Cherry, IL Coal Mine Disaster, Nov 1909

Cherry IL The morgue scene.jpg Cherry IL Mine Day After Disaster.JPG Cherry IL Caskets Loaded On Train.JPG Cherry IL Mine Disaster Ruins of Fan House 1909.jpg Cherry IL  The Morgue where Bodies Lay.JPG Cherry IL Historical Marker Of Mine Disaster.jpg Cherry IL Remains of the Fan House today.jpg Cherry IL Remains of the Tipple at the entrance.jpg CHERRY ILL MINE

Rescuers Burned Alive.
Volunteers were called for to attempt to rescue the entombed men.
ART LEWIS, of Ladd, Ill., was the first to respond and within a minute eleven other men stood at his side. They were JAMES Y. EARLEY, Spring Valley; ALEXANDER STRANGBERG, Spring Valley; JAMES JAMIESON, Cherry, miner; HARRY STEWART, Cherry, miner; ROBERT CLARK, Cherry, miner, and DONNELLY, mine foreman.
They got into the cage and it was shot down into the mine. The men above waited for a few minutes -- long enough to hear from the party -- and when no signal was received the cage was drawn up again. The twelve rescuers were all there -- dead. Their faces were burned almost beyond recognition and the trunks were still smoking hot when the cage reached the surface.
Later tonight reports from Cherry declare hope of taking any of the imprisoned miners out alive have been abandoned and the mine has been sealed up. It is not believed possible any of the entombed men can have escaped for according to the survivors the flames reached to the innermost recesses.
The mine is the property of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad.

Is A Small Town.
The town of Cherry is small and has a population of about 3,000 nearly all of them Austrians, Italians and Lithuians employed in the mine.
When the news of the disaster spread there this afternoon there was a wild rush from the little cottages to the mouth of the mine, where wives, mothers and children of the victims waited for the news of men buried under the earth. Each time the cage came up with survivors the women and children rushed to the shaft and almost overwhelmed the occupants in their eagerness to identify them.
The superintendent of the mine organized the miners from other shafts to preserve order, but it was with difficulty that many of the frantic women whose husbands or sons did not come up with the other survivors were kept from hurling themselves down the shaft.
Finally when the cage came up the last time and it was realized that the time for saving the entombed men was past, the men, women and children standing about the shaft fell on their knees and prayed aloud in various tongues that heaven would visit its mercy on their doomed relatives and friends.



Anton Masenetta

My Great Great grandfather dies in the Cherry mine disaster. I am trying to find information about his children. My great grandpa George and his twin sister were adopted separately after the accident. I am told that their mother died in childbirth and Anton was left to care for the twins on his own. Does anyone know how I could possibly find out this information or possibly what Anton's daughter's name possibly was?

Reading this story and all

Reading this story and all the comments from relatives makes for a very poignant and terrible tragedy. I am from a mining town in Canada and my grandfather died in a mine at age 36. I cannot imagine leaving a family member buried underneath, always wondering what happened to them.
These are incredible stories, thank you for sharing

Anton Vesel

emilio tonelli

i would like a list of names sent to me
emilio was a great grandfather that died
in the disaster. also we were told that a
petro lancelotti and a mane named gudatti
was ther can you please send me anything thanks

looking for relatives

I´m looking for list of victims. My grandfather had two brothers, Karl Johan and Axel Johanson who I´ve been told died in an explosion in young age.. They arrived to Illinois from Sweden in 1907. At least one of them worked as a "stonecutter"
The explosion should have taken place in Rockford Ill. I appreciate any help where to search.

Anton Vesel

My husband name is Kenneth Vesel. His father was Victor. Victors mother was pregnant with him when Anton died in the mine. We are trying to find information about Anton and where he was born and who his parents were. We know that Frances met him in La Salle Il. He was staying at a boarding house that her and her mother ran. We are also trying to find out why he had the alias attached to his name.

anton vesel

Hi Alice
Anton is my great grandfather.
Would like to hear from you. I did locate his tombstone . I attended the 100th anniversary of Cherry Mine disaster, were you there? Please contact me @

Re List of Survivors of Cherry Coal Mine Disastor - 1909

Yes There Are List Of Those Who Survied The Cherry Coal Mine Disastor of 1909 and Those Who Got Settlements
Contact The Cherry, Illinois and Spring Valley, Illinois Historical Societies. - Very Nice People - They Will Help and Direct You.
If I Were You - I Would Call Them Via the Phone and Talk With Them.
Good Luck In Your Search.

Cherry Coal Mine Disastor - 1909 - List Contain Incorrect Info

My Two Third Cousins - Sam and Alfred Howard (Develeschoward) Both Died Side By Side In The Cherry Coal Mine of Black Damp.
The Mine List and The Book " Trapped" Incorrectly State That Alfred Was 16 Years Old At The time He Died in The Mine. However, According To Family Records - Alfred Was Born in 1895 - Thus, He Was ONLY 14 At the Time He Died In The Mine and NOT 16.

The Author of The Book " Trapped" Incorrectly States That Alfred and Sam's Mother, Celina Was of Italian Descent - This is Totally Wrong.
Celina And Her Ancestors Were Of French Descent And Alfred and Sams' Father, Charles Devleschoward (Howard) was of French/Belgium and Flemish/Belgium Descent.

So Do Not Depend To Much On What The Records and List State.
Further, Given that Many of The Mine Workers Were Not Amercan Born There Are Errors In Spellings of Last Names, As Well As First and Middle Names.

If I were You, I Would Contact The Cherry and Spring Valley Illinois Historifcal Societies - I Found Them To Be Helpful when I Was Doing My Family Search. Also, Another Place That is VERY HELPFUL is The LDS - Church of Jesus Christ of The Latter Day Saints - Family Library - They Do Everyones Genealogy - Look Them Up in The Phone Directory and Call Them - They Are Very Nice People and You Do NOT Have To Be of Their Faith In order For Them To Assist And Help You. Give it A Try - I Think You Will Be Happy With The Help The Provide To You.

Good Luck To You

Cherry Mine

Sue, I believe Anton was my grandfather and the child Franceska was carrying was my dad. I dont know a lot about the story, other than that, and that his name wasnt on the marker (as Anton) anyway, and I dont remember hearing WHY it wasnt..