Scofield, UT Mine Disaster, May 1900 - Terrible Calamity
The Salt Lake Tribune, of the same date, stated as follows:
"There is a deal more of sympathy and kindness in the souls of the every-day men and women of the world than they are ordinarily given credit for, and this crops out at times in a most convincing manner. And yesterday was one of the times. The Tribune made the suggestion that it would be a gentle courtesy to send a carload of flowers to deck the graves of the scores of men who met death in the awful explosion at Scofield. The suggestion met with a responsive throb from the hearts of hundreds of Salt Lake's citizens, and a few prominent women immediately set about to carry out the idea. Mrs. E. L. Carpenter was the first to move in the matter, and early communicated with Mr. Welby, General Superintendent of the Rio Grande Western, who graciously placed his private car 'B,' and a new combination coach and baggage car No. 98, at the disposal of the ladies. Then Mrs. Carpenter communicated with some of her friends, and in an hour a dozen or more were going from house to house, from neighbor to neighbor, asking for donations to this offering of love and sympathy to be sent to the grief-stricken families. Neldon & Judson's two delivery wagons were also placed at the disposal of the ladies, and these went from house to House and collected flowers. Considering the time and the number engaged in the work, the showing was a marvelous one. Only one school in the City, the Wasatch, contributed as a school, and the pupils of this school in an hour gathered a full wagon load of flowers and sent them to the depot. It was noised about among the children of some other schools, however, that a car was to be sent down. and here and there a little one was to be seen trudging his way to the depot, the little hands bearing a spray of lilacs, a few geraniums, a little cluster of pansies or some other blossoms—showing that the heart of the child had been touched and he was doing what he could to alleviate the mighty grief which wrings the heart of the stricken ones at Scofield. Before the train pulled out a dozen or two crowded around the baggage car, unwilling to deposit the offerrings on the trucks, which were already filled, but anxious to hand them into the car where they knew there would be no chance of their being left behind.
"The interior of the car carrying the flowers was beautiful to behold, filled as it was with lilacs and other garden flowers. Nor were garden flowers the only ones to be seen, for many a woman robbed her plants of their rarest blossoms to send with the rest; there were roses, carnations, easter [sic] lilies, pansies, geraniums. asparagus ferns, tulips, flowering almond fruit blossoms, in short every kind of flower that was to be had from garden or greenhouse. All of the prominent florists in the city gave choice flowers, and Mr. Victor Morris, of the Morris Floral Company, not only gave generously but offered his services and went with the car of flowers to Scofield, where he will remain until all are distributed. The flowers, the silent messengers of love and sympathy, will surely be most welcome among the grief-stricken families of the little mining town, and many a heartfelt blessing will be pronounced for the noble men and women who were the means of sending them there."
As the school children of Salt Lake had not been advised of this first contribution of flowers there was a general feeling of regret that they were not among the number to contribute to so noble a cause. So the school children were asked to bring their flowers to their respective schools promptly at twelve o'clock as it would take some time to convey the flowers to the depot and arrange them in the car. The suggestion was also made that each school furnish a tub, properly tagged, that it may be returned to its owner, in which may be placed the flowers nicely moistened. The flowers sent today will be used in the decoration of the graves of the men who will be buried tomorrow. "When the children's offerings were received at Scofield, the donors would have considered themselves well paid had they seen the pleasure with which the delicate attentions were received by the people of this coal camp. The occupants of the floral car worked every minute from the time they left Salt Lake until they arrived at Scofield. tying the flowers into bouquets. At Provo the committee was joined by Mrs. Jesse Knight and Mrs. McLain, who also added to the floral tributes. Outside of the great quantity of lilacs there there were hundreds of choicer flowers such as roses, carnations. Mlles of the valley, besides many other varieties, which had been ordered from Salt Lake, Provo and Springville by friends or relatives of the deceased. One box was marked "Barney Dougal" from his mother. Another bore this pathetic sentiment, "From Barney Daugal's mother to some heart-broken widow and mother —with the deepest sympathy."
It was a simple token, but it caused the tears to rise to the eyes of those who read the inscription on the white card and which had been written by a trembling hand. On the train were Chief of Police Hilton, Sergeant Burbidge, and Detective Sheets, and each were pressed into service in making bouquets. At Lehi there was a large consignment of flowers, but they were left behind as that station is not one of the regular stopping places for through trains. Had longer notice been given the floral contributions would have been much larger. At every station along the line great crowds were gathered to watch the train as it passed through.