“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Friendsville in Blount County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

The Underground Railroad

Friendsville Quakers and Cudjo's Cave

The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 29, 2013
1. The Underground Railroad Marker
Inscription. Members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) came to Blount County in the 1790s looking for a place to worship in peace. Hardworking and industrious, opposing war and slavery, they developed the land and founded the prosperous settlements of Unity (now Unitia) and Friendsville. During the Civil War, Friendsville Quakers participated in the Underground Railroad to help conscientious objectors, Unionists, and runaway slaves flee to the North. The Friends raised money at their meetings to help slaves escape to freedom.

After the passage of the Confederate Conscription Act in 1862, Friend William J. Hackney began using a cave near his house to aid these efforts. The cave, across the creek from the meeting house, remained undetected because the entrance was beside a little-used road and was hidden by thick overgrowth. The narrow opening led to a large room that could accommodate about 50 people. A nearby spring provided water, and Hackney supplied bedding and provisions for his guests. His wife shared her husband’s faith and supported his humanitarian efforts by cooking meals and assisting the travelers.

After the Federal army occupied East Tennessee, Hackney was offered a reward for his services and a position on the staff of Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside in Knoxville. Despite assisting more than 2,000 people,
The Underground Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 29, 2013
2. The Underground Railroad Marker
Hackney refused all honors. Although Confederate soldiers confiscated the Friends’ horses, fodder, and other supplies, the pacifist farmers continued to treat both the Federals and Confederates with equal kindness.

While Burnside’s guest in Knoxville, Hackney described the cave and his work to writer John Townsend Trowbridge. Trowbridge based his popular 1863 novel, Cudjo’s Cave, on this account, and since then the Friendsville cave has been known by this name.

Escaping slaves, 1864 - Courtesy Library of Congress
Friends Meetinghouse, by John Collins, 1870 Courtesy George B. Henry Collection
John Townsend Trowbridge Courtesy Library of Congress
Cudjo’s Cave Courtesy George B. Henry Collection
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 45.674′ N, 84° 8.219′ W. Marker is in Friendsville, Tennessee, in Blount County. Marker is at the intersection of West Hill Avenue and Church Street, on the right when traveling east on West Hill Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 503 W Hill Ave, Friendsville TN 37737, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Friends Meetinghouse image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 29, 2013
3. Friends Meetinghouse
At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sam Houston American Giant Homesite (approx. 5 miles away); Samuel Henry's Station (approx. 6.8 miles away); National Campground (approx. 7 miles away); Birthplace of Admiral Farragut (approx. 7 miles away but has been reported missing); Lenoir's Station (approx. 7.4 miles away); Lenoir Cotton Mill (approx. 7.4 miles away); Company B - Korean War Memorial (approx. 7.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Lenoir Cotton Mill (approx. 7.4 miles away).
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRChurches, Etc.PeaceWar, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 596 times since then and 162 times this year. Last updated on , by J. Makali Bruton of San Salvador, El Salvador. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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