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Coal Creek, TN Fraterville Mine Disaster, May 1902 - Not a Man Escapes Death

The news of the disaster spread quickly and the scenes at the mouth of the mine while the workers were within was beyond description. Business was suspended in Cola Creek and all its mines as soon as the news became known, and men, women and children gathered around the Fraterville entrance. Women whose husbands and sons were within were wild with grief.

NOT ONE FOUND ALIVE.
All day long the rescuers toiled at the slate obstruction, and not until 5 o’clock did they force an entrance through it. Up to that hour only five dead bodies had been recovered and hope was still high that many miners within were safe.

The hopes of the living were doomed, however, for when once the rescuers had entered and proceeded, they walked along one continuous tomb of death. There was not a sign of life. Every man had perished, the believed, although it will be early in the morning before all the rooms can be entered.

Eight dead bodies were first recovered, and these were sent to Coal Creek. Twenty-six were soon found. They were disfigured beyond identification, and each corpse, as it was borne form the mouth of the great tomb, was surrounded by eager crowds of relatives of the men who had been stricken down.

The mine was not on fire, except in remote portions, and all the bodies will perhaps be reached by daylight.

LIST OF THE VICTIMS.
A partial list of the victims, scarcely one-third, follows:

GEORGE AIKENS, mine foreman, head blown off.
JAMES HIGHTOWER.
ROBERT SMITH.
ROBERT PRICE.
JAMES SLOVER.
WILLIAM PRICE.
ROSCOE BRADLEY.
WILLIAM BRADLEY.
THORNTON M’GHEE.
CHAS. VANDEGRIT.
W. J. EVANS.
CHARLES BROOKS.
OSCAR MURRAY.
WILLIAM MURRAY.
GEORGE AIKENS.
JAMES WHITTEN,
TEN-YEAR-OLD SON.
ED SORFREL,
15-YEAR OLD SON.
JOHN AIKENS,
TWO SONS.
JAMES STRICKLAND.
PETER CHILDRESS.
WM. CHILDRESS.
JOHN CHILDRESS.
JAMES CHILDRESS.

Continued

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