Big Four Mine Disaster 1902

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 15 Sep 1902 [unknown]
Location: Algoma,  McDowell County, West Virginiamap
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters West Virginia Disasters
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History and Circumstances

  • Date: 15 Sep 1902
  • Location: Algoma, McDowell County, West Virginia
  • Type: Coal Mine Explosion
  • Victims: 17 killed
  • Cause: Gas ignited from miner's lamp which caused 6 blasting powder barrels to explode.

Miner Victims

Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
Jesse Wade Martinsville, West Virginia
Ed Graley or Graveley Martinsville, West Virginia
Clem Jones Richmond, Virginia
Charles Mullins Franklin County, Virginia
Fountain Sanders Franklin County, Virginia
Ennis Stovall Franklin County, Virginia
Henry Woody Franklin County, Virginia
Phil Jones Franklin County, Virginia
Henry Warren Franklin County, Virginia
Tom (or Samuel) Walters North Carolina
Henry Clark Evergreen, Virginia
Alexander Cryder (or Crider) Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Peyton (Payton) Cryder (or Crider) brother of Alexander, Pittsylvania County, Virginia
James Lester White (or Jim Luster) Salem, West Virginia
John Rockie (or Rocky) from Hungary

Only 15 of the17 had been identified in early reports.

Rescue Efforts

Results and Findings

Mine Disaster Circumstances
According to a report in the Washington Evening Star, "the explosion was caused by gas igniting from the lamp of a miner who was going to work. This, in turn, fired six kegs of blasting powder that had been stored back in the mines. The explosion knocked down all of the brattices for a quarter of a mile back toward the mine entrance, thus cutting out all of the air from the men imprisoned behind the debris."[1]


  1. "Big Four Mine Explosion," The Evening Star, (Washington, D.C.) 16 Sep 1902, p. 13, col. 7. Digital images., accessed 26 Nov 2019. Historical newspapers. news clipping from The Evening Star.

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