Gone, but not forgotten


Coal Creek Scholars visit the

McClung Collection at the

East Tennessee History Center

Saturday, 8 October 2016


The scene made us cry—fifteen Coal Creek Scholars posing for a photograph on the steps of the East Tennessee History Center saying “Coal Creek” without being told, just as they did on field trips at Briceville Elementary School.  The doors didn’t open until 9:00 am, so they marched across Gay Street for a photo in front of the Tennessee Theater. 

When the doors opened, Scholars got to work researching newspaper articles from Coal Creek’s past, including the 1890 Welsh Eisteddfod in Knoxville, the Coal Creek War, the 1892 Grand Picnic in Briceville, the verdict in the trial of 15 National Guard soldiers accused of lynching Dick Drummond on Drummond Bridge, and the 1904 Gunfight at the Southern Railway Train Depot in Coal Creek.

But it wasn’t what they found that was most important.  Learning to solve a problem using critical thinking, and then doing the supporting research, is more valuable than any newspaper article discovery. 

Do you know that the original patent for the toilet paper roll showed the paper unfurling from the bottom, not the top?  That’s how you remember the way to unroll microfiche, a lesson some of the Scholars had to learn the hard way.

After finishing their research, Scholars posed beneath a portrait painted by Anna Catherine Wiley, who was born in Coal Creek in 1879.  We then took the Knoxville Trolley to Starbucks to celebrate the lessons of the day.

The research performed by the students today goes towards required Coal Creek community service to earn our scholarships as described at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/NantgloScholarship.htm

We will post the newspaper articles we found today as soon as they are available.



I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day-
And as my fingers pressed it, still,
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were past
That bit of clay was hard at last.
The form I gave it, still it bore,
And I could change that form no more.

I took a piece of living clay,
To gently fashion day by day,
Molding with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone,
It was a woman I looked upon,
That early impress still she bore,
And I could change her never more.

 (The women outnumbered the men 8 to 7, so the winners
decided the gender used in today’s poem.)


Coal Creek Scholars in attendance:

Braden, Anna
Campbell, Ian
Campbell, Samantha
Campbell, Sydney
Cox, Nathan
Foster, Benny
Foster, Sean
Harmon, Joshalyn
Jenkins, Peyton
McGhee, Amy
Phillips, Kaylee
Sellers, Hannah
VanBrackle, Natalie
Whitaker, Chad
Wilson, Isaiah

The students learned the hard way that the image
to the left is what you get if you don't unfurl
the microfiche roll from the bottom.

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