Miner's Circle, Rocky Top, Tennessee
Miner's Circle, Rocky Top, Tennessee | Photo Credit: Find a Grave - sheena^78

This solemn landmark stands in a historic cemetery nestled in the mountains of Tennessee. Located behind a church, it not only marks the final resting place of 184 miners who were tragically killed in one of the worst mining disasters to ever happen in America, but is dedicated in their honor to remember the loss that occurred. Surrounding the towering monument at the center of Miner’s Circle are the headstones of those miners who lost their lives that fateful day.


On May 19, 1902, many men and even young boys made their descent into the Fraterville Mine where they worked each day to harvest coal from deep underground. Unfortunately, just shortly after the work day started around 7:30 a.m., an explosion caused the mine to collapse and killed 190 miners instantly.

A remaining 26 miners were able to barricade themselves off from where the explosion took place. Those who were outside the mine, mostly wives and children, worked desperately to try to remove the debris to get into the mine, but the 26 men who survived the explosion eventually died as a result of lack of oxygen.

The mine explosion was determined to be the result of a build-up of leaked methane gas, which likely came from an adjacent ventilated mine. The Fraterville Mine Disaster is known for being one of the worst mining disasters in American history. The event left 100’s of women widows and over 1,000 children without fathers. The disaster killed all but 3 men in the town.

Plan Your Visit

The Miner’s Circle is a large monument and surrounding headstones that contains the graves of 184 out of the 216 miners who lost their life at Fraterville Mine.

The monument and circle is located in Leach Cemetery behind Clear Branch Baptist Church. It is located at 1030 New Clear Branch Road in Rocky Top, Tennessee.

There are rumors that the site is haunted as strange occurrences have been reported by numerous visitors.

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