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Mine Disasters in
the United States


Carolina Coal Company
Farmville Mine Explosions

Coal Glen, North Carolina
May 27, 1925
No. Killed 53

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Many Miners are Entombed by Blast
By Associated Press

Coal Glenn, N. C., May 27 -- The fate of three score or more miners entombed this morning by an explosion below the 1,000 foot lateral of the Carolina Coal Company mine, near here, was undetermined tonight, although rescuers had succeeded in bringing to the surface six bodies and it was feared most of the others had perished.

Records of the mine showed that 59 men, 39 white and 20 negroes, had comprised the crew which went into the mine, while mine officials reported that 71 miners lamps were missing and it was believed that figure might represent the number entombed.

Hope was expressed, however, by Bion H. Butler, vice president of the mining company, that some of the entombed men might still be alive.

Rescue workers said that the air was clear in the mine below the point where the bodies were found.  The fans were kept going all day in an effort to purify the air so that rescuers might be able to penetrate further into the dark recesses that are believed to hold the victims.

Mr. Butler said the best information he had been able to obtain was that the first explosion occurred in the second right lateral of the mine approximately 1,000 feet from the entrance.  The two explosions which followed at half hour intervals were believed by officials to have occurred between the second right shaft and the opening.

Mine authorities said the six men whose bodies were found apparently had died only a short time before they were reached.

While the wives, mothers and children of the trapped miners gathered at the mine, little hope was held that many more of the victims could be reached before tomorrow despite the steady re-enforcement of rescue workers.

Experts ordered here by the Federal Bureau of Mines were eagerly awaited although the services of two lorry loads of troops from Fort Bragg, N. C., were declined by Adjutant General Metts.  General Metts arrived late in the day and took charge of the situation on behalf of Governor McClean with a corps of engineers to assist in the rescue.


Raleigh, N. C., May 27. -- Seventy-one men were entombed in the mine of the Carolina Coal Company at Sanford, N. C., by an explosion early today and were further menanced by two additional explosions this afternoon.

A blast occurred following an attempt on the part of rescue workers to enter the shaft where the men were entombed and another occurred in another part of the mine.  Fumes prevented workers from penetrating further than the first lift.

Governor McClean this afternoon notified the adjutant general to hold several units of the National Guard in readiness to proceed to the disaster.


Coal Glenn, N. C., May 27. -- The bodies of Archie Hollins and Hollis Richardson, two of the 71 men trapped in the explosion at the mine of the Carolina Coal Company, near here today, have been recovered.  Grave concerns for the safety of the other miners are felt.

The first explosion, according to mine officials, took place about 9:30 o'clock this morning followed by another at 10 and another at 10:30.

Fire has broken out in the mine which has handicapped the efforts of rescue parties.


The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
May 28, 1925

Birmingham, Ala., May 27 -- A mine rescue crew from the Birmingham branch of the Bureau of Mines will leave here at 11:50 o'clock tonight for Cummock, eight miles from Sanford, N. C., to give such relief as they may, to the men entombed in the mine of the Carolina Coal Company.


Abandon Hopes for Entombed Miners
By Associated Press
The Morning Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
May 29, 1925

Coal Glenn, N. C., May 28. -- Realization had come to the little mining town of Coal Glenn tonight, after sixteen bodies had been brought to the surface, that there was virtually no hope of rescuing any of the more than fifty miners entombed by yesterday's explosion.

Working tirelessly throughout the day in relays, crews of miners had succeeded tonight in penetrating to the 2,200 foot level of the mine.  In the case of all bodies recovered, death had resulted from the dreaded gas fumes which spread through the mine after the three explosions.

A mass of slate, timber and wreckage, in which several more bodies could be seen early tonight, barred the way of the rescuers to the end of the mine, only 300 feet distant, but they attacked it in the hope of reaching all of the remaining victims before morning.

Relatives of some of the miners yet unaccounted for clutched at a ray of hope today when one of the rescue crews reported they had heard what they believed to be the sound of human voices from behind the barricaded end of the mine.  No sound was heard by other crews entering later, however.

The rescuers were aided by experts sent here by the Federal Bureau of Mines.  Lead by T. T. Read, safety director of the crew, the bureau crew safeguarded the progress of the rescuers by testing and purifying the air.  All lateral passages in the mine were closed so that pure air could be forced down the main passage way toward the entombed miners and the rescuers.

At 10:15 o'clock tonight a rescue crew reported that eleven additional bodies had been found near the 2,300 foot level and an additional crew of ten miners was sent down the shaft to speed up rescue efforts.

Dorsey J. Parker, chief engineer of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Mines, was in charge of the rescue work.


Twenty-Six Bodies Recovered from Pit
Olean Evening Herald, New York
May 29, 1925

Coal Glen, N. C., May 29 -- (AP) -- The bodies of twenty-six victims today had been recovered from the Carolina Coal Company mine, in which a series of explosions entombed early Wednesday.

As relief workers continued their efforts to bring the bodies to the surface, agencies of the nation, state and the city of Sanford were being brought behind an effort to relieve the families of those who perished.

Royal C. Agnes of the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, Adjutant General J. Van B. Gunter, chairman of the Lee County Chapter of the Red Cross, conferred early today on plans for relieving the living victims of the disaster.

Unofficial estimates by mine officials place the number of such victims at forty widows and 75 children.  For the most part, they said, these families were entirely dependent upon the earnings of their fathers, sons and brothers, who died in the mine.  Steps to insure their support will be taken immediately, it was said.

Throughout the night the cable droned at its wearisome task as it tugged outward crews of tired workers and lowered fresh men to the scene of their labors.

The remaining twenty six bodies were believed to be in the furthermost workings of the mine, near the 2,500 feet level.  All hope that any of the victims would be rescued alive has been abandoned by both mine officials and rescue workers.


Fatalities in the Coal Glen Mining Disaster

Pittsboro, N. C. -- The following listing was obtained from the Death Certificates on Record in the Register of Deeds Office, Pittsboro, North Carolina:

Johnnie Alston, 17, colored
Arthur Poe, colored
William Moore, 45, colored
James Nabors, 65, colored
Thomas S. Buchanan, 20, white
Elijah Hill, 50, colored
Wesley Howard, 27, colored
Joe Hudson, 27, white
Claud V. Johnson, 48, white
Thomas N. Wright, 49, colored
H. W. Sullivan, 55, white
Elmer Hayes, 26, white
Wilson Chesney, 49, colored
David Barr, 19, colored
James Williams, 21, colored
Lee Hodge, 40, colored
James Wright, 23, colored
A. F. Marlin, 38, white
Will Irick, 32, colored
John B. Curd, 35, white
Claud Wood, 24, white
A. L. Stopes, 50, white
Jeff Riner, 24, white
Samuel Napier, 27, white
William Byerly, 40, white
Edward Dillingham, 30, white
Walter D. Dillingham, 27, White
Clifford B. Davis, 32, white
Isaac Hays, colored
Albert Holly, colored
John Shaw, colored
James Spruill, 20, colored
June Cotton, 19, colored
Lewis Halston, 31, colored
Francis Anderson, 37, white
George M. F. Anderson, 49, white
Henry Alston, 31, colored
Reuben Chalmers, 32, white
Manley Lambert, 25, white
David J. Wilson, white
Wade Wilson, colored
Theodore Wright, 18, colored
Charles Watson, 38, colored
Russell Wright, 16, colored
Charles L. Wood, white
Hollis Richardson, 20, white
John Burger, 30, colored
Dan B. Hudson, 17, white
Henry G. Hall, 35, white
Thomas N. Cotton, 28, white
John E. Laubscher, 21, white
Archie E. Holland, 35, white
Robert Williams, 45, colored
Nathan R. Johnson, 25, White



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