by Polla Drummond Horn
For the FROSTBURG EXPRESS
Family of THOMAS & MARY ANN (LANGFORD) EVANS
Thomas and Mary Ann (Langford) Evans began their young married lives in Wales. In March of 1869, they immigrated to the United States, with their three children, aboard the S.S. Manhattan. They had been employed in the coal mines in Wales, and came to Allegany Mines (now Zihlman) to find work. According to family stories, Mary Ann was adept at hitching horses and mules to mine cars and had the reputation of readying a team faster than most men. She was content to remain a homemaker in Allegany Mines and raise her nine children. Tom and Mary Ann’s children grew up close and remained close. When tragedy befell them, they supported each other, for they all understood sorrow. Their sons, William and David, were both coal miners. William started working at the age of 10, and David much later.
Annual Report of the Mine Inspector, 1914:
“William Evans, miner, age 46, single, residing in Allegany Mines, MD, was instantly killed by a fall of roof and rib rock in a mine operated by the Consolidated Coal Company. Mr. Evans was working alone when the accident occurred, and was dead several hours before his body was discovered by the night watchman and his brother. His neck and leg were broken.”
Sadly, their other son, David, age 41, died four years later of pneumonia.
Tom and Mary Ann’s daughter Mary Ann, named after her mother, married Andrew Williams. They also lost a son in the mines.
Cumberland Evening Times, October 29, 1909:
“Thomas Williams, aged 17 years, son of Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Williams of Allegany Mines, who was killed Thursday at one of the mines of the Union Mining Company, was a young man of splendid character and a general favorite of the little mining village where he lived. His sudden death, caused by a fall of roof coal and rock, which crushed out his life, while he and his father were loading their first car of the morning, came as a shock to his family and acquaintances. He left home this morning in full vigor of life, with his young heart full of boyish ambition, only to be brought home a few hours later a mashed and mangled corpse….”
Mary Ann’s sister, Myra, and Myra’s husband, John S. Lewis, were also aboard the S.S. Manhattan in 1869. They, too, set up housekeeping in Allegany Mines. Myra and John lost four of their ten children: Joseph, John, George, and Thomas.
Frostburg Mining Journal, September 25, 1880:
“Killed by the cars. A five year old son of John S. Lewis, of Allegany Mines, was run over by a coal train at this place Tuesday and killed. When found, both arms and legs had been cut off.” This little boy’s name was Joseph.
Frostburg Mining Journal, April 11, 1893:
“Died Tuesday, April 11, 1893, at Allegany Mines, George Lewis, age 14 years, son of John S. Lewis, of that place.” George died from spinal meningitis. John, age 19, died just one week later.
A stone was placed at Percy Cemetery where both John and George were buried. The inscription read:
Like doves to an ark
They have flown to their rest
From the wild sea of strife
To the home of the blest
Frostburg Mining Journal, October 8, 1898:
“Thomas Lewis, 27 year old son of John S. Lewis, of Allegany Mines, was killed about 8 o’clock Saturday morning, in the Borden Mine, of the Consolidation Coal Company…. He was running a car to a switch when, by some means, a timber was displaced, letting down three to four tons of roof in two falls. He was heard to call for help after the first fall, from which it is presumed the second fall killed him…. The death of Thomas falls with distressing severity on the father…. He bought the ‘Tunnel Property’ and was prepared to move to town on Monday, which, sadly, turned out to be the day of his son’s funeral. Whether he will yet leave his old home has not been determined.”
Tom and Mary Ann have many descendants still living in the George’s Creek Valley. Two of their great-great-granddaughters co-authored this Recollection and are proud to honor their ancestors by preserving our local mining history.
The Coal Miner Memorial Statue Fund is gratefully accepting contributions for the placement of an educational Memorial near the crossroads of Rt. 36 and the National Road in Frostburg. A bronze statue will honor all of our George’s Creek Valley Miners, and name those who perished while mining. Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to
Foundation for Frostburg CMMSF
P.O. Box 765
Frostburg, MD 21532
Contact Polla Horn at email@example.com
or Bucky Schriver at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a story of your own to tell.
Look for more “Miner Recollections” in the coming weeks.