At 6:30 p.m., President Van Deacon called the meeting to order; Chaplain Eddie Cartwright gave the Invocation; Deacon gave the pledge to the U.S. flag; Bob George led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Dave Whaley led the SAR flag pledge.
The guests introduced included Bill Bigham and Fred Underdown, both past presidents of the Hiwassee Chapter in Athens; Larry Humbard, a prospective member; Tony Brown, a prospective member; and Dave Scott.
TNSSAR Vice President and chapter member Claude Hardison reported on the upcoming TN Society SAR State Convention to be held March 15 and 16 at the Marriott in Chattanooga. Hardison explained the various functions that will take place at the convention.
Stan Evans reported on the National Society Spring Leadership/Trustees Meeting in Louisville, Ky., March 1 and 2. This is one of the several times each year that the National Committees meet and work their issues.
Evans reported he addressed the National Museum Board Committee, for the purpose of borrowing several Revolutionary War rifles and other period pieces for the Museum Center at Five Points’ upcoming exhibit on “Benjamin Cleveland and the Founding of Cleveland” (April 19 through July 13). He also presented an actual layout of Phase 11 of the National Headquarters building, on which work is now just starting.
Deacon presented supplemental applications to members Ron Bullard and Jim Hampton. Deacon explained how members can further develop additional family lines back to other Revolutionary War Patriots, thus opening up these lines to help new members.
One new member, Joe Stamper, was sworn in and his membership certificate presented by Evans. Deacon explained the Society rosette, and presented him one as a new member. Stamper said a few words showing his appreciation for those helping him become a member.
Under Officer Reports, Treasurer Bill Hamilton gave the Treasurer’s Report and stated that both the general and statue accounts were in good shape. Evans reported that he had re-registered the chapter for the Wreaths Across America program for 2013; the chapter has to register every year.
Phil Newman reported on the Statue Project, and that the formal statue unveiling ceremony was scheduled for 10 a.m. at First Street Square Park. The pad and base are in place now, and the stacked stone work and plaques are scheduled to be placed next week, making the site ready to receive the bronze statue in early April.
Deacon recessed the meeting for a fine meal, and socializing among the members and guests.
Afterward he returned the meeting to order, and the guest speaker, anthropologist Raymond Evans of Chattanooga was introduced by 2nd V.P. Bob George.
Evans founded “The Journal of Cherokee Studies” and has written several books. His topic for the evening was “Beck Farm, Camp Contraband, and Hill City.”
His talk started with the original Beck, David, who came to Rhea County after the Revolutionary War. He was one of the late arrivals at the Battle of Kings Mountain but was still credited with being there during
the battle. Beck and his wife, Sarah, first settled at a place called Smith Crossroads (now Dayton) in Rhea County, and then moved to the north side, buying land in the Riverview, North Chattanooga and Dallas Heights areas in 1822. Here he bought all the land 1-acre deep all along the river.
David and Sarah had several children, though many died as infants. Best known are their sons, Joshua and Sherman. Joshua inherited the land. He operated a saw mill, quarry and ferry at where the present Chattanooga Golf and Country Club is now located. Joshua got even richer through his hauling business going to Atlanta, and by taking produce down the Tennessee River to the Mississippi (returning back by the Natchez Trace).
Land was given to several thousand blacks/African prisoners on the north side. The area was later named Count Contraband. But once the iron mills started up in Chattanooga, most of them relocated to that area. At that time this was probably the only integrated area of the South.
Evans noted that during the Civil War in the Chattanooga area the Army of the Cumberland was under Gen. John T. Wilder, and a major portion of the Confederate forces were for a while under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Even though sons Grant and Sherman were named for Union officers, Sherman was a good friend with a Confederate officer Frazier, who later settled on the north side.
Evans stated that a large number of Union soldiers stayed in the Chattanooga area and streets are still named for them. He announced that the upcoming 2013 Chickamauga Re-enactment will be the largest ever, and will be half as big as the original battle. All the houses in the area are being made to look like homes in the 1860s. This will be one to see.
With no further business, President Deacon proceeded to close the meeting, and he then lead the Recessional. Chaplain Cartwright delivered the Benediction. The closing gavel was struck and the meeting was adjourned.