This monument at the IOOF Cemetery in Francisco, Indiana, honors the men who died in the coal mine explosion.  On the back of the monument is this poem by Laura Hensley Lockwood:


I like to clasp and press them close - those hands, the black and grimy hands of honest men with humble hearts and stainless souls - and brave - who mine the coal that comforts you and me, and neither is the mine a soulless place.  It has been changed into a sacred shrine where souls were washed - though black its walls and grim, and God was there!  He ministers to all - yes, even to the men with grimy hands.  

THIS WEEK

IN INDIANA HISTORY


DECEMBER 8 - DECEMBER 14

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1816     President James Madison signed a Congressional resolution admitting Indiana to the Union as the 19th state.  The new state government would be centered in Corydon.  Jonathan Jennings assumed the office of Governor, having won the election in August.    

 1880     The Madison County Courthouse in Anderson was destroyed by fire.  Nearly all records were lost.  A new building was opened in February of 1885. That building served into the 1970s, when it was replaced with the more modern structure which serves the county today. 

 1917     Thirty Indiana delegates attended the National American Women’s Suffrage Association Meeting in Washington, D. C.  Women from around the nation met for the three-day event at Poli’s Theater.  The Hoosier group was led by Mrs. R. E. Edwards of Peru, president of the Indiana Franchise League. 

 1926     An explosion in Coal Mine #2 in Francisco, Indiana, killed 37 men.  The exact cause of the blast was never determined.  It was the second-worst coal mine disaster in state history.  The worst had occurred the year before in Sullivan, when 51 were killed.  See photo of the cemetery monument below.

 1941     Hoosiers, still stunned by the bombing of Pearl Harbor a few days ago, sought comic relief at local movie theaters.  One of the most popular films was “Look Who’s Laughing,” showing at the Indiana Theater in Indianapolis, starring radio stars Fibber McGee and Molly and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

 1958     Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke to a crowd of 4,000 at Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis.  The 29-year-old Baptist pastor was welcomed to the city by Mayor Charles Boswell.  King told the crowd, “If democracy is to live, segregation must die.”