HANGINGS AND AN EXPLOSION
In 1913 it is reported by the Ontario Bureau of Mines that the Ontario Rock Company of Belmont Township was operating its Preneveau quarry (the old 3M pit five miles east of Havelock) sending its product (crushed diabase) to Toronto for road building. The rock was crushed on site and loaded on to a spur line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. By 1916, it officers, Alex Longwell, president, George Rayner, manager, and S. Bradley, superintendent, proud of their modern machinery, described the pit to be 65 ft. deep and 200 feet across. employing thirty men.
But two very tragic stories emerged from that pit that send chills up your spine.
On June 22nd, 1919, five Russian men from Toronto raided the bunkhouse intending to rob the occupants. A gun was fired and employee, Philip Yannoff, Macedonian, was killed. In a report dated June 26, 1919, it was said that the plot was arranged in Toronto to take the midnight train to Havelock and raid all the workers in the bunk house. Yannoff was shot in the neck and lived 45 minutes, during which time, when he asked for water, was savagely beaten over the head. Securing all the money, the robbers retreated back to the train.
"Superintendant Bradley and Constable Williams tracked them to Norwood. Then they telephoned to the agent at Indian River, who succeeded in tricking the five men into the waiting room, where he locked them up under pretext of making them report for trespassing on the railway. A search of the men found them unarmed, but a search of the station room disclosed three revolvers, cartridges and nearly all the stolen money. The prisoners were taken to Peterobough jail. All are said to be Russions."
In October of the same year, all five were given the death sentence by the very famous Chief Justice Mulock, although it seems only two were hanged. (Interestingly enough, Russia had recently turned to communism, and Chief Justice Mulock, being also a politician, was a fervent anticommunist.)
On Jan. 14, 1920, Bahri and Konek were hanged simultaneously by official hangman, Arthur Ellis, in the Peterborough courtyard. The two men were then buried in unmarked graves a few paces from the scaffold.
Twenty years later, we find the story of Donald Ellis, a 24 year old laborer from Cordova, who died at the pit when his dynamite stick, which he was adjusting, exploded, sending him into the air & leaving him buried under two tons of rock. By coincidence, his widow's first husband, also died in a mining accident a few years earlier.