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Choctaw Coal Company
Choctaw Mine Explosion

Alderson, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma
March 13, 1893
No. Killed - 9

Nine Killed in Mine Explosion
Logansport Pharos, Indiana
March 15, 1893

McAlester, I. T., March 15. -- There was an explosion in mine No. 1 at Anderson Monday night, caused by a windy shot fired by some person unknown.  There were only eighteen men in the mine at the time, all of whom were firing shots at the time.  Of these, nine were killed outright and eight so badly burned that they will probably die.  The excitement is so intense that is almost impossible to ascertain the names of the dead and injured.

The dead who have already been taken from the mine are:
  • John McFadden
  • John E. Scanlan
  • W. E. Warren
  • Ernst Matthews
  • Warren Love
  • Jules Triocori
The mine is owned and operated by the Choctaw Coal Company and is considered one of the best in their possession.  A windy shot, which caused the explosion, is the blast which is set by the miners during the day and shot by men whose duty it is when all the day men are out of the mine.

A dull, muffled, rumbling and trembling like an earthquake gave warning to the engineer at the mouth of shaft that the deadly fire damp had caused an explosion in the mine.  He sounded the alarm and as soon as possible a rescuing party was lowered in the cage.  A pitiable sight met their eyes when they reached the bottom.  In the main level lay the bodies of eight miners mangled and torn and in one side level were nine dead men who had been instantly killed by the explosion.  Of the eighteen miners who were working on the shift, all but one was left unhurt and he told the story of the explosion.

The injured men were taken to the top and cared for as well as possible and the work of recovering the dead bodies was begun.  Some of them were so terribly mangled that recognition was almost impossible.

Those injured were:
  • John Baltigh
  • W. P. Rice
  • Herman Rhody
  • Nathan Covalla
  • Jasper Patten
  • Andrew Coleman
  • Peter Cody
The mine is owned and operated by the Choctaw Coal Company on the line of the Choctaw Coal and Railroad Company and was located by Edwin D. Chadwick in 1885 and opened in May, 1889, and has been in operation since.  It is considered the best of the lot of shafts run by the company.

The company's surgeons, who were kept busy all day caring for wounded, state that they do not anticipate any more deaths, though the condition of several of the victims who have come here within the past year from Indiana and Pennsylvania is very critical.

Burns, one of the victims, entered the mine for the first time Monday night.  Scanlon and Love had evidently made every effort to escape, having crawled some distance, the former having buried his face in a pool of water.  Had the accident occurred at any other hour of the twenty-four, the loss of life would have been terrible, as 400 men are employed there during the day.  The damage to the mining property was very light.

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