One of those 75 miners lost in the Smith Mine disaster would be the grandfather I would never know. Even after my Grandma Ada and my dad, Art Halpin, were interviewed by The Gazette for one of the anniversaries of this disaster, they didn't talk much about either Granddad Art or Uncle Bill Pelo. I have a picture of Arthur Halpin and Bill Pelo along with their wives, a brother-in-law and Marvin Pelo taken just before the disaster — to them it wasn't if, it was when.
Most of what I learned about the disaster I read from newspaper articles, until the three books on the accident came out. I have some of my grandfather's pay stubs and pictures of him with family. I would have like to have known Arthur Abney Halpin, but that was not to be. My Grandma Ada Cunningham Halpin Mathews and my Aunt Bertha Cunningham Pelo would be left to carry on. Five boys would grow up without their fathers.
Sometimes I wonder just how many farms were sold after the disaster because the survivors were unable to continue without their loved ones. My grandfather and great-uncle were farmers who worked in the mine during the winter. It was something that they had to do.
Thank you for not letting this disaster be forgotten. The 75 men are no longer here; their wives too are gone, as are a lot of their children, but there are those of us who still remember.
Cindy Halpin Beaudean
Colorado Springs, Colorado