Thursday Evening, November 18, 1909
GO INTO THE MINE: Encouraged By Lower Temperature At Surface
Cherry, Ill., Nov. 18 - Encouraged by the lower temperature at the surface of the mine this morning, the decision was reached to open the mine today and make an effort to recover the bodies of the entombed victims. The explorers, under the leadership of State Mine Inspector Taylor expected to enter the mine before noon.
SOLDIERS SURROUND THE MINE
At noon all was in readiness for descent into the air shaft and soldiers surrounded the workmen with the crowds beyond the lines. No demonstration occurred when the troops assembled. New cage being constructed to make possible descent.
|LEAVE LETTERS FOR FAMILIES
At 1 pm J W Paul of the United States Geological Survey at Pittsburg, entered the air shaft and was lowered to the bottom.
Paul quickly completed his mission and came to the surface, where he was joined by George H. Rice and R. Y. Williams for a second descent. All left letters to be mailed to their families in case of their death. They will make a desperate effort to ascertain the condition in the fatal second gallery.
ODOR OF BURNT FLESH
One body was discovered and the odor of burnt flesh was noticeable when the seal was off the shaft. The body was brought to the junction of the gallery and ventilating shaft. The most important discovery was that an attempt to enter the main shaft, while hazardous, is still feasible.
|FIRE MOVING BACK
Cherry, Ill., Nov. 18 - Thomas Morris and R Y Williams, both of the government geological survey, descended the ventilating shaft of the St. Paul mine last night and discovered the fire is moving back from the main shaft.
Williams descended to the second gallery where the fire started. The shaft was comparatively cool. There was considerable smoke but much less smoke than Sunday.
The buckets in which they descended were large enough only to stand on and the effort of carrying oxygen apparatus on their backs at the same time wore the men out. A safety lamp was lowered and extinguished at 100 feet. It was argued against risking more lives, but the importunities of the surviving miners that a desperate chance to taken toward reaching the imprisoned bodies prevailed and Morris and Williams descended. Signals were made by the automobile horn. After the trip Morris declared: "We must have a bucket big enough to sit on the rim before we can do anything effectively."
BUILDING A NEW CAGE
Williams said: "There is very little smoke much less than Sunday. For ninety feet down the timbers were scorched lower this was less noticable. Steam is too dense to see into the galleries. Down 310 feet I seemed to have loss the sense of feeling, but when I rose the air revived me." Carpenters at midnight began to construct a cage with which it is proposed to descned the air shaft again.
SOLDIERS SHOCK TO SURVIVORS
Cherry, Nov. 18 - It was a terrible shock to the widows and orphans when they visited the mine yesterday and found the armed sentinel forming a living wall around the only opening into the coal mine which holds their kin. The grief and sorrow began slowly to give way to protests and indignation and many threats were heard against those who called for the soldiers, where previously were heard only moans of grief.
|WANT TROOPS REMOVED
News of the arrival of the soldiers spread like a prairie fire among the officials of the various mining and labor organizations and brought forth with the announcement that they would appeal to Governor Deenan to recall the troops on the ground that they were sent to the mine on a misreprehension of existing conditions.
The arrival of nuns from Chicago who speak the various languages of the inhabitants of Cherry and the work of Bishop Dunne in taking personal charge of arrangements for the future of the orphaned children, were welcomed as potent influences to sooth e and relieve the survivors. The reception accorded to them was in strange contrast, to that given the soldiers.
M'DONALD SAYS DEATH TRAP
Cherry, Nov. 18 - "The safest mine in Illinois," as the St. Paul Coal Company declared the Cherry mine to be, has turned out a veritable death trap for 400 men. Gross negligence in constructing the mine in defiance of all provisions approved by competent mining engineers was the fundamental cause of the greatest mine disaster in the history of the United States."
This is the conclusion of Duncan McDonald based upon an investigation conducted by him as president of the United Mine Workers of Illinois. He has been at Cherry since early Sunday morning.
The several points where the company failed to provide safeguards for the miners as found by McDonald follow:
Bishop Dunne's Statement
Peoria, Nov. 18 - Bishop Dunne of the Peoria diocese has issued an official proclamation which will be read in all the Catholic churches of the diocese in which the mine disaster at Cherry occurred. The prelate announces that the people and the clergy of the entire diocese will participate in the task of securing homes and places in proper institutions for the orphaned children, widows an aged kin of the entombed men.
The officials of the diocese and the priests in the towns near Cherry are enrolled by Bishop Dunne to direct this enormous task with him at once.