A DISTRESSING ACCIDENT: MINE WATER BANKED UP FOR YEARS IS TURNED LOOSE; IT MAKES A GREAT FLOOD AND DROWNS TWO CHILDREN--from the McDowell Recorder (Reprinted in Bluefield Daily Telegraph)
For several years the worked-out portion of the McDowell Mine has been gradually filling with water, until it became necessary to get the water out some way. The company decided to drive a passage from the outside into the lowest point of the mine and let the water out. This was done, and on last Saturday the workmen driving the passage fired the last shot, releasing the vast body of water which filled several acres of the mines. When the water started, it brought track and everything before it, twisting the rails around trees as though they were whipcord At the foot of the mountain immediately in the track of the rushing current were two little boys, the children of Paul Swensky, a German miner, who were caught in the flood, and the youngest, aged four years, was drowned. The other, a couple years older, is not expected to live. The oldest boy, when he saw the water coming, jumped on a stump and made a heroic effort to save his little brother by pulling him up after him, but the water was too strong and the little fellow was wrested from his grasp and carried down the mad waters. The drowned child was buried in the cemetery at Pocahontas Sunday.
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
February 4, 1897
Extracted and submitted by June White