The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

June 4, 2008

Wed. June 4, 2008 – Historians of Springhill

The history of Springhill has been preserved over the years by those who have taken an interest in the town and who want to make sure the history is never lost.

The first person to do this was Bertha Isabel Scott who was born in Springhill and received her education here. She later went to Normal School but after teaching for half a term was struck down by an illness that left her bedridden for 17 years. She was an avid reader, studied painting and won prizes for her artwork throughout the province. She also did needlework but she is best known for her literary work. She lived with her sister Pearl , who took care of her when she was bedridden. When a new doctor (Dr. Kenneth McKenzie) came to town he was able to get her out of bed she was able to lead a more active life.

Bertha or Bertie as she was called began writing articles for the Springhill Record and although still in a wheelchair, went to work three days a week at the Record for 15 years. She later became Assistant Editor of the Record.

During the First World War she recorded a list of those who joined the armed forces from Springhill, keep a record of their promotions and those who lost their lives.

Bertie was also known for her writing of poetry but her best known work today is her book on the history of Springhill called Springhill, “A Hilltop in Cumberland” which was first written as an essay and then as a published book in 1926. There was only one edition published and the books became very rare. In 2008 the Springhill Heritage Group reproduced the book in its original form.

With the death of Bertha Scott, Springhill lost our first and best historian of the day.

Bertha J. Campbell was born in Springhill and for many years was a grade 4 teacher. Her first book was a history of the Springhill Schools called “ Reading , Writing and Reminiscing”.

In 1974 she found there were few written records of Springhill’s past so she began to find out about the coal mining properties and how it was interwoven with the history of Springhill. With some of her friends she was able to publish her book “Springhill our Goodly Heritage”. With the coming together of these people the Springhill Heritage Group was started to continue to preserve the history of Springhill. Bertha Campbell passed away October 10, 2002 .

Another historian was Jean Dryden Heffernan who was born and raised in Springhill. She wrote articles for the Springhill Record, the Amherst Daily News and sometimes her articles appeared in the Halifax papers. In 1975, when she was 75 years of age, she wrote a history of her family. Her book “Recollections of a Nova Scotia Town ” is a collection of her newspaper articles. Jean passed away October 4, 1981 .

James B. Brown (Bud) was another Springhiller who, being from a coal mining family, worked in the coal mines himself. He was also a logger, night school teacher of mining, a draegerman and a mechanic.

In 1983 he published his book “ Miracle Town ” about the mining industry of Springhill from the beginning to the end.

James passed away March 22, 1999 .

I would like, at this time, to invite everyone to the Official Opening of the Springhill Interpretative Kiosk on Saturday June 7, 2008 at 2.P.M.