Now, all we need is a cannon...

First work day to restore and preserve historic Coal Creek Militia Hill

UPDATE!!  See photos of work completed to date on parking area at bottom of this page.

Soldiers cut trees on Militia Hill in 1892 to build Fort Anderson as a base to fight miners who opposed using convicts in Tennessee coal mines during the Coal Creek War.  When attacked, the Tennessee Militia would fire mud-filled cans into the town of Coal Creek to restore order.

On Saturday, April 25, 2009, volunteers cut trees from Militia Hill to the town of Coal Creek (now Lake City) to restore the view… and what a view it is.  In addition to re-establishing the line of fire into town, debris was removed from the trenches surrounding the site and trash was collected.

Volunteers learned how convicts were first brought to Coal Creek in 1877 to replace striking Welsh miners in the Wye Community.  More Coal Creek miners lost their jobs in 1891 when convicts were brought to mines in Briceville.  Coal Creek miners met with Governor Buck Buchanan about losing their jobs, but were told that Tennessee had a revenue problem and needed the convict lease system. 

Restored line of fire into the town
of Coal Creek (now Lake City)
from Fort Anderson on Militia Hill

In the trenches...Volunteers from our first work
day to restore Fort Anderson on Militia Hill

Elected officials offered no help, so the Coal Creek miners captured guards and convicts, put them on trains to Knoxville, and burned convict stockades.  They sent a telegram to the Governor, informing him that convicts would not be allowed in Coal Creek.

In retaliation, troops fired on Coal Creek, signaling the start of the Coal Creek War. The fort was abandoned in late 1893 when the new Governor, Peter Turney, fulfilled a campaign promise and the Tennessee Legislature appropriated funds to build Brushy Mountain State Prison, Coal Mine, and Coke Ovens, thus ending the convict lease system in Tennessee.

The next step in the restoration is to build a parking area to the west of Fort Anderson and thin small trees and pines from the site.  After informational kiosks are installed, we will be ready to mount a cannon at the former artillery position of the Tennessee Militia. 

Special thanks to Mark Morgan (and his chainsaw!) from Norris Dam State Park, Dan Shultz and his guys from the Genesis Recovery Center, volunteer Bill Graves (an Oak Ridge history teacher, whose family the Bradens and Duncans were part of Coal Creek history), and Coal Creek Scholars: Kyle Leinart, and Tyler and Ryan Vandergriff.


Atkins, Adam
Cooper, Jeff
Gill, Michael
Graves, Bill
Leinart, Kyle
Lynch, Trevor (Scrubber)
Moore, Carol
Morgan, Mark
Shultz, Dan
Taylor, Lance
Thacker, Barry
Vandergriff, Tyler
Vandergriff, Ryan
White, Jarett
Whitman, Todd

Former artillery position of the
Tennessee Militia at Fort Anderson

Click on images  below to view more photos:

If you know where we can get a cannon,
please let us know at!!

For more info on the Genesis Recovery Center, visit

Photos of public parking area cleared October 2009:

Click on images to enlarge


Clearing of area

Parking area covered
with crushed stone

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