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Mine Disasters in the United States



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Fraterville Historical Marker
Coal Creek Coal Company
Fraterville Mine Explosion

Coal Creek, Tennessee
May 19, 1902
No. Killed - 184

Miners' Testimony  (3.0 Mb)  PDF Format
Note:  According to the CDC/NIOSH disaster list External Link, the official number of deaths from the Fraterville disaster was 184.


(From report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1902 (Bureau of Mines files))

The mine, opened in 1870, was one of the oldest in the State and had been in almost continuous operation; 200 men and boys were employed.

The furnace was not fired from Saturday night until Monday morning, and ventilation was stagnated.  The mine was considered to be nongassy although gas was known to be present in that section of the old and abandoned Knoxville Iron Company mine into which openings has recently been made.

The miners had not been in the mine more than an hour when at 7:20 a.m. thick smoke and dust were seen coming from the ventilating shaft and from the mouth of the mine.

Rescuing parties were organized and penetrated about 200 feet where they came upon the body of a victim of the afterdamp.  They could go no farther and returned to await dispersal of the deadly gas.

At 4 o'clock a rescue corps again entered.  Brattices had been destroyed, and along the main entry the force of the explosion was terrific; timbers and cogs placed to hold a squeeze were blown out, mine cars, wheels, and doors were shattered, and bodies were dismembered.

In other parts of the mine no heat or violence was shown, and suffocation had brought death to those whose bodies were found there.

A barricade had been placed across 15 right entry near the heading to protect miners there from the deadly afterdamp.  The 26 miners found there must have lived for several hours, as notes were written as late as 2 p.m.

At first it was thought that gas had come from the old mine, but later inspectors indicated that the gas was liberated from overhanging strata by the "creep" that had begun with unusual violence shortly before the explosion.  The gas accumulated because of inadequate ventilation and was ignited by the open lights.  Dust was thick in the mine andd was blown up and burned in the explosion.  No sprinking was done.

Recommendations by the Mine Inspector that had not been carried out were for cleaning and enlarging airways, rebuilding brattices and doors, increasing the furnace capacity, tests for gas, and removing dust.

Testimony given before the commissioner on June 6, 2002, was emphatic in condemning the laxity of the officials, as:
The mine foreman was not competent, and the company had not installed a fan as the State Inspector had recommended.

Source:
Historical Summary of Mine Disasters in the United States - Volume I


List of the deceased:
  1. George W. Adkins
  2. Conda Adkins
  3. Paul A. Adkins
  4. Chas. Adkins
  5. Robert H. Allen
  6. A. Hamilton AIred
  7. William A. Alred
  8. Enoch H. Alred
  9. William B. Angel
  10. Henry C. Brooks
  11. James A. Brooks
  12. R. S. W. Brooks
  13. Charley Brooks
  14. James F. Bennett
  15. Conda Bennett
  16. Charles Bennett
  17. William Brymer
  18. John Bullock, Jr.
  19. Henry C. Beach
  20. Roscoe Brantly
  21. John C. Chapman
  22. Chas J. Chapman
  23. Scott Chapman
  24. William Curnutt
  25. P. C. Childress
  26. William C. Childress
  27. John Childress
  28. James Childress
  29. Richard N. Cox
  30. John L. Cooper
  31. James F. Cooper
  32. Thomas Cooper
  33. Charles Carden
  34. John D'Zern
  35. David D'Zern
  36. Samuel D'Zern
  37. Car D'Zern
  38. George D'Zern
  39. Noah Daugherty
  40. James Davidson
  41. Thomas Davis
  42. A. T. Dabney
  43. Samuel M. Disney
  44. William Evans
  45. Edward Evans
  46. Charley Evans
  47. William John Evans
  48. S. T. Eckardt
  49. John Elliot
  50. James Elliot
  51. William Fielden
  52. Mack C. Foust
  53. Frank Gibbs
  54. Preston Griffitts
  55. P. C. Green
  56. James S. Green
  57. Richard Green
  58. W. B. Goodman
  59. William F. Gross
  60. F. Oscar Goans
  61. William R. Goans
  62. Bart D. Hightower
  1. James P. Hightower
  2. Powell Harmon
  3. John Hendren
  4. Thomas W. Henaren
  5. W. Scott Hutson
  6. George S. Hutson
  7. Charles Hutson
  8. Levi Hatmaker
  9. William O. Hatmaker
  10. George Hill
  11. Alphonso Hensley
  12. W. W. Hays
  13. James Kindman
  14. James M. Leach
  15. James E. Leinart
  16. Charles A. Leinart
  17. William Leach
  18. Luke Leach
  19. Thomas Luttrel
  20. Thomas Mack
  21. Houston C. Miller
  22. Leon C. Miller
  23. John C. McKamy
  24. Andrew McCamy
  25. William McCamy
  26. Sampson McClain
  27. James McKamy
  28. J. Clay McKlin
  29. Levi McKlin
  30. Thomas Melford
  31. James W. Martin
  32. Dan Martin
  33. Thorton McGhee
  34. B. M. McGhee
  35. William Murray
  36. Oscar Murray
  37. James P. Massengill
  38. Nicholas Massengill Jr.
  39. James E. McDonald
  40. William Morgan
  41. David P. O'Dell
  42. Charles R. Orben Jr.
  43. Hillery C. Pitman
  44. W. Frank Pitman
  45. J. Taylor Pratt
  46. Thomas Prince
  47. Robert Price
  48. Robert M. Rhea
  49. John Redick
  50. Oscar Reynolds
  51. William Reynolds
  52. J. Franklin Reynolds
  53. Andrew J. Reynolds
  54. Levi Riggs
  55. Roy Riggs
  56. Porter Roberson
  57. Walter Roberts
  58. William H. Roberts
  59. Edgar Sorrells
  60. David H. Stansberry
  61. Lewis Stansberry
  1. John "Red" Smith
  2. Forrest Smith
  3. Robert Smith
  4. R. H. Smith
  5. Edward Smiddy
  6. Joseph Smiddy
  7. Andrew Stooksberry
  8. Charles R. Seivers
  9. Alex B. Scott
  10. Jacob Sharp
  11. Roscoe Sharp
  12. Benjamin Sharp
  13. Alex Sharp
  14. Frank Sharp
  15. James D. Strickland
  16. William H. Slover
  17. John B. Slover
  18. Samuel H. Slover
  19. James R. Slovor
  20. Samuel Logan Slover
  21. William Spears
  22. Milburn Turner
  23. Jacob L. Vowell
  24. Elbert Vowell
  25. Bannister Vowell
  26. George Vowell
  27. William H. Vowell
  28. Levi Vowell
  29. Charles Vallalay
  30. Chesley V.Vandergriff
  31. James Vandergriff
  32. Andrew Woods
  33. Charles H. Woods
  34. Joel Woods
  35. John Woods
  36. John M. White
  37. Elijah M. Weaver
  38. Sam Weaver
  39. Marion Wilson
  40. R. C. Wilson
  41. Ernest Wilson
  42. Huston M. Webb
  43. Eli Webb
  44. W. K. Webb
  45. Conda Webb
  46. William J. Webb
  47. James R. Whitton
  48. Henry Whitton
  49. John Webber
  50. Rufus Webber
  51. Chas. A. Wallace
  52. John C. Wallace
  53. W. Earnest Wallace
  54. W. G. Wallace
  55. William E. Wallace
  56. William Henry Wallace
  57. James H. Wallace
  58. William Witt
  59. Marvin J. Witt
  60. James R. Wallace
  61. Joseph Yett




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