What would YOU have done as the mine flooded?

“Thomas was in a panic! He’d reached the surface to see what was causing the flow of water into the mine and was horrified to discover water everywhere as far as he could see. What was it, had the storm caused the River Tavy to overflow? The thought of what he should do never entered his head, it was obvious … he had two comrades still below, John and Henry, he had to warn them and help them get out. He turned round without hesitation and started to descend the ladders, ignoring the shouts of others above him to stop. He hadn’t got far when the Tavy finally burst its banks with a massive wave sweeping across the mine surface and pouring down the shaft!”

Thomas, John and Henry didn’t make it out of the mine, all three were drowned. Their bodies were recovered the next day. All three were married, John Cloak had 7 children. Thomas Allen had 5 children, was 30 years old, and had been married since he was 19 to my Great Great Aunt, Jessie Metters who was the daughter of Jonathan Metters the tailor mentioned in an earlier post. (The Shoemaker’s Tale).

It seems that none of the 3 men were in any “clubs” or “societies” to provide for any dependents but it was mentioned at the inquest that there had been many enquiries from the public about helping financially. I have it on good authority that certainly in Jessie’s case the family were “provided for” across 6 years before she decided to remarry having met David Hole, an Agricultural Worker, with whom she raised 3 more children.

A sad tale, but typical of the lives of miners during those times. But the incident DID put me in contact with a 2nd cousin who was the great great granddaughter of Jessie, the wife of Thomas, as I described here Was This A Hero’s Death.


Categories: 1800s, Devon, Family History, Metters

Tags: , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. A sad tale indeed. Nice to see the family was provided for.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What would I do? Honestly, run for my life. Selfish, I know. Sad tale.

    On another note, I made contact with a second cousin yesterday. Now I finally have photos of my (biological) great-grandfather.

    Liked by 1 person

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