The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

October 16th, 2013

Ralph Maddison, The First Singing Miner 

   Ralph Maddison, a son of Joseph & Catherine (Hall) Maddison, was born in Springhill April 16, 1883.  He received his education in Springhill and at a young age entered the mines as a trapper. 

     Early on it was noticed that he was developing an extraordinary voice and volume.  As a young man he decided to go into singing as a profession, a career he followed with great success for about twenty years.

     Being billed as “The Singing Miner” he appeared in vaudeville in engagements from Halifax to Vancouver, in many cities in the United States, as well as in Newfoundland.

     He had a great stage appearance and was a great favourite especially in the Canadian west.

     While he was on tour he met and married Alice Wren of Montreal.  They had one son, Harry, who became a wrestler and lived in Montreal.  His wife Alice died on Dec. 24, 1934.

     Ralph continued to tour in this age of the “Silent Pictures” but this eventually gave way to the “Talkies” and the age of vaudeville went out as a medium of entertainment.

     Owing to the change, he returned home to Springhill, after a time and in 1936 he went back to working in the mines here until Jan. 1940 when he became ill.  Ralph was in the hospital from that time until his death on December 14, 1940.  He had suffered from a paralytic stroke.

Nov. 21, 1949 – Springhill RecordFive Flee to Safety in Night Attire

                    Eaton Mail Order Office, Millinery Store, Two Apartments Damaged

     Springhill Nov. 20 – One of the largest fires seen here in some left the Scott building a fire-scarred shell yesterday, and caused damage estimated to the amount of $50,000.

     Fire broke out in the building shortly after 7 a.m., and raced quickly through the three floors of the building.  Firemen battled for three hours to get the blaze under control, with heavy smoke hampering their efforts.  They were successful in keeping the blaze confined to the Scott Building, but could do little to halt the course of the fire.

     Origin Unknown - The origin of the fire first noticed near the furnace, has not been determined.

     The five people who occupied apartments in the building were aroused shortly after the fire was discovered and fled into the street in night clothes.  The building was occupied on the second floor by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hawker and daughter, and Mr. and Mrs. Ben RoyHyatt’s Restaurant had rooms for guest on the third floor.

     The ground floor housed the T. Eaton Company Mail Order Office and a millinery shop, with a barbershop in the basement.  Some stock was salvaged from the millinery shop.

     Floor Collapsed – A large number of parcels in the Eaton mail order store were destroyed and the balance ruined by water.  Mr. And Mrs. Hawker and Mr. and Mrs. Roy lost practically everything.  Hyatt’s guest rooms were highly damaged by smoke and water and room furnishings ere practically a complete loss.

     Every bit of fire hose in the town was employed in fighting the flames.  At one time seven streams of water were being poured into the building.  The whole of the second floor fell through into the Eaton store, but no one was injured.

     No insurance was carried by the owners of the millinery shop, and Mrs. Hawker, owner of the building had only enough insurance to cover about one-third of her loss.  Mr. Roy and the T. Eaton Company carried insurance.

Dec. 22, 1949Quick Action by Boys Commended

     On Thursday last a large number of boys from Grade 7B were out scouting for Christmas trees for their school teacher Miss Newcombe.

     The boys were travelling down the pole line towards the Junction and had decided they had enough trees, when Kenneth Ross saw another pretty tree, and while cutting it down in some manner, the axe slipped and struck his right leg above the knee, giving him a very nasty cut.  His companions quickly made a tourniquet of their handkerchiefs and were able to stop the bleeding.  After cutting two pine limbs took their coats which they fastened together and carried Kenny to his home.  He was later attended by Dr. Adams who praised the boys work, as it might have proved more serious, but for their training at Boy Scouts and school.

     The boys who deserve the credit were George Cottenden, Herbert Crowe Jr., Junior Bourgeois and Ralph Hayden.

     Both Kenny and his parents are extremely grateful for the quick action of these boys.