They knew how many Horses and donkeys they lost but not how many Coal Miners. The Tragic Story of the Worst Industrial Accident and loss of life in the US in the little town of Monongah Wv.

I visit the small quiet and unique town of Monongah West Virginia  several times a year as I take care of one of the oldest AM Radio broadcasting sites in the state WMMN 920 AM " The Ticket" owned by LHTC  Laurel Highlands Total Communications of WV. built in 1927

Riding thru the old coal mining town you would never suspect it was  once the scene of extreme carnage and grief or that it  played its part in the worst industrial accident in the united states in 1907,
that is till you drive by the town hall and there you find the  3 monuments to the tragedy

  The town is quiet today with some boarded up old business in the main section of town and a few old business that still operate along US 19  But this was not the case on
6th of December 1907 in what would be the deadliest year ever for loss of coal miners lives.
Officially 361 miners lost their lives that day in shaft 4 and 6 of the monongah mine but  the toll was much higher as many as 461 graves where dug for the miners many children and relatives who went into the mines that day to help the person hired by the mine so there was no record of them being there
 4 miner escaped the mine but later died of injury's.


It was aprox. 10:20 am on a cold winter morning when the explosion in the Fairmont Coal company's Monongah 6&8 Shafts erupted shaking the entire town and lifting it nearly a foot  windows where broken as far as Fairmont 10 miles away  almost the entire upper part of the town was destroyed  from all the shaking.  There was total chaos all the local mining officials where missing or killed  luckily it was the feast of St. Nicholas and many of the miners being of Italian Heritage had taken the day off and went running to the mine some tried to rescue the trapped miners and quickly fell dead to the deadly gases.  The streets where soon  filled with coffins as help quickly arrived by train , trolley and wagon from nearby mining towns .  Fairmont Mining would not pay for head stones for the miners and where less than cooperative in helping the surviving families.

This was just one of many horrific story's to come out of this tragedy you will read when   you do a google search of the disaster including the fact when they went back in to once again mine they would find body parts and just rebury them in the mine. The mining Company did not give one dam about the immigrants. 

However it did lead to better enforced safety rules in mines and this lead to fewer deaths each year. 

Mining today is by far safer than it ever has been and tragedy's like Farmington  still happen when rules are ignored and not enforced. 

:As a side note. Did you know that Pepperoni Rolls where invented by the coal miners of WV as a way to carry a nutritious lunch which held up in the mines instead of taking in a loaf of bread and sausage. 

The Duquesne Limited - A Horrific Train Tragedy you never heard of in Fayette County Pa.

Maybe because it happened so long ago and in such an isolated area of Fayette County most people would be hard pressed to have even known such a train route existed or such a tragedy which killed nearly 70 ever happened but it did.

It was 7:45 PM  December 23 ,1903 and the pride of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad the Duquesne Limited  only 3 years into its routes service ,was on its exclusive run from Pittsburgh to New York with an important stop in Connelsville  which it never made it would meet its fate  in the Laurel Run area curve about 2 miles from Dawson when a train going the opposite direction or directly in front of it  lost its load of lumber and was blocking the tracks . The engineers running the train full bore at 60 mph into the sharp curve never had a chance to stop it the entire crew was killed instantly and  engine and cars scattered all over the tracks in a mass of busted wood and the fire which resulted from the engine crashing.  It was a horrific  scene for the survivors and those who attempted to rescue those hurt.

This was one of just many horrific Train, Trolley and Coal Mine accidents to happen that year as America was expanding and the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and people paid for it in sweat and blood and some times even their lives.

Grave of Priest Killed while Traveling on the train

I do not know if you can visit the site,the tracks are still active in that  remote area  but you can view it from across the Yough River  on the Great Allegheny Rails Trail   I could find no info on a memorial of any kind about the wreck I can find. .Such a horrific act you would think it would have been better remembered like the nearby Darr Mine explosion.