Mine No. 0317 was the
first registered coal mine in the Drumheller Valley. It was
first registered by Garnet Napier Coyle in 1911, but by the end
of the year he had sold his Hardware store in Acme and went into
a partnership with Jesse Gouge who owned a machinery store. With
another $10,000.00 borrowed from his mother in Montreal plus the
$4500.00 from his store he and Jesse Gouge formed a company
called Newcastle Coal Company Limited which was simply called
the Newcastle Mine.
The first lease was
located at: Lsd N.E. 1/4, Sec 4, Tp 29, Range 20 west of the
fourth Meridian. In subsequent years additional leases were
obtained bringing their holdings to close to 520 acres.
In 1922 the authorized
capital of the Mine was $250,000.00 with D. A. Macauly as the
mine manager. The system of mining at that time was "Room and
Pillar" with electrically operated coal cutting machines. That
year the capacity was over 255,000 tonnes.
Garnet Napier (G.N.)
Coyle seemed to have the Midas Touch as whatever venture he went
into he soon doubled or tripled his money back. His other
interests were shares in the Midland Mine, the Newcastle
Collieries and the A.B.C. with the latter two still associated
with Jesse Gouge. G. N. also owned an interest in Jim Beatty's
farm and also at one time owned the Regent and Napier Theatres.
G. N. Coyle died in Quebec, May 30, 1961 and was predeceased by
his life long partner, Jesse Gouge on March 25, 1953. Both men
are remembered by their long mining participation in the Valley
as well as their social endeavors in the community.
This article is extracted from Ernest
Hlady, The Valley of the Dinosaurs : Its Families and Coal
Mines (East Coulee, Alberta, East Coulee Community
Association, 1988). The Heritage Community Foundation and the
Year of the Coal Miner Consortium would like to thank Ernest
Hlady and the East Coulee Community Association for permission
to reprint this material.