Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 38 > Page 1 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Page 1 - With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1985/1/1 (1384 reads)

With Katie Margaret Gillis, Mabou Coal Mines My name is Katie Margaret Rankin (Gillis). I was born in Mabou Coal Mines, and went a- way at the age of 17 to New York, my sis? ter and I. We worked there. I was there 15 years. I worked since I was 12 years old. We were of a family of 8. My father was a fisher? man. Mother was not very well. I was the oldest of them. And there were 5 dead be? sides those 8, died young. So I went out to work for $5 a month, for a merchant in town, to take care of a little baby--the mother was sick. And got very little school. I went to school (later) in New York, winters, for 3 nights a week--so that's where I picked up most of my school. Mom was sick. And then, I suppose maybe I didn't like the school myself. But oh, it wasn't that I was staying away from it. But I had to, because we weren't that well- off that we could have some. And then I worked in the lobster factory for lOc an hour in the Coal Mines one year, and two years at Mabou Harbour. Walked 3 miles (to the Harbour). Got up at 5:30 in the morning to be there on time. I was on? ly about 13 and 14 then. They put me in cleaning claws and arm meat, for the first time. And then when I was there for a lit? tle short time, they put me in the sink cleaning tails, taking that thing that's in the tail of a lobster out and opening it. I was washing them in the first water, and then putting them in the next water, and seeing that those little black things were off them. And then putting them in the collander and bringing them over to the packing table. We had the rotten job-- cold hands in May. It wasn't nice. Just cold water coming from the sea in your sinks. So I got kind of sick. Dr. Kennedy told them to take me out of the sink. They put me in the claws and in the arm meat a- gain. Ten cents an hour. Ten hours a day. We'd like the day we had to scrub cans--a stormy day; a day that there was no fish? ing- -because that was an easy day. We'd all sit in the back together and we'd pol? ish the cans. I got to the packing table the following year. But then, from that on, I went to work in Mabou Asylinn. (What was that?) Mabou Asy- CAPE BRETON'S MAGAZINE, NUMBER THIRTY-EIGHT WRECK COVE, CAPE BRETON, NOVA SCOTIA SECOND CLASS MAIL -- REGISTRATION NUMBER 3014
Cape Breton's Magazine
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