This is the final resting place for many of the victims of the worst mining disaster in Tennessee history, known as the Fraterville Mine Disaster of 1902. This cemetery is a stop on the Coal Creek Mining Motor Discovery Trail, a self-guided driving route through the area’s historic mining sites. Due to its abundance of natural resources, this Appalachian region once produced most of the nation’s coal. In the late 1800s, new rail lines meant new coal mines near Coal Creek (later Lake City). With opportunity soon came tragedy: the worst mining disaster in Tennessee history occurred on May 19, 1902. An unexplained explosion trapped the men in the mines. Most died instantly, and the trapped miners who survived the initial explosion scribed their epitaphs and farewell wishes into the walls of the cave. Some of the inscriptions were later transferred to the headstones of the miners’ graves, found at Longfield Cemetery and others nearby.
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