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William Martin (1886-1916)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Weekly Star - Friday, September 15, 1916

Headline: The Pueblo Mine Is Again the Scene of a Fatal Accident, 1916

    Saturday afternoon at 4:50 Wm. Martin, one of three men who had been working on the new skip chute for the 500 foot level which is about to be opened up in the Pueblo mine, while being hoisted in a bucket after quitting work for the day, was struck by the crosshead and instantly killed, his body falling from the bucket to the bottom of the shaft, 165 feet below, an examination afterward by Dr. Clarke showing that very nearly every bone in it had been broken.

    The evidence before the coroner's jury was that Martin and his companions had taken a contract to sink the shaft to a certain depth below the 500 foot level, and in the performance of the work were permitted by the management to install their own hoist and select their own crew. They worked entirely independent of the rest of the mine except that J. Edward Berg, the mine superintendent, would make occasional visits of inspection to see that the contract was being carried out to specifications. The contractors were all experienced miners and shaft men.

    The crosshead is a 3x12 inch plank on edge, bound by ¾x3 inch iron straps, held by two 1-inch circular bolts. At each end of the crosshead is a channel shaped plate to carry it along between the guides, and in the center a hole through which the cable passes freely, and permits of the crosshead being hung up while the bucket is being dumped. The crosshead is used to prevent the bucket from swinging while being hoisted or lowered, and a clamp on the cable, about 5½ feet above the lip of the bucket, under ordinary circumstances protects the men in the bucket from any chance of injury. On the down trip of the bucket before the accident, however, the crosshead, unnoticed by the occupants of the bucket, became jammed at some point above, and the jar incident to the ascent had loosened it and caused it to fall with sufficient force to drive the safety clamp down about six inches, thus allowing the crosshead to strike Martin. Neither of Martin's companions were hurt.

    On Monday, May 29, both Roy W. Eaton, who came to his death in the Pueblo mine main shaft on August 25, and Wm. Martin, the man who was killed last Friday, were injured at the Pueblo mine, the former by having three spike nails driven into one of his feet when a heavy piece of timber through which the spikes protuded fell and struck him, and the latter by having his arm broken. Martin had only been out of the hospital about two weeks when the fatal accident happened.

    The coroner's jury, comprised of E. A. Dixon, H. G. Dickson, Frank E. Harbottle, J. E. French, A. E Henderson and G. E. Spragge, found that no blame could be attached to anyone in the matter.

    Wm. Martin was born in Tower, Minn., in 1887 and was unmarried. A younger brother, Walter, came with him to Whitehorse about four months ago and has been here ever since, Walter is also an empjoye at the Pueblo mine and was married about three months ago. The parents of the young men, shortly after William was born, left Minnesota and returned to Finland, their native land, where they are still living. Many other relatives live in Minnesota.

    The deceased was a member of the Moose lodge of Juneau and his funeral, which took place at Christ Church Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, was under the auspices of the Whitehorse Moose lodge. Rt. Rev. I. O. Stringer, Bishop of Yukon, conducted the religious ceremonies. The remains were followed to their last resting place by a large number of people both from the Pueblo mine and town.

    The casket was covered with flowers and at the cemetery, on the little mound of earth that had been raised from the excavation of the grave, entwined among evergreen twigs, were two memorial ribbons - one white, the other red - on which were inscribed in letters of gold and silver:

    White (gold) - Your life was spent in strife and toil; your wages were a toiler's death. Rest in peace at last.
                                YOUR BROTHER

    Red (silver) - In memory of you, dear comrade of ours, we look for a future happier time, when the creed of men and the wealth of the world is not so dearly bought with sweat, and blood and the workingmen's lives.
                                YOUR COMRADES AND FELLOW WORKERS