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Butte, Montana

Bell Mine Explosion

August 4, 1900


PAT MURPHY by Mistake Ran Into an Explosion.


Had Been Given a Warning but Ran Into Danger Instead of Away From It – Leaves a Wife and Children.

PATRICK MURPHY, a miner employed in the Bell mine, was instantly killed about noon yesterday by a shot on the 900-foot level. MURPHY was at work on the third floor of the level and several men were engaged in a raise just above him. They had drilled a set of holes and “shotted” them and started to fire. They knew MURPHY was at work right below and gave him the usual warning. He started to run, but instead of going away from the danger he ran right into it, evidently having become confused. The first shot struck him almost squarely in the face and killed him instantly. The force of the explosion threw him back some distance and when help reached him he was dead.

Coroner Jullien was at once notified and the body was removed to Duggan’s undertaking rooms.

MURPHY was a man about 43 years of age and well known as “Plain PAT MURPHY.” He leaves a wife and several children.

The inquest over the body of PATRICK MURPHY, the victim of the disaster in the Bell mine, took place at the undertaking rooms of L. Duggan last night. Michael Lowney, J. E. Moran, L. J. O’Neill, Frank Hunter and Frank Hughes were the witnesses examined and the testimony of all was substantially the same and to the effect that after Lowney left the place where the shots had been prepared to blast MURPHY went to the shot, with an evident desire to see that everybody else had left it. Lowney went to the floor below to give the fire cry, but MURPHY, it seems, failed to heed him. The jury rendered the following verdict:

“That the deceased, PATRICK MURPHY, came to his death at Diamond mine in Butte, Silver Bow county, Monday, on the 4th day of August, 1900, from the explosion of a charge of blasting powder and from the evidence the jury fails to find that anyone was to blame for the matter.”

The Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, MT 5 Aug 1900

Transcribed by Jenni Lanham.  Thank you, Jenni!


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