“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Charlotte in Dickson County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Fighting for Freedom

Promise Land Civil War Heroes

Fighting for Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
1. Fighting for Freedom Marker
Inscription.  The Emancipation Proclamation, issued January 1, 1863, authorized the recruiting of African Americans as United States soldiers. It inspired men, like brothers John and Arch Nesbitt, to join the U.S. Colored Troops and fight for their freedom. John Nesbitt enlisted on October 5, 1863, as a private in Co. H, 4th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment. He served in Kentucky, Tennessee, and finally Arkansas, where he was discharged on February 25, 1866. Arch Nesbitt enlisted on August 24, 1864, in Co. G, 12th U.S. Colored Infantry, and in December fought in the Battle of Nashville. The regiment then guarded the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad, which passed through the southern end of Dickson County and crossed the Tennessee River at Johnsonville. Nesbitt was honorably discharged on January 16, 1866.

At the end of the war, the Nesbitt brothers joined other newly freed black men, women and children in this community know as Promise Land, close to the farms where they had once labored as slaves. Suffering from service-related injuries, John Nesbitt tried for years to secure disability compensation from the War Department. In 1880, he
Fighting for Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
2. Fighting for Freedom Marker
received a pension retroactively, and he used some of the money to buy the land here, including the site on which Promise Land School was erected early in the 1880s. The community supported the school until 1899, when John and Ellen Clemmons Nesbitt deeded it to the Dickson County School system. It served as a public elementary school until it closed in May 1956.

“Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letters U.S., let him get an eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pockets and there is no power on earth which can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States.” — Frederick Douglass

Tennessee Colored Battery camp, Johnsonville, Tenn., 1864 - Courtesy Library of Congress
Cabin Kids Choral Group, Promise Land School (1938-39). Seated left to right: Oris Lee Bowen, Cindy Jones, Aline Edmondson, Thomas Nesbitt, Beulah Edmonson. Back row standing; Charles Edmonson, Norma Nesbitt, Betty Ruth Collier, Alma Lee Edmondson, Prof. J.O. Dixon, teacher. Courtesy William Bowen, Sr.
U.S. Colored Troops being mustered out at Little Rock, Ark., 1866 — Courtesy Library of Congress
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed
Promise Land School image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
3. Promise Land School
in these topic lists: African AmericansEducationWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 36° 12.616′ N, 87° 19.886′ W. Marker is near Charlotte, Tennessee, in Dickson County. Marker is on Promise Land Road north of Reddon Crossing Road, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 707 Promise Land Road, Charlotte TN 37036, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Promise Land (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War In Charlotte (approx. 2.3 miles away); To All Who Served (approx. 2.3 miles away); Robert Nesbit (approx. 2.3 miles away); Hand House (approx. 4.1 miles away); Thompson House (approx. 4.1 miles away); Drouillard House (approx. 4.1 miles away); Stark's Cabin (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charlotte.
The National Register of Historic Places image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 25, 2013
4. The National Register of Historic Places
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 590 times since then and 62 times this year. Last updated on March 14, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 2, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 12, 2020