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Lykens Valley Coal Company
Short Mountain Mine Explosion

Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania
May 3, 1880
No. Killed - 5

Report of the Inspector of Mines  (2.1 Mb)  PDF Format
News articles from the period  (1.6 Mb)  PDF Format

Intense Excitement in the Lykens Valley over a Coal Mine Explosion
Dubuque Herald, Iowa
May 6, 1880

Lykens, Pa., May 5. -- Intense excitement exists in the Lykens valley coal region over a terrible explosion of gas today at the Short Mountain Mine, operated by the Lykens Valley Coal Company, which resulted in the instant death of three men, and fatal injury of the others.

The names of the men killed are:
  • George West, 38, who leaves a wife and six children
  • Simon Kneilly, 30, wife and three children
  • Michael Douglass, 40, wife and two children
  • Thomas Evans, 21, a wife, but no family
  • Robert Thomas, 34, wife and four children
The cause of the explosion is unknown at present, but is supposed to have been the carelessness of one of the miners in preparing a blast, and the men advancing into the breast with naked lamps.  The bodies of the men presented a sickening sight when brought to the surface from the mines, their flesh being partly roasted, the faces unrecognizable, and the clothing being literally torn from their bodies.

When the news of the accident was brought up from the pit, great crowds of the friends and families of the killed miners gathered around the mouth, weeping, and anxious to hear the full extent of the disaster.

The men who were at work in the adjoining breasts in the colliery were unable to give any information as to the cause of the accident, and at this time this information cannot be had.

This explosion is the most disastrous that has occurred in the Lykens region for many years and the desolation caused is the all absorbing topic of conversation in the region.

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