16 October 2011

The Blue Rock Mine Disaster - Part 2

Continued from The Blue Rock Mine Disaster - Part 1

Escape of William Edgell, Sr.
- I noticed nothing wrong about the bank that morning.  At half-past ten o'clock went in with my car as quickly as I could and loaded up with coal.  The miners were racing and I was not disposed to be behind.  Returning with a load of coal, pushing my car before me, I encountered another resting on the track.  A lad was standing beside it, whom we all regarded as rather weak in the upper story.  He was crying, and when I asked him what was the matter, replied that the bank was falling in.  Pausing to listen I heard a roaring off to the left in the old diggings, which are situated in the northern part of the mine.  I hesitated a moment what to do.  I thought I would go back to where Pearson, Gatwood, Savage, my son William and others were at work and inform them of their danger.  In the meantime I observed that the pillars of coal were crawling outwards at the bottom.  Chunks of coal began to fly from one side of the entry against the other.  They went with such force that I think they would have cut a man in two if they had hit him.  All this occurred in less time than it takes me to tell it.

Others had got to where I was standing with their cars.  I started back to warn the boys, but it was too late.  The mine was falling so rapidly in that direction that it would have been madness to venture. The way was already impassable. I turned towards the mouth; it was falling in that direction too. I called to the boys, “Hurry out, hurry out.” As I turned something struck my light and knocked it out; there were lights behind me but I stumbled on in perfect darkness. In the race I struck a pile of earth which had fallen in the entry and pitched clear over it.

When I rose I was on a fair ground again and went on rapidly, calling for the boys to follow. I came to a place where a light shone in from the mouth. I was safer now, but there was danger yet. At once a sudden faintness came over me. I grew blind and dizzy; my knees became weak and it seemed impossible to move one before another; they were as heavy as lead. But somehow I struggled and found myself upon the platform.

15 October 2011

The Blue Rock Mine Disaster - Part 1

Coal Formation in Harrison Township - In April, 1856, there occurred in [Muskingum] county one of the most remarkable mine disasters in the history of coal mining.  The Blue Rock mines are in Harrison township in the angle formed by the stream known as Blue Rock run and the Muskingum river.  The stratum of coal at this point is about four feet in thickness, the quality excellent and the formation that which miners denote "curly."  The stratum of rock which overlays this vein of coal is a slaty soap-stone, light blue in color and subject to rapid disintegration when exposed to atmospheric influences, but forming a safe roof for the miner when properly protected.

Reckless Coal-Mining - The particular vein in which this disaster occurred was owned by Stephen H. Guthrie and James Owens, Jr.  Former owners had taken large quantities of coal from the northern portion of the mine and the work was said to have been done in an unusually reckless manner:  many of the rooms were nearly forty feet square, while the pillars were small and comparatively few in number.  The hill above the mine has an altitude of about two hundred and twenty feet and the pressure from such an immense weight of earth should have dictated more than ordinary caution.

Falling in of the Mine - The falling in of the mine occurred about 11 A.M. on Friday, April 25, 1856.  At that time there were some twenty persons, many of them boys, employed in the mine.  Several were standing on the platform at the mouth of the entrance, others on the inside saved themselves by precipitate flight.  Upon investigation it was found that 16 were safe, but that four persons were either imprisoned in the mine or crushed to death by the falling mountain.  Hope preponderated strongly in favor of the former conjecture inasmuch as it was known that these persons were at work in a part of the mine from which no large amount of coal had been taken and which in consequence was supposed to be comparatively safe.  The persons who escaped were:  James (Duck) Menear, John Hopper, James Larrison, George Ross, George Robinson, William Edgell, Sr., Uriah McGee, William Gheen, Timothy Lyons, G. W. Simmons, and the following boys:  Patrick Savage, Hiram Larrison, Franklin Ross, William Miller, James Savage, Thomas Edgell.

04 October 2011

The Late George W. Cass

Of Mr. George W. Cass, Sr., brother of Gen. Lewis Cass, who died in Dresden, Ohio, on Wednesday, at the age of eighty-seven years and six months, the Pittsburg Gazette thus speaks:  "The deceased was a man of great intellect and sound reasoning powers, and had he taken a public life would have become a man of marked distinction.  Singularly unobtrusive, however, he always preferred a quiet life, void of all ostentatious display.  Although never taking a prominent part in politics, he had been a Whig, and was strong in the faith of the Republican Party, but his ambition never spurred him on to political preferment, and in this respect he was content to keep aloof from an active participation in the struggles and results of political parties.  Mr. Cass moved westward with his father's family, Mr. Jonathan Cass, from New Hampshire, in 1776.  After his father purchased the military section on the Muskingum River, he moved his family to the then new home in 1801.  It is here Mr. Cass has spent a long quiet, and happy life.  By the affection and power of love his children had for him they all hastened to gather around his deathbed.  They consisted of his oldest son, Gen. Geo. W. Cass, of Pittsburg, his daughter, Augusta, and sons Dr. Abner and Dr. Edward.  Gen. Garfield, after calling upon the deceased, wrote the following:  'I called on the venerable Geo. W. Cass to-day, whose character, marked ability, and wonderful memory made an hour spent in  his company long to be remembered.  His relatives have the sympathies of all in their great affliction, and his name will be held in kindly remembrance by all who were fortunate enough to have formed his acquaintance.'"

From: The New York Times, 9 August 1873

03 October 2011

Colonel Thomas Cresap

By Mrs. Mary Louise Cresap Stevenson[1]

To write the history of Colonel Thomas Cresap is to write the Colonial History of Maryland and Virginia and more or less of Ohio. To recount the story of these colonies is, to tell the story of the Revolution.

The rehearsal of that noble struggle would involve much of the history of the great powers of Europe and you might conclude, we were like Tennyson's brook, and would 'go on forever.' Therefore, we will try to give you only a snap shot at the life and times of our hero. We will give you items here and there, and leave you to develop the composite picture.

We believe, that when William the Norman invaded England, he found the family of our hero on the ground. His characteristics were essentially of the sturdy, faithful, "Cedric, the Saxon" type! His family was ever loyal to country and flag.

01 October 2011

Quick Notes - 1 Oct 2011

In celebration of their 15th anniversary,  Ancestry.com is offering free access to one of their collections each day from 1 Oct to 15 Oct. You can read more about it here. They are also looking for beta testers for their Android app here.