Coal Glen Mine Disaster
The Coal Glen Mining Disaster
Farmville, Chatham County, N.C.
May 27, 1925

Photo by Ben Dixon McNeill of the Raleigh News and Observer
(Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
The Coal Glen-Farmville Mine Disaster was the worst industrial accident in North Carolina history.  Though more recent incidents such as the flash fire at the Imperial Food Products Plant in Hamlet on Septmber 3, 1991, which killed 25, and the spectacular explosion at West Pharmaceuticals in Kinston on January 29, 2003, are more in the public consciousness, the Coal Glen Disaster killed 53 men, made 38 women widows, left 79 children fatherless, made Farmville a ghost town, and virtually put an end to coal mining in North Carolina.

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Report published in the Chatham Record (Pittsboro), June 4, 1925. Link to a website maintained by Mike and Carol Tilley on the Egypt / Cumnock / Coal Glen area, with photos of other historic sites in the vicinity, such as Endor Iron Works and one of the few surviving Pratt Camelback Truss Bridges.
Historical Timeline of Mining on The Deep River Coal Bed Article by Lamar Bland on "clackers", tokens used at the company stores associated with the Egypt and Coal Glen Mines.
Report published in the Durham Morning Herald May 28, 1925. "The Coal Demon of Deep River" by Michael Hetzer, an article published in the June 1987 issue of The State Magazine
Report published in the Raleigh News & Observer May 28, 1925. "The Egypt Coal Mine Jinx," article from The State magazine, February 1981
Photographs taken by Raleigh News & Observer reporter Ben Dixon McNeill. Maps of the Deep River Coal Fields.
Photos of the site as it is today. Data from Chatham County Death Certificates
"Mine Explosion Victims Remembered," article from the Fayetteville Observer, May 26, 2000, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the disaster. Interview with Margaret Wicker, Eyewitness.
"Area Still Filled With Coal As Well As Legend," article from the Fayetteville Observer, May 26, 2000, commemorating the 75th anniversary of the disaster. 1926 Report of the North Carolina Department of Labor.
A chapter on Mine Gases from a modern (1981) Miner's Manual; contains definitons of terms like "blackdamp" and "afterdamp" as well as descriptions of the effects of various toxic gases found in mines. An article from the Boise State University website on the Monongah Mining Disaster, Monongah, West Virginia, December 6, 1907 -- the worst mining disaster in U.S. history.
Link to "Historical Data on Mine Disasters in the United States" from the U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration Website Pages to be added will include more reports from Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, Fayetteville and Charlotte newspapers as well as the New York Times.

Material compiled by Paul F. Wilson
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Last Update -- 21 November 2010.