SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Springhill mining history came to life at the 2019 Davis Day service June 11 at the St. Andrews-Wesley United Church in Springhill.
“As was the practice in those days, the eldest son, Donald, my grandfather, went to work at a man’s job at the age of 13 to support his family,” Shawna Canning said to the crowd gathered for the service.
Born in 1913, Canning’s grandfather, Donald Arthur Campbell, was named after his grandfather who was killed in the 1891 explosion that killed 125 miners. Donald began working at the mine at the age of 13 after his father, John Campbell, was injured at the mine and was unable to work again.
Thirty years later, at the age of 43, Donald was working at the mine at the time of the 1956 explosion. He was disabled in the explosion and never worked again, dying from lung cancer in 1972 at the age of 59.
Canning’s mother, Dawn Campbell, was eight-years-old at the time of the 1956 explosion and she never talked about the mine disaster, but in 2006 her sister Louise, who was 15-years-old at the time of the explosion, wrote about the experience. “I am honoured to read you her story,” said Canning.