MINING DISASTERS: 1892 Krebs, Indian Territory

Krebs # 11
It was cold that January 7th in 1892 and a cold winter raced across the Indian Territory.  It was to be the last day for many in the Osage Coal and Mining Company mine shaft #11.   Mining was dangerous business no matter what time or place.  Workers from mining regions were brought in to work the mines for their expertise and skill. They were brought in from Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Wales, England, and Poland.  Miners from Pennsylvania and Virginia also came in to the region as well.  The mine had a reputation for being poorly managed and maintained. Under trained workers labored long hours in unsafe conditions. It has been suggested that immigrants were encouraged to come work in the Territory just for that reason. Poor English skills meant few demands and opposition to conditions.  On that cold early January day, 100 men were dead, 150 others wounded, and the region had seen its worst mining disaster of all time.  Nuns closed the local school so they could visit house to house to care for the injured or comfort those who had suffered loss.

A list of the causalities here.  It was not until 2002 that the victims of this disaster were memorialized with a public marker. It is clear, however, that the impact was memorialized in the hearts and soul of the area for decades.

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