Cherry, IL Coal Mine Disaster, Nov 1909

Cherry IL The morgue scene.jpg Cherry IL Mine Day After Disaster.JPG Cherry IL Caskets Loaded On Train.JPG Cherry IL Mine Disaster Ruins of Fan House 1909.jpg Cherry IL  The Morgue where Bodies Lay.JPG Cherry IL Historical Marker Of Mine Disaster.jpg Cherry IL Remains of the Fan House today.jpg Cherry IL Remains of the Tipple at the entrance.jpg CHERRY ILL MINE





By United Press.
Spring Valley, Ill., Nov. 13. -- The most appalling mining disaster in the history of Illinois and one of the most disastrous in the history of the United States took place this afternoon when the lives of several hundred miners were snuffed out in a fire in a second vein of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad coal mine at Cherry, seventy-seven miles from here.
With the fire still raging at midnight, 500 feet in the depths of the mine, the shafts of which have been sealed, it was impossible to estimate accurately the number of men who perished.
Whether 200 or 473 men perished was not certain at midnight. At that hour the officials of the railroad company issued a statement that between 200 and 250 miners were still in the mine -- presumably dead, while persons who have been constantly at the mouth of the shaft since the disaster, declare the time keepers records indicate that 473 have perished.
The railroad officials insist that of the 485 men who went into the shaft this morning about 200 have been taken out alive. Late reports from Cherry, however, deny this assertion and say that of the men who went into the mine in the morning only twenty-four are now on the surface and living.
The heroes of the disaster are twelve rescuers headed by IKE LEWIS, a Cherry storekeeper and mine foremen BUNDY and DONNELLY. These men went into the shaft in an effort to aid the imprisoned men and a few moments after were taken out dead. Their bodies were burned almost beyond the semblance of human beings and were terribly contorted by the intense heat.
President A. J. EARLING and General Manager BUSH of the Milwaukee railroad accompanied by W. W. TAYLOR, general manager of the mine, arrived here tonight and took personal charge of the situation.

Many Were Saved.
The first that was known of it was when there was a deafening explosion and a column of fire and smoke shot out of the mine shaft. The cage was instantly lowered and a moment later it was pulled up packed full of miners who staggered to the ground as it reached the surface and gasped out the story of the scenes of horror they had witnessed below.
Before they could tell their story the cage was sent down again and again, each time bringing up its burden of blackened and weakened men. Finally there was no signal from below to draw up the cage and when it came up it was empty.
Then the survivors told the story while physicians attended them. They said all the men were at work at 3 o'clock when there was a terrific report and almost in an instant the whole mine was filled with flames. They seemed to go everywhere, and it was impossible to escape from their horrible heat, they said. There was a wild dash for the shaft and when the cage came down the living men fought each other to clamber in. All of them were blackened and burned with coal dust and the bodies of some of them were terribly burned.



Anton Masenetta

My Great Great grandfather dies in the Cherry mine disaster. I am trying to find information about his children. My great grandpa George and his twin sister were adopted separately after the accident. I am told that their mother died in childbirth and Anton was left to care for the twins on his own. Does anyone know how I could possibly find out this information or possibly what Anton's daughter's name possibly was?

Reading this story and all

Reading this story and all the comments from relatives makes for a very poignant and terrible tragedy. I am from a mining town in Canada and my grandfather died in a mine at age 36. I cannot imagine leaving a family member buried underneath, always wondering what happened to them.
These are incredible stories, thank you for sharing

Anton Vesel

emilio tonelli

i would like a list of names sent to me
emilio was a great grandfather that died
in the disaster. also we were told that a
petro lancelotti and a mane named gudatti
was ther can you please send me anything thanks

looking for relatives

I´m looking for list of victims. My grandfather had two brothers, Karl Johan and Axel Johanson who I´ve been told died in an explosion in young age.. They arrived to Illinois from Sweden in 1907. At least one of them worked as a "stonecutter"
The explosion should have taken place in Rockford Ill. I appreciate any help where to search.

Anton Vesel

My husband name is Kenneth Vesel. His father was Victor. Victors mother was pregnant with him when Anton died in the mine. We are trying to find information about Anton and where he was born and who his parents were. We know that Frances met him in La Salle Il. He was staying at a boarding house that her and her mother ran. We are also trying to find out why he had the alias attached to his name.

anton vesel

Hi Alice
Anton is my great grandfather.
Would like to hear from you. I did locate his tombstone . I attended the 100th anniversary of Cherry Mine disaster, were you there? Please contact me @

Re List of Survivors of Cherry Coal Mine Disastor - 1909

Yes There Are List Of Those Who Survied The Cherry Coal Mine Disastor of 1909 and Those Who Got Settlements
Contact The Cherry, Illinois and Spring Valley, Illinois Historical Societies. - Very Nice People - They Will Help and Direct You.
If I Were You - I Would Call Them Via the Phone and Talk With Them.
Good Luck In Your Search.

Cherry Coal Mine Disastor - 1909 - List Contain Incorrect Info

My Two Third Cousins - Sam and Alfred Howard (Develeschoward) Both Died Side By Side In The Cherry Coal Mine of Black Damp.
The Mine List and The Book " Trapped" Incorrectly State That Alfred Was 16 Years Old At The time He Died in The Mine. However, According To Family Records - Alfred Was Born in 1895 - Thus, He Was ONLY 14 At the Time He Died In The Mine and NOT 16.

The Author of The Book " Trapped" Incorrectly States That Alfred and Sam's Mother, Celina Was of Italian Descent - This is Totally Wrong.
Celina And Her Ancestors Were Of French Descent And Alfred and Sams' Father, Charles Devleschoward (Howard) was of French/Belgium and Flemish/Belgium Descent.

So Do Not Depend To Much On What The Records and List State.
Further, Given that Many of The Mine Workers Were Not Amercan Born There Are Errors In Spellings of Last Names, As Well As First and Middle Names.

If I were You, I Would Contact The Cherry and Spring Valley Illinois Historifcal Societies - I Found Them To Be Helpful when I Was Doing My Family Search. Also, Another Place That is VERY HELPFUL is The LDS - Church of Jesus Christ of The Latter Day Saints - Family Library - They Do Everyones Genealogy - Look Them Up in The Phone Directory and Call Them - They Are Very Nice People and You Do NOT Have To Be of Their Faith In order For Them To Assist And Help You. Give it A Try - I Think You Will Be Happy With The Help The Provide To You.

Good Luck To You

Cherry Mine

Sue, I believe Anton was my grandfather and the child Franceska was carrying was my dad. I dont know a lot about the story, other than that, and that his name wasnt on the marker (as Anton) anyway, and I dont remember hearing WHY it wasnt..