MORGAN COUNTY, TENNESSEE MINES, MINE DISASTERS AND OIL WELLS


Information gleaned from past issues of the
MORGAN COUNTY PRESS AND MORGAN COUNTY NEWS AND OTHER PLACES


January 1916  
 Twelve miners were killed in an explosion of mine #3 of the Dar Dour Coal & Coke Co.  at Catoosa.  Seventy Five men were in the mines. All escaped except those killed outright.  
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 A new coal mine enterprise has been launched at Coalfield. H. B. Bowling & Co. have  leased the J. B. Webster mines and will begin operations as soon as weather permits.  


August, 1916  
    James T. BUCHANAN, a miner about 30 years of age from Dayton was killed in the  Conger Mines Wednesday by falling slate.  He had worked here only two days.  The body  was prepared for burial and sent to Dayton for interment.  He leaves a wife and two  children.  Mr. R. A. DAVIS, Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court went over to Petros Saturday and sold the property of the Petros Coal & Mining Co. under a decree issued  by the court.  The property brought $5000 and was purchased by James E. RHODES, trustee. One fifth of the purchase price was paid into court at the close of the sale.  This is  a new mine with fine steam coal. 

The Fodder Stack and Coal Company was organized at Petros Monday for the  purpose of taking over the property of the Petros Coal Mining Company, purchased bat  the  Court sale last week by J.E. RHODES, Trustee.  The company was organized with  
J.E. RHODES President, and general manager, J. M. DAVIS vice president, Frank SCHUBERT treasurer and C.H. DAVIS secretary. The mine will be operated under the  management of J. E. RHODES with A. W. EVANS as mine supt. This is practically a new  mine and some fine rich veins have been opened.  The present output is seven cars per day  which will be materially increased in the near future.  


October 12, 1916  
Squire ADCOCK’S court was the scene Tuesday of a very exciting lawsuit, which as to nature is perhaps not duplicated in the court procedure of the county.  Harry GOUGE,  who lives near here, was arraigned on the charge of a very grave statutory offence.  The  
alleged victim and accuser was little miss Gertrude McDANIEL, age 13 years.  The crime  is said to have been committed Saturday evening week near the Prudential Mines. Gouge was arrested by Constable W.H. WARD and brought before Equires ADCOCK and WEBSTER who after hearing the evidence of the little girl and  Gouge’s father,  
committed the accused to jail until the next term of Circuit Court at Wartburg.  The State  was represented by Harvey Ward and the defendent by J.M. DAVIS and C.C. JACKSON December 11th term of Criminal and Law Court:

State vs. Harvey Gouch, rape, acquitted of rape and jung jury on age of consent.  (Morgan County Press, 12/21/1916) 


October 16, 1916  
   The strike of the miners at the Coalfield Coal Co. Mines was settled satisfactorily top  the miners, all their demands being granted.  They now get 45 and 50 cents per ton instead of 40 cents as hertofore.  


October 19, 1916  
The Barbour Coal & Coke Co. are opening three new mines between here and Nemo. They are also building two new camps to accomodate the miners.  The mines are off the line of the M & F RR and the Railroad company have quite a large crew at work grading  branch lines out to the mines.  


November 2, 1916  
Petition in bankruptcy was filed in the United States District Court at Knoxville, October 26, 1916, by the Petros Coal Company.  The unsecured indebtedness was reported at $36,230.85, with assets orf $31,377.  Of the indebtedness, $32,000 is reported as due.  Henry M WINSLOW, treasurer, said to represent money loaned. The company’s plant is located at Petros.  


SPECIAL  
  W.H. Anderson of the 6th District of Morgan County was in Sunbright on Monday of  the week and informed your correspondent that he had located a large lake of oil underlying his farm and adjoining property.  He asserts the lake is from four to six feet  
deep and over half a mile square and lies only 417 feet below the surface.  This property  joins the Boyl  (Boyle?) farm recently purchased by Judge Bales and others of Jefferson  City and lays about five miles from Sunbright. 


December, 1917  
A MINE DISASTER  
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ALMOST AT OUR DOOR  
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Eleven Miners Killed at Catoosa  
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  As we go to press a report has reached us of one of the most horrible calamities that has ever happened in  Morgan County at Catoosa.  An explosion in the Coal mines at that place occured at 4 o’clock Wednesday  evening in which eleven miners were killed instantly.  From what we can learn the explosion was caused by a blast, causing a dust explosion. The following is a list of those killed:  
 Mat Hester  
 Ed East  
 Chas. Monday  
 Walter Shelton  
 Mr. Stone  
 Mr. Smith  
 Matt Mullins  
   We were unable to learn the names of the other four.  Dr. Byrd was summoned to Catoosa.  

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(Editor’s note: The following information has been submitted by Hugh Hyde):

Information listing those killed in a Catoosa coal mine explosion in December of 1917.  The list only contained 7 names.  I believe I have found the complete list of 11 miners killed.  I obtained the list from the Tennessee Death Index for 1914 – 1917.  
 

W. W. Bryant……………………….age 52 ……Death Index Record # 557  
O. J. Buttram ………………………..age 35…….Death Index Record # 562  
Will Carter…………………………….age 47…….Death Index Record # 560  
         (My Maternal Grandfather)  
Clarence Cecil Daugherty …….age 21….. Death Index Recor # 569  
Ed East………………………………….age 26……Death Index Record # 564  
Joe Hester…………………………….age 38……Death Index Record # 561  
Mat Hester…………………………..age 40…….Death Index Record # 567  
Alex Mann……………………………age not given….Death Index Record # 410  
Chas Monday……………………….age 30…..Death Index Record # 563  
Robert Moore……………………….age 30……Death Index Record # 440  
Matt Mullins…………………………age 30…..Death Index Record # 558  
 (comments and additions welcome)


December, 1954  According to Mr. Edgar Cheeley, Mine Supt., the Mallan-Ellison Coal Corp. will  suspend operation Dec. 31, 1954.   This is Morgan County’s largest industry and according to Mr. Cheeley, no plans to  
continue operation have been made.  At peak employment , the mine worked around 157 men and had an annual payroll of about $750,000.00.  The mines are located at the head of Emory River in the Ninth Civil District of Morgan County.  Mr. Cheeley stated that if  
they could just get fifty cents more on the ton, they could still operate.  [Morgan County News dated, 12/23/1954]  


June 29, 1961 
TWO MORGAN COUNTY MINERS INJURED  
IN CAVE-IN OF FORK MOUNTAIN MINE  
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1 MINER STILL EMTOMBED  
RESCUE WORK CONTINUES  
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 Three of the eight man crew, THURMAN CARROLL, BILL ROSE and GEO. E. ERWIN who with his father, RAYMOND ERWIN, operated the mine, escaped with only minor injuries, and two, CLAUDE WOODS and his son, ROBERT WOODS, were rescued.  CLAUDE WOODS, 46 received a pelvic injury and his son ROBERT, age 19, could be rescued only after his right arm had been amputated.  
The bodies of Charles Kennedy, 28 and Herley Carroll, 18 were later recovered.  The body of Charles Seiber was recovered about 8 days later.