AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ 305
smashed so many of these slates that our bosses have made for us, that it took aU the cement that was in that region to repair, and that has caused a boom in the cement in¬ dustry. (Laughter.) Another great and helpful influence from the cement industry has been to repair the fortunes of the poor old fellows who owned that ground originaUy, and could not make a Uving from it, and that has now enriched so many of the people of that district.
Adjoining the cement cUstrict comes the iron district. I wiU not stop at tlfls late hour to give you any Iflstory of the wonderful story of the prosperity of the iron industry in the Lehigh VaUey from the day that Father Thomas blew in the first anthracite furnace in '39 up to the present time that these later furnaces have poured out their iron by the mil¬ lions of tons. It is about forty years ago that John Fritz invaded that valley. He came from the rural districts and took possession of our land. It was a scene of bucoUc in¬ nocence when he came there. I don't think I am preju¬ diced, but with determined earnestness I want to teU you that the people of that Valley — and it is a great thing to be known as the VaUey, without any prefix to it — the people of that district were distinguished for their amiabiUty, their beauteous persons, their courteous manners, their dignity, their earnestness, their firmness, their generosity, their — weU, I can go through the alphabet, but I won't. I don't mean to say that all the people had all these virtues com¬ bined in them. There were only two there, really, that had all these virtues. I would say that one was John Fritz, only I have to go back and Uve with him for the next thirty or forty years, and I do not know what the effect would be if I told him of those virtues that were combined in him.
It is with the deepest feeUng that I speak to you to-night for a moment of the love and esteem in which we hold this