Farewell letters written by the Coal Miners who believed their death was at hand. Fortunately after eight days in a hell-like environment these men survived. These were the "Eight-Day Men".

Some men who did not survive had letters of the same kind found on their persons.

Nov.13, 09

Dear Wife and Family I write these few lines to let you know that we was alive at this time and if we are found dead, try and keep the family together and use your best judgment about what you can do for them for I may not see any of you again so good bye and God Bless you all.

From your Loving Husband and Father




Dear Wife

I am still living yet this is five o’clock Sunday morning, but we have poor hope as the black damp is getting the best of us there is twenty-one of us all together here dear wife don’t grieve we will meet again, God bless you and believe in Him. He will take care of you, I guess we will meet in a better land, when you get over this let them know at home, that is all Dear, God bless you.

Your loving husband




In mine of Cherry IL on Sunday 14, Nov. 1909.

Dear Erminia and Son:

Now being half past one p.m. I am very hungry but suffering much more from thirst.

Dear Erminia am very sure that my last hour has struck, and never will leave this grave, I beg of you not to think no longer of my death for I feel I will have an easy death.

You will write to my unfortuned mother and brothers and tell them of my sad death.

I have nothing more to say, only that to educate my dear child the best you can, and when he grows you may tell him that he had an honest father, would like to say hoping to see you again, but must say goodbye forever, last kisses from your




Nov.14, Cherry, IL., 1909

Dear Wife and Children I write these few lines to you and I think it will be for the last time. I have tried to get out twice but was driven back, there seems to be no hope for us, I come down this shaft yesterday to help save mens lives. I hope the men I got out were saved.

Well Elizabeth if I am found dead take me to Streator to bury and move back.

Keep Esther and Florence and Jennie together as much as you can.

I hope they will not forget their Father so I will bid you all goodbye and God Bless you all.




Dear Wife and Children

I am now writing just before we all go.

I know Maggie you will be in a awful state. I have been thinking of you Mag and the children. I loved my children and wife. But if it is God’s wish for us to go, God knows what is best. It is five o’clock Sunday morning when I am writing. Maggie I am praying to God and my Saviour.

Good-by wife and children. Be good to the children Maggie. Please give all the folks at home my best wishes.

Maggie I wish you and the children to attend church and live good Christian lives, believe in God Maggie.

From your Loving Husband TOM WHITE


In the great book The Cherry Mine Disaster, written by Frank Buck in 1910.

He mentions how the twenty-one trapped men would pray each day that somehow they would see the light of day again. Some had strong faith that they would survive this terrible ordeal and live to tell about it!