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5 days ago - Via - View - Wm Dan Gilbert : The Three Point Explosion of Sept.16, 1943, Harlan County, Ky Submitted by: John Ownes
The Three Point Explosion of Sept.16, 1943, Harlan County, Ky
Submitted by: John Ownes <>

Harlan Daily Enterprise
Thursday September 16, 1943
The Weather Kentucky: Cooler this afternoon tonight and Friday morning Page 1




Rescue workers were striving at mid-afternoon today to
determine the fate of 17 miners trapped 5,000 feet underground
in the mine of Three Point Coal Company, Three Point, following
an explosion of undetermined orgin about 8:30 a. m. The blast
ripped away the mine's ventilating system, forcing rescue works
to establishnew ventilation as they pushed toward the area in
which the men are believed to have been trapped. That work, it
was said, at 1:30 p.m. would take "several hours" The names of
the missing miners were with held, pending a check of the list.
Under the direction of James F. Bryson, veteran safety director
of the Harlan Coal Operators Association, and Rufus Bailey and H.
Hamlin, state district inspectors of the State Department of
Mines and Minerals, rescue squads rushed their drive to the
blasted area, identified as having occured in No. 12 left section.
NO OTHERS ARE HIT No other section of the mines, in which
approximately 160 work, was touched by the blast, it was reported
through the office of George S. Ward, secretary of the Harlan
County Coal Operators Association, who was keeping in close
touch with the rescue work. All other men were reported safe.
While there was restrain among mining officials concerning
the outcome of the explosion, fear was expressed for the safety
of the trapped group. When news of the explosion was received in
Harlan…first at the associations safety department…Bryson
organized rescue workers and rushed to the mines, approximately
10 miles south of Harlan.
Members' of the State Highway Patrol also went to the scene
to give assistance.PATTERSON ON WAR Moss Patterson, Lexington,
chief of the State Department of Mines and Minerals, was reported
enroute to Harlan County to lend a hand in the rescue work. The
association and state mine officials were the first to enter the
mine following the explosion, but they were forced back by
the lack of air. Then they began directing the building of a
ventilating system that would permit them to travel the 5,000 foot
passage in the blasted area.
How long exactly it would take to set up the system is only a
guess. While the rescue work progressed, families of the missing
men and other miners and their families gathered as close to the
blasted pit as they were permitted. Many other persons from other
sections of the county went to the mining camp, some to
offer their assistance, and others to look on.

Harlan Daily Enterprise The Weather Friday September 17, 1943
Kentucky: Cooler tonight and Volume 42 #222 and Saturday morning,
light Pages 1 & 8
frost in north portion tonight

12 of 18 Trapped Miners Found Dead

Six Three Point Survivors Found Behind Barricade


The bodies of 12 gassed and mangled coal miners were brought
from the two-mile deep pit of the Three Point Coal Company early
this morning, victims of an explosion whose deadly "after-damp"
was escaped by six of their fellow-workers who were brought to the
surface last night after rescue squads had worked 12 hours to
drive a 5,000 - foot line of air to their barricaded area.
The men died a sudden death, caught in the force of the blast
and enveloped by gas.Only quick action in setting up the barricade
saved the other six workers from a similar fate. The mine gave up
the six living men and three of the dead companions about 10 o'clock
last night, the victims torn and burned. The other nine bodies
were found about 6 a.m. today, accounting for all men caught in
the county's second worst diaster. The three were found more than
a mile from the drift mouth. Beyond this group, almost a mile
farther back in 12-Left, were found the six men who had saved
their lives behind brattice cloth. 12 MEN KILLED The dead, with
their age, addresses, survivors and periods of employment at
Three Point follows:

Merle Blanton, 27, Molus, nephew of Frank Gross, secretary-treasurer
of the company, wife, two children, eight years employment. Carson
Ramsey, 26, Three Point, wife, two children, two years employment.
E.M. Morgan, 30, Three Point, wife, two children, two years
employment. Mine Foreman Albert Bonza, 46, Three Point, eight
children, 16 years employment. Fred Irvin, 23, Three Point, wife,
two children, two years employment. Leander Cole, 40, Cawood,
wife. 12 years employment. Dave Osborne, 40, Cawood, wife, seven
years employment. Henry Ed Osborne, 25, Cawood, wife, two children,
one year employment. George Helton, 39 , Three Point, wife, four
years employment. Frank McKenzie, Cawood, wife, six children, seven
years employment. Lawrence Jordon, 40, Three Point, wife, seven
years employment. Marion Osborne, 43, Three Point, wife, seven years
employment. Marion Osborne, 43, Three Point, wife, 13 years
employment. SIX MEN SURVIVE Harvey Lasley, Three Point, the
only single man in the group, Charles Bailey, Cawood . Shelly
Farley, Three Point . Paul Helton, Three Point . Homer Osborne,
Cawood In the casualty list Carson Ramsey and E.M. Morgan are
brothers-in-law, and formerly of Middlesboro, Ky. Dave and Henry Ed
Osborne are brothers. Broad smiles bedecked the survivors when
they appeared from the mine darkness in a coal car. There was no
shouting, no hysterics…just a silent liberation for which the
men gave thanks to the rescue workers. There were no testimonals
from the men who a few hours before were inwardly in prayer
and outwardly jesting to soar their spirits. FAITH IN RESCURERS
"We knew they ( the rescue workers ) would get to us in time,"
one of the surviving men said. The 160 man mine of the Three
Point coal company, 10 miles south of Harlan on Martin's Fork, was
shaken by the explosion at about 9 a. m. yesterday. The force of
the blast ripped down ventilating system and left the 18 men
behind a wall of gas. Two hours before about 160 men had entered
the mine. Only 12-Left, was caught in the blast,and other
workers came out unharmed. Rescue work was established with
James F. Bryson, safety director of the Harlan Count Coal
Operators Associaton in charge, with his right-hand man, Rufus
Bailey and H. Hamblin, district mine inspectors of the Kentucky
Department of Mines and Minerals. Under the leadership of Bryson
and the two mine inspectors, a rescue squad tackled the
job of driving through 5,000 feet of bad air to the entombed
men more than two miles underground. NEWS SPREAD QUICKLY News
of the diaster spread like wildfire throughout the county. And
into Three Point began to pour volunteers who wanted to take hand
in the rescue work. Rescue squads from trained mine rescue exams in
which Bryson has had a hand in instructing, took over the long
work. Bryson, Bailey, and Hamblin led the rescurers into
the mine and personally directed the carrying of fresh air to the
stricken area. The local rescue leaders were joined by Moss
Patterson, Lexington, chief of the Kentucky Department of Mines
and Minerals, and by members of the U.S. Bureau of mines from
Virginia and West Virginia. ARMY POLICE HELP In the meantime, The
Salvation Army, of Harlan, under the direction of Martha Ellen
Britian and Capt. Maleva Baugh set up a coffee and sandwich
table outside the driftmouth and served each squad of rescue
workers as they came from the mines. Members of the Auxililary
Police Unit, Harlan City-County Civilian Defense Council, under
the direction of M.V. , commander, aided in the direction
of traffic on the approaches to the mine and the Three Point
community. Members of the State Police had charge of the traffic.
Elmer Hall, president and general manager of Three Point Coal
Company, was on the scene constantly while the rescue work
was going on. In the office of the coal company Gross,
secretary-treasurer stood by the company's one telephone line
and directed the flow of telephone messages into and out of
the camp. PHONE KEPT BUSY Relatives from many places telephoned
the mining office seeking information about the blast. Coal
mine officials from the four state areas offered rescue teams
and other services, some of which was accepted and most of it was
turned down, because of the organization already perfected by
Bryson. The Three Point community, ordinarly a place with little
movement of traffic, became the mecca for hundreds of persons
through out; the day and night. A large crowd was on
the mountainside near the mines when the report came this
morning that the last of the bodies had been found huddled close
together. Three members of the rescue squads "got down" with
bad air during their shifts in the mine. They were stricken in
the main entry when gas seeped through the barricades. After
first aid treatment, they were brought to Harlan Hospital for
observation and later released. They were Johnny Gosnell and Ted
Brown of Three Point, and Mine Foreman Jack Huffman, of Straight
Creek, Bell County. Pruitt, one of those saved, doubted himself
in the dressing room shower a few minutes after breathing fresh
air. AIR GOT BAD "We all decided to barricade ourselves in the
room, the air got pretty bad toward the last, but we held out
hope that therescuers would reach us in time," he said. Farley
a big strapping miner of 22 years experience in the Kentucky
fields said the blast didn't make much noise. "Our bunch was
about 700 feet away. It just sounded like something had
deafened us," Farley said, as a fellow miner rubbed soap on his
back. "We lived on what little air there was, each of us
searching around the walls for air pockets. "We found them too.
None of us was scared a bit and shucks we could have held out
15 hours longer if necessary. Some prayed a little and some said
we'd better if we got out of this. JOKED, HUNTED AIR "But we joked
too and kept looking for more air pockets." Farley, who has two
sons in the service, looked mighty good to his 18 year son, Edward.
Who lives in the village. Going to the mine mouth as a helper,
young Farley kept saying bravely; "Gee, I hope Dad is one of
those six . Dad was and when Edward saw him all he could say was
"Well" The boy couldn't reach him up the tram. Only one of the
rescued was hospitalized. Lasley was skirted away by ambulance.
His buddies said he held out better than any of them inside. The
mine entrance overlooked the little village. A neat group of
houses surrounding the general store and office building. TWO ARE
BROTHERS Two of the Osbornes, Dave and Ed, were brothers. All of the
four Osborne boys were cousins. Paul Helton, taking his
shower calmly remarked that his brother, George, was killed
by the explosion.
The jesting Farley reckoned he would go home and take
some sleep. He figured, too, he and the boys would be back at
work tomorrow after some restand nourishments. MEN ARE THANKFUL
As Paul Helton stood in his house this morning, with his
four-year-old son holding his hand, he had little to say other
than "I'm a happy and thankful man this morning." His wife
and family waited through the night until he came home. Joy was
written on their faces, but the realization that 12 others
had lost their lives seemed to seal their lips. Helton
and his group of six placed the time of the explosion at 9 a.m.
Thursday. "Our ears felt like plugs had been driven into them" he
said. All they felt was a gush of air, but heard no noise. A
little smoke followed but the mine cleared in a few minutes.
Charles Bailey, another one of the rescued, said "our safety
training saved our lives." He asked his companions not to strike
any matches an suggested building a barricade. Shelly Farley took
charge of the trapped group and got them organized in barricade
construction. They cut old air vents, splint mine timbers and used
rocks to construct a safety zone for themselves. The built two such
places but bad air never reached their place. TRAPPED MEN PRAY
When asked what they did in there all those long airs .. Helton
said, "We all prayed a little I guess, I did." Mr. Bailey said,
Sure, I prayed . We had time and I figured we ought to pray. One
of the rescue workers said the six owe their lives to using good
safety judgement. The rescuers sighted them an hour before
they could reach the trapped men, instead of starting toward the
rescue crew when they were sighted, the six waited until the safety
men reached them.
They would have been killed sure the safety man said, for
the entry was filled with gas. The Three Point diaster was
the worst suffered in the county since December 9, 1932, when
23 men were killed in an explosion in "Zero" Mine of
Harlan Fuel Company, Yancey. Bodies of the 12 men were taken
to three funeral home. Carson Ramsey and E.M. Morgan were taken
to the Cawood Funeral Home at Middlesboro. Dave, Henry Edd, and
Marion Osborne are at the Anderson-Laws Funeral Home and the
other seven are at Cumberland Hardware Funeral Home.

Harlan Daily Enterprise The Weather Sunday September 19, 1943 Kentucky:
Warmer Sunday Volume 42 # 223 Page 1 & 8


THREE POINT MINERS GET RITES MONDAY Joint funeral services for
10 of 12 men who lost their lives in the explosion at the mines
of Three Point Coal Company Thursday will be conducted Monday at
12 noon at the Harlan Baptist Church, with the Rev. Roy Owens,
pastor of Three Point Baptist Church, in charge of services. The
Rev. W.J. Bolt, pastor of Harlan Baptist Church, will
deliver the principal service and be assisted by the Rev, Roscoe
Douglas, pastor of Pansy Baptist Church; the Rev. Joe Moses, pastor
of Mountain Assembly Church of God in Cawood; the Rev. Onie U.
Kays, pastor of Mary Helen Methodist Church. The Rev. C.B. Buckner
of the Baptist Church, will lead in prayer. The Reverend Owens will
read the Scripture. FOUND FRIDAY The men
were brought from the mine about 10:30 a.m. Friday by rescue
crews from Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, who worked ceasely at
the task. The six rescued miners where found barricaded in their
working place about a mile from the dead. They were brought from
the mine about midnight Thursday, two hours after rescue workers
had reached them. The accident was the second worst mine fatality in
the history of Harlan County coal mining, the worst being
Harlan Fuel Company in December, 1932; when 23 men lost their
lives in the old Zero mine. The Three Point tragedy occurred at
9 a.m. Thursday within a few hundred feet of the Zero explosion
in the same mountain . Property lines of the two companies join. The
rescued miners are Harvey Lasley, Warren Pruitt,
Shelly Farley, Paul Helton, all of Three Point; and Charles
Bailey and Homer Osborne both of Cawood.

OSBORNE BROTHERS Dave Osborne, 40, of Cawood, is survived by
his wife, Mrs Zonie May Osborne, seven children. Mrs. Georgie
Johnson, Cawood; Mrs. Opal Ball, Harlan, Miss Ethel Osborne,
Edna, Dave, Joe, Deloria and Billie Osborne of Cawood. Henry
Edd Osborne, 25, brother of Dave, is survived by his wife, Mrs.
Bertha May Osborne, and two children, Charles Edd and Agatha.
Other survivors of the Osborne brothers are three brothers.
Roy Osborne, Cawood. Andie Osborne, Three Point, and Denver Osborne,
also of Three Point; and three sisters, Mrs. Rose Allen Osborne,
Coxton, Mrs. Stella Nolan, Cawood and Mrs. Daisie Johnson, Cawood,
and their father, Fayett Osborne. Marion Osborne, 43, cousin of
Dave and Henry Edd, of Cawood, is survived by his wife Mrs. Joanna
Osborne, Cawood, and four children, Hazel, Febia, Lee Rose, and
Margie, all of Cawood, four brothers, George, Charley, Will
and Harrell, all of Cawood, and one sister, Mrs. Bertha Bruce,
Cawood. A cousin of the three Osbornes, Homer, was among the six
rescued. JOINT Joint funeral services will be conducted from
the Yellow Creek Baptist Church near Middlesboro today at
3 p.m. for E.M. (Lige) Morgan, 28, and Carson Ramsey, 23, the
Rev. William Johnson, pastor, and the Rev. James A. Lyle of
Knoxville, Tenn. officiating. E.R. (Lige) Morgan is survived by
his wife and two sons, Jackie Ray and Vancel Wayne, all of Three
Point, and his father. He was a cousin to Henry Edd, Dave,
and Marion Osborne. Carson Ramsey is survived by his wife,
Edith Sing Ramsey and two children. Donna Faye and Johnnie Sue,
all of Three Point; his parents Mr. and Mrs. W.S. Ramsey of
Middlesboro, Ky. And two brothers, Moss Ramsey, Verda; and
Forester Ramsey; Cincinnati O. He was a member and active worker
of the Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church. ALBERT BONZA Albert
Bonza, 46, veteran mine foreman for 18 years for the Three
Point Coal Company, is survived by his wife, Mrs. Maggie Bonza
and eight children. He has two sons in the army. He was born in
Spain. Leander Cole,40, of Cawood is survived by his wife, Mrs.
Lizzie Cole and two children. two of his sons are in the Army.
George James Helton, 38, Three Point, is survived by his wife; Mrs.
Mary Jane Helton, his mother Mrs Lula Lipscomb Helton, Pulaski
county, nine brothers and three sisters. Frank McKenzie, 52, who
was born in Italy, is survived by six children. Mrs. Elizabeth Noe,
Mrs. Fastina Irvin, Joe McKenzie,Frankie, George, and Vinson,
all of Three Point; three sisters, Mrs. Barbara Nettle,
Philadelphia, Italy; Mrs Mary Ma-lie, Coalgood, and Mrs. Carmell
Bushel of New Jersey. MERLE BLANTON Merle Blanton, 26, nephew of
Frank Gross, secretary-treasurer of Three Point Coal Company, is
survived by his wife, Mrs Rachel Blanton and two children. Brenda
Joyce and Roger Allen, all of Molus: One brother Dexter Blanton,
Massachusetts : five sisters, Mrs Robert Wells Totz; Mrs. William
Blanton, Miss Mary Evelyn Blanton, also of Dayhoit, and Miss Beulah
Blanton Cincinnati O. Lawrence Jordon, 40, Three Point is survived
by his wife, Mrs Anna Mae Jordon and five children, Melba, Billie,
Mae, Lawrence, Robert and Kenneth, all of Three Point. Fred Irvin,
23, three Point, is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ann Wilson Irvin,
and two children. Jane Ann and Virginia Louise, all
of three Point, three brothers and three sisters.

Harlan Daily Enterprise The Weather Friday September 24, 1943 Kentucky:
Continued cool Volume 42 # 228 tonight and Saturday morning Page 1 & 8



The lighting of a match to relight a flame safety lamp in an area
heavily laden with methane gas was the cause of the explosion that
took the lives of 12 miners of Three Point Coal Company September
16, it was revealed here today. The report was made by Rufus Bailey
and H. Hamlin, district mine inspectors of Mines and Minerals and
James F. Bryson, safety director of the Harlan County Coal
Operators Association, who conducted an inquiry into the
blast. Six men trapped in the mine after the explosion were
brought to safety after a 12-hour entombment, during which time
they had braddished off a
"room" against the deadly "after damp" gas. Methane gas, the
report said, collected in the mining area from a worked out area
of the pit. Blame was placed on the match lighting in the local
report which followed a closer investigation than the inquiry on
which G. Moses Patterson, chief of the state department, drew
conclusions in a report released at Lexington yesterday. In
his report, Mr. Patterson was quoted as saying that gas "
apparently was ignited by a match used in an attempt to light
up a defective flame safety lamp or for smoking." The report here
said that later investigation showed that the safety lamp was not
defective, but that it had been taken apart to permit
lighting by a match instead of by the automatic safety lighter
attached. The report added that the smoking angle had been
discounted after further investigation.

SEVEN KILLED OUTRIGHT Seven of the victims were killed instantly
by violence of the explosion and the others died

as they attempted to flee from the mine, the report said. The
investigators; hindered in their investigation by water the blast
released from underground pool, said they found the safty lamp, box
of matches and one slightly burned match stem near where the bodies
were found. There were nine unlighted matches in the box. The report
said there was conclusive evidence that the blame should be placed
on the lighting of the match. The diaster was the second worst of
its type in the county's history. A blast at the Zero mine of
Harlan Fuel Company in December, 1932, cost 23 men their lives.

Harlan Daily Enterprise The Weather Thursday September 16, 1943
Kentucky: Cooler tonight and Saturday Volume 42 # 221 morning; light
frost in south
Page 1 & 8 portion tonight


Harlan countians watched silently through the night as rescue
workers labored tirelessly to reach the underground room where 18
miners were trapped early yesterday morning in the mine of Three
Point Coal Company---------------fearful the coalfield's second
worst diaster had struck. The blast that rocked the Three Point
mine occurred only about 1000 feet from the area of the adjoining
"Zero" mine of Harlan Fuel Company, Yancey, in which 23 men were
killed on December 9, 1932, including six Massengille brothers
of Tazewell, Tenn. The "Zero" tragedy was the worst suffered in
Kentucky coal mining history. WILL BE FELT But despite the
magnitude of the claim the depths of the mountain laid on
the ranks of Three Point miners, the entombed miners
families and friends looked on stoically through the night as
rescue teams worked in shifts. The talking of the crowds gathered
on the mountainside near the mine drift mouth was in subdued
tones while now and then orders were barked through the dark
by the rescue chiefs. There was no open display of emotions
along the rows of homes of Three Point…the streets yesterday
were Sunday-quiet…only noise coming from children who did not
realize that perhaps one-tenth of the manpower of their mining
camp had been snuffed out in the mining pit. The Three Point
explosion will have its effect on every coal camp in the county for
days. Such diasters always have a repercussion that is hard to
shake off…as one mining official expressed it. "When things like
this happen there is a jittery feeling in the field."

HAS GOOD RECORD Ironically, the Three Point Coal Company has
a good safety record. The last fatal accident there occurred six
years ago, in February 1937. " But this tragedy makes up for
all the good record we have had," a company official said. There
was no lack of skill in the rescue squads sent into the Three
Point mine, for they were directed by James F. Bryson, a hefty Scot,
a former major in the ranks of the famous Scottish regiment, "
Ladies of Hell," of World War I . Bryson, a jovial veteran of
the mining field, is a stern taskmaster in the face of suck work
as he was "called to direct at Three Point.
On the job, he knows no friends, he is oblivious to all things
except the work of pushing rescue, to the men trapped underground.

EXPERIENCE ON HAND And there was no lack of experienced mine
rescue men on which to call. George Ward, secretary of the Harlan
County Coal Operators Association, said that mines from all
sections of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia had called his
office by telephone to offer the services of rescue squads
and rescue equipment.

In referring to the work of the of the rescue squads, the
association secretary commented: "Sure" we are proud of the
safety department of the association."
But, he added, it should be pointed out that L.P. Johnson,
of Crummies

Creek Coal Company, and R.W. Creech Sr. Of Creech Coal Company,
Twila, took an early lead in wanting a strong safety and mine
rescue organizations. Next to the praise for the serious and vital
rescue work, those who witnessed the tragedy's aftermath had praise
for the thoughtfulness of the Salvation Army in preparing and
serving coffee and sandwiches to he workers. Members of the
Harlan Auxiliary Police under Major Hudson were Lieut. A.A.
Stokes, Lieut. R.H. Stark, Sgt. B.Shorter, Sgt.D. Pursiful,
Sgt. A. Royston, Corp. C. Johnson, Corp. C. Pfc. C.Whitcomb,
Pfc. G. Williams, . L. Phillips, Pfc. T. Moore And Corp. W.
Dailey. More than three score men worked through out the night
and until 10 a.m. today. Addresses of the workers were not
recorded on the list at the head house. Working crews were
composed of: Bob Carmack, Herbert Cox, Rufus Bailey, Hurshel Bargo,
H.L. Lewellyn, Bill Barton, Fred Loving, Julius Toliver,
Henry Hamblin, Arthur Guthrie, Alex Moore, R.D. Brock, T.R.
Buckner, Rice Carroll Herbert Payne, J.H. Mosgrove, Lee Hardin,
F.E. Bunch, A.J. Pridemore, M.L. Davis, J. D. Bradburn,
Henry Green Jr., G.M. Patterson, J.F. Bryson, Bill Jones, Dewey
Collins, Sam Stewart, Ham Shope, George Bruce, Lolas
Wattenberger, William Coldiron, Robert Chumley, Virgil Blackwell,
Taylor Hansel, Luther Lumpkins, Ewell Napier, Ezra Nichols, Jim
Hansley, C.P. McClung, A.D. Slick, T.M. Cossell. Taylor Parker,
Steve Bosh, Jimmie Admans, Luther, Keith, B.H. Mill, Loyd Manning,
T.E. Bunch, Thurman Jenkins, Henry Shackleford, Chester Day, John
Cope, Andy Soske, Bradly Mills, Carl Weaver, Roscoe Ramey, Everett
Williams, J.C. Dawson, R.C. Dizney, Ray Green, Walder Arvin,
Mat Fuson, Leonard Carroll, A.J. Pridemore, Lee Hardin, Lynn
Fowler, Elmer Baramlett, Walter Burkhart, Ardell Smith. George
Short, Bob Carmack, Pat McGinnis, John Gosnell, Turner Arvin,
Mick Short, Ed Peace, Ralph Huffman, Jack Anderson, Milt Johnson,
Fred Day, Floyd Hall, Ted Brown, Roy Short, P.M. Osborne, Eli Craig,
Hubert Cox, Floy Hayes, Bill Barton, Julius Tolliver, Herschel
Bargo, W.S. Ettingham, C.M. Keen, J.E. Bradburn, M.L. Davis, F.E.
Bunch, Rice Carroll, Herbert Payne, C.F. Tieche, Alex Moore, Elmer
Bramlett, Tom Christian, Walker Arvin, Bob Mason, A.C. Arvin,
Charles Hart, Jim Osborne, Jess Rose, Charles Helton, H.L.
Green, Price Brumbach, Leonard Carroll, W.H. Tomlinson,
M.C. McAll, Dr. W.R. Parks, H.F. Rodes, L.W. Huber.

Harlan Daily Enterprise

Volume 42 # 224

The Weather Monday

Kentucky: Rain tonight

Scattered showers Tuesday morning

Page 1 & 6 little change in temperature

Hundreds Attend Miners' Funeral Mass funeral services for nine of
12 men killed in the mine explosion at Three Point Coal company were
conducted today noon at Harlan Baptist Church, with the Rev. W.J.
Bolt, pastor, officiating. The Rev.Roy Owens, pastor of Three Point
Baptist Church, was in charge of the services. Assisting the Reverend
Bolt were the Rev. Roscoe Douglas, the Rev. Joe Moses, the Rev. Onie
U. Kays and the Rev. C.B. Buckner. Hundreds of friends of the miners
throughout this area filled the large church to overflowing and others
stood on porches of nearby houses and on the sidewalks to pay their last
respects. Flowers were banked high about the caskets and onto the
floor. Men for whom the last rites were conducted were Dave Osborne,
Henry Edd Osborne, Marion Osborne, Albert Bonza, Leander Cole,
Frank McKenzie, Merle Blanton, Lawrence Jordon and Fred Irvin.
Burial services for Dave Osborne, Henry Edd Osborne, Marion Osborne and
Leander Cole were conducted at Cawood cemetery. Merle Blanton, Lawrence
Jordon, Fred Irvin, Frank McKenzie and Albert Bonza were buried at
Rest Haven. Funeral services for George James Helton were conducted
at Whitley City, Ky., with burial there. Services for E.M. (Lige)
Morgan and Carson Ramsey, the other two killed in the blast,
were conducted Sunday at Old Yellow Creek Baptist Church with burial at

Harlan Daily Enterprise Wednesday September 22, 1943 Volume 42 # 226
page 1

Three Point Inquiry Delayed By Water Lexington, Ky., Sept. 22---
Inability to pump water out of the pit is delaying an investigation
to determine the cause of an explosion which killed 12 workers in
the mine of Three Point Coal Company near Harlan last Thursday.
G. Moses Patterson, chief of the Kentucky Department of Mines and
Minerals, said yesterday. Patterson said a report on the disaster
might be completed late today, if work progressed satisfactorily.

Harlan Daily Enterprise

Sunday October 17, 1943

Volume 42 # 247 Page 5

The WeatherKentucky:

Continued Cold Sunday

Trapped Miners Saved By 'Grace of God' After Building Model Gas
Barricade Underground (The following story of the Three Point Coal
Company mine explosion of September 16, in which 12 of 18 trapped
miners died, was prepared by James F. Bryson, safety director of
the harlan County Coal Operators Association, who directed the
rescue operations that saved six men. Mr. Bryson requested that it
be explained that techinal terms have ben left out
of the story in order to make it clearer for the layman.

By James F. Bryson

Six men are alive today by the grace of God and not by the stupendous
efforts they put forward on their own behalf. A gas explosion occurred
in the No. 1 mine of the Three Point Coal Corporation Thursday,
September 16 at 9:12 a.m. Twelve men's lives were cut off, four by
fumes, three by violence from the explosion and five were overcome
by carbon monoxide, that insidious creeping poison gas that is
generated following a mine explosion. The six men referred to
were some 25000 feet from the orgin of the explosion. They
heard and felt the concussion from the terrific blast that tore
along rooms and entries taking its toll of lives as it went,
causing damage to ventilating apparatus and other pieces
of equipment. Tried To Walk Out The explosion had occurred between
these six men and the mine entrance. To reach the out side portal
they had to walk through the explosion area. After some thought,
two men attempted to get to the outside. They walked 1500 feet
and in their own words it was "too" hot for them to go further, so
they returnedand a conference was held. They were guided by an older
and wiser man so they decided to build a barricade. They had
heard stories of men in an explosion being saved by this means.
Then first thought was to place the barricade across the entry.
They would be required to build another barricade across the air
course and theythought they did not have enough material to build
both. They selected a single entry, that had been driven and used
as a place to answer nature's calls for workman. The place selected
was five feet in height,20 feet wide and 70 feet deep. The barricade
was erected across the mouth of this entry. The barricade itself
was one that any man or men should be proud of; it was composed of
ties and post built on top of each other. The outside covering of
the barricade was vent tubing, split and hung over these ties and
posts. Not a nail was used in the construction.

Barricade Substantial It was substantial and had sealed off
266 cubic yards of air, or sufficient air for each man to live 44
1-3 hours had it been necessary for them to have been in the mine
that long. Fortunately, they were out of the
mine in less than 12 hours. While these men built a "very
substantial and
effective barricade", we cannot claim the barricade saved their lives. (They were
saved by the grace of God. The barricade as built would have stopped the
on-creeping insidious poisonous gases of the explosion provided the men had
been behind it. However, would they know sufficient to build a barricade to
protect themselves they did not avail themselves of that protection. They had
the mistaken idea that many miners have----that you can smell carbon
monoxide. No man can smell the gas. It is tasteless and odorless. They left a
small hole at the right-hand corner of the barricade so when they smelled the
gas they would get behind the barricade. While the ventilating system was
knocked out and these gases could not be carried on the ventilating current, yet
the diffusion of the gases into each other continued. Had the rescue parties not
got down to these men in such fast time, it would have taken only a little while
longer for the carbon monoxideto have reached the imprisoned men and we
would have had six more victims.

Praise, Condemnation The men are to be commended highly for their
forethought in building such a fine barricade, but they can be
condemned equally as well because of their thought, that they could
smell the carbon monoxide before attempting to use the barricade.
The grace of god was with them. Men's lives have been saved by
barricades used after explosions. They can be built of almost
anything-brattice cloth, clothing, goo piles. The United States
Bureau of Mines claims that only 10 per cent of the men killed in
an explosion die by flame or violence. The other 90 per cent die
from carbon monoxide. If men escape the violence of the explosion
and have to pass the explosion area to reach the outside, they had
for better get back and build a suitable spot and build one or
two barricades and sit down to wait for rescue parties.
Remember for every cubic yard of air you barricade off, a man
can live one hour.. Walked Into Death In almost all explosions
it can be seen where men lived after the blast and walked right
into the heart of it , dropping and dieing right there. Even in
this disaster five men traveled 400 feet and died there. Had
they remained in the working place and thrown up a barricade,
they would have had a better opportunity to survive than they
had by trying to come out. It is said they would have lived had
they done this. Perhaps they would have had insufficient time to
build their barricade, but they would have had a better opportunity
than they had when they walked into the products of the explosion.

There are two pictures showing the barricade.

FIRST PICTURE Here is a picture of the barricade six miners built
in the Three Point Coal Company mine after their path to the outside
had been blocked by deadly gas that followed an explosion. Here is
shown the barricade outside of which the men stood while awaiting
rescue. It has been called a model by mining experts. SECOND PICTURE
Here the barricade is shown with parts of it torn a way to give a
view of its construction. It was tight and substantial and
capable of warding off the deadly mine gas that was creeping
slowly toward the imprisoned men. ( Photos by Wade Stanfill, of
Star Studio )

Harlan Daily Enterprise

July 16, 1943

Robert Osborne Killed In Mine Robert Osborne, 34-year-old miner
of Yocum CreekCoal Company's No. 2 mine at Draper was killed
beneath a slate fall yesterday. A native of the county, Osborne
has been working at the Yocum Creek Coal Company mine for six
months. Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Hazel Osborne; parents,
Mr. and Mrs. Fate Osborne, five brothers. Dave and Edward
Osborne, Cawood. Andy, Roy, and Denver Osborne, Three Point, and
four sisters, Rosella Osborne, Coxton; Stella Nolan, Daisy
Johnson and Zona Mae Osborne, all of Cawood. Funeral services
will be conducted from the home at Draper Sunday at 1 p.m., the
Rev. Joe Moses officiating . Burial will be in Resthaven cemetery.

Notes; Robert"Bob" Osborne born January 18, 1911, Harlan Co. Ky.
He died July 15, 1943 Harlan Co. Ky. At Draper. Bob Osborne married
Hazel Lowe in Harlan Co. Ky. On August 02, 1930 by Charlie Mitchell
Wittness were Green Day and Gladys Poe. Her father is listed as
W.W. Lowe. Source of dates is from Bob's headstone at Resthaven.
As far as I know there were no children from this marriage.

Harlan Daily Enterprise

August 20, 1947

Volume 46 # 198 page 1 & 6

Mine Mishap Fatal To Osborn Cawood Man Hurt At Three Points

Homer Osborne, 41 , Cawood, died at Harlan Hospital yesterday,
only minutes after he was taken there fron the Three Points Coal
Corp. mine at Three Points where he suffered injuries in a slate
fall. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Daisy Osborn; his father
Hiram Osborne, Cawood, six sons, Elmer, Henry, James Franklin,
Douglas MacArthur, William Clay and Charles Edward Osborn, all at
home; three daughters, Misses Opal, Louella and Adrian Osborn,
all at home; a brother Ray Osborne, Cawood; five sisters, Mrs.
Martha Griffey, Mrs Nannie Griffey and Mrs. Laura Meade, all of
Cawood; Mrs. Lydia couch, Pine Mountain, and Mrs. Lizzie Green,
Smith. Burial will be at Cawood but other funeral details are pending.

Harlan Daily Enterprise

Thursday December 14, 1944

Volume 43 # 299

WEATHER Fair west portion;

clearing and a little colder east portion tonight;

Friday fair and warmer

Slate Fall Kills Two Miners At Three Point

Third Man Injured, Two Others Dodge Huge Death Slab

Two men were killed and a third was injured beneath a large slate
fall that barely missed two other men in the mine of Three Point
Coal Company yesterday afternoon. The dead men are Emmett Carmack,
28, and John Nolan, 37, conveyor loaders. Ray Osborne, loader, is
in Harlan Hospital suffering injuries. The slab of slate, more
than 51 feet long, and 17 feet wide and weighing tons, was dodged
by two men. The accident was investigated by Rufus Bailey, Harlan,
district mine inspector of the State Department of Mines and Minerals,
and James Bryson, safety director, Harlan County Coal Operators
Association. Mr. Nolan, a resident of Cawood, is survived by his
wife, Mrs. Stella Nolan; mother, Mrs. Margaret Nolan; three brothers,
Adern Nolan and Archie Nolan, Brookside, and William Nolan, Loyall,
and five sisters, Mrs. Jim Johnson, Mrs. Homer Osborne and Mrs.
Roy Osborne, all of Cawood; Mrs. Ernest Freeman, Evarts, and Mrs.
Julia Clark, Kenvir. He was a member of the Holiness Church, and
had been a resident of Harlan county for 13 years. Funeral services
will be conducted from the Cawood Church of God Saturday at 1 p.m.
Burial will be in the Cawood cemetery. Carmack had been an employee
at the mine for only a short time. He was not married. Funeral
arrangements were incomplete today.


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