Huerfano County, Colorado
Bowen Mine Explosion




BowenMine Explosion, August 7, 1902

The Reno Evening Gazette Nevada 8-8-1902 EXPLOSION IN MINE.
COLORADO SCENE OF ANOTHER TERRIBLE ACCIDENT -- TEN KILLED.
Trinidad, Colo., Aug. 8. -- The rescue party at the Bowen mine, where a disastrous explosion occurred last evening, was compelled to suspend work at 1 o'clock this morning owing to fire-damp.
At that hour the bodies of ten dead have been removed. There were at least thirteen men in the mine at the time of the explosion and all were undoubtedly killed.
No gas has ever been known in the mine and it is the opinion of the officers that the accident was caused by a premature shot.
The powder house at the mouth of the mine, containing about one thousand pounds of powder, was exploded by the shock from the mine and great damage was done at the mouth of the slope.
The town of Bowen, about a quarter of a mile below the mine, was severely shaken, a number of windows being broken.
Immediately after the explosion almost the entire population of the town rushed to the mouth of the mine and the scenes there were heart rending.
The mine is almost a total wreck as far as can be determined at this time.
The explosion occurred about one thousand feet from the surface, the mine was quickly filled with gas and smoke and those who escaped instant death were suffocated.
MIKE CASSIDY was blown to atoms. His head was picked up nearly one hundred feet from where the body was found and his legs are still missing. The body of JAMES HUNTER was terribly mangled.
Measures were taken today to rid the mine of gas and it is thought the workings will be thoroughly explored by nightfall.

Telluride Daily Journal – August 8, 1902 – Horrible Coal Mine Explosion – Gas and Powder Explode in Mine Number Three at Town of Bowen, Near Trinidad – Thirteen Bodies Recovered – Scene About the Mine Beggars Description – Deadly Fumes Keep Rescuers From Doing Much Work – Trinidad, Aug. 8 – Up to 11 o’clock today only seven bodies have been recovered from the terrible mine explosion which devastated the little town of Bowen, Colorado, at 6 o’clock last night. The dead recovered are: M. Cassidy; John Sanches; Jas. Hilton; Frank Groatez; Arthur Berg; J. Winfield; Arthur Meyers. There are known to be seven other dead bodies in the mine. These men are: W. S. Elliot; Felipe Sena; L. H. Jesen; H. Creesch; John Kennedy; Joseph Gordon. The scene about the mine this morning beggars description. Women and children are crying their hearts out. Rescuers time and again have tried to enter the yawning cave but deadly fumes drive them back. They are growing less and less, however, and it is expected that by tonight the dead in the distant part of the mine can be brought to the surface. Rescuers can only get in two hundred feet at the present time. The disaster is the result of an explosion. The day shift had just gone off duty and the night shift, which is only half the number of the day force had gone in to work. Fourteen miners began operations with the usual shot and what happened then is only conjecture. There must have been an excess of gas. At any rate the explosion communicated to the immense body of giant powder stored near the mouth of the mine and the whole earth seemed to tremble, the explosion being heard for ten miles. Those near the fatal shot were torn into pieces, the head of one man, trunk of another and arms and legs of a third were mixed up horribly by the concussion. Not one of the fourteen escaped alive. Directly after the disaster the whole town hurried to the scene. Rescuers went to work and before midnight three or four of the bodies were recovered. At daylight today the effort to bring up the dead was continued, but with only partial success. There is not a ray of hope of any living thing coming out of the underground room. The property destroyed was Mine No. 3, operated by the Union Coal Company, of Denver, which had a capacity of 1,000 tons per day. The little town of Bowen is surrounded with gloom as nearly every family therein suffered the loss of father, husband or son. Hundreds are pouring into the city and aid is freely proffered, but there is no need for doctors or nurses. Later: Shortly after noon four more bodies were taken out. They were found 1,200 feet under the earth. Eleven bodies have now been taken out and only four more are known to be inside.

Durango Democrat – August 8, 1902 – Mine Horror at Trinidad – Powder House Blows Up and Thirteen Miners Are Killed – Work of Rescue Delayed on Account of After Damp – Pueblo, Colo., Aug. 7 – A special to the Chieftain from Trinidad says: “A most disastrous explosion occurred this evening at 6:30 o’clock at Mine No. 3 at Bowen, a small camp about ten miles north of this place, in which thirteen lives are known to have been lost. The exact number of men working on the night shift and in the mine at the time of the explosion is unknown. The mine is worked by the Union Coal company of Denver and is a slope mine situated on the mountain side and about four hundred yards from the tipple below. The explosion occurred about eight hundred feet from the mouth of the slope and was caused by fire damp. Immediately after the night shift had started in the slope, a terrific explosion occurred, entirely filling the mouth of the slope and shaking buildings and breaking windows for a mile distant. Owing to the mouth of the slope being filled, rescuers were delayed for some time, but succeeded in reaching part of the men through the old slope and eight dead bodies were quickly brought to the surface. The mine is filled with gas and smoke and resuers are afraid of the after damp and are unable to stay in the mine more than a short time. Mothers, wives and children of the dead and imprisoned miners are almost crazed with grief and the scene presented at the mouth of the mine is a most pathetic one. The known dead are: James Hunter, machine runner; Tilden Winfield, colored helper; Mike Cassedy, blown to pieces; Joe Gordon, colored, driller; Joe Sauchy, machine runner; Thomas Sierra; Frank Groat; Weiler Elliot. The powder house in the mine, usually containing one thousand pounds of powder, blew up and it is this which caused such great disaster. The general belief is that the entire mine has been ruined, and if not it will take months to get it in working order again. The rescuing party is pushing forward with all possible speed, and before many hours the exact number of lives lost and the total amount of damage can be determined.”

Fort Collins Weekly Courier – August 13, 1902 – Sixteen Killed in a Mine Explosion – Trinidad, Colo., Aug. 7 – The most disastrous mine explosion in the history of the Southern Colorado coal field occurred at Bowen, a camp operated by the Union Coal company of Denver, about ten miles north of here, at 6:30 o’clock this evening, and as a result 16 men, the entire night shift, are dead. Some of the bodies have been recovered, but the greater number are still in the mine, and at this hour it is impossible to reach them on account of after-damp. The known dead are: James Hunter, machine runner; Tilden Winfield, colored, machine helper; Joe Gordon, colored, driller; Joe Sauchey, machine runner; Thomas Sierra, machine helper; Mike Cassidy, miner; Weiler Elliott, miner; Frank Groat, miner, still in the mine. So far as known not one of the night shift escaped to tell the story of the horrible disaster. The night shift had just gone into the mine when a terrific explosion occurred, which could be heard for miles around. It is the general opinion that the explosion was the direct result of a windy shot. The powder house at the mouth of the mine, containing about 1,000 pounds of blasting powder, was exploded by the shock from the mine and great damage was done to the mouth of the slope. The town of Bowen, about a quarter of a mile below the mine, was severely shaken, a number of windows being broken by the shock of the explosion. Immediately after the explosion almost the entire population of the town rushed to the mouth of the mine and the scenes there were heartrending in the extreme. It was with difficulty that the crazed wives, mothers and sisters were restrained from rushing over the debris in the mouth of the slope into the mine, which would have been certain death, in the vain attempt to rescue their loved ones. The crowd at the mouth of the slope has diminished but slightly since the disaster and many of the grief stricken women had to be carried from the scene.

Basalt Journal – August 16, 1902 – Thirteen men lost their lives in the late coal mine explosion at Bowen. The last bodies recovered were those of Joe Gordon, colored; L. P. Jensen and Oscar Burg.

Victims of the Bowen Mine Disaster, August 7, 1902, cause of death for all was "Explosion::

1. BERG, OSCAR Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as Arthur Berg and Oscar Burg) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: DRILL HELPER Age at death: 23

2. CASSIDY, MIKE Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as Mike Cassedy) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: TRACK LAYER Age at death: 27

3. CREECH, H. Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as H. Creesch) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: DRIVER Age at death: 38

4. ELLIOTT, WEILER. H Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as Weiler Elliot) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: MINER Age at death: 27 Marital Status: M

5. GORDON, JOE Death Date: 1902AUG7 Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: DRILL RUNNER Age at death: Marital Status: S

6. GROATE, FRANK Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as Frank Groat and Frank Groatez) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: MACHINE RUNNER Age at death: 26 Marital Status: M The newspapers also list James Hilton as a victim.

7. HUNTER, JAMES Death Date: 1902AUG7 Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: MACHINE RUNNER Age at death: 26 Marital Status: M Surviving children: 2

8. JENSON, L. P Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as L. H. Jesen and L. P. Jensen) Nationality: DANE Occupation: MINER Age at death: 29 Marital Status: S

9. KENEALY, JOHN Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as John Kennedy) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: SHOOTER Age at death: Marital Status: S

10. MEYERS, ARTHUR Death Date: 1902AUG7 Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: MACHINE HELPER Age at death: Marital Status: S

11. SANCHEZ, JOE Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as John Sanches, Joe Sauchey, and Joe Sauchy) Nationality: MEXICAN Occupation: MACHINE RUNNER Age at death: 26 Marital Status: M Surviving children: 1

12. SENA, FELIPE Death Date: 1902AUG7 Nationality: MEXICAN Occupation: MACHINE HELPER Age at death: 30 Marital Status: S The newspapers also list Thomas Sierra as a victim.

13. WINFIELD, TILDEN Death Date: 1902AUG7 (Also listed in the newspapers as J. Winfield) Nationality: AMERICAN Occupation: MACHINE HELPER Age at death: Marital Status: S



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