Frank Charney

Frank Charney's Sunday Postcard


Dominick Gelotte, Nanty Glo labor leader, burgess,
and Justice of the Peace

Dominick GelotteMany Nanty Glo seniors can remember the town's former Justice of the Peace, Dominick Gelotte. Born in Calabria, Cosenza, Italy, in 1884 and migrating to the United States in 1904, he worked in the coal mines for four years and soon became a labor organizer for the United Mine Workers of America. He became a citizen in 1908. Working with John Brophy, head of District 2 Miners Union, Mr. Gelotte was a member of a small band of courageous individuals like John L. Lewis and Brophy, early leaders of the labor movement. Less celebrated than the others, this Italian immigrant once wrote a strongly worded correspondence in 1919 that read as follows:

"Brothers: You certainly realize the hard struggle now going on in Johnstown, Pa. between the Cambria Steel and its employees, For sixty-nine years the workers of the said City have been under the wings of this tyrannical corporation and no workingman was free, but a secular slave of this Steel Corporation. For the first time in the history of Johnstown the workers have taken a determined Position to fight for their exclusive rights.

"As matter of historical evidence at any time that the Proletarians demanded better compensation for their work they met with opposition, and we know that the corporations have expended millions of dollars to crush any labor movement but in spite of this fact the sublime idea of the labor movement has made a priceless progress.... There never was a limitation to their intolerable and treacherous method of attacking the labor movement, but their hypocritical and detestable tactics has not changed in the least.... So far their satanic and hypocritical action have not met with any material success, but as the Cambria Steel gets very desperate we cannot tell what they may do in the future...."

In 1920 he married his wife, Ester, and they had two chidren, a daughter Inez, still living in Nanty Glo, and a son, Dominick Jr. The family suffered a great loss with Dominick Jr. passed away in 1954 at 15 years of age (Editor: see earlier reports on this, here and here).

Gelotte became a Justice of the Peace in 1926 and had the distinction of serving in this role until 1974, at the time serving the longest of any Justice of the Peace in Pennsylvania. He was the Nanty Glo Burgess from 1945 to 1961, and also served on the Nanty Glo Borough Council. He drove an old Model T Ford around town.

He was an ardent fisherman and hunter, and once raised a flock of 25 Leghorn hens. Over a three-month period, he recorded his 25 hens as laying a monthly average of 450 eggs.

Mr. Gelotte passed away at 90 years of age in 1974 and is buried at Nanty Glo's St. Mary's Cemetery.

— Frank Charney

A Google search of "Dominick Gelotte" produces many references to his activities as a coal and steel labor organizer.


Funny bones

A terrific explosion occured in a gunpowder factory, and once all the mess had been cleared up, an inquiry was held.

One of the few survivors was pulled up to make a statement. "Okay Simpson," asked the investigator, "you were near the scene - what happened?"

"Well, it was like this. Old Charley was in the mixing room, and I saw him take a cigarette out of his pocket and light up."

"He was smoking in the mixing room?" the investigator replied in stunned horror, "How long had he been with the company?"

"About 20 years, sir"

"Twenty years in the company, then he goes and strikes a match in the mixing room. I'd have thought it would have been the last thing he'd have done."

"It was, sir."


Images of America - Vintondale, published

Valley video page updated

Complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonal articles

Today's chuckle

A European brewery has purchased Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, for $52 billion. Which is a shame because if they had waited until happy hour they could have paid half that.

— Conan O'Brien

Thought for today

Assume a virtue, if you have it not.

— William Shakespeare

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