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Way Back When

August 21, 2011

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th Century as originally reported in past issues of the newspaper. These reprinted stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(March 25, 1896)

DEADLY AFTER DAMP
It Causes Horrible Disaster
at Adrian Mines.
TWO MEN PERISH FROM
SUFFOCATION
And Half a Dozen Others Resuscitated
After Life Seemed Extinct

Note: This is the conclusion of a lengthy report which began last week. Following a gas explosion Sunday evening, Superintendent E. W. Robinson and a small crew went into the mine to inspect the damage on Monday morning. While some of his group retreated, Robinson and several others were felled before they could be pulled out. Robinson's brother, L.W. Robinson, then took about 25 volunteers into the mine with him in hopes of effecting a rescue. — T.A.F.

They proceeded together for about a mile and a half, to the point where the damp began, and then separated into parties of three, keeping about 100 feet apart, and advancing in this way. A number of them were overcome and fresh men took their places, until all of the missing men were found. The first man discovered was Superintendent E. W. Robinson, who was nearest, having been dragged some distance by Gregory. He was carried to the main heading, placed on a car, and taken outside. Next Brummet and Jone were found and brought out. Joseph Lawrence was farthest in, and it was half an hour before he was brought to the main entry. David Baird, who had worked faithfully to effect the rescue of the others, fell exhausted when he reached the fresh air, and it required two hours hard work to revive him.

As fast as the men were brought out they were taken to the air-compressor room, and to Dr. Williams' office, where Drs. Williams, Blaisdell and Haney took charge of them, and immediately began the work of resuscitation. In this they were ably assisted by a number of miners, many of whom had much experience in similar cases, and knew exactly what to do. General Manager Robinson instructed them to spare no pains or expense for the recovery and comfort of the men.

The victims were all thoroughly soaked with water, were pulseless, and showed no signs of life. Their wives, children and friends were there, exhibiting the wildest grief, and the scene was affecting in the extreme.

After about two hours' labor, Superintendent Robinson had so far recovered as to be able to talk. It was more than two hours before Mr. Brummitt exhibited any signs of life, and he was not able to speak until the next morning.

During all this time vigorous efforts were being made to revive Isaac Jones and Joseph Lawrence. But their limbs grew rigid, and no indications of life were present. The doctors pronounced them dead, but they worked with them half an hour longer, when it became fully apparent that further effort was useless.

Lawrence was forty-five years of age, and leaves a wife and seven children. Jones was forty years of age and leaves a wife and nine children. The bodies of the dead men was taken charge of by the undertakers Fackiner & Jenkins.

The other victims are all doing well.

The fire in the mine did not amount to much. After consuming a few props and a little brattice, it went out of its own accord.

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