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A Glimpse of Cherokee County's Past

by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

 
 
 
 
 
[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

The year 1820 saw the first white establishment in the southwestern corner of North Carolina. A Baptist church and mission school was built there at the Cherokee Indian town called Old Natchez located about six miles south of what is now Murphy, the county seat. In this primitive structure, Reverend Humphrey Posey struggled to teach English to the Indians. He was on a sacred mission for the education and Christian conversion of the Cherokee Indians, some of whom honored this minister by naming their sons "Posey." Even decades later, his revered name was still frequently used as a Christian name for Indian braves and others.

Only seven years later in 1827, gold was discovered just across the mountainous border along Co Co (Coker) Creek in Monroe County, Tennessee. When even more gold was found to the south on Cherokee lands in Georgia, numerous pale-faced prospectors wandered into this Indian domain and were followed soon thereafter by ambitious traders into the Indian villages. One white trader Colonel Archibald R. S. Hunter, an officer in the War of 1812, finally built a trading post called Huntersville at the present site of Murphy in 1830. Five years later, it was known as Huntington Post Office, and the Colonel served as postmaster.

During the 1830s, white man's lust for this valuable land so swelled that all measures -- even cruel and illegal -- were employed by government officials and their representatives to procure it. "Gold fever" is said to have sealed the fate of the Cherokee. Six forts were established in Western North Carolina in 1838 because multitudes of Cherokees refused to relocate to Oklahoma Territory. The largest fort was called Fort Butler and erected at the present site of Murphy. It was used as the official U.S. Army headquarters for the forced removal. A smaller fort named Delaney was also established within the present bounds of Cherokee County at what later became known as Andrews.

So began the great travesty, The Trail of Tears, referred to as "the greatest blot on America's history." Historical museums at New Echota in Gordon County, Georgia and Red Clay in Bradley County, Tennessee depict the plight of these Cherokee Indians and honor them as true Americans. North Carolina's package of Indian land secured by the Treaty of New Echota fell within the jurisdiction of Macon County. Later, in 1839, after "The Removal," Cherokee County was officially established out of this newly acquired section and, paradoxically enough, named for the tribe forced at gunpoint and driven under extreme duress to relinquish these rich, fertile mountains.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina a History 1730-1913. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1973-4.

Barclay, R. E. Ducktown Back in Raht's Time. Cleveland, Tennessee: White Wing Publishing House, 1974.

God's Country. Murphy, North Carolina: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 1982.

U.S. census reports of Cherokee County, North Carolina, 1840-1880.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

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There's Culture in 'Them Thar' Hills.
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

Not only did the Cherokee Indians who were herded along the devastating "Trail of Tears" relinquish most of their personal property but also their homes, farms, livestock, crops, and sacred burial grounds. In their wake, they left behind a rich cultural heritage affixed to the very geography of the land itself. This legacy has endured so like the Nation who produced it. The beautiful names of Cherokee County's rivers, streams, valleys, coves, and mountains still whisper of colorful Indian legends associated with them.

Nowhere can one travel in Cherokee County without encountering this heritage. It guides every tourist studying a road map and stares at all passers-by from road signs. Many former Cherokee Indian titles and place names represented indigenous plant and animal life. Examples of these such as Beech Creek, Fox Grape Creek (now Grape Creek), Peachtree Creek, and Persimmon Creek have assumed English translations for Indian names of plants commonly surrounding these creeks. Other examples such as Buzzard Roost, Beaverdam Bald, Owl Creek, and Panther Top referred to typical wildlife.

Some titles commemorate beloved Cherokee chiefs and courageous warriors. Notable among these are Junaluska Creek and Road named for the great Chief Junaluska who lived in that location and so bravely saved General Andrew Jackson's life at the famous Battle of Horsehoe Bend in the War of 1812, thus altering the course of American history.

Other locations relate to legends of Indian names lost in obscurity. A prime example is Vengeance Creek, the south branch of Valley River, so named for the "cross looks of an Indian woman who lived there."

Hanging Dog Creek and Community, often shortened to just "Hang Dog" by locals, has a name bound up in the legend of an Indian brave's devoted hunting dog and its unrelenting pursuit of a wounded buck. In the midst of an extremely bitter winter and harsh famine, the hunter brought meat to the wigwam thanks to the undaunted efforts of his cur. It bravely chased the buck across a swift creek and would surely have been swept away and drowned except it hung on some fallen tree branches. The hunter, later named "Deer Killer," rescued his "hanging dog," and both then tracked their prey.

Ironically, the name "Cherokee has no meaning in the Cherokee language" which is called the Kituwha. Cherokee is of foreign origin to the tribe which uses Tsa-la-gi for the term according to tribal language expert Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey.

Yet, many original Indian titles are still evident today although spellings vary. Hiwassee (Hiawassee) River retains its Indian name meaning "the only one." Nantahala, Nottely (or Notla), Ogreeta, Tomotla, and Wehutta are other geographical titles that followed suit. Frank McKinney wrote, "The Indian gave to these mountains a name, and to the rivers a title expressive of the poetry of his soul . . . ." This poetry and all the myths and legends wound therein form Cherokee County's splendid cultural heritage.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina a History 1730-1913. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1973-4.

Chiltoskey, Mary Ulmer. Cherokee Words with Pictures. Asheville, North Carolina: The Stephens Press, 1972.

McKinney, R. Frank. Torment in the Knobs. Athens, Tennessee: 1976.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

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Early White Settlements in Cherokee County
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

Though adventurous settlers flocked into newly established Cherokee County from distant states, by far the greatest numbers simply moved across bordering county lines of Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties to the west in Tennessee and Haywood and Macon Counties to the east in North Carolina. This is evident from early censuses, of which the 1860 report is particularly helpful because specific birthplaces are listed for all county residents. Relocation from even such a short distance was in no way easy since the county was accessible only through rugged, mountainous wilderness or by one of the treacherous river gorges.

R. E. Barclay wrote in Ducktown Back in Raht's Time, "Cherokee County's roads in the 1840's followed the aimless trek of settlers as they took up Indian lands along Persimmon, Shoal, and Hot House Creeks and down the valley in the direction of the present site of Culberson." After the Indians were removed, land here was first claimed by the occupant enterer standard. Rich river bottom land in Shoal Creek, for example, was granted for as little as .20 to .50 cents per acre -- all at the expense of the banished Cherokee Indians.

Settlers had already built homes and barns and "staked out claims" by the 1840 census count. Some whites merely took up residence in Cherokee log homes and used existing barns, corn cribs, and other buildings. When the census taker made his rounds, he counted a population of 3,427 individuals.

Drewry Weeks, Cherokee County's entry taker, did not open the land office to claims until March 1842. At that late date, he was immediately swamped by "occupant enterers" who had then been local residents for as long as two years. The impatient crowd soon became frantic and uncontrollable. Fear of claim jumping grew into panic. Facing a riotous mob, Weeks was said to have "fled his office for safety." Luckily, he was unharmed and sooner or later managed to take all the claims.

By 1843, residents along Persimmon Creek could boast of a community because they had their own post office officially established on 29 September with Benjamin Stiles as postmaster. Great strides were made in development and population growth during the decade of the 1840s. Post offices were set up in corners of barns, gristmills, and trading posts throughout the county. Turtletown Post Office in Shoal Creek, the western-most civil district in the county, was established on 23 December 1847 with Elias Milton Kilpatrick, Sr. as postmaster. The name of this post office would later be changed to Patrick, his clipped surname, and then later to Oak Park, but the postmastership was kept in the family until its demise. Post offices and churches became hubs of society with postmasters, local preachers, and circuit rider ministers often the primary means of news dissemination.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina a History 1730-1913. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1973-4.

Barclay, R. E. Ducktown Back in Raht's Time. Cleveland, Tennessee: White Wing Publishing House, 1974.

God's Country. Murphy, North Carolina: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 1982.

Raper, Glen T. Some Kilpatricks Past and Present. Cleveland, Tennessee: (privately published) 1976.

U.S. census reports of Cherokee County, North Carolina, 1840-1880.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

Homespun
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by
Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industry Arrives in Cherokee County
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

Although most early settlers earned a living by farming, day laborers secured jobs in various local industries before the close of Cherokee County's first decade. Elias Milton Kilpatrick, Sr. built and operated one of the first gristmills in Shoal Creek Civil District. His gristmill on Camp Creek had an undershot water-powered wheel. Millers were direly needed in this backwoods country to grind farmers' corn, wheat, and rye, and the gristmill business was profitable.

Logging became the county's first major industry with the many waterways providing free and rapid transport of logs downstream to numerous sawmills. Water power was the most easily tapped and ready source of energy. Flumes for mining gold were built on several creeks. Goods and supplies were transferred in and out of the area via river rafts and flatboats, these being the most rapid and efficient modes then available.

Water was also used to power twelve-foot wheels that drove the iron forges, bloomery, and chaffery. Numerous iron works were built throughout the county beginning in the early 1850s. Iron was a commodity in great demand because it was used to make so many necessary products -- everything from a farmer's plow to a housewife's pot.

Fain's Bloomery Forge began operation on Owl Creek in the Hanging Dog section in 1854. Harmon Lovingood, a pioneer settler along Hanging Dog Creek, owned and also operated an iron forge in the community.

Another iron works called the Persimmon Creek Bloomery Forge was constructed on Persimmon Creek about twelve miles west of Murphy according to R. E. Barclay. He records that "about 45 tons of bar iron was made at this place in 1855."

About five miles west of the latter forge was another on Shoal Creek and named for this creek which powered the wheel. This forge near Kilpatrick's Turtletown Post Office was owned by John Jones who, according to Barclay, "was granted 3,000 acres of land, called the 'forge donation,' in consideration of his erecting the forge and manufacturing iron."

According to the 1850 U.S. Census Schedule, Cherokee County was thriving with the following tradesmen: 32 blacksmiths, 22 carpenters, 3 cabinet makers, 2 gunsmiths, 2 painters, 8 millers, 7 millwrights, 8 saddlers, 3 tailors, 5 tanners, 2 tinsmiths, and 7 wagon makers. In addition, it was home for each of the following individual workers: brickmason, chair maker, collier, cooper, distiller, hammerman, miner, and sawmiller. James Allen, who lived there by 1840, became the county's first hatter. He and his son William Allen plied that trade for decades. One of James Allen's handmade felt hats is displayed at Cherokee County Historical Museum located in Murphy.

Only a year after that census was enumerated, the village of Murphy was incorporated in 1851 as county seat and named for a prominent attorney in North Carolina, Archibald Defoe Murphey. Barclay noted that the e was an accidental omission in the official spelling and this error was never corrected. Murphy, formerly the site of Fort Butler, was strategically located for trade and transit at the confluence of the major waterways, Hiwassee and Valley Rivers.

J. E. Raht's copper mining industry in Ducktown, Tennessee witnessed its heyday during the 1850s. Many Cherokee County farmers and young men relocated to Polk County, Tennessee for employment in the mines.

John Caldwell opened a road down the rugged Ocoee River Gorge from Ducktown to Cleveland, Tennessee in 1853, in order to transport copper to Cleveland railroad docks where it could be outbound to markets. A mail route was later established via this treacherously winding road. By 1854, wagon travel all the way from Cherokee County, North Carolina to Cleveland, Tennessee, a distance of over fifty miles, was possible for the first time when Caldwell's Old Copper Road became an official state road. Today, it remains the shortest land distance between the two points.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Barclay, R. E. Ducktown Back in Raht's Time. Cleveland, Tennessee: White Wing Publishing House, 1974.

Freel, Margaret Walker. Our Heritage the People of Cherokee County, North Carolina 1540-1955. Asheville, North Carolina: 1956.

God's Country. Murphy, North Carolina: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 1982.

U.S. census reports of Cherokee County, North Carolina, 1840-1880.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

Homespun
Graphics
by
Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Churches in Cherokee County
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

As industry developed throughout Cherokee County's expansive civil districts and their populations grew, the need increased for community churches in isolated settlements. Religious services were held in homes, barns, gristmills, groves, brush arbors, and "down by the river" until one-room log cabins could be built and consecrated as official houses of worship. Names for many of the earliest churches often coincided with the names of local post offices. Persimmon Creek Baptist Church, so named, and Hiwassee Baptist Church, named for the river flowing nearby, numbered among the first in remote Shoal Creek Civil District. Stiles and Coleman families figured predominantly in activities of these two congregations. Reverend Absalom Coleman preached for many years at Hiwassee where John L. "Black Fox" Stiles and later Gamaliel Coleman served as deacons.

Baptist churches in western sections of the county fell within territorial membership range of the old Liberty-Ducktown Baptist Association, now known as the Polk County Baptist Association and located at Benton, Tennessee. Grandview Baptist Church, once a thriving member of this association, was named for a defunct post office which once stood in the Hanging Dog Community. Reverend John Henry Hampton served as one of this congregation's earliest pastors.

One of the earliest churches, the Old White Church (now Hanging Dog Baptist Church), was established near Hanging Dog Creek about 1846. Reverend George Washington Lovingood, a Cherokee County pioneer, became its first pastor and continued in that capacity until his death 28 April 1862. James Dockery and Reason Davis, also pioneers in the county, became the first trustees, and Mr. Fain, Owl Creek settler, deeded land to them for the present site of the church and cemetery on 26 May 1857.

Baptists, who already had a foothold with Reverend Humphrey Posey's mission school even prior to the county's formation, quickly outnumbered other denominations. However, by the Reconstruction Period, Methodists were well-established throughout the county.

Holston Methodists' fondness for nature and the local people found possibly their most eloquent expression of appreciation in the words of their Dr. Talmadge. Following his survey mission to western-most North Carolina, he published his account, an excerpt of which follows:

It is indeed a garden of recuperation. All the conditions seem favorable. If there is any one who is so constituted that enjoyment can be had in life, and can't find it here, rest assured such a person will not be able to find enjoyment in heaven when he gets there. What more can one ask for than healthful climate, pure air, good water, unsurpassed scenery, and congenial people? Western North Carolina to-day offers more solid comfort, hope, and happiness to the invalid and health seeker than the whole materia media from the time of AEsculapius down to the present time.

Even though Reverend Talmadge's words were written for generations long since passed, their truth remains as fresh as if written only yesterday!

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Price, R. N. Holston Methodism from Its Origin to the Present Time. Vol. I. Nashville, Tennessee: Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. (pg. 33)

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

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by
Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unaka Ridge, Cradle for Church of God Denomination
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload elsewhere.]

The international denominations of Church of God and Church of God of Prophecy trace one system of roots to Shoal Creek Civil District in Cherokee County, North Carolina. More specifically, the movement for such a Pentecostal "holiness church" was fully initiated near Camp Creek that twisted within the Unaka (now Unicoi) Mountain Ridge rising along the North Carolina and Tennessee border.

In 1884, Richard G. Spurling, Sr. and a few others from Barney Creek just across the state line in Monroe County, Tennessee became dissatisfied with Baptist and Methodist churches. Setting themselves apart, they worshipped in private homes, prayed, and studied the Bible devoutly.

Under the leadership of the elder Spurling, a miller and farmer, the little group was "moved by the Spirit" to establish a church on 19 August 1886. First referred to as the "Holiness Church," these dissenters soon became objects of community ridicule and scorn. Members of neighboring churches who "dared to darken the doors" of this new congregation often found themselves "turned-out" of their own churches for doing so.

In addition to Richard G. Spurling, Sr., the group included John, Polly, Melinda, and John Plemmons, Jr., Barbara Spurling, and Margaret and Adeline Lauftus [sic - Loftis] as its first members.

On 26 September 1886, the church ordained Richard G. Spurling, Jr. as first pastor. Services were held in Shearer School at Camp Creek or in homes because they had no building and no funds to purchase land. This school, used often as a center for various community activities, became their common gathering place until local opposition so raged that they were ejected.

Sympathetic toward the "outcasts," Miles Dickson "Dick" Kilpatrick, a well-known miller and land owner at Camp Creek, came to their rescue with his donation of land on which to build a church. Dr. Conn wrote that the land was "ideally situated across the dusty road from the schoolhouse within a stone's throw of the place where they had been ejected." Kilpatrick also helped the members cut timber from his land and erect a crude log church. With thanksgiving in 1896, they were worshipping in their new building. The denomination calls 1896 the year of "The Great Revival" in which some 100 people received the Holy Ghost and "a few were baptized in the Ghost and spake in tongues."

Antagonists to the movement burned this church about 1897, and church meetings had to revert to nearby homes such as William Franklin Bryant, Jr.'s located at the present site of Fields of the Wood. Bryant, Dick Kilpatrick's nephew, had been selected a lay leader to serve in Reverend Spurling's absences.

The first general assembly was held January 26 and 27, 1906, at J. C. Murphy's home in Camp Creek Community. Reverend Ambrose Jessup Tomlinson who had joined the church on 13 June 1903, was elected the first General Overseer. Along with William Franklin Bryant, Jr. and other ministers, he spread the doctrines and established World Headquarters at Cleveland, Tennessee.


B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Conn, Charles W. Like a Mighty Army. Cleveland, Tennessee: Church of God, 1955.

Raper, Glen T. Some Kilpatricks Past and Present. Cleveland, Tennessee: (privately published) 1976.

Stewart, Mrs. Christine. (Church of God history in preparation). Cleveland, Tennessee: 1983.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

Homespun
Graphics
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Sandra Ratledge

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Cherokee County Musters Recruits
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload or print elsewhere.]

From the war-torn ridges of the Unaka Mountains during the Civil War comes a particularly fascinating story of Appalachian response to civil strife. Especially interesting are accounts from the cliffs, coves, and creek bottom lands of Cherokee County, North Carolina from whence so many of my own, as well as my husband's ancestors and relatives, were mustered into service. Although Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi may be considered the Southern states with greatest losses and destruction during the Civil War, North Carolina also bore its devastations. Patriotism, ever characteristic of North Carolinians, became the state's hallmark during the War Between the States when she furnished one-fifth of the entire Confederate Army or 125,000 men from an eligible military population of 115,365.

To account for the additional 9,635 soldiers, it was not unusual for her male population in excess of fifty to serve side by side with boys sixteen and younger. For example, muster rolls of Company A, 29th NC Regiment list elderly Privates Rice Coffee, 59, William O. Cromwell, 55, and John Pate, 75, beside teens William G. Payne and William "Fightin' Bill" Sutton, each only fifteen years of age and five others only sixteen years old. Scarred at a young and impressionable age, and thus forever warped by war, such boys as "Fightin' Bill" carried battlefield nicknames to their graves -- names whose mention caused listeners to quail.

Cherokee County furnished many privates for the rank and file as well as some officers for the 29th and 39th NC Regiments. Muster rolls are quite incomplete. However, extant military records of the 29th NC Regiment's Company A, include 25 males aged 15 - 19; 50 aged 20 - 25; 18 aged 25 - 29; 15 aged 30 - 39; 9 aged 40 - 49; 2 aged 50 -59; 1 aged 75; and 52 whose ages were unknown or unrecorded, all of whom were mustered in Cherokee County.

More than one-third of the state's military, or 40, 275 soldiers, died as a result of the war with 19,678 killed on battlefields. North Carolina sacrificed her highest potential, some of her greatest assets, her young men, in the Brothers' War.

Of the ten regiments on either side which sustained the heaviest losses in any one engagement during the war, North Carolina furnished three, and the greatest loss sustained by any regiment on either side was that of the 26th North Carolina Regiment at Gettysburg. North Carolina soldiers were found farthest up the blood-stained slopes of Gettysburg. It carried into action 800 men and came out with 80.
North Carolinians' strong adherence to the cause was quite obvious when more than half of the muskets stacked in the surrender of Appomattox belonged to soldiers from North Carolina. "The last charge of the Army of Northern Virginia under Lee was made by North Carolina troops, and the last gun fired was by Flanner's Battery from Wilmington, North Carolina."

Company A of the 29th NC Regiment was commonly known as the "Cherokee Guards" and originally organized for service as scouts and home guards. It was raised for duty in Cherokee County, and men enlisted June 17, 1861. Company C of the 39th NC Regiment was also composed mostly of men from Cherokee County. Nicknamed the "Tar Heels," this regiment originated and first drilled at Camp Hill in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. Some of these two companies' greatest losses and severest injuries were sustained in the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Stones River). There they advanced on the Union line of heavy artillery stretching out just beyond the Nashville Turnpike. The two-day blood bath at Chickamauga, Georgia on September 19 - 20, 1863, is remembered as the other greatest death and injury toll suffered by these two regiments.

Fortunate, indeed, was he who saw battle and managed to survive. Even far away from bloody battlefields, survival was no simple task. If not dodging snipers and avoiding raiders, soldiers were often fighting diseases. Dysentery, erysipelas, influenza, measles, pneumonia, smallpox, tetanus, typhoid, and consumption were all rampant. Losses in the 39th Regiment were reported not so much a result of injury in battle as from disease and hardship. "Measles, pneumonia, camp fevers, and rheumatism raged so that 75 - 100 men died before the disorders were somewhat controlled. Large numbers of soldiers were sent home on furlough. Others were sent to hospitals in Knoxville, Tennessee. Diseases were often as fatal as battles."

The few hospitals, overflowing their maximum capacity, depleted of staff and short of supplies, could not care for the growing influx. Boarded-up churches, whose fearful members now worshipped in their own homes, were turned into "pest" houses for the diseased and the terminal. Adjoining cemeteries provided a convenient place to dispose of the deceased. The luxury of a wooden coffin was never even considered.

From the 29th Regiment, only four soldiers from Company A were recorded as dying of wounds, i.e., Pvts. Noah Coffee, William M. Jones, Simon H. Reynolds, and Cpl. William L. Davis (died ca. March 1863). This did not include Capt. William C. Walker, Pvt. Benjamin Franklin Davis (died October 21, 1864), brother of aforementioned Cpl. Davis, and three other brothers, i.e., Pvts. Jesse Williams (died December 4, 1864), George Williams and Barclay M. Williams (both died January 10, 1865), all known to have been bushwhacked during the war.

The majority of recorded deaths in the 29th Regiment, however, were attributed to disease, chiefly "fever" which may have referred to typhoid or pneumonia. Those succumbing to these killers included Pvts. Benton C. Allen, John R. Sneed, Elisha A. Standridge, and Sgt. Xenophen L. Walker. Those perishing of other infections were Pvts. William D. King, and Daniel A. Pegram of "chronic diarrhea," Joseph H. Morrison of bronchitis, Cpl. Hiram C. Reynolds of erysipelas, and Pvt. Jephthah "Jep" Marion McDonald (died December 13, 1864) of smallpox, the latter having been contracted at prison camp after his capture at the Battle of Chickamauga. Six of these soldiers, Pvts. Allen, King, McDonald, Morrison, Pegram, and Reynolds, and possibly others from this company all died at the dreaded Camp Douglas, a prisoner of war camp in Chicago, Illinois. Here and at other camps, "Johnny Rebs" were humiliated by being on public display in the commons area like animals in a zoo but without the proper care accorded animals. Sanitation was nonexistant; latrine trenches, abominable.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina a History 1730-1913. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1973-4.

Civil War Centennial Commission. Tennesseans in the Civil War. Part I. Nashville, Tennessee: 1964.

Civil War Centennial Commission. Tennesseans in the Civil War. Part II. Nashville, Tennessee: 1965.

Clark, Walter, editor. North Carolina Regiments 1861 - 1865. Goldsboro, North Carolina: State of North Carolina.

God's Country. Murphy, North Carolina: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 1982.

Hurlburt, J. S. History of the Rebellion in Bradley County, East Tennessee. Indianapolis: 1866.

Jordan, Weymouth T., Jr., compiler. North Carolina Troops 1861 - 1865. Raleigh, North Carolina: Division of Archives and History, 1981.

Long, Paul J. "Bushwhacking Is a Part of Our History," Monroe County Democrat, November 12, 1969.

Long, Paul J. Our Hill Country Heritage, Williams and Related Families. Volume 1. Oak Ridge, Tennessee: 1970.

McKinney, R. Frank. Torment in the Knobs. Athens, Tennessee: 1976.

Wright, Gen. Marcus J., compiler. Tennessee in the War 1861 - 1865. New York, New York: Ambrose Lee Publishing Company, 1908.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

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Cherokee County's Confederate Companies
by Sandra Nipper Ratledge

[Do not copy and upload this on other websites or blogs of any kind; do not attach any pages to online family trees; do not print in any publications of any kind. See copyright notice at the foot of each page. Visitors may read my articles here, but they are not for sale nor for thieves to upload or print elsewhere.]

Company A, 29th Regiment was headed by Captain William C. Walker, Sr. of Nottla Community in Cherokee County, North Carolina. Enlisting at age forty, he served as Captain from the company's inception until September 24, 1861, when he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel and transferred to the field and staff of this regiment. He was killed by bushwhackers in 1864 at or near his home after he had supposedly resigned his commission.

First Lieutenant under Captain Walker was James Stanhope Anderson from Cherokee County who was promoted to Captain filling Walker's post. Anderson resigned February 16, 1863, suffering with "hernia."

James M. Shearer served as First Sergeant, then Second Lieutenant, later First Lieutenant, and finally Captain for Company A. After being captured at the Battle of Chickamauga, he was sent to prison camp at Louisville, Kentucky. Later he was confined at various prisoner of war camps such as Johnson's Island, Ohio, Point Lookout, Maryland, and Fort Delaware, Delaware, and from the latter he was released on June 12, 1865.

Among others serving as lieutenants were Abel S. Hill, Napoleon B. Hill, John J. Johnson, George M. Loudermilk, William B. Nelson, and M. A. Plyler, all residents of Cherokee County, North Carolina.

Harvey H. Davidson, a former county sheriff from Persimmon Creek Community, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of Company C, 39th Regiment at its organization. He was promoted to colonel before he was shot in the arm, shattering the bone near the elbow, during the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones River). He was captured, hospitalized, and miraculously survived, minus one arm. A short time later, he was released to return home.

Other residents of Cherokee County serving in Davidson's company included Pascal C. Hughes, First Lieutenant, Captain, and Major, Felix P. Axley and David L. Walker, First Lieutenants, Hugh W. Rogers and Miles Dickson Kilpatrick, Second Lieutenants, Enoch Voyles and John A. Cotter, Junior Second Lieutenants, and Abram Booker, Captain. Enoch Voyles of Persimmon Creek Community deserted or resigned; and then after Tennessee fell to the occupying Union Army, he enlisted with the Third Mounted Infantry Regiment of the Union Army in Monroe County, Tennessee. He was appointed Captain of Company G comprised mostly of men from Monroe County, Tennessee and dissidents from Cherokee County, North Carolina.

Agonized by Union sympathies throughout the conflict, others followed their good friend, "Noch" Voyles, and they also enlisted as one hundred-day soldiers in various companies of Tennessee's new Union regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Divine from Monroe County, Tennessee, and better known as "Fightin' Joe." Many mountaineers, loyal to democracy, had been conscripted against their will into Confederate service, in spite of the Southern denial of active conscription. Confederate morale had been extremely high at the outset with Jefferson Davis swamped by more volunteers than the South could arm. But morale by 1864 was sinking fast. As Confederates lost more battles and strongholds in 1864, their soldiers became battle-fatigued, increasingly discouraged, and disheartened. When medicine and supplies were cut off by Union embargoes near the end, Rebels were stranded not only with dwindling ammunition but suffering from malnutrition, diseases, and exposure. Some infantrymen marched barefoot.

Vacillations among soldiers in the area had multiplied as war dragged on. Men swayed for sundry reasons like trees leaning this way and that, twisting in a mad, fierce wind. Not one escaped the ordeal, and all who survived bore their scars, visible or not. It was not surprising that many local soldiers resorted to "hiding-out" sequestering themselves in the vast secluded forests, foraging for food, and living like squirrels. As long as weekly newspapers went to press, the lists of such deserters grew longer and bounty for their return increased.

Farmers from the ridges between Tennessee and North Carolina so wrestled with the issues that their names more often than not appear on both Confederate conscripts and on Tennessee's Union muster rolls as well. Many pro-Union citizens of this area would have preferred to stay out of the conflict entirely, but war permitted few, if any, choices. Not merely a brothers' war, nor war waged between father and son, this was a conflict of man against himself. The Civil War grew like a raging forest fire in a summer drought consuming everything and everyone in its path. Families were enveloped; lives were consumed; and survivors drifted within the empty, smoldering ruins.

To these survivors, losses would never be replaced; emptiness, never filled; and heartbreak, never mended. So grievous were the losses, so intense the fear, so pervasive and deplorable the ruin that some descendants could recount the pangs of war one hundred and twenty-five years later.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y

Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina a History 1730-1913. Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1973-4.

Civil War Centennial Commission. Tennesseans in the Civil War. Part I. Nashville, Tennessee: 1964.

Civil War Centennial Commission. Tennesseans in the Civil War. Part II. Nashville, Tennessee: 1965.

Clark, Walter, editor. North Carolina Regiments 1861 - 1865. Goldsboro, North Carolina: State of North Carolina.

God's Country. Murphy, North Carolina: Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce, 1982.

Hurlburt, J. S. History of the Rebellion in Bradley County, East Tennessee. Indianapolis: 1866.

Jordan, Weymouth T., Jr., compiler. North Carolina Troops 1861 - 1865. Raleigh, North Carolina: Division of Archives and History, 1981.

Long, Paul J. "Bushwhacking Is a Part of Our History," Monroe County Democrat, November 12, 1969.

Long, Paul J. Our Hill Country Heritage, Williams and Related Families. Volume 1. Oak Ridge, Tennessee: 1970.

McKinney, R. Frank. Torment in the Knobs. Athens, Tennessee: 1976.

Wright, Gen. Marcus J., compiler. Tennessee in the War 1861 - 1865. New York, New York: Ambrose Lee Publishing Company, 1908.

This site is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Tommy and Beulah (Cline) Nipper.

©1999-2015 Sandra N. Ratledge. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Any reproduction or inclusion of this website's contents in publication whether online or in print is prohibited. Do NOT copy photographs and upload on Find a Grave or any other internet websites, blogs, attach to family trees, or print in publications. Do NOT copy stories, articles, documents, sketches, anecdotes, letters, obituaries, content data, etc. and attach to family trees or upload on other websites of any kind. Do not print in publications or for displays of any kind.

Homespun
Graphics
by
Sandra Ratledge

All you kinfolks, put some mail in that old box!