Coal Creek Scholar and Boy Scout Andy Harness
helps restore historic Longfield Cemetery

Andy Harness during his
Eagle ceremony
on 7 August 2004. 

Andy Harness and a group of volunteers assisted with the clearing of the graves surrounded by woods and overgrowth at the historic Longfield Cemetery in Anderson County, Tennessee.  Longfield Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Anderson County.  One reason it is special is because 35 of the men and boys killed in the Fraterville Mine Disaster of 1902 are buried here.

Two of the miners buried here are Jacob Vowell and Powell Harmon.  Their poignant farewell messages, published in newspapers around the world, tell the story of how they come to be buried at Longfield with their sons who also died in the mines. 

Andy Harness chose to take on the restoration and mapping of Longfield Cemetery for his Eagle Scout project.  He built a kiosk for the site with information on the Fraterville Mine Disaster and map out the graves of the miners buried here.  Andy and his volunteers were able to bring light to the resting place of the miners that shaped the history of this area.  Andy is preserving the past by showing respect to those who left a legacy behind.  A similar Eagle Scout project was done at Leach Cemetery, another important cemetery in the Fraterville Mine Disaster story. 

Click on image to enlarge:

Several graves of the Fraterville miners were cleared that had long been forgotten in the overgrowth.  The miners may be gone, but with Andy's hard work, they will not be forgotten.  The miners sacrifices will remain exposed for future generations to truly appreciate what their ancestors have done.
With nothing but a wheelbarrow and a rake, Andy worked diligently to help restore Longfield Cemetery. 
Andy Harness, Barry Thacker, and AmeriCorps*VISTAs Jami Brown and Nadine Medina (shown L to R) stand in front of the big pile of trees and debris that was cleared from around several graves.
Fraterville miners' headstones shown at the edge of the woods that were surrounding them before all the hard clearing work.
Before and after cleaning  photos of the shared headstone of Joel and Johnny Woods

Knoxville News Sentinel article

Clinton Courier News article

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