Thad Chastain

The Courant American
Cartersville, Georgia
March 30, 1899, Page 1
Transcribed by:  

Bodies Recovered.
Pathetic Picture of the Finding of the Dead Bodies
Of Men Entombed In Mine
At Chumler Hill – Heroically and Unflaggingly Men Worked –Where the Men Lay.

The mine disaster at Chumler Hill manganese mine, an account of which was published in last week’s issue of this paper, is one unequaled in the history of mining in Bartow county.  Its fatal results have brought grief and terror to the hearts of many, and the community in which it occurred has never known such an appalling accident.

The accident occurred about eleven o’clock Tuesday morning of last week and it was three o’clock the following Friday morning when the third and last body of the unfortunate victims was recovered from the depths of the mines.  The water which flooded the mine was so thick with mud and there was so much debris of the mine mixed with it that the work of removing it through the pumps was slow.  The pumps were run until the slope was emptied for over one hundred feet from the outside entrance.  Here the pumping was abandoned, as the slope and tunnels were completely filled from this point with mud and gravel ore.  Here the rescuers were about ten feet from the entrance to the side drift in which the men were at work when the water broke through and forty feet from where the bodies were supposed to be.  The slope and tunnels are four feet wide and six feet high and not many men could work at a time, so the progress made was necessarily slow.  But there were brave and heroic men ready and the work never lagged.  It was decided to remove about two feet of the mud on top as in that way a passage large enough for a man to crawl in could be effected.  The mud was raked out with hoes to the place where the pumps had stopped.  It was then dipped up in buckets and emptied in a tram car, which was quickly drawn by the hoisting engine above.  The men making the passage had to work in a sitting posture and sometimes lying down in the mud.  It was certainly not a pleasant place to work in and was considerably dangerous, but the friends of the poor unfortunate ones who were buried in the mine seemed not to think of danger.  They were moved by the strongest impulses of human sympathy and love.  They never lagged in their heroic energy but worked faithfully on.  Some of them worked for twenty four hours without sleep, only stopping occasionally for food and a little rest.

Thursday morning about eleven o’clock the bodies of Frank McEver and Charlie Culver were found.  They were close up against the overhead timbers of the tunnel.  They were lying side by side a few feet nearer the main slope than they were when last seen by their fellow workmen who escaped.  If they had only gotten five or six feet farther they would have reached the tunnel leading from where the water broke through to the main slope and would have been carried by the force of the current to the outside, where the water overflowed.

When these bodies were removed the search for the body of Thad Chastain was resumed.  At three o’clock the following morning his body was found at the extreme end of the tunnel in which he had been working.

Hundreds of people, many from quite a distance, visited the mine while the work of rescue went on. It was a sad scene to behold as the sorrowing friends and grief stricken relatives bore the forms of the dead away from the mine.

Mr. Frank McEver was twenty seven years old and married.  He leaves a wife and two children.  He was a son of Mr. B. C. McEver, one of the lessees of the mine.  His remains were interred in the cemetery at Wofford’s cross roads Friday morning.  Rev. A. F. Roberts, of the Baptist church, conducted the last sad rites.  One of the largest concourses ever assembled at that place attended.

Charlie Culver was about twenty two years old and leaves a wife and one child.  He was a son of Mr. C. M. Culver, of the Wolf Pen district.  He was buried Saturday morning at Stamp Creek.

Thad Chastain was twenty years old.  His mother lives near Walesca, in Cherokee county.  His body was carried there for interment.

The Chumler Hill mineral property is owned by the Southern Mining Company.  It is leased to the Iron Belt Railroad Mining Co., of this city, who, several months ago, sub-leased it to Messrs. J. M. White and B. C. McEver, and it was being operated by them when the accident occurred.


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