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C. F. & H. Mining Company
Mulcahy Mine Cave-in

Shullsburg, Lafayette County, Wisconsin
February 10, 1943
No. Killed - 8

Letter from R. G. Warncke  (208 Kb)  PDF Format

Rescuer Deaths

Eight men were killed in the worst mine accident in the long history of the Platteville lead-zinc mining district when the back of a low slope in the C. F. & H. Mine collapsed, burying the men.

Two of the victims were buried in an initial collapse, which occurred while they were preparing to shoot down a section of the rock suspected of being weak.  Six others were buried in a second cave-in, which occurred while they were attempting to dig out the bodies of the first two men.

Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I

Mine Cave-in Kills 8 Men
Racine Journal Times, Wisconsin
February 10, 1943

Shullsburg, Wis. -- (AP) -- Eight miners were killed Tuesday and two others were seriously injured in the worst Wisconsin mine disaster on record.

Dead were two Mulcahy mine workers who were trapped at the 60 foot level while they were repairing shoring, and six of eight would-be rescuers from the nearby Gill diggings who plunged into the collapsed tunnel and were themselves caught in a second collapse.

A coroner's jury was impaneled by Coroner Gordon Roselip at the shaft, and after hearing testimony of six witnesses questioned by District Attorney Ervin Johnson found the tragedy an unavoidable accident.

Sheriff Homer L. Curry said the first two men trapped had been repairing shoring on the first run, 60 feet below the surface, when ceiling beams gave way.

From the position of the bodies, Sheriff Curry said, rescue crews had nearly reached their objective when another section of the tunnel caved.

Laverne Kittoe and Cecil Ingraham, both of Shullsburg, were injured in the second collapse but managed to make their way out of the tunnel.

Shullsburg, in the heart of the lead and zinc mining district that extends south to Galena, Ill., has been booming since the war began.

Mines in the district, slowed since World War I with many of them closed since the depression, are operating on 24-hour schedules to fill war needs.

A full shift was at work in the Mulcahy digging when the first collapse came, but only the first two victims, William Rooney of Shullsburg and John Stevenson of Benton, were on the first level.

The other dead are:
  • Maynard Howell, Platteville
  • Russell Sarey, Shullsburg
  • Walter Mauthe, Elk Grove
  • Nelson Jones, Mineral Point
  • Joseph Griffin, Benton
  • Romo Lusiana, Darlington
Identification was difficult, Sheriff Curry said, and took several hours.  The bodies were taken to mortuaries in Shullsburg, Platteville, Galena and Cuba City.

Soon after the second collapse had trapped the Gill mine rescuers, men began to arrive from other workings and began the task of digging out the upper level.

The first bodies were found together in mid-afternoon, and a few hours later those of Rooney and Stevenson.

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