Henryetta, OK Mine Flood, Apr 1927

Trapped 8 Hours by Flood Waters in Oklahoma Mine, 19 Men Led Out by Veteran

Henryetta, Ok., April 14 (AP)--- After being trapped for eight hours by flood waters, ninety-six feet below ground, nineteen men were led to safety late Thursday by John CAMERON, a veteran miner.

While two holes were being dug into the ground to reach the men, CAMERON, vaguely recalled there was a connection between the abandoned shaft of the Duncan McKay mine and the Old Wise mine, in which the men were imprisoned. The old shaft was a mile away, but CAMERON went down into the dark passageways and wandered around with a flashlight to guide him. Hearing the voices of the nineteen men, he called to them to stand by. Finally he made his way to them.

Miner Averts Disaster.
With the habits of a veteran miner, he had no trouble in retracing his steps through the abandoned corridors, rescuing the men and averting what threatened to be another mine disaster for Oklahoma.

Already frantic efforts had been started to reach the men, who had made known through a two-inch cable hole that they were still alive. Two holes were being sunk, one a shaft in which men were working in a fifteen-minute shifts to rush along the work; the other a twenty-inch drill hole.

The nineteen men were working Thursday morning in the Old Wise mine near here when Coal Creek, swollen out of its banks by recent rains, poured into the shaft of an old abandoned mine near by. The water quickly found its way through the subterranean chambers, which honeycombed this district, into the mine where the men were working.

Men Believed Drowned.
The nineteen men were throught to have been drowned until just before noon. When communication was established. Andy GOYNER of Henryetta went to a hill some three quarters of a mile northeast of the mine shaft, where he knew there was a cable shaft. He found a two-inch hole and pulled on the cable. There was an answering jerk.

"Cut the cable" he shouted down the hole. When it was cut he pulled the cable from the hole and was able to communicate by shouts with the men. Attempts at rescue started immediately and dams were built to keep any more waters from entering the mine. The fire engines from Henrietta pulled in after noon. These with improvised bailers had removed much of the water from the mine when CAMERON made his rescue.

Through it all the entombed miners stoically waited at the bottom of a two-inch drill pipe a quarter of a mile from the shaft through which they entered the workings early in the morning. Through the pope they received the fresh air that kept them alive and through it also they received reports of the progress of rescue work and advised the workers above of conditions in the tunnel.

Pump is Used in Work.

The installation of a huge centrifugal pump in the shaft of the McKey mine, whose tunnels connect with those of the Wise mine in which the men were trapped, was the first step in the rescue work.

It was this pump which reduced the level of the water in the workings to such an extent that the rescue party was able to enter the mine.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 15 Apr 1927


My father was born there in

My father was born there in January 29, 1926 to Lucy and Emmett Hawkins. Moved away in summer of 1929 when Lucy died of Consumption and Jesse became well enough to travel with Father and 6 siblings. They went back to a mine in the southern Part of VA! Southwest Virginia.