Historically Speaking
March 2014
Joy Odom

As a means of following up on the article about Dade County happenings in 1950, here are some selected happenings from Mrs. Douglas Morrison’s 1966-67 clippings book (the last of her scrapbooks in the library’s collection). Turns out these were very eventful years in our area. See how much you remember or have heard spoken about.

– Mr. Ed Willkie was named President of the Bank of Dade.
– Maddox Hale, member of the Georgia House of Representatives from Dade County
was re-elected as Speaker Pro Tem of that body; the clipping states that “he was among the 184 members voting against the seating of Representative-elect Julian Bond (Negro) by a vote of 184 to12. Bond was barred from being seated as a member of the House because of his endorsement of statements denouncing U.S. policy in Viet Nam and urging Americans to avoid the draft.”

– The Grand Jury recommended that both the Dade County courthouse and the jail be replaced “as soon as possible”.
– An article on the local Bookmobile explained that the “vehicle of knowledge” spends a week in the county every six weeks servicing local schools and supplementing school libraries. It also made home stops in rural areas when requested.

– A headline with pictures announced that “An ‘International Highway’ Is Being Blasted through Dade” and continues: “Work is in progress on the new highway …all the way from Hooker in the northwest section to Slygo Valley. The thru-way will be just west of the courthouse square, not far from the foot of Sand Mountain.”
– In a legal notice, Trenton Telephone Company announced its present and proposed monthly rates for the current period. A business one-party line in Trenton and Rising Fawn was $6.00, scheduled to go up to $6.50. In West Brow, the present rate was $12 and was scheduled to remain at that level. A rural residence eight party line had cost $3.75 in Trenton and Rising Fawn, but was being discontinued.

– The spring opening of “This Old House” was scheduled for mid-June in New Salem under the directorship of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Baisden, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Massey, and
Mrs. Norman Johnson, with Rubynelle and Charles Counts as salesroom managers.
– A state legislative committee visited Cloudland Canyon State Park to examine the improvements taking place there and discuss additional developments to come including a pool and bathhouse, additional overlooks and five additional cottages.
– In “Mountain Division” areas, according to the Water Authority, the cost of the first three thousand gallons of water per month was $4.35;in Trenton, the first 5,000 gallons was $3.60.

– The Farmers Home Administration announced its approval of a $100,000 recreation loan to the Big Sandy Golf Club in Dade County. The facilities were to include a 9-hole
golf course, clubhouse, swimming pool and 5-acre pond.

– 8,000 people attended the Plum Nelly Festival.
– The Hudson Wire Co. of Ossining, New York, announced that it would build a new manufacturing facility in Trenton. The announcement was made at a dinner meeting at Wright’s Restaurant with many state, area and local dignitaries present.

– Natural gas lines began providing fuel to homes in Trenton.

– An article on Sheriff Allison Blevins outlined his career in law enforcement. He had then been sheriff since 1955.
– On Highway 143 (later renamed 136) at the foot of Sand Mountain, the Char-del Shoe Store was joined in the same building by a new store, the Roblee Shop.

– Commissioner Dan Hall stated, “The amount of flood damage to county roads in the recent weeks has been extensive.” Rain had been heavy throughout April; in May, the county received 2.18 inches on the 12th of that month.
– The Trenton City Council voted unanimously “to tighten up on motorcycle drivers who are driving recklessly and who have loud mufflers.”

– Work was “moving ahead” on the Burkhalter Gap Road.

– A site was selected for the new post office at Trenton.

– The old Piney Grove Church schoolhouse, which had stood at the right of the “new” church building, was being torn down. It was said to have been built about 1880.
– It was noted that new guardrails had been placed recently at the north and south entrances to the courthouse square “to serve at least two important purposes – place emphasis on ’driving right’ and prevent careless motorists from plunging ’head-on’ into the courthouse wall as they quite frequently do.”

– Governor Lester Maddox came to Dade County as part of the formal dedication of the new Hudson Wire Factory, “a $1,750,000 plant”.

– Mr. A.L. Dyer was elected Mayor of Trenton in an uncontested race in which 156 voters participated. The mayor had run unopposed. City Council members also elected were: Jim Geddie, Don Gross, Claude Harrison, N.H. Hutchison, and Jack Mullins.

While the sixties were full of controversy and chaos in many places, they seem to have been years in which Dade County was made major moves forward toward a better, more comfortable, more communicative, more accessible future for its citizens.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness
Historically Speaking
February 26, 2014
Donna M. Street

Sometimes in Dade County, we are more reactive, than proactive. I once explained jokingly to some new arrivals in our fair community that the motto for Dade County should be “Backwards with Fervor”. This week I take on a topic that (I hope) will prove me wrong. Almost three years ago, (April 27, 2011 to be exact) our little community was tested as we never had been. Those nasty tornadoes splayed us open, but we rose above and loved our neighbor as ourselves and put our town back together. Of course there are still physical and emotional scars, but by and large our community is stronger than before some ugly weather tore our world in half. Okay so, I want us, as a community, to become proactive about being prepared for any future emergency. As I fiddled around my house until about 2 a.m. last Thursday night trying to decide if I needed to go to the storm closet, I realized that this week’s article needed to be a reminder to all of us to do something to be prepared for our next weather event. I want to see our history change our possible future ability to deal with natural disasters and emergencies.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a great website which is vast. Information is multilayered and a bit confusing, but it has information that we all need. This website http://www.ready.gov/basic-disaster-supplies-kit will help you get prepared. They state that “all Americans should have some basic supplies on hand in order to survive for at least three days if an emergency occurs.”
The basic list is as follow:
 Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
 Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
 Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
 Flashlight and extra batteries
 First aid kit
 Whistle to signal for help
 Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
 Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation (I plan to add a roll of toilet paper to my kit.)
 Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
 Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
 Local Map (At first this seemed unnecessary and then I remember how the people in Tuscaloosa could not recognize their own community because so many street sign were blown away in the tornadoes.)

That is the basic list and it doesn’t seem too much trouble to put together. The site continues with some things that you might wish to consider adding to your kit. They are:
 Prescription medicine and extra glasses
 Instant formula and diapers
 Pet food and extra water supply for your pet
 Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
 Cash or traveler’s checks and change
 Sleeping bag or blanket for each person.
 Complete change of clothes including long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes
 Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper- when diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
 Matches in a waterproof container
 Personal and female hygiene supplies
 Mess kit, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
 Paper and Pencil
 Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children (of all ages)

This information can be printed in checklist form from the website above. It also suggests that families create an emergency plan and there is a form there that you can print and create a plan. After our storms, I heard a lot of parents and teachers talk about how scared the kids still are every time the sky darkens and they hear thunder and see lightening. One way to help them continue to heal is to give them a way to have some control. Helping to create a family emergency plan will give them as much control as anyone can have in that kind of an emergency. That proactive thing can start really young.

Another way to prepare our community is to create Community Emergency Response Teams. CERT teams have become what Civil Defense was during the Cold War years. Our sheriff, Ray Cross, in cooperation with Walker County offered the first two weekend (16 hours) training sessions and I was proud to be a participant. I learned or relearned quite a bit in about 16 hours. I really haven’t done much about that information since I finished the training, but I certainly did get my materials and manuals out during the storm on Thursday night and refresh myself. Following through by engaging my neighbors is the next step that I have to take. Getting all of their emergency phone numbers and making a plan to check on each other is on my priority list for the next few weeks.
The most obvious things that I saw during our training is that we need more CERT teams. And we have natural organizational path and that is through our churches. We saw our community churches rise to the challenge when needed, but we would have been much more ready if there had been emergency teams in place at every church in the county. People don’t always know their neighbors well, but they do know their church neighbors. I would encourage several or all churches to approach the powers that be about planning some more training sessions. The sheriff and some of his staff would probably be excited to take the CERT training for Dade to the next level.
I might not be able to execute everything that I learned during my training, but it made me aware and taught me some basic things that are now part of my database for an emergency. It’s also certain that my passion for this will probably never be what our trainer’s was, but there is somebody in this community that would take building CERT Teams on as his/her passion. Another point– age does not matter. I was one of the oldest participants and there were several in my age group, but there were also several pre-teens and teens in the group. The fire departments for Dade County are one of our most valued resources. Our volunteers are the “good ‘ole boys” that I learned to love as a teacher. They are the guys and gals who are going to be there in an emergency and go beyond what is asked without a thought for pay or sometimes their own personal safety. We need to add another layer of volunteerism to our bag of community resources. Knowledge and preparedness are the goal.

In the last few weeks, the news has been full of the water contamination troubles of Charleston, West Virginia. This kind of water emergency is not out of the realm of possibility for any community. While we are preparing, it won’t hurt to check out other places to pay attention. The Center for Disease Control has a very good article entitled “Emergency Water Supplies” at http://cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/water/index.asp . The best tip that I read there is to “learn where the water intake valve to your home is. If you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, you’ll need to shut off water to your house to avoid letting contaminated water enter your home. Listen to local warnings for more instructions.”

Lastly if you have not signed up for Code Red Alert, then please do so. Code RED ALERT is an automated system used by our local emergency management agency to let citizens know when it is time to pay attention. Alex Case is the Emergency Management Coordinator for Dade County. The automated calls are not invasive or often, but they surely won’t work if citizens are not in the loop. To learn about the program or sign up go to http://www.dadecounty-ga.gov/CodeRed . To quote the Dade County Government website, “Residents without Internet access may visit the public library within the county to use a computer or call the Dade County Sheriff’s Department at 706-657-8774 to give their information over the phone.” (Of course, the community knows how I feel about using that library. LOL)
I leave you with the following challenges over the next few weeks.

1. Start and finish an emergency kit for your family.
2. Start and finish a family emergency plan.
3. Consider starting a CERT Team at your church or in your neighborhood.
4. Sign up for Code RED Alert.
Proactive might not be such a stretch after all.

Note: Hope to see several of you at the Historical Society Meeting on Sunday, March 2 at 3p.m. at the Public Library.

September 1863 Events near Trenton GA

Chronological Events during the Union Occupation of Dade County

Sunday, August 30-Monday- Tuesday, Sept. 1

Part 1

General Rosecrans and the Army of the Cumberland were moving south. He commanded 80,425 officers and soldiers. His first objective was to take Chattanooga. Another objective was to attempt to cut the Confederates from their railroad access to Rome and more importantly to Atlanta.

His three leading generals and corps were:

  • Major General George H. Thomas XIV Corps (14th) with 22,769 with four divisions

  • Major General Alexander McCook XX Corps (20th) with 14,178 with three divisions

  • Major General Thomas Crittenden XXI Corps (21th) with 13,958 with three divisions

Also essential to the campaign were a Reserve Corps under the command of Major General Gordon Granger and a Cavalry Corps (Ohio 3rd and 2nd Michigan and other divisions) commanded by Major General David Stanley.

The three main corps were poised on the west side of the Tennessee River (repairing railroad bridges, resting, etc.) preparing for the long uphill crossing of Sand Mountain (also called Raccoon) and later to cross Lookout Mountain. The path was to be three-pronged with McCook to the right (south) at Bridgeport and he headed over Sand Mountain to Valley Head (Winston’s Gap) and Ft. Payne (Rawlingville) then to cross Lookout toward Rome. Crittenden was on the left (north) and he was to cross the Tennessee River at Shellmound and move through Whiteside, Hooker, toward Wauhatchie and on to Chattanooga. General Thomas corps was in the middle and was to cross Sand Mountain and move in several ways toward the small town of Trenton in the Lookout Valley and later to cross Lookout Mountain at Johnson’s Crook.

According to Robertson’s article “The Fall of Chattanooga” in the Fall 2006 edition of Blue and Gray magazine, Trenton is described as “a village of about a dozen houses . . . nestled between Sand Mountain on the west and Lookout Mountain. Trenton was connected to Chattanooga by a good road and a spur of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad to the north.”

General Rosecrans had sent several corps from the north moving toward Chattanooga by crossing Walden’s Ridge and even farther north at Harrison and Tyner’s Station. This tactic was to fool Confederate General Bragg into believing that Chattanooga would be attacked from the north. His intelligence proved to be weak and he did not perceive this until it was too late.

Sunday, August 30, 1863 dawned “quite cool” according to 73rd Illinois Infantry Historian in Sheridan’s Division of the XX Corps. After crossing the Tennessee River, the Ohio 3rd Cavalry crossed Sand Mountain descended in to the Lookout Valley, visited Trenton and returned to the mountaintop. The 2nd Michigan Cavalry moved up river to Shellmound and crossed the river in make-shift rafts and canoes. At the same time the 2nd Tennessee (U.S) Cavalry marched into the darkness until they reached Running Water Canyon. Crittenden and the XIV began to move down the Sequatchie Valley toward Shellmound.

Meanwhile, Confederate General Bragg in Chattanooga had reports of Federals at Trenton, Shellmound and near Wauhatchie. He was told that the forces were not large and he continued to believe that he would be confronted from the northeast of Chattanooga. He did decide to consolidate his forces by halting Brigadier General John Wharton’s move northward at Lafayette, rather than sending him on toward Harrison, TN. Wharton’s assignment was to guard the passes over Lookout Mountain south of Chattanooga, just the path that the northern troops were about to take. Joe Wheeler’s cavalry was repositioned by Bragg. Wheeler’s 3rd Alabama was instructed on Aug. 30 to move to Trenton and to cover Lookout Mountain. They marched 35 miles on the 30th and 10 more in the early hours of the 31st.

Also on the 30th there were skirmishes between the 3rd Confederate Cavalry and the 2nd Tennessee (U.S.) from the river to Murphy’s Hollow Road and on toward Trenton. McCook’s 20th, led by Davis, managed to cross the river at Bridgeport toward Bellefonte and move to camp on Sand Mountain that night. General Sheridan’s division of the 20th stayed on the far side of the river in order to help repair the railroad bridge. His assignment after crossing the river was to march, via Trenton, to Will’s Valley (Fort Payne and Valley Head). Farther north the river crossing at Shellmound began. They had eight boats; several were hand-made. Troop movement began early evening of the 30th and continued at a pace of 400 men per hour until past midnight.

On Monday the 31st, moves and countermoves began, Wheeler’s man, Mauldin (3rd Alabama) reached Trenton after the long 45 mile hike. He immediately sent pickets up Sand Mountain where they were barely in place “before they were driven down the mountain and rallied command at the edge of Trenton.” Union Bridage Commander Heg had sent Col. Abernathy to Sand Mountain with 30 cavalrymen to map the road. He was unable to drive the Alabamians from Trenton, so he withdrew to Sand Mountain. Mauldin did express alarm in his report to Wheeler, he was flanked on the north and the south and his train was in danger. Even though he reported that he expected to be attacked. He promised to do his best but doubted that he would be successful. Within 3 hours of the message’s dispatch, Mauldin’s cry for help reached Bragg in Chattanooga, rather than Wheeler, at 2 a.m. on Sept. 1.

As the remainder of the Union XX Corps moved from Stevenson, the 73th Illinois Historian, reported the weather at 4:30 a.m., “dust was abundant in the road and on either side, but the weather was moderately warm and the march endurable.” The Confederate signalmen were sent to Lookout Mountain to send back information to troops in the other valley. Southern troops were moved around like chess pieces to build a screen for Bragg’s venture southward. Preparations were being made as if the Federals were able to take Trenton and cross Lookout Mountain. Infantry units were told to prepare rations for three days travel.

Trickery and rumors were rampant on all sides and caused great movement by all. Bragg was rumored to be moving north of Chattanooga to cross the river and hopefully split Rosecrans troops and to take their railroad. Rosecrans’ Chief of Staff, General Chester A. Arthur to his wife summed up the activity, “delaying movement until we can ascertain the truth of the rumor.”

Federal troop movement was slow. Job one for the Union on September 1 was to repair the Bridgeport railroad bridge so that supplies could be brought from the north. At Shellmound, that day, Private Bliss Morse wrote his mother about the food, surroundings and the weather. “Our camp is at a railroad station on the river. The corner of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia lines join here and before I leave this place I am going to straddle them. This place takes its name from the large deposits of shells in the bank and hills around. . . . There are coal mines here from which the rebels get a great amount of coal. All the buildings there are at this place is the depot building and that is nearly demolished by shells thrown into it by our battery on the other side of the river, as our forces were to cross. . . . We had potatoes, green corn, and apples to eat—besides onions, squashes, and peaches. . . . We have had cool nights for the last two days with heavy dews.”

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 2, a 2700 feet span was completed. Though shaky in spots troops began crossing by noon. At 3 p.m. about 700 feet of the bridge fell in the river taking five wagons and mule teams with them. Pontoons rescued all but one mule. Also on that day General McCook reported that the rest of Sheridan’s division marched across at Bridgeport and marched toward Trenton. The weather on that day was reported as “somewhat warmer.” As September 2 ended, both Negley and Sheridan encamped at the same spot on Sand Mountain at Moore’s Spring.

More Nominees for a Dade Hall of Fame part 2

More Nominees for a Dade Hall of Fame part2
Historically Speaking
Jan. 29, 2014
Donna M. Street

My favorite non-fiction book of the 21st century (so far) is a small volume by Malcolm Gladwell entitled Outliers: The Story of Success. I like all of his books but this volume hit home with me (and many others, for it stayed on the New York Times Bestsellers list for MONTHS). If you haven’t read it then I recommend it to you. Malcolm’s parents are a sociologist and a mathematician, so his writing is like a very concise and well thought-out reference book. He quantifies factors relating to success which are very hard to quantify. One maxim that stays with you long after you put the book away is that in order to be a success in your field, you must at the very least, complete 10,000 hours of practice. The nominees for this week are all outliers.

When I finished the book, I immediately thought of Ashley Houts, who at the time was burning up the backboards with three pointers and tearing up the floor at the University of Georgia by stealing everything that came her way, just as she had at Dade County High School. I immediately got on line and ordered a copy of this book to be shipped to her. I have never before or since been moved to do something like that. I was compelled to send the book to her because her skill, talent and work ethic were exactly what Gladwell was proclaiming as truth in Outliers. In a conversation that I shared with her one morning, in the commons of DCHS, I inquired why she did not choose to play softball as well as basketball. We talked for a bit and I could quickly see that she had set her goals and was going to be single-minded in attaining them. No hour was too early or late to find Ashley working at her craft in the gym. She was focused, persistent and undaunted. Those qualities made her a champion on the floor and in the classroom, paid her way through college and gave her a career as a professional athlete. I expect that there are still mountains that Ashley will climb. Ashley has a family which expects excellence and provides support. All of the Houts kids (Emily and Andrew) travel to the beat of the excellence drum that Greg and Joanie taught them to play. They know how to succeed. At least half of success is hard work. Ashley Houts is my hall of fame nominee of the first years of 21st century.

The military is often a way in which the young people of Dade County find a way to travel and to find a career. And to be really honest, sometimes they just want to get out of Dade County. After completing a 32 year tour of duty in the United States Navy in September 2012, we find that Rick West is truly an outlier. 10,000 hours may not cover all of the time that he spent attaining a goal that probably wasn’t in his vocabulary when he boarded the bus for boot camp. He left Dade County shortly after graduation from Northwest Georgia H. S. in 1981. Rick joined the Navy; worked hard, spent years protecting our country, advancing through the system and on December 12, 2008 for his dedication to excellence, he was named as the 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON). He holds status that only 12 other Sailors have held. There is more information on the internet about Rick than any other nominee. In all that I read, he is humble, matter of fact and always is proud to claim Rising Fawn as his home. He is our own American Hero.

I admit that I am a member of the Forester Sisters Fan Club. The “girls” were famous at home for years before the rest of the world got to hear their golden harmonies. The home folks knew that these girls were something unique and that if anyone could make it, then it had to be these special women. Kathy, June, Kim and Christy Forester along with a couple of their husbands and friends in the band made a few demo recordings at Muscle Shoals in the mid-80’s. Soon, they got a contract with Warner Brothers and for the following decade they were out of Dade County more than they were home. They got a couple of Grammy nominations, had 15 songs in the top ten (five of which were number one), saw the world and decided that it was time to come home and raise some kids. In the tradition of outliers, two restarted teaching careers and two moved on to new dreams. They were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2013. Nothing makes me happier than riding down the road listening to the radio and to suddenly recognize the voices of my friends, The Forester Sisters.

Lester and Chester Buchanan, The Buchanan Brothers were not born in Dade County, but they got here as quick as they could. Ephraim Shadrack Buchanan moved the family from Indiana to Trenton during the depression and made his living farming. The 1940 Census shows that Chester is 16 and living with his parents, brothers and sisters in Trenton. Lester is 19, married, working as a welder and living south of his parents on Highway 11 or Magby Gap. The census taker changed locations in the middle of a page. Maybe their sister, Delores Smyth, can remember and let me know. One of their most famous songs, Atomic Power, was not a favorite of the brothers. In an interview they admitted that it ‘stunk’. It is a tragic “come to Jesus” hymn/ballad about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I found almost all of their songs on the internet and spent some time listening. Tight harmony and a southern twang, that was the standard before country music went all pop, made listening to them compelling. I also found it interesting that they did most or all of their recordings in New York City. They gave their last concert in Chattanooga in April of 1949 at the Memorial Auditorium. They donated most of their music mementoes to the Country Music Hall of Fame, so if you visit make sure to check them out. One of their songs, “When You See (Those Flying Saucers)”, was featured on the soundtrack of the 2009 Dream Works Animation film, Monsters vs Aliens. Pretty good for a tune recorded in the 1940’s.
Lester retired to Florida in 1973 and Chester raised his family in Dade where he lived until his death in 1992.
As I read my article from last week in print, some of the wording of the Shorty Bradford tribute bothered me. I wrote that he died of “heart break and failure”. Hopefully you did understand what I meant, because Shorty was anything but a failure. He did suffer from heart disease and with the death of his only son at age 13 in April of 1966, his heart disease also became heart break. My heart breaks for any parent who outlives a child. Not having been blessed with children of my own and living alone for many years, I often wonder what challenge would cripple me. My mind thinks that losing a child (to illness or accident) would be the absolute worst. Thus I end this week’s musing with condolences to the Gregor family on the death of their 19 year old son, Davis. Peace and grace to your family.


Lost Civilization of Dade


Lost Civilization of Dade
Historically Speaking
Donna M. Street

While the rest of the south was deep in carpet bagging and reconstruction, Dade County had its own badge of honor and shame, depending on how you look at it. Trying to bring industrial development to our geographically challenged area has been an ongoing quest of local leaders for three centuries. Iron, coal and natural gas deposits have brought developers here multiple times. The most successful run was from 1873-1908, when high-powered Georgia politicians got involved and created an incorporated community, a form of government, industries, and used a shameful convict lease system to get coal out of the ground and make mining profitable. Railroads were the future of transportation and coal was the food that fed the engines. There was coal mining in Dade County since at least 1856 and probably earlier. Before the War, the mines on Sand Mountain had been privately owned by the family of Civil War legend, John Brown Gordon. They were known as the Gordon Mines and one of the mines was named Castle Rock. He is noted for saying that he lived in Alabama, worked in Georgia and got his mail in Tennessee, which is possible if you live in what we know as Bryant, AL work in Cole City, GA and get your mail at Shellmound, TN. As an aside, he was also the leader of the Raccoon Roughs, which was one of several companies of local men who joined the Confederacy.
I became fascinated with what my students at Davis Elementary called the “coke ovens” in the mid-70’s, when they told me tales of the ovens and the mines in a place called the “Big Woods”. Of course, I thought that they were just telling stories and they were, but their tales turned out to be based in fact. After talking with my friend and colleague, Byron Ballard, I learned that the coke ovens were real and I began to realize that I didn’t know as much about Dade County history as I thought. That realization began a quest that continues to this day. About 1978 while in graduate school at West Georgia, I copied my first documented proof of what had happened here in the 1880’s. I have continued to randomly search for and pick up items until our recent trip to the coke ovens and for weeks after.
In 1858, Dade County submitted a report to Governor Joseph E. Brown. It was the annual report of education. It listed 671 students with 25 schools, with an assessed tax rate of $150 for the year. Joe Brown was Georgia’s governor from 1858-1865. He was an ambitious man. Following the tactics of fictional heroine, Scarlett O’Hara Kennedy during reconstruction, he just had to be in on something big that would give him fame and make money. In 1872 Brown became the President of Western and Atlantic Railroad. In February of 1873 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, he and his cohorts formed the Dade Coal Company. With profit being the bottom line, they took advantage of convict least system that Georgia instituted in December of 1866. The system was put in place because most of the jails and prisons in Georgia had been destroyed during the Civil War and a way to manage prisoners in the state was needed. It was also a de facto method of controlling the former slaves throughout the state.
In 1876, Brown leased 100 convicts at $11 for per convict for five years. By 1878, Dade was one of three companies in Georgia allowed to lease all of the convicts in Georgia. The leases were for the next 25 years at $25,000 per year. That made the cost of labor really cheap. Coal could be mined in Pennsylvania at about $8 per ton. Brown liked to brag that at the Dade Coal Company it could be mined for $1.60 per ton. In 1875, Georgia had 926 convicts (90 white males, 805 colored males, 30 colored females and one white woman). Georgia received $10,756.48 from the leases in 1875. Continuing next week with tales of murder, hangings, a lady evangelist, the 1880 census, for whom Cole City was really named and the abrupt end of the most prosperous mining era in Dade.
Former Governor Joe Brown had worked his way back up the ladder to a position of power despite reconstruction. He became the President of Western and Atlantic Railroad. He needed coal to run his trains, so he found some. It happened to be on Sand Mountain in the gulf which had coal mines since at least 1856. The Yankees had traversed it to make their way toward Chickamauga. So far I don’t know what happened between 1863 and 1873. There are no Dade County Newspapers for those years. Our microfilmed copies at the library begin in the 1870’s and oddly are a result of the Dade Coal Company and the Rising Fawn Iron Works. The communities that came to thrive because of the industry that came to Dade were unique and are almost forgotten. The 1880 census brings them to life.
The census taker for Cole City was named Robert Lindsay. Even he didn’t spell it correctly and wrote it as Coal City, which still happens today. The legislature of Georgia said it like this, “That the village or association of persons residing at the Dade Coal Mines, operated by Joseph E. Brown, William C. Morrill, John M. Born, Jr. Walter S. Gordon and others, be the same is hereby incorporated under the name of Cole City (in honor of Colonel E. W. Cole).” They also planned the government of commissioners (“five in number) and stated what could and could not be taxed. They mandated the size. “The corporate limits of the said city shall extend two miles in every direction from the present main entrance of the coal mine now operated by the Dade Coal Company. . . .”




Did you know that. . .?

Did you know that. . .?
Historically Speaking
Donna M. Street

Some weeks are just too filled with appointments, meetings and tragic loss of friends to do justice to articles that are in the works. For this week, trivia will be the topic. Fun facts that you may not know if you haven’t lived here long or that you may not know even if your roots are deep in our limestone-layered soiled. Did you know that. . .

• Dade County was originally part of Cherokee County. Next it was a part of Walker County. On Dec. 25, 1837, it was divided and Dade was created. It was named for Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who probably never came here, but was killed by Seminole Indians in Florida. On Christmas Day of 2013, Dade County will be 176 years old.

• The county seat is Trenton. Trenton was first named Salem.

• Rising Fawn was once named Hannah.

• Cole City and Rising Fawn were incorporated cities before Trenton.

• Geographically, Dade County has 174 square miles. It is 23 miles long from the Alabama border on the south and Tennessee border on the North. The eastern boundary is Lookout Mountain, which borders Walker County, Georgia. The western boundary is Sand Mountain, which was called Raccoon Mountain on Civil War maps.

• There is a legend that Dade County seceded from Georgia, before Georgia seceded from the Union. While no hard evidence of this can be documented, a ceremony to return to the Union was held on July 4, 1945. It was broadcast live on the radio to the nation from the courthouse square. A highlight of this celebration was a telegram sent to Dade County from President Harry S. Truman which welcomed the pilgrim state back to the union.

• The first state representative from Dade County was named Alfred Street. He lived in Rising Fawn. Many of his descendants are still Rising Fawn residents.

• Cherokee Indians had a large presence here. The valley was a natural highway which the Cherokee traveled, just as we use Interstate 59 in modern times to travel north. One of their main settlements was near the current Dade County High School and Lookout Creek. Wisely, both Confederate and Union soldiers camped in the same area. Proximity to water was probably a reason.

• Most of the first white settlers who arrived in the 1830’s and 40’s started their journey from McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee. Read the 1840 census for Dade County and one will find many of the last names that still take an active role in the community.

• If one is interested in studying a single battle or campaign of the Civil War in which soldiers from Dade County were involved, then a person should study the history of the Siege of Vicksburg. Records show more Dade soldiers were listed as killed, wounded and captured (and released) during the Vicksburg siege than any other documented battle. Several soldiers who were captured and released made it home just in time to witness their mountains and valley covered with blue uniforms trying to cross Lookout Mountain to an unnamed destination.

• The Dade County Courthouse on the square was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept.18, 1980. According to tradition, this was the third courthouse in Dade. The two earlier courthouses were destroyed by fires. Union soldiers destroyed it in 1863 and the next time was during the 1920’s. In the fall of 2010, a fourth court facility, southwest of the square, was opened. There is a time capsule buried of southwest corner of the square. It was buried as part of Dade’s 1976 Bicentennial Celebration. Court records and newspaper articles are filled with the trials of building, repairing and paying for Court Houses.

• Covenant College was first a hotel. It was called Lookout Mountain Hotel. Its nickname was “Castle in the Clouds”. When Elizabeth Taylor married Eddie Fischer, they spent their honeymoon at the Lookout Mountain Hotel. During prohibition, it was also noted for gambling and for secret passageways to get away from authorities.

• In 1940, the first paved road was completed across Lookout Mountain. Today it is called Highway 136, but it was originally named for the governor of Georgia who was responsible for it being built. His name was Ed Rivers. There are references to an older road in legislative documents in the 1840’s. They refer to a dispute between Dade and Walker over which county should receive funding for the construction of the road. Dade County won the funding.

• Barns across America were hand-painted with these words, “SEE ROCK CITY”. The famous campaign was created by painter and promoter Clark Byers, who was a Dade County native. The first barn on which the modern Rock City logo (www.seeRockCity.com) was painted is located on Pope Creek Road in Wildwood and is owned by Johnny Wallen.

More Nominees for Hall of Fame continued

More Nominees for Hall of Fame continued
Historically Speaking
Feb. 19, 2014
Donna M. Street

After a couple of weeks of weather-related hibernation and one week of self-imposed quarantine to recover from my usual winter upper respiratory infections, I leave my comfy couch, empty the trash can of used Kleenex and get back to the research and writing. Research, for me, an old librarian, is much more pleasurable than actually getting the words on the page. I continue to look for “just one more” reference about a topic (any topic), rather than just to sit down and commit to paper the results of my research.
When last heard from I had shared with the readers nine of my picks for a mythical Dade County Hall of Fame. Many of you may be aware that I like a sport known as politics. Two of my nominees are home-grown politicians. Other politicians should be added to the list at some further time, but these two achieved the highest political offices held by any native Dade Countians. One is Maddox J. Hale and the other, Red Townsend.

Maddox Jerome Hale (1899-1970) was born to Shadrach J. and Clara Street Hale. After attending school in Trenton and completing high school in Chattanooga, he attended law school in Chattanooga. He spent a few years in a Chattanooga law firm and joined his father’s law firm in Trenton in 1936. He was very active in Trenton Methodist Church and the Holston Conference. After the death of his father in 1946, he was the only lawyer maintaining an office in Dade County and was jokingly referred to as the “Dade County Bar Association”. He was married to Mauline Morrison in 1947. For 17 years, he served as a member of the Georgia House of Representatives and for 6 of those years he served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives. His common sense and dry wit served him well in the legislature as he served on all of the major committees at one time or another. From 1970 to this date, Dade County has not had a representative in either the House or the Senate with the accrued seniority, achieved rank or the ability to influence legislation in favor of northernmost corner.

Judge Johnson Murphy Claggett “Red” Townsend (1899-1961) achieved the highest elective or appointed position in state government of any Dade Citizen. He was born in Wildwood to William J. and Elizabeth Murphy Townsend. His father served the community as the justice of the peace. That may have influenced his occupational choice, as he had worked his way through college, earning a law degree in Chattanooga by 1923. He became involved in politics and won a seat in the Georgia Legislature in the 20’s and the 30’s. He held a position in the State Revenue Department. He was later appointed to the six county Cherokee Circuit and later to the Georgia Court of Appeals. The move to the judgeship also required moving his family, wife, Eva and sons, Johnnie Mack and Allen to Atlanta in 1947. The family remained there even after his death in 1961. Interesting that through those Atlanta years, they maintained their church membership at Wildwood Methodist Church and their strong alliance with Dade.
Political connections made by him were probably responsible for two historical facts. The first is tangible; highway 136 might never have become a reality if not for the efforts of Judge Townsend. Building a decent road across Lookout Mountain is argued over in legislative documents from the 1830’s until the 1930’s. Finally, with efforts to get America working again, the road began in 1939. Expanding into our corner and building a state park probably have his fingerprints on it too, though I can’t prove that. I appreciate the scenic ride and am grateful that he was always trying to improve the lot of the folks at home.
Secondly, from what I have read and pieced together he was the mastermind behind the great Dade Returns to the Union event on July 4, 1945. I started studying about this at age 14 when I wrote a letter to the Atlanta Constitution and received newspaper articles that proved that it happened (which I did not believe until I got those articles). I couldn’t believe what a big story it was or that it was about my hometown. I have been on at least two syndicated television programs saying that we did not secede, but the story is just too good to die. To pull off a national broadcast from Trenton, by an Atlanta radio company took some real string pulling. We don’t have anybody in our town with the clout to pull something like that off today. Now there were plenty of others working behind the scenes, but only one Dade Countian knew how to make all the puzzle pieces fit and that was Red Townsend. I love the tale, the truth and the fact that he cared enough to try and shine a bright light on the State of Dade.

A few weeks ago, Joy Odom did a great article on Catherine Clark Morrison. She belongs on this list, but so does her husband, Colonel Douglas E. Morrison (1893-1973). Native-born to W. G. Morrison and Allie Hassel Brock Morrison, one of at least 10 children, he attended Georgia Tech. He graduated in 1917. Football at a school in Dade County was almost 40 years away, when “Froggie” Morrison quarterbacked the team to couple of wins which should have been called on the mercy rule. One game is recorded as 100-0 and another 222-0. I found his draft card on Ancestry.com. He registered in Dade on June 1, 1917, where he is listed as a student at Georgia Tech. A late 80’s Tech yearbook lists him as a member of ANAK a secret honor society for 1917. My next clue came in November 26, 1925, Dade County Times where the headline reads Captain Morrison ill and states that his parents have just received word that he is suffering from appendicitis at Coast Artillery Corps, U.S. Army, Fort Prebel, Maine. The article mentions that he is improving and saw service in WWI “in the Argonne Forest and Chatteau Thiery and served about three years with the army of the occupation before returning to the United States”. That little piece of information sent me back to Ancestry and there found an application for a Victory medal for officers for service with the 1St Army at Champagne-Marne and Meuse-Argonne from July 30 to November 11, 1918. When the application was made he was 1st Lieutenant.

By 1932, he was married to Kate, who grew up in Maine, and was also about 10 years his junior. I also found (on Ancestry) the ship’s manifest of a trip they made on U.S. Army Hospital Ship Marigold and was renamed U.S.S President Van Buren during WWII. The ship sailed from Shanghai and the Morrison’s got on board in Manila, floated past Naples and Genoa, Italy and finally arrived in New York on July 18, 1932. I last found them in the 1940 census living in Chesapeake, Elizabeth City,Virginia where by then they had added to their family by the adoption of Ellen. After the Colonel left active duty they moved home to Dade County where raised Ellen, who later married Beau Dyer, had several businesses including Morrison’s Hardware and the Dade County Times. Abby Dyer Franklin lives on her grandparent’s farm with her children. Doug and Lee Dyer still have homes and strong ties here. During a conversation with Magistrate Judge Joey McCormick the other day, he shared stories of his carefree days as a kid whose dad owned a business on the square and who was allowed to wander without worry of what might happen to him. He told barbershop tales of the men who gathered there to tell lies and drink a cold bottle of Coke. He was treated as one of them and he returned that respect by offering to buy a round for the older friends who treated his as an equal. The Colonel is remembered fondly by the Judge and by those of us who wish to have been able to ask him a thousand questions.

So much for my imaginary Hall of Fame, for now anyway, there are still more people to nominate.

If you happen to be in Wildwood between 2 and 4 pm on Sunday Feb. 23, stop by the Community Center and wish a Happy 90th Birthday to my dear old dad, Don Street. He’s in pretty good health just now and declares he’s planning on making it to 100. He would love to see his customers and old friends, but if you miss this one, we’ll see you in 10 years.

Don’t forget the Dade County Historical Society meeting on Sunday, March 2 at the Dade County Public Library at 3 p.m. We will be planning our next field trip and will have a program.

If Dade Had a Hall of Fame. . . Part 1

If Dade Had a Hall of Fame. . .
Historically Speaking
Donna M. Street

I am so grateful to have fellow members of the Historical Society take turns columns about our history.  Joy and Gail will be writing more. Inclement weather was the reason that Joy’s article about the school bus ride was chosen for last week’s Sentinel. “Snow days” always bring to mind that school in Dade is not usually closed because we are covered with snow or ice, but because it is just too dangerous to take a chance with the safety of our kids. I was interested to hear the weather people say that it had not been as cold as it was last Tuesday, since February, 1970. I remember it well, since I was a senior in high school and the Dade rule was that at 15 or 17 degrees, we girls could wear pants. Boy, have times changed.

I am recruiting other local writers and local historians to contribute. Some of our articles turn out to be information, that may have been reported on fifty years ago, so it has historical merit. Thank you for all of the positive emails, phone calls and conversations that let us know that you enjoy our research. We will continue to bring forth bits of interest that the average citizen under 50 probably doesn’t know.

A couple of years ago one of my oldest friends, Lionel Austin, was the President of the Chamber of Commerce. He called and asked me to make up a list of people (living and dead) quickly that I might consider to be our most famous citizens. At that moment, our most famous citizen was Ashely Houts and of course I am a big Forester Sisters fan. I needed a little time to think back over our history. It didn’t take me long to come up with a list of 15-20. I found the scrap of paper that I had written them on and I was off to the races for a few weeks of articles. Here are the names that I came up with Norman Blake (and of course Nancy), George Washington Harris, The Forester Sisters, Ashley Houts, Rick West, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Judge J.M.C. “Red” Townsend, Col. James Cooper Nesbit, Harold Cash, Fanny Mennen, Elbert Forester, Charles Counts, Shorty Bradford, Desmond Doss, Chester and Lester Buchanan, Rep. Maddox J. Hale, Col. Douglas E. Morrison, Lee Dyer, Mark Gray and Judge Hale. There are too many to write about all of them in one week. The first batch is included in no particular order. Some are natives and some are persons who chose to make Dade their home.

Elbert Forester (1905-1976) was a native and in his life owned and operated not one, but two local newspapers. He owned the Dade County Times before he sold it to Catherine Clark Morrison in the 40’s. During some of that time, he represented Dade in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia State Senate. In 1965, he started a new newspaper which was the Dade County Sentinel. He wrote a weekly column and most of the rest of the paper. He was widely know and well respected by folks at home and around the state.

George Washington Harris (1814-1869) spent more than 100 years buried in the Brock Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Within that last five years, literary persons and college students did enough research to prove that Harris had lived here and was buried there. They erected a monument and gave him a burial fitting the literary leader that he was. He is listed as an American Humorist and is best known for his character “Sut Lovingood”, who speaks in a dialect that make Uncle Remus’s dialect seem like the King’s English. In my early career as an elementary librarian, I spent countless hours reading Br’er Rabbit to students. I wanted to learn to read “Sut’s” stories and possibly write a play with some of his tales. That may never happen, but I still want to because GWH’s character is really funny and I am sure that he wrote some of them about people here since he did most of his writing of this character during the years when he lived here and helped to bring the railroad to us. He was a hero of Samuel Langhorne Clemmons. If it’s good enough for Mark Twain, then it’s good enough for me. If you are brave enough to try to read his work, there are several of his stories in our local library.

Colonel James Cooper Nesbit grew up in Macon and after college in the 1850’s, he moved to Dade. He bought a farm just south of Rising Fawn and named the plantation Cloverdale. Yes, that is where the community got its name. He was the commander of one of the company of soldiers who went to fight for the Confederacy from Dade during the Civil War. He is remembered because he wrote about his years at war in a book entitled, Four Years on the Firing Line . Having spent most of a day reading it recently, I was pleasantly surprised at the detail which he was able to remember. He wrote it about 1901. I guess there are just some horrors that a person doesn’t forget.

Harold Cash (1895-1977) had a home in Wildwood during many of his years as a famous sculptor. He was born in Chattanooga and died in New York. He was sculpting in Paris in 1929. He has works in the permanent collection at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga. His sculptors are solid, simple and elegant. I wouldn’t know anything about him except for the things that my mother, Elizabeth Wallen Street, has told me about visiting his mother with the ladies from the Wildwood Methodist Church, when she was a teenager. Obviously, I have more research to do.

Carroll Mitchell “Shorty” Bradford was another homegrown lad with enormous talent. He was a renown gospel musician during the mid-twentieth century. He was a part of several well-known musical groups. The Homeland Harmony Quartet, The Happy Two and the Shorty Bradford Trio were among his most famous. He met his wife, Jean, at a concert and later, they were even married at a concert. He is probably most famous for his years with Leroy Abernathy as a quartet of two, who sang all four parts. They had a daily TV show on WAGA in Atlanta for seven years. “The Happy Two” was credited with helping to make Atlanta the center for gospel music in the south. We lost his voice too soon to heart break and failure, but he left the legacy of a talented family. Many know of the talents of his and Jean’s daughters, Carolyn Bradford Lane and Louise Case.

As I end this week’s column, the President of the Historical Society and the Friends of the Library, has news to share. The first regular meeting of the Society for 2014 should have been January 5, but I admit that I forgot to get with the other officers and get it together. So we will go forth with our next regular meeting which is will be held on Sunday, March 2. Between now and then, we are making plans for our early spring outing. The owner of the property and I are discussing logistics, but be assured that we want to visit the ruins of the old Dade Ironworks before the snakes are awake. Keep an eye out for updates and information.
Great news from the library this week was that we have reached $21,500 of the $23,000 goal needed to keep the library open at the current 27 hours per week through the fiscal year, on June 30. We still have one fundraiser in play. Richard Stephens has given a 22 pistol for our cause and we have raffle tickets to sell. If we can sell all of the tickets (300 tickets @$10 each), we will surpass our goal. If you need a 22 pistol and you are 21 or older, we would be happy to sell a few chances to you for this fine firearm. See the ladies at the library or call on a member of the Friends to make a purchase. On February 14 , the lucky ticket will be drawn. We plan to take a breather from fundraising after that and earnestly begin working with our public officials to secure adequate funding for 35-40 hours a week in 2015, hopefully without fundraising.
We would also like to express our thanks to all who funded our library and who participated in our fundraising efforts for this year. Public officials of the City and the County, thank you for maintaining the level of the support that you did in 2013. Donations from private citizens, large and small, were wonderful and greatly needed. Volunteers, who helped weekly at the library and during special events, we couldn’t do it without you. And to those who made purchases at Christmas at the Library, we thank you and know that you got some really good bargains. On all counts, your support and interest in our library and community is greatly appreciated.


Will the Real Dade County Historian Please Stand Up!


Will the Real Dade County Historian Please Stand Up!

Observations by Gail Moore Hedden, Dade County Historical Society Treasurer

“Historically Speaking” is one of my favorite Dade County Sentinel columns. I appreciate the time and effort Donna Street puts into researching and retelling the history of Dade County. Since the days when my grandmothers sat me down and helped me learn the names of all my great uncles and great aunts, I’ve had the bug to know who they and their ancestors were, where they lived, what their lives were like.

I left Dade County when I got out of college 40 years ago and only recently returned when my husband and I retired. One of my retirement hobbies is to work in the Dade County Library’s Sue Forrester Historical Room helping to organize and catalog items kept in the library. What an experience I have had over the past nine months. During that time, I’ve learned who the some of the real historians of this county are….many are unsung and many don’t even know they are historians. Here’s what I mean.

The late Mrs. Catherine Morrison was a great historian. She not only owned the local paper and was a community activist years ago, but she kept scrapbooks of articles and a real “card index” of the stories she wrote. No computers for her, but lots of information readily at hand. Her scrapbooks and those of the Home Demonstration Club and the Garden Club chronicle the news and the local interests of Dade County for a period of at least 25 years.

Then there’s Kenneth Pennington…..spelunker, artist, Indian historian, Civil War historian, family historian and photographer. Whatever Kenneth delves into, he does with great zeal.
I could listen to him to tell of where his family lived (in the middle of Hwy 136) in the days
before the highway was there of course; his reading of his grandmother’s letters detailing
her life, or tales of the caves where his grandfather hid out during the Civil War.

And there’s William Back. William didn’t grow up here, didn’t have family here, just came
to Dade County and loved the people and decided to stay and be a contributing member of the area. William is an architectural historian. His love is in the study of old architectural details and the restoration of old buildings, and he’s also a student of Cole City history. His presentation to the Historical Society about Cole City included detailed information using old maps to show how the mines and railroads were situated. His guidance last March of about 80 people into the Cole City coke ovens included a look into life at the remains of a home that probably predated the mines.

And then there’s Joy and Hugh Odom. Having been in the school system for a number of years, Joy knows many of the Dade County folks and their stories. She has been working on cataloguing the scrapbooks available in the library. She and Hugh are also actively involved in the Chickamauga National Park and were heavily involved in this year’s programs celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga.

Rex Blevins has spearheaded and has almost completed the preservation of the Union
School….one of the first schools in Dade County. It will serve as a museum at its current
location next to the Dade County High School.

Ted Rumley has a collection of Georgia Game Park history that includes a great collection
of photos from the Civil Rights march through Dade County and he also possesses a collection of Civil War artifacts from the South end of the county.

Spencer Jenkins kept a scrapbook of every Sports article he ever wrote for the Dade County paper. Want to remember what happened in the sporting world during Spencer’s days, just go to the library and take a look at this marvelous collection.

Mrs. Etoka Blevins Beckham left a treasure trove of articles she kept from the local newspapers; wedding announcements, anniversary celebrations, obituaries and news articles. One of the most impressive groups of items is the news photos of our military men and women from World War II and Viet Nam. She collected the happenings of the day and they are now being organized in the library for the use of the public.

Then there’s Joe Snyder who just last week showed me a hardbound copy of the 1908 Geological Survey of North Georgia…there’s a whole chapter on the geology of Dade County along with a color map of the area as well as some details of people living in the area. This is a rare book and thus a great find for all those interested in our past.

Bonnie Jeffries has a letter written to Mrs. Sitton by one of her sons during World War II. She thinks it’s an important piece of history that needs to be preserved and she plans to share it with the library.

Shirley Gray Morgan has created scrapbooks of obituaries by cemetery. She has given copies of these works to the library. She is currently working on Gib Dock and Stephens Cemeteries with the help of her granddaughter Emily.

And, of course, there are the works of Sue Forrester, Claude Owens, and many many others who I haven’t even touched on. These are only a handful of the folks in Dade County who have actively preserved some piece of our history. Why do they do it? Because they love the tales, they love the landscape, they love exploring the mysteries of the past and they love the people .

For all who are historians or who just love history, I encourage you to spend some time in the Sue Forrester Historical Room. You’ll find lots of information there and if you are lucky, you just may run into one of these local historians while you are there.

PS If you love history and want it preserved locally in the Sue Forrester Historical Room, please, consider making a donation to the Dade County Library.

Gail Moore Hedden is a retired banker and native Dade Countian who recently returned to Dade after her retirement.  She also serves and the Treasurer of the Dade County Historical Society.



Historically Speaking
By Joy Odom

Some unknown wisecracker once quipped, “The past is a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” One way to test whether or not the speaker was right is to make a little excursion into the past to check it out. We have a great way to do this in Dade County because of information left to us in scrapbooks now housed at the Dade County Library. During the years when Mr. Elbert Forrester and Mrs. Catherine Morrison edited the local newspaper, they published at the close of each year a summary of the major happenings in the county during that year. It’s a little slice of the past that we can visit and decided how much things have changed and yet, in some ways, how much they are still the same. For this week’s focus, here are some events of some time ago, but well within the memory of many local residents.

– Asa L.McMahan won the corn contest with 126.7 bushels of corn to the acre.
– A fatal accident occurred on Highway 11 (no specific location given).
– D. Newell Scruggs bought Tatum and Scruggs Grocery.
– Work started on the Trenton Water System.
– A fatality occurred on Highway 11.
– Dr. D.S. Middleton was presented a plaque for over 55 years of medical service in the county.
– Crane and Miles opened a new and used furniture store in Trenton.
– The second federal trial of the clan flogging began in Rome.
– Storms flooded the streams and sloughs.
– A farm census was taken.
– The 1950 U.S. Census was taken.
– A county-wide improvement meeting was held.
– J.P. Lambert received a Master’s Tree Farmer certificate.
– Maddox J. Hale qualified to run for state representative and 16 others signed up to run for county committeeman positions
– A coal company began strip mining on Sand Mountain.
– 3,415 citizens registered to vote in upcoming Dade County elections.
– U.S. Census results were released showing that Trenton’s population was 760; Dade County’s was 7,362, an increase of 1,500 from the previous census. The county was shown to have 577 more houses and 218 more farms than in 1940 (the previous census).
– Two people were killed in a truck collision in Morganville.
– Governor Herman Talmadge visited Dade County. (This must have been a really interesting event as Talmadge was one of the politicians who had been involved in a major contest in the late 1940’s over who should be the legal governor of Georgia after the previous governor, Herman’s father, Eugene, died in office. The state government hung in limbo for months until the courts finally solved the tangle. At the time of his visit to Dade, Herman Talmadge was running for his own term as governor.)
– Freeman C. McClure won the election for judge of the newly created Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit.
– Lacy’s Restaurant became “air cooled” – the first in town to do so.
– Far away the “police action” began in Korea.
– A draft of men ages 19-25 was ordered by the U.S. government for service in Korea.
– A fatal accident occurred on Highway 11 (no specific location given) and several other accidents occurred near Crawfish Creek on the same road. In one of these a mother and child died. Signs were erected to warn of slippery pavement, but cars continued to slide off the road.
– The first city map of Trenton was completed.
– W.B. Cureton died.
– “Brass hats” from TVA visited Trenton.
– Local reserve members were called to active duty for service in Korea.
– New surface was laid on Highway 11 south of Trenton.
– Dade County was turned down for funds for a the health center
– The Dade Theater was under the new management of J.G. Pace.
– H.E. Gross bought the Dyer Mercantile property and Dyer Service Station.
– The first men drafted from Dade left for service in Korea.
– The county fair kicked off with a parade.
– The Rising Fawn 4-H Club won state honors.
– The Clothesline Art Show was held.
– More local men were drafted.
– A tax rate of 35 mills was set for the county.
– Boll weevils ruined the cotton crop.
– A state election was held featuring huge paper ballots because of the 37 amendments proposed to the state constitution.
– Rising Fawn got street lights.
– Snow, ice, and cold covered the county.
– Trenton set the wheels in motion to collect property taxes in 1951.
– Snow and cold still dominated the county.
-The newly organized Tri-County Hospital received federal aid and construction work was set to begin.

So many of these events have in them the seeds of our lives in the county today; some simply bring back names and events that we have known or heard of. All are worth talking about and remembering as they laid the foundation for today.