Jeanesville, PA Flood Of Water In Coal Mine, Feb 1891
EIGHTEEN MINERS DROWNED.
ANOTHER HORROR ADDED TO THE LONG LIST OF COAL MINE CASUALTIES.
THE VICTIMS WERE ALL AT WORK WHEN A FLOOD OF WATER POURED IN UPON THEM FROM AN OPENING MADE INTO AN OLD SHAFT.
White Haven, Pa., Feb. 4. -- At 11 o'clock this morning while CHARLES BOYLE and PATRICK COLE, of Leviston, were engaged in drilling a hole in their chamber in No. slope of J. C. Hayden & Co.'s mine, at Jeanesville, they broke into the old No. 8 slope, which had been idle for five years and which had been flooded to the mouth with water. WM. BRISLIN, a driver, was close by and he cried out: "Boys, for God's sake, run for your lives or you will be drowned."
In a moment thereafter the water came and BRISLIN barely escaped with his life. Besides him six others escaped.
The water rose rapidly before any attempt could be made to rescue any of the other workmen. The slope, which is 624 feet deep, was flooded to the mouth and they were caught and drowned.
The lost are:
LAWRENCE REED, married, had eight children.
EDWARD GILLISHER, married, two children.
JAMES GRIFFITHS, married, one child.
JOSEPH WARD, married, eight children.
HARRY BALL, married, seven children.
JOSEPH MATSKOWITCH, married, four children.
BARNEY McCLOSKEY, single.
PATRICK KELLY, single.
JAKE WIASTO, single.
MICHAEL SMITH, single.
JOHN BERNE, single.
THOMAS GLIK, married, one child.
TOM TOMASKASKAY, married, three children.
JOSEPH ASTRO, single.
BASCO FRINKE, single.
THOMAS GREKO, single.
JOHN BOYLE, single.
SAMUEL PORTER, single.
The news of the disaster caused great excitement and the mouth of the slope was soon thronged with the anxious families and relatives, workmen and others.
The scenes when it was positively known who were lost were heartrending. Wives implored piteously of miners standing by, who knew only too well the fatal result, to save their husbands, from the terrors of a watery grave, little children crying for their papas and relatives praying for the safety of their loved ones. The sorrowing wives, sweethearts and friends were finally convinced that there was no hope of rescuing any of the men and were lead away from the scene of this new mine horror by sympathetic hands to their homes.
A large force of men was immediately put at work pumping out the water. How long it will take is a question, since no definite idea of the volume of water can be ascertained. Some of the miners say it will take four weeks before the bodies can be reached, but others incline to the opinion that it will take much longer.
BRESLIN, one of the men who escaped, said: "I was waiting at the bottom of the slope for a trip to come out. Suddenly I heard a loud noise and I thought it was the trip coming out. Then a frightful blast of wind came and knocked me down the gangway. The wind blew my lamp out. I tried to run forward, but stumbled and fell."
"Then JOHN BOYLE and JOHN NEEWS came running out. NEEWS' lamp was burning and by the aid of this we got to the slope. The water came pouring after us as we ran. When we got to the slope the light went out. We clambered up as fast as we could and the water came running after us, rising very quickly. In five minutes the water raised 200 yards to the mouth of the slope, the pitch of which is 83 degrees."
Many reasons are advanced as to the cause of the great disaster. Some charge it to the neglect to notify the workmen of the dangerous proximity of water, as only a few of the old miners knew of the presence of a great body of water in the old slope. Even those that knew of it hadno idea that the workings were driven as near to the water as they were.
The civil engineer in charge of the Jeanesville mines was a man from Pottsville named Lafevre Womledorf.
Bradford Era Pennsylvania 1891-02-05
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler. Thank you, Stu!