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Mine Disasters in the United States


Langdon-Heshey Coal Mining Company
Cumnock Mine Explosion

Cumnock, Lee County, North Carolina
May 23, 1900
No. Killed 23



See also:   Cumnock Mine Explosion - Dec. 19, 1895

From the Google News Archives:  External Link
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Successful Rescue

The accident was in what was known as the east heading.  Between forty and fifty men were in the mine at the time.  Five were brought out alive from the east heading after an undisclosed period, while none of the men in the other parts of the mine were injured.


(From the News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, May 23, 24, 26, 1900)

At 4:30 in the afternoon an explosion in the east heading of the mine cost the lives of 22 miners and the superintendent.  The explosion is thought to have been caused by a broken gauze in a safety lamp.  Between 40 and 50 men were in the mine at the time.

Five were brought out alive from the east heading, while none of the men in the other parts of the mine were injured.  All the bodies were horribly burned, and they were recovered during the night as the mine was not damaged very much.  A survivor, brought up from the east heading and resuscitated, said he heard a report like a dynamite shot and the next instant the firedamp exploded.

The superintendent, who came from Pennsylvania 2 years before, was in the east heading and was killed.  Twenty men were killed outright, and 3 others died after being rescued.  It was thought that the gas accumulated and that one of the flame safety lamps with which the men worked became overheated or was hit, breaking the glass and gauze.

Coal was mined by pick and blasted by battery.  Dynamite was used because it will not explode gas.  Pennsylvania men own the property; extensive improvements were made since the explosion in December 1895, and the mines had been thought safe.


The Cumnock Mine Disaster
Galveston Daily News, Texas
May 23, 1900

Raleigh, N.C., May 23, -- Twenty-two miners, ten white men and twelve negroes, lost their lives in an explosion at Cumnock Coal Mines, Chatham County, North Carolina, yesterday afternoon.  The explosion occurred at 4:30 o'clock, and it is supposed to have been caused by a broken gauze in a safety lamp.  The accident was in what is known as the east heading.  Between forty and fifty men were in the mine at the time.  Five were brought out alive from the east heading, while none of the men in the other parts of the mine were injured.

The names of the dead follow:
Whites:
  • John Connelly, Mine Superintendent
  • Joe Glass
  • William Tyson
  • James McCarthy
  • John Hankey
  • Wesley Clegg
  • John Willett
  • John Gatewood
  • Robert Gatewood
  • Charles Wesley
Colored:
  • Slim McIntyre
  • Dan Goldstone
  • Joe Fagan
  • Will Reeves
  • Robert Reeves
  • Allie Bynuni
  • Joe Taylor
  • Jim Maks
  • John Lee Palmer
  • Jim Palmer
  • Peter Palmer
  • John Hubbard
About fifty people from Seaford, a town six miles from the mine, when the news of the disaster was received, went to assist in the work of rescuing the dead and attending to the injured.

Within an hour after the explosion the work of rescue began, and by night all the bodies, except one, that of Slim McIntyre, had been brought to the top.

John Connelly the Mine Superintendent, leaves a wife and three small children

This is the second explosion this mine has had within the past five years the former one having occurred on December, 28, 1895, when forty-three men lost their lives.

The bodies were prepared for burial last night, and the funeral took place today.



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