Interesting Cape Breton HISTORIES


December 19, 1903 – Butte, Montana - Cape Bretoner Jack Munroe, takes on World Heavyweight Champion James J. Jeffries in a 4-round exhibition match. August 26, 1904 – San Francisco – Cape Bretoner Jack Munroe is knocked out in the 2nd round in his bid for World Heavyweight Boxing Champion James J. Jeffries’s crown.

September 14, 1927 – Cape Breton Post – North Sydney champ gets revenge It took Jack McKenna, Canada’s Middleweight Champion just thirty seconds of the 4th round to rock his opponent with a snappy right to the jaw of John Alex McIntyre, former Glace Bay welterweight. Up to the final round of the bout there had been no doubt in the minds of the spectators as to the ultimate outcome. The North Sydney boy was too big, strong and hard punching for the former Glace Bay lad, taking a liberal dose of punishment. McIntyre’s backers and handlers would have showed good judgment had they tossed in the towel in the third round as McKenna had him practically at his mercy and showered him with punches from every angle. The Glace Bay boy however preferred to go out in ring glory and as a result went under from McKenna’s crashing and famous right hand punch. Just as the gong rang at the end of the second round McIntyre was knocked to his knees and in the third and start of the fourth was dropped for the count of two by the Bar Town lad.

September 11, 1930 – Sydney, Nova Scotia – Cape Breton Post –"Former Glace Bay man recognized as boxing authority Boston, Mass., Johnny Morris, formerly of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, who is now boxing instructor at Boston University and the Boston Athletic Association, has been placed on the approved list of boxing and hockey referees of Massachusetts. In the Great War, Morris was welterweight champion of the A.E.F., and is recognized as one of New England’s leading authorities on boxing."

August 14, 1948 – Moncton, New Brunswick – Moncton Times – Moncton’s Billy "The Kid" Landry captures the Maritime Light Heavyweight Boxing title at the Moncton Stadium, with a unanimous 10-round decision over Archie (Bear) Hannigan of New Waterford, Nova Scotia. They both weighed 170.

January 16, 1950 – Toronto - Fifield to Get Middleweight Title Bout Shot – Taking the promise of a Canadian title shot to heart, Toronto’s Billy Fifield, handlily defeated Joe Pyle of New Waterford, N.S. Fifield 160 ½ pounds, scored a clear-cut 10-round main event decision over the 155-pound Cape Breton Negro. Prior to the bout, promoter Frank Tunney announced that the victor would be in line for a title meetwith with George (Rockabye) Ross of West Bay Road, Nova Scotia, Canadian Champion. Plans for such a bout now will likely get final drafting.

May 4, 1953 – Glace Bay, N. S. – Yvon Durelle (The Fighting Fisherman), knocks out George (Rock-A-Bye) Ross in the 12th round to win the Canadian Professional Middleweight title. Yvon Durelle is the new Middleweight Champion of Canada.

September 9, 1953 – Sydney, N. S. – Canadian Middleweight Champion Yvon Durelle, Baie Ste. Anne, New Brunswick, wins Canadian Light Heavyweight, title with a 12-round decision over Gordon Wallace, Creighton Mines, Ontario. Yvon Durelle is new Light Heavyweight Champion of Canada.

June 16, 1959 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Blair Richardson knocks out Nick Kovac in the 3rd round to win the Maritime Middleweight title.

October 25, 1959 –Quebec City, Canadian Bantamweight Title (Vacant) Johnny Devison, 117 ½, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia Vs Marcel Gendron, 114 ¾, Quebec City. Johnny Devison wins split decision. Johnny Devison is the new Bantamweight Champion of Canada. October 26, 1959, Cape Breton Post – Glace Bay – "For the first time since 1912 this community has a Canadian boxing championship, which was brought to his home town Friday by Johnny Devison, the new Canadian Bantamweight King. Not since Mickie McIntyre won the lightweight title in 1912 had a Canadian Championship been held by a Glace Bay native." The championship was vacated by the retirement of Pat Supple who has taken a position in business in Montreal. (Mickey MacIntyre is the same Mickey MacIntyre who fought World Lightweight Champion Battling Nelson to a 12-Round no-decision bout in Winnipeg July 12, 1912.)

October 28, 1960 –Sydney, Nova Scotia – Johnny Devison, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia defends his Canadian Bantamweight title against former champion Marcel Gendron, Quebec City. Gendron knocks out Devison in the 7th round to reclaim the title. Marcel Gendron is Bantamweight Champion of Canada, again.

September 29, 1962 – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia - Blair Richardson, Sydney, Nova Scotia, knocks out Wilf Greaves in the 8th round of their Canadian Middleweight title fight. Blair Richardson is the new Middleweight Champion of Canada.

May 4, 1963- Halifax, Nova Scotia – Canadian Middleweight Champion Blair Richardson successfully defends his title against Wilfie Greaves with a win on points, over 12 rounds. Blair Richardson is still Middleweight Champion of Canada.

August 2, 1963 – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia – Blair Richardson successfully defends his Canadian Middleweight title against Ron Brothers with a 4th round knockout. Blair Richardson is still Middleweight Champion of Canada.

October 26, 1963 – Sydney, Nova Scotia – Tyrone Gardner and Marcel Gendron square off for the vacant Canadian Lightweight title. Tyrone wins with a 4th Round kayo. Tyrone Gardiner is Lightweight Champion of Canada.

August 1, 1964 – Sydney, Nova Scotia – Sydney’s Tyrone Gardner Vs Fernand (The Bull) Chretien, Toronto, for the Canadian Lightweight Championship. Chretien has Gardner down four times, but fight is stopped when Chretien suffers cut eye. Tyrone Gardner is Canadian Lightweight Champion.

June 16, 1965 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Don Chisholm meets Blair Richardson to decide the Canadian Middleweight title. Richardson knocks out Chisholm in the 3rd round to take the title. Blair Richardson of (South Bar) Sydney, (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia is still Middleweight Champion of Canada. September 25, 1965 – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia – Canadian Middleweight Champion Blair Richardson challenges Gomeo Brennan of the Bahamas, for the British Empire Middleweight title. Brennan knocks out Richardson in the 11th round. Gomeo Brennan of the Bahamas is Middleweight Champion of the British Empire. October 21, 1965 – Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – Francis "Rocky" MacDougall, Sydney, is matched against Marcel Bellefueille, Montreal, for the vacant Canadian Featherweight title. (Dave Hilton (Sr.) is no longer able to make the weight limit to defend his title, so the two top contenders will decide the new champion. Rocky MacDougall wins with a 6-round TKO over Bellefueille. Francis "Rocky" MacDougall is the new Featherweight Champion of Canada.

March 26, 1966 – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia – British Empire Middleweight Champion Gomeo Brennan defends his title against Canadian Middleweight Champion Blair Richardson, Sydney, Nova Scotia. Richardson wins on points, over 12 rounds. Blair Richardson is the new Middleweight Champion of the British Empire.

JUNE, 1966 – SOUTH BAR, CAPE BRETON ISLAND, NOVA SCOTIA -CANADIAN MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION BLAIR RICHARDSON ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT FROM BOXING. June 6, 1966 – Edmonton, Alberta – Edmonton’s Billy McGrandle squares off with Sydney, Nova Scotia’s Francis "Rocky" MacDougall to defend his Canadian Featherweight title. Billy McGrandle wins on points, over 12 rounds. Billy McGrandle is still Featherweight Champion of Canada.

August 2, 1966 – Edmonton, Alberta –Sydney’s Francis "Rocky" MacDougall, Sydney, Nova Scotia, defends his Canadian Featherweight title against Edmonton’s Billy McGrandle. Billy McGrandle wins on points over 12 rounds. Billy McGrandle is Featherweight Champion of Canada. September 2, 1966 – Sydney, Nova Scotia – Whitney "Willie" Williams, New Victoria, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, meets Ronnie Sampson, Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia to decide the Canadian Lightweight title. Sampson wins on points, over 10 rounds. Ronnie Sampson is the new Lightweight Champion of Canada.

March 20, 1967 – Edmonton, Alberta – Billy McGrandle, Edmonton meets Les Gillis, Sydney, Nova Scotia, to decide the Canadian Featherweight title. McGrandle wins with a 12th round kayo. Billy McGrandle is Featherweight Champion of Canada. September 22, 1967 – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia – Ronnie Sampson, 18-year-old Canadian Lightweight Boxing Champion scored a unanimous 10-round decision over Arnold Sparks of Montreal in a non-title fight before a crowd of 2000. Sampson, a rugged battler from Sydney River, Nova Scotia, weighed 145 ½, eight pounds more than his Montreal opponent.

October 14, 1967 – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia – Les Gillis meets Jo Jo Jackson to decide the Canadian Jr. Lightweight title. Gillis wins on points over 12 rounds. Les Gillis is Jr. Lightweight Champion of Canada.

November 4, 1967 – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia – Canadian Junior Lightweight Champion Les Gillis of New Waterford, Nova Scotia won the North American Junior Lightweight title with a 7th round knockout of Tibby Brown of New York in a scheduled 12-rounder. Les Gillis is the new Junior Lightweight Champion of North America.

September 17, 1969 – Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia – Francis "Rocky" MacDougall of Sydney, Nova Scotia meets former Canadian Bantamweight Champion Jackie Burke, St. John, New Brunswick to fight for the vacant Canadian Featherweight title. MacDougall wins by an 11th round knockout. Rocky MacDougall is the new Featherweight Champion of Canada, again.

September 26, 1970 – New Glasgow, Nova Scotia – Les Gillis meets Jo Jo Jackson for the 3rd and final tango in Nova Scotia, for the Canadian Jr. Lightweight title. Gillis manages to win again, over 12 rounds, on points. Les Gillis is still Jr. Lightweight Champion of Canada.

July 1, 1971 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Francis "Rocky" MacDougall, Sydney, Nova Scotia, defends his Canadian Featherweight title against former Canadian Featherweight Champion Billy McGrandle of Edmonton. MacDougall wins on points, over 12 rounds. Rocky MacDougall is still Canadian Featherweight Champion of Canada.


May 26, 1979 – Glace Bay, Nova Scotia - Earl McLeay meets Trevor Berbick to decide the Canadian Heavyweight title. Berbick wins with a 7th round knockout. Trevor Berbick, formerly of Jamaica, is the new Heavyweight Champion of Canada.

Cape Breton Post - Thursday, May 17, 2001


More than 300 years of mining in industrial Cape Breton virtually came to an end Wednesday when the federal government announced it was closing the Prince Mine in Point Aconi. The following is the history of coal mining: 1672: Nicholas Denys, French explorer, colonizer and governor of Acadia, declares that "there is a mountain of very good coal four leagues up the river" at Sydney Harbour. 1720: French soldiers dig coal to supply Fortress Louisbourg and the first commercial coal mine in the country opens at Cow Bay (Port Morien). 1724: The first recorded export of minerals from Canada is recorded when coal is shipped from Cape Breton to Boston. 1784: J.F.W. DesBarres, the first lieutenant-governor of Cape Breton, leases mineral rights to Thomas Moxley. For the next 50 years those rights are transferred back and forth between the Crown and private operators. 1826: The General Mining Association of London acquires coal rights through the bad debts of a member of the Royal Family, Frederick Duke of Your. GMA brings in experienced miners from Scotland and Ireland. Coal mining is mostly seasonal industry. 1857: GMA surrenders much of its lease, opening coal mining to other companies. During the next 40 years, more than 30 mines are opened. 1870: Twenty-one collieries are operating in Cape Breton. 1875: Nova Scotia colliery owners complain that it's impossible to make money because of transportation costs and competition from lower priced American and British coal. 1879: The federal government's National Policy, sheltering Canadian companies from foreign products, save the mines. A series of federal and provincial protective tariffs and subsidies follows to help the Cape Breton coal industry. 1881: A plan to cut pay in half for Springhill miners prompts formation of the Provincial Workman's Association, the first trade union in North America. Robert Drummond tours Cape Breton as an agent of the PWA to organize miners. He finds them working long hours for low wages and paying high prices at the company stores. Half the miners join by the end of the year. 1891: Sydney is the 74th largest population centre in Canada, and the population would rise more than 40 per cent over the next 20 years. 1909: The United Mines Workers of America enters the fray, but the companies support the PWA, fearing miners would demand American wages if controlled by an American union. The UMW calls a strike for recognition. PWA miners continue to work and support the decision of the companies to call in the militia. Strike-breakers are brought in from Belgium, Montreal, Scotland, Wales, Newfoundland and rural Cape Breton. Troops armed with machine guns suppress the strike. UMW District 26 charter is granted a decade later. 1917: Miners form the Amalgamated Mine Workers of Nova Scotia. 1920: Dominion Coal Company, a consolidation that occurred at the turn of the century, is sold to British Empire Steel Corp. Besco cuts wages by two-thirds. 1922: The Gillen Commission is set up to resolve the wage problem. The Dominion Bureau of Statistics estimates it costs a miner 90 per cent of his earnings to pay rent and feed his family. Contract workers make even less. Besco cuts wages again and the local union calls a slowdown strike. Company stores cut credit to the workers. Some 1,200 cavalry militia arrive in Cape Breton and set up machine gun nests around the collieries. The strike lasts eight months and in the end the men return to work with an 18 per cent cut in pay from 1921 rates. 1920s": More than 12,000 men work in Cape Breton coal mines. 1925: With American coal underselling Cape Breton coal in Montreal, Besco cuts wages by 10 per cent. Miners strike on March 6. Besco vice-president J.E. McLurg declares that the miners will have to concede: "They can't stand the gaff." Credit is cut off at company stores. On June 11, 3,000 men and boys are met by 100 armed police and the Battle of Waterford Lake ensues. The crowd attacks police and police fire into the crowd. Three miners are shot, William Davis fatally. His death is marked annually on June 11, Bill Davis Day, a local holiday in mining communities. 1928: Dominion Steel and Coal Corp. is formed, bringing some stability to the coal industry for the next 30 years. 1940s: Cape Breton coal production peaks. 1965: Dosco estimates the Sydney mines have just 15 years of life, and new mines wouldn't be profitable. 1966: A royal commission headed by J.R. MacDonald recommends settling up a Crown corporation to acquire and manage Dosco's coal operations. The Donald commission States: 'Future planning should be based on the assumptions that the Sydney mines will not operate beyond 1981. 1967: Ottawa buys the mining operation from British owners, continuing to employ 6,300 people. The Cape Breton Development Corp. is assigned to phase out the mines and create new jobs outside the industry. 1968: Ottawa expropriates the dosco nines, eventually paying almost $12,000. 1970: Ottawa budgets $37 million for Devco as the public cost of Cape Breton coal mining begins its long spiral upwards. The total will reach and estimated $1.7 billion by January 1999 1970s: The OPEC energy crisis hits. Nova Scotia Power, the provincial Crown electricity utility, moves to coal as its fuel of choice. New power plants require new mines. 1992: The federal budget announces Ottawa's intention to prepare Devco for sale. 1998: In October, Devco asks the federal government for an additional $41 million to get it through the fiscal year. Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale later says this was the trigger that convinced the government that the viability was simply beyond reach." 1999: In January, Ottawa announces it will shed the majority of Devco's workforce of 1,667, mine out the remaining production wall in Phalen Colliery and close the Lingan mine within 20 months. Prince Colliery at Point Aconi, along with all surface operations, will be offered for sale, with an anticipated continuing workforce of 500. A $111 million package is unveiled for workforce displacement, mostly for pensions and severance. A further $68 million, later supplemented with $12 million in provincial money, will go into additional economic development efforts outside the coal industry. 1999: In September the roof finally falls in for good on Phalen Colliery with the announcement that it will close earlier than planned because of the high cost of repeated rock falls and increasing concern over the safety of the deep mine. The news means an immediate layoff of 400, leaving some 140 to extract equipment and complete the closure over the next three months. 1999: In October a report by Gardener Pinfold Consulting Economists of Halifax, commissioned by the United Mine Workers, paints a grim picture of impact of a complete mining shutdown. The loss in household income over 15 years would amount to $1.5 billion and the economic development package would have very little effect. 1999: In December, fans and pumps are shut down in Phalen, which employed more than 1,000 men in New Waterford in the prime of its 22 year life. 2000: In January, miners vote 83 per cent to end a tense 12 wildcat strike that included the blockade of two Nova Scotia Power generating stations and the occupation of Prince. The end comes after the federal government agrees to participate in joint planning committee of unions and management which will revisit the worker displacement package. 2000: In June, federally appointed arbitrator Bruce Outhouse, in a binding report, opens pensions to 246 more miners who've served at least 25 years, regardless of age. This is on top of 340 pensions included in January 1999 package. The Outhouse ruling is expected to cost Ottawa more than $50 million. 2000: In July, Devco offers miners a two year safety net for severance qualification after privatization. Employees of a new company would be eligible for the full Devco severance package if a new owner closed or downsized within two years of startup. 2000: In August, Devco estimates it will cost $110 million to meet future environmental obligations, including the management of mine water and the cleanup at the Victoria Junction coal preparation plant and old sites. 2000: Also in August, UMW District 26, the dominant union in Maritime coal mining for more than 80 years, is placed in trusteeship by the international office because of the precipitous loss of dues-paying members. 2001: In March the federal government budgets $31 million to cover Devco losses in 2001-02. 2001: Later that month, Devco ends talks with Oxbow, seeing no possibility of an agreement. Prince Mine will be shopped to the second, previously qualified buyer. 2001: On May 16, the federal government announces the Prince, Devco's last operating mine, cannot be sold and will be closed by fall."

THE SHIP MARGARET /// Barque MARGARET - Cape Breton, NS 1851-10-28 to Adelaide, SA 1852-04-10 with 130 passengers MARGARET, pioneer barque from Cape Breton, with emigrants for Adelaide, SA, under the leadership of the Rev. Norman McLeod, sailed from St. Ann's on 28th October 1851, and arrived at her destination on the 10th April 1852 Name + No. adults Where From Anderson, H.F. 1 Aberdeen Campbell, Donald 7 St. Ann's Dingwell, Kenneth 1 -do- Fraser, John Esq. 7 -do- McGregor, Donald 8 -do- Glen. McGregor, John 8 -do- Matheson, Rod'k 1 -do- McGregor, Rod'k 2 -do- McGregor, James 3 -do- McInnes, -- -do- McInnes, Alexander 3 -do- McInnes, James -do- McKay, John 14 Baddeck McKay, Rod'k -do- McRae, Miss Martha (2) 7 Middle River McKay, Roderick Snr. 11 Baddeck McLeod, Donald 9 St. Ann's McLeod, John D. 10 -do- McLeod, George 3 -do- McLeod, Rev. Norman 8 -do- Kerr, John 1 -do- McLeod, Thomas 1 -do- McLeod, John 1 -do- Ross, Ronald Esq. 10 -do- Ross, Ronald Esq. 5 -do- Sutherland, Hector 9 -do-


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