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Newspaper Reports of CPRR Worker Deaths, 1863-1969

Please send us scans of all primary source reports of CPRR deaths, so that these can be precisely documented on this page.

1 (Portugese): Bloomer Cut accident – Placer Herald, April 16, 1864: "Horrible accident – Yesterday on the deep cut of the of the Pacific Railroad, near town, some of the workmen under the superintendence of Mr. Trowbridge [sic] attempted to set off a blast containing about 50 pounds of powder. From some cause it failed, when Mr. T. [sic], and two of the hands, – a Portugese and a Frenchman – commenced using a crowbar or drill upon the hole, when the blast went off suddenly, mutilating them in a horrible manner, especially the Portugese who is not expected to recover; but Mr. Trobridge [sic] will, with probably the loss of his left eye. The Frenchman was cut in the chin and his lip slit; he was less hurt than the other two."

2 (white) + 5 (Chinese): DUTCH FLAT ENQUIRER, Saturday Morning, April 21, 1966: "TERRIBLE EXPLOSION.—A terrible explosion occurred at Camp 9, on the line of C. P. Railroad, just below Gold Run, on Tuesday last, killing two white men and five Chinamen.  We have been unable to learn any of the particulars as to the cause of the fatal calamity, further than it is supposed to have been the result of carelessness on the part of the foreman, one of the number killed.  It seems to be customary with foreman along the railroad to try the material to be blasted with a few pounds of powder previous to the regular charge which not unfrequently reaches seven and eight kegs.  This is supposed to have been the mode of procedure in the instance resulting so disastrously, and that the main charge was negligently deposited before the fused used in the trying process had been extinguished."

[Same accident, different numbers] 3 (white) + 3 (Chinese): PLACER HERALD (Auburn), April 24,1866: "Blasting Accident. — Loss of Life. — A deplorable accident occurred on the Pacific Railroad, near Gold Run, on Monday last, by which three white men and three Chinamen were killed. — The foreman, Philip Hagan, was blown to pieces, and one man was blown fifty feet in the air and one hundred feet from the blast. A blast had been put off, and the men were reloading for a seam blast, when the explosion took place. It is supposed that some of the fire remained in the seams from the first blast, and hence the explosion when the powder was poured in for the second one. These accidents are liable to occur in seam blasting, if sufficient time is not given between the charges for the extinguishment of all particles of fire."

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