Iowa Mine Deaths

Freeman Wade

In the Des Moines Coal and Mining company's mine, located at Marquisville, in Polk county, on July 18, 1901, about three o'clock p.m., Freeman Wade, a miner twenty-seven years of age was killed in his room, No. 16, off the fourth east entry off the fifteenth south entry, by fall of roof. Mr. Wade went into his room to sound the roof and it fell, as he struck it with his pick, and crushed him. He was taken to the Methodist hospital in Des Moines and died there about 11:35 p.m., July 18th. Mr. Wade was aware that the roof was loose and had been warned by several not to go in his room. He was a single man.

John Mehaliwick

On August 30, 1901, about 11:30 a.m., John Mehaliwick, a miner about fifty years of age, was killed in room No. 11, sixth east south entry, in the Saylor Coal company's mine, located at Saylor, in Polk county. Deceased and partner had two shots which they lit and went out to wait until they went off. One shot exploded, and after waiting they returned to the room to see why the second shot did not go off. When he reached the shot it exploded and killed him instantly. Deceased's family except one boy reside in Austria.

William Jacquith

While working, as a coal miner, in the first room off the east entry of the twelfth south in the Christy Coal company's mine, located southeast of Des Moines, in Polk county, William Jacquith received injuries on September 6, 1901, about 11:30 a.m. from which he died.

While Mr. Jacquith and others were passing along the entry, a shot drilled and fired by James Giles, who worked in a room parallel to the entry, blew through the pillar, flying coal struck Mr. Jacquith and he died from the injuries.

John Enburg

In the Crooked Creek Coal and Railroad company's mine No. 5, located at Lehigh, in Webster county, John Enburg, a driver, was killed by falling from the first landing to the bottom of the shaft, a distance of about 100 feet, on November 7, 1901.

Mr. Enburg opened the gate and evidently forgetting that it was opened, pushed a car into the shaft and apparently followed the same as both car and man were found at the bottom of the shaft. Deceased leaves a wife and five or six children.

James Cox

James Cox, a miner about sixty years of age, who was employed at the Midway Coal company's mine, located southwest of Des Moines, Polk county, was killed in his room in the fifth east entry of said mine, on November 25, 1901, at about 4:30 p.m.

Mr. Cox and his son had fired two shots and had returned to relight the third, it having failed to go off. The son thinks his father used two squibs the second time. The blast exploded before he could get away, injuring him to such an extent that he died. Deceased was married and leaves a wife and six or seven children.

Angelo Pirozolla

Angelo Pirozolla, a miner about twenty-five years of age, employed by the Bloomfield Coal and Mining company north of Des Moines, in Polk county, was injured in his room No. 3, ninth east entry, about 4:30 p.m., on December 17, 1901, and died while being taken to Mercy hospital about 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Pirozolla, not returning from the mine to his boarding house in the evening, two of the men returned to the mine to search for him. He was found alive in his room. His arm was broken, also leg and hip. He said he had lit his shot and a concussion from another shot in an adjoining room put out his light. In the darkness he failed to get out of his room before his shot went off.

James Burgess

At 12:30 p.m. on January 10, l902, at the face of the coal in the sixth place on fuel entry, in the Webster County Coal and Land company's mine, located at Lehigh, in Webster county. James Burgess, a miner, forty-two years of age, came to his death. Mr. Burgess and his partner, Mr. King, prepared their shot for noon tiring. Mr. King lit the squib and they both departed for dinner, separating at the switch. Not hearing the explosion Mr. Burgess went back and put in another squib and that failed. He returned again and put in another squib. After waiting, he went back to put in the fourth squib. When about twenty live feet away No. 3 went off and Mr. Burgess was injured to such an extent that he died at 4:50 p.m. that day.

Mr. Burgess was a single man and leaves a mother.

Joseph Tumas

Joseph Tumas was killed in his room in mine No. 6 of the Colfax Consolidated Coal company, located three and one half miles south of Colfax, on February 25, 1902, about 11:30 a.m.

The coal near the face was rising quite rapidly. Mr. Tumas was in the act of getting a car of coal away from near the face of his room so as to fire his shot at firing time. The surroundings where Mr. Tumas was found seemed to indicate that he had fallen under the car, throwing the same oil the track, pinning him between a prop and the front end of the car, crushing him internally, from which injuries he died within a short time after being removed.

Mr. Tumas was a single man.

Lewis Watkins

At mine No. 2 of the Bloomfield Coal company, located north of Des Moines, in Polk county, Lewis Watkins, a miner fifty years of age, was injured at 11:30 a.m. on May 1, 1902. Mr. Watkins was, a married man and had a wife and six children. He worked with his brother-in-law, Ed Hawkins, in the north entry. When they entered their entry in the morning they examined the roof and found it loose nearly up to the face. They thought it was just the edge of a thin piece of slate and that it would not require attention until afternoon, so neglected to attend to it. However, it fell and Mr. Watkins received injuries to his spinal column that eventually caused his death, which occurred on May 20, 1902.

John Jones

John Jones, a miner thirty-three years of age and who was acting, in company with Robert Heathcote, as shot firer, came to his death by being struck by flying coal from a shot in room No. 7 off the tenth east entry, off the first north entry, about 8:30 p.m., May 7, 1902, in Sailor Coal Company's mine.

They had fired several shots before reaching this room. After lighting the fuse they went out and waited for it to burn. After waiting what they thought was long enough they returned to investigate, and upon entering the room the shot exploded. Mr. Jones was injured by flying coal to such an extent that he died shortly afterward.

Mr. Jones leaves a wife and three children.

Peter Peterson

Peter Peterson, a miner in the employ of the Norwood Coal company at their mine one and one half miles west of Berwick, Polk county, was killed in his room, No. 9, second west of said mine on June 9, 1902.

He had two shots to fire. One shot went out but he did not know it; the other shot squibbed. He went back and put the needle in the hole; the shot went off throwing Mr. Peterson about fifteen feet and killing him.

John Emanuel

In the Saylor Coal company's mine, located at Saylor, Polk county, five miles north of Des Moines, John Emanuel, a miner aged fifty-five or sixty, who had been in the employ of this company for two years, was accidentally killed by a fall of slate in his room, No. 24, fourth east south, at 7:30 a.m., on June 25, 1902. The slate fell from the rib side of his roadway, where he had put in a brushing shot. Evidently he had not taken down all the loose slate and it fell just as he was commencing his work for the day.

Deceased was a widower and leaves a family of two daughters and one son.

James Jones

James Jones, a miner about thirty years of age, was killed by slate falling on him at 11:30 a.m., on June 30, 1902, in his room. No. 3 off the eighth, east south, in Saylor Coal company's mine, at Saylor, in Polk county.

At this mine every man does his own firing, after the shots have been approved by the shot examiner. When it came his time to fire he told the man in the place next to him to go ahead. He was missed by the driver and Chas. Meister. When A. Streeter and Chas. Meister went to his room to look for him he was found lying about ten feet from the face of the room with a piece of coal that weighed about 150 pounds on his head. The supposition is that his shot failed to go off and he returned to examine it, and that it went off as he was entering the room to investigate.

Mr. Jones was a married man and leaves a wife and two children.

John Allen

John Allen, a miner in the employ of the Gibson Coal company at their No. 4 mine, located one and one half mile west of Altoona, Polk county, was killed by flying coal from a shot, September 27, 1902.

Mr. Allen and his co-worker, Harrison M. Clinton?, had prepared and lit their shot. Going to a plate of safety, they thought, they awaited the explosion of the shot. Mr. M. Clinton? was behind a pile of dirt and was uninjured. Mr. Allen, who was standing a few feet away, was struck by flying coal and instantly killed.

John Braniff

John Braniff, a young man aged _ years, who was working with his father in the Norwood Coal company's mine northeast of Des Moines, in a room at the mouth of the third east entry, north side, was killed while loading a car of coal by a fall of slate in the shape of a horseback, fall by a slip in the roof, at 11:15 a.m., December 11, 1902.

They had sounded the roof the two days previous and believed the same to be in safe condition. However, like a great many cases, it unexpectedly fell, killing the young man almost instantly.

Lincoln Davis

In the Saylor Coal company' mine, located at Saylor, in Polk county, on December 10, 1902, about 4.00 p.m., Lincoln Davis, a miner, received injuries from which he died the following day at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines.

Slate fell on him while he was waiting his turn to shoot at the face of his room No 10, tenth west south entry, breaking his leg and maiming his back .

Swan Peterson

Swan Peterson was killed in the Midway’s Coal company mine, two and one half miles southwest of the city Des Moines, December 27, 1902.

He was working in a room with Charles Lext, which room was number three off the eighth, east entry on the south side of the shaft. Mr. Peterson had just finished loading a car and was in the act of shoveling coal from the left hand rib of their room when a piece of slate fell from between two slips, commonly called a horseback, breaking his back and causing internal injuries from which he died shortly after being brought to the surface.

N. B. Logsdon

On January 9, 1903, at 5:40 p.m., N. B. Logsdon, a miner in the employ of the Saylor Coal company at Saylor, in Polk county, fell from the ground landing to the bottom of the shaft. He breathed but a few times after striking the bottom.

Mr. Logsdon and his partner, Mr. Thomas, were letting down props. Before the first cage was sent down they sent the cager down and the cage was not returned, although they did not know it. They neglected to put the bar across the shaft. They then loaded a car of props and did not ascertain whether the cage had been returned to the ground landing. The car was pushed into the empty shaft and Mr. Longsdon followed it down. Mr. Thomas caught the center post and thus saved his life.

Richard D. Gutherie

Richard D. Gutherie, a miner in the employ of the Midway Coal company, located three miles southwest of Des Moines, was instantly killed by slate falling on him in his room, between 9 and 10 o'clock in the morning, on February 19, 1903.

Mr. Gutherie's attention had been called to the unsafe condition of the roof in his room, but thinking it was safe he failed to put any props up. While he was at work under this loose slate and rock it fell and completely buried him under it.

(Eleventh Biennial Report of the Mine Inspectors, 1903)
Submitted by Cathy Danielson


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