mining was in the Livingstone's blood. Members of the family were coal
miners in Fife, Lanark and West Lothian, Scotland, for at least four
generations before emigrating to Petersburg, Ohio, where they operated a
coal mine. The first generation of
Lethbridge Livingstones was born there and, in
order of age, were John, James and Robert. They grew up with
coal mining and constituted the fifth generation so employed.
The brothers were prompted to come to Lethbridge because of
their association in coal mining in Tennessee with their cousin,
William Duncan Livingstone Hardie, called WDL, who preceded them
to Lethbridge. He was manager of the Alberta Railway and Coal
Company mines in the Lethbridge Field.
John, the eldest, was known to his fellow workers as Big
Jack. He came to Lethbridge in 1896 as an official with the
Alberta Railway & Coal Company. With his family, He spent one
year in Beaver Mines where he and the late Bill Ripley opened
the Christie Mine for the Great Northern Railway. The John
Livingstone family lived for the entire year in a tent, John's
wife, Elsie, being the cook for the mining crew. He then
returned to Lethbridge and was pit boss at the
Galt mines until
his death in 1931. He was a member of Wesley Methodist Church,
North Star Lodge No. 4 A. F. & A. M. [Ancient Free and Accepted
Masons], and the Shrine Club [officially The Ancient Arabic
Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, or Shriners].
James, or Jim, as he was known, spent 40 years in the coal
mines at Lethbridge. He came in 1897 and was associated with the
Galt mines as hoisting engineer, master mechanic and later as
surface foreman at Galt Mines Nos. 6 and 8. Jim was a member of Southminster United Church [formerly Wesley Methodist Church)
and the North Star Lodge No. 4 A. F. & A. M.
Robert, the youngest, was a mining engineer. He worked in
Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky before coming to Lethbridge in 1895
where he became underground foreman of Galt Mine No. 3 and later
at Galt Mine No. 6, when he left to work with the Alberta
government. He served in turn as district mines inspector at
Lethbridge and Calgary, and later as chief inspector of mines at
Edmonton. He left that post in 1910 to return to Lethbridge as
manager of the Galt mines. When the field merger took place at
Lethbridge in spring 1935, resulting in the formation of
Lethbridge Collieries Ltd., Livingstone was appointed general
manager, a post he held until his retirement in 1938.
Recently a letter was received outlining Robert Livingstones
service with the Alberta government, as follows:
"Appointed District Inspector of Mines, Lethbridge, on 1 June
1908 at $1,500 per year. O-in-C 304-08."
"Promoted from District Inspector of Mines, Calgary, to
Provincial Inspector of Mines, Edmonton, at $2,200 per year.
"Resigned as Provincial Inspector of Mines before March 1910
as O-in-C 123-10 appointed a replacement on 1 March 1910."
Robert Livingstone was a life member of the Masonic Lodge,
North Star No. 4 A. F. & M., a member of the Association of
Professional Engineers of Alberta, and a life member of the
Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, where he served as
vice-president. He served eight years on the Senate of the
University of Alberta.
Active in the community, he served on the Lethbridge school
board and as southern Albertas representative on the Relief
Commission during the Depression. He was one of the prime movers
behind, and a director of, the companies that built the Marquis
Hotel and the Lethbridge Arena. He was a member of the Rotary
Club, the Country Club, and Wesley Methodist (later Southminster
United) Church. Robert Livingstone passed away on 10 April 1943
and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery.
Robert Donald Livingstone, son of Robert Livingstone, was the
sixth generation of Livingstone coal miners. A graduate mining
engineer, he became a full-time employee of Lethbridge
Collieries Ltd. in May 1939. He worked underground in Galt Mine
No. 8 for two years before enlisting in the Royal Canadian
Engineers in the Second World War. Returning to Galt Mine No. 8
in 1945, he subsequently became chief engineer in 1946,
assistant general manager in 1953 and general manager on 1
October 1957. After Galt Mine No. 10 closed in 1963, he led the
coal exploration team that established the Fording Coal Mine in
south-eastern British Columbia before retiring as general
manager in June 1973.
David Archibald Livingstone, second son of Robert
Livingstone, graduated as a chemical engineer. However, he spent
two summers while a student in Galt Mine No. 8 as a member of an
underground survey crew.
Members of the Livingstone family served Lethbridges coal
industry for a total of 131 years: John, 35 years; James, 40
years; Robert, 25 years; R. Donald, 29 years; and David
Archibald, 2 years.
This article is extracted from Alex
Johnston, Keith G. Gladwyn and L. Gregory Ellis. Lethbridge:
Its Coal Industry (Lethbridge, Lethbridge: City of Lethbridge,
1989), Occasional Paper No. 20, The Lethbridge Historical
Society. The Heritage Community Foundation and the Year
of the Coal Miner Consortium (of which the City of Lethbridge is
the lead partner) would like to thank the authors for permission
to reprint this material.