Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

May 6, 2014

Perseverance in the face of adversity

CROSSVILLE — Confederate Sergeant John Franklin Cooley is buried in the Clifty Cemetery. One of John Cooley's service cards shows that he had a horse valued at $145. The men in the 5th Cavalry who “had good horses” were sent to Franklin, TN, where they captured more than 200 Union soldiers. During this time Cooley was shell shocked and received a bruise that was bad enough for the surgeon to give him a furlough. After the war he worked in a blacksmith shop where records report he received a dollar a day wages. He was married five times, had 24 children, and at the time of his Confederate pension application had children ranging in age from 42 to 18 months. He was a “good citizen, and a good soldier,” the signers of his application stated. He was the grandson of Private James Cooley of Franklin County, VA, who served in the Virginia Line during the Revolutionary War.

Elijah Jehu Ford served in Company A, 1st (Carter’s) CSA Calvary, joining at age 24. He was in Union prison at Chattanooga and Nashville where he was in the hospital for much of the time. Elijah had mumps, tonsillitis, and acute dysentery. His last service card shows him in the Union prison General Hospital in Nashville, December 8, 1864, with acute bronchitis. He never returned home, dying in Confederate service. If he died in Nashville he was possibly buried in one of the several huge burial pits that surrounded the state capitol building. All of these mass burial pits have been covered over with urban construction around the capitol, and none of the Confederate bodies were recovered or moved. Stella Mowbray Harvey who wrote the accounts of life before, during and after the war, in Grassy Cove, was the granddaughter of Elijah Jehu Ford, and was raised in the home of John, Chris and Mary Ford. 

We will end the writings on the war with a final story of perseverance in the face of adversity. At the surrender, Gen. Grant permitted the returning Confederates to keep their side arms and their horses. As they returned home both items were stolen from the former soldiers. John Fletcher Ford somehow made it home with his horse; however, a group of Union men came to the farm in Grassy Cove and told him they had come to confiscate his horse and took it away. Stock was kept hidden even after the war and John brought out two oxen that he trained to pull the plough and break the ground. They had a filly too young to work which John would lead so Chris could guide the plough to plant corn. John and Chris were barefooted and the soles of their feet were so tough they could stamp chestnuts from the burr without pain. John finally got paid for the horse, but he said he had needed the horse more than the money. We’ll not talk of the Petrified Confederate Soldier, so off to other things next week.

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