Astor to speak at Civil War Roundtable meeting

Astor to speak at UC Civil War Roundtable meeting

Feb. 29, 2016

Dr. Aaron Astor, Maryville College associate professor of history, will be the guest speaker at the March 8 meeting of the Upper Cumberland Civil War Roundtable.

Astor’s lecture, “No Man’s Land: The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau,” is based on his recently published book, The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau.

“The people of the Cumberland Plateau experienced a civil war within a civil war," Astor said. “No area in Tennessee encountered more divided loyalties or guerrilla conflict during the Civil War than the Cumberland Plateau.”

Astor joined the Maryville College faculty in 2007 after earning master’s and doctoral degrees in American history from Northwestern University. He has written numerous articles, conference papers and book chapters on the Civil War era, focusing especially on the Upper and Border South.

Astor’s book, Rebels on the Border: Civil War, Emancipation and the Reconstruction of Kentucky and Missouri, 1860-1872, was published in 2012. During the Civil War Sesquicentennial, he was a frequent contributor to the New York Times’ online series “Disunion.”

Following publication of a “Disunion” column on East Tennessee in which he wrote about the attempted secession of Scott County from the state of Tennessee following Tennessee’s withdrawal from the Union, Astor was contacted by the History Press about writing a book on the “Free and Independent State of Scott.” Believing that a historical look at the entire plateau during the Civil War was interesting and long overdue, he pitched his idea to the publishing company, which gave approval.

The Civil War Along Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau covers the geography of the 27-county area, the early settlers, factors that determined loyalties during the Civil War and famous skirmishes and raids, including those led by guerilla leaders Champ Ferguson and Tinker Dave Beaty. It also details Reconstruction in plateau towns and communities following the Civil War.

“The conflict affected thousands of ordinary men and women struggling to survive in the face of a remorseless war of attrition, and its legacy continues to be felt today,” Astor said.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. (CST) in the fellowship hall of the First Presbyterian Church in Cookeville (20 North Dixie Avenue) and is open to the public. Astor will sell and sign copies of the book following the meeting.

Maryville College alumni, prospective students and their families are encouraged to attend. Representatives from the College will be in attendance.

By Karen Beaty Eldridge '94, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications


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 2017 semester is 1,181.