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Muskingum County, Ohio
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Coal Bank Disaster
Blue Rock, Ohio

Source:  An Account of The Coal Bank Disaster at Blue Rock, Ohio,
in which men were buried beneath the hill for two weeks; together with their own account of the feelings which they experienced in their solitary confinement.
Published at Malta, Ohio by E. Ballou, Publisher,


     In hastily preparing this short history for the press, we have aimed merely to give a correct statement of facts; and that we have done so, is attested by the rescued men, and those who have been present day and night in overseeing the work.
 When we commenced getting it up the supposition was, the lost men would not be found alive: - even their friends had almost ceased to hope that they could be living.  But it has resulted otherwise - they have been saved to relate the story of their sad imprisonment and sufferings, which makes it doubly interesting.  Probably the world furnishes no parallel to this thrilling disaster, and rescue of four men, who have been without food, with extreme cold and foul air, yet when delivered from their perilous situation, able to converse with their friends, and walk about.  Our design was, should the pamphlet more than meet expenses of publishing, to present each of the miners who were working in the bank, - with a copy of the Bible, as a fit memento of their narrow and merciful escape; also the friends of those whom it was thought were lost.  But these men, having been so unexpectedly restored to their friends, will now be included among the number to whom the Bibles will be given; should the generosity of the public allow it, we would most gladly make this the means of putting into the hands of each of the miners at other Banks about Blue Rock, and also those who came from other places to assist in digging out the lost - a copy of God's Word, hoping that it might exert over them, a saving influence.  The restored men say they feel themselves greatly indebted to community for the interest manifested and exertion put forth to deliver them from death; and they do not wish to make their rescue a matter of speculation.  They consider it a Providential occurrence, and now only desire that it may result in good.  They highly approve of the course suggested, to present each of the miners - who assisted in saving them - with a copy of the Word of Life.

The Coal Bank Disaster.

On Friday the 25th of April, 1856, about 12 o'clock M., the Coal Bank of OWENS & GUTHRIE at Blue Rock, on the Muskingum River, between Malta and Zanesville, 13 miles North of the former place, and 15 South of the latter, was heard to give way, by a number within, and in a short time, a large portion of the great hill came down with a tremendous crash.
     The hands in this Bank usually took dinner about 11 o'clock, and twenty of them, viz: James Pierson, James Getwood, William Edgell, Edward Savage, Timothy Lyons, George Ross, William T. Gheen, William Edgell, Patrick Savage, James Savage, John Hopper, James M. Miniear, George Robinson, T. Edgell, Uriah McGee, Franklin Ross, William Miller, George W. Simmons, James Larrison, and Hiram Larrison, had returned to their work.  On hearing the roaring and crashing of the bursting rocks, these men
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made a rush for the mouth, leaving their cars behind them.  Their consternation and feelings, can be better imagined than described.  We have conversed with several of them, and they all tell us the scene was awfully terrific.  Thirteen of the number succeeded in making their escape without receiving any injuries - three others - Timothy Lyons, George Ross and William T. Gheen, who were further in, came out after the rocks hand commenced tumbling down, receiving slight injuries.  Timothy Lyons, who was farther in than the others was caught by a rock falling upon his arm.  He made several attempts to rescue himself, and had nearly given up in despair of getting loose, when making one more desperate effort, he extricated himself and made his escape.  Those who came out last, tell us they saw the pillars bursting asunder, and the entire hill, as it were, settling down upon them; and expected every moment to be crushed beneath them; and expected every moment to be crushed beneath its impending ruins; but through the mercies of an overruling Providence, they were permitted to escape.  This recital from these men, who so narrowly escaped with their lives was sufficiently affecting to touch a hart of stone.  They way words are inadequate to express the horrors of that moment, which are more solemnly felt, since their escape, than during the flight.  Tears often choked their utterance, while relating the scene.  The first four named, to wit: JAMES PEARSON, JAMES GETWOOD, WILLIAM EDGELL, JR. and EDWARD SAVAGE,  were engaged in digging in their respective rooms, (the positions of which are pointed out in diagram on the following page,) and it is supposed did not hear the falling Bank, and knew noting of their dreadful situation, until they had got their loads of coal and started to go out.  And O what mush have been their feelings when they found the hill had fallen, and shut them in from their dear friends, from the world!
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     We will here give a brief history of the imprisoned sufferers.  James Pearson was 32 years of age last December - was married in June 1851 to Miss Kesiah Tanner, daughter of John Tanner of Muskingum county - has two children; one an interesting boy of 18 months, the other a babe. three weeks and three days old, at the time its father was shut up in the hill.  Mr. Pearson lived near the bank - had followed coal digging for a number of years, and was well and favorably known to the citizens as an honest, upright man.  Besides his wife there is a widowed mother, and two sisters among those who are mourning his suffering condition.
     James Getwood was 22 years of age in December last - was married the 22 of last November, to Miss Miriam Brooks of Morgan county - had worked at mining but two and a half days - had previously worked on a farm - son of Thomas Getwood, Esq., of Windsor Township, Morgan Co.
     Edgell was a single man, 20 years of age - had worked considerable in the mine - had followed the river for a while, as deck hand, on a steam boat.  His father, mother, sisters and brothers live but a few rods from the ill-fated mine.
     Savage was a lad of 16 - his people also live close by the bank; and he has been raised, as it were in the mines.
     Let us now see what is being done without for their rescue.  The news of the disaster spread like fire in dry stubble, driven by a strong wind.  The people fly to the scene of distress, with sad consternation depicted in their countenances.  Some venture in to behold the ruinous spectacle.  They are warned by the noise of falling rocks and earth, to keep at a distance, but  they cannot rest contented to remain idle spectators of the work which has entombed, perhaps forever, four of their associates.  Preparations are instantly
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being made to attempt their rescue.  The Bank is found to be unbroken for a distance of 280 ft. in, where there is a low place called the "dip" or "sink" which proves to be filled with water from the broken veins of the hill.  Buckets are collected, and two lines of men, eighty-six in number, are formed from the dip, to where the water will run off to the river - the bailing is commenced by passing out full buckets and returning them empty, in rapid succession.
     The water being taken out sufficiently to admit of it, the work of digging and wheeling out the fallen rock is commenced.
     James Owens, Jr. - one of the owners of the Bank - leads off.  The Miniears, Weaver, Morrison and others follow:  while some are engaged in preparing posts and planks, for propping up the shattered roof of the entrance.  Thus they commence the dangerous excavation, propping as they go.  Saturday morning, a short time before day, the excavators come out of the Bank for the first time.  Pearson's wife passes in unobserved, proceeds i midnight darkness, until the ruins and falling rocks impede her progress; there searching in vain for a further entrance, she calls aloud i grief and despair, to her dear lost companion.  O Thou who hearest they children when they cry, shall not the bitter wailings of this disconsolate woman reach the ears of pity?  And shall not the cries of the young wife, the parents, the brothers and sisters come up before they throne?  And wilt thou not hear the petitions of those enclosed in the bowels of the earth, if they shall all upon thee?  Shall they not be again restored to their friends, that their lives may rebound to they glory?
     Nothing that human hands can do, will be left undone, for here are men as brave and daring as ever graced God's footstool, stimulated by deep human sympathy.  But the result is in thy hands!
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     The men soon return, Mrs. Pearson is conveyed home, and the work advances.  The owners of the Crow Run Bank send up their Syphon to convey off the water.  Dr. Teter who came up on Monday from his residence below M'Connelsvile, with hands and lumber to prepare for working the upper Bank, is on the ground contriving what means can be msot effectual in rescuing the lost men.  He orders his hands to bring down the lumber, tools and provisions and go to work.  The "damps" trouble the workmen; they feel discouraged.  Teter's Syphon is brought, placed in the Bank with the outer end attached to a Bellows, and men are zealously engaged blowing in fresh air through it - the work goes on more briskly.
     Teter observes some of the hands, are exhausting themselves, especially Owens, and must soon fail, through incessant and over-arduous toil.  He puts them on tours or "tricks," at first, of one hour; five hands working at once.  They work on in this manner for awhile with renewed energy, but ere long by the cracking rocks and "damps," are discouraged almost to yielding.  William Edwards of Roseville, formerly a miner of England, arrives.  Though an entire stranger, he at once commences exploring the condition of the ruins, and subsequently acts as foreman in the work.
     On Sunday the hill is dreadfully agitated, and the rocks over the miners, threaten to crush them - who, terrified, as length make their way out, declaring that nothing more can be done.  Owens hears it and undaunted exclaims, "Those men must be got out of the hill, or I will leave my body there in the attempt."  And adding, "Who will follow," starts i while the continual falling and settling of the rocks are shaking the earth beneath the feet of the astonished spectators.  Others soon follow and the work again progresses.  Thus they toil on and on, still hoping in a short time to be through the break, and rescue the objects of their search.  Tuesday morning, they see a solid pillar of coal - the prospect brightens - and on they move, working faster and faster as hope nerves the arm.  At length they are through the opening; but O God, it is only to
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find beyond, a still more dreadful break!  Hope seems just on the eve of forsaking them!  But the question arises - shall we go out to the weeping, broken-hearted wifes, the disconsolate parents and the distracted brothers and sisters, and say to them - there is no hope - we cannot rescue your lost ones from the hill?  No, God forbid!  Such a course would be piercing afresh the wounds of broken hearts.  They tell them no such tale, for they are men of noble souls, and fearless courage. -  Although the obstacles seem insurmountable, and the rocks are cracking above their heads, they heed them not, and fear no dangers.  Their brethren are buried beneath the hill, and nothing short of death, shall prevent their rescuing them from an untimely grave.  Faithfully is the work pursued, both day and night.  With firm purpose they ply the pick neither knowing nor heeding if the next blow shall bring the impending rocks upon their heads.  They are frequently driven out however, by the "damps," which appear to emanate from the opening of the rocks.  They labor at times, when the air is so foul as to extinguish their lamps.
     Thursday - still working away though greatly disheartened on account of the bad air, which by times compels them for a while to abandon the work.
     Friday - the men have now been in for a week, and most of the miners are beginning to lose all hope of rescuing them - But still as hope declines something transpires to renew again their drooping spirits.
     The manager, Dr. Teter, is meditating how next to proceed - the provisions of the hands about the Bank are exhausted - they are all dependent upon their daily labor for a sustenance, and where shall bread be obtained, to feed so great a multitude?  A bell taps~ - Here comes the

on her upward trip.  She lands.  A number of citizens from Malta and M'Connelsville are aboard.  They have with them
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over $150 worth of provisions.  They diligently enquire how the work proceeds.  And now they have gathered into the coal boat to organize for business.
     Henry Teter is chosen President - Other officers are appointed.  The Rev. Mr. Dickey from Malta is called on to address the meeting - he rises with no small degree of embarrassment and commences by sayings:

     MR. PRESIDENT: -  It is an old adage - "Necessity knows no law."  When our fellows are in adversity, we do not pause to philosophise.  We act.  Acts are more eloquent than words.  On this occasion all our words must fail to express the sympathy, feelings and emotions of our hearts.  The thought that four of our fellow creatures, in their youth, health, and vigor, without a single moments warning, not the privilege of saying farewell to the single friend, are buried in a living, premature grave, beneath that towering mountain, with hearts beating for the light, liberty, life and hope of future usefulness and happiness which we to-day enjoy - that thought is sufficient of itself to rouse up every feeling of our being, and put the whole man into action!
     If the tie of consanguinity and love of liberty, caused the Revolutionary Fathers to "pledge to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," ought we not to feel ourselves pledged and bound to those beneath that hill, whose lives we hope are yet preserved, but alarmingly endangered, - pledged by the immutable principals of our nature, and bound by the ever-enduring chord of Brotherly Love, to use all our energies and means in order to their rescue?  Yes! we are Brethren! - Our common humanity is one - one in adversity, one in prosperity!  Here is the hope of humanity, to say nothing of the bright hope of immortality - that when in adversity, we are pledged to each other by life, fortune, honor, and death!  At this point all language must fail; circumstances must try us; principle must develop us!
     To sympathize with those of our brethren incarcerated in that lonely dungeon, beneath the awful weight of that mighty hill, we must, if possible, imagine ourselves placed in their circumstances!  Can we imagine ourselves buried alive!  shut out from all the light of a day and the beauties of spring!  in the midst of our youth and energy, at the period of our history when we were promising ourselves long life and prosperity!  on the very threshold of eternity, in health, uninvaded by disease!  without the cheering voice of many friends to cheer us in our death struggle! and these friends and relations dearer to us than life itself, and almost within speaking distance, yet their cries and voices unheard, and tears unseen!
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     Our feelings on this occasion are at but imaginative; but theirs are dread reality!  Who can appreciate it!  The myriads of falling tears in this assembly connected with my own feelings.  (just here the speaker was interrupted, for a while, being almost choked with feeling, as the tears freely coursed their channels in his pale cheeks;) forbid any reference to the sympathetic affections and feelings of a weeping father and mother, disconsolate and despairing wives, sorrowing brothers and sympathising friends, who are here standing without in awful suspense!  Every billow of the heaving bosoms of our unfortunate brethren, dashes with awful force against the shores of our hearts, and is only calmed in the still sea of Hope - the hope of their rescue!  Energized by this hope, you miners, for your brethren in calamity and distress are nobly risking your lives in driving an entrance into the hill through falling rocks and poisoning air.  Go ahead, brave fellows!  your reward is before you!  God, and elevated, true humanity, will reward merit!  You are now exhibiting the power of true, disinterested love for your fellows - a love that knows no discouragement, fears no evil, meets all responsibility, puts death itself to silence, and will ever live, and walk, and act, and perform the only true deeds, and wear the only properly merited crown of the worthy HERO!
     The honors won on the field of battle, and the glory achieved by the brave, heroic soldier, lavished upon him by his country and nation, for whose reward and applause he has risked his life and pledged his fortune, are all buried and entombed forever in the grave, as the mournful echo of the funeral dirge and distant sound of once roaring artillery, die away, and are only perpetuated in earthly memory, upon the cold pages of history!  No so, however, here!  Those who, out of pure, disinterested love for their fellows, without the least hope of reward other than the rescue of their brethren from an untimely grave, are endangering their lives and jeopardizing their all, will eventually, wear a garland more beautiful and bright than ever graced the brow of the Roman soldier!  In this there is true heroism, true honor won, true glory merited.  Times unerring pen will record them; Eternity will write them in more than golden letters in the skies, and every good spirit will panegyrize their true encomiums.
     Will we, can we, cease to labor, spare either time, means or money, to rescue our brethren, with all these hopes and aspirations before us?  To you fellow citizens, to myself, to our persons, to our hearts, and to our purses, we make this appeal.  Will we not go forward, spare nothing, in order to their rescue?  What would we ask what would we given, were we in their places to-day, to obtain the life, liberty and blessings we enjoy?
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Would we not give all the treasures of earth, and ask our brethren to cease not a single moment, day nor night, and spare nothing, so that we be rescued?  What will we now do?  WILL WE ACT?
     "Amen," said a voice from the crowded assembly, followed by a universal "AMEN."
     Dr. Lewis next called on - he responded with some very appropriate words of encouragement.
     The meeting has closed - the officers report as follows:

COAL BOAT, OWENS & GUTHRIE'S BANK}                                                
May 2d, 1856}                                                

     At a meeting of citizens here assembled, HENRY TETER, was appointed President, W. T. TALLEY, Vice President, D. DEVOL and SAMUEL ROBERTS, Secretaries; and Dr. A. LEWIS, Rev. J. J. M. DICKEY and JAMES OWENS, Jr., Committee on Resolutions; whereupon the following Preamble and Resolutions were adopted:
     WHEREAS, the citizens here assembled sensibly and feelingly realizing the awful, calamitous affair in which the lives of four of our citizens are jeopardized, even to a dreadful destruction, either by starvation, suffocation, by poisonous gases or crushed beneath falling rocks and earth, have in solemn convention assembled to give expression of sympathy and a true statement of affairs as they truly exist, Therefore,
     Resolved, That to correct false reports, that may be put in circulation, and to keep the public constantly posted as to the condition and state of things involved in this awful calamity, a Committee be appointed consisting of Three, to make official reports as often as may be deemed necessary.
     Resolved, That in view of the extreme labor and fatigue consequent upon day and night labor to rescue those of our countrymen whose lives are thus endangered, we invite the Miners from the Muskingum Valley within reach to assist in the rescue of the lives of those for whom Wives, Parents, and Children weep and humanity sympathise.
     Resolved, That in view of the expense incurred by some of the residents, who have appeared neither time, money, provisions nor labor to rescue those confined beneath the hill; persons, too, whose pecuniary circumstances are in now way situated to incur such great sacrifices whose only means of sustaining themselves and families are their labor; that the citizens of the Muskingum Valley be called upon to contribute of their abundance, to defray the above expenses.
     Resolved.  That in view of the risk of life, labor, endangering of health and fatigue of those who have so manfully,
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and energetically labored day and night to dig out a channel to reach those buried in a premature grave, the Public be called upon to contribute the money necessary to pay them for their time of service.
     Resolved, That the indefatigable energy and unrelaxing perseverance which has characterized the owners of the Bank, Owens & Guthrie, in sparing neither money or labor to save those unfortunate Miners, do call for universal admiration and gratitude.
     Resolved, That in the judgment of those acquainted with the whole premises, the probability is, the expenses of each consecutive day since the occurrence of this misfortune and calamity, are about $200.
     Resolved, That a Fianancial Committee consisting of Dr. H. TETER, D. DEVOL, SAMUEL DOZER and J. P. WEAVER be appointed, whose duty it shall be to receive and disburse the funds that may be donated to defray the above expenses.
     Resolved, That every man in the community consider himself, a Committee of One to receive donations and place the same in the hands of the Financial Committee.
     Resolved, That a vote of thanks be tendered to Rev. J. J. M. DICKEY for his eloquent remarks on this occasion.
     Resolved, That a copy of hte proceedings of this meeting be forwarded to each of the Editors of the Zanesville, McConnelsville and Malta papers, requesting its publication.

HENRY TETER, Prest.                                         
, Vice Prest.                                       

     D. DEVOL,              }

     Dr. Teter, who had voluntarily taken the responsibility of overseeing the work from the start, was now unanimously chosen to continue in that place for which he had proved himself to so well qualified.
. H. T. Teter, D. Devol, J. P. Weaver, and Samuel Dozer were appointed a committee on Finance, to receive and appropriate all moneys donated.
     Messrs. J. P. Weaver, Jacob T. Ballou, David Patterson and Samuel Dozer were appointed a committee to distribute provisions received.
     Thus organized and encouraged they drive on with fresh zeal.  Through the night, however, the workmen are almost suffocated with the "damps," and can hardly hope that the men in the hill can be alive - still they work away with all their powers, though many of them are well nigh worked down.  Ten o'clock Sat. morning.  The "Buck" lands a number of mimers
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from Zanesville, who have come down to do all they can for the rescue of the lost men.  She has also another lot of provisions, aboard part of which has been sent by the people of Zanesville, and the balance purchased from the purse raised on the boat.  The Zanesville hands present themselves at once, and which to spell those who have been so long engaged at the dangerous and toilsome work - their names are registered on the superintendent's book, and they lay hold with great energy. - Sunday morning - a great concourse of people are gathering in from all quarters to witness the progress of the work.  A number of Ministers, and other public speakers are on the ground, urging on the work by encouraging words.  Among those who spoke to day and at other times were Rev. J. Rogers, Rev. Roup, Rev. W. Andamson, Rev. J. E. McGraw, Rev. M. Sheets; A. Morrison; Dr. Edwards, D. Beckwith and S. H. Guthrie.  Many of the speeches were eloquent and effective and filled many eyes with tears.  Intense anxiety and excitement prevails.  Some still think the men may be got out alive, others think that they are dead ere this - the throng still increases.  Horses and carriages are standing around in every direction.  A strange looking boat is seen coming up the river - It is the

the Steam Ferry Boat from Malta - bringing up over one hundred persons who are anxious to see and hear what the prospect is for saving the buried men.  It is estimated that about two thousand persons are on the grounds.
     Monday the prospect appears dark, yet the work is not stopped - persons are arriving every hour from all parts of the country.  Tuesday the miners and wheelers are working with all the energy they can command, and hope they will be through to night or to-morrow at furthest - but this has been the report every day for more than a week past - but little hope is now entertained that the men are living.
     During the night the air becomes so foul that lights will not burn - they are obliged to stop and board up the entry, and make air tight the crevices, so that fresh air can be driven in to the diggers.  Nine hours are thus passed.  The diggers have come to Edgell's car, which is smashed.  Some think his mangled body will be found behind it, but such is not the case: the coal that Edgell had started out with and his broken car are brought out, - the bank is fallen in still beyond.
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they know not how far.  It is evident that Edgell had started out, and gone back, and that the balance has fallen since then.
     The "Buck" has brought up another lot of provisions from Malta.  They were collected by Rev. J. Rogers, and John Timms, Esq., who are along, with instructions from the ladies of Malta to see to it that Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Getwood are specially provided for.
     Thursday morning before day they are again ready for operations - the diggers at once proceed to their work - the cars are run in, and several men work vigorously upon the bellows. - A load of crashed rock is soon brought out and the report is now more flattering - the air is said to be good, and the diggers feel encouraged - think they will get through to-morrow, but they have little or no hope of finding the men alive.
     A little after 10 o'clock a miner comes out apparently almost dead with fright, saying "The men are alive we have heard them talking" - the news is too good to be at first credited by the manager and those who hear it, but another, and another comes out, looking as pale as death, and telling the same story.  The report is now believed messengers are immediately dispatched in every direction.  One starts off to Malta and M'Connelsville for the physicians - they fly as fast as their horses can speed them on.  All is excitement and consternation - the people crowd around the entrance.  The overseer fears they will do an injury by preventing the pure air from entering the mine - but every one is anxious to hear - a great rope is ordered to be brought and fastened to stakes, enclosing a large circle - it is done - the crowd is driven out and forbidden from entering the enclosure.  Wm. Edwards, Jacob Trimper, Geo. A. Miniear, and John Russel, are the names of the miners who were in the bank at the time the men were first heard.  Trimper was the first to hear the noise - he tells the others - they listen!  A sound as of men conversing in a low tone, is heard by all.  They tell us it seemed as if they had witnessed the dead come to life, and heard them speak - they were dreadfully frightened, and their hats seemed to raise off their heads.  Edwards puts his ear to the ground, and distinctly hears the men walking - he shouts to them and the answer is returned.  He then asks: "Are you all alive, and well?"  "We are all well,"  responded Edgell, "But we have no light in here!"  "We are doing all we can to get you out," said the overjoyed and brave-hearted Englishman.  "How many were killed in getting out," was next asked.  "All are safe."  Edgell asked if his father was there and helping to get him out.  Getwood asked if his wife and father were there.
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     The air is quite bad and the miners request the men to go back to their bed - they do so - the diggers and wheelers are inspired with new energy - think they will reach and men in a few hours - the cars run as if impelled by a powerful locomotive.
     Still, but slow progress is made - they have now to wheel the dirt more than six hundred feet, and pass under a large impending rock in the route that will only admit the entrance of a car a little over one foot in height.  Dr. Teter suggests that the miners cease to clear the dirt from the bottom of the track, and make a way as fast as possible over the rocks and dirt several feet above the track, where there is a slight opening through which they are enabled to converse.  The miners raise objections to this course and are allowed to clear away as before - thus the work continues all the afternoon and night but still the men are not reached.  Edgell and Savage came up several times to enquire how they are getting along - asked what time in the week it was - On being told it was Thursday, they replied that they supposed they had been in about that length of time - some five or six days - not thinking it was the second Thursday of their imprisonment.  They came up several times during the forenoon.
     One o'clock, P. M. - The air has become so foul that the lights have gone out - they cannot make them burn within 20 feet of the place they are working- they have ceased work and are trying to devise means to get light - the bellow's is worked with all the force that can be put upon it.  They are taking in mirrors for the purpose of reflecting the light - a globe lamp is sent for - it is taken in - but works to little purpose.  Great fears are had for the safety of the imprisoned men.  A miner has come out, who says that Edgell had acquired why the work had ceased.  They tell him the "damps" are so bad that their lights will not burn and they cannot work.  Edgell on hearing this, at first, feels disheartened - says: "You'll never get us out of here."  The men tell him they have been doing all they can; and will continue to do so.  Edgell and Savage become reconciled.  The men advise them to go back to where the others are - they say they will do so, and Edgell says to them,  "Tell our friends not to grieve for us, we are all prepared to die and if you cannot get us out we will die happy."  Intense excitement prevails - people are thronging in from every direction.  Three o'clock the air is better and Dr. Teter has sent in hands with directions to go over a part of the rubbish and make a way as soon as possible into where the men are.
     Car loads of broken rock are again coming - the men are working with great animation.  Every thime a car comes out there is a rush to enquire after the men - the miners say the
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time appears very long to the poor fellows who are shut up within, and they appear to have almost abandoned the hope of being got out.  But the work goes bravery on - they think they will soon reach the lost now - the manager has called a council - the by standers are ordered to leave the ring and make room - the physicians with their attendants are ordered to be in readiness - hundreds are looking on in almost breathless suspense - the return of the cars, (which is now as frequent as the greatest exertion of highly excited and inspired mortals can make it,) is watched with the greatest anxiety, for all hope to hear from the men - each one reports favorably - they are working a way over the rubbish very fast - another car comes out and the wheeler reports they will reach the poor sufferers in a few minutes - the feelings of the people are raised to the highest point of expectation - another car has come out - and we expect to hear the men were reached, but alas for poor, weak humanity!  Our brightest hopes and highest expectations are liable to be cut off in a moment!  A fall has taken place in the mine, and they fear the men can never be reached - deep gloom shrouds the people.  The cars are no longer heard rattling out with the animation inspired by highest hopes.  For about two hours the work proceeds slowly and gloomily.
     At half-past six o'clock a workman comes out with good news.  He says the fall is not so bad as was anticipated; that they have just had another conversation with the men, who are in much better spirits, and have told them not to be discouraged, for they can stand it for two or three days yet, if necessary.  At seven, eight policemen were appointed, with Wm. Talley as chief, to keep the way clear.  The cars are now running out with great speed, and the workmen are in high spirits.  They say the roof now appears firm, and they think the men will be reached in a very short time.  The air is quite cool without, and fires are being built in every direction over the hill side, and men and women are crowding around them.  About eight o'clock the announcement was made public, that the men would be reached in a very short time, and the people were requested to refrain from giving vent to their feelings by making any noise or confusion when the men were brought out.  A death-like silence prevailed while this was being spoken.  Thousands of hearts beat with deep emotions, mingled with joy and fear.  The scene is awfully grand and solemn.  Excellent order is preserved; cars run out every six or eight minutes.  They say Edgell is encouraging the men within, and telling them to "go it; we an stand it for two days."  Nine o'clock: still pushing ahead.  Ten: cars running as fast as ever, but the men are not yet reached.  Eleven: the work still progresses without
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any further public announcement.  Some fear the lost men will not be reached before morning; some leave to retire to rest; but most remain in silence, looking on with the most intense anxiety.  Twelve:  the work ceases not; another car comes out, and clothes are taken in.  Doctors Lewis, Brown, and Rusk have gone in to give any medical aid that may be needed before the men are brought to the open air.
Savage is first borne out.  He is covered up with a blanket.  They pause at the entrance, uncover the boy's face to let all others are brought out in succession and borne to their homes in chairs, each attended by a physician.
     The friends of the rescued men were not allowed to remain in the houses when they were taken in.  They were at first quite overcome at the meeting of their friends.  What a joyful night to many an aching heart!  But we will leave them for awhile and allow the released men a quiet repose.
     We visited and conversed with, each of the four saved men on Saturday morning.  Mr. Pearson told us that he was one of the happiest men living.  It seemed so delightful to him to look forth once more upon the world, so changed since he entered the fearful mine.  The trees, which were then almost bare, were not completely clothed with green.  All nature appeared to him to wear a different aspect.  All that was lacking to complete his happiness was something to satisfy his longing appetite.  On being asked by his wife if he was read to eat again, or, rather, to taste his food, (for he was allowed only a spoonful at a time) he said, "I would like to eat a good deal of it; but I would hardly take $50 for the tobacco in my mouth."  He then spit out the tobacco - a piece about the size of a pea - and took his little limited portion of nourishment.  He said he had never had his eyes opened before.  They all appeared quite cheerful, and seemed to take delight in conversing with those who called in to see them; but their friends thought they would over exert themselves, and tried to restrain them from talking so much.  - Some of their remarks were quite diverting.  Pearson said to an old associate who came in and asked him how he felt, "I feel, Jim, just as if I could floor you, if they would only allow me to come out there."  We did not see the men again till Monday, when we found them all greatly improved, and walking about.  George Lyons, John Alters, and a brave little Irishman, whose name we could not learn, were the daring ones who went in after the men  A little while after they brought out the men, 50 feet of the roof fell in.
[Page 21]


Narrative of the four Men who were confined for 14 days and thirteen hours in a Coal Bank at Blue Rock, given in their own words.

     Pearson says:  Myself, Edgell, and Savage were digging within talking distance of each other - Edgell and I had each filled our cars, and wondered why those who had gone out with their loads had not returned.  We went to work and each dug another load - I then said to Edgell, "Bill let's go out and see what's the matter" - Edgell led the way - soon run his car against one standing on the track, says he hallowed, "Whose car's this?"  He found immediately the Bank was falling - rushed forward about 25 feet as he supposes, where the way was completely closed up: ran back and said to Pearson, "Jim the Bank has fallen in!"  "No! I reckon not," said Pearson.  Both run back again found there was no chance of getting out - started back and met Savage; told him the Bank had fallen in.  All went back and found Getwood trying to get his car on the "run."  Pearson  said to him, "Jim is that you?"  "Yes,' said he, astonished.  "Jim we are all lost, the Bank has fallen in!"  "No! for God's sake!"  "Let us go and see if we can't find a way out through the old diggings," said Pearson.  All started round together.  Found that had fallen, and was still falling; and that there was no chance for escape.  "My God! boys," said Pearson, "we are all lost!  Let's go back to the farther part of the entry and make us a death bed."
[Page 22]
     So they went back to the farther part of the entry, as shown at figure 9, in diagram, and collected a quantity of fine dirt in front to keep the wind off them.  All lay down and mourned.  All went round together twice after this.  Pearson was then fully satisfied that there was no chance for them to escape.  Supposed the men would never undertake to clear out the track, for he regarded it as being an impossibility - had at times some faint hope that they might try to reach them through the old entry.  Getwood gave up all hope of ever being rescued.  Edgell and Savage still entertained hopes of getting out.  Edgell worked some at several different times at clearing away the fallen rock from the track - progressed some four or five feet - threw back rocks that he would have thought impossible to have moved under ordinary circumstances.  When the men found they could not get out they collected their oil, water, (of which they had two jugs,) a small lot of provisions, which had been carried in by Jas. Larrison for a check for himself and boy, in the afternoon. - The boy, Savage, complained of being hungry - concluded it would be as well to eat the provisions first as last - eat it all at twice, and think they dispatched the last the same evening of the fall.
     Their lamps soon began to burn very dimly on account of foul air - put the spouts of all their lamps together in order to keep them burning if possible - Edgell concluded they burned about 10 yours, Pearson and Getwood are of the opinion they burned considerable longer.  Their water was soon exhausted - Edgell searched around in the dark and found a place where they could get copperas water, such as is found in most of the mines in these regions - marked out the place so he could find it again, by laying a row of stones from the spring, to the entry: Getwood went once for water, and got lost - Edgell had all the carrying to do.  Drank seven jugs full of copperas water.
     Pearson was troubled with Palpitation of the heart, to which disease, he had previously been subject - he seldom left his bed after finding that escape was impossible.  Getwood went round a few times after the lights were out in company with Edgell and Savage - Getwood and Savage went once round by themselves - Edgell and Savage went round repeatedly, in hope of finding some way of escape.
     They earnestly prayed for themselves, for each other, and for their friends, and felt an assurance if they died it would be well with them - felt willing to die if it was the Lord's ill, but still had a desire to see their friends.  Pearson
[Page 23]
thought what a great consolation it would be to have the privilege of lying on a bed, and dying among his friends, in the place of being shut up in that dark dungeon, with the consciousness that their friends, were mourning so bitterly for their condition.
     Suffered greatly from hunger and cold - could scarcely tell which was the worst - the cold became almost insufferable toward the last.  Took turns of lying in the middle, and piling on each other.  At times, on waking, they would contend about their rights to a central position.  On fully awaking they would say it was all wrong, and that they would act fairly and courteously.
     Each wished he might be the first to die, and not be left to linger out a long and tiresome existence with his dead companions.  Made a promise that the first that died should be laid on one side of the room, and the last was to stretch himself beside the dead.
     They supposed that they would live about nine days, and thought they had not been in over six.  Edgell thinks he could have stood it for a week longer; and the physicians say he would, probably, longer than that, from his appearance when taken out.
     Pearson would sometimes imagine, while suffering from hunger, that he was seated at a table spread with the most delicious and inviting food - he also imagined that he saw his little son praying on the hill side, near his house - his wife and friends were frequently before him in his visions.
     Getwood frequently visited his wife and friends in his visions of darkness.  Thought he came home to breakfast, and felt almost out of patience that his wife had not the repast in readiness - several times he thought he was ready to commence eating, and actually picked up handfuls of dirt, with which he filled his mouth.  At one time he saw, in a vision, his father approach him, bearing a great pile of warm cakes with the yellow butter dripping from them.  On approaching, his father siad to him, "Jim, are you not starving?"  "Yes," said he.  His father then handed him the cakes and departed.  He picked up one of the tempting cakes, as he thought, and raised it to take a huge mouthful, but was awakened from his joyful dream by a severe bite which he inflicted on his own hand instead of the fancied cake.  He frequently saw tables loaded with all the good things imaginable, and thought himself about partaking of them, as did all the others.
     Edgell dreamed that he had found in the Bank a wonderful great roll of bank notes, of which he hastily stowed away in his shirt bosom, as large a quantity as he could make room
[Page 24]
for, and secured the balance in other places about his body.  He started back in a room, where he found great piles of gold and silver.  This he piled up behind him in order to conceal himself from the other boys.  He thought he would save this money, and give it to those who had been engaged in digging them out.
     Getwood says he had piled his tools on the load of coal, which he was about starting out with - he had concluded not to work any longer that day in the bank.  During their confinement he tried to sell his tools to Pearson, remarking that he never intended digging any more coal.
     They were all, probably, somewhat delirious, at times, on awakening from sleep.  Savage once said with a fearful oath, to the others, who were all lamenting their deplorable condition: " - What's the use of fretting, we'll all get out after a while."  The others reproved him for calling upon God to damn them, when in all probability they would, in a very short time be beyond the reach of hope and mercy. - Savage did not swear afterward, but appeared more solemn and serious.  Edgell tasted once of the oil, but concluded not to drink of it, as he did not wish to live longer than the others and though hope did not entirely forsake him he dreadfully feared they would never be taken out.
[Page 25]


     MR. E. BALLOU: - Sir:  As one of the Medical Committee for attendance and observation at the Blue Rock disaster, I here give you the result of part of our experience. - Two objects claimed our especial attention - viz: Noxious gases in those banks and the physical and mental condition of the four unfortunate Miners.  In regard to the first, we look upon it as Carbonic Acid Gas, popularly known as "Fire Damps."  There seemed to be some singularity in the Laws which governed it in those Banks.  This gas having a greater lower stratum and be confined to the bottom of the entry.  In this case, however, it was different - resting in nests in different localities; sometimes at the bottom; at other times at the top, and occasionally along the sides or walls; this fact explains the reason why those brave miners were permitted to unceasingly toil day and night until they had snatched their comrades from a living sepulcher - and likewise accounts for the preservation from inevitable destruction, the lives of those who, for 15 consecutive days, were incarcerated within impenetrable walls, thickly surrounded with those noxious and life destroying pestilential gasses.  Copperas-water seemed to have been their principal beverage and no doubt contributed to their safety, as it consists chiefly of sulphhate of iron; iron being an important ingredient in our bodies and acting as an astringent preventing the waste of the body by arresting the excretions and secretions.  Lastly, the condition of the rescued men:  Their minds with one slight exception were unimpaired.  The pulse averaged about 40 to the minute, very thread-like, and denoting much prostration of the vital powers: feet and hands cold and a cadaverous appearance of the countenance.  It was astonishing to the physician to see the rapid recuperation of the vital powers, owing to the transition from poisonous caverns, to vitalizing, pure atmospheric air.  The pulse arose almost from this cause alone, from 40 to 50 in 6 hours.  The medical Treatment consisted in perfect quietude, ventilation, mucilage of elm one pound for the first 24 hours with a little new milk, gradually increasing in quality and quantity, as the system would bear.

A. LEWIS, M. D.                            

[Page 26]


     The Superintendent, on handing us the following names, said that there were hundreds of others who rendered good service, both by work and contributions of money and provisions, who are deserving of much praise; but he was unable to obtain their names.  In short, the one great object of the community, as large, appeared to be to save the lives of the sufferers; and this being done, the truly brave-hearted will remain satisfied, should their names not occur in print among the prominent aiders.  Still, we would have been glad to have had a full list of those who labored day and night.
     We do not feel disposed to give special prominence to any of this list of worthies, for we have no doubt from what we saw and heard of them, they all, or nearly so, were ready and willing to do all in their power for the rescue of the lost; and that neither danger nor expense were the least obstacle in their way.  We have already mentioned the names of Owens & Teter as among the most prominent actors - they threw their whole souls into the work, almost entirely regardless of every thing else.  William Edwards, of Roseville, will ever be remembered by those whose lives he labored to rescue.  Miniear, Morrison, Lyons, Teter, Alters and Weaver, were, we are told, among the most persevering diggers.
     Among the physicians who were present to lend their services, were Lewis, Edwards, Bailey, Brown, and Rusk.
     The sympathies of the ladies in the neighborhood were also enlisted, and most of them were ready to toil, day and night, without any hope or desire for recompense, further than to render any assistance they might in the one common object.
     We must not forbear to mention the name of George Bozwell, of Marietta, O., a boy 12 years of age.  On hearing of the disaster, and that the people about the mines were in need of help, he started out and raised $12.50, which he sent up to them by Capt. Jos. McVey, of the "John Buck."

     The names of those who acted a noble part in rescuing the entombed men, are as follows:


James Owens,
James Minier,
Thos. Grigsby,
Jacob Trimper,
Sol. Dozer,
John H. Teter,
Wm. Riley,
Joshua Frame,
C. Mautz,
Robt. Coleman,
David Walsh,
Jas. Riddle,
John Rush,
A. Morrison,
Edward McIntire,
William Rose,
Thos. Harvey,
George A. Miniear,
James Morrison,
Jos. T. Peden,
Geo. Lyons,
Geo. Welsh,
Jno. Swingle,
Jas. White,
G. W. Simmons,
H. Robinson,
J. M. Riley,
Thos. Rogers,
Wm. Rush,
John Hopper,
John Russell,
Uriah McGee,
Nicholas Prindle,
David Miller,
Cyrus Jackson,
J. P. Weaver,
George W. Teter,
B. Severance,
P. McLaughlin,
John Mautz,
E. Bell,
Geo. Ross,
Henry, Crow,
Jacob Durant,
J. Hamilton,
Wm. Swingle,
Allen Rush,
P. B. McLaughlin,
John Powell,
Moses Dozer,
Wm. Twyman,
Wesley Miller,
Eli Beard.
[Page 27]


John Alters,
Wm. Garnel,
H. Birch,
John Morgan,
Robert Masters,
Morgan Bates,
John Reynolds,
Wm. Clark,
L. Uphold,
L. Sines,
Jas. Beatty,
David Monlux,
F. Spinks,
John Alwood,
John Woodruff,
John Stockdale, Wm. Anderson,
David Ranney,
John Barnell,
H. Anderson.
David Brooks, Wm. Minea_.  
Wm. Edwards, Geo. Edwards.  
  James Longstreath  

Among those who worked on the Outside were:

John Baily,
M. Arment,
Wm. Hamilton,
Samuel Dozer,
Orrin Balou,
P. H. Sanders,
Kacpb Beard.
Sol. Dozer, Jr.,
Geo. Trout,
G. W. Larrison,
Samuel Walters,
I. Shetrone,
A. Souders,
David Patterson,
Wm. Allbright,
Jas. Larrison,
Eli Evelin,
Jacob Allbright,
Jer. Ross,
Hiram Price,
Adam Leffler,
John Sprankle,
Silas Harris,
A. Huff,
Abram Morrison,
I. Dennis,
Jacob T. Ballou,
Geo. Robinson,
I. Smallwood,
Jacob Foutz,
John McIntire,
Philip Young,
Geo. Leffler,
Geo. Freyman.

[Page 28]

Report of Financial Committee

To materials purchased carrying on the work, and damage done to other property appropriated to that use. $  558
To one hundred hands for Fourteen and a half days, at $1.50 per day;
                        Balance, $2,333

JACOB P. WEAVER,}                                                               
HENRY TETER,}                                                               
D. DEVOL.}                                                               
SAMUEL DOZER.}  Committee.                                           

[Page 29]


     The lower part of the cut shows a section of the River.  The white represents the Entries and Rooms where the coal had been taken out - the black spots the Pillars of coal that had been left standing.   

Fig. 1 - Mouth of Entrance where the miners went in.
Fig. 2 - Dip or Sink - commencement of the Break.
Fig. 3 - Place where the men were taken out.
Fig. 4 - Room where Pearson, Edgell and Savage came out on Entry or Switch.
Fig. 5 - Edgell's Room
Fig. 6 - Savage's Room.
Fig. 7 - Pearson's Room
Fig. 8 - Getwood's Room.
Fig. 9 - Room where the four men made their bed.
Fig. 10 - Air-Hole, at the bottom of which 40 feet from surface a large Fire was kept burning, to assist in getting fresh air into the workmen.
E - Place where Edgell's car was taken out.
O - Mouth of Old Entry which had been vacated for several years.
     The height of the Entrance and Rooms in this Bank is about four feet.  Height of Hill above Entrance about 250 feet.

[Page 30]


     Now, gentle reader, the facts of a very melancholy occurrence are spread out before you.  They are so deeply interesting and awfully true, they cannot but arrest your attention and cause you to reflect.  It is possible that one intelligent human being, possessing one element of the more refined principles of our being and sympathy can read the foregoing and not be deeply impressed with the awful reality that in the midst of life we are exposed to instant death?  Nor can we forbear to say, or suppress the thought, that in all this startling affair, there has evidently been every mark of the overruling providence of God.  However skeptical we may have heretofore been on this point - the providence of God general and special - this, as one among many evidences, must not fail of fully convincing us.  Who conjectured, thought, or even hoped, that they were at all alive!  Fourteen days and thirteen hours buried beneath the hill, in cold, damp ground, breathing impure air, without food!  Yet they were preserved from harm, and brought forth alive, - restored to families and friends.  This is almost miraculous.  It is providential; unparalleled in the annals of history.
     This teaches us that the same Ruler of all things, who presided over the fortunes of the ancient Israel, and provided for all their temporal and spiritual wants, is still the ruler of our nation, and supreme controller of all our individual fortunes, circumstances and events.  Of this, what better testimony could we desire, then the history of the eternal
[Page 31]
past, and stern development of the startling present?  It should increase our confidence in the Nation's Ruler; enhance an admiration of the great wisdom of the supreme Architect of the universe; cause us to bow reverentially to God's providence; and love and adore the Father of all mercies.
     Providential interferences, particularly such as the one we have before us, are not to be regarded lightly.  If we take them in their proper light and influence, they prove our salvation; but if we refuse the great moral lesson therein taught, they prove our destruction.  It is the same lightning or electricity which penetrates the air as it flashes from the distant cloud, and in grand rapidity descends to the earth, which purifies the air and thus gives us life and health, that brings to quick destruction the sturdy oak, and, without a moment's warning, destroys the lives of thousands, both of man and beast.  Nature and Providence, though sometimes divided in our study, are but one and the same chain, which develops Jehovah's creation and government.
     Notwithstanding the corruptions of the world, there is yet hope in humanity.  Although we may be betrayed in a thousand things and by many unfaithful and  faithless human beings, yet there are men good and true, - men in whose hands we may place our all without risk; men in whose fidelity and philanthropy we can place every confidence and feel full assurance.  This has been fully attested in the thrilling facts of the foregoing pages.  Are we in adversity, and on the verge of ruin and death, in such condition as to need the assistance of a friend who would endanger his own life to save ours?  In the case before us, that friend, surrounded by a host of such, is found.  This inspires us with lasting confidence in each other's fidelity.  To our well-being in society, this is all important.  Take away this confidence, this hope, and you will blight forever man's fairest prospects.
     What would be the condition of humanity, without this confidence, this hope?   Would not our race, even in all its enlightened advantages, present the appalling aspect of the rude, uncultivated savage?  Yes, even worse.  But our nature, uncorrupted, cherishes forever the beautiful rainbow of human sympathy.
     Were it possible to bring before the reader, by the pen or words, the solemn realities surrounding this disaster, and to make him feel what we felt, and see what we saw, as we surveyed the scene of distress, we know that all the sympathies of his being would be moved in upon; and if he could restrain the falling tear, he would have done something that no man
[Page 32]
did who visited Blue Rock and entered into the feelings of the occasion.  'Tis no mark of weakness to weep; tears are but the droppings, in this case, of a heart that can feel.  And what is man without feeling or sympathy for his fellows!
     It should rejoice our hearts to know that if we meet with misfortune, we are surrounded by those who are our friends in adversity, for such is a friend in deed.  Some, yea, many, of the miners forsook their homes, their families, and immediately repaired to the scene of distress.  They endangered their own lives, and labored day and night, not expecting ever to receive one cent of remuneration or reward for their time; prompted by no other motive than the rescue of these in distress.  What is such a man, or set of man, worth?  Ask not the question  answer not "a million."  Numbers in gold can never tell their worth.  They should be dear to us as life, and so should we be to them."
     To appreciate the worth of one such man, is but to impress his image upon ourselves, and make us, like him, true, faithful, sympathetic, heroic, great, and trustworthy.  Should not we reward such for their time; for themselves and families live at the sound of their picks, shovels and cars.  We who have the means, should esteem it our exalted privilege to reward their merit.
     We humbly trust, in taking our leave of the reader, we may be much profited.  We hope our hearts will be daily filled with gratitude to the great Preserver of our lives, and confidence in our fellows increased; - that our lives may be spent in obedience to our Preserver and the never changing laws of our being, and live in all fidelity and love to each other; - that our ultimate departure from the busy scenes of time may be peaceful and happy.

We the undersigned hereby certify that we have given to E. Ballou, of Malta, a correct account of our sufferings and feelings while confined in the Blue Rock coal mine, and that we have given such statement to no other person with the understanding that it was to be published in a book.  The Diagram given in this, the plot of which was drawn by Mr. Jas. Owens, one of the owners of the bank, is altogether the most correct one we have seen.


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