Title: Moultrie County
Newspapers: 1922

"All the news that's fit to resurrect"

Decatur Review, April 7 1922


The dedication of the new Methodist church at Lovington, which was postponed from last Sunday on account of the death of Bishop Nicholson's daughter, will be observed Sunday, April 9. The Bishop will give the dedicatory address and will be assisted by Rev. W. J. Davidson, former pastor of the First Methodist church In Decatur. At the present time he is corresponding secretary of the Commission of Life Service with headquarters In Chicago. Both Bishop Nicholson and Rev. Mr. Davidson will attend both the morning and evening services in Lovington Sunday.

The new church was recently completed at a cost of about $60,000.

Decatur Review, April 18, 1922


Hail Size of Goose Eggs and Oranges.

Lovington, April 18. -- Hail the size of hen's eggs fell in Lovington Monday afternoon, doing thousands of dollars worth of damage to roofs and windows. In the country, over a radius of from two to five miles distant from town, the hail in some instances was as large as goose eggs or oranges, and both in town and country practically all west windows were destroyed.

Lovington's new Methodist church was damaged to the extent of $1,000 or more, the slate root being destroyed and the windows broken. Hail penetrated shingles of residences and other buildings. The storm started about 3 o'clock and continued until 4:30.

Decatur Review, June 18, 1922


Slogan Proposed At Chamber of Commerce Meeting.


New Well Promises Abundant Supply of Water.

Sullivan, June 18. -- "10,000 for Sullivan in 1920," was the slogan proposed by Irving Shuman at the open meeting of the Chamber of Commerce in the Knights of Pythias hall here Tuesday night. The slogan was received with enthusiasm and will doubtless become the official cry of the organization of true Sullivanites.


The occasion for the utterance of the sentiment was a visit of Secretary J. M. Alien of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce, to the Sullivan body. Mr. Allen was invited by the local C. of C. to talk about methods, means and objects, which he did very efficiently. Over a hundred men turned out to hear him in spite of the intense heat. Mr. Allen was brief and concise in his address, devoting little effort to oratory, but telling clearly the successful experience in building up an active body of boosters.

Short speeches were also made by E. E. Hitchcock and John Byrne of Decatur. Both declared that Sullivan has unlimited possibilities.


The meeting was held for the purpose of stirring enthusiasm among Sullivan people and increasing the membership of the association. It is believed to have done much good. W. A. Steele, the president, was in the chair and, by the way, he did his part cleverly. He recalled the couple [sic; probably 'couplet'], "Little drops of water, little grains of sand," in referring to the water situation in Sullivan and thereby aroused a roar of spontaneous laughter.


Sullivan is blessed with good talkers. The real speeches were made, not by the visitors, but by home talent. Attorney John E. Jennings, ex-mayor, ex-city attorney and now grand master of the Illinois Odd Fellows, made the most effective and finished speech of the evening. It was a corker. Almost equally good speeches were made by Rev. A. L. Caseley, pastor of the Methodist church, Rev. W. H. Day, pastor of the Presbyterian church, S. W. Wright, who is the father-in-law of Attorney W. K. Whitfield of Decatur; J. R. Bean, who is a member of the committee now sinking wells for an adequate water supply, H. M. Butler, Alderman 0. B. Lowe and Carl A. Gibson, to whom credit was publicly given by Mr. Butler as the founder of the Chamber of Commerce.


In each of these speeches stress was held on the advantages Sullivan has and the possibility before the Chamber of Commerce of exploiting these advantages. It is the center of a rich farming community. It is a highly desirable residence city, it has more street paving than any other city its size in the state; it has unexcelled schools, it is well provided in all other ways that make life worth living. "It is the best town of its size I have ever seen." declared one speaker.


Everybody, however, reverted to the water question, which is uppermost in Sullivan now. The present supply is inadequate and has been so for some years in spite of the fact that attempts have been made to find enough underground. Now a well in being bored according to the direction of Paul Hansen, engineer of the state water survey. Mr. Bean reported to the meeting that what looks like an adequate supply of water has as last been found. The problem now is to separate the sand from the water. If that can be done Sullivan will be fixed for good. If it can't, steps will be taken to get a supply from the Okaw river.

Unanimity was shown in the declaration that the organization of Sullivan's forces is the best thing that has ever happened to the city.

Decatur Daily Review, December 28, 1922


Charles Finley, Formerly of Decatur, Believed Dead; Ed Hewitt, Mule Feeder, Injured, Gives Alarm.

Lovington, Dec. 28 -- Mine Inspector Charles Finley is missing, Ed Hewitt, mule feeder, is seriously injured and four other men including Superintendent Rue McLain, are suffering from the effects of gas with which they were overcome while searching for Finley, as the result of an explosion in the Lovington mine Thursday morning. Incidentally it is reported that all the mules in the mine have been overcome by gas.

At 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon it was believed that Finley was dead. The mine rescue party, called from Springfield had not yet arrived.


The explosion, the cause of which has not yet been learned, occurred at 5:20 o'clock Thursday morning Only Finley and Hewitt were in the mine at the time, Finley having gone underground to make the usual investigation of conditions before the miners went to their daily employment. Where he was at the time of the explosion is not known, as it has been impossible to make a thorough search or investigation.

Hewitt was blown a distance of about forty feet, and was badly hurt. He managed, however, to crawl to the cage and give the signal to the men at the top.


As soon as it was known an explosion had occurred, Lawrence Valentine, Mine Superintendent McLain and about ten others went into the mine to search for the mine examiner. They were met by gas fumes, however, and were overcome. Other rescuers went to their aid and removed them from the mine. They were given prompt attention, and are recovering

In the meantime the mine rescue crew was summoned from Springfield, and left at once for Lovington. Nothing further can be done toward the rescue of Finley or determination of the extent of the fire resulting from the explosion, until this crew gets on the job.


The explosion occurred in the north part of the mine at about the 900-foot level.

Finley has been mine examiner here about three years, coming to Lovington from Decatur when he received the appointment here. He has a family here and two brothers James and John Finley, employed at the Macon County mine in Decatur.


Rue McLain, a member of the first rescue party of fifteen men, became lost in the mine and was missing for an hour. He finally was found, however, and was carried to the top and resuscitated. Other members of that party who were overcome by gas were Baxter, Downey and Robert Hines.

Drs. W. K. Hoover and Scaggs arrived promptly and began the work of resuscitation --- Hoover at the top and Scaggs in the mine.

The explosion occurred at a point about 1,500 feet north of the shaft. A number oŁ the concrete partitions were knocked out and the eighteen mules employed to haul the dump cars were killed, either by the explosion gas.

A number of the coal cars have been hoisted from the mine.

The mine has been working from l50 to 200 men, and hoisting from twenty-eight to thirty-five cars of coal a day.

Finley's family here consists of a wife and several young children


The Lovington Coal Mining company started the sinking of the first shaft here in 1905. At that time the company took over the rights and property of the Moultrie Coal company. Cyrus Potts of Decatur was the first president of the new company, but resigned in 1907 when he sold a controlling interest.

About 1912 the company experienced serious financial difficulties, but weathered the gale, procured funds and operated more extensively than ever.


There were about 400 stockholders in the company, about 100 of these being in Decatur and vicinity. The mine has modern equipment, has been producing a fine quality of coal and is employing in the neighborhood of 200 men.

Decatur Daily Review, December 29, 1922

Mine Inspector's Body Recovered From Mine

Charles Finley Only Victim of Thursday's Explosion at Lovington --- Hewitt Relates Harrowing Experience --- Mules Are Saved.

Lovington, Dec. 20--The body of Mine Inspector Charles Finley, victim of the explosion In the Lovington mine at 5:20 Thursday morning, was recovered at 4:30 Thursday afternoon by the Springfield rescue crew that reached here a couple of hours before,

The body was at a point about 1,500 feet north of the opening of the mine, crumpled against a broken coal car. The right side was horribly burned, but the left side, on which the body was lying, was untouched, and the body was not mangled. The skull, however, was badly fractured, And this was given as the cause of the man's death in the verdict or the coroner's jury which was impaneled Thursday evening by Coroner Tohill of Bethany.


Ed Hewitt, mule tender, the only other man in the mine at the time of the explosion, had a harrowing experience, but came out alive and with comparatively minor injuries. The eighteen mules he had gone into the mine to feed were knocked down by the explosion, but the quick work of those on top in turning on the ventilator saved the animals from suffocation.


"I was in the back part of the stable," said Hewitt in telling his experience. "It was about five o'clock, or maybe a few minutes after. I heard an explosion, the barn door was blown open, and I was knocked down by the force of the shock. Immediately the place became filled with dust and smoke and I began to try to pry my way out of the stables to the outlet of the shaft."


"The black damp gas was fast filling the place, and I found it difficult to get out. I was not seriously hurt, but I choked down several times before I reached the telephone.

I scarcely remember anything that happened after the explosion until some time after I got out of the mine. I crawled and walked and found my way to the telephone, where I called the night watchman. He told the engineer what had happened, and T crawled on the cage and was hoisted out.


Some of the mules were knocked down from the force of the explosion and others were badly affected by the gas that entered that part of the stable afterward. But the rescue party succeeded in opening the ventilator, and not one of the animals died."


As soon as it was learned an explosion had occurred, Mine Superintendent J. R. McLain led a party of a dozen rescuers into the shaft, and though he and three or four others were overcome by gas for a time, McLain was the last man to leave the mine. In the evening, after the body of Finley had been recovered. For an hour at one time he was separated from his followers, but was found and resuscitated.

Other men who were overcome by the gas fumes temporarily were Robert Hynds, William Jamison and Alex Downey. Martin Percotta, a member of the Springfield crew, was overcome by gas when he went down in the afternoon, but he and the others are recovering nicely from the effects.


The cause of the explosion has not been determined, but is under investigation by State Mine Examiner Joe Hoskins. According to the Springfield rescue crew, the interior of the mine was not badly torn up, though the explosion was terrific and broke down some concrete partitions. Some gas remains in the mine, but will be removed at once and repairs made, so that work can be resumed at or soon after the beginning of the year. The mine has been working about 200 men and hoisting from twenty-eight to thirty-five carloads of coal a day.

The force of the explosion blew loaded cars, weighing tons, from the tracks and demolished, empty cars.


Mr. Finley, who was about 33 years old, is survived by his wife and three children, Clifford, Agnes May and Robert Donald, all of Lovington; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Finley, two brothers and a sister, John and James Finley and Mrs. Andrew Lemons, all of Decatur. About thirteen years ago he married Miss Ida Souders of Decatur.


Mr. Finley's mother, grief-torn, remained at the top oŁ the mine throughout the long hours of the day Thursday, and still kept her vigil when the body was brought up.

The body of Mr., Finley was taken to the undertaking rooms of W. B. McMullin, and while arrangements for the funeral have not been completed it is expected the funeral will be held at the Methodist church here on Saturday. with the Masons in charge of the services.