Sheppton Mine Disaster Site


In August of 1963, three miners were stuck 330 feet below the ground when the Sheppton mine caved in.  Two of the miners stuck together and waited two weeks for rescue, initially eating tree bark and sucking water out of the bark for survival.  Within a week, holes were drilled to them that allowed air, food, water, and the beginnings of a rescue.  One miner, Louis Bova, was never seen again, despite making contact with his two coworkers, and his body was never recovered.

I first heard about the Sheppton mine disaster from a principal in a nearby school where I was doing some observation hours.  I was told a memorial could be found along a main road in Sheppton.  It surprised me that I had never heard of this mine disaster before, and it was more confusing that there was little information regarding its location.  I was determined to find it on my own, so one day in May 2011 I decided to make a small trip out of it; in addition I decided to check out and geocache in a few surrounding towns I had never been to before:  Sheppton, Oneida, and Brandonville.

Sheppton and Oneida are right next to each other, and each is just a few blocks long; the mine site was between the two towns.  I drove around and found no roadside monuments.  Sheppton actually reminded me of Children of the Corn, to be honest; most of the buildings on the main street are vacant, and I saw nothing but groups of kids walking around.  Down one road, however, I saw the following sign, and I figured that was a good starting point:


I parked near this sign and simply started roaming the field behind it.  For a little while there was a path, but it served little good since it went right into a pond:


I walked across a rocky stream because I thought I saw another trail to my side:


Following this path a bit, I saw something off in the distance:



This monument was certainly not just off a main road, but rather a good distance off a back road.  Still found it all by myself.  It’s much more a grave than a memorial for a mine disaster, however.  It’s dedicated to Louis Bova, the miner who could not be found.



Author: Stu

7 thoughts on “Sheppton Mine Disaster Site

  1. I was just shy of 8 years old at the time. I remember listening to my little transistor radio praying they would find Lou Bova. My mother comforted me when he wasn’t found. I will always remember him. I don’t know why this mining disaster affected me the way it did.

  2. Trapped in a mine what had caved in
    And everyone knows the only ones left
    Were Joe and me and Tim

    When they broke through to pull us free
    The only ones left to tell the tale
    Was Joe and me

    Timothy, Timothy, where on earth did you go
    Timothy, Timothy, God why don’t I know

    Hungry as hell, no food to eat
    And Joe said that he would sell his soul
    For just a piece of meat
    Water enough to drink for two
    And Joe said to me, I’ll take a swig

    And then there’s some for you

    Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you
    Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do

    I must have blacked out just ’round then
    ‘Cause the very next thing that I could see
    Was the light of the day again

    My stomach was full as it could be
    And nobody ever got around to finding Timothy

    Timothy, Timothy where on earth did you go
    Timothy, Timothy god why don’t I know

    Timothy, Songwriter: HOLMES, RUPERT

  3. The most interesting fact about that disaster was that after Fellin and Throne were rescued, they swore that their friend was still there. A volunteer, Andy Drebitko, willingly risked his life and went back into the disaster to look for Mr. Bova. Check with the Schuylkill Historical society or a book called TWO WEEKS UNDER.

  4. True heroes all three. Examples of courage and determination to beat such great odds. Also a shining example of a determined community of friends and loved ones who kept the hope and did what was necessary to save their friends. God bless them all.

  5. I live nearby, so I took a look today. All the recent news coverage peaked my interest. The monument is located directly behind the swamp shown in the third photo. you will be bushwacking if you walk around the swamp, though. It’s better to walk in the gate 30 yards up the road where the big yellow Bulldozer sits. Follow that Uke road and keep looking right; you will see it down the hill after 100 yards or so. There is a cut out path to walk down through the field from the Uke road. It’s worth the trip!

  6. My Great-Grandfather and my Uncle took me to the mine site one of those nights during the rescue. They were both retired coal miners. I was 8 yrs. old at that time. I remember the firetrucks and State Police cars there as well as the drilling towers. I remember reading all the news accounts.

    I don’t know what has made me remember this so vividly as it is 50 years ago now. I couldn’t remember the name of the town but I remembered the victim’s name, Bova and remembered it was the early 60’s. I searched the internet and found it. RIP Mr. Bova. God Bless you three and all those who worked in those area mines, including my Great-Grandfather, my Grandfather and my uncle. I don’t know how they did it.

  7. Although singer-songwriter Rupert Holmes is best know for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which won five Tony awards, his most controversial song was “Timothy,” the gripping 1971 hit by The Buoys about the bizarre Sheppton mining disaster and vile allegations of cannibalism. Did they actually eat their fellow miner? Sheppton: The Myth, Miracle & Music investigates these vile allegations of desperate humans eating flesh. Learn the truth at

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