Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Convict Lease System

Marker ID:  
Location: on Vowell Mountain Lane, Lake City, TN
County: Anderson
Coordinates: N 36° 12.883    W 084° 10.017
  36.21471666    -84.16695
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


Convict Lease System

After the Civil War, southern states leased convicts to private industry to cope with a growing number of convicts and dwindling state budgets. The system degenerated to where primarily young African-Americans were being arrested and forced to work at mines, plantations, and railroads.

Coal companies learned that convicts lacked mining skills and were a fixed costs, whereas miners were skilled and could be laid-off during economic downturns. The increased cost of providing troops and guards during the Coal Creek War hastened the demise of the convict lease system in Tennessee.

Erected by Coal Creek Watershed Foundation.


Coordinates may be incorrect (??)