|Coal miners near Hazleton, circa late 19th century|
A stark reminder of just how dangerous everyday life was back in the 19th century. From the Huntingdon Journal, February 13, 1871:
On Friday last the most horrible death that it has ever been our lot to record occurred at North Point, Bedford county, at the "Old Scott" colliery, worked by Richard Langdon, Esq., of this place. Philip Chamberlain was ascending the shaft in the car, and it supposed that his head struck the frame in which the car works, and his neck caught upon a pin. His head was instantly torn from his body and remained transfixed to the pin, while the headless body fell to the bottom of the shaft, breaking both legs and one of his arms...
(we think that was the least of his problems at this point)
...When the head was discovered it was fast on the pin, with eyes wide open, staring apparently at those who gathered around; and the man whose duty it was to attend below was paralyzed when he discovered a headless body lying before him. It was the most shocking and terrible accident which has ever occurred in that section, and has cast a horror over the entire coal region.
Chamberlain was an excellent young man, and was loved and respected by all know knew him.
(view the 1871 newspaper article here)