A job during the Depression
In this eighth column, I continue to recall the days when the Allentown State Hospital Farm graced 800 acres in East Allen Township.
One of the former employees was the late Mr. Harold Yohn, of Walnut Street in Weaversville. Harold was a close friend of this writer. His daughters, Nancy Eberts of East Allen Township, and Edith, were fine students over at Northampton High School.
Harold was born over in Fullerton. The Great Depression hit the Yohn family, as millions of others, and his father was unemployed. He heard the Allentown State Hospital Farm was looking for employees to work on the farm. So his father was one of hundreds to apply.
He was startled when he received a letter a few weeks later, scheduling an interview. The family was thrilled when their father was hired. The year was 1931.
The family moved to the Deshler Farm, or Farm Colony 2. The home and barn are still standing along Walnut Street in East Allen Township. They resided in the home that was shared with six state farm patients, whose bedroom was on the second floor of the home.
Mrs. Yohn had a very busy day, preparing meals, washing clothes and keeping the home clean and orderly. The male patients worked on the farm, both in the fields and feeding the farm livestock.
“At the time, Walnut Street was gravel, and Weaversville Road was sparsely traveled,” Mr. Yohn recalled. “My father would take a horse-drawn wagon of hay down to the Allentown State Hospital, making two trips a day. Corn was harvested by hand. Husking was done by employees and teams of patients. During the winter, we cleared fence lines on the farms and cut endless cords of firewood. The days were cold, but somehow you continued to work.
“During the spring, the farm received box cars of seed potatoes and fertilizer. The cars were placed on a siding of the Northampton & Bath Railroad in Weaversville. We unloaded the fertilizer by hand and, with horse and wagon, hauled the fertilizer to the farm.
“Our family appreciated the home and job at a time when so many of our fellow citizens were in need.”
Next time: My salary was $27.50.