Activities next weekend recall Cherry Mine Disaster

CHERRY — One hundred years ago, half of the men living in this Bureau County village lost their lives.

Next weekend, Nov. 14 and 15, residents of the village of Cherry and surrounding communities will gather for various ceremonies to remember the worst coal mining disaster in Illinois history, an underground fire that began on Nov. 13, 1909, and claimed 259 lives.

Father Paul Meismer, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Cherry, will offer an opening prayer at 1 p.m. Saturday, prior to the dedication of a new monument at the Village Hall. After the dedication, 259 balloons will be launched.

In addition, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Holy Trinity Hall will be the site of commemorations including a memorabilia display, an authors’ roundtable, and a mine safety presentation.

There will be riding tours to the mine site and Miners’ Memorial Cemetery.
The miners will be remembered during the weekend Masses at Holy Trinity Church, 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Later on Sunday there will be a procession from Cherry Grade School to the cemetery and a memorial service.

The tragedy is also the focus of a new exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.

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