Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tellico Plains in Monroe County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Coker Creek

Caught in the Middle

 
 
Coker Creek Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 25, 2014
1. Coker Creek Marker
Inscription. Here in the shadow of the Unicoi Mountains, the Coker Creek community suffered the effects of the Civil War. The conflict closed the lucrative gold mines here and brought devastation and terror to the inhabitants. Both the Union and the Confederate armies foraged for supplies from long-suffering civilians, while violent vendettas between rival bushwhackers continued for years.

Both armies used the Unicoi Turnpike Trail behind you (present-day Joe Brown Highway and Tennessee State Route 68) to move soldiers and supplies. Early in December 1863, after Confederate Gen. James Longstreet abandoned his siege of Knoxville, Union Gen. William T. Sherman ordered Col. Eli Long to pursue a Confederate wagon train south along this turnpike into northern Georgia. Long captured only a few of the 300 wagons.

Although the battles that occurred along the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad did not happen here, deserters from both sides—“bushwhackers”—attacked civilians and soldiers from behind trees, rocks, and curves. Reminders of murderous brutality are evident in the Coker Creek Cemetery. Lt. James K. Morrow, 3rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry (US), was “Bushwhacked on Steer Creek Road While Cradling Oats,” according to his tombstone, five years after the war ended.

The community slowly
Coker Creek-Welcome Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 25, 2014
2. Coker Creek-Welcome Center
rebuilt itself. Gold mining resumed by 1869 but never attained antebellum production levels.

Civil War veterans are buried in the nearby Ironsburg and Coker Creek cemeteries. These graveyards, which also hold the remains of bushwhackers and their victims, are reminders of an era when war and suffering dominated these mountains.

“(In the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains) the warfare between scattering bodies of irregular troops is conducted on both sides without any regard whatever to the rules of civilized war or the dictates of humanity. The murder of prisoners and non-combatants in cold blood has …become quite common (as well as) almost every other horror incident to brutal an unrestrained soldiery.” — N.C. Gov. Zebulon B. Vance

(captions)
(lower left) Col. Eli Long - Courtesy Library of Congress
(center) Reverse of James K. Morrow tombstone - Monroe County Archives
(upper right) “Union Bushwhackers Attacking Rebel Cavalry,” Junius H. Browne, Four Years in Secessia (1866)
 
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 15.496′ N, 84° 
Wagons near the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 25, 2014
3. Wagons near the Marker
17.477′ W. Marker is in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, in Monroe County. Marker is at the intersection of Tennessee Route 68 and Joe Brown Highway (County Route 40), on the left when traveling south on State Route 68. Touch for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Coker Creek Welcome Center in the Cherokee National Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Tellico Plains TN 37385, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Unicoi Turnpike Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Gold Mining (within shouting distance of this marker); Tellico Iron Works (approx. 7.5 miles away); Cherokee Heritage Trails (approx. 7.5 miles away); Fort Loudoun Massacre (approx. 7.5 miles away); Boyhood Home of Ray H. Jenkins (approx. 7.5 miles away); The Tennessee Overhill Experience (approx. 7.5 miles away); Scott Mansion (approx. 8.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tellico Plains.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Coker Creek-distant shot of the back of the marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 25, 2014
4. Coker Creek-distant shot of the back of the marker
Coker Creek-Welcome Center image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, April 25, 2014
5. Coker Creek-Welcome Center
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 606 times since then and 46 times this year. Last updated on April 9, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 15, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement