Black Diamond, WA Natural Gas Explosion In Mine, Nov 1910

Black Diamond WA Lawson Mine explosion 11-6-1910.jpg





Seattle, Wash., November 6. -- Two explosions occurring within a few minutes of each other shortly before 7 o'clock this morning, resulted in the death of twelve men in the Lawson mine at Black Diamond, 30 miles southeast of Seattle. Seven men going down on shift and five men coming up were caught between the fifth and sixth levels and it is almost certain that all perished. Natural gas combustion is assigned as the cause. All the men were foreigners.
The force of the explosion was terrific, showers of earth, timbers and bits of clothing, believed to be that of the miners, being blown from the slope of the mine. Timbers measuring 16 inches thick and eight feet long were blown half a mile. A big section of steam pipe was blown a similar distance and sank fifteen feet in the ground. The shock of the explosion, which was felt for miles around was so great that many thought there had been an earthquake.
As soon as the extent of the disaster was known, volunteers were assembled and rescue parties were sent in on the water level to attempt the rescue of any miners who might be alive. It is not believed that any of the men in the slope escaped instant death. As far as known the sixteen men in the tram cars were the only ones in the mine at the time of the explosions. The coal mines at Black Diamond are owned by the Pacific Coast company.
Soon after the explosion the mine began to cave in, indicating that all the supports had been blown out and the tunnels wrecked. It is doubtful if the mine will be reopened. The damage is estimated at $250,000.
The only cause the mine officials are able to assign for the explosion is that a fissure of gas may have opened and the gas ignited from a match struck by a workman in the cage ascending to the surface.

Nevada State Journal Reno Nevada 1910-11-07

The Dead Were Identified as Follows:
JULIUS PERSYN, 30, leaves wife and child, Lawson, Wash.
FRED SETTI, 29, leaves wife and child, Black Diamond, Wash.
CEZAR BAEL, leaves wife and child, Lawson, Wash.
JOE KRONENBERG, 30, leaves wife and child, Old Country, Wash.
MACTILI FANSTINA, 33, leaves wife and 3 children, Black Diamond, Wash.
C. BIAGI, 28, leaves wife, Old Country, Wash.
JULIUS CAPPIATI, 30, leaves wife, Old Country, Wash.
FRANK GARDINI, 24, single.
ISADORE GARDINI, 22, single.
DOMINIC GREGOIS, 24, single.
ALBERT FONTANA, 25, single.
FRANK VERGAN, 23, single.
MAT GALOPE, 19, single.
DAVE LUDEN, 34, single, Fire Boss.
OSCAR BAEL, single.
GIRILI MAES, single, Boiler Man.
5 bodies were never recovered.


Black Diamond Mine Explosions

My grandfather, William Lawton (born in Ireland in 1871), was the foreman/supervisor of a mine in Black Diamond in the early 1900s. All I know from family history is that there was a "terrible disaster" (explosion; men perished) in the mine while Grandpa was the supervisor and his daughter Kathleen told me that he was "never the same" after that, grieving over the loss of all those men and the horrible responsibility of it all. He lived on to become the supervisor of the mine at the no-longer-extant village of Taylor, WA, and died very young in the year 1919.
I saw your website (Gendisasters) and wonder if you have any listing with the names of mine supervisors. My grandfather should be there. His name would tell me which mine disaster he was, so tragically, connected with.
Appreciate any help you can give.