Cherry in Bureau County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Cherry Mine Disaster
The St. Paul Coal Company began mining coal at Cherry in 1905 and by 1909 was mining 300,000 tons annually. The owner and sole customer was the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad.
On Saturday, November 13, 1909, the mine caught fire. A load of hay, intended for the mule stables at the bottom of the mine, was apparently ignited by burning oil dripping from a kerosene torch. The fire spread rapidly. Several miners reached safety; others were trapped in the mine. Twenty-one of the trapped men were later rescued. The remainder died in the mine. The dead included twelve rescuers.
Public response to the needs of the victims was great. Individuals and organizations from various communities donated time and money. Chicago and other towns sent fire-fighting men and equipment. More than $400,000 in relief funds was raised, and the Cherry Relief Commission was organized to distribute the funds.
Another $400,000 was added as a result of the settlement made with the railroad company. John E. Williams of Streator, Vice-Chairman of the Cherry Relief Commission, acted as mediator between the relatives of the miners and the company.
Erected 1985 by Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Illinois State Historical Society marker series.
Location. 41° 25.778′ N, 89° 12.802′ W. Marker is in Cherry, Illinois, in Bureau County. Marker is on Main Street (State Highway 89), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located at the Cherry Village Park. Marker is in this post office area: Arlington IL 61312, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Isam W. Seaton (1823-1903) and James H. Seaton (1828-1913) (approx. 5.5 miles away); James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok (approx. 7.2 miles away); La Salle-Peru, Illinois (approx. 9.2 miles away); Dr. Paul Carus / Dr. Daisetz Teitaru Suzuki (approx. 9.2 miles away); LaSalle City Hall-1906 (approx. 9.3 miles away).
Also see . . . 1909 Newspaper Articles Reporting the Mine Disaster. Just north of town of Cherry , Bureau County, Illinois are remnants of the Cherry Coal Mine, where 259 miners lost their lives in one of the worst mine disasters in United States history. Read and see how this terrible tragedy was relayed to the people around the state from the newspaper articles and photos taken. (Submitted on October 17, 2010.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Labor Unions • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 9, 2010, by Cldisme of Joliet, Illinois. This page has been viewed 1,867 times since then and 41 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 9, 2010, by Cldisme of Joliet, Illinois. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.