Cherry Coal Mine Disaster

Coal Mining Terminology
Cherry Mine Disaster Story
Story of Disaster by Steve Stout
The Fatal Day
Story in a Nutshell
Mine Site photos
Description of Cherry Mine
James Cherry
page two mine pics
Page Three Mine Pics
Page four Mine photos
Page Five Mine Photos
Page Six Mine Photos
Page Seven Mine Photos
Page Eight Mine Photos
Page Nine Mine Photos
Bell Signals etc.
Page Ten Mine photos
New Mine photos
Aerial Views
Cherry Mine Artifacts
Sunday Morning Crowds
Cherry Mine Model
Model Pics Set Two
Twelve Heroes Story
John Flood: Hero
Alex Norberg (Hero)
Read about Eight-Day Men
John Thomas Brown
George Eddy
Which Story Deserves Movie?
The Memorial and More
Miners Tombstones
Cherry Depot
Soldier Trains and more
Morgue Tent
Names of Victims
Names of Victims section two
Coal Mining Words
Map Diagrams
No Respect For History
The Day the Tipple Fell
Farewell letters
Sam Howard's Letter
More on the Subject
"Oneness" Press release
TRAPPED: Karen Tintori's new book
Ray Tutaj Model Projects
Last Days of The Milwaukee Road
Milwaukee Road Car
St. Paul Coal Mine Office
Remembering the disaster.
100th Anniversary/Car Show
100th Anniversary Photos
100th Anniversary photos by Candy Brown
100th Anniversary pics from Karen Tintori
We need Your Help (1909 song)
Cherry Word Puzzle
Favorite Links
About me
Tour of Mine Site
Contact Me
100th Anniversary Documentary Available and More!
Cherry Mine Disaster Historical Society
T-Shirts, Sweatshirts etc.(100th anniv.)
Train Photo CDs Available
Train Video DVD's Available
Train -e-books NEW!
Workers Compensation
Cherry MIne Enthusiasts Remembered
How You Can Help


Airshaft- A vertical shaft in which air is blown down through the various sections of the underground mine. The air is generated by a large fan on the surface providing oxygen for the miners below

Blackdamp- A deadly gas that is caused from coal burning in an atmosphere which lacks oxygen. Mostly a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen found in mines after fires and explosions.

Blacksmith- A person who forges and shapes iron. (A necessary occupation at the coal mine)

Boiler house- is a building which house boilers, which provide steam pressure to move machinery. Water contained in the boilers is heated by burning coal; thus causing the water to turn to steam which provides pressure to cause machinery to move.

Cage- A rectangular transporting device used to haul mine cars (pit cars) loaded with coal or dirt and rock from the earth below. The cage was also used to transport miners, mules and supplies to and from the workplace below.

Cager- person who worked at the cages loading and unloading the mine cars etc. on to the cages.

Carpenter- person who builds with wood. Any projects to be made of wood were built by the mine carpenters.

Coal- A dark brown to black natural solid substance formed from fossilized plants. It consists mainly of carbon and is widely used as a fuel and raw material.

Coal forest- A growth of the large tree-like plants that existed millions of years ago, and whose fossil remains are found today in the form of coal.

C.M. & ST. P. RR- Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad formed in the 1870s and reached cherry IL. In 1904 to tap into the rich coalfields to provide fuel for the railroads steam engines.

Digger- A worker at the mine who digs for coal, and fills the mine cars with the precious substance. [Miners in 1909 were paid $1.08 per car, averaging approx. four to five carloads per day.]

Downcast- Air forced down into the mine below, by way of the airshaft which is adjacent to the escape shaft.

Driver- person whose duty it was to guide the mine cars to and from the cages below. Mules usually pulled cars and the drivers led the mules to a designated area.

Engine Room- building which housed the steam-powered engine that raised and lowered the cages in the mainshaft. Steel cables, an inch and a half in diameter were wound around a large 9-ft cylinder or drum in the engine room. It is here where the cage operator controlled the levers that moved the cages up and down.

Entry- an entrance into a series of dugout tunnels and/or passageways in the mine below.

Escapeshaft- a stairway reaching from the bottom of the mine to the top of the mine used in case of an emergency.

Fan House- usually a semi-circular enclosure/structure that housed the large fan that forced air down below into the mine. The air ventilation was necessary for the miners to breathe and to remove dangerous gases such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon monoxide. To prevent inhaling these dangerous gases, underground calmness must be sufficiently ventilatedoften the total weight of the air pumped through the mine exceeds the total weight of coal removed.

Hay- grass and other plants that are cut and dried were used for food for the mules at the mine.

Headlamp- an illuminating device that provides light and is worn on the front side of a cap or hat worn by the miner. The lamps could be illuminated with miners oil or kerosene.

Mule Stable- A stable located in the mine below (2nd and 3rd vein or level) where mules are kept and fed.

Mine- a. The site of such an excavation, with its buildings, elevators, and associated equipment. b. A hole, tunnel, or passage dug in the earth in order to extract metals, coal, salt, or other minerals.

Pick- a tool for loosening or breaking up coal or dirt consisting of a slightly curved bar at both ends and fitted onto a long handle.

Pit Car- A small railroad-type car approximately 6 x 3 in size, used to haul coal, dirt and rock.

Pump- A device used to move water from one place to another. Pumps were placed in different sections of the mine floor to pump any excess build-up of water.

Railroad- pathway built of steel rails usually arranged in pairs and supported by ties, used by trains, locomotives etc.

Shaft- a deep vertical passage used to enter the mine below. A shaft has to be "sunk" or dug out until the vein of coal is reached. When a coal vein or layer was found, then the digging began in a mainly horizontal direction to follow the vein.

Sheave- a large pulley used to guide a cable. Sheaves at the mine were placed at the highest point of the tipple called the headframe. These sheaves guided the cables that raised and lowered the cages.

Skipjack- a triggering mechanism that causes mine cars (pit cars) to dump its load of coal or rock to a designated area at the mine.

Slag Pile- a significant amount of dirt and rock excavated from the earth below that is dumped into a pile.

Spragger- person whose occupation it was to apply braking to the mine cars below by means of placing wood blocks or wedges underneath the wheels to prevent them from rolling down slight grades.

Ten-Wheeler- an old time train locomotive consisting of ten wheels, also referred to as a 4-6-0, four small wheels up front near the pilot (cow catcher) and six larger wheels under the middle of the loco and zero wheels at the rear or under the cab where the engineer sat. These types of locomotives were used at the St. Paul mine in Cherry

Timberman- Men whose occupation it was to place timber supports in the mine below to prevent the ceiling or roof from caving in where it was excavated or dug out.

Tipple- a large and imposing structure at the mine where mine cars were "tipped" over and dumped into larger railroad cars for shipment. The cars were loaded down below in the second or third level and brought up on the cages through the main shaft and to the tipple.

Torch- a device used for illumination. The kerosene-type of torch was used in the mine at cherry when a short had caused the electric lights to go out.

Trackman- person whose duty it was to lay railroad track to selected areas wherein miners could conveniently load the pit cars with coal.

Trapper- a person, usually of a young age, who opened and closed doors down below in the mine for drivers. The doors down below were used to guide the downcast or airflow to desired areas of the mine.

Vein(coal)- a layer of coal found in the earth. Approximately two to four feet in thickness was common at the St. Paul mine. The deeper the vein, the older and better quality of coal.