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Bravery Among the Boys

The instances of bravery among the boys employed in the mines are remarkable for their number. Young James Naylor was at a door at the Number Six raise in Number One, when a gust of wind, as he supposed, blew it open. He promptly closed it, but the usual performance was repeated. For the third time he shut and braced his shoulder against it, but then came the terrible blast, and he was carried over two cars and landed in the tunnel ditch. He got up, thinking an explosion had occurred in the air shaft, or else there was an earthquake. He felt that he had remained at his post long enough at any rate, and he made his way through the dark tunnel and out into the open, a distance of 3,000 feet. He was unhurt.

Phil. Thomas

Phil. Thomas came in from Spanish Fork, Friday afternoon, looking for dead relatives. He walked up and down the street making inquiries for them; searched the meeting house and school house for them without result, and had concluded that they were still in the mine, when he heard that they, the four Thomas's, his brothers and nephews, had been buried while he was around town in search of them.

One of the six Evans brothers (two of whom are killed) was at work on the face of the new branch of Number One, which spurs off to the right of the tunnel about 1,500 feet. ''First I heard a terrible roar," he says, "lasting all of two minutes, and I suspected an earthquake. I called to Owen Rowe, who was working with me, and we run out in time, but my ears are affected so that I can scarcely hear."

The Evans brothers are all professional musicians, and natives of Wales. They have taken prizes at all musical events in this locality, and have the best orchestra.

A telegram came from the Argenta lodge, Masonic, of Salt Lake. It was worded briefly, but told volumes. It said: "What can Argenta lodge do for William Parmley or family?" There were others of like importance from all sections of the country. Parmley was a foreman in one of the mines, and his body was recovered yesterday.

Lodges in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and other States have sent messages of like kind by the hundreds.

Chief Clerk Nelson, of the Coal Company, and manager of the four stores of the Wasatch Store Co., today had messages from Armour & Co., Swift Packing Company, and others, asking if their products would be acceptable. As yet there is no organization for the disposition of these things, but later they will be taken, for distress will undoubtedly increase.

John L. Wilson

Jack Wilson, the Scofield miner who was blown from the mouth of the mine by the explosion and thrown, it is said, eight I hundred twenty feet by actual measurement, will be the first man out of the hospital of all the unfortunates who escaped with their lives from the fearful accident. With others of the injured, Mr. Wilson was brought to Salt Lake and placed in St, Marks hospital for care and medical attendance. His skull was fractured and a hole was torn in his side that made it seem impossible at first to save his life, to say nothing of the terrible shock caused by the explosion. In spite of all this he was up yesterday and the attendants affirm that he will be the first out of all those who ; were brought here for attention. Mr. Wilson was rational yesterday for the first time, but he has no recollection whatever of the accident. From the time of the explosion till his reason returned yesterday his mind was an absolute blank. While he will soon be out of the care of the doctors and will be in a condition to be discharged from the hospital if he gets no backset, he will never be able to do hard manual labor again. His injuries are of such a nature as to render him unfit forever for hard work.


Evan Williams and James Naylor, two boys who escaped

A Ministering Angel, At Work

By some chance Miss Daisy Haroon, the professional nurse from Salt Lake, happened to be in Scofield at the time of the explosion, having come down to assist the local physician in some case. Today ever woman in Scofield thinks gratefully of how Miss Haroon has worked incessantly in the stricken families since the great disaster and has carried to them comfort as well as healing. There are so few who are not overcome with personal sorrows that Miss Haroon's labor has been unceasing and her strength severely taxed. She has truly been a ministering angel in these dark and trying hours.

William Clark's Heroic Sacrifice

What could be more pathetic; and tragic as well; than the death of young Will Clark? He was an employee of the company working outside, and with hundreds of others rushed to the mouth of the tunnel. His father and brother were both inside, and, wild with grief, he joined the first party of rescuers. When the word to enter was given, he dashed recklessly ahead to commence the search for his dear ones, when the lurking damp enveloped him as in a winding sheet and he was dead before aid could reach him. Three men were found by the rescuers near the mouth of the tunnel alive, but unconscious. They were hurried outside and it was hoped all were saved.

This afternoon six of as fine horses as are to be seen in the whole state of Utah came rushing out of the tunnel of Number One, and the mystery of their being alive is one that puzzles everyone connected with the mine. They had their harness and trappings peculiar to mine horses intact, and there was not a scar or scratch on one of them. They were turned down the hill and cavorted away in the direction of the stable as if just off for a feed. But there was not a man alive to tell at what point in the mine they had been stationed last.

Willie Davis' Heroism

Here was one of the most pathetic stories of that fatal May Day. A lad by the name of William Davis started for the mouth of the tunnel, covering his mouth with his cap, but seeing a miner in distress, the little hero removed his cap to use both hands to assist the man to rise. By doing so he was caught by the fatal afterdamp, and both shared the same fate. When found the two were together, with the boy's arms locked around the man's waist, showing that the lad had attempted to rescue his elder.

Thomas Pugh

Tom Pugh, fifteen years old, did not lose his head in the terrible hour. When he heard the detonation he seized his hat in his teeth and kept his nostrils covered while he ran through the tunnel. He was in as far as the fifth raise which is about a mile and a half from the entrance, but he reached the outside in safety while his father, with whom he was working, perished. The boy fainted on reaching the end of his long run. The remarkable part of it is that he had no light.

William McIntosh, Bookkeeper For Wasatch Stoke Co.

The esteem in which "Billy" McIntosh is held was demonstrated when a rumor gained credence that he was in Number Four. This was at the very beginning, when to go in was almost certain death. One of the men who heard the words, "Mc is in there," threw off his coat in the twinkling of an eye. "Then I'll go in and bring him out," he said. He would have kept his word, too, had not the supposed victim at that moment appeared. He was over at the stable, several rods away, and had been missed.

Here is a sample of hundreds of telegrams that have poured in from all over the country: "Andrew Smith: Answer quick if you are alive." There was usually no answer, but in this case, Andrew Smith was alive.

Zeph Thomas, of Logan, was on his way here to visit his brother, Joseph, Tuesday evening. He had heard rumors at Salt Lake of an accident, but nobody at that time knew anything of its extent. His horror upon going to the Thomas home and finding an anguish stricken widow and children, was intensified when he learned that both his brothers and two nephews had perished.

Escape Of Thomas Bell

The rescue of Thomas Bell was singular. He was a long distance back in the mine, waiting for a car to come along. His partner, Thomas Farrish, remarked: "You might as well go on and walk out; that car isn't coming for half an hour." Bell did walk out, and had gone half way down the hill when the catastrophe came. Less than two hours later he was bringing out the corpse of the man who had, though indirectly, saved him from an awful death.

Abercarn Horror

"I went through the Abercarn horror in Wales in 1882, when 240 were killed. It was a gas explosion in a coal mine, but the scenes were tame compared with these," was the statement of one of the Evans brothers, as he gazed on the mangled bodies in the boarding house.

Robert Forrester Becomes, Affected By The After-damp

Former Mine Inspector Forrester had a very close call. He was found near the mouth of the tunnel, having just gone in, and was quickly rescued. As soon as he recovered, he went right back in the mine to aid the relief party and was again brought out in an unconscious condition. He was carried to his room, and upon recovering once more, returned to aid in directing the work.

Superintendent Parmley headed one rescuing party. He was the first one in the mine and the last one to leave it. His brother, Foreman William Parmley, perished in Number Four.

Besides the miners, a number of horses used in the tunnel were killed. They were found with their noses against the ground.

John Beddoes, the engineer at Number Four, had a narrow escape. He had just stepped outside to lift on a car when the explosion occurred. He escaped with a few slight scratches.

Nearly all of the bereaved families are facing hard problems. Take that of Mrs. Davis, for instance. Her husband, John T. Davis, and her two sons, aged 19 and 21, respectively, were killed. That leaves the widow with eight children to care for. This is only one instance of a great many similarly situated.

It would be a work of mercy if a few energetic, sympathetic men and women would take hold of this urgent work. The women who have come in from outside have been a Godsend to the half frantic, utterly dazed widows. Just one case will show what I mean: Mrs. William "White and Miss Elizabeth Silverwood came from Salt Lake this afternoon. Tonight they are in a widow's home making such needed clothing for her orphaned babies and comforting the mother as only women can comfort bereaved womanhood. The fact that whole families of little ones are suffering for food, not because the food is lacking, but because their mothers are too much burdened with grief to think of domestic cares, tells the story of the disorganization of the community. Two little girls, one 7, the other 9, followed one of the Herald staff to a hotel today and got some warm food. When their guide asked them what they had had to eat for the past three days, they answered: '"Crackers, from the store." A dozen strong, motherly women who know how to cuddle children and soothe grief, would be worth more to this camp tonight than any $10,000 that could be subscribed.

Eph Rowe's Experience

The story of the experiences of Ephraim Rowe, of Spanish Fork, is of unusual interest even here at this time. Young Rowe was a driver in the mine, and was working in the sixth raise of mine Number One. He says: "I never heard a sound. I was stooping over and putting in sprags. The first thing I knew my horse fell over and I felt the gust of wind. I went with the wind along the raise for a distance of fully 300 feet. I was not overcome yet, but crawled along and shouted back to Sam Wycherly, who I knew was following me in the dark. He shouted that Roger Davis was under the trip. I replied that we had better get out, and we went fully 1,200 feet on our hands and knees, and came to another trip at the bottom of the raise. I got out into the main entry where I got fresh air. It occurred to me to go back for my uncle, Owen Rowe, whom it now appears, was on the main entry hunting me. My uncle was working beyond the eight raise in the main entry. I then became unconscious and remained so until three o'clock or after yesterday afternoon, having known nothing for almost thirty hours. Had I been there ten minutes longer, I would have died. The consciousness of an explosion came so suddenly that I can't really tell how I did feel, only a current of fresh air. My horse was found dead today. I had worked there for eight years, and many is the time that I have looked purposely for gas in the mine, but never was there any. Poor Davis, we could not have saved him, and my greatest regret today is that the public in reading this statement might form the conclusion that we left him there to perish."

The Town Board this evening adopted the following resolutions:

"Whereas, The town of Scofield has been visited with one of the direst calamities that has ever befallen the State of Utah wherein nearly 200 of our citizens have lost their lives by an explosion in the Pleasant Valley Coal Company's mine at this place; and,

"Whereas, The people of the United States have tendered their labor, means and tenderest of sympathies to the bereaved and grief stricken friends and relatives of the deceased;

''Resolved, that the Town Board of Scofield Town do hereby, upon behalf of ourselves and the widows and orphans, extend our thanks and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one who has assisted in this, our hour of need, either by contributions, labor or words of condolence.

(Signed) "H. H. Earll, Mayor
James W. Dilley, Town Clerk

Index

Source: History of the Scofield Mine Disaster, by J. W. Dilley, The Skelton Pub. Co., Provo, Utah, 1900.

Editors Note: The I.. O. O. F. were very active in raising money for the benefit of the widows and children along with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This information is included for historical value, it does not mean the people of this project support these institutions.

 

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