Archive for November 7th, 2013

Originally published in the Black Diamond Bulletin, Summer 2013

By JoAnne Matsumura

After coal mining disasters of the era, widows and their children often returned to their homeland, a place of familiarity and comfort. Mrs. Julius Persyn, along with her infant son Georges and brother-in-law Medard Persyn, returned to Europe on September 23, 1911, following the 1910 Lawson Mine disaster that claimed the life of her husband. She left her eldest son Henri with her brother’s family in Seattle.

Henri Joulia, Jr., Louise Fabre Persyn, Georges Persyn, ca. 1912.

Henri Joulia, Jr., Louise Fabre Persyn, Georges Persyn, ca. 1912.

The November 6, 1910, Lawson Mine explosion took the lives of 16 men, including Julius Persyn, 31, leaving behind wife Louise Fabre Joulia—who he had just married 10 months earlier on December 30, 1909—10-week-old son, Georges, born August 23, 1910, and stepson Henri Joulia, Jr.

Julius, along with his workmates Oscar and Ceazar Bael and Civili Maes—all of Belgium descent—and Fred Setti, an Italian, remain entombed in the 6th level of the mine more than 2,000 feet below the surface. The remaining 11 victims’ bodies were recovered.

Louise Fabre came to the U.S. in 1903 and resided with brothers Jules and Georges Fabre in Seattle. Sister Irene remained in Europe.

Julius was working as a pillar man at the Lawson Mine as early as 1907, earning $3 per day. How Julius and Louise met is a mystery. (more…)

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