Coal Mines, 1887
In 1887, The Vancouver Coal Company employed about 600 persons of whom about 100 were Chinese and Indians, and has expended a quarter of a million dollars in exploration and works.
The average rate of wages is $2.00 to $5.00 per day; Chinese, $1.00 to $1.25; Indians, $1.25 per day. Miners earnings are from $2.50 to $5.00 per day.
Taken from the British Columbia Directory of 1887
The Nanaimo Free Press
Wednesday, 15 April 1914
Cowardly Attack Last Night Near Reserve Mine
An outrage that is entirely alien to all ideas of civilized man was perpetrated last night at about twelve o'clock, about two and a half miles outside the city limits on the Western Fuel Company's private roadway from Nanaimo to the Reserve Mine. This track is used by men going to and fro between the mine and their homes, many residing in the Chase River District.
Last night three men, John Rennie, Len Hodgson and T. Hoey were returning along the track towards home and had reached a point where the railway passes through a cutting, the embankment on either side being from eight to ten feet in height. Here the three men were attacked by a party of men lined up on top of the embankment, who opened fire on them with shotguns and stones.
Seven shots were fired from the guns, and a fusilade of stones poured on the men below. John Rennie received shots in both legs and fell to the ground. Hodgson was hit by a rock behind the ear and sustained a fractured skull, while Hoey ducked and escaped to cover without injury.
After he fell, and notwithstanding his severe wounds, Rennie was able to draw his revolver and fire upon his assailants, whom he heard breaking away through the bush to escape. Hodgson, who resides on the Five Acres, ran to the house of George Wilkinson, near Chase River to obtain medical help, Hoey remaining with Rennie to render what assistance he could.
Dr. Ingham was quickly on the scene and brought the injured man back to the hospital where he is now being treated for his severe wounds. In all there are thirty-two shot wounds in both legs from the hips down, shots of three sizes have been extracted. He is also punctured in one of the large veins of the leg. There is considerable danger from blood poisoning, but apart from this it is hoped that no permanent injury will result to Rennie. Fortunately Hodgson's injuries are not of a very serious injury.
The police are working today on the case, and have every hope of bringing the assailants to justice. Everything points to a systematic and deliberate attack. Two wires were strung across between the two rails at intervals of eight feet, but as the men were walking on the outside of the rails they were not tripped up by this device. On visiting the scene of the outrage the police found heaps of stones and clubs piled up on both banks, evidently to serve as ammunition. The bush had been cleared away on either side in line so as to give a clear view of the three men as they came to the spot selected for the attack.
(?missing name; unreadable?) was attacked by five men on Saturday last but managed to fight his way through and while attempting to bring one to the police was again attacked and overpowered by the other four. It is thought that the above is a renewal of the Saturday molesting but guns and stones were used on this occasion in addition to fists.
This article has been reproduced. The original article can be found on the front page of the April 15, 1914 edition of the Nanaimo Free Press.
I'll post this newspaper article regarding the May 3rd, 1887 disaster because I find very little regarding this topic. Please be aware that some of the numbers are wrong. I've always found this sort of thing to be a problem when doing research. The article has been reproduced word-for-word, number-for-number.
Grey River Argus
20 September 1887
THE VANCOUVER COLLIERY DISASTER.
The directors of the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company (Limited) are about to lay before their shareholders in the form of a circular the further information they have received relative to the disaster which occurred at Nanaimo on May 3 last.
The explosion occurred in the new diagonal slope in the north level of the East Field Mine at 6.55p.m., at which time about 177 miners and laborers were at work underground, of whom seven only survived. Of the 170 miners who perished 36 were English, nine Scotch, nine Welsh, five Irish, and the remainder of other nationalities, including a few Americans, and there are 46 widows and 126 orphans, many of whom are in great distress.
Immediately after the explosion the No. 2, or airshaft (situated nearly 100 yards from the main shaft) caught fire, and in a short space of time the ventilating fan and engine-house at the surface were entirely destroyed.
In the meantime streams of water were got to play on the main pit-head works, which were saved. The after-damp was so powerful that although several attempts were made to rescue the men, only seven were rescued alive, while one of the rescue party perished. A relief fund has been opened in Nanaimo, and the principal cities and towns on the Pacific coast have contributed literally.
Mr. Rosenfield, the company's agent at San Francisco, has been very active, and has collected over 9000 dols (nearly L2000). The appeal made by the Lord Mayor of London has not been responded to, and the total amount received in answer to the appeal of the directors to the share and debenture holders is L503.
Last edited by GR74; 05-31-2010 at 01:37 PM.
The New York Times
06 October 1909
SIXTY ENTOMBED IN MINE.
Thirty Thought to be Dead - Firedamp Explosion Starts Fire.
VICTORIA, B. C., Oct. 5 - Thirty miners are believed to be dead as the result of an explosion at the Extension Mine of the Wellington Colliery Company to-day in Nanaimo. The death list may be even larger, as sixty miners were entombed by the explosion. There is slight chance of rescue. The shock was terrific, but its effect was confined to the slope wherein it occurred. All of the men in the other slopes and levels escaped.
No bodies have been recovered. Fifty men are trying to penetrate to the explosion's level. Hundreds of inhabitants and miners volunteered aid, but the nature of the rescue work precluded the aid of more than fifty. The rescuers hoped for a time that the flames would die down so as to permit the speedy aiding of the entombed men, but their chances seem hopeless.
The explosion was due to fire-damp. The timbers in two levels at once took fire, and the flames spread with great rapidity.
The mine is sixty miles north of Victoria, near the seacoast. The mine is largely owned by Gov. Dunsmuir of British Columbia. More than 3,000 men are employed in these collieries, which are the second largest in Canada and have been operated for forty years. They have been the scene of several disasters in recent years.
Wednesday Morning, 10 February 1915
WATER RUSH IN MINE DROWNS TWENTY-ONE
Caused by Breaking Into Flooded Workings at South Wellington, B.C.
Canadian Press Dispatch.
NANAIMO, B.C. Feb. 9- Twenty-one men employed in the mine of Pacific Coast Coal Mines Limited at South Wellington, seven miles from Nanaimo, were drowned by a rush of water today.
Evidently one of the old flooded workings of the Alexandra Mine, which has not been operating for years, was broken into by the men in the South Wellington, which adjoins it on a lower level.
The New York Times
10 February 1915
21 MEN DROWN IN MINE
Caught in Rush of Water in British Columbia Colliery
NANAIMO, B. C., Feb. 9 - Twenty-one men employed in the mine of the Pacific Coast Coal Mines, Limited, at South Wellington, seven miles from Nanaimo, were drowned by a rush of water today.
Evidently one of the old flooded workings of the Alexandra Mine, which has not been operating for years, was broken into by the men in South Wellington, which adjoins it on a lower level.
The Montreal Gazette
March 21, 1960
End Of An Era
Coal Mine Sale Slated
Cumberland, B.C. - Vancouver Island's once-flourishing coal-mining industry is dying.
The last of Canadian Collieries' British Columbia mines - at Tsable River, 70 miles north of Nanaimo - will be sold to private interests within the next few months and will cease large-scale production.
It will write an end to an era during which coal mining was one of the mainstays of the island economy.
Cities and villages from Ladysmith, 80 miles south of here, to Campbell river, 40 miles north, were built on coal. The industry flourished for 100 years until pitheads were sealed over one by one in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Three men who have spent a lifetime in coal mining and have served Canadian Collieries for years will take over the Tsable River mine when all exsiting contracts have been filled this spring.
Present mine manager Stan Lawrence, a 40-year-old Cumberland man in his 25th year with the company, will continue to operate the mine with two other veteran employees, Chemist Paul Grundy and electricial engineer George Dutheld, both of Union Bay.
Mr. Lawrence is confident there will continue to be a call for coal, but recognizes that the demand will be small and ever-diminishing.
A year ago, the mine's output was more than 1,000 tons a day. At present it is 800. When the new owners take over only about 300 tons a day will be needed.
This plugged mine is what I believe to be the infamous furnace portal (biggs) mine that claimed two young lives! It is the best sealed in the area which leads me to believe its the one they really want to stay closed!
Yes this is Furnace Portal. I was in there as a kid. I remember when they found the brothers and closed the entrance. The ground outside is at least 3 feet higher than it used to be.
killer mine pics.
I just have to see some of these mines. Are you willing to disclose these locations? If not publically then maybe privately. I have no intentions to damage or share locations with anyone else, I would just love to see them. I know of a few different ones and other cool locations that I would be willing to share
I'm referring to the pics of the mines ina and around nanaimo in the post titled old nanaimo mining pics
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