Newspaper Clippings - Volume 48 - Volume 50

Page 11

Page 11


SATURDAY, : : : : JUNE 19, 1880


The Mutilated Dead and the WoundLiving–About the Funerals and the Inquest.

Yesterday's accident at the Yellow Jacket, terrible as it was at the time of its occurrence, appears still more so today. It takes time to realize such a calamity in all its reach and bearings. A suggestion has been made that in consequence of it and of the necessity which exists for the relief of suffering in our midst, the Fourth of July celebration be done away with and the money raised be donated to the needy and suffering.

There are more of the dead than can be buried at one time. The Miners' Union of Gold Hill will inter the remains of Timothy Wilkin and E. Whitcomb at 1 P. M. tomorrow. Neil Gallagher will be buried under the auspices of the Sarsfield Guard at 3 P. M. tomorrow. Alfred Temby is to be buried by Wildey Lodge, No. 1, I. O. O. F., of Gold Hill, at 3:30 P. M. tomorrow. Hannibal Williams wall also be buried tomorrow, but from Virginia.

The remains of those who were killed present various forms of mutilation.

Neil Gallagher was struck on the left shoulder by a piece of angle iron thirty-two inches in length, which penetrated his body a distance of eighteen inches. The whole back of his head was carried away by some pieces of iron and his legs were both broken. He was a native of Pennsylvania, aged 29.

Whitcomb had his head split open, and when found the left lobe of his brain lay upon his shoulder, and was disemboweled. He was a native of Michigan, aged 39, and leaves an aged mother here of whom he was the sole support.

Alfred Temby lost the entire upper and back portions of his head and his right arm was nearly torn from his body. He was a native of England and aged 30.

Timothy Wilkins had the whole of his head badly crushed, the back portion being gone. His breast was also broken completely in. He was 41 years of age, a native of England, where he leaves a wife and four children.

Hannibal Williams died before being taken to the surface. His right shoulder was laid open by a fearful gash and his right arm was almost torn from his body. The back of his head was also broken in and, though he was still breathing when found, it is not likely that he ever knew that anything had happened.

John Trezona had his right thigh crushed and received a wound in the head that fractured his skull. His skull was trephined last evening and he may recover, but his case is somewhat critical.

Hammond is on duty today and Coyle is doing well.

Coroner Brodek has today impaneled his jury and they have viewed the bodies. The inquest will be held at 5 o'clock Monday evening.

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Page 12

Page 12


SATURDAY, : : : : : JULY 17, 1880



Full Particulars of the Cause of the Accident–The Testimony of the Witnesses and the Verdict of the Jury.

At 5 o'clock last evening Coroner Brodek held an inquest as to the death of Wm. S. Pollard and the cause of the Yellow Jacket accident night before last.

Captain G. G. Taylor, Superintendent, testified: The shaft of the mine has three compartments; the north is a pumping compartment, the center one a working compartment in which a skip runs and is where the accident happened, and the south a working compartment with a cage. At 11 o'clock last night I was called up and told the skip was inverted in the shaft near No. 7 bob–about 2400 feet down–and that they were afraid that Wm. Pollard had been thrown from it. The machinery was in good condition; is always kept so; the accident was no doubt occasioned by the breakage of No. 7 bob. There is a bonnet on the skip now and Pollard could not ride on the crossbar; if he had been riding on the crossbar, there would have been some chance for him to have been saved. As it was, when the skip upset he was thrown out. The bonnet is to protect men from things falling in the shaft. The skip hung in the shaft outside the guides.

James Kelly testified: Work at the Yellow Jacket; there were five of us working at the time of the accident–Felix Boyle, Phil McDavitt, Mike McCormick and Tom Keeley; were working in a drift from the south compartment at the bottom of the shaft; when we went to work nothing was out of the way; the cage ran smoothly; as we finished loading the skip some splinters came down the shaft and we remarked among ourselves that they were blasting on the 1200; but even that would not keep deceased from going up; he gave three bells, and just then something hit the bonnet of the skip, and I remarked for him to get under the bonnet, and he said: "That's where I am;" just then the skip went up; it was not more than two or three minutes, as I should judge, before a lot of rock and debris of all kinds came down the shaft, and we ran back into the drift; did not know what had happened; I thought something of the pump gave way; in a few minutes looked into the center shaft and saw somebody's clothes hanging on a wall plate; Phil McDevitt pulled them in, and I saw they were Pollard's; picked them up; came to the conclusion that there was an accident at the shaft; didn't know what; it was four or five minutes between the signal to hoist and the falling of the debris; did not think anything wrong when the splinters fell; thought blasts at the 1200 had knocked off the lagging; deceased had been working in the mine at least twenty months; have often seen chips, shavings and splinters fall when nothing was wrong; Pollard has laid off some since he has been working at the Jacket; had been on a week or ten days when the accident occurred.

Walter Cobb testified: Am undertaker in Gold Hill and took charge of Pollard's remains; deceased was aged 19 years, 10 months and 8 days; was born in California; he died of injuries received at the Jacket shaft last night.

T. H. Keeley testified: Was working at the Yellow Jacket shaft at the time of the accident; was south of the south compartment at the bottom; nothing was wrong with the machinery when deceased got on the skip that I could see; noticed after coming out from where I was working that four or five slivers of wood from one to six inches long came down and struck on the bonnet of the skip. I remarked that the boys at 1200 had blasted and bursted a lagging; then went back and helped fill a wheel-barrow, which finished our spell inside, and came out into the south Compartment of the shaft; sat down for probably two minutes, and some heavy body struck some 612 timbers about nine feet over my head; I then ran into the face of the drift as fast as I could and considerable rock fell into the shaft; the remark was made that something had "gone up" in the shaft–i. e., given away–and the probability was that Billy had "gone in"–i. e., got killed.

Philip McDeavitt testified" Was working in the Yellow Jacket at the time of the accident; have heard the testimony of the two preceding witnesses; can tell nothing more; can only corroborate their testimony.

On cross-examination by a juror, this witness testified that the deceased could have got off the skip after ringing the bells to hoist; it is not safe, but we do it often; I have frequently done it; we take our chances; I should not have got off on account of the falling of slivers.

Daniel McPherson testified: Was going on shift at the time of this accident; started down the south compartment as usual at changing of shifts; went down to the 3000 station; Frank Hammond, shiftboss, told Williams and me to stay there to see if we could find deceased; they would go up the shaft with the cage and if we found him to ring six bells for the cage; could not see anything on the 3000 and went to the bottom–into the sump–found deceased in about five or six feet of water; brought him out and put him on the center piece, and went to the 3000 level and rang six bells for the cage; the other men came down on the cage, and we went to the top with the body. If deceased had been standing on the crosshead of the skip he would have been, in my opinion, safer; men rode there before the bonnet was put on the skip; now they cannot ride there; I think it safer, however, to have the bonnet on; it protects persons in the skip from things falling down the shaft. Have been mining 9 years, and 4½ years on this lode; cannot think of anything which could have been provided by the company which would have prevented this accident.

J. H. Williams testified: Was with McPherson in the search for the body of deceased; have heard his testimony; have nothing to add thereto; can corroborate it.

Nicholas Williams testified: Am engineer at the Jacket; was on duty at the time of the accident; went on at 10:30; accident happened about 15 minutes later; had done no hoisting; double cage, south compartment, was on top; skip was on the bottom; got three bells on the skip; was hoisting very slow because I expected these men were about ready to go down the south compartment; nothing had happened to make me thing anything was wrong; soon as I got the three bells and the clutches were right I started up slowly; when the skip got about to the 2700 I stopped it till the men in the south compartment got ready to go down; we clutched in and started to run double, the skip up and the cage down, and when about 150 or 200 feet I felt the skip catch something; shut off my steam and applied the footbrake; stopped it as quick as I could, hung the skip there on the brake; unclutched from it and hoisted the men in the south compartment to the surface again; told them that the skip had struck between the 2300 and 2500 and for them to look out for it as they went down and see what was the matter; lowered them down about to the 2400 and stopped them; after a little I got two bells; lowered these men then to the 3000 level; when the men came up they said that the skip was bottom side up; have heard since that a pumpbob broke; this was not known at the time of the accident.

Thomas Howard, brakeman, confirmed the evidence of Mr. Williams.

Captain Taylor was recalled and testified that after he had been called he asked the pump engineer what was wrong with the pump; he said the engine had made a number of revolutions and then stopped on the half stroke; he supposed the lack of steam kept her from coming up and making a full stroke; he then turned on more steam and commenced to work her by hand; found he could not move her and stopped, thinking something was wrong; told Mr. Bent, the pumpman, who had just come up the shaft, that something was wrong; Bent said he had just come up and everything was all right; Bent had started down again before I got to the building; the pump cage stopped about 40 feet above No. 7 bob and that it in some way obstructed the skip shaft; in a short time Mr. Bent came up and said the nose of No. 7 bob was broken off and that the long connections between the rod and nose of the bob–the east one–had fallen over and torn out a dividing—a center piece in the shaft; that the skip was hanging in the shaft out of the guides and dumped; these connections are about eighteen feet long and an inch thick and six inches wide; the eye had broken of the east one and it had fallen over and pushed out the center piece as the pump hade the upstroke and broke the guide, and when the skip came up this break threw it over against the wallplate and dumped it.

Edward P. A. Pyne, pumpman of the mine, confirmed the superintendent's testimony as to the cause of the accident; the welding of one of the straps was defective; that caused it to break and that caused the accident; no one can be blamed for it, unless it is the man who welded the straps; the straps had all been tested by fire to see if any defect existed in them.

[This weld was made below–sort of jumped together and poorly done at that. It was a like defect which broke the bobs at the Union shaft when the pumps were started there.–REP.]

The jury on the foregoing evidence found that Pollard's death was accidental and that "said accident was caused by the breaking of one of the straps at bob No. 7 in the Yellow Jacket shaft, and we further find that no blame attaches to any of the officers or employees of said mine therefore."

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Page 13

Page 13


A Meeting of the Republican State Central Committee.

The Republican State Central Committee met at Pioneer Hall at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

Chairman Requa stated that, as he would be absent a great deal during the next two months, he wished either to resign or to have somebody elected Chairman pro tem. Senator W. R. King, of Lyon county, was thereupon elected Chairman pro tem.

The Secretary was ordered to write to the Congressional Committee for a supply of campaign documents,

The candidates on the State ticket were assessed as follows: Congressman Daggett, $500; Supreme Judge Beatty, $1,000, the money to be paid within two weeks.

C. C. Stevenson was elected Treasurer.

The committee intending to take care of Nevada without calling on the National Committee for money, the Executive Committee was authorized to solicit subscriptions for the purpose of carrying on the campaign. Republicans in office, as well as "high privates," will be visited, but nothing in the shape of an assessment is to be extracted by any one–all contributions will be voluntary.

The Chairman and Secretary will attend to all matters pertaining to printing, except the auditing of bills. On motion of Dr. E. B. Harris, C. C. Stevenson, George I. Lammon and E. Strother were appointed a committee to secure headquarters.

The Committee then went into ececutive session on "The Good of the Party," when C. S. Varian said he thought steps should at once be taken to secure speakers, and suggested Governor George L. Woods, of California, as a good talker.

W. R. King, of Lyon, thought it would be a good plan to first utilize our home talent, and that in case of any Republican speakers of note passing this way from the East the Executive Committee could extend to them invitations to address the people of the leading towns of the State.

On motion, the Chairman appointed C. S. Varian, E. Strother and W. R. King a committee to obtain speakers. Mr. King, however, resigned and Dr. Lee, of Ormsby, was appointed in his place.

Persons present being asked to suggest speakers, the following names were handed in: Judge R. S. Mesick, B. C. Whitman, W. W. Bishop, C. J. Hillyer, Hon. William Woodburn, F. A. Tritle, C. S. Varian, R. H. Taylor, Rev. J. D. Hammond, Hon J. P. Jones, Judge Hawley, Senator Sharon, Hon. R. M. Daggett, R. H. Lindsay, D. D. Banks McKenzie, C. C. Powning, W. H. Dickson, S. S. Grass, M. C. Tilden, Thompson Campbell, J. A. Stephens, and quite a number of other well-known and popular speakers.

The delegates were then called upon to give some account of the situation in their respective counties.

Governor Kinkead summed up by saying that he was confident the State was thoroughly republican, yet the party should get to work all the same. It would not do to sit down and trust to luck.

A resolution, introduced by Dr. E. B. Harris, was adopted, by which the Chairman, or Chairman pro tem., and Secretary are authorized to proceed with the work of the campaign, reporting progress in the committee.


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Page 14

Page 14


FRIDAY, : : : SEPTEMBER 17, 1880



A Broken Cable and a Falling cage the Cause–-Names of the Dead and Particulars of the Accident

At the change of shift last night in Con. Imperial a terrible accident occurred, by which nine men of the ten coming up the shaft were killed. The accident occurred near the dead of night but news of it flew with wonderful rapidity and soon information of the disaster spread all along the Comstock as men eddied into little circles to tell the sad particulars.

Those who took the place of the men relieved below had gone down and the last of the miners were coming up. The pumpmen were changing shift also, the shaft being in charge of Dick Ryder, the pumpman. It is usual for him to come to the surface at that time, taking the lower cage, and it is presumed, from the fact that his body was found in the station outside the compartment in which the accident occurred, that last night he followed his usual custom. The men had been raised about 200 feet from the fact that his body was found in the station outside the compartment in which the accident occurred, that last night he followed his usual custom. The men had been raised about 200 feet from the station at the bottom of the perpendicular shaft when the cable parted at the reel.

For some reason which is inexplicable the safeties on the upper cage did not catch, and the whole, with the ten men on the cages, went to the bottom of the shaft, and the cable fell also, coiling on top of both cages and men.

As soon as possible, help descended [in] the next compartment to the scene of the disaster. It was, however, some time before the men could be extricated. When relieved John Roach and Frank Smith were found to be alive, and Roach talked a little quite rationally. In taking him to the surface he weakened rapidly and lived only to get to the top.

Following are the names of the killed:

John Roach–Single man; both legs broken and side crushed in; died of internal injuries.

Patrick Murphy–Single; literally disemboweled, thighs smashed and skull crushed in.

Richard Ryder–Single; head cleft from crown to eyebrows, shoulder torn nearly off and the blade driven into his body.

Thomas Meagher–Leaves a wife and five children near the Homestead; head crushed and the brain all gone; badly bruised all over.

Mat. Winnie–Married; three children; top of head all gone; right arm crushed and nearly torn off; badly bruised.

Joseph Hanrahan–Singled; face cut and badly bruised; injuries mostly internal.

Wm. Corbett–Single; head smashed in; upper and back portions of body badly broken and bowels out.

N. B. Farnum–Single; legs badly bruised; injuries internal; most of body black and blue with bruises.

Jerry Sullivan–Leaves wife and three children; head badly cut and bruised all over. It was between 3 and 4 o'clock this morning before the dead were all removed.

There is still much uncertainty about the real cause of the accident. On the lower cage there was found an ax with the handle broken about eight inches from the poll. It has been thought that this ax was with one of the pumpmen and in some way got its handle into the timbers, causing the strain which broke the cable. B. F. Jones, the engineer on duty at the time, however, says that everything seemed to be running smoothly when the cable parted at the reel.

A representative of the NEWS this morning visited the works of the Con. Imperial and talked with Foreman Pendergast about the accident. Mr. Pendergast said the cable was almost a new one–having been but about three months in use–of the best steel wire and English make four and one-half inches by one-half. It was, he said, considered the best in the works, and had never been used to raise rock. It was also ascertained at the works that only last week the pitman of a pump weighing from 2500 to 3000 pounds had been safely lowered by it. Since the interview with Mr. Pendergast, however, the writer has been told by a prominent employee of the mine that the foreman was not positive whether the broken cable was the new one or not.

The blacksmith at the works, who is considered one of the very best on the Comstock, says he is positive that the safeties on the upper cage were all right, and he is unable to account for failing to cth, if indeed they did fail–a point which had not then been determined by actual investigation. The springs attached to the safeties are of spiral-coiled wire, but stiff enough to hold a man's weight, and would surely move the exxentrics of not interfered with, or in some way overcome. He says he has also used the usual steel springs, coiled like a watch spring, but prefers those now in use at the mine.

The NEWS representative while at the works examined the broken end of the cable which was on the reel. He is not a competent witness to testify about it, but the br3eak extended along the cable for about two feet and the wires were so tough as to resist all efforts to break them by repeated bendings. It is not improbable, however, that by repeated bendings over the sheave and reel in running and the vibrations of use, these wires may have crystalized, as iron and steel will do under such circumstances, and broke on account of such crystalization.

The accident is a terrible one at any rate and, as usual, there are many who wish to have the blame cast on the company for the accident. Coroner Brodek will hold an inquest at 4 P. M. tomorrow on the bodies of the dead, and his jury, after hearing all the evidence in the case, will be better able than the papers or the public now to lay the blame justly, if indeed there is blame in the matter belonging to any one. Till that jury has passed on the case it is but fair to suspend judgment.

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