Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 6

September 6, 1912 – An attempt to rescue three miners trapped in the Ruddy Mine near Biwabik, Minn., by 80 feet of water failed this morning.

Ruddy Mine was about half a mile from Biwabik1

The only chance of their safety lay in the possibility of their having escaped to upper levels in the mine when the flood waters from a cloudburst late the evening of Sept. 4, began pouring in. The big pumps were started to capacity and took water from the mine at the rate of about 1,200 gallons a minute.

The wives of two of the imprisoned men attempted to plunge to death in the waters of the shaft but were held back and prevented by their friends. The women were crazed with grief and anxiety.


It wasn’t until Oct. 11, 1912, that the bodies of the two married miners, both Italians, were found at 10 p.m. in the lower drift of the Ruddy Mine, 120 feet below the surface and 24 feet below where they were working when the water caught them. 

One man left a wife and seven children; the other a wife and two children. Both men were about 40 years old, and found close to four feet apart; nothing indicated a struggle. It was believed that they were overwhelmed with the water and perhaps stunned so that there was no chance for struggle.


On Nov. 6, 1912, the body of the third miner was recovered after two months of work on the part of the management in looking for the corpse. He was single and said to be from Montenegro.


I would love to share the names of these three miners, but every newspaper account gives them different names. The two married miners were either:

Seranini Dominico and
Mike Serano

Zeranini Dominico and
Mike Sereno

Ferafina Banaina and
Dominick Fereno.

The third and last miner found was single and in his twenties. His name was listed as:

Ulo Uling, or

Ulo Uniagizec  or

Huo Guylset.

Whatever their names, these men should be remembered for their hard and dangerous labor, their terrifying deaths and for their families, who lost their husband, father and breadwinner.

Ruddy Mine Employee Tag2

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; “Fail in Rescue Trial”; Sept. 06, 1912; p. 1

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune
;  “Three Caught in Range Workings Near Biwabik—One Probably Dead.”; Sept. 6, 1912; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Hope that Miners Are Alive. Officers at Biwabik, Minn., Drive Pipe Through Earth to Give Men Air.”; Sept. 7, 1912; p. 1.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Miners Are Believed Dead. Biwabik, Minn., Men Not Found in Level Above Water.”; Sept. 10, 1912; p. 1.

Aitkin Independent Age; “Miners Trapped. Three Caught in Shaft Near Biwabik After Cloudburst.”; Sept. 14, 1912; p. 6.

The Duluth Herald; “Two Bodies Are Found. Recovered in Lower Drift of Ruddy Mine at Biwabik.  Drowning Result of Cloudburst Sept. 4—One Still Missing.”; Oct. 12, 1912; p. 14.

The Virginia Enterprise; “Recover Last Body From Ruddy Mine”; Nov. 08, 1912; p. 5.



If you are interested in finding out more about your family history in Minnesota, I specialize in researching  genealogical and historical records in Minn. and western Wis., including:
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