Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas 1861

Christmas tree from The Graphics Fairy

"In October, 1861, there was not an exile in Kentucky who did not expect to be back in East Tennessee in a few days or a few weeks. Mr Maynard, who was at that time with the soldiers, confidently declared that he expected to eat his Christmas dinner in his own home in Knoxville. But these fond hopes were doomed to bitter disappointment. The expedition to East Tennessee on which their hopes rested was suddenly abandoned, and all they could do was to wait. When the advance movement was countermanded, and the exiles, now in the Union army, were ordered to turn toward Ohio, their hearts were crushed within them. They shed bitter tears of anguish. This was not childish weakness. It was the sad condition of their families at home that filled their minds with trouble. How the long weary months passed with them can not be described. It would reveal many a sad, heavy, heart as the months slowly passed, and there was no forward movement." East Tennessee and the Civil War By Oliver Perry Temple, pp. 464-465

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Before Brown, there was Red:

If you wanted to ship a package during the 1880's from Thornburgh, Gap Creek or other shipping points, in Knox County, you took your package to the Thornburgh or other Post Office to be shipped by Adams Express, which was one of the country's largest express companies.


Alvin Adams was 50 years old when he presided over the meeting in New York City where the Adams Express Company was formally incorporated on July 1, 1854.  It was the start of a small company that would struggle at times, but it would continue to grow.

Read the Adams Express Company's pdf produced for their 150th Anniversary



Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A French Fort on the Tennessee and the search for the mysterious Fort Caroline

A couple of things to keep in mind: Before the French and Indian War, Tennessee was in the territory claimed by France. The French were interested in developing trade routes with the Indians and were not trying to establish settlements in all of their territory. (1700)

The result of the French and Indian War was the France ceded its territory east of the Mississippi to Great Britain and also it ceded French Louisiana, west of the Mississippi River (including New Orleans), to its ally Spain.

French and English traders were found along the Indian trails after 1673. (Source: Tennesseans and Their History,Paul H. Bergeron, Stephen V. Ash, Jeanette Keith,Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1999, p. 9)

Early 1700's - The French begin to establish trading posts along the Tennessee river. Old French Store on Williams Island, this island was the site of an Indian village and probably of an 18th Century French trading post.

1701- The Tennessee River is found on a French map, described as a route by which French hunters and traders return to Carolina. The French were most likely the first white navigators of this river.

Some writer's claim that Fort Caroline was on Bussell Island. This 1715 map by John Beresford does show a fort on the Tennessee River. It does say that it is French fort, but it is not named. The section of the Tennessee River is somewhat misleading, but this this clearly a large island. Some possibilities would be Bussell, Williams Island (near Chattanooga) or an island near Muscle Shoals.

The best argument for the Bussell Island site would be that the later excavations of mounds on Bussell Island showed no evidence of these mounds being used for burial.

Williams Island would be a possibility because it was below The Suck, which was a place in the river ablove Chattanooga that was known to be difficult to navigate.

The islands near Muscle Shoals seem to be the most logical place because they are below The Suck and below the shoals. However, there is no indication that there was a fort in this area, although it is known that there were French explorers in this area.

Chacchumas (more commonly spelled Chicasa) may be Lawrenceburg. See DeSoto's Trail

More controversy: Darien, Georgia, Jacksonville or St May's Florida: Link or here

You can look at the map and see if you agree. John Beresford 1715 map: Link

Henry Timberlake 1762 map: Link

Clearly the 1715 map shows a French fort on an island in the Tennessee River, however there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this fort is the mysterious Fort Caroline.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Milburn apple

Originated on the farm of John K Beale of Greene County, sent to the Agricultural Experiment Station by Eli Marshall, Rheatown, Greene County, Tenn. Fruit large, oblong, flattened at ends; surface moderately smooth, containing numerous fungous spots, color bright yellow; cavity medium in size and depth, abrupt slope, regular in form; stem medium length, rather slender; basin regular, depth medium. Skin thin; flesh white, fine, tender, juicy; flavor mild subacid: quality very good. Season late winter.
Mr Marshall, proprietor of the Rheatown Nursery, writes, "Quite a number of trees over the county bore fruit last year and it is giving general satisfaction. Many say that it is the best keeper they ever saw and a profuse bearer. I have one of the apples in a good state of preservation at this date (April 21), although it has been handled a great deal, and treated rather roughly during the winter.

(Source: Bulletin - University of Tennessee, Agricultural Experiment ..., Volumes 7-11, Agricultural Experiment Station., 1894, p. 21-22)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sugar and Coffee needed at Knoxville

Dec 12, 1798
Sugar and coffee and other merchandise are costly to the purchaser in Knoxville. Therefore, Wright asks that a small quantity of these articles be sent with Colonel Henley's wagoner. He will pay for them, including freight, upon their arrival.

Some things don't change.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Knoxville School that was used as a prison

Every Fall, as we returned to school, a classmate, who had probably never seen the inside of a jail, much less a prison, would remark that being back in school felt like being in prison. I don't think I would go that far, but I understand the sentiment. Here we were, stuck inside a classroom and only able to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather though the classroom windows.

However, some Knoxville students actually did go to school in a building that was used as a prison during the Civil War. The Bell House School, which was the Bell House Hotel at the time, was one of the more prominent establishments in Knoxville housed a number of Unionist prisoners. (Source: A Unionist in East Tennessee: Captain William K. Byrd and the Mysterious Raid of 1861, Marvin Byrd,The History Press, 2011, p. 71) This is mentioned in other sources as well.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Worthy Standard set by the school board in 1874

Peabody School

In his report to the board of mayor and aldermen submitted August 15, 1874, he presented the following paragraph on the character of the schools
"From the first day that the schools went into operation, it has been an inflexible rule with those having them in charge and fully endorsed by the people, that no teacher shall be allowed to teach sectarian views in religion, or partisan or sectional views in politics. If any violation of this rule has occurred it has not been with the knowledge or consent of the board of education. On the other hand while thoroughly in sympathy with the idea that all children should be fully instructed in moral and religious truth, yet the main idea in public free schools is to give to every child the opportunity of getting a good practical secular education leaving to the parents and the churches the duty of training up their children in the principles of our holy religion and especially of teaching the peculiar tenets of their denomination. With such teaching, the schools can have nothing to do and it is the sense of every friend of popular education that they should not attempt it. But educate white and black, rich and poor, Catholic and Protestant, exactly alike giving no advantage to the one that you do not give to the other and making all conform to exactly the same rules." JA Rayl, Chairman

(Source:Standard History of Knoxville, Tennessee, William Rule, Lewis Publishing Company,1900, p. 407)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

White Caps and Blue Bills part 3

Violence in the area continued for sometime and many citizens of Sevier County were afraid.  The White Caps made good on their promise to lash of kill any member who mentioned anything about the group.

The brutality exhibited in the Whaley murder appealed to the sympathy of every law abiding citizen and to the manhood of every officer of the law who witnessed the ghastly spectacle or were acquainted with the horrible details.

It was the brutal manner in which the Whaley murder* was committed which inspired so much terror, and drove from the county citizens who could furnish convincing evidences of guilt, but who fearing the same fate as the Whaley's, felt all the terrors and tortures of criminals from justice. Many of these witnesses had located in Knoxville. A plan of work was agreed upon and the result was not only a conviction of Pleas Wynn and Catlett for this murder, but other convictions have preceded and others will follow this one. CA Reeder is now the efficient chief of the Police force of Knoxville, Tenn, while CW McCall is making a reputation as US Deputy Marshal. 

*William and Laura Whaley were murdered in their cabin and in front of their child.

(Source: The White-caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County, E. W. Crozier, Bean, Warters & Gaut, 1899)

White Caps and Blue Bills Continued

About the date above referred to, after similar notices had been given to some lewd women living in Emert's Cove in the upper end of Sevier county, which notices had been unheeded, the first White cap raid was made. Some half dozen women were whipped by masked men and notified to quit the community at once or like punishment would follow with increased severity. Most or all of said women did leave and went to Knoxville and other places, and the good people of Emert's Cove felt that it was a happy riddance. They spoke approvingly of the act thinking little of the influence that such an attempted correction of evils would ultimately have in the community. So on the surface there seemed to be a wave of approval of the first effort at White capping in the county, and those who were engaged in it felt emboldened to take a second step. But after several raids had been made and lone and unfortunate women whipped and driven from their homes at night, some with little children, there at once arose a feeling of resentment and opposition to this method of administering punishment even to those who were known to be living in violation of law, and whose example was detrimental to good society And the boldness and brutality which attended some of the whippings soon brought prosecutions against suspected persons. Generally these prosecutions were commenced before justices of the peace. By reason of the fact that the White caps went masked it was very difficult to identify them with any reasonable certainty, but occasionally one of the parties charged would be bound to court.

There was very little to impede the progress of White capping in Sevier county until an opposition was formed known as the organization of the Blue Bills. Not very much is known about this band further than its object was to thwart and put down White cap raids. It is said, however, to differ from the White cap organization in this: that it had no constitution, or by laws, no officers, and administered no oath or obligation, and they never wore masks when on their raids. It was composed of men stoutly opposed to the other organization, some from good motives and others no doubt from selfish view.s The former desired to put down White capping because it was a crime, the latter because the White caps had either threatened them or some of the immoral women of the county with whom they had been associated and had agreed to defend against the White caps.

Several sharp engagements thus occurred between the White caps and Blue Bills, in some of which men were killed and wounded. The White caps also went armed, and it was understood that when they met, it meant fight or run. It will thus be seen that both of these organizations were acting without sanction of law, and that one was about as revolutionary in its character as the other. The Blue Bills, however generally claimed to either have an officer of the law with them, or one deputized by proper authority to arrest all White cap raiders and prevent them from carrying out their plans.

(Source: The White-caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County, E. W. Crozier, Bean, Warters & Gaut, 1899)

White Caps and Blue Bills



First Hint: This is not about baseball:

White capping had its origin in Sevier county with a class of people whose intentions were good and while they knew it was a violation of law, they persuaded themselves that it was to say the worst of it only a mild violation and a pardonable step, to take in order to right an existing evil. In Sevier County, like all other counties, there are citizens whose morals are not as good as they ought to be, men and women whose habits are lewd and who live adulterous lives. It is always unfortunate for any community to number among its citizens persons of this character. And while it is and has always been a violation of law in Tennessee for people to live in adultery, yet that law has not always been efficacious in protecting the good and punishing the bad. The evildoer seeks in every way to evade the law, and conceal his deeds from those who are likely to be called upon to testify against him. In this way the law is cheated. Indictments if found are not sustained, the guilty go unpunished and society suffers.
In this regard Sevier county has not been an exception. About the year 1892, certain communities in Sevier county had become infested with lewd characters whose conduct was very obnoxious to the good citizens, and after repeated but unsuccessful efforts by legal methods to punish these evil doers in the courts, the good citizens became disheartened feeling that the law was not furnishing that protection to society that it should. Thereupon certain persons with good intentions, but mistaken judgments and more unwise than they then thought, began to discuss the advisability of getting rid of the immoral characters above referred to by some other method than through the courts- the only legal channels. 


I do solemnly swear before God and man that if I reveal anything concerning our organization or anything we may do, the penalty shall be to receive one hundred lashes, and leave the county within ten days or be put to death. Now I take this oath freely and voluntarily, and am willing to abide by the obligation in every respect. I further agree and swear before God, that if I reveal anything concerning our organization, I will suffer my throat to be cut, my heart to be shot out, and my body to be burned, that I will forfeit my life, my property, and all that I may have in this world and in the world to come: So help me God 

What could possibly go wrong? 

(Source: The White-caps: A History of the Organization in Sevier County, E. W. Crozier, Bean, Warters & Gaut, 1899)

Friday, September 18, 2015

More words from the past

The question that first presents itself in trying to determine the probable cost of this enterprise is On what basis shall we proceed. A corporation acting under a charter giving it the power of eminent domain, would naturally and properly seek to secure the property required for its purposes at the lowest figure at which it could be honestly obtained, under conditions existing at the time, expecting to become the beneficiary of any subsequent increase in value.

Would this be the position of the government in seeking to secure property for a purpose that would destroy its inherent value for the uses to which it might otherwise be devoted? Obviously no. The broad minded statesmen representing the government would weigh the advantages and disadvantages of any proposition as to its effect on The Greatest Good of the Greatest Number both for the present and future. We have been considering some of the alleged advantages to be derived from such reservoirs, and find them preposterous. We have considered briefly one of the most manifest disadvantages the moral certainty that, from time to time, some of these vast dams would fail and cause a destruction of life and property, only comparable with the ravages of great wars. Now what would be the damage to the people of the Nation resulting from flooding and permanently destroying great areas of our most fertile alluvial valleys of our richest mineral territory, some of which where railroads have been built is now selling at from $1,000 to $1,500 per acre, where natural gas and crude oil underlie the country, where millions of acres of such lands not actually destroyed would be rendered inaccessible or accessible only at tremendous. cost. Would a statesman considering the destruction of such property estimate its value to the Nation at the figure at which it might be purchased today from an ignorant mountaineer? If a true statesman were considering the purchase of such property to be held or improved for the future use of the citizens, he would order that its present market value should be paid, but in the case that we are considering, the purchase would be made for the express purpose of making a use of the lands that would forever destroy their value for agricultural uses, and for mineral products, and would also render inaccessible except at stupendous cost vast additional areas of coal, oil, and gas territory. John Howe Peyton in The American Transportation Problem: A Study of American Transportation, 1909

Saturday, September 12, 2015

On politics:

Photo Credit: The Graphics Fairy

"The farmer pauses in the furrow to hear of new Presidential usurpations, and then lays his hand
again to the plow. The mills and factories do not pause; everywhere is the hum of industry; new
railroads are projected ; commerce ebbs and flows with the tide; the crops are garnered, and the fields
tilled anew. The business of the country is affected by political dangers, but the injury is slight in 
comparison. The blow is heavy, but it falls lightly.
Yet this general peace and serenity of the people exist while the country is threatened with a new
revolution. The politics of the United States are today in a more dangerous state than those of any
other nation in the world.

"Brownlow's Knoxville Whig. (Knoxville, Tenn.), 02 Oct. 1867. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day

The Haymarket affair (also known as the Haymarket massacre or Haymarket riot) was the aftermath of a bombing that took place at a labor demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square[2] in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day and in reaction to the killing of several workers the previous day by the police. An unknown person threw a dynamite bomb at police as they acted to disperse the public meeting. The bomb blast and ensuing gunfire resulted in the deaths of seven police officers and at least four civilians; scores of others were wounded.
In the internationally publicized legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy. The evidence was that one of the defendants may have built the bomb, but none of those on trial had thrown it.[3][4][5][6] Seven were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. The death sentences of two of the defendants were commuted by Illinois governor Richard J. Oglesby to terms of life in prison, and another committed suicide in jail rather than face the gallows. The other four were hanged on November 11, 1887. In 1893, Illinois' new governor John Peter Altgeld pardoned the remaining defendants and criticized the trial. From Wikipedia, read More: Link

Pullman Strike, in the Spring and Summer of 1894, was a widespread railroad strike and boycott that severely disrupted rail traffic in the Midwest of the United States in June–July 1894. The workers were angry about a pay cut, low wages, poor living conditions in the company furnished housing, and 16-hour workdays that were ordered by company’s president, George M. Pullman.

The federal government’s response to the unrest marked the first time that an injunction was used to break a strike. Amid the crisis, on June 28, President Grover Cleveland and Congress created a national holiday, Labor Day, as a conciliatory gesture toward the American labour . Read more here: Link

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Samuel Frazier House

 I recently found these pictures from several years ago when I had looked at this house. I didn't buy it because I was concerned about the water standing in the basement and the fact that the property behind it had a right of way between the house and the barn.

The first thing I noticed about this house is how much it looks like Ramsey House in Knox County.  Ramsey House was built built in 1797 by the architect Thomas Hope for Colonel Francis Alexander Ramsey.  Link to Ramsey House

Fortunately, someone bought this house and it has been beautifully restored and it has now been placed on the National Register.  Link to application:    

See the restored Samuel Frazier House here Link

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Truth about Child Labor???

"Little Lottie, a regular oyster shucker in Alabama Canning Co. She speaks no English. Note the condition of her shoes... - NARA - 523398" by Lewis Hine - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -Link

The National Child Labor Committee, an organization dedicated to the abolition of all child labor, was formed in 1904. Photographer Lewis Hine produced much of his work for the organization. You can see his work here. The following is an article written to discredit allegations made by the National Child Labor Committee and the photographs of Lewis Hine.  Much of this work included efforts to keep children in school.

Child Labor Conditions Much Better Than Expected:

Conditions in these places are much better than I expected to find them and everywhere 1 have met the most cordial co-operation and anxiety to do the best that can be accomplished T found these mills in the South generally well lighted and ventilated heated in the winter and cooled in the summer. Generally the employers have been quick to utilize modern inventions such as exhaust systems for the removal of the lint, and cold water sprays, instead of the hot water sprays, in the summer to humidify the atmosphere for manufacturing purposes and the blower system for heating in the winter and cooling the air in the summer.

In spite of the sensational literature that is flooding the country at this time in one form or another much of it garbled a great deal of it written and foisted on the public for purposes of trade I have found the employer in nearly every case a most humane man.

Education Opportunities Afforded

Through the humane instincts of the mill owners, educational opportunities have been secured to the children. Kindergartens and schools are supported in whole or in part by all the operators. The public school system in the South is still in an imperfect condition and furthermore appropriations are insufficient to maintain the schools longer than four months in the year.

For the children who work in the mills there are night classes in arithmetic reading and writing. Frequently half of the children will go to school for a period and then alternate with the other half later on in working the mills. There are libraries supplied by the employers and churches toward the support of which they contribute entirely or in part.

New Laws (in Georgia)
Section 1: That from and after the approval of this Act no child under ten years of age shall be employed to labor in or about any factory or manufacturing establishment within this state under any circumstances.
Sec 2: That on and after January 1, 1907, no child under twelve years of age shall be so employed or allowed to labor, unless such child be an orphan and has no other means of support or unless a widowed mother.

However, many times these laws were ignored and, in most places, factory owners could not be prosecuted unless it could be proven that he knew the child was under age.

Sources: Fuel Magazine: The Coal Operators National Weekly, Volume 7 and other sources

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hawkins County Marble

"US Capitol west side" by Martin Falbisoner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

The Hawkins County marble was the first quarried and it is said that it w brought to notice by the favorable expression with reference to it by Dr Troost, the first State geologist.
In 1838 the Rogersville Marble Company was formed for the purpose of sawing marble and establishing a marble factory in the vicinity of Rogersville. Orville Rice was elected president and SD Mitchell secretary. The company operated to a limited extent for several years, erected a mill and sold several thousand dollars worth of marble annually, which was mostly distributed in East Tennessee. In 1844 the company sold out to the president, Rice, who on a moderate scale carried on the business for many years. He sent a block of the “light mottled strawberry variety” to the Washington monument This was called the “Hawkins County Block” and bears the inscription “From Hawkins County, Tennessee. Another block of one of the best varieties was sent, by act of the Legislature, which was called the State Block. These blocks attracted the attention of the building committee of the National Capitol, who although they had numerous specimens from all parts of the Union before them, decided in favor of the East Tennessee marble. An agent was sent out by them to ascertain whether or not it could be obtained in quantity who upon examination found the supply apparently inexhaustible. As a result of these circumstances, an extensive quarry affording an excellent material, has been opened near Mooresburg, Hawkins, County, and is now known as the old Dougherty Quarry. From this was obtained marble for probably one half of the ornamental work in the Capitol at Washington. The balustrades and columns of the stairs leading up to the House and Senate galleries, the walls of the marble room, and other parts of the building are made from it. It has since been used in the United States Treasury building, the State house at Columbia, SC, and many of the finest buildings in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The stone from this quarry has not been used for general construction on account of the high price which it commands for ornamental work. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The people of the frontier counties were complaining of the constant depredations of the crows, squirrels, and wolves, as well as the ravages of the Indians, so the second General Assembly passed the following law in 1797:
Each county in this State (Tennessee) is authorized to lay a tax to be paid in squirrels or crows scalps on every person subject to a poll tax in their respective counties, not exceeding twenty five squirrels to each poll. One crow's scalp was to count for two squirrels scalps, and every person who failed to deliver his number of scalps was to pay one cent for each undelivered scalp. The scalps were to be delivered to the respective justices appointed to take the lists of taxable property and were by them to be burned after making proper entries on their books. (Image from The Graphics Fairy)

I don't even want to think about doing this!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Juneteenth, the 8th of August and other dates that you may not know

The Emancipation Proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, which would go into effect on January 1, 1863. This only applied to states under Confederate control and did not include Tennessee.

Juneteenth or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African-American slaves throughout the Confederate.

The Eighth of August is the day celebrated in East Tennessee and Kentucky and probably some other places as well. It was the only day blacks in Knoxville were allowed to visit Chilhowee Park.  Read a little about Andrew Johnson's slaves- Sam and Dolly were probably the best known.  Sam Johnson started a Freedman's school in Greeneville: Link

Finally, on October 24, 1864, Andrew Johnson freed all the slaves in the state of Tennessee.  Read more about Andrew Johnson's role here: Link

It is fitting the the celebration will held on Saturday August 8th at Chilhowee Park. You can read the details here. Link

The day will start with a service at Freedmen's Cemetery, adjacent to Knoxville College- a place where several of Andrew Johnson's former slaves are buried.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Old Union Meeting House Tragedy May of 1866

Union United Methodist Church  Photo credit Sharon Phillips McMurray

There are two accounts of a tragic event that occurred at the Union Meeting House in April of 1866.  The first account is from Mrs. Bean, wrote a letter to Richard Nye Price in 1910.  She was not a witness, but since she lived close to the church, she recalled what her neighbors told her.  The second article is from a newspaper article that was published soon after the event and later published in the Evening Telegraph (Philadelphia).

Old Letter from Mrs Bean to the Reverend Richard Nye Price dated 1910

Mrs Bean lived one mile away from the church and relates the following details:

Bn Hichey had an appointment to preach and it seemed like a very large crowd had formed

Theopholus "Theo "Schrivener and two of his sisters were among the congregation. Two boys named Ben and Clint Walters had been lured by a bad man named Frank Monday to prevent Mr Hichey from preaching. However, Mr Hichey had not arrived and the boys began to make trouble with Mr Shrivener.

The Walter's boys were armed and demanded that Me Schrivener come out.

At this point, Mr Eldridge Hord and William Shelton, both old men. took the ring leaders to the door and put them out roughly. He turned around and shot Mr Hord in the crowd.

Sam Smith, on the outside of the house, shot Mr Walters, then the other Walter brother shot Smith. Although hit, Smith fired and hit his assailant, severely, but not fatally.

The first boy lay in the yard dying and asking someone to pray for him. Ephriam Brown went out to pray for him.

The other wounded men recovered.

Not withstanding all ot his Ben Hichey came out at last and preached.

Mrs. B.L. Bean

The old log church and cemetery  
Photo credit: Sharon Phillips McMurray

Fatal Tragedy at a Funeral
The Bristol (Tenn.)

News reports the following particulars of a fatal tragedy which occurred last Sunday, at a church called Union, in the northeastern portion of Hawkins county, Tenn. The funeral of John Ellis, Jr., who had been a Confederate soldier, was to be preached by the Rev. R. M. Hickey, of the Holston Conference.

Two men by the name ot Walters, perhaps brothers, manifested a disposition to disturb the quiet of the
ssembly. Eldridge Hord, Esq., ot that community, remonstrated against their conduct, some angry words ensued, and Walters shot Hord, wounding him severely in the thigh.
Whereupon Samuel Smith, who bad been a Confederate soldier, fired twice upon Walters, killing:
him on tbe spot. The other Walters then shot Smith, wounding him slightly. Smith returned
the fire, wounding the second Walters mortally, and then made his escape.

(Source: Emory & Henry College Archives: Link

(Source: The evening telegraph. (Philadelphia [Pa.]), 25 April 1866. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025925/1866-04-25/ed-1/seq-1/>

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Washington College

Chartered as an academy in 1783, when this territory belonged to North Carolina, and as a college in 1795 by the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, Washington College was "the first real institution of learning west of the Alleghanies." (Roosevelt's Winning of the West )

Our Scotch-Irish forbears had hardly reared their cabins before they built this "log college" in the wilderness.
General John Sevier, the leader of those sturdy patriots in the battle of King's Mountain, was one of the trustees, and it was on his motion that the College was named in honor of Washington. The territory was still infested by hostile tribes of Indians.

The founder and first President was the Reverend Samuel Doak, of Virginia, whose parents came from the north of Ireland. He graduated from Princeton College in 1775, studied theology, and became the "apostle of learning and religion to this region." The first donation (four hundred acres of land in North Carolina) was from Colonel Waitstill Avery a signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration. The College was within the territory of the Watauga Association, famous as the first attempt at free government on the part of native Americans. Such are but a few facts from a history full of interest throughout. An indigenous product of this section of the mountainous South the interests of the College have ever been identified with those of the people, sharing their struggles and privations, whether amid the perils of frontier life, the vicissitudes of war or the endeavor to restore the losses thereby entailed. Their descendants, being conservative and tenacious of traditions, this venerable Alma Mater has a strong hold on their sympathies. Mr Doak was at the head of the institution for thirty-eight years. It has sent forth numbers of useful men in every generation since its founding, not a few of whom have been eminent in the services of Church and State. There have been twelve presidents one of whom died before entering upon his duties. For a while during the Civil War, and a short period in the early seventies, (1870's) when circumstances and lack of funds rendered it impracticable to keep a sufficient teaching force to do legitimate college work, little more was attempted than an academic course of high grade. Though not organically connected with any ecclesiastical body, the College has always been closely affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. The charter provides that "the advantages of a liberal education and the honors of the College shall be accessible to students of all denominations."

The College is on the Southern Railway in Washington County, ninety miles east of Knoxville. Washington College is the name also of the station and post office. One of the college farms lies adjacent thereto, but the buildings are a mile and a half distant. Free transportation may be had from the station at the beginning of each term if notice be given beforehand.

The small rural village almost wholly a college community, is free from the allurements and distractions of cities and large towns. A more ideal place for study could hardly be found than the primeval grove in which the buildings stand. It is in the midst of an intelligent community, long noted for its Christian culture and sobriety. There are no saloons within forty miles. Salem Church, on the campus, affords excellent church and Sabbath school privileges. Then the neighboring mountains and foothills, flanking the Upper Tennessee Valley, furnish a diversity and picturesqueness of landscape whose ever-varying cast and hue invest it with perennial interest. Such surroundings constitute a wholesome atmosphere for mind and heart alike. (Source: Catalogue of Washington College, East Tennessee:, College Press, 1907, pp 8-10)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Civil War Forts in Knoxville: Part 3

East Knoxville Fortifications

Fort Stanley: Captain Comfort E. Stanley
45th Ohio Mounted Infantry
Comfort E Stanley was born to James D Stanley and Susannah Miller on 6 Oct 1836, in Trumbull County, Ohio. He married Mary Cardill on 31 July 1862 in Sandusky, Ohio.
He was mortally wounded in action at Philadelphia, Tennessee. Buried In Knoxville National Cemetery: Link

Fort Hill: Captain John W Hill
12th Kentucky Cavalry
He was killed during the siege of Knoxville on 18 Nov 1863.
He married Mary Elizabeth Stevens on 17 January 1857 in Clarksville, Tennessee. When Mary Hill applied for a Civil War Widow's Pension, she stated that they had three children under age sixteen. (dated March 1864.) 
Buried in Knoxville National Cemetery: Link

Fort Saunders: General William P Sanders
 Brigadier General Chief of Cavalry in the Department of the Ohio
It was named for General William P. Sanders, who was wounded in a skirmish outside Knoxville on November 18, 1863 and died the next day. Sanders was initially buried in the cemetery of Second Presbyterian Church, but his remains were later moved to the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
William Sanders was born in Kentucky to Lewis Sanders and his wife Margaret.

William P Sanders

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Civil War Forts in Knoxville Part Two

Battery Wiltsie: Captain Wendell Wiltsie


20th Michigan Volunteers who was mortally wounded in our lines during the siege Burial:
Wendell Wiltsie born about 1827. Attended Union College in NY. He is listed as a senior in 1857. Married Charlotte Benton on 7 September 1857 in MI
Wendell Wiltsie

Fort Huntington Smith: Lieutenant Colonel W Huntington Smith 

20th Michigan Volunteers who fell at the battle of Campbell's Station. 
 Married Susan Redford  Buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan
Burial: Link Permission to use photos from David Clark.

Battery Zoellner: Lieutenant Frank Zoellner

2nd Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th. Buried Knoxville National Cemetery

Battery Billingsley: Lieutenant Josiah Billingsley

 MI 17th Michigan Infantry
Lieutenant Josiah Billingsley from Coldwater, MI 17th Michigan Infantry 
He died in the action in front of Fort Sanders November 20th, 1863. He left a widow Mary. He is believed to be buried in Mason Cemetery Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan

Battery Clifton Lee: Captain Clifton Lee

112th Illinois Mounted Infantry
Burial place: unknown

Battery Fearns: Lieutenant Charles W. Fearns

Adjutant 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry

He was killed in action at Fort Sanders on 18 Nov 1963. He was married to Sarah J Tremble.
G W Fearns Marker


Battery Stearman: William Stearman

William Stearman, 13th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, who died 17 Nov 1863 of wounds received near Loudon, Tennessee.  Married on 8 January, 1857 to Sarah Jane Craddock
Buried in Knoxville National Cemetery


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Forts in Knoxville Part One

South of the River

Soon after the raising of the siege at Knoxville, General Burnside issued an order which was read to each regiment of his army and of which the following is an extract the balance of the order including names of some officers of other States.

Fort Dickerson

(1863-1865) - A Union Civil War Fort established in 1863 in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee. Named Fort Dickerson in G.O. 37 (Army of the Ohio), 11 Dec 1863 after Captain Jonathan Calvin Dickerson, 112th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry, who was killed 18 Sep 1863 near Cleveland, Tennessee. Burial: Link Fort abandoned in 1865 at the end of the war.
  • 15-16 Nov 1863 - Repulsed assaults by 5,000 Confederate Cavalry.
  • Nov-Dec 1863 - Withstood the Siege of Knoxville.
  • Nov 1863 - Provided artillery support for the Battles of Armstrong’s Hill
Jonathan Calvin Dickerson was born on 8 May 1832 to Benjamin Dickerson and Elizabeth Shafer in Ulster County, New York. He married Ceonelia Deyo on 28 May 1863. They had one son, who was not born until after Captain Dickerson died.
Capt Dickerson was the first officer of the 112th Illinois Volunteer Mounted Infantry who was killed.

He was a brave, daring leader, an honorable and conscientious officer, and a generous, noble hearted man. In a conversation with the author upon the chances of war, but a short time before his death, he declared he would never surrender to a rebel; that he would fight to the death rather than be captured; and in this, as in all things else, he kept his word. By order of Gen Burnside a fort in Knoxville was named Fort Dickerson, in honor of his brave death. He was buried in the cemetery at Cleveland and after the war, a fitting monument was erected to his memory by his widow. 

Battery Fearns
On the East side of Flint Hill. The breast height is entirely revetted eighteen embrasures finished and fourteen partly revetted About one quarter of the parapet should be raised two feet. The gateway is unfinished platforms for twenty-nine guns are required. This fort had a large well ventilated magazine.

Named Battery Fearns in G.O. 37, 11 Dec 1863 (Army of the Ohio), after Lieutenant Charles W. Fearns, Adjutant 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry, who was killed in action at Fort Sanders on 18 Nov 1963. He was married to Sarah J Tremble

General Orders Headquarters Army of the Ohio

No 37 Knoxville Tenn Dec 21 1863

In order to designate more clearly the positions occupied by our troops during the recent siege and in token of respect to the gallant officers who fell in the defense of Knoxville the several forts and batteries are named as follows:
Battery Noble At Loop holed house (35.9547, -83.9311), now Melrose Place, south of Kingston road in memory of Adjutant William Noble 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell in the charge upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th. 

Fort Byington At College Hill (now the University of Tennessee) after Major Cornelius Byington 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded while leading the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th 
Battery Galpin East of Second creek (35.9658, -83.9244) in memory of Lieutenant Galpin 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanderson the morning of November 24th

Fort Comstock Battery Gapin and Battery Wiltsie

Fort Comstock On Summit Hill near the railroad depot in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Comstock 17th Michigan Volunteers who fell in our lines during the siege 
Battery Wiltsie West of Gay street in memory of Captain Wiltsie 20th Michigan Volunteers who was mortally wounded in our lines during the siege 

Fort Huntington Smith On Temperance Hill in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Huntington Smith 20th Michigan Volunteers who fell at the battle of Campbell's Station 
Fort Huntington Smith, Battery CLifton Lee and Battery Stearman

Battery Zoellner Between Fort Sanders and Second creek in memory of Lieutenant Frank Zoellner 2d Michigan Volunteers who fell mortally wounded in the assault upon the enemy's rifle pits in front of Fort Sanders on the morning of November 24th.

Battery Billingsley Between Gay street and First creek in memory of Lieutenant J Billingsley 17th Michigan Infantry who fell in the action in front of Fort Sanders November 20th 

By command of
Lewis Richmond AAG (p478)                      MAJOR GENERAL BURNSIDE 

Battery Noble: Lieutenant William Noble,
2nd Mich. Inf. Civil War
Buried Elmwood Cemetery, Wayne County, Michigan Link

Wm Noble Marker

Fort Byington: Major Cornelius Byington
2nd Mich. Inf. Civil War   
Cornelius Byington was born in March 1829 to Delia Storrs and Joel Byington. 
Buried Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek,Calhoun County,Michigan

Cornelius Byington Marker

Battery Galpin: Lieutenant Charles R Galpin 

2nd Michigan Volunteers

Charles R Galpin was born in New York to William and Louisa Hakes Galpin. They moved to Michigan when Charles was a young boy. 
 Buried Knoxville National Cemetery 

Fort Comstock: Lieutenant Colonel Lorin L Comstock  

17th Michigan Volunteers
Born on 2 July 1824 in Farmington, Ontario, New York. He Married Lucinda Minnis on 28 September 1856 in Washtenaw, Michigan. Burial: Link
Loren Comstock Marker