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

East Hill Cemetery

Historic Burying Ground

East Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 31, 2013
1. East Hill Cemetery Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, Bristol was a strategic location on the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. The Confederate Medical Corps established hospitals in the town, which soon became an important medical center. Wounded soldiers were brought by rail from battlefields in the region, and those who did not survive were interred on East Hill in a small plot. These 101 burials are concentrated in an area that lies beyond an opening flanked by two heavy stone posts. Almost 200 additional Confederate graves can be found throughout the cemetery.

The 16.7-acre East Hill Cemetery is divided by the Tennessee-Virginia state line. The westernmost part is the oldest, with the first burial occurring in 1857. The graveyard was not officially designated a cemetery until 1868, when merchant LaFayette Johnson purchased two acres, including the soldiers’ plot, because he wished to honor those who had died during the war. He then deeded the land to the Ladies Memorial Association for use as a town cemetery.

The graves of 57 Union veterans are located in the cemetery. According to oral tradition, twelve African American graves are near the soldiers. Although there are no individual tombstones, representative markers indicated their significance.

Pvt. James Keeling, 69th North Carolina Infantry (Thomas’s Legion), is one of those
East Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 31, 2013
2. East Hill Cemetery Marker
buried here. On the night of November 8, 1861, the Confederate sentry singlehandedly saved the vital railroad bridge at Strawberry Plains from destruction by would-be Unionist saboteurs. The sobriquet “Defender of the Bridge” is incised on the small obelisk that marks his grave.

East Hill Cemetery during a funeral for a prominent local resident, ca. 1900 Courtesy Bristol Historical Society

Bristol, Main Street, ca. 1900. Nichols House Hotel (left) served as a hospital during the war. Courtesy Bristol Historical Society
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 35.625′ N, 82° 10.225′ W. Marker is in Bristol, Tennessee, in Sullivan County. Marker is on East Hill Cemetery Drive north of East State Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located in East Hill Cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Bristol TN 37620, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Founder of Bristol (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); City Historian (approx. 0.2 miles away in Virginia); Slave Section of East Hill Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away in Virginia); Evan Shelby (approx. 0.4 miles away); Historic Bristol (approx. 0.6 miles away in Virginia); Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away in Virginia); Bristol (approx. 0.6 miles away); Birthplace of Bristol (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bristol.
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 3, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 442 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on May 5, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 3, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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