May 7, 1903


Confidence is Being slowly Restored Again.


Still the Town is Being Kept Clear at Present as a Precaution


For the present the fright at Frank is over, although the government is still holding the town dangerous and not allowing anyone to live there. Last Saturday an examination of the mountain top was made by Manager McCarthy of the mine, Inspector Smith and Frank Byron. They united in a report saying that the cliff was in a dangerous condition and that it would be safer for the inhabitants to move out. Premier Haultain, who had arrived on the scene from Regina, instantly instructed the mounted police to notify the residents that the town must be cleared by night. Although Mr. Haultain had supplied a train to take the people out the night before, yet comparatively few took advantage of it, as there was a feeling that the town was perfectly safe. But when the committee’s report had become generally known, the exodus was on. And what a sight it was to see men, women and children burying along the railroad track from Frank to Blairmore, carrying with them what little household effects or clothing they could manage. Little girls with tears streaming down their cheeks, clasped closely to their breasts a doll or some other treasure dear to their hearts; mothers carried babies; men carried valises, trunks or blankets, while many in their haste and fright, had what ever they happen to see first, anything from a bread pan to a sofa pillow. Teams were scarce and the man who owned one could command his own price for hauling goods, the mile and a half to Blairmore. Business men who could get a team were packing up their most valuable goods and loading them hastily into a wagon. Others were locking their doors and with a farewell look at their goods, walking sadly in the direction of Blairmore. Ed. Orchard had just returned from Cranbrook the night of the slide. He has a large restaurant with sleeping rooms and was doing a big business. When The Herald man saw him, he and his wife were packing up furniture, dishes, meat and potatoes, and rushing the boxes on the sidewalk ready for removal. Charley Reid, the druggist, could not secure a team, but was getting in shape for removal as rapidly as possible. R. Stevens of the Imperial hotel held on to the last minute and then began to rush furniture over to Blairmore. John Murphy took a pair of blankets and a change of underclothing from his store and walked to Blairmore to wait for developments. He said he could not move his goods, and did not propose to stay and take any chances. W. C. Hamilton locked his door and came to Cranbrook to join his mother and sister. Peter Smyth said that Matheson, the editor of the Sentinel had hiked, so he left for Moyie as he couldn’t set type and listen to the roaring at the same time. Alex Guyot, the painter, once poor in Cranbrook, but now owner of valuable property in Frank, had another business block nearly completed. He said he would wait a few weeks before he did any more work on it. Ed Home was busy packing the A. Leitch stock, and getting it out of town. In fact, it was an all around scramble to save all that was possible without endangering one’s life. On account of the exodus, Blairmore was suddenly transformed from a quiet village of few inhabitants to a populous place full of life and activity. Mr. Haultain had a second relief train Saturday night, and when it left there was not a soul in town. Both entrances to the pass were guarded by mounted police.

On Monday a large committee visited the mountain top and made thorough examination of the crevices. They reported that they did not consider the town in immediate danger, and thus give rise to a great feeling of relief, and if there is no more falling of rick within the next few days, confidence will be restored in a great measure. This feeling is also strengthened by the statement that the management of the mine will go right ahead to replace its equipment on a better basis than before, and that as the mine is not damaged work will be resumed as soon as the machinery is in place again.

The cost of rebuilding the railway is not an easy one, but with a large force of men the work can be accomplished in a month or six weeks. General Superintendent Jamieson and Superintendent Taylor have been constantly on the ground and are exerting every energy to straighten out the trouble. For the first few days these two gentlemen were kept on the go night and day, and yet at all times they were courteous and kind, anxious to do all in their power to relieve the suspense of the public and assist the unfortunates. It is estimated that the next road can be built over the slide by following a draw through it at a two per cent grade and that the highest point will be only 25 feet above the old grade.

Since seeing the effects of the slide The Herald man finds it impossible to explain the situation. It is so large, the action so peculiar, showing in a most emphatic manner the wonderful power and force developed when the laws of nature are given full sway. It is estimated that the field of broken rock covers an area of two square miles at an average depth of forty feet, giving 82,000,000 cubic yards of broken rock, or about 200,000,000 tons. It is useless to attempt to describe some of the leading features. The one who tells it to those who have not seen it will simply be a fool or a liar.

The list of killed and wounded so far as known are:

Alex Leitch, wife and four boys, John, Wilfred, Allen and Athol
Chas. Ackrold, wife and one child
J. McVeigh
JJ Scott
Joe Britton
J. Graham, wife and two grown up sons
A. Graham and wife
J. VanDusen, wife and two children
G. Williams, wife and three children.
A. Dawes
R. J. Watt
F. Rochett
T. Delap
A. Clark, wife and six children
A. Tashigan
- Madigan
Mrs. W. Warringotn and seven children
J. Siotta
A. Grissick Jr.
B. Cumus
F. Vocken
Two halfbreeds named Johnson
F. Farrington
T. Foster
A. Dixon
JW Clark
T.R. Lucke
E. Krusa
J. Gustavus
G. Lemostke
D. Yonack
Six unknown men.

I. Warrington, fractured thigh
L. Ackeroyd, shock
S. Innis, wife and four children (unknown injuries)
W. Warrington, leg hurt
D. McKenzie, chest hurt


Six Members of the Leitch Family Buried Last Sunday

Never, perhaps, in the history of this province, has their been held a funeral service fraught with so much sadness as that of the six members of the Leitch family killed in the rock slide at Frank last week. The funeral was held at the Presbyterian church last Sunday at 2 P.M. and the large audience room was crowded to the doors ,while on the outside there were many unable to enter. Rev. Lee, the Presbyterian missionary, officiated in place of Rev. Fortune, who was at the bed side of his sick wife in Lethbridge, and was assisted by Rev. Thompson, of the Methodist church, Rev. Auvache, of the Baptist church, and Rev. Beaucham, of the English church. A special choir furnished music for the occasion. There were three sets of pall bearers, Messrs. C.D. McNab, A Moffatt, Piggott, Barclay, Parsons and Colpman, for Mr. and Mrs. Leitch; Messrs. Ed. Patterson, S. Clancey, G. Mason and W.N. Clarke for John and Allan, the two older boys; Masters W. Greer, Ross Springer, C. McEachern and Charles Bremner for the two younger boys Athol and Wilfrid. There were four hearses, and when the bodies were placed in position, and the members of the Archie Leitch family, there were men shed tears who had not known a moistened eye for years. It was a sad scene, and from the hearts of all present welled up a wave of sympathy for the unfortunate. The services were brief but impressive, and afterward the six bodies were laid to rest in the Leitch lot in the Cranbrook cemetery.

Relatives in Montreal.

Montreal, April 30 - The Frank disaster has bereaved one Montreal home. Mrs. James Mundie, wife of James Mundie, manager for the J.W. Peck & Co., this city, lost her brother, her sister-in-law and her four nephews in the great landslide. A Leitch who with his wife and four sons perished under the fall of rock, was a brother of Mrs. Mundie.

Coal ButtonMining Towns