Exploring more of the fatalities from Blantyre Pit Disaster. The story of Owen Brannaghan or Brannigan is an interesting one.
Owen Brannaghan was the son of Patrick Brannaghan (farmer) and Catherine McCallum. It is thought he came from Ireland over to Scotland to seek employment, Dixon’s pits providing that opportunity.
Owen never married, nor had any children and it is thought he came to Blantyre either in 1876 or 1877, just before the disaster.
He lived alone at Dixon’s Rows, in homes tied to the colliery. On that terrible day on 22nd October 1877, Owen was working at the top of the pit shaft along with others and as the explosion rocketed up the shaft, it hit him hard, throwing him and others off their feet, causing them each severe burns. They were amongst the first to receive medical aid, either tended to by colleagues or walked themselves for help.
Burned badly, Owen was taken to the hospital, but sadly died on 30th October 1877, a week or so later after the Pit Disaster. He died from his burn injuries, being in the Royal Infirmary hospital in Glasgow for 8 days. He was only 19 and was buried in Section 9 of Dalbeth Cemetery.
His mother had died before him, never knowing about the Pit Disaster.
The pit head where he had been working above ground is shown in the illustration.