Walter “Mac” McLhinney 1897-1977

Mac tells many stories throughout his interview that could be adapted into a series of vignettes. His earliest story is the tale of going to work at age ten at the local can factory (while his father and uncles made their living off the river, fishing, gunning, and boating). Those cans from the Seneca Cannery were used by various local farmers who processed their own fruit, canned it, and sold it to brokers outside the area. In 1907, he, like the other boys in town, worked ten hours a day, six days a week, for five cents an hour (in today’s economy, that would be about $1.34/hour). He tells the story of how they were all paid in cash in small pay envelopes on payday and how, one such day, he was pretty sure his pay envelope was missing dollars (he never opened his envelope, but always took it home to his mother). After asking his boss, who sent him to the office to ask the paymaster, with fear and trembling, he finally did. It turned out that the boys were paid in quarters and a two and ½ dollar gold piece. Oh, if only his family had kept that gold piece.