Harlan County Hightowers

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Fraterville Tn. Explosion

The Fraterville Mine disaster was a famous mining disaster in the United States.

On May 19, 1902, at 7:30 a.m., an explosion took place at the Fraterville Mine, a coal mine located between the towns of Coal Creek and Briceville, Tennessee. All 216 miners inside the mine lost their lives. Many miners were killed instantly by the explosion, while others attempted to stay alive by barricading themselves in side passages or going deeper into the mine. The small village of Fraterville located near the mine was devastated, with only three adult males surviving in the town after the disaster. Miners trapped inside left notes for their families. One of these notes indicated that as late as 2:25 p.m. some miners were still alive. Rescue efforts proceeded slowly because of the need to vent the mine of toxic fumes created by the explosion. All of the miners eventually succumbed to suffocation or by inhaling toxic fumes before the rescuers could reach them. Many of the deceased miners' bodies were not removed until four days later.

The cause of the explosion was a matter of controversy. Some suggested the cause was a shutdown of the mine's ventilation system over the previous weekend, which resulted in a dangerous build-up of methane gas. However, ventilation furnace operator Tip Hightower was acquitted of negligence. According to the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, the most likely cause of the explosion was methane gas leaking from Knoxville Iron and Coal Company Mine No. 1, a neighboring abandoned mine that had been intercepted the previous year. [1] Eighty-nine of the deceased miners are buried in a circle in Leach Cemetery on U.S. 441 just east of Lake City. A monument at the center of the circle bears the names of all 184 miners who were identified. On May 19, 2005, the Miner's Circle in Leach Cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Tipton's son James P Hightower was killed . Tipton's brother Leander, his son Bart Hightower was killed. There was another Hightower killed, Git , can't  finf  his relationship yet..

Hightower’s that were killed in the Fraterville Mine explosion              

Monday May 19, 1902 7:30 am

James P. Hightower, son of Tipton Hightower.

Bart Hightower, son of Leander Hightower.                                                            

Charles Brooks son of Richard Brooks and Margaret Hightower.                                                    

John C McKamey and three sons, James, William and Andrew McKameyJohn was the husband of Edith Ida Hightower.

         Git Hightower, Can’t find him as of yet.