#OTD in 1958 – The Springhill Mine bump: An underground earthquake traps 174 miners in the No. 2 colliery at Springhill, Nova Scotia, the deepest coal mine in North America at the time.

By November 1, rescuers from around the world had dug out 100 of the victims, marking the death toll at 74. “The Ballad of Springhill” was composed by American folksinger Peggy Seeger and English folksinger Ewan MacColl about the 1958 disaster. The song has been performed by many, including, Irish folk singer Luke Kelly.

‘The Ballad of Springhill’
(Peggy Seeger/Ewan MacColl)

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia,
Down in the dark of the Cumberland Mine,
There’s blood on the coal,
And the miners lie,
In roads that never saw sun or sky,
Roads that never saw sun or sky

In the town of Springhill you don’t sleep easy,
Often the earth will tremble and roll,
When the earth is restless miners die,
Bone and blood is the price of coal,
Bone and blood is the price of coal.

In the town of Springhill, Nova Scotia,
Late in the year of ’58,
The day still comes and the sun still shines,
But it’s dark as the grave in the Cumberland mine,
Dark as the grave in the Cumberland Mine.

Three days past when the lamps gave out,
And Caleb Rushton got up and said,
“We’ve no more water or light or bread,
So we’ll live on songs and hope instead,
Live on songs and hope instead.”

Listen for the shouts of the black face miners,
Listen through the rubble for the rescue teams,
Three hundred tonnes of coal and slag,
Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam,
Hope imprisoned in a three foot seam.

Twelve days past and some were rescued,
Leaving the dead to lie alone,
Through all their live they dug a grave,
Two miles of earth is a marking stone,
Two miles of earth is a marking stone

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