Cambria Publishing
mining songs, music, photographs Lawrence Chrismas Photography
Minto Miners Gallery
 
ELI GOGUEN
RETIRED COAL MINER

I was born in Boston in 1892 and worked in the coal mines in the Minto area for about 50 years. When I first worked in the mines, we had no electricity so we had to use pails to bail the water out. In the old days, we used to wear oilskin coats, just like the fishermen. At first, we didn't have fans to clear out the dead air, but there wasn't a lot of coal dust like in Nova Scotia.

I worked in the mine most of the time and I did various jobs in the mine. At last, I got to be boss of somebody else looking after the cutting crew. I didn't want to boss anybody around, so I went back behind the machine, timbering.

I raised some chickens and had some hens, too. I kept horses and I kept cows. During the Depression, Minto was the only place in New Brunswick with a dollar. The rest of it - there was no money. Here in Minto, I've seen lots of times in the summer when we had a day or two of work a week. And if you had some cows and a little garden, it helped some. In the winter, I used to get a lot of moose and deer meat.

I used to live in one of the company houses around the mines. There's still company houses in Minto but they're now remodeled and owned by the people who live in them.

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