Friday, April 3, 2009

Grave of first Rich Hill Mining accident victim

This blog comes from the Wagon Wheels -November 26,1987 by Mary Griffin
Unusual stone marks grave of first Rich Hill minimg accident victim
Rich Hill was a busy mining town in the 1890's and Mine No. 15 just south of town was producing between 1000 and 3000 tons of coal daily. The Rich Hill Coal Mining Company employed many men to work the six-foot deep veins of coal in this huge operation. This mine extended over such a vast of area that it even undermined other coal fields. Working conditions were good in this union-operated mine, but like all coal mines there were accidents. The first fatality did not occur until September 14, 1896. On that day a thirty-year-old man named Ed Bahling was killed.
This young man was a member of the newly organized fraternal organization of Modern Woodmen of the World, Pine Camp No. 34.
Mr. Bahling was buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, and soon a monument was erected at his grave, symbolic of a tree, the emblem of the Modern Woodmen of the World.The organization spent months in preparation for the unveiling of the monu­ment in a public ceremony. The unveiling was to take place at the gravesite on Sunday, June 20,1897. A program was planned for the entire afternoon under the supervi­sion of J. K. Martin, Consul Commander of the Woodmen Lodge, Harry Brown, Clerk and T. W. Hicks, Chief Vice Counsul.
Six special trains in addition to the regular scheduled trains brought lodges from all over eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Each lodge brought a uniformed drill team to participate in the festivities.
Bands accompanied by large crowds came from Butler, Adrian, Harrisonville, Clinton, Deepwater, Schell City, El Dorado Springs, Stockton, Nevada, Lamar, Ft. Scott, Arma, Pittsburg, Mound City, Pleasanton, Carbon Center and Panama to march in the parade to the cemetery. This was indeed a colorful sight as these bands marched to the sound of music accom­panied by large throngs of people forming a mile-long parade.
There were speeches and appropriate addresses by distinguished out-of-town speakers at the gravesite.
Never before had Rich Hill witnessed such a celebration. It would have been a gala event except for the sadness con­nected with it.

1 comment:

Tiffany Young said...

J. K. Martin (John Kelly Martin) is my great great grandpa!