Watsontown Brick Company

15-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, March 10, 1911:  Pulled a girl’s ears at school. It was her birthday. Will be glad when mine comes along. Hope tomorrow will prove more stirring than what today had been.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma’s sixteenth birthday will be on the first day of spring—March 21. It sounds like she’s already looking forward to it. This is the second time that pulling ears on someone’s birthday has been mentioned in the diary.


On days when Grandma writes little of interest, I always wish that she’d described her daily routines more. For example, what time did school start each morning? And when Grandma walked to school each morning were there men going in the opposite direction towards jobs in Watsontown?

The road Grandma walked to school each morning. It would have been dirt (or mud) in 1911.

Raymond Swartz, Grandma’s classmate at McEwensville High School and future husband, wrote a short family history many years later. He mentioned working in the Watsontown Brick Plant a few years after he graduated from McEwensville High School.

The next five years I spent working for father on the farm with the exception of three months in the winter of 1918 when I worked at the Watsontown Brick Plant. To do that, it was necessary to get up at four o’clock in the morning in order to get some of the morning chores done on the farm and then leave home to drive a horse and buggy to work about six-fifteen. Work at the plant started at seven o’clock and lasted until five o’clock. Then I drove home and helped with some of the chores in the evening. We worked five hours on Saturdays. For the three months work I received $228.00 which was good wages in those days.

Raymond Swartz

Watsontown Brick Company was founded in 1908, and a hundred years ago other strong young men were probably making the daily trip on the road from McEwensville to Watsontown to earn a good wage for a hard day’s work.

Bricks are still produced in Watsontown and sold nationally. The town is famous for its clay soils that make excellent bricks.

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