29 January 2014

Workday Wednesday: Coal Miners

Many immigrants came over and worked hard labor in coal mines. These men entered the depth of the earth, deep away from any glimmer of sunlight, every day. Many of these men performed this work for years. On 5 June 1919, many of those men, who sought only for a better life for their Wilkes Barre area families, many did not return home that day.

Ninety-two men were killed and many more injured that day in an explosion in the Baltimore tunnel of the Delaware and Hudson Coal Company. That incident has become known as the Baltimore Mine Tunnel Disaster. The men were riding a trip of mine cars down to the mine to begin work. The last car contained 12 kegs of blasting powder that they would need for their work. The cars were modern for that time and traveled on a trolley track of sorts. The trolley wire snapped and the sparks set off the kegs of blasting powder, according to a 12 June 1919 article in The Weekly Courier.

"Baltimore Tunnel 2 Mine Disaster - Wilkes Barre, PA," Katherine Nester Owens Genealogy. http://www.kathleennestorowens.com/baltimore-tunnel-2-mine-disaster-1919.html

Baltimore Tunnel 2 Mine Disaster. United States Mine Rescue Association. http://www.usmra.com/saxsewell/Baltimore_tunnel.htm

Department of Interior Bureau of Mines Report on Black Blasting Powder Explosion, Baltimore Tunnel No. 2 Mine, Delaware & Hudson Coal Company Wilkes Barre, PA 5 June 1919. Report dated 22 October 1919. http://www.usmra.com/saxsewell/06-05-1919_Baltimore_Tunnel.pdf 
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.