Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Miners of Wabana, Bell Island

I was looking up some information and as usual I got sidetracked when an obituary popped up for one of my Lindsay cousins in Canada. This led me to information about his wife and some of her family members which got me to thinking some more about my great -uncle William Lindsay (my grandpa's older brother). He emigrated to Canada and spent most of his life in Newfoundland. I already knew he worked on Bell Island so I thought I'd find out more. My dad told me that when his grandfather died most of his engineering tools went to William and some to my grandfather.
The "Bell Island Submarine Miner" (1954-1959) is a fund of information about the people that worked there - their births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, club activities, mining activities, photographs etc. The cartoons for the regular safety features are hilarious.
I came away with a feeling of community after reading the articles and was impressed with the references to retired workers and their families. Whoever wrote the articles paid a great deal of attention to details and as such has left a good set of historical documents.
So what info did I find -
reference to a visit from the former Superintendent William Lindsay Sr. and Mrs. Lindsay October 1954 and where they were currently living (Cornerbrook) and a birthday greeting for him. (Nov 1954 edition).
An article about his promotion to "Foreman in charge of all Surface Mechanical Equipment & Compressors" effective Aug. 10th 1954 (Sept. 1954 edition)with reference to his previous position "Compressor Foreman".
A reference to Mrs. William Lindsay of Cornerbrook deceased April 25th 1959.
There is also a book available "The Miners of Wabana - The Story of the Iron Ore Miners of Bell Island" by Gail Weir which is from the Canada's Atlantic Folklore ~ Folklife series.
Personally I have a great deal of respect for anyone who mined for ore 3 miles under the ocean. Tough job. The first mine shaft opened in 1895 and the last mine shaft closed in 1966.
Based on some other information I have William was associated directly with Bell Island for about 40+ years.

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