Happy Thursday to you!
BC Mining Week 2013, was officially declared to be April 28-My 4, 2013 by our Provincial Legislature to celebrate the mining industry. Communities throughout BC have held events and activities to celebrate. Although it was supposed to be a week long celebration, there are still events happening this week as part of BC Mining Week, including some events in Kamloops tomorrow and Saturday.
For more information about BC Mining Week, click here.
The Nicola Valley is built on a bed of coal, so mining has always been a big industry in the area. Accidents leading to injury and death were fairly common in the mining industry. Our last image, is a sad reminder of the sacrifice made by seven miners in Merritt in 1912 at Diamond Vale.
There are ample images stored away in our archives of the mines that have been in operation over the years. These are just a few popular photographs.
The first image below features a "dinky" engine, used to haul coal from the No 2 mine (near the Coldwater River) to the main tipple.
This image, circa 1911, shows a set of mule-driven coal cars at the mouth of a mine shaft.
The scene below (circa 1912) is of the Middlesboro townsite (present day Tolko lumber yard). Middlesboro had two mines - Nicola Valley Coal & Coke (later Middlesboro Collieries) and Inland Coal & Coke. Middlesboro was about 20,000 acres, with a connection to the main line of the Kettle Valley Railway. As you can see, there were quite a few homes in Middlesboro back then.
This is a shot of the Middlesboro Rescue Corps - a group of volunteers equipped with rescue supplies.
The men above, were likely some of the first responders to our scene of our next image. This one shows a group of on-lookers outside of the Diamond Vale Mine after an explosion rocked chute No.13 at 9:51am on March 7. 1912.
Mine superintendent, Ben Browitt, immediately entered the mine to search for survivors. Instead, he found the body of John Hogg, who had suffered numerous broken bones and had severe lacerations on his arms and head.
Dr. Williams and Dr. Tutill galloped on horseback to the mine site as soon as word of the explosion had reached them in Merritt. Because Diamond Vale Company did not possess the proper rescue equipment, men and supplies were sent from Middlesboro via locomotive. These men arrived on scene within 45 minutes of the explosion to help search for survivors. By the afternoon, the bodies of 4 more men were located and recovered. Two more men, Willilam Hurd and Willilam Baxter, were stiill missing. By 5pm the following day, both bodies had been recovered, which brought the death toll to 7 men.
A funeral was held on Saturday, March 9 for all seven men. They were:
- Harry Grimes
- John Pattie
- John Hogg
- John Templeton
- John Kallia
- William Hurd
- William Baxter
After the explosion, the mine was shut down for almost twenty years.
To learn more about the history of mining in Merritt, come check out our Mining Exhibit or pick up a few issues of the Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly (Vol 2, No's 1 & 2, and Vol 6, No.1)