think over the fine meetings we used to have. The cottage meetings were a source of much good in helping the timid ones to come out and take part, then they gradually came out in our church meetings. Some have gone to other parts that used to fellowship with me; some have gone to Glory. William Johnson a ver active worker used to lead the singing in the church choir, he took a great pleasure in singing; could also preach as fine a discourse as many preachers. He has gone to his reward. There is a young William an elder who took my place as clerk of the sessions. I insisted on him taking the office, as I knew he would fill the place much better than I could. I do not know whether he is acting as elder or not. I have not been there for a long time. Although it is a little over 3 miles from Dushore but being crippled from a bad hurt I received at Bernice mines, I have not been to church much in a number of years. In speaking of the church folk I recall to memory some active members. James Ramsey a big strong man who was lately taken off with a stroke; Brother Ramsey was a fine man.1 Ben Heleman who is still in Bernice also Frank Allen and Tom Thuraton another elder and worker still alive but moved away. Do not get the idea as I only mention a few that we were the silent few in the church. O no, there were many more. Many honorable women in Bernice, all active and useful members; and I must say I loved the people in the little church on the hill. Its very walks are very dear to me because it was in this church and among those dear people where I first saw the light of day. The largest part of my life was outside under a cloud, largely wasted.

I will get down to reminisces as they occur to my mind when I used to engage in revival work in Bernice church2 I was very much in earnest in those times as I think all true Christians should be and feel we are saved. We should try and bring others to Jesus. In those times I did not deem it bold or out of place to turn around in my seat and ask how it was with their souls, not one never dared to give me a rough answer or told me to mind my own business. (Or where to get off at) for I thought then and think now that it is the business of all who have found a good and sure and safe thing not to let it be known would be very selfish.

Now I will write experience on prayer selecting some particular person or persons setting apart a certain time to pray for them, with all the earnestness our souls are capable of. Soulful earnestness is required of us; with faith in God that he is willing and able to save to the uttermost. But there is a danger that we grow weary, when we continue to pray a couple of weeks or so and our prayers are not answered. Well in the previous page I was speaking on personal endeavor, talking to people in seats or out of seats. Some ministers approve of it and others do not. Let me give you a case in point. Two preachers were discussing this subject the elder of the two said, Let us put it to a test. You see that man ploughing in that field, let us step over and speak to him, as him how it is with his standing with God; and if he has any desire to be talked with on this subject. The very thing I have been thinking about and some one would come and talk with me, so they straightway started and preached Christ to him. You said the oldest man was ploughing the ground to make, so then there they prayed with this young man and he gave his heart to the Lord, and prepared himself for the ministry. This case reminds me of what we read in the book of acts. Philip was told to go to the wilderness and join himself to the rich young Eunuch, the Eunice was being prepared by reading the book of Isaah. But we are told not to be weary in well doing for in due time we shall reap if we faint not. It is well to keep on and on and not lose hope, so while we live and those for who we are praying live let us have faith in God and not grow weary. Some may say there are many who made a start and go back, that cannot be denied but that should not discourage us, it may not be for good, they may grow cold and worldly and they may be saved by grace by the grace of God. If this is not true to a certain extent. For I have the same experience in my own life yet by the goodness of God I was not left to follow my own will and way. Now as I did not engage to preach a sermon when I began to write a sketch of my life, I will have to hasten on and will tell a little experience I had. I had along the line of setting aside a time for praying for a few young men and I kept it up for sometime.

There was a picnic platform in the woods across from where I lived and to the platform I was want to go about noon hour, and there spend a half hour in prayer for six young men who belong to our church in Bernice. This I kept up in the summer months. We were holding what we called open air meetings as prayer meetings, giving anyone the privilege of giving testimony to make application and some of the church and believe me we were holding revival meetings after it was over, would go to the platform in the woods and pray among themselves, a very wholesome sign. One young fellow, some of the others told of him, he prayed that the Lord would send a basket down and take them all up when they were in a good mood. This youth like many more was afraid they would not hold out. This same fear holds a good many but God is able to keep us if we ourselves to his care and keeping until the decisive hour. About these young men whom I was praying for, one of them got up and with tears in his eyes confessed his sins. Some of the others were among those who met for prayer after the service was over in the church. Some left the place but I hope when God comes to make up his Jewels that they may be counted in.

At this time when I was giving what time and opportunity I could spare in the Lords work, I felt life worth living. But trouble was not over; although I seem to have a goodly share of accident; but still more to follow. About 28 years ago I received a sever and lasting hurt; although it may seem strange to admit, it proved to be the most blessed time of all my life. I was in the fire of affliction. Yet I realized the nearness of Gods presence. Oh would that I could say the same today. I had not fear then of anything which might happen. I had perfect love, which casteth out fear. The work, which I was doing at this time, is what the minerís call drawing pillows. The man who was working with I will call buddy, as that is what we call our partners in the work. Our place was coming in so went home until it would break off at the face over night, but it hung and we started to put up props. My partner was loading at the car and I had started to mine when away it came and that pick is under that hole yet; and I was caught under a ton of rock. One of the props saved me from being knocked flat on the pavement, which would have killed me, outright. Oh the yell that poor Buddy gave, We was not hurt any, I still retained my senses, I told him to run for help He went away searching all the way. He is dead now, died suddenly. If he had been where I was pinned it would have been sure death to a man of his weakness. Well the men came and one of them started to break the rock over my head, I had to stop him or the pick would have gone into my head. Get drills, I told them bore it off me so they managed to raise some. My leg was caught under below the knee. The same man who had the pick caught me by the leg and would have pulled it off, how little knowledge some have in such cases, all excitement where coolness is required. Well they got me out, it was winter, had been a snowstorm, I had to wait for the store team to take me home, oh how chilled I was. A boy wrapped his coat around me, also some rugs. The snow was deep at our gate, they stumbled and if they had fallen all would have been ended. Well the doctor cam and fixed me up for the grave, and to see the condition of the leg, you would say he spoke the truth. No one thought who saw me I would live. The leg was badly broken and my ribs were parted or broken and my insides badly strained, this is the state I was in when I said I was without fear. The Bernice people were very kind to me and assisted us in many ways supplied us wit milk from their fine cows. Mr. Blight, the Superintendent hired my brother to wait on me, others sat up in turns at night. I had to be turned on sheets. Mary, my daughter than a girl of 16, a fine girl, did the bandaging. I shipped the doctor for neglect and mal practice. After a few weeks lying in bed I had my daughter Mary make me a crutch and got up one day, so well, that some one loaned me a good crutch and I tried to limp around all broken up as I was and when I grew stronger, I would limp to church. I remember once trying to reach the hanging lamp, which I could easily, reach before and was hurt, but no I lack a four of reaching. Oh was a crushing this poor old form has gotten. Now I am a little bent old man. I served the church as elder sometime after this accident as I gained some strength. I wrote a few lines of poetry about the church and flag. I will apply the following verses with the church.

Good people of Bernice, pray list to my lay,

I will tell you in that which I have to say.

What I write you may all read with hearty goodwill.

It is concerning our church, which stood on the hill.

It was build in the year of eighteen eighty-four,

To worship the lord, whom Christians adore.

Both people and pastor did work with a will,

And they soon built our bonny wee church on the hill.

What our good master said of our church as Ďas come true,

As it sets on the hill, quite conspicuous to view,

Gospel light shineth forth by the masterís goodwill.

Our church was built by the good grace of God,

Yes he smiled down upon us as we turned the first sod.

And we raised Zionís bulwarks by our kind masterís will.

And God smiled on us still in our church on the hill.

Mr. Ives our first pastor, a godly old man,

When the church was in building did lend us a hand,

Though poorly in health, we did our work with a will,

For he loved and was loved by our church on the hill.

But the best friends do part, Mr. Ives went away,

Other pastors came to preach and pray,

And after he left us he was raised higher still.

Than preaching for us in our church on the hill.

Come up a step higher the good master said

And no doubt the summons he gladly obeyed,

The pastor McCaul our pulpit did fill,

In our lovely wee church in that site on the hill.

He and Goodlin that followed have both gone to rest,

And they sing a new song in the land of the blest.

But their works do follow and abide with us still.

May their spirits still hover over our church on the hill.

Then Smith, Thomson, and Calcoff and Ives the second time,

Cromp, Meeker and Gaurser are next in the line,

Pastor Campbell comes next our pulpit to fill

And dwells in the house near the church on the hill.

The next on probation was sent,

And we gladly agreed to keep Mr. Bent.

A meek man was he, and soon gained our goodwill,

For he preached us fine sermons in our church on the hill.

Mrs. Bent a fine lady; a worker was she,

Splendid aide to them when they had social tea.

Preacher Bent and his wife both worked with a will.

And they proved a success in our church on the hill.

Mr. Bent remained with us a few happy years,

And had on taking leave to hold back his tears.

We all felt sad and tears did some eyes fill,

When our good pastor left our wee church on the hill.

The pastor Freed came along and did stay,

Now take this for truth, what I am going to say,

He was a good man, a man of strong will,

A very right man for our church on the hill.

His wife and family came to the manse to dwell,

Now it saddens my heart what I have to tell,

To mansions above Mrs. Freed had to go,

And leave her dear husband to mourn her below.

We cannot compare the manse on the hill,

To the mansions above she was called on to fill,

But when he is through preaching and doing gods will

He will meet her again and his own mission fill.

Now Mr. Freed has gone, went to his home place,

A new pastor has come who is called Mr. Race,

We wish him success, a God given good will,

Where he preached in Bernice in the church on the hill.

The poetry I have written is the continuation of the poem I wrote some years ago. I started where I left off and finished up the preachers who served up to the present time 1924. Now I cannot write more because the pen is hurting my thumb too much. It is tender yet, the result of a bone felon and all my fingers are so crippled with rheumatism that it hurts to bend them over the pen handle. All the writing I did previous to this late folly of attempting to write a sketch of my rambling life and somewhat checkered life, I will finish by wishing all of my readers a long and useful life, a life that will count for eternity.

Adieu,

Alexander Kellock,

Bernice, Sullivan County, PA

March 21, 1925

1. Note:Thomas Ramsey was the father of James Ramsey. James married Augusta {Orlousky) ORLOWSKI, sister of Ernie Hatton's grandmother, Louisa Orlowski. Louisa married Charles William Hatton. Ernie spent two summers with James Alfred Ramsey and his wife.
2. Note: The family of Edward Lewis Hatton lived in the home next to the church. That may possibly have occurred after this story was written, but they were there for some time.

 


A "Company" Miner's Home in Bernice, PA
Charles William Hatton Lived Here and Worked in the Mines
A Few Houses from Where the Kellock Home Once Stood
Taken Between 1925-1930
Photo Contributed by Ernie Hatton
To quote Ernie: My father was born in this house 86 years ago. The house was built while Alexander Kellock lived in Bernice. This would be within a few homes of where he could have possibly stayed. I would guess it's 100 years old since my dad had older siblings that died.

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