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Coal Mining Fatalities



Giovanna Battisto Cain

In "P" shaft, Braidwood, December 17, 1894, Giovanna Battisto Cain was fatally burned by powder so that he died seven days afterwards. Upon investigation it was found that in charging a hole on the road-head the cartridge burst and a quantity of the powder was spilled in front of the shot. The cartridge was taken back to where they had their powder and again more powder was spilled in making it over. When the shot was fired the spilled powder was ignited, exploding what was in the keg and burning Mr. Cain and his partner, John Bravin, severely. The deceased was a single man, 22 years of age, and had no relatives in this country. Residence: Braidwood.
[Fourteenth Annual Report of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coal in Illinois, 1895, Containing the Twelfth Annual Reports of the State Inspectors of Mines; George A. Schilling, Secretary. Springfield, ILL: Ed. F. Hartman, State Printer; 1896]


Patrick Cushing

May 14, 1895, at the C. W. & V. Coal Company's "P" shaft, Braidwood, Patrick Cushing, miner, 49 years of age, was caught between the cage and the side of the shaft and instantly killed. It was supposedly an idle day although a few places were working, cleaning and fixing up, as is usually the case in long wall workings of this section. William Pelton was caging some coal, when Patrick Cushing, Garrett Cushing and Garrett's son, came to the bottom to go up. The cager told them he would let them up as soon as he caged another car of coal. The car was caged and Mr. Pelton went over to the other side of the shaft to push up the empties that had accumulated there while he was caging above. Meanwhile, the other empty cage came down and he called to Garrett to bell them away. He proceeded to bell three and at the same time his brother Patrick was pushing off the empty that was on the cage. At the first of the three bells intended to be given, the engineer pulled away the cage, throwing the deceased on the bottom of it with his breast over the edge, and as the cage ascended, he was caught at the door-head between the cage and side of the shaft and taken up quite a distance, his head downward. The space between the cage and the wall was only three inches. He was quite dead when extricated. The coroner's jury gave a verdict of accidental death. Deceased leaves a widow and four children. Residence: Braidwood.
[Fourteenth Annual Report of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coal in Illinois, 1895, Containing the Twelfth Annual Reports of the State Inspectors of Mines; George A. Schilling, Secretary. Springfield, ILL: Ed. F. Hartman, State Printer; 1896]



Benjamin Dalzell Jr

January 15, 1894, Benjamin Dalzell, Jr., aged 20 years, was fatally injured by a fall of rock while at work on the road-head of his place in the "O" shaft of the C., W. & V. Co., at Braidwood. He was taken to his home, where he died early the next morning. An inquest was held the next day; the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. Residence: Braidwood.
[Thirteenth Annual Report of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coal in Illinois, 1894, Containing the Eleventh Annual Reports of the State Inspectors of Mines; George A. Schilling, Secretary. Springfield, ILL: Ed. F. Hartman, State Printer; 1895]


Anthony Ellena

October 14, 1893, Anthony Ellena, miner, single, 20 years of age, was killed in the "O" shaft of the C., W. & V. Coal Co., at Braidwood, by fall of rock at the face of the workings. He was in the act of removing some coal preparatory to setting a prop that his partner was prepared to put under the rock, which they knew was loose, when it fell crushing him to death instantly. This young man was the main support of his parents, who are both quite old; the father has been unable to do any work for the past ten years. Residence: Braidwood.
[Thirteenth Annual Report of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coal in Illinois, 1894, Containing the Eleventh Annual Reports of the State Inspectors of Mines; George A. Schilling, Secretary. Springfield, ILL: Ed. F. Hartman, State Printer; 1895]


John Mulligan

Nov 21, 1896 - John Mulligan, aged 21 years, employed as a driver on the night shift, by the C., W. & V. Coal Co., was killed in their "R" shaft, two miles from Braidwood. The deceased, along with seven other men, was engaged in cleaning up and repairing the roadways in the mine, and at about 5:40 a.m. were preparing to go home, as their shift was finished. As there were eight of them, they said among themselves they would all go up on one cage, the night shift boss having already gone up the shaft a few minutes previous. When they were all ready to ascend, one of their number, Michael Moffatt, gave the signal to the engineer that men were coming up on the cage, after getting the signal from the engineer that all was right, they all stepped on the cage. Michael Moffatt asked, before giving the final signal, if they were all right. When some one said they were all ready, the final signal was given for the cage to ascend, and about four seconds elapsed before the cage began to move. It was then moved slowly upwards. One of the men on the cage said that after the cage began moving, the deceased turned half around, and it is supposed that in the act of turning he overbalanced himself, and that his head or shoulder caught on the buntons and knocked him down on the bottom of the cage, and that his body got wedged between the buntons and the cage. The others had their backs turned towards the deceased and none of them could give a direct statement as to how the accident did occur. After making a careful investigation, I found that about twenty-five feet from the bottom of the shaft one of the buntons was scratched as if something had been forced against it with considerable force; but the open space between the cage and the buntons was only seven inches, and it seems impossible that the body of a man could be forced through such a space. However, at the point where the buntons were scratched, one of the men, Patrick Corrigan, said he thought he saw something disappearing between the bottom of the cage and the buntons, but he could not say positively what it was. After the cage reached the surface, it was found that John Mulligan was missing. They called down the shaft to William Kasher, the mule feeder, asking him if he saw anything in the sump. Kasher had just come to the bottom, and on looking closely in the sump, he discovered the body of a man. They had him taken to the top as soon as possible, but he died twenty minutes after being taken out. The deceased was the principal support of his aged parents. Residence: Braidwood.
[Sixteenth Annual Report of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Coal in Illinois, 1897, Containing the Fourteenth Annual Reports of the State Inspectors of Mines; David Ross, Secretary. Springfield, ILL: Phillips Bros, State Printers; 1898]



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