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.'"
.


Old Photo Of Railroad Bridge And Auto Bridge Across River - Where Is This?

Wayne Shearer’s World War II Memoir, Part 23: Being Called An Ace And Hearing Tragic News Of Fellow Grider Pilot

McCoy Farm Nominated For National Register Of Historic Places


Old photos of a railroad bridge and an auto bridge across a rver are in a collection of Thompson family items. Does anyone know the location? It is possibly near Spartanburg, S.C. Sam Hall ... (click for more)

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Wayne Shearer, 95, 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)

McCoy Farm is one of the proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places the Tennessee State Review Board will meet to examine on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The Board will vote ... (click for more)


Memories

Old Photo Of Railroad Bridge And Auto Bridge Across River - Where Is This?

Old photos of a railroad bridge and an auto bridge across a rver are in a collection of Thompson family items. Does anyone know the location? It is possibly near Spartanburg, S.C. Sam Hall of Chattanoogahistory.com (previously Deep Zoom Chattanooga) noticed some clues when he scanned the photos. He said, "There’s a sign in one for 'Ballenger’s Pain Store' in Spartanburg, ... (click for more)

Wayne Shearer’s World War II Memoir, Part 23: Being Called An Ace And Hearing Tragic News Of Fellow Grider Pilot

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Wayne Shearer, 95, 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)

Breaking News

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Tennessee American Water Company To Recover Losses Caused By Water Loss Incident

A class action complaint has been filed in the Circuit Court of Hamilton County against American Water Works Company, Inc; American Water Works Service Company, Inc.; and Tennessee-American Water Company d/b/a Tennessee American Water, after the Water Loss Incident precipitated by the water main break which occurred last Thursday evening. The lawsuit, captioned Bruce, et al. ... (click for more)

3-Year-Old Victim Of E. 36th Street Blaze On Sept. 5 Succumbs To Injuries

One of the victims of the Sept. 5 fire on E. 36th Street, a three-year-old child, has passed away from his injuries. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time. This is a loss for his loved ones, the community and our department," said Chattanooga Fire Chief Phil Hyman. The child, his two siblings and his father were taken to the hospital ... (click for more)

Opinion

Let The Water Company Pay The Bill

Tennessee American breaks a line and 35,000 people lose water for three days. Well they don’t exactly admit they broke it, they were working on it a few feet away and it just broke….so they say. One half of TAWC service area is out of water three days and nights, hospitals canceling surgery, schools closed and opened and then sending the children home, businesses shut down, government ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Total Rest May Help

Roy Exum will be on vacation this week as he recovers from a recent surgery. His doctors and his close friends believe in him and urge him to “take some time for himself.” It is believed "total rest" will be greatly beneficial in the healing process. He greatly appreciates the emails and the telephones calls has received and appreciates your kindness. He hopes to return ... (click for more)