James William Erskine: Birth: 11 JUN 1899. Death: 15 FEB 1973
Earl Erskin: Birth: 1907. Death: 30 APR 1927 in Everettsville, Grant District, Monongalia County, West Virginia
Cecil Erskin: Birth: 1910. Death: 30 APR 1927 in Everettsville, Grant District, Monongalia County, West Virginia
Note: Certificate of Death Name: William N. Erskins Sex: Death Date: 30 Apr 1927 Death Place: Everettsville, Grant District, Monongalia County, West Virginia Cause of Death: killed in mine explosion Age at Death: Burial Place: Burial Date: Cemetery: Funeral Home: Birth Date: Birth Place: Marital Status: Spouse: Addy McVey Occupation: Address: Residence: Mother: Agness Aires Mother's Birth Place: Father: Wm. Erskins Father's Birth Place: Informant: (in file)
Fayette Miners Lose Lives In Fairmont Explosion Contributed by Mike Pennington April 26, 1926 (sic, 30 April 1927 per death certificates) Four former Kaymoor and Ansted miners were among the victims of the Everettesville mine explosion near Fairmont Saturday. The list of the entombed miners for whose safety hope has been abandoned contains the names of James Pennington, aged 57, and Earl Erskine and his two sons, Cecil and William (sic, William Erskine and his two sons, Cecil and Earl). Others who were employed at the mine, but whose names are not given in the casualty list are E.G. Pennington and Claude Hitchcock. Definite news of their safety has not been received by relatives at Kaymoor. All the men were related. The Erskines went from Ansted about a year ago and Pennington and Hitchcock worked at Kaymoor. More than 70 men were still entombed Tuesday night. the fire has held back rescue work and a portion of the mine has been sealed. The known dead numbers 24. Only a few bodies have been recovered. There were 98 miners at work in the Everettsville mine, 12 miles from Farimont, when the explosion occurred at 3:30 Saturday evening. Ten men came out of the mine unhurt after the explosion. Five dead and 7 injured were found within a few minutes. Two men on the tipple outside were killed. The mine took fire following the explosion and rescue workers were unable to research but half the workings which extend for 7500 feet. Part of the mine had been rock dusted. It was known as a gaseous dangerous mine. Earl Hitchcock, son of M.L. Hitchcock, of Gatewood worked for a while in the mine but returned home only a few weeks ago fearing there would be a big explosion someday. The mine is 2 miles off the main highway and hard to reach on account of mud roads. The names of these men who are known to have been in the mine at the time of the explosion number 98 and are as follows: Irving Mallory, Will Hunter, Bill Murock, Bowland, Burton, Nick Pertnobuh, Ed. Alston, Wm. Burks, John Batacha, Brooks Williams, roscoe Hooper, Bernard Tippin, William Reese, Jim Taylor, E.J. Blackman, Bart Lamb, Frank Goodwin, Frank Ware, Ralph Wright, Porter Ziman, Richard Smith, A.D. Burrell, C. Campbell, Sam Little, Robert Petus, Tom Weatherby, Paul Fletcher, Harry Williams, Frank Burgess, Moses Hodges, Aaron Barns, Tony Compsanelli, Henry Brown, J.T. Pyles, Troy Jackson, J.M. Pennington, E.C. Coleman, Ed. Brooks, Byron Shoaf, Earl Erskine, Wade Wilson, Wildam Erskine, Harry Cohen, Thomas Short, Lank Davenport, E.E. Smith, Andy Podolink, Ben Blackman, Jr., Joe Seles, Sam Reynolds, Castro Nicholas, Lank Davenport John Parker, J.D. Toothman. Clayton Carter, G.W. Anderson, Charles Drake, Pat Breneman Jr., George Morrision, Charles Townsend, Rufus Fields, Martin Stone, Frank Pole_, Wilson ____, (one other name), W. Varner, Frank Schaffer, Dezil Morrison, C.B. McCarty, John hill, Harvey McKay, Frank Maza, H.S. Sanders, Cecil Erskine, Pete Rocovich, Jr., Carl Queen, Oscar Maxwell, Fred Laura, Roy Davis, T.E. Sullivan, Wilber Underwood, John Smith, Richard Jones, Sam Flennigan, Lawrence Nairne, G.A. Willard, W.D. Buzzard, J.B. Murphy, Jesse Street, Mateo Alonzo. From the time the explosion occurred helmeted rescue crews pushed their way forward. They found the danger mark at 500 feet from the mouth. There the good air gave way to gas and smoke. Still they advanced and succeeded in reaching a point some 2000 feet in, about half way to the place where it was believed the 76 trapped men were working. There they found the mine was afire and they were forced to retreat. Only two of the dead were identified. They were Harold Davis and Virgil Straight. Most of the bodies discovered were burned and mangled, showing the great force of the explosion. these victims, working within 500 feet of the entry, were caught in the sheet of flame that swept to the surface. It was not known if the explosion traveled back into the mine. Experts said if the blast went in both directions it surely wiped out all the men in the rear. Two sections of the mine were known to be slightly gaseous, but as a whole, the workings were reported safe. The miners used closed safety lamps and the tunnels and working rooms were thoroughly rock-dusted to prevented a spread of an explosion. The fact that the blast did spread caused officials to believe that it was a gas and not a coal dust explosion. Erkines Wrote Note As Death Crept Upon Them The tragic story of the plucky fight for life of two Fayette county miners caught in the fatal explosion of the Everettsville mine has been revealed by pathetic notes found this week when the bodies were recovered. The entombed men were Wm. Erskine and his son Cecil, who with a fellow miner had attempted a barricade against the after damp. On a bit of paper, and in writing which silently told the story of the ever increasing deadliness of the afterdamp slowly filtering through the hasty barricades the men had erected, were found three separate notes, two of which were signed "H. Russell." The first one was brief and no greater story of self-salvation has ever been told than that embodied in the words: "At peace with God. H. Russell" Then to his wife this Scotchsman wrote: "Dear Mary: Tell father I was saved. H. Russell" And finally in lines growing fainter and more irregular: "Also the Erskines. We do not feel and pain. Try to stay in the U.S.A. Love to the kids." This last message was unsigned but must have been written just before the men slowly lost consciousness and died slowly and peacefully. The true story of the fight of the men to stay the deadly after damp will never be told, but mining experts to whom the signs in a mine tell a story, believe that the three died without suffering and within an hour after the great blast rocked the mine. It was explained that the amount of work done would indicate that from 30 to 40 minutes likely was spent by the men in the effort to protect themselves from the gas, as all three had learned through years in the mine and from safety classes they all attended. Down in the "seventh north" heading the men started to work, using canvas and boards to attempt to make a temporary brattice or barricade to keep the gas out. But the foul air came upon them before they could get the work completed and they moved back towards the rear of the mine about 100 feet, only to have the same thing happen again. The third stopping was never completed. The writing on the first note was in a clear firm hand, the second showed that in all probability its author had inhaled some of the deadly carbon monoxide, which travels after an explosion with a speed of hundreds of feet a minute. The last note was barely discernible. [Source: online http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvcoal/fayette.html]
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