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Bill McMillion - City of Ringgold
Daniel Shepherd - City of Ringgold

Agile Development Solutions
Ringgold, GA 30736

   

The village of Ringgold was incorporated on December 18,1847 when George Towns was Governor and the area was a part of Walker County. The first commissioners, appointed by the legislature, were Michael Dickson, George W. H. Anderson, J .J. Johnson, William Buppord, and D.S. Anderson. They were to continue in office until the first Monday in March 1848. At that time the town's citizens would vote for five commissioners to serve terms of one year. The commissioners had full power to make such by-laws, rules, and regulations as they felt necessary for the improvements and the internal police of the town, provided such laws were not in conflict with the Federal Constitution or the laws of Georgia.  

City History
   

Before being incorporated, the village was more than likely called Cross Roads and was later named after Major Sam Ringgold. 

Few had heard of Major Ringgold until his death on May 11, 1846. Other towns named Ringgold include Ringgold, Louisiana, Ringgold, Virginia, and at one time, a city in Alabama carried the same name.  

Ringgold was born in the Washington County, Maryland and appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from Maryland. He was a cadet at the Military Academy from December 18, 1814 until July 24, 1818, when he graduated and was promoted to a Second Lieutenant, Corps of the Artillery.

Sam Ringgold died on May 11, 1846 after being wounded on May 8, 1846 in a battle the Mexican War. Major Ringgold was the first officer, of any rank, to die in the first battle of the Mexican War.

 

Ringgold was selected as the county seat of Catoosa County on March 16, 1854.

Before being incorporated, the Ringgold Village Clerk was paid $96 a year plus 25 cents for each summons; 50 cents for each execution; 25 cents for each summons, notice, or rule; 50 cents for levying execution; and $1 for receiving and confining in the calaboose any African American or free person of color. This dollar was to be paid by the master, guardian, or employer, plus 50 cents a day for his meals.

Some of the laws and ordinances passed by the village's first commissioners seem strange given today's laws, but are listed below for general reading and interest:

Sec. 18th. The Chairman and Board shall direct the Marshal to collect of all persons within the corporation limits of said Village, subject to perform road duty, in commutation for working on the streets, the sum of $3 per annum for the use of the Board.

Sec. 19th. Any white person who shall be guilty of quarrelling, fighting, or otherwise acting in a disorderly manner, shall be fined a sum not exceeding $20, upon conviction before the Board; and any person found drunk and acting disorderly, may be, by the Marshal, confined in the calaboose until he or she becomes sober, and then brought before the Board and tried for their disorderly conduct, and fined as aforesaid.

Sec. 20th. Any person or persons who shall provoke to violence, or abuse, or maltreat any intoxicated person in said Village, shall upon conviction, be fined by the Board not exceeding $10, or imprisoned in the calaboose, or both, at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 22nd. Any person who shall do any work, or cause the same to be done on the Sabbath day, in said Village, except it be a work of necessity, or be guilty of a profanation of the Sabbath day, in a manner calculated to disturb the good morals of the citizens, shall upon conviction, be fined not less than one, nor more than ten dollars.

Sec. 23rd. Any person or persons who may be convicted of keeping a disorderly or lewd house, or house of ill fame, or shall board or harbor a prostitute after notice of her character has been given, shall be fined in a sum not less than $25, nor more than $75, for each and every offense or be imprisoned in the calaboose or both at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 24th. Any person or persons who shall be convicted before the Board of keeping a gaming house, or a house where-in-gambling for money or other articles of value is allowed, and also, any person or persons who shall deal or bet at Faro, or any other game of chance, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $25 and for a repetition of the offense, in a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars.

Sec. 25th. Any person guilty of using profane or obscene language publicly or loudly in the hearing of others, in said Village, shall be fined in a sum not less than $1 nor more than $10; and if the provisions of this section be violated in the presence of ladies, the offender shall be fined in a sum not less than five, nor more than twenty dollars for each offense.

Sec. 26th. Any person who shall ride or run any animal through the streets or alleys of said Village, in a dangerous or disorderly manner, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $10, at the discretion of the Board.

Sec. 37th. No person shall ride, drive, or place any horse or other animal on any side-walk nor stop then at the public crossing places so as to obstruct the free passage of persons, nor hitch them to any private enclosure or shade trees in said Village, under the penalty, or conviction before the Board, of not less than 50 cents nor more than $5, and in case the shade tree or trees are injured by such animal peeling them, or by exposing the roots by pawing or otherwise, the fine shall not be less than five, nor more than ten dollars for each offense.

Sources: "The Official History of Catoosa County 1853-1953" by Susie Blaylock McDaniel and "History in Catoosa County" by William H. H. Clark.


Richard Taylor

ASSISTANT CHEROKEE CHIEF RICHARD TAYLOR
Founding father of Ringgold leads almost 1,000 on Trail of Tears

By Randall Franks


From the “hills and hollers” of Catoosa County have come numerous residents who have distinguished themselves in life, in services to God and country, and to their community.

One of this area’s earliest notable citizens was Assistant Chief Richard Taylor of the Cherokees.

“When compared with his times and contemporaries, he was probably the most outstanding man the Catoosa County area has produced,” said William H.H. “Bill” Clark in his book “History in Catoosa County.”

Taylor was a descendant of Nancy Ward, one of the great legends of the Cherokees who, among other acts of benevolence, fed and clothed Gen. George Washington’s army while it was in Tennessee during the Revolutionary War.

With the creation of the Federal Road through the Cherokee Nation, whites were able to travel through Cherokee lands.


THE BEGINNING OF RINGGOLD

According to Nancy Crowe, former vice president of the Catoosa County Historical Society, Taylor was one of the Cherokee leaders who controlled a segment of the Federal Road where he created the settlement of Taylor’s Crossroads where the road intersected with the Alabama Highway. This community eventually grew to become Ringgold.

“Whites were allowed into the (Cherokee) Nation for trade and travel purposes, but were not allowed to live here,” Crowe said. “Scotch traders found a way around this rule by marrying Cherokee women and therefore becoming part of the nation.”

Crowe said that is why there were several mix blood families that later become prominent.

According to Clark’s book, in addition to Chief Taylor’s 150-acre plantation, Mount Hope, which stood on a hill near where Ringgold’s Kentucky Fried Chicken and Waffle House are today, Taylor operated an inn, a tavern, a saw and grist mills, and a tollgate.

As a leader of the Cherokee Nation, Taylor represented the Chickamauga District of the original Cherokee Nation as a delegate to Washington, on numerous occasions meeting with several presidents.

Along with other Cherokee leaders, he supported the creation of the Brainerd Mission School to educate Cherokee children.

As a noted writer and orator, Taylor joined John Ross, Major Ridge, James Vann and Elias Boudinot to petition Congress and the Senate to allow the Cherokee people to remain on their homeland, Crowe said.

But before he reached this point in his life, Taylor served not only his nation but also the United States.

“Taylor was well-educated, a warrior, an officer in Jackson’s army, businessman of some wealth, an ambassador of his tribe in Washington,” Clark said in his book.

Taylor was one of 13 members of the Cherokee National Committee.


THE CREEK WAR

Ironically, in 1814 Taylor served as an officer under Gen. Andrew Jackson, the future president who would push for the Cherokee’s removal, in the Creek War in the wilderness of Alabama. Six- to seven-hundred Cherokees braves fought side by side with the whites against the Creeks.

In 1816, Taylor was among a six-member delegation that met with President James Madison. According to Clark’s book, the delegation became the toast of Washington society during its visit.

Clark considers it likely that Taylor recorded the history of the event. To the chagrin of Jackson, Madison paid the Cherokee Nation $25,000 in damages for actions of Jackson’s troops against the Cherokees. The Cherokees were given the four million acres of the Creek lands seized by Jackson. Pensions for the families of the killed and wounded Cherokees who served in the Creek war were also granted.

In return the federal government gained the rights to open roads and use the rivers through Cherokee lands.


THE REMOVAL

In 1831, Taylor led a delegation to Washington trying to plead the case of the Cherokee Nation whose rights were being stripped away by the state of Georgia.

A newspaper report, included in Clark’s book, described Taylor “as a large, portly man of a bland, open countenance which seems shaded with an expression so deeply pensive, if not sad, as to indicate that but little hope for the fortunes of his country lingers around his heart. The experience of 45 years (for that is his age) in this dishonest and delusive world, may contribute to the somber cast of his feelings, a characteristic which is by no means so conspicuous in his younger brethren. …. Taylor smokes a silver pipe of elegant workmanship with a silver chain, presented by General Washington to one of their chiefs, Badger’s Mother, now slumbering with the dead. He naturally regards it, as the illustrious donor intended it, a symbol of the friendship and good faith of the United States. May it never remind him of his degradation and our treachery.”

With the decision by President Martin Van Buren to force the removal of the remaining Cherokees in 1838 from their lands, the Trail of Tears occurred.

Sending his own family earlier, Taylor led a group, which left for Oklahoma on Sept. 20, 1838.  The group arrived in Oklahoma on March 24, 1839.

According to Crowe, his party consisted of 51 wagons, 358 riding horses, 897 people, with 15 births and 55 deaths reported on the journey.

Taylor died in Tahlequah, Okla., on June 15, 1853.

In April 1984, archeologists excavated Taylor’s home site before the hill it sat upon was removed to build the Waffle House. Numerous artifacts were found.

Several of these articles are on display at Old Stone Church Museum, which is open Thursday through Sunday 1-5 p.m. Several local historical publications are on sale to visitors. Call (706) 935-5232 for more information.

Historical content for this article was provided by Nancy Harris Crowe, “History in Catoosa County” by William H.H. Clark, and www.cherokee.org.

Article April 2 03

A County Is Born

1853 to Civil War
A county is born:  Lawmakers carve Catoosa from Walker, Whitfield counties

By Randall Franks


 

As early settlers streamed into what would become Catoosa County in the 20-30 years prior to the county’s birth in 1853, and with the biggest surge coming after the removal of the Cherokees in 1839 and another following the arrival of the railroad, the U.S. government implemented policies to encourage development of western territories.

In March 1853, Franklin Pierce became president, fully supporting territorial expansion. Pierce supported the Compromise of 1850, championed by Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky to bring together anti-slavery and pro-slavery supporters.

Some historians believe the compromise did more to divide the factions over the next decade than bring them together.

According to “The History of Catoosa County” by William H.H. “Bill” Clark, many of Catoosa’s early white settlers were families just passing through on their way westward. Those who stayed were mostly farmers.

The arrival of the Western & Atlantic railroad in Ringgold in 1849 turned the quiet village, which had formed in 1847, into a boomtown complete with saloons, distilleries, stores and mills, according to Clark. The town quickly grew to about 1,500 residents.

A member of the Head family provided an oral history of the area that the Catoosa County Record printed in the late 19th century. A Civil War veteran, John Dawling, saved the clippings in a scrapbook, which Earle McDaniels borrowed in the 1920s, copied and later passed on to Clark.

In his account, Head recognized the purchase of Catoosa Springs — an antebellum resort operated by a Mr. Hickman, Mr. Battey and Dr. McDonald — from William Murray, as the turning point for the formation of the new county.

“Hickman and Battey were grocer merchants at Augusta and Dr. McDonald lived at Macon,” Head said. “It was their influence in Middle and South Georgia that secured the passage of the act making Catoosa County.”

This action helped influence the naming of the county after the resort.

On Dec. 5, 1853, Georgia lawmakers carved Catoosa County from Whitfield and Walker counties.

Ringgold saw tremendous economic growth in 1853, with several new stores opening. Among them was a brick storehouse owned by William L. Whitman and Joseph Whitsitt, built on the corner of Nashville and Tennessee streets — the present location of Price Ringgold Drugs.


A SHORT EPIDEMIC

The county’s inaugural year also brought devastating disease to its residents.

According to Head’s oral history, Dr. Andrew Patterson, who owned a large medical practice in Ringgold, had his hands full dealing with Catoosa’s cholera epidemic of 1853. Cholera, a severe and painful, infectious disease that if untreated can cause death, broke out in Knoxville, Tenn. and Chattanooga, Tenn. before making its way here.

Head writes that Buck Williamson, a carpenter, was roofing the Triplett family’s house on the grounds where the Methodist Church (Ringgold Wedding Chapel) now stands, when he began to feel ill. Williamson climbed off the house, laid on a workbench and was dead about two hours later from the disease. Catoosa saw several more cases.

“Thomas Dickson was stricken at the supper table. … He was the only person in Ringgold that recovered from an attack of cholera,” Head wrote.

Cholera claimed seven more Catoosa victims over the next 15 days and then the disease faded.

Throughout the 1850s, Catoosa County and Ringgold grew by leaps and bounds as citizens labored to forge a living from soil and trade.

On the horizon of the county’s second decade, many of its green pastures would be stained red from the strife to come between the Blue and the Gray.

 

The Civil War: Here at Home

The Civil War: Here at home
Catoosa endures early years of bloody conflict
Residents care for wounded, search for Union spies

By Randall Franks

While still in its infancy, Catoosa County and its inhabitants were thrust into a mortal conflict that split families and the nation. Since the days of America’s founding fathers, the debate on whether new states and territories should utilize slavery or abolish the practice had simmered like a teapot, and by 1860 the pot was about to blow.

From the Battles of Ringgold Gap and Chickamauga to the hospitals that cared for the wounded to the Great Locomotive Chase, Catoosa County played an integral part in the Civil War.

The ever-present debate over which entity should have control over issues within state boundaries — the state or federal government — loomed large in 1860. These concerns were especially strong in the Southern states among the 13 original colonies. Only 90 years before, each had its own currency and laws to rule its land, and the people answered only to the King of England or his representatives and not to the other colonies.

Two decades before the war, the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma.

Settlers came from Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and other parts of Georgia to carve a homestead out of what was considered wilderness, although the Native Americans already operated many productive farms in the area.

While historians may debate for years over the reasons behind the Civil War, whether it was states’ rights or the abolition of slavery, one fact does remain for Catoosa County — its soil hosted some of the bloodiest fighting of the conflict, and many of its inhabitants suffered the loss of family, homes and belongings and endured famine and disease.

Now, 140 years later, folklore of what happened to Catoosa during the conflict between the North and South is still a regular part of tales told around the fireplace or dinner table.

According to William (Bill) H.H. Clark’s “History in Catoosa County,” the county boasted 710 slaves in 1860 — 352 males and 358 females. The county’s population totaled 5,082 in 1860. On Jan. 19, 1861, Georgia joined with other Southern states seceding from the United States of America. Unlike most Southern states with a strong vote in favor of secession and only a handful of legislators against the move, Georgia was more prominently divided, with 208 for secession and 89 against.

Two representatives from Catoosa County voted, with each standing on a different side of the issue.

Joseph T. McConnell, a Ringgold attorney elected as the first state representative from the newly formed Catoosa County in 1853, voted for secession.

Maj. Presley Yates, a prominent landowner whose home still stands at Yates Springs, voted against.

According to Ringgold resident George Hendrix, whose great-great-grandfather, Henry Strickland attended the convention representing Tattnall County, two secession votes were held. On the final vote, many, including his ancestor, changed their votes in favor of seccession.

While McConnell’s name appears on the Ordinance of Secession in favor of the move, Yates does not appear either in favor or against. Why he did not vote the second time is not referenced in local histories.

By April 11, 1861, the Civil War had begun with the Confederate siege on Fort Sumter, S.C.

Initially, hundreds of men from Catoosa signed up to fight for regiments such as Company B, D, and I of the 1st Confederate Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry; Company H of the 26th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry; Company F of the 39th Georgia Volunteer Infantry; Company G of the 11th Georgia Volunteer Infantry; and Company K of the 4th Regiment Georgia Cavalry.

Five days after the war began, Company B was guarding the Navy yard at Warrenton, Fla., near Pensacola.

Over the next four years, Catoosa men were scattered to fight in battles such as Bull Run, Gettysburg, Fort Donelson, Pensacola, Vicksburg, Champion Hill, Shiloh, Tullahoma, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.

In “Catoosa County, Georgia Heritage,” a Civil War diary entry by local resident Robert Magill details the Magill brothers, who joined the army at the same time to stay together and fought the Battle of Champion Hill, Mo.:

“Sat. 16th May, 1863 — 7 a.m., drew some raw beef; were beginning to barbeque it when, just at 8 o’clock, a few cannons were fired near us very unexpectedly. Formed immediately and marched back about two miles: skirmishing began before our lines were formed, and it was soon ascertained that the Federals were moving in on us in heavy force.

“10 a.m., battle opened with great fury on our left; our line was immediately moved to the left in quick time; formed under heavy fire, and in less than five minutes were charged with perhaps two lines of battle.

“The 34th Georgia was on our right, in a very awkward position, and being struck first, and having no support, after one or two volleys, broke and fled in wild confusion. The Federals pressed through the gap and on our front at the same moment. Our boys, seeing this, became panic stricken and in less than 10 minutes the whole brigade was in wildest confusion. With the exception of about 200 men, all efforts to rally the brigade were in vain.

“Having lost all their artillery and about one-fourth of their men killed or captured, and the Yankees triumphant yells in rapid pursuit, whizzing mini-balls and shells exploding in their midst, were not very soothing antidotes to their agitated feelings,” he wrote. “Brother I.L. was seriously wounded in the right breast; called me in the retreat and said ‘I am killed’ but was walking in; just then I was ordered in the line.”

Robert’s post battle search for his brother was in vain, and he would not discover he survived his wound because the mini-ball struck a Bible he carried in his pocket, until he met I.L. on the street in Tunnel Hill after returning from the war.

 

Serving the wounded

With fighting spread throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, the Confederates needed sites for wounded soldiers to heal. Locations such as Catoosa and Cherokee Springs, with abundant water supplies, provided good sites. In Ringgold, hospitals sprung up due to the town’s proximity to the railroad.

At the original Catoosa County Courthouse, the Buckner Hospital was established. Other hospitals in Ringgold were the Bragg Hospital at the Craven house, and the Foard and Hill hospitals, whose exact locations are still unknown. Clark cites Confederate medical director Dr. S.H. Stout with the assessment that Catoosa hosted between 1,900-2,200 hospital beds.

Civil War nurse Fannie A. Beers of Pensacola, Fla., served in Ringgold during part of the war. Clark located her book “Memories,” published in 1889.

“The courthouse, one church, a warehouse and stores and hotels were converted into hospitals,” she wrote. “Row after row of beds filled every ward. Upon them lay wrecks of humanity, pale as the dead, with sunken eyes, hollow cheeks and temples and long claw-like hands. Every train brought in squads of just such poor fellows…”

On one cold, wintry night, as snow lay on the ground, Beers and other staff prepared for 200 wounded from the front, but no place was left to put them. The last church not already used as a hospital was seized when the congregation refused to volunteer the facility for a hospital.

Straw was placed on the floor for beds, and the stoves fired up to warm the church.

As the train arrived with the wounded, Beers related, “… there poured through the doors of that little church a train of human misery such as I never saw before or afterward during the war… They came, each revealing some form of acute disease, some tottering, but still on their feet, others borne on stretchers. Exhausted by forced marches over interminable miles of frozen ground or jagged rocks, destitute of rations, discouraged by failure, these poor fellows cast away one burden after another until they had not clothes sufficient to shield them from the chilling blasts of winter.”

Catoosa’s residents assisted the hospitals by rolling bandages, helping with cleaning, laundry and providing food. According to written diaries and journals, in many instances the people gave what they could not spare in hopes someone might do the same for their loved ones elsewhere.

The hospitals remained in Catoosa until the Confederates withdrew. Many of these areas became hospitals for Federal troops as they moved through the area later in the war.

Except for family losses in far-off places and supporting hospitals, Catoosa’s soil remained relatively untouched by the battles of war until the arrival of Andrew’s Raiders in 1862. As the raiders dispersed through the county, one local woman exclaimed with terrible foresight: “Run for God’s sake, the country’s alive with Yankees.”

 

The Great Locomotive Chase

In April 1862, 22 of 24 men from the 2nd, 21st, and 33rd Ohio regiments infiltrated far behind enemy lines and made their way to Kennesaw, Ga.

 Two of the men joined the Confederate Army to avoid being captured and did not reach Kennesaw. Under the leadership of James Andrews, Andrew’s Raiders commandeered a train called “The General” and proceeded to speed towards Chattanooga with the intention of destroying bridges and railroad track behind them.

The risky move was part of the Union’s grand battle plan to assist Union Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchell in his push from Shelbyville, Tenn., to Huntsville, Ala., to eliminate the threat of Confederate reinforcements by rail from Atlanta.

Andrews was a Kentucky spy who posed as a blockade-runner smuggling the malaria drug quinine to conceal his activities from Southern authorities.

The group took the train at Big Shanty and managed to get a head start. Conductor W.A. Fuller and Western and Atlantic shop foreman Anthony Murphy chased on foot until they found a hand car and then a train to continue the chase.

With each bit of destruction left by the raiders, they abandoned another vehicle until an alternative was found. Finally in Adairsville, the pair boarded the Texas and followed The General backward up the track.

The General sped by a passenger train at Calhoun carrying Confederate Capt. W.J. Whitsitt of Ringgold of the 1st Confederate Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Whitsitt, who was returning to Mobile, Ala., with recruits from Ringgold and 10 armed soldiers, joined the chase on another train, The Catoosa.

As the raiders heard the sound of the Texas behind them while trying to take up some rails, raider William Pittenger wrote later if it had been, “a thousand thunderclaps (it) couldn’t have startled us more.”

The raiders released boxcars to slow the progress of the Texas, but the train kept going, pushing the boxcars to Resaca where they were left on a sidetrack.

The raiders chugged through Tunnel Hill, hiding their numbers at the depot and reportedly fearful of an ambush at the tunnel. After making it through, they sped towards Ringgold.

Clark relates raider Daniel Dorsey’s story in his book: “After gaining a little in the enemy, who were at times in plain view, we set fire in the last boxcar… The rains had so soaked everything that this seemed impossible and our fire burned aggravatingly slow.”

The group tried to burn the first Chickamauga bridge but was unsuccessful. They also did not destroy bridges over the Etowah River or the tunnel at Tunnel Hill.

The raiders ducked when passing area residents, hoping not to draw attention, but at this point the race was nearly over as the General gave out north of Ringgold, just off Ooltewah-Ringgold Road.

Andrews and his men jumped from the moving train at various points near its final stop and made their way to the forests. Two of the raiders, William Knight and Wilson Brown, remained on the train and put it in reverse before they jumped, sending it towards the Texas.

Almost immediately, the Texas arrived with Capt. Whitsitt and his men close behind.

The railroad men and the soldiers began the foot chase to round up the spies. Many of Catoosa’s residents joined in the search.

Raider Jacob Parrott was one of those captured and brought to Ringgold. Clark shared in his book Parrott’s account of his capture:

“Sam Robertson and I took to the woods together. After a time, we came out of the woods. We came out on the railroad; there were four citizens there who saw us and took us. We were taken to Ringgold.

“An officer and four soldiers took me out and stripped me, bent me over a stone and whipped me. He gave me 100 lashes with a strip of rawhide. He stopped three times during the whipping, let me up and asked me if I would tell, and when I refused to do so he would put me down and whip me again.”

Confederate authorities and citizens eventually caught Andrews and his men. Some of them made their way as far as Bridgeport, Ala.

Most of the group went to Confederate prisons. Eight raiders escaped and six received paroles.

The Confederate authorities hanged Andrews and seven of his men on June 7, 1862, and buried them in unmarked graves. Their remains were later moved to the Chattanooga National Cemetery.

Congress created the Medal of Honor in 1862, and awarded it to 19 of the Raiders. Parrott later was the first soldier to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Andrews, as a civilian, was not eligible.

The General survived, serving the Western and Atlantic and the Louisville and Nashville railroads for another 30 years.

Disney produced a film, “The Great Locomotive Chase,” in 1956 starring Fess Parker as Andrews. The story was also the basis for Buster Keaton’s film “The General.”

Andrew’s Raiders and family gather in 1906 for a reunion in Nashville, Tenn. From left, front, are John Reed Porter, Mrs. Knight, William Knight, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Parrott, Daniel Dorsey and “Texas” Fireman Henry Haney; (back) William Bensinger, William Fuller, Charles Bensinger and Anthony Murphy. (Photos of the participants in the Great Locomotive Chase from "The General & The Texas: A Pictorial History of the Andrews Raid, April 12, 1862." Used by permission ©1999 by Stan B. Cohen and James G. Bogle.

Battle of Ringgold Gap

THE FALL OF RINGGOLD
Cleburne holds gap for Confederate retreat;
Sherman prepares fiery path to Savannah

By Randall Franks


 

As Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans moved his forces off Catoosa soil at the Chickamuaga battlefield Sept. 20, 1863, and back to Chattanooga, residents took a short break from the intensity of day-after-day combat and tried to move forward.

After the fighting, most were left without any food or stock to feed their families, and the hollow Chickamauga victory changed to defeat after Gen. Braxton Bragg’s loss at Missionary Ridge in November.

Confederate forces retreated from the ridge towards Chickamauga on Nov. 25, 1863, then to Ringgold and on to Dalton with Federal forces hot on their heels.

Bragg chose Gen. Patrick Cleburne, an Irish-born settler from Arkansas, to be the rear guard of the retreat in an attempt to buy time for the Confederates to reach their destination.

After skirmishes on Nov. 26, including an engagement with Gen. William T. Sherman’s advance column north of Catoosa’s Graysville community, Cleburne camped his 4,000 men close to Ringgold Gap near West Chickamauga Creek. Several hours before sunrise, Cleburne received his orders to hold the gap at all costs.

William H.H. Clark’s “History of Catoosa County” yields some first-hand accounts of those moments. Capt. John R Kennard with the 10th Texas Infantry wrote:

“… We were ordered up to strip and prepare for wading the river, which was soon accomplished. After the river had been crossed the men redressed and, the morning being very cold, were formed in line and arms stacked, and fires built to warm by. About break of day, we were ordered to fall in and commenced the march through the town of Ringgold. …”

The soldiers were ordered to create lines of defense facing north in the dense young timber growth at the foot of White Oak Mountain near the Ringgold Depot and today’s Welcome Hill community and Taylor’s Ridge near the gap. Cleburne sent a regiment to the top of White Oak Mountain and placed several companies on Taylor’s Ridge, dispatching his men and artillery out of sight of the oncoming forces of Union Brig. Gen. Peter J. Osterhaus, serving under Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker.

Confederates covered their cannons with brush and waited quietly in the natural hiding places on White Oak Mountain and Taylor’s Ridge.


INTO RINGGOLD

As Hooker came through Ringgold on Nov. 27, he sought information from residents, including slaves, on the condition of the enemy, but none of the reports foretold what was to come.

According to the Ringgold Gap Preservation Plan prepared in 1997 by Keith Bohannon, Gen. Osterhaus deployed his lead brigade of about 400 Missourians under Brig. Gen. Charles R. Woods to advance beyond the Ringgold Depot towards White Oak Mountain. The group faced a group of Texans fighting under Maj. William Taylor.

As the men reached the timberline, the fighting began, and the Confederates forced the Missourians back. Taylor’s forces captured between 60 and 100 of the group.

At the same time, 278 soldiers from Illinois were ordered through the gap to occupy the Isaac Jobe house.

The “Military History of the 13th Illinois Infantry” describes the Illinois boys as “chipper as could be … hardly expecting so much danger near at hand.”

Cleburne watched the group advance with his field glasses. He told Lt. Richard W. Goldthdwaute to hold artillery fire until the Federals reached the farm.

According to Bohannon: “Suddenly, Cleburne almost sprang into the air, clapped his knee and in his broad Irish brogue shouted ‘Now then boys, give it to ’em boys!’”

Confederate Pvt. William Gibson recognized how the Federal troops fell on the ground and, from the way their hats, caps, guns and accoutrements went flying in the air, he said he had no doubt the whole line was annihilated, exclaiming, “By Jove, boys, it killed them all.”

Cleburne heard the soldier and chastised him to get down, or he would discover “that there are enough left for you to get the top of your head shot off.”


THE RETREAT

Cleburne’s forces held White Oak Mountain and Ringgold Gap until the army trains were safely away. He was then ordered to withdraw.

As Cleburne and his men were setting the scene for retreat, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Ringgold with his staff.

Grant’s staff member Ely Parker commented that despite enemy fire, the group rode through town at “an ordinary trot.”

“Not once,” wrote Parker, “do I believe did it enter the General’s mind that he was in danger.”

Grant arrived at the Ringgold Depot and immediately began issuing orders to dislodge the Confederates from the gap but not pursue the group any farther.

Forces on both sides battled throughout the day, with Union forces trying to scale White Oak, only to be repelled by the Confederates entrenched at the top.

The Federal forces only took the gap and the mountain after Cleburne’s forces left the field of battle.


THE CASUALTIES

While the Federals eventually took the gap, it was at great human cost.

In his official report, Cleburne listed 20 men dead, 190 wounded and 11 missing. On the Federal side, Hooker reported 65 dead, 424 wounded and 20 missing.

Grant, Hooker and Sherman later stood at the Ringgold Depot to analyze maps, then took lodging that night at the William L. Whitman house that still stands on Tennessee Street.

According to Chaplain Arnold T. Needham, the Jobe house was littered with wounded soldiers. One female member of the family, after emerging from the root cellar that served as the family’s haven during battle, was outraged that her bed was now soaked with the blood of a wounded Federal officer.

The Catoosa House, the courthouse and the bank sheltered about 261 Federal wounded.

The Confederate Congress acknowledged the valor of the Confederate forces that fought at the Battle of Ringgold Gap in a special resolution Jan. 22, 1864.

During the winter of 1863-4, Federal troops made Chattanooga and Catoosa County their home, while residents saw Confederates from nearby camps at Tunnel Hill, Varnell and Dalton raid and harry Union occupiers until the beginning of Sherman’s March to the Sea in May 1864. Maj. Gen. George Thomas controlled the Ringgold area.

Historian Clark writes that when the Yankees moved back, they burned what they did not take with them.

“Ringgold was a ghost town,” he wrote. “What had been the most enterprising town in North Georgia, with flourishing businesses, nice stores and beautiful homes, was left a forest of soot covered chimneys.”

Clark included a letter in his book from Ophelia Gordon, wife of Thomas Gordon, written Dec. 29, 1863.

“Yankee rule is nothing to boast of. It does not take but one person to make a trade. If you have an article they want, they’ll tell you so and take it.

Union soldiers present arms in front of the
Inman Bank in Ringgold after Union forces
took the city in late November, 1863.

Ma, I never hated a race of people before and I do believe it would gladden my soul to see the last Yankee killed, man, woman and child. There is but two or three families in town. Tal McAfee’s family and the Whitmans are all I know of.”

Union Maj. James Austin Connolly of Illinois wrote home about his stay with the Whitman family.

"The family consists of the merchant, his wife, her sister, and his two children, a little boy five-years-old and a little girl eight-years-old. The little boy did not like me at first; said I was a Yankee and wouldn’t speak to me; didn’t like Yankees ‘Because they burned Pa’s store and killed our cow,’ … When Wilder’s Brigade first came through last fall, before the battle of Chickamauga, it carried away on horseback his entire stock of goods, whereupon he put the key to his store in his pocket and retired … ”

In the first week of May before Sherman’s March to the Sea, Clark estimates that the population of Catoosa County increased by 100,000 males, all dressed in Union blue. The soldiers camped at locations throughout the county, including Catoosa Springs.

Once the march began and the majority of the occupying force left Catoosa, families were able to try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives, while waiting to hear if loved ones would ever return from the fields of battle to once again plow the now blood-stained soil which once was so fertile.

Ringgold just a few months before the Battle of Ringgold Gap. Notice the buildings and timber still standing before Sherman’s march.(Photo by George Bernard, 1864) 

Battle of Chickamauga

CIVIL WAR:  CATOOSA'S BLOODIEST DAYS
The Battle of Chickamauga

By Randall Franks


On the fertile fields of Catoosa and Walker counties on Sept. 19-20, 1863, two forces whose iron wills are etched in stone and bronze across 5,200 acres of ground, clashed in combat on the Chickamauga Battlefield.

The Federal leaders planned to support the troops with the bounty from the land and farms, but local support for Confederate forces and hospitals already left most cupboards bare.

A wave of war rolled across the South, leaving in its wake shattered lives, ruins of ash and embers where once productive farms, businesses and plantations stood.

Federal soldiers raided and looted farms and homes for anything edible.

Several families shared lore about looting in the book “Catoosa County, Georgia Heritage.”

Some claim that showing Masonic aprons was the only way some area residents, such as Thomas A. Williams of Woodstation, managed to spare belongings meant for Sherman’s torches.

On the Hunt farm at Chickamauga Battlefield, Betts Berry of Chickamauga shares a story about how Clarissa Hunt tried to stop a soldier from heading upstairs in the Hunt house during one such raid. The soldier started to shoot her, but his commanding officer stopped him. After being marched to Crawfish Springs and detained, Clarissa returned to find two dead Union soldiers at her house. She, her mother and a slave buried them, fearing the Federal troops would think she had killed them.

According to Jerry Fox of Charlotte, N.C., after the Union troops took all but the last hog from the farm of Minerva Taylor Fox, it escaped from underneath the house, and troops confiscated it. The 19-year-old Minerva went with two brothers to the camp and demanded to see the officer in charge. Complaining about how his troops had ruined the garden, stole the chickens and the badly needed hog, Minerva won over the commander, and he had his men dress and return the hog.

In Dogwood Valley at the home of John Caldwell, Susie Blaylock McDaniel describes in the “Official History of Catoosa County” how Caldwell’s daughter stood behind the front door as Federal troops marched by on one of their raids. Inside the front door on June 16, 1864, she wrote on the wall: “The Federals have taken all our corn, fodder, chickens and hogs and again are passing through.”


A CHANCE MEETING

As the Battle of Chickamauga loomed, Federal and Confederate forces were unsure of each other’s location, and the eventual meeting of forces at West Chickamauga Creek came out of two units meeting each other by chance.

Despite better-laid plans by generals, this happenstance meeting decided the place where the battle began.

These initial shots heralded two of the bloodiest days of warfare in history.

In “Reminiscences of the Civil War,” Confederate Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon compared the battle’s three-to-one losses to history’s greatest battles at Waterloo, Wagram, Valmy, Magenta, Soferino, Zurich and Lodi. The battlefield is where an estimated 35,000 of the roughly 120,000 Federal and Confederate troops were killed, wounded or listed as missing.

“Words, however, cannot convey an adequate picture of such scenes; of the countless costly, daring assaults; of the disciplined or undisciplined but always dauntless courage; of the grim, deadly grapple in hand-to-hand collisions; of the almost unparalleled slaughter and agony,” he wrote.

“As (Gen. Braxton) Bragg prepared to assail the Union left, (Gen. George H.) Thomas, feeling

his way through the woods to ascertain what was in his front, unexpectedly struck the Southern right, held by (Gen. Nathan Bedford) Forrest’s cavalry, and thus inaugurated the battle,” Gordon wrote. “Forrest was forced back; but he quickly dismounted his men, sent the horses to the rear, and on foot stubbornly resisted the advance of the Union infantry. Quickly the Confederates moved to Forrest’s support. The roar of small arms on this extreme flank in the early morning admonished both commanders to hurry thither their forces. Bragg was forced to check his proposed assault upon another portion of the Union lines and move to the defense of the Confederate right. Rapidly the forces of the two sides were thrown into this unexpected collision, and rapidly swelled the surging current of battle.”

Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet and two of his divisions reinforced Bragg at Chickamauga, arriving by rail at Catoosa Station in the largest troop movement by rail at that time. The presence of Longstreet’s forces helped to turn the tide of the battle.

Before the Battle of Chickamauga, the ground upon which the armies fought had been endless acres of farms and forests. The center of each farm was the home of a Catoosa or Walker family. These family names, such as Hunt, Kelley, Reed, McAbee, McDonald, Park, Poe and Brotherton, among others, are now permanently entwined, and in a way enshrined, in the history of the United States and Catoosa County.


FROM THEIR CABIN DOORS

While most of the families gallantly sent male members of their kin to defend the South, it is certain they never imagined that from their cabin doors they would look across their fields strewn with dead and decaying bodies.

As the battle began, the Reed family history claims that the first cannon fired sat in their yard near Reeds Bridge.

Jacob and Sallie Reed had five boys who volunteered for service: Jimmy, Tommy, Charlie, Bunk and D.O.

Four of them took part in the battle, as did house guest John Ingram. Ingram is the only known soldier buried today in the park outside family cemeteries, and was found by the Reed brothers, who buried him and marked his grave.

As the battle waged on all sides, the Reed house became a hospital, and Sallie Reed tended the wounded on the floor of her home.

Among the wounded was Gen. Ben Hardin Helm, brother-in-law to Pres. Abraham Lincoln; Major Rice E. Graves, a young boy from the 9th Kentucky; and soldier Fred Joyce.

Joyce wrote about his time at the Reed house in 1884 for the book “The Southern Bivouac”:

“The passage and the hall were full of groaning and dying soldiers. Mrs. Reed was passing to and fro, rendering all the assistance in her power, and much distressed over our pitiable condition.

“The young soldier who shared my mattress was in great pain, and when this dear, good woman would come to our bed, he would take her hand and hold it and caress it and call her mother, telling her that she reminded him so much of his own dear mother, in Kentucky…. She told us she had two boys in the same battle, from whom she had not heard. I heard her repeatedly say, ‘I am doing for you, my son, what I hope some other mother is doing for my boys, if they need it; if God wills they are yet alive.’”

Sallie Reed’s boys came home safe from that battle, but her son Charlie was later killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tenn.

Confederate soldier William C. McDonald was the son of John and Bell McDonald, who lived in a two-room log house near the crossing of Lafayette and Reeds Bridge Roads. According to the book “Joel Kelly” by Paul and Alba Smith, he joined the service on the same day as his friend and neighbor, George Washington Kelley.

Kelley lived with his parents, Elisha and Sarah, who rented a farm from his Uncle Elijah.

Both men fought at Fort Donelson, Tenn., with Kelley receiving a wound to his arm. McDonald was captured, exchanged and returned to fighting. McDonald then served as a teamster at Chickamauga hauling wounded soldiers to area hospitals.

Kelley left his unit to return home as the fighting drew near, but he surrendered to Union forces before the battle began.

The Kelley farmhouse was destroyed during the battle.

In the “History of Walker County, Georgia,” McDonald recalls the Federal army taking his father to serve as a guide for Gen. William S. Rosecrans.

His father told the story of being with Rosecrans when the Union right was broken.

Rosecrans tried to rally his troops, but failed, and told his companions, including John McDonald, “If you care to live any longer, get away from here.”

The Federal troops took the elder McDonald to Chattanooga and held him until after the Battle of Missionary Ridge concluded.

Left: Confederate soldier George Washington Kelley, holding Rufus Clayton Kelley; Amanda L. McDonald Kelley (wife) with Dora D. Kelley (Hancock) at her knee. Gertie May Kelley (Fuller) at Washington’s knee. Around their parents, from left: Alice E. Kelley (Howard), L. Belle Kelley (Fuller), Lee Anderson Kelley, Hettie Elizabeth Kelley, Anna Laura Kelley (Brown), Clemmie C. Kelley (Henderson), Clark Alexander Kelley, and Mary V. Kelley (Howard).



FARMER POE'S STORY

Catoosa farmer Larkin Poe was serving in Company K, 4th Georgia Cavalry, in Rome, Ga., when the battle began. Poe’s unit moved forward, but the company did not arrive until after the battle was over.

He borrowed a horse and rode to his home in search of his wife, Sarah, and his two children. In the 1920s, Poe related his memories about the search in the book “History of Walker County, Georgia”:

“The moon was far down the west and cast a ghostly light over the woods and fields. The stillness of the night was unbroken except for the sound of my horse’s hooves and the hoot of some solitary owl. I had seen an old house near Jay’s mill filled with wounded and suffering men, and I had hardly started till I began to see dead soldiers yet unburied, lying in and near the road. I rode on, turning my horse first to the right and then to the left to avoid the thick-strewn bodies. In places I saw where great trees had been splintered by shells and riddled by bullets… Just before reaching the Brotherton house I came upon a scene of death and destruction noteworthy even on that terrible field. I saw a piece of artillery, evidently a Federal piece, which had been knocked from the wheels by a direct hit from our guns, and apparently most all of the horses and men belonging to the gun had perished there for their bodies lay in grotesque heaps around their piece.”

Poe rode closer to the Brotherton house, where his wife’s family lived. Wounded soldiers filled the house, but the nurses could give him no word of his family. He found his father-in-law inside, and the pair traveled to his farm and discovered it in ashes, bodies all over his fields, and his family gone.

Poe finally discovered that his family had taken refuge with other survivors in a ravine near the Snodgrass house. He found them, along with roughly 60 others, gathered around a log fire.

This group of women, children and elderly had waited in the ravine without shelter, food or water for eight days.

Poe and his family never returned to the farm.

While generals later debated who won the Battle of Chickamauga, history marks it a Confederate victory. In retrospect, the people of Catoosa County did not have much to celebrate. Most returned to their destroyed homes, their belongings gone and fields in ruins, covered with the bodies of those who struggled in mortal combat.

If a structure did survive, it was a hospital; so most families had to abandon them indefinitely. For some families, the dead lay in their fields for months, while others simply never returned.

Looming ahead in Catoosa County’s not-too-distant future was the Battle of Ringgold Gap, various skirmishes and Federal occupation.

Reconstruction

IN WAR'S WAKE
Catoosa faces devastation; Georgia rejoins the Union

By Randall Franks


After the Civil War, Catoosa's residents took up the task of rebuilding shattered lives and the county's stalled economy. County histories shed little light on the day-to-day activities of residents following the war, but it is safe to say that families went back to tilling on the county's 325 farms; merchants re-opened their shops, and the trains came and went through Ringgold.

 

The Peter's family stands on the front porch of their Ringgold home in 1890.

According to 1870 U.S. Census numbers, the population of the county decreased from 5,082 in 1860 to 4,409 in 1870. Of those residents, 616 were African-Americans.

Many residents spent their Sundays at the county's 13 churches of various denominations. Almost 500 students attended area schools, and two were African-American. Thirty percent of the population, or 1,187 residents, could not write. Twenty percent, or 756, over the age of 10 could not read.

Catoosa was home to 24 manufacturing establishments in 1870 that employed 50 residents and boasted 28,226 acres of improved land. The county's farmland was valued at $542,538. County government carried a $4,000 debt.

After the war, Georgia leaders faced the task of meeting federal requirements for re-entry into the union. State legislators had to repeal the ordinance of secession and recognize the abolition of slavery.

Legislators created a new constitution that largely reflected an elevated status of whites over the newly freed slaves. The state enacted laws that placed harsh restrictions to civil liberties for African-Americans, measures that aligned squarely with most other Southern states.

On the national level, President Andrew Johnson fought with Congress to maintain his leadership role guiding reconstruction of the South, but he lost control in 1867 when Congress placed all of the Southern states except Tennessee under military rule.

A return to the union became contingent upon each state's adoption of a constitution approved by Congress. The states were to provide basic civil rights and the right to vote for all residents under these new constitutions.

Republicans in 1868 gained control of the Georgia Legislature, electing Rufus B. Bullock as governor and a number of African-American legislators. The legislature ratified the 14th Amendment extending citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. and providing equal protection under the law. Georgia rejoined the Union in 1870.

The birth of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan played a part in helping bring Democrats back to power after expelling duly elected black legislators. In 1871, Bullock fled the state.

Personal stories about this era are limited, but in a May 10, 1872 edition of the Weekly Catoosa Courier, some light is shed on the period.

Catoosa Springs, the resort area from which the county draws its name, was operating again and attracting tourists from around the state according to an ad.

Families could send their children to the Ringgold Masonic Literary Institute, one of the county's first organized schools, where “the curriculum is of the highest standard,” according to another ad. The staff included R.T. McMullen, principal; J.A. Robert, associate principal and Benjamin F. Clark, professor of music.

In Susie Blaylock McDaniel's “History of Catoosa County,” Jim Carlock remembers leaving West Chickamauga in 1869 to live at Peavine near Post Oak.

“There I went to my first Sunday school,” he said. “One-Arm Jim Park was superintendent and I thought he was a good man. His oldest son, Heck, was one of my old chums. The old log house is gone. They built a new house and it burned down about the year 1883.

“We have moved to the Caldell Farm, at the Wild Cat Spring, which is now known as the Brotherton farm. In the years of the 1870s, the Burning Bush Church was organized. In June 1872, Mr. Napier and Mark Lansford were our schoolteachers. In debates, Mark Lansford was the best speaker; we also had Gordon Lee and Brother Matthews, and Bill Burk would come over from Crawfish Springs. They had big times then.”

Devastation marks the way to Ringgold following Union Gen. William T. Sherman's infamous “March to the Sea,” which began at Ringgold Gap in late 1864.(Photo by George Bernard, 1865)

Weekly Catoosa Courier

Residents and tourists could patronize a variety of businesses in the spring of 1872, as recorded in the Weekly Catoosa Courier:

Dry Goods and Groceries

T.M. Gordon, Ringgold, Ga., Dealer in Staples and Fancy Dry Goods, Hats, Caps, Boots, Shoes, Saddles, Bridles, Groceries, Provisions, etc. Also, Agent for the sale of Wilcox, Gibbs & Co's Standard Fertilizer.

W.J. Whitsitt, Ringgold, Ga., Dealer in Clothing, Hats, Caps, Boots, Shoes, Saddlery, Dry Goods, Groceries and Provisions. Agent for the sale of General Agricultural Implements.

W.J. Whitman and Bro. Corner of Tennessee and Nashville Streets, Ringgold, Ga. Dealers in General Merchandise. Purchasers of all kinds of Country Produce.

T.B. Cox, Dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, and general Merchandise, and dealer in Country Produce, LaFayette Street, Ringgold, Ga.

Charles S. Evans, Dealer in Country Produce and General Commission Merchant, Post office Building, Ringgold, Ga.

Robert F. Anderson, LaFayette Street, Ringgold, Ga., Dealer in General Merchandise, Choice Family Groceries, Wines, Liquors and Cigars. Highest market prices paid for all kinds of Country Produce.

W.C. Patton and Co., General Commission Merchants and Dealers in Dry Goods, Boots and Shoes, Groceries, etc., Ringgold, Ga. We buy all kinds of Country Produce.

Merchant Millers

Dunn & Brown, Merchant Millers, Produce and Provision and Commission Merchants, Ringgold, Ga.

Drugs and Medicines

Cravens and Harris, Druggists and Apothecaries, Dealers in Paints, Oils, Glass, etc. Nashville Street, Ringgold, Ga.

Boots and Shoes

R.H Stanfield. Dealer in Custom made Boots and Shoes. All orders promptly executed. Ringgold, Ga.

Attorneys at Law

E.M. Dodson, Attorney at Law, will practice in the Cherokee and Rome Circuit Courts and Supreme Court. Ringgold, Ga.

A.T. Hackett, Attorney and Counselor, Practicing in Cherokee and Rome Circuit Courts and Supreme Court. Ringgold, Ga.

W.H. Payne, Attorney and Counselor, Practicing in Cherokee and Rome Circuit Courts. Ringgold, Ga.

Saddlery

C.M. Crowson, Agent. Manufactures all kinds of Saddlery, Harness, etc. Ringgold, Ga.

Carpenters

Parsons and Trimmier, Contractors and Builders. Carpenters work of all kinds, promptly and faithfully executed. Ringgold, Ga.

Abijah Johnson, Cabinet Maker and Undertaker, Ringgold, Ga.

Established in Augusta 1853; Established in Rome 1856. A.A. Clark & Sons, Dealers in Pianos, Organs, and all kinds of musical instruments. Second-hand pianos taken in exchange for new ones, and always on hand for sale or rent.

Every piano sold by us if fully warranted, and kept in order twelve months free of charge. Brass Bands furnished is furnished at short notice. Pianos tuned and repaired in the best manner, and on reasonable terms. Orders or inquires addressed as below will meet with prompt attention. A.A. Clark & Sons of Ringgold, Ga.

New Carding Machine, Dunn & Brown, Ringgold, Ga.

Are prepared to do all work with promptness, is either Plain or Mixed Carding and the reputation of Mr. W.S. Hannah who has charge of the Machine, is a guarantee that the work will be done in a superior manner.

Livery, Feed and Sale Stable by Jones & Cox, Ringgold, Ga.

We are prepared to furnish vehicles and horses at all hours, to parties visiting Catoosa Springs, and any and all points away from the Railroad.

Careful drivers, safe horses, and comfortable vehicles.

O.F. Johnston, General Commission Merchant and Real Estate Agent, Ringgold, Ga. References: Devant, Waples and Co., Savannah, Ga. W. Wyley, Esq., Savannah; J.C. Plant, Macon; Hon. Wm. Doherty, Atlanta; Thos Crutchfield, Esq. Chattanooga, Tenn. Marsh and Allgood, Trion Factory, Ga.; Hon. Ben C. Yancey, Atlanta; Rev. C.W. Howard, Kingston; Hon. T.M. Gordon, Rev. Thomas McCanley, Chattanooga.

Catoosa County Government in May 1872

Superior court

Terms - Second Mondays in February and August. J.R. Parrott, judge; C.E. Broyles, solicitor general.

County officers

John M. Combs, ordinary; O.W. Trimmier, clerk of Superior Court; T.B. Cox, sheriff; R. Clarke, deputy sheriff; W.A. Woods, county treasurer; James. A. Park, tax assessor; W.F.B. Ramsey, tax collector; Abilah Johnson, county surveyor; John Swope, coroner.

Sessions of the Court of Ordinary were held on the first Monday of each month. Sales day, first Tuesday of every month. I.R. Jobe and R.J. Jones, justices.

Town government

W.L. Whitman, T.B. Cox, T.J. Cox, Abijah Johnson and R.B. Trimmier, commissioners; James McGhee, marshal.

Masonic Lodges

Lawrence Chapter: Stated meetings, first Friday night in every month. Rev. A.I. Leet, H.P.; N. Lowe, G.K.; D.G. King, scribe; J.L. Harrell, C.H.; W.J. Whitsitt, P.S.; W.G. Cook, treasurer; L.A. Knapp, secretary; A.S. Chastain, R.A.C.; R.J. Jones, Third V.; Thos W. Gordon, Second V.; Chas W. Gray, First V.

Quitman Lodge, No. 110: Stated meetings, third Thursday in each month. D.G. King, W.M.; R.J. Jones, senior warden; T.J. Clarke, junior warden; W.S. Inman, secretary; W.J. Whitsitt, treasurer; G.P. Harris, S.D.; J.M. Edwards, J.D.; John Swope, tyler; A.J. Leet, chaplain.

Good Templars: W.L. Whitman, W.C.T.; C.S. Evans, W.V.T.; R.B. Trimmier, W.R.S.; W.S. Inman, W.F.S.; A. Johnson, W. treas.; R.H. Stanfield, chaplain; N. McMullan, W.M.; E. Peary, D.M.; J.M. Mapp, P.W.C.T.; meetings, Tuesday night of each week.

Credits

Sources…

“Past Times: From the Dawn of Time to DeSoto,” News Publishing Co., ,” ©1994;

“History in Catoosa County,” by William H.H. Clark, ,” ©1972;

“History of Catoosa County, Georgia” by Susie Blaylock McDaniel, ©1953;

“Catoosa County, Georgia Heritage 1853-1998,” Catoosa County Historical Society, ©1998;

“Out of a Dim Era: 50th Anniversary of North Georgia EMC, 1936-1986” by Mark Pace, ©1986;

“The History of Walker County,” © by James Alfred Sartain;

“Chattanooga Yesterday and Today” Vol. I by Paul A Hiener ©1951;

“Chattanooga Yesterday and Today” Vol. IV by Paul A Hiener ©1964.

Thanks to…

Jim Ogden, Jemima Shirley, Ben Sheram, Chap Denman, Gordon Black, Louise and Bud Baxter, Warren Demarest, Louise Dunn Fleming, Trish Fleming, Dean Thomas, George McBrayer, Tracy Wright, Nancy Crowe, Flora Lawrence, Jim Caldwell, Mary Humphreys, Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers, Ringgold Police Chief Charles Land, Pierre Noth and his “Past Times” staff of 1994, Bill Taylor, Preulow and Virginia Brown, J.B. Collins, L.D. Henry, Otis Hickman, Peggy Stanfield, Eunice Mosman, Ken Marks, Harold Silcox, Sandy Hall, W.A. Whaley and Regis Jay.

Special thanks to…

The George Hendrix Collection, Bill Clark, Jeff O’Bryant, Laura Crawley, Catoosa County Library Genealogy Department and Archives, Catoosa County Historical Society, Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Sixth U.S. Cavalry Museum,, Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Transportation, Catoosa County government, City of Ringgold, National Archives in Washington, D.C., Ringgold Telephone Co., and Catoosa County Public Schools.

Special credits…

Photo of Larkin Poe, “The History of Walker County by James Alfred Sartain,”

Photo of Gen. Patrick Cleburne, courtesy the Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Ala.



History articles used from the Catoosa County - 150th Anniversary publication by permission of The Catoosa County News.
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