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Avondale Mine Disaster Memorial

Steuben Coal Company
Avondale Colliery
Steuben Shaft Mine Fire

Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
September 6, 1869
No. Killed - 110

Accident Investigation Report  (13.4 Mb)  PDF Format
(Includes correspondence and news articles)
Coroner's Accounting of the Deceased  (1.8 Mb)  PDF Format
Avondale Colliery Disaster Marker
Avondale Honor Roll Marker
Location: 41° 24.93′ N, 75° 41.514′ W.
Marker is in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in Lackawanna County.  Marker is at the intersection of Washburn Street and Morris Avenue, on the left when traveling west on Washburn Street.  Marker is at or near this postal address: Washburn Street Cemetery Entrance, Scranton PA 18504
Photographed by William Fischer, Jr.
Source: Historic Marker Database

The Avondale mine property was leased by Mr. J. C. Phelps, of Wilkes-Barre, June 13, 1863, of William C. Reynolds, Henderson Gaylord, and others.  In January, 1866, Mr. Phelps assigned it to the Steuben Coal company, which was subsequently merged with the Nanticoke Coal and Iron company, who built the destroyed works.

Rescuer Deaths

Thomas W. Williams of Plymouth and David Jones of Grand Tunnel, entered what subsequently proved to them the pit of death.

After reaching the bottom of the shaft they made signals for pick and shovel to be sent to them.  Accordingly the bucket was hoisted and the tools were put in and sent to them.  After waiting some time, and hearing nothing from the men, the bucket was again raised and two fresh men went down to search for them.

Both Williams and Jones were lying insensible.  The body of Williams was immediately sent up with the men who went down, only Jones remaining.  After long continued efforts to resuscitate Williams, the melancholy truth had to be accepted that his life had been given in sacrifice for the dead, and that another victim was added to the fearful disaster.

Another party now descended for Jones, one of whom had been down previously.  They had not gone far before this man prostrated, and his companion, as hurriedly as possible, carried him back to the bucket and both were quickly drawn up.

It was a work of some to resuscitate him, but it was finally accomplished.  Thomas L. Williams now went down, found the body of Jones, and drew it to the bottom of the shaft, but was too much overcome to remain longer.  He was drawn up, and John W. and Isaac Thomas went down for a final effort to recover the body of the unfortunate Jones.  This they accomplished with difficulty, finding the air fouler every moment.

Two brave men had now perished, willing martyrs in their efforts to gain some tidings of their buried brothers.

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