|Sign along the road marking the site of the disaster|
|The marker for those whose bodies were never recovered|
After I first posted this article, I received a note from a good friend who were up in the region. David states that often companies would pay other to go into the mine and "pillar rob." To "rob the pillar" means that the miners would destroy the pillars that were holding up the roof of the mine. As the pillars were being destroyed more weight was being supported only by the walls of the mine. The unsupported weight would eventually cause the roof to collapse. Looking into this a little deeper, it also appears that many of the small one or two person operations would apply this tactic, going into the abandoned mines and "robbing the pillars."
Early in the morning of December 18, 1869, a hole opened up, dropping three houses roughly forty feet into the mine with no warning. The first two houses that fell into the mine belonged to the Swank and the Rough families. A third house also fell into the opening, but those inside managed to escape. Those who were unable to escape were killed as the mine collapsed. Another note: there is some debate on how far the buildings fell. The original articles state that they fell forty feet. However a later article that covered the placing of a stone for Isaac Rough states they bodies were buried under four hundred feet of earth. I do believe that the four hundred is a misprint.
|Marker for the six bodies|
That were never recovered
|Marker placed in 1924|
Honoring Isaac Rough's military service