So many Coal Mine Disasters that left behind many unanswered questions as to how they started and how many victims their really where ?

 As I travel the back roads of Pa. and W.Va I often come across old coal mine workings and all too often memorials to miners who lost their lives. Including across the valley from me in Harmar Twp where over 100 men lost their lives and inspired the Carnegie Heroes Medal

 But now that its  December  it seems was always the worst time to be the wife of a coal miner it seemed the holidays brought with it a Coal Mine Disaster when Black damp  a gas  would build up in tunnels and one spark was all it took to wipe out hundreds of lives.
often times the simple spark from a miner head lamp was all it would take.
One of the worst Holiday time mine disasters was in Monongah W.Virginia and near by Rostraver pa at the Darr Mine and Naomi Mine in Nearby Fayette city

all 3 happening with in days of each other and to this day it is not known how they truly happened or how many where killed.
Coffins lined up at Darr Mine

Aftermath Monongah mines


All investigators could do was to speculate as to what caused the explosion like a miners open light 

But how many died is also truly not known because mines did not keep good records of who was working and many immigrant miners would bring relatives into mine to help mine coal and no one knew they where even there .In the Darr and Monongah cases the actual number dead is believed to be over 400-500 dead or more.
 But we will never know as the shafts collapsed in and workers where buried and are still entombed to this day.
Luckily modern mining is much safer and the large numbers of men working underground is no more, at most you have 50-100 working  at a time but accidents still happen and miners die. 
and companys still get away with bad practices as they delay and appeal fines and court decisions.
We can never do away completely with coal mining as coal is used in many more ways than just electric and steel. and until the day it is all done by robots and automation death and danger will be lurking .

A very old an unusual Burial Ground in Washington County Pa leaves more questions than answers

I travel the back roads of Western Pa. and in doing so I often run across small family burial grounds
one of the most unusual  is along US 40  The National Road  outside Claysville  its one of those ones you blink your eyes and you miss it. Still maintained  unlike others I have encountered which have gone back to seed after all family members have died and or moved away .This cemetery has fresh flags for its veterans every spring.
But has many unanswered questions as the graves are unlike any I have seen before.

Almost all of the graves are raised up tablets.
Now I have seen the tablets flat on the ground at a Moravian Cemetery in Bethlehem Pa but to my knowledge no Moravian  settled in Washington County . It has also been suggested they might be Jewish but this is not the case either the names readable are German or Swiss in nature   and Jewish graves are not raised in this manner. they date from very early 1800's so they had to be early settlers  but every one I ask in area have no idea the place is even there its so well hidden .So many of the tablets and stones  can not even be read at this point they have so badly eroded.
Or if they did know no one knows anything abut who is buried there.  I have not had time to run down the names and hope to do so some day and find out the story of these graves and how they came to be . But for now they rest peacefully hopefully for eternity as many a grave yard has been damaged in W. Pa. by those who have no respect for the dead. I have no tolerance for those who would desecrate such a place and will not hesitate to turn them in when I spot them.

Livermore it was leveled and flooded many years ago but the rumors still persist to this day of it being haunted and thats why they call it Satans Seat

I have been all over the area of the Kiski and Conemaugh valleys with my travels back and forth to customers and when you travel the back roads around Saltsburg,Blairsville  and New Alexander area  especially at night they can definitely be creepy . Rumors of KKK activity's are true seen it with my own eyes many years ago when I was a young man.You can often find Klan pins and other items at Jonnet Flea market in Blairsville on US22  But racists aside they say there is a town now under water when the Conemaugh dam was built is one of the most haunted places in Pa. and possibly the USA depending who you talk to.
it was known as Livermore pa. and many called it the Satans Seat because of supposed witch craft activity which took place there. Which seems to be more urban legend than truth.

Now completely under water the town of Livermore was once a thriving railroad town  which the Corp. Of Engineers tore down and moved its Cemetery to make way for a flood prevention program
after devastating flood of 1936 effected towns all the way down the Conemaugh to the kiski to the Allegheny river which severely destroyed many small towns as it then hit Pittsburgh and caused major damage all the way to Wheeling W.Va and then some.

But after the town was torn down it seems its secrets legends did not end as many claim all types of haunting's and strange things which go on in the area  to this day  from ghost trains to children cry's at night in the cemetery as you can see in the links below.


This area has also been the scene of many UFO and Big Foot sightings as well but I have never seen or experienced it . 
But if you go to explore know that cell coverage is spotty and roads are tight winding and narrow. 
The best time to explore is in the fall when the leaves on the trees are just fantastic .