When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Immigration Photo Gallery

Germano, Luigi (Louis), Nanni and Arturo (Arthur) Pavan—the Pavan brothers provide a typical immigration story. Four Peressini brothers—Augusto, Diodoro (Doro), Romano and Giacomo—left Valvasone, province of Udine, in 1905 with their Father Andrea to work in Lille. Vito (Pete) Cirrullo was born in 1861 in Grotto, Minorde, Italy and came to Canada in 1880.   He worked in the mines in the Crowsnest and Hillcrest areas as well as Trail, BC.  In 1921, he moved to Wayne, Alberta to work in the mines and, in 1929, the family moved to Lehigh.  Because there was no accommodation for families, they lived in the Maple Leaf mine bunkhouses on the company’s property.  Pete built a home for the family and Rosa became the first woman in the Lehigh mining camp, as well as the first family.  On his death in 1950, Pete had lived in Canada for more than 70 years making him one of the earliest, if not the earliest, Italian pioneers in the coal mines.

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