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DAWSON DISASTER Remembering the Dawson mining disaster, 100 years later

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  • Remembering the Dawson mining disaster, 100 years later

    Rows of coffins outside a morgue wait for dray hearses to haul them to Evergreen Cemetery at Dawson on Nov. 1 or 2, 1913. This photo was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican on Nov. 3, 1913. Courtesy of Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, Negative No. 159401

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Posted: Saturday, October 19, 2013 11:00 pm | Updated: 3:26 pm, Fri Oct 25, 2013.

At 3:10 p.m. Oct. 22, 1913, a Wednesday, people in the coal-mining town of Dawson, 14 miles northeast of Cimarron, heard a sharp crack, like a high-powered rifle, followed by a prolonged muffled roar, and then they felt the earth vibrate and saw flames shoot 100 feet out of the entrance of the Stag Cañon Mine No. 2.

Fifteen dazed coal miners soon staggered from the entrance. Another 10 or so were found injured, but alive, near the entrance. But more than 200 remained unaccounted for.

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3 comments:

  • Robert Sexton posted at 4:48 pm on Thu, Oct 31, 2013.

    rdsexton Posts: 1

    Regarding the nationality of the victims, the designations were taken from the Bureau of Mines report. It is possible that some of them were Spanish-American, but the report only states "Mexican".

    The "wealthy New Yorker" was Henry J. McShane who was the son of a wealthy couple who were principal stockholders in Phelps-Dodge, the company that owned the mines. He had gone there to see the family investments. He was ninteen at the time.

     
  • Alfonso DeHerrera-Ulibarri posted at 7:16 pm on Mon, Oct 21, 2013.

    Alde Posts: 1

    Why aren't the New Mexico Spanish American Citizens that were workers whose ancestry in New Mexico extends back into the 17th century mentioned in this article.
    The article mentioned 30 Mexicans working at the mines. Were these Mexican people from Mexico or were they Spanish American United States citizens from New Mexico?
    It is amazing to see so many Nationalities mentioned as living in Dawson when most of them were Spanish American citizens. Many of them died in the mine.

     
  • mssnow posted at 11:06 pm on Sun, Oct 20, 2013.

    mssnow Posts: 1

    In 1978 when my husband was hired at the Kaiser coal mine near Raton he was assigned a brass tag (known as a “brass-check”) with the number 699. Before going into the mine, he moved the brass-check from the “out” to the “in” side of the board. Additionally, a duplicate tag was attached to his miner’s belt, a grim reminder that each day when he descended into the mine it was possible that he would not return. Should the unthinkable occur, the brass-checks carried by each of the men could be used to identify their bodies. Fortunately, he worked and survived until the mine closed in 2002. One hundred years ago many wives were not so lucky; the unthinkable did occur.

    I have walked among the many iron crosses in the Dawson cemetery, reading the names, and trying to grasp the enormity of the grief that gripped the entire community. They were men, much like my husband’s own grandparents, who came to the mines in Colfax County, looking for a chance of a better life in America. Just like my husband, they worked the mines because it provided a living for their families. I was glad to read the articles in the newspaper today, recognizing the historical significance of such a tragic event. Regardless of how you may feel about the use of coal to provide energy today, please take a moment to consider and remember the sacrifice made by these men and their families.

    Sandra Snow, Santa Fe

     
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