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Misc. News Articles re Belle Island

  The Daily News - October 30, 1894

          Our Iron Fields: Speaking of the Belle Isle Iron deposits the St. John (N. B.) Sun says: - "The discovery of what appears to be a valuable iron deposit near St. John's, Newfoundland, may prove to be a profitable thing for the ancient colony. The New Glasgow iron men seem to have a High Opinion of the Newfoundland deposit, and so have invested in it. It is a long distance from the peninsula of Avalon to the East River of Pictou, but possibly the freight on ore would not be greater than from Torbrook, where the New Glasgow company get a great deal of the ore they use."

The Daily News - October 14, 1895

                Mining At Belle Isle - Developing an Important Industry - Messrs. John McNeil, W. E. Stavart of the Banks of Nova Scotia and S. M. Brookfield, visited Belle Isle, C. B., to see the much talked of Iron deposits on the Island, what the company were doing in the way of developing, mode of working and shipping the ore. They report the company, for which Messrs. J. & W. Pitts are the agents, have made rapid progress under their manager Mr. Chambers and that the half had not been told them.

                The Island is about seven miles long by two and half broad, with bold precipitous cliffs all round, with two landing places, Lance Cove and the beach this side of it which is nearest the mines. Nature has well protected this bold sentinel of Conception Bay by walling it with stone against which the angry storms beat unheeded. It has its hills and valleys, is fertile and capable of supporting A Large Number of People. Magnificent scenery. Its Iron deposits are a wonder or you might call it a freak of nature. No indication of iron being upon the mainland, it crops out on the Island some three miles distant within two feet of the surface; is in two beds, one about the centre of the Island, the other at the far side, which shows out in the cliff and it can be traced to the water where it passes under the Bay so that if iron should become scarce in the next thousand years this will be available. Might it not then be worth while for the Government to retain these rights?

                The two beds upon the island have an area of two square miles, and will yield fifty million tons of iron, so it is Practically Inexhaustible, and when removed the earth can be put back and the land be as useful as ever. So it is all surface , no pumping, the cost of mining being reduced to a minimum. In no part of the world can ore be mined at less cost, if as low. It test 55 per cent, is compact, and looks one solid body but when the pick is used it is seen to be laminated and in small sections which make it easy to handle and ship, or as one of the workmen informed us it was all in little bricks. Shafts have been sunk through it in different places, so that the ore could be analyzed thoroughly. Although these shafts were blasted out, the sides are square and as smooth as if planed. So that it can be worked More Expeditiously, a steam drill plant is being introduced, which upon being tested has been found to answer well. A double track two feet square has been laid for a distance of two miles, which will be operated by wire ropes from a stationary engine plant placed about two thirds of the distance, driving 2 ½ miles an hour across the island; a single car carries one ton. Five hundred cars a day will go over the road to the shipping pier, which is on this side of the island, some 400 feet from the shore, in 30 feet of water. This is a splendid structure of Southern Pitch pine well put together some 70 feet by 40 feet, the storage being on top of the pier, or in other words it is a trapper pier and will hold 2,000 tons, provided with iron shoots, so that when steamers come for cargoes only a few hours will be required for loading. A large number of men Are being Employed in the constructing a road pier, buildings & c., and when completed and mining operations begin in earnest a permanent industry will be established which must benefit the people in the neighbourhood immensely.

                The Company that have purchased the ore-beds, are one of the most energetic Companies in Canada, it's doubtful if a more enterprising man than Graham Fraser is connected with any Company. This ore contains just what their own is deficient in and theirs have what this requires - the two make a splendid quality of iron equal to any that's manufactured at the present day. The company have made at their own works all the rails and plant.

                They expect to ship a cargo this fall if the weather keeps open. Next year when working and shifting some 50,000 or 60,000 tons of ore it will amply repay a visit.

The Daily News - September 10, 1896

                Bell Isle Brevities - The S. S. Ceylon is being loaded with ore for Baltimore, and will probably sail this evening.
                Workmen are daily making application to the manager at the mine for work. The price of labour has increased somewhat since the recent trouble.
                The inhabitants of Bell Isle are indignant with the Government for not taking some steps in the matter of constructing a wharf or temporary landing place.
                Buzzan Bros., prospectors, returned from Bell Isle yesterday, where they had been working at the mine formerly known as Capt. Richard White's claim, in the interest of Mr. A. Jno. Harvey. The specimens brought over by them have been pronounced very good ones. There is a splendid indication of ore on the surface of this claim, but the leads have not yet been brought to light.
                The importance of Bell Isle as a mining centre and port of call, increased the necessity for improvements. The first and most important thing is a light on the Island. The presence of a constable also calls for consideration as a number of petty robberies have been committed there during the past twelve months, not to speak of other breaches of the law. The necessity for a preventive officer also asserts itself, as there is sufficient room for wholesale smuggling. It is to be hoped that the Government will see their way clear to give these important matters due consideration. Bell Isle may now fairly claim to be the mining centre of Newfoundland.

The Daily News - November 11, 1896

                Belle Isle Notes -
                Mining Operations Closed - Fr. O'Brien's Departure - Roads, Crops, etc. - Mining operations on Belle Isle were shut down for the winter on Thursday last. Manager Sutherland and Accountant Greene have left for the city, and will take their departure from St. John's by the Assyrian due today, Mr. E. H. Whiteway has been left in charge of mining implements and John Kennedy will act as watchman until next spring.
                The Catholic population of the Island are much moved over the intended departure of Rev. P. O'Brien from the Belle Isle parish. We learn that a petition has been largely signed and despatched to His Lordship Bishop Howley, pleading for a continuation of the services of the much-esteemed parish priest.
                All the Lance Cove people, who have been on the Labrador the past season have returned having done very well the past season.
                The Lance Cove road is at present in a bad state, and needs immediate repairs for the safety of those travelling over it. As very little money would be necessary to complete the work, it is to be hoped that the government will give their attention to it without further delay.
                The failure of the crops this season will be sorely felt by many of the inhabitants the coming winter and spring. The potato and turnip crops are especially backward, which will mean a great loss to those dependent on the profits realized by the annual sales.
                Miss Bearns, the energetic school-teacher, has made wonderful progress in educational matters since her advent to the island. She has a daily attendance of 50 pupils.
                At about 9:30 p.m. on Monday the inhabitants of Belle Isle witnessed an extraordinary flash of lighting. It lasted for 5 seconds and was the most powerful ever experienced. Its attraction is attributed to the immense bed of ore on the island.

The Daily News - February 18, 1902

                Bell Island Notes (This item is very dark and difficult to read)
                High School and Concert - The formal opening of the High School took place on Monday night when the public had an opportunity of inspecting the building. The Rev. Fathers Ashley and Roche were present, also Vincent P. Burke, Esq. Superintendent R. C. Schools. The concert opened with Governor Boyle's song and chorus. "Newfoundland" music by Prof. Krippner. Several fine pieces were rendered by Dr. Freebairn, J. P. Magistrate O'Donnell, R. J. Costigan, D. Jackman, P. Doyle, the Misses Parsons (2), White, Kennedy, Lahey, Hogan, Fewer and others added their quotes towards an enjoyable recital of music and song. Miss Katie White conducted the concert. The Rev. pastor, Fr. McGrath, at the close of the concert thanked the audience for their appreciation of the entertainment and introduced Rev. Fr. Roche, who then addressed those present on the "Advance of Education." The Rev. gentleman in clear and eloquent diction made a strong and forcible speech on the necessity of keeping pace with the onward march of progress and mind improvement. He mentioned the advances in all departments of science and learning in the Century Just Past, and the daily struggle for increased perfection in the education of all classes. We in Newfoundland he said must also recognize the necessity of the hour, vis., this further spread of education amongst the masses of our people. He was pleased to congratulate the people of Bell Island on their progressive and modern ideas in school matters.
                Vincent P. Burke, Superintendent R. C. Schools, followed by expressing his pleasure at being present on the occasion. He complimented all concerned in the High School and school at the mines, which compare favourable with any schools in this country. He then gave the different systems of education and dwelt particularly on the Higher Education. The High School is fully equipped to afford a good education, commercial and otherwise. The syllabus includes typewriting and shorthand. A centre for the O. H. E. examinations will be held at this school at summer. The classes are in charge of Mr. M. James A. A., and Miss Power in the Primary department. Singing classes for children are under direction of Miss White. The High School was decorated on the tower and on the inside with flags and bunting. - COM

The Evening Telegram - August 24, 1916

                Mining Horror - Further Particulars of the fatal accident which occurred at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday at Bell Island, was received in town this morning.
                It appears that Stewart Luffman, foreman, Bell Island; Thomas Wall, blaster, Bell Island; John Ross, Portugal Cove; Thomas Gill, Conception Harbour; and Edward Brine, Topsail, were blasting in West No. 2 Slope of the Nova Scotia Steel and Coal Co., when after five unsuccessful attempts to loosen the solid mass of rock and ore by means of high power explosives and electric connections leading to deep holes bored by steam drills, into which the powerful explosives were placed, the men it is supposed entered the cave to reload the blower holes, and in doing so the heat of the ground caused by the previous blasts must have ignited the explosives. The result was instant death to the first four mentioned. Brien who was outside the cave but down in the slope, escaped injuries. The accident was immediately telephoned to the Company's doctor who quickly responded, but on examination found Luffman and Wall dead with severe marks on the body while Gill and Goss were blown to pieces. Three widows and nine fatherless children are left to mourn the loss of their sole providers. Mrs. Luffman has seven children; Mrs. Wall one child and Mrs. Ross one child. Poor Ross's brother was killed in action on July 1st, and he himself returned from active service a few weeks ago. His widow on hearing the news of her husband's death was taken ill and is now suffering from mental trouble from which she may never recover. Luffman's two brothers left with the last contingent.




Page contributed by Barbara McGrath
Page transcribed by: Ivy Benoit (May 2001)
Page revised: Oct. 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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