Source: The Bee (Earlington, Hopkins County), February 3, 1910. Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
Mine Explosion in Muhlenberg County
Thought Gas Was Set Off by Track Worker who Entered Abandoned Room
One Hundred Men in Mine When Disaster Came
Explosion at Noon Tuesday--Thirty-Five Dead Reported at Midnight.
Assistant Inspector Long Called
Thos. O. Long, Assistant Mine Inspector, received advice of the explosion by telephone Tuesday afternoon and left Earlington that night for the scene of the disaster. At the time little of the details of the disaster were known here.
(Correspondence of the Evansville Courier) (sic)
Drakesboro, Ky., Feb. 1--Nineteen corpses removed from the Browder mine, ten bodies in sight in the workings and six others known to be dead was the count at midnight in the death roll resulting from explosion of gas in the mine today.
Nearly a score of men were mangled by the explosion and many of these will probably die. The confusion and panic following the disaster were so widespread that the extent of the calamity was apparently underestimated until the work of carrying out the mangled bodies was well under way.
Hundreds of women and children were grouped about the shaft endeavoring to obtain some identification of the bodies. Lack of a checking system made it impossible twelve hours after the explosion to obtain an accurate account of the dead and injured, while identification of either dead or living seemed a well nigh hopeless task.
The injured are scattered among the straggling dwellings near the mine and no roll call of the survivors was obtainable tonight.
Caused by Gas Explosion
The disaster was the result of a gas explosion in the Browder mine, one and one-half miles from Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, at noon today.
Because of the accumulation of gas in the entry where the explosion occurred, 170 feet beneath the ground and 700 feet back from the mine shaft, it was impossible to begin active rescue work until six hours after the disaster occurred.
The damage of the mine, investigating parties have discovered was not material and is confined to the east entry. There were 100 men in the mine at the time of the explosion, more than half of them in the west entry. All of them hasted to the cages and were quickly drawn to the top. Some in the east entry fought their way to the shaft and were brought out to safety.
As soon as it was safe to begin with the rescue work miners were sent down in relays under direction of J. Abercombe, mine foreman, and G. Reynolds, mine superintendent.
In the immediate vicinity of the explosion ten men had been working. The concussion tossed the bodies distances of many feet.
The pit month (?) presents a pitiful scene tonight with the shrieking wives of the imprisoned and dead miners crowding about waiting reports from the rescuers.
It is believed that the explosion was caused by a track repairer going into an abandoned room with an uncovered lamp, as the room is shattered almost to atoms and the body of the repairer is nowhere to be seen.
The Browder mine, together with three others in this vicinity, was recently purchased by a syndicate of Tennessee and West Virginia capitalist. C.D.M. Freer and T.B. Baldwell of Memphis, Tenn., are now holding the properties as trustees pending the formation of a company to take over the four properties.
Rescuers are working desperately to save the miners who may yet be alive and to recover the bodies of those killed.
Ten men were taken out alive, five of whom were badly injured and five practically unhurt.
There is no fire in the mine and both the fan and air shaft remain intact.
Four of the dead men have been identified as follows:
J.A. Richardson, a blacksmith.
Jesse Jongham (sic) was rescued alive, but is so badly burned that his recovery is doubtful.
Drakesboro is in Muhlenburg county, six or seven miles back from Green river and about 50 miles directly south of Owensboro. It is on the branch of the L. & N. road between Owensboro and Russellville.
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Hartford Herald (Hartford, KY) February 9, 1910. Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
The Browder Mine Horror
One of the Worst in the History of Disasters
Many Dead and One Missing
Terrible Affair at Drakesboro in Muhlenberg County--The Dead and Injured
Drakesboro, Ky., Feb. 2--Thirty-four dead and one man, Foreman Pete Kelly, missing is the final count of deaths as the result of the explosion at the Browder mine yesterday.
Crepe is on every other door of the straggling Main street of Browder. There were many funerals to-day. Coffins were carried in all sorts of vehicles, and it was impossible to hold the funeral services in several cases. There is no move yet toward an inquest.
There is no new light on the cause of the disaster.
It has been definitely established that fifty-five men were in the wing of the mine when the explosion occurred. Of the twenty brought out alive scarcely one escaped unhurt. Two of the injured may die.
Drakesboro, Ky. Feb. 2--Thirty-two known dead, two missing and half a dozen injured, one of whom may die, completes the list of casualties in the explosion at the mine o the Elk Valley Coal Company, at Browder, near this place, yesterday about noon.
The bodies of the victims were so mutilated that recognition was difficult and it was some hours before the identity of all of them was established.
JUDGE MATT ALLEN, white, Judge of Drakesboro; 40 years old; married; wife and six children survive.
RAY BENNETT, white, married, 28 years old.
PETE KELLY, assistant foreman, married, 30 years old.
MATT LLOYD, married, white, 27 years old.
MACK ENGLING, white, married, 35 years old.
J.A. RICHARDSON, white, married, 50 years old.
ESTILL CORNETT, white, single, 23 years old.
ALEX WILLIAMS, married, 25 years old.
BEN LESLIE, white, married, 26 years old.
WILL W. WHITTAKER, white, married, 32 years old.
J.R. THOMAS, white, married, 35 years old.
JIM WILLIAMS, white, married, 29 years old.
DUDLEY EMPSON, white, married, 36 years old.
WILL RENO, colored.
RAL MARTIN, colored.
SILAS SPROW, colored.
COLUMBUS SPROW, colored.
ALEX SWEET, colored.
ALEX HUGHES, colored.
EZRO MAYFIELD, colored.
OBI JONES, colored.
RAYMOND BROWNING, colored.
WILLIAM JONES, colored.
JOHN DUFFY, colored.
GEORGE DUFFY, colored.
TERRY CASR (sic), colored.
HENRY MASON, colored.
BUD SMITH, colored.
WILL BERRY, colored.
WARNER JOHNSON, colored.
ESTILL BROWNING, colored.
LEVY DUVALL, colored.
SAM BARD, colored.
SAM OATES, colored, bruised about the face by being hurled against a rib.
JESSE JERNIGAN, white, married, skull fractured Removed to his home in Drakesboro. Probably fatally injured.
JAMES LEMONS, white, badly burned, recovery doubtful. Taken to his home in Browder.
HERSCHEL SCHOFIELD, white, badly burned, one leg broken, condition dangerous.
JOE JAMES, colored, slight injuries.
HARRIS BORAH, bruised and burned, will recover.
FLOYD AVERY, colored, burned and bruised, will recover.
The verdict of the coroner’s jury, composed of J.B. Trice, J.R. Buckhannon, G.R. McLane, J.L. Ledbetter, Don Key, T.J.T. Smith, of Drakesboro and Browder, was as follows: “We the jury, find that the men came to their death by an explosion in the Browder mine, Muhlenberg County, Ky. Cause of explosion unknown.”
The report of the inspection by the State authorities was given out to-night as follows: “We, Prof. C.J. Norwood, State Inspector of Mines, H.C. Jones, assistant, and Tom Long, assistant inspectors, after making a thorough examination and comparing notes, have reached the conclusion that the explosion was caused by the setting off of a keg of powder. We found and have the exploded keg.
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The Record (Greenville, Kentucky) 10 Feb 1910. Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
Browder Mine Explosion
After fifty-two hours of constant searching the body of Pete Kelly, assistant superintendent of the Browder mine, was found late Thursday afternoon. The body of Kelly was mangled and torn almost beyond recognition by the force of the explosion.
As given out by the men who discovered the remains, Kelly’s body was found in middle fourth of the south entry opposite the break through. The body was worse mangled than any taken from the mine, and this seems to indicate to some of the miners that Kelly was nearer the explosion than any of the others. The body was found in a different place from any of the others, and from its position it is thought he was on his way back to the men after leaving Supt. Reynolds. Kelly would have been recovered sooner had the searching party been able to get into the part of the mine where he was found. With the finding of Kelly’s body the mine has given up the last of its dead, the number killed being thirty-four, and Charles Sherfield, who was injured in the explosion died Monday, making the total number of victims thirty-five.
As to the cause of the explosion, Prof. C.J. Norwood, Chief Inspector of Mines of Kentucky, H.D. Jones, Central City, and T.O. Long of Earlington, assistant inspectors, after making a thorough examination came to the conclusion that the explosion in the Browder mine was caused by the setting off of a keg of powder. They claim to have found the exploded keg.
The Coroner’s jury failed to learn the cause of the explosion after examining ten witnesses and taking a volume of testimony. The following verdict was rendered: “We, the jury find that these thirty-four men came to their death by an explosion in the Browder mine in Muhlenberg county, KY. Cause of the explosion now unknown.” J.B. Tice, J.R. Buchanan, G.R. McLean, J.L. Ledbetter, Dan Key and J.T. Smith composed the jury.
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The Record (Greenville, Kentucky) 10 Feb 1910. Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
Browder Relief Fund
For Widows and Orphans Caused by the Browder Mine Explosion
A mass meeting of the citizens of Greenville was held at the court house Monday night, for the purpose of raising funds for the relief of widows and orphans created by the mine explosion of the Wickliffe mine at Browder Tuesday of last week. Mr. S.C. Eaves was chosen chairman and Mr. C.S. Curd was made secretary-treasurer. The chairman made a brief statement, and there were voluntary contributions of about $150.00 by those present. The chair then appointed a committee to visit merchants and professional men, and in fact all our people, and solicit funds.
Orien L. Roark was named chairman, and the following persons were designated: Dr. T.J. Slaton, Robt. Wickliffe, G.M. York, Mrs. W.O. Belcher and Mrs. Jennie E. Roark. Work was begun Tuesday morning, and is being continued by this committee, with gratifying results, as everyone is responding liberally. There are some twenty-five families affected by this disaster, and most of them are in need of help, or soon will be. Something like $1,500.00 have been contributed by the public from all sources, outside of the offerings of this city, and much more will be forwarded, but there will be need of all that can be secured, as many people are involved, and it will be some time before affairs can be arranged that will enable them to be self-supporting. The canvass here will be continued; up to the time of going to press the following had contributed as indicated:
F.W. Casperke- $5.00
Mr. No Name - $1.00
J.L. Morgan- $.50
Jep Allen -$.25
Jas. W. Oates - $2.00
D.U. Poole - $2.00
Orien L. Roark - $2.00
The J.L. Roark Estate - $2.00
The Record - $2.00
T.B. Pannell - $5.00
W.P. Sandidge - $25.00
Robt. Hardison, Jr.- $5.00
F.E. Lewis - $2.00
J.G. Barkley, Jr. - $$1.00
G.M. York $10.00
Cam Howard- $2.50
G.M. Dexter & Co. - $5.00
Cash - $25.0
Ms. W.O. Belcher - $.50
Cash - $.05
B.F. Vaught - $.25
Dr. T.J. Slaton - $5.00
E.A. Taylor - $2.50
Joe Johnson - $1.00
J.F. Shutt - $2.00
J.H. Pittman - $1.00
B.L. Hope - $1.00
Wickliffe Bros. - $5.00
C.S. Curd - $5.00
S.C. Eaves - $2.50
Elmer McCracken - $.25
Roy Wells - $.50
Geo. Hendricks - $2.00
T.R. Pittman - $.25
O.A. Barbee - $2.00
D.S. Duncan - $1.00
N.M. Ford - $.25
Abe Baker - $5.00
N.M. Elliott - $1.00
M.L. Prowse - $.50
J.J. Rice - $5.00
C.A. Williams - $5.00
H.C. Lewis - $2.00
F.H. Lewis - $1.00
J.R. Mayhugh - $1.00
E. Tanner - $1.00
Miss Blanche Christian - $.50
J.G. Miller - $1.00
G.B. Head - $1.00
B. Mathis - $1.00
J.T. Hale - $2.00
H.C. Wilkinson - $1.00
J.A. Gilman - $1.00
H.H. Haviland - $.50
R. Martin & Co. - $10.00
Leslie Hale - $1.00
H.W. Weir - $1.00
Dukes & McDonald - $1.00
W.J. Mahoney - $2.50
T.E. Sumner - $2.00
R.J. Jackson - $1.00
J.T. Reynolds, Jr. - $10.00
C.Y. Martin - $1.00
H.Y. Slaton - $.50
John M. Wells - $.50
G.E. Countzler - $2.00
L. Hummel - $2.00
L.W. Irvin - $1.00
L.Z. Kirkpatrick - $1.00
H.E. Eaves - $1.00
Jep C. Jonson - $5.00
F.P. Pannell - $2.00
Wm. Halliman - $1.00
Robt. Wines - $1.00
J.W. Lam - $2.00
C.M. Howard - $2.50
The committee is still at work, and there will be other subscriptions secured, which will appear next week The funds will be carried over to Browder and turned over to the local committee in a few days.
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