Sheppton Mine Memorial
Tribute to Louis Bova who lost his life in the Oneida #2 mine.
After 52 years, the site got the recognition it deserves.
It finally got the Historic Marker from
Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission, it deserved.
On August 22, 2015 the sign was
unveiled on property donated by The Girard Estates,
not far from the grave site.
Here John Bova, son of Louis Bova & Ronnie Sando unveil the sign.
On August 13, 1963, three men, Louis Bova, David Fellin, and Henry Throne were mining a slope in the Oneida #2 mine, between Sheppton and Oneida, Pennsylvania. Fellin and his partner Eugene Gibbons had purchased the mine to extract the coal pillars left behind after the first mining. It wasn't illegal, but a very dangerous practice, as the pillars help support the ground above. "Robbing the pillars", as it is called usually keeps the mine productive after the big companies had left it for dead. That morning the three men were "robbing the pillars" at the Oneida #2 mine.
While they were in the mine, the thing that they feared the most, happened, a cave-in occurred. As Bova was working the east side of the main shaft, Fellin and Throne were working the west side, the cave in fell between them, separating the men. Fellin and Throne called out to Bova, with no response. At one point Fellin tried to dig through the cave-in to where he thought Bova was, but was unsuccessful.
Joseph Walker, hoisting engineer was aware of what had happened and immediately went for help. The first to arrive at the site was Eugene Gibbons, Fellin's partner, followed later by mine officials and various members of the press. The event had drew world wide attention.
At one point, a hole was bored in the site and a casing was dropped into the hole. Through the casing, a microphone was lowered into the shaft. Once they established there were men alive, food and liquid was sent through the casing to the men. After several attempts to go into the mine and dig for the men, and two weeks had passed, rescuers came up with an ingenious plan. They would bore a second hole and fit it with a casing wide enough for the men to fit into, thus making an escape tunnel to the surface. This method of second boring made a precedence in the mining world. Never had it been done before. The practice is still used today. Through that casing David Fellin and Henry Throne were pulled to safety wearing football helmets and parachute harnesses. Bova was never recovered.
Forty five years later, I was searching the Internet for information and photos of the event. I found quite a lot of information, but very little photos. After obtaining directions to the site, my husband and I made two unsuccessful trips to Sheppton. On September 11, 2008 we located the site in back of some land that the DEP had reclaimed, (an old dry pit) between Sheppton and Oneida on Schoolhouse Road. Because of the reclamation, the original road did not exist. Because of this, our first two attempts failed. But as we climbed the dirt along the reclamation, my husband noticed a clearing at the end of the site. Through the trees, he could see something white. The white he had noticed was too straight and short to be trees. There it was! It was a very quiet, peaceful single stone. surrounded by a low white picket fence, the white my husband had seen through the trees, in the middle of a small clearing in the woods. No one would believe 45 years ago this site was mine wrecked land. There are no signs or indications informing anyone that a man lost his life and is buried here.
Below is a picture of the reclaimed land with an arrow pointing to the memorial site.
Here is a picture of the actual site.
And a close-up.
I thought this picture
memorial page was fitting a brave man
who earned his living in the coal mines of Pennsylvania.
Louis Bova after 52 years some people still remember you.
May God Bless You, Louis Bova, and forever hold you in his arms, rescued from the pit of darkness.
You are listening to
"Trilogy", sung by Ronnie Sando.
Ronnie, who was a miner also,
is a local singer and was one of the rescuers at the site in 1963
Also, contents of this site from J. Ronnie Sando's book ; "The Famous Sheppton Mine Rescue".
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