Of the 174 miners in the Springhill coal mine at the time of an underground earthquake on October 23, 1958, 75 died, and 99 were trapped but rescued.
Maurice Ruddick was part of a group of 7 miners trapped for 9 days. This Sunday, come for the beginning of Advent: wreaths, candles, music, and a remarkable story of keeping hope in darkness.
Keep the Faith!
The twenty-third of October, we’ll remember that day;
Down the shaft underground in our usual way.
In the Cumberland pit how the rafters crashed down
And the black hell closed ’round us ’way down in the ground.
Now when the news reached our good neighbors nearby,
The rescue work started; our hopes were still high.
But the last bit of hope like our lamps soon burned dim;
In the three-foot high dungeon we joined in a hymn
In that dark, black hole in the ground.
Only God will ever know all that happened down there.
How we watched Percy Rector die gasping a prayer,
And young Clarke had his birthday, he thought, in his grave;
After days of cruel torture we’d no hopes to be saved.
We sang altogether, though racked through with pain.
When they broke through we knew that our prayers weren’t in vain.
I crawled through the tunnel, they helped me along.
I said: “Give me some water and I’ll sing you a song
Of that dark, black hole in the ground!”
I’ll sing you a song of the bravest of men,
Of those who remained to go digging again
To bring the coal up from ten thousand feet deep,
And the others who stayed there forever to sleep.
Oh, be thankful you fellows brought back from the dead,
And pray for your friends who have gone on ahead.
And you boys up in heaven as you look on down,
Don’t forget to remember Springhill mining town
And that dark, black hole in the ground!