Marianna, PA Mine Explosion Disaster, Nov 1908 - 12 More Bodies


Victims of Saturday's Explosion Now Number 148; Belief Was That All Had Been Removed.


Had Already Turned One Body Over to Unscrupulous Undertaker Before Ghoulish Scheme Was Discovered by Coroner Sipe – Fire in Morgue.

United Press Telegram.
MARIANNA, Dec. 2.-- The victims of Saturday's mine explosion now number 148. At noon today researching parties came upon 12 more bodies which had been buried beneath a fall of slate. It was believed that all the victims had been removed from the mine when the total reached 136 but when the latest discovery was made, Coroner SIPE immediately made preparations to care for more bodies.

With the finding of these bodies in the mine after it was believed all the victims had been removed gives rise to rumors that the remains of other miners may yet be unearthed.

WASHINGTON, Pa., Dec. 2.-- A clever but ghastly scheme to defraud the Pittsburg-Buffalo Coal Company was discovered yesterday afternoon when it became known that an Italian interpreter was attempting to dispose of bodies of the Marianna victims to undertakers not recognized by the company. As far as can be learned only one body, that of ARTHUR HAGAN, was disposed of and as yet it has not been located.

HAGAN'S body was identified at the wash house and tagged. It was sent to the morgue but when relatives came to take it away the tag was found upon another man.

It developed that the Italian interpreter had sold the body to an undertaker who had taken it away. Coroner SIPE immediately ordered the arrest of the man but he disappeared.

The scheme to defraud the company was made possible by the generous attitude of the company towards the burial of the mine victims. Coffins worth $65 are provided, but those desiring a more expensive funeral are permitted to conduct it and send the bill to the company for payment. Unscrupulous undertakers conceived the idea of smuggling the bodies from the morgue, burying them and putting in a big bill for services. The interpreter was demanding from $2 to $10 per corpse, but only made one delivery.

Acting under the orders of President JOHN H. JONES all of the victims are being given more than a decent burial. The coffins are all of cloth and make a neat appearance. None of the bodies will be interred on the mine property but will be removed to nearby residences. Cokeburg, Zollarsville and other points will see most of the victims laid to rest.

Great commotion was caused in the morgue yesterday afternoon when a fire was discovered in one corner of the unfinished building. A lighted cigar thrown into a pile of shavings caused the fire to ignite and it was not discovered until the blaze had gained considerable headway. There was a frantic rush for exit on the part of friends and relatives attempting to identify the bodies. Coroner SIPE and his men soon quenched the blaze and quiet was restored.

Up to a late hour last night 133 bodies had been taken out of the mine and of this number about 80 have been identified. Fifty-six bodies have been taken from the morgue for burial. It is not believed that more than eight or 10 bodies remain in the mine and these are buried beneath debris. They will be brought out as quickly as possible.

A number of the unidentified dead will be buried tomorrow, most of them in the Italian cemetery at Cokeburg.

Work was started this morning on another shaft which will be sunk 450 feet. This new shaft is located about 100 feet from the point of the explosion and is near the Rachael shaft. When completed this will make three shafts leading down into the mine.

The Daily Courier Connellsville, Pennsylvania 1908-12-02