Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - Terrible Calamity

Everyone was so appalled by the disaster that it seemed as if the magnitude of the calamity could not be taken in, and the work of attending to the dead was not commenced until a young man named Pat Wycherly, called for volunteers and the work of washing the dead began. As fast as they were washed they were taken to the meeting house and laid out upon the stand and ranged along the wall on the lower floor. After this room was filled the remaining dead were taken to the school house, where the seats had been taken up in two of the rooms and the bodies were arranged about the side.

During the night the undertaker arrived from Salt Lake, and the straightening and arranging of the dead began.

The chief storekeeper for the Company hurried to the city of Salt Lake on the evening of the first day and procured coffins and clothing for the dead men. Each man was dressed in underclothes, white shirt and collar, necktie, and an elegant black suit. Those who were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were provided with the burial robes as designed by that faith. At Number Four John Lloyd was washing the bodies and as fast as laid out, they would be placed in the barn. On the morning of May 2nd, the bodies already prepared at the barn were carried down the steep incline and laid with the rest in the meeting house. Manager William G. Sharp of the Pleasant Valley Coal Company, having heard of the disaster hurried from Salt Lake with a special train carrying doctors and help fur the entombed men. The special arrived at Scofield at about three o'clock, but the men were past all aid. The special left for Salt Lake in the evening carrying Doctor Bascom together with the four men who were so badly injured: A. Wilson, with his leg and arm broken, three sons of whom were taken out dead during the evening; Harry Taylor, who was suffering with injuries to his face; William Boweter, who had been found in the entrance to Number Four, badly burned; and young John Wilson, whose head was crushed and who was otherwise injured. It was stated by the doctors that Wilson would not be likely to live to reach the hospital, but, nevertheless, he is still living, with the chances of ultimate recovery. The wounded persons arrived at Salt Lake and were immediately taken to the St. Mark's Hospital, where they had every attention. As night drew on the work of rescue did not stop, but was continued far into the night until nature asserted herself and the rescuers retired for a few hour's rest. On account of the many caves and falls the work of the rescuing party was greatly retarded, as many of the bodies were buried and had to be dug from under tons of dirt. As the bodies were carried down from Number One, the women and children waiting at the boarding house, moaning and crying out the names of their loved ones, would rush frantically to the stretcher to see if they could recognize the face and form of him for whom they were waiting.

Whenever one would be recognized the lamentations of the stricken ones were heart rending, causing even strong men to turn away and weep and sob like a child.

The Finlanders, who have been quite numerous about the mines, have sixty-one of their number among the dead.

Notwithstanding this not a single Finlander, except Nestor Uro, who has labored incessantly, volunteered to aid in the rescue, and the bodies of the Finns have been recovered by the miners of other nationalities.

Some of the miners say that it is on account of their superstition, and they are not surprised or angry at their refusing to join them.

Continued