John P. Longs Arrived At Ross's Landing By Flatboat Prior To The Indian Removal

Friday, January 19, 2018 - by John Wilson

When John and Eliza Long came into view of the Ross's Landing wilderness in 1836, they "felt we were coming out of the world to come and live among the bears and Indians, yet we were full of hope and courage.'' John Pomfret Long floated down by flatboat from Rhea County, while Mrs. Long followed on horseback with an uncle. When Mrs. Long stood on the dividing line between white man and Indian, she "looked with delight on the beautiful landscape - Lookout Mountain and Cameron Hill - their sides and the valley beneath were covered with what seemed to me a vast unbroken forest.'' The Landing then included only a muddy winding road (Market Street) with a few "straggling log cabins.'' There were three small log stores. A cabin that was a little larger than the rest was a
tavern and inn kept by the widow Jane Henderson.

John P. Long said with an air of pride to his bride, "Your future home - right in the Indian nation.'' Then all the settlers (about a dozen families) came to a special supper to bid the newcomers a hearty welcome. Mrs. Long found "here and there settlements of Indians, who owned horses and cattle and a good many Negro slaves. They were kind masters. The nation owned the land and each Indian could have all the land he could cultivate. The Indian neighbors were kind and friendly. They were good customers who always paid their debts.''

The Longs occupied a two-room log cabin, with the front room filled with store goods. The back room was "a parlor, dining room, chamber and kitchen all in one.'' There was a big, wide chimney and board windows. In this simple residence, the Longs were "just as happy as if we had lived in a mansion.'' The Longs kept no lock on their door. Valuable goods were left lying on the wharf for weeks and "nobody touched them.''

John P. Long learned to talk with the Indians, and he asked them questions about the history of the area, including the origin of the name "Chattanooga.'' Soon the decree went out that the Indians were to be deported west, away from their beloved homeland. One of the stockades was by the river near Ross's Landing. A regiment of U.S. soldiers was stationed on the hill at East Fourth Street (Brabson Hill) to aid in the roundup and to help protect the white settlers in case there should be an uprising. Mrs. Long was distressed as she saw the soldiers leading her Indian friends into the stockade. She said of the "Trail of Tears,'' "A long and terrible journey it was, and hundreds died along the way.''

John P. Long was a native of Knoxville, the son of William and Jane Bennett Long, who were married in 1805. William Long, a carpenter, also moved to Ross's Landing. William Long was born Feb. 19, 1775, at Mecklenburg County, N.C. He moved to Knoxville in 1797 and resided there until 1813 when he moved to Washington in Rhea County. William Long arrived at Ross's Landing in November 1836. He was one of the organizers of the Presbyterian Church at Chattanooga in 1840 and he served as an elder. He was so uniformly upright that the saying arose "as honest as Billy Long.'' He died Nov. 1, 1844. Jane Bennett Long died at Chattanooga on Dec. 10, 1859. Their other children were Mary Long who married John A. Hooke, and James Shields Long, a physician who married Jane Caldwell of Monroe County, Ga. James Shields Long died in 1866, leaving daughters Mary and Virginia.

John P. Long's grandfather, John Long, was a native of County Antrim, Ireland, who went to Mecklenburg County. He came alone to America, leaving only a maiden sister in Ireland. During the Revolution, some Tories were captured and brought in to Charlotte. It was learned from them that an attack was to be made on Post Ninety Six, about 100 miles from Charlotte. John Long is said to have gone on foot to Ninety Six, leaving at sunrise and delivering the dispatch at sundown. It was said to be "a remarkable record, showing the patriotism of the man, the spirit of the times, and the pluck that is in the blood of the Longs.'' John Long was drowned in 1799 while returning in the night from a Masonic meeting.

Jane Bennett Long was the daughter of Major Peter Bennett and Elizabeth Pomfret Bennett. Elizabeth Pomfret was the daughter of John Pomfret of King William County, Va. He was the son of another John Pomfret who came from England to King William County and married a Miss Hunt. He died in Granville County, N.C., in 1802 at the age of 84. Major Bennett, a Virginia native, was sheriff of Granville County before moving to Knox County in 1802. Major Bennett died in 1822 at Knox County. Jane Bennett Long was born in Granville County Jan. 26, 1781, and moved with her father to Knox County in 1802. She was a Presbyterian.

John Pomfret Long was born in Knox County Nov. 25, 1807. He finished his schooling at Knoxville when he was 14, then the Longs moved to Washington at Rhea County. He worked for three years at a tannery, then clerked three years at Washington for Col. Thomas McCallie. John P. Long built a frame house there, but just after it was finished it was washed off its foundation and out into the street. Later, Long made it into a raft and floated down to Ross's Landing. He then rebuilt the house at his new home.

Eliza Smith Long was born on Jan. 25, 1813, near Hiwassee Garrison at the mouth of Richland Creek in Rhea County. She was the daughter of William Smith, a schoolteacher who moved down from Massachusetts to Knox County in 1808. He later established Smith's Crossroads (Dayton) in Rhea County. The wife of William Smith was Elizabeth Cozby, daughter of the physician and Indian fighter Dr. James Cozby. Dr. Cozby was married to Isabella Woods. Eliza Smith resided on her father's farm until she was 16, then she went away to the college operated at Knoxville by Dr. Esterbrook. Her marriage to John P. Long occurred on Nov. 6, 1834, at Smith's Crossroads.

It was John P. Long who suggested the name "Chattanooga'' when there was a town meeting to replace the old title of Ross's Landing. Along with Aaron M. Rawlings and George W. Williams, he was a commissioner at the time entries were made for lots at Chattanooga. He was the town's first postmaster and was city recorder for three years, until the city was evacuated by the Confederates. He joined the Presbyterian church in 1843 and was elected an elder in his father's place after his death. John P. Long cast his first vote in 1832 - for General Andrew Jackson. He next supported Hugh Lawson White, then he voted the Whig ticket "from Harrison to Bell.'' Afterwards, he was a Democrat. He attended the Whig state convention at Murfreesboro in 1841. He was "always a States' Rights man as was his father before him.'' He voted against secession in February of 1861, but, after Lincoln ordered out troops, he voted for it.

When the Civil War fighting began, John P. Long at first kept his family in town. In 1862, he was appointed provost-marshal of Chattanooga by General John Porter McCown. With the arrival of the Yankees, John P. Long went south to Griffin, Ga., to prepare a place for his family. However, Mrs. Long and her boys, John P. Long Jr., Milo Smith Long and Marcus Bearden Long, along with their servant Aunt Clary and her daughters, were caught up in the fierce fighting in 1863. At the time they lived on South Market Street where the Chattanooga Choo Choo is now located. Early the next morning after the fighting at Chickamauga, the Longs awoke to find the house covered with soldiers pulling shingles off in preparation for the imminent battle that was expected in Chattanooga. The Longs then joined the "strange, silent motley crowd all leaving their homes.'' There was "no weeping or lamentations'' as they looked back and one of the boys said, "Look, mother, there goes our house.''

Aunt Clary jerked the family Bible away from a Union soldier who was tearing out the leaves,
and it was said it was the only time in her life that Aunt Clary ever cursed. The Longs went to the home of Mrs. Long's brother, Dr. Milo Smith. The family suffered hunger in the months the town was under Confederate siege, and Mrs. Long once made a personal appeal to General James A. Garfield, a future president. He gave her part of his own food - a piece of hardtack and a piece of white meat. The Longs were finally able to join John P. Long at Griffin, Ga., where they remained for the duration of the war.

John P. Long Jr., who was barely old enough to enlist, had a leg blown off at the battle of Atlanta. Rheumatism developed in his other leg so that it was useless to him. In 1879. he died at age
33 of heart disease at his parents' home. John P. Long Jr., who served with the 19th Tennessee
Infantry, was born March 4, 1847.

An older brother, James Cozby Long, was in a number of naval fights, serving as a crew member of the Merrimac. Born in 1844, he was educated at the Naval Academy at Annapolis. He resigned and joined the Confederate Navy in 1861 and was attached to the fleet off the coast of North Carolina. He was in a fight at Roanoke Island prior to transferring to the Merrimac. He was in the famous naval fights at Hampton Roads and remained with the ship until it burned. He then transferred to Drury's Bluff and then to Plymouth, N.C. He was on the ironclad Plymouth when it was blown up by the U.S. Navy. Later, he served on a blockade runner. After the war, he was a civil engineer, having
charge of the government works at Muscle Shoals for a time. He later was a manufacturer of iron paint at Birmingham, Ala. He marred Frances Walker at Elyton, Ala., in 1872. Their children were William Walker, John Pomfret, James Cozby and Mary.

Milo Smith Long graduated in medicine at Nashville and moved to Dakota. Marcus Bearden Long was a civil engineer. He was at one time an engineer on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. He was unmarried.

The Long home was at West Seventh and Cedar after the war. Always a Chattanooga booster, John P. Long gave a speech in March of 1880 outlining the city's history. He gained a law license in 1868 and he practiced mainly in the realty area. John P. Long lived until 1889, and Mrs. Long survived until March 30, 1900. It was said of John P. Long that he "has desired wealth and has been sometimes up and sometimes down, but has always made it a rule to pay his debts. With one exception he has always made a profit on whatever he has sold. He never swore an oath in his life, and was brought up to regard the Sabbath. He has never been dissipated, though not always strictly temperate. He is a self-assertive man, and of quick temper.''

Of the 11 children of John P. and Eliza Long, five died in infancy. Several did not marry. William Pomfret Long, the eldest, died when he was 19. Elizabeth Jane Long died when she was 16. John Pomfret Long IV, a descendant of James Cozby Long, resided at Tullahoma. He had two sons.



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