Some 121 years after the Coal Creek War broke out, Tennessee has officially declared an end to hostilities. A "peace treaty" to end the labor uprising was signed earlier this month at Fort Anderson, where Tennessee National Guardsmen once battled striking coal miners enraged by the use of convict labor to replace free workers, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports. Now, little remains of the fort—newly added to the National Register of Historic Places—beyond the trenches that were constructed to safeguard the guardsmen during the Coal Creek War, which had never been officially ended.
At least 27 miners were killed and hundreds more arrested during the insurrection, which led to an end of the state's convict-leasing system. Students from the nearby Briceville Elementary School played home-made instruments as the treaty was signed on May 17. "This is a really great way to involve young people in history," said an attending Republican state senator, who donned a green bandana like those worn by the striking miners. (Read more Tennessee stories.)