Sunday, April 06, 2014

Recollections of Max Leonard From the Early Years in Peerless and Price

I was born in Peerless, a small mining town in Carbon County, Utah on December 21, 1922. I was the seventh of nine children born to Zoe Ellen (Powell) and Leopold Leonard. My parents had moved from Price to Peerless, about 10 miles away, in 1920, in order for my father to assume his new position as a tipple and weigh boss at the mine. They rented our house in Price while they were living in Peerless. Peerless was the first of several coal mining towns located in a small box canyon that was about nine miles long and that was known as Spring Canyon. These towns were connected by a narrow dirt road and a railroad that was used for hauling out the coal that was mined near each town. Peerless was made up of just about fourteen houses that were laid out on each side of the canyon. At the entrance to the canyon was the large tipple where the coal was loaded on to the railroad car after being hauled up the road from the mines.

The coal miners homes where made of wood. They had large balconies on one side and wooden steps on the other side. These homes lacked such essential amenities as bathrooms and running water for bathing, cooking and dish washing. Water had to be hand carried from a communal water hydrant that had to be hand pumped. We didn't have an indoor toilet. Facilities consisted of a small wooden structure placed over a hold in the ground. It was called an outhouse. That was because it was out back some distance from the main house. With these inconveniences to contend with bathing was a once a week ritual. It was usually done on Saturday night. Toileting was never a nocturnal activity unless there was an emergency. It was dark and cold out back and you never knew what you might encounter as we lived in a remote canyon where it wasn’t unusual to see wild animals.

Children outside the school in Peerless. Max is on the right at the front with his hands on the girl's shoulders and his brother Emmet is behind him.