The Industrial Revolution is not mentioned specifically, but implied in Jane Austen’s novels, the more rapid means of transportation being one of them. Life was hard for the working poor, and many died premature deaths. But miracles did occur. Take the tale of John Evans, a miner in a coal pit at Pentre’r Fram Colliery, Minera, Wrexham, Wales. On the 27th of September in 1819, almost 200 years ago, the pit flooded and two men lost their lives and a third went missing.
The miner was trapped by the flood 120 yards below the surface with 18 other men. Fifteen were rescued, but not Evans and two other miners. During the 7 days that it took to pump the water out, three coffins were made to bury the presumed dead men. On day 8, two bodies were recovered, but John Evans was nowhere to be found. His wife begged for the rescuers to continue so that she could give her husband a proper burial.
He was found alive on the 13th day. His daughter reported that he had managed to survive by eating tallow candles and drinking water droplets from the roof of the mine. After his rescue, John took the coffin home with him and used it as a cupboard for many years. He died in April, 1865 at the advanced age of 73. The colliery closed during the Depression after 124 years of continuous work. - Callaghan Family Archives