Woodlawn Cemetery honoring victims of the Newburg Coal Mine Disaster

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Woodlawn Cemetery is making plans to honor some of the victims from the Newburg Mine Disaster, where six miners’ burial spots were recently discovered in the cemetery’s historic section.

As part of a project, students from Fairmont State University are creating an app that marks all the historic burials — including this one. The Board of Woodlawn Cemetery is also trying to raise $1,800 to put a monument at the grave site.

“There’s a story behind the person, and if we remember that story, and we know the story, we’ll remember it and we can respect what they did, how they lived and what they did to contribute,” Raymond Alvarez, Woodlawn Board History Committee Chair said.

On January 21, 1886, 39 men and boys were killed in an explosion at the Mountain Brook Shaft of the Newburg Orrel Coal Company. It was the first major shaft mine explosions in West Virginia.

The six workers buried at Woodlawn were a family from England, who came to America in 1881.

“There are many, many significant West Virginians buried here,” Alvarez said. “People that made a difference locally, nationally, state wide and regionally, as well. So, it’s really a great starting point to learn or to bring history from the past into the present.”

Interested donors can mail a check to Woodlawn Cemetery, P.O. Box 765, Fairmont WV, 26554. Be sure to indicate that it is for the Newburg Mine Disaster monument.

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