My Genealogy and History Page of
 Bienfait Mines Ltd.


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 ** WARNING **
 Old Abandoned Underground Coal Mines can be Very Dangerous,
 Due to Collapse, and Mine Gases (Noxious and Flammable).
 Extreme Care should be taken around them, due to Falls, Sudden Ground Collapse, and Bad Air,
 and in NO Circumstances should People enter into ANY Mine Openings, or Associated Caves.

 The Material Contained on my Sites, is NOT to Encourage Personal Investigation of these Mines,
 But only as a Historical Record of these Long Abandoned Mines.
 Please View these Mines from a Far, Safe and Legal Distance.
  Always Observe Private Property Rights, and Obey ALL Warning Signs. 

Brand Name: Bienfait

Mined by: Bienfait Mines Limited
Bienfait Saskatchewan

also known originally as the Hawkinson Mine
and the Hosmer Mine
later Wilson Mine #1

Just South of Bienfait
near the CNR tracks.
Bienfait Mine is shown as D on this map from 1927

D on this map above-
   49 deg, 08’ 22.94” N
  102 deg, 48’, 05.16” W

`Map showing location of Western Dominion Collieries in 1927  1940 map showing mineral rights allotted to western dominion mines
Maps showing the location of this big mine
Left map 1927, right one from the 1955 book

Dec 1933 Map
of the "Big 5" Coal Mines near Bienfait

From my Lignite Mine page:

Hawkinson Mine:

Deep Seam Type Mine
Opened by the CPR in 1906,
and leased to Maurice Hawkinson.
 Managed by Maurice Hawkinson,
shown in 1911 census, as a boarder of
Albert Rogers family in Bienfait,
born Dec 1875, in the USA, age 35.
Nationality- Norwegian, religion Presbyterian.
immigrated in 1908
Shown as a Mine proprietor.
 Rogers is shown as Hotel Keeper, block 3,
 which would be the King Edward Hotel.
Interesting to note, Gordon White
 was a boarder here at the same time,
and he bought the King Edward Hotel.
Also at the hotel,
Joseph A. Sequin shown as a mine manager,
Hawkinson sold power to the village of Bienfait,
sold later to the Dominion Electric Co.. 
 Operated until 1940.
Various owners,
William Lemond (Billy) (Will) Hamilton and
Robert J. Hassard, 1915-1926,
John Robert Brodie bought Hassard's share in 1926.
1939 Hamilton sold his share to
 Alexander Craig McMiken (Alec) (Happy) Wilson,
who sold outright to Brodie in 1939, 
 sounds like a soap opera doesn't it.

Photo sent to me by Mr. Ron Carpenter,
Grand Nephew of Will Hamilton. 
This is a group photo of the Hamilton families
 at a SE Saskatchewan mine.  Thanks Ron!
The life story of William Lemond Hamilton
 can be read here.
and his picture and full story here
Born in Russell, Russell, Ontario, May 11, 1868,
he died in a car accident, Oct 1, 1933, near Wapella SK.
He married Ellen (Ella) McNeil,
who was a school teacher in Estevan. 
Her sister Jessie McNeil,
married Peter Cuthbert Duncan,
former Mayor, Land owner, and Business man
 in Estevan
in the early years.
He came to Bienfait coalfields in 1889 from Winnipeg.
in 1916 he went into partnership with R. J. Hassard
in the purchase of the Bienfait Mine.
He sold his interest in that mine in 1924
 to J.R. Brodie and Thomas Taylor, Winnipeg coal men,
and went to Taber AB to mine there.
He returned to Bienfait area, ca 1926 to work the Crescent Collieries.
when he died he left his widow, and family
Jessie Morrow Hamilton, Winnipeg
Evelyn Crooks, Toronto
Helen Sinclair, Winnipeg
Catherine McGregor, Winnipeg
Marion McMurray, Bienfait
Douglas Hamilton, Winnipeg

Bienfait Mine:
The Bienfait Mine owned by the
Canadian Pacific Railway was
opened for business in January 1904
 per 1955 history book..
Deep Seam Shaft type,
was sold to Souris Coal Distributors, 
owned by J. R. Brodie, in 1939,
Western Dominion Coal Mines Ltd name.
J. R. Brodie was vice president of Bienfait Mines,
per Estevan Mercury article on the Royal Commission
after the 1931 strike.
Joseph Bembridge was manager.
Robert J. (Bob) Hassard was President. 
He was the 3rd child of Hugh Hassard
 from Roche Percee, Taylorton fame.
3rd largest mine in 1931
Part of the Big Six in the area
 at the time of the 1931 riot and strike
They owned the mineral rights,
 in Section 18 and 19, Tsp 2, Rge 6, W2
Tipple would have been in section 19
Operated from 1904 to 1940

Info below from a 1911 Mining Report

Bienfait Mine

This mine was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway,
but in 1911 was operated under lease.

 It was situated about three quarters of a mile from Bienfait,
on the Souris branch of the CPR,
to which it was connected by means of a railway spur.

The coal seam averaged about 21 ft. in thickness,
 and lied practically flat.

Method of Mining-
The room-and-pillar system of mining was used.
The entrance to the mine was by slopes which were driven from
the surface through the gravel and clay for a distance of about 350 ft.
The coal was encountered at a depth of 60 ft. from the surface.
The main entry was driven East and West from the foot of the slope.
Pillars 20 ft. in thickness were left between the main and the counter entries.
Side entries, 8 ft. by 8 ft., were run from the main ones and, from these,
the rooms were opened off every 33 feet from centre to centre.
The rooms are opened from the entry with a width of 8 ft.
for a distance of 10 ft. and then widened out to a width of 16 ft.
They vary in length up to 200 ft.

Cross-cuts for ventilation were driven through the room pillars every 60 feet.
The ventilation was induced by steam pipes in the slope.
No methane was found in this mine.
The mine was generally damp.

Blasting Methods-
Shooting off the solid was practised, and black powder was used.
The shooting was done at 12 (noon) and 6 p.m.

As the mines were situated at a long distance from
where mine timbers could be obtained, the freight rates on the latter
was high. Owing to this and to the fact that the coal was of a very low grade,
the Operators, as a matter of business, used as little timber as they could,
and, consequently, a low extraction of coal was obtained.

1924, W. L. Hamilton was General Manager
Robert J. Hassard, Manager
Slope mine, Steam Electric Power, Electric Cutters,
Horses, 100 men.

And this mine was just as dangerous as the rest

Mr. Charles Edward Dunn Bowland is killed, Dec 15, 1912
had a wife and 3 children

A. Mercer was injured and crushed by a runaway car
per Mar 7, 1922 article, he was in Miss Winteringham's hospital
in Estevan, in very critical condition.

In 1916 this mine produced 36,452 tons of Lignite Coal
3rd highest amount in the District

Nov 14, 1921 John Zolis died in the Bienfait Mine
from a haemorrhage of the brain,
declared a natural cause of death by a coroner's jury.
Worked for 2 years in the Bienfait Mine.
Left a wife and large family in Lithuania
Funeral held at Taylorton
buried in Bienfait Cemetery.
name- John Zoles in newspaper article re coroner's report

Sept 22, 1920 they were trying to hire 10 miners



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No Reproduction in Whole or in Part may be made
without the express Written Permission
 of Doug Gent

Page created by Doug Gent 2016
Created Sept 29, 2010
Revised Apr 11, 2012

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