Ross's Landing Pioneer John P. Long Lived Many Years At 7th And Cedar On Cameron Hill

Monday, July 4, 2022 - by John Wilson

John P. Long, one of the pioneers from the Ross's Landing days, lived many years on the side of Cameron Hill. The Long home was at West Seventh and Cedar after the Civil War. 

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.

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. William Long, a carpenter, also moved to Ross's Landing. William Long was born Feb. 19, 1775, at Mecklenburg County, N.C. 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.

John P. 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.

William Long was one of the elders of the Presbyterian Church at Chattanooga. 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.

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 in 1845. 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 Gen. 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, at the foot of Cameron Hill. The family suffered hunger in the months the town was under Confederate siege, and Mrs. Long once made a personal appeal to Gen. 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. He died of heart disease after a 10-day illness and was yet another young victim of the late war. 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.

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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