Bear Creek, MT Smith Mine Disaster - Miners Leave Note

Trapped Miners Leave Note on Death's Approach

Bearcreek, Mont., March 6 (AP).-Found chalked on a powder box in the depths of the Smith coal mine Saturday, a note "we hate to go but it can't be helped; it is going to be an easy death to die" - was the only word from seventy-four men entombed in the mine by an explosion a week ago.

A crew found the note when it came upon the bodies of six more men, bringing to seventy-two the number located.

The message had been written by EMIL ANDERSON, 40 electrician, and JOHN SUDAR, 28, loading machine operator. Others had signed their names under the note.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 7 Mar 1943


Smith Mine Disaster

I remember this terrible day and was only five years old and my brother Louis Mourich was 10. Our Dad, Lubes Mourich, just got home from his graveyard shift and had gone to bed. Mom, Mary, and I drove to the office to get the paycheck and when we returned, she woke Dad up "as there was something wrong at the mine". The next thing I remember was driving with my Mom and Grandma Mourich and parked on the highway across from the mine. I rolled down the window and can still see and hear the commotion. Red Cross trucks, wagons that provided hot coffee and food for the poor folks waiting to find out if their loved one was coming out alive. My father was one of them as he had two older brothers, Jack and Frank that were in the mine. My Grandmother said "they are all dead" which meant her two sons! You will never know one's pain until you see your father crying for his dead brothers! My Grandma and Grandpa Mourich had eight children and now they had only one, my Dad. Others died in Slovenia from accidents and the others in the United States. It took a long time for all the wives and children to move on and start new lives. I was born in Scotchcoulee and can remember many homes there and in Bearcreek and Washoe, now they are desolate areas with some resemblance of a thriving community. I live in Cody, Wyoming and the old home built by my Grandpa Jacob Mourich over 100 years ago still stands and my son and family are keeping up on repairs and make it comfortable for the family.
Thank you,
Marlene Matranga (Mourich)