O'Fallon Progress

Lost miner thought he had breathed his last

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

Jesse Dodson was about to have a bad day.

It was his third day on the job at Taylor Mine, just west of the present day Family Sports Park in O’Fallon, in November 1918. Here’s his story.

“Dodson left his place of employment about 9 o’clock and sauntered to the old works of the mine, where he sat down to take a short rest. He set his pit lamp down, and before he could realize that he was in the abandoned part of the mine, his light was extinguished by a gust of wind.

“Unaware of the danger of losing his way, he started for what he supposed was the main part of the shaft. After walking in the dark for a few minutes, it dawned upon him that he was lost. He began to shout for help, but other miners failed to hear him, as he had gone into the old works a considerable distance. For several hours, Dodson continued to call for help, at the same time trying to find his way out. He finally began to weaken and sank to the ground.

“Dodson was missed when the miners were hoisted to the top at quitting time and a search was instituted. Fellow miners went through the mine, and he was finally located in the abandoned part of the shaft by William Duncan and Charles Kraus. The man was found in an exhausted condition, suffering from a nervous shock. He was taken to the top, where he recovered enough to enable him to go to his home. He was unable to work for several days, due to the nervous strain and his age, which is well up in the 60s.”

75 years ago June 25, 1942

O’Fallon swung into action Tuesday in the collection of scrap rubber when the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts started on a house-to-house canvas to gather discarded rubber so vitally needed by Uncle Sam.

50 years ago June 22, 1967

The strike of city outside laborers that started June 6 continued today and appeared farther from a settlement than at any time since it began.