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Andrew Steveson
"the Herring Choker"

Our Treasured Heritage
A History of Coalhurst and District
Page 524
by Charlie Watmough

Andrew was born in Antigonish, Nova Scotia on January 1, 1902 and grew up there. He worked in the coal mines there until they slacked off in about 1921 or 22 and then came to Coalhurst. He was a very jovial character and soon gained many friends among his co-workers on the underground haulage crew. The fellows joked with him about being a "herring choker" and more people knew him as "Choker" than by his real name.

Choker spent a lot of time with a young Italian fellow worker named Les Esko, they may even have lived together. Even in those days the Easterners were fond of their 'jigs' and 'reels' and quite often Choker sat on a barrel in front of a store in Coalhurst and blasted out music from his accordion while his friends danced on the dirt street.

He also spent many happy times with a local school teacher, May Hall, supposedly from Cardston. They were engaged to be married when fate intercepted. Choker and his friend, Les Esko, had rented a horse and buggy and gone down to the river for a drive. The buggy got stuck in the deep mud and in the process of getting it out Choker got his hands muddy, so he went to wash them in the river. The bank caved off and Les ran to help but Choker never came back to the surface and his body was never found. This happened in 1922 or 23. Since it is well known that the river was in full flood in 1923 we may assume that it was that year. We are indebted to Choker's sister, Mrs. B. Foley, for supplying information for Choker's story.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup