Ringgold Honors Cherokee History with Historic Marker

Friday, September 27, 2013
New marker commemorates one of Catoosa County's Founding Fathers: Cherokee Chief Richard Taylor.
New marker commemorates one of Catoosa County's Founding Fathers: Cherokee Chief Richard Taylor.
- photo by Joseph Brellenthin

The Ringgold Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) unveiled the first historical narrative tablet highlighting Native American experience in Ringgold featuring Taylor in conjunction with the Celtic Festival last month.  

The marker denotes the tremendous contributions of the founding father of the region for which 'Taylor’s Crossroads' was initially named. The community was renamed to Ringgold in 1847 a few years after Taylor led a group on the Trail of Tears. 

 “We unveiled the tablet on the 175 anniversary of the beginning of that group’s journey Sept. 20, 1838, remembering our connection to one of the saddest periods in our nation’s history,” said CVB Vice Chairman Randall Franks. 

 The CVB is currently planning additional markers that tell the story of the various peoples who made their homes along the creek in Ringgold Gap placing them throughout the trail system, according to  Franks. 

"We have so many people both residents and visitors who utilize our nature trail. The CVB is focusing on enhancing the walking experience in Ringgold with unique markers that can be enjoyed by everyone,” said Ronal Graham, Ringgold CVB chairman. The marker is at the parking entrance of the Richard Taylor Nature Trail off Emberson Drive in Ringgold.

The tablet tells the story of how Taylor held a leadership role among the Cherokees for much of his adult life, serving as one of 13 members of the Cherokee National Committee, representing the Chickamauga District of the original Cherokee Nation as a delegate to Washington on numerous occasions, and eventually being elected as assistant chief.

Franks, also an award-winning journalist and author, compiled the information for the tablet but credited historians William H.H. “Bill” Clark, Nancy Crowe, and the late Susie Blaylock McDaniel, Janet and David G. Campbell, Norman Lansford and Cherokee.org for their work in recording some of the history featured and Rachel Brown for editing.

Clark attended the unveiling and spoke briefly about Taylor saying that he knew at least three presidents personally as well as a U.S. Supreme Court chief justice. "When compared with his times and contemporaries, he was probably the most outstanding man the Catoosa County area has produced,” he said. Taylor operated an inn, tavern, tollgate, saw mills and grist mills at Taylor’s Crossroads, according to Clark.

"Funding for the narrative tablets are provided by hotel/motel tax funds paid for by visitors as they stay in the community and must be used to enhance the experience of tourists in the community," Graham said.

“Folks travel from around the region to marry in Ringgold,” said Franks. “Some of the favorite stories that folks like to share are the famous people who started their lives here. We are honored to get those stories placed where residents and visitors can enjoy them.”

CVB Members, and Eastern Cherokee Tribe Member Alva Crowe and his wife Nancy unveil a new marker to commemorate Richard Taylor's legacy. From left are (in red) Bill Clark; (in pink) Raye Brooks; (in green) Randall Franks; (in white) Alva Crowe; (in grey) Nancy Crowe.
CVB Members, and Eastern Cherokee Tribe Member Alva Crowe and his wife Nancy unveil a new marker to commemorate Richard Taylor's legacy. From left are (in red) Bill Clark; (in pink) Raye Brooks; (in green) Randall Franks; (in white) Alva Crowe; (in grey) Nancy Crowe.
- Photo2 by Joseph Brellenthin

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