January 8th, in Winifrede No 1 mine, George Calloway was killed at 2 PM by a fall of slate in his room. There was a man working with him at the time, who states that he suggested taking down the slate, but Calloway said they would make another cut first. They had been at work only a few minutes afterwards, when the shaft fell, crushing his skull. He was 25 years of age and single.
On Thursday, the 21st of January, at 2:45 o'clock P.M., in the Mountain Brook shaft mine at Newburg, in Preston Community, occurred the fatal explosion of fire-damp, by which thirty-nine persons(all that were in the mine) lost their lives, leaving twenty-one widows and thirty-eight orphan children.
It was comparatively a new mine, having been in operation about two years prior to the accident. The shaft was sunk 10x21 feet, horizontal dimensions, and 360 feet deep from the surface to the bottom of the coal seam, and was divided by a partition from top to bottom, into a down-case and an up-cast for the purpose of ventilation; the down-cast being also used for hoisting At the bottom of the up-cast a large steam pump was stationed; the exhaust steam from which was used to create the ventilating current.
By reference to the accompanying map, showing the workings of the mine at the time of the explosion, the manner of ventilating the mine may be more readily understood. The air was conducted from the bottom of the down-cast, to near the head of the main entry, thence across to the No 3 lett butt entry, and after passing through its workings, it was conducted through the workings of No 2 left buttt entry, thence it passed to the up-cast part of the shaft and up out of the mine. Doors were placed across the mouths of the rooms, and the air was carried up by brattice, close to the faces of such working places as were being driven to the rise of the coal seam, so as to sweep out the fire-damp and prevent its accumulating. The mine was worked with open lights. The accumulation of fire-damp that caused the explosion, from the evidence taken at the coroner's inquest, is believed to have resulted from the absence of the stopping marked 'A," in the mouth of the first room on the right hand side of the No. 2 left butt entry. The absence of this stopping, as can be readily seen by an inspection of themap, would permit the whole air-current of the mine to pass down this room into the entry, instead of taking the longer route around through the faces of the rooms to the head of the entry. It appeared that water had collected in some of the rooms on the right-hand side of this entry, and for the purpose of draining it off, the superintendent had directed two men, Albert McWilliams and John Hornby, to dig a ditch from the first room on the left, across the entry and some distance into the No. 1 room on the right. This room(the first right-hand)