Chester Martin: More About My "Ox-Cart" Memory

Friday, April 5, 2019 - by Chester Martin

One of my last "Memories" articles was accompanied by a photo showing an ox-cart loaded with happy people on a Sunday afternoon at Harrisburg, Ga., in the early days of the last century.  Harrisburg was significant at one time as being a station for the TAG (Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia) Railroad which existed from approximately 1890 until 1971, serving as a main artery of transportation, both for passengers and freight. It ran between Chattanooga and Gadsden, Ala., along the foot of Pigeon Mountain.

Until the railroad went through, this entire northwest corner of Georgia was very isolated and cut off from all major population centers and trade routes - and it is where my father was born, in 1884.

Dad kept his memories alive of growing up near there by saving such items as that ox-cart photo as a souvenir, and publication of it has opened up a whole new vista into Chattooga County's history never dreamed of, as follows:

One of my readers familiar with the area wrote that she strongly believes the ox-cart shown in the photo became locally famous as a "tuition payment" to Berry School at Rome, Ga. She said that Berry School has kept a picture of (supposedly) that very ox-cart (and team) which was accepted as full tuition payment from a farmer lad of the area. My understanding is that the school keeps their own photo of it on display as a constant reminder to the public of Martha Berry's charitable and altruistic influence throughout the region. Well-off farmers frequently had no cash, but could pay "in kind".

My father also went to Berry School and remembered the Sunday morning marches from the school into Rome for church services, the cheers for "Miss Berry", at ball games, etc. I still have all dad's paperwork from his brief stay there - including the hand-written letter asking him to come back for a second year. Unfortunately, his father died in 1906, and he had to return home to work on the farm. He never got to go back.

Founded in 1902, anyone interested in Education in our region, and not already familiar with the school, should read up on the modern  Berry College - which humbly started out as, "The Berry School for Boys".

(The writer is aware that Harrisburg appears on different old maps as being both in Walker and Chattooga Counties. It remains confusing to me, as dad's address was "Summerville, RFD", which indicated Chattooga County, although Google shows it clearly to be - barely - inside Walker.   Just thought I should add this disclaimer for those who "know"!)

* * *

Chester Martin is a native Chattanoogan who is a talented painter, sculptor and artisan as well as local historian. He and his wife, Pat, live in Brainerd. Mr. Martin can be reached at cymppm@comcast.net.



Wayne Shearer’s Special World War II Memoir Entry: Hearing About D-Day While In Texas

Chester Martin: Memories Of D-Day, 1944

Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR Earns Tennessee Society Recognition


(Editor’s Note: In connection with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Wayne Shearer, 94, is running his memoir entries from June 6, 1944, and immediately afterward in this entry. The regular series ... (click for more)

I was only 9 years old at the time and schools had just let out for the summer. I do not remember any particular increase in 'war-talk' among the adult population, and if there were any of that, ... (click for more)

The Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Revolution has awarded the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR with the Second Place Recognition for the number of points earned by activities related ... (click for more)


Memories

Wayne Shearer’s Special World War II Memoir Entry: Hearing About D-Day While In Texas

(Editor’s Note: In connection with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Wayne Shearer, 94, is running his memoir entries from June 6, 1944, and immediately afterward in this entry. The regular series will pick back up beginning with late December 1943 in the next installment). On June 6, 1944, my aviation cadet pilot class was nearing the end of our 18-month training and we understood ... (click for more)

Chester Martin: Memories Of D-Day, 1944

I was only 9 years old at the time and schools had just let out for the summer. I do not remember any particular increase in 'war-talk' among the adult population, and if there were any of that, it never reached us kids. True, the adult population seemed to have followed a thin line of information, available on newspaper and radio news, but NO ONE in the civilian world had any inkling ... (click for more)

Breaking News

City Council Expanding Some Territory For Short Term Vacation Rentals; Approves No-Tax-Increase Budget

City Council members are eyeing changes in the popular short term vacation rental business, including some likely expansion of district boundaries. Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said one change she is seeking soon is to allow the rentals on the opposite side of Pinewood Lane. She also said at one section of Eastdale there are four residents interested in setting up the rentals. ... (click for more)

Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod Says Black People "Can Come Downtown"; Says BID Has Nothing About "Black Removal"

City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod said Tuesday she is tired of some individuals saying that creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) means black people can't come downtown. She said, "I'm tired of the fact that the plight of black people is being used when it comes to those type conversations." She said, "We can come downtown. There are black people walking downtown ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Support Funding The Proposed Budget - And Response

Dear Commissioners of Hamilton County, I attended the District 3 community meeting with Commissioner Greg Martin and School Board Chairman Joe Wingate, who was filling in for District 3 Rep. Joe Smith. Commissioner Martin stated he had not made up his mind on how to vote for the tax increase at that time. He requested thoughtful input on why the citizens of his district wanted ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW Needs Big Repairs

The banner headline on Monday morning read, “Gov. Lee, top Republicans celebrate failed UAW bid to unionize Volkswagen,” and that’s the second-worst thing that the headline could have said. The worst, of course, is if the UAW had won, and the Detroit-based union that lost 35,000 members last year would be revived -- breaking a hole into the tight wall of foreign-owned auto assembly ... (click for more)