Coal Mining in Wyoming

1898 Coal Mining Accidents in Wyoming

Office of State Coal Mine Inspector for Wyoming
Glenrock, Wyo., December 31, 1898

His Excellency,
        William A. Richards,
                Governor of Wyoming.

Sir: --

I have the honor, as Inspector of Coal Mines for the State of Wyoming, to submit this, my report of operations of the coal mines in the State during the year ending September 30, 1898.

...During the year ended September 30, 1898, there have been ten fatal accidents in the mines of the State, or one for every 294,684 tons mined; the non-fatal accidents have been twelve, or one for every 245,570 tons mined. It is notable that eight of the ten fatal accidents and eight of the twelve non-fatal resulted from falls of rock or coal, a class of accidents practically unavoidable in the dangerous occupation of coal mining, and that in no case among those reported has an accident been found to be the result of any neglect on the part of the owner to furnish proper and safe appliances for working the mine.

...Attention has been called to the fact that in many portions of the State many small coal mines are being operated which do not come under the jurisdiction of the State Coal Mine Inspector, and from which no reports of operations, shipments, output, etc., are received. In order that the total coal production of the state may be accurately reported, and that the lives of all persons engaged in coal mining may be protected by the various regulations and laws designed for the protection of those engaged in coal mining, I recommend that the statutes be so amended so as to include within their provisions all coal mines.

Very respectfully submitted,

        NOAH YOUNG,
State Coal Mine Inspector.

Summary of Fatal Accidents



County *






Oscar Takala Hanna No. 1 Carbon Fall rock Finn



Philip Mediate Jumbo Weston Mine car Italian



Andrew Pugmire Diamondville Lincoln Fall rock American




Sim. Simonson Hanna No. 1 Carbon Fall rock Finn




Nich. Hendrickson Rock Springs Sweetwater Fall rock Finn




Chan Park Rock Springs No. 8 Sweetwater Fall rock Chinese



Jap Yew Rock Springs No. 8 Sweetwater Fall rock Chinese



A. Asson Antelope Weston Mine car Austrian



Lee Wong Rock Springs No. 8 Sweetwater Fall rock Chinese



Lee Gun Yung Rock Springs No. 1 Sweetwater Fall rock Chinese




* I added County Names


    The following is an account of each fatal accident which occurred during the year ended September 30, 1898, in the coal mines of the State:

    Oscar Takala: age, 24: nativity, Finland: occupation, miner; single; employed by the company about two months prior to the accident.  Takala was employed in Hanna mine No. 1.  At 12:15 o'clock p. m. he had fired a shot in his room, and went up to the face to load a car.  His partner was pulling down some coal at the face of the room.  Takala had always worked at the right hand side of the room.  He quit loading and walked around to the left hand side of the room.  Just then a piece of coal fell, striking him on the head and killing him instantly.

    At an inquest held at Hanna on October 8, 1897, by A. F. Thode, Coroner, a verdict was rendered that the deceased came to his death on October 7, 1897, while working in his room in No. 14 entry of No. 1 mine at Hanna, Wyo., from a large piece of coal falling upon him from the side wall of the face of his room while loading his car, and , further, that the deceased should have removed said piece of coal before getting to work under it.

    Philip Mediati; age, 24; nativity, Italian; occupation, miner; single; employed by the company twelve months prior to the accident.  Killed in Jumbo mine at Cambria, November 9, Mediati was standing on the track of the main south entry, when a loaded car ran away from room No. 24, in the seventh southeast entry.  He was struck by the car and killed, the car running over him.  At the point where the accident occurred a trapper boy is stationed, whose duty it is to look out for runaway cars, keep tracks clear, and throw switches in case of danger.  This boy was warned by the driver of the runaway car, he in turn called to Mediati to move off the track; in fact, told him three times to move, but he did not move, and car struck him.  He was dead when taken out from under the car.  At an inquest, held November 10, 1897, by F. Horton, Coroner, a verdict was rendered that no responsibility was attached to the Cambria Mining Company or any of its employees on account of the accident.

    Andrew Pugmire; age, 40; occupation, miner; married--eight children; had been in employment of the company three weeks prior to the accident.  Killed in Diamond mine No. 1 of Diamond Coal and Coke Company, January 27, 1898. Pugmire was working at the face of No. 2 entry and had just prepared a blast.  He want back from his working face about fifty feet to get the powder; when returning to his place of work with the powder in his hands, suddenly, without warning, about six tons of rock fell from the roof.  The inside portion of the rock caught him, a piece estimated to weigh 300 pounds fell on his body, killing him almost instantly.  A Coroner's inquest pronounced the killing accidental.

    Simon Simonson; age, 37; occupation, miner; nativity, Finn; married--two children.  Killed March 1, 1898, at Hanna mine No. 1.  Simonson was killed while loading a car of coal in his room by a tall of coal and slate from the roof.  The pit boss who examined the room in the morning told him to examine his room carefully and to put up props.  He neglected to put up any props during the day.  Before the accident occurred he fired a heavy shot in the face, which loosened the coal, which fell and killed him.

    At an inquest, held March 2, 1898, by A. F. Thode, Coroner, a verdict was rendered that Simonson came to his death by accident, and that the accident could have been avoided if the deceased had used more precautions in his work.

    Nicholas Hendrickson; age, 34; occupation, miner; nativity, Finn; married--four children.  Had been in employ of the company four years.  Killed in Rocks Springs mine No. 1; March 8, 1898.  Hendrickson and his partner, John Pyntar, were working in room pillar 24 in entry 32.  They had just loaded their cars and had lowered them to the foot of the room, and had returned to the face of the pillar.  There was some loose coal hanging that was undermined.  Hendrickson took his pick and sounded it, and told his partner that is was solid.  He had no sooner said this than the coal, with a piece of rock, fell and caught him, killing him instantly.  The verdict of the Coroner's inquest was that death was due to accident.

    Chan Park; age, 42; occupation, miner; nativity, China; married--no children; in employ of company six years.

    Jap Yew; age, 58; occupation, miner; nativity, China; single, had been in employ of company sixteen years.

    Chan Park and Jap Yew were killed in Rock Springs mine No. 8, on March 26,1898.  At the time of the accident the two men were running a loaded car down their room.  No witnesses were present.  a careful examination of the place showed that the car had left the track, knocking out a prop and let down the rock which killed them.  The room was well timbered and the general conditions good.

    An inquest held March 27, 1898, by Coroner D. L. McNamara, rendered a verdict that the killing was purely accidental, and exonerated the Union Pacific Coal Company and its officials from all blame.

    A. Asson; age, 24; occupation, miner; nativity, Austria; had been in employ of company nine months; single.  Killed in Antelope No. 2 mine, May 12, 1898.  Asson was taking an empty car into his room, riding on it.  In some manner he fell off directly in front of it, and when found a few seconds later he was underneath the car.  He received injuries from which he died May 14, 1898, at 5 o'clock a.m.

    An inquest, held May 14, 1898, by F. Horton, Coroner, resulted in a verdict that no responsibility attached to the Cambria Mining Company or any of its employees, for the cause of the injuries which caused the death of the deceased.

    Leo Wong; age, 31; occupation, miner; nativity, China; single, had been in employ of company ten years.  Killed in Rock Springs mine No. 8, June 24, 1898.  Wong and his partner were drawing an entry pillar.  They were engaged in loading cars when some of the roof gave way.  There were plenty of props at hand for the work.

    An inquest held June 25, 1898, resulted in a verdict that the death was purely accidental and the Union Pacific Coal Company and its officials were exonerated.

    Leon Gun Yong; age, 36; occupation, miner4; nativity China; married--three children; had been in employ of company ten years.  Killed in Rock Spring No. 1 mine, August 3, 1898.  Leo Gun Yong and Sam Toy were working as partners on entry stump on upper side of entry.  They had loaded a car and run it down on to the entry.  They were about to back switch it on the entry track when a piece of coal off the top coal fell and caught him against the car, killing him instantly.

    The verdict of the Coroner's jury was that the killing was purely accidental.



J. Sorsia; age, 32; Finn; occupation, miner; injured October 20, 1897, at Glenrock mine by coal falling upon him while engaged in under-mining.  Injury consisted of bruised foot.

    James Roack; aged 47; occupation, miner; injured October 26, 1897, in Jumbo mine, Cambria, by a fall of coal.  Roack was mining in the face of a pillar, where some of the coal was hanging over.  He knew of the danger, but relied on his agility to get out of the way of the coal if it fell.  His injuries consisted of a fracture of the bones of the right foot.

    V. A. Trevesso, aged 25; Italian; occupation, miner; injured at Rock Springs mine No. 8, November 5, 1897, by a fall of coal.  Injuries consisted of bruises about body.

    Fred Andersen, aged 25; Finn; occupation, miner, injured at Kemmerer mine No. 1, November 8, 1897, by fall of loose coal.  Injuries slight.

    Abraham Goba, aged 40; Finn; occupation, miner; injured at Kemmerer mine No. 1`, November 8, 1897, by fall of coal.  Injuries slight.

    Allen Gregory, aged 25; American; occupation, miner; injured at Rock Strings mine No. 8, November 15,1897.  He was cleaning out a blasting barrel in which he placed a squib, lighted.  The squib passed through the barrel against the coal, rebounded and fell into a bucket of powder, which exploded and burned Gregory's hands and face severely.

    Brono Garafo, aged 29; occupation, laborer; injured November 20, 1897, in Antelope No. 1 mine.  At the time of the accident he was standing inside the pit mouth in a dangerous place.  A loaded trip ran out and rope caught Garafo by the legs, dragging him against the corner of the engine house, breaking his left leg.

    James Besso, aged 29; occupation, miner; injured in No. 8 Rock Springs mine, December 1, 1897.  He was drawing a pillar at the time of the accident, when some rock fell upon him, breaking his ankle.

    Glide Ross, aged 24; occupation, rope rider; injured in Antelope No. 2 mine December 1, 1897.  He was coming out of the mine with a loaded trip and riding on the head car.  The trip jumped the track, the head car running into the rib and bruising Ross severely.

    Joe Roby, aged 31; occupation, miner; injured December 13, 1897, in No, 8 Rock Springs mine.  He was loading a car when some rock feel on him, striking his left side and crushing him against the car.

    Mike Bandura, aged 39; occupation, miner; injured December 15, 1897, in Rock Springs No. 8 mine.  Struck on the elbow by his partner accidentally with a pick.

    Ephram Bailey, aged 15; occupation, driver; injured August 7, 1898, in Red Canon mine.  He was working in entry No. 9 with three other laborers cleaning track.  One of the men found a loose piece of coal on the rib and put his pick behind it.  A slab of coal fell, striking Bailey on the head, inflicting a scalp wound.  The boy was sent to the State Hospital at Rock Springs and returned to work fourteen days after the accident.

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