D39m Au^/v/ DEMICHELIS
MINE DISASTER. .
LI B R.AFLY
UN IVERS ITY
Illinois Historical Survey
KUNUIS HISTORICAL SURVE 1
LTJJ3 III THI WW
CHERRY MINE DISASTER
Papers and photos, etc. of the miners are in
the Holy Trinity Church in Cherry.
U^^ord God of Hosts, we dedicate this little booklet to
the memory of those who gave their lives in the holocaust
of a half century ago, asking You to look benignly upon
their descendents and particularly upon all those who
today honor their memory. May ice all ask of Thee the
blessings of peace and contentment and the enlightment
that will forever ensure that these men havi not given
their lives in vain. May their memory, forever kept fresh,
inspire us to keep our trust in Thee every moment of
our lives in order to join these for eternity in praising
Thy name. Amen.
TIic following story is writ-
ten as a commemoration oj
the Fiftieth Anniversary oj the
Cherry Mine Disaster. To the
victims and to their families
this booklet is humbly and re-
The Cherry Mine Disaster
"Fate had written one day, the day of days, in her ledger of the town of
Cherry. That day was the thirteenth of November, 1909."
The village of Cherry lies in eastern Bureau County about eleven miles
north of the LaSalle-Peru area and approximately one hundred miles southwest
of Chicago. In 1905, when a party of mining experts and laborers arrived in
that part of Illinois to sink a coal shaft upon the prairie, they little realized
that four years hence this mine would hecome the scene of one of the great-
est mine disasters of all time. Officially, 259 men were to lay down their
lives in the fiery inferno which probably could have been prevented by a
little more precaution on the part of the men who were near the scene of
of the fire when it began. Be that as it may, it does not alter the fact that
death took no holiday in Cherry on November 13. 1909.
The new mine was owned and operated by the St. Paul Coal Company,
which had heen authorized to mine coal in Putnam, LaSalle, Bureau. Crunch.
Marshall, and Stark counties in Illinois. After the Chicago, Milwaukee and
St. Paul Railway Company built a spur track to Cherry from Ladd. a mining
town three miles away, the new village began to develop. Miners Hocked
in from every section of the state. One hundred and twenty-five h< uses were
erected by the Coal Company for its employees. In addition, two hundred
privatelv owned homes, several business houses, and a school were construc-
ted. The town has heen described as being drab will all its overtones of black
or dirty gray. The houses, made of wood, were seldom painted, and their
simple architectural design bordered on the monotonous. The school, however,
and most of the business houses wore brick boilings. Cinder paths, which
were the village walks, converged on the colliery at the- north end ol town.
The villagers were young and vigorous; many of them were immigrants
with little or no knowledge of the English language. The nationalities repre-
sented constituted a veritable league of nations. Italians and Slovenians were
most numerous, but the population included as well many Americans, Ger-
mans, Austrians, Greeks, French, Belgians, English, Irish, Scotch, and Welsh.
The thriving little town of 2500 people had 17 saloons, each of which paid
an annual license fee of $500. Many laborers spent their money as fast as they
earned it and in a manner which in no way contributed to attractive homes
and community progress. A visitor might have concluded that the town had
been built on a temporary basis, but, in reality, it did not differ greatly from
the average small mining town of Central Illinois.
The little mining town of Cherry was situated in the heart of the rich coal
regions of Central Illinois.
The village of Cherry depended for its support, for its very existence,
on the mine, which came to have a good reputation among miners. The mine
was dry and well equipped, the coal was easily mined, and there were few
"shut-downs''. All of the coal produced was taken by the Chicago, Milwaukee,
and St. Paul Railroad for use in its own engines, and as the engines were busy
all the year around, the mine was not subject to the seasonal rush times and
dull times which usually characterized coal mining operations. The Cherry mine
was, in short, one of the best, and its management was liberal and consid-
erate. Warren R. Roberts, consulting engineer and contractor who construc-
ted the mine tipple, called it the "safest mine in the world". In reality, it
was not the physical plant that was responsible for the disaster, but the
questionable actions of human beings.
Shortly after the Cherry mine was sunk, the coal in the first vein
was found to be of no commercial value; therefore, the company sank the
main shaft and the escape shaft to the second vein. In 1908 the company
opened the third vein which was about 485 feet below the surface and ap-
proximately 165 feet below the second vein. It was the third vein which,
undamaged by the fire, was mined by the company when it resumed opera-
tions after the disaster. The coal in the third vein was not so easily reached
as that in the second vein, but it was of better quality.
In 1909 the Cherry mine was operating 7217 acres of land, 360 acres
of which had been worked out. About 300,000 tons of coal were being mined
annually under the direction of the following men: \\ . W. Taylor, general
manager and superintendent; H. (.'. Maxwell, mine examiner; fames Steele,
mine superintendent; John Bundy, mine manager; Alex Norberg, pit boss;
John Crowley, engineer, main shaft; John Raisbeek, engineer, eseape shaft;
George Eddy, mine examiner or lire boss. The third level was still relativrh
new, and there was no way to ascend directly from the third vein to the
second. A small cage under construction was to be attached to the main
cage, but work on this detail had not been completed. Meanwhile, coal from
the third level was being hoisted to the second level via the eseape shaft
and then transported to the main shaft to be hoisted to the surface. Wooden
ladders and steps provided the only exit— and the only means of escape— for
those men working in the third vein.
Between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 13, 1909.
484 men entered the mine. Cage runs at mid-forenoon, at noon, and at one-
thirty in the afternoon brought to the surface miners who had discontinued
work at those hours. On that particular Saturday, a number of men had
quit work in time to catch the 1:30 cage; they were fortunate, for within
a matter of hours, 259 of their fellow workers were to have lost their lives
in the Cherry Mine Disaster.
Between twelve and one o'clock on that fatal day, six bales of hay
had been placed in a coal car which was left at the escape-shaft entrance
to the third vein in order that the hay might be taken down to the mule
stables on the third level. Directly above the pit car was a blazing, open,
kerosene torch so placed as to provide light for the cagers, two men and
a boy. Ironically enough, there should have been no need for torches.
The sudden news of Cherry's misfortune brought swarms of people to the
vicinity as well as the urgent need for food and supplies from adjacent towns.
The bottom of the mine had been wired for electric lights, but a short
circuit had put them out of commission. According to testimony given at
the inquest following the disaster, about three weeks had elapsed and the
faulty wiring had net been repaired. Suddenly the hay was on fire; per-
haps burning oil dripping from the torch had ignited it. Whatever the
cause, the car containing the burning hay was shoved and pushed into
the third-vein shaft opening from where it fell into the "slump" at the
bottom and was quickly extinguished, but not until the overhead timbers
of pine had been thoroughly ignited. Not realizing the danger of the si-
tuation, Alex Rosenjack and Robert Dean, cagers at the main and air shafts
respectively, continued to hoist coal for several minutes after they knew
the fire was in existence. Evidently the men believed that it would be put
out easily. When the serious nature of the fire became apparent, several
of the drivers and company men endeavored to warn the diggers, but the
fire had burned for at least forty-five minutes before any such information
was systematically given. Heat and smoke prevented the men from get-
ting into the mule barns to attach a hose which had been sent down from
the surface; an attempt to attach the hose to a nozzle or piece of water
pipe near the main cage was no more successful because the pipe was too
small, the water was hot, and the hose could not be held around or against
the opening of the pipe.
Sunday morning crowds, comprising men, women and children who were
present at the focal point of the disaster being enacted, came with the varied
motives of curiosity, anxiety, hope and fear.
The fire spread quickly, and from then on, Rosenjack, Bundy, and
Alex Norberg tried to save as many miners as possible. Many men were
so fortunate as to reach the main cage from the side opposite the fire be-
fore the smoke and heat prevented that mode of escape. Others reached
safety via the air shaft until that, too, was blocked.
Fire departments from the neighboring towns and Chicago fought despar-
ately to quell the raging flames in the main shaft.
Norberg, the boss, gave the order to stop the huge ventilating fan to
prevent the spreading of the flames, but this measure reacted unfavorably
on the miners, in that it reduced their supply of oxygen. Then the order
was given to reverse the fan and thus draw the fire away from the main
shaft, but that action was to no avail because the heat reached the fan
and fan house and slowly consumed them, cutting off all escape from that
Meanwhile, men were dying. Cries and shrieks rang through the dark-
ened mine corridors; futile cries for help and cries for mercy curses and
prayers added to the general chaos as men fought desperately for survival.
Death had a field day.
But there were heroes twelve heroes whose story will rival any saga
of heroism in the world. Rosen jack had come to the surface and had asked
for volunteers to descend the main shaf> to help in the rescue attempts
The following men volunteered: John Bundy, mine manager: Andrew Mc-
Luckie, miner; Harry Stewart, miner; James Spiers, miner; Mike Suhe, miner;
Robert Clark, miner; Alex Norberg, assistant mine manager; Isaac Lewis.
liveryman; Dominic Formento, grocer; John Flood, clothier; John Sezabrinski,
eager; Joseph Robesa, driver. These volunteers went down six times and
brought up men who otherwise would probably never have seen daylight
again. Dr. Howe and Rosenjack, also members of the rescue party, were
overcome after they had gone into the mine several times; therefore the)
escaped the tragedy which befell the twelve volunteers on their seventh
descent for rescue purposes. John Cowley, the engineer, had been given
specific instructions by Ncrberg to obey the cage signals precisely and not
to act until the proper signal was given. Under no circumstances was Cow-
ley to deviate from these instructions. The cage descended with the doomed
men, and after a short interval, Cowley received a series of mixed-up sig-
nals. He was at a loss as to what to do, but remembering Norberg's instruc-
tions, he refused to bring the cage to the surface until the proper signal
was given. People around him sensed that something was radically wrong
The professional helmet men are shown above testing their oxygen masks
before descending the burning shaft in a futile attempt to rescue the victims.
and pleaded with Cowley to raise the cage. He continually refused to do
so until compelled by threats of bodily harm. As the cage reached the
surface, a pathetic sight unfolded. The rescuers had been lowered right
into the flames and had been roasted alive. Their clothing was still smould-
ering! Four bodies lay across the top of the cage, evidence that the men
had died in a frantic attempt to climb away from the fire.
At the coroner's inquest, many of the survivors told heart-rending stories.
The imagination of the reader is taxed to the limit by tales of futile attempts
to escape, of suffering and death the experiences of men trapped in a
living hell several hundred feet below the surface of the earth. The letters
that were scribbled in that horror and later found on the bodies of the
disaster victims reflected the minds of men who were about to die. Their
thoughts were serious, without malice, and full of concern for the loved
ones they were leaving behind those they commended to the goodness of
God. Many of these letters have been published by F. P. Buck in his book,
"The Cherrv Mine Disaster."
At eight o'clock on the evening of the disaster, the mine was scaled
in order to smother the flames. Feeling ran high over this procedure as it
appeared that the men who remained in the mine were doomed. Stories
were circulated to the effect that the mine officials, thinking only in terms
of saving the mine, were sacrificing the lives of the miners. Many extra
marshalls were deputized by the mayor. Charles Connolly, to help keep
order in a town that was swollen by hordes of people who flocked into it
from surrounding communities. All saloons were closed. Relief agencies ga-
thered on the scene immediately to alleviate the suffering of the widows
and orphans. The Red Cross. Knights of Pythias, and the Catholic and Pro-
testant churches organized relief committees; social workers from Chicago
gave their assistance. The Chicago Tribune sent special nurses, and the Ca-
tholic Church brought in Sisters to work among the bereaved. The local
barber. John Stenstrom. provided meals free of charge in the Congregational
Ry Sunday morning, R. Y. Williams and his assistant, Mr. Webb, ar-
rived from the government life-saving station at Urbana with helmets and
other special rescue equipment. Soon their efforts were augmented by the
help of professional rescue workers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and from
the states of Ohio, Iowa, and Missouri. During the day the two men suc-
ceeded in reaching the second vein through the air shaft. They descended
in a spec'al sinking bucket but could do nothing as the smoke and steam
Widows and fatherless children, as suggested by the scene above, were to
witness the grim reality of their lot when, on March 4, 1910, sixty-one victims
were recovered from the mine and placed in the tent at right where the diffi-
cult task of identification took place.
were too dense for exploration. The shaft was covered again and remained
so during the rest of the day and night. Another attempt was made the next
day, but to no avail. Temperatures in the mine were too high.
In the meantim, the Ladd Fire Department under Jack Evans and
some units of the Chicago Fire Department under Chief Fire Marshall Horan
were rushed to the scene. The Chicago Fire Department brought with them
five water tank cars each carrying 10,000 gallons of water. The firemen
poured tons of water into the main shaft as soon as it was opened. On Thurs-
day, November IS, the fire fighting began in earnest. The firemen descend-
ed the main shaft to fight the blaze directly. In the meantime the helmet
group explored the bottom for bodies. By Saturday, November 20, the fire
was seemingly under control.
Another phase of the rescue work must be mentioned here. It was no
secret that the populace was very much dissatisfied with the rescue efforts
directed by company officials. Serious threats had been made, and Sheriff
Shoglund feared for the very lives of these men when he learned of a plot
to blow up the sleeping cars which accommodated the officials. The sheriff
notified Governor Deneen of the gravity of the situation, and the governor
responded by sending the militia to help maintain order and to guard the
area surrounding the mine. Cherry was not placed under martial law, how-
ever. Meanwhile, sensing the wrath of the anxious villagers, cagers Rosen-
jack and Dean left town as did engineer Raisbeck. It was later discovered
that Dean had gone back to Scotland; the whereabouts of Rosenjack was
never known. Cowley, the engineer, was placed under guard.
On Saturday, November 20, the world was amazed by the good news
that twenty-one men had been found alive in the shaft. A rescue party con-
sisting of David Powell, mine superintendent of the Braceville, Illinois, mine;
Father Haney, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Mendota, Illinois; Father
Wencel of St. Bede Abbey, Peru, Illinois; Captain Kenney of the Chicago
Fire Department, and three other firemen were searching for bodies when
they encountered four miners who were making one last attempt to escape.
The survivors told of other miners who were still back in the entry. In all,
twenty-one men were rescued. One man died shortly after reaching the
surface. Some of the survivors were unable to walk. Those rescued were
George Eddy, Walter Waite, Thomas White, John Lorimer, Frank Waite,
Thomas Brown, John Barnoski, John Semich, George Semich, George Stimez,
Frank Zanarini, Q. Antenore, Daniel Holafcak, William Cleland, Fred Lauzi,
Silvatore Pigatti, Joe Pigatti, Bonfiglio Rugged, Fred Prohaska, and Frank
Prohaska. These men are now deceased.
Frank Zanarini, who had the distinction of being the last of the sur-
vivors, spoke of his eight-day entombment as a living death. The writer re-
calls from a personal interview with Frank Zanarini on July 10, 1954, that
while he and his companions were building a wall to protect themselves
from the black damp and foul air, they felt as if they were putting nails
in their own coffins. He described how the men obtained moisture from
small holes made in the wall. A piece of cloth was wrapped around a stick
and inserted in the wall to absorb the moisture; afterward the men would
suck on the cloth. Muddy water accumulated slowly in a larger hole dug
in the floor of the entry. Each man in turn had access to this water. The
survivors had nothing to eat; some chewed their hat bands and the tongues
from their shoes to relieve the pangs of hunger. Some of the miners wrote
notes to their loved ones; others prayed. Mr. Eddy bolstered the spirits of
those who at times were on the verge of becoming hysterical. Zanarini re-
lated how, with every passing minute, the men were resigning themselves
to their fate.
New hope began to surge in the hearts of all as Sheriff Skoglung in the
background calls excitedly for doctors to be rushed to the scene after the
first victims were rescued from their eight-day entombment: "They are alive!"
By Saturday, November 20, a decision had been reached among the
strongest to make a break win or lose! They figured they were going to
die anyway. It was then that the rescue party came upon them.
But the real story of the twenty-one men is the story of George Eddy.
He was the guiding light, and with the assistance of Walter Waite, provi-
ded the leadership necessary to keep the men together. Because he was
night boss, Eddy was not at the mine when the fire started; but he had
rushed to the mine upon hearing that it was on fire, descended with res-
cue workers, and helped many men to escape. Finally, cut off from escape
himself, he started to retreat toward the back entries. As he went along, he
met Mr Waite and the nineteen other men, and led them back into an
obscure entry. There the group barricaded themselves as had been explained.
Eddy's story is vividly told in records of the inquest and in an interview
which appeared in the Chicago Tribune.
James E. Williams offered to George Eddy a tribute which seems
pertinent to any study of the Cherry mine disaster.
"The name of George Eddy deserves to go down in history as one
of its bravest heroes. He stayed down there to the last, helping
others on the cage, when by a single step he might have got on
himself and been hoisted out of danger. The supreme value of a
catastrophe like this is in showing how plentiful is the raw ma-
terial out of which heroes are made. Given a sufficiently com-
manding motive, the men who will lay down their lives are more
numerous than they who will run away. Against the one man
who failed by running away from his post as eager at the lower
level when panic stricken and leaving the men below to perish,
there were scores who stood nobly to their tasks and risked or
lost their lives for their fellows."
No more miners were found alive. The next few days were spent
in the search for more bodies and in the difficult task of identification.
Then the fire broke out again, and it was decided on the morning of No-
vember 25 to reseal the mine until February 1, 1910. Many bodies were
known to be in the third vein, but a large accumulation of water preven-
ted their removal in view of the fact that the fire was again gaining momentum.
Huge trenches had to be dug to provide burial for the scores of victims that
were laid to rest in the plot which was to become Cherry's Memorial Cemetery.
After February 1, the mine was reopened and the remaining bodies were
removed. The St. Paul Coal Company had donatd a five acre plot at the
south edge of town for a cemetery, and many of the victims were buried
there. Others were buried at Ladd, Illinois.
The two Sisters pictured above were among these who came from St. Mar-
garet's Hospital in Spring Valley, Illinois to give aid and consolation to the
bereaved. Among them was Mother Anthony who is still living today.
A final report on the number of dead was made by Thomas Hudson.
State Mine Inspector, on August 16, 1910, as follows:
Total number believed to be lost 268
Total number of bodies recovered from second vein . . . 187
Total number of bodies recovered from third vein . . . 51
Lost, by burning, on the cage 12
Thought to be lost but later found alive
and working in other mines 11
Still missing 6
The public's response to the needs of the victims was tremendous. There
were 160 widows and 390 children to be cared for. In all, 607 persons had
been dependent upon the men who were killed in the mine. Nearly every
city and village in Illinois contributed in some way to their relief; the United
Mine Workers, the Chicago Tribune, the Red Cross, and a variety of other
organizations arrived early on the scene of the disaster, and soon the vil-
lage was the recipient of the generosity of thousands. By November 28 the
Chicago Tribune and Red Cross relief funds had reached $70,000. It was
estimated that the total amount of the contributions was $444,785.92. To
this was added another $400,000 paid out by the St. Paul Coal Company in
settlements, making a total of §844,785.92. The sum of S3, 26 1.72 was paid
to the family of each person killed in the disaster.
The Cherry Relief Commission, organized to distribute relief funds,
was staffed by the following persons:
Fred J. Kern, Chairman
Board of Administration — Springfield, Illinois
J. E. Williams, Vice-Chairman
Streator Relief Commission — Streator, Illinois
Personal effects found on the victims of the disaster, — and in many cases
the sole evidence as to the identity of a loved one.
Duncan McDonald, Secretary
United Mine Workers of Illinois — Springfield, Illinois
Edward T. Bent
Illinois Coal Operators Association — Chicago, Illinois
Ernest P. Bicknell
American Red Cross — Washington, D. C.
James Mullenbach, Superintendent
Miss B. G. Davis, Executive Secretary
Mrs. L. J. Collar, Visitor
The Northern Trust Company, Agent
The plan was roughly as follows. An amount of money, determined by
the number of dependents, was paid in a lump sum to a widow who was a
lone survivor and to a family which planned to return to Italy. (The Italian
Government was willing to provide transportation for any Italian widow and
her children who wished to go back to their native land). The widow with
children who remained here was paid on the pension plan, in amounts de-
termined by the number of children. A widow with one child under the age
of 14 years got a pension of $25 per month until the child was 14 years of
age or until the widow should marry a second time or otherwise become
self-supporting. A widow with two children under 14 years got $30, and
for each additional child $5 more per month until the maximum of $40 per
month was reached. A widow with more than four children under the age
of 14 did not get more than $40.
A widow without children or with children over the age of 14 years
was awarded a cash settlement determined by conditions peculiar to the fa-
mily, such as their ability to support themselves. The amount was usually
about $300. The average age of the children left was five and two-thirds
years, and it was estimated that the fund on hand would support the depen-
dents for at least eight years or until the children were able to work. Food
clothing, medicines, and other supplies sent from all parts of the country
were rapidly dispensed by the members of the charitable institutions at the
seene of the disaster. The monetary value of such generosity could not be
estimated. 'Hie total amount of money allocated for relief purposes was
made available through the following sources:
At the disposal of Cherry Relief Commission, including
$100,000 appropriated by the State legislature . . . S256.215.72
Contributions of employees of the St. Paul Coal Co. . . 55,742.40
Death benefits paid by United Mine Workers of Illinois . 40,000.00
Expended by Local Relief Committee of Cherry . . . 33,968.91
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad . . . 10,964.29
Matthiessen and Hegler Zink Company .... 10,000.00
Congregational Church ........ 10,000.00
Knights of Pythias 7,500.00
His Excellency, Edmund Dunne, Bishop of Peoria . . 5,000.00
Coal Operators 5,000.00
Citizens of LaSalle 4,292.85
Slavish Newspapers 4,000.00
Citizens of Oglesby 2,101.75
Li t 4
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Pictured at right is the huge tent which was improvised to search the vic-
tims for articles of identification, and to wrap them in canvas for burial.
The story of the disaster would not be quite complete without a few
words about John E. Williams of Streator, Illinois, who was what may be
accurately called "the self-appointed mediator". Mr. Williams was chairman
of the Streator Relief Committee for the mine victims and also vice-chairman
of the Cherry Relief Commission. As such, he made the acquaintance of Al-
bert J. Earling, president of the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railway,
and John H. Walker and Duncan McDonald, officials of the mine workers
organization. Williams was instrumental in bringing the divergent groups
together, and he presented a plan for the settlement between the Company
and victims of the disaster so that the Company would not file bankruptcy
or be dragged through the courts by long litigation. The latter would have
spelled the doom of the mining industry in Cheny.
At one time the officials of the Coal Company contemplated selling
the property and turning over the entire proceeds to the victims' families
on an equitable basis. Williams' foresight deprecated this plan, as it would
have been made at a tremendous loss. He proposed a settlement based on
the English "Workmen's Compensation Act,'' which was more liberal than
any compensation plan in the United States at that time. The Company
finally agreed to the settlement to the amount of $400,000, thus preventing
long suits and maintaining the ownership of the mine. The amount was large
enough to give about $1800 to every family whose breadwinner had been
killed. This was a far cry from the State of Connecticut statutes of that per-
iod which provided an average of $50 to dependents of those killed in the
industry. What is more, the village was assured an industry which lasted
The impact of the disaster prompted the state legislature to enact mea-
sures for protecting miners from fire, for the increase of resources and fa-
cilities for the rescue of lives endangered in mine disasters, and for promoting
the technical efficiency of all persons working in and about the mines in order
to prevent accidents and to conserve the coal resources of the state. These
measures were followed by the liability act which is the basis of the Illinois
Workmen's Compensation Laws. The "fellow-servant" clause, which had le-
gally exempted employers from liability for accidents due to the "contribu-
tory negligence" of fellow employees, was eliminated.
The St. Paul Coal Company reopened the Cherry mine in the latter
part of 1910. At that time the Company abandoned the second vein and
developed the third vein which it worked until 1927, when factors in the
mining industry made the mine uneconomical to operate. What is more, the
northern coal fields could no longer compete with the mechanized central
and southern coal mines, and therefore one by one all the northern mines
Today, only the mine dump remains to mark the location of the once
prosperous Cherry mine. The tipple has been removed, and the company
acres have been sold and converted to farmland. The population of the vil-
lage has dwindled to and stabilized itself at approximately 500 people. For
the most part, those who seek employment find it in the surrounding com-
munities Spring Valley, LaSalle, Peru, Oglesby, Mendota, Ladd, and Ottawa.
The citizenry have long sensed the necessity for the esthetic in the commu-
nity and have so improved the general appearance of the village that one
who had not seen it since 1909 would find Cherry much different from the
village it was at that time.
The people of Cherry have not forgotten those who lost their lives in
the Cherry Mine Disaster. Each year, on November 13, the community ar-
ranges appropriate commemorative ceremonies and marches en masse to the
Cherry Miners' Memorial Cemetery. There a wreath is placed on the monu-
ment which is dedicated to the memory of victims of the disaster, and which
serves to remind travellers on highway 89 of the grim business of coal mining
and the holocaust of 1909.
Victims Of The Disaster
Amider. Altio; Agramanti. Foliani; Alexius, Joseph; Atalakis, Peter; Atlakis, G;
Adakosky, M; Armelani, Chas; Armelani, Paul.
Burke, Joseph; Bauer, Milce; Brain, Oliver; Burslie, Clemento; Bolla, Antonio;
Bastia, Mike; Brown, Thomas; Bolla, Peter; Bawraan, Frank; Bawman, Lewis;
Barozzi. Antone; Bruno. Edward; Bredenci. Peter; Budzon, Joseph; Boucher,
Jerome; Bakalar, Geo; Bayliff. Thomas; Bernadini, Chas; Bosviel, Adolph;
Budzom, Chas; Bertolioni. Tonzothe; Benossif, J; Butilla, August; Bordesona, J;
Betot, John; Brown. John; Buckels, Richard; Bruzis, John; Bundy, John.
Costi. Angelo; Ciocci. Peter; Canov. Canivo; Cioci, Canical; Costi. Lewis; Camilli,
Frank; Casserio, John; Castoinelo, Chelsto; Cagoskey, John; Chebuhar, Joseph;
Casollari, Elizio; Conlon. Henry; Cohard, Henry; Cipola, Mike; Clark, Robt;
Carlo. Klfi; Casolari, Diminick; Cavaglini, Chas; Compasso, Jbhn.
Denalfi. Francisco; Durand, Ben; Dunko, John; Durdan. Andrew; Davies, Jno. G;
Donaldson. John; Dovin, Geo; Demesey, Fred; Dumont, Leopold; Detourney. V;
Elario. Miestre; Elko, George; Eloses, Peter; Erikson, Chas; Erickson, Eric
Farlo. John; Fayen. Peter; Forgach, John; Formento, Dominick; Freeberg, Ole;
Franciscio. August; Francisco. John; Flood, John.
Governer, Jno; Grehaski, Andrew; Gugleim, Peter; Galletti, J; Galletti. Jno;
Gialcolzza, Angone; Garabelda, Jno; Gulick. Joseph; Gwaltyeri, Jalindy; Geckse,
Frank; Grumeth, Frank; Gibbs, Lewis; Guidarini, Jno.
Halko, Mike; Hadovski, Steve; Howard. Samuel; Hudar, Jno; Hynds, William;
Hertzel, Jno; Holofcak, Dan: (Rescued Nov. 20; died 4S hours after); Harpka, Jos.
Hainant. August; Howard, Alfred.
James. Frank; Janavizza, Joe; Jamison, James.
Klemiar, Thomas; Kranz, Jno; Kussner, Julius; Klaeser, Jno; Klemiar. Richard;
Kometz, John; Krall, Alfred; Krall, Henry; Kroll, Alex S; Kenig, John; Klemiar,
Geo; Korvonia, Joseph; Kovocivio, Frank; Korvonia. Antone; Kutz. Paul;
Love, James; Leyshon, Chas; Lukatchko, Andrew; Leptack, John; Lonzotti, John;
Love, Morrison; Love, John; Love, David; Leynaud, Urban; Lonzetti, Seicomo;
Lallie. Frank; Lurnas, Mike; Leadache, Joseph; Leadache. Frank; Lewis, Isaac;
Mumetich, Hasan; Miller or Malner, Lewis; Miller or Malner, Joe; Miller, Edw;
Mokos, Joseph; Meicora, Joseph; Monahan, James R; Mills, Edw; Mekles, Tony;
Merdior. Arthur; Marchiona, Frank; Marchiona, Archie; Maceoha, Jno; Mills, A;
Mittle, Jno; Mayelemis, Frank; Masenetta, Anton; Malinoski, Joe; McCandless,
Robert; McGill, Jno. Jr; McCrudden, Jno; McCrudden, Peter; McMullen, Geo;
Mazenetto, Jno; Mani. Joseph; Mayersky, Jno; McLuckie, Andrew; McFadden.
Andrew; Mazak, Jno; Matear (or Mactear), Wm.
Norberg, August; Norberg, Alex.
Ossek, Donaty; Ossek, Martin; Ondurko, Matt; Olson. Chas. P.
Palmiori. Albert; Prusitus, Perys; Prusitus, Pete; Pavoloski, Jno; Pressenger, Joe;
Prich, Joseph; Pearson, Alex; Perono, Dominik; Papea, Chas; Pearson, John;
Perbacher, Peter; Packo, Andrew; Pete, Ben; Pshak, John; Pauline, Antona.
Repsel, Martin; Repsel. Joe; Rodonis, Joe; Rolland, Victor; Rittel, Frank; Rich-
ards, Thos; Ricca, Cegu; Riva, Joe; Raviso, Joe; Ruggesie, Gailamyo; Rossman.
Robt; Ruygiesi, Frank; Rimkus, Joseph; Robeza, Joseph; Sopko. Cantina.
Speir, James; Stettler, Harry; Sandeen, Olaf; Sleitz, Paul; Shermel. Antone;
Stark, John; Stanchez, Frank; Stefenelli, Dominik; Sarginto. August; Siamon,
Andrew; Semboa (or Sereba).J; Smith. John W; Sublich, ('has; Suhe. John;
Suhe, Mike; Suffen, John; Sukitus, Joe; Steele, Peter; Sarbelle. Julius; Steams.
James; Seitz, Edw; Scotland, Wm; Shima, Jno; Stewart, Harry; Stam, Antone;
Szabrinski, Jno. (known as John Smith); Staszeski. Tony; Sestak, Jno.
Timko, Joseph Jr; Timko, Joseph Sr; Timko, Steve; Timko. Andr; Teszone, Geo;
Talioli. Eugene; Tonnelli, Emilia; Turchi. Nbcenti; Tosseth, Prank; Tamas-
hanski, Joseph; Tamarri, Pasquale; Tonner, John.
Ugo, Filippe; White, Geo; Welkas, Anthony; Waite, Chas; Wyait. Win.
Yurcheck. Ant; Vacober, Frank; Vannis. Peter; Yagoginski. Frank; Yearley, Joe.
Zlieglev, Thos; Zekuia. Joseph; Zacherria. Giatano; Zeikell, Pat.
tribute \lo \ike t^a<^tor°
Without any attempt at presumptuousness the
author feels that the story of the Disaster would
be incomplete without a word about the "Miners'
Memorial Cemetery." For many years after the
disaster, through neglect and indifference, the
cemetery had degenerated into a veritable mass of
weeds an eyesore to visitors. Through the tireless
efforts and hard work of Rev. Anthony Wehrmann,
O.S.B., pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church,
it has been transformed into a beautiful Memorial
Cemetery, of which our village can justly boast.
It stands as a fine tribute to our pastor, Father
Anthony, who accepted the challenge against great
odds to restore to the dead victims a respectable
resting place, a beautiful God's Acre.
"TO THE MEMORY OF THE
MINERS WHO LOST THEIR
LIVES IN THE CHERRY
MINE DISASTER NOVEMBER
"ERECTED BY THE U. M. W.
OF A. DISTRICT NO. 12,
ILLINOIS NOV. 13, 1911."
This brief outline of the Cherry Mine Disaster was
compiled from the best available written sources.
The author accepts sole responsibility for any er-
rors of commission or omission.
— Anton Demichelis
The pictures contained in the body of this booklet
are actual scenes taken at the time of the disaster,
and have been submitted through the courtesy of
Mr. Burton Waite, the honorable Mayor of Cherry,
and Mrs. Bertha Keutzer.
The pictures for the present day monuments were
supplied by Mr. Ray Broviak of Peru, Illinois.
Sincere thanks are due to Father Anthony Wehr-
mann, O.S.B., and Mr. William Parisi for' their
unselfish efforts and hard work in guiding the ar-
rangements for the entire Commemorative program.
Additional copies of this booklet may be obtained
by writing to:
Holy Trinity Parish
The St. Bede Abbey Press — Peru, Illinois
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA
KS%F THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF