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Piute County Local History Resources

Piute County Reading Room

The Perils of Mining, and the Men Who Mine

This page is a tribute to the miners who contributed so much to Piute County history,

especially those who lost their health or lives to the special hazards of mining,

whether cave-ins, explosions, gas, radioactivity,

or the isolation and poor living conditions of the earliest camps.

This is necessarily an incomplete record.

See also: First Recorded Mining Deed and Miners Park

The Perils of Mining, and the Men Who Mine by Josiah F. Gibbs

The accident to Edward Dalton last week and which, after a heroic struggle for life, resulted fatally, brings vividly to mind the perils of mining and the brave and manly materials of which the larger portion of miners are made.

Any miner when stepping onto the cage that drops him hundreds of feet down into the darkness and dampness of subterranean alleys, or descends a ladder or enters a tunnel knows not if he will emerge sound in body and limb, or a mangled corpse.

Just a few weeks since, Mart Mulvey at the Bradburn mine, placed several sticks of giant on the forge where it would soften for use later on. Mr. Mulvey entered the tunnel and had proceeded about 50 feet when the shop was suddenly transformed into kindling wood.

Some 15 months ago Al Hougaard was the victim of a "missed" hole in the Dalton mine.

A few weeks before Hougaard's death, two men were working in a level out from a shaft over which was a house near Marysvale. The man on top had 16 sticks of giant in a warming oven. The powder caught fire and it leaped into the roof of the building. The men below were called out, and the fire was extinguished.

Miners only can understand the danger there was of those men being imprisoned under a mass of burning debris, and what the "top man" mentally suffered during those moments of suspense.

But not once in a thousand times will a miner desert his post of duty or fail to risk his life to save the lives of others, and often rushes into the very jaws of death to succor his fellow men.

In all other respects mining men, as a rule, are manly fellows, always true to their friends and with hearts and purses ever open to unfortunate whether of their own or any other avocation.

(The Free Lance, 18 September 1903)

Augustus J.M. Johnson, 1886

Augustus J.M. Johnson, of Monroe, while hauling wood near a quartz mill at Marysvale, Piute Co., on Friday, the 18th ult., fell from the load while descending a steep hill, and the wagon passed over him, inflicting injuries from which he died in about ten minutes. Deceased was born in Salt Lake City Nov. 28, 1865, and was a young man of excellent quality and highly respected by all who knew him.

(Journal History, 18 January 1886)

Willie King, 1897

Just as we are going to press, we learn of a serious accident that will most likely result in the death of small child. Last night as William King was driving up Bullion canyon with a load of 4,000 pounds of ore from Crystal mine to the Webster mill his two little boys were riding in the lead, and in crossing a chuck hole the elder boy, Willie, was thrown under the wagon, the wheel passing over his stomach. Dr. Neil of Richfield was dispatched for but at 9:30 had not arrived. The little fellow is still alive but suffering great agony.

(Deseret Evening News, 6 August 1897)

Nathan Williams, 1899

Mr. Nathan Williams, who had his foot crushed by a boulder falling on it in the Deer Trail tunnel about three weeks ago, has almost recovered, and is now able to be out and walk around without crutches.

(Deseret News, 21 January 1899)

Alvias Smith and Oden Flanders, 1902

Two Fatal Accidents.

A frightful accident resulting in the death of Alvias Smith occurred here on Friday evening. Shepard brothers, timber contractors for the Annie Laurie mine, have just completed a chute from the Marysvale road down the mountain side towards the mill. The logs run on the ground and are guarded by a log wall on either side. Alvias Smith, Warren Moody, and a third man were working near the chute and well down the hill. They were at liberty, indeed were expected to quit work at ten minutes to six in the evening. Their failure to do so cost Smith his life. The whistle blew but the men continued their work. Bert Shepard, inferring that the men had left, started a log down the chute. Rain had wet the ground and the log moved almost noiselessly down on its errand of death. Moody heard the log jump the chute glanced up the hill, dropped and called "duck" to the men just below him. Smith, instead of "ducking," started to run. The flying log caught him just behind and above the left ear and crushed his skull.

Willing, eager men rushed to his assistance, a small tree was cut down and the unconscious form of the wounded man was laid on the boughs and drawn down the mountainside to the road and taken to the hospital. An examination of the wound convinced Dr. Kjaerbye that the case was hopeless. The parents of the injured man reside at Circleville nearly forty miles distant. Thomas Smith, the father, after delay in receiving the message, came in over the Marysvale road, arriving about 6 a.m. The distracted father found his son alive but unconscious, and earnestly urged that an operation be performed. An effort was made to locate Dr. Lyon at Marysvale, but it was late in the afternoon when he arrived. A consultation was held and Dr. Lyon agreed with Dr. Kjaerbye that it would be useless. However, yielding to the father's pleading, the doctors performed the operation but the patient died some two or three hours afterward, having lived about twenty seven hours after the accident. The mother was also present when the young man breathed his last. A coroners inquest was suggested, but a careful investigation by the father of the deceased and several friends convinced them that no one was to blame, therefore the formality of an inquest was dispensed with.

Thomas C. Smith, father of Alvias Smith, who was fatally injured in Gold Mountain last week, desires, through the Free Lance, to express his heartfelt gratitude to the Shepard brothers; to Drs. Kjaerbye and Lyon for their faithful and skillful attention to his son, and to everyone too numerous to name, who so tenderly cared for his injured son, and for the sorrow so widely and profoundly manifested.

Kimberly, Sept. 5.--Swiftly following the death of Alvias Smith another fatal accident has deeply stirred Gold mountain residents. Yesterday, soon after lunch, W. Sylvester was "catching up" some dangerous ground on the 7th level up from No. 2 tunnel in the Annie Laurie mine. Needing assistance Mr. Sylvester called to aid Oden Flanders of Junction, this county. Mr. Flanders had one knee on the floor of level, and with out stretched arms was holding two posts upon which Sylvester was in the act of placing a cap. Without notice the ground began running in from roof. Flanders arose but not in time to save himself from the avalanche of stones and dirt that buried him. Assistance was obtained, an opening made to Flanders' face, and every effort was made to furnish the imprisoned man with air.

The accident occurred at 1:30, and during the succeeding two hours Flanders frequently talked to those who were working heroically to save his life. His last words, at 3:30, were addressed to Supt. Highland: "For God's sake, hurry. I can't stand this any longer." Although the most desperate efforts were made to release their companion, the dirt came running in from the surface in such masses that it was 8 o'clock before the body was recovered. James W. Cook of Circleville, and who was employed in the Annie Laurie mine, and T.W. Cook of Junction, brothers-in-law of the deceased accompanied the remains on the sad journey to the dead man's home.

Later--Marysvale, Sept. 5th--Mrs. Emma Flanders, wife of the deceased accompanied by her mother and brother, Benjamin Cook, came down from Junction to meet the remains. Collins F. Flanders and Mr. and Mrs. Hyrum Flanders arrived from Tintic on the evening train. It was nearly eleven o'clock at night before the remains arrived from Gold Mountain. The heart broken wife tore herself from kindly restraining arms rushed out into the darkness, lighted only by flickering lanterns, to meet the still form of her husband. It were sacrilege to describe the heart-rending scene which followed. It was midnight when the mournful cortege started on its sixteen mile drive to Junction.

Oden Flanders was born at Payson, Utah, May 1st, 1886, and was married to Emma Cook on Sept. 5th, 1894. Mrs. Flanders, in poor health with four children, two girls and two boys, the oldest being seven years and the youngest nine months, is forced to enter the struggle for existence by one of those accidents that are even more terrible because of their suddenness.

(The Free Lance, 5 September 1902)

Dennis Murphy, 1903

Accident at Kimberly.

Dennis Murphy, of Kimberly, met with a serious accident while at work in the Anne Laurie mine on Thursday evening of last week. At about 6:15 Murphy began work with a pick on a hole which had previously exploded. It seems that some of the powder had still remained in the hole, and, when the pick came in contact with it, an explosion occurred, which badly injured Murphy's face and caused the loss of his right eye.

Dr. Kjaerbye dressed the wounds, and on Friday morning accompanied the injured man to Sevier station, where he was placed on board the northbound train. At Salt Lake an ambulance was awaiting the arrival of the train and conveyed Murphy to the Holy Cross Hospital.

(The Free Lance, 29 May 1903)

George D. Ohl, 1903

Terrible and Fatal Accident on Bullion-Beaver Divide.

Nearly a month ago Geo. D. Ohl, aged about 50 years, and Max Smith, aged 22 years, both employees of the Dinwoody Furniture company, and residents of Salt Lake, went into Gold Mountain to spend their vacation in fishing and prospecting.

They made camp on the head of Der creek where they remained about one week and then moved south over the divide to Beaver creek. They made no permanent camp and spread their blankets wherever night overtook them.

The evening of the 22nd found them nearly on the summit of the Beaver-Bullion divide about eight miles west, and within sight of Marysvale. They had finished staking off a mining claim and started for their temporary camp a short distance away with Mr. Smith a few yards in advance. The locality is extremely rough, and, according to Mr. Smith's statement, his companion had a short handled ax in his left hand and in the other a .38 Marlin rifle.

The men had approached within about 100 yards of their camp when Smith looked back to see how his companion was getting on. Mr. Ohl was using the gun for a staff by placing the breech on the rocks below him and bearing a portion of his weight on the firearm, "ease himself down." There was a report and Ohl straightened up and fell backward up the hill. Smith started towards his companion who raised up and falling forward rolled down the mountain side some 50 to 60 feet. The wounded man lived less than twenty minutes.

Smith was in a strange locality and unacquainted with the trails which led to Marysvale. Below him to the north was a dense forest, difficult of passage in the day time, and alone with his dead companion Smith was compelled to wait until morning. The haggard face of the man told more eloquently than words the intensity of his suffering.

The next morning Smith started for Deer creek where he arrived at about 10 a.m. and told Thomas Roberts of the fatality. Robert Myerhoffer went on to Kimberly and phoned the news to Salt Lake, and endeavored to locate the Marysvale J.P. who was absent in the hills. Justice of the Peace C.M. Porter then summoned James Hansen, Scott McClellan and Thos. Roberts, as jurors and secured the assistance of Lee Cannaday, N. Farry and Robt. Myerhoffer, and guided by Max Smith proceded to the scene of the accident.

It was nearly dark when they arrived, and after holding the inquest made a litter and attempted to get the body down to a point on Beaver creek where Chas. Mathews had been phoned to meet them with a rig.

The task they had undertaken was an impossible one, and without blankets or food the party camped until morning and reached Marysvale at 8:30 p.m., on Monday.

The evening train brought S.R. McDonald, an embalmer, from Salt Lake and who prepared the remains for shipment.

Dr. F.J. Lyon probed the wound, and made the statement that the bullet entered the body between the seventh and eight ribs and about two and a half inches to the right of the median line. The course of the bullet was slightly upward and towards the left side of the spinal column.

Excessive external hemorrhage, the light air and cool nights of the high altitude conduced to a remarkable preservation of the remains which bore no evidences of taint or discoloration.

Accompanied by embalmer S.R. McDonald and Max Smith, the body was shipped to Salt Lake Tuesday morning.

The statement of the Salt Lake papers that Ohl, afer shooting himself, fell down a precipice some 90 feet, is an error. There were only one or two slight bruises to the body. Max Smith told a straight forward story and there is nothing "sinister" in the occurrence.

(The Free Lance, 28 August 1903)

Edward Dalton, 1903

Is horribly wounded by premature explosion.

Eleven o'clock, Monday night, Edward Dalton stood at the face of the Elephant tunnel, situated some 1,500 feet down the north side of the Bullion-Cottonwood divide. In the face of the tunnel were five holes charged with dynamite. The ends of the protruding sections of fuse had been split and each primed with a pinch of giant powder. It is the final act of the miner before applying the torch and which has sent so many unfortunate men over the Great Divide. A few feet behind Mr. Dalton stood John Deidrich. The holes are so drilled that in order to do the greatest execution it is necessary to fire a certain hole sequence. Each must follow in proper succession or the full strength of the blast will not be obtained. This is what kept Edward Dalton at the face until the first shot exploded and probably fatally mangled him.

Mr. Dalton had lighted three of the fuses, but the third split and went out. Mr. Dalton promptly cut off the imperfect end, split, reprimed and again lighted it. But precious time had been consumed. The fire in No. 1 was slowly but surely creeping deeper in towards the deadly dynamite.

The doomed man had split the fourth fuse and in a stooping position was in the act of lighting the last fuse down in the left corner when No. 1 exploded. A piece of rock nearly seven inches long, 2x3-1/2 inches at the larger end entered Dalton's right side just above the hip and passed backward completely burying itself. The exhibition of wonderful nerve and presence of mind on the part of the terribly wounded man was simply amazing.

Dalton was knocked down and must have been partially dazed by the deafening explosion and numbed by the blow. But, in total darkness, breathing the poisonous fumes of nitrogen gas, and with those other cruel shots exploding behind him, Edward Dalton turned his face towards the tunnel mouth and crawled 75 feet before he sank exhausted.

Mr. Deidrich notified the men in the tent some 600 feet below, and the wounded man was carried there and made as comfortable as possible.

Then began a midnight race down the mountain side for medical assistance. John Eklund, a recent arrival in camp and but slightly acquainted with the trails, left the tent at 11:20. In his eagerness Mr. Eklund lost the trail and there was no time to regain it. Down into the timber and tangled undergrowth the racing man plunged, leaped over rocks, repeatedly falling and rising he reached the road in Bullion canyon, and thence to Marysvale. Mr. Eklund covered the ten miles in a little less than two hours.

Dr. Lyon was absent in Salt Lake, but, fortunately, Dr. Loring in Monroe was aroused by the telephone, and arrived in Marysvale at 4 a.m. having driven over the 18 miles of mountain road in about two hours. At 7:20 the beside of the injured man was reached, and the rock extracted along with two smaller pieces. A wad of clothing nearly as large as a man's fist was also taken from the wound. Dr. Loring stated that the right kidney was crushed and the intestines severed. After the wound had been dressed, Mr. Dalton was placed on a spring cot and four men tenderly bore him down to the Dalton mill where a conveyance awaited him. Mr. Dalton was conscious a portion of the time, and talked lucidly of the accident, but no groan nor word of complaint escaped him.

A Free Lance representative visited his room at the Bullion at about 10 p.m. Tuesday evening and found him awake but partly under the influence of opiates.

A few teaspoonfuls of water was taken and the patient said, "that is sufficient." Asked if the gas light was not annoying, he answered "no" and wearily closed his eyes, awaiting the dawn when the train would carry him to the Keogh-Wright hospital in Salt Lake.

Early in the evening Dr. Loring had been summoned to Kimberly where the wife of Orson Keeler lay desperately ill.

Mr. Dalton has been working for R.B. Moon and Chas. Mathews, contractors on the Elephant tunnel, and they were indefatigable in their efforts to do everything in their power for their wounded employee.

Those who watched by the bedside of the injured man could discern a gradual diminishing of vitality.

From Eugene Parkinson, express agent on the D. &R.G., in whose car Edward Dalton was conveyed to Salt Lake, and who returned to the 'Vale last evening, it is learned that he endured the travel in a remarkable manner. A couple of tomatoes were eaten by Mr. Dalton and an occasional cigarette was smoked, but no word of complaint, pain or fear was spoken.

(The Free Lance, 11 September 1903)

Another Accident Near Marysvale

Ed Dalton Probably Fatally Injured by Explosion of Blast in a Mine

The second horrible accident inside of a month within the neighborhood of Marysvale occurred last Monday at the Mathews & Moon property, a few miles southwest of the town. Ed Dalton and another man were working in a tunnel. They had charged four or five holes and Mr. Dalton stopped to touch them off. The fuse was of the "quick" kind. They were slow in starting and before he got the last one lighted the first shot went off. Mr. Dalton was right close and received the full force of the blast in his right side. Several pieces of rock were blown into his body and a later examination showed that the lower part of the intestines and right kidney had been torn and lacerated.

His fellow workmen, seeing that Mr. Dalton did not come out when the shot went off, hastened in and found him lying on the ground. A hasty examination showed that he had been terribly injured and after sending for medical assistance, all that could be was done to make the injured man's condition as comfortable as possible.

It was not until the following day that a physician could be had. The wounds were cleaned and several pieces of rock taken out, one of which was as large as a man's fist. Although the chances for his recovery were very small, it was thought best to give him the benefit of any possible chance, and yesterday he was taken to Salt Lake. C.H. Mathews accompanied him.

The accident was a severe shock to his wife, who was ill in bed at the time. For a time it was uncertain whether to inform her of the terrible affair, but it was at last thought advisable to do so. The news was a terrible blow. With the assistance of friends she was enabled to meet her husband at the depot here as the train pulled in, but was unable to accompany him to the city.

Mr. and Mrs. Dalton were married only a few months ago. He was an industrious, hard-working man and a respected citizen. He has relatives in Annabella, Ebenezer Dalton being his brother.

(Richfield Reaper, 10 September 1903)

Dies of Injuries

Ed. Dalton Does Not Survive Accident

Death Came Yesterday Morning--In Addition to

Injury of Intestines and Kidney, Liver Was Also Cut Away,

Rendering Recovery Impossible.

A telephone message received yesterday morning announced the death of Ed. Dalton at the Keogh-Wright hospital in Salt Lake. An operation was performed upon Mr. Dalton last week which showed, in addition to the injuries of the intestines and kidney, already mentioned, that the lower part of his liver was also cut away. Although the wound of the intestines was successfully treated, with a chance for his recovery, his injuries were of such a nature that recovery was impossible. The wonder is that he survived so long. This is due to his excellent constitution and robust physique.

A fire occurred at the hospital the night previous, but this is not thought to have affected the wounded man in any way.

The termination of Mr. Dalton's life as a result of the terrible accident brings deep regret to hundreds of friends. He was a popular man and highly respected by the mining fraternity. A very sad feature of the affair is that he leaves a young widow, after only a few months of married life. He was wedded to Miss Matilda Olson during this past winter, and she is now in bed sick and will hardly be able to attend the funeral services of her husband.

The body will be shipped home, probably this evening, and will be interred at Annabella.

(Richfield Reaper, 17 September 1903)

Edward Dalton at Rest.

Last Tuesday night in the Keogh-Wright hospital, Salt Lake, Edward Dalton surrendered to the inevitable. Notwithstanding the terrible wound received a week ago last Monday night in the Elephant tunnel, Mr. Dalton fought it out with death for nine days. It was a brave but hopeless struggle. His remains will be buried in Annabella cemetery, Sevier county.

Mr. Dalton was thirty years old, and was married six months ago.

(The Free Lance, 18 September 1903)

Henry Loney, 1906

On the 19th inst. at about 10 p.m. a snowslide occurred just above the Dalton mill in Bullion canyon, wrecking the mill cottage, in which was sleeping Henry Loney, the mill caretaker and an old-timer of Marysvale. Mr. Loney was pinned down by the fallen house and snow and was not rescued until next morning, and when found was near death from cold, his feet and hands being badly frozen, but he is now doing well. There is an immense fall of snow in the hills and apparently more coming.

(Piute Courant, 31 March 1906)

Frank Murray, 1916

Frank Murray, while in the act of setting off a blast one day last week, had the ground give way under him, and this started him rolling down the yellow mountain down the canyon six miles below here; he was unable to check himself till he had turned many somersaults for a distance of about three hundred feet. His head, face, body and legs were considerably bruised and bumped, and for a time was thought to be dangerously injured. He was placed in a buggy and brought to Dr. Heath's office in the J.F. Gibbs' building for treatment. The next day he was on the streets doing fine.

(Piute Chieftain, 6 April 1916)

Ab. Peterson, 1916

Ab. Petersen returned home Wednesday of last week from the Holy Cross Hospital in a much improved condition. A month ago Mr. Petersen was severely injured in a cave-in in the Mohawk mine.

(Piute Chieftain, 6 April 1916)

Jack Williams was around with a petition this week and collected $94.25, to be used for the benefit of A.D. Peterson and family. Mr. Peterson was caved on in the Mohawk mine over two months ago and his spine was seriously injured so that he will be unable to work for some time, although he is recovering slowly. While the people in Marysvale have their failings, when it comes to helping people in distress a better community cannot be found anywhere. They are certainly united in holding out a helping hand to those in trouble.

(Piute Chieftain, 20 April 1916)

Raymond Johnson, 1917

Raymond Johnson of Junction fell about 50 feet at the Alunite mine on Christmas day breaking two ribs and inflicting other minor injuries. His wounds were dressed by Dr. Heath and at last accounts he was progressing favorably.

(Piute Chieftain, 27 December 1917)

Chris. Schultz, 1918

Miner Injured

Chris. Schultz, a miner employed at the Deer Trial, was painfully injured yesterday morning when he was caught under caving rocks. Schultz was at work in the mine when, without warning, several hundred pounds of earth broke loose. The unfortunate man was partially buried and in addition to sustaining a badly fractured knee cap, the shoulders were badly bruised. Dr. Syndergaard gave first-aid treatment and later Schultz was taken to a Salt Lake hospital.

(Piute Chieftain, 5 September 1918)

Smallpox at Deer Creek Mine, 1918

Smallpox at Deer Creek

Just as the plague of influenza which has been going the rounds in the county is about to subside, another contagious disease has broken out and according to reports a case of smallpox has developed at the Deer Creek mine in Deer Creek canyon. The report was brought to Marysvale last Saturday and immediately Dr. Syndergaard visited the patient and then reported the matter to Dr. Beatty of the State Health Board. A quarantine ha been thrown around the camp and the greatest care will be taken to prevent a spread.

James Jensen, a miner who recently arrived from Murray, was stricken with the malady last Friday, the first symptoms giving every indication of the smallpox. There are some twenty miners working at the camp and all of them have been exposed as they were all living at the same boarding house and mingling together more or less.

After Dr. Syndergaard had quarantined the camp and had given instructions to all of the men to remain there until after the disease had been gotten under control, a man by the name of Campbell, broke the rule and departed. It was learned that he would make application for work at some of the mines or mills near Marysvale and steps were at once taken to advise the operators to be on guard and turn the man down and give him a wide berth. His whereabouts have not been ascertained as yet but when he is located he will be given a chance to explain why he disregarded the instructions of the local and state health boards.

(Piute Chieftain, 21 November 1918)

Exposed Man is Returned

Gilbert Campbell, the man who left the Deer Creek mine camp after smallpox had broken out, was located late Friday, and Saturday he was returned to the camp and advised to stay there until it was determined whether or not he would come down with the disease. Campbell was located at the Deer Trail mines where he had secured employment after leaving the Deer Creek, and it was through the columns of the Chieftain that the man was located. When last week's issue of the paper had reached the readers an investigation followed and Campbell was found to have gone to the Deer Trail and secured work.

While it is the duty of the paper to give publicity to such acts by men, it was found that there was an error about Campbell's leaving the place where the disease had broken out. When Jensen, the first man to go down with smallpox, was reported to have the disease, Campbell left and as there was great fear of his spreading the malady, a lookout was kept for him. The Chieftain reported that the man left camp after a quarantine had been put on the camp but this was an error as Campbell left before Dr. Syndergaard had diagnosed the case of Jensen.

Mr. Campbell, after he had been informed by the officer, Deputy D.A. Fullmer, that he would have to return to Deer Creek mine and bide his time until it was proven that he was free from the smallpox germs, willingly accompanied Mr. Fullmer and Saturday evening Campbell returned to his former job.

The conditions at the Deer Trail mine are reported much improved and with the precaution taken by the employees there who are cooperating with the health officers, it is believed that the disease can be kept under control.

(Piute Chieftain, 28 November1918)

Miners Caught in Avalanche, 1919

Men Caught in Big Snowslide

Haulers Have Miraculous Escape when Hit by Avalanche of Snow --

Six valuable Horses Killed.

One of the biggest snowslides known to this county occurred last Sunday afternoon at about 3 o'clock, when an avalanche of snow swept from the mountain side in North Fork Canyon. That death did not follow is only a miracle, as three men were caught and two were carried for a distance of about 1800 feet, while the other saved himself by catching hold of a branch of a tree. Six horses were caught in the slide and instantly killed. One of the horses belonged to J.W. Kelly, contractor for hauling the ores from the Bradburn mine for Swift & Company, the other five belonged to Peter Jensen, an employee of Mr. Kelly.

The slide broke at the divide between the Bradburn and Florence mines and at the starting point was nearly 2000 feet wide. Gaining momentum every inch the slide swooped down the canyon carrying immense boulders and snapping trees measuring three feet through, as though they were mere sticks. The trail leading to the Bradburn mine and which is used by the ore haulers, was in direct line of the slide and when Jensen and his son were rounding the curve, the slide struck them. The elder Jensen was hurled in the air and when he alighted he was carried with mighty speed to the bottom of the canyon where the slide had spent its force. The unfortunate man was partially covered with snow but was able to extricate himself. Upon examination it was found that he escaped without broken bones and neither was he injured internally and the only mishap to him were badly strained ligaments and muscles which will keep him to his bed for some two months.

Peter James Jensen, a son, who was driving the lead team, was caught in the slide, but came out more fortunate, escaping without any injury whatever.

Hugh Gilger, an employe of Swift & Co., was near the top of the mountains working in the timber, and in direct line of the slide. Hearing the rumbling noise made by the avalanche, Gilger made a run for safety, but failed and was caught and carried for some distance when he managed to catch hold of a limb of a tree he was passing under. After the slide had passed Gilger was suspended in the air some fifteen feet. He remained there until the rescue party arrived and landed him on terra firma.

As soon as it was reported that the men were caught in the slide a rescue party was formed and an immediate search started for the men, but their help was not needed as all were able to get out without aid. An effort was made to locate the animals and only three have been found. The harnesses were stripped from the horses and two of the animals were badly bruised and cut.

The slide started in the neighborhood of what is known as the Edna crater and it is estimated that the starting point covered a distance of nearly 2000 feet. At the bottom of the canyon, a mile below, the canyon narrows to about 150 feet and the snow is estimated to be all the way from 50 to 75 feet in depth. Prior to the storm of last Saturday, the snow on the ground had become frozen and with the new fall of some four feet, made the conditions ideal for a slide.

(Piute Chieftain, 27 February 1919)

Elton Cook and Allen Hilding, 1920

Elton Cook, Richfield Boy, is Killed by Explosion

Disaster in Alunite Mill at Marysvale Blows Up Killing Elton Cook and Co-Worker

A terrible accident causing the death of two young men, Elton Cook of Richfield and Allen Hilding of Alunite, happened Wednesday shortly after midnight in the mill of the Alta Alunite Co. at Alunite.

The two men were employed at the digester, a big boiler where the ground ore has to be kept under 40 pound pressure for about ten minutes preparatory to the other processes. Cook and Hilding worked night shift and went to work at midnight. An hour and a half later a terrific explosion tore the digester apart, scattered the mill building and killed the two men. So great was the force of the explosion that the bodies of the victims were literally torn to pieces.

Undertaker Warner, of Lindquist and Warner, accompanied by F.W. Cook, Elton's father, went to Alunite Thursday morning and brought both bodies to Richfield. Funeral exercises for Elton will be held Sunday afternoon at three o'clock at the First ward chapel, Bishop N.C. Poulson in charge. The ward choir will furnish the music. As to the funeral for Allen Hilding no arrangements were yet made. The father of the young man, Mr. Hilding of Salt Lake, arrived here today to take care of the body. Allen Hilding was a resident of Alunite and leaves a wife and two little children.

Elton Cook, 20 years of age, is the son of F.W. and Mary Cook, highly respected Richfield citizens, who are receiving innumerable expressions of sympathy from the many friends of the family. The survivors are, besides the parents, Ivo and Edward Cook, brothers, and Misses Vanessa and Myrtle Cook, sisters. Elton was the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Cook.

Mr. Cook inspected the premises of the mill closely after the explosion had occurred, and states that the digester was worn out and in so poor a condition that the explosion was inevitable. The two boys were on duty and on the place where they should be, and nobody is to blame for the accident but the condition of this piece of machinery, he says.

(Richfield Reaper, 28 February 1920)

Joe Parker, 1920

An Unlucky Day

Superstitious people will probably agree with us that Tuesday, July 13, was an unlucky day in Marysvale.

The first accident of the day occurred at the Alunite mine. Joe Parker of Circleville, who was working on the night shift, was caved in and sustained a fracture of the left ankle, an injured spine and numerous other bruises and abrasions. He was brought down from the mine, taken to the Pines hotel, where his wounds were dressed by Dr. Gledhill of Richfield, and sent to a hospital at Salt Lake City Wednesday. ...

(Richfield Reaper, 17 July 1920)

Burt Glen Lund and Dale McDonald Dalton, 1938

Deer Trail Mine Disaster Claims Lives of Two Marysvale Men

Four Others Escape Death; Rescue Workers Imperiled

Gaseous fumes from a smouldering fire in the Deer Trail mine near Marysvale Wednesday took the lives of two men, Bert Glen Lund, 36, and Dale McDonald Dalton, 21, both of Marysvale, and imperiled the lives of four other miners working nearby and a rescue squad of 11 other "leasers". One of the miners rescued, Curt Lund of Marysvale, was carried from the danger zone unconscious but after treatment was able to relate something of the disaster Wednesday night.

Other miners trapped were Morris Burr of Marysvale and Gail Taylor and Golden Mecham of Central.

The men were trapped about 3500 feet back in the mine in a winze 200 feet from the end of the drift.

Mr. Burr was able to crawl on his hands and knees in a half-conscious condition until he reached fresh air. He met Dean Trevort, en route to the working area after having eaten lunch, and the two made their way out and spread the alarm. Aided by others they were able to assist Mr. Taylor and Mr. Mecham in escaping immediately.

While some of the men worked in relays to bring the two Lund brothers and Mr. Dalton from the danger zone, others summoned help of other independent miners, and Rex Taylor hurried to Marysvale and returned with a group headed by John Pearson, mine superintendent; Hoyt Morrill sheriff; Armond Luke, state highway patrolman, and Dr. K.L Jenkins.

In the meantime the rescue crews, working under perilous conditions as a result of gas, had succeeded in bringing the three trapped men to a level in clear air, 1500 feet from the danger zone. All three were unconscious, but Curt Lund soon started to revive. As Mr. Pearson started the mine compressor to make certain the air remained clear, Dr. Jenkins started his hopeless task of administering artificial respiration.

Mr. Pearson estimated that the men died in mid-afternoon, approximately three and one-half hours after they were stricken between 11 a.m. and noon.

A pulmotor, brought from Salt Lake to Richfield by airplane, was taken from the airport here by F.G. Martinez, but reached the scene too late.

An hysterical crowd of friends and relatives gathered at the mine entrance were not aware of the death of the men until late afternoon.

Approximately 20 to 25 men work as leasers in the gold and silver mine, which has not been operated by the Deer Trail company of Salt Lake for years. Three mine inspectors will work with the mine superintendent in an effort to determine the definite cause of the disaster. It was believed by some miners the fire had been started Tuesday by flames from an open carbide lamp igniting gas from rotting timbers, and had smoldered in the timber.

Mr. Dalton, who was born and raised in Marysvale, is survived by his widow, Mrs. Grace Julander Dalton; his mother, Mrs. Alice M. Dalton; a brother, Wells Dalton; a sister, Mrs. Georgia Kennedy, all of Marysvale; five half-sisters and three half-brothers.

Mr. Lund, who had lived in Marysvale since 1904, is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mary Wilson Lund; his mother, Mrs. Joseph E. Dennis; four daughters, Delma, Bernet, Leora and Rosalie Lund; a son, Glen Lund; a brother, Curt Lund, all of Marysvale; a sister, Gwen Hyatt of Kenilworth; three half-brothers and three half-sisters, among them Mrs. Utahna Farnsworth of Richfield.

(Richfield Reaper, 24 March 1938)

Inquest Held in Mine Tragedy

As officers abandoned plans to investigate the gas-filled Deer Trail mine until conditions are made safe, Piute county officials called an inquest to determine officially the cause of death of two miners, Bert Glen Lund, 36, and Dale McDonald Dalton, 21, both of Marysvale, who met their death in the mine March 23.

A coroner's jury decided Saturday death was caused by carbon monoxide gas.

Decision of the inquest, which was conducted by Piute county authorities, agreed with an earlier report of E.A. Hodges, state mine inspector, who gave the same explanation of the death of the two men, after they were trapped 3500 feet from the mine entrance by a smoldering fire.

Sheriff Hoyt Morrill of Junction and County Attorney Wallace Thompson of Antimony, conducted the inquest before Justice of the Peace V.A. Taylor of Marysvale.

Witnesses included Dr. K.L. Jenkins, Pressley Wilson, Leon Gibbs, Frank Munson and John Pearson, superintendent of the mine, which has been ordered closed "for the present" by Mr. Hodges.

Members of the jury included William Outzen, Art Shelton and Scotty Scott.

Double funeral services for the two accident victims were held Sunday afternoon in the Marysvale ward. So large was the attendance that the church would not hold the crowd assembled and many stood outside during the services.

Speakers were James R. Henrie, John E. Oscarson, mayor of Marysvale, and Fred A. Swalberg, bishop of the Marysvale ward.

Invocation was offered by Ivan Foisy and benediction pronounced by Ted Hansen, both of Marysvale. Music was furnished by the Marysvale ward choir; Art Prows and Clark Johnson of Salina, Byron Anderson of Marysvale and Mrs. Ina Chamberlain of Circleville, vocal soloists, and Judd Haycock of Circleville, violinist.

Mr. Lund was buried in Thompsonville cemetery, two miles south of Marysvale, and Mr. Dalton was buried in Monroe city cemetery.

(Richfield Reaper, 31 March 1938)

Neldon Burr, 1952

Mine Mishap Takes Life of Monrovian

Marysvale's uranium mining industry claimed its first victim on Tuesday when Neldon Burr, a resident of Monroe, was struck and killed by a runaway mining car while working for the Vanadium Corporation of America near the Uranium Center.

Burr, 40, was unable to avoid the careening car after it became out of control on an incline at the mine. He died a few minutes after the accident.

The fatal mishap occurred at a siding in the Freedom Claim Mine operated by VCA.

(Richfield Reaper, 21 August 1952)

Theone Dalton, 1956

Elevator Drops 150 Feet in Uranium Mine; Worker Hurt

A 36-year-old uranium mine worker, Theone Dalton of Marysvale was reported to be improving Wednesday from injuries he received in a mine accident Tuesday afternoon while working in the Pots fraction mine near Marysvale.

Mr. Dalton was in the elevator cage at the time of the accident. Apparently the cable snapped and the cage fell some 150 feet downward to the bottom of the shaft. Several other men were in the mine at the time, and Dale Johnson, one of the men rushed to Marysvale where a doctor was summoned and brought to the scene. After emergency treatment, Mr. Dalton was rushed to Richfield in a panel truck, accompanied by the doctor and escorted by highway patrol trooper Gail Rasmussen of Panguitch.

Mr. Dalton was treated at the Sevier Valley hospital for head lacerations and abrasions, shock and a fractured pelvis and ankle. He was given blood transfusions at the hospital and Wednesday was reported to be in "satisfactory" condition.

Additional blood was sent to replace that used from state Red Cross headquarters, arriving through a highway shuttle system at 1:30 a.m. Three highway troopers brought the blood in to keep the local area supplied. This is under the new blood program that is locally supervised by the South Sevier chapter of the Red Cross.

(Richfield Reaper, 8 March 1956)

Rell Fredericks, 1962

Marysvale Miner Listed "Fair" After Accident

A 30-year-old Marysvale man was listed in "fair" condition Wednesday by St. Michael's Hospital attendants, following injuries received Monday afternoon in a mine accident near Marysvale.

Rell Fredericks suffered a fractured skull and head and body lacerations in the accident which occurred when a large rock dislodged above him and knocked him some 60 feet down a stope inside a mine operated by Vanadium Corporation of America.

Mr. Fredericks, who was working near Kelly Gibbs, Marysvale at the time of the accident, was rushed to St. Michael's Hospital where he is still confined.

(Richfield Reaper, 20 December 1962)

Charley Carmichael and Melvin Sullivan, 1963

Two Miners Hospitalized After Separate Marysvale Accidents

Two mine employees were injured in separate mine accidents in Marysvale last week and hospitalized in Richfield.

The first accident occurred Thursday morning at 8:45 a.m. when wet sand dropped from the top of the main tunnel at Deer Trail Mine, striking Charley Carmichael, Junction on the hip and lower back.

The second accident occurred Saturday morning at the Vanadium Corporation of America mine when Melvin Sullivan, Panguitch, was caught between a car and a timber in the mine.

Jay Sylvester, superintendent of the Deer Trail Maine, located some six miles southwest of Marysvale, said the accident there happened about 10,000 feet inside the tunnel. Mr. Carmichael, who had been working with Cy Coates, Kingston, was able to crawl some distance after being struck. Mr. Coates, who had left only moments before to take a car toward the tunnel opening, discovered the injured man and immediately went for help. Mr. Sylvester sent word to Marysvale for assistance. Dean Pierson, Utah Highway Patrolman who was in the area at the time contacted Dr. William Mason of Panguitch who was traveling north through Marysvale and took him to the mine where he gave Mr. Carmichael emergency treatment.

Lynn Frederick brought the injured man to Richfield in his station wagon.

Attendants at the hospital said Mr. Carmichael's injury was mainly a dislocated hip. His condition is listed as "good".

The second accident occurred when Mr. Sullivan, a relatively new employee at the VCA mine, was attempting to move from in front of an ore car he had been pulling, in an effort to push the car. His clothing caught on the front of the car and he was bumped between the car and a timber in the mine shaft.

Clair Nielsen and Dana Gibbs, mine employees, brought Mr. Sullivan to Richfield where he was treated for minor injuries at Sevier Valley Hospital and released the first of the week.

(Richfield Reaper, 21 March 1963)

Gerald Allen, 1964

Piute Man Rescued From Deer Trail Mine Cave-In

Marysvale -- A 43-year old Kingston miner was rescued at 3:25 p.m. Wednesday after being trapped two hours in the Deer Trail Mine five miles southwest of Marysvale.

Gerald Allen, an employee of the company, was brought to the mine entrance after fellow workers and volunteers worked over an hour and a half to free him.

Dean Pierson, Utah Highway Patrol trooper who aided in rescue operations, said Mr. Allen was working alone in the area of the cave in when a large support beam gave way some two miles inside the tunnel. Falling rocks pushed the victim against a loading car where he was trapped until workers were able to dig hm out. He was not blocked off from the mine's entrance.

Continued falling rocks and debris hampered rescue operations, but other members of the 15 man crew were able to bring the man to safety after digging away the debris.

Dr. S.E. Duggins, Panguitch physician, arrived on the scene about 2:45 p.m. and went immediately inside the mine to give emergency treatment to the victim. He told officers Mr. Allen's condition was apparently "good" and that he suffered only cuts, bruises and contusions.

However, the victim was taken to Panguitch LDS Hospital where a complete examination was scheduled Wednesday night.

Assisting in the rescue were Piute County Sheriff Allen Simkins, and deputy sheriff William Fullmer, both of Circleville.

Mr. Pierson lauded the excellent work of the fellow employees of Mr. Allen in their efforts to free him, despite the constant threat of possible future cave-ins. He said the quick thinking and cool heads of those involved were largely responsible for the success of the operation.

(Richfield Reaper, 16 July 1964)

Chute Collapse Blamed for Mine Accident

Marysvale--Collapse of a muck chute in the Deer Trail Mine five miles southwest of Marysvale July 15 was listed as the cause of an accident which injured a Kingston miner.

John Holmes, safety inspector for the Utah State Mining Commission, who made an inspection of the incident Thursday, said the chute collapsed and was not a cave-in which was originally reported, injured Gerald Allen, 43-year-old man who was working in the area.

Mr. Holmes said the collapse was probably caused by decaying timbers used in erecting the chute when the vein of uranium was discovered in the mine a year ago.

Holmes said recommendations to Arundel Mining Co., operator of the mine, were agreed to, and includes the construction of a rock muck chute to replace the timber structure. "This will eliminate the possibility of timber decay and a repeat of this type accident," he said.

In addition, Mr. Holmes said he recommended to the company that a mechanized unit be used to gather muck instead of manpower, thus reducing the hazards of mine employees.

Mr. Holmes said that as the muck chute gave way, Mr. Allen, who was working in the area with Rell Frederick, Marysvale, was trapped between the timbers and wall of the tunnel, about 8,500 feet inside the shaft.

In an attempt to jump clear, Mr. Allen's foot was caught and he was held fast as debris fell around him. Mr. Holmes said, however, that the decaying timber probably helped save Mr. Allen's life as it provided a protection over him as the rocks came crashing down.

(Richfield Reaper, 23 July 1964)

Radiation Exposure Lawsuit, 1982

Marysvale Miners File $19 Million Lawsuit

A $19-million lawsuit has been filed by miners, former employees of the old Marysvale uranium mine, and their families against their former employer and the federal government, claiming workers were not warned of the health hazards posed by radiation exposure.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Utah, Central Division.

More than 30 persons who worked in the mines, which were open between about 1948 and 1968, have died of cancer. Plaintiffs in the suit believe that the cancer deaths are a direct result of exposure to radiation while working in the mines.

There are actually two lawsuits: Anderson versus Foote Mineral Co. and Barnson versus Foote Mineral Co. and The United States. The suits have been combined for discovery purposes and will probably be tried together.

Salt Lake City attorney Wayne Owens and Phoenix lawyer Stuart Udall are representing more than 90 plaintiffs named in the combined lawsuits.

"We're adding more plaintiffs every day," said a secretary to Owens.

The case is set to go to trial next October.

Foote Mineral Co. mentioned in the lawsuit was formerly Vanadium Corporation of America and was the owner and operator of the uranium mines. The uranium was mined to fill government contracts and was used in the development of atomic weapons.

Workers claim they weren't told of the dangers involved in mining uranium.

"There's no doubt about it, they didn't tell workers what they had to contend with," said Otho Howes, Elsinore, who worked in the mine. Howes has never contracted cancer but has had relatives who worked in the mine die of the disease.

"Im so terrified of cancer if anyone mentions the word 'cancer' I go crazy," said Eva Dean Hansen, Richfield, whose husband, Byron worked in the uranium mines and died of cancer several years ago.

Carl Norton, Marysvale, worked in the uranium mines for 15 years. He since developed cancer and has had a portion of his left lung removed.

Rell Frederick, Marysvale, also worked in the mine off and on for about 15 years. He had one cancerous lung removed in February of 1980.

"They said there was radiation," said Frederick. "But they never told us it caused lung cancer." .

Norton said he does not recall ever being told the radiation from the uranium could be dangerous.

Howes was secretary of the worker's union at the mine. He said the union tried to get better working conditions by having showers installed. He said workers were not told that radiation could be hazardous. Defense lawyers have tried to make the union's demand for showers prove that workers were aware of the dangers involved.

"The showers weren't wanted to get the radiation off, it was to get the dirt off," said Howes. He said workers did not want to have to drive home dirty, so the union wanted showers installed.

A spokesperson from Owens' office said the outcome of the current radiation trial taking place in Salt Lake City could have an effect on the outcome of the case involving the Marysvale miners. However, sources involved in the Marysvale case said their case is stronger than the suit brought against the government by residents in Southern Utah, who claim fall-out from nuclear testing in Nevada caused some residents to develop cancer.

Stuart Udall, an attorney for the plaintiffs, was asked once if he felt the Marysvale case had a chance of being successful. He is reported to have responded:

"Do you think I'd work this hard on something if we didn't have chance?"

Widows in the case are asking for $500,000 in damages, while children of dead miners are seeking $150,000 in damages.

(Richfield Reaper, 3 November 1982) 

Copyright 2006 by Ardis E. Parshall

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