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   Drumheller Valley:  Pioneers

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Early Years

World War I and
Interwar Period

World War II
and After

Cultural Life


Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

The source for the following family profiles is The Hills of Home: Drumheller Valley (Drumheller: Drumheller Valley Historical Association 1973) and the Heritage Community Foundation thanks the Association for permission to use these materials.

  • Maria CattiniL. Maria Cattini-Maria arrived in Calgary from Italy in 1905, and settled in Drumheller in 1907. After her marriage, she lived in a tent for four years with her family and had 10 children. Eight died in the 1918 Influenza epidemic (died in the hospital in the Miners Hall). The family managed to save money to buy a farm near Delia, but successive crop failures forced them to sell the farm and return to Drumheller. She died at the age of 90 in the Sunshine Lodge. 
  • Castelli Family-John Castelli came to Canada early in the 20th century and worked in Corbin, BC. He returned to Italy to marry. He and his wife arrived on December 3, 1922 in Drumheller, joining his brother Ercole Miglierine and wife. Unable to find mining work, he returned to Corbin. In 1926, they returned to Drumheller, where he worked for Elgin Coal Company and the Hy-Grade Coal Company. The couple had two children, Louis and Maria, who completed their schooling in Drumheller and went on to the University of Alberta where he qualified in Electrical Engineering and she in Home Economics.A calendar produced in 1920 advertising the Roma Grocery Louis worked for Mobil Oil Corporation in the US and Maria for the Calgary General Hospital. 
  • De Bernado Brothers-The brothers purchased the Roma Grocery from the Stocco Family
  • Enrico Miglierina-Enrico came to Drumheller from Itlay in 1923, and lived with his brother and sister-in-law, Ercole and Teresa Miglierina, who owned the Peoples Bakery next to the Napier Theatres. Enrico married Dinora Maffioli from Fernie, and had three children ( Dorina, Luigi and Mario). Eventually Enrico worked in the bakery, and Dinora in the candy counter at the Napier Threatre. 
  • Bake store's van, Drumheller, Alberta.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.Ercole ("Curly") Miglierina-He was born in Varese on April 11, 1895, and came to Canada in 1911. He first went to Frank, and worked on the railroad, then, to Hillcrest, to work in the mine. From there Curly moved to Bankhead, and Drumheller where he worked in the Newcastle Mine. In 1917, he built the People's Bakery (Third Avenue East) and operated the store as a bakery and confectionery until 1949. He married Teresa Rosetti from Sundreo who had come to visit her sister Mrs. John Santi. Teresa continued to operate the Bakery after her husband's death. Their store was a popular gathering place for young people and was known as "The Peeps." The couple were important figures in the community; had one daughter, Gina, who married Johnnie Luvisotto and resides in Calgary. 
  • Mrs. Montemurro was a member of the staff at Toshach's store in Drumheller.  Photo courtesy of Glenbow Archives.Montemurro Family-Frank Montemurro came to Wayne from Vancouver in 1918, to join his brothers Angelo and Jack who were already there. He remembers having to wear masks on the train because of the Influenza epidemic. He stayed there only six months before returning to Vancouver and then going to Nordegg. Eventually he returned to Wayne and worked there from 1922-29, and he married Lillian ("Monty") Nimik, who had come to work in a Wayne boardinghouse. She trained as a hairdresser by correspondence from a school in Chicago and worked in the Department Store Beauty Salon and, later, in Tony's Style Shop. Frank worked in the Ideal Mine. The family moved to Drumheller in 1929. Frank worked at the Nacmine, and for 23 years until his retirement (1960) at the Hy-Grade mine. He joined the Drumheller Lodge in 1928, and remembers the spaghetti dinners and dances where they made their own music. Piano was played by Albina [Chiuppi] Todo, and the saxophone was played by Jimmie Chiuppi. The couple had one son, Kenneth, born in 1935 and one daughter, Hope, in 1941. 
  • Pedrini FamilyPedrini Family-Andrio Pedrini came to Canada in 1914. He settled in Lethbridge where he married and had two children, Guido and Gina. Then, in 1917, moved to Rosedale, where Bruno was born. The family then moved to Drumheller in 1918, and worked in the Newcastle Mine. The children worked in retail (Pullen's Men's Wear, Brown Bros and Fulton's Ladies' Wear and Tony's Ladies Wear) as well as other occupations. Bruno joined the army in July, 1942, and went overseas as did his girlfriend Irene Wanstrum, who was a CWAC. They married after the war; the various family members continued to live in Drumheller. 
  • S. StoccoStocco Family-Mr. and Mrs. S. Stocco came from Italy in 1913 on their honeymoon and settled in Calgary. They moved to Drumheller where they set up the Roma Grocery, which was combined with a boarding house (later sold to De Bernardo). In 1921, they moved to the Sunshine Camp, two miles north of Wayne. Mrs. Stocco served as a mid-wife in the area as well as administering a range of home remedies. When the Sunshine Mine closed in 1931, the family scattered going to Midlandvale operating the Scanton Mine, then continuing with the Brilliant Coal Company, managed by J.A. Sandino. This mine too closed in 1957. 

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Copyright © 2002 Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D. and The Heritage Community Foundation

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