STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
29 August 1879 – The first all-Canadian craft union, the Provincial Workmen’s Association (PWA), was formed by a group of coal miners in Springhill to “defend and protect the interests of miners and other workers” of the colliery.
PWA founder and trade unionist, Robert Drummond (1840-1925), later moved the Springhill headquarters to Stellarton in 1882. While there he also published the Trades and Labour Journal. However, by 1898 Drummond stepped down from his leadership role in the PWA. The Association itself was later replaced by District 26 of the United Mine Workers of America. Drummond later ran for and was elected, mayor of Stellarton in 1899. He would also publish what was considered a business-oriented paper, the Maritime Mining Record (1898-1924).
Historian, Ian Mackay, has observed that Drummond, “in his later years was primarily an apologist for the coal companies. … (but also) one of the most significant figures of 19th-century Canadian labour history … a representative and revealing figure in Canadian working-class history.”
(References: MemoryNS. Accessed online. Also McKay, Ian. Drummond, Robert. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Accessed online)
30 August 1861 – Upon leaving Liverpool for Boston on the 24th, sailing on the “Arabia,” one of Cunard’s North American mail packet steamers, Victorian novelist, Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) arrived for a one-day stopover in Halifax where he visited his cousin, General Charles Trollope, who at the time was Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty’s Forces in Nova Scotia.
Trollope would later write in his travel in North America that in Halifax, “It chanced that a cousin of mine was then in command of the troops there so that we saw the fort with all the honours. A dinner on shore was, I think, a greater treat to us even than this. We also inspected sundry specimens of the gold which is now being found for the first time in Nova Scotia,—as to the glory and probable profits of which the Nova Scotians seemed to be fully alive. But still, I think, the dinner on shore took rank with us as the most memorable and meritorious of all that we did and saw at Halifax.”
During the American Civil War, Trollope was a strong supporter of the Union and a committed abolitionist. He would later write a travel book (one of five that he would write from his world travels) focused on his experiences in the United States during their civil war entitled North America (1862). In his lifetime, Trollope would produce 47 novels, 42 short stories, and two biographies.
(Reference: North America (1862) by Anthony Trollope. Chapter II).
31 August 1997 – News of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a fatal car crash in Paris, shocked Nova Scotians and is sadly remembered the world over.
It was in June 1983 when Nova Scotians welcomed the Princess and her husband at the time, H.R.H. Prince Charles, on their Royal tour of Canada, specifically to celebrate the 400th anniversary in Newfoundland of the founding of Britain’s first colony in 1583. The Royal couple returned to Great Britain on 1 July, on Diana’s 22nd birthday.
1 September 1785 – The Town of Sydney, located on the east bank of the Sydney River on the ancestral lands of the Mi’kmaq People, was declared the capital of the Colony of Cape Breton. The Mi’kmaq name for Sydney Harbour was “Cibou,” meaning river or inlet.
Established by the British under Lieutenant Governor Colonel Joseph Frederick Wallet DesBarres (who had arrived earlier in the spring) – the town was named in honour of Thomas Townsend, 1st Viscount of Sydney, at the time, Home Secretary in the British cabinet.
In the early part of summer, the Sydney area’s population had begun to flourish with the arrival of eight hundred English citizens and disbanded British soldiers who “settled in various parts of the island.” They were later followed by Loyalists from the state of New York who were fleeing the American Revolution. By 1802, Scottish Highland immigrants would begin to arrive and settle across Cape Breton Island and in northeastern mainland Nova Scotia. Between 1815 and 1838, over 22,000 Scottish immigrants would arrive.
Sydney would serve as the colonial capital of Cape Breton Island till 1820 when the Island was then merged with mainland Nova Scotia. The town would later be incorporated in 1886, and as a city in 1904. It was later amalgamated into a regional municipality in 1995.
(Reference: Brown, Richard. A History of The Island of Cape Breton…(1869), pp.390-394.)
2 September 1918 – The first salt mine in Canada (and in the British Commonwealth) began commencing a mine shaft at the Malagash Salt Mine on the Malagash Peninsula in Cumberland County, located between the Northumberland Strait to the north and the Tatamagouche Bay to the south. Earlier, strong saline water had been first identified in the area in 1912 by some farmers who found the salt water was a perfect brine for their pork! But it wasn’t till 1917 when further tests in the area led to more drilling in 1918.
By Labour Day, 1919, at a depth of 85 feet, miners raised the first rock of salt ever mined in Canada. Further drill tests encountered salt at a depth of 173 feet. The salt that was initially mined was shipped mainly to Newfoundland and to New England. Much later, more promising salt deposits were found in the Pugwash area that was easier to mine.
By 1959 the Malagash Mine was closed and the Pugwash Mine opened a year later. Its salt deposits went to a depth of over 457.2 metres (1,500 ft.). The mine would become one of the major sources of employment in the area for more than 40 years.
The mine is now the current site of Windsor Salt (Canada), the largest salt manufacturer in Canada, providing over 200 evaporated and rock salt products. It is owned by the Kissner Group (2020).
(Sources: Mining.com. Accessed online)
3 September 1818 – Nova Scotia Lt. Gov. George Ramsay, 9th Earl of Dalhousie, visited Cape Breton Island three years before its annexation to mainland Nova Scotia. Travelling with Admiral Sir David Milne, they first anchored at Louisbourg harbour and came ashore to view the abandoned ruins of Fortress Louisbourg.
Dalhousie wrote in his diary on this date, “…we plainly saw the remains of the smallest batteries and lines both of approach and defence …The ramparts and stairs are now laid smooth in grass, and the town quite overgrown is cut in hay annually by two people who had settled themselves here. I went to call upon an old man still hale and hearty at 86. He was in Wolfe’s Regiment, the Louisbourg Grenade, and present both at this siege (1758) and at Quebec (1759)…”
Just three years earlier, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec, Bishop Joseph-Octave Plessis (1763-1825), had also visited Louisbourg and would write of the fortress, “What heap of stones! You could see moats,.. foundations of houses, bases of chimneys, ruins of gunpowder boxes, storehouses …; but nothing was entire, nothing that could be recognized with certainty…The only people to be found now are about nine or ten Irish families, scattered around the harbour, where they settled a few years after the surrender.”
(References: Letters from Nova Scotia, William Scarth Moorsom. Ed. Marjory Whitelaw. Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1986, p.135. References: The Dalhousie Journals, edited by Marjory Whitelaw, Ottawa, Oberon Press, 1978. “Bishop Plessis’ Visit of 1815,” Post Occupational History of the Old French Town of Louisbourg, 1760-1930. Wayne Foster. Unpublished Report HD 02, Fortress of Louisbourg, 1965.)
4 September 1810 – Donald McKay was born in Jordan Falls, Shelburne County. He later became a prominent American designer and builder of record-setting clipper ships. At the age of 16, McKay travelled to New York where he became employed as an apprentice to various shipbuilders.
Within 20 years he had become a successful shipbuilder. Between 1845 and 1875, he would be involved in the construction of over 75 schooners, clippers, and packet ships – including the Great Republic, the largest full-rigged wooden ship ever built in the United States – launched in 1853.
(Leo J. Deveau is an independent researcher, commentator and author of 400 Years in 365 Days – A Day by Day Calendar of Nova Scotia History. His most recent book is Fideliter The Regimental History of The Princess Louise Fusiliers. He can be reached at [email protected]).
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