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Roy W. Eaton (1882-1916)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Weekly Star - Friday, September 1, 1916

    Shortly after 9 o'clock Friday morning of last week Roy W. Eaton was instantly killed while working in the pipe shaft of the Pueblo mine, with his head and shoulders projecting through a small opening into the main shaft, upon which he was making some repairs. He was struck by an ascending cage, and a examination of the body by Dr. Clarke, shortly after the accident occurred, showed that the left leg, left thigh, left collar bone, breast bone and shoulder had all been broken, while the jaw was broken in two places and the left side of the skull badly fractured, exposing the brain.

    According to the evidence introduced at the inquest, which was held Saturday by the coroner, Capt. A. L. Bell, R. N. W. M. P., the fatality was one of those occurrences for which no one was to blame except, possibly, the unfortunate man himself.

    A synopsis of the testimony given before the coroner's jury by J. Edward Berg, superintendent of the Pueblo mine, will probably give the reader a better idea of the manner in which Eaton met his death than would anything we can say:

    "Knew the deceased, Messrs. Eaton and Dwyer were engaged in work to make shaft dry; that is, to catch up the water which trickled down shaft timbers and fell into skip department, making it disagreeable for men traveling on cages and also washing considerable ore down upon bulkhead in sump below 400 station, interfering with operations.

    One of their duties was to put in lagging between skip and pipe compartments. I chose Eaton and Dwyer for the work because they were experienced men - Eaton especially, as we took him from a cager's job, believing he would understand the operation of the cage and could therefore regulate work so as least to interfere with it. Impressed men that they were to take their time, work carefully and turn out good job. The work was carried on satisfactorily until time of accident. As to the method of carrying on this work, I instructed Dwyer to nail 2x2 cleats on the 6x10 girt between the two compartments and to this nail the lagging, all of which could have been done safely trom the pipe.compartment. In two or three sets the pipe column is carried by clamps upon 8x12 stringers on edge and these stringers were on the girts so it was impossible to put in a cleat to nail to in these cases the men, nailed the lagging from the skip compartment on the 3x12 stringer. This was what they were doing at time of accident. There was no reason why this particular set could not have been passed by temporarily until the cage could be had, nor why one of the two men could not have stood by the bell cord to stop the skip if it started while the other was at work.

    The cager had been running to 400 level; went to top and left skip; cage went down to 200 level with two men aboard; they released cage and it returned to top. Eaton, probably thinking cage had gone to 400 level, figured he could get lagging nailed on before its return; was likely using left hand, with his back toward cable. Clamp of safety device struck his head, lifting the body forward into the pipe compartment. Accident occurred 134 feet below surface and 66 feet above the 200 level. Both Eaton and Dwyer were thoroughly familiar with the movement of the skip and there was no occasion for the attempt to use the hoisting compartment while the skip was being used."

    The verdict of the coroner's jury follows:

    "Deceased came to death on 25th August, 1916, between the hours of 9 and 10 a. m., whilst working in the shaft of the Pueblo mine, and by being caught by the skip in the main shaft. We beheve the accident was caused by the deceased being over-zealous in his work, and consequently exposing himself in the main shaft whilst the skip was working. We do not believe there can be any blame attributed to any of the workmen or managers of the mine.

                                                                WM. DRURY
                                                                W. A. PUCKETT
                                                                C. H. JOHNSTON
                                                                G. L. WEBSTER
                                                                A. E. HENDERSON
                                                                ROBERT LOWE."

    Immediately after the accident the body was brought to town and placed in the morgue of the General hospital where it was prepared for burial. Funeral services, conducted by Rev. C. Swanson, were held at Christ Church on Saturday eyening at 7:30 o'clock. The pall-bearers were Dennis Dwyer, Owney McFadden, Frank Germain, Angus Gillis, Jack Hanson and Jack Larson, friends of the deceased employed at the Pueblo and Grafter mines.

    Roy W. Eaton was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, 32 years ago. His widowed mother, of whom he was the main support, and one sister live in Vancouver, and a brother is somewhere in Montana. He was a hard worker and very exemplary in his habits. Dennis Dwyer, the partner with whom Eaton was intimately associated for the past year, with whom he came to Whitehorse early in May, and with whom he was working at the time of his death, speaks of him in the highest terms of praise.