Cherry, IL Mine Disaster, Nov 1909

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Miners Thoughts Dead for Seven Says Are Snatched from Their Living Tomb.


Heaps of Corpses Found Where It Is Evident Entombed Men Tried to Escape Flames.

Twenty-one men rose from the grave in Cherry, Ill., Saturday. Twenty-one men pronounced dead days ago by all the mining experts in Illinois, rose from the depths of the St. Paul mine, where, with 310 others, they had been entombed for seven days, and when the people looked at them they were alive. Cherry saw a tragedy one Saturday. The next it witnessed a miracle.

But, just when the hopes of the waiting wives of the remaining entombed miners were at their highest, when the rescuers seemed likely to bring scores of other living men to the surface, the sickening news came that the mine was again on fire. At midnight a small fire broke out, cutting off the rescue work. Fire apparatus had to be lowered and a stream of water had again to be turned into the mine.

The news of the rescue of living men swept through the village like a telepathic wave. It transformed a community which was groveling in the deepest pits of woe into a community delirious with joy, intoxicated with hope. When the men came forth from the shaft they found the whole community gathered to give them welcome When their eyes, accustomed for a wek [sic] to the inky blackness of a sealed-up mine, were able to take in the sights around them one of the first things that they saw was the piled-up coffins in which, by all the laws of science and engineering, they were to have been buried When they were able to speak the first words that left their lips were words that brought up hope that hundreds of other men yet in the mine might still be alive. During the long watched of their own imprisonment they said they had heard sounds that made them sure that the crannies and corridors about them held living men.

Cook County Herald, Arlington Heights, IL 26 Nov 1909