Rich history comes alive in Tompkinsville - THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Apr 22, 2015

Lindsay Kyte’s eight-year journey to celebrate the saviour of her Cape Breton community culminates this week in the Nova Scotia tour of Tompkinsville.

The play is the story of Father Jimmy Tompkins, a rebel priest who came to Reserve Mines in the 1930s to help miners and their families out of company-controlled lives of grinding poverty.

Kyte, who grew up in Reserve Mines, only discovered the story in 2007, when she was doing a play at Festival Antigonish on the St. F.X. University campus. To quell opening night nerves, she went to the library.

She had noticed several of the buildings on the campus were named for Tompkins, as were buildings in her community.

“I opened a book called Father Jimmy, and staring back from the page were my own great uncle and aunt, Joe and Mary Laben. As I was staring at them, I thought, ‘What went on in Reserve Mines, where I’m from, that nobody told me about?’

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