Lake City Middle School
Mining History &
Ecology Field Trip

 11 May 2011

Lake City Middle School 7th graders
plant American chestnuts on Coal Creek
property in Beech Grove area

American chestnuts
planted on Coal Creek
property at Beech Grove

Juanita Melton’s 7th grade class grew American chestnut seedlings in their classroom this spring and then planted them at a reclaimed mine site on land owned by The Coal Creek Company.  In addition to potted seedlings, students also planted bare-root American chestnut seedlings.  The students learned first-hand about the efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation and the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative to restore the American chestnut on reclaimed mined land as described at this link:  CLICK HERE

After the planting event, students visited Briceville Church and Cemetery, Cross Mountain Miners’ Circle, and Drummond Bridge where Dick Drummond was lynched during the Coal Creek War.  Some of Ms. Melton’s students are from Briceville and had participated in field trips to historic mine sites while at Briceville School as described at and  This trip gave them the opportunity to teach their classmates from Lake City about the rich coal mining history of the watershed.

Briceville Church
& Cemetery

At Briceville Cemetery, students saw the farewell message of Eugene Ault who died in the Cross Mountain Mine.  His farewell message says, “Dear Father, Mother, Brothers, and Sisters, I guess I come to die.  Well I started out and come to the side track and Alonzo Wood is with me.  Air is not much now.  Well, all be good and I aim to pray to God to save me and all of you.  Tell Clarence to wear out my clothes, give him my trunk.  I guess I'll never be with you any more.  So goodbye.  Give them all my love.  Give Bessie Robbins a stickpin of mine.  Tell her goodbye.”

Farewell message of Cross Mountain miner
Eugene Ault on his headstone

Students receive history lesson
inside the historic Briceville Church

One Lake City student commented, “I am a history buff, but had no idea all these
historical sites are located in my own backyard.”


So why are students wearing bandanas?  

Coal Creek miners fought the Tennessee Militia over the use of convict labor in the mines during the Coal Creek War from 1891 to 1892.  Miners wore bandanas to show they were in the miners' army.  We wear bandanas during our history field trips as the miners did during their war.


History lesson inside historic
Briceville Church built in
1888 by Welsh immigrant
coal miners

Visit to Drummond Bridge where miner Dick
Drummond was hung during the
Coal Creek War of 1891-1892

Dick Drummond
Lunch at Cracker Barrel    

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