I was born in Nakusp, British Columbia, in 1914.
I started out loading boxcars at Nordegg. The com¬pany found out I was shoeing horses in the evenings, and they put me in the blacksmith's shop. That's where I stayed until the mine shut down in 1952, after a fire burned everything except the tipple. After rebuilding, Nordegg operated for a couple of years, and then went broke.
Nordegg had about 65 horses they used underground, and another 10 they used in a bush camp to tow out mine timbers. The mine didn't have underground stables - the horses were brought out each shift. Many teamsters didn't know horses, and didn't give a damn. I saw horses come out with welts on their backs. The miners pounded the bug¬gers. You see, not every horse wants to work in the mine. Not every man wants to, either.
I sharpened the pick and rock drills for the min¬ers. Most miners owned their own hand picks, but the company bought the air picks and jackhammers. Some guys would come in and give us hell for not tempering their picks correctly. If you tempered them too hard, then they'd bust.
After Nordegg, I spent most of my time in logging camps, and blacksmithing. I was a lumberjack, but I never worked around the mill - that's one place I wouldn't work for anybody. I'm all nerves around a sawmill.
As far as I'm concerned, Nordegg was the nicest place I've ever worked. I never did want to leave there, but had to because the elevation was too much for me.