Sam D. Howards letter:
Nov. 14th, 1909 Alive at 10:30 yet 10:45, 11 o'clock sharp by Sam
D. Howard, Alfred with me yet, I saw many dead mules and men, I tried to save some but come almost
losing myself, If I am dead give Mamie Robinson, the diamond ring which I have coming at the Post
Office, Give these orders to Henry Caumant, Henry can have the ring I have at home, and my good clothes, The only thing
I regret is my brother that could help my mother out after I am dead and gone, I tried my best to get out, but could not,
I saw Jamie Jimerson, and Steve Timeko lying dead along the road, and could not stand it any longer, so what is fellow
going to do when he has done his best. It is 5 past 11 oclock,and the air is fine, but sometimes it is so bad it almost puts
a fellows lights out. It is something fierce to see men and mules lying down all over like that.
keep me from thinking I thought I would write these few lines, there is rock falling all over, we have our buckets full of
water, sump water, and we drink it and bath our heads with it, half past 11, 10 to 12 oclock, 7 after 1 oclock, 2 oclock,
3 oclock and poor air, and black damp, 4:15 change of places. No black damp, but poor air, We lost a couple of our groop,
two men tried to get out and could not get back, 7:30 oclock, tried, hungry, and sleepy, but I could stand quite a bit of
this if I could only get out of this hole. So what is the use of knocking when a man is down.7:50 morning, this is Sunday
12 after 8 oclock on Sunday morning, there is no air, we fan ourself with the lids of our buckets, 25 after 9 and black damp
is coming both ways, 25 after 10 we was apast the parten, and could not get any further, we give up all hopes, we have done
all we could, the fan better start very soon, 25 after 10 a.m. Sunday morning, still alive, that is you will find me with
a bunch, It is 11 a.m. There is five of us Alfred Howard, Miller, Leyshon, Sam Howard, and Steele Gust Franscisco, I think
wont strength to write pretty soon, 15 after 12 Sunday, We are having a swell time making fans, if they can't give us
air we will make some ourself. That is the best we can do, we take turns at the fans, We have 3 of them going, Joe Repsel,
was the man who invented the fan. 27 to 3 p.m. and black damp is coming on us, only for the fans we would be dead, 17
to 4 p.m. dying for the want of air. 20 after 6 p.m.
Now we are trying to make the bottom
with fans, we have 6 of them moving 1 after another about 15 feet apart, 15 after 9 p.m. Sunday still alive, we had to come
back. We cannot move front of backwards, we cant stand it till Monday morning, 15 after 2 a.m. Monday morning still alive
we are cold, hungry, weak, sick and everything else.
Alfred Howard is still alive 9:15 a.m.
Monday moving place something better turn up or we will be goners. 11:15 a.m. still alive, at the same time 16 to 1 p.m. Monday
the lights are going out, I think that is our last, Alfred stood it as well as all of us.
The above letter was emailed to me by Dawn Smith who wrote the following:
My Grandfather was Raymond Howard (he changed to De Howard when he was young,) he was Sam and Albert's
younger brother, the families original name was "Devleschoward" changed when they came to America. My mothers family had the
original letter back in the 40's she typed a copy of the original before it was given to Sams sister, and I beleive her son
or grandson have the original do not know there names so this is the best I can do.
Thanks Dawn for passing this info on!