“The Avondale Disaster (I) (The Mines of Avondale)”


Flames are seen outside the Avondale mines; the miners' families realize there is a fire below. The two men who enter the mine find all the miners suffocated. Over one hundred men die


Much the more common of the Avondale Disaster songs (which Laws calls independent ballads, though there are strong similarities between the two which may imply common influence), this one is characterized by the fairly fixed first stanza, "Good Christians all, both great and small, I pray you lend an ear / And listen with attention while the truth I will declare; / When you hear this lamentation it will cause you to weep and wail / About the suffocation in the mines of Avondale." - RBW

Historical references

  • Sept 6, 1869 - The fire in the Avondale coal mines near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The fire blocked the only exit route and consumed all the oxygen in the tunnels. A total of 110 miners died, with 76 found in one ineffective shelter.

Cross references

  • cf. "The Avondale Disaster II" [Laws G7] (subject)


  • John J. Quinn, "The Avondale Mine Disaster" (AFS, 1946; on LCTreas)


  1. Laws G6, "The Avondale Mine Disaster I"
  2. Greenleaf/Mansfield 60, "Mines of Avondale" (1 text)
  3. Leach-Labrador 106, "The Mines of Avondale" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Leach, pp. 783-785, "The Avondale Mine Disaster" (1 text)
  5. Friedman, p. 307, "The Avondale Mine Disaster" (1 text)
  6. Lomax-FSNA 64, "The Avondale Mine Disaster" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Darling-NAS, pp. 215-218, "The Avondale Mine Disaster" (1 text)
  8. DT 713, AVONDAL1
  9. Roud #698
  10. BI, LG06


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (Greenleaf/Mansfield)
Keywords: mining disaster death
Found in: US(MA) Canada(Newf)