Carbonado, Wa Coal Miners Memorial 
Carbonado Cemetery       
Thomas J. Edwards
b.11 June 1861, d. 09 Dec 1899, Killed by Explosion

The body of the fireman on duty when the explosion took place, Rees Jones, was recovered near the end of the clean up process.

He was apparently boarding the fourth car of a steam mule train - a steam powered, small gage train used for hauling coal - that was about to head out of the mine at the end of the eight-hour shift when the train was struck by the explosion.  Investigators determined that the wreck of this train and tangle it created in the mine actually helped to save the forty-five men escape the blast.


Rob and Natalie  McNair Huff. Washington Disasters:
True Stories of Tragedy and Survival 
Connecticut: Morris, 2006. Print. 
 ghost town (noun): a once-flourishing town wholly or nearly deserted usually as a result of the failure of some economic activity. 

Carbonado, WA Mine Explosion, Dec. 1899

Gas Causes a Disaster in a Shaft at Carbonado, Wash.
Thirty-two Out of the Seventy-six Men in the Mine Are Dead -- Two Remarkable Rescues.

CARBONADO, Wash. (Special) -- The greatest mining accident in the history of coal mining of this State occurred when an explosion took place in Shaft No. 7, of the Carbon Hill coal mines, forty miles east of Tacoma. Thirty-two miners lost their lives. The total number of men in the unfortunate shaft was seventy-six, of whom forty-four are alive, having escaped or been rescued.

The victims were among the best class of miners employed in this State. Most of the men were married and lived with their families in snug cottages at Carbonado, which stands on a hill 900 feet above the entrance to the mine workings.

The cause of the disaster is unknown, but it is supposed the miners working between the 300 and 600 foot levels broke into the old mine workings, which were filled with gas. The explosion followed as soon as this outpouring gas came in contact with the first miner's lamp. The theory of Superintendent DAVIES is that a small pocket of gas was opened, became
ignited, and caused the terrific explosion of dust which resulted in all the damage and loss of life.

The finding from the mine inspector  was that the open lamp of Ben Zeilder, Sr. Caused the explosion.  The fifty-four- year-old Zeilder opened his lamp while inside the mine, in order to light a pipe. 

The story was told by the body of Ben Zeilder and lying beside it, the open lamp and unlighted pipe.

The Cranbury Press New Jersey 1899-12-15
Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler
The Public Chicago April 14, 1900 No. 106

Carbonado Cemetery

The time that Carbonado did spend as a coal mining town is forever kept by the Carbonado cemetery.

The Cemetery has approx. 355 recorded burials. I recently counted 21 identifiable graves from the mining disaster of Dec 9, 1899.

One interesting grave is that of Michael Kiscsihnko d. Dec 10, 1899.
Kiscihnko was originally listed in the Cranberry press news paper as a fatality of Dec 9.  The paper also indicated 32 fatalities. The historical record cites 31 fatalities.

Another mystery is that of the burial site of Ben Zeidler (Zelder), who was found to be at fault for the disaster.

Thomas J. Price
"killed in coal mine at Carbonado"
b. April 20, 1853 d. Nov. 18, 1885


The back row along the tree line is the location of the coal mine disaster burials.

Major Coal Mine Disasters In Pierce County Washington

12-09-1899    Carbon Hill No. 7 Mine Carbonado, WA - 31 Killed Explosion

12-07-1904    No. 5 Mine Burnett, WA - 6 Killed Explosion

12-17-1917    Wilkeson Mine - Wilkeson, WA - 6 Killed Inundation

08-28-1918    Burnett Mine - Burnett, WA - 12 Killed Explosion

12-17-1924    Burnett Mine - Burnett, WA - 7 Killed Explosion

12-14-1925    Wilkeson Mine - Tacoma, WA -  5 Killed Explosion

04-08-1927    Carbonado Mine - Carbonado, WA - 7 Killed Inundation

04-12-1930    Carbonado Mine - Carbonado, WA - 17 Killed Explosion
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Carbonado Coal Miners Cemetery Washington Cemetery

"Historical cemetery" means any burial site or grounds which contain within them human remains buried prior to November 11, 1889 - RCW 68.60.010

One of the most visible legacies left by any township is the  cemeteries.  These sacred grounds tell the story of these  forgotten communities.

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