I was born in 1904 in new Brunswick. When we built our house here 43 years ago, this was called Shaft Road. There were shafts all around here. You could see them sticking up through the trees. There was a shaft 200 feet from here and there was another down at Bram Moores. The coal was 42 feet deep right here. A rail line was pretty well put right into every shaft . At that time it was the only transportation, other than horses.
Oh there has been some big changes since I first dug coal. I started at a small mine at Salmon River where you had to work and hope for your money. Sometimes you worked and didn't get a paycheck and of course the paycheck we got wasn't too good. Like I said when the wife set the table for a meal, she'd set 10 plates down. You were working for $2.70 a day one or two days a week-you tell me what you would do with it. Of course you would do just what I done. You'd just go on credit. Back 40 years ago there was hard times in Minto I can tell you. Oh I guess there were hard times everywhere. I know we had 8 children. I wonder how we ever got them a bite to eat. But they had lots of fun as young people and grew up quite rugged lads.
The mines used to haul the coal to the lake with horses, sleds and wagons and load it on a scow and ship it to where ever it was going. Then the railway came in here and it was a main artery.
I was active in the United Mine Workers. Like I said when we first joined the union we had lots of strikes. Sometimes you gain by a strike and sometimes you didn't. We had a strike here for nine solid months.
You don't forget those times because you had no money to fall back on and the store keepers would only carry you so far.