I Went Searching For an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman

I Went Searching for an Indian and Found I Was a Dutchman.
I've always been interested in history so when my Uncle Wayne gave me some information about our family roots I had to begin changing the way I've always thought about where I came from. We had always been told, "there's Indian blood in our ancestry, we just haven't been able to prove it". I have been surprised to learn that while searching for an Indian link, I found a Dutchman. Now I'm not saying there may not be some Indian blood somewhere but the prospect looks dimmer the more I find out.
I also have had some general prejudices about folks back east, especially areas like Ohio (I grew up in the Woody Hayes era and couldn't stand Ohio State). What a surprise (and God ordained I believe) to find we arrived in Ohio in the early 1800s, my ancestor fought in an Ohio Regiment in the Civil War, and came to Kansas afterwards. That, and some visits to Ohio, has adjusted my thinking.
And the other reason why-to keep communication between the far flung members of my family and encourage them to drop a note so we can keep in touch with the details of their lives. We miss too much by not being there in the day to day workings of life. So, leave a post for all of us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grandpa's Victory Tour-Part III

Monday August 11, 2014. Not as early as yesterday.
We slept the sleep of the dead.  She fell asleep at 6 last night and I held on to 9 (off and on. There are parts of that movie I don't recall)
.  But by 630 this morning we were well rested at America's Best Hotel. It did have a comfortable, clean, king-sized bed. And no dog to hog the covers this time. We found that we needed a few items and since we had not made the ordained trip to Wally World yet, commenced to find one. After the obligated free continental breakfast complete with waffle maker  Where would the motel world be these days without those handy gadgets? The better places even have tubs of peanut butter to add to the fare. This wasn't one of those but we made do.
We had planned to stop at Corinth, thinking grandpa had been there as well but after doing some reading last night (that's why I had to stay up the extra 3 hours), I found that his unit had been sent northward to chase Braxton Bragg all over central Tennessee and Kentucky and participating in the battles of Perryville and Stones River (which the southern folk call Murphreesboro). We'll catch up with them again in Chattanooga in a bit.
Though we didn't have to stop, we did swing through Corinth, MS, a nice town by what we saw, with a very nice Holiday Inn Express (maybe that's America's Best Hotel and why the NPS recommends you stay in Corinth). We picked up US72 and headed east.  One thing we would note on our tour through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, back to Tennessee, then back to Georgia (yes all today) was the local folks evidently don't think you need much in the way of road signage.  They will throw up one or two at the turning points then assume you've gotten onto the right one and need no further instruction.  That didn't work well for us. More than one time, after making a turn I thought was indicated by said signage, my internal compass and combination Map of the US would start giving me that funny feeling on the back of my neck at which time we'd fall back to the iPhone's Siri or Google maps to find out, yep, you're on the wrong highway bubba.
You might say, "well why not just go by the navigator on the phone"? Well for one, I don't necessarily want to take the quickest route, I want to take the historical route. And secondly, because some roads are so windy and close to each other, the dang gadget thinks we flew through the sky to the other road and wants us to "make a u turn at the next location..." Technology. Give me a good paper map any day.
The drive from Selmer to Chattanooga is about 4 hours, 225 or so, and we decide to make it leisurely. We stop a few extra times and see some things we've never seen before:
THE Piggly Wiggly, Gurley, AL
the Piggly Wiggly in Gurley AL (we forgot some bug spray at the Wally World. Besides, what says "I'm in the south" better than a shot at the PW?), Cherokee, AL (my grandma and grandpa lived just down the road from Cherokee, OK but you gotta remember they were HERE before they were THERE), along various lakes as part of the Tennessee river, some towns I'd heard of but never seen (Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Athens, Huntsville, with all the astronaut stuff and the Redstone Arsenal, and lot of pretty country side. I see why folks from Alabama say it's Sweet Home. It's nice.
City Park, Bridgeport, AL
Train Station,Bridgeport,AL
As we're just about to get out of Alabama I recognize a couple of civil war related sites pertaining to Chattanooga-Stevenson and Bridgeport.  Mistakenly thinking grandpa had come through Bridgeport, we pull off the main road and took a side road to see it.  It's a sleepy little time-worn town hidden in the hills and bluff overlooking the Tennessee. A very pretty and quiet setting, especially on a Monday. The Hurricane and I found a little city park with a bandstand, a picnic table, and some park benches right across the street from the old railroad depot turned into the Bridgeport Area Historical Society. As we looked the left going up the hill was a historic district, Battery Hill (it had a cannon right there to prove it) with some old houses.  As we took an early happy hour (shout out to our friends on E dock) enjoying some cheese and crackers and cherries, the locals waved to the strange folks from out of town and we took in the scenery.
We moseyed over to the train station and got a look around but the doors were locked. We did get a good view of the river and tracks, showing why this was an important town back then. It was a railroad hub and we the union was here, although grandpa didn't come this way. We found the Confederates had burned the original station when they heard the Yanks were coming and after they did, it became a major supply route for the north especially as it became the starting point for the "cracker line", the supply line that was eventually opened to get food to the starving Union troops in Chattanooga.
The Hurricane, liking old houses as she does, wanted to drive up Battery Hill on our way out, so we did, seeing many fine old homes and getting a grand view of the Tennessee river from the bluffs  You could see for miles towards Chattanooga.  Another good choice.
Bluffs at Bridgeport overlooking the Tennessee river
We proceeded back to the highway and along the way to I-24 made the decision to visit the Incline Railroad and Lookout Mountain after settling in at the Super 8 in Fort Oglethorpe, GA, a suburb of Chattanooga and just outside the gates of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP.  A good choice but we weren't sure at first. When we swung off of I-24 onto US 27 (Rossville Rd) which runs through Chattanooga along the western side of Missionary Ridge, it was, to be kind, not the best part of town. I've been married to the Hurricane long enough to hear the gears clicking in her head. I turned to her and said, "I know what you're thinking right now". She just looked and me and I said, "I hope the motel is further down the road" and she just smiled. It's nice to live with someone long enough you don't have to say everything.  It's also nice, since I booked the motel, that it WAS further on down the road.  Just as you cross the GA line into Rossville, the road curves east and up a hill with a giant monument on your left at the base of a road going up the ridge. I didn't realize it at the moment, but we were going through a cut in Missionary Ridge and the road led up to the site of that battlefield.  More on that later.
We made it to the Super 8 and the sign said "Dave Patel". Yogi's brother maybe?  But the desk clerk was named Jackie and when I told her where I was from and that I why I was there I did so with a little trepidation.  There was no need. She welcomed us back (after 150 years) and made us feel at home. She told me a story of how she was a supporter of our military as well, her dad being in the 101st Airborne, and was so glad to have us she put the Hurricane and I on the first floor where we could park right by the door. The Hurrican's knees thanked her. We checked in (nice room), then headed around the south way to approach Lookout Moutain from the east then turn north to find the Incline RR We had been this way almost 20 years ago with the kids and our good friends Mark and Suzanne Gordon, and thought we'd like to do it again. It was as enjoyable the second time and even more so since this time, unlike the last, I knew we had a historical connection to the area.
We enjoyed the trip up, the nice walk past the old houses to the north end at Point Park (a NPS site) and walked around the point, hiding in one of the old walkways while a thunderstorm went by (Note: The Hurricane, while liking the houses, said she preferred a bit more yard and some that wasn't vertical. I could,on the other hand, live here for the history alone. Janet, a friend from high school has a daughter who lives up there I found out later that night).
Waiting out the storm
 This was the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds", Hooker's assault on Lookout Mountain on day one (Nov 1864) of the Battle of Chattanooga of which Orchard Knob and Missionary Ridge were part. Just to keep your timeline straight: Chickamauga (more on that later) occurred in September 1864 and resulted in a Union loss and retreat to Chattannoga resulting in a siege and near starvation for the Union forces there under Rosecrans. The river was on the north of the town and the Confederates were on  Lookout Mountain commanding the river to prevent supplies coming as well as Missionary Ridge to the east. Grant took over from Rosecrans and planned a break-out which started with the assault on Lookout Mountain.  More on the battle later but for now we had some grand views of the whole area.  If you want to get perspective on the geography, this is the way to do it. One strange thing though-as we looked across east to Missionary Ridge, the Hurricane remarked how small and UN-remarkable it seemed. What WAS the big deal assaulting it? It didn't seem that formidable.  We would change our tune soon.
West from Lookout Mtn

East from Lookout Mtn
Back down the Incline we went.What a grand marvel of engineering and something you MUST do if you're there. We meandered back to the Super 8, the Hurricane questioning my navigational skills all the way, but we arrived unscathed to find a restful night's sleep ahead.

On to Chickamauga tomorrow! (ed note: I plan to put all of Chickamauga and Chattanooga (battle of Missionary Ridge)-both days-in part V).

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