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Maule and Son Coal Company
Oswald Mine Explosion

Princeton, Gibson County, Indiana
December 26, 1896
No. Killed - 7

See also: Oswald Mine Explosion, Mar. 22, 1905

Miners Lose Their Lives
The New York Times, New York
December 27, 1896

Princeton, Ind., Dec. 26. -- A terrific mine explosion occurred in the coal mine of Maule and Son, a mile from this city, at 2:30 o'clock this afternoon.

Sixteen men were in the mine at the time of the accident, and up to 10 o'clock tonight seven had been taken out dead, and five injured.

Four men are still under ground, and there is no hope for them, as rescue cannot be attempted until the mine is sufficiently cleared of gas and damp to enable men to go down with safety.

Fifteen of sixteen men, after a lay-off of one day for Christmas, went down in the main mine this morning to assist in cleaning up the debris of a small explosion which occurred last Sunday morning.  It is just one year since coal was discovered here, and the mine has been in operation less than nine months.  It is believed the mine was not sufficiently provided with circulating fans to remove the foul air, and from this cause the explosion occurred.

The injured are in such condition that they cannot explain the explosion.  When the disaster was made known the mine officials sent word to every man in their employ, and in a short time had them at the shaft ready to descend, but their efforts were balked by the great clouds of gas which greeted them.

The big fan was immediately put to work, and has been running for several hours drawing the gas from under the ground, but enough headway has not been made to allow the men to descend.

The force of the explosion was terrible, as the five men identified are in a horrible condition.  One has a head crushed.  In two other cases, limbs were blown from the bodies, and they were mangled in other ways.

The dead brought to the surface were taken to Undertaker Smith's morgue, where Coroner Norman is now in charge holding inquests.  The mine officials are doing everything in their power to reach those underground.  The State Mine Inspector is expected to arrive tomorrow morning, and an investigation will follow.

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