PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL SEARCH FOR
MINERS' DESCENDANTS

FREE
CROSS MOUNTAIN
MINE DISASTER TOUR IN
BRICEVILLE, TENNESSEE

ACTIVITIES PLANNED FOR
DESCENDANTS OF
CROSS MOUNTAIN MINERS
AND THE PUBLIC
ON SATURDAY,
15 OCTOBER 2005

TOUR -- 9:00 a.m. to Noon
CONCERT -- 2:00 until 4:00

RAIN OR SHINE!!

Monument at
Cross Mountain Miners' Circle
in Briceville, Tennessee

For the past several years, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation has sponsored tours of sites associated with the 1902 Fraterville Mine disaster where 216 men and boys died.  As one descendant recently said, “This has opened up our past for us.  Now we know our family”. 

Descendants of miners killed or rescued in the 1911 Cross Mountain Mine disaster in Briceville have asked, “Hey, what about us?  When do we get a tour of Cross Mountain Mine disaster sites?” 

In response to those requests, the Foundation will sponsor a walking tour of sites associated with the 1911 Cross Mountain Mine disaster on Saturday, 15 October 2005, from 9:00 am until noon.  From Briceville Elementary School, we will hike to Cross Mountain Miners’ Circle, Briceville Cemetery, the abandoned Cross Mountain Mine portal, and then back to Briceville School (2.5 miles roundtrip along roads).   Shuttles will be available for folks who cannot walk to the cemeteries and mine portal.

Friends and relatives awaiting news
of the rescue efforts after the
Cross  Mountain Mine explosion
in Briceville, Tennessee
on December 9, 1911

Eugene Ault and Alonzo Wood wrote
farewell messages on a barricade
wall before they suffocated in
the Cross Mountain Mine

Increased public awareness from disasters like Fraterville resulted in the formation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910 with a mandate from Congress to improve mine safety. On 9 December 1911, disaster struck Coal Creek again when the Cross Mountain Mine exploded.  Five miners were rescued by engineers and apparatus crews from the newly formed Bureau of Mines, but 84 perished.  Some were sons and nephews of miners killed at Fraterville in 1902.  Just as they did after the Fraterville explosion, two Cross Mountain miners left farewell messages before they suffocated.

Cross Mountain was one of the first successful rescue operations led by the Bureau of Mines. That success led to increased funding and advances which continued us down the long road toward safer working conditions for miners today.  In 1911, 2,656 miners lost their lives in the Nation's coal mines.  Last year, 28 miners lost their lives while mining over a billion tons of coal that provided over 50% of the electricity generated in the U.S.

If you are a descendant of a Cross Mountain miner (see list of miners), or you just want to learn more about Coal Creek history, meet us at Briceville Elementary School, located 4 miles southwest of Lake City on Highway 116, at 9:00 am on Saturday, 15 October 2005, to begin the walking tour.  Lake City (formerly the town of Coal Creek) is located off Exits 128 and 129 of I-75.

From 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm, a concert organized by Tony Thomas and the Mystery Mountain Boys, will be held at Briceville Community (Methodist) Church to raise money for its restoration.  Briceville Church was built in 1888 by immigrant Welsh coal miners and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The activities are all free, but donations will be accepted to restore the church.  Attendees will be required to sign a hold-harmless agreement before accompanying us on the tour.


Tony Thomas and the Mystery Mountain Boys and other groups will perform
at a concert from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m.
to raise funds for the restoration of
 historic Briceville Church

SEARCH FOR DESCENDANTS:
If you are a descendant of a
Cross Mountain Miner,
please contact us at
clmoore@geoe.com
 

Directions to Briceville School from Knoxville:

bulletTake I-75 North to exit 128 Lake City
bulletFrom Exit 128 ramp, turn right on Norris Freeway
bulletGo to first traffic light and turn left on Highway 25W
bulletSee traffic light past Lake City Library and Community Center. (ShopRite grocery store is on right at light) Turn right onto Hwy 116 at light. Briceville is 3.5 miles down Hwy 116. You will come out at intersection right in front of school

For details and to RSVP, contact Carol Moore at (865) 584-0344 or clmoore@geoe.com.  Information on the history of Coal Creek, and the sites to be visited on the walking tour, can be found at www.coalcreekaml.com.

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