Tragedies Scar Coal History

Castle Gate Mine Explosion

On the morning of March 8, 1924, three explosions jarred the small mining community at Castle Gate. The blasts sent frightened women and children running toward the portal of Utah Fuel Company's No. 2 mines, located one mile east of the town.

The underground facility exploded with devastating violence when accumulated gas and coal dust ignited inside the No. 2 mine, touted as the company's "show case".

The first shattering blast occurred about 7,000 feet from the mine entrance, trapping over 100 miners in the underground shafts. It blew the steel doors off the entrance, tearing their hinges out of concrete and hurling them across the canyon where they were embedded in the mountainside. Heavy timbers from inside the mine were also thrown more than a mile across the canyon.

The disaster's three explosions and resulting afterdamp claimed the lives of 173 men, including one would-be rescuer. The youngest fatality was the 15 year old brother of another victim killed in the mining accident.

Relatives and friends of the entombed miners crowded the roadway leading to the mine's entrance. By March 11, over 100 bodies had been recovered, squelching any hope that remained and ending the grim suspense.

It took almost two weeks to remove all of the victims from the underground shafts, which were filled with deadly gas and flooding water. Rescue workers used horses to carry the dead from the mine.

On March 24, the hauntingly sad sound of "Taps" echoed from the bleak hillside above Castle Gate in memory of the county's dead miners. Sealed caskets were carried from the town's amusement halls, which had served as temporary morgues, and loaded onto trucks. Grieving survivors followed the funeral processions to cemeteries in Price, Helper and Castle Gate.

Written by Layne Miller - printed in the 1997 Energy a publication of The Sun Advocate - Emery County Progress February, 1997

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Castle Gate Mine Explosion

The following article is copied from a newspaper article that appeared in the Sun Advocate Newspaper, approximately March or April 1985. It was written by Arva Smith a Staff Writer and is on page 2.

Three loud blasts, two in rapid succession and a third, heard by many of the town residents about 20 minutes later, broke the quiet of Saturday morning March 8, 1924 in Castle Gate, a small Carbon County mining town.

Castle Gate Mine number 2 had exploded killing 171 men. The total of fatalities was later raised to 172 when a rescuer was killed and his name added to the total.

Details of this sad event and its tragic aftermath, a part of Carbon County and Utah history, were told in words and with slides by Frances Cunningham at the March meeting of the Carbon County Historical Society in the Helper Civic Auditorium.

The full extent of the tragedy was not known at first. There was hope that the men, all experienced miners, had been able to barricade themselves in a place of safety. But none had survived the explosions.

Left by the men were 110 widows, including four who lived overseas, 258 dependent children and many stunned and saddened family members. Some family members, other than wives and children, were listed as dependents which brought the total number to 417.

Almost every family in town had a father, son, brother, husband or friend in the mine at the time of the explosion. In seven families both the father and oldest son were killed.

Castle Gate is usually listed as the second worst mining disaster to have occurred in the state, ranking behind the Winter Quarters explosion of May 1, 1900, which killed 100 miners.

The Castle Gate disaster is believed to have had a higher percentage of married men and fathers among its victims than did the Winter Quarters tragedy in which there were many single men.

A surprising number of people have first hand recollections of the event 61 years ago including S. C. Harvey, 88, who has had a lifetime of experience in mining in Carbon County.

Harvey, a member of the Winter Quarters rescue team which participated in rescue efforts was on the program for the meeting. He recounted his experiences.

The rescue efforts were valiant in spite of the fact that there were no survivors.

Harvey happened, that day, to be outside the Winter Quarters mine where he was working. The Winter Quarters mine near Scofield and Castle Gate mines were both owned and operated by Utah Fuel Co.

The superintendent, Mr. Parmley, yelled to Harvey, "Stanley! Gather up all your rescue apparatus, Castle Gate No. 2 has blown up!"

A fast train ride down the canyon in a box car followed by him and other rescue team members from Pleasant Valley and those from nearby Clear Creek.

Help was coming, as fast as possible, from many surrounding mines in many directions.

Mrs. Cunningham said that soon after the explosion occurred, there were 91 sets of rescue apparatus available. Five doctors were at the receiving station with Dr. McDermid, the Castle Gate physician, in charge. The task the doctors finally performed was identifying the dead.

Thomas Hilton, Helper, who spent 55 years in mining, told the group attending the meeting that he and two other men were the first to enter Castle Gate No. 2 after the explosion.

Hilton, 22 at the time, had completed a mine rescue and first aid course and was certified for rescue work. He and James Thorpe, an old time coal miner from England and Harold Huff were asked to go into the mine to try to turn off a valve on an 8-inch water line to possibly prevent injured men from drowning in accumulating water.

Using breathing apparatus, and holding to a rope carried as a lifeline, the men got 100 yards into the mine still 100 yards short of valve, when Hilton said he began feeling dizzy.

After giving the lifeline a quick jerk, he turned and headed for the outside. When his legs began to wobble, he broke into a run and then, almost having reached safety, he fell unconscious.

When he regained consciousness, he was propped up against a headstone in the small Castle Gate cemetery about 200 yards from the mine portal.

Seth Thomas, the mine superintendent and Mr. Littlejohn, the general manager, had put handkerchiefs over their faces to drag him to safety.

While participating in later rescue efforts following a short stay in the Castle Gate Hospital of only two or three hours, Hilton was sent, by those in charge, to a part of the mine away from where they thought that the body of his father would be found.

Their assumption was correct and Hilton, although participating in the rescue efforts in the mine, never saw the body of his father until after it had been removed to the outside.

Hilton's father, an uncle, a cousin and other relatives were among the victims.

A short time before the explosion, Castle Gate No. 1 had been closed, because of a lack of coal orders. Many of the single men, including Hilton, were laid off. Some of the married men and older workers from No. 1 were given jobs in No. 2. That was one of the reasons that there was a high proportion of married men among the victims.

Lea Haslam, a long-time resident of the area was nine years old and her family was living in Willow Creek, not far from the portal of Castle Gate No. 2, when the explosion occurred.

Her father, Frank Mangone, a plumber in the mine and for apartments outside the mine, inexplicably had decided to not go to work the day of the explosion.

She says that she remembers her mother asking her father if he were sick. He said, "I'm not sick, I'm just not going."

Mrs. Haslam said she and the other children in the family were overjoyed at the prospect of having their father home on a Saturday, a rare event.

Soon after, they heard the blasts which were followed by a fallout of what appeared to be fine, black coal dust. The black cloud settled over everything, she said.

Her father was hurriedly summoned to help with the rescue effort.

Steve Sargetakis, a Salt Lake City resident, was only one and one-half years of age at the time of the disaster. Too young to remember, his life was nevertheless changed when his father and several other relatives were killed in the disaster.

"My mother wore black for the rest of her life; we had black curtains at our windows and we had no parties or celebrations," he said. Also he and his brothers worked hard selling newspapers and other small jobs to help the family.

Mrs. Evelyn Patterick gave some incidents told by her father who headed the rescue team from Hiawatha.

Reviewing the history of Castle Gate, Mrs. Cunningham said the No. 1 mine was opened between 1888-90 by Utah Fuel Company, then the largest coal producer in Utah.

The first families lived in tents but houses were built and by 1911 there were extensive improvements.

Fifty new cottages were built that year, the store was enlarged and the Number 2 mine in Willow Creek Canyon was opened.

In 1924 mining methods had been mechanized to the point that electrically driven mining machines of the "shortwall" type were being used to undercut the coal, Mrs. Cunningham said.

The coal at Castle Gate was brittle with a tendency to make a large amount of fine coal dust and the mining methods used at that time compounded the problem.

An elaborate sprinkling system was installed to control the dust but was only partially effective, Mrs. Cunningham said.

For one thing the system sprinkled water only to a height of 10 feet while some of the rooms were 16 to 20 feet high.

Little was known about rock dusting, a much more effective method of dust control.

Carbide lamps, which had open flames, were used for illumination. Electric cap lamps approved by the U.S. Bureau of Mines had been ordered a short time before the explosion but had not yet been put in service, Mrs. Cunningham said.

The morning of March 8, 171 miners entered the No. 2 mine to begin loading coal drilled and blasted by the previous shift.

Two men were believe loading coal in room 2, 6th left dip entry, an area which had some of the poorest safety conditions in the mine, when a fire boss detected gas near the roof.

He raised his special lamp to ascertain the exact amount of gas and the lamp was extinguished, Mrs. Cunningham said.

The explosion is thought to have occurred when the fire boss was relighting his lamp or from the open flames of the miners' carbide lamps.

The force of the first explosion was violent enough to shoot mine escape way timbers a distance of 1,500 feet. The initial explosion of gas, aided by coal dust, traveled down room No. 2 to the entry. By the time it reached the 5th right raise entry, its flame was extinguished.

The force of air may have extinguished the flames of the lamps of miners in the 5th left raise entry. These men, by relighting their lamps, could have ignited the fine coal dust causing the second explosion. The interval between the two blasts was only a few seconds.

A third loud explosive noise, reported by some about 20 minutes later, may have been caused by caving of the mine.

"Five-men rescue teams worked day and night. On Sunday, March 9 at 1 a.m., the first body was brought out. By March 10 a total of 26 bodies had been removed, many mutilated and dismembered beyond recognition. The coal camp's hope of survivors was smothered by the silence of death. By March 18, all 172, bodies, including the one rescuer, had been removed from the mine," Mrs. Cunningham said.

Relief efforts were extensive.

Women from nearby communities rushed to the scene to help cook meals and give household and child care help to grieving widows and their families.

"The Sun," a weekly Price newspaper, of March 14, 1924 had reported the greatest need was for help with the commonplace household tasks that could not be properly handled by distracted womenfolk in stricken homes.

Two canteens, with which the Salvation Army and the local posts of the America Legion assisted, serving hot coffee and sandwiches to rescuers.

The company gave each of the families of the dead miners $5,000 to be paid out at the rate of $16 per week in accordance with the requirements of workmen's compensation laws, paid for burial costs up to $150, and canceled debts at the company store.

Mrs. Annie D. Palmer, one of the first social workers in Utah, was hired to oversee the distribution of funds to families.

Governor Charles R. Mabey came to survey the situation and he signed a proclamation appealing for funds. Donations came from all over the country and a committee was organized to administer that fund which totaled $132,445.

But in spite of tragedy, miners continue to accept the risks and work in the mines. Hilton, for one, went back to work at Castle Gate and continued until his retirement.

A history of Castle Gate and other coal camps and ghost towns has been published in a book, "A Guide to Carbon County Coal Camps and Ghost Towns, " by Chuck Zehnder. The book is available at the Sun Advocate and area book stores and features many old photographs of the towns.

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Greek miners get their due 81 years after their deaths

Price Cemetery: A new headstone will commemorate 29 immigrants who were buried in unmarked graves after a 1924 mine disaster.

By Mike Gorrell - The Salt Lake Tribune

PRICE - While taking his elderly mother on walks through the serene pathways of Price City's cemetery, Andrew Hillas learned of a historical injustice.

In a Greek section of the graveyard were buried 29 miners who died in the 1924 Castle Gate No. 2 Mine disaster, men who had no headstones to mark their final resting places.

Andrew Hillas raised money to erect this monument in Price in honor of 29 Greek immigrant miners who died in the 1924 Castle Gate disaster. photograph by Rick Egan/the Salt Lake Tribune.

"There was no memory of them," he said of the young immigrants who perished far from the families they left behind, mostly on the island of Crete. "Those guys were poor, worked in horrible conditions, didn't have any family here. You just don't realize the hardships these people had to deal with, at least nothing I could comprehend."

So Hillas, who is himself of Greek descent, set out to rectify the situation. He spearheaded a drive within Price's Assumption Greek Orthodox Church that raised $1,700 to erect a stone monument bearing the names of the 29 who have spent the past 81 years in unmarked graves.

Today, two days before the anniversary of the explosion that killed 172 miners - Utah's second-worst mine disaster, exceeded only by the 1900 Winter Quarters explosion in which 200 died - the memorial will be blessed by Metropolitan Isaiah, the Greek Orthodox prelate over Utah and 13 other states, who is coming to Price for the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

"I'm very grateful I can be part of it," Metropolitan Isaiah said, noting that the consecration coincides with his church's traditional pre-Lenten observances for departed souls. "We should remember those who came here and sacrificed their lives. It's a warm and touching thing that we care, not just for our friends but for strangers."

Fifty Greeks in all died that cold Saturday morning when three explosions ripped the mine. It took nearly a week for rescuers to clear the mine's tunnels of deadly carbon monoxide gas (costing one rescuer his life), extinguish fires spawned by the blasts and recover all of the bodies.

"Because there were so many, Assumption Church was too small so they had to use a public hall to hold all of the caskets," said Hillas, who became an amateur historian in researching the disaster.

As The Salt Lake Tribune reported March 13, 1924, "The funerals were conducted with the usual ritual by the Rev. Father Smyrnapoulas. The caskets were laid side by side across the center of the floor, and were completely covered with floral offerings evidencing the deep sympathy felt for the bereaved."

Assumption Church bought the plots where all but one of the Greek victims were buried (the 50th was interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City), out headstones were erected only for those with families in Utah and enough savings to pay for the markers. The rest slid into obscurity as time passed, generations died off and descendants moved away.

Enter Hillas.

On one of his walks through the cemetery, he encountered monument maker Bernie Morris, who said, "There's a Greek section where there's a lot of empty graves." that struck Hillas as odd, so he started comparing cemetery records to information he gathered about the victims in written publications and off the internet.

It kept sucking me in because I kept finding something out," said Hillas, citing the challenge of matching original Greek names, such as Stelios Papadoganakis and Demetrios Delakis, with their Anglicized versions - Steve Pappas and Jim Dallas.

"I found the names of all the Greeks who were killed and went back and tried to locate them. I walked and walked and walked," he said, "I located a certain number of them right away, but I kept trying because I didn't want to leave anybody out."

With help from cemetery secretary Brianna Welch, he eventually managed to account for every one.

Assumption Church officials readily endorsed his plan to memorialize those in unmarked graves. "This needed to be done," said the Very Rev. Anasthasios Emmert, church paster.

Hillas' diligent and painstaking effort also elicited praise from Salt Lake City resident Ted Sargetakis, who will attend today's observance with his family. His grandfather died in the Caste Gate disaster, leaving behind a widow, four children younger than 6 and a fifth on the way.

While his grandfather was not one of those buried without a headstone, Sargetakis said he gets the chills when thinking of the sacrifices made by all of the victims.

"They were practically indentured servants to the coal companies," he said. "They worked in the mines all day long for very little money, lived in company housing, were paid in company scrip, had to shop in the company store . . . We're where we are now as a result of their hard work."

And for some of the disaster victims to "almost fall through the cracks of history," he added, would have been an injustice - - one that Hillas has overturned.

"Hopefully, somewhere up there in heaven, they'll see they're being recognized and know he did it."

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Price Man obtains Strange Type of Wheat

Deseret News about 1946

He found Strange Wheat - O.F. Grames, Price, found a few kernals of wheat in a cliff dweller's cave near Price and the kernels, as old as they appear to be; confound the experts because the kernels are growing and appear to be a better type than others.

O. F. Grames of Price isn't a farmer, but he does have a garden.

And from Mr. Grames garden has come some extraordinary wheat - and a headache for the experts.

The yield from Mr. Grames' crop was about half a teacup full. But its growing has stirred much interest in the lower end of Utah, and attracted the attention of several experts, notable among them Dr. T. L. Martin, dean of applied sciences at the Brigham Young University.

The wheat was grown from kernels found in a cliff dwelling's cave near Price, by a friend of Mr. Grames. He, according to Mr. Grames, found the kernels sealed into a small adobe container on a shelf in the cave.

Just to experiment, Mr. Grames says, he planted the wheat in his garden - and it grew. In fact, the stalks grew to a height of nearly five feet. The leaves, he noticed, were much broader and the grains nearly twice as long as wheat regularly grown in the area.

The wheat was grown last year and since that time, Mr. Grames has been undecided as to what to do with it. Local agricultural experts said it could not be as old as the cliff dwellers because wheat does not germinate after 20 to 25 years storage even under ideal conditions.

An official of the Agricultural Research Adminstration in Washington, D.C., told Mr. Grames to investigate the source of his controversial crop. he pointed out that wheat was unknown in America before the Spaniards arrived, then added, "Wheat will not grow after 20 to 25 years storage under the most ideal conditions."

The first positive reaction was obtained at BYU, when Keith O. Grames, a son, showed some of the "dweller's wheat" to agronomists there. They have requested more samples and the right to make an investigation.

"I don't know just what I'll do," Mr. Grames says, "I've been offered 50 cents a grain for it by a farmer in Price. But, I'd like to know more about it, especially where it came from - and why."

In a letter to Lyn Larson, Deseret News Farm Editor, Dr. Martin said an investigation is now being carried on at Brigham Young University on germination of similar wheat samples brought in by a Spanish Fork man. "What the results will be we cannot tell just yet," he said.

Dr. Martin said he had talked to a man from Price concerning the wheat belonging to Mr. Grames, "but we haven't received samples yet for investigation."

His understanding of the story, Dr. Martin said, was that the man had entered a cliff dwellers cave and the floor gave way. Underneath was a similar cavern, and it was there they found the wheat. "Apparently it has been sealed for many years," he wrote "and under such conditions it seems as though the vital of the seed remains intact. And when brought back again in a suitable germinating environment it is able to come out of its dormant state."

Cliff Dwelling Wheat

By Keith Grames

Here is the wheat story: Grandpa Grames (Orson Grames circa 1946) along with a friend did find some wheat in a cliff dweller's cave in the San Rafael desert south of Price. I remember seeing the cave it came from.

We climbed up to this cave and dad thought the floor sounded hollow. A week later he and said friend returned and broke through the hard floor to discover much wheat. They thought it was used for sleeping on because they found some bundles tied together with rawhide and looked like they could have been used as pillows. They also found some pottery, one being sealed with hardened clay. When they broke it open then found it was full of large kernels of wheat. They divided it and dad's partner planted his, but did not take care of it and lost it all.

Dad took his to the Agriculture department in Price to see if they wanted it. They said they had never seen wheat that big but were not interested because wheat after laying dormant for 25 years would not germinate.

Dad took a small amount and carefully planted it. It grew. He did this a couple of years and because his health was bad, gave it all to me, Keith Grames. I grew it a couple more years. It grew with large heads of bearded wheat. The kernels were much larger than normal wheat. I put some of the heads in a 2-quart fruit jar and had to bent them down half again to get them in.

I then took some of it up to BYU and caused a lot of excitement with their agriculture experts. They got out their books to tell me what kind of wheat it was, but could not. They tested some and told me it was drought resistant because it was grown in a hot and dry climate by the Anazasi cliff dwellers. They also said it was very high in protein and other nutrients. It did have in the fold of the kernels a small amount of wheat smut.

They wanted to cross it with Turkey Red wheat and after their expenses were taken out, I might get a small amount too. Well they seemed so greedy and I was afraid of loosing it all, so I would not let them have it. Then they wanted me to take them and show them where it was found. I did not do that either because of their pushy attitude.

Dad was needing money for his medical problems. Mother (grandma) went to work at the Price hospital to help.

I grew the wheat one more year and word got around about it.

One day a man by the name of Clinton Miller came to the house. He wanted to see the wheat. He had a business of making "Clinton Miller Wheat Health Bread". He said a farmer from Nephi raised his wheat for him for this special bread. He wanted this wheat farmer by the name of Clarence Paxman to see the wheat and if he liked it to grow it for the bread. He wanted to use the special ancient wheat as a sales slogan.

Mr. Paxman came to the house to see the wheat. His son, also a wheat farmer came along to see. By that time I had 3 quarts of the wheat shelled out and a few stalks growing out in the garden.

They got very excited and wanted to buy it right then. I told them I wanted 400 dollars for all I had. Well that was a lot of money back then. Mr. Paxman got mad and said that his daddy had been a wheat farmer, he was a wheat farmer and his son was a wheat farmer and nowhere in the history of the world had wheat ever been sold for over 100 dollars a quart. He said he had a 20-ton semi trailer and would trade that clear full of turkey red wheat for my 3 quarts. I said no and they went stomping out of the house.

They sat out in front of the house for ten or fifteen minutes then came back in and wrote me a 400 hundred-dollar check. Besides the money I was supposed to get a royalty on each 1000 lbs of wheat sold.

I took the money to dad and give it to him as he lay sick in bed. Tears came into his eyes, it was money so badly needed. I shed a few tears myself.

Mr. Paxman planted all the wheat seed. He wanted to grow it all so he could get the most seed possible. I am sorry to say he lost all of it.

The Deseret News from Salt Lake printed the story of dad finding the wheat with a picture of him. It was a good article, Vendora (Keith's sister) had that article for a long time.

If you are interested in contacting a family member about these articles please contact Stephen Coleman.

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Utah Fuel Company Wage Information - 1938

The following information was copied from the COAL - a newsletter published monthly by Utah Fuel Co. & Calumet Fuel Co., Dec. 1938, volumn 1, number 3.

Hourly Wage of Coal Miners Climbs To New All Time Peak

The climb in the HOURLY WAGE earnings in bituminous coal industry is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as follows:

1934 average hourly 67.8 cents
1935 average hourly 74.7 cents
1936 average hourly 79.5 cents
1937 average hourly 86.2 cents
1938 (eight months) 87.6 cents

According to recent bulletin of the American Iron and Steel Institute, the 1937 - 1938 average hourly earnings in all manufacturing industries was 65 cents, and in the steel industry 82 cents. Bituminous coal, on the average hourly basis, tops them both.

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Facts about Utah Fuel Co.

1938 mine wages

Coal mine wages have advanced greatly over the past years. As an example of this, take the case of day wages paid drivers. Authentic records show that these wages amounted to $3.25 per day in 1910 for 8 hours work, or 40.6 cents per hour. Today they amount to $6.44 for a 7 hour day, or 92 cents per hour. This is an increase of 126 per cent in the hourly rate or 51.4 cents. Contract rates for pick mining amounted to 45 cents per ton. (Somerset) in 1910, and they have risen 78 per cent since then, making the present rate 80 cents per ton.

Our mines observed the 8 hour day from 1896 to April, 1934, when the 7 hour day was instituted. No other major industry has maintained shorter working hours over this prolonged period.

Total expenses of producing coal mined by our company in 1910 amounted to 69 percent of our income. In 1938, total expenses consumed over 98 per cent of total income. This left 31 percent of income as gross profit in 1910, and less than 2 percent in 1938 - a vivid illustration of the fact that increased wages and other expenses have reduced profits close to the vanishing point. Ruinous competition from other comparatively laborless fuels has taken its toil in lessened ability to meet increased wages and other expenses.

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December 1927 School Vacation

From the Helper Journal Dec. 22, 1927
Reprinted Sun Advocate, Historic Helper supplement, Nov 2005

The mid-year vacation from school instructions and studies begins Thursday afternoon, when the Carbon county school calendar designates the beginning of the Christmas vacation period. Following the afternoon recess Thursday a festive Christmas party among the pupils and teachers of the various rooms will take place when the exchange of small presents among the children will mark the giving season. Each classroom is gay with resplendently bedecked Christmas trees. Other decorations, handiwork of the pupils, have transformed to rooms from their scholastic dress to ones of holiday festivity.

School will not be reconvened until Tuesday, Jan. 3, and the 12 holidays will be welcomed by the school population of 599 students. With the continuation of the present cold weather, ice skating will be a popular sport among the younger sets of the town, or with the advent of more snow, sleighing will be a source of joy. In any event, the days will pass all too quickly, crowded with the diverse means of amusement which are discovered so readily by childhood.

The faculty of the local instituion of learning comprising 16 instructors, will for the most part pass the time of freedom with relatives of friends in their various hometowns. Principal A. S. Horsley will remain about town, as will Felton Hickman and L.R. Barrus, whose place of residence is in the city, Misses Evelyn Madsen, Ruby Jones and Verdi Rasmussen will go to Mt. Pleasant, their hometowns; Miss Thelma Faylor will journey to Logan with Mrs. Ruth Summers stopping at Tremonton; Miss Virginia Neuteboom will pass the days in Ogden, with Miss Mona Rasmussen visiting her home in Salt Lake City, and Miss Delilah Spratling visiting home folks nearby; Ephraim will be the residence of Miss Alta Thompson for the time being, with Miss June Murdock spending her time in Heber; Mrs. Alice Bullen will go to Spanish Fork, and the remaining teachers will stay close by, with Miss Josephine Pagano spending her time at Price, and Miss Mary Dalpiaz remaing at her home here.

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Return of Bodies From Overseas To Start This Year

Sun Advocate - Thursday, January 30, 1947

Return of World War II dead from overseas cemeteries will be started late this summer by the American Graves Registration Service of the quartermaster corps, according to a recent announcement by Colonel O. W. Humphreys, commanding officer of the Utah General deport, Ogden.

The Ogden depot has been designated as one of 15 distribution centers in the United States. It will serve Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Montana and eastern Oregon.

The decision as to the final resting place for those killed in World War II is being left to the next of kin, Colonel Humphreys said. Some time next month, letters of inquiry will be sent to the next of kin asking their desires as to where final burial shall be.

The colonel explained that four options are being offered to the next of kin. They may elect to have the remains interred in a permanent military cemetery overseas; to have the body returned to the United States for final burial in a private cemetery; to have the remains returned to this country for final burial in a national cemetery, or to have the remains interred in a private cemetery in a foreign country, the homeland of the deceased or the next of kin.

The first cemeteries scheduled to be evacuated are located in the Hawaiian islands and Belgium. The repatriation program will be conducted on a progressive basis, the colonel said, and because some families receive letters and others do not is no case for worry.

"When the time comes for a cemetery to be evacuated," Colonel Humphries said, "the next of kin will be notified and final disposition will be requested."

Colonel Humpries emphasized that identification will be positive. If there is doubt as to identity the remains will be returned to this country as unknown, he declared.

The first remains are scheduled to arrive in the United States from the Pacific August 18, and from Europe August 25, Colonel Humphries announced.

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