Thirty-five of the thirty-seven who lost their lives on August 24, 1984  In some cases childhood photographs were the only ones available
Courtesy: Black Diamond Historical Society


Romulous Monroe Gibson d. Oct. 5 1895
Age 35

One of the more well known and photographed gravestones at this site.  Mostly due to its accessibility and legibility.


James Gibson d. Aug 24, 1894
Black miner killed in mine fire Franklin   
In the past gravestones that are marked and under good conditions can be seen.

Martin Johnson 11/13/1872 - 3/7/1902
J.M. Peterson Passed away on 1/1/1906 at age 30
Frances Marie Myers 3/13/1901 - 5/24/1901
Alice Gertrude Johnson 1/1/1902 - 1/7/1902
Aarne J. Hanson 12/28/1903 - 2/8/1908
Meimi A. Hanson 4/18/1906 - 12/16/1906
*Luis Farr Passed away on 8/24/1894 at age 32
*Rocco Tittara Passed away on 8/24/1894 at age 37 - Victim Mine Fire
*Filippo DiMarino Passed away on 8/24/1894 at age 27 - Victim Mine Fire
*Joseph W. Standridge 8/24/1894 at age 16 - Victim Mine Fire
*James Gibson Passed away on 8/24/1894 at age 27 - Victim Mine Fire
Romulous Monroe Gibson Passed away on 10/5/1895 at age 35

Franklin Cemetery: visit. September 10, 2010 Essay 9165

Rocca Tetti d. Aug 24, 1894
Italian miner killed mine fire Franklin     

 Fenced Plot at Franklin   

How the afore mentioned elements of time and vandalism have taken there toll.  In Washington it is a Class C felony for any person who knowingly removes, mutilates, defaces, injures, or destroys any historic grave.    

Joseph W. Standridge
d. Aug 24, 1894
Age 16  

Franklin, WA mine disaster

THOUGHT THEY WERE SAFE; MEN IN THE FRANKLIN MINE WERE FIGHTING A FIRE. An Explosion Occurred and Thirty-seven Miners Were Killed -- Many of Them Were Married, and Their Weeping Wives and Children Hung About the Shaft Until Their Blackened and Charred Bodies Were Brought to the Surface.

TACOMA, Washington, Aug. 25. -- Thirty seven miners of various nationalities were killed yesterday afternoon in the Oregon Improvement Company's coal mine, at Franklin, King County, thirty-four miles southeast of Seattle. The miners were trying to save the mines from destruction by fire, and were suffocated by smoke

Franklin, Aug. 24 - [Special] - After being in session the whole afternoon, the coroner's jury empaneled to investigate yesterday's disaster this evening rendered a verdict which, though it may startle the outside country, caused no surprise here. The jury found that the fire in breast sixty-two of the north level was started by parties
unknown who willfully, knowingly and maliciously desired to do great injury and damage to the lives of the employee's and the property of the Oregon Improvement Company. The verdict in full is as follows:

"We, the undersigned jurors, do agree that on August 24, 1894, on the sixth level of the Franklin mine, King county, Wash., the following parties, namely: [here follows a list of the thirty-seven dead miners] did come to their deaths by suffocation caused by smoke emanating from a fire in breast sixty-two, on the north side of the sixth level, said fire having been caused by a party or parties unknown to us, and that said party or parties did willfully, knowingly and maliciously cause said fire with intent and purpose to do great injury and damage to the lives of the miners and property of the Oregon Improvement Company.

sources: Essay 9165
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 25, 1894
New York Times. "They Thought They Were Safe"
New York Times Archives, August 26, 1894: web

Franklin, WA Cemetery

Franklin cemetery is an abandoned mining town cemetery located at the old Franklin mine site.  I was recently at Franklin and the Cemetery was in rather poor condition.  This despite the appreciated efforts of local volunteers who tend the site from time to time.  The biggest problem at Franklin is the vegetation namely blackberries.  Without any tending the cemetery would not even be visible.  Franklin cemetery's two enemies are mother nature and vandals.

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Ghost Town Franklin WA Cemetery 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 grounds of historic cemeteries.  These sacred grounds tell the story of these  forgotten communities.

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