More than 100 years after the largest mining disaster in Tennessee history, descendants of the victims are making historic donations.
On May 19, 1902, an explosion in the Great Fraterville Mine killed 216 boys and men. Two of those men were Powell Harmon and David Dezern, according to Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc.
Harmon's great-granddaughter, Barb Titus, is donating Harmon's watch to an exhibit about the explosion at the Museum of East Tennessee History today.
Sisters Louise Nelson and Marie Morts, who are the granddaughters of Dezern, are donating his oil head lamp to the same exhibit.
Nelson says the lamp is the only thing her family had to remember her grandfather by and passed it down through generations. She now hopes the artifact will be educational to the people who see it.
"I hope that they can see what used to be about how difficult it was. Times were hard and families worked in the mines in order to keep going," Nelson says.
The watch and the lamp will be the first original artifacts from the tragic event in the Fraterville Mine Explosion exhibit.