John Callen, of Port Shipping, coal miner


JOHN, son of John and Mary Callen, of Port Shipping in Carmarthen Circuit, being one of a large family was employed, when very young, to work in a coal-pit.

He had to draw the skips, as they were called, to the bottom of the pit. The coal is then put into a large vessel which the colliers call a dram; and which, when full is drawn up by a steam engine.

John had been employed only a few weeks in this work, before he met with the accident which caused his death. One night several of the colliers and boys on leaving their work, came to the bottom of the pit, and got into the empty dram before the loaded one was quite at the top of the pit, the chain by which it hung suddenly broke, and the dram, having in it several tons of coal suddenly fell …..on those at the bottom of the pit One boy was killed on the spot; a man was so mangled that he lived only a few hours; and John Callen received a blow to the head, from the effects of which, he lingered few weeks and then died. John was about ten years of age, and, notwithstanding the affliction, he retained his reason to the last.

The first notice of a concern for salvation appeared in this, he said, “Father, teach me to pray that I might go to heaven”. One day his mother said “O my dear John, how sorry I am that you ever went to that pit.”

He said, “I am not sorry for if I die I know I shall go to heaven. I am on my way. If I had not gone I might have lived to be wicked, and have gone to the bad place”  ….  He died to be with Jesus for ever,

February 12, 1841, aged 10 years…..

J. Hibbs

Approved by the Circuit Committee.

Ref: P.M. Children’s Magazine 1842 Vol. 18 page 18

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