Bon Jellico Families

The Raymond Aguus (Gus) Fritts Family
By Pauline Fritts Faulkner (1985)


Raymond Aguus "Gus" and Mary Brown Fritts Family:

Gus was the son of Will Fritts and Alice F. Mary was the daughter of George and Susan Brown. George Brown worked with and helped in opening the Bon Jellico mine with Jack Taylor and others. Will Fritts was the blacksmith for years.

Gus and Mary had the following children:
Raymond Fritts b. 1/11/1917
Evelyn Fritts Jones b. 7/25/1918
George Fritts b.. 2/27/1920
Pauline Fritts b.. 2/27/1920
Jack Fritts b.. 11/18/1923

    Raymond Augus (Gus) Fritts and Mary Brown were one of the earliest families of Bon Jellico. Gus’ father, Will, was a blacksmith at Bon. Gus started work at age 12 under the supervision of B.F. (Bunyon) Brown. Gus later attended school at University of Kentucky in Lexington where he received his mine foreman certificate. Tom Fritts was a mine foreman also and attended UK; Tom died of pneumonia just after returning from WWI.

    Gus Fritts was the mine superintendent when Bon Jellico closed in 1937. Robert Fritts also worked at the Bon Mines as a motorman. I remember Daddy and Mother taking us to Sunday School in the schoolhouse and making us behave. I remember the baseball games and how everybody turned out. George Fritts was the water-boy. We would sit on the (hot) railroad track and cheer the Bon players on.

    On summer nights the men would congregate down at the commissary feed storage house, which was on stilts. They would sit and play cards till dark. Some of the women would visit and watch the children play—sometimes catching lightening bugs and sometimes telling spooky stories until we were afraid to go home, especially Bernetta Green. We often walked her home as she lived above the camp next to the tipple and it could get pretty dark and scary going up the railroad tracks.

    Our house, in later years, after Dr. Stonecipher moved, was across from the commissary; the three big maple trees that stand in front of the park are the ones that stood in our front yard. I always thought they were the prettiest trees in the camp.

    Evelyn Fritts Jones started school at Bon Jellico in 1924 and graduated from the 8the grade in 1932. She attended high school at Saxton, Ky, from 1932 until 1935 where she graduated. She attended Cumberland College in 1936-37 and attended Union College in 1938 and 1939. She again attended Cumberland College in 1940. She became a teacher and taught in Harlan Co. and Virginia until 1950. She moved to Erlanger, Kentucky in 1951 where her husband was a postal clerk at Greater Cincinnati Air Port. She had one son.

    George Fritts started school at Bon Jellico in 1927. He had a serious illness the same year. He went to school at Bon thru the 8th grade and graduated in 1934. He was in the Civilian Conservation Corp. and in the Army for a total of five years. He lived, until his death in the late 1980’s, at the old home place.

    Pauline Fritts Faulkner attended school at Bon from 1927 through 1934. She attended the first year of high school at Pleasant View, the second year of high school at Bon Jellico, the third half-year of high school at Saxton in 1937, and the 4th year at Alva, Kentucky, Black Star High School. She attended Cumberland College in 1939 and 1940. She attended medical technician school at the State Board of Health in London, Kentucky in 1941 and 1942. She worked for Clark Bailey, MD in Harlan from 1942 thru 1957. She worked at Harlan Memorial Hospital from 1958 thru 1962 and for the Daniel Boone Clinic from 1962 thru 1978, when she retired. She has two daughters and one son. Her husband owned Harlan Paving and Construction and M&F Ready Mix.

    Jack Fritts attended school at Bon Jellico from 1929 thru 1937 where he graduated from the 8th grade. He attended high school at Woodbine in 1938. He attended Williamsburg City School from 1939 thru 1941. He was in service with the Army from 1942 thru 1945. He served in Alaska for 18 months. He entered Cumberland College in 1947 and 1948; he attended the University of Kentucky in 1948 and 1949 and graduated with a degree in agriculture. He moved to Lebanon, Kentucky and taught agriculture for several years. He then bought a sporting goods store in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and managed it for years along with working for the nuclear center in Oak Ridge where he went into a man power training program. He moved to Denver, Colorado in 1981 thru 1982, where he retired and moved to Rockwood, Tennessee. He had one daughter and two sons.

    Raymond Fritts started the first grade in 1923 at Bon Jellico. He attended school at Cumberland College in 1924 and 1925 and attended school at Bon in 1926 and 1927. He attended school at Cumberland in 1928 and at Bon Jellico in 1929. In 1930 he attended Bon and William City School where he graduated from high school. He attended two years of college at Cumberland in 1935 and 1936. He graduated from Eastern in 1938. He played on the basketball teams all four years in college. He taught school in Whitley County and worked for Howard Funeral Home. He taught school in Harlan County and worked at Peerless Woolen mill and prayed pro ball in 1940. He was in the Air Force from 1942 through 1945. He was in civil service in Topeka, Kansas for nine months in 1946. He moved to Florida in 1946. He taught school and coached in Florida for 25 years and was a principal in the Jacksonville Florida school system. He has three daughters.

    “My memory of the fond times we had at Bon Jellico and the love and closeness so many families had and the love my dad had for the camp people and his work are why I want my Mother’s and Father’s memories to live on. Dad enjoyed the Bon reunions and attended them until he became unable to attend due to illness.”

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