SUMMER 2005 Update
Cemetery discovered in East Tennessee
Historic Homes being
Tennessee State Flag celebrates its Bicentennial
Making of a Memorial
Cemetery discovered in East Tennessee
By Ed Hooper
JACKSBORO, Tenn. - For generations, a small plot of land lay undisturbed
and fading into the recesses of time and the forest that sought
to reclaim it, but an 84-year-old woman didn’t forget about
the place known as Delap Cemetery. Alice Coker said she used to
visit the cemetery in the 1960 and often wondered about the sunken
graves and who was buried in them. She was once told by caretaker
Bob Delay that there was a Civil War encampment at the foot of
Pine Mountain near a big spring and he had heard that many of
the soldiers had got sick and died.
Two years ago, North Carolina native Lena Cornett dropped by the
Campbell County Historical Museum and told Sara Chariott she believed
she had an ancestor buried in the old cemetery. She was sent to
see Alice Coker and showed her records of the 58th Regi-ment of
the Confederate Army of North Carolina that listed their burial
at Delap ceme-tery. The news confirmed what she had heard from
the caretaker 40 years earlier and Mrs. Coker went to work.
She contacted Campbell County Deputy Sheriff and Environmental
Officer Glennis Monday and asked if he could help clean up the
cemetery. Monday began the slow ardu-ous process of clearing the
ground. He utilized local prisoners from the county jail to help.
More than 80 loads of brush were removed from the cemetery and
graves sites cleaned.
County Veterans’ Service Officer Bob Andreas made arrangements
for fifty new military headstones and the project was off and
The news spread quickly through East Tennessee and western North
Carolina. Tennes-see’s Sons of Confederate Veterans’
Longstreeet-Zollicoffer Camp # 87 took the lead on the project
and was soon joined by Western North Carolina’s Brigade
along with mem-bers of the Lake City Boy Scout Troop. They have
joined forces with Campbell County to help restore the cemetery
and bring it back from the edge of oblivion.
The Longstreet-Zollicoffer Camp, which is the largest SCV camp
in the Tennessee Divi-sion, raised the money for memorial stones
and donated them for each of the graves. They continue to work
on the site. Campbell County historians say the project has en-joyed
overwhelming support from the small community since work began
earlier this year.
“We got the initial headstones set on March 5,” said
Campbell County Civil War Ceme-tery Committee Chairman Gerry Myers,
and will have a third set to put in place on May 7. All in all,
we have124 names of those buried in the cemetery from both the
58th North Carolina Regiment and members of other units from Alabama,
Tennessee, etc. The SCV has been a tremendous help in restoring
the cemetery. We are hoping this will be the start of Campbell
County developing a Civil War heritage trail. There is a lot about
this region that is little known except among historians and it
would be good to be able to showcase the region’s Civil
War history to visitors.”
Myers said the restoration of the Delap cemetery would go beyond
the placing of head-stones. They hope to place three flags in
the cemetery, a memorial garden and a historical plaque. S.C.V.
Camp #87 has already laid the foundations to erect two 20-foot
and one 25-foot flagpole on May 7. The rediscovery of the site
and subsequent work to restore it has also attracted the attention
of the Tennessee Historical Commission, who is planning on visiting
the cemetery and seeing what has been done to restore it. Campbell
County is hopeful the Commission will see fit to erect a historical
marker at the site.
“When the Campbell County Historical Office started asking
around about the cemetery, we were told it couldn’t be Confederates
because this was primarily Union territory, but the Cornett family
in North Carolina changed that perception. The men buried at Delap
Cemetery could have come from the local hospital,” said
Myers. “One was located in Jacksboro during the Civil War
from Aug 1862 to April 1863. Confederate units based here were
tasked with guarding Cumberland Gap. What we’ve uncovered
researching shows about a thousand soldiers were camped in the
LaFollette area on a regular basis during that time.”
The Longstreet-Zollicoffer Camp will host a special Confederate
Memorial Day cere-mony at Delap Cemetery on June 11. The Tennessee
Division Commander Ed Butler and Tennessee United Daughters of
the Confederacy Division President Diana Bryant are expected to
“We’re still in the early stages of planning Memorial
Day activities at this point,” said Camp 87 Aide-de-Camp
Earl Smith. “This is a once in a lifetime event for SCV
mem-bers. We’ve got people coming in from North Carolina,
Tennessee and other places to attend the ceremonies. I expect
it will be one of the year’s biggest Confederate Memorial
Days, especially in Tennessee.”
The discovery of the Confederate cemetery has changed the historical
landscape of East Tennessee for historians and many people are
working to make sure the site is never for-gotten again. The county
has set up a special fund at to help pay for the costs of restora-tion
and future upkeep of the cemetery. If you would like to donate
to it, you can send checks to: Peoples Nation Bank, Civil War-
Delap, 2300 Jacksboro Pike, P.O. Box 1221, Lafollette, TN 37766.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF VAUGHN HICKMAN OF THE LONGSTREET-ZOLLICOFFER
CAMP #87 SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
Homes being threatened
A historic home being threatened is not a new phenomenon, but
the culprit isn’t always local governments or commercial
development. It is fast becoming thieves, who are stripping
furnishings and fixtures to sell to a growing market for homebuilders
seeking vintage artifacts.
The problem is so bad most state preservation offices are no
longer disclosing the locations of buildings they’re restoring
or those they’re listing on the National Registry of Historic
Sites. The fear is they may be providing road maps for thieves.
The historic homes at most risk are those generally located
in rural areas and it isn’t just the homes themselves.
Churches, schools and old farmsteads are also being hit. In
many cases, lumber, mantels, chandeliers and other items from
generations past is being taken for people to use in the construction
of new homes or in remodeling projects on their present residences.
“Items theives would steal from these places would not
be cause to “delist” or hurt a property’s
chance of being listed on the registry,” said Tennessee
Public Historian James Jones. “It is an issue preservation
officers across America must make themselves aware of and try
to find ways of preventing the thefts from happening.”
Historical officials say the rise of online auctions sites
has unknowing contributed to the problem. Under the home decor
sections on a few of the sites, hundreds of items are displayed
under the “vintage” category. While most are legitimate,
experts say more and more are items that have been taken from
historic homes without permission or outright stolen.
Thefts from historic homes are hard to prosecute as police give
them low priority and it is impossible to track items.
Tennessee State Flag celebrates its Bicentennial
The Tennessee State Museum is celebrating a milestone this
year. The official Tennessee state flag turns 100 years old.
Johnson City native and Tennessee National Guard Captain LeRoy
Reeve designed the flag and it was adopted as the official flag
by the Legislature on April 17th, 1905.
When Reeves delivered the design on the flag he explained the
three stars in the middle of the represented the three grand
divisions of Tennessee. They are in a circle on a blue background,
meaning they are bound together as one. The crimson background
outside the circle, with a blue bar down the right side was
designed to prevent too much crimson from showing when the flag
was simply hanging on a pole. Reeves had commissioned two other
flags at the time he made this one.
The Tennessee State Museum will host a special display all
year on the Tennessee State flag and feature more than 400 flags
connected to the state’s history, including the origi-nal
flag designed by Reeve and his sword. This year the North American
Vexillological Association will hold its national conference
in Nashville from Oct. 7-9. The organization is dedicated to
the study and preservation of flags.
The most common mistake people make is in the flying of the
flag. It design is to have two stars upright and the third one
on the bottom. In 2000, a resolution was passed by to make sure
that manufacturers of official Tennessee state flags must have
a “top” designation to show those hoisting the flag
the proper side to raise.
The Making of a Memorial
By Jerry K. Price
Back in 1998 at a meeting of the John B. Ingram Camp of the
Sons of Confederate Vet-erans, Jackson, Tennessee, Jerry Lessenberry
who was the Commander at the time brought up the fact that our
camp needed to pursue the State of Tennessee Monument at Shiloh
National Battlefield here in Tennessee.
I requested permission to respond and informed the members of
the camp present at that meeting that I had a friend in Pampa,
Texas who was an accomplished Sculptor and might be interested
in helping us out. The camp gave permission and took a vote
for me to contact Mr. Gerald Sanders to see if he was interested.
I called G. L. Sanders the next morning and told him about the
problems and delays which had been occurring for the last few
years in getting a memorial monument erected on Shiloh Battlefield.
I told him how the State of Tennessee had passed a bill and
had given $125,000.00 to the United Daughters of the Confederacy
for a monument at Shiloh and how the project was at a stalemate
and there had been little or no activity on the project in a
couple of years.
The UDC had the $125,000.00 and had raised an additional $30,000.00
from private sources but they could not get the U.S. Park Service
and the State of Tennessee to ap-prove a design that was in
keeping with the existing monuments. I ask G.L. Sanders as a
friend if he would get this project off high center so we could
move on and get a monu-ment and a memorial erected in memory
of the thousands of Southern soldiers buried unnamed in the
seven mass graves at the park. Gerald said he would consider
it an honor.
In the early 80’s I had an office in Houston, Texas, and
when the Southwestern Bell Phone book was published with a picture
of the lineman
“After the Storm” it brought back a lot of memories
of the Ice Storm of 1952 for me for you see at the time I had
just turned 11 years old and I was the son of a telephone line-man,
John H. Price.
Our schools were out in 1952 for three weeks and I would go
out to the job with my dad. I could look into the face of that
figure on that phone book and relive ever cold miserable hour
those linemen were out on those poles in among the broken poles
and wires getting the toll lines repaired from Memphis to Chicago.
I framed the cover of the Phone book placed it on my desk and
cut out the information about the artist and placed it in my
billfold where it stayed for 8 years.
In 1991 I was on a business trip that took me from Ponca City
to Amarillo and I had told myself that I would stop in Pampa
to visit with this lineman turned artist.
I arrived in Pampa about three in the afternoon and found Wells
Street and the address show on the tattered piece of paper in
my pocket. I spent the next three hours in the stu-dio with
G.L. Sanders never thinking that some day I might be responsible
for him being chosen to do the design on “Passing of Honor”
the Tennessee monument at Shiloh.
Over the next few years Mr. Sanders and our friendship was limited
to a few cards and letters and an occasional phone call, until
the morning after the SCV meeting.
In a few weeks there was to be a re-enactment at Shiloh and
our SCV camp thought we should invite G.L. to attend we called
him and he said he would come to Tennessee. The SCV camp asks
him to bring along some of his work and we would make arrangements
for him to have a small show at the Jackson Tennessee Art Center.
Seven of his pieces were shown that night, but the highlight
of the evening was a wax model of what he thought the monument
should look like to capture the emotion and reverent mood of
the ground where it was to be placed.
G.L. and his family came to Jackson and they left the wax model
at my house so it could be kept cool until Saturday morning
the day of the re-enactment. They traveled to Shiloh with me
that morning, when we arrived at the visitor center Mr. Woody
Harrell the Park Ranger was coming out of the side entrance
of the visitor center just as we drove up. I was taking the
wax model out of the vehicle and had set it on the hood of my
vehicle. When Mr. Harrell saw what G.L. had in mind for the
design his eyes began to tear and he said, “That is what
I want for this park and the people of Tennessee and this nation”
This was the start of a battle, which has lasted longer than
the Civil War itself. The SCV now had the design but the UDC
had most of the money and had paid an artist for a de-sign that
the USPS would not approve. G.L. and I meet with the UDC about
three months after the re-enactment and by now I had been made
chairman of the monument commit-tee. The head of the UDC was
shown the wax model and said they would be glad to join with
the Jackson SCV camp since by now their artist design had been
rejected, their artist wanted to retain the copy rights which
was unacceptable since it would belong to the whole country,
it was in fact being placed in a national park, but they wanted
the SCV to raise the additional $125,000.00
The draw back for John B. Ingram SCV camp in Jackson was that
we were a small or-ganization and to raise the additional $125,000.00
was near impossible.
I say near impossible Jerry Lessenberry and I started knocking
on doors and burning up the phones looking for the funding to
get this project off and running.
The John B. Ingram SCV camp had just raised $10,000.00 to be
place in a fund for the USPS to maintain the Confederate Flag
which flies 24/7 over one of the burial trenches at Shiloh but
to raise an additional $125,000.00 this might be a problem,
but not impossible.
We found that Senators Thompson and Frist, representative Van
Hillary, the U.S. Park Service, The State of Tennessee were
all sympathetic with our desire to see this project move forward.
Mr. Jerry Lessenberry was able to get the necessary funding
to match the amount that the State of Tennessee had given to
the UDC and to get the UDC to return the funds to the State
of Tennessee so we had the necessary funds available to go forward
with the G.L. Sanders design for the Tennessee monument at Shiloh.
If it had not been for the John B. Ingram SCV camp in Jackson,
Tennessee, desire to see a Tennessee Memorial to those thousands
of confederate dead at Shiloh and the efforts of one Gerald
L. Sanders of Pampa, Texas this monument would still only have
been a dream.
The groundbreaking took place on Confederate Veterans Day in
June 2004 and the monument molds are now in Landers, Wyoming
for the pointing up. This is where the original model by G.L.
Sanders is expanded from 15 inches to 9 feet high. The final
sculpting will be done in early fall, the bronze casting will
begin once the molds are made.
The monument will be complete by late spring 2005 and will be
dedicated on Confeder-ate Veterans day June 3, 2005. The monument
will be set at a site at White oak Pond near the site of the
mass burial trenches.
The members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans John B. Ingram
Camp 219 here in Jackson are proud of this accomplishment but
also of our Riverside cemetery walk through the history of Jackson,
Salem Cemetery and Britton Lane Battle Sites here in Madison
Our camp is dedicated only to preserving civil war history.
Membership is open to sons, grandsons or great grandsons who
had a relative who fought for the south.
named Bard Laureate of Tennessee
Star Journal managing editor
KNOXVILLE The annual Reagan Day Dinner in Knoxville was
a little disappointing when congressional candidates scheduled
to appear got held up in Washington on the Homeland Security
bill, but turned into a memorable evening for the more than
600 who attended the event.
This years dinner was a salute to American veterans of
Tennessee featuring Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient
and Department of Defense consultant Col. Lee Mize, USA, ret.
as the keynote speaker.
Star Journal news editor Ed Hooper was asked to deliver a tribute
to the veterans of Tennessee at the annual dinner. Before he
began, however, he was called to the stage where State Representative
Jamie Hagood (R-Knoxville) and the Knox County delegation presented
him with the legislation naming him the states official
Bard Laureate citing his "Looking Back" column,
his work on WVLT-TV of Knoxville and his other efforts in radio
and the Internet documenting the stories of Tennessees
veterans, his efforts ensuring that the graves of the states
Medal of Honor recipients were properly decorated and his coordination
of numerous educational exhibits on the states military
"When we asked the veterans of Tennessee who they wanted
to deliver a tribute," said South Foundation spokesperson
Keitha Kelley, "they unanimously chose Ed Hooper and were
responsible for assisting the Knox County delegation in him
being named Bard Laureate of Tennessee. The other honors that
followed were a surprise to everyone, including us."
Colt Firearms C.E.O. Gen. William Keyes and U.S. Rep. John J.
Duncan, Jr. (R-Tennessee) presented Hooper with a W.W. II-era
Colt. 45.The firearm was accompanied by an official letter from
the Colt Historians office authenticating its manufacture
for the event.
"We present this commemorative W.W. II model .45 to Ed
Hooper in recognition of his dedicated work as a broadcast and
print journalist in documenting the lives of Tennessee veterans,"
said Gen. William Keyes, "... We join those here tonight
in congratulating and commending Mr. Hooper on his efforts and
achievements in preserving the memories of the brave Americans
who have so honorably served this nation."
The most surprising moment in the pre-speech ceremony came from
the Ireland House of Lords, who sent a letter congratulating
Hooper on his being named Bard Laureate.
"Since ancient times, the title of Bard was bestowed only
on those rare individuals who proved themselves to be proper
custodians of our peoples culture and heritage,"
said Lord John Laird of Artigarvan, Ireland. "Your work
as a broadcaster and journalist is to be commended by both our
nations for assisting in preserving a shared heritage that has
bound our peoples together for more than 300 years. We extend
our grateful appreciation for your efforts and on this momentous
occasion and on behalf of the Ireland House of Lords congratulate
you on this hard-earned honor."
U.S. Special Forces Col. Lee Mize, MOH Korea, in a rare
show of emotion, hugged Hooper as he took the stage to deliver
his keynote address. Col. Mize has spoken at numerous events
in Knox and Sevier County and is regarded as one of the nations
most decorated soldiers.
"Ed is a great friend of mine and a reporter who helped
keep the flames of patriotism alive long before Sept. 11,"
said Col. Mize. "If people really knew how much he has
done with so little to see that the stories of Tennessees
brave men and women who served this nation are not forgotten,
they would feel the same way."
"I really dont know what to say except I am honored,"
said Hooper, "and hope I can continue my work. A problem
today is that everyone is telling and retelling the same stories
of a few American veterans and overlooking the heroes in our
own state. The lives of these brave men and women are some of
the greatest stories ever told."
residents fight to save historic
J. Allen Smith home
KNOXVILLE The Knoxville City Council and Cherokee Country
Club are locked in a battle over the historic J. Allen Smith
home, which sits next to the prestigious Knoxville club.
At issue, is the clubs desire to tear the house down to
add a parking lot and a putting green.and Knoxville officials
who want to find a way to preserve the structure. Mayor Victor
Ashe, who is a life long resident of the area, sides with the
preservationists in wanting to save the home from destruction
by declaring it a historic landmark a move which angers
officials with the Cherokee Country Club, who stated recently
that the home has no historic value that should prevent them
from tearing it down.
J. Allen Smith was a prominent Knoxville businessman who started
the White Lilly Flour Company in Knoxville. The flour became
a staple in Tennessee and across the South and was named in
the 1990s as the most sought after gourmet flour by some of
Americas most prominent chefs in New York City.
Smith was also a major figure in the industrial and economical
development of Knoxville and Tennessee in the early years of
the 21st century. He was from the era of such prominent businessmen
as Westin Fulton, who made Knoxville one of the Souths
most prominent cities. Smiths official portrait hangs
in the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville and, while his company
still operates in Knoxville, there is little recognition of
him in his hometown.
There has been numerous ideas put forth as to what the home
could be used for in the city, but none has taken root as the
city finds itself facing court action to try and save the structure.
"My hope is that arguments are not made to save the house
solely on its architectural styling," said
one preservationist. "Too many times when the professional
historians and preservationists get involved, the human
story and accomplishments are lost or minimized to the point
that the real reason to save a structure are lost. What could
happen is, instead of seeing the house be preserved properly
and proper historical interpretation done to honor J. Allen
Smith and the business people of that era, it could end up like
Episcopal Rev. Thomas Humes old home sitting in
a city warehouse somewhere numbered brick by brick by Knoxville
Heritage and no plans to ever rebuild it. Once that is done,
you lose the nuances that could make it a popular historical
Knoxville is joining a long list of cities fighting to preserve
old historic structures and homes from encroaching development.
Many are being torn down or falling into decay and preservationists
are being overwhelmed trying to save them. Rising property taxes
and the costs of refurbishing and maintaining the old homes
scares off many potential buyers, who can take care of the structures.
The battle is expected to continue to preserve the Smith Home
and those Knoxville city officials in favor of it are hoping
the matter can be resolved that suits both the interests of
the Cherokee Country Club and historical preservationists.
On Tuesday, July 9. the Knoxville City Council passed on second
and final reading an act that would give the home "historic
overlay" and protect it from destruction. Officials say
now the next step for the Cherokee Country Club may be to file
suit against the city.
Historical Commission could face
cuts in staff and funding
NASHVILLE One of the agencies who made appearances before
the legislative committees in the financial budget battle was
the Tennessee Historical Commission. The Commission received
$1.5 million last year from the states massive budget.
The THC is part of the Tennessee Department of Environment and
Conservation and in the past years has served as funnel for
dispersing more than $500 million dollars aimed at protecting
and preserving the states historical sights and heritage.
One of the plans put forward would not abolish it, but would
cut the staff of the Commission back to one person. Many historical
preservationists say that cutting the staff to one member would
be a huge blow to Tennessees developing heritage tourism
industry and make it impossible for any Tennessee counties to
get funding from the National Park Service, who distributes
grants through the Historical Commission. In addition, a powerful
lobbying voice in making sure moneys promised tot he parks and
other projects get to where they are needed rather than being
shuffled around in the massive National Park System.
Numerous historical sites are already operating on reduced budgets
and placing donation boxes in the areas to give a way for those
who visit them to offer support and some are looking at laying
off staff to make sure the money collected will be used to preserve
the sites historical integrity.
"Heritage tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that
the state is just now beginning to take advantage of,"
said state preservationist Jerry Lessenberry, "and, if
the legislature is going to work to save the Department of Tourism,
then they need to do the same for the Historical Commission.
Both of these agencies are in their own way money-making entities
for the state. Some say if we lose preservation funds, tax write-offs
for the renovation of historic buildings will disappear and
that would be disastrous for Tennessee. Between the Historical
Commission and the Tennessee Museum, this state preserves and
holds some of the nations most valuable historical treasures
and to see them all locked away, projects to preserve battlefields
and houses stopped and the ceasing of collecting artifacts in
the future would be a tragedy this state could ill afford and
a bad judgment call."
Many say the scare that the Commission will be severely reduced
in staff or eliminated is extremely low.
"At this time," said one Senator, " everyone
is trying to scare people and state agencies into thinking that
they are going to be eliminated or crippled by cuts in order
to build support for this plan or another. I will agree that
all agencies need to be looked at and some changes made to make
them more efficient or more capable to do what they are supposed
to, but eliminating key agencies that aid this state in making
money is cutting off our noses to spite our face. In a worse
case scenario, I would want to see the Historical Commission
made capable of taking on more responsibilities not less. There
are parks and such that they could probably better manage and
interpret in ways that would attract more tourists."
mystery remains unsolved
KINGSPORT People of Melungeon
heritage gathered in Kingsport last week to learn about some new
results of D.N.A. tests on what anthropologists have called the
greatest anthropological mystery in the world.
The "Melungeons" was first reported in 1690 by French
trappers and later rediscovered by John Sevier when he was on
a scouting party in the late 18th century. The people described
by both did possessed European features, but had been living in
the Appalachian mountains prior to European colonialization. They
had developed peaceful and intricate trading relations with the
Indian tribes in the region and the Cherokee oral history described
them as unusual in that "they lived in log cabins and prayed
three times a day at the ringing of a bell," which led many
to believe they could have been descended from Islamic moors who
had been exiled from Spain during the Inquisition. In addition
, old photos of Melungeon cabins showed an architecture heavily
influenced with Moorish styles.
Studies by Dr. N. Brent Kennedy, who was diagnosed in the 1980s
with a rare disease common only to Mediterranean peoples and reportedly
an affliction among the Melungeons was thought to have been a
major clue to the mystery that researchers have tried to answer
for more than 200 years.
Dr. Kevin Jones, a biologist at the University of Virginias
College at Wise who unveiled the results of the latest D.N.A.
analysis, said the mystery of where exactly the Melungeons originated
still survives. The biologists conducted a study of descendants
using D.N.A. samples to compare with other ethnic groups around
The results show a mix of ethnic backgrounds, including Native
American, African and European.
Their history is one of racial discrimination and they were often
described as "free persons of color" prior to the War
Between the States. Because of their appearance, the Melungeons
often faced discrimination and tended to settle in isolated communities
like Hancock Countys Sneedville, Stone Mountain in Wise
County, VA and other settlements in Campbell County, TN and the
They were an independent lot, who once took up arms to ensure
their right to vote and, like most people in the region, served
on both sides of the War Between the States. In fact, Harrison
Collins of Sneedville received the Medal of Honor for his actions
under fire in West Tennessee making him the only Melungeon
in history to ever receive the nations highest award.
In recent years, the Melungeons have been identified by anthropologists
as "tri-racial isolates" an amalgam of European,
African, and Native American ancestry.
The event was called "Fourth Union: A Melungeon Gathering,"
where those of Melungeon ancestry gathered to share old family
photos and hear a variety of speakers, including Vardy Collins
of Sneedville and Dr. N. Brent Kennedy, who wrote the book "The
Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People; An untold story
of ethnic cleansing."
Kennedys publication of the book and his ensuing research
helped form the Melungeon Heritage Association, which encourages
Melungeons, who often remained silent about their history, to
come forward and try to help preserve the culture. Since their
founding, the organization has held numerous genealogy workshops,
chat sessions with featured Melungeon scholars and have even started
some archaeological excavations around known Melungeon homes and
settlements. Wayne Winkler, who now serves as President of the
Melungeon Heritage Association, says he the mystery remains and
probably wont be completely solved for many years.
"The D.N.A. study announced was the highlight of the Fourth
Union and a milestone in Melungeon research," said Winkler,
" but does not solve the mystery entirely. While it tells
us a lot more than we know at present, there are variables that
modern technology has not learned how to explain with D.N.A. and
intermarriage since the Melungeons were first discovered with
Native Americans and other Europeans have to factor into the results
of those who were tested."
Other present at the Fourth Union say they are skeptical of the
results because of succeeding intermarriages with the families
and the overwhelming circumstantial evidence that exists showing
that they could have very well been the first successful colonists
to make it in North America.
"Because oral history among the families was often not shared
with succeeding generations, a lot has been lost that could have
helped answer many questions," said Terry Goins. "As
to African DNA, that is easily explained if we are of Moorish
or Portuguese descent. I think Dr. N. Brent Kennedys personal
work on the subject is more believable to me and the fact that
many suffered from the same disease he did and it went undiagnosed
until he was able to identify it. As to intermarriage with Indians,
that stands to reason since the first Melungeon colonists had
to survive and options were limited in those days."
In 1998, the Melungeons of Tennessee stormed out of a meeting
of the then-operating Tennessee Indian Commission when they found
themselves labeled as Native Americans stating that those
who had tried to put that label on them had no knowledge of the
Melungeon peoples and, if they did, would know that they were
not Native Americans.
repairs expected to be completed soon
SAVANNAH The United States Army Corps of
Engineers is nearing completion on its work repairing the
battlefield causeway and Mississippian Mound at Shiloh National
The rising and falling levels of the Tennessee River over the
years had all but washed away the battlefield causeway and cut
away half of the largest of a collection of Mississippian Mounds
located at the back end of the Park. The problem went unresolved
until 1996, when a group of concerned citizens led by the John
Ingram Camp of the Tennessee Sons of Confederate Veterans and
representatives from Native American tribes took up the issue
and began an intense lobbying campaign working with the Park Superintendent
to get national attention focused on the problem. U.S. Rep. Van
Hilleary (R- Spring City), U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant, Senator Fred Thompson
(R) and Senator Bill Frist (R) guided legislation through their
respective houses and secured the funding that is seeing the Park
and Mississippian Mound brought back to their original condition.
In addition, Shiloh Park officials have been working to create
and extend the historical interpretation of the Park, which runs
from the battlefield in Savannah to Corinth, MS.
Once the work is completed there will also be something new in
the Park, which will mark for the first time in Tennessee a proper
monument is erected to honor Tennessee Confederate soldiers who
fought and died in what historians call "the bloodiest battle
of the American War Between the States."
Shiloh National Battlefield Park will be the only NBP in the state
with such a monument that will stand equal to those erected by
New York, Ohio, and other states represented in the battle.
"This battle in American history is still one of the most
studied in the world," said preservationist and John Ingram
S.C.V. commander Jerry Lessenberry. "The battlefield is one
of the most popular for staff rides from Fort Campbell and other
military bases and installations and the Park has seen its
tourism numbers increase dramatically over the years. Repairing
the battlefield back to its original condition was our first
priority and seeing that a good historical interpretation of both
the battlefield and the mounds was developed. Then we went to
work making arrangements to see that a proper monument honoring
those Confederates from Tennessee who fought and died here was
erected. The history that took place on this ground affected and
influenced American history for generations afterwards and should
be treated with the respect of other battlefields in Virginia.
It would not of been possible without our congressmen and senators
and their staffs making sure the problem was addressed on the
national level by those who could do something about it."
Officials and historical groups are planning an event to mark
the completion of the work done by the Army Corps of Engineers
and to recognize the efforts of those who have fought to preserve
and repair the Park.
"Lessenberry and those citizens who took up this issue deserve
recognition," said South Foundation spokesperson Keitha Kelly.
"They fought for every inch of print space and every second
of air-time to get this story out to Tennesseans and the American
people about the plight of Shiloh National Battlefield Park helping
to forge a multi-cultural coalition of Native Americans and historical
groups and were flexible enough to hold those relationships together
through succeeding changes to get it done. Starting a movement
is one thing, but hanging in there dealing with the inevitable
changes and dynamics that occur in these kind of projects and
getting the job done is commendable. These are the kind of volunteer
projects that go largely unnoticed and that should not be the
protest state plans to
exhume bodies at historic cemetery
SEVIERVILLE Tennessee archaeologist
Nick Fielder walked into a hornets nest of protest two weeks
ago when he came to describe the reinterment of remains at the
historic Forks of the Little Pigeon Cemetery. His opening remark
stating "some people think of cemeteries as sacred ground"
drew immediate comment from the more than 30 protesters attending
"His opening statement didnt offer much hope,"
said Daughters of the American Revolution member Helen Allen,
whos ancestors are buried in the cemetery. "I a part
of that group of some people who thinks of cemeteries
as sacred ground. We wanted Mr. Fielder and the others to know
that we were going to do everything we can to preserve this historic
site. Sevier Countys heritage is so intertwined with those
buried in the cemetery and I find it disgraceful that public officials
would turn their back on it. With so much interest in Sevier County
history, you would think the city or the county would take an
active interest in helping to preserve it or create a heritage
trail in the county that would showcase this regions contribution
to Americas past. There is more to this region than theme
parks or go-kart tracks and we wanted to make sure that Mr. Fielder,
Sevier County, TDOT officials know it."
In the meeting, Fielder gave a slide-show presentation of other
remains being prepared for removal from cemeteries and explained
the procedure for removing remains under a law passed in Tennessee
is 1928. According to the legislation, the state has to show that
the cemetery has been abandoned or neglected. The only right relatives
have to their families remains is to be notified where they
will be moved. The dont have to ask permission of the family
to move them.
According to Fielder, the removal under the plan should take eight
to ten weeks. Duval and Associates, who worked on the site this
past winter, will be the company chosen to remove the remains
from the site. Fielder avoided questions on the actual project
itself and whether or not the road was needed pointing
out that he represented the Department of Environment and Conservation
and not the Tennessee Department of Transportation. As to the
question of if bodies would be stacked, Fielder said
no at first, but later admitted that remains would probably be
placed on top of one another as there are estimated to be more
than 200 graves in the cemetery, of which the majority will have
to be moved.
"I almost felt sorry for Nick Fielder in this instance,"
said N.A.I.M. spokesman Carl Two-Feathers Whitaker.
"He thought he was coming into a situation where the issues
were settled and there was no debate. He had no idea there was
this much protest to removing the remains and was clearly misinformed
and you could see he was frustrated by it, even saying to us at
the end of the meeting that he was tired of having to come in
a clean up TDOTs messes.
This cemetery holds the remains of children, Native Americans
and some of this regions founding families in addition veterans
that have served this nation in its earliest conflicts.
We stand beside the Sons and Daughters of The American Revolution
and the Daughters of the War of 1812 in defending this historic
site. As we have said from the start, this is a sacred ground
for many reasons and we will do what it takes to protect it."
The protesters on hand at the meeting with signs and photos of
their ancestors buried in the cemetery still question the need
for the road and the reaction from local officials.
"It bothers me that there is only a token presence by city
officials at this meeting," said one protester. "We
have seen many of them in evening gowns and suits at a party next
door while the citizens are here trying to save a historic site
from destruction. I agree with those who are going to get politically
active over this and, if this road goes through, I will do everything
I can to see that we turn some of these officials out of office.
The fact that they would turn their backs on the citizens who
put them in office and go ahead with this ridiculous project is
unbelievable. The state of Tennessee would not putting this road
in without local officials approval. "
David R. Ray decommissioned
More than 300 sailors and civilians gathered last February in
the coastal city of Everett, WA as the destroyer U.S.S. David
R. Ray was officially retired from naval service.
The 8,800-ton Spruance-class destroyer was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding
in Pascagoula, MS and commissioned on Nov. 19, 1977.
David Robert Ray was the son of a pharmacist, who grew up in the
middle Tennessee town of McMinnville and attended the University
of Tennessee, enlisted in the Navy in 1966 and became a medical
In 1969, Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray and the Marine
battalion he was assigned to came under attack in the Quang Nam
Province in Vietnam. Although injured in the initial attack, Ray
stayed at his post and ignored orders to care for the severely
wounded in the sick bay and instead ran into the thick of the
fighting to start retrieving wounded comrades many of whom
were in the middle of hand-to-hand combat with the Viet Cong.
Although a medic, Ray fought his way to the heart of the action
and began pulling the wounded marines to safety. He was struck
by enemy fire more than four times, but is credited with personally
saving at least seven men and pulling them to a safe position,
where he began applying first aid and getting them to the rear
to receive medical attention.
His actions drew the attention of the Viet Cong and two soldiers
were dispatched to attack his position. During the fire-fight
that ensued, Ray killed one and wounded another. He held his position
firing and attending the wounded until one of the enemy soldiers
rolled a grenade into the bunker where he was working. Being unable
to toss it out in time and without a thought for his own safety,
HC2C David R. Ray threw himself on the grenade and used his body
to absorb the blast and protect the wounded marine he was attending.
His actions under fire saving wounded marines and fighting the
enemy so impressed his commanders that they Tennessean was posthumously
awarded the Medal of Honor. His father was presented the Medal
of Honor in a White House ceremony.
The Spruance-class destroyer, which was named in his honor, served
the U.S. Navy for 25 years. At the decommissioning ceremony, many
former sailors, who served on the U.S.S. David R. Ray described
the event as a funeral of sorts. Retired Marine Corps Lt. Col.
Wayne Babb, however, who was Rays commanding officer in
Vietnam, spoke eloquently of the Tennessean saying Rays
actions in Vietnam " went above and beyond the call of duty
and the man for whom the ship was named was truly an American
The U.S. Navy and the ships crew maintained an Internet
site on the ship for the last few years, which was used by numerous
school children in Tennessee as well as family members of those
serving aboard her. David R. Ray is honored in his hometown with
an elementary school and a highway in Warren County named in his
The ship is now sitting in the mothball fleet in the Puget Sound
Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.
This isnt the first ship named after a medical corpsman.
The U.S.S. John Harlan Willis was named after Columbia, TN native
Medal of Honor recipient John H. Willis, who was serving as a
Pharmacist Mate at the Battle of Iwo Jima, when he was killed
retrieving wounded marines from the battlefield.
National legislation, which was sponsored by Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN),
passed the House and Senate a couple of years ago clearing the
way for another ship to bear the name of another Tennessean. Marine
Corps Gen. Clifton Cates, who served in W.W.I and W.W.II, rose
to the rank of Commandant of the Marine Corps and successfully
fought to keep the military division its own fighting force following
W.W.II when then-President Harry Truman wanted to see the Marines
absorbed back into ranks of the U.S. Navy.
Gatlinburg Highland games celebrates
Cold weather, rain and mud didnt dampen the enthusiasm
of the 21st annual Gatlinburg Scottish Festival & Games this
past Saturday at Mills Park in Gatlinburg. The honored clan at
the years festival was Clan Campbell.
"The viewing stands are the best place to be this year,"
said Gerald McKay "but everyone has to wander around and
see the vendors and clan tents and the rain has made it very difficult.
The cold weather is a shock somewhat as I dont ever remember
it being so chilly and the mud is unbelievable, but everyone seems
to be having a good time."
Officials say the annual event has seen its attendants ebb and
flow over 21 years, but the recent upsurge of interest in family
genealogy has seen the festival grow tremendously over the past
three years. More than 50 clans had tents at the games to share
their family history and offer information on helping others research
their Celtic heritage.
"This region is idea for more festivals like this and I would
like to see some also held on British, Irish and Welsh culture,
" said Mary Stewart, "especially with the tremendous
amount of immigration here from the British Isles. The Scottish
Festival and Games is a long-standing tradition in Gatlinburg
and I have been to practically every one held here. This one is
somewhat of a mess because of the mud, but I had to laugh when
one of the Scottish traditional musicians said this years
games reminded him of being home in Scotland."
The Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games featured highland dancing,
Scottish heavy athletics and an all-day field Ceilidh with musicians
from Scotland and across the United States. In addition, there
were pipe band competitions featuring bagpipers from across the
country and numerous Scottish agricultural displays. There were
also numerous vendors offering Scottish goods and samples of native
cuisine. New this year was the Kids Kastle, which had numerous
activities for children.
The Scottish Festival and Games are held across the nation with
the biggest one being held each year at Grandfather Mountain in
Officials say they hope next years festival and games is
a little drier, but that plans and preparations are already underway
for 2003. For those interested in being a part of the annual games,
you can contact the local Scottish Society in Knoxville or at
numerous on-line web sites on Scottish culture and genealogy.
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