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Archiver > VANDERGRIFT > 1999-10 > 0938967303


From: Betty Allen <>
Subject: [VANDERGRIFT-L] Tennessee -part III
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 09:15:03 -0700 (PDT)


Walden's Ridge Pioneers

The Mountain Road

"The highway to the mountain was a fairly good road until you reached the
foot of the ridge. The road, of dirt in dry weather, and mud in wet weather,
went almost straight up the mountain with the exception of a slight turn to
the right about halfway up. At the bluff there was a hanging rock hung out
over the road and almost immediately over a wooden log bridge that spanned a
gulch, and up a "V" road."

"Starting up the ridge it was customary for all males to get out and walk,
carrying a rock to block the wagon or buggy, whichever it happened to be.
Teams never covered over fifty feet before they would stop to rest and the
driver had to block the wheels to keep the wagon from rolling back down the
hill. "I remember a wagonload of household goods, hams, sides of bacon and
other food supplies being scattered all over the side of the mountain when a
team of mules backed off the road at the bluff."

"At the top was a toll gate belonging to Alfred Conner and his brother,
Squire Tom Conner. It was operated by Frank Conner, now a member of the
Half-Century Club. Alfred Conner and Tom Conner were both born on the ridge,
Alfred in 1844 and Tom in 1853. Tom Conner lived in the same house he was
born in and died there a few years ago."

"In 1880 there was only one house from the Anderson Pike, across the
mountain from the "V", south to the bluffs to what is now known as James
Point and Signal Mountain. That house was occupied by a native mountaineer,
John Levi. ..........."

Natives in 1880

"The natives of the Ridge in 1880 were largely composed of descendants of
Elisha Rogers, the original owner of the land. Some that I can recall were
John Levi, Squire J. H. Gadd, George W. Brown, Jesse Brown, Will Nixon,
Frank Woodhead, James Lusk, Squire Tome Conner, J.A. (Hooper) Conner, Alfred
Conner, Elisha Smith, George W. Sawyers, Taylor Guess, William Miles (father
of Joe Miles), and others."
George W. Gardenshire
Clipping File
Tennessee Historical Collection
Chattanooga Public Library 


Pioneer Settlement of Walden's Ridge
The Creek and the Cherokee Indians used Walden's Ridge as a productive
hunting ground, however their towns wee not located there. One of the Indian
names for the Cumberland Mountains, of which Walden's Ridge is a
southeastern spur, meant "Mountains where the Deer Live." They valued these
mountains as an essential part of their territory but their towns were in
the more fertile valleys."

Tennessee became the sixteenth state to be admitted to the Union in 1796,
however, Walden's Ridge and all of Hamilton County north of the Tennessee
River remained as part of the Cherokee Nation until the Hiwassee Treaty of
1819. Chattanooga and the surrounding country south of this river was
Cherokee territory until the forced removal of these civilized Indians in 1838.

Walden's Ridge was legally open to white settlement in 1823, or fifteen
years earlier than Chattanooga, but few families moved there before 1838. It
is believed the first family to settle in the Hamilton County section of
Walden's Ridge was the Miles family. According to Joseph Miles, when the
original Miles came to Hamilton County, the Cherokee Indians were still
across the Tennessee River in what is now Chattanooga. This pioneer Miles
had come from North Carolina to enter a land grant in the valley section of
Hamilton County but got into an argument with one of the Cherokees over this
land and killed the Indian by striking him over the head with a bar of lead
wrapped in a cloth sack. Miles feared retalliation from the Indians, and
took to the hills. Walden's Ridge was the nearest and wildest mountain, so
he loaded his family and their belongings into their wagon and started up
Levi's Gap (this is the gap where the present natural gas pipe line crosses
the eastern part of Walden's Ridge). When they reached the cliffs they
couldn't get their wagon throug, so had to take it apart and carry it, piece
by piece, over the bluff and reassemble it on top, all of which took two
days. They traveled on for another half day, finally selecting a site near
Lone Oak and the present Sequatchie County line for their first log cabin.

A trickle of other families moved to Walden's Ridge shortly after the
Cherokee removal in 1838, but there were only about twenty families living
there at the time of the Civil War. Among the earliest settlers, after the
Miles and Winchester families, were the Kells, Brimers and Duckers, who
built near Lone Oak; the Freidenburgs, who built in the Horseshoe, north of
Lone Oak; the Vandergriff, Gadd and Hartman families, who settled near
Sawyers; the Houser, Beck and Conner families, near Fairmount; the Rogers on
the east brow; the Levi's near Summertown and Bob White near Edwards Point.

Four pioneer settlers, who did purchase grants in the early years, were
Jacob Harman, 634 acres in 1829; Gilbert Vandergriff, 2,000 acres in 1842;
Goerge Levi, 500 acres in 1849; and by assignment, Elisha Rogers' grant of
1,000 acres to J.C. Conner and George Rogers in 1847.

After the Civil War, the toll gate for Anderson Pike was moved from the
Elisha Rogers place, three miles west to the James C. Conner place.
Sources:
Signal Mountain and Walden's Ridge, Carter Patten
Pioneers of Walden's Ridge, Elise Conner Adams. Chattanooga, 1950 

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