MORGAN COUNTY, TENNESSEE
MINES, MINE DISASTERS AND OIL WELLS

Information gleaned from past issues of the
MORGAN COUNTY PRESS AND MORGAN COUNTY NEWS
 AND
OTHER PLACES


A LINK to HISTORY OF THE COAL CREEK WATERSHED
a page with a lot of information about different mines and mine disasters
also some photos of various places in the area

 
 

January 1916 
     Twelve miners were killed in an explosion of mine #3 of the Dar Dour Coal & Coke Co. 
at Catoosa.  Seventy Five men were in the mines. All escaped except those killed outright. 
----- 
    A new coal mine enterprise has been launched at Coalfield. H. B. Bowling & Co. have 
leased the J. B. Webster mines and will begin operations as soon as weather permits. 



August, 1916 
    James T. BUCHANAN, a miner about 30 years of age from Dayton was killed in the 
Conger Mines Wednesday by falling slate.  He had worked here only two days.  The bosy 
was prepared for burial and sent to Dayton for interment.  He leaves a wife and two 
children. 

     Mr. R. A. DAVIS, Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court went over to Petros 
Saturday and sold the property of the Petros Coal & Mining Co. under a decree issued 
by the court.  The property brought $5000 and was purchased by James E. RHODES, 
trustee. One fifth of the purchase price was paid into court at the close of the sale.  This is 
a new mine with fine steam coal. 

     The Fodder Stack and Coal Company was organized at Petros Monday for the 
purpose of taking over the property of the Petros Coal Mining Company, purchased bat 
the  Court sale last week by J.E. RHODES, Trustee.  The company was organized with 
J.E. RHODES President, and general manager, J. M. DAVIS vice president, Frank
SCHUBERT treasurer and C.H. DAVIS secretary. The mine will be operated under the 
management of J. E. RHODES with A. W. EVANS as mine supt. This is practically a new 
mine and some fine rich veins have been opened.  The present output is seven cars per day 
which will be materially increased in the near future. 



October 12, 1916 
Squire ADCOCK’S court was the scene Tuesday of a very exciting lawsuit, which as to 
nature is perhaps not duplicated in the court procedure of the county.  Harry GOUGE, 
who lives near here, was arraigned on the charge of a very grave statutory offence.  The 
alleged victim and accuser was little miss Gertrude McDANIEL, age 13 years.  The crime 
is said to have been committed Saturday evening week near the Prudential Mines. 
Gouge was arrested by Constable W.H. WARD and brought before Equires ADCOCK 
and WEBSTER who after hearing the evidence of the little girl and  Gouge’s father, 
committed the accused to jail until the next term of Circuit Court at Wartburg.  The State 
was represented by Harvey Ward and the defendent by J.M. DAVIS and C.C.JACKSON 

December 11th term of Criminal and Law Court:

State vs. HarveyGouch, rape, acquitted of rape and jung jury on age of consent.
(Morgan County Press, 12/21/1916)



October 16, 1916 
   The strike of the miners at the Coalfield Coal Co. Mines was settled satisfactorily top 
the miners, all their demands being granted.  They now get 45 and 50 cents per ton instead 
of 40 cents as hertofore. 


October 19, 1916 
   The Barbour Coal & Coke Co. are opening three new mines between here and Nemo. 
They are also building two new camps to accomodate the miners.  The mines are off the 
line of the M & F RR and the Railroad company have quite a large crew at work grading 
branch lines out to the mines. 


November 2, 1916 
    Petition in bankruptcy was filed in the United States District Court at Knoxville, 
October 26, 1916, by the Petros Coal Company.  The unsecured indebtedness was 
reported at $36,230.85, with assets orf $31,377.  Of the indebtedness, $32,000 is reported 
as due.  Henry M WINSLOW, treasurer, said to represent money loaned.  The company’s 
plant is located at Petros. 


SPECIAL 
  W.H. Anderson of the 6th District of Morgan County was in Sunbright on Monday of 
the week and informed your correspondent that he had located a large lake of oil 
underlying his farm and adjoining property.  He asserts the lake is from four to six feet 
deep and over half a mile square and lies only 417 feet below the surface.  This property 
joins the Boyl  (Boyle?) farm recently purchased by Judge Bales and others of Jefferson 
City and lays about five miles from Sunbright. 



December, 1917 
A MINE DISASTER 
--- 
ALMOST AT OUR DOOR 
--- 
Eleven Miners Killed at Catoosa 
--- 
   As we go to press a report has reached us of one of the most horrible 
calamities that has ever happened in  Morgan County at Catoosa. 
   An explosion in the Coal mines at that place occured at 4 o’clock Wednesday 
evening in which eleven miners were killed instantly.  From what we can learn the 
explosion was caused by a blast, causing a dust explosion. 
   The following is a list of those killed: 
 Mat Hester 
 Ed East 
 Chas. Monday 
 Walter Shelton 
 Mr. Stone 
 Mr. Smith 
 Matt Mullins 
   We were unable to learn the names of the other four.Dr. Byrd was summoned to 
Catoosa. 
------------- 
(Editor’s note: The following information has been submitted by Hugh Hyde: )

Information listing those killed in a Catoosa coal mine explosion in December of 1917. 
The list only contained 7 names.  I believe I have found the complete list of 11 miners 
killed.  I obtained the list from the Tennessee Death Index for 1914 - 1917. 
 

W. W. Bryant............................age 52 ......Death Index Record # 557 
O. J. Buttram .............................age 35.......Death Index Record # 562 
Will Carter..................................age 47.......Death Index Record # 560 
         (My Maternal Grandfather) 
Clarence Cecil Daugherty .......age 21..... Death Index Recor # 569 
Ed East........................................age 26......Death Index Record # 564 
Joe Hester..................................age 38......Death Index Record # 561 
Mat Hester................................age 40.......Death Index Record # 567 
Alex Mann.................................age not given....Death Index Record # 410 
Chas Monday............................age 30.....Death Index Record # 563 
Robert Moore............................age 30......Death Index Record # 440 
Matt Mullins..............................age 30.....Death Index Record # 558 
 

(comments and additions welcome)



December, 1954 

  According to Mr. Edgar Cheeley, Mine Supt., the Mallan-Ellison Coal Corp. will 
suspend operation Dec. 31, 1954. 
  This is Morgan County’s largest industry and according to Mr. Cheeley, no plans to 
continue operation have been made.  At peak employment , the mine worked around 157 
men and had an annual payroll of about $750,000.00.  The mines are located at the head 
of Emory River in the Ninth Civil District of Morgan County.  Mr. Cheeley stated that if 
they could just get fifty cents more on the ton, they could still operate. 
[Morgan County News dated, 12/23/1954] 



June 29, 1961
TWO MORGAN COUNTY MINERS INJURED 
IN CAVE-IN OF FORK MOUNTAIN MINE 
---------- 
1 MINER STILL EMTOMBED 
RESCUE WORK CONTINUES 
---------- 
   Three of the eight man crew, THURMAN CARROLL, BILL ROSE and GEO. E. ERWIN who with his father, RAYMOND ERWIN, operated the mine, escaped with only minor injuries, and two, CLAUDE WOODS and his son, ROBERT WOODS, were rescued. 
CLAUDE WOODS, 46 received a pelvic injury and his son ROBERT, age 19, could be rescued only after his right arm had been amputated. 
   The bodies of Charles Kennedy, 28 and Herley Carroll, 18 were later recovered.  The body of Charles Seiber was recovered about 8 days later. 


A link to a complete book-on line 

SEVENTY YEARS IN THE COAL MINES 
 By Phillip Francis 

An autobiography about my great grandfather's  life in and around Jellico, LaFollette, and Knoxville and includes a description of entering the Fraterville Mine following the disastrous explosion of 1902.  I would love to hear from people who find that one or more of their ancestors is mentioned in the book.
 Bailey Francis



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