Children's program on coal mining a century
event Jan. 16 to commemorate 1909
Cherry Mine Disaster
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[December 03, 2009]
SPRINGFIELD -- During a special program in January at the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library, a 1909 mine superintendent will show
children what coal mining was like 100 years ago. "One Man Mining,"
at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, is for children fourth grade and
Reservations for this free event must be made by calling
Robert Fox, a historic mining expert and mining equipment
collector, will portray a mining superintendent from 1909, the year
of the disaster at the coal mine in Cherry, Ill., that claimed 259
lives. Fox will show and demonstrate original mining gear, including
safety and rescue equipment, that would have been used 100 years
ago. Fox loaned a number of his artifacts for the presidential
library's current exhibit, "The Flames Caught Us": Cherry Mine 1909,
which will run through March 31, 2010. Children may view this
exhibit following the Jan. 16 program.
The "Cherry Mine Disaster" comic book by Steve Stout, a
fascinating history that can be enjoyed by all ages, may also be
purchased that day at the event and in the store at the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Museum.
"The Flames Caught Us" features items loaned specifically for the
exhibit by descendants of those involved in the Cherry Mine
Disaster. It also features materials from the collections of the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, including photographs,
coroner's reports, oral histories, published books, newspaper
articles, government reports, music and manuscripts.
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The St. Paul Coal Co. mine in Cherry, a mining town in Bureau
County, had the latest equipment and operated smoothly until Nov.
13, 1909, when a torch caught a load of hay on fire about 300 feet
below the surface. Of the 490 men and boys in the mine at the time,
259 died from the fire or the poisonous gases it produced. Heroic
rescue efforts, including one in which 12 rescuers died, filled
newspaper accounts of the disaster. The one incredible survival
story involved the "eight-day" men, a group of 21 trapped miners who
sealed themselves off from the fire and were rescued eight days
later by a team that had been sent below to retrieve bodies.
As a result of the Cherry Mine Disaster, safety regulations were
implemented throughout the mining industry, and a liability act,
which became the basis of the Illinois Workmen's Compensation Act,
For more information about the programs and collections of the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, visit
www.presidentlincoln.org. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Library is the state's chief historical and genealogical research
facility and is open free of charge weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The adjacent Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is an immersive,
state-of-the-art experience that gives visitors an emotional
attachment to the Abraham Lincoln story. Paid admission is required
to tour the museum, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
[Text from file received from
the Illinois Historic