Briceville School History Field Trip
4th and 5th graders
Eisteddfod Literary Competition
Briceville and Lake City Elementary Schools
19 May 2005

See photos at end of page

Briceville students have been exploring their Welsh roots.  They have sister-schools in Carmarthenshire, Wales, and have been learning about modern Welsh customs and those of the Coal Creek miners.  In the tradition of the Welsh miners, they wrote essays and poems about them to enter in the 2005 Coal Creek Eisteddfod Literary Competition

Tennessee Militia before they were
captured by miners at the Battle of
Tennessee Hollow and marched
to the train depot in Coal Creek

During their annual history field trip on 19 May 2005, the 103rd anniversary of the Fraterville Mine explosion, students visited sites where historical events that involved the Welsh miners of Coal Creek occurred. 
We traveled to Tennessee Hollow where the old convict stockade was located.  At the site of the Tennessee Mine camp and stockade, students re-enacted the July 20, 1891, Battle of Tennessee Hollow that started the Coal Creek War.  On that day, a delegation of miners approached the stockade, suggesting that the Tennessee Militia and convicts surrender.  When the militiamen came out of the stockade to arrest the delegation, one of the miners waved his bandana and 2500 miners stormed the stockade from the surrounding woods, encircling the soldiers.


Barry shows the students how the
miner waved his bandana to get the
2500 miners to storm the stockade

Students gather where the old
Coal Creek train depot once stood

We drove to the old Coal Creek train depot in Lake City where students re-enacted the miners marching the Tennessee Militia and convicts to the depot and loading them onto the train to Knoxville.  When the miners escorted the captured soldiers and convicts along the railroad tracks from Tennessee Hollow to the Coal Creek train depot on July 20, 1891, local women distributed food to all of them along the way.     
We then drove to Leach Cemetery.  Headstones of the Welsh miners of Coal Creek in Leach Cemetery show that they emigrated from Carmarthen, St. Brides, Cardiganshire, Kidwelly, and Blaenavon, Wales.  Carmarthen and Kidwelly are located in the county of Carmarthenshire, as are Briceville’s sister-schools.  The award ceremony for the Coal Creek Eisteddfod Literary Competition was held in Leach Cemetery as part of the dedication ceremony for Fraterville Miners’ Circle being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Descendents of the Fraterville miners attended the dedication and enjoyed participating in an authentic ceremony like the ones the Welsh miners of Coal Creek participated in during the 1890 Knoxville eisteddfod and the 1891 Chattanooga eisteddfod.  Documents show that the Welsh miners from Coal Creek and nine other states participated in literary and musical competitions at those cultural festivals.  The judge announced the winners dressed as an ancient Welsh druid.  When he drew his ceremonial sword, participants didn't know if the judge would honor the winners or lop off their heads.  In the Welsh tradition the crowd yelled, “PEACE”, to guide the judge’s decision.

Winners of the Coal Creek
Eisteddfod Literary Competition
were selected by a Welsh druid
at Fraterville Miners’ Circle

 

We then drove to Cracker Barrel for lunch and then returned to the school after lunch. 
Students gather in Tennessee Hollow where the old convict stockade was located during the Coal Creek war of 1891--1892:
Students at Blue Hole in Tennessee Hollow.  The clearing to the right in the background is where the train tracks used to be located that led to Minersville.
Barry and students at Tennessee Hollow with the mouth of Nunn Hollow behind them.
We gather at the location of the old Coal Creek Train Depot where much history was made during the Coal Creek War:
Barry shows the students actual photos of the miners gathered during the Coal Creek War.
 
We gathered at Fraterville Miners' Circle to mount the plaque noting its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Barry and the students measure the hole before pouring concrete in which to mount the plaque.
Michael Matlock was the grand prize winner of the Eisteddfod Literary Competition with Victoria Wright taking second place.
On Friday, May 20, we announced the winners of the Lake City Elementary School Eisteddfod Literary Competition. 
Lake City winners were:
Grand Prize:  Rachel Guthrie
Runners Up:  Courtney Harmon &
                     Ronak Patel
Barry demonstrates Eisteddfod ceremony at the Coal Creek Miners Festival.

Libby White and David James holding book "Briceville Through the Years" written by Libby's husband Gene.  David is the grandson of the Rev. John Thomas Moore.

See previous history field trips

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