John Mitchell

MitchellJYear: 2005
Location: Luscar, Cadomin and Mountain Park
Profile: John Mitchell’s family emigrated from Scotland to Luscar in the Coal Branch in 1927 when he was six years old. A coal mine operated in the vicinity from 1921 to 1956. It was a close-knit community of mining families which organized varied recreational activities and necessary services for everyone despite the modest incomes of community members. But despite the efforts of the United Mine Workers to pressure the company owners to provide safe working conditions, at least 70 miners had been killed by “gas and cave-ins and explosions” between 1912 and 1956.  Like his father, Mitchell became a miner. Diesel conversion caused all the coal mines in the Coal Branch to close in the 1950s. The men of the former coal-mining families that remained in Luscar largely went to work at Inland Cement. This interview was conducted in three places. In each, Mitchell talks about the social life of the community and about friends and acquaintances who died in coal mining tragedies.
Keywords: Coal Branch; Mine closings; Mining communities—Cadomin, Luscar, Mountain Park; Mining communities: social life; Mining: occupational dangers; United Mine Workers
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See also: Coal Mining; Health and Safety