Memories Of A Remarkable Woman, Martha Bachman McCoy

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - by Ruth Robinson

A decision that will enhance the lives of people on Walden's Ridge for years to come is the legacy of a remarkable woman. The property Martha Bachman McCoy wanted in her will for the Town of Walden to purchase for the use of the people is one of few large parcels of property left on the Ridge.

Mrs. McCoy's life spanned the entire 20th Century, a time of unparalleled growth and change. The daughter of Tennessee U.S. Senator Nathan Bachman and granddaughter of Dr. Jonathan Waverly Bachman, long-time pastor of First Presbyterian Church, she grew up on Walden's Ridge in the home on Anderson Pike purchased by her father in 1912.

After her marriage to Attorney Tom McCoy they lived in Asheville, N.C., where their daughter, Sally was born. Mrs. McCoy maintained a close association with her parents and the home in Walden's Ridge, returning with her family to live there to care for her mother after her father's death in 1947.

Walden historian Karen Paul Stone knew Mrs. McCoy when she was growing up. During the years Mrs. Stone lived away the McCoys were married, lived in Asheville and then returned to the mountain.. He died in the early fifties, so Mrs. Stone, who returned in 1985, never knew him, but "he was said to be one handsome man. She kept his picture on her dresser forever."

Mrs. Stone has many fond memories of Mrs. McCoy in the days when she would ride her horse on the McCoy property or see Mrs. McCoy riding her horse by her home. Mrs. McCoy invited any of the children to ride their horses on her property, so long as they behaved properly.

Mrs. Stone's mother, Virginia Paul, was a good friend of Mrs. McCoy and Mrs. Stone's friendship with Mrs. McCoy was renewed when she moved back.

"She was very attractive in every way," Mrs. Stone said. "She had an erect carriage, but was not snooty. She had the kindest, sweetest way, but was very much in charge. From her father and grandfather she inherited a sense of duty."

Mrs. McCoy was a vivacious woman who loved life and people and Walden's Ridge, according to Mrs. Stone and Walden Alderman Elizabeth Akins, who became a friend before Walden became a town. :"She loved the mountain people and rode her horse all around the mountain," Mrs. Stone said. "She was quite adventurous."

She loved animals and often fed homeless animals, Mrs. Akins said. She regularly fed wild animals, with foxes on one side of the house and racoons on the other, so they would not fight.

In a talk to the Signal Mountain Lions Club, Anne Huff said Mrs. McCoy was a champion of the Ridge and its people. She was well known for her historical sketches and talks in which her continuing theme was the community spirit and fellowship of all the inhabitants of Walden's Ridge, irrespective of town or county residence. Her passing marks the end of an era.

She modeled her father's innate, inflexible love of justice and sense of personal honor. While her social graces were refined, she demonstrated a humble spirit. She was generous in giving of her possessions and herself while she retained her own sense of strong personal identity. She was reared to serve others and was an active leader in the community. She served on the boards of Little Miss Mag Day Nursery, Girls Preparatory School, the Red Cross, Family Service Agency, volunteered at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute and was a member of First Presbyterian Church, the DAR and .the Colonial Dames of America.

Bachman Elementary School was named for the Senator and one day when she was writing a history of the school, Mrs. Akins had an interview with Mrs. McCoy. Mrs. Akins had also lived in Asheville before moving to Signal Mountain, so the two women soon became good friends.

When the town of Walden was incorporated, it had no funds and Mrs. McCoy sent a donation. "She was always interested in town affairs," Mrs. Akins said. "When we decided to build a Town Hall, we wanted to buy part of the McCoy property, but she refused., saying ‘You can't afford it.'"

Some years later the Town did purchase the old five-acre Miles homeplace, which she owned. Then in her will she gave the old McCoy home place and five acres around it to the Town and the option to buy the remainder of the property.

"Her daughter and three grandchildren had all moved away and did not intend to return, so they cooperated with her will," Mrs. Stone said.

In the will Mrs. McCoy specified that the property should be used for an arboretum, a public park or passive recreation. For years the Town had been setting aside money with which to buy the property upon her death and since the purchase the Town has been considering ways in which to use the property.

The mayor and aldermen thought this decision should be made by the citizens of Walden and so there have been discussions and visits to the property to make suggestions. Then the Town hired the landscape architecture firm Barge Waggoner Summer and Cannon Inc. to develop plans from suggestions submitted by the community in previous meetings. The blueprint developed includes plans for walking trails, community gardens and an arboretum.

The property includes 34 acres of land. Once a working farm, now consists of an apple orchard, wild flowers and woodland, the main house, a two-car garage with an apartment above, a tenant house, a smoke house, riding ring, party house, barn, corn crib, tool houses, equipment sheds, potting house and gardens.

An open house will be held Jan. 20 to seek community comments on how the Walden community will develop the Martha Bachman McCoy property at 1517 Anderson Pike across from St. Augustine Church. Whatever plan evolves will probably be carried out in phases, as money is available, Mrs. Akins said.

"She had a most charming funeral," Mrs. Stone said. "She had written her own service and set it at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Everybody loved her and skipped church to come to the Forest Hills graveside. The service ended with a phrase she often used when it was time for a meeting to end: ‘It's time for you to go home now.'"
.


Wayne Shearer’s World War II Memoir, Part 12: Testing And Preparing For Pilot Training

President Trump Takes Next Step To Include President Polk’s Home In The National Park System

Boomers, Shakers And Beyond Offers Climbing Your Family Tree Family History Program


(Editor’s Note: Dr. Wayne Shearer, 94, is a retired optometrist and retired colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserve now living in Hixson. In his early 90s, he decided to sit down and write from ... (click for more)

Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn said a bill signed today by President Trump will take the next step to protect and preserve President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tn. “Tennessee ... (click for more)

Boomers, Shakers and Beyond announces Climbing Your Family Tree , a family history program by experts Gloria Smartt and Tom Tosh on March 26 at 1 p.m. They will review the basics on exploring ... (click for more)


Memories

Wayne Shearer’s World War II Memoir, Part 12: Testing And Preparing For Pilot Training

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Wayne Shearer, 94, is a retired optometrist and retired colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserve now living in Hixson. In his early 90s, he decided to sit down and write from memory and a few records he still possesses his recollections of going through Army Air Corps pilot training at several bases in the United States during World War II. A lifelong writer, ... (click for more)

President Trump Takes Next Step To Include President Polk’s Home In The National Park System

Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn said a bill signed today by President Trump will take the next step to protect and preserve President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tn. “Tennessee is full of history, and Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home is a special prize for Tennesseans as well as all Americans,” Senator Alexander said. “We talk a lot about the importance ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Arrive Logistics To Expand In Chattanooga With 500 More Jobs, $3.6 Million Investment

Arrive Logistics officials announced Thursday that the company will expand its operations in Chattanooga. The logistics company will invest approximately $3.6 million into the region and create 500 new jobs in Hamilton County. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Arrive Logistics is a technology-enabled, growth-focused freight brokerage who serves shipper and ... (click for more)

Chattanooga And St. George, Utah Announced As Finalists For 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship Triathlon

IRONMAN announced on Thursday that Chattanooga and St. George, Utah have been named finalists to host the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship triathlon, which will rotate back to the United States of America after last playing host to the event in 2017. The 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be a two-day event, a format that was first adopted in 2017 when the event was held ... (click for more)

Opinion

Keep The Electoral College

In 1950 there were 12 urban areas in the United States that had one million or more citizens. In 2010, 41 had more than one million in population and this number is projected to grow to 53 by 2030 (Source: United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division). And currently more than 85 percent of our population is clustered into cities. Of the ten most ... (click for more)

Thank You, Senator Alexander, For Protecting Our Health

The American Lung Association in Tennessee is grateful to Senator Alexander for opposing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to weaken the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. Mercury causes permanent damage to the brains of babies and unborn children, leading to developmental delays, learning disabilities and birth defects. Power plants also emit more than 80 other ... (click for more)