Daniel Thomas, 29, mine plane runner, died attempting to save Joseph Stepanich, 17, driver, and Joseph Rogne, driver, from suffocation, Scranton, Pennsylvania, December 16, 1916. An explosion occurred in a gangway a third of a mile from the shaft of a coal mine. Stepanich and Rogne were within about 400 feet of the scene of the explosion. Thomas and others, who were nearer to the shaft, started for the shaft. Thomas, who had shortly before been with Stepanich and Rogne, proposed returning for them. The miners with Thomas refused to accompany him and urged him to go on to the shaft, but Thomas turned back alone. His body was later found near the scene of the explosion. Stepanich and Rogne escaped by a course less direct than that taken by Thomas. 17464-1369
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Daniel Thomas was born in Scarnton, Pa., on Feb. 19, 1888. He was one of three children born to Hosiah Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth Davis, and was the grandson of immigrant Welsh coal miner John J. Thomas, who arrived in America in 1848.
Like most Welsh families who came to Scranton in the mid to late 1880s, the Thomases were coal miners, and the sons of John J. Thomas, including Hosiah, followed their father into the mines at an early age. As Hosiah’s first-born son, it is likely that Daniel was named after Hosiah’s younger brother, Daniel, who lost his life in a mine accident in 1888 at the age of 16.
Thomas was 29 years of age, married, and with one child. His funeral was held in his home and interment was in the Washburn Street Cemetery.
(Edited from an account of the life of Daniel Thomas by Jeffrey Thomas, November, 2003)