Firman Betts & Roger Forges, Retired Coal Miners, Minto

Firman Betts-

I was born in 1900 and came to Minto in 1914. I went in the mines the same year and worked 39 years underground. I've wore out a lot of carbide lamps in my time.

I had 13 kids. There were some hard old times from 32 to 39. She was damned hard. We had some good store keepers here, by gosh. They would give you credit if you got stuck. If you were sick, they would carry you until you got work.

I worked a total of 54 years and retired in 1968. The last five years I worked down here in the shop. I liked the mines. It was out of the cold, out of the heat but you'd damn near freeze going home after you'd come out. They had no changing shack. Just a place to go in the boiler room to eat. They got washrooms after I quit.

I get more money on the pension than I ever earned in the mines. I am getting so damn old that I forget everything that happened to me but I still go fishing everyday.

Roger Forges -

I was born in Belgium and came to Canada in 1919. I started coal mining when 1 was 14 years old. I worked 32 years underground, mainly in Minto. I also worked 9 years out west at Three Hills and Drumheller and came back to Minto in 1932.

I had to quit mining when I got hurt bad in the mines with a coal cutter. The machine caught a sulphur ball.

I used to drive horses in Drumheller and I used to go and have a beer afterwards. I was around 24 then. I used to supply the cars to the miners. Hey! they say, come here, come here! They would supply me with all the free beer that 1 could drink. You bring me more cars, Hey! you bring me more cars. They wanted more cars!

My mother could really make beer. The boys used to stop by and she used to pass around quart cans. 1 can still see them today. Today we don't have good beer down east. They put chemicals in it.