Crystal Falls, MI Mine Disaster, Sept 1893

J. M. LONGYEAR, of Marquette, is the principal fee owner of the Mansfield mine. The mine was the only active one in the Crystal Falls district on account of it being a producer of high grade bessemer ore. It had a producing capacity of about sixty thousand tons per annum, and gave employment to about 100 men.

The Mansfield mine has always been considered a dangerous one to work in, and Thursday night's disaster has often been predicted.

ROLL OF THE DEAD.

The Disaster Came Like A Flash Of Lightning - No Time For Escape. Latest Details of the Catastrophe.

CRYSTAL FALLS, MICH., Sept. 30 - With a terrific rush the waters of the Michigan river broke through a bed weakened by mining into the Mansfield mine, drowning twenty-eight men who were at work directly under the cave-in. There were 46 men in the mine when the accident occurred, but eighteen of them who were working in the lower levels managed to escape. The names of the drowned miners are:
SAM PETERS, married; W. H. PIERCE, married; JAMES STRONGMAN, married; CHARLES POHL, married; OLE CARLSON, married; JOE KOLA, married; SWAN JOHNSON; MIKE HARRINGTON; FRANK ROCKE; AL TORSSANI; FRANK JOHNSON; SAM JOHNSON; SHELLIMO ZADRA; PETER TURRY; NICOLO FONTANI; JOHN REGULA; JOHN HOLMSTRUM; ROSS FORTIMO; JOHN KIRSHE; JOHN RANDALA; JOHN JOHN[sic] WARNER; OSCAR LUNDQUIST; JOHN ARCANGELO; ANTO STEFANO; AUGUST COLOGNA; O. CONSTANTI; VIRGILIS ZADRA; CELESTI NEGRI.

None of the bodies have been recovered and it is believed that it will be necessary to divert the channel of the river before they can be secured. The news was slow in reaching the outside world. The nearest telegraph office is at Crystal Falls, six miles away, and though a railroad track runs into the Mansfield mine camp it was only used to haul our ore and bring in supplies. A courier carried the news to Crystal Falls late at night but not until the morning was the news sent abroad. It is believed to have been the worst disaster that ever occurred in the Lake Superior iron region.

When the night shift went on duty it was noticed that more water was coming into the mine than usual, but no alarm was felt by those at the pumps as they managed to keep the "drifts" free. The miners pursued their work as on every night when they started in to pass the 12 hours under ground earning bread for their families. Suddenly, a few minutes after nine, there was a loud report and an overpowering rush of water, and the men felt themselves being overwhelmed by an avalanche of mud, ore and water. So fast came the flood that it is doubtful whether the men on the upper levels had time to drop their tools and run for their lives to the old shaft. Had any of them reached the perpendicular opening, however, it would have availed them nothing for the shaft known as 'Old No. 1" collapsed as soon as the water reached and undermined its base. This occurred at precisely half past nine, and it was then known to those in charge of the mine that the men in the upper level had been trapped and drowned like rats by an accident which had long been expected.

The Daily Advocate Newark Ohio 1893-09-30

Comments

my great grandfather- Abraham Kohlar

My great-grandfather was killed in this mining disaster at a very young age. I sometimes have dreams of being trapped and drowning. I wish that I could have met this brave soul.
Susie H.