Holden Diary

A West Virginia Coal Mine Tragedy

By H.A. Jarvis


On March 8, 1960 at Holden, Logan Co, WV, an underground coal mine tragedy occurred. While vivid memories remain of my participation in the operations that followed, my dated notes, map of the mine, and newspaper clippings are now yellowing and deteriorating from age. This effort is prompted by an unwillingness to allow the memories to go the way of paper mementos. An effort to keep alive remembrances of twenty men initially trapped underground by fire. Of those who labored so hard and long in rescue efforts, often in a contaminated atmosphere which resulted in hospitalization for some. Of coal miners who left employment elsewhere and devoted full time to the effort. Of others who, after a shift of regular employment, donated another shift of work... Of coal miners who, although untrained in the use of protective respiratory devices, would don such equipment with minimal instruction. These asked nothing more than the opportunity to help their fellowman in distress. These meet my criterion for heroes and are rememembered as such. Failing to preserve these poignant memories would seem to compound the tragedy.
Having participated in many operations following mine accidents, gas and coal dust explosions, and fires, this was the most difficult, frustrating and lengthy.
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