Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010

1891 Pennsylvania Coal Miners

Pennsylvania's coal mines took the lives of many in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of the 956 workers who died in coal-mining accidents in the U.S. in 1891, for example, more than two-thirds perished in the Keystone State. In one accident near Hazleton, Pa., that year, 18 workers were buried alive under a sea of water that rushed into their shaft when a hole was knocked in the bottom of an old mine nearby. Five survivors were able to escape the water and make it to an upper chamber, where they lived for an incredible 19 days. The men stretched the contents of their dinner pails for six days. When the food ran out, they subsisted on lamp oil and sulfur-tainted water until their eventual rescue.