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> Issue 74 > Page 31 - From Italian Lives, Cape Breton Memories: From the Memoirs of Thomas Cozzolino

Page 31 - From Italian Lives, Cape Breton Memories: From the Memoirs of Thomas Cozzolino

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1999/6/1 (431 reads)

crowd of men. The people were afraid of us, and would not allow us near their places. By the next night the boat still had not come. We decided that we could not spend another night outside; so we broke into the school- house and ht the stove. The people of the place thought we were aw? ful to have done this, but we did no damage. We just kept ourselves warm for the night. It is very cold at night along the seashore. In the morning, at about 9 am, the boat finally arrived, and we were able to continue our journey. We arrived in Grand Narrows that eve? ning, and spent the night in a large barn. The next day we walked the remaining 20 miles to Boisdale. There we rented a large house for the men, and got the straw to make the beds. The men were comfortable there, so we made it our headquarters. I boarded at a place called Maclntyre's near the Post Office. They were nice people. The towns? people, however, were not aware that such a large group was coming to Boisdale. No one had made preparations to supply our food. We could not get any bread, so we lived on potatoes and eggs for a few days. Eggs were very cheap at that time • eight cents per dozen. I went to Sydney on horseback (no saddle) to fry to get some provi? sions, especially bread, for the men, but I could not get any that day. So, I bought lots of goods, a few barrels of hard crackers, and enough bricks to build an oven. In three days time we baked our own bread. I was in charge of a gang of men for over a month, then the confractor gave me full charge of a five-mile section of the Une. I was pretty young to have that charge, but I managed well. The local people were being paid 90 cents a day, while my men, being under contract for six months, were getting $1.25. The local men were good workers. When they found out that they were being paid less, they all went on sfrike. But, all along the line, the confractors were paying 90 cents per day; they did not get an increase. I was sorry for them. After our six months were up, the contractor told us that the men would have to accept 90 cents per day if they wanted to stay on the job. The men would not stay. The confractor wanted me to remain to finish the section, but I would not leave my men. So we all left at the end of October, 1887. At this point, Thomas Cozzolino and his men took the train to Ri- viere-du-Loup, and walked another 70 miles towards Edmundston, Georgia-Pacific Canada Inc. a proud member of cape breton's gypsum mining community SINCE 1962 Georgia Pacific Canada Inc. P.O. BOX 400 PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. BOE 2va New Brunswick. They worked at various jobs in the general Ed? mundston area from November 1887 to the spring of 1889. While working in | New Brunswick, Cozzolino met Emily Lynch, the | woman he even? tually married [in January 1890].... Cozzolino family circa 1910 I went to Sydney, Nova Scotia in December of 1899. The chief engi? neer for the Steel Plant, Mr. Waterman, asked me to get a few hun? dred men to work on the construction project. In exchange, he agreed to put me in charge of some of the excavation work, pay me well, al? low me to supply my men, and provide free both camps for the men and room for my store of provisions. He also offered me a good sala? ry, and all my expenses paid • including hotel, laundry, and a rig to drive me from the hotel to the work site every morning and retum me home at night. I decided that I would do well to take the position, es? pecially for the winter months. After Christmas, I went to New York where I hired 200 men. The company was to pay the men's fare to Sydney, if they agreed to remain on the job for six months. I got more men from Monfreal under the same condi? tions. The com? pany I ''"'N' ir***' M 564-0907 e LARGEST & MOST DIVERSIFIED RENTAL COMPANIES IN NOVA SCOTIA HYDRAULIC HOSES & COMPONENTS • HYDRAULIC CYLINDERS MANUFACTURED & REBUILT • MACHINE SHOP & WELDING SERVICE ' • HYDRAULIC OIL RECONDITIONING " CHROME SHARING • HONDA POWER EQUIPMENT • HYDRAULIC VALVES PUMPS • MOTORS & MARINE SUPPLIES SALES - RENTALS - SERVICE '562-0631 OR '-''''' FAX: 562-6985 803 GRAND LAKE RD., SYDNEY 562-1185 •
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