Original Document
Original Document
George Wirt, On His First Visit to Mont Alto, PA, in 1902.

George Wirt: The first time I went down to the Mont Alto property from the little village of Mont Alto, the old gentleman, Mr. Knepper who had been the superintendent of the iron company, took me down. He had an old buckboard with two mules, and one of the furnace men drove us. He acted as driver-chauffeur of this two-mule buckboard, and as we went down along the mountains, Mr. Knepper would say, "Now you see that schoolhouse there? Not so very long ago one of the fellows that lived there pounded the brains out of his wife." We went a little further and he's see that place over there. "There so-and-so stabbed his neighbor and killed him. See that fellow over there? There a fellow shot a neighboring farmer for interfering with his wife.?

Thinks I, "Holy Moses, from the frying pan into the fire. Leaving one place where a fellow would shoot me if he got a chance, into another neighborhood where things were worse because they actually do murder them." But I came back to Mont Alto and for one year I carried my revolver in my belt every time I went out of the house. Never went out without it. I did get a couple of threats from some of the mountain people who thought we were coming up there and were going to dispossess them, but when we got them persuaded to believe that we didn't mean any harm to them, that we were going to make it easier for them to make a living, they became my loyal servants and it wouldn't have been healthy for anybody to have disturbed me. Of course, they all knew I could shoot; I wasn't very fast on the draw, but once it was drawn it was a dead give away."

Q: How old were you?

Wirt: Not quite twenty-two, in 1902. I would be twenty-two in the fall.

Credit: Oral History Interview with George H. Wirt, interviewed by Charles D. Bonsted, March 1959. The Forest History Society Oral History Collection, Durham, North Carolina.
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