1892 Death of Hugh Vallely:

By Tom Vallely

My great-grandfather, Hugh Vallely was born in County Antrim Ireland on  August 9,  1843.  He died in a mining accident April 19,1892 in Birmingham, Alabama.

The newspaper article is interesting because of the style of writing.  It is from the Birmingham Age-Herald of April 20, 1892.  The article is next to an ad for Carter's Little Liver Pills and an article about how hot it is in Texas.
Hugh Vallely died in an 1892 mining accident.

I might add that it may be a bit presumptuous of the reporter to assume what my great-grandfather was thinking, although Vallely men are not very alert at 7 A.M.  I know my great-grandmother was probably thrilled by the stirring minute-by-minute account of his death.

The Article
From a Birmingham newspaper

Run Over by Coal Cars
While Going to Work in a Coal Mine
Of the DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company--Hugh Vallely the Unfortunate Man

Hugh Vallely was run over while going down into mine No. 5 of the DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company at Adger, yesterday morning at 7 o'clock, and instantly killed.

Vallely was about 50 years old and with only his mine lamp fastened in his cap as a guide light, he went down into the mine for the purpose of going to work.

There are two tram car tracks running down into the mines, one of which is used for hauling loaded cars out of the coal mine.  The other is used for letting them down after being emptied.

Vallely evidently must have thought that he was on the track used for empties and was going along not dreaming of  impending danger, as he knew that no empties were sent into the mines at that time of day.

His error cost him his life.

He heard the rumbling of cars before him, but thinking they were on the parallel track to the one on which he was, he walked, and in so doing, walked into the very jaws of death.

The cars were on the track on which he was, and before he could discover his error they had ran him down and crushed his body into a bleeding mass.

He must have died instantly, as the cars are very heavy and his body was terribly mutilated.  He leaves a family.

Probate Court

A Probate Court document filed in February, 1893 by William Grady (son-in-law) lists the following heirs:

  • Bridget Vallely  Widow
  • John Vallely   Son   Age 25
  • Mary Grady Daughter   Age 23
  • Charles Vallely  Son Age 21
  • Patrick Vallely   Son  Age 17
  • James Vallely   Son  Age 13
  • Rose Vallely   Daughter  Age 11
The court and the honorable M.J. Porter awarded the family the sum of $300 from the DeBardeleben Coal and Iron Company for the negligent killing of plaintiff.


I'd like to acknowledge the contribution of Barbara V. Carney of Tyler, TX who provided copies of these and other important family documents.

1892 Death Certificate