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Dawson Reunion 2006

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The 2006 Reunion was held at the townsite of Dawson on 3 Sep. Sally and I attended for the first time. According to Vivian Andrews, there were 648 people attending. For news of the 2008 reunion, check this web page.

On 1 Sep, there was a cleanup party starting at 8AM. Since we arrived in Raton late the night before, we were also late for the cleanup. By the time we got there, the crew had already cleaned up the picnic area. We did help in the cleanup of part of the cemetery.

Cleanup Day

At the cemetery was a new monument honoring the people of Dawson.
The plaque on the mine car.
The cleanup crew working on the Veteran's Memorial at the cemetery.
The plaque at the Veteran's
At the end of the day, the crew gets a well deserved rest. In the center is Vivian Andrews who heads up the cemetery committee.

The Reunion

The reunion picnic started at 9AM on Sunday the 3rd.
At the picnic area, the shade of a dozen large trees gave everyone a place to mingle. This was a display with many old photos from Dawson.
The area had a lot of room for some fairly elaborate picnic setups.
Erma Yob Schulte (left) and Mary Yob Dahl. Both Erma and Mary remembered by great uncle Teridano diTella. Look on his web page for their recollections. Mary was born about 1915, Erma about 1920. The sisters, both born in Dawson, lived there until the mines closed. Their family name originally was "Iob", they were from Austria.
Ed Dahl, husband of Mary Yob, also remembered my great uncle Teridano diTella. Ed was born 1917 in Colorado.

Ed died in 2010

Edval F. Dahl
Coal miner
Edval F. Dahl (Ed) was born in Sopris, Colo., Jan. 21, 1917. He died July 9, 2010. Ed was preceded in death by his father, John Albert Dahl, his mother, Addie Koelling and his daughter, Treva Mary Adlof.

He is survived by his wife Mary Dahl, his daughters Geri Gooden and Karen Johnson, and his sons-in-law John Gooden and Luther Johnson. He had nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Ed (Papa, Great Papa, Gran-Gran) lived life on his own terms. He was jack-of-all-trades and a roustabout in his younger years. He graduated from Dawson High School and traveled to California to work in the orange groves and help build a dam in California. He eventually made his way back to Dawson where he worked in the Dawson Coal Mine. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served in the Pacific in New Guinea and the Philippines as a Sea-Bee, building and repairing landing strips. When his stint in the Army was over he returned to Dawson and coal mining, and he met the woman who would be his wife of 64 years, Mary Yob Skender.

Mary and Ed lived in Dawson until the Phelps Dodge Corporation closed the mining town and they moved to Raton. Raton was to be his home for most of his life. He loved the outdoors and shared his love of fishing with his children and grandchildren and anyone who would grab a pole and go with him. It would not be unusual to see him on a Saturday or Sunday fishing Cimmaron River with his fly rod and waders or at Lake Maloya, grandchildren and great grandchildren in tow putting worms on their hooks and teaching them how to cast.

Papa was a gardener. He was well known around Raton for his zucchini, corn, green beans, peaches and apricots that he generously passed around. Even the bears enjoyed his garden...he and the bears had an ongoing feud. Pops was a treasure hunter...he spent countless hours walking around the mountains and hills searching for gold. He had all of the equipment that he would need with him...he found some gold, however secretly, I think he loved the wide open spaces and the solitary pursuit and just getting away from the "rush" of the big city of Raton. He loved people but he liked his time alone.

Ed was a woodcarver -- his passion was working with wood -- he would collect wood of all kinds. His favorite thing to do was to sit in the basement and carve. Many of us have pieces that he has carved and many more of us have things that he built or repaired for us. All the grandchildren and great grandchildren loved to go into the basement...that wonderful basement full of all kinds of one needed TV or video games...the basement held such fascination for children of all ages.
A view of the hillside where the Coke Oven used to be. Look at the old photo below.
Jerry Scanlon was the head of the group which organized the reunion. Here he is addressing the crowd. Behind him is a delegation of the Italian government.
Here is the crowd.
Someone brought an Italian Flag.
The leader of the Italian delegation, the Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles, Diego Brasioli, presented a plaque honoring all the men who died in the two mine explosions of 1913 and 1923. Look below to read the full text.

The woman in the center with the hat is Giulia Gaglianni Goldman. She sent me this email
Date:            Thu, 24 Aug 2006 18:35:22 -0700
From:            Giulia Gagliani Goldman <>
Subject:         Italian victims remembered at the Dawson Cemetery
To:              Mark Di Vecchio <>
Cc:              Giovanni Zuccarello - Comites <>,
    Diego Brasioli - Console Generale d'Italia <>,
    "Fernando M. Curatolo - Amministrazione"  <>,
    Mariella Salvatori - Ufficio Commerciale <>,
    Patrizia Paiar- Progetti Speciali <>

Dear Mr. Di Vecchio:
I am the Executive Vice President of the Comites of Los Angeles (Committee of Italians Abroad for the Los Angeles Consular Area, which includes Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico).

I was searching the internet for more information on Dawson and I found your name. I'm writing to you because I believe you will be interested to know that this year, on September 3, the Consul General of Italy, On. Diego Brasioli, the President of Comites, Mr. Giovanni Zuccarello, myself, and several other representatives of the Italian Community and Government, will travel to the Cemetery of Dawson to present a plaque and a flower wreath to the Italian victims of the two mine tragedies. 

We are trying to involve as many official personalities as we can: we expect to have two of the USA representatives recently elected at the Italian Parliament, Representative Salvatore Ferrigno and Senator Renato Turano and maybe the Italian Ambassador, H.E.Giovanni Castellaneta.

I am herewith enclosing copy of the article published on L'Italo-Americano, it is in Italian and I do not know if you can read it, but I thought you would appreciate to know that finally our "connazionali" that have lost their lives in Dawson will be remembered.

Will you be attending the picnic this year? It would be a real pleasure  to meet you! You have done a fantastic research job and your web site shows it.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
With kindest regards,
Giulia Gagliani Goldman
Vice Presidente Esecutivo
COM.IT.ES. - Los Angeles
10350 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 210
Ph 310 691 8907 - Fax 310 557 1217

The new directory of the cemetery.
Vivian Andrews and the cemetery committee just completed a new kiosk for the new plaque. Also there is a map of the cemetery showing as many of the gravesites as are known.

Here is a PDF file which lists the plot location for everyone known to be buried in the Dawson Cemetery. This list was compiled by Vivien Andrews and matches what is available on the new kiosk. The list may not be complete and may contain errors. Click here for the PDF file.
The plaque placed at the cemetery during the reunion.
Dawson Cemetery - on the National Register of Historic Places
Sally and I took a walk around the town. Here is what remains of a sidewalk along one of the main streets downtown, including curb cuts for driveways.
This was on the road to Loreto. A wall and stairway to nowhere.
A few old buildings remain at the town site (maybe 5). Most look like this. No one knew why these buildings remained.
Everywhere in New Mexico including all around Dawson, these yellow flowers were blooming. My wife Sally took this photo.

Some old photos of Dawson

1916 Downtown Dawson
The picnic site for the reunion is right where the Simpson Hotel was.
The Phelps-Dodge Mercantile Company was the large two story building across the street.
These are the Coke Ovens.
They survived up until a few years ago. At that time, they were torn down and the bricks were sold to be used in new homes.
Dawson is Closed!

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