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Feb. 16, 1950 : Tuesday, Feb. 21st, Marks 59th anniversary Springhill Explosion

['<p>Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe</p>']
['<p>Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe</p>']

Heritage Corner with Pat Crowe

Tuesday Feb. 21st is the 59th anniversary of the great Springhill explosion which claimed the lives of 125 men and shocked the world on Feb. 21st., 1891. On Tuesday we will remember.

It was a time of mourning. Day after day funeral services were held from the Methodist Church where several ministers were in attendance continually doing what they could to bring comfort to the bereaved. Today we think of Underground Manager Henry Swift, whose son now holds the position of Chief Clerk with the coal company.

“The last funeral was that of the Underground Manager Henry Swift who was the last man to be taken from the mine. He had lost his life under a fall of stone between No. 6 and No. 7 Balance on the 1900-foot level, No. 1 Seam. The funeral was public in its nature. Brief services were held at his home by his Pastor, Rev. David Wright and Rev. J.M. Robinson of Moncton, and the remains were taken charge of by the Freemasons and buried with the rite of the Masonic Order. Besides many of the local Order in Springhill many were present from other places. The possession was headed by the band of the 93rd. Battalion, accompanied by the Cumberland Cornet Band. The possession was fully three-quarters of a mile long, and the route was lined by crowds who wept silently as the cortege passed, and many of whom followed the remains to the cemetery. At the grave the services were conducted by Revs. J.M. Robinson, S. Gibbons and D. Wright, and were most impressive. The circumstances of the occasion were calculated to make a deep and lasting impression. The shroud of snow now stained by the new graves, the wind moaning through the leafless branches of surrounding trees, the sad strains of the funeral dirge, sobbing of bereaved spectators, and the solemn hush felt by all in the presence of death, formed the last sad scene of the great calamity which had filled the town with the deepest gloom for a whole week.

“The late Henry Swift, Underground Manager of the Springhill Collieries, took a deep interest in the welfare of the men over whom he was placed as Overseer. Being a self-made man and having a thorough knowledge of coal mining operations, he was naturally looked upon as a leader among his companions. He was an Englishman by birth, born in Beckerstaff, Lancashire, in 1850. When 12 years of age he went to work in one of the mines of the Ramford Coal Company, who operated several collieries in Lancashire, which were held under lease from Lord Derby, father of Lord Stanley, Governor-General of Canada.

“Mr. Swift work at coal mining in England with much success until 19 years of age, when he emigrated to the United States. After spending a short time in some of the anthracite mines in Pennsylvania he removed to Maryland, then to Nova Scotia, working in the Albion Mine until 1874 when he came to Springhill and persevered in his regular calling until the terrible disaster, when he lost his life in the faithful discharge of his duties.

“At the Albion Mines Mr. Swift was married in 1871 to Miss McLeod, who with five children survives him. He was appointed Underground Manager of the Springhill Collieries under Mr. Hall, whom he succeeded in 1890. Mr. Swift was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of the Masonic Order, a Justice of the Peace, Vice-President of the Nova Scotia Institute of Mining Officials and President of the Relief Fund for the benefit of sick and injured miners. He was a hard worker, close student; a man of broad sympathies, a warm-hearted friend, a kind husband, tender father; and in his death his family are not only left to mourn, but the community has sustained an irreparable loss.”

From the book published by R.A.H. Morrow, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture, Ottawa.

Snippets

Guy Brown, representative for Cumberland Center, is sworn in as a member of the House of Assembly. 1978

1982 – Radio Shack Opens in Springhill

Radio Shack Authorized Sales Centre will officially open its doors on Thursday Nov. 4. The store will be located at the Sears Catalogue Order Office, 35 Main St.

The new owners of the two outlets, Wrights Enterprises (Graydon Nickerson and Alan Henwood) of Parrsboro have doubled the merchandise area of the former store and have a staff of six ready to serve the public.

The Radio Shack Authorized Sales Centre has John Clarke as its manager.

Pat Crowe is a member of the Springhill Heritage Group. To learn more or read past article of the Heritage Corner, visit www.springhillheritage.ca.

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