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Princeton Coal and Mining Company
Oswald Mine Explosion

Princeton, Gibson County, Indiana
March 22, 1905
No. Killed - 9

See also: Oswald Mine Explosion, Dec. 26, 1896

Mine Horror in Indiana
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Indiana
March 23, 1905

Princeton, Ind., March 22. -- Six miners dead and four injured, two probably fatally, is the result of an explosion in the mine of the Princeton Coal and Mining Company this afternoon.

The dead are:
  • Hudson Weatherly, 30
  • Edmond Geiser, 23
  • Albert Geiser, 21
  • Harry Taggert, 46
  • William Biggs, 38
  • George Dill, 46
The injured are:
  • John Dill, son of George Dill, 20, single; seriously burned and will probably die
  • William Jones, 58, married; seriously burned and will probably die
  • Joseph Ward, 47, married; will recover
  • General Cole, 37, married; will recover
Of the dead all but Dill were dead when found in the mine.  Their bodies were rescued two hours after the explosion, the delay being caused by the inability of the rescuers to combat the after-damp.  The five injured, including George Dill, who later died, were brought to the surface thirty minutes after the explosion.  They were heaped together in an unconscious state.

The cause of the disaster is not known, save that it resulted from a powder explosion.  The miners were making their blasts previous to leaving the mine and the greater part of the miners had ascended.  Whether it was a premature shot or an overcharge is not known now, nor is it known who fired the shot.

The news reached this city about 4 o'clock, and within a short time fifty women, relatives of the miners, surrounded the mouth of the shaft and anxiously awaited each ascension of the cage.  The miners worked heroically and a number of them were overcome by the foul air which filled the mine.  The explosion wrecked a portion of the mine and the supporting timbers were hurled in every direction.  The supports gone, the slate roof gave way in many places and the rescuers were in constant danger from this source.  The first intimation that an explosion had occurred was the action of the cage rope, which was ascending.

The engineer noted a relaxation of the hoisting rope, indicating a force from below.  The bodies of the six dead men were removed to the city morgue and the injured were taken to their homes.  The injured were attended to by every physician in the city who could be notified to go to the mine.  This is the second serious disaster for this mine, operated and owned by the Princeton Coal and Mining Company.

Nine years ago an explosion in the mine killed seven.  The mine was then the property of the Maule Coal Company.  The city is in gloom as a result of the disaster.

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