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

Freedmen School and Church

Freedmen School and Church Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, March 10, 2021
1. Freedmen School and Church Marker

Upon the surrender of Clarksville to Union forces in 1862, freed slaves from the surrounding area encamped near Fort Defiance seeking the protection of Union Soldiers. After the war, the Freedmen began their own community in the area near the fort. The new community began a church and conducted services under a brush arbor until a proper building could be raised. In 1865, a new building was constructed on this site and the congregation named its church Greenhill Baptist. The simple white clapboard structure sat on the bluff overlooking the Red River to the east. The Freedmen had purchased the lot $45, brought the lumber, and paid for the labor to erect the building. The original building was lost to a fire in 1960. A new church building was then located nearby at 311 Walker Street and continued to serve the community.

The church building was also used to house a school for the Freedmen's children. The New Providence Freedmen's School was funded by the newly created Freedmen's Bureau, the Presbyterian Home Mission, and the American Freedmen's Union Commission. A northern missionary, Miss Maggie Horton, taught at the school
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and provided a basic education for over 100 students. Many Freedmen schools across the South were met with resistance and sometimes violence. Miss Horton endeavored to find an additional building to relieve the overcrowded conditions of her school. Unfortunately, she was met with hostility, and no accommodations were to be found. Miss Horton taught at the school until 1870 when the public school system provided segregated education to students of all races.

Greenhill Baptist Church, 1865 - Courtesy of Greenhill Church & Christian Outreach Ministries

Greenhill Baptist Church sits on the bluff above a flooded Red River, 1937 - Courtesy of Customs House Museum & Cultural Center.

A classroom of Freedmen students in Richmond, Virginia; sketch by Jas E. Taylor - Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Miss Maggie Horton's monthly report to the Freedmen's Bureau - Courtesy of Tennessee State Library and Archives
Erected by City of Clarksville.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionCivil RightsEducation.
Location. 36° 32.481′ N, 87° 22.212′ W. Marker is in Clarksville, Tennessee, in Montgomery County.
End of the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Shane Oliver, March 10, 2021
2. End of the Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center Trail
The marker is located at the top of this hill.
Marker is on A Street, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located near the end of the walking trail at Fort Defiance Civil War Park & Interpretive Center. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Clarksville TN 37042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Defiance Interpretive Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Bringing the War to Clarksville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Defiance (approx. 0.2 miles away); Town of Cumberland (approx. 0.2 miles away); Freedmen's Camp and the USCT (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Defiance (approx. 0.2 miles away); Life as a Garrisoned Union Soldier (approx. 0.2 miles away); Tobacco Trade and the Rivers (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Clarksville.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 173 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Shane Oliver of Richmond, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 22, 2024