Kansas and Texas No. 44 Mine Disaster 1897

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 4 Mar 1897 to 4 Mar 1897
Location: Huntington, Sebastian County, Arkansasmap
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters Arkansas Disasters
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Disasters | Mining Disasters | United States Mining Disasters | Southeast United States Mining Disasters | Kansas and Texas No. 44 Mine Disaster


History and Circumstances

Levi Barrett purchased the land that would become the city of Huntington, and almost immediately sold to the Missouri, Kansas, Texas Coal Company. The town of Huntington began as a coal mining town in 1887. Three large coal mines began operating in the area. The following year, Huntington was incorporated on February 4, 1888.

Mine No. 44 was located about a quarter of a mile north of the main part of town. The main shaft was sunk about six years before the accident, but was abandoned for about two years before it was reopened. Over a hundred men, half African Americans were employed in the mine.

Rescue Efforts

About 4:30, people heard a muffled roar from the mine and began to rush toward the mine, as many had family and friends working there. Within a few minutes of the explosion, miners began to emerge from the mine. Some of them were not injured at all, but others were severely burned with blisters, and skin standing up on their hands and faces.

Superintendent Vail of the Kansas and Texas Coal Company began to direct the rescue effort and search for those who were unable to walk up the slope out of the mine. As the rescue efforts got underway, slowly more seriously injured miners were brought out of the mines. As they were recovered from the mines, people loaded the injured on wagons and transported them to their homes. At least one person died in the explosion, and 16 others were badly injured. The death toll was probably much higher, as people were simply sent home where they probably died later of their injuries. Other newspaper accounts reported the injured at thirty-five.

Results and Findings

Different theories were given for the cause of the explosion. Superintendent Vail believed carelessness caused a powder keg to explode. Miners working in the mine disagreed and said a shot caused it misfiring, which caused the powder keg to explode. They also said the mine was very dry and dusty at the time, and the furnace was not sufficient to create a draft and remove dust from the mine. There was very little gas in the mine, and everyone was of the opinion that gas build up had no part in the explosion.


Name Sourced Bio Connected Category
Griffith "Bud" Hanley Jr Yes No No Killed in Explosion
William R. Hanley Yes No No African American; badly burned; died after explosion
Jasper Hubbard Yes Yes No African American; badly burned will probably die
F. Fricker No No No burned on the arms, head and face
T. Stuzner No No No badly burned, may die
Andrew Fox No No No badly burned
Ennis Cable No No No African American; probably fatally burned
Marshal Hayes No No No severely burned on head and face
W. H. Hite No No No track layer, severely burned on head and hands. He survived the accident.
John Harris No No No African American; hands and head badly burned
John Patterson No No No African American; badly burned; thought to be internally injured
Doc Huffecker No No No African American; burned on head, shoulders and arms
J. Ellis No No No African American; hands and head badly burned
William Morris No No No badly burned on head, face and arms
William Scarlett No No No severely burned and cut on the head; in a precarious condition
John Maxwell No No No very badly burned
William Gardenhire No No No burned on face, neck and head



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