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Who’s in the book?

    A bootleg miner smoking a cigarette
    A bootleg miner smoking a cigarette
    An unknown bootleg miner, 1938. Photo by Jack Delano, Works Progress Administration.

    The story of bootleg coal is told through the words of the people who lived it. This is a list of the most prominent people quoted in the book. Most of them are bootleggers themselves, though some community leaders are also noted. If you are a descendant of these people and have any more information about them, please get in touch! Thank you!

    Branchdale / Newtown / Llewellyn

    • Andy “Red” Drebitko, bootleg miner, born 9/29/1927, died 6/24/2010.
      Vice president and co-founder of the Independent Miners Association.
    • William H Adams, bootleg miner, PA Dutch, born 7/22/1914, died 11/26/1998.

    Coaldale / Lansford

    • James H. Gildea, newspaperman, born 10/21/1890, died 6/5/1988.
      President, Panther Valley Equalization Committee. Chairman, Coaldale Relief Society.
      Founder & editor of the Coaldale Observer and The Schuylkill Legal Record
      US Representative, 1935 to 1939
    • Reverend John Pounder, Lansford Baptist Church, English, born 5/3/1885.
      member of the Panther Valley Equalization Committee


    • John Wetzel, bootleg miner, PA Dutch, born 3/1/13.


    • John Demcher, bootleg trucker, born 3/28/1905.


    • Father P. J. Dougherty, Saint Kieran’s Parish.
    • Jack Campion, bootleg miner, Irish & Ukranian, b. 12/26/1925.
    • P. Joseph Brennan, bootleg miner,(Coal Castle), died 8/11/1943.
      President of Minersville Bootleggers Union.
    • Jack Campion, bootleg miner, Irish & Ukrainian, born 12/26/25.

    Mahanoy City

    • “Scrappy” Byron
    • Farmers and Laborers Unemployed Union


    • Albert “Al” Akulauckas, bootleg miner, Lithuanian, born 1906.
    • Peter Joseph Paul (Paulakaitis), bootleg miner, born 7/29/1898, died 10/16/47.
      President of the Minersville Bootleggers Union. Member of the Communist Party.
    • Gomer Paul (Paulakaitis), brother of Peter, bootleg miner, Lithuanian.
    • Carl Herman, bootleg miner, Lithuanian, born 3/7/1887.
      Member of the Communist Party.
    • Michael “Mick” Kozura, bootleg trucker, Ukrainian, born 2/14/11, died 1/31/70.
    • Helen (Onuszko) Kozura, wife of Mick, seamstress & bootleg trucker, Ukrainian and Polish, born 3/9/96.

    Mount Carmel

    • Mike Demchak, bootleg miner.
      Member of the American Workers Party (Musteite)


    • Con Foley (Cornelius Francis Foley), Irish, miner, barber, and socialist, died 4/21/1934.


    • Kenny Burrows (Kenneth B.), bootleg trucker, born 5/15/1913, died 8/31/07.
    • Bill Heintzman, bootleg trucker, born 3/29/05.
    • Clarence “Mooch” Kashner, bootleg miner, Polish, born 12/16/1916.
      President, Independent Miners’ Association (1970s)
    • William Earl Humphreys, bootleg miner, born 5/17/1905(?). Sometimes written as Humphrey (no “s”)
      President and spokesperson, Independent Miners’ Association.
    • Joseph “Joe” Agor, newspaperman, born 1894, died 10/14/1952.
      Editor of the Shamokin News-Dispatch

    1 thought on “Who’s in the book?”

    1. coal miners daughter ADT

      I’ve just recently discovered this resource and was wondering if you have any history of my father’s involvement, he was a mi er and passed in the 1970s due to health issues. C.Ernest Troutman.

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