Fraterville Miners' Memorial Highway
Dedication and Unveiling Ceremony
Friday, 19 May 2006 -- 10:00 a.m.
(104th Anniversary of the Fraterville Mine Disaster)

Mining descendants and the public invited


Take I-75 North to exit 128 Lake City


From Exit 128 ramp, turn right on Norris Freeway


Go to first traffic light and turn left on Highway 25W


See Lake City Library and Community Center shortly thereafter on the left

Many of the headstones of the over 200 Fraterville miners contain the inscription "Gone but not forgotten".  One more effort is underway to make sure they are not forgotten.  On Friday, 19 May 2006, at 10:00 a.m., descendants of the Fraterville miners and the public are invited to an official ceremony to dedicate a section of Highway 116 in the historic Fraterville area of Anderson County and unveil the new road signs for the "Fraterville Miners Memorial Highway". Tennessee Senator Randy McNally sponsored a Senate Resolution that was passed by the 104th General Assembly in 2005 to rename this portion of Highway 116 in Anderson County.  Senator McNally will attend the ceremony along with coal miner descendants, students from Briceville School, and other dignitaries and citizens.

Photo of the
Fraterville Mine
in 1902


Click on image to enlarge

Legacy18.jpg (27799 bytes)

A portion of the farewell letter written
by Jacob Vowell before he suffocated
in the Fraterville Mine asking to be
buried with his 14-year old son
Elbert next to the grave of little Eddie


Members of the Dezern family who
lost five sons and two sons-in-law
in the mining disaster of 1902

On May 19, 1902, the mines grew still when the Fraterville Mine exploded.  The Fraterville tragedy was exacerbated by the fact that male members of entire families perished including five Dezern brothers, Peter Childress and his three sons, John McKamey and his three sons, seven Webb’s, and eight Wallace’s.  The explosion left only three adult males alive in the town of Fraterville.  Hundreds of women were widowed and about 1000 children were left without a father. One mother lost all five of her sons and two of her daughters lost their husbands. One young girl lost eight uncles in the disaster.  The youngest miner killed at Fraterville was 12 years old.
Newspapers from around the world printed the farewell messages and other accounts from the village of brothers, allowing the general public to know coal miners by name for the first time.  Increased public awareness about the dangers of early 20th century coal mining resulted in the formation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910, starting us down the long road toward safer working conditions for miners today.  In 1911, George Camp and engineers from the Bureau of Mines played key roles in the successful rescue of five miners after the Cross Mountain Mine exploded in Briceville.

Click on image to enlarge:

Fraterville widows
and children

For more information, contact Carol Moore at or 865-584-0344.

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