Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Memorable Meeting

Our last meeting was well attended. People were sharing their memories of what it was like when they were growing up in Birchwood, Ooltewah and Harrison. It was an open forum and there was so much to be said. Congratulations to all who attended and shared. What a great meeting!

I also scanned most of the pictures that people brought in. If there are any that you saw and would like a copy, please notify me and I will email it to you right away. I will begin to put some of those photos here on the blog for all to see. Please comment on the photos and share what you remember concerning those photos. If everyone has a piece of the puzzle, we'll piece it together and come up with a good story about that photo. Participate by commenting here on the blog.


Monday, October 29, 2012

November 2012 Meeting

The November meeting is coming up. It is this coming Sunday, November 4th. Be sure to put it on your calender. As usual, it will be held at the Ooltewah Methodist Church at 2:30 p.m. The program topic is "Merchants, Stores, and Filling Stations of Past Years".

We will have speakers from Apison, Birchwood and Ooltewah that include Kay Roark, Mary and Carl Tallant, Steve Wolf and Herbert Hooper.

We hope to have an open forum. Bring your memories and photos to share with everyone. I will be there with my scanner and will scan your photos so that you may have copies of your loved ones and their memories. So bring any photos of buildings, such as, stores, banks, hotels, mills, etc from the James County area.

As always, everyone is welcome at no charge. I have included a map for your convenience.

Look forward to seeing everyone Sunday afternoon!





Friday, September 28, 2012

A Mystery Solved!

I received a question from a reader that I thought I would share with you. She asked if I knew who the people were that worked at The James County Times. She believed that her ancestor, William Oscar Watts moved to Ooltewah from Floyd County, Georgia to work for the paper. They say he worked for the Atlas Powder Mill  in 1900 per the United States Census for that period. He became a merchant, attended law school, and later became a member of the Hamilton County Court. But where did the newspaper come into play?

As far as I know, there are only 6 dates of the newspaper that are known to exist.
Jan 18, 1912 the Editor was Jno. N. Clements
Dec  2, 1914
Aug13, 1913, The James County Times Booster Edition
Jan 13, 1915
Mar 20, 1916 the Editor was Ellsworth Wilson for this and the above 3 dates
Feb 23, 1917 the Editor was W.B. Cleage

The puzzle pieces are all here, we just have to put them together.

Prior to 1912, W. O. Watts, along with Eli Scoggins had a store which carried various items from dry goods and general merchandise to plows and wire fencing.  In 1912, Scoggins sold his interest in the store to Watts who continued in the mercantile business.  He became one of the leaders of the community.

The James County Times Booster Edition was published in August of 1913 by Editor, Ellsworth Wilson, with the assistance of several county leaders. It was an effort to attract investors to the James County Area.

In 1913, there was an Ooltewah Board of Trade that met every Monday night. The officers were Ed Robinson, President; Samuel Newton, Past President; P. M. Cate, Vice-President; and J.K. Lewis, Secretary and Treasurer. The Executive Committee included: Samuel Newton, Hunter Furches, H.L.  Guille, W.O. Watts and J.D. Thatcher. One activity of the club was to assist in publishing The James County Times Booster Edition that very same year.

Hallelujah!  There it is!  He may not have moved here to work for the paper, but he definitely did help publish the Booster Edition with other county leaders to help promote James County. At this time, James County was struggling to stay afloat. They needed businesses to move to the county to help with the tax base. However, this Booster Edition was not enough. Six short years later, James County dissolved and joined with Hamilton County.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Welcoming Committee

"The James County Times"  Wednesday, January 13, 1915

New Residents
The property belonging to Mrs. W. F. Wells has been put into the hands of a contractor for complete repairing; the house is to be painted white and papered and painted throughout. With the beautiful lawn, it will make one of the prettiest little homes in Ooltewah. As soon as the repairing is completed, Mr. and Mrs. Aston will occupy the property. The young couple were in Chattanooga last Saturday purchasing furniture for their home, including a lovely Packard piano. Ooltewah citizens are much pleased to have Mr. and Mrs. Aston among us and extend wishes for a life of happiness and prosperity here.
There is just something about this that gives me the "warm-fuzzies". Here is a young couple moving into a new home, in a new town. They probably were a little anxious, maybe even a little terrified at such a new endeavor. However, a new home, the beginning of new traditions can be an exciting and exhilarating experience.They obviously were lucky and had neighbors who were excited to get to know them.  No matter which end of the emotional spectrum they found themselves at, I am sure it was bound to be a positive experience.
This reminds me of when I was young. We moved around alot. It was always a new town and a new school. Us kids would come home from our new school and my mother was there with a big basket of fun things. The Welcome Wagon had come by and introduced themselves and welcomed us to the neighborhood. Their were coupons, a nice home cooked meal and invitations to societies, bridge games, etc. It didn't take long to become entrenched into the community. Before you knew it, they were playing bridge, golf, had lunch dates, etc. It was as if they had been there their whole life.

 I believe that Mr and Mrs Aston did not stay in Ooltewah very long. Five years later, by the 1920 census, they are no longer in James County or Hamilton County. If you know of this couple and where they are located in 1920, please notify me and I will let the readers know of their whereabouts.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Delta Genealogy September Meeting

The workshop last month presented by Delta Genealogical Society and the Signal Mountain Genealogical Society welcomed many new people to our hobby. There were many of you that asked for information about the meetings of these other local societies.  I thought that I would make it a practice to notify you of all of the local meetings and activities, as well as, our James County meeting.

Delta Genealogy is meeting this Tuesday evening, September 11th at 7pm. The meeting is held at the Rossville Public Library, 504 McFarland Avenue, Rossville, Georgia. This is just off of Rossville Blvd. We will be discussing some of the issues that are needed to bring the society into the 21st century.

As I have stated before, this is a growing topic among all societies today. We, as James County Historical Society, have already taken the first steps to upgrade our society to a new technological community. The Facebook page and this blog are used to keep our members abreast of all activities and inform others about James County. I also went to Birmingham last month to take classes on these very same topics. You can read all about it here. Please come to Delta's meeting and share what you would like to see from a society. What kind of speakers would you like to hear, what kind of technology classes would you likely be interested in learning about, or what community projects would you like to be involved in? What does it take to be an active society with an active membership in today's world?  Many of these same questions will need to be addressed at a later date during one of our meetings, as well.

Delta members whole-heartily invite you to the meeting and want to hear what your ideas are.

My thoughts would be for all of the local genealogy and historical societies to work together to be one large community. A community that had one goal: to assist in the advancement of all genealogical and historical pursuits. Everyone working together in projects, presentations, and educational advancement. We have the ability to do this. What do you think? If you can't make the meeting, but would like to participate in the discussion, please leave a comment below or email me directly and I will pass your comments on.

And in the spirit of this larger community, I will always give you notice of any upcoming activities, workshops, speaking engagements, projects, etc that involve the genealogy and history fields within our local area. Please put any upcoming dates on your calender so that you may attend and become involved!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Neither Rain, Sleet, Snow or HURRICANE?

Well, here I am in Birmingham. There was nothing that was going to stop me from coming to this conference. No way, not a holiday or even a hurricane!

Here’s how my first day went.

We received our blogger beads from Thomas MacEntee, courtesy of Dear Myrtle. Thank You Pat! It is definitely the best conversation starter. Some people just stare and wonder; but most stop and ask what the beads represent. It is awesome to talk to all of these people that we may not have had the opportunity to talk with. Good Going! Thank you again Dear Myrtle for making our experience more pleasant. Someone had said to me that the "beaded ones" were obviously special. Now we are known as the "Beaded Ones." How cute is that!

Tuesday night, there was a wonderful dinner for the blogging world sponsored by Family Search. Before I go any further, I want to thank Family Search for their wonderful generosity. They really know how to make a person feel special. Family Search talked to us about the amazing consortium that was able to digitize and index the entire 1940 United States Census in just over 4 months.  WOW! Then they previewed their upcoming major projects. They are working on digitizing and indexing The US Immigration and Naturalization records and the Italian Ancestors Project. Hey folks, they need indexers very badly. This is a huge undertaking and since we are the end-users, maybe we, as a society, need to get together and index some of these records. Wouldn't that be wonderful to give back to our genealogical and historical community. It's not as hard as you may think. Here's how it's done.

Create and sign in with a Family Search ID, sign up to index and then follow the instructions. Within minutes you can be looking at the copies of the original documents and then filling in the form for it to be indexed. If you have questions about your accuracy, no need to worry. Two other persons are doing the same document and then a moderator will determine the accuracy before it goes on line. There are even instructions and helpful hints along the way. What could go wrong! Let's talk about this at our next meeting. I will be more specific and walk you through this, later. If we did this together, we could make a difference.

Then I went and listened to D. Joshua Taylor give the keynote speech. It was titled "Transforming Your Society into a Dynamic 21st Century Destination." Oh my goodness, this was so relevant to what is happening in our society and nearly all societies around the country. He did an excellent job discussing how to integrate new technologies, a new group of genealogists, and new developments into societies that want to survive and thrive in today's world. I have ordered an audio copy of the speech. If anyone is interested in listening to it, please contact me.

Afterwards, the classes began. My first class was a discussion of the cemetery preservation efforts in Alabama and how genealogical societies and their members can participate. Lee Ann Woffard, Martha Armstrong, and Joyce Nicoll tag-teamed this presentation. Joyce has recently moved to Chattanooga from Montgomery. Her and I will get together and talk about some possible projects for the future. I am looking forward to seeing what we can come up with.

Then I moved on. I took a class that reviewed a society that had nearly failed. Its process from near extinction to a vibrant and active society was the case study. It dealt with rising costs, declining membership, changing member demographics and the technological advances. These are the same challenges that most societies are dealing with today. Thank you Diane Richard for this eye-opening example.

Next, Daine VanSkiver Gagel talked about the preservation of society records. It covered the important aspect of preserving the records that deal with the society meetings. If these are handled properly, the next generation of officers will be able to follow the proper path. Societies are also recipients of other peoples research. There are many ways to handle this and they were discussed in-depth. I hope to talk to you about this and put some of these ideas into practice.

Lastly, I took a two hour workshop about publicizing. Paula Stuart-Warren, through group analysis, hands on exercises and class discussion went into detail about the publication of newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, etc. Wow! It was a Great class. Thanks Paula. She also shared her ticket to the Opening Social that night. It was amazing. I would not have been there if it was not for her generosity. Thank You Again Paula!

As soon as the day's classes were over, we hopped on a bus and went down a couple of blocks to the iconic Alabama Theater. It, along with a few others like The Tivoli in Chattanooga, are the only remaining true, Hollywood-Style Movie Palaces, left in the United States. We were treated to the entertainment of Bobby Horton. He combined music, history and comedy into an entertaining evening.

What a wonderful way to end a very long and educational day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Genealogy Overload?

August has been a very busy month in the genealogy field for me. There has not been much time to do anything else. Here is what my month has looked like so far and it doesn't stop here.

As you all know, there was a wonderful presentation at the James County meeting in the beginning of the month by Steve Robinson. He presented the story of the first transcontinental airplane race.( You can read about it here.)

I have viewed 4 webinars this month concerning technology and societies. I learned about the Genealogy Cloud and which one is the right one for me and "Wiki's for Genealogists". Thomas MacEntee presented these webinars through Legacy Family Tree. Megan Smolenyak talked about the neglected history, also through Legacy Family Tree. I took another webinar that  explained the use of the Instagram app on my IPhone. "Dear Myrtle" and "Not Your Mother's Genealogy" presented this webinar.   WEBINAR'S- MY FAVORITE PASTIME!   I love them!

I spent a day at the library researching for an upcoming magazine article dealing with James County, Tennessee. I will go into more detail about this in another blog post later on,
I am on the board of Tag Delta Genealogy Society and I had the presentation this month. We brainstormed about how to upgrade our society to meet the needs of new members, as well as, the established members. The internet and social media is changing how business is conducted these days. What do we need to do as a society to keep up with it?  These ideas will also be addressed at the FGS Conference next week. 

Also, I was a small part of a very excellent committee for the Chattanooga Area Workshop this past weekend. (You can read about that here.) Once again, Kudos to all of the speakers and the people behind the scenes.

I attended a lecture at the Chattanooga Library presented by the Chattanooga Area Historical Association. The speaker was Henry E. Simpson, from Birmingham, who spoke about General Streight's raids during the Civil War in the North Alabama area. The objective was cutting Bragg’s supply line by disrupting the Western & Atlantic Railroad which supplied Chattanooga. Streight and his Union troops were pursued by General Nathan Bedford Forrest during April of 1863.

I have been scanning documents and photos for this blog and another one that will be making its debut around the end of the year. Stay tuned!

I attended a family reunion and met some of my husband's family that I had not met before.

I have been trying to better organize my desk and filing system. Both, physical and digital. Unsuccessfully, I might add! I guess I just will have to come to terms that this will always be a "work in progress".

Lastly, I will be gone the last of August to go to the FGS Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The Federation of Genealogical Societies' Conference deals with the issues that societies and archives face. I will taking classes about preserving and archiving the society's holdings, attracting new members, using social media to enhance the society's communication with its members, plus many more. I hope to implement some of these new ideas when I get back. I am still trying to read the enormous syllabus that I recieved to help me decide what classes that I want and/or need to take.

Whew!  With a massage, a nap and rehydration, I will be ready for the next busy genealogy-filled month.  Look out.....here I come!

* Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Workshop Review

The workshop is over and it was a booming success. We had approximately 120 people equally mixed between beginners and those who have had some experience with this hobby. Hope you all attended, learned something new and enjoyed our speakers. (Read about the schedule here.)  In case you did not make it, here is a review of our fun-filled, educational day.

After registration, people filtered into one of two classrooms. One for beginners and one for non-beginners. Each class was well attended. Jim Douthat and Linda Mines gave excellent and delightful presentations.  Jim Douthat, the James W. Livingood 2012 Award recipient for the Historian of the Year (read about this here), taught beginners how to start their family genealogy. Linda Mines, the Hamilton County Historian, gave an excellent presentation that followed the family through generational lines with the use of social and economic events. This is the class that I attended. She was awesome! She knows more about history and its effects on the lives of our ancestors than I can ever dream of. She's my hero! I want to be her when I grow up. If I ever get the opportunity to hear her speak again, I will be in the room on the front row,

Then the next classes began with Jim Douthat and Rufus Williamson. Jim Douthat discussed how to use the United States Federal Census's to extend your family history further down the generational lines. Rufus Williamson, the President of Delta Genealogical Society, conquered the hard topic of DNA. The science of DNA is the newest tool in the genealogical toolbox. If this topic was clear as mud before, I am sure you have some basic understanding of it now.

After a light lunch, we all congregated together for the day's highlight presentation. An entertaining speech from Dr. George Schweitzer.  He always comes dressed for the part. Can you Guess?  This presentation was entitled "Searching for our Ancestors Across the Ocean".  He is a nationally acclaimed genealogist, historian and longtime professor at the University of Tennessee. He is the author of 220 publications including 19 genealogical guidebooks and has lectured to more than 200 genealogical and historical societies in the U.S. and internationally. This man gives an informative, interesting and a very witty performance. AMAAAZING!

I sure am glad that I was one of the people sitting in this room. I can only speak for myself, but I believe that everyone else in these rooms felt the same way that I do about the workshop...................
When is the next one?

Congratulations to Delta Genealogical Society and Signal Mountain Genealogical Society. All of their hard work payed off.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Genealogy Workshop

The Chattanooga area is having a Genealogy and History workshop on Saturday, August 18, 2012. It will be held at the First Centenary Methodist Church, downtown Chattanooga at 418 Oak Street. It will begin with 2 sets of classes in the morning and then lunch. After lunch, there will be an amazing speaker, Dr. George Schweitzer.

The first set of classes will begin at 9 am in the morning. There will be two classes. One for beginners and one for intermediate researchers.  The beginner class will be taught by Jim Douthat. It is titled "Beginning Your Family History"  Do you or someone you know want to start learning how to find the information that is needed to start your own family genealogy? This class is for you! Or maybe you just need a refresher class! Yes, this class would be for you too!
The intermediate class is "The Times in Which They Lived." Linda Mines will talk about how the history of a certain time period and the location can impact your ancestors' lives. These historical events will help you understand the decisions that your ancestors might have made...maybe even help you break down a brick wall or two!

The second set of classes will begin at 10:30 and they will be handled in the same manner. The beginner class will be taught by Jim Douthat, as well. This one is "The Treasures Hidden in Census Records". Census records hold a amazing amount of  information, if you know how to decipher them properly. Allow Jim to unlock all of their secrets for you. This class would be informative for both the beginner and the intermediate genealogist. The class for the intermediate researcher is titled "DNA-Genealogy's Newest Tool". This class will be taught by Rufus Williamson. This definetly is the lastest, cutting edge tool  in our field of genealogy. Yes, it is hard to understand, but exactly why you need to take this class.

We will then break for lunch and then assemble to hear our esteemed speaker for the afternoon. Dr George Schweitzer will be helping us "Search for our European Ancestors". He is nationally known as a history and genealogy speaker. He will teach you and inform you in a very witty and humorous manner that you will walk away wanting to see and hear him speak again.

The entrance fee for a fun-filled and informative day that includes your lunch will be $20.00 at the door. You can't beat that! I look forward to seeing all of you on Satuday, the18th of August. If you can't do the entire day, I highly recommend that you try to attend the parts that fit into your schedule.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

August Meeting 2012

We have a real treat for you this quarter!

Steve Robinson, a Signal Mountain resident and a member of the Signal Mountain Genealogical Society is our speaker. He will cover the interesting topic of the first transcontinental flight in 1911.
Mr. Robinson's presentation will detail the first flight from New York to Los Angeles known as "The Flight of the Vin Fiz". This was a race that had to be completed in 30 days. Today, we may do that in several hours, but in 1911, aircraft was very new. They would need every bit of the 30 days. The prize to the winner was $50,000.
Steve first heard this story from his grandfather, Frank M Quinn, who at the age of 23 became a member of the crew of the Vin Fiz. He had always been very fascinated with the family stories that put them in the middle of history. This story definitely does that.

The program is free and open to the public. I highly recommend that you not miss this one!

Join us Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 2:30 at the Ooltewah Methodist Church for this very entertaining presentation!

6131 Relocation Way, Ooltewah, TN

Friday, July 13, 2012

BRRRR ... It's Cold Outside!

In the midst of this country's heat wave, I thought that I would cool you down with the knowledge that on Tuesday, January 16, 1912, the mercury dropped to 3 degrees above zero in Ooltewah. It was stated as being the coldest day in many years.

Are you feeling the chill? Do you want hot chocolate? Do you feel the need for a sweater yet?
Okay, I just thought that I would try!

 Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Unprecedented for Boldness

18March1894    Knoxville Daily Journal    pg 9

Unprecedented For Boldness
Nine Stores in Ooltewah Entered by
Daring and Nervy Burglars

Special to the Journal
Chattanooga, Tenn. March 17
Robberies of a wholesale nature, unprecedented in boldness and character, were perpetrated at Ooltewah, a station fifteen miles out of Chattanooga on the Last Tenn, Va & Ga Railway Friday night. The whole town was ransacked. It is a place of about 800 inhabitants. There are nine stores. Every one was entered during the night and the goods carted off in wagons. Detectives and policemen were sent to the scene with bloodhounds, but had not caught the thieves when heard from late this afternoon.

I agree with the reporter, it was definitely bold. If they had taken so much merchandise that it had to be removed by horse and buggy, one would have thought that they should have been caught. They could not have gone too fast on the poorly maintained roads of the day in a horse and buggy. I would venture to say that the bandits were pursued on horseback, a much better mode of transportation in James County, Tennessee in 1894. Why were they not apprehended? Did they have a hide-out close by? In a local barn? Was the heist planned ahead of time? Did they have a get away driver? Were they local people and knew where to hide? Was this the 1894 version of Oceans Eleven?

My curiousity got the best of me. I wanted to know who had been the recipient of our thieves. So I went in hunt of the 9 businesses. I went straight to the 1900 Federal Census for civil district 10, town of Ooltewah. Here is what I found:
William Wooten,  a 55 year old Grocer
George Wells, a 61  year old Dry Goods Merchant
Zach Watkins, a 53 year old Dry Goods Merchant
Robert Parks, a 47 year old Dry Goods Merchant
Isaac Wolf,  a 43 year old Grocer
George Howard, a 42 year old Druggist
John Childers, a 46 year old Shoemaker
Osca(r) Weaver, a 35 year old Watchmaker
John McCallister, a 24 year old Jeweler
Daniel Evans, a 55 year old Blacksmith
Benjamin Murphy, a 33 year old Blacksmith

Now, I have made several assumptions here. I am assuming that the  business owners lived in the town of  Ooltewah, if they owned a business there, due to the transportation issues. I also looked at the outlaying parts of Ooltewah, which is included as a seperate section of civil district 10 and did not see any merchants living there. I also went to civil district 5, which is close to Ooltewah, and only saw a few peddlers of chickens and eggs. These peddlers eventually did have retail establishments in Ooltewah, but obviously, they were not merchants in a physical building  that could be robbed in 1900. I am also assuming that the 2 blacksmiths were working under the same roof, as well as, the jeweler and the watchmaker. If these assumptions are correct, than these would be the 9 businesses;  3 dry good retailers, 1 drug store, 2 grocers, 1 jewelry store, 1 shoe store and 1 blacksmith store.

Looking at the type of stores that got robbed, the bandits got away with quite an assortment of merchandise. There were probably medicines, food products, lamp oil, clothing, watches, shoes, boots, horse shoes, blades for the hoes, wagon wheel parts and many more items were in the back of that wagon. I would love to know who did this, did they get caught and what did they take?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Day at the Lake

Summer is upon us now and people are enjoying their time out on the water. The warm weather and the sunshine bring about scores of possible activities in which to spend our free time. There is the fast paced sport of water-skiing, the hard work of rowing canoes, a lazy afternoon in a raft just off the shore line, a picnic out on one of the little secluded islands, reeling in a monster bass, swimming across the bay, or jet-skiing down the river. However you choose to spend your summer day on the lake, it will be filled with sun and fun.

Then something will show up on the local news that night or on the front page of the newspaper, pulling us back into reality. A tragedy occurs and reminds us that the lake is not just fun and games, it can be a dangerous place.

But, we also forget that these same types of tragedies happened a century ago, as well.

Duluth News Tribune(MN)  dated 20 May 1906
Dr. Simeon Eldridge Sr. was born in the Friendship community of James County. He was educated at the nearby Savannah Seminary. He then studied medicine under Dr. Roddy in Ooltewah. He enlisted in the Union Army in the summer of 1863 and served until 1865 when his left hand was wounded. This eventually led to 3 amputations. In 1874, he began a medical practice in James County. The following year, he married Mary McGill and the couple went on to have 8 children. The doctor lost a large part of his family that tragic day in 1906. They were rowing across the Tennessee River to take Betty Grace Miles home to meet  her husband when the boat overturned. The only survivor was Jesse Jr., who later became a doctor like his father before him. (1)

The article states that they were from Norman and not Friendship. Actually Norman was the Post Office for the southern part of the Friendship Community. W.C.Norman was the post master.

1 Donnelly, Polly W.; Editor; James County, A Lost County of Tennessee; pg 111

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Way to Go, Birchwood!

I took a trip last weekend down to the Birchwood Celebration at the Birchwood Elementary School. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the smell of grilled burgers and hot dogs were in the air. The parking lot was full of cars and 2 large buses. One was from Blood Assurance and the other was from Memorial Hospital. While you were socializing with your neighbors, one could give blood or receive a free mammogram.

Inside, there were tables with people sitting around eating and visiting. There was music and singing up on the stage. Awesome!

There were also several tables set up by the Birchwood Historical Society. The tables were covered in large notebooks full of the history of Birchwood. Although there were notebooks that were supplied from various people, most of the notebooks were created by Peggy McCallie, who lives in Birchwood. She has been working on these notebooks for many decades. She had supplied only a few from her very extensive collection.

What surprised me the most concerning the whole event, was the amount of people that were interested in their history. It is very rare to see people viewing and talking about local and family history, unless you are at a genealogy conference. Way to go, Birchwood!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Birchwood Celebration

Come one Come all
This Saturday, June the 9th, the town of Birchwood is having their 10th annual Birchwood Celebration. It is open to the public from 11 - 2 pm free of charge. It will be held in the Birchwood Elementary Gymnasium on Highway 60.

5623 Hwy 60    Birchwood, TN

There will be Free Food, Music and a Historical Exhibit. Also, the Hamilton County Clinic will be on site performing free Mammograms.

Since it is being held indoors, the weather will not be a factor. I look forward to the celebration and hope to see you all there.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Feeder Schools

Below is a map of the feeder schools into Ooltewah High School. This map came from an Ooltewah High School Yearbook, "The Owl",  dated 1924. ( I understand that this is after the dissolution of James County in 1921, but I believe the map to still be relevant.) At the time, the high school would have been named James County High School.

This map has been hand drawn, and it may or may not be geographically correct,but it does give us the names of some of the grammar schools and their approximate location within the boundaries of James County and their relationship to Ooltewah High School. Savannah School was 13 miles from the high school. Howardville School and Prospect School were 9 miles, and West Point School was 8 miles away from the high school.

In 1910, the principal of James County High School, Mr.C.J. Doub, visited every elementary school in the county driving a horse and buggy because he was not the owner of the only automobile in James County.  The roads were not in good condition for the use of an automobile, anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the reason that nobody had invested in the new mode of transportation. He tried to promote the attributes of a higher education to the young students of these schools.

There are a few other schools that are not on this map. They may had already dissolved  by 1921. We know of Fairview School that was located on current day Snow Hill Road.  Honestville School was located near the current day Hunter Road and Birchwood School was located, of course, in Birchwood. There may even be more grammar schools that we are unaware of at this time.

With bad roads and no good means of transportation, one can understand why a person's education would stop before the high school level. Mr Daub had quite an uphill battle to convince parents to allow their children to attend the high school.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Parental Involvement in Education

This article is from the "James County Times" dated Wednesday, December 2, 1914.

Mothers Meeting
The mothers of James county are urgently requested to attend the James County Mothers Club which meets every Wednesday at 3 o'clock P.M. at the High School building. The purpose of these meetings is to improve the schools throughout the county.

What role should families play in raising the educational  levels of their children and in the efforts to reform the local schools? This obviously has been an age-old question. It appears that mothers have always felt a need to be involved in their children's education. The above article shows us that they were coming together once a week to support this process.  That is unheard of in today's educational system.

Research indicates that the most accurate predictor of a student's achievement in school is not income or social status, but the extent the student's family is able to:
1. create a home environment that encourages learning,
2. express high and realistic expectations from their children.
3. and become involved in their children's education at school and in the community.1

Our ancestors obviously believed these claims. These appear to be the same basic premises in the past, as well as, the present, and will continue to be, well into the future. How involved were your ancestors in their children's education?  Maybe, more than you think.

1. source:  www.cde.state.co.us  Strengthening Parent Involvement Toolkit and the Parent Institute

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Meaning of Ooltewah?

There are many versions of how the word Ooltewah came into being. Everyone seems to have their own idea and everyone believes that their version is the gospel. Why would someone name a town, Ooltewah?
 Who can even pronounce it properly? (hear it here)
Who can spell it?    O-O-L-T-E-W-A-H

I will continue to bring you examples of some of these theories. Here is one from an unknown newspaper. I do not know where or exactly when it was published, except the date of 1890, that is recorded on the copy itself. This theory is that the name came from the Creek Indians. This area was populated with many Creek and Cherokee Indians before the Americans began to infiltrate this beautiful land.

Ooltewah is frequently the subject of question and its meaning and derivation are interesting. It comes, not doubt, from the Creek "Ui," pronounced Ooee, meaning water, and Tewah, or resting place. Literally, the liquid syllables mean "resting place by the water." Wah was the last syllable of the Indian name for Great Spirit and was used to denote great in other senses as well. When the Indians meant very great they said wah wah. It can be believed that the beautiful site of Ooltewah was mentioned by the Indians in what would be a long sentence in English: "The Great Spirit has given us a resting place by the river."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Meeting 2012

Come Join Us

Society meetings are held quarterly. The next meeting is this Sunday, May 6th at 2:30 pm.  It will be held at Ooltewah United Methodist Church, in Ooltewah, Tennessee.  Below is a map for your convenience. The program will be about Indian Sites in our immediate area and will be presented by Randy Sticher. 

Everyone is invited!

Take exit 11 off of I-75 in Tennessee. Go east on Lee Hwy (off the exit). Turn left after less than 1/2 a mile onto Relocation Way. The church sits behind a Bi-Lo Grocery Store.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

None What So Ever!

Today, we are going to discuss the occupations of the residents of the village of  Ooltewah, James County, Tennesseee in April of 1880. This is the third installment of  the 1880 census of Ooltewah.
Even though this was the capital of James County, it must be remembered that this was still a remote area and had to be relatively self-sufficient.

 1     sheriff
 1     circuit court clerk
 1     county court clerk
 1     county superintendent of schools
 1     jailer
 1     land surveyor
 2     lawyers
 2     physicians
 1     hotel keeper
 1     telegraph operator
 3     retailers ( one of which is detailed as liquor)
 2     shoemakers
 2     blacksmiths
 1     mill wright
 4     keeping house
 1    laundress
 1     seamstress
 1     carpenter
11    farmers
18    railroad worker
 2     "lewdness" ( as discussed in a prior post here)
       various laborers and domestic servants and

Now, what in the heck is this all about!  
 Wilbert McCarron was the enumerator for district 61.  He obviously had some issues with some of the residents of Ooltewah.  Mr. McCarron was the superintendent of the schools. He was 39 years old living with his wife and one son.
 Elijah Clingham was a 37 year old male boarding at the hotel with several other working, single males. What was the relationship between these 2 men that brought about such an "ugly" response from the enumerator? Why was Elijah not working? Why did Wilbert care? There are not any reasons listed for his unemployment, such as a disease or physical inabilities.  How long had Elijah been out of work?  Mr. McCarron  leads one to believe that he had never worked and had been a burden to the town of Ooltewah forever. I believe, I will have to do some research into this relationship and will let you know what I have discovered in a later post.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Congratulations Jim Douthat!

      I just found out that our esteemed colleague, James Douthat, from the Tag Delta Genealogical Society has been named Historian of the Year by the Chattanooga Area Historical Association.
     The Chattanooga Area Historical Association chose Mr. Douthat as the first recipient of the James W. Livingood Historian of the Year award. This award is dedicated to persons who are preserving the history of the Southeast Tennessee Region. Rather than me telling you about all of his amazing accomplishments, I will let you read all about it here at The Chattanoogan.com website.
     Tag Delta Genealogy covers the surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee area. That includes Southeastern Tennessee, Northwestern Georgia, and Northeastern Alabama. He is also actively involved in the Signal Mountain Genealogical Society, as well as, the Chattanooga Area Historical Association.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally! The 1940 Census

On Monday, April 2, 2012, at 9am, after being locked for 72 years, the wait is finally over. The 1940 Federal Census, the 16th Census of the United States, will be available free for all to view. You will be able to view the images at http://www.archives.com/. It will not be indexed yet, but if you know the enumeration district that your family lived in, you will be able to go right to it.  To find the enumeration district, I recommend you go to the One Step website  for information, researching tools and guides for determining your enumeration district. Be sure to take the quiz and tutorials to help you along.

Below, I have included videos from the National Archives. These short films were created by the US Census Bureau to train the 1940 census enumerators on their general duties and responsibilities. The first one is a general overview. The second is a training video reviewing the major questions relating to the general population. The third and fourth video relate to the housing and agriculture census. These last two censuses are no longer available, as they were destroyed. But, nonetheless, they are interesting to watch.

. How many of your parents, grandparents will finally show up for the first time in this census?
 These videos give a good visual of what life was like in 1940.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What was 1897 like?

Do you ever wonder what it was like to live in the time of your ancestors?  I do! I like to put my ancestors in a social and economic context, as well as, a historical context. Below are examples of what it was like in the fall of 1897.  The Sears, Roebuck and Co catalog gives us a glimpse of what the fashion was like, how much items cost, and what items were available. I am not saying that your ancestors could afford all of these items, but I would guess that they aspired to have these things. My ancestors probably made their own clothes and used items that were passed down through the generations.

You might also try using these fashion pictures and descriptions to help you date some old photographs!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Census Listing for 1880 - part 2

Let's continue with the statistics concerning the 1880 census for the village of Ooltewah. This is the 5th civil district and the 61st  enumeration district. This census is dated the 1st day of June, 1880.  There were 263 individuals listed on this census. Of those:

 1.  There were 6 females listed as head-of-household
 2.  There were 8 boarders
 3.  There were 37 individuals that could read
 4.  There were 57 individuals that could write
 5.  There were 43 individuals listed as black
 6.  There were 33 individuals listed as mulattos
 7.  There were 156 single individuals
 8.  There were 88 married individuals
 9.  There were 19 widowed individuals
10.  There were 119 males
11.  There were 144 females
12.  There were 4 servants under the age of 18, 2 male and 2 female
13.  There were 2 female servants between the ages of 19-40
14.  There were no servants older than 40 years of age
15.  There were 45 students attending school
16.  There  were 3 maimed individuals
17.  There was 1 blind individual
18.  There were no deaf and dumb individuals
19.  There were 215 individuals born in Tennessee
20.  There were 22 individuals born in Georgia
21.  The remaining 26 were born elsewhere
22.  There were 67 females 18 years of age and under
23.  There were 52 males 18 years of age and under
24.  There were 18 males 40 years of age and over
25.  Of those 18 men, 14 were white and 4 were black

There were 18 men born in 1840 or earlier. These men were probably involved in the Civil War, one way or another. The white men probably fought for the south and the 4 black men were probably slaves at the time of their birth. Yet none of these men are the maimed or blind persons listed in this census. These elderly gentlemen have laborer jobs. They came through the war without major ailments and could take care of their family. What are the odds of that? Could the widowed head-of-the-household females have lost their husbands during or shortly after the war? Could they be the real victims here?
There were 119 persons, 18 years of age or younger, yet only 45 of them were attending school at the time. The percentage of those that could read and write were extremely low. That surprises me! After the Civil War, public school became mandatory.

Next time, we will look at the occupations of the people from Ooltewah.

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Census Listing for 1880 - part 1

The 1880 census for the village of Ooltewah, James County, Tennessee dated the 1st of June, 1880 lists a population of 263 persons. The village of Ooltewah was in the 5th civil district.It was also the 61st enumeration district.  Below, I have listed the heads of household enumerated on  pages 1-6 of the census for that location.

page 1
Campbell, Richard
Lowe, Pleasant
Cowan, Andrew
Vest, Calvin
Wells, George
Vance, William
Childers, John
Berryhill, Andrew
Heaton, Jackson
McNabb, Robert

page 2
Crites, Isaac
Swoffard, Druzilla
Post, Sarah
Watkins, Reese
Hancock, Richard
Altom, John
Watkins, Tressie
Fuller, William
Collins, Frank
Green, Edward
Stevenson, William
Alexander, Loss

page 3
Childers, James
Chiders, Edam
Hugg, Joseph
Johnson, Benjamin
Wolf, Francis
Crane, Eliza
Roddy, Thomas
Nappier, Milton

page 4
Burley, Ransom
Wiley, Gustus
Hays, John
Perkison, Page
Sneed, William
Parker, Fannie
Stone, Henderson
Kinyan, Daniel
Gann, Adam
Moss, Alfred

page 5
Stone, Alex
McNab, Alexander
Taylor, Henry
Gibson, George
Smith, Samuel
Guthrie, Bruce
McCarron, Wilbert
Berryhill, John
Davis, George
Odell, Nancy

page 6
McNabb, Hannibel
Ragan, Jessie
Fitzgerald, John
Hays, Sarah
Cahan, Elvira

That is a total of 55 heads of household. The remaining 205 people are children and boarders. Stay tuned for more detail regarding this census.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Crime of Lewdness


Behavior that is deemed morally impure or unacceptable in a sexual sense; open and public indecency tending to corrupt the morals of the community; gross or wanton indecency in sexual relations.

An important element of lewdness is openness. Lewdness is sometimes used interchangeably with licentiousness or lasciviousness, which both relate to debauchery and moral turpitude. It is a specific offense in certain state statutes and is included in general provisions in others. 1

Now WHY? you ask, did I bring this up...
The 1880 census for the village of Ooltewah, 5th civil district of James County listed the Ooltewah Jail by itself, separate from the rest of the population. The county jailer, John Fitzgerald, and his sister and daughter lived on the premises. On the 1st of June, 1880, there were only 2 inmates at the time of the census taking.  They were Sarah Hays and Elvira Cahan. They were both listed as 20 year old, white, females. In the column for relationship, they were listed as prisoner. In the next major column, they were listed as having an occupation, profession or trade, of "lewdness".

Now, we can probably all guess what this occupation is labeled in today's society.We all have our own noun or adjective for this occupation. But, we must remember that the laws of 2 centuries ago are considerably different than the laws of today. 
 Before 1880, "the cases heard by the Circuit Court included those brought by the State for crimes against the people (criminal cases), and those between individuals (civil cases). Criminal cases included murder, unlawful retailing of liquor, lewdness, public fighting and theft. Most civil cases resulted from unpaid debts".2

Hmmm! Lewdness in the same category as Murder. Go figure!

1.West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round....

Leave Ooltewah 5:30 am
Leave Chatta 5:30 pm
Smith & Byrd Transportation Co.

    Ooltewah was the capital seat for James County. Today, it can take approximately 30 minutes or more to drive to downtown Chattanooga from Ooltewah on a 3 and 4 lane highway at the curreent speed limit. It's interesting to think how long it might have taken this bus to go the same distance on those tires and those roads.

When this picture was taken, the bus was loaded to full capacity. Judging by the use of the bus and the roads, it was probably full most of the time. During that time period, there were a vast number of jobs in the manufacturing industry in Chattanooga. It is difficult to tell from this picture whether these gentlemen were in the manufacturing industry. However, it is safe to assume that they were en route to or from their occupation.

The picture does give us some clues. They must be in Chattanooga on their way home. Regardless of the time of year, it would be very dark at in the morning. Hence, they could not be in Ooltewah. Since it is still daylight, it must be in the afternoon.  The sun appears to be relatively high in the sky, judging by the shadows, which leads us to the conclusion that it is probably summertime. Also, judging by the lack of heavy coats and the open windows on the bus, again, it probably is summertime. A Google Image search reveals that this bus is dated approximately 1920. I could not find any information relating to the Smith and Byrd Transportation Co. The final conclusion is that this picture was taken around 5:30 pm in Chattanooga during the summer circa 1920.

If anyone has information concerning today's post, please contact us. We would love to hear about it and post the additional information here for everyone to see.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Upcoming Meeting

Come Join Us

Society meetings are held quarterly. The next meeting is Sunday, February 5th at 2:30 pm.  It will be held at Ooltewah United Methodist Church, in Ooltewah, Tennessee.  Below is a map for your convenience. A presentation on Social Media and how it relates to the James County Historical Society will be addressed. Also, please bring any documents, pictures, newspapers, ephemera, etc that you may want to to share. We will discuss these items and scan them for use on the blog at a later date. We look forward to seeing you!

Take exit 11 off of I-75 in Tennessee. Go east on Lee Hwy (off the exit). Turn left after less than 1/2 a mile onto Relocation Way. The church sits behind a Bi-Lo Grocery Store.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A New Bridge

 There was a small newspaper in James County for a short while. It was called "The James County Times". It was located in Ooltewah, Tennessee. From time to time, I will bring you articles from the few newspapers that still exist.  Below is an article from Wednesday, December 2, 1914. This article was located on the front page in the far right hand column.

Hurricane Bridge Completed
The bridge across Hurricane Creek between Ooltewah and Ringgold near the State line erected by Champion Bridge Co., was completed Friday and accepted by the Bridge committee. This will add greatly to the convenience of public travel.

This bridge is still in existence, I believe. The bridge is located on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road, just before you get to the Windstone Subdivision.

Champion Bridge Company was founded in 1854 by Zimri Wall in Ohio. In the 1880's, they expanded their business into the deep south.  You can read the history of this company here: http://www.championbridgecompany.com/history.htm

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Lost County of Tennessee

County of James
The Lost County of Tennessee
"Created out of rivalry of politcal factions during the reconstruction period following the Civil War. James County consisted of parts of Hamilton and Bradley counties. Plagued by political strife and supported mainly by farmers unable to provide an adequate tax base, its forty-eight year history ended in bankruptcy and its territory became a part of Hamilton County."

This historic marker is located in front of the old James County Courthouse in Ooltewah, Tennessee. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 by the James County Historical Society.


Section II of the Act to create James County identifies the boundries set by the Tennessee General Assembly on the 30 January 1871 as:

   Beginning at the corner of Bradley and Meigs county lines;
   thence running along and with said Meigs county line to the middle of the Tennessee River;
   thence down the middle of said river to the Dallas Island, leaving said Dallas Island in the new county;
   thence continuing down the middle of said river to a point opposite the mouth of the Harrison Spring Branch, where it enters into the said river below Harrison;
   from thence southeast of the residence of the late George House on the East Tennessee and Georgia railroad;
   thence south, southwest of the Georgia State, line at or near Blackwell's ford on Chickamauga Creek,
   thence with the Georgia State line to a point midway between Fayette Howard's residence in Bradley county and the Hamilton county lines;
   and thence northwest along Antioch Ridge across the old Alabama road to T.C. Johes',{sic} leaving the said Jones in the new county;
   thence to the gap of  Round Mountain;
   thence by Nathan Hinch's, leaving said Hinch in the new county;
   thence to the Hamilton county line at Johnson's Gap on White Oak Mountain;
   thence with the Bradley county line to the beginning

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Beginning

Let's get started with the creation of James County, Tennessee.

James County was organized during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. People were trying to get their lives back in order. They needed to restock their farms and repair their homes, fences and fields. They needed to find a way to carry on. Schools needed to be built, roads needed to be created and maintained and other infrastructure added to the county.

Due to transportation factors in this part of rural Tennessee, a real problem existed. The city of Chattanooga was too far away to fulfill the needs of the rural residents living in the eastern part of the county. The roads to town were in need of repair or non-existent. The creeks were unmanageable, swollen or dry. The Tennessee River was treacherous, at best. Sooner or later, the river had to be crossed to get to town for supplies or to file land deeds, etc. The Tennessee River and the railroad would later hold the key to the county's growth.

The southwestern portion of Bradley County also wanted to be included in this new county for some of the very same reasons. People residing in this part of Bradley County lived nearly 20 miles from their county's capital. The roads were also poor and the streams were mostly impassable, as well. They, too, wanted better access to their government and economic trade.

The idea was that the newly proposed county and its county seat would be more accessible to all of these residents in both counties. This new area would cover nearly 300 square miles.

Political motives also played a part in the creation of the new county. The James County area was predominantly Republican, white and rural. The Chattanooga area remained largely Democratic and urban.

The State Legislation passed the act creating the new county 27 January 1871. The Tennessee General Assembly passed into law on 30 January 1871, an act to establish the new county, called James County, from the portions of the Territory of Hamilton and Bradley Counties. It was signed into law by Governor D.W.C. Senter.