Skip to main content

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
                                                      -Mother Jones

Tuesday January 26, 1904
From The Daily Review: Nearly 200 Men Entombed in Pennsylvania Mine

Our hearts go out to the families of these miners as hope fades for their rescue:



Explosion in a Pennsylvania Colliery May Mean Death to Every Miner in the Shaft.

Pittsburg, Pa., Jan. 25. -An explosion occurred in the shaft of the Harwick Coal company near Cheswick, Pa., today, cutting off the escape of about 200 miners at work at the time.

Three tipple men were badly burned; one fatally.

It is reported a hundred and fifty to a hundred and eighty miners, including the fire boss and pit boss, are entombed.

Excitement is intense in Cheswick and Springdale where the families of the miners live. Great crowds surround the mouth of the pit and the wails of women and children are pitiful.

Three injured men died on the way to Allegheny.

When the explosion occurred the concussion was so great a mule was blown out of the shafts. The cause of the explosion is yet unknown.

Up to 1:30 this afternoon no one had entered the mine and nothing is known of the entombed men. Officials of the company are awaiting arrival of a mine inspector who is on his way to the mine.          

The Daily Review
(Decatur, Illinois)
-of Jan 25, 1904

Monday January 26, 1914
Indianapolis, Indiana - Charles Moyer Addresses Convention of United Mine Workers

Charles Moyer, President WFM
Charles Moyer, President
Western Federation of Miners
Charles Moyer, President of the Western Federation of Miners gave a long speech at the Convention of the United Mine Workers now in progress in Indianapolis. We offer this portion of the speech, published in The Indianapolis News, which describes the ongoing violations of Constitutional Rights in both the Colorado and Michigan strikes:
What is being done in the state of Colorado in the miners' strike, is being done in the state of Michigan. I don't think it is any worse. In the state of Colorado men and women have been mistreated by the military, by the armed thugs of the mine owners' association; they have been arrested without warrant; they have been sent to jail; they have been deprived of all of those rights that are supposed to belong to an American citizen, or one living under this government, the same as they have in Colorado.

Mother Jones has been deprived of her liberty by the military, and is now confined in the custody of the military of that state, without any warrant, absolutely deprived of her constitutional rights.

In the state of Michigan representatives of organized labor have been assaulted, ordered from the state, deprived of every right that we are supposed to enjoy under this great Constitution of ours, and yet, after months of effort we are at this time uncertain as to whether our national government, our representatives down at Washington, are going to make an investigation: are going to inquire into the facts as whether or not these things that we claim and that we believe we furnished them a preponderance of evidence of, are in violation of our American citizenship. They say, I believe, as an excuse for their hesitancy in acting, that they do not want to interfere with state rights, and in answer to that we say that the Constitution of the United States gives the right to every American citizen to meet in peaceable assembly, to freely express himself in speech.

The Indianapolis News
(Indianapolis, Indiana)
-of Jan 26, 1914

Photo: Charles Moyer


Sunday January 26, 2014
More on the Harwick Mine Explosion:

Harwick Mine Disaster Pennsylvania Jan 25, 1904
From the Wellsville Daily Reporter
of Wellsville, New York
From State Inspector's Report:
Cheswick, Pennsylvania
January 25, 1904
No. Killed - 179

I had not thought it possible that a catastrophe so awful in proportions could occur in a mine like the Harwick, which was new and reported to be relatively safe.

The explosion was of terrific force, the tipple, built of iron, was wrecked, and a mule was blown out and over the tipple from the bottom of the shaft.

The coal is mined by compressed-air machines of the Puncher type, blasted down by dynamite. The shots were prepared and charged by the men who loaded the coal, and the shots were fired by shotfirers.

Each shot firer carried a Davy lamp; to fire, he inserted a wire through the gauze of the lamp until it was the proper temperature and would then apply it to the fuse. The shots near the roof required an extremely heavy charge.

Nearly all advanced workings were very dry and dusty. Locked safety lamps were used exclusively in all working places, except at the bottom of the shaft.

The cause of this explosion at about 8:15 a.m. was a blown-out shot in a part of the mine not ventilated as required by law.

Sprinkling and laying of the dust had been neglected; firedamp existed in a large portion of the advanced workings.

The explosion could be transmitted by the coal dust suspended in the atmosphere by the concussion from the initial explosion, the flame exploding the accumulations of firedamp and dust along the path of the explosion, carry death and destruction into every region of the workings.

The fireboss did examine part of the mine. His last report was made January 23.

Insufficiency of ventilation was partly due to accumulation of ice at the airshaft.

    Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I

United States Mine Rescue Association

See also:
Coal Mine Disasters 1897-1905

Photo: "Buried Alive"

The Mannington Mine Disaster-Hazel Dickens

How can God forgive you?
You know what you've done:
You've killed my husband,
Now you want my son.

              -Hazel Dickens

Originally posted to Hellraisers Journal on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:58 AM PST.

Also republished by Shamrock American Kossacks, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and History for Kossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site