The Department of Mines was created in 1903 to succeed the Bureau of Mines, which had been established in the Department of Internal Affairs in 1897. The name of the department was changed in 1956 to Mines and Mineral Industries. In keeping with its primary responsibility of protecting coal miners from unsafe working conditions, the department enforced the coal mining laws of the Commonwealth, inspected mines and collieries, investigated serious accidents, and supervised the examination and certification of applicants for certain mining jobs. The department also supervised the restoration of strip-mine areas, promoted research relating to new uses and markets for coal, and published the annual reports of the coal mine inspectors. In 1971, the Department of Mines and Mineral Industries was abolished and its powers and duties were transferred to the newly created Department of Environmental Resources.


Registers of Mine Accidents for Anthracite and Bituminous Districts, 1899-1972. (39 volumes) Arranged by coal mining district, and thereunder according to the date of the accident. A registry of persons who were involved in coal mining accidents in the anthracite and bituminous coal fields. In addition to giving the name of the mine where the accident occurred, information listed about the victim includes his name, age, nationality, marital status, number of children, job in the mine, and whether he was a citizen or an alien. After 1972, the books are further divided into fatal and non-fatal coal mining accidents (1973-1989) and fatal (1973-1986) and non-fatal (1973-1981) non-coal mining accidents. With the exception of the person’s nationality, all of the data found in the earlier registers also appear in the accident books categorized as fatal coal mining accidents. Other information shown includes the name of the operator; the victim’s previous experience (both in and about the mines and in the occupation engaged in when killed) and exact date of death; the number of children left that were under thirteen years old; and particulars about the accident/death (whether inside or outside the mine, whether due to natural or accidental causes, whether a chargeable offense, and the county and time that the fatality took place). The registers list African Americans who were working in mines when accidents occurred. In an accident on May 29, 1925 in the eighteenth anthracite district at Silver Creek, Jesse Garvin, and James Brown were identified under nationality as USA (Colored).

Registers of Mine Accidents for the Bituminous Districts, 1899-1972. (20 volumes) Arranged numerically by district, and thereunder chronologically by date of report. These registers provide documentation on mining accidents for the numerous bituminous coal districts. Information within each report includes the name of the inspector, the name of the mine, and the name of the individual injured; the district number; date of the accident; the extent of the injuries (whether fatal or not); whether the accident occurred inside or outside of the mine; whether the victim was a citizen or an alien; the victim’s nationality; the job classification, marital status, and number of children; and the cause of the accident. Corrie Ford, who died on Aug. 20, 1899 is identified as "Colored American."

Return to Index | PHMC Home | State Archives |