Historical Society Meeting Speaker Scott Frederick Discusses Courtney PA Mine Disaster of 1913

Young girl awaits news at the Cincinnati Mine entrance, Courtney PA April 1913

“PITTSBURGH, Pa., April 23.—There are 120 known dead and 100 are believed to be entombed* tonight in the Cincinnati mine of the Pittsburgh Coal Company at Courtney, three miles from Monongahela, where an explosion of gas occurred shortly after 1 o’clock this afternoon. Faint tappings against pipes and debris in the mine are plainly heard by a frantic crowd of men, women and children outside the mine.”

“Seventy miners staggered over bodies and debris and into the fading sunlight shortly after 5 o’clock. Some managed to get out unassisted; others were carried out. Every possible effort was made tonight to reach those who are entombed. The Courtney entrance is clogged up with debris, and behind this it is believed that there are scores of men who will die unless help reaches them within a few hours. At present there is no way of sending them water or of giving them air. The tapping is continued, and is evidently being made by many men. The crying and shouting is growing fainter.” – Philadelphia Enquirer April 1913

Hear more about the story on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at the next meeting of the Monongahela Area Historical Society in the parlor of the First Presbyterian Church at 7 PM. The speaker will be Scott Frederick, who taught at Ringgold High School for 36 years. He taught World Cultures and American History and Honors American History. His subject will be the Cincinnati Mine Disaster which occurred on April 23, 1913. The disaster was one of the worst in U.S. history. Most of the victims were from the Monongahela area.

Do you have relatives who were affected by the disaster? Feel free to leave a comment below.

*later reports confirmed that 97 people died

2 thoughts on “Historical Society Meeting Speaker Scott Frederick Discusses Courtney PA Mine Disaster of 1913

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  1. How sad, and yet fascinating. It’s a miracle that anyone survived the mine disaster back then, as the working conditions were at best downright dangerous, and at worst absolutely hellish. Miners used acetylene lamps to light their way in mines that were often only large enough to lay down in while picking away at the coal seam. The flame inside of the lamps would ignite the methane gas which is almost always present in coal mines, causing explosions. I doubt that I would have the guts to go into a modern coal mine, even with all of the safety features such as electric lighting, forced-air ventilation, and 2-way radios. The thought of working in a coal mine before these things came to be is more frightening than just about anything I can think of.


  2. I hope you can make it to the lecture. Maybe tell some friends too. I bet it will be fascinating. I’m surprised how many people never heard of the explosion.


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