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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
W. T. TALLEY, Vice Prest.
SAM'L ROBERTS.} Secretaries.
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.
Messrs. 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
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.
they know not how far. It is evident that Edgell had
started out, and gone back, and that the balance has fallen since
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
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
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
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.
ONE O'CLOCK: - JOYFUL NEWS. - THE LOST FOUND! -
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.
THEIR OWN STORY.
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.
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."
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A. LEWIS, M. D.
THE ROLL OF HONOR.
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:
FROM ABOUT BLUE ROCK.
John H. Teter,
|George A. Miniear,
Jos. T. Peden,
G. W. Simmons,
J. M. Riley,
|J. P. Weaver,
George W. Teter,
P. B. McLaughlin,
||FROM SUNDAY CREEK.
Among those who
worked on the Outside were:
P. H. Sanders,
Sol. Dozer, Jr.,
G. W. Larrison,
Jacob T. Ballou,
Report of Financial Committee
|To materials purchased
carrying on the work, and damage done to other property
appropriated to that use.
|To one hundred hands for
Fourteen and a half days, at $1.50 per day;
JACOB P. WEAVER,}
SAMUEL DOZER.} Committee.
EXPLANATION OF DIAGRAM.
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
|Fig. 2 -
||Dip or Sink - commencement of the
|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 -
|Fig. 6 -
|Fig. 7 -
|Fig. 8 -
|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.
||Place where Edgell's car was
||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.
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
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
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
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.