Chester Martin Remembers Alice Warner

Sunday, October 11, 2015

I knew Alice Warner Milton late in her life, following her close involvement with the Fort Loudoun Historical Association, She knew more about the Cherokee and early English settlements than any other source. Period. And she was instigator of the famous “Snail-darter Controversy” of the early 1980’s

Alice was born on the banks of the Little Tennessee River, heard the lore of the area from childhood, and personally discovered the postmolds of the long-forgotten British Colonial Fort Loudoun in her early youth.

A lifetime love-affair between Alice and that fort ensued. She personally developed a highly interesting guided nature trail through the area – above the bluffs, which are now under water.

Someone commissioned me to do a painting of Fort Loudoun as it was when new in 1756. I needed expert help for the building details, British flag, etc., etc., so my wife and I welcomed her to our home while that work was in progress.

Mrs. Milton had her own “take” on local history, as do most historians. There was no doubt in her mind that the site designated today as “Ross’s Landing” could not be the true site – because why would Mr. Ross want to drive his horse and buggy so many miles daily from Rossville to the present site of our Tennessee Aquarium? There was NO Chattanooga at Ross’s time, and she thought the actual Ross’s  Landing was more nearly in the area of where Chattanooga Creek empties into the Tennessee River. Furthermore, the later Cravens family which located on the side of Lookout Mountain acquired the former Ross’s Landing (after 1838) and set up their Craven’s Yard in its place. From their vantage on the mountainside, they could look down on their Yard. (“Yard” simply meant a “place where work is done”)

Alice introduced me to the various bands of Cherokee. The “Overhill Cherokee” were the ones who lived in the vicinity of Fort Loudoun, and who had split with the North Carolina band, moving “over the hills” into Tennessee. Sequoyah, the famous developer of a Cherokee syllabary, was said to have been born in one of the several Overhill villages which once existed there. Another village of the area was called “Tenase”, which gave its name to the state. Both those villages are now under water. Directly across the river stood the Tellico Blockhouse, where several treaties between Native Americans and English were signed. A Cherokee Chief of the time, “The Broom” rode from his village of “Broomtown” on the Alabama line, near Menlo, GA, to affix his “X” mark to one of those treaties. “Broomtown Road” still exists as GA Highway 337, between LaFayette and Menlo GA. My father grew up close to it.

The “Little Carpenter” was one of several famous Chiefs from Fort Loudoun days, but that was only one of several names he had at different points in his life. He was called a “carpenter” by the British because it meant someone adept at creating treaties, able to please all sides: a WISE MAN, in short, or facile with words. (Think of how Jesus’s earthly father was said to be a “carpenter”, in King James’s English!).

But the Little Carpenter’s son was not so even-tempered and welcoming to the white man, becoming exasperated with them, and moving his renegade band of followers first, to the site of future Chattanooga. This renegade firebrand Cherokee was the famous “Dragging Canoe”, later getting mixed up with the “James Brown Massacre” (of whites), which got Andrew Jackson’s attention. Go read it!

All this according to Alice Milton. In her eighties she would drive three times a week to teach it at UTK.

(Chester Martin is a native Chattanoogan who is a talented painter as well as local historian. He and his wife, Pat, live in Brainerd. Mr. Martin can be reached at )

Chester Martin
Chester Martin

John S. Elder Was Early Settler At Ooltewah

The Elders were among Tennessee's earliest pioneers and were well acquainted with Davy Crockett. John S. Elder and his nephew, Robert S. Elder, made their way to Hamilton County at an early date. The family traces back to Samuel Elder, who in April 1796 paid $200 for 150 acres in the "County of Greene Territory of the United States of America South ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society To Meet Feb. 6 At Walden Town Hall

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will meet at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Walden Town Hall, 1836 Taft Hwy. The meeting begins with refreshments, followed by a brief business meeting and program. In preparation for the Signal  Mountain Centennial, which takes place in 2019, Jim Douthat, a widely recognized historian and member of the Society, will deliver ... (click for more)

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, Shot Early Sunday Morning On Lillian Lane

Ivy Johnson, 23, And Cordarrius Johnson, 26, were shot early Sunday morning.   Chattanooga Police were notified at 4:39 a.m. of two people arriving at a local hospital with gunshot wounds. Upon arrival, police spoke with the two victims who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshot wounds. The victims arrived at the hospital via personal vehicle.   ... (click for more)

2 Top Officials Leave Administration Of Sheriff Eric Watson

Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson on Sunday announced the resignations of Chief Deputy Brian Smith and Director of Administrations Arnold Botts. He said they "served with distinction for the past four years." The Sheriff's Office said, "Smith notified Sheriff Watson that he is exploring business opportunities in the private sector, while Botts mentioned the timing was right ... (click for more)

DACA Or Amnesty To Become The Majority?

As we have the political drama that we see in D.C. let’s be honest about what DACA is all about. We understand as the liberal policies of abortion, dependency on the government and an anti-American globalist / progressive agenda that many have come to realize these policies no longer represent their core beliefs and have left a certain party. Without an influx of new dependency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Rebranding & ‘Culture’

My grandfather, who ran several very successful businesses, was a very astute fellow. I can’t tell you how many times he said, “The worst thing any salesman who calls on a business can say is, ‘I am here to save you some money.’ That’s not true -- In every instance they are in front of you hoping to make some money for themselves, else they would have never come by.” Another ... (click for more)