Restoration of Fort Anderson on
Militia Hill by Coal Creek Scholars

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Cold morning, committed students,
singing, aggravating, fun!  Easy way to
earn a scholarship while preserving
historic Militia Hill!


While most students stayed in bed during the season’s first snow, eight Coal Creek Scholars and other volunteers continued the on-going restoration work at Fort Anderson on Militia Hill on Saturday, 1, November 2014.

Each of the students had been there before as part of their annual history field trip at Briceville School.  Some even helped plant American chestnuts there, while others had helped install the eleven historical markers around the property as shown at and, so they knew the historical significance of the site.

 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.

 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.

Soldiers and convicts then cut trees on Militia Hill in January 1892 to build Fort Anderson as the base of operations for the Tennessee National Guard to fight miners who opposed using convicts in Tennessee coal mines during the Coal Creek War.  When attacked by miners, the Tennessee Militia would fire mud-filled cans through the Wye Gap in Walden Ridge into the town of Coal Creek to restore order.


The fort was abandoned in late 1893 when 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.





Charles Cox and his sons cut trees from Militia Hill to restore the view into the town of Coal Creek… and what a view it is. The rest of the Scholars installed weed mat and mulch in the American chestnut grove at the parking lot. 

Coal Creek Scholars participating in the event included:

Nathan Cox
Nick Cox
Emily Phillips
Kim Phillips
Tallen Roldan
Hannah Sellers
Holley Smith
Nathan Smith

Other volunteers included:

Charles Cox
Lisa Cox
Kaylin McCabe
Carol Moore
Barry Thacker, PE   


L to R: Nathan Smith, Nick Cox, Charles Cox & Lisa Cox
Charles Cox and sons Nick and Nathan, along with
Nathan Smith removed trees that opened up the view
from Militia Hill into the town of Coal Creek

View from Militia Hill into the town of Coal Creek

Successfully mulched area!

Beautiful finished product!

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