Pittsburg County


05 Coal Interest - 1887 04 04 Savanna

From: Mrs. M. Snodgrass via Shelley Lanser: http://genealogytrails.com/oka/pittsburg/hist_coalmines.html
I scanned her poem about the Savanna disaster and she lists 6 men initially killed:
*Hugh Dooly
*Charlie Parsons (C.W. b 4 Nov 1861) source: Savanna Cemetery per Find-A-Grave;
*Bert French
*Davie Jones
*Willie Barns (Barnes; b 22 Feb 1859)
Tom Jared - not on Memorial wall, only a Jared Miles - dates unknown (listed below)
Then a further 13 killed in recovering those bodies:
*George Hill
*Jack William
*Billie Hudson
*James Ward (b 20 Oct 1848, Poynton, England) source: Savanna Cemetery per Find-A-Grave
*Robert Miller
*Patrick Fagan (b 26 Nov 1858, Dalry Scotland) source: Ancestry.com, & http://genealogytrails.com/oka/pittsburg/hist_coalmines.html
*Tom Daniel
*Tom Needham
*Miles Jared
*Pat Glaney (Patrick Glancy b 13 Aug 1856, Scotland) source: Find-a-Grave
*James McInnes (b 12 Jan 1849, Lanarkshire, Scotland) source: Savanna Cemetery per Find-A-Grave and http://genealogytrails.com/oka/pittsburg/hist_coalmines.html (on Memorial wall as McInnis)
*Mike Kelley
*Freddie Bartz
*These names on Fallen Miners's Memorial Wall in McAlester
Poem by M. Snodgrass follows

It was ten o’clock at night
When this dreadful thing befell
The camp was wrapped in slumber
When there came the blast of hell.

We knew 't was an explosion;
Oh, Heaven, the No 2!
And men are buried there alive.
Oh God, what can we do?

The engine house was all in flames—
‘T was fearful to be seen.
They drove the people back in crowds,
They feared the magazine.

The engineer stood at his post.
With fire above, around,
Until the whistle, three times blown,
Gave its last warning sound.

Hundreds stood in biting frost
For hours, to watch the fire.
Women mourning for their lost
All anxious to enquire---

For news of those in No. 2;
Men in a living grave,
Whom willing hands, and anxious hearts
But sought a way to save.

Who are the fatal six?
Was asked in awe-struck tones.
Hugh Dooly, Charlie Parsons
Bert French and Davie Jones.

Poor Willie Barns, Tom Jared, too;
Oh, what is to be done?
The slope is closed, to reach the men
We must go through No. 1.

Ten men, whom we should honor,
While heroes we admire;
Unheeding dangers warning
The deadly damp and fire,

Went down the slope—but six returned
This tale of woe to tell Their comrades brave,
o’erpowered with damp,
Lay dying where they fell.

My tale of horror is not done;
Unroll your parchment, Fame---
Eight other names which I now tell,
A place their own will claim.

George Hill’s aged father’s warning fell
Upon unheeding ears,
He scorned his wife’s sad pleadings---
Mocked at his children’s fears.

Jack William’s little orphan girls,
Did he forget them? No.
But he went with Tommie Needham
To the black death below.

Poor Billie Hudson’s wife may weep---
As many parents, sister, brother;
James Ward’s four children mourn his fate
With their heart broken mother.

Robert Miller’s wife and babes----
But oh his mother dear;
This boy she loved so fondly,
This boy whose word of cheer,

Always spoken, when from work
He passed her door at night;
Her heart is broken, death alone
Can set sorrow right.

Pat Fagan’s wife pleaded piteously.
“You are sick and weak, you know,
Oh, stay at home, or you’ll go in.”
But the boss told him to go.

Tom Daniel’s wife, and children five,
Believed him safe and well.
When he’d been hours lying dead
In that black pit of hell.

These twelve men died in No. 1;
Alas! They died in vain!
Of the six men killed in No. 2
Not one did they regain.

In these fatal mines, eighteen lay dead,
Eleven widows mourn-----
And thirty orphans weep the sires
Who never will return.

And gentle Christ, we do believe,
Thou wilt be kind to them,
From fellow feeling, if no more,
For they, too, died for men

April seventh, two more found
And in waiting coffins placed;
Men say we cannot see them---
They cannot be washed or dressed.

Burt French and Willie Burns, poor boys,
Are done with life’s sad bother;
Place Burt beside the other men,
Lay Willie by his mother.

How Willie’s poor, old father,
Will weep his youngest born.
Sisters dear, and brothers, too
His sad, sad fate will mourn.

Good Friday mourn, Hugh, Dooly
And David Jones were found,
The open graves stood ready,
They were soon beneath the ground.

But, oh! The breaking hearts,
David’s wife and children small;
And kindly strangers friends,
Who mourn poor Dooly’s fall.

‘Twas Dooly whom Tom Needham
Said he’d find or die in trying.
Oh, friends! All honor to them,
They were “buddies” e’en in dying.

How on Good Friday evening,
From that black death below,
The last two are recovered!
But their faces none may know.

Miles Jared’s wife in anguish,
Shrieked aloud in her despair,
And her baby boy was frightened
The grief he could not share.

Mrs. Parsons, twice bereaved,
By explosions in this place,
For one moment looked on Charlie
Saw his poor distorted face.

Pat Glaney’s waiting bride
Will never see him more;
He fell with James McInnis*
Beside that fatal door.

Mike Kelley’s lovely wife now grieves,
With helpless children three.
Poor Freddie Bartz fell with them ----
Oh, God, the misery!

Now who will volunteer?
We may find them still alive.
Nine men responded to the call----
Of the nine, but two survived!

And still the summons came
For other men to go.
And did not in vain,
‘Til twelve lay dead below.

You may call these men “fool-hardy”
Aye, say, as some have said,
“They should have known better,
Have known the men were dead.”

I call them heroes, and I’d ask
To leave here for my heirs,
To crown a life of honest toil,
No prouder name than theirs.

Now, comrades brave their bodies sought,
And many ----scarce alive----
Were borne out to quickly return
As soon as they’d revive.

Twelve bodies have been carried out,
At risk of precious lives.
Twelve graves stand open, and around
Are parents, children, wives.

Comrades, friends and neighbors,
Hundreds from far away;
We’ve never had a funeral
So sad as this to-day.

We ne’er before such sights have seen,
And may we not again,
Three thousand people, men do say,
Were in that funeral train.

Odd Fellows, Knights of Labor,
And Knights of Pythias, too,
Followed their brave comrades;
And gave them honor due.

O, sad, sad day! April sixth,
Eighteen eighty seven,
Savanna laid her heroes down,
God rest their souls in heaven.

God Pity all the mourners!
And all who here do dwell;
For mark my word, in this we’ve heard
Savanna’s funeral knell.

The shades of night are falling,
As with a mournful sound;
The clods fall on the coffin lids
As we stand in silence ‘round.

“Earth to earth,” and is this all?
Oh, friends! It cannot be.
There surely is some recompense
In God’s eternity.

Now honor to our heroes dead,
Who died their friends to save!
Honor to the fated six,
Seeking bread they found a grave!

And honor to the living,
The men of sterling worth,
Whether of Savanna or McAlister,
Who brought the bodies forth.

For many from our sister town
Did risk their lives that day;
Like brothers, with our men went down,
And brought the dead away.

And honor! We will give
To the bosses, one and all,
Who did not shirk the fearful work,
But went at duty’s call.

Last Update: 07-Dec-2016 9:20 PM
OKGenWeb/ITGenWeb is part of the USGenWeb Project. Links to web sites that are not part of USGenWeb Project are provided for your convenience and do not imply any endorsement of the websites or their contents by The USGenWeb Project.
WebMaster Robert O. Pulse: rop720@aol.com
State Coordinator: Linda Simpson Asst. State Coordinator: Mel Owings