1881 Annual Report of Inspectors of Mines
First District (Pottsville)
Year Ending December 31, 1880
(Information presented in the following order:
Date; Name of Injured Fatally; Occupation; age;
Martial Status; Orphans; Name of Colliery; Remarks)
Jan. 21- Luke McGERITY - Miner - 45 - Married - 5 - Eagle Hill Shaft -In the act of firing a shot,
a piece of coal fell, fracturing his skull, causing his death on the 28th inst.
Feb. 09- Patrick BRENNAN - Miner - 30 - Single - 0 - Eagle Hill Shaft - Explosion of gas.
Deceased went into a chute with naked light , igniting gas and fatally burning him.
Mar. 15- Joseph DIX - Drivboy - 15 - Single - 0 - Wadesville - Fell from front end of empty
wagon on which he was riding and dragged underneath, injuring him internally.
Apr. 02- John OWENS - Engineer - 55 - Married - 2 - Gate Vein - Supposed to have fallen off
wagon that was being hoisted, receiving injuries causing immediate death.
Apr. 21- Thomas RHOADES - Miner - 54 - Married - 3 - Phoenix Park No.2 - Fall of slate in
breast. Deceased had been ordered by inside boss to place a prop to prevent fall, but as the next
day was to be an idle one he concluded to defer obeying order until then, with the above fatal result.
Apr. 28- John WILLIAMS - Miner - 56 - Widower - 5 - Lower Rausch Creek - Premature
explosion of blast, inflicting injuries from which he died on the 30th.
May 10- Patrick ROONEY - Boy - 15 - Single - 0 - Wadesville - Drowned in sump. Upon
descending the shaft with his father to go to work in the mine is supposed to have lost his way and
walked into sump.
May 17- Edward MURPHY - Miner - 46 - Married - 9 - Thomaston - Fall of top coal. Deceased
and "butty" John HORAN, had drilled a hole and were tamping it preparatory to firing a shot,
when without any previous indication (having sounded the top and considered it safe before
commencing work) of danger, a large mass of top coal fell, burying both beneath it. Murphy was
instantly killed, and HORAN seriously injured.
May 26- William MORGAN - Miner - 50 - Married - 6 - Richardson - Explosion of gas. Died
from injuries May 30th.
Jul. 13- John BONZWITZ - Miner - 53 - Married - 9 - Lincoln - Fall of slate. Was engaged
robbing pillar in breast 64, east side gangway No.2 slope, and while endavoring to prevent fall it
occurred, causing instantaneous death.
Jul. 28- Joseph BRIGGS - Bottom Man - 19 - Single - 0 - Swatara - Deceased and two other
men were pushing a loaded wage in back switchor slope bottom. While a loaded wagon was being
hoisted on the slope, when loaded wagon was about being landed on top of slope, the rope broke,
the wagon descending to bottom. Coal from wagon struck deceased, breaking his leg, the
inflammation of which caused death on August 5th.
Sep. 13- Thomas J. WILLIAMS - Miner - not given - Married - 6 - Pottsville - Fall of slate and
coal, receiving injuries from which he died on September 19th.
Sep. 13- William MORGAN - Miner - not given - Married - 1 - Lower Rausch Creek -
Explosion of gas. Deceased and Isiah MORGAN, was working in breast 73 west. Deceased had
fired a shot which ignited gas, causing explosion. From evidence given at inquest it appeared that the
fire boss had examined this breast about six o'clock in the morning, and found no gas as high as he
could reach. The breast was worked up about 19 yards, and from 15 to 25 feet high. It also
appeared in evidence that the superintendent of the colliery had cautioned these men on the
Saturday previous to the accident to fire no shots, as it was dangerous and unnecessary, as small
feeders of gas existed. W. MORGAN died from injuries on September 26th.
Nov. 13- Griffeth LEWIS - Laborer - 23 - Single - Wadesville - Fall of slate at face of gangway.
Nov. 25- Richard SPARNELL - Miner - 26 - Married - Richardson - Explosion of gas.
Deceased was driving a chute in which considerable gas had accumulated during the night. He went
to work in the morning without consulting fire boss. George MARTIN, his butty, coming into
chute with naked light ignited gas, burning both, and from the effects of which SPARNELL died on
This information was transcribed by Shirley Ryan