Notes for David Matson Cooley (1863-1932) m Etta M Craig


Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Fri Mar 2 22:26:25 2007

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Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Fri Mar 2 22:41:41 2007

David Cooley is said to have been killed in the Moweaqua Coal Mine Disaster. According to Moweaqua Coal Mine Museum's website:

Although coal mining in Moweaqua dates back to 1891, the Moweaqua Coal Corporation was created by a group of local businessmen in 1932 in an effort to keep a coal mine operating in the town. The mine was leased from the Pana Coal Company which had intended to close the mine. At this same time many miners across the state broke away from the United Mine Workers and formed the Progressive Miners of America. The Moweaqua Mine was organized by the Progressives. It is also notable that the workers in the mine were also shareholders in the Moweaqua Coal Company.

On December 24, 1932 methane gas exploded in the mine, killing 54 miners.

Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Fri Mar 2 22:54:35 2007

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Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Fri Mar 2 22:59:03 2007

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Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Wed Dec 3 18:56:35 2008





Moweaqua, Ill, Dec. 27 (AP) -- Rescue workers began their grisly quest in the north wing of the shattered Moweaqua mine today for 14 men whose bodies were expected to raise the death count of Saturday's explosion to 54.

Seals placed on the entrance of the wing late Saturday in order to bottle up its fumes were broken last midnight. The shaft was ventilated until 9 a. m. Weary comrades of the entombed men resumed their search, finding one body in the passageway outside the wing. It was not identified immediately, being too badly burned.

The search might take days, officials said. Rocks, dirt and timbers had to be tunneled through, pushed aside or laboriously excavated as the rescuers bored toward their missing mates.

Immediate relief for families robbed of their breadwinners was the pressing need of the little coal community. A committee planned to visit Governor Emmerson in Springfield today in hope of expediting succor.

R. D. COBURN, vice president of the Bituminous Casualty Co., of Rock Island, estimated that dependants would receive $200,000 under the state's compensation laws. The state industrial commission will fix the amount of each case, with a maximum of $4,500 for a married man survived by children.

One funeral procession followed another down Moweaqua's main street today as the village buried its dead.

The need of the mourners was lessened a little when officials of the mine made out checks for back pay of the dead miners and turned them over to their widows.

Moweaqua, Ill., Dec. 27. (AP) -- Hope was stricken from Mowequals vocabulary today as this village of 1,400 moved to bury its dead -- victims of a coal mine disaster.

No longer was there a vestige or belief that the remaining 15 men trapped some 700 feet underground could still be alive. Saturday 54 miners were entombed after an explosion loosened an avalanche of debris, clogging avenues of escape. Already 39 bodies have been unearthed.

The rescue crew which broke the seal on the north entry to facilitate the circulation of air reported upon coming to the surface that they had seen another body lying just inside the barricade making 40 known dead. The condition of the body was such that no attempt would be made to remove it until tomorrow when the entry is to be exploded, they said.

As to the others -- "not even a miracle could save them now." That was the was JOHN MILLHOUSE, director of the rescue squads, put it.

Found At Intersection.
The first funeral, that for DAVID COOLEY, was set for 10 a. m. This afternoon services were to be held for four others. And tomorrow services will be held for the Catholic victims with Bishop James A. Griffin of Springfield assisting the local priest.

Late last night workers hacked through shale, rock, and coal to open up the north wing of the mine where it was believed the 15 were trapped. By noon today, MILLHOUSE said, sufficient fresh air would have seeped through to make it safe for squads to go into that section.

The explosion apparently had its gravest effect in the north wing of the "T" shaped mine, he said. The men there, he believed, either were victims of poison gas or had been crushed to death.

The bodies of the 39 were found in debris at the intersection of the "T" and in the south wing.

Second To Cherry Disaster.
Over the Christmas holidays expert rescue squads toiled ceaselessly, burrowing in frantic efforts through debris in the hope of reaching some one alive, some one who could guide them to others who might still be alive.
The rescuers' efforts were met only by bodies.

From time to time rescue squads were driven back by seeping gas and crumpling debris. It was necessary to "timber" and repair tunnels, proping up weak places, to make it safe for rescue work to continue.

If none are brought out alive the death toll will be the second largest for any mine disaster in the state, MILLHOUSE said. The largest was in 1909 when fire roared through a coal mine at Cherry, snuffing out 267 lives.

The Alton Evening Telegraph Illinois 1932-12-27

Submitted by michael_95073
Noted added Wed Dec 3 20:13:22 2008

The above info was copied from,-il-deadly-coal-mine-explosion,-dec-1932

The following was found at

(a/k/a Davidson Madison Cooley)

Born near Illiopolis, IL on March 3, 1863 he was the oldest miner killed in the disaster. He had worked at the mine for 35 years. His parents were John and Rachel Cooley. He married Etta M. Craig on January 18, 1898 in McLean County, IL. Their children were John Keith and Helen Lucille, with an infant son and daughter both dying at birth. Mr. Cooley was a member of the Grove City Lodge 358 AF &AM and the Moweaqua Methodist Church.

His funeral service was held at home on the north edge of town just west of the railroad tracks at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 27, 1932. He was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in LeRoy, IL.