My Father Jacob Beninsky Is Injured 1916


The accident occurred in mid November, 1916. My father Jacob, Alex and Alex's friend Tony Baski were working in one pocket of the mine preparing to sot off a small blast.. My father had Just started to chisel a small hole when a huge rock fell from the ceiling striking him on the right side of his mid-back. He was knocked to the ground. Tony and Alex rushed to his side, rolling the rock to the side. Jacob was momentarily stunned. After regaining his senses, he was aware of a severe pain that involved not only the right mid-back region but also radiated into the right side of his abdomen. He broke into a cold sweat.

Tony poured ice water over his miners handkerchief and wiped Jacobs forehead. Alex yelled, “I'm going for help!”.

My father pleaded, ''No, No. I'll be alright. Just let me rest awhile. We've got to finish the job. If we don't Todd Peterson will find someone else who can.”

Tony opened Jacobs shirt and they were shocked by what they saw. A large tender, blue swelling covered the right mid-back region extending over the waist and partly into the abdomen “I need to keep cold compresses on your side and abdomen.” He continued to do this for a short period of time using their handkerchiefs.

Jacob insisted on rising to his feet though he staggered, “Alex, you are not to worry your mother about this and this is an order. You know how she's been since the birth of your brother.”

Alex promised. My mother had complained bitterly of fatigue and has just beginning to show some improvement.. He and Tony worked twice as hard clearing the coal from the region and chuting to on to the waiting cars. Having accomplished the daily quota for the three of them, they went back into the pocket and prepared the blast for the next days coal. Jacob, in obvious pain and feeling faint watched from a distance. He was very stiff and walked with great difficulty--at times staggering and in need of support.

What Tony and Alex failed to appreciate were Jacobs frightening thoughts that he choose to keep to himself:

'A crippled miner was a liability'

'A crippled miner would best be a dead miner'

'There was no compensation for injuries'

'What would they do for money? Might they starve to death?'

'If he died there might be some compensation'

He walked home.w1th great difficulty--willing himself every inch of the way. He Insisted on being the one to talk to Ma--and he did so minimizing his pain, his difficulties and most of all his thoughts.

If my mother sensed his true discomfort and his pallor which I'm sure was evident to all of us, she pretended not to. She must have been thinking:

'What would be like to be the widow of a miner?'

'A widow with nine children'

'And no man to support her'

Jacob, likewise, continued to pretend and continued to work many more weeks -dispite the pain.