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Inside Front cover - Bowden Murphy: A Brief Tale

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1986/6/1 (1292 reads)
 

Bowden Murphy: A Brief Tale I remember the first time I went away to work--I worked at Goose Cove, what they call it down there, the North Shore--where that gypsum company was. I worked 10 hours for one dollar. Ten cents an hour. The Quarry--! worked there. Yeah, worked there one year • That was in 1912, I think. (Was that the first time you left home?) That was the first time, yes. I think in Octo? ber, if I remember right, the time I went there. And the next time I went away from home, it was 1914, I think, or 1913. I went up to George's River, the quarry that was up there, I worked there. A dolomite quarry. It was right up on the mountain. It had to come down 3 chutes, 120 feet, to get to those heavy rails, a railroad. And there were 3 chutes. It came down a chute here, and then it went out into ton boxes. And then went down another chute. And then down the third chute, before it went down in the cars, where the train came in and picked them up. That was my second time go? ing away. It was all horse and cart work, then. That was down below. But up above, up on the third level where we were working, I used to run it out in the ton boxes. Sixteen cents an hour. And then they took so much off of you for the church, so much for coal. You made nothing. We were intending to come home. My brother and I were working there at that time. We were intending to come home around Christ? mas, or just after Christmas. So we didn't bother laying off at Christmas, Christmas week, you see. They had kind of a clean-up week, and got everything in shape for the winter. So we stayed there. And the two of us onto this little ton box, you know, and it wasn't inspected. See, there's an in? spector there inspected every box before you used it. And when we went out with our first trip, it went down. There was a kind of a guardrail along the side, and when they tipped the box, it would strike this kind of a guardrail that was on the side of it, you see, to keep the box from going off. But there was a bolt out of the bot? tom, and we didn't know it. When we tipped the box, over went the whole thing, and we went behind it. 120 feet! And it was just about that steep! (Almost straight up and down!) Almost up and down. And we went right to the bottom of that. There were 12 men killed in that same chute, and we're the only two that ev? er came out alive. (Twelve people were killed.) At different times, yeah. 120 feet, ni'ta|P' And when I got about halfway down, there was where the rails used to come together-- one rail was above the other like this, you know, and it kind of hooked me in the back. I was about a week--I could have gone to work, but.... When I struck at the bottom--! had my sleeves rolled up to here--and when I struck at the bottom, out along that stuff that was blown up with dy? namite, really sharp rock, I was skinned right up to here. But my brother, he struck right on his foot here--struck onto a piece of dolomite in the box. And he couldn't get out. And I looked up above like this, and when you look up above 120 feet--and here was great big rocks hanging on the edge of the rails up above, over the end of the rail. And I said, "For God's sake, Raymond, if you can get out of it, boy, let's try to get out of it." And I crawled over--there was a big plank, a plank wall on each side, you know, to keep the stuff from going o- ver. I got over there, got ahold of the top of the wall like this, in case of a rock coming down. But he couldn't get out of her. And by and by, we saw these two fellows coming down the banks. They saw us go. CONTINUED ON PAGE 80 OUR BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Ebenezer McMillan, the "Oldest Pioneer" of Ann's, Cape Breton, to Waipu, New Zealand, 1851-1860. He is seated at the foot Waipu in memory of these migrations. Unfortunately, we do not know the date of tions were led by Rev. Norman McLeod, who had brought his flock from Pictou to created a community about which Haliburton wrote: "Its (St. Ann's) inhabitants most sober, industrious and orderly settlement in the island (of Cape Breton), own, endowed also with magisterial authority, to whose exertions and vigilance pie is not a little indebted." Photo courtesy the Public Archives of Nova Scoti Rev. Norman McLeod's letters in Issue 13 of Cape Breton's Magazine. Copies are the migrations from St. of the monument erected in the photograph. The migra- Cape Breton in 1820, and are Scotch dissenters, the and have a pastor of their the character of the peo- a. See selections from still available for $1.00
Cape Breton's Magazine
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