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.

Remembering November 22, 1963

Remembering November 22, 1963
Historically Speaking
November 20, 2013
By Donna M. Street

It was probably the first time I was allowed to sit at that massive wooden librarian’s desk North Dade School (later that desk would be mine during my first year teaching there as the librarian). My eleventh birthday had been ten days before. The teacher, who was in charge of the library, had taken a couple of other kids and me down to library, while the rest of the class went outside to play and they were watched by another teacher. All was fairly quiet and I don’t remember exactly what we were doing. A little after two p.m., the door opened and in walked our very tall principal, James Earl Cleveland. He had probably already been to the 5 or 6 classrooms in the old building and was finishing his rounds in the lower by visiting the library and the first and second grades. He seemed somber and far sterner than his usual self. He may have spoken to the teacher before he talked to us, but he had been our principal for about three years and those were simpler times. Sometimes kids were privy to information before they should have been. He blurted out that the President had been shot. No confirmation, as yet, of what we all knew by the time we got off the bus at home and turned on the TV.
John F. Kennedy had not only been shot in Dallas, Texas that noon, but that he had died. With all of the recent television shows about the 50th anniversary of the assassination (National Geographic Channel movie and PBS American Experience two-parter, etc.) that are parked on my DVR awaiting a day when I can immerse myself in remembering that tragic day, I related what happened to me on that day to my parents.

They were quick to share where they were and what they were doing. Daddy was driving in his blue and white Ford station wagon on his wholesale hardware route across Tennessee and was near the city limits of Dunlap and headed toward Pikeville when they broke in on the radio to begin news coverage that did not end for four days and more. I asked him if the news made him change his plans for the afternoon. He said no and then I asked if he sold any hardware that afternoon to which he replied yes. He confirmed that selling paint and nails and household items was over-shadowed in the stores he visited by a single topic.

Mother joined in to give her recollections of the afternoon. We were living in our old house at Morganville on Slygo Ridge road and she, too, had the radio on (probably to listen to the afternoon soap operas) as she did her chores. She said that she was bathing my sister, Katie, who was two and a half. The shooting even affected Katie. After the news had played and replayed, the events of the day became gut-wrenching reality as we saw the President shot over and over. Again we watched as our young, widowed First Lady, still in that blood-soaked suit, bore witness graciously as Lyndon Johnson became our next president. So deeply affected was my baby sister that she walked around for the next couple of days saying, “They shot my president; they shot my president”.

That Friday began one of the most unusual weeks which I can remember. Because Monday, November 25 was declared a National Day of Mourning for the funeral service, there was no school. I got to go home to spend the night (on a Sunday) at “the Franklins” (Kathy was my close friend as were her two younger brothers, Buzz and Jim). By the time the funeral was over on television it started to snow here and a quick long distance phone call from Creek Road to Morganville (yes, it was a long distance call until about 1996 or 97) determined that there would be no school and I could stay for another night. Thanksgiving was also that week and because of the snow we were out of school for the whole week. Somehow I think that the school system people just weren’t ready for a one day school week , which included comforting a bunch grieving kids and decided that our parents could and should deal with it. I don’t remember our celebration that year, but it was definitely tempered by a national sadness.

November of this year seems filled with historic anniversaries that need to be recalled. 150 years ago on November 18, Union troops were blowing up bridges in the valley and looking down from Sand Mountain while lobbing cannonballs at Trenton. There is a great first-hand account of this by Colonel James Cooper Nisbet of Cloverdale Plantation in Rising Fawn in his book, Four Years on the Firing Line. Nisbet’s book is out of print but can be found online for reading and free downloading at https://archive.org/details/fouryearsonfirin00nisb. He writes that he was on his way home for the first time in two and a half years and stopped Trenton to talk with some old codgers, when he became alarmed because the bridges south of Trenton were disappearing fast. He decided that his safest return route to Cloverdale via Lookout Mountain by way of Head River. I don’t have unassailable documentation-yet, but this was probably the week that our courthouse was burned for the first time. They also destroyed the Macon Iron Works (near the Shaw Plant on the former Ogiatti property) and were supposed to destroy the Empire State ironworks completely (just south of the “Four Fields”) near the Number Eight bridge. They did put it out of business, but a large stone foundation still stands.

By the way, the Historical Society’s next field trip is planned for after the new year to those ruins. On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. November 23 -26 were the epic up-mountain Battle Above the Clouds and the Battle at Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga. The Union finally had complete control of Chattanooga and methodically worked their way toward Atlanta and further south. Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving are official holidays put in place by some lawmakers in our past. We celebrate with special historic traditions relating to each. Along with my parents, I enjoyed a ride through Chattanooga National Cemetery (which was first claimed as a military cemetery during those November battles) last Tuesday and spent time commemorating all the relatives and friends who are proudly buried there. It was a great way to remember those who died in battle or served and were buried there for service to their county.

If you asked anyone who lived during the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century what he or she was doing when they heard about the
• the bombing of Pearl Harbor Dec.7, 1941,
• the death of Elvis on Aug. 16, 1977 or Princess Diana on Aug. 31, 1997,
• the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrow Federal Building on April 19, 1995 or
• the bombing of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001,
and they can probably tell you what they were doing in great detail. Events such as these were horrible and heart-breaking and have served to take our country on different paths. Assassination was not a word that I knew until November 22 in 1963. Fifty years later, I have never forgotten it and neither has anyone else who can remember that day.

For information about the Historical Society or to share what you were doing when you heard about President Kennedy, please send email responses to dchsga@gmail.com .

1880 Census helps brings Community to Life

1880 Census helps brings Community to Life
Historically Speaking  December 11, 2013
By Donna M. Street

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 that we know of. 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. He took the census in Militia District 1222 from June 4-June 9 in 1880. Even he didn’t spell it correctly and wrote it as Coal City, which is still commonly done 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 geographical 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. . . .” Legislative Act No.CXXII — (O.No. 163) was approved on February 21st, 1873. Where the main entrance was remains a mystery.

I find it extremely amusing that two days earlier on Feb. 19, 1873 another piece of legislation passed. Even before they made a city and incorporated it; they made rules about the prevention of the “sale of spirituous or malt liquors . . . within two miles of Dade Coal Company.” It was also “unlawful for any person to vend, sell, dispose of or donate any whisky, brandy or any intoxicating liquor of any character whatever, at the Dade Coal Mines. . . .” In long ago research which I can’t find, I read that during this time, Murphy Hollow boasted from 10-16 saloons. I always wondered why there were so many concentrated in one spot. I can only assume that because there was a rail spur from Cole City to Murphy Hollow and it was about 2 miles from the mine; it became the most logical choice for a little fun and a sip of brandy. Local Cole City researchers cannot determine what a two mile radius of the gate would mean since we have not been able to discover maps of the site from that period. The maps used today were done by TVA in the 30’s or 40’s. Someday I plan to visit the library that holds the papers of Gov. Joseph E. Brown and I may be able to add another piece to this puzzle. If anyone has a copy of a pre-1910 map of Cole City, I would love to see it.

The census pages for 1880 would hold 50 names per page. There were 20 pages, 19 had were full with page 20 showing less than 20. More than 950 people were counted in Cole City. About 375 of those were prisoners. They counted the prison itself as the last two dwellings; number 93 and 94. This was still a thriving operation by 1890 and even in 1900. The 1890 censuses do not exist because they were burned. We can’t use that data to determine much about what was happening at the mines. By 1900 the mine had a separate census from Cole City proper.

Many of the family names are very familiar to a modern day Sand Mountain and Dade County. Names such as Stephens, Prince, Davis, Rogers, Graham, Elliot, Wells, Allison, Estes, Russell, and Phillips were just a few of the families at the district then. The work was still largely farming, with many other jobs related to the railroad. Miners and laborers were the next highest in number. Superintendent of the Mine, Civil Engineer, Doctor, Railroad brakeman, engineer of N.G. railroad, prison guards, a couple of preachers and a school teacher. Interesting is that the teacher named Cusack was born in Ireland. Some of the widows were running boarding houses. By the 1900 census, there were more firemen on the railroad. At least one store (probably the commissary) was evident. A traveling salesman was in the community, at least during the census.

Thinking that Cole City had been named for coal made sense to me, but I always thought that it was named COLE because one of the largest land owners in the north end of the county was named Cole. Before the war, he was known around the southeast and the country for his strict boarding school for boys called Cole Academy. Well, I was wrong. When I found the reference in the legislation to Colonel E. W. Cole, I went into a tizzy getting the internet fired up to see just who he was. The first thing that popped up was in the New York Times in May 25, 1899 and was about his death. The title and the article tell that he was stricken in the corridor of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. He was with his wife and daughter on a business trip. It noted that he was “one of the most prominent coal and iron men in the South” and that he “was stricken with heart disease” and fell to the floor fracturing his skull. “After lingering about a half an hour he died in the office of the cashier, despite the efforts of two physicians who were immediately called in.” Edmund Whiteford Cole was given the title of Colonel by the Confederacy while he was the President of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis (NC & St. L) Railroad line. He oversaw the transportation of troops and supplies around the southeast. Upon his death he was still heavily involved in the rail business as the President of Southern Railway System.

Having run out of time and space, you will have to wonder about the murders and hangings for another week or so.

All who are searching for information on your ancestors who lived in Dade County should pick up a copy of the historical society’s new book, Cemeteries of Dade County, which is a great reference for cemetery hounds. It can be purchased at the library and either local bank for $25. We will also have a table at the library fundraiser on Saturday evening from 4-8 pm for Christmas at the Library. All profit from the book sold on Saturday will go to the Save the Library Fund. Hope to see you there.


When Did It Happen . . . 1966? 1967? or 1968? Historically Speaking 2April2014


Historically Speaking
April 2, 2014
When Did It Happen . . . 1966? 1967? or 1968?
By Donna M. Street
This week’s column may ramble a bit. During that last few months feedback about this column has been positive, (which I appreciate) but I was about to enjoy the Davis Chorus Concert on a recent Friday night, when a lady that I love and respect told me that she loved to read the column except last week, the one about the Dade Farmers. I could see her point, the article meant a lot to me for personal reasons, but I also had the advantage of being able to see the picture and that made it come to life for me. Taking her advice seriously and not as a criticism, I will endeavor to include photos when talking about them.

Last week’s article by Joy Odom mentioned that in 1967 only 156 Trenton residents voted in the election in which A. L. Dyer was elected mayor in an uncontested race. Ironically, the city election of 2014 which was held last Tuesday had only 140 voters in a three candidate election. Did Trenton shrink since 1967 or what?

Friday afternoon, I had planned to do three things, hem a pair of pants for my dad, read the book club book for April, and complete my income taxes. The phone rang and it was Marshana at the library lamenting that there is something wrong with the microfilm reader and a patron, who is also a volunteer needs to find the answer to a question about an event that happened in 1966, 1967, or 1968. It was my neighbor, “Shirley Hardeman Gray Morgan Stevens” who was searching for an answer.

It seems that her lunch at Bamaside Restaurant had ended with her lunch buddies telling her that she might not remember what she thought she remembered. Well, for an amateur historian like Shirley or me, that just put her in a tizzy to find the answer. I just couldn’t refuse someone that I know loves the hunt for a historical answer as much as I do. I told Marshana to tell my friend that I would be there as soon as I could finish the other pants leg. A quick call to Rose Moore for some Trenton answers about the event and to the Sentinel to see when their bound copies of the Sentinel begin (1968 in case you need to know) and I was off to hopefully make it so we could use the microfilm. By the time I got there, they had managed to get the machine going, but Shirley was about to give up, when I blasted into the room. She had been on the trail for a couple of hours. Before the library, she had stopped at Gross Furniture to ask Don or Ruth what they remembered and when the event happened. Of course they did remember since the incident ended in a sewer line at the back of Gross Furniture. Everyone that either she or I talked to, gave us information that helped, but not a date. She and I coordinated what we thought were the correct dates. She remembered the year and I remembered the time of year and within an hour we had found what we were looking for. The event was a tragedy of serious proportion for such a small town and always remembered by those who were there or nearby.

The following is the complete transcript of an article printed in the Sentinel on Thursday, February 2, 1967 and the event in question happened on Thursday, Jan. 26, 1967.

Tragedy rarely experienced befell our citizenry Thursday night when somewhat of a freakish accident during a torrential rain storm claimed the life of an employee of the Georgia Power Company, Robert G. Johnson of Trenton.
As reported to a representative of The Sentinel, Mr. Johnson and other members of a group were clearing a stopped-up sewer pipe which leads under the main highway on the North side of Trenton. Working in a downpour of rain, Mr. Johnson, who was nearest to the opening of the pipe, was pulled into the sewer by the violently rushing water, when the obstruction was broken.
The body was recovered a short time later in flooded ditch some two hundred or more feet from the scene of the accident. The time of the tragedy was said to be about 9:30 p.m.
At least one other member of the group narrowly escaped being pulled in by the suction of the raging waters, when attempts to rescue Mr. Johnson were made.
Mr. Johnson’s body was taken to Moore Funeral Home, Trenton, and later removed to Love Funeral Home at Dalton.
Mr. Johnson, wife and three children came to Trenton some two years ago, and resided in the Mountain View Section.
Funeral services were held from the Calvary Baptist Church Saturday afternoon at 2:30 with Revs. Penny Clark and John B. Schrimshire officiating.
Love Funeral Service, Dalton in charge of arrangements.

It is interesting how we sequence things to remember them in our minds. Miss Shirley remembered the happening because she knew that it took place at about the time that she went to work at H.D. Lee Factory of Trenton in the fall of 1967. She was correct about the year, but not the month. As we searched, through the articles in early 1967 we found an announcement that the Lee plant would be expanding and hiring new employees later in the year.

I said that I knew that it happened during the winter months and I thought January, February or March because the Methodists of Dade County would get together in winter at Trenton Methodist and have training session for all local churches. I remember the night because being in Trenton on a school night was an oddity. I loved to go for two reasons, one was that Jim Bowen was the teacher and it was a treat to have a teacher that was not my father or my grandmother. The other was m social and that was to get together with other teens from around the county. We were all distressed by the storm that took place that night and didn’t know there was bigger drama across the street and that someone would lose his life. It was impactful and something that should be remembered.
For those who weren’t here in 1967, the Georgia Power Office was across the street from Gross Furniture and the storm drain was adjacent to the building that now houses a New Mexican restaurant and a resale shop.

The other man who almost lost his life was the late Jack Cash who was also a Georgia Power employee. Ironically, though he did not drown that night, he did lose his life several years later in a drowning incident at a lake near Scottsboro.
We, amateur historians, are always happy when our memories do not fail.
Well, I finished the pants and the book, but I need to get on those tax forms.

Donna Street is a retired educator in the Dade County School System and a 5th generation Dade Countian.  She also serves as the President of the Dade County Historical Society.



Historically Speaking

By Joy Odom

As you may remember from reading last week’s very informative column by Gail Moore Hedden, I have been involved for the past several months in cataloguing the non-book materials in the Sue Forrester Room at the Dade County Library. A great part of these materials consists of scrapbooks of many different types and origins. Some are quite old and delicate (back to the 1930’s, for instance) and some relatively recent (covering activities in the 1970‘s and ‘80‘s); some are the work of groups like the Trenton Garden Club, the Dade Retired Educators or the ABWA; some are the work of individuals, each of whom had a particular area of interest and decided to memorialize it in scrapbook form. As I began going through these books, I realized that giving me this assignment was a little like throwing Brer Rabbit into the briar patch. I was a history teacher before I entered the world of school administration and have been interested in the history of Dade County since the early 1970’s when I first began coming here as a traveling representative of RESA, a state education agency now based in Rome. As I got to know the area and some of the people here, I began to realize what a unique and special place this is, especially in terms of its history and geography and the character of the community. This is of special significance to me as I grew up in a small town near Atlanta which was about the same size as Trenton and was, at one time, the same kind of close-knit, everybody-knows-everybody kind of place, but Atlanta “ate” my hometown years ago and, although it is physically still there, none of the things that really made it home to me exist anymore. It’s now just another suburb. When I moved here in 1992, I discovered that Dade County is still a hometown in its truest sense and, while there have been changes; it has managed to maintain much of its original character through the years. So the chance to pore through the scrapbooks at the library, which document much of that character, many of which are “home-made” and have a very personal feel to them, has been a real treat, as well as a learning experience.

One set of scrapbooks immediately caught my attention because they were titled only by years, were very thorough and comprehensive, and were packed with information in the form of newspaper clippings, pictures, and other pieces of data going back for many years. I was impressed with the dedication and thoroughness it took to produce these books and the love of the county that this portrayed. But there was no author’s name anywhere on the books, so I went in search of my friends who are lifelong Dade Countians to help me figure out who had assembled them week in and out over so many years. After some discussion, it was determined that they had to be “Mrs. Morrison’s books”. And so, I was introduced to someone in the abstract that I truly wish I could have met in real-life. Like me, she was a Dade Countian by adoption, but she made it her home in every sense for the last four decades of her life and made it a better place to live because she had been here.

Catherine Clarke Morrison, business woman, newspaper editor, scrapbook- keeper and much more, was born in 1903 in Portland, Maine, about as far from Dade County as one can get and still be in the US. My friend Rose Moore, one of my lifelong Dade County sources, and a family connection of Mrs. Morrison, tells me that Mrs. Morrison’s father was, at one time, the mayor of Portland, so perhaps that is where she learned the lesson of public responsibility and the need to be involved in one’s community. As a very young woman, she showed signs of adventurousness and unwillingness to be bound by the limits placed on most young women of her era, and she was fortunate in having the support of her family in her ambitions. In researching her early life, I came across a picture of Catherine as a passenger in a two-seater, open-cockpit seaplane in which she flew out over Portland (Maine) Harbor in 1919! The planes were a new development of the navy and were on tour to show off what they could do. Her father had to obtain permission from the Navy to allow her to go on the flight (she was only 16), but he obviously did so. Somehow, I doubt that this was what the typical young lady of her generation in Portland was doing at the time.

In 1923, Catherine married Douglas Eaton Morrison, a son of one of Dade County’s pioneer families and a career Army man; he served in both World Wars. For a number of years, they continued to live away as he pursued his career, but, when time came for the Colonel to retire, he returned to Dade County and Catherine quickly acclimated herself to being a Dade Countian. It is evident from her activities and from the records she left behind that she came to love the place as much as any native could and she exerted herself to help in whatever way she could. According to information on Google which was gleaned from an introduction of Mrs. Morrison when she won a community award, she was instrumental in bringing the first county health nurse to Dade, as well as the first Cooperative Extension representative; then called a “home demonstration agent”. She and her husband ran a hardware store and for a number of years, from the mid-1940 to the mid-1960, she was editor of the local newspaper. In that capacity, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of the county, its organizations, traditions, and people. The basis for this was her file box, to which Gail referred in last week’s column. Donna Street refers to this as “her flash drive”. Looking through the box, it is evident that anytime a major event occurred, or Mrs. Morrison saw something or someone new in the county, or learned something new about an existing resident or group, she made a new card for her file. As she learned new things about existing groups or residents, she jotted additions to their cards. If you want to know about a car wreck or a murder or a newly elected politician in the county during her term as reporter-in-chief, you need only refer to her file.

But of all the things dear to Mrs. Morrison’s heart, the most cherished was her wish for a library to serve the citizens of Dade. She housed the germ of one in the family hardware store and, over the years, she and several friends who were also Dade County stalwarts like Miss Leila Kimbrough and Mrs. Ersaline Carroll, worked to make continual improvements in services and locations until now, sadly when they are all gone, we have the facility we enjoy today. I know that they would be very proud of our library and would be moving heaven and earth to keep it in business if they were here.

Mrs. Morrison died in 1990 and is buried with her husband and many of his forbears and relatives in the Brock Cemetery. Her portrait hangs on the wall of the local library as a testament to her determination to provide that opportunity and resource to the people of her adopted county. It is a fitting tribute and one I think she would appreciate perhaps more than any other.

In a future column, I will share some of the events, news items and opinions that make up Mrs. Morrison’s scrapbooks (and those of others who kept and contributed them), so that you can share my trip down memory lane and understand what a dedicated citizen she was. For me, much of the information is new or consists of a more extensive picture of people and events I have only heard mentioned in passing, but I hope that for many of you it will bring back real memories of the years when Mrs. Catherine Clarke Morrison was a citizen of note in Dade County.

Joy Odom is a retired educator and Vice-President of the Dade Historical Society.



Chronological Events during the Union Occupation of Dade County (part 2)

Chronological Events during the Union Occupation of Dade County

September 3, 1863 Part 2

The historian of the 73 Illinois in Sheridan’s division of the XX Corps recorded that the “weather was more pleasant on the morning of September 3. Some, however, had been at work late into the night at the headquarters of Rosecrans. At 2:30 a.m., Chief of Staff, Brigadier General James A. Garfield sent out the following orders, “The general commanding announces the follow orders for the movement of the army. General Stanley will move the cavalry now in the vicinity of Bridgeport and Caperton’s Ferry to Rawlingsville (Ft. Payne), himself taking the right of the movement from Caperton’s Ferry, and General Crook (cavalry division) that by way of Trenton and Valley Head to Rawlingsville. General Crook will communicate with General McCook (XX) on his route. General Stanley will send such force . . . to Rome, Ga or as far as practicable, to ascertain the position and intentions of the enemy. The force should push forward with audacity, feel the enemy strongly, and make a strong diversion in that direction. General McCook will move his corps to Valley Head. General Johnson will follow the route of General Davis and General Sheridan, reaching Valley Head by way of Trenton unless he can find a practicable route on the mountain. He will open communication with General Thomas via Trenton. General Thomas will move his corps to Trenton and send a regiment to the junction of the Trenton and Chattanooga road with the Whiteside and Murphy’s Valley road, and open communication with General Crittenden. He will then, if practicable, send a light brigade without artillery, on some by-road to seize Frick’s Gap and send the balance of the division up Lookout Creek, via Johnson’s Crook to seize Steven’s Gap. General Crittenden will move his corps up the valley of Running Water Creek to Whiteside’s, where he will post one regiment and send one division along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, to the Trenton road, with orders to push forward as near to Chattanooga as practicable and threaten the enemy in that direction. With the remainder of his force he will occupy a position near the junction of Murphy’s Valley road with the road marked on the map as ‘a good wagon road to Naylor’s.’ He will hold his train on his right and rear, and be in readiness to move either upon the Whiteside’s, the Trenton road, or Shellmound . . . . The movements shall be completed on the evening of September 4. . . . Corps commanders and the chief of cavalry will make frequent reports to department headquarters, which will be at this place (Stevenson, Alabama) until further notice.”

It took several days longer than September 4 to accomplish all that was set forth in those orders. This plan also divided Rosecrans troops about twenty miles from the next corps and those who live here today, well know that even with modern transportation and communication, those twenty miles in either direction can still be a challenge.

Upon receiving orders, the corps and cavalry set about executing them. The cavalry of McCook’s XX was the only troop to make to the assigned point on time, making it to camp near Valley Head that night. In the XIV corps, the three of the four divisions began. General James Negley’s division was the first to move from Moore’s spring to clamber up Sand Mountain. “Four, and sometimes five, span of horses were hitched to one piece of artillery, to drag it up the mountain road.” General Absalom Baird was stalled at Bridgeport because of the collapse of the bridge the previous day. Slightly north, the division of Joseph Reynolds climbed but passed a series of coal mines that were in the pre-war days known as Gordon’s Mine and today they are known as “the coke ovens”. Brannon’s division followed the path made by Reynolds. General Thomas, himself, moved the corps headquarters to Moore’s spring, but he had to cross at Caperton’s Ferry because of the railroad bridge mishap. From his new vantage point, Thomas sent a copy of Rosecrans’ orders and these words to Negley, “You can see from the order to march that it is General Rosecrans’ wishes to seize Steven’s Gap at a point where the road through Johnson’s Crook passes across Lookout Mountain into McClemore’s Cove. Therefore, I want your division to move by the most direct route to where Johnson’s Crook road turns off from the main Lookout Valley road, This route will take you to Brown’s Spring, where you had better encamp until I can overtake you.

Negleys’ passage did not prove easy. He found that the road was in such bad shape that he had to stop and engage the entire division in rebuilding the road. Reaching the summit at dark he reported that regimental train, ambulances and ammunition trains had reached it “without loss of a wheel”. He then sent Col. Sirwell on toward Warren’s Mill and discovered that passage across the ravine would require some more work. The Warren sawmill was torn down for building materials. Lt.-Col. Archibald Blakely wrote, “on the evening of the 3rd bivouacked on the summit at the side of a stream running through a deep ravine, which was found impassable . . . my regiment was detailed to bridge the ravine. The work began at 5 o’clock in the evening and in ten hours a bridge 160 feet long and 35 feet high at the highest point was completed, over which the Second (Negley’s) Division and others of the XIV Army Corps passed in safety. “

The 4th division of General Reynolds found themselves unloading supplies from barges on the Tennessee until they were relieved at noon. Starting their march was easy. Soldiers reported the beauty of the area in letters home. They wrote of the autumnal colors, but complained that the roads were little used and were not more than cross country trails. Night fell long before they reached the summit and they reported that “all night long, with torches and ropes, and shouts and jests, we dragged the lumbering wagons up the sharp incline.” Private Bliss Morse wrote,” We left Shellmound on the 3rd at noon and marched until night through a valley where the banks are close together and five hundred feet high. . . . We had to lay down beside the road that night—it being cool our knapsacks were in the wagon. A R. R. (railroad) runs along the bank to a coal mine.” In another account, Private William Bluffton wrote, “We got marching at noon toward Sand Mountain and Trenton. We got stuck in the mountain pass as our teams can hardly move. It got dark on us about six miles from camp and we layed down in the road and slept. This is the roughest place we have found yet. The pass is narrow and coal mines are around us. One side it is perpendicular hundreds of feet high with only a narrow road up the mountains. If the Rebels can’t hold such passes as this, what can they defent.”

Crittenden’s XIX Corps was having almost as much trouble moving across the Tennessee to follow their orders. They had moved down the Sequatchie Valley and camped at Jasper. On the 3rd they moved to Shellmound. “The ammunition and hospital wagons were sent on to Bridgeport to cross by the pontoon bridge. Half a dozen boats, each capable of carrying two wagons and a dozen mules at a cargo, were our only means of ferriage. These had to be propelled by poles and paddles, across a stream half a mile wide, and it was slow and tedious work. It took all day and half the night to get the brigade over. The division had a herd of cattle, and it was proposed to cross them by swimming. One of the boats was loaded with cattle as ‘bait’ and a sturdy steer was tied by the horns to the stern. The boat was pushed off and of course the steer had to swim for his life. A thousand men, more or less, surrounded the cattle and with terrifying shouts drove them into the water, while the men on the boat employed their most persuasive arts to coax them to follow in the wake of the steer. They swam bravely for a time, and there was much rejoicing over the apparent success of the aquatic experiment. But before a quarter of the distance had been passed, the cattle showed that they were poor navigators. Either they lost their reckoning or their faith failed, for they began to swim in circles, in a state of evident demoralization. After floundering for a few minutes they all struck out for the shore from which they had been launched. There was no alternative; they had to be ferried over in squads. As soon as we had crossed we went into bivouac to await the passage of the rest of the division. Many of the officers and the men spent two and three hours in an underground ramble, by the light of torches, in Nickajack Cave, near Shellmound, said to be miles in extent. One of the chambers, with its labyrinth of stalagtites, is equal to anything in the famous Mammoth Cave, of Kentucky. We waited a day for Van Cleve’s division to cross the river, the boats being kept running day and night. The opportunity for bathing was greatly enjoyed by thousands who fringed the banks.”

September 3 was such a hard day for these troops, that it is nice to think that some of them were able to end an early fall day in September 150 years ago, playing and bathing on the banks of a river in the very same way that folks here still enjoy on holidays and hot summer days.