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TWO TRAGIC STORIES FROM THE ONTARIO ROCK COMPANY

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 the rob the occupants.  A gun was fired and employee,  Philip Yannoff, was killed.  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.

Click here to read the full  and corrected story story as set out by the Peterborough Examiner on Nov, 9, 2012  (word doc)

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.