I was born in 1915 in Nova Scotia and we came here in 1920. The summer 1 was 12 years old 1 went out of school and into the mine and worked. When I was 13, I went in the mine and stayed there.
You take years ago when we came here, it was all underground mining. There was coal mines down in this area (Avon Settlement). Can you see that slag pile? That's from the old mines. They were handy to get to. All around this area were shafts and them slag piles are the coal rock from the mines. You take it at one time many years ago when the old south Minto was going, there was everybody here from under the sun, every nationality. It was a rough place. There were no police here for a long time. It had to be rough with all the different nationalities. But it simmered down after a while.
We went out to Canmore in 1969 when they started phasing out the mining here. I was there from 69 to 75. The mining methods were different but there was a great comparison in the people. There was all the nationalities in Canmore, the same as there was here. We worked here all our lives with 16-18 inches of coal when out there its 18 feet. They tell me that when they closed the mines in Drumheller, the miners were working in a 3 foot seam and the miners would not work in it. They should have sent word to Minto because at that time the boys were working in 16 inches of coal.
Around the area there are some great old-time fiddlers, you know not only fiddlers but musicians of all kinds. Really good! Last year my nephew and I played in an old time fiddling contest. I don't play enough to stay in practice. Oh ya we had coal mining songs. The old timers, they were some good. They used to make up songs about you and sing them to everybody. One song that was made up right here by people in this district goes like this:
"This is the place where the coal miners gather.
There's pit lamps, there's gum-boots,
There's clothes scattered around.
You work like the devil down in the bi-level
While putting out coal in this coal miner's town."