Monday, December 7, 2009


The date is December 7 and the year is 1865. The Civil War has ended and the brothers, cousins and neighbors who survived have returned home to the local area.

Whether those who fought on opposing sides have begun to communicate is not known, but one can be assured the memories from the hardships suffered run deep.

The Confederate Money is worthless and Jonathan Thomas is dead. Jane struggles to hold onto what is remaining of the Thomas land holdings.

The subject of the back taxes the Federal Government has levied is a concern of all. Congress some three years earlier passed legislation entitled “An Act for the Collection of Direct Taxes in Insurrectionary Districts Within the United States” and the taxes are now due.

Jane turns to her thrifty Dutch son-in-law, Jacob Wattenbarger for help. Jacob pays the taxes and places the receipt in his trunk, where it remains to this day, one hundred and forty four years later.

Copied below is the original tax receipt for the 1735 acre Thomas homeplace dated December 7, 1865, in the amount of twenty one dollars and eleven cents.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Jacob Wattenbarger was the son of Michael and Nancy Wattenbarger who settled in a community in northwest McMinn County that would later become known as Chuck-A-Luck. The Wattenbarger farm joined the James Wade homeplace on the north boundary.

In 1849 Jacob traveled a few miles south to Rogers Creek and married Louisa Thomas, daughter of wealthy landowner Jonathan Thomas. Jacob and Louisa acquired property from Jonathan in the vicinity of Rogers Creek Church and built a two-story log house a few hundred feet east of the intersection of current McMinn County Roads 180 and 187.

When the Civil War broke out, Jacob faced a dilemma. Jacob, being from the Tranquility Community, which supported the Union, was living at the very center of Rogers creek, which supported the South. His father-in-law owned several slaves, but Jacob did not believe in slavery.

Jacob eventually chose not to fight for either side and instead hid out in the hills above Rogers Creek and slept in a cave, which was located about 800 feet southeast of his house. The cave has since been known as Wattenbager Cave and has been in our family since the time of the Cherokee.

Jacob died in 1905 and his son James Grant (my grandfather) purchased the 693 acres he owned at an auction held on the McMinn County courthouse steps April 28, 1906. Grant and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Hart Wattenbarger, and their six children lived in their house across the road from the Wattenbarger store.

One day my mother, Maggie Lee Wattenbarger, and two of her sisters, against Lizzie’s instructions, slipped off to explore Wattenbarger Cave. Jacob had in earlier years constructed a wooden door to seal the opening to the cave. The frame holding the door had rotted away and the door was lying just inside the cave opening. Being curious, one of my mother’s sisters lifted up the door to peer underneath.

None of the girls were prepared for what they saw, which was the body of a corpse. Home to mother they flew. Grant eventually determined the corpse had been placed there by a country doctor who was in the process of dissecting it to determine the cause of death of the individual. The cool atmosphere in the cave kept the body from decomposing.


HUSBAND: Jacob Wattenbarger
BORN: 05/05/1826 PLACE: Washington Cty, TN.
MARRIED: 02/22/1849 PLACE: McMinn Cty, TN.
DIED: 10/15/1905 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: Michael Wattenbarger
MOTHER: Nancy Ann Whistler
WIFE: Louisa Thomas
BORN: 07/10/1828 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
DIED: 03/24/1893 PLACE:McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: Jonathan Thomas
MOTHER; Jane Carmack
Martha Wattenbarger
BORN: 01/29/1850 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Rev. Isaac C Culvahouse 12/14/1873
DIED: 08/29/1930 McMinn County, TN.
Jane Wattenbarger
BORN: 03/01/1851 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: John Arnold 12/27/1877
DIED: 05/01/1915 Rhea County, TN.
Jonathan Wattenbarger
BORN: 06/09/1854 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Texas Ann Lockmiller 08/27/1877
MARRIED: Sarah Texanna Ramey 12/23/1880
DIED: 01/01/1928 Hunt County, TX.
Andrew Jackson Wattenbarger
BORN: 10/20/1856 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Easter Womack 07/17/1881
DIED: 1936 McMinn County, TN.
Mary A Wattenbarger
BORN: 11/22/1859 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: John Franklin Stanton 08/09/1877
DIED: 12/16/1939 McMinn County, TN.
Nancy Wattenbarger
BORN: 11/14/1861 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: M L Thompson DATE: 08/25/1883
DIED: 03/07/1894 Roane County, TN.
Tennessee Wattenbarger
BORN: 01/14/1864 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Joseph T Foster DATE: 08/25/1887
DIED: 07/23/1931 McMinn County, TN.
James Grant Wattenbarger
BORN: 04/17/1866 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Mary Elizabeth Hart 08/19/1894
DIED: 04/29/1955 McMinn County, TN.
Julia Wattenbarger
BORN: 07/11/1868 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Thomas Hunt 10/18/1899
DIED: 08/04/1900 McMinn County, TN.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The following is probably one of the more moving tributes to a member of our family that has ever been published. It was written by Daisy Rice Spradling, and appeared in the Daily Post-Athenian Monday, December 2, 1935, the day after “Uncle Jack” passed away.

Taps were sounded today for John "Uncle Jack" Hart, 94, Confederate veteran who answered to the last roll call Sunday. He passed away peacefully at 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon at his home in the Rogers Creek Community, 10 miles west of Athens. He had been ill several weeks, ascribed to the infirmities of age.

Funeral services, attended by a large number of relatives and friends, were held at the Rogers Creek Baptist Church at 2 o'clock this afternoon. Grandsons were pallbearers.

Burial took place in the family plot in the church cemetery, located on a sloping hillside, overlooking Rogers Creek Valley, where "Uncle Jack" had spent most of nearly a century.

He was born April 16, 1841, a son of the late John Hart, among the earlier settlers of McMinn county. He was married three times. After the death of his first wife,formerly Miss Henrietta Amelia Snyder, who was the mother of his children, he married Miss Martha Ann Ziegler.

Fate decreed he be left again without a mate and in the third step into matrimony, he took as his wife, Mrs. Nancy Elizabeth Dillard Spradling, widow and second wife of Robert Spradling, a close friend and war comrade of Mr. Hart.

Since her death several years ago, he spent part of the time at his home in McMinn county where he was cared for by a son, John Hart, and the remainder of the time with two sons, Will and Charlie Hart and their families in Hamilton county.

When he returned to his old home in McMinn county for the last time, he told his children "I intend to remain here for the remainder of my life."

Children surviving are: Mrs. Will (Rosa) Small, Mrs. J. G. (Lizzie) Wattenbarger, John Hart 3rd., of Rogers Creek, Will Hart of Hixson and Charlie Hart of White Oak, Hamilton county. Four children are dead, Mrs. John (Ernie) Benton, Lewis, Franklin and Jimmy Hart. There are 29 living grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

"Uncle Jack" had no fear of passing into the great beyond and when the final summons came he met his death without a tremor. Since early manhood, he had been a member of the Baptist church, and was regular in attendance when health and weather would permit.

Mr. Hart joined the Confederate army August 19, 1861/ Company A, 29th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers at Loudon, but about the first of November, the same year, he was transferred to another unit, joining the A. W. Hodges Company at Decatur, and was mustered into service by Col. James Gillespie as a member of Company D, 43rd Tennessee Regiment of which Gillespie was Colonel and D. M. Key was Lieutenant-Colonel.

He went through the siege of Vicksburg, and was in several other battles. His regiment did service in several states, all the way from Mobile, Alabama up east to Maryland.

Those terrifying days were depicted by "Uncle Jack" when in a reminiscent mood, as he was interviewed by the writer at his home last spring. As he recited "The Yesterdays" he told of the grim moments of the conflict in which brother fought against brother.

In the quiet of that spring afternoon, as he sat in his old armchair in his room, it was most interesting to listen to the "boy who wore the gray", whose hair had lightened until it was the color of the uniform he wore when Dixie called.

His speech was halted some, but as he lived once more in the long ago, his eyes would light with the spirit, the courage and the fire of the patriotic youth, as tribute was phrased for such officers as Jackson, Early, Vaughn, and Gillespie, under whose leadership he fought.

A striking tribute was paid to Stonewall Jackson he told how, when General Early, in command of Jackson's old Army Corps at that time, marched through the cemetery at Lexington, Va., where the mortal remains of the great leader were buried. It was a solemn scene, Mr. Hart said. No words were spoken as the whole army marched around Jackson's grave with arms reversed as though attending a funeral.

A Southern flag floated over his grave. Federal soldiers had been there a few days previous to this on their way to Lynchburg, he said, and had almost used up the flagpole, cutting chips out of it as mementos, never offering to take the flag down.

Mr. Hart was discharged at Kingston, Ga., May 10, 1865, after serving three years and nine months.

The mother of John Hart III (1841-1935) was the sister of Louisa Spradling, wife of James Wade. Four of the eight children of W. D. and Jane Owen Wade married descendants of Uncle Jack.


BORN: 04/16/1841 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: 12/19/1866
DIED: 12/01/1935 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: John Hart, II
MOTHER: Mary Elizabeth Spradling
WIFE: Henrietta Amelia Snyder
BORN: 02/14/1847 PLACE:
DIED: 06/19/1888 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: Moses Snyder
MOTHER: Phoebe Roddy
Rosa Lee Hart
BORN: 11/03/1867 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: William Harvey Small 12/01/1889
DIED: 06/25/1966 McMinn County, TN.
William Alexander Hart McMinn County, TN.
BORN: 01/01/1870 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Ada Lee Sanders
DIED: 11/19/1956 Hixson, TN.
Theodosia Ernestine Hart
BORN: 01/13/1872 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: John F Benton
DIED: 11/11/1911
Mary Elizabeth Hart
BORN: 02/05/1875 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: James Grant Wattenbarger 08/19/1894
DIED: 12/29/1959 McMinn County, TN.
John Moses Hart
BORN: 07/26/1877 McMinn County, TN.
DIED: 05/04/1956 McMinn County, TN.
James Mortimer Hart
BORN: 12/30/1879 McMinn County, TN.
DIED: 10/23/1883
Lewis Benjamin Hart
BORN: 02/21/1882 McMinn County, TN.
DIED: 10/18/1883 McMinn County, TN.
Charlie G Hart
BORN: 08/12/1884 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Ocea Delra Wade 12/17/1905
DIED: 09/06/1956 Hamilton County, Tenn.
Franklin Roddy Hart
BORN: 07/22/1887 McMinn County, TN.
DIED: 08/16/1887 McMinn County, TN.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


One day in the mid-thirties Blaine “Dude“ Small came galloping down the road that ran in front of our house and rode his horse right up in our yard. “It’s the end of time, the angels are singing”, he yelled.

We went outside and we too could hear the angels singing. The sound was coming from the eastern sky as prophesied, but we could not see anything. In a few minutes the singing stopped and this booming voice proclaimed, “Get Right with God.”

Dude had not been too interested in religion up to that time, but he was ready to change his ways. I don’t remember if Dude was in church the following Sunday or not, but we certainly were.

It was no until later when members of a religious group not known in the area started going from house to house and passing out literature that my parents figured out what was going on.

It was revealed the “intruders” had set up loudspeakers at the top of the ridge on the south side of the church. At that time the hillside behind the old church was clear and in pasture. One could stand at the top of the hill and yell and be heard for some distance in he valley below.

I remember my step grandmother, Gussie Wade, who lived at he top of the hill above us, was frowned upon for accepting the literature that was being passed out. Gussie was somewhat of “free spirit” who had a curiosity about things beyond the ridges that surrounded Rogers Creek.

Gussie lived alone in the big white house after grandpa died and was the best friend a six year old could have.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


On the northwest side of what is now the intersection on McMinn County Roads 180 and 187 at one time stood Papa Wattenbarger’s Store. He sold mostly non-perishable items like flour, meal, salt, soda baking powder, coffee, candy, etc. He also carried a pretty complete line of clothing and some farm supplies. Kerosene was a big seller as all homes were lighted with kerosene or “coal oil” lamps as we called them. Papa Wattenbarger closed the store about 1940 as most people by that time had cars and bought their supplies in Athens. Much of the clothing was still on the shelves when he died in 1955.

Papa Wattenbarger was also the last Postmaster at Fiketon, serving in that capacity from June 21, 1898, to February 28, 1903, when the Postal Service was moved to Athens. The name Fiketon was applied for by Absolom Fike who served as Postmaster from 1885 until my Grandfather Wade was appointed Postmaster February 25, 1892.

View Larger Map

Grandpa Wade then started Rural Route 1 out of Decatur, arranging for the route to pass into McMinn County and by his house. That is the reason we to this day get our mail out of Decatur, even though we live in McMinn County. Aunt Ocea would on some days go with grandpa and drive the buggy. I have grandpa Wade’s mail log and the remains of the large umbrella that covered his buggy.

My most vivid memory of Papa Wattenbarger’s store was a large poster that for a time was nailed to the wall inside above the double entrance doors. The poster portrayed the death of John Dillinger, a notorious gangster of that era. It was a gruesome picture with bullets passing through his body from different directions and blood spurting out the exit wounds. After I saw the picture I would not enter the store again until Papa Wattenbarger finally took the picture down at the insistence of my grandmother.

A covered porch extended along the entire front of the store and parallel to the road. This is where the men of the community gathered and swapped tales. On the south side and between the store and what is now County Road 180 was a covered scalehouse for weighing wagons.

On the Rogers Creek Church homecoming day the store porch became a concession stand. Royal Crown Cola banners were nailed between the supporting posts and formed a continuous separation between the servers and those purchasing candy, drinks and ice cream. The store also served as a voting precinct after some rowdiness occurred in the church where the voting had been done.

The store was torn down after Eliza Thomas bought the property at the estate sale in the 1960’s, thus the property was reconnected to the Jonathan Thomas place.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Aunt Ocea was the third oldest child of W. D. and Jane Owen Wade. She married one of the sons of John Hart III, Confederate War Veteran. The Hart farm joined the Wade farm on the south side and the two houses were less than one mile apart as the crow flies.

Ocea and Charlie had four children, the oldest of which was Paul. Pauline Marquis Hart, who resides in Michigan, provided the following:

Memories of Ocea Delray Wade (Hart) by Alna Pauline Marquis (Hart)

Born December 13, 1885

Married Charlie Gillespie Hart December 19, 1905

I was her first grandchild. She wanted me to be born on her birth date, but I missed it by two days. My son Charles was the first great grandchild.

Every Christmas we would go to her house for dinner along with her two sons and two daughters. In the corner of her four room house was the most beautiful Christmas tree. It was fairy like with a wonderful assortment of ornaments. On Christmas day her greeting was “Christmas Gift” to all that entered her home.

Christmas dinner in 1945 consisted of a 30 pound turkey that was so large she didn’t have a cooking pan big enough to bake it in. So, she cleaned out a baby bath tub to roast the turkey. Her cook stove was a very large cast iron stove.

Her biscuits were hand formed and always came out of the oven white rather than brown, but they were fully cooked. I could never duplicate that.

She lived at 105 Martin Road in North Chattanooga for more than 50 years. Her sister, Corda, lived directly across the road and in their latter years they would tell each other how much they loved one another before retiring for the night.

I used to play hooky from school at her house.

She loved to quilt. She had a quilting frame in her garage. She and Corda spent many hours quilting. I have one of her quilts.

She planted a flower garden for me in her back yard. One of the flowers was a “Japanese Iris”. Seeing that we were at war then, I asked her if I could rename them to “Korean Iris’” she said of course.

We visited her every Mother’s Day. She had a swing on her front porch that I really enjoyed.

We had many conversations and I shared many secrets with her while going up, she never breached the confidence.

She had naturally wavy brown hair and dark brown eyes. She may have looked very stern but was a very happy and joyful person. Her laugh was beautiful and magical.

She passed away on her wedding anniversary, but I can’t remember the year.

Alna Pauline Marquis Hart

Thursday, November 19, 2009


On October 24, 2009, I attended a land sale of over 900 acres of land located in the area of Chuck-A-Luck where our ancestors settled about 1830. The acreage auctioned included all of the former Silas Wade homeplace and part of the Richard Spradling and Michael Wattenbarger homeplaces. The property was open land with no structures and had been used by a paper company for many years to grow pine trees to supply a paper mill.

The paper company sold the property to a land company several years ago when property values were much higher than they are now. The land company had been attempting to divide and resell it to individuals, evidently without much success.

Below is a tract map of the land available, with indicators for both the location of Chuck-A-Luck and where Silas Wade's Homeplace was. (Note: Silas Wade's Homeplace roughly covers Tracts 3 & 4.)

When I left the auction about 2:30 PM all of the seven tracts except one had bids in place ranging from $750.00 to $1,000.00, plus a ten percent buyers premium. The seventh tract was the least desirable of all and most likely received a bid of less than $750.00.

I was not present at the time, but I was told before the close of the auction the seller exercised their right to reject all bids and not one of the above listed tracts was sold.

Below is a satellite image of a smaller area as the tract map above, and with a smaller indicator for where Silas's place was so one can better see the land of the area.

What makes this interesting is the fact that most land being advertised on the open market for sale is listed at much higher than what was bid at he auction. There appears to be a very wide discrepancy between what sellers are asking and what buyers are willing to pay. No doubt the current economic conditions have something to do with this. Might be a good time to come home to Chuck-A-Luck.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Where the "the old homestead" stood 1891- 2009.
(W.D. Wade Homeplace)

At 5:30 AM on the morning of Friday July 3, 2009, Bettye looked out the west kitchen window of our house to see the W. D. Wade homeplace fully engulfed in flames. I immediately called 911 and they were aware of a fire in our area, but could not pinpoint the exact location. Evidently the glow could be seen all the way to Athens.

Being a two-story frame house sitting on top of a hill, the fire was like nothing I had ever seen. I went up later and talked with the fire fighters and they said their experience led hem to believe the fire actually started about 2:00 AM.

The cause of the fire to my knowledge has never been determined. The electrical service had been disconnected several years and someone had dug up and stolen the copper line from the propane tank to the house.

The age of the house can best be determined by a story that has been passed down that dates the house to a time when Ulys Wade was about one year old. It seems the house W. D. and Jane and family had been living in was located where they wanted to build their new house.

The plan was to jack up the old house and roll it across the road on logs. Since this required several days to accomplish, the family was in and out of the house as need be. When the time came to actually start moving the house Jane suddenly remember Ulys was still inside. Ulys was quickly retrieved and the house was moved as had been planed. Ulys was born July 21, 1890, so the new house was probably constructed in 1891.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Jonathan Thomas (1800-1864) was the father of Caroline Thomas (1830-1889) who married Marshal C. Owen (1833-1892). Marshal & Caroline were the parents of Nancy Jane Owen (1859-1901) who married W.D. Wade (1859-1935). They were also the parents of Thomas Owen (1857-1937) who married W.D. Wade’s sister Martha Ellen Wade (1861-ca.1902).

The following was written by Maudie Stanton Vaughn in 1976:

Jonathan Thomas, son of Jacob Thomas, a Revolutionary soldier and my great great grandfather, came to McMinn County when he was about 21 years of age. He had married in Sullivan County, Tennessee to Jane Carmack, daughter of John Carmack who fought in the first battle of the American Revolution.

John was born in 1800 and his father, having received a land grant in Sullivan County (Holston Valley) for his services in the war, Jonathan grew to manhood in the pioneer settlement once known as Paperville, Tennessee.

Jonathan entered land in the Roger's Creek community west of Athens near the Meigs County line. He was very industrious and soon after he came to McMinn County, he began acquiring land until he had about 2500 acres.(In the 1850 McMinn County census, Jonathan is listed as owning 3400 acres). He had a number of slaves and wagons, which he used to haul freight from far distances, there being no railroads in this area at that time. A thread mill was located on the creek at Mt. Verd, and Jonathan hauled this thread to many places. He would not come back from these trips with empty wagons; bringing sugar, flour, and many other things needed by the people in this area.

Jane was also very industrious, having a large family to feed and clothe as well as the slaves, she never had an idle moment. She had to weave cloth for clothes and bedding for both her family and the slaves, and knit socks and other items of warm clothing for both. It has been told down through the family that when she went in the wagon or buggy with Jonathan to Athens, she would always knit a sock on the way to town and a sock on the way back home.

They first lived in a log house across the road from the brick house they would build later and which is still standing. The brick was made on the place and carried to the building site by the slaves. Jonathan's little boys and the little slave boys would help carry this brick. A large tree stood in the vicinity of the Thomas house, and the Cherokee Indians would hold council under this tree. This was before their removal to the West in 1835.

Their home being on the main road from Athens to Decatur, they had many interesting visitors. Andrew Johnson who was to become president of the United States spent a night there while seeking votes for one of his political offices.

Jonathan was a Justice of the Peace, and many weddings were performed in the then parlor of the home. He would hold court in this room, and his children would lie in the adjoining room, which is the dining room, there being a large crack under the door, and listen to the cases being tried. They were careful not to let their father catch them as they were supposed to be at their chores.

As each of Jonathan and Jane's children married, they were given a farm and two slaves; a field hand for the groom and a house slave for the bride. My great grandfather (Jacob Wattenbarger) declined to accept the slaves as he had strong feelings about slavery so Jonathan gave he and Louisa some extra land. This pleased my thrifty Pennsylvania Dutch ancestor, Jacob Wattenbarger, and he made good use of his land. He also added to his holdings and had a large acreage at his death.

Jane was concerned about the spiritual life of her children and slaves and encouraged Jonathan to help get a church near them. He gave the land for the Roger's Creek Baptist Church and cemetery and a log building was constructed on the site. The church, heated by a large fireplace, burned down one night after services had been held there and a frame building replaced it, which is still standing and is still used. The old church records were burned in the fire that destroyed the church clerks home, a Mr. Spradling, so we do not know who all the original members were. We do know the Harts, Spradlings, Dennises, Thomases, and Rogers attended the early services.

To the north of Jonathan's home is the home he gave to his son, John Lilburn Thomas. It was originally a log structure but through the years rooms were added on and now it is owned by Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Bohannon Sr. Mrs. Bohannon, before her marriage, was Lonnie Mae Thomas. The old brick which Jonathan built is owned by Mrs. James Thomas. She was Liza Bohannon before her marriage. Another home given to his daughter who married the Owen is still standing to the west of the brick house.

One of the daughters married Marshall Arnwine and they lived near Niota. He founded the church, which is called Marshall Hill. The home he gave to Louisa and Jacob Wattenbarger, my great grandparents, was a two story log and it is said it was once used as an inn for the stage coach passengers that passed on this road. It too is still standing, though in bad shape. A great granddaughter bought this piece of ground (Maggie Wattenbarger Wade Morgan) on the death of her father to keep the old house from being torn down.

After Jonathan died, his daughter, Harriett Thomas, married a Mr. Fike and Fike built a store in the crossroads near the Thomas home and the Roger's Creek Baptist Church. A post office was established there and this little community became known as Fiketon. All this is gone now.

The Thomas family cemetery is on a hill above the old brick house and is kept in beautiful condition by Mrs. E. B. Bohannon, Mrs. James Thomas, and Jacob Wattenbarger's grandchildren. Mrs. Bohannon has replaced some of the old tombstones and had others re-lettered. Some of Jonathan's slaves are buried near the family with natural stone markings. One of Jonathan's slaves, an old man, who had been with Jonathan for many years, was found dead one morning by his bedside. He was on his knees and had apparently been praying when death came to him. Since Jonathan had a fondness for this old slave, he buried him on a little knoll near the home. He placed a paling fence around the grave and Jane planted box-woods at the site.

When Jonathan freed his slaves, one, a woman, refused to leave and Jonathan let her live on in one of the brick cabins he had built for his slaves. When she finally left, she slipped away in the night. My father, Lee A. Stanton, could remember seeing her sitting at the spring house churning. Another slave called Doc, knowing he was to be freed, made a little song about it and sang it as he worked. He sang, "I'se gwine to Noo Yawk, I's gwine to Noo Yawk" over and over as the slaves used to sing as they worked.

The Civil War brought many changes to the lives of Jonathan and Jane and after the war was over and Jonathan having passed on, Jane had a hard time holding on to the land Jonathan left her. Though much diminished in size, the property has stayed in the Thomas family until this year of our Bicentennial. Coming to this land when the Cherokees still roamed the hills and valleys, Jonathan died when the land was torn apart by the great Civil War.

(copied 2/6/00 by Vanessa Stanton Butler)


HUSBAND: Jonathan Thomas
BORN: 07/25/1800 PLACE: Sullivan County, TN.
DIED: 01/11/1864 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: Jacob Thomas
MOTHER: Louisa Shultz
WIFE: Jane Carmack
BORN: 07/1798 PLACE: Washington Cty, VA.
DIED: 11/14/1883 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
FATHER: John Carmack
James Thomas BORN: 1824
John Lilburn Thomas
BORN: 01/23/1826 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Mary Ann Wattenbarger 02/18/1849
DIED: 01/05/1905 Monroe County, TN.
Louisa Thomas
BORN: 07/10/1828 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Jacob Wattenbarger 02/22/1849
DIED: 03/24/1893 McMinn County, TN.
Caroline Thomas
BORN: 10/19/1830 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Marshal C Owen 10/19/1854
DIED: 02/19/1889 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
Harriet Thomas
BORN: 09/23/1832 McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: J E Fike 07/19/1878
DIED: 02/22/1901 McMinn County, TN.
Alfred Carroll Thomas
BORN: 09/08/1836 McMinn County. TN.
MARRIED: Malinda Faulkner
DIED: 03/04/1924 McMinn County, TN.
Angeline Thomas
BORN: 02/02/1839 PLACE: McMinn County, TN.
MARRIED: Marshall Arnwine 08/22/1856
DIED: 09/05/1908

Saturday, June 6, 2009


When William D. Wade married Nancy Jane Owen February 5, 1880, he moved to and worked on the property of his father-in-law, Marshal C. Owen, who owned over one thousand acres.

By 1886 W. D. and Jane had evidently earned enough to purchase the southwest quarter of Section 33, Township 1, Range 2, from Marshal and Caroline, consisting of one hundred and sixty acres. This property lay to the north of and joined what is now known as the W. D. Wade homeplace.

This was evidently where W. D. and Jane lived until they did a land swap with Marshal in 1889, following Caroline’s death. The swap involved trading half of their 160 acres for the 80 acres which is now known as the W. D. Wade homeplace. This gave W. D. and Jane access to the main road where they in 1891 constructed the white two story house which still stands.(See FRED SILAS WADE post below for picture.)

Not much is known about Nancy Jane as she died in 1901 at age forty two. From the pictures we have, she appears to be a beautiful lady. The family was naturally devastated, as evidenced by the memorial W. D. wrote and placed in the newspaper. The writing concludes with these words:

The wife of our love and affection,
We have laid to her long last rest;
When God made his choice it was cast
on the treasure we prized the best.

‘Tis hard to break the tender cord,
When love has bound the heart;
‘Tis hard, so hard to speak the words,
“We must forever part.”

Dearest loved one, we have laid thee
In the peaceful grave’s embrace,
But thy memory will be cherished
‘Til we see thy heavenly face.

Oh mother, thy gentle voice is hushed,
Thy warm true heart is still,
And on thy true and peaceful face
Is resting death’s cold chill.

Thy hands are clasped upon thy breast,
We have kissed thy marble brow,
And in our aching heart we know,
We have no mother now.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank you from Renea Wright Kappler - Amarillo, TX

I am Renea Wright Kappler, daughter of Reta Hudson Wright (1934) and Harold Levern Wright (1931 – 2003); son of Obie Wright and Thelma Johnson Wright (1905 – 1981); daughter of Joseph E. Johnson (1874 – 1939) and Ada Caroline Owen Johnson (1885 – 1981); daughter of Thomas Owen (1857 – 1937) and Martha Ellen Wade Owen (1861 – 1902); daughter of Adaline Parret McKeehan (1837 – 1906) and Silas W. Wade (1834 – 1902), son of James Wade (1803 – 1842) and Louisa Spradling Wade Brandon (1908 – 1897), daughter of Richard Spradling, Sr. (1775 – 1870) and Elizabeth Beaver Spradling (1807 – 1887).

Thomas Owen (1857 – 1937), son of Caroline Thomas (1830 – 1889) and Marshal C. Owen (1833 – 1892); son of Elizabeth Davis (1807 – 1887) and George P Owen (1808 – 1895). Caroline Thomas was the daughter of Jonathan Thomas (1800 – 1864), son of Jacob Thomas, II (1752 – 1824) and Louisa Shultz (1758 – 1822); and Jane Carmack (1798 – 1883), daughter of John Carmack.

Adaline Parret McKeehan (1837 – 1906) – daughter of Samuel McKeehan (1807 – 1889) and Sarah “Sally” Wattenbarger (1809 – 1877); daughter of John Adam Weurtemberger, Jr. (1760 – 1825) and Elizabeth Ferntzeler.

Whew! And I FINALLY understand how I fit into this wonderful family!!!

My first visit to Tennessee in September 2000 was incredible. Names were a blur, but love was all around me and I quickly fell in love with all my extended cousins that I never knew existed! It was only by the Grace of God that the lost “Texas Connection” found its way home to the gorgeous hills of Tennessee. I will be forever grateful to Paul Wade and the thousands of hours he has worked tirelessly on our family tree. I have come to admire, respect and love this gentle man. His family is an extension of his love and dedication.

I also want to thank Larry and Jerry Gayler, my 2nd cousins, who also spent untold hours researching our family history and heritage. Without their diligent pursuit, we may have never found these wonderful Tennessee family members.

Thank you for the May 2009 Reunion that, along with the bonds with certain family members cemented and memories burned forever in my mind’s eye, was another highlight in my life. I’m thrilled to know more about the Sultana and the truly amazing fact that these 2 Wade brothers lived to tell about their ordeal. Singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” on the sloping graveyard in honor of my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Silas Wade and his brother Thomas, sent chills down my spine and tears welling in my eyes. They truly gave their all for their country and families.

I hope to see you all again some time, but if I never have the opportunity to return to Tennessee or see my precious family members again, you have each touched my heart in ways you will never know. I love you all and thank you for welcoming us – your long lost family members – with loving, open arms.
God Bless you!!! Renea


The "the old homestead" as it stands in 2009.
(W.D. Wade Homeplace)

The Soldier’s Farewell

By Fred S. Wade
(Written after receiving orders to report for duty in WW I)

It’s a sad time, my people, it is sad indeed,
This awful parting nearly makes my heart bleed.

Now when I turn my gaze, which is perhaps my last,
On this dear old dwelling that sheltered me in the past.

My heart becomes burdened with scenes of my youth,
The thought is unbearable, but alas, it’s the truth.

Many times I have sat around the old fireside
And beheld mother’s fingers, as the needle she plied.

But alas, I am dreaming, that day has long passed,
The fingers are molded, into dust they are cast.

Once again, my thoughts turn back to the scene,
Turn back to the fields, clothed in beautiful green.

I think of the days here in pleasure spent,
I feel thankful for the blessings, which God has sent.

Many days I’ve wondered over these fields so green;
Happier days my brother will never be seen.

Many times have we hunted o’er the valley and hill,
To seek Brer Rabbit, which we hunted to kill.

When the day was far spent, when our day’s hunt was o’er,
We would turn our course backward, to the old home once more.

When the winter days came our joys knew no bound,
We rejoiced at the fact that our old skates were found.

On the pond we’ve skated from morning till night,
When the old sinking sun heralded the twilight.

Then back to our homes all shivering with cold,
We returned to the fireside and heard stories told.

When the ground was all white with the beautiful snow,
Into it’s midst my dear brother, we were determined to go.

From morn until noon and from noon till night,
Together we’d snowball until our clothes were a sight.

All cold and shivering, all wet with the snow,
Back to the old fireside, again we would go.

To seek the warm comfort by it’s flames so bright,
And read fairy tales by it’s flickering light.

After supper we would gather in the old dining room,
And the games so delightful, we would eagerly resume.

When the games were all over, and we were sleepy and tired,
Up the old stairway to our beds we retired.

To dream of goblins and fairies so small,
To dream of great monsters and giants so tall.

But this is all over; it is only the past,
I gaze on the old homestead, now perhaps my last.

As the Wade family lived approximately nine miles from the train depot in Athens, a neighbor offered to drive my dad and grandpa to the depot. Along the way they noticed people waving and shouting, but did not understand why. When they arrived at the train station they learned the war had just ended and my dad was able to return home to finish his education and later teach school at Rogers Creek and also in Meigs County.

The W. D. Wade place at that time was covered with virgin timber, so my dad purchased a 1927 Fordson tractor (pictured below) to power Uncle Roy’s sawmill. With the help of Norman and Dexter and later Johnny, many trees were felled and sawn into lumber. Today, the old tractor sits in a shed on our farm, as if awaiting the return of its master.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Chattannoogan Article...

Jane (Peavyhouse) Jolley's husband Harmon, wrote me saying in part...As a sideline, I write local history articles for The, a local news service on the Web. If you go out to, you'll see the Sultana article link.

Family Reunion Remembers Survivors of Civil War Disaster

Steamboat Sultana Exploded April 27, 1865 on the Mississippi
by Harmon Jolley
posted May 18, 2009

Click to Enlarge
The Sultana, loaded with prisoners to be transferred, was photographed at Vicksburg. Click to enlarge.
It was a cool, damp day on Sunday, May 17, 2009 when members of the Wade family gathered for a reunion. The location was the Tranquility community in northwest McMinn County, Tennessee where some of the Wade ancestors once lived. The day began with special singing and worship at the Tranquility United Methodist Church. That was followed by a meal of barbecue, sharing of old photographs, and reconnecting with family.

That much sounds like many family reunions. What made this a special day, however, was that a page from Civil War history, and two Wade ancestors’ role in it, was being recalled as a part of the reunion. On April 27, 1865, brothers William and Silas Wade became among the minority of survivors of the explosion of the steamboat ship Sultana...

See The for the complete article.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

ReUnion Success!

Well I hope everyone enjoyed themselves while at the Wade Family ReUnion. As for myself, too many people and too little time to meet many of you, but I'm certainly glad you chose to come. It seems many of you left before picking up a packet of material we had prepared for you, so I'll be trying to figure out who didn't get a packet and mail one out to you over the next several weeks.

I'm still sorting through the new documents and pictures I have now as a result of you-all bringing in various heirlooms, but in time I'll try to post anything relevant I come across in my latest collection.

Today's jewel of a find is a picture of Richard Spradling (1775-1870), currently owned by Richard Land who lives not far up the road from us. If I am correct, we can all thank Nola Fitzgerald for taking a picture of Mr Land's original photo on her visit to Tennessee and then retouching it a bit on a computer to make it somewhat more visible.

This is the father of Louisa Spradling (ca1808-1897), who married James Wade (ca1803-1842) that fathered both William D. Wade & Silas W. Wade. The writing on the photo reads "Great Great Grandfather Richard Spradling, Crossed the Atlantic from England and settled in Virginia."

UPDATE: The photo of Richard Spradling Senior Senior (above) is now on the Walgreen's Photo Website (see far right tab at top of this webpage or click here) for those of you interested in having a copy for yourself. Note: To date, this is the oldest photo of anyone we've come across in the family tree.

Friday, May 15, 2009

...Last Call...

Well, while the deadline has passed for the RSVPs, there's still time to let us know you'd like to come if you want to. We've ordered some spare food for any late-comers that decide to attend and all we need is your NAME so we can have you a name-tag made up. Below, you'll find a listing of the day's events, but if you don't make it you'll be missing out on a lot of fellowship and good stories. So, if you've been pondering about coming on to this Wade Family ReUnion now's the time to make up your mind and drop us a line, or give us a call!

Events of the Day

Paul Wade

John McKenzie

Buddy’s BBQ

The Story of the Sultana
Norman Shaw

Presentation of Community Center Sign
A.D. Wade

Laying of Wreaths

Group Sing
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
Eugenia Ellis

Monday, May 11, 2009


Martha Ellen Wade married Thomas Owen November 29, 1878. Their first child, Jennie Parret, was born November 7, 1878. Ada Carolyn, their third child, was born April 8, 1885, and in her later years told of their life in Texas.

Martha Ellen filed for divorce from Thomas October 11, 1892, charging abandonment and non-support and asked for a homestead on Thomas’ land. Thomas filed a crossbill stating he went to California in the summer of 1890 on the advice of his father, M. C. Owen, who feared trouble between Thomas and James E. Gregory, with whom Martha had allegedly committed adultery. Martha dropped her suit for divorce in 1894. The reason given was that she was living in Texas and could not pursue it further; but a divorce was granted to Thomas.

By: Ada Carolyn Owen Johnson

My mother had a terrible time just feeding us. All she could do was take in washings, housework for others and anything she could get to do. We had nothing.

Not too many years later, Parret and George Janoe married, she was only 14, they lived with us and he and mother tried to make a living for us. They got to talking and it seemed that other people who had gone to Texas and word got back that it was better there so she and George decided that we would all go. We did--by train--our first train ride. They did not know where they were going and knew no one who lived any certain place so we went until they decided that was far enough. We got of f the train at Bonham, Texas--not knowing a soul there--we all, lived together and again she and George fed us. We lived somehow. She raised the five of us by herself as my dad did not contribute in any way to our support, at least after he left home.

We moved from Bonham to Pecan Gap, Texas when I was about 8 or 9-- we never did know when we had a birthday so I do not know what age we made moves. I believe we lived in Pecan Gap about four years.--- We moved from Pecan Gap to somewhere between there and Cooper, Texas.---

She (mother) burned to death at Ben Franklin, Texas. She had married an elderly man who lived close by and had three daughters. Two were still at home and one was about the same age as Oma who was still at home. She and Mr. Stanfield had a baby girl. One day she was preparing dinner. She had gathered her vegetables from the garden and put them on a table outside- -the house was in an “L” shape and the table was in the corner. She had gone in the house for something and the fire in the cook stove wasn’t burning so she told his daughter to put some coal oil on it. The little girl (about 13) picked up a five-gallon coal oil can and poured oil on the wood. There was enough of a spark left in the stove that caused the fire to flame up and it got inside the oil can and it exploded throwing fire all over my mother and the baby (Effie) who was just crawling and was sitting up under a cook table. Mother ran outside and Oma and the girl drew water and throwed on her. One of them had grabbed the baby and got her clothes out. Their screams brought Mr. Stanfield to the house but they had the fire out on both of them by the time he got there. Mother’s dress burned completely off all but the collar (Gibson Girl-type dress).

They had to ride a horse several miles to get a doctor. They put a quilt in a rocker and put Mother in it and she stayed there until the doctor got there but she died soon after. All of her hair was burned off--someone picked it up out of the yard and they put it back on her head but it didn’t look right. Her main concern, they said, was about Effie. How in the world will we ever handle her, she would say. The baby lived for about two weeks but was almost a solid blister. I do not remember who took care of it until it died.

Years passed, the five sisters married, had children, and later died with their memories. In 1993 two of Martha Ellen’s great grandchildren decided to make an attempt to learn more about her and who her parents had been. Could they find anyone who knew of her, did she have brothers and sisters, did they have unknown relatives? The search led to Tennessee, and then to McMinn County and finally to Chuck-A-Luck just south of Tranquility. In 1995 several members of the family, including Ada Caroline’s daughter Mildred came with to Tennessee to visit with their newfound relatives. Ada Caroline’s daughter Ruby (1908-1999) was the mother of Bill Moyers who currently has a weekly program, Bill Moyers Journal, on PBS.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Grandpa Wade

Even though grandpa Wade died a few months before my fifth birthday, I remember him and my step-grandmother Gussie very well. They lived in the big white two-story house at the top of the hill just west of us. Grandpa also owned the place where we lived, but I was not aware of it until after he died.

The thing I remember most about grandpa was riding in the front seat of his car with him, my father driving. I don’t remember ever riding with grandpa driving, and that is probably just as well.

My first cousin, Marjory Hart Pendergrass, related to me a rather harrowing account of her only ride with grandpa, when he took she and her mother for a ride in his newly purchased car. Grandpa’s daughter Ocea married Charlie Hart and they lived on the old John Hart place, which joined grandpa’s place on the south. Marjorie recalled grandpa had not learned how to shift gears, as his new car had a clutch and a three-speed transmission. Marjorie said her head was sore for days from hitting the roof of the car when grandpa ran over the bumps and through the mud holes in high gear.

As we did not own a car, when we went to town we always went in grandpa’s car. My father would walk up the hill and drive grandpa and Gussie down to our place and park across the road from our house in the shade of a very large cedar tree.

My father, grandpa and I always rode in the front, with my mother and Gussie in the back seat. The car was an open Overland touring car, Motor No. 187721 and was made by the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio. I do not know the exact year of the car, but the “Operation and Care” manual was copyrighted in 1924. I found the manual in my father’s trunk after he died in 1976 and it today is still in like new condition. The manual will be on the display table at Tranquility May 17.

Grandpa had the only radio in the community and we would sometimes go up to his house on Saturday night and hear a program that could have been the “Grand Ole Opry” from WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. My uncle “Barg” Wattenbarger bought the radio at the sale following Grandpa’s death.

I well remember walking up the hill to Grandpa’s house one night with my father just before Grandpa died. He was about two years younger than I am today and just what he died from I do not know. I also remember a quartet singing “We Are Going Down the Valley One by One” during his funeral at Tranquility where he and his first wife, Nancy Jane Owen Wade are buried.

My dad was only thirty-seven years old when Grandpa died. From reading his Dairy, which is in the Wade trunk, it is evident he and his dad were very close. My grandmother Wattenbarger said my dad was never the same after his father died.

My father and mother bought the eighty acres we still call home from the Wade heirs several years after Grandpa’s death. I believe they gave each of the other seven heirs $125.00 for their part which, when you include my father, placed a value of $1,000.00 on the farm.

Grandpa arranged for Gussie to live in the big white house for the rest of her life, but her stepson Roy bought out her interests about 1943 along with the interests of the other children and Gussie moved down to the old Whitehead place. Roy subsequently moved his family into the big white house. He and wife Neil lived there until their death and then Geraldine continued to live there until she had to enter the nursing home about 2002.

Uncle Roy, with the help of his sons and my father, cut and sold the virgin timber off the place. My father bought a 1927 Fordson tractor (which I still have) to power the sawmill. Johnny Wade, Roy’s youngest son, said my father could tell them each day how many board feet had been sawed that day as he kept a running total in his head. Uncle Roy and Geraldine later operated a dairy and sold milk to Mayfields.

Grandpa also had a steam engine, which sat between our house and the old log barn. A well was dug just to provide water for the steam engine. I remember shortly after Grandpa died, they fired it up and drove it around by Rogers Creek Church and up to where Uncle Roy then lived which was about a mile above Rogers Creek School. What is now known as County Road 186 was not open at that time.

The day before they moved the steam engine, they fired it up to check it out and there was still pressure on the boiler when I came home from school. Johnny Wade held me up and let me blow the whistle as they were letting the boiler pressure die down anyway.

I remember the steam engine passing the school the next day, my father driving. The teacher let us all go outside to watch. My father ran in the ditch just past the school. The monstrosity had two big chains running from the steering wheel to the front axle and must have taken enormous power to turn and my father was not a very big man.

Uncle Roy attempted to power his sawmill with the steam engine but according to Johnny they never could get the governor to satisfactorily respond to the fluctuating load of the sawmill. The steam engine was eventually sold for scrap.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RSVP Deadline & WebPage Revisions...

Well, yesterday was the deadline for getting your RSVP back into us so we can truly assess the needs of the group for the May 17, 2009 gathering. At present, I'm aware of roughly 60 70 people who have indicated they plan on attending. I say roughly, because some are still in contact dad and myself about coming.

Anyway if you'd like to attend and haven't let us know one way or the other, PLEASE be sure and contact us as soon as possible so we can shore up the numbers coming and get things finalized in the next day or two. If you didn't get a mailout, you can download it just below using the Mailing(9mb) LINK, as contact phone numbers are listed there. If you need to contact us via email, just use the CONTACT US HERE box on the right side of this page and I'll respond as quickly as I can to any inquiries.

Hope to see you there, and meet many for the first time!
Cheers, A.D. Wade

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

I made a few changes and updated the Web-Log code to make it a bit more intuitive for any new or late comers.

Those changes include:

1)Removed the Tab at the top of the page entitled Mailing(9mb) and added a LINK in the body of the post entitled The Original Flyers Mailed Out, are Now Online so folks could still download it. You can also click on the link in this comment to Download it as well.

2)Revised a Tab title from Relatives.XLS to Descendants.XLS Same file, no difference just a little better wording for the Tab itself.

3)Added a new Tab at the top entitled Descendants.PDF which allows folks to download the PDF file of all the descendants we have listed to date. HINT: Once downloaded, use the ZOOM feature of your PDF reader to make the text large enough to easily see.

NOTE: PDF stands for Portable Document File and was invented by Adobe. You can click here to download a free PDF reader for your computer's operating system and in your preferred language.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Well, at least it seems like we've made it onto the map now with the help of some internet crawling spiders fishing this website for any/all data. Good news is, if someone, somewhere, sometime plugs in Silas W. Wade looking for information about him hopefully we'll show up in their search and give them a good start to finding more out about him and his descendants!

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

Also just a reminder, next Thursday May 4, 2009 is the deadline for getting your RSVP notices back to us. That will allow us to make sure we'll have enough seats for folks, as well as food and drinks, etc for the Wade Family ReUnion at the Tranquility Community Center just North-West of Athens, Tennessee. To date, we have 48 people who have responded that they will be attending the event!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


James Wade and Louisa Spradling Wade had one daughter they named Malinda Wade, who married Daniel Carden March 2, 1862. Daniel died in the “Battle of Chickamauga” in 1863, the same year his daughter Sarah Louise was born.

Malinda then married William C. Wattenbarger April 2, 1866, and was living in Celeste, Texas, when her mother died July 14, 1897. The following month she wrote the following letter to her brother Silas concerning the division of her mothers “things”.

Dear brother,

I seat myself to write you a few lines this morning. I have just received a letter from Mary stating to me the division of mother's things. I am not satisfied with the divide. I do not think they have treated me right. There is not but one way to do business and that is the right way.

I want you to have two good disinterested people make the division and if they cannot agree they can call in a third person and I will abide by the consequence. If they cannot agree put them all up and sell them and divide the money equally.

I will itemize the things they wrote me I got:

Father's counterpin, three quilts, two or three sheets, one blanket, one coverlid, two table cloths, two undercoats, one dress, they say the clothing went against the dishes, one shawl, one pair of stockings, one bonnet and some piller slips.

Silas, I do not want any hard feelings about those things and all I want is a fair divide. Right is right and it don't wrong noboddy. If I get enough for my part I will pay the express charges.

Well Silas, I close for this time hoping to hear from you soon.

Linny Wattenbarger

The letter evidently has reference to her half sisters born to Louisa and her stepfather, Hyram Brandon. Malinda’s brothers James and William were deceased and brother Granville was living in Rhea County. Silas purchased part of the Wade farm and Levi Wattenbarger the remainder.

Malinda bore six children to William C. Wattenbarger, the last being Carmenia who was called ‘Minnie”. Carmenia married Lee Carl Owens March 26, 1906, in Utica which was in Indian Territory at that time. They named one of their three sons Alvis Edgar who later became Alvis Edgar Sr. when he named his son Alvis Edgar Jr. Junior was known as “Buck” Owens and starred in the Hee Haw television series of the 1980’s. This was confirmed in a letter to Debbie (Wade) Brooks a few years before Buck’s death.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sultana Reunion in Knoxville, TN 04/25&26/2009

Information below taken from Reunion 2009 Info.

It’s been a few years now since we last met in Knoxville so it’s time to come home for our 22nd Sultana reunion! As you might know, our association met here for the first fourteen years before we first ventured out of town to Vicksburg, MS.

Friday Evening: 7:00 p.m. - at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 2500 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN, 37920

(The easiest way to get to the church is turn right onto Maloney Road off Alcoa Highway, as you are driving north, toward Knoxville. This turn is exactly 7 miles from the hotel and right next to a large church called Sevier Heights Baptist Church. Then, go one mile and Maloney dead ends at Maryville Pike. Mt. Olive is immediately across the road. Enter the hall through the back of the building. I will put up a Sultana sign on the corner of Alcoa Highway and Maloney Road.)

Many of you will remember the great room we used in the past in the church’s fellowship hall. Plenty of space for 100 people plus a small stage we can use. Also, once again I want to encourage folks to bring display items to tell their ancestor’s story or some aspect of the Sultana tragedy. There will be tables available and an area set aside for this important part of our activities.

The theme for Friday night will be “Civil War Music.” Several talented musicians from Kentucky have offered to play at no cost but will have tapes and CDs for sale. Also, my wife’s group, the Appalachian Harmonizers, will sing a few songs as in prior meetings. I might come up with some other ideas, too.

Saturday Bus Tour–9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. (load up at the Courtyard hotel)

Something we have never done before is have a tour of Civil War sites in Knoxville, following the route that our local Civil War Roundtable put together some time ago. I will be one tour guide, and I will find another for the second bus. The last stop will be our unique Sultana monument in the cemetery of Mt. Olive Baptist Church. I believe I can find a way during the tour to have a couple of wreaths tossed off one of our bridges into the Tenn. River like some of our Sultana men once did.

Two 48 passenger school buses are reserved for the tour. The cost will only be $10.00 each person which needs to be prepaid by mailing a check made out to me, Norman Shaw, to P. O. Box 30372, Knoxville, TN, 37930.

Lunch will be at one of the downtown restaurants. I hope there we will be able to eat at a favorite place called Calhoun’s on the River. Everyone will order off the menu.

Saturday Evening Banquet–7:00 p.m.

Our hotel will serve us a buffet meal at the reasonable cost of $18.34 per person (which includes tax and gratuity). We will have a choice of two meats, three vegetables, salad, rolls, dessert, and drink. This meal must be prepaid by mailing a check to me at P. O. Box 30372, Knoxville, TN, 37930. I will give the hotel a final number and pay for the reserved meals at least 72 hours prior to Sat., April 25th. Naturally, those not staying at the hotel can dine with everyone else by prepaying, as explained above.

That’s the details as of this writing. Expect some updates in the next newsletter which will come out near the reunion date. If you need to contact me, send an e-mail to shawclan4(at)

I look forward to seeing many familiar faces in April and, hopefully, several new ones. We always have a grand time!

- Norman Shaw


Living just south of Tranquility and near the Silas Wade family was a person of mystery and probably one of the few women in this area to receive a land grant.

It has been passed down that strangers came to her gate and were handed small packages. She had a little bag similar to a doctor's bag and in this bag she kept what was thought by the neighbors to be her magic potions.

Of all the children in the neighborhood she probably made the most lasting impression on little Janira Wattenbarger who, when she was very old, told the following story to her granddaughter.

Janira Wattenbarger Rice (1846-1930)

It was back several years before the Civil War when my father first versed his suspicions of a witch in our neighborhood.

"Nonsense," said my mother and all us children in unison. But soon our opinions changed. I will try to tell you what the "witch" was like - She was a toothless old hag and must have been about 60 years old. She was of small stature and walked with a cane.

I remember well the first time I saw her. My brother and I were raking leaves when she came upon us. I looked quickly at my brother for a minute and then we took to our heels.

Next morn I learned the nature of her visit. She wanted my father to build her a house near us. Where she was originally from we never found out but here is where my story really begins.

Betsy Blessing, for that was her name, seemed to take me as an object for tormenting. She never wanted anyone to run her errands but me. One morning she came to borrow our churn, but I refused to lend it to her, as mother was not home. As she went out the gate she said "never mind Janira, I'll get even."

And she did. That night I suddenly awoke and found some unknown force pulling the covers. I awoke my sister Sarah who was sleeping by my side and the harder we pulled the harder it pulled.

Becoming alarmed we ran out the door to another section of the house. As we did a little light followed us all the way.

My cousin Sam then began to tell of a rabbit that crossed his path to and from work. Several times he had shot the rabbit but to no avail. Some of the neighbors told him to shoot it with a silver bullet. When he did just that the rabbit ran limping off through the bushes. Betsy sent for my mother saying she was ill. My mother found her with a bullet hole in her knee. To this condition Betsy gave no explanation.

One day she gave me a two month old calf. I told her I didn't want it and to give it to someone else but she insisted I take it. It was brought home and put in the pasture and there it stood for two days and nights, not moving out of it's tracks, until it died.

Then our cattle suddenly began dying. Someone told my father to burn the (dead) cattle. This my father did. No sooner had they started than Betsy ran to my mother screaming and wringing her hands begging my mother to put out the fire. Her hands and arms were burned to the elbows. She had bewitched father's cattle.

One evening as she lay asleep, someone said to stick a silver dollar to her feet and if she were a witch it would leave a blister. We finally got up the courage to do so. The old witch jumped up screaming and holding her foot. It was then she said, "Janira you'll never get anything that I have."

All this happened many years ago. Of course you will laugh and say it's an old lady's silly imagination but others than I really know her to be a witch. And to this day no one passes the place where her house stood without having that creepy chilly feeling. It was said that she had buried gold, and despite the fact that I dreamed of several places to find it I was never able to.

Following her death my parents opened her trunk and found faded dresses of fine materials and lace and silk garments. If you doubt her existence check the 1850 McMinn County Census and you will find her listed as Elizabeth Blessing, age 60, living near my father and mother, Michael and Nancy Wattenbarger.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Federal Military Records...

I tripped across the information directly below at the Federal Military Rosters website. As noted in dad's post entitled WANTED (dated April 13, 2009 ), William, Silas, and James traveled to Huntsville, Tennessee to join the 3rd Tennessee Union Cavalry Regiment, Company C. Per the record below, they joined up on November 1, 1862...

I couldn't find James Wade at first, but he appeared on a separate page of the website.

I also found Granville H. Wade (as well as John Hart III and John L. Spralding) listed under Company D of the 43rd Regiment Tennessee Volunteers of the Confederate States Army.(Note: There appears to be a misprint stating Granville H. Granville rather than Granville H. Wade, since the names are all listed in alphabetical order.) The 43rd Regiment of the Confederate States Army was also called 5th Tennessee Volunteer Regiment and 43rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry. There's more information at Tennesseans in the Civil War webpage about the 43rd Regiment, and a pretty good synopsis of their actions during the war.

Interesting how one can turn up information such as this on the web, almost 150 years after it actually happened!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


When John Hart signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he and the other signers committed an Act of Treason against the Crown. John risked his life by returning to his home in Trenton, New Jersey, to be with his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him and he escaped in the woods.

While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died in 1779 without ever finding his family.

When former McMinn County Sheriff James Franklin Hart retired to private life in the 1920’s, an article about him appeared in the local paper. In the article the former sheriff mentions the fact that the Hart family is of Scotch origin and came from South Carolina and settled in Roane County about 1812 or 1813.

Is there a link between John Hart of New Jersey and the Hart’s of South Carolina? With the data that is now accessible over the Internet, it might be possible to find out. Many of the persons listed in the Wade Family Data Base are directly descended from the Harts and all are related through Richard Spradling Sr., whose daughter Elizabeth married John Hart (1813-1902). This might be an interesting search for someone to pursue.