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Mine Disasters in
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Old Abe Gold Mine Fire

White Oaks, New Mexico
March 10, 1895
No. Killed - 8



From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Miraculous Recovery and Escape

The fire broke out while G. E. Wilkinson was going down in the bucket to work.  He had reached the ninth level when the hoist was abandoned, and was shot down 200 feet to the 13th level where the bucket struck, tipped and threw him into the drift.  He was stunned, but recovered, and climbed back to the second level and escaped by the airshaft.


Mine Shaft Burned; Eight Miners Imprisoned in the Mine
Delphos Daily Herald
March 11, 1895

White Oak, N. M., March 11. -- At 3 o'clock yesterday morning fire broke out in the change room of the hoists house of the Old Abe mine, and in a few minutes the structure, a large and well built one, was a mass of flames.  It was completely destroyed, together with the wood and smith shops.  The mill, 60 feet away, escaped without damage.  The woodwork of the shaft was burned out and the hoisting machine destroyed.

The damage runs high up into the thousands, but the most distressing feature is that some men are imprisoned in the dark depths whose fate is unknown.  There is little ground for hope that they have escaped suffocation.  It is impossible to enter the mine to search for them.  Rescuing parties have been unable as yet to get down further than the third level by the airshaft.  The smoke and gases from the charred wood of the hoist shaft has penetrated the upper levels and it is impossible to pass them.

The entombed men are:
  • Charles Sherrick
  • F. J. Williams
  • Frank Wilson
  • John Davis
  • G. Baxter
  • M. White
  • Jerry Conover
  • W. B. Mitchell
Wilson, Davis and Baxter are married.  White is a new man and was on his first shift.  Williams and Sherrick are old in mining experiences and have faced like dangers before.  They are cool headed, and if any place of safety was to be found they found it.

The fire broke out while G. E. Wilkinson was going down in the bucket to work.  He had reached the ninth level when the hoist was abandoned, and was shot down 200 feet to the 13th level where the bucket struck, tipped and threw him into the drift.  He was stunned, but recovered, and climbed back to the second level and escaped by the airshaft.

Coke Keith, Mike Gallagher and Anton Howegate also escaped through the airshaft.  This is the only serious mining accident since the burning of the South Homestake shaft several years ago when two men were smothered.



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