M & S Coal Co.

Taylorton, Saskatchewan, Canada

Brand name- M&S - Silkstone

Mined by: Manitoba and Saskatchewan Coal Company Limited
originally by: Hudson Bay Coal Company

aka: M&S Coal Company Ltd.
aka: M&S
aka: Hudson Bay Mine

Started in 1907

M&S Shops ca 1918

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

Located at Sec 10- Tsp 2- Rge 6, West of the 2nd Meridian
Located 4 miles from Bienfait,
connected with the Souris Branch of the CPR, by a mine spur

Deep Seam, Shaft Type Mine
operated from 1907 to 1942.
Switched to strip mining in 1942.
Started in 1907, head office 503 Avenue building, Winnipeg MB
Tipple was near the Briquette Plant.

early 1950's? photo
from Alex Wilson collection, sent by Margaret Cuddington

Sir Daniel Hunter McMillan, Sir William Whyte and Senator Robert Watson, were some of the First Major Shareholders of the M & S Coal Company Ltd.

Senator Robert Watson
President of M&S, When Robert Wilson was Minister of Public Works in the Greenaway Government in MB, Sir Daniel Hunter McMillan was Provincial Treasurer and Land Commissioner,
there you have the connection for the M&S Coal Mine ownership.

In 1907, the United Iron Works Company of Springfield IL, was installing a complete coal hoisting, and screening plant,
Of very elaborate design, including Steel Head Frame, and High Speed Engines at Bienfait, for Winnipeg Capitalists. guess where?

Jan 1, 1910
Offered 250,000 6% bonds in London England 2 weeks earlier.
The property bonded is 1600 acres of Coal Land at Bienfait SK.
The Company has been doing business since 1907
Robinson & Black of Winnipeg, were in charge of the sale.

1912 seam thickness 13 ft horizontal, average depth of 80 ft.. 2 shafts.

Sept 1914
Financial report for accounts to May 31, showed a loss after meeting fixed charges, and providing for depreciation of $153,000.00, reducing a credit balance, brought down to $31,492.00

In 1931 the Manager was Alexander Craig McMiken (Alec) (Alex) (Happy) Wilson
Part of the Big Six, time of Sept 29, 1931 riot, This was the largest of the mines in 1931

James Crawford Thomson
b- Nov 29, 1874 in Collingwood, Simcoe, ON
d- Oct 4, 1938, in Souris Hospital, Souris, RM of Glenwood, MB.
buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg MB

Nov 1934 He was President of the M&S Mine.
Coal sold for about $6.50 a ton in Winnipeg.

He had a son Crawford McMillan Thomson
b- Jan 11, 1909 at Winnipeg MB
d- 1975
buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg MB

June 12, 1947, He was the General Manager of M&S

In Jan 1949 Crawford M. Thomson was publicly blamed by Premier Tommy Douglas, for prolonging a 10 week strike, of 200 members of the United Mine Workers of America.

In July 1949 Crawford was General Manager of M&S. He was arguing in favour of a miner's pension plan at Regina, at the Provincial Royal Commission on Coal.
The mine owners were paying a 3 cent per ton levy towards the UMWA Welfare Fund. In Feb 1960 He was Vice-President of M&S
Aug 1967 he was shown as Retired President of M&S

President- William Whyte (see below)
Vice-President- William H. Barker
General Manager- Crawford McMillan Thomson

Head Office, 503 Avenue Building, Winnipeg, Man
they had 115 employees on payroll in 1956

William Whyte (Jr)
b- July 17, 1883 in Toronto ON
d- Aug 30, 1960 at Winnipeg MB
buried in St. John's Cemetery, Winnipeg MB
My William Whyte web page for Genealogy and Bio

Thomas Wilfred Phillips
b- Sept 2, 1893 in Glouster, Trimble Township, Athens Co., Ohio, USA
d- Mar 9, 1972
buried in Souris Valley Memorial Gardens, Estevan
Father- John Phillips,
b- May 1866 in England,
d- bef 1920
Coal Miner in Ohio in 1900
John Phillips immigrated in 1888 from England to US
Mother- Margaret A. Phillips nee Payne, b- Feb 1869 in England
Grandfather on Father's side, born in Wales
Grandmother on Father's side, born in England
mother of Margaret, Mary A. Payne, b- 1849 in England
Mary was a widow in 1920, living with Margaret Phillips and family

siblings of Thomas Phillips:
John F. Phillips, b- Sept 1885 in England
Mary R. Phillips, b- Nov 1890 in PA, US
Arthur F. Phillips, b- June 1896, in Ohio, US
Lillian I. Phillips, b- Apr 1900 in Ohio, US
William G. Phillips, b- 1903 in Ohio, US
Andrew J. Phillips, b- 1906 in Ohio, US
Benjamin T. Phillips, b- 1910 in Ohio, US

Married Lenore Shott in 1922

1900 he was in Glouster Village Ohio
1920 he was in Springfield Township, Sangamon, Illinois, US
In 1938 he came to M&S at Bienfait, as Mine Manager.
They moved to Estevan in 1942
He was General Manager of M&S in 1958,
until he retired Apr. 30, 1966.
Prior to being appointed Mine Manager in 1938 at M&S he was affiliated with the Peabody Coal Company of Springfield, Illinois
He was the fellow that was robbed, see story below.
he was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Royal Arch chapter, Wa Wa Shrine, Elks Lodge, and St. Paul's United Church.
Honary member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Bienfait.
When he died he was survived by his wife,
a son Dean Phillips, of Bradford PA,
a daughter Mrs Bill Dunk, of Thunder Bay,
a sister and 7 grandchildren.

The Manitoba & Saskatchewan Coal Company Limited, abbreviated to 'M & S' became the operator of the Bienfait Mine on February 13, 1907.

The mine was purchased from the Hudson Bay Coal Company, who had commenced operations in 1905.

Later purchased by Luscar.

Per Estevan Mercury, October 5, 1966, Harry Banks said this about this mine-
M & S Mine was known as the Hudson Bay Mine in its earlier days of operation,
sometime about 1905 when Bill Addie was manager.
It became known as the M & S Mine about 1920 and strip mining started about 15 years ago.
Housing Campsite closed as of June 1967.

It was operating for sure in 1911 and 1917.

Map from 1955 History of Bienfait book \\ M&S is shown on the right side in this map

They operated their own Rail line and Locomotive to haul the loaded coal Boxcars to Bienfait

Mar 16, 1908, miners at M&S on Strike
F. H. Sherman is the miners representative for a Board of Conciliation.

Pictures from Alex Wilson Collection sent by Margaret Cuddington

Info below from a 1911 Government Coal Report on this mine.

Method of Mining -
The Coal Bed, was about 12 ft. in thickness, and it laid flat, covered with about 80 ft. of sand, clay and gravel.
A double-compartment vertical shaft had been sunk through the clay and gravel and the coal was hoisted to the surface by means of a self-dumping cage.
The method of mining used was called pillar-and-stall. The mine was laid out with the main entries running North and South, and the side entries East and West.
The width of the entries was 9 ft. and the height 9 ft.
The rooms were driven 15 ft. wide and 9 ft. high.
And the pillars were 54 ft. Square.
The rooms were driven in panels, consisting of 36 pillars,
and as soon as the work had progressed far enough in a panel, as many of the pillars as possible were removed.
It was found that a greater percentage of the pillars could be recovered in this way,
If the pillars were attacked as soon as possible after the rooms had been finished.
If the pillars were allowed to remain for any length of time, the roof would settle and heavy pressure brought to bear upon them.
Upon attempting to withdraw them, the roof, coal and hard clay and gravel over the coal breaks, and caving results.
In this way, not only is a low extraction obtained from these pillars, but the adjoining ground is disturbed,
thus preventing a high extraction from subsequent pillars. Where the ground is bad, the pillars were split by three 8 ft. rooms, leaving 6 ft. pillars.

During the month of May 1911, about 1500 tons of lignite was mined.
The coal was used for domestic and steam purposes.
Although the thickness of the coal was about 20 ft., only 10 ft. was mined.
About 4 ft. of top coal was left to support the roof, and 6 ft. of coal was left in the bottom.
The immediate roof over the coal was a hard boulder clay, and above this, sand and gravel extended to the surface.
Owing to the bad character of this roof and to the fact that there was no solid stratum over the coal, it was necessary to leave in the top coal.
Where larger pillars are left and where the bottom coal was attacked soon after the opening of a room, the bottom coal may be recovered,
though, in 1911 practically none had been recovered.
In 1911 the extraction from the mine was about 30 per cent of the total coal, and no pillars had yet been robbed.

The mine was ventilated by a direct-driven Sterling exhaust fan.

Blasting Methods-
The blasting was done by the miners, Black Powder and Squib being used.
One pound of powder was used for every 2 tons of coal mined
The powder was charged into the holes in paper cartridges, and clay, dug in the mine, was used for tamping the hole.

No gas was been found in this mine, and open lamps, burning seal oil, were used by the miners.

The main entries were timbered with round sets, and in the rooms where the roof was bad, sets were also employed.
Usually one prop 9 ft. long was used for every ton of coal mined.

Output in 1911-
This mine had the capacity of 1,000 tons per day of 10 hours, but, during the summer months, the demand for coal was small, so that the maximum output
was approached only during the autumn and winter months.
In 1910, the output was 60,000 tons, during the first five months of 1911, the output amounted to 40,000 tons.

Preparation of the Coal for Market-
Although two sizes, screen and pea coal, were made, about 60 per cent of the coal sold was shipped as run-of-mine.
The coal was used for domestic and power purposes.
Over 10 per cent of the coal that went to the screens was too fine to be marketable. (Slack)
It was taken a short distance from the mine, dumped on the prairie and burned.
During the first four years that this mine had been in operation, over 12,000 tons of screenings were destroyed in this way.
It was impossible to store this slack coal at the mine, as it would burn from spontaneous combustion.

Extraction and Waste-
The coal seam averaged 12 ft. in thickness, but about 9 ft. only was mined,
3 ft. of top coal was left in to support the roof.
The proportion of coal taken out in advance work was about 25 per cent, and about 60 per cent of the pillars were recovered,
giving a recovery of about 70 per cent, excluding roof coal, or a recovery of 52.5 per cent, including the roof coal.
Of this, 10 per cent was burned as slack, leaving a total recovery of marketable coal of a little over 47 per cent.

March 1919 article on the M&S mine

In 1917 this mine produced 67,809 tons of coal
2nd highest amount in the district.
Cost to mine in 1917- $1.25 to $1.50 / ton

Oct 1923
4 miles SE of Bienfait 2 shafts have been sunk
85 feet deep to the coal seam which is 11-12 feet deep.
the plant had a capacity of 1,000 tons a day.
the paper described that the Owners of the mines, have supplied their employees, with all the modern conveniences, such as electric light, water and sewage. (how nice of them!)

M&S article- Oct 1923

Oct 8, 1925, Mr. John Felix, Labourer, age 39
was killed underground after a blast that loosened a piece of coal which fell and hit him on the head.
Coroner P.C. Duncan from Estevan, and Inspector Pierce from Roche Percee investigated.
wife and family were living in Winnipeg, Manager John Galloway notified his wife.

Coal ad ca Nov 30, 1932
Price of Coal Nov, 1932

Nov 7, 1940, John Kotlarski, age 31, died from a coal cave-in at this mine
he served in WWII, serving 11 months.

Daniel Housedoff, age 20, a driver at this mine,
was also at the Bienfait Hospital at this time. He had 6 broken ribs,
as he fell under cars he was driving underground.

in 1944, the Store and Office Buildings
were destroyed by fire.

Jan 29, 1946
M&S tipple burns down, causing $100,000 damage.
More than 100 workers at that time.

Feb 5, 1947, Roy George Smyth, an employee of M&S was killed that day, age 21, by a loaded coal car.
He was a motorman on an underground electric trolley, used to haul cars to the main shaft to be lifted up to the surface
He served in the Canadian Army in WWII overseas, and was discharged a year earlier, ca 1946
His Father, A. T. Smyth was Pool Elevator Agent at the time

Friday, Mar 14, 1958
The M&S Mine payroll in over $14,000 cash, was stolen from Mr. Thomas Wilfred Phillips, Mine Manager. (see bio above)
After this robbery, my 2 brothers witnessed a car racing north to Bienfait in a cloud of dust, faster than anything they had seen before,
past our farm, which was on the highway, 1 mile south of Bienfait. A few minutes later, the police car was heading south from Bienfait to investigate, missing the thieves by minutes.
They obviously ditched Mr. Phillips car, and switched to their own. This car was very noticeable, even in the dust, No one was ever charged with the robbery.

Newer M&S Locomotive Pictures

Note- Links below are NOT my sites

Locomotive #6947 used at M&S now at Sandon BC Railway Museum
In 1959 #6947 was sold to the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Coal Company in Bienfait,
Saskatchewan where it worked hauling coal until 1968 when it finally retired

Locomotive CPR #6166 used at M&S now at
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum in Saskatoon Saskatchewan.
It was sold by the CPR in July 1947 to the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Coal company.
It operated near Bienfait, Saskatchewan for almost 20 years until retired in1967

Sir Daniel Hunter McMillan, Sir William Whyte and Senator Robert Watson, were some of the First Major Shareholders of the M & S Coal Company Ltd.


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