9 December 2002

On a cold, crisp, sunny day in the Coal Creek Watershed, Ms. Carroll's fourth grade class from Briceville School honored the 85 men and boys who perished in the Cross Mountain Mine Disaster on the 91st anniversary of the explosion.  They learned how five men were rescued 58 hours after the explosion by engineers and apparatus crews from the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Cross Mountain was the first successful mine rescue led by a U.S. government agency.  The class learned how mine rescue techniques that started at Cross Mountain culminated last summer in the successful rescue of Pennsylvania miners led by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.  The Clinton Courier News covered the history lesson along with the TV crew from Knoxville's Channel 10 NBC/WBIR's "Live at Five" reporter Kay Watson and Cameraman Scott Liston.  Singers/musicians Tony Thomas and Linda Gunderson performed their special mountain music that tells the story of the rich coal mining history of the watershed, which includes the Coal Creek War, the Fraterville Mine Disaster of 1902, and the Cross Mountain disaster of 1911.  Special guests also included Anderson County Tourism Director Stephanie Ailey and Tony's wife Patsy.  Mark Penland, from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, attended and presented the 2002 Aquatic Resource Preservation Award to the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation on this day.

Click on images below for some photos that show how these students
learn that history can be re-lived right outside their school.

Fourth grade class

Cameraman Scott Liston films the day

Tony Thomas and Linda Gunderson teach history through their music

Barry Thacker shows a miner's farewell message to students that was written on a barricade wall

Students study a model that shows the layers of a mountain and how
coal is mined

Students settle in on the hillside at Briceville Church cemetery for part of the history lesson

Top of large tree that was felled during recent tornados barely missed the headstone of miner Eugene Ault

View from back of historic Briceville Church overlooking cemetery and Walden Ridge

Thacker and reporter Kay Watson steady the headstone while students clean where Ault's farewell message is engraved
on his headstone

Cameraman Liston films while students scrub headstone

Sarah reads farewell message of Eugene Ault with his headstone in foreground: 

"Dear Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, I guess I come to die.  Well, I started out and come to the side track and Alonzo Wood is with me.  Air is not much now.  Well, all be good and I aim to pray to God to save me and all of you.  Tell Clarence to wear out my clothes, give him my trunk.  I guess I'll never be with you any more.  So goodbye.   Give them all my love. Give Bessie Robbins a stickpin of mine. Tell her goodbye."

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