In 1879 the Buffalo Coal Company opened a mine near the head of a small stream located 3 miles Southwest of present day Clermont. According to Frank Rizzo, the mine foreman for the mine, there were over 50 men employed there.
Working in the damp underground and sometimes standing in small pools of water especially after a good rainstorm made it very difficult. It made it necessary for the men to wear a medium height boot made from a soft rubbery material and called a gumboot. Consequently the men began to refer the mine as "Gumboot Mine". Another later mine was called "Gumboot 2". In addition to the other unfavorable conditions the only source of light available came from carbide lamps similar to the one shown here.
interesting but little known thing about the Italian miners was their favorite
pastime. On Sundays they would get together and played an Italian game called
Bocce. They constructed a bocce court on a flat area in the area that was later
used for a siding by the Shawmut Railroad and called Dale. This photo shows the
type of equipment used in that game.
For their efforts in the mine the men were paid by the ton. The men began claiming to the foreman that the company was cheating them. They felt that the company was cheating them because they were told that too many rocks and clay had been put in the mine cars. At this time miners in other parts of the country voiced the same complaint. Strikes over wages occurred in other areas. A slump in the coal industry and the loss of profitability in mining finally lead to the closing of the Gumboot mines. Some of the miners remained in the area to work in other jobs. In fact Frank Rizzo started his own business that we will discuss in another segment.