Moberly, MO Esry Mine Fire, Aug 1936

Thousands at Mine.

The imprisoned four were; Demmer Sexton, 37, married and father of one child; A. W. McCann, 50, unmarried; Edward Stonner, Jr., 26, married; and George T. Dameron, 27, Negro mule driver, married. Stonner and Sexton leased the mine two weeks ago and were getting it ready for operation when fire broke out.

More than 3,000 persons thronged the area near the mine last night, crowding as close to the rescue scene as state highway patrolmen would permit. Scores of coal miners participated in the rescue work.

Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, MI 20 Aug 1936


Fresh Air Pumped to Mine Rescue Workers

Moberly, Mo., Aug. 20 (AP).-A giant hose to pump fresh air to rescue workers was pressed into service Thursday in an effort to save four men entombed in a coal mine near here. The oxygen offset deadly black damp which overcame several workers’ efforts.
Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 21 Aug 1936

Rescue Workers Hit Cable Atop Cage Miners Used

Tunnels at Bottom Must Be Cleared of Gas Before Further Activity

Moberly, Mo., Aug. 20 (UP).-Rescue workers Thursday night reached the bottom level of the Esry Mine where four miners have been trapped for two days by a fire and cave in.

A crew of four diggers struck the cable lying atop the cage in which the miners made their descent to the 110-foot level Tuesday.

Preparations to aerate the bottom tunnels of the mine to clear them of deadly gases were started. The trapped men were believed to be in the south tunnel of the three which open away from the bottom of the main shaft.

Before the rescue workers dared to go farther with their digging operations, they had to test the air in the tunnels for gas. Although there are ten gas masks available, the miners will be unable to work effectively with these masks on.
Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 21 Aug 1936

Two Safe After 72 Hours In Mine; Other Pair Dead

Trapped Men Reached After Night and Day Effort; Afraid You’d Give Up, Declares One

Had to Hug Floor

First Victim Succumbed in 2 Hours and Negro Driver Soon Followed.

Moberly, Mo., Aug. 21 (UP).-Two of the four miners who were trapped for seventy-two hours in the Esry coal mine were found alive Friday. Their two companions had died.

A rescue party immediately took A. W. McCann, 50, of Moberly to the surface in strong condition. Emergency treatment had to be given the other survivor, Demmer Sexton, 37, whose condition is critical.

EDWARD STONER, JR., 37, copartner in the mine venture with Sexton, and GEORGE T. DAMERON, 27, their Negro mule driver, had succumbed to poison gases.

McCann was taken to the surface by Coroner Jesse Maddox and State Mine Inspector Arnold Griffith in one of the huge iron buckets with which rescue workers had hoisted tons of debris from the caved-in-mine.

Stimulants Rouse One.

Although McCann had no relatives at the mine opening, his appearance was greeted with a great cheer by the hundreds of spectators. He waved and smiled. Then Maddox announced Stoner had been found dead.

Stoner’s young wife and daughter, Dolly, 6, screamed in horror. Ed Stoner, his father, turned away with his head on his arm.

Meanwhile down at the 110-foot level of the mine where the rescue party had been led to the miners’ refuge by McCann’s lusty shouts, men were working on Sexton, who was unconscious.

He was roused with stimulants. Rescue workers wrapped him in blankets and had him hoisted to the surface. Sexton’s wife, who has remained calm throughout, said, “I knew it all the time. That’s why I’ve been waiting.”

Bodies of the Negro and Stoner were taken up last. The crowd, however, was interested only in the survivors and their families.