The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

February 4th, 2015

Mar. 27, 1941Springhill RecordBert Langille Retires; 52 Years in Local Mine

     Mr. Burton Langille is getting down to the real enjoyment of well-earned leisure, after more than half a century’s service in the Springhill mine, having been retired recently on pension, from his position of Underground Manager in No. 2 Mines, a position he has filled most capably since 1926, and to the satisfaction of both management and employees of the Cumberland Railway and Coal Company.

     Mr. Langille has given us some details of his long service.  One can only guess at the interesting story lying beneath the mere recital of dates and facts, for many changes have taken place in the history of the Mining Industry and in the Springhill Mines in particular.  As a worker in many capacities and as a mine official for many years, his contribution has been most valuable – the contribution of a capable and upright man. 

     He has seen more changes from the more primitive modes of mining in his younger days, to the highly mechanized system of today – from the little horse-drawn boxes and open lights on the caps of the miners, to the complicated haulage system and the electrified units of modern mining.  He has seen many changes as well in personnel and his conversation brings up many familiar names.

     Coming from Pictou County 52 years ago, Mr. Langille .as a boy of 15, began work in the North Slope, No. 3 Mine, “pushing down” at 50 cents a day, under the management of the Montreal Company; continuing in No. 3 until the big Bankhead fire in 1895, which burned down the trestle uniting the surface workers of No. 2 and 3.  He then went to No. 3 as brake-holder and trip-runner; then to No. 1 on the Main Slope, as oiler on repair work under Frederick Johns and timbering with James Ferguson (who was later burned to death in No. 1); and on the job as rope inspector for Nos. 1 and 2.  Then occurred the big fire in No. 1 Mine.  He remained until the 400 was reached in walling off the fire, then came back to No. 2, where he worked for a time with Thomas Hale, timbering, and with W. Harris, road-making.  These men, and many others he was associated with along the way, have passed on.  Promotion came when he was appointed as night examiner (Fire Boss) at No. 2, in 1903; then later changed over to the afternoon shift; remaining as Examiner and Overman until 1926, when he became Underground Manager of No. 2.

     Mr. Langille, who was born at River John, Pictou County, is a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Langille, and came to Springhill in the early days with his mother, after the death of his father.  He married Miss Emma Ripley, a daughter of the late Robert Ripley, J.P.  They have five sons – Roy, Truman, Osborne and Emmerson Langille; Springhill, Rev. Warren L. Langille, assistant Pastor, St. Andrews United Church, Sydney, C.B. and one daughter, Irene, wife of Rev. George A. Hatton, of CansoMr. Alfred Langille is a brother.  He has also a half-brother, Mr. Israel Langille, living in Wallace.

     Succeeding Mr. Langille as Underground Manager of No. 2 is Dan Archie McKay.  Mr. McKay, a Springhill man, is the son of Mrs. Catherine McKay and the late Lauchie McKay.  Councillor Angus McKay is a brother.  He has been familiar with the mines since boyhood.  Beginning as a Trapper he has worked through the various phases of mining and comes to his new position fully qualified by study and practical experience; a combination of qualities always acceptable to the body of the men.  The Record extends congratulations to Mr. McKay and best wishes for continued success.  To Mr. Langille goes also the best wishes of his friends for many years on “the sunny side of the hill.”

Apr. 24, 1941Ratepayers to Organize?

     There was quite a stir along Main Street Wednesday morning as word spread that many of the large taxpayers would refuse to pay their taxes until the Council took some action in the matter of collecting arrears.  There was a suggestion that the tax-payers were about to organize to protect their own interest. 

     It has been evident for some time that there is a need of such an organization.  For years there has been little or no interest in civic affairs and tax arrears have drifted from bad to worse.  Indeed, one Mayor was credited with telling the people they didn’t need to pay their taxes for he wouldn’t sell their property. 

     Now the Department of Municipal Affairs tells the people their $60,000 worth of outstanding taxes are only worth $40,000 – and additional taxes should be charged (and are being charged) to build up the sinking funds now some $30,000 in arrears.

Mails Lost in Enemy Action

     Canadian citizens expecting mail from soldiers or friends in England, mailed during the period March 14 to 23 last, are advised that there may be considerable delay or perhaps lost, according to a statement released by Postmaster General William P. Mulock.  Word has just been received that a steamer carrying mail is overdue.  The ship was supposed to have left the other side during the last week of March, and was due in Canada around the first week of April.  The steamer was carrying 4,261 bags of mail, including 3, 855 bags of letters and 403 bags of parcels.


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