November 2, 1916: John D. Mutter, 25, Is First Victim in the Re-opened Gabel's No. 2 Ore Mines


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA

November 2, 1916: John D. Mutter, age 25, has died in his brother’s arms, as he became the first victim in the re-opened Gabel’s No. 2 Ore Mines, when he was pinned between the skip (bucket elevator) and the shaft.

As he was being lowered into the mine, he remembered that he did not have a brace and bit. Giving the signal to the engineer to be hoisted, the skip slowly proceeded upward until reaching the place where he desired to stop.

Mutter reached forward to pull the bell cord to signal a stop when he also brought forward the guide pole he had encircled with his other arm. The pole struck a setting in the shaft and unbalanced Muller, pinning him between the skip and cross sets in the shaft.

The engineer stopped the skip, and Muller’s cries for help were heard by his younger brother Roy, who rushed to his assistance, as did five other miners.

John begged Roy to release him, and all effort was made but it took 30 minutes to saw away the guide rod to finally get him out: it was too late.

Examined at the scene by Dr. Ralph E, Leidy, he had suffered a number of severe injuries: his left ear had been severed; he had deep lacerations of the scalp; both bones in his right forearm were shattered; both collarbones and left shoulder bone had been fractured, and there were many deep brises to his chest and abdomen.

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