McCoy, VA Coal Mine Gas Explosion, Apr 1946

VIRGINIA BLAST KILLS 12 MINERS.

MEN DIE IN DEEPEST LEVEL OF M'COY OPERATION.

Radford, Va., April 18. -- (AP) -- Twelve miners operating at a low level in one of the state's few anthracite coal diggings died today in a blast that caught them 5,000 feet from the hillslope entrance.
The shattering force blew a train of 14 mine cars more than half a mile away in the mine 150 feet up an inclined track. Mine Superintendent Cloyd Martin who was riding the cars, was knocked from the train.
Ironically, Virginia's worst mine explosion in years came at a time when all but a fraction of the 18,000 Virginia miners were "laying off" during the UMW-operator contract negotiations.
The state's anthracite or semi-anthracite as it is known to the miners, comprises only about 200,000 tones of the 18 million ton-total of bituminous and anthracite produced annually. It is not as hard as the Pennsylvania variety.
The Great Valley Anthracite corporation's mine at nearby McCoy had only 58 miners at work when the blast -- ostensibly from gas -- occurred. The 12 victims were at the lowest level of the sloping tunnel which runs under New River.
Other workers some distance removed from the explosion point escaped with minor burns or ill effects from the fumes.
A rescue squad from Radford donned gas masks and made its way to the site shortly after the explosion.
Eleven were found dead of burns. The twelfth miner, PAUL PRICE, was brought to the surface but died without regaining consciousness at a hospital here.
Rescue workers from West Virginia assisted the Virginia squad in bringing out the others, all of whom could be recognized.
All of the dead were residents of McCoy, a small community whose main source of livelihood is from the mine.
They were:
PAUL PRICE.
HERMAN SIFFORD.
CECIL HANCOCK.
J. P. PRICE.
FRANK PRICE.
C. R. JOHNSON.
ED RITTER.
FRANK DEWEESE.
JOHN DUNCAN.
DAVE GRAHAM.
J. L. SARVER.
HOGE SIFFORD.

Charleston Gazette West Virginia 1946-04-19

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Comments

Residence of one of the miners that died in 1946

One of the coal miners that is listed that died in the April 1946 explosion, was not a resident of McCoy, Va. George Hoge Sifford was a resident of Parrott, Va. and had been his entire short life. His wife and 9 children went on to survive in Parrott, Va. without him. Now living are 1 son and 3 daughters, of George Hoge Sifford and Annie Solomon Sifford. All surviving 3 daughters reside in Parrott. George Hoge Sifford has too many great grandchildren to name but a great portion of them also still reside in Parrott, myself being one of them.

One man's heritage is fascinating today in Parrott, VA.

I suppose since I never met my great-grandfather, Hoge Sifford, it seems tedious and silly to keep asking for the list to be revised. However, George Hoge Sifford and his wife, Annie Solomon Sifford, were raising 8 children here in Parrott, VA. Parrott and McCoy are separated by The New River and during coalmine days, there was a ferry that transported workers back and forth. When Hoge was killed in this explosion, his son, Calvin Douglas Sifford became the man of the home at the age of 13. He helped raise his 8 siblings. Hoge was killed in the explosion while Annie was pregnant with the youngest sister. Calvin Douglas Sifford grew up in Parrott as well. When he married my grandmother, Hazel Slusher Sifford from Radford, they resided in Parrott. They resided with Annie at the 'homestead' in Parrott until the home was sold. Annie relocated not far, in a trailer, still in Parrott. My grandparents purchased their first home together in Parrott. They raised two daughters, and I was born in 1976. They raised me as well.
They are deceased now. My grandparents, mother, and aunt. However, my grandfather had amazing stories to tell of growing up here. He took me through these mountains until I know them like the back of my hand. He took me to the river on Parrott side and taught me to swim until I can swim the distance between Parrott and McCoy. I own my grandparents first home and the 2.5 acres. I have two daughters who will inherit this. The cemetery here is named Sifford Cemetery. There is Sifford Rd. My great grandparents are survived now by one son and 3 daughters. The pride that they felt growing up here, is the same pride that's kept me here for 37 years.
So, it may sound silly, or not even worth checking into, but to read all men resided in McCoy isn't so. George Hoge Sifford resided in Parrott, VA. when this explosion occurred. The rest of the men, I cannot speak for. Thank you for at least hearing me out. If I took the time to find proof that Hoge Sifford resided in Parrott, would it be worth your time to change this article?