Fraterville Miners' Circle at Leach Cemetery in Lake City (Formerly the town of Coal Creek)

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fraterville Miners' Circle is located in Leach Cemetery in Lake City, TN (formerly the town of Coal Creek). 

On May 19, 1902, there was an explosion in the Fraterville Mine.  All 216 men and boys in the mine on that Monday morning perished.   Fraterville Mine Disaster:  www.coalcreekaml.com/Legacy4.htm

Eighty-nine of the Fraterville miners were buried in concentric circles in the Miners’ Circle at Leach Cemetery in Coal Creek, Tennessee.  The town changed its name to Lake City when the Tennessee Valley Authority built Norris Dam in the 1930s.  A monument at the center of the Miners’ Circle bears the names of 184 miners.  The youngest miner buried in the circle was 12-year old Henry Whitton and the oldest was 55-year old William H. Slover. 

184 of the 216 names are listed on this monument.  Some of those names were left off because we don’t know them.  Itinerant miners died in the disaster without anyone knowing their names.  

These men and boys are buried in local cemeteries.  Some have elaborate tombstones bearing their farewell messages, like those of John Hendren and James Elliott.  Others are marked by simple fieldstones, like those of the itinerant miners who are buried beside the railroad siding in Fraterville.  Many contain the inscription "Gone But Not Forgotten".

Some contemporary descriptions of the  Coal Creek miners call them “poor, illiterate, mistreated, and abused”.  If they were so poor, how did they afford these elaborate headstones and how could many of them own their own homes and land as they did?  If they were illiterate, how did they write all those farewell messages before suffocating after the mine disasters?  If they were mistreated and abused, and if being a miner was such a terrible job, then why did they literally go to war to protect their jobs during the Coal Creek War?

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 36.208972 Longitude: -84.140076 Elevation: 1042 ft

Hours Open

Daylight

Seasons Open

Year-round

Time Period Represented

1902

Visitor Fees

Free, but donations are accepted for maintenance of cemetery

How to Get There

Take exit 128 for U.S. 441 toward Lake City go 0.2 mi

Turn right onto US-441 N/Norris Fwy About 2 mins go 0.4 mi 

Turn left onto TN-9 E/US-25W S/N Main St Continue to follow TN-9 E/US-25W S About 4 mins go 2.0 mi

Turn left onto New Clear Branch Rd About 2 mins go 0.4 mi

Turn left go 0.2 mi

Turn left Destination will be on the right go 89 ft 

Cemetery is behind Clear Branch Baptist Church

Leach Cemetery Lake City, TN 37769‎

Comments

My grandparents are Charles and Gertrude Slover.They are buried in Leach Cemetery. I have been trying to find their graves. Can you please help me? My great great great uncle was William Slover. He was one of the miners. I’m hoping you cCampbell

gertrude campbell email campbellgertrude79@yahoo.com, 1/18/2012

An inventory of those buried in Leach Cemetery can be found at http://files.usgwarchives.net/tn/anderson/cemeteries/leach.txt. It lists Charles Roscoe Slover and William H. Slover, but no Gertrude Slover. We will be hosting a tour on Saturday, May 19, 2012, the 110th anniversary of the Fraterville Mine explosion where we will visit Leach Cemetery. We will include you on our email distribution list for details. If you attend, you can meet other Slover descendants and share family information with them.

Carol Moore, 1/18/2012

I took an unexpected turn and came upon the miners circle at dark. I stopped to say a prayer for the miners and their families. Gone but not forgotten.

gloria branzei, 4/27/2013

My husband and I was there on 10-18-2015 and the cemetary is in bad shape very few of the graves could be seen the rest was grown up and you can't even get to the grave sites, I don't know who is suppose to be taking care the cemetery but they're not doing to good of a job.

Melissa Winebrenner, 10/19/2015

Melissa, are you sure you are talking about Leach Cemetery?

Carol moore, 10/19/2015

i love leach cemetery my mammaw and papaw were buried there rip

Meagan Kennedy 2/23 /2017, 2/23/2017

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