Thursday, 19 May 2005

Briceville students have been exploring their Welsh roots this year.  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 are writing 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

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

During their annual history field trip on 19 May 2005, the 103rd anniversary of the Fraterville Mine explosion, students will visit sites where historical events that involved the Welsh miners of Coal Creek occurred. 



We’ll leave the school at 8:00 am and travel to Tennessee Hollow where the old convict stockade was located.  At the site of the Tennessee Mine camp and stockade, students will re-enact 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 waived his bandana and 2500 miners stormed the stockade from the surrounding woods, encircling the soldiers.

bulletAt 9:00 am, we’ll drive to the old Coal Creek train depot in Lake City where students will do a re-enactment of 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.  Coal Creek (Welsh) Miners’ Cake will be given to the students as part of the re-enactment.   
bulletAt 10:00 am, we’ll drive 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 will be 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 will also be attending the dedication and we think they would enjoy 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.  After announcing the winners of the competition, the judge dressed as an ancient Welsh druid will draw his ceremonial sword.  Participants won’t know if the judge will honor the winners or lop off their heads, so in the Welsh tradition the crowd will yell, “PEACE”, to guide the judge’s decision.
bulletAt noon, we’ll drive to Cracker Barrel for lunch and then return to the school after lunch. 
Briceville's first graders will decorate the sword to be used during the May 19th ceremony for the Coal Creek Eisteddfod Literary Competition

Click on the images below to see Barry dressed as a Welsh Druid explaining the process of the Eisteddfod festival to the students and see if you can tell how excited they are to get to decorate the sword!


See decorated sword

For more information, contact Carol Moore at 865-584-0344 or

Directions to Briceville School:

 From Knoxville:


 Take I-75 North to exit 128 Lake City


 From Exit 128 ramp, turn right on Norris Freeway


 Go to first traffic light and turn left on Highway 25W


 See traffic light past Lake City Library and Community Center. (ShopRite grocery store is on right at light)  Turn right onto Hwy 116 at light.   Briceville is 3.5 miles down Hwy 116.  You will come out at intersection right in front of school

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