Mine Safety Training Repository
united states mine rescue association
Mine Disasters in the United States

Tank's Poetry

Father Time
See more disasters
from this year
Calendar Image
Mine Disaster Calendar

Haverstraw Clay Pit Landslide

Haverstraw, Rockland County, New York
January 10, 1906
No. Killed - 19

Note: This disaster is not included on the CDC/NIOSH mine disaster list, nor is it found in the MSHA Fatality Archive Database.  The number killed is taken from the additional resources links below.

Additional Resources and News:

Rescuer Deaths

After a house was toppled into a pit cut by clay diggers in Haverstraw, NY, five men went to the rescue to aid their neighbors.  After the first house fell, twelve other houses went crashing over the precipice.  The wreckage quickly caught fire, and those who were in the mass were either crushed or burned to death.  Nineteen persons were killed.

17 Engulfed, Thirteen Houses Crumble When a Clay Pit Caves in at Haverstraw, NY
Logansport Pharos, Indiana
January 10, 1906

Haverstraw, N.Y., Jan. 10. -- Seventeen persons are missing and are believed to have gone to their death when thirteen houses on Rockland Street in Haverstraw toppled over into a pit sixty feet deep which had been cut by clay diggers in connection with the brick-making industry here.  Twelve of the persons missing were occupants of the fallen houses; five were among the rescuers who went to the aid of neighbors after the first house fell, and were carried down when the twelve other houses went crashing over the precipice.  The wreckage quickly caught fire, and those who were in the mass were either crushed or burned to death.

There is grave fear of another cave-in along the same street, and the occupants of seven or eight houses have moved away.  Others kept an all night vigil, ready to alarm their neighbors in case of impending danger.

The missing, all of whom are almost certainly dead, are as follows:
  • Harris Nelson, merchant
  • Benjamin Nelson, his son
  • Mrs. Silverman and a young son
  • Charles Cohen and wife
  • P. Mannim and wife
  • John B. Beauchamp
  • A. Provitch and daughter
  • Abraham Dias
  • Joseph Albert
  • John McMurray
  • Bartley McGovern
  • Mrs. Joseph Dalley
  • Rev. M. Alden, a Jewish rabbi
The last five names are those of rescuers, who lost their lives.

The landslide was caused by the falling in of the bank under which the excavators of the brick manufacturers had been working for a number of years.  The ground began cracking and showing seams at noon Monday, and some of the occupants of houses along the brink took warning and left.  Others believed that nothing serious would happen and remained.  When the breakage occurred one house toppled over into the pit with all who were living within its walls.  The other occupants of the houses prepared to leave their homes in the face of a blinding snow storm.

Numbers of people who lived nearby rushed to their aid and were assisting them in getting out when twelve more houses went down, carrying with them not only the families who occupied them, but also several of those who had gone to their assistance.  Overturned stoves set fire to the buildings, and firemen came from miles around, but when the landslide occurred it broke the water main, thus cutting off the entire supply.

James Sammie, who lived along the edge of the pit, did not get out of his house until it had settled eight feet.  All the rest of his family escaped, but his wife, and she went down with the building.  Sammie obtained ropes and went down after his wife, bringing her up with the aid of two men.  Her leg was broken in the fall, but she suffered no other injury.

See more about these products