|Lancashire No. 18 Mine
(ca.1914- ? ),
Located on the Pennsylvania Railroad, near Starford, Shanktown, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Owners: (ca.1914- ? ), Pennsylvania Coal & Coke Company,
(ca.1924- ? ), Barnes & Tucker Company, Barnesboro, PA
(ca.1926- ? ), Barnes & Tucker Company, Barnesboro, PA
|A portion of the U.S.G.S. 7 1/2 Min. Indiana, PA Topo map, showing the location of Starford, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA (Map courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, D.C.)|
|A portion of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Highways Map showing the location of Shanktown, Starford, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA (Map courtesy of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation.)|
|HISTORY of the Disaster:
Rescuers Hampered by Water and Gas - 31 Bodies Removed
Shanktown, PA, Jan, 23, 1924
Hindered by water abd gas areas mine rescue crews which have been working in relays since Saturday night were early today battling to reach a small group of miners still entombed in the Lancashire Mine here of the Barnes and Tucker Coal Company. Little hope was held that any survive.
The bodies if 31 men who died as the result of an explosion
of gas in the mine late Saturday afternon were removed from the workings
yesterday and last night and placed in an emergency hospital at Starford,
about a mile from here. The bodies of five other men have been located.
J. D. Parker, engineer of the Bureau of Mines at Pittsburg, in charge
of the rescue work said. Four others it is believed, are yet to be
|Shanktown, PA Coal Dust Explosion, Jan 1924
40 MEN KILLED IN SECOND EXPLOSION.
|Shanktown, Pa. (Associated Press)
Hope for the lives of forty miners, entombed late Saturday by an explosion in the Lancashire mine of the Barnes and Tucker Co., here was practically given up Saturday night when rescue workers reported that the wrecked mine was dense with "black damp" and the water was rising rapidly in the underground passageways.
The fan house of the mine was put out of commission. The poison gas, the water and the lack of fresh air and a heavy fall of rock, impeded the progress of volunteer rescue workers who dug valiantly in an effort to reach the entombed men.
Word of the disaster spread rapidly and within a few hours the rescue manpower of the entire western Pennsylvania bituminous coal field was rushing to the aid of the stricken community.
Special trains from Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Altoona were carrying trained rescue crews of the United States Bureau of Mines, the Cambria Steel Co., and the Bethlehem Steel Co., to the scene. It was hoped that these men, wise in their calling would be able to combat the poison gas and water and fight their way thru the fall of rock to the number six heading where the entombed miners were at work when the blast came. The first inkling of an explosion to those on the surface was a slight shock. A moment later a cloud of black smoke drifted from the main entry, and the big fan stopped its humming. Superintendent HAMILTON, in charge of the mine, knew had happened and he flashed the word to Starford, a town nearby. Miners off duty soon reached the scene and the work of organizing volunteer rescue crews was begun. The first rescue team had penetrated the wrecked passages only a few feet when they came upon six miners, staggering along the heading. These men, suffering from gas, were taken to the surface and sent to the Dixonville hospital.
Hope Gives Way.
Other rescuers were sent in, for it was soon discovered that the deadly gas was so thick a man could work only a short while. Fighting their way thru the rising water, the rescuers made their way toward the sixth heading. But at heading No. 4, they found a fall of rock, which, it was believed extended back to the sixth. Halted by the fall, the miners used a hammer to signal on an airpipe to their entombed fellow workers. But the signals were unanswered, and hopes gave way to despair.
On the surface there was the usual gathering of men, women and children, some related to the miners who had been trapped. Stricken dumb by the disaster, they were unmindful of the intense cold, a heavy snow and a high wind. The mercury stood at two degrees below zero.
After a careful check of the miners on the Lancashire payroll. Superintendent HAMILTON estimated that from 40 to 45 miners had been trapped.
While the cause of the explosion was not known, miners familiar with the workings expressed the belief that it was a dust explosion, as the Lancashire was known to be free from gas.
Shortly after 10 p.m., word came from the mine that the rescuers, digging thru the fall of rock, had located the body of a miner.
The man who had been caught in the cavein and had been crushed. The body was located just off the sixth heading and shortly after it was taken out the toiling miners broke thru the rock fall. Their hopes that the remainder of the workings was clear was soon blasted when they came upon another cavein just inside the heading. Here they were delayed until timber and canvas was brought in to make brattices.
Listing of the Miners Killed In The Lancashire No. 18 Mine Explosion.
|John Stone, superintendent,
Albert J. Stoker, foreman,
George Getsepp, Jr.,
George Getsepp, Sr.,
|(From "The Lima News," Lima, Ohio, Jan. 27, 1924.) (Newspaper article courtesy of Stu Beitler.)|
As with all such disasters, the families of the victims suffer their losses. At least 3 families endured a double loss on that January day. Violent deaths came to John Crandell and his son, Charles. (John and Charles were found together with the father's hand shielding his son's eyes) George Gtsett and his son George Jr. and Edward and Joseph Kelly, brothers, were the second and third pair of victims. The Gazette reported that one woman, widowed by the explosion, was widowed once before in the Reilly mine explosion of November 1922. All but one of the men was married and family sizes ranged from one child to eight children.
A coroner's inquest was held at Indiana on February 12, 1924. County Coroner Dr. A.H. Stewart was in charge. Thomas S. Lowther, State Mine Inspector from Indiana, and J.W. Paul of the US Bureau of Mines in Pittsburgh investigated the accident and recommended ways to safeguard the mine's employees in the future.
The following Casuality list was published in the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Jan. 29, 1924
Joseph Kelly, brother of the above
Walter Brown, Colored
Charles Crandell, son of the above
George Gtsett, Jr., son of the above
| Ellsworth Sickenberger
Albert J. Stocker, Asst. Mine Foreman
John Stone, Mine Superintendent
|(Courtesy of the "Indiana Evening Gazette," Indiana, PA, Jan. 29, 1924.)|
|From "The Journal," Nanty-Glo, PA
Thursday, Jan. 31, 1924
THIRTY-SIX MINERS KILLED IN HORRIBLE EXPLOSION
Terrific Blast Occurs in Barnes & Tucker Mine at
Many of the Bodies of Victims Were Badly Mangled by Force of the Explosion.
|Thirty-six miners were killed outright by
a gas explosion in the Lancashire mine belonging to the Barnes & Tucker
Coal Co. at Starford just across the line in Indiana county, at 3:30 o'clock,
Saturday afternoon. There were forty-five men in the mine at the time, but
the others were nearer the opening and managed to get out. Numbered among
the dead was John Stone, superintendent of the mine, a former resident of
Nanty Glo. Supt. Stone was a brother-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dyson of
The horrible disaster occurred just before quitting time for the shift, Saturday afternoon. Fewer men than usual were working in the mine at the time or the death list would have been much more. All but a few of the victims were married men and leave families, 110 children being left fatherless.
As soon as the news of the explosion was flashed over the wires rescue teams and first-aid crews were rushed to the ill-fated village from Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona and other neighboring mining towns. The first-aid crews of the Heisley and Springfield mines of Nanty-Glo answered the call and drove across to render what assistance they could. The blast had been so terrific, however, that all of the entombed men had apparently been killed instantly, and all the rescuers could do was to search for the bodies and bring them to the surface, the last one being brought out Monday afternoon. The complete list of the dead, as given out by the secretary of Local No. 89 United Mine Workers of America, located at Starford, is as follows:
WALTER BROWN (Colored.)
GEORGE GETSEPP, SR
GEORGE GETSEPP, JR
ALBERT J. STOKER, foreman
Supt. JOHN STONE
|This is the second mine disaster of the
kind taking place in this vicinity in the past fifteen months. In the explosion
of the Spangler mine in November, 1922, seventy-seven lives were lost. One
pathetic story is told of a woman who lost her husband in the Spangler mine
and afterwards remarried, her second companion being killed in this explosion.
Joe Parkins, one of the victims at Starford, was a nephew of Archie Cook
of Nanty-Glo and was known to many here.
John Rico of Starford was one of the heroes of the disaster.
He was just nearing the mine to begin work on the nightshift when the explosion
occurred. He rushed into the opening and kept going until he came to six
men who had been partially overcome by the gas. He assisted them out of the
death trap, having rescued them at the risk of his own life.
|January 26, 1924;
Lancashire No. 18 Mine, Shanktown, PA;
36 Miners Killed.
(From the U.S. Bureau of Mines Report.)
About 3:00 p.m. January 26, 1924, when the explosion happened
there were 47 men in the mine; 36 were killed and 11 escaped unhurt.
The explosion originated at an aircourse face, where a "Flameproof"
mining machine had ignited gas. The ventilation of the advanced frace
was makeshift and irregular, and the cover of the rheostat on the machine
was loosely bolted and part of the gasket missing; arching was evident.
The explosion, fed by coal dust, extended into the neighboring set
of entries and up the slope with decreasing violence. At the surface
the fan housing was slightly sprung and a volume of smoke and dust blown
out of the main slope. Twelve men in 6th right entry felt the concussion
and 11 escaped by a surface opening. One man went to the main slope
and died there. All of the men in the gassy section beyond 6th right
entry were killed where they were; the others died from afterdamp.
Rescue teams with apparatus searched the mine and helped to recover
the bodies. Operations of the mine was discontinued.
|Map of the Explosion area, Lancashire No. 18
Mine, Shankstown, Indiana Co., PA, January 26, 1924.
(Courtesy of the U. S. Bureau of Mines.)
Someone that lived through the 1924 disaster.
My father is 88 years old and has worked in the mines since
he was 16 to support his family, served in WWII, came back out and started
mining again. He retired from the Greenwich Colleries between Cookport and
Barnesboro, Pa. He has Black Lung and emphazima. His name is John Uhrin.
He was a member of U.M.W.of A. His father came to the US from Eastern Slovakia
in 1906. He started mining in Windber, Pa. and moved to Shanktown, Pa. On
January 29, 1924, the Lancashire Coal Mine, in Shanktown, Pa. Indiana county,
exploded killing a total of 36 men; one of which was my grandfather. He was
37 at the time. My father was 5 years old and was standing on the front porch
of the company house when he heard the explosion and saw the smoke. I wrote
to Mr. Allen A. Wenturine, President of Barnes and Tucker Company and wrote
to me telling me that Barnes and Tucker were ready to purchase the mine on
December 14, 1923 and was in the process when the mine exploded. The papers
have written that it was a Barnes and Tucker Mine, when it was a subsidiary
of the Lancashire. My grandfather's name was Janos Uhrin. He was a member
of Local Union No. 89 Located in Starford Territory No. 6 and District No.
2 U.M.W.of A. in good standing.
Memorial Lancashire No. 18 Mine,
Shanktown, Starford, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA
of the Lancashire No. 18 Mine,
Shanktown, Starford, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA
Memorial Greenwich Mines,
Shanktown, Starford, Lovejoy, Green Twp., Indiana Co., PA
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