Limaville, OH Coal Mine Disaster, July 1872

From the Minerva Commercial.


We are indebted to H. H. McKenzie of Alliance for information concerning a terrible accident which happened at a coal mine at Limaville, Stark County, on July 3d.
It seems that the mine is an extensive one, in which, at the time of the fire, there were twenty persons.
The entrance to the mine was, for some little distance, a vertical shaft, from which an incline ran several hundred yards. This entrance was lined with heavy plank and timbers. Mr. McKenzie says there are several stories as to show the fire originated, one (and what seemed to him the most probable) being that a fire had been started at the bottom of the vertical shaft to create a current of air to purify the air in the mine; and from this the woodwork lining of the mine caught fire. A boy (son of one of the men in the mine) saw the fire, and ran in to tell his father -- this being the first intimation that those in the mine had of their danger. The father, with five others, started at once to make their escape, and almost lost their lives, in doing so, as they had to crawl a long distance on their hands and knees through the roaring and crackling flames which were eating out the woodwork. They presented a horrible spectacle, the severe burning having drawn their countenances so that their nearest friends could hardly recognize them. The little boy and fifteen others did not escape. Nine bodies, burned out of all recognition, have been taken out. One of the parties in the mine was a young man engaged to be married on the 4th inst., (the day after the fire). It is beyond the power of pen to portray, or tongue to tell the scene at the site of this terrible disaster.
Fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends of the unfortunate ones swallowed up in the fiery grave; people who lived in the neighborhood, and strangers from a distance, all crowded there and made it a scene of the wildest excitement. The cries of the bereaved ones was heartrending in the extreme. The affianced bride of the young man above spoken of was inconsolable; she was almost a raving maniac, and had to be forced to leave the spot to save her reason and health. Fire engines were sent for, and every exertion was made to put out the fire and if possible, get out the bodies of the fifteen who had fallen a sacrifice to the flames. As we have already stated, nine have, so far, been taken out. After the woodwork burned out, the earth caved in and closed up the mouth of the mine, so that even if the fire had not reached to the innermost recesses of the mine, those who might have escaped the flames could not escape suffocation.

Alliance, Ohio, July 7, 1872.
The following are further particulars of the mine disaster near Limaville:
The mine is a new one, and the shaft slopes towards the vein, striking it at a depth of seventy-five feet and following the vein as it slightly ascends for a short distance. In a depression near the junction of the slope and shaft is a furnace, used for expelling foul air.
On Wednesday the foul air and gas caught fire from the furnace, and the flames communicated with the wooden supports to the roof. The boy, aged about nine years, who was attending the furnace, ran into the mine to alarm his father, and nineteen miners inside and ten in the outer shaft escaped, but the boy and ten men farther in were cut off. A fire engine was brought from Ravenna as soon as possible and the flames extinguished.
A portion of the roof of the mine fell in, owing to the burning of supports which made the work of recovery slow and tedious. Yesterday evening seven bodies had been recovered, when a fresh fire occurred, and this was finally penetrated at three o'clock this morning, and the remaining three bodies, including that of the brave boy, were brought out. They were found as far back as they could get in the rooms of the mine.
They were buried soon after their removal. Their corpses were blackened and almost indistinguishable.
The excitement is intense and crowds from all parts of the country are flocking to the scene of the disaster.
The following is the list of the victims:
JOSEPH EVANS, 35, foreigner.
JOHN HOWELLS, 25, foreigner.
THOMAS MEANS, 35, Limaville, Ohio.
JOSEPH OTEY, 24, Limaville, Ohio.
GEORGIE HOFFORD, aged 9, the boy of Atwater, Ohio.
WILLIAM ROBERTS, 27, Salinaville, Ohio.
RICHARD ROBERTS, 30, Salinaville, Ohio.
ROBERT ROBERTS, 21, Salinaville, Ohio.

Ohio Democrat New Philadelphia Ohio 1872-07-12