Trinidad, CO Mine Explosion, May 1923





Trinidad, Colo. --- Ten bodies of the miners have been removed from the Southwestern mine of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company in the Aguilar district, which was the scene of a gas explosion.
Two blackened and mangled bodies lie in an undertaking place at Aguilar, and eight others in the morgue here. The body of LEON CORDOVA, was the last one removed from the wrecked north slope.
The ten miners, whose bodies have been recovered, were caught in an explosion of gas in the mine during a fifteen-minute period when the ventilation fan was shut off. Officials believe that a light from a miner's torch touched off the explosion that wrecked the mine and killed the ten men.
The body of CORDOVA was found within 200 feet of the entrance, indicating that her was making his way out when caught by the explosion.
Superintendent MORGAN WILLIAMS of the mine had just started out to investigate the shutdown of the ventilation fan. But the fifteen minutes that the fan had not been working, enough of the deadly gases penetrated the shaft, and the light exploded it.
He was hurled some twenty feet by the force of the explosion but was unhurt.
The air pump was not damaged by the explosion and was used to clear the shaft of foul air and pump fresh air to the rescue workers.
Falls from the wall of the slope were heavy but the roof in the greater portion remained intact, greatly facilitating the work of rescue.
Eighty men working in gangs and shifts assisted in the rescue work. The rescue was in charge of a rescue force rushed to the scene of disaster is a government bureau of mines car from Trinidad. Men from nearby camps, the C. F. and I. Company and the Victor American mines joined in the work.
Had the average normal number of men been working in the shaft at the time of the explosion mine officials say that between forty-five and seventy men would have been killed. The men who were killed were working on an idle day.
The explosion is the first one at Southwestern mine, and the only one in the Trinidad coal field since March of 1922, when nineteen were killed at Sopris.
The mine is three and one-half miles north of Aguilar, and has large workings, owing to the number of years it has been producing. The product averages 200 tons a day when in full operation, and gives employment to sixty and more miners.
The underground workers of the mine were badly wrecked by the explosion. The blast demolilshed the mouth of the mine and rescue workers entered the mine through an airshaft.

Eagle County News Colorado 1923-05-12


Cordova Family in Colorado

Hi Rosann, hopefully you will see this message. Place contact me at my e-mail address, or call me at (719) 671-6806.

Cordova Genealogy

Juanita, I am your mothers first cousin and can provide some of the Cordova genealogy for you. Do you communicate with Aunt Emma? Actually, the Daniel that your mother refers to is my father. He was known as Don or Den. His actual name was Donaciano. My wife has done a lot of the genealogy on my mothers side. Her maiden name was Cordova, also. We haven't had much success on my father family. It all terminates in the Taos area. Aunt Emma will not provide any information to us. She has said that there are skeletons in the family. Apparently she feels that it would be best to not expose any dirty family laundry. I hope you receive this message as I would like to make contact with your family. I am uncertain as to how to connect with you.

Cordova Genealogy

Hi Roseann, my father was named "Donaciano" but was known at Den or Don. He was a brother to your grandmother, Matilde Esquibel. I would very much like to get in touch with you. If you can contact me at (719) 671-6806 or via e-mail at I would be very much appreciated. It would provide me wih the ability to reconnect with family. Your mother had brothers named Arthur, George, Ralph, Jacob who I believe are all gone now. She also has sisters whose names I don't recall.

Albert Cordova

Grandaughter of Matilda Cordova-Esquibel, daughter of Juanita

Hi, I was so happy to find this. My mother wants me to start researching my genealogy. She only knew her grandfather as Leon, but also mentioned a Daniel... If you could help point me in the right direction, my mom is dying to find out as much as possible. She knows she is third generation native american, but not sure which... Do you know about the Ludlow massacre? Just drop a note if you get a chance... Many thanks in advance, Rosann Tafoya-Johnson

My Great Grandfather, P.

My Great Grandfather, P. McKenna was killed there as well. His grave is now marked, but it is in the old Cemetery in Aguilar. my family had to go to the Veterinarian office in the 80's to find the grave, he had all the records. I do not know who has them now. In 2008 or so I was in Aguilar and there is a historical office there now, and I think they have the records but it was closed when I was there. There are two Cemeteries there, and my Great Grandfather is buried in the old one, and doesn't look like much of one, very few graves are marked. I hope this helps.

Southwestern Mine Explosion, May 1923

Not only did this accident take my Grandfather's life, whose complete name was Jose Leon Cordova, but because of a lack of concern by the company his death certificate was filed by a company clerk. The information provided was totally incorrect. In my research for information on my genealogy I was successful in obtaining his death certificate. The certificate indicated that Leon Cordova was single when, in fact, he was married and had a family. The Death Certificate did not include his parents names as was required by the State of Colorado. Not only do I blame the company clerk but the County official who was responsible for filing the Death Certificate that should have included all information. Obviously no one cared of his death, just another unfortunate soul who happened to be the wrong place at the wrong time. The mine owners were only concerned with mining coal and not with the welfare of their employees. Not unusual for that period of time. I am certain that the death certificates of the other nine men killed are probably lacking data as well. I might add that my father, Donaciano Cordova was killed in 1945 in a mine cave in another CF&I owned mine located near Canon City CO.

I do have one qustion, are there any records available such as an orbituary or funeral home (The Hall Mortuary, Trinidad CO) that may exist and may be available?