June 20-26: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives
Hillcrest tragedy … One hundred and ninety-five miners out of 236 who went to work at the No. 1 mine of the Hillcrest collieries are dead as the result or an explosion of black damp which occurred In the mine shaft 1,600 feet underground at 9.30 this morning.
Forty-one men were rescued. Foreman J. S. Quigley is among the missing.
The bodies are being brought from the mine as rapidly as trucks can carry them to the surface.
The rescuers are working desperately to get the entombed miners to the fresh air as soon as possible in the hope that some of them may be revived.
But each truck contains the charred remains of a victim of the worst mining catastrophe in the history of Canada, and even the friends and relatives of the men who are still missing have given up hope of ever seeing them alive.
The 41 men who were delivered from awful death in the depths of the wrecked mine were rescued early in the day. Every carrier which comes up now contains a lifeless form.
150 victims laid to rest … Almost directly under Turtle mountain, natural graveyard of victims of the Frank slide of a few years ago, was enacted this afternoon the last great tragic scene of the Hillcrest disaster. Over 150 bodies of miners were laid away with funeral rites, while around stood widows weeping and not a few sympathizers.
The funeral was an impressive one, all the more on account of its silent participants, and the little town of Hillcrest will for many a day date its time from this tragic Sunday.
Even the elements showed sympathy with the mourners, for during the tragic proceedings fell fitful spurts of sleet, snow and rain, and the wind wantonly played with the wreaths and flowers which marked the narrow confines that held all that was mortal of father and brother.
In the quiet little valley, where yesterday the graves counted perhaps less than two score, today the number is augmented by 150.
Other bodies are being prepared for the last rites and it is feared that several found a natural and permanent resting place beneath tons of rock and debris.
Outside Union hall, from which place the victims were taken to the grave, was today a scene of grief. Wives and children wept together and even strong men broke down. Widows were led away from the last fond gaze on the bodies of their husbands and moist eyes of onlookers were not a few.
It was not infrequent that lids of caskets were opened and kisses imprinted on the cold lips of the loved one.
Helping at Hillcrest … Undertaker W. R. Beatty was called to Hillcrest last Saturday to assist in caring for the bodies of the victims of the mine disaster.
Fishing accident … Frank Foley and Sandy Cameron, both of Cranbrook, met with an accident on Tuesday morning while out fly fishing from a canoe in the Moyie lake narrows. The boat capsized and the occupants found themselves struggling to reach the shore. Cameron held on to the boat, which was pulled to shore by Foley, who is an expert swimmer. Despite the effect of the cold water the men have recovered from the shock.
Home change … Mr. T. T. Mecredy and family have changed from Lumsden Avenue to No. 143 on Garden Avenue, the latter residence being more commodious and better adapted for his requirements.
Engaged in Fernie … T. T. Mecredy, barrister, is engaged in Fernie representing the attorney general’s department in connection with certain appeals from the decisions of the justices of the peace at Michel. A party named Huml, while drunk and disorderly, assaulted his wife and the constable who came to arrest him had to appeal to the public for assistance to bring him to the lock-up. For his different offences Huml was sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment with hard labor in Nelson jail. The appeal will be disposed of at the Fernie sittings of the county court by His Honor Judge Thompson.
At the Auditorium … “The Shepherd of the Hills” the dramatization of Harold Ball Wright’s novel, which holds the record for the largest sales of any American work of fiction, which has been made by Mr. J. Wright, with the assistance of Elsbry W. Reynolds will be seen in Cranbrook at the Auditorium on Tuesday, June 30th. The scenes of the play are laid among the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. It is a story of the hills and the simple life, yet it has plenty of excitement and an air of mystery that will hold the auditor from beginning to end.
Council meeting … Special meeting of the city council was held on Monday evening, June 22nd, those present being Mayor Taylor and Aldermen Campbell, Leask, Hickenbotham, Horie and Campbell.
Action of the special water committee in purchasing pipe from the Mannesman Tube Co. was confirmed and the mayor and city clerk were instructed to enter into contract with the company according to the terms of agreement.
Mr. L. B. VanDecar was present and addressed the council with regard to the removal of the verandah from the front of the Royal hotel. The matter was referred to the board of works with power to act. The assessor was instructed to complete the assessment roll by September first.
Fire and police committee were authorized to purchase additional fire hose.
Meeting was adjourned until 5 o’clock on Tuesday evening.
Lacrosse … A number of the lacrosse fans around town have been talking “old timer” and “the way they used to play the game.” Some of them have claimed that they used to play on good teams and have intimated that they still know something about lacrosse that our younger players have not learned.
The younger players claim that they are “from Missouri,” so a game has been arranged with much difficulty, a signing of articles, professional and amateur standing, etc., that will be a hummer.
Mr. H. W. Supple, manager of the Imperial bank, has consented to act as referee for the “old timers.” Blind Ktunaxa Tom will probably be secured as umpire. Police protection will be secured.
Game starts at 7.15 sharp Monday, June 29th. Admission 25c. Ladies free.
Creston news … O. J. Wigen, the strawberry king, has sixty pickers working overtime on his ranch at Duck Creek. New potatoes, grown locally, are retailing at 5 cents per pound. Twenty-eight acres of tomatoes are growing in the neighborhood of Erickson.
Orangemen prepare … A large number of members were in attendance at the meeting of the Loyal Orange lodge last Thursday evening when all the degrees from the orange to the royal arch were put on, there being initiations in each case.
Among the visiting brethren present was Brother Matthew, student in the Presbyterian mission field at Elko, B.C., who addressed the meeting. J. F. Smith, a staunch Orangeman for over a quarter of a century, entertained with the bagpipes, and Brothers Campbell, Foster and Halsall gave several pieces on the fife and drums.
Arrangements for the twelfth of July celebration to be held here are being rapidly completed. The Sunday parade of the local lodge to divine service will be to the Presbyterian Church on Sunday evening July 12th, when Rev. W. K. Thomson will preach. The twelfth, falling on Sunday, will be celebrated on the Monday following.
Three automobile loads from the Wilmer lodge are expected to arrive Sunday evening. The first train in Monday morning will carry Orangemen from Marysville, Kimberley and Wycliffe. Creston lodge, with others from Sirdar, Kingsgate and intermediate points will arrive about the noon hour, possibly by special train, while the lodges from the east will arrive; at one o’clock.
Invermere news … Owing to a succession of hot days followed by warm nights the water in the Columbia and Kootenay rivers is rising very rapidly and if this state of weather continues without intermission for another week it is prophesied that trouble from that source may be experienced. The water from some of the tributaries of the Kootenay River has already risen so high as to be across the main road.
Returned home … Dr. and Mrs. J. H. King returned last Tuesday from a three weeks’ trip visiting Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. The doctor visited the Dingman wells while in Calgary and reports the oil boom merrily on its way in the prairie metropolis. He owns a nice block of the Monarch stock and states that this company has good indications for uncovering a flow of oil. A large number of geologists have flocked to Calgary and they are all of the opinion that an oil field lies near Calgary, although the amount of oil has yet to be determined.
School board notes … Special meeting of the school trustees was held at the city hall Friday evening, those present being Chairman White and Trustees Fink, Quain, Laurie and Wilson. A delegation from the Kootenay Orchards was present in regard to the placing of a school in their district, it was decided that the board would visit the district and go over the ground on Wednesday. June 24th. Miss McDonald resigned from the staff of teachers and her resignation was accepted. Miss E. M. Chisholm, of Kamloops, and Miss Keatly, of Appledale, B.C., were appointed to fill vacancies on school staff.
Elko news … It’s about time the Immigration department paid a little attention to the Roosville Valley road. Our member, R. F. Green, woke up the customs, and it’s a good point to have a provincial policeman, sawmills, tie camps, and a company expect soon to start boring for oil, will make the travel along this route look like a royal commission on Mulligan stews.
It would help this western country a great deal if the cabinet ministers at Ottawa would clean out the deputies, as in a great many cases these people are making the ministers look in the eyes of the voters like the figure 0 with the rim torn off, and would give you the impression that the minister should pay more attention to the member for this district than the deputy, as the way these, freak deputies are antagonizing some districts will make it hard for some of the ministers and members to hold their jobs at the next general election.
Wycliffe news … Some of the people in Wycliffe who filed on homesteads May first are already on their land and the others are making preparations to be there shortly. Gust. Johnson moved out on his homestead two weeks ago. He is conveniently located about a mile from town. Miss Hesper Oman had a house-raising party on her claim recently, several boyfriends volunteering to build her house. Gus. Gustafson has his house started and was fortunate in obtaining good water on the place. Mike Palmer has a house under construction and with his family will move out inside of a week. Gus. Soderholm’s house is also nearing completion.