Donated and compiled by chapter member, Janet Vanstrom
It was her children who attended Circle Green School and Joe and Johnny were buried nearby in West Union Cemetery.
Jane Waugh Oliver Smailes Platt
Jane Platt was born in Newbiggen, Northumberland England on September 27, 1979 to Edward and Mary Ann Hogg Oliver at least 8 children. Her father is listed as a miner on her marriage license. We know very little of her childhood years except that she, like others of her community, was poor.
She married Joe Smailes, a local miner, on November 24, 1900 in the village of Alnwick, Northumberland, England (Information from a tattered original copy of her marriage license). She lost her mother on August 28, 1902 just prior to the birth of her first child, William Lester who was born on October 4, 1902. Her husband Joe left for the United States shortly after his sonís birth.
Jane immigrated on the ship Arabic thru Ellis Island on November 25th, 1903 (information from a copy of the manifest of the Arabic). She brought her son and all that she owned in this world with her in a wooden box approximately 6 feet long, 18 inches wide and 18 inches high. This box is still in the possession of our family. We are unclear about her first years in the United States but believe that she lived in Southwestern PA, where we have located other Smailes families.
Eventually she and Joe moved to the coal mining region of southeastern Ohio. Over the course of the next 10 years, she and Joe had 5 more children, Alice in 1905, Eleanor in 1907, Mary in 1909, John in 1911, and Janet in 1925. As the children were born in different towns, we assume that the family moved with job opportunities. They eventually settled on the Salinville Road near Circle Green and were living there when on October 1913 tragedy struck. Their 2 year old John died suddenly. His death certificate lists Convulsions and fever unknown as the cause. Family stories say that the children had been gathering mushrooms in the woods that day and Jane thought that he may have eaten a poisoned mushroom. Eleanor who would have been 6 at the time shared this story with us. Fortunately by this time several of her siblings had joined their sister in Ohio and were able to provide support to Jane and her husband Joe.
Tragedy struck again a scant 18 months later when Joe was struck by a train and killed on May 28, 1915 (this information was taken from his death certificate). However, Janeís second husband and my grandfather James Platt told a different tale. He states that Joe stopped off at one of the local bars on the way home on payday and had a couple of beers with his fellow miners. He was later found on the railroad tracks dead. James and other men who worked with Joe always believe d that he had been robbed, murdered and thrown on the tracks to cover up the crime as Joe had no money at all on him when he was found. This story was told to me by my father John Platt who was Jamesí son.
Jane was now in very difficult circumstances and attempted to support her family by taking in laundry, cleaning and caring for other peopleís children. Her daughter Eleanor who was 8 years old at the time of her fatherís death, would stop on the way home from school and wash dishes for various families. She made a dime at each house which was brought home and placed in the jar that Jane used for a bank.
Eventually she began to care for James Plattís children as he had been widowed in August of 1913 and was struggling to raise his children alone. She and James married in 1919 and they had their only child (my father) John Edward Platt on July 11, 1920.
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