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> Issue 26 > Page 37 - Amelia Cook: The Port Hood Explosion

Page 37 - Amelia Cook: The Port Hood Explosion

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1980/8/1 (326 reads)

We hope to offer a fuller story on the Port Hood area mines. So far, we have not been able to locate photographs of the mines, shipping piers or groups of miners. We would like to hear from anyone who has these or can help us find them. Regarding the explosion, newspapers called it the worst disaster in Inverness County history. They list the dead as Malcolm Beaton, John Lauchie Gillis, John T. Campbell, Duncan McDonald, Allan R. McDonald, William McKenzie and Four Bulgarians, "names un? known," part of a party of 20 in the country only about two months. A Windstorm This windstorm I want to tell you about came the December before the First World War was over. It was early in the evening. And us kids were all around home. We were alone--Daddy was in Inverness--just Mama and the kids were there. And it started in. We had like a porch on, and you could see the snow starting to swirl a little. And Mama said, "It's snowing, and I be? lieve it's going to blow"--and just then it started blowing and boy, the wind bounced up right in a minute. And Mama said, "Well, I hope the wagonhouse won't blow down." All of a sudden the shingles started in, you know, whirling in the cor? ner. Mama said, "My soul, our wagonhouse is blowing down. If it doesn't come through the window, we'll be all right." And that same day we had papered the kit? chen all brand new--it was coming on Christmas now. And just as Mama was walk? ing by the window, without a word of warn? ing, a great big rafter came right through the window and drove right clear in the front of our stove. And the wind started blowing the fire out over the floor. And you know a woman with four kids--poor Mama was so frightened. The glass cut her in the face and she never even noticed it. And we got an old door, an extra door on the porch, and we tried to put that over the window and put the sewing machine a- gaingt that--and it was blowing across the floor. The whole bunch of us couldn't hold the door to the window. Pat and I, we put on our coats and we ran up the field to our neighbour's house--never thinking a- bout the wind carrying us in the woods or anything--and poor Mama never noticed. We told her, but in her excitement she never heard us.' And I remember she was upstairs when we s*tarted back over with Mr. MacKin? non and his lantern. It blew so hard, my brother, it took his breath, he had to turn back. And I can hear poor Mama screeching out the upstairs window--she didn't know whether we blew away or what happened. But we managed to get there. So our neighbour came in. He tried to get the door over the window--and the wind had begun to subside then. It only lasted a- bout 15 or 20 minutes. He said, "Only one thing to do is to come up and stay at our place all night." So poor Mama, she was crippled, but she could walk some. So we went and we stayed all night. And in the morning when we came back--when we opened the kitchen door--well, I can see it yet. All the paper--see, it was newly pasted-- had come down in big sheets, and the stove was solid full of snow, and the cupboard and the dishes were full of snow. And the stove so wet we couldn't start the fire. Well, talk about the time. And in the morning when we looked around, it wasn't our wagonhouse at all, but it was our neighbour's barn--the roof had blown off. And the train came down in the night and we had noticed she stopped at our crossing--and we could see them work? ing around, moving boards and everything-- well, that barn roof had landed right fair in the cut, on the train tracks. And the rafter that came to us must have come oh, easy, 130 yards--and came right through the window and poked in the front of the stove. And when we went to look around, the wire fence along the railroad was just the same as if you had taken and hung car? pets on it--the hay was that thick where it blew up against it. But our whole kitchen solid full of snow. We had to shovel it,out. And the paper-- that's what would break your heart--we'd been working at it the whole day • and what a dismal sight to go in, the paper down on top of the snow. You can look back and laugh now, but at that time you were too scared to laugh. Ideal Ice Cream Ca Ltd. A Ccxrplete Une of Frozen Rxxte Ice Cream and FbuntainSuppries 162 Prince St. Sydney 564-4549 'wm CAPE BRETON SHOPPING PIAZA SYDNEY RIVER -- OPEN DAILY 'TIL 10 P. M. f Ntr WnM OMRBERCE smisncnoN DEPARTMENT STORES: A Division of the F.W. Woolworth Co. Limited ncE 1 07)
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