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Delaware and Hudson Coal Company
Delaware-Hudson Mine Roof Fall

Carbondale, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
January 12, 1846
No. Killed - 14

Accident Description and News Accounts

Successful Rescue

Following a massive roof fall in the Delaware-Hudson Mine, John Hosey clambered his way through the damaged mine and managed to get out after being confined in the mine for 48 hours.  He was not seriously injured, except that his hands were lacerated from working his way through the rocks and slate.

The Accident at Carbondale
Milwaukee Daily Sentinel and Gazette, Wisconsin
February 5, 1846

We have some further details relative to the accident in the coal mines at Carbondale, of which we gave a short account on Wednesday.  The Wayne County Herald, published in the immediate vicinity, says:

On Monday an immense mass of slate, about seven acres in extent, fell from the roof of one of the mines of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company, at Carbondale, upon the workmen below.

The spot where the slate fell, was a mile from the mouth of the mine.  Three persons were taken out seriously injured, one of whom, a boy, died soon after the accident.  Of the others, hopes are entertained of their recovery.

The boy who died was riding a horse at the time of the accident, and is supposed to have been pulled by the force of the air rushing toward the mouth of the mine -- the horse was also killed.  The other persons who were taken out were also injured by the rushing of the air.

About one hundred and fifty men who were at work mining, some distance from the place of the accident, escaped -- but horrible to relate, fifteen persons, who were at work propping up the mines, were either crushed instantly or are walled in without any hope of becoming rescued, as it will take weeks to remove the immense mass of slate which has fallen in; and yet, if alive, will be compelled to die one of the most horrible of all deaths -- that of starvation.  We have been furnished with the names of the missing persons -- four of whom have families.

The deceased:
  • Anthony Welsh
  • Mark Brennon
  • William Choes
  • Patrick Mitchell
  • Patrick Leonard
  • Henry Moore
  • James McGath
  • Michael Falin
  • Henry Derney
  • John Farrell
  • Patrick Walker
  • Peter Crawley
  • Benjamin Williams
  • and a son of Brennon
We are informed upon good authority, that this accident will not retard the operations of the company.

One of the fifteen above mentioned, however, has been fortunate enough to escape uninjured, after an incarceration of forty eight hours.  Mr. John Hosey, the one alluded to, was formerly a resident of New York, and has been for some time an overseer in the mines.  The following letter, copied from the Courier & Enquirer, details the method by which he escaped:

Carbondale, Jan. 14, 1846.

Mr. John Hosey came out of the mines this morning, not having received serious injury, except that he has cut and lacerated his hands by working his way through the rocks and slate during forty-eight hours.

There appears to be from 12 to 15 acres of the roof to have settled down by crushing the pillars and props.  It is but one mile from the mouth or entrance and cross Nos. 1 and 2 roads.  Some rock have fallen into No. 3, but to no great extent.

Mr. Hosey says he was in No. 2, and the crash came instantly.  The roof came down upon him, and closed up within three feet, resting upon the crushed pillars.  He remained quiet and pent up in the dark until the roof had done settling.  He then worked his way by moving the lose coals, until he got to the heading of chamber No. 2.  He then found a spring that had been let in by the breaking of the roof, where he got water to drink.

He then worked his way through the chamber to the head of No. 1 road, and found it closed, and also the air shaft at that place.  He then crept back to the place where he was first caught, so as to be found on the main road, if he could not get out.

After considering the locality of the other roads, he made the attempt to work his way through the column to No. 3, and persevered until he got through into that road, and then got out without difficulty.

Mr. Hosey has not seen or heard of any of the fourteen men that are now missing.  He was alone.  He says those men were near the place No. 1, and are shut in, either dead or alive, at the head of that place.

Energetic efforts are being made to reach them, but it is not probable they can be got out alive.  They were laborers, engaged in heaping, and not acquainted with the means of getting out like the miners, even if they could move at all.  Mr. Hosey owes his escape solely to his cool and deliberate judgement, and to his knowledge of the interior of the mines.

The rush of air was so great out of No. 1, that the wagons were broken to fragments -- the wheels and axles even were crushed by being dashed against the pillars and along the road.

About one third of the daily supply of coal came from these two roads.  We cannot tell whether the accident will effect the quantity of coal contemplated for this year.  We hope to resume work by the 1st of March.

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