Inverness Miners' Museum
Inverness, Nova Scotia

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The Broken Ground: A History of a Cape Breton Coal Mining Community

 

 

When J. Fred Hussey realized the operations were closing he regretfully approached the people of Inverness. Their reaction was a Highland send-off given by an enthusiastic gathering of over 300 people. Accompanied by the sound of ten bagpipes, Fred and his wife were accompanied to Mabou, thirteen miles away. The settlement was gaily decorated with flags and the arrival for the party was the signal for the firing of a salute. A huge banquet was attended at the Cameron House and the Jubilee Hotel, after which music and dancing was enjoyed. Before his departure Mr. Fred Hussey was presented the following address by J.L. MacDougall, Solicitor of the Company, on behalf of the people of the Broad Cove Regions:

"To J. Fred Hussey Treasurer of the Broad Cove Company Limited. Respected and Dear Sir:- Having learned that you are about to leave us for a while in order to visit your native home in Danvers, Mass, we desire to convey to you our deep appreciation of what you have done for us and for your country while you were among us. Your noble enterprise at Broad Cove has been pushed on from its inception with energy, honour and success by yourself and your worthy father and we earnestly hope that the happy progress already made is but a faint indication of the crowning results yet to follow. In the course of three short years your zeal, your capital and your courage have changed Broad Cove from a lifeless locality into a hive if industry. Whilst you were always intensely interested in pressing on the great work committed to your management, you were at the same time ever careful to see that the men who worked for you were properly treated and properly paid. This fact created and has always sustained the most agreeable relations between the employers and the employed at Broad Cove. We trust your connection with the Broad Cove Company may continue for we know that such connection will ensure success to the work and satisfaction of the workers.

We desire you also to convey your wife our heartfelt thanks for the kindly interest and sympathy she evinced in our welfare during the last summer and spring. You have both earned the respect and gratitude of the people of Broad Cove, who will never cease to pray for your future health and happiness . "

Mr. Fred Husey replied with his feeling and brevity. Three hearty cheers were then given to Mr. and Mrs. Hussey, and as a fitting finale to a day of gladness, three lusty cheers and a tiger (additional cheer) were given for William Penn Hussey, the father, and founder of the Broad Cove Coal Company.

When the Hussey's evacuated their mining operation at Inverness they retired to a mansion style home called Riverbank in Danvers, Massachusetts, William Penn was a

celebrity in Danvers and the source of much conversation regarding his exploits. On the occasion of Danvers' 150th anniversary (June 15, 1902) he rode a splendid horse at the head of a parade that took six hours to pass at a given point. The significance of this event is that every band in the parade was financed by W.P. Hussey.

On Tuesday evening, April 26,1910 at the age of 63, William Penn Hussey died after a lengthy illness. Before he died he made known his wish that his body be mummified and. placed in a glass case and displayed in a standing position on the lawn at Riverbank. However, this grotesque request was not to be and Hussey was buried in a little park close to his home. The grave is now marked by a huge monument represented by a large horse and a figure of a proud man sitting on its back. The financier and capitalist, the man of mystery, the man responsible for the Big Mine era at Inverness became a memory to another era.

The Hussey years were significant and progressive. There were high and low plateaus, times of straggling and hoping, and days of planning and dreaming.. The peopk had waved, goodbye to the Hussey's and now anxiously awaited the new owners with a feeling of optimism and challenge.

 

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