Astor to co-lead tour of Blount County Civil War sites Sept. 22

Astor to co-lead tour of Blount County Civil War sites Sept. 22

Sept. 18, 2013
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

Dr. Aaron Astor, associate professor of history at Maryville College, will co-lead a chartered bus tour of Blount County’s Civil War sites on Sun., Sept. 22.

“A Civil War Bus Tour of Blount County,” sponsored by the Blount County Historic Trust, will depart from the Thompson-Brown House at 2 p.m. with a stop at the Blount County Courthouse to hear the story of Polly Toole; a stop in Friendsville to learn more about the Underground Railroad; and a stop in Louisville, where Astor and local historian George Lane will explain the slave economy and river traffic during that period of time.

The bus also will stop at what is now the site of the Maryville Municipal Building to learn about the Union troops who camped there in the summer of 1863 on their way to Knoxville and the Battle of Fort Sanders.

The tour is expected to conclude at 5 p.m.

Astor, a Civil War scholar who recently authored Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri, holds master’s and doctoral degrees in American History from Northwestern University.

He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times’ online series “Disunion,” and co-chairs Maryville College’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee, which was formed last year to put together programming that explores how the Civil War affected multiple populations in East Tennessee, addresses traditional narratives and myths of the war, and examines the war’s lasting legacy in the region.

Astor will be joined by Lane, an 8th generation Tennessean, 6th generation Blount Countian and descendent of John Wallace, who was killed with Gov. John Sevier at the Battle of Hightower in 1793, and Josias Gamble, who founded Gamble’s Fort in 1790.

Lane is president of the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable and founding director of the East Tennessee Sesquicentennial Alliance, a coordinating body celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. His family lineage includes both Union and Confederate soldiers.

This is the second Civil War bus tour led by Astor and Lane; the first tour was held April 14.

“The Civil War’s complicated local legacy did much to set the future course of Blount County’s history,” Astor said. “It was a great experience visiting the various Civil War sites in Blount County in April and we are delighted to offer the bus tour again.”

Reserved seats for the tour are $20 for Blount County Historic Trust members; $40 for non-members; and $20 for students.

To register, call 865.803.5092 or visit to purchase tickets online.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.