The Millfield Coal Mine Disaster

in Athens County, Ohio


Loved ones waiting for news of their miner, click photo to enlarge

One of the saddest events to ever happen in Athens County!

 HTML created by Sandra Mitchell Quinn

for her Athens County, OHGENWEB copyright 1996-2005

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(Presented by Sandra Mitchell Quinn for historical and genealogical education. Coal mining was a hazardous profession)

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The following are the miners who were killed in the

Sunday Creek Coal Company Mine #6 Explosion,

5 November 1930, in Millfield, Athens county, Ohio

at 12:30 p.m. in one of the worst coal mine disasters in Ohio:

"Eighty-two men lost their lives in the explosion of methane gas which had accumulated and the disaster was caused  by a short circuit between the trolley wire and rail, according to a finding by the Athens County coroner, L. F. Jones." (Harris History)

"Maximum death awards from Ohio's workman's compensation was $6,500 which was also given to injured survivors. The state of Ohio fund also paid for the funeral costs and burials of the men."  ( Athens Messenger)

Death's grim toll in the Sunday Creek Coal Company's No. 6 Mine explosion at Millfield Wednesday noon reached 79 this morning as rescue workers, after toiling incessantly 21 hours in gas filled tunnels, removed the last body from the scene of Athens County's worse mine catastrophe. (Athens Messenger)


The following is a list of the dead miners and information about their families when known.


The listing of the dead miners was taken from the 1990 program for the Millfield Mine Memorial gathering by Sue Leffler, and notes were compiled from the actual death certificates at the Ohio Historical Society by Lois Helmers; and obituary research  information was compiled from the Athens Messenger by Sandra Mitchell-Quinn. 

According to a 1984 brochure from the Memorial Committee, the mine tipple had been nominated to be placed on the National Registry of Historic Sites.

Names of the men in the mine at the time of the accident: Known Dead:W. E. Tytus, P. A Coen, H. Upson, Joseph Bergen, Robert Parsons, Walter Hayden, H. Lancaster, Vernon Roberts, Thomas Trainor, James Martin, Urban Hovath, John Green, John Huber, Carl McGee, Roy Hunter, Andy Tomak, Vergil Willis, Alex Burmich, John , Delmer, Phillip Ervin, Andy Kish, George Kish, Frank Kish, Josep North, George Brown, Walter Andreyavich, John Maddock, William Peyatt, Charles Hopps, E. McKee, Thomas Peyatt, Vergil Phillips, Alfred Wade, Ralph Davis, Will Brown, Ben Fielder, John Butsko, Carl Robinette, Andy Cuba, Charles G?, Edward McManaway, Abe Rankin, Sam Brown, John Patterson, Floyd Pettit, Miles Grim?, William Messenger, Oscar Willis, George Thomas, Joseph Jackson, Joe Batako, William Clancy, John Williams, Roy Andrews, Charles Sekers?, Wilbur North,  William Kish, George Love, Andrew Willis, Paul Burdis, Harry Sycks, John McAllister, Ray Parry, James Hurd, Luther Wade, Missing: James Gennice, Bill Powell, Stanley Kish, Silas Erwin, James Arthur Lyons, Paul Erwin, Thomas Marley?, In hospitals: John Dean, Chris Parker, Charles ?, Henry Forsbach, Cliff Watson, Ed Parker (brother of Chris) James Ronaldo?, Howard Davis, Floyd Ayers, James Norton, Thomas Marshall, John Cavello, James Hunter, Bernard Skinner, Floyd Crabtree,  Carl Pickering, Ralph Channell, Robert Cobb, Earl Hunter (brother of James), ? Willis (brother of Oscar), Frank Williams.   (as reported in the Athens Messenger)

Millfield Disaster Dayton Articles and the Millfield tipple and washouse photo's submitted by Sue Leffler

Ages at death and birthplace provided from actual death certificates by Hayden family researcher Lois Helmers.  Thanks Lois for your hard work!

Obituary research information, 1930 census information  and Mitchell girls photo and postcard photos provided by

 Sandra Mitchell-Quinn

If you have information to add to the above or wish to add your email address to your ancestor,  email me.

Newspaper article #1 Dayton Daily News/Journal Herald

  Newspaper article #2 Dayton Daily News/Journal Herald

Millfield Photo's

Millfield Disaster from the Harris History book

Winter 1996  Ohio Geology


Sigmund Kozma in front of the power-plant chimney at the Millfield mine. Photo courtesy of the Athens News.

The Division of Geological Survey recently learned that Sigmund Kozma, Athens, is the lone living survivor of the methane explosion at the Sunday Creek Coal Company No. 6 mine at Millfield, Athens County (see Ohio Geology, Fall 1995). This explosion on November 5, 1930, took the lives of 82 men. In an article in the Athens News (December 4, 1995, p. 7), Kozma stated "We were loading a coal car and we felt the pressure (much like diving) and then it was released. All you could hear was the force of air (in your ears). There was no (sound of an) explosion . . . . There were four men in our group (of 13) that were badly injured. The force of the explosion hit them and rolled them . . . . As long as we had good air we would have lived. We followed where the (good) air was (leading us)." Three hours after the explosion, Kozma and the rest of his group made it out of the mine.

This article about Kozma was published in the Ohio Geology online magazine

Send comments or questions regarding the Kozma article to:

Last update January 13, 2000
Division of Geological Survey


Millfield Disaster Historical Marker

Coal mine history Towns Museum Holdings
Area Coal mine photos Genealogy Society OHGENWEB
Coal, the Diamonds of the Hocking Valley Logan Obituaries Message Boards
Diary of Murray City Coal Miner John Holt ATHENS ARCHIVES USGENWEB
World Gen Web for Kids Athens Obituaries Home

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  Sandra Mitchell-Quinn

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