A printer friendly, PDF version of this page can be accessed by clicking here. (1.9MB, 24 pages)


Amelia Weritz-Chubon and Pete (Peter) Chubon

Their Early Life

Pete (Peter) (1912 - 1993) was born at home in James City, Pennsylvania in 1912.  He was the third of nine children born to Slovak immigrant parents, Peter and Rose. He first attended school in James City.  He had a difficult beginning because he spoke and understood only Slovak, which was spoken at home. He was repeatedly scolded by the teacher because he did not respond.  Eventually one of his classmates informed her of the language problem, and she began teaching him appropriately.  In 1919 the family moved to a farm in nearby Lamont and Pete attended the two-room school there.

Pete dropped out of school at age 14 when he got working papers to help support the family. His first paid employment was at the American Plate Glass factory in James City. As the glass factory began failing because of the depression, he struck out on his own, working in construction, doing road work, and other short-term jobs.  When his mother died in 1930, for a period, he assumed many of his mother's responsibilities, including cooking for the family. In this depression era, he worked at whatever employment he could find in the area. Eventually, he began working for Raymond Gentile, an oil jobber in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

  Amelia (1915 - 1998) was born at the Weritz (Virecz) farm home at Lamont, Pennsylvania in 1915. She was the fourth of eleven children born to immigrant parents, Susie and Anton Weritz.  She attended the Lamont School through the 8th grade.  In her early teen years, she did much of the cooking for the family and as many as 17 borders that the family housed in a shed-like structure near the house. She also worked weekends and summers for the James Family, the founders of James City, as a domestic.  One of her favorite stories was about preparing roast leg of lamb every Sunday for their dinner. She told this with a chuckle, because lamb was never cooked/eaten at home, and she just had to assume it was edible because she had no idea what it was supposed to taste like. At age 17, she began working in a shirt factory in nearby Kane, Pennsylvania

Amelia as a teenager (school photo)


Life Together

Pete and Amelia married in 1935, and established residence in Bradford, Pennsylvania, where Pete was working.  They rented an upstairs apartment in a house owned and occupied by a co-worker, Louis Palandrani, and his family.  There, they became Italianized.  The two families were close, and regularly recreated and ate together.  Amelia learned to cook Italian dishes and the families worked together making wine each fall. Even after they left Bradford, Pete continued to buy groceries at Bradford Italian stores, including olives, large boxes of imported spaghetti, and wedges of well-aged Parmesan cheese. During hunting season in the fall,  Pete and some of his co-workers were avid hunters.  They would sometimes pool their quarry for a feast at an Italian club.  The game would be cooked in a marinara sauce and served over polenta.  The polenta would be poured onto a large cutting board and spread out to form a sheet over it,  A pot of sauce and the cooked game would be poured in the center and the sauce spread out to the edges.  Participants would sit around the table with a knife, fork and glass of wine, and eat their way toward the center, taking pieces of the meat from time to time.  Cooking game in spaghetti sauce continues to be a family favorite.

When work on oil leases began to dwindle, Pete went to work at the Bovaird and Seyfang Foundry in Bradford.  Although the foundry was established to provide motors, pumps, and other machinery for the oil industry, when World War II began, its production shifted to military equipment.  It produced such things as engines for LST boats and high pressure pumps for submarines.  Pete started as an apprentice molder and quickly worked his way up to journeyman status. To be promoted, he had to demonstrate mastery of the complete casting process, which included creating a pattern, making a sand mold from the pattern, filing the mold with molten iron, and ending up with an unflawed casting.

For his project, Pete made a casting of a birddog, reflecting his love of hunting. The pattern was hand carved from wood, and took two attempts. When working on the first carving, he made a leg too thin and it broke. The second try was successful and the project was completed, resulting in his promotion.  The casting is a superb piece of workmanship for a sand casting. It is 15.25 inches from the nose to the tip of the tail and 8.5 inches high at the head.  The solid iron casting weighs 8.5 pounds. The smooth surface is remarkable in that it received no buffing or other finishing, indicating that the sand mold had been coated. It contains fine details that reflect both precision and artistry.   The sand mold had to be smashed away to retrieve the casting and the pattern was destroyed so that an exact replica could not be made.

Pete  protected the casting all his life. Only one time did he entrust it to anyone. It took years of convincing, but during the early 1950s, he arranged for Eloy (Blink) Bliski, a family friend from Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania to take it to an art teacher in a Johnsonburg school to be painted.  She painted it with the same diligence and patience that went into its making, using a magazine cover photo of a dog that Pete selected for a model.  In addition to being one of a kind, the project was truly remarkable in that Pete had never carved wood before (or after). It is the ultimate family heirloom.  (Click here to view a larger image.)

During his employment at the foundry, the family grew to three and the apartment became too small.  They moved to a small one story house in Bradford.  Also, Pete sold his Model A Ford  and bought a 1937 Chevy pickup truck.  The truck was well known in Bradford because it had been the popcorn truck used by a vendor who sold the popcorn at parades and other public gatherings  The popcorn maker had been removed, but the covering for it was still on the truck bed.  They resided at this residence until 1942. That was the  year after the the U.S. entered World War II, and Pete's father died at the Lamont farm in 1941. Because his brothers had all enlisted in the military service, Pete and Amelia became the default caretakers of the farm, requiring a move from Bradford.  Pete continued to drive to and from Bradford.  Fortunately, Frank Bergman, a Lamont neighbor was a co-worker at B and S and they traveled together.  Because of the critical work Pete was doing, he was repeatedly deferred from the draft.

Commuting to Bradford, maintaining the farm, and coping with the house without running water, no bathroom, and heat provided by coal-burning pot bellied stoves and their four small children made life difficult. Additional hardships resulted from the wartime rationing of basic foods, such as meat and sugar, and gasoline.  However, with a garden, venison available in the apple orchard in the fall and early winter, and Pete raising a few pigs, cows, and chickens the family fared better than many.  Amelia kept the children in clothes she made from print feed sacks that dairy, pig, and chicken feed came in. In the late summer and fall, she spent much time canning vegetables, fruits and venison. In addition, crocks of lard and sauerkraut were made. Pork chops were preserved in the crocks of lard. In the fall, cider was made from the apples. Some was stabilized at the "hard cider" stage, and the remainder was left to turn into vinegar. To help with the farming, Pete bought a used Farmall A tractor made by International Harvester. He also had the pickup truck transmission altered so that it had an extra low gear, making it more useable for farm work.

By the end of the war, Pete had become a foreman in the foundry. However, he had also started having coughing spells, and he was subsequently diagnosed as having early signs of silicosis from the sand dust in the foundry.  At that time, protective gear, such as dust masks and hard hats, were not used in the workplace. He was advised to leave the dusty environment, and did so as soon as the war ended. He became a laborer at the Sergeant Glass Works near Kane, and engaged in part time farming on the limited acreage. In the course of working the farm, he was the first in McKean county to buy a grain combine.  Although he grew only a few acres of grain, he did custom harvesting for farmers within a 20 mile radius. Sons Dick and Bob, who were 8-10 years old, manned the combine, bagging the grain, while Pete pulled it with the tractor.

Because of the meat rationing during the war, Pete had begun to increase the number of hogs that he raised.  At the time he left the foundry, he had approximately 30 and selling them was a major part of the farm income. Within a short time, he realized that if he eliminated the middle men and sold meat directly to the public, it would be even more profitable. He was encouraged by family and friends to open a butcher shop, as there was not a reputable one in the area.  Thus, he established Chubon's Meat Market, converting the farm garage into a combination slaughterhouse and butcher shop. The highlights were a cork-insulated walk-in cooler, and a bandsaw for cutting meat, which was a new development at that time. The meat market quickly grew, necessitating the purchase of large volumes of uncut meat from meatpackers, such as Swift, Wilson, and Armour. In addition, Pete began making routine trips to the cattle auction at Brockway, Pennsylvania to purchase cattle. He also transported farm animals to and from the auction for area farmers, a practice he continued until his retirement. Meat market customers included schools, hospitals, and the area's best restaurants, such as the Kane Manor. Individual customers came from area towns including St. Marys, Ridgeway, Johnsonburg, and Warren.  Profitability was maximized by unpaid laborers, sons Dick and Bob. Their responsibilities were an integral part of the operation, ranging from trimming meat from bones for hamburger, to killing and plucking chickens, to providing bicycle delivery service for residents in the Lamont area. Holidays were an especially busy time for the meat market, driven by requests for special cuts of meat.  At Christmas and Easter, hundred of pounds of smoked klobasa were made. All that could be produced was sold before it was taken from the smokehouse

 As a necessity for operation of the meat market, a telephone was installed.  Although it was on an 8-12 party line, the hand cranked telephone provided a connection with the outside world analogous to that provided by today's Internet. Although the phone was a business necessity, it provided Amelia and her mother an avenue for almost daily chats in Slovak. Many of the Slovak immigrants never became fluent in English, and this was a major social barrier for persons such as Amelia's mother. Also, during the time in Lamont, Pete and Amelia were active members of the Lamont Community Association, at times serving as officers.

Despite its success, the meat business was relatively short lived. When Pete's brothers returned from the military service, there was a need to settle the estate because the elder Peter left no will. Regrettably, disagreements arose and purchase by Pete fell victim. At that point, Pete became estranged from his siblings, with the exception of  brother Anthony (Tony), who managed to stay above the feud.  Eventually, following court action, the farm was sold to the Trulik family and Pete was given 6 months to vacate the farm. Consequently, the business was dissolved and Pete as forced to look for an alternative way to earn a living.

After closing the meat market, in the summer of 1948, Pete purchased the 100 acre farm owned by the Undrovic family a few miles from Lamont on the Highland Road, and the family moved.  The indoor  plumbing and free natural gas in the farmhouse were highly appreciated, but most of the farm had been neglected.  At the onset, Pete operated the farm with no particular focus as had been done by the elderly Undrovics.  Eggs from 200-300 chickens were sold, and the milk from a few small cows was separated into cream and shipped by train to a cheese factory near Erie, Pennsylvania. As such, the farm was not economically viable, and Pete worked toward the conversion to a dairy farm.  Again, with unpaid family labor, the conversion was relatively quickly accomplished when Pete became associated with the Halling's Hillside Dairy, a high quality dairy business in the area.  With the size of the operation and the workload growing, daughters Joyce and Sandy were pressed into service along side Dick and Bob during the busier times, doing what ever was necessary.  They drove the tractors, loaded bales of hay, and picked corn in the fall, in addition to doing their assigned daily chores.

During the early years, most of the profits were plowed into the development of the farm, with investment in the first concrete slab silo in the county, one of the first mechanized gutter cleaners, and the first hay dryer in the area,  Most of the facilities were remodeled or rebuilt by Pete, sometimes helped by several brothers in-law. Because of his diverse early work experiences, Pete had mastered many construction and mechanical skills. It was only through self-reliance and family frugality that the improvements were possible. Eventually, The Halling family sold their business to the Modern Dairy at St. Marys, and Pete continued to sell the milk to them. 

Remodeling the barn was quite a feat.  The barn likely dates to the late 1890s or early 1900s, and was built with very basic tools and construction techniques, and using the resources at hand.  The wood used in construction obviously came from huge virgin timber, with hand hewn joists as large as 12-14 inches square and 40 feet in length.  Boards 18 inches wide were used in some places.  The beams used to create the roof trusses were fastened together with pegs.  From a remodeling standpoint, removing the stones used for pillars supporting the upper floor were a challenge.  Some of the cut sandstone rocks were 4 feet square and a foot or more in height.  It took a lot of sweat getting the stones, stacked 8 feet high, dissembled and removed.   Some had to be split into smaller pieces because the Farmall A tractor was not big enough to skid them out whole.  It is remarkable that these pillars were built by people with no power tools and only horses to bring the building materials to the site.  One can imagine teams of people working much as the ancient Egyptians constructing the pyramids.

By the mid 1950s, the milking herd had grown to approximately 30 high producing cows, with the milking still being done by hand. In 1954, son Bob sustained a severe spinal cord injury in a gym class accident, leaving him paralyzed. With the demands on Amelia's time caring for Bob, and Dick enlisting in the army, Pete was forced to implement the final modernization and install milking machines. Further progress was slowed because of the medical expenses stemming from Bob's care. Much support was received from Amelia's sister Betty and her husband, Everett Johnson, who lived on the adjacent Bailey farm from 1953 until 1955. Everett was able to assist Pete with milking and other chores, and Betty helped keep the children in clothes with her sewing machine.

By the early 1960's Bob was approaching the end-stage of his rehabilitation, and the financial footing stabilized and then began to grow.  The farm was well-mechanized and, with the children grown and gone from home, the farm was operated with a limited amount of part time help during busy seasons. At its peak, Pete had leased several of the nearby small farms and was farming more than 200 tillable acres and 25 acres of pasture land. The farm also had an estimated 20 acres of trees that were selectively harvested.

In 1983, Amelia was diagnosed as having cancer of the uterus.  Following surgery, she underwent a rigorous regimen of chemo and radiation therapy at the Roswell Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. Although Amelia and the physicians triumphed over the disease, it took its toll.  Amelia lost much of the sensation in her fingers and toes, but the greatest cost was the loss of her sense of smell and taste. The loss of dexterity, stamina, and taste took the joy from cooking.  She acknowledged tearing up at times when eating a dish of her homemade chicken soup because to her, it tasted like hot water.

In 1977 Pete retired and sold the dairy herd.  He continued to raise a few cattle, hay, and grain on the farm, with the help of  grandson Jeffrey. In the mid 1980s, Pete had a small stroke, and already riddled with osteoarthritis, he lived out his remaining years with decreasing mobility.  After being hospitalized and diagnosed with cancer of the liver, he died in 1993 in the Lutheran Nursing Home at Kane. Jeffrey continues to maintain a large part of the farm, although a portion has been sold.  Jeffrey is also the current caretaker of Pete's cast iron dog.

When the family moved to the farm, Amelia was most appreciative of the improved living accommodations. She continued her role making many of the children's clothes until the finances improved. Most of her canning was replaced by the less demanding freezing process.  She routinely washed the milking equipment and assisted with other farm chores in addition to her household role. As was the case throughout her life, Amelia continued to be the family caretaker. In addition to caring for Bob for several years following his injury, she provided meals for her brother Paul following the illness and death of their mother, with whom he lived. The food included a big kettle of her homemade chicken soup every week. She shared the care of grandson Jeffrey with his mother, Joyce, after she returned home In 1965. Finally, she maintained Pete who was quite dependent during his last few years. After his death, she continued to live at the farm, sharing the house with daughter Joyce and grandson Jeffrey. During her last years, her ability to get around and care for herself declined, and she made the decision  to go to a nursing home. Subsequently, she was admitted to the Elk Haven Nursing Home in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. She always made the best of the situation and had a smile for the caretakers. Eventually, she was diagnosed as having multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer. Following transfer, her final days were spent at the Lutheran Home in Kane, which was closer to family members.


"The View from My Window" (RAC)

Bob - Robert Anthony Chubon
Dick - Richard Peter Chubon
Scott - Richard Scott Chubon


Photo Gallery


Amelia and Pete (mid-1930s)

Amelia and Pete (mid-1940s)


Amelia and Pete (1985)

Taken at a celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary

Adeline Bennet, Amelia, and Pete
over the July 4, 1991 holiday.

Click here for a larger image

Photo provided by Jim Chubon

Amelia and first grandchild, Jacob Larkee (1991)

Click here for a larger image

photo provided by Jim Chubon

Adeline Bennet, Jacob Larkee, and Amelia
in Adeline's kitchen during the 1994
Christmas holiday.

Click here for a larger image

Photo provided by Jim Chubon


Amelia shows her adventurous side by riding Scout, our pony. The building on the left is Chubon's Meat Market.

Dick, Bob, and Pete in the early 1950s. A good deer season meant new school clothes when the deer were sold.


 The children of Pete and Amelia(left to right) Front: Sandy, Joyce. Back: Bob, Dick (August 1954)

Pete on his new John Deere (Photo by Scott Chubon, circa 1970)


Klobasa making on the farm

Jeff gets instructed in the art of seasoning klobasa by Grandpa.
(Photo provided by Scott Chubon)


Smoking the farm way.  Splitting wood was the
hardest part of the job, especially if it was beech. The aging smokehouse started to lean and needed props.  (Photo provided by Donna Bennet Chubon

Now we're smokin! Scott has split an ample supply of wood for what may have been the last time the old smokehouse was used. (Photo provided by Scott Chubon)



Looking good
(Photo provided by
Donna Bennet Chubon

Cooling on the front porch of the farmhouse.
(Photo provided by
Donna Bennet Chubon


An aerial view of the Slovak family farms at Lamont. (2001)

An aerial view of the Highland farm.(1970s)
Click here to view a larger image in which you can see some cows grazing in the pasture beyond the railroad tracks.


The Highland farm in the winter.  (Photo by Dick Chubon)


A stark fall day at the farm.  The two large evergreen trees were potted Christmas trees Bob had in his hospital room in 1954. The taller tree is a Canadian blue spruce that was about 2 feet high and the other was a Florida spruce that was about a foot tall.  The top had to be cropped because it was approaching the electric line.  Photo provided by Donna Bennet Chubon.

Summer green (Photo by Scott Chubon)


The Family in the early 1950s (left to right)
Dick, Bob, Joyce, Amelia, Sandy, and Pete
Gathered around the 1937 Chevy Pickup


Amelia at age 23 with her sister Eva's guitar


Pete and Amelia's early vehicle models.

Their first vehicle was a used Model A Ford like this.

This is a 1937 Chevy identical to the popcorn truck they bought.

This late 1950's Plymouth is identical to the one they bought, which was the first new car they owned.


Pete and Amelia's final resting place in the St. Callistus Cemetery on the outskirts of Kane, Pa.



The Bovaird & Seyfang Foundry

A glimpse inside
Photo - Courtesy of the Bradford Historical Society

By Mike Fuoco
Although not as well known as other manufactures of oil and gas well supplies and related equipment, Bovaird & Seyfang Manufacturing Company nonetheless played an important rote in the development of the Bradford, Pennsylvania and Western New York state oil and gas fields.
Although it could be safely stated that the majority of then products remained within a 100 mile radius of Bradford, Bovaird & Seyfang engines and equipment found their way into most major oil producing areas of the United States.
Bovaird & Seyf,ang built boilers, wood chemical plants, drilling and fishing tools, rig irons, romps, compressors, steel tanks, pumping powers, pumping jacks and steam, gas and diesel engines They also did complete turnkey installations for secondary ,recovery pressure plants and central pumping powers.
To do a complete treatise on the company would take volumes of material. Because the Coolspring Power Museum is internal combustion oriented, I will concentrate on this aspect of Bovaird & Seyfamg's production.
The company was originally organized as a co-partnership in 1875 by David Bovaird, a native of Scotland and German born, John T Seyfang. The original location was in Shamburg PA. As the oil boom pushed northward, they relocated to Titusville in 1877 and in 1879 moved to Bradford.
The co-partnership was dissolved in 1891 and the company reorganized under the corporate none of Bovaird & Seyfang Manufacturing Company. John Seyfang retired in 1896. David Bovaird formed Bovaird & Company in 1895. The Bovaird Company still exists today.
Just before Pearl Harbor in 19.41, the company was purchased by the Clark Brothers Company of Olean NY. Clark needed more equipment and production space for government orders. The, move placed Bovaird & Seyfang under the umbrella of Dresser Industries. Oil production equipment though, was still produced under the Bovird & Seyfang name until the early 1950s, when the demand for such equipment dwindled.
Production of multi-cylinder two stroke angle gas compressors continued into the 1970'5. Dresser converted the plant into a coating facility for some of their products. The coating plant operated until the 1980s, and it too was shut down Plant demolition began in tire late 1980, and was completed in 1992 when the plant's smoke stack come down with a thunderous crash. Today the plant site is occupied by a mini-mall and a drug store.
Coolspring Power Museum "Bores & Strokes"
Vol. 9, No. 1, 1997

Bovaird and Seyfang engines and other castings have become collectors' items.  A quick Internet search will reveal how popular they have become.