Carolina Mine Hoisting Accident 1928

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Date: [unknown]
Location: Sanford, Lee County, North Carolinamap
Surnames/tags: Accidents North Carolina
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Disasters | United States Mining | Souteast United States Mining Disasters | North Carolina Mining Disasters | Carolina Mine Hoisting Accident 1928

History and Circumstances

History and Circumstances
Date: 27 December 1928
Location: (near) Sanford, North Carolina
Type: Coal Car Crash
Victims: 4 killed
Cause: Cable of the coal car snapped.

Area History
The State of North Carolina, like many other states, used prisoners from the state penal system to provide cheap labor in several industries such as railroad track laying and farming. In April, 1928 The Carolina Coal company of Sanford, contracted with the state for the use of prisoners in its Lee county mine.[1]
Mine Disaster Circumstances
Four state convicts were killed and several others were seriously injured in a coal car crash at the Carolina coal mine near Sanford, NC. Two were killed and seven others were seriously injured. The accident occurred late afternoon when the cable of the coal car snapped as the prisoners were being lifted out of the mine. [2] Apparently a coupling pin broke and several cars loaded with prisoners plunged to the bottom of the mine.[3]
There were 35 men in the car at the time it fell. Eleven men attempted to jump out of the car to safety. Two of those men were killed outright and the other nine were injured, two so severely they died soon after arriving at the hospital. Those who remained in the car were not hurt. Deputy W. Honeycutt of the prison said the men had been instructed to remain in the cars in case of accident.[4]
Investigation Report
George Roger Pen, prison superintendent conducted his own investigation. A coroner’s jury in Chatham county pronounced it an “unavoidable accident”. Labor Commissioner Frank D Grist who is conducting his own investigation had nothing to add. [5]

Miner Victims

Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
Dortch Waddell No Miner, Prisoner from Durham No No
James Ray No Miner, Prisoner from Raleigh No No
Henry Simmons No Miner, Prisoner No No
Albert Spencer No Miner, Prisoner No No

All 4 men were convicts leased to the coal company to work in the mine.


  1. "State Will Use Convicts in Mine". Asheville Citizen-Times (Asheville, North Carolina). 03 April 1928, Tue. page 12.
  2. ”Convicts Killed when Coal Mine Car Drops”. The Hour (Norwalk, N.C.). 27 Dec 1928. Page 1
  3. Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) 31 Dec 1928, Mon. Page 3
  4. ”Four N. Carolina Prisoners Killed”. Kingsport Times(Kingsport, Tennessee), 27 Dec 1928, Thur, Page 3
  5. Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) 31 Dec 1928, Mon. Page 3

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