Lost Limbs Foundation

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Avondale Mine Disaster


September 6, 1869

Monday morning, September 6th, 1869, the entire coal mining region of Pennsylvania, and in fact, the whole country, was startled by the telegraphic announcement that the coal breaker head house and other buildings over the shaft of the Avondale mine (formerly known as Steuben), situated in the Wyoming Valley, one mine below Plymouth, were on fire, and that "two hundred and two" human beings were thereby confined in the recesses of the mine, with little prospect of ever again seeing the light of day. One hundred and nine victims were originally from Wales.
The first relief corps which went down brought back with it the body of Mr. John Bowen, of Plymouth, formerly of Providence. He was thirty one years of age, and left a wife and one child. One eye was open, but otherwise his countenance seemed at rest and as though he had died without a struggle. The body was brought out of the tunnel on a bier, which...
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