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Escape of Mr. Hosea. Effects of the Concussion. Entrance and Exploration of the Mine. Interior Appearance.
dug his way out through fallen masses with his hands ! The excitement relative to him had been extreme, and his sudden appearance, under the circumstances, produced great joy. He had been recently married. His young bride, having lost all hope of his recovery alive, was in a store purchasing mourning materials, when he was carried by homeward in a sleigh. The people flocked to his house, and saluted him as one risen from the dead. The hours he had spent entangled in the passages of the mines were horrible indeed. At one time he saw the glimmer of lights. He tried to make himself heard by the party carrying them, but was unsuccessful. He ran toward them, but, stumbling against a car, he fell senseless. When he revived, the lights had disappeared, and all was intense gloom. He scrambled over broken rocks and through narrow apertures, and finally reached one of the rail-roads and made his way out, having been forty-eight hours laboring, without food or drink, in removing the fallen masses. Fourteen perished by the disaster; the bodies of nine have been recovered, the remainder are still in the chambers—to them the “chambers of death.” The air was expelled from the mine, when the superincumbent mass settled, with great force. A train of empty cars, drawn by a horse driven by a boy, was just entering when the event occurred. The boy and horse were instantly killed, and the train was shattered in pieces. The horse appeared to have been rolled over several times by the blast, and pieces of the harness were found thirty feet from his body. It was into this mine, now considered perfectly safe, that Mr. Bryden conducted me. Seated upon a square block of wood on the bottom of one of a train of mine cars, in the attitude of a toad, each with a torch in his hand, we entered an aperture at the base of the mountain, by the side of the canal. The cars (five in a train), running upon iron rails, o and drawn by a horse, are three feet long and two feet wide at top, tapering to the bottom. Thus boxed up, and our heads bowed in meek submission to the menaces of the N. low roof of the passage, we penetrated the mountain nearly half a mile, when we o, came to an inclined plane. There the horse that took us in was attached to a loaded train that had just descended, and went back to the entrance. The darkness was so profound, that objects could be seen by the light of our torches only a few feet from us, and on all sides were the black walls of anthracite, glistening in some places with water that trickled through the crevices. At the foot of the inclined plane we were one hundred and seventy feet beneath the surface of the earth. Up the rough steep, seven hundred and fifty feet, we clambered on foot, and, when half way to the summit, we saw the cables moving and heard the rumble of a descending train." The passage is so narrow that there is very lit. tle space on each side of the cars. We were, therefore, obliged, for our safety, to seek out one of the slippery ledges of anthracite wide enough to sustain us, and, while thus “laid upon a shelf,” the vehicles, with their burden, thundered by. A little beyond the inclined plane is the region of the fall. Here the roof is lower than in other parts. Crushed timbers and pulverized anthracite, the remains of the supporters of the chambers, are seen for some distance; and the filledup avenues that led to other chambers, where some of the bodies remain buried, were pointed out to me. We at length reached the chambers where men were working, each with a lamp suspended by a hook from the front of his cap. So intense was the darkness, that, when a little distance from a workman, nothing of him could be seen but his head and shoulders below the lamp. The coal is quarried by blasting with powder; and the sulphurous vapor that filled the vaults, and the dull lights, with hideous-looking heads, apparently trunkless, beneath them, moving in the gloom, gave imagination free license to
CARs ENTERING THE MINEs.
* There is a double track upon the inclined plane, and, by means of cables and pulleys, the loaded train hauls up the empty one by force of gravity. From the main entrance many avenues are seen that extended to other chambers now exhausted. As fast as these avenues become useless, the rails are taken up, and they are filled with the slate or other impurities of the mines.
Fossils. Ascent from the Mine. Night Ride. A Grumbler. Change in the Coal Region.
draw a picture of the palace of Pluto. Added to the sight was the feeling of awe which the apparent dangers of the place engendered, as the recollection of the tragedy just recorded was kept alive by the identification of localities connected with the event, by my guide. After collecting a few fossils,' we sought the “wind entrance,” and, ascending a flight of steps about twenty-five feet, we stood high upon the mountain overlooking Carbondale, three quarters of a - mile from the place of our entrance. NotwithAPPEARANCE of THE CHAMBERs.” standing the air is comparatively pure within, except in the working chambers at the time of blasting, I breathed much freer when standing in the sunlight, and removed from all danger. Hastening down the mountain to the canal, I washed my fossils and hurried to the stageoffice in the village, where I arrived just in time to hear the provoking rattle of the coachwheels half a mile distant, on the road to Honesdale, leaving me to decide the question whether to remain over a day, or, departing at nine in the evening, ride all night. I chose the latter alternative, and passed the remainder of the afternoon among the mines and miners. I left Carbondale at nine in the evening, and arrived at Cherry Hill, thirteen miles distant, at one in the morning. The road was exceedingly rough and the coach rickety. I had but a single fellow-passenger, and he was as deaf as a post. He was a grumbler of the first water, and his loud thoughts so amused me that I had no inclination to sleep. At Cherry Hill we awaited the coach from Honesdale. Informed that its arrival would be two hours later, we took beds; but the first dream had scarcely begun, when the wooden voice
* The coal is covered by a layer of slate, so even on its under surface that the roofs of the passages, when the coal has been removed, are quite smooth and flat. Upon this flat surface are impressions of stalks and leaves of plants of immense size, intermingled with those of the fern, of the size which now grow on the borders of marshes. Some of these fossil stalks found between the slate and the coal measure from ten to sixteen inches across (for they are all flattened, as if by pressure), and were evidently at least thirty feet long. They lie across each other in every direction, and in all cases the stalks are flattened. Many theories have been conceived to account for the origin of the coal and of the appearance of these fossils. The most plausible seems to be that the bed of coal was once a vast bed of peat, over which, in ages past, grew these mammoth ferns; that the slate that covers the upper stratum of coal was thrown up, in a semi-fluid state, from the bowels of the earth by volcanic action, and flowed over the fields of peat, casting down the ferns and other vegetables flat beneath the whelming mass, which, in time, became indurated, and was formed into slate. The huge stalks that have been found may have belonged to a species of water-lily that abounded when the mastodon and megatherium browsed in the marshes that now form the coal beds of the Lackawanna Valley.
* The miners, when they branch off from the main shaft or avenue, leave pillars of coal about eighteen feet square, to support the roof or mass above. These huge pillars were crushed by the great weight upon them, in the accident recorded.
Note.—The change which the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Mining Company has wrought in the physical features of this region is wonderful. Twenty years ago the whole country in the vicinity of Carbondale was an uninhabited wilderness; now fertile farms and thriving villages are there.* When Maurice Wurts, of Philadelphia, after spending years in exploring the country between the Lackawanna and the Hudson, presented his plan for the gigantic work now in progress, his friends looked upon him as nearly crazed, and, like Fulton, he was doomed to have hope long deferred. But there were some who comprehended the feasibility of the undertaking, and estimated correctly its golden promises of profit. The work was begun, and in 1829 seven thousand tons of anthracite coal were forwarded to New York. Wonderfully has the business increased. The company now employs between five and six thousand men and boys, over one thousand horses, and nearly nine hundred canal-boats, independent of the vessels at Rondout. Last year (1848) the company forwarded to market four hundred and fifty thousand tons of coal, and its monthly disbursements are about one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. At Carbondale there are nine mines or entrances; and about seven hundred men, chiefly Irish and Welsh, are employed under ground there. The coal is sent from Carbondale to Honesdale, a distance of sixteen miles, in cars upon an inclined plane, and there it is shipped for market upon the Delaware and Hudson Canal, the termination of which is upon the Hudson River, at Rondout, Ulster county.
* Carbondale contains about seven thousand inhabitants, and Honesdale about four thousand.
a coach load Result of politeness. bad coach and driver. Milford. The sawki
of a Dutch hostler broke our slumbers with the cry of “Stage " We were charged a quar. ter each for the privilege of warming a cold bed, which made the deaf grumbler swear like a pirate. A young woman, unused to crowds, occupied a place by the side of the driver, and I was obliged to shrink into proper dimensions to share a seat within, with two elderly women who were by no means diminutive. “I can't be squeezed, I can't be squeezed " cried one of them, as I opened the coach-door to get in. My size was magnified in the dark-mess to very improper dimensions, but the lady was pacified by a solemn assurance that what she saw was more than half overcoat. Thus packed, we were trundled over one of the roughest roads in Pike county, and at six o'clock were set down at Decker's, among the Lackawanna Mountains, where we breakfasted. Before reaching there, rain began to fall, and the delicate young lady, who occupied a seat with the driver for the sake of fresh air, implored shelter within. Of course her petition was granted, but she proved a destroyer of the comsort of two of the passengers. She was a plump Dutch girl, weighing nearly two hundred, and the two old gentlemen, who, in the plenitude of their good will and politeness, had of fered her a seat upon their knees before she alighted from above, “worked their passage” down the rough mountain roads, for the horses were allowed a loose rein while the shower lasted. One of the victims, whose obesity was conspicuous, declared that his gallantry could not have extended another rood, and that the announcement of the appearance of Decker's sign-post was as grateful to him as the “land ho!” is to the returning mariner. At Decker's we changed coaches, horses, and drivers. The former, like the morals of the latter, were very dilapidated. A worse vehicle and more wicked driver than we were in the custody of I never encountered. The rain fell copiously for two hours, and every passenger was subjected to the filthy drippings through the leaky roof of the coach, and the more filthy drippings of profanity and low slang from the lips of the driver, who was within speaking distance of a companion upon another stage. s Toward noon the clouds broke, and I escaped from my damp prison to the driver's box just as we reached the brow of the loftiest hill over which the road passes before descending to the Delaware Valley. Twenty miles eastward loomed up the dark range of the Shawangunk Mountains; on our right, far below, sparkled a beautiful bell-shaped lake fringed with evergreens, and, as far as the eye could reach, wooded hills stood “peeping over each others shoulders.” The scenery was as wild and more diversified than that of the Pocono. Suddenly we came upon the brow of the mountain that overlooks the beautiful plain of Milford, on the Delaware, and in a few minutes we were rattling through the pretty village. Milford is remarkable for the picturesque beauty of its own location and surrounding country, and for the size of one of its publicans, who died in 1841." Near it are the beautiful falls of the Sawkill, where,
“Swift as an arrow from the bow,
1 Milford has been settled about fifty years. The chief business of the place is the lumber trade. It is quite a large village, and, since 1814, has been the county seat of Pike. In 1800 there were but two houses and a blacksmith's shop upon its site. The plain was then covered with pines, hemlocks, and bushes. The wadding of a hunter's gun set the brush on fire, and the plain was cleared for a great distance. The buildings, however, remained untouched. Some wag published an account of the fire, and said that it had “ravaged the town of Milford, and had left but two houses and a blacksmith's shop standing!”
The publican referred to was a tavern-keeper named Lewis Cornelius, whose dimensions were nearly as great as those of the famous Daniel Lambert. His height was six feet; in circumference at the waist, six feet two and a half inches; circumference below the waist, eight feet two inches; circumference of arm above the elbow, two feet two inches; below the elbow, one foot nine inches; at the wrist, one foot three inches; of the thigh, four feet three inches; of the calf of the leg, two feet seven inches; weight, six hundred and forty-five and a half pounds, without any clothes
Delaware River and Valley. Port Jervis. The Neversink Valley. Shawangunk Mountains. . Orange and Rockland.
But the pleasure of a visit thither were denied us by the urgent beck of time. It was after
one o'clock, and we must be at Port Jervis, eight miles distant, at three, to enter the cars for the Hudson River, our point of destination.
The road from Milford to Port Jervis' passes along the margin of the Delaware Valley, sometimes beneath steep acclivities that seem ready to topple down. We crossed the river upon a bateau propelled by two strong men with poles, and guided by a rope stretched over the stream, and reached the rail-way station just as the last bell was ringing and a dark cloud began to pour out its contents. In a few minutes we were sweeping along the slopes of the Neversink Valley, and ascending, by a circuitous route, to the lofty passes among the Shawangunk Mountains.
The scenery here was indescribably grand. On the right the hills towered far above, and on the left, a thousand feet below, was the fertile valley of the Neversink lying in the shadows of the lofty hills on the west. The table-land upon the summit inclines gently to the eastward; and a little before sunset we passed through the fine grazing lands of Orange, lying between Middletown and Goshen, where the cow-herds furnish the materials for the far-famed Goshen butter. Westward of Middletown we passed near the historic ground of Minisink, and at twilight, descending the rugged slopes of Rockland along the winding course of a mountain stream, we passed by Ramapo and Tappan, places famous in our Revolutionary history. A visit there was reserved for another occasion, and, proceeding to Piermont, on the Hudson, the termination of the rail-road, I embarked for New York, and reached home at nine in the evening.
* Port Jervis was then (1848) the western terminus of travel on the New York and Erie Rail-road. It is situated on the eastern side of the Delaware, upon a small triangular plain at the mouth of the Neversink Creek, within the state of New York.
Poughkeepsie. - Origin of its Name. Condition of the State in 1777.
“I glory in the sages
“I glory in the spirit
O New England, the nursery of the Revolutionary spirit, I next turned : my attention, and to that interesting field of research I proceeded, after visiting the battle-ground of Bennington, upon the Wallooms. coick. I went up the Hudson on the morning of the 25th of September as far as Poughkeepsie," where I passed the after- * noon, and in the evening proceeded to Kingston, or Esopus, memorable in our Revolutionary annals for its destruction by the British. Poughkeepsie is one of the finest villages in New York. It lies principally upon an elevated plain, half a mile from the east bank of the river, and in the ; midst of a region remarkable for its beauty and fertility. Although an old town, } having been founded by the Dutch more than one hundred and fifty years ago, and lying directly in the path of travel between New York and Canada, it was spared the infliction of miseries which other places far more isolated suffered during the Revolution; and it has but little history of general interest beyond the fact that a session of the state Legislature was held there in 1778, and that, ten years afterward, the state Convention to consider the Federal Constitution assembled there. When the state government was organized, in 1777, by the adoption of a Constitution, the city of New York was in the possession of the enemy, and the first session of the Legislature under the new order of things was appointed to be held at Kingston, in July of that year. But the invasion of the state at several points—by Burgoyne on the north, by St. Leger and his Tory and Indian associates on the west, and by Sir Henry Clintom on the south —compelled Governor Clinton to prorogue that body until the 1st of September. Greater still, however, was the excitement in the state at that time, for Burgoyne was pressing triumphantly toward Albany, and General Clinton was making active preparations to form a junction with him. No quorum was present until the 9th, and early in October, before any
* Poughkeepsie is a corruption of the Iroquois word Ap-o-keep-sinck, which signifies safe harbor. On an old map of the Hudson River in my possession it is spelled Pocapsey; and I have heard many of the old inhabitants of Dutchess pronounce it as if so spelled, the a in the penultimate having the long sound, as in ape.