Coalmont, IN Powder Plant Explosion, Nov 1942


Coalmont, Ind., Nov. 13. -- (AP) -- Four men were killed and one other critically burned today in an explosion at the United States Powder Company's plant here.
James Jones, president, said the dead were:
FRED KENNERY of Lewis, Ind.
JESSE BEDWELL of Lewis, Ind.
PAUL BEMIS of Coalmont, Ind.
BURT KESTER of Coalmont, Ind.
Extremely seriously injured is CLARENCE TENNIS of Coalmont, Ind.
The company has numerous small buildings scattered about the plant area and it was indicated the explosion was confined to only one of the buildings.
The plant manufactures blasting powder for coal mines.
An explosion at the plant several months ago killed two men.

Joplin News Herald Missouri 1942-11-13

Transcribers Note: This article was pieced together from various newspapers.
I could not find one definitive article on the explosion.


U.S. Powdermill Explosion

Interesting reading about the 1942 powdermill explosion at Coalmont. I have also heard there was a big explosion there in 1917 that resulted in deaths and injuries. I'd be interested to see anything about either of these events...or similar events in the area.

Myself and Friend have

Myself and Friend have purchased most of the Powder mill property. It is rich with history of both mining coal and powder production. I am sorry for all the losses on the ground throughout the years. There seems to be a lot of lives lost on this site. We are very proud to own it, and are open to any history some of the old timers can give us about the workings of the mill or mines.

Coalmont 1942 Powder Mill Explosion

My grandmother, Catherine (Dickerson) Bemis Johnson was married to Paul Bemis who was injured and later died from the explosion. He lived for about 1 month after. My grandmother was pregnant at the time and later gave birth to Paul Bemis's daughter. My Grandmother told me Paul was very badly burnt and died from complications and infections. My grandmother remarried and went on to have 4 other children and was a lifelong Jasonville, In resident.

Coalmont 1942 Powder Mill Explosion

I am a grandson of Clarence Clifford Tennis, who was killed on Friday, November 13, 1942 in a Powder Mill explosion near Coalmont, Indiana. According to my uncle, Walter Tennis, son of Clarence Clifford Tennis, my grandfather was killed immediately (burnt black) that day. He was taken by ambulance (McClanahan) to St Anthony Hospital in Terre Haute. The receiving attendant asked if he was a colored man... He was burnt that badly. (He was Caucasian.) I was also told Paul Bemis (who also died due to the explosion) did survive for a few days.

From this information from Walter Tennis, I surmise the four dead mentioned in the article above should include Clarence Tennis and the one extremely seriously injured was Paul Bemis.

Walter Tennis is still living and is now 93 years old.

Comment Posted: 9-24-2013

Gary Case

Coalmont powder mill

This powder mill still exists. It has been closed for years but several of the old brick buildings are still standing just west of town. It was last well known locally as the Birdsong farm.