Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - Terrible Calamity

Attempt after attempt was made, and after about twenty minutes delay, during which the horse and timbers that obstructed the mouth of the mine was cleared away, the relief committee was able to follow the air and the actual work of rescue began. The first one to be met was Harry Betterson, supposed at the time to be John Kirton, and being still alive was brought to the surface where he was found to be burned beyond recognition. He v. as taken to the boarding house but died during the first part of the night. The next one to be found was William Boweter, and although among, the dead was found be alive, although hardly conscious. After being assisted to his feet he walked out, with slight help. Hope had been entertained up to this time that some of the men would be found still living, but those mentioned above were the only ones that were brought out alive. Roil after roil of canvas was brought and brattices were fixed up on the inside to force the air into one level at a time in order that the rescuing party could force their way through the mine in the hope of finding someone still alive. But the farther the rescuers went the mine apparent became the magnitude of the disaster. Men were piled in heaps as there were not enough men to carry out the dead as fast as found. The miners at Clear Creek mine by this time began to arrive, and their assistance came none too soon, for there was plenty of work for all. The new arrivals began to carry out the b idles which were placed in the Company's barn across the ravine, where they were tagged as fast as recognized. The heart-rending shrieks of the wives and relatives of the dead miners were not heard at this mine, but when anyone would go down the incline they would be met with lamentations that would cause even the hardest hearted men to shed tears. Women asking if their husbands or fathers had been brought out or no, children crying for the parent that was still within the mine.

Many who had relatives working in Number One, were not so much concerned at first, as it was supposed by those upon the outside that the men in that mine had not been affected, as the explosion had occurred in Number Four, but their hopes were dispelled when the rescuers had passed from Number Four into Number One. The first dead body carried out of Number One was Roger Davis, a driver, who had been caught by some of the debris. After this the bodies of Thomas Livsey and his son were found badly burned, almost beyond recognition, out still alive. The dead then began to arrive at the mouth of Number One by the car load, sometimes as many as twelve bodies having been loaded upon one mine car. Then it was when the horror of the situation began to dawn upon the minds of the people on the outside of the ill-fated mine. Then it was that the people realized that it was impossible to expect anything but the burned or mangled body of the loved ones that had entered the mine so lighthearted that morning.

At the foot of the short incline at Number One, where the props for the mine are hauled up to the opening is situated an old building now occupied by Mr. Edwards and used as a miner's boarding house. This was utilized at once as a dead-house, and all of the dead that came from Number One were carried down this short incline and laid in the old boarding house. One of the employees of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company. who had the duty of issuing coupon books to the miners, Mr. C. Nix, was detailed by the Company to take charge of the boarding house and try to identify the dead as fast as they were carried out. As soon as one of the dead was recognized Mr. Nix would place a tag upon the dead man's breast. At one time, before the washing of the dead was commenced there were sixty-six lying in the receiving room.

Continued