Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks has confirmed in an interview with the Cleveland Daily Banner that city staff recently located a document showing the city in 1911 had conveyed the plot of land where the Confederate monument stands to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis Chapter 900.
According to the minutes from that Feb. 14 session, city aldermen voted on an ordinance that stated the land had been “sold, transferred and conveyed to the officers and members” of the UDOC and “their assigns and successors forever.”
Brooks stressed the land was conveyed, as there is no record it was sold to the UDOC.
Below is the following text as it appears verbatim in the 1911 document:
“Be it ordained by the Board of Mayor and Alderman of the City of Cleveland, Tennessee, that a certain plot or tract of land twelve fee square lying at the junction of Ocoee and Lea Streets and twelve feet more or less, North of the fence of the monument now located there be and the same is hereby, sold, transferred and conveyed to the officers and members of Jefferson Davis Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy and their assigns and successors, forever, Provided said tract or plot is to be used for a monument site, or ornamental and decorative purposes.
“ON MOTION, the above and foregoing Ordinance was placed on its third and final reading for passage, and on ROLL call, was passed by the following vote, towit. Those voting AYE, Knox, Dooley, Chase, and Owen; total AYES, 4. Present and not voting, Rogers and Trotter.”
The document was signed by then-Mayor Charles S. Mayfield.
Brooks said the city has no control over the property.
“We gave away that right in 1911,” he said.
Although the parcel of land is owned by the UDOC, it may not necessarily control it.
“Ocoee Street is a state highway now,” Brooks said. “It appears it is in the state right of way.”
As a result, the monument’s location may supersede efforts to relocate it to another location.
That question now has city staff working with state officials to determine just who controls the property.
“We’re still trying to piece it together and are seeking answers,” Brooks said. “It’s another layer of bureaucracy.”
Last week, the Banner published a post from the mayor’s Facebook page that stated the city did not own the property. The mayor said the comments were published without context.
“When I read in the Banner my re-posted Facebook post, I wished the Banner had called me, so I could have presented this piece of paper,” Brooks said of the copy of the minutes from 1911. "I would still like to present the minutes.”
A copy of the minutes from that 1911 city alderman meeting was obtained by the Banner from Brooks in last Thursday's interview.
Brooks said he understands passions felt on both sides of the Confederate monument issue.
“I was elected to be mayor of all Clevelanders," Brooks said, adding that he has been meeting with several parties concerned about the issue.