Sunday, November 25, 2007

Palos Mine Explosion 1910

This article tells of the death of Sam Goolsby, Karl's Grandfather. The Goolsby family story follows.

Palos, Alabama
No. 3 Coal Mine Explosion
May 5, 1910

Nearly Two Hundred at Work and All Are Believed to Be Dead – Three Bodies Found.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 5. – Forty-five white men and between 130 and 140 negroes are entombed in No. 3 coal mine at Palos tonight as the result of a terrific explosion occurring this morning and it is believed all are dead. Palos is forty miles west of Birmingham and the mines are owned by the Palos Coal and Coke company of this city. Three bodies were found early tonight but it is expected that few of those remaining in the mine can be recovered before morning. The flames resulting from the explosion shot into the air from the slope for a distance of 200 feet and the shock was felt for miles. Timbers from the slope were hurled several hundred feet from its mouth and rocks from the roof of the slope caved in and made access to the mouth very difficult. The fan machinery was badly damaged but air is being pumped into the mine tonight in hopes that some of the men are still alive.
Residents began to do what they could to relieve the men but the relief train arrived in Palos from Birmingham shortly after 4 o’clock with eight physicians and surgeons, four undertakers, and a number of special helpers.
The first rescuers who went into the mine after the explosion were overcome by firedamp and had to be carried out. Mr. Rutledge was among the first to enter and after working his way 1,400 feet down the slope found the second right entry caved in. The bodies recovered tonight were in the main slope.

WASHINGTON, May 5. – Geological Survey Mine Rescue Experts J. J. Rutledge and George F. Rice, who were in Birmingham investigating the Mulga disaster, have been instructed to proceed with their rescue equipment to the Palos mine.
When member of congress heard of the disaster then thoughts turned at once to the measure now in conference for the creation of a bureau of mines in the interior department.
Senator Scott, who had charge of the bill in the senate immediately took steps to get the conferees together for the adjustment of the differences between the senate and the house. The bill will become a law as soon as the conference report is adopted and the act is signed by the president.

PALOS, Ala., May 5 – Eleven bodies have been found in mine No. 3 of the Palos Coal and Coke company late tonight. Rescue parties have reached the 1,400 foot level and are working steadily toward the 2,300 foot level where the majority of the miners were working at the time of explosion.
All of the bodies found are horribly mangled and burned, some being beyond recognition. The head of an unknown white man was found several feet away from his body.
The work of bringing the bodies to the surface will not begin until tomorrow.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 6 May 1910

Among those identified was C. H. Stansberry, assistant mine foreman. Among the dead in the mine is said to be H. A. McARDLE, whose brother is president of the amalgamated association of tin and steel-workers in Pennsylvania.
James Liddell, one of the best known miners in the Birmingham district and a former legislator, was overcome by afterdamp while aiding in the work of rescue. His condition was serious for a time, but when he recovered he again took charge of one of the rescue crews.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 7 May 1910

Smoke in Palos Mines Caused Considerable Delay.
PALOS, Ala., May 7. – The discovery of a small fire in No. 4 right entry at the Palos mines, where Thursday’s disastrous explosion occurred, seriously hampered the rescue work today. When the fire was discovered all miners were ordered out of the mine. The blaze was small but much smoke delayed for hours the rescue work.
While only thirty-five bodies have been brought up, the men are still working with vigor tonight. The Red Cross relief fund is still growing and the response in Birmingham has been remarkably spontaneous and substantial. Practically all the dead miners leave families.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 8 May 1910

Decomposed Bodies Taken From Workings at Palos, Ala.
PALOS, Ala., May 8. – The bodies taken today from the Palos mine where last Thursday’s explosion occurred, were so decomposed that it was almost impossible to handle them. Disinfectants are being shipped in. In a number of cases it was impossible to get bodies into the coffins provided. The funerals in the little mining camp began today. A special plot of ground was set aside on the opposite side of the hill from the mouth of the slope and here men were engaged all day digging graves while the mourners carried their loved ones and laid them to their last rest.
The rescuers have not reached the lowest part of the slope and have been working their way back examining headings on the other side. Eight of ten bodies were found in one little group. Last night about midnight three bodies were lying close together with every indication that they had not been killed by the explosion but had died of suffocation. One of the men had taken off his coat and wrapped it around his head as if to keep out the gar. Another was lying face downward with his arms covering his face. Another was holding a cloth of some kind over his face.
At 10 o’clock tonight sixty-seven bodies had been recovered from the mine and a number of others had been located.
State Mine Inspector Hillhouse said at midnight that he expected to have everybody out of the mine by tomorrow noon. The rescuers are working constantly and bodies are now being brought up every few minutes. The work is expected to proceed very rapidly from now on unless there are further accidents to delay the rescuers.

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 9 May 1910

James Gousby***, a mail carrier, was caught by the explosion thirty feet from the mouth of the slope, and his body was hurled into the Warrior river.

***Sam Goolsby is the correct name

The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY 6 May 1910
Articles transcribed by Jenni lanham Thank you, Jenni!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Goolsby Family

Irene, Ellie, Osa Bell, Gladys, Alton and Ethan - My Mother & Aunts & Uncles

Ellie and Osa Bell front..Gladys, Irene, Ethan back - My Mother & Aunts & Uncle

While researching family history I came across a book with various stories of memories of various authors and accidentally found this story submitted by my Aunt Irene (my mother's sister). My mother, Gladys, the youngest girl, was born in 1907 and died in 1988. Charles the youngest boy was born in 1910 and died a month before he was 14 in 1924 . Sam Goolsby was my grandfather.
I’m not sure when this story was written but it had to be many years ago. This is a re-typing of the story as written....Karl...

Contributed by Mrs. A. C. (Irene Goolsby) Morgan

In the year of 1901 there was a man by the name of Sam Goolsby with his wife and seven children bought a small farm near Williamsburg Al. He wanted a place with plenty of room for the children and enough land for farming as the children grew up. Mr. Goolsby had a job as mail carrier from a little mining town of Palos over to Porter mines. He also served as Deputy Sheriff. After a few years had passed three more children were born to the Goolsby family. Rosa and Osa Bell, the two oldest girls left home by then. Bill, the oldest son had a job in the commissary at Porter; while Ethan a younger son with the younger children farmed the land. Everything went along fine until the spring of 1910, while most of the family was in the field planting there was a loud sound like a lot of dynamite had exploded, the earth trembled, like all the mountains were caving in. An hour or so later a man went to the Goolsby home to tell Mrs. Goolsby that Palos mine had an explosion and her husband had been killed. Mr. Goolsby was on his mail route from Palos over to Porter. To get across the river he had to walk a small bridge that passed in front of the mine. He was just over the bridge when the explosion came, part of his body was blown into the river and was never found.
After the funeral expenses were taken care of there was very little left and Mrs. Goolsby was expecting another baby in three months.
Mrs. Goolsby was determined to keep all her children together. She still had seven children at home. Their names were: Bill, Ethan, Velma, Ellie, Irene, Alton and Gladys.
To help with caring for the family Bill had saved a little money working at the commissary. He decided to go to Birmingham and take a business course. He finished the course and got a job with Birmingham Electric Company. Each month he sent money home to help out with the family. Ethan and the rest of the family farmed the land. They rose at daylight and worked until dark. They planted corn, cotton, watermelons, potatoes, peas, beans, and sugar cane in the fields. They also had a large garden near the house with most everything in it that was needed for the table. They milked six cows morning and night, canned the fruit out of the orchards. The chickens and hogs were to be fed and watered. All the milk and butter and eggs that weren’t used at home, Ethan carried to Porter with his mule and wagon, sold to the folks around the mines.
That money was used to buy sugar, coffee, flour, salt and occasionally some cheese or weiners or a piece of cloth for the girls a dress or the boys a shirt.
After Mrs. Goolsby’s last baby, Charlie, was born she began to fail in her health.
She couldn’t help with the hard work anymore but she planned the work for the rest of the family.
In the fall the fodder was to be pulled in the large sugar cane patch, the cane to be cut and piled near the spring to be made into syrup for the winter. After everything was ready Uncle Rob Nichols with his two mules and wagon would bring the sorghum mill to make the syrup for the goolsby family. It would usually take a week.
The whole family enjoyed syrup making. Of course, there was a lot of work getting the cane ground to keep the juice ready for the syrup pan. Ethan helped Uncle Rob make the syrup.
Some of the young folks that lived close came at night, especially the Nichols girls and boys. Mrs. Goolsby and some of the girls would cook big meals at the house for all who wanted to eat. They had lanterns and lamps all around in the trees so there would be plenty of light. After they finished making the syrup they usually had 350 gallons in barrels to put in the smokehouse.
A few months later hog-killing time came. They raised four or five large hogs. The smokehouse was filled with large hams hanging from the rafters to be smoked and large barrels of salted meat for the winter.
By then Ethan was old enough to get work at Porter Mines, he worked the winter months there.
Mrs. Goolsby managed to keep shoes and clothes for the children to send them to school, which was a three mile walk each way. They only had one teacher for all the grades. The building was also used as a church. In the winter it was heated by a pot-bellied heater.
It was very comfortable close to the heater but rather cold on the back seats.
Another large family attended school there, the Goolsby’s best friends and neighbors, the Nichols: Burgie, Bertha, Grover, Robert, Maggie, Lillie, Idella, Alice, and Oscar. There was another one named Dexter, who was the oldest and had finished school and was their teacher. He was teacher there for two terms at Williamsburg. The children all loved him, he was good and kind, but he would certainly stand you in the corner if you were bad or didn’t get your lessons.
Mrs. Goolsby was very careful about her girls’ friends but she never feared to let them spend the night with the Nichols girls and she really enjoyed the Nichols girls visiting at her home.
Mrs. Goolsby sent her children to Sunday School and Church on Sunday, prayer meeting on Wednesday nights, and they were allowed to go to a party occasionally or a fish fry at the Nichols home.
As the years passed Mrs. Goolsby’s health grew worse. All the children were about grown except Gladys, Alton and the baby Charlie. One day she called them to her bedside and told them she would be leaving them soon. She asked them to move away from the homeplace after she was gone. In the following spring she passed away. Two of the Nichols girls were there that night, Maggie and Idella, they dressed her and laid her on a padded door until they could get a casket and make funeral arrangements.
All the neighbors came with their mules and wagons for the funeral. They carried her to be laid to rest beside her husband in Village Falls Cemetery at Mulga.
One month later the children sold everything but the furniture. They moved to Birmingham. Ethan found work and the girls got jobs in town. Everything went along nicely until Ethan got sick. He saw a doctor who advised him to go west to get well. The children were separated then among the brothers and sisters who were married, except Alton, a close friend of the family by the name of Mrs. Tom Reeves took him. But on the second Sunday in May every year at the Williamsburg Decoration, you will see some of the Goolsby family there to see old friends and neighbors which bring back memories.
THE END…………..

As a young boy I remember our family gathering flowers of all sort from our yard on Mothers Day and my Mother (Gladys) would pack a feast and we would take the long trip to that cemetery to clean and decorate the graves of her loved ones. Numerous members of her family would also bring delicious food and we would spread out sheets on the ground and have some of the best eating a person could desire.
After the meal, some of us would walk down to Bayview Lake to skip rocks across the water. I still visit that cemetery time to time and memories come rushing back. Karl....

(As is mentioned in the story, the Nichols family were close friends of the Goolsbys.)

These are poems in the same book submitted by my Aunt Irene.

Nichols Fish Trap and Dam

It was early one morning
In the month of May.
A man called Nichols was sowing hay
Near the banks of Warrior River they all say.
He gazed across all forlorn.
That’s when a new thought was born.
I’ll build a dam across the river.
A fish trap I’ll put right in the center.
The rocks he gathered from his own land.
He built it himself with his own hands.
He trapped the fish for his family
And many more he had to store.
To keep them that was another chore.
He dug a pond below a running rill.
Not very far at the foot of a hill.
He sold the fish to the folks from town.
And some the neighbors that lived around
He needed the money we know that’s a fact
He had eleven children to be exact.
The following winter after days of rain.
His wife came down with a pain in her chest.
The doctor came he did his best.
In a few short days she was laid to rest
The following days he worked hard and long.
To forget his sorrows he must be strong.
He raised his children who were large and strong.
While not in school they helped at home.
Their education was their only aim.
Some call it knowledge, we call it brains.
Some made teachers and a lawyer too.
Just read a book and it they knew.
Years had passed it was in nineteen and thirty eight.
Uncle Ron we called him had another fate.
Progress they call it as we all know.
We must have it for our country to grow.
They built the lock they called seventeen.
To make the river very deep it seems.
For boats to travel from town to town.
To carry the cargo all around.
The water covered his dam and fish trap too.
As nothing else in this world could do.
In August of that very same year.
He was laid to rest by his wife so dear.
Many years have passed since that sad day.
Some of his sons and in-laws too.
Are sleeping there not far away.
Bertha May Smith the oldest daughter
Who now lives there and calmly waits.
She owns the big white house near the cemetery gate
She lives alone she has lost her mate.
But time heals sorrow; she has faith.
THE END…………….

Woodruff Mill

By: Mrs. A.C. (Irene Goolsby) Morgan

In a shady nook by Village Creek
Stood a quaint old mill that was used once a week.
The farmers came to bring their corn
Some by mule or wagon drawn.
The huge round wheel was turned by water
To grind the meal while the farmers loitered
They talked of their crops of cotton, corn or new mown hay
Sometimes of their church on Sunday
Their families were large three or four
Some were a dozen, less or more
Years have passed the old mill’s gone
The dam is there but the creek rolls on.
I remember it well it was near our home.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

We had only 12 this year but we had a great time and a truly great meal.
Our family is spreading out across the U.S.A. and it's almost impossible for all get together as a group anymore.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Logans' School Picture

Logan really looks great in his school picture. He's in the first grade in Washington State.

He's 7 years old now and we wish he and his younger sister and two brothers were closer.
Maybe we can make the trip next spring.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pumpkin Patch Visit

Our grandson Eric and his wife Summer take Ethan to the Pumpkin Patch and he doesn't look too happy about it in the top picture.
He seems to be in a better mood in the bottom picture. Isn't he a cutie with his new haircut?

Ethan Gets His First Haircut

Gone are the curly locks and gleeful smile and replaced with a big boy look and solemn face.
Our great grandsons' first haircut changed his looks completely but he's still a cutie. I'm sure that big smile returned very quickly.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Grant Is a Star Senior

Our grandson Grant is a senior at Kingwood Christian School and was recently chosen as a Buffalo Rock, Fox 6, Star Senior. He appeared on Fox News.
He was one of fifteen chosen in the greater Birmingham area.
One individual was chosen from each school after writing an essay on 3 values they thought would insure their own personal success. Extra curricular activities and community service were also credited to the final pick.
Grant is the president of the Student Government Association at Kingwood.
He was involved in varsity sports and other activities.
He was accepted to The University of Alabama and will major in Business or Pre-Med.
We are hoping for the latter since we always wanted a doctor in the family.
Mamaw and Pawpaw are proud of him.....

Beware Of Experts

The so called "Experts" told us a couple of months ago to expect little to no color this year because of the drought. Straight from green to brown they predicted.
Knowing that "experts" are seldom correct, I told everyone to keep their cameras handy since the "experts" had "spoken." I went out on a limb and said it would probably be the best year yet. Lo and behold with little to no additional rainfall, we have the prettiest colors in my area than anytime in at least the last 35 years.
Could the "experts" be wrong about people being the cause of global warming?
Judging from most of their predictions, I wouldn't bet the farm on their consensus.
This is a picture of our side yard which is usually quiet drab.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Adam Can Spell

For the second year in a row, Adam has won his school spelling bee! He will now get to represent Tabernacle at the district spelling bee in January (a preliminary contest before the county bee), and he will also get to participate in the ACEA spelling bee competition in February. Last year, he won the ACEA bee and placed second at the district bee.
Great job Adam. Mamaw and Pawpaw have to carry a dictionary with us to correct our lapse of memory in spelling.
We wish you the best of luck at the district bee.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ingenuity at its' Best

Adam & Joseph don't like to dress in run of the mill costumes so they use their cleverness to think up their own design.
I hope Joseph isn't planning out his future profession with the burglar outfit. I suppose Adam messes up so many clothes that his mom just put him in the dirty clothes basket.
They were as cute as could be and were a hit at their church where they went after their visit with us. We loaded the heist bag and detergent box with lots of chocolate but we aren't the blame for any stomach distress.