Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saint Agnes School, Mifflin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, circa 1910

One of my Dad's cousins shared this old photo with me from her archives. Three of my great uncles are in this photo taken circa 1910 in Mifflin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

[If you click on the photo, it will take you to my flickr website where there are notes indicating which of the boys are my paternal grandmother's little brothers.]

I knew all three of these great uncles, but the one I remember the best was my Great Uncle Dose (for Theodosius). When he would visit us, he would always have a treat for us kids, often Kraft caramels or spearmint leaves.

As I have pieced together my family tree, I have learned more about the trials of Uncle Dose's life. His wife left him early in their marriage and took their young daughter Florie away and he never got to see her grow up. He was asthmatic and died at a relatively young age in a family where longevity is the norm.

I attended this same school (from second through fourth grades), as did my father, his brothers, and both of my Dad's parents. Even in the days when I was in attendance (1957-60), it was the equivalent of the fabled one-room school house, with many grades intermixed.

I remember having the distinct privilege one day in third grade of ringing the handbell out of one of the windows of the second storey classroom, signaling the end of the school day--a very 19th century tradition that lasted well into the 20th at my parochial school.

When I was in fourth grade, a new school was being built across the street. I attended it for half a year. We moved that winter and the next fall I went to public school, leaps and bounds ahead of my new schoolmates academically. I credit the very demanding nuns for my good educational foundation. I especially loved learning to read music and remember the special tool Sister Mary Anselm used to draw the music staff with chalk on the blackboard.

The old school and the 19th century church (where my grandparents were married and celebrated a Mass in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary) burned to the ground in the 1970's--the end of an era.


  1. Wow, what a great picture. I love seeing old school pictures like these. :) I live in the south hills of pittsburgh, right near where this was taken. So interesting! :)

  2. It's a small world, demandablog! I haven't been back to the 'Burgh since 2005; most of my family has moved west of the Rockies, but I do plan on going back for a sentimental journey one of these days with my husband and sister in tow....

  3. i went to saint agnes school from 1959 to 1969 any one out there from those years.love to hear from you .marie halpin