Crescent Collieries

Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Canada

Brand: Crescent

Mined by: Crescent Collieries Limited

Dec 1933 Map, of the “Big 5” Coal Mines near Bienfait

“First”, or “Old” Crescent Collieries Ltd. Mine

1 mile East of Bienfait

It was operating as early as late 1918

Opened by a friend of Ken Johns, but name unknown to me.
was this Mr. William Lemond Hamilton? If you know, let me know.
the Bank went broke that his friend had the mine operating loan with, which shut the mine down.
All I know is Mr John knew this man in Fort McLeod where he worked after WWI.
this man left Fort McLeod to go to Bienfait and open this mine.
Ken Johns followed him travelling in a cattle car.
He worked in the mine when he arrived, looking after the screen in the tipple.
he says he stayed until April, when all the mines were closed for the season, and then he went back to Fort McLeod.
Through the Spring/Summer the Bank must have went broke.
Alex Wilson took over after the fellow was shut down, ca 1919.

First Crescent Mine is shown as E on this map from 1927

E on this map above-
49 deg, 09’ 09.01” N
102 deg, 47’ 14.86” W

Oct 1924 map shows location of first mine
Lines joining towns show railroad, not the highway.

Oct 1, 1924 this Company was on the map included on the first covers of the First Air Mail flight in Saskatchewan, from Estevan to Winnipeg. It was not listed as a paying sponsor though.

Mine Manager 1919-1926 Alexander Craig McMiken Wilson
aka: Alex Wilson, Alec Wilson, Happy Wilson, A. C. Wilson, Alex C. Wilson

Per Alec's story, he had a water well dug at this mine in 1920, the first well in the Bienfait district.
It had a good flow of soft water, good for drinking and house use. It contained a little soda.

Started in 1918 just to the east of Bienfait, moved to the new location shown above in 1926 after running out of coal

One source says the mine flooded with water too bad to work.
then I found the real story.
April 28, 1922 the mine was flooded with an estimated 10 million gallons of water, from a slough that broke through into the underground mine.
It was estimated it would take 3 months to pump out the mine. at 3pm without warning the mine filled with water.
Men and cars underground, were tossed around, and some men had to be rescued by fellow workers. It was a very close call by all reports.
Some made their escape on horses, some via the air shaft. The coal was worked within 50ft of the high water mark of the slough.
High water in the slough made it approach within 25 feet of the workings.

Alec's history records the mine workings were sloping at about a 1% grade to the North and this gave the men time to escape as all the water, ran to the north end of the mine.
At this time Alec Wilson was doing his own surveying and engineering. He had to dig a shaft a 1/2 mile away, taking a measurement from the mine map.
With his measurements they sank a 6ft shaft, that came within one foot of the main haulage entry in the mine. No GPS then!
They put up a temporary head frame, and hoisted the 10 million gallons of water out of the mine. They had the mine operating again in 30 days.

In the year 1926 they ran out of coal at this location, and they moved the houses, buildings, and equipment, to the New Crescent Mine, 3 miles west.

“New” Crescent Collieries Ltd. Mine

Located on SE 1/4 Section 26, Township 2, Range 7, W2nd

New Crescent Mine is shown as A on this map from 1927

A on this map above-
49 deg, 08’, 07.41”N
102 deg, 51’, 59.12” W

Deep Seam Shaft type Mine, started around 1926.
Owned by:
John Robert Brodie,
William Lemond (Billy)(Will) Hamilton,
and Alexander Craig McMiken Wilson, (aka Alec or Happy ) Wilson was Manager

I know a Frank Newsome, was mine manager at one point.
He was born Aug 1878, in England
died July 5, 1945, in Moose Jaw Hospital, buried in Estevan City Cemetery
He also managed a mine at Bienfait, and Eastern Collieries.
1 mile east of Estevan in one book, but this is wrong, unless they meant 1 mile East of Bienfait, where the first Crescent Collieries would have been in that area in 1918-1926.
This is where the miners formed their parade, before the Sept 29, 1931 riot in Estevan.
It closed in 1937.
Part of the Big Six in the area at that time. 4th largest in 1931
Located on the CNR line, between Estevan and Bienfait, approx 2 1/2 miles East of Bienfait, north of Hwy 39 per 1927 map.

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!
Born in Russell, Russell, Ontario, May 11, 1868,
he died in a car accident, Oct 1933.
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.

After William Lemond (Billy)(Will) Hamilton died, his daughter Jessie Morrow Hamilton became the mine manager at Crescent Mine.
At that time, this was the Only Mine in Canada, Managed by a Woman.

Jessie was born in the family home called “Eagle's Nest”, near their family owned mine, at Coalfields, Assiniboia, NWT, Mar 21, 1901.
Jessie married Hiram Ennis Symons, who was also a mine manager at another mine.
Jessie was given a Coronation medal by Queen Elizabeth, shortly after the Queen's Coronation.
Hiram passed away in Calgary AB. June 27, 1974.
Hiram Symons descendants are well known today in Estevan.
Hiram was the father of George Alan Symons.
William Lemond Hamilton took out land grants on Section 34, Tsp 1, Rge 6, W2
owning the mineral rights on NE LS 10, and NW LS 9 on Section 34

Oct 13, 1936
The first time in the history of the Province the Saskatchewan Government had a Permanent Injunction served on Crescent Collieries Ltd. and Jessie M. Hamilton,
after a Temporary one was issued in September, for operating since Aug 31, 1936, without a license, under the provision of the Coal Mining Industry Act.
George S. Calvert was the Government Field Officer, who signed the statement of claim. 28 workers were at the mine at the time.
Over one third of the miners reported their wages were in arrears since Aug 15th., 7-9 weeks in arrears.

Jan 19, 1919
Robert Griffin, Teamster, injured at this mine.

Company house occupied by Joseph Morrison burnt to the ground at the first Crescent mine, in early Mar 1922.

Apr 18, 1937
Albert Grant of Regina was being sued by Jessie Hamilton for damages of $25,000.00
She claimed he was given an option to purchase the mine, Oct 1936, and accepted it.
He was then assigned 2,300 shares of the company in exchange for assuming liabilities of $45,790.00
She claimed He defaulted paying these liabilities, as well as he didn't pay Coal Royalties to the government for the sum of $15,000.00
Besides this she claimed he left the mine to become flooded and machinery to deteriorate.
Jessie was also to receive 5,000 shares in Coals and Chemicals Ltd., a Regina company.
she was asking for coal rights returned to her and the damages. wonder if she won?

Ext Links

Sask Archives Web site & photo of the loading area


  • Last modified: 2021/06/03 09:43
  • by dlgent