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Sept. 4, 1947: William Mackey retires

Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

Published on September 13, 2017

In 1927 the miners decided to build a hall for meeting and recreational purposes. It cost some $22,000 and was paid for by the miners themselves, who contributed a $1 a month until it was paid.  

For 24 years Mr. Mackey was a Trustee of the Miners Hall. Some years later, after the hall was built, the miners purchased an adjourning property belonging to Mrs. Laura Sprague, raised the level of the ground, built a concrete wall around it and turned it into a beauty spot of the town. Today their flowers and shrubs attract the attention of all passerby. In the midst of this beautiful spot the miners set the monument erected in the honor of the 125 men who were killed in the great explosion of 1891. The monument was moved from a lot situated further up on Main Street. Across the street on the lot owned by All Saints Church stands another monument, one raised in the memory of the Springhill’s dead in the First Great War.

Has large family
Some 42 years ago William Mackey married Sarah McDonald and they have had eleven children, three died in infancy and R.S.M. Dennis Mackey died shortly after his return from Overseas, where he served with the North Novas.

Help organize Baseball Association
Outside of his home and the mines, Bill Mackey always took a great interest in baseball. For years he officiated as scorer for the old Maple Leafs and later managed the team. He helped to organize the first local game and told the Record that the only members of that team still living are Sam Richmond and Thomas Murphy.
Along with Charlie Murray he helped to organize the first Baseball Association in Nova Scotia when meetings were held in Halifax, Truro and Amherst. He was elected to the Executive. He scored for the local team, which Charlie Murray managed when they brought home the first title to Springhill. He also managed the Veteran’s team on the return of the boys from Overseas.

Served with the 25th
When the First World War broke out Bill Mackey joined the 193rd and later was transferred to the 25th Battalion with which he saw action and rose to the rank of Corporal before he was wounded in front of Merricourt in 1917. He returned to his unit and was in Germany with the army of occupation when the call reached the unit for coal miners. He returned home in March 1919 to resume work at the coal face.

Highly Respected
Up to the time of his retirement William Mackey was considered one of the strongest men in the local branch of the United Mine Workers. His sound judgement was invaluable to the Union and his progressive outlook had a great deal to do with the improved conditions around the mines today. He is one of those who have worked unceasingly to set up a suitable pension scheme for the miners, and as he retires today on the company’s own pension plan, he can look forward when a three-way pension scheme will come true and the future for those who labor underground will be brighter and more secure.

Miners Decide to Abide by Contract
The mines will be back in operation this afternoon following a tie up this morning when the lamps of 21 miners working at the 11,000 Wall were stopped due to a disagreement with the Company Tuesday morning which caused the men to leave the mine. Despite the work stoppage Tuesday morning the afternoon shift continued to work.
When the 21 lamps were stopped this morning the working force returned home and went into a conference in the Miners Hall.
The outcome of that conference was that the Union Officials ordered the men back to work this afternoon while the case will be taken to a referee for settlement.
The stoppage occurred as a result of the demand by the miners for consideration on their wall for extra timber, hard bench, upthrows and downthrows in the pavement, abnormal conditions which affect their earning and for which they received consideration previous to the four months’ strike. Since the strike this condition has been cut off and this action by the Company is said to have caused friction on all walls, but the men on the 11,000 continue to fight for its return.
Failure of the miners to take their case up through the channels agreed on in the contract resulted in the failure to support their claim at this morning’s meeting. Discussing the meeting an official of the Union told the Record that the International Union has made it very clear they will not support the men who undertake to defy management without taking their case through the proper channels.
This case will not be taken to the referee, John W. McLeod for a decision and in the meantime the men concerned will be unable to lift their lamps. Mr. McLeod is expected to come to Springhill to hear several other cases which include the conveyer case in No. 4 walls; rock brushing in No. 4 and cleaning off the walls as it affects men who stay a few minutes overtime for this purpose.