History of the Family and the Property
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—- McCoy Farm History —-
Robbins: The history of the McCoy Farm in Walden
May 10th, 2015 – Frank “Mickey” Robbins
McCoy Farm is the venue for an upcoming Memorial Day celebration. Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.
Before her death in 2004, Martha Bachman McCoy began conveying her historic family farm to the town of Walden. The town and volunteers are now preparing for a Memorial Day opening picnic and future use as a park.
Martha McCoy’s grandfather, Jonathan Waverly Bachman, served under Confederate Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
Leaving the Civil War as a chaplain, he joined First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga in 1873 and served as pastor for 51 years. During the yellow fever epidemic, he ministered on the streets to the sick of all classes, creeds and colors and became affectionately known as the Bishop of Chattanooga.
His son, Nathan, was born in Chattanooga in 1878 and attended Baylor School. He attended a number of colleges including the University of Chattanooga. He had a special sense of humor and bore the reputation, which he did not deny, of having taken a horse into a dormitory at the University of Virginia.
“I guess I had a harder time than any other boy in the world finding a college president who suited me. But I just had to find one who was competent,” he said.
Bachman earned his law degree at UVA. He started his law practice in 1903 and was elected Circuit Court judge and later Associate Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court before being appointed to the U.S. Senate to replace Cordell Hull, who became Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of State.Bachman then won a full term and supported TVA legislation. “Nate” was regarded as a wise and conscientious servant of the people.
His untimely death at age 58 was a shock to his mountain friends and to all of Hamilton County. A News-Free Press remembrance spoke of his legislative accomplishments along with his gentleness, good humor, unfailing courtesy and kindliness. A 30-day mourning followed. Bachman School was named after the senator.
The recorded history of the Bachman-McCoy property dates back to October 1863, when the Federal Army seized it from a shoemaker named Edmond to provide a stopover on Anderson Pike for provisions headed to Chattanooga.
After the Battle of Chickamauga, the rugged road over Walden’s Ridge was the only route for the 50 to 80 wagons per day necessary to supply the besieged Union troops in the town below. Gen. Ulysses Grant rode by on Oct. 23.
The Bachmans bought the Anderson Pike property in 1912. The senator became a great lover of the mountain, its people, history, flora and fauna. The family home was open to all.
Among his personal friends he counted equally Vice President John Nance Garner, the coal miners of Smoky Row (Timesville Road), senators, legislators, and the prohibition era moonshiners who made their living along the creeks near his place.
His farm on Signal Mountain became a Southern gentleman’s dream. A large orchard produced bushels of apples. He was particularly proud of his kennels of hunting dogs. A large garden provided quantities of foodstuffs every summer. Most of the produce was given to the mountain people, who Bachman was fond of calling the old settlers. At Christmas time, many came to give their season’s greetings often walking long distances.
Historian Karen Stone wrote that Nathan’s daughter, Martha Bachman McCoy, rode her horse all over the mountain and loved its people. She adored animals and often fed the wild ones, foxes on one side of the house and raccoons on the other, so they would not fight.
A graduate of GPS and Sweet Briar College, she served on the boards of Little Miss Mag Day Nursery, GPS, the Red Cross and the Family Service Agency while volunteering at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute. She raised her daughter Sally on the mountain, where she was the first female custodian of Union Chapel, also known as the Little Brown Church, a long stone’s throw from their mountain home.
Recently the town instructed volunteers to prepare the farm for a Memorial Day old-fashioned picnic with food, music and activities open to the public.
Afterward, the town will open the 38 acres as a public park, available for community activities including weddings and special events.
Frank “Mickey” Robbins, an investment adviser with Patten and Patten, is coordinator of this local history series. For more, visit Chattahistoricalassoc.org or call LaVonne Jolley 423-886-2090.
—- Family History —-
Dr. Bachman Was Beloved Pastor Of Chattanooga
Saturday, October 8, 2011 – by John Wilson
Dr. Jonathan Waverly Bachman and three of his brothers fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Afterward, he endured the yellow fever epidemic of 1878. He was considered the city’s pastor, marrying and burying several generations of Chattanoogans.
Jonathan Bachman was one of a family of six sons and four daughters born to Jonathan and Frances Rhea Bachman of Sullivan County, Tn. The family was originally from Switzerland and had come to America in the time of William Penn. The family migrated to what would become Tennessee around 1779.
Jonathan W. Bachman was born in 1837 at the family’s Roseland homestead. He studied in a log schoolhouse before attending Fall Branch Academy, Blountville Academy and then Emory and Henry College. He taught a year, then in 1860 he entered Union Theological Seminary in New York, where his older brother, Nathan, attended. The two brothers “did much charitable and religious work among the rabble of Five Points, a place of evil eminence in those bygone days.”
But the war broke out in 1861 and the brothers returned south. Nathan was sympathetic to the Union, but did not fight. Samuel Bachman marched to Cumberland Gap, Ky., and contracted typhoid fever. He died after returning home.
John Lynn Bachman was a sergeant in Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade. Jonathan W. Bachman was first a private in the 19th Tennessee, but was soon promoted to chief clerk and aide to Col. D.F. Cooke of the 1st Tennessee. Bachman was with Gen. Robert E. Lee in the campaign in West Virginia, and was receiving orders from him when the body of Col. John A. Washington, kinsman of George Washington, was brought in. Bachman was with Stonewall Jackson in the mid-winter Romney expedition. Then, in the summer of 1862, he helped raise a new regiment in East Tennessee – the 60th Tennessee Volunteers. One of the recruits was his 17-year-old brother, Robert L. Bachman. In Mississippi, the regiment fought at Chickasaw Bayou and at Big Black River. Bachman was among those captured at the siege of Vicksburg. He was later exchanged, and he resumed command of his regiment in Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. He and Col. John Brownlow, who had been college classmates, chased each other through East Tennessee. After the war they resumed their friendship. Bachman served from October 1864 to the end of the war as a chaplain.
While on parole in 1863, he had married Evalina Dulaney, daughter of the pioneer physician, Dr. William R. Dulaney, of Blountville.
The four surviving Bachman brothers all became Presbyterian ministers. Dr. J.W. Bachman served congregations at New Providence and Rogersville, Tn., then was president of Rogersville College. He came to Chattanooga in 1873 as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, which then worshipped at Seventh and Market. He was pastor of the church for half a century, presiding over the move to a handsome new sanctuary on McCallie Avenue. The Bachman home was nearby past Houston Street. It was a cottage that had been built in the 1850s. There was a portico and double front door and French windows across the front that extended to the floor. The Bachman lot extended back to Oak Street, and his daughters would take the family cows out to Fort Wood to graze. Dr. Bachman was “tall and slender with a quick military step, a light brown mustache, bright blue eyes and a smile of ineffable sweetness.” His daily routine was to rise early, work in his garden, and complete his sermons and literary work before noon. Then he would “visit his flock and anyone else in trouble, both black and white, and give all the help he could from his meager salary.”
He and his wife read regularly to the children from the Christian Observer, The Youth’s Companion, and other publications of the day. His daughter, Ann, by the time she was 10, had read The Gold Thread, Pilgrim’s Progress, Scottish Chiefs, Thaddeus of Warsaw, The Poems of Ossian, Don Quixote, Swiss Family Robinson and all of Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott.
During the yellow fever scourge, Dr. Bachman could be seen on the streets of Chattanooga at all hours, ministering to the sick. At home he would read aloud each morning the 91st Psalm: “Surely He shall deliver thee from the noisome pestilence.”
It was Dr. Bachman who delivered the dedicatory prayer when the Walnut Street Bridge was opened in 1891. He did the same for the Market Street Bridge in 1917, and his son, Nathan Lynn Bachman, drove the first auto – a Hudson Supersix – over it.
On Oct. 9, 1923, on his 86th birthday, Dr. Bachman was made pastor emeritus at First Presbyterian. When he died the following year on Sept. 26, his body lay in state at the church and thousands trooped by “to look their last upon the beloved face.” There were 5,000 people at the funeral.
Mrs. Bachman had died in 1898. Of their 10 children, the survivors in 1924 were Mrs. Frances Magill, Mrs. Charles R. Hyde, Mrs. C.E. Buek and the son, Nathan. Eva Dulaney Bachman, the youngest daughter, had married C.E. Buek, president of the Frictionless Metal Co.
Nathan Bachman, who was born during the yellow fever epidemic, had studied law at the University of Virginia and opened an office at
Chattanooga. He became city attorney, then Circuit Court judge and associate justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He resigned in 1924 to run for the U.S. Senate, but lost to L.D. Tyson and resumed his law practice. Then he was appointed by Gov. Hill McAllister in 1933 to the
Senate to fill the vacancy when Cordell Hull resigned. In the halls of Congress, “Nath” Bachman was known as “perhaps the greatest raconteur that has graced the Senate body since the days of the illustrious Robert Love Taylor. His homely philosophy was well known to his colleagues who daily gathered about him in the cloak room to be regaled by his plain and fancy yarn spinning.” Senator Nathan Bachman in 1904 married Pearl McMannen Duke of the well-known North Carolina family. Their daughter, Martha, married Thomas McCoy, an attorney from Asheville, N.C. Martha Bachman McCoy remained on Signal Mountain. She died at her home on the mountain on May 31, 2004. A lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, she received her early education at Mrs. McIntyres and graduated from the Girls Preparatory School and Sweetbriar College. An active leader in the community, Mrs. McCoy served on the boards of Little Miss Mag Day Nursery, the Girls Preparatory School, the Red Cross and Family Service Agency. For many years she was a dedicated volunteer at the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute.
She was survived by her daughter, Saly McCoy Garland, and her son-in-law, John Vaughan Garland; three grandsons, John Vaughan Garland Jr., Thomas Jerome Garland and Elliot Shanklin Garland, and dear friend, Neavon Hatfield.
The home and grounds that had belonged to Senator Nathan Bachman and his daughter, Martha McCoy, was sold to the town of Walden after Mrs. McCoy’s death and was made a park for the benefit of the community. It includes several buildings as well as acreage. The site on Anderson Pike is known as Walden Park and Arboretum.
—- Martha Bachman McCoy —-
Memories Of A Remarkable Woman, Martha Bachman McCoy
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 – by Ruth Robinson
A decision that will enhance the lives of people on Walden’s Ridge for years to come is the legacy of a remarkable woman. The property Martha Bachman McCoy wanted in her will for the Town of Walden to purchase for the use of the people is one of few large parcels of property left on the Ridge.
Mrs. McCoy’s life spanned the entire 20th Century, a time of unparalleled growth and change. The daughter of Tennessee U.S. Senator Nathan Bachman and granddaughter of Dr. Jonathan Waverly Bachman, long-time pastor of First Presbyterian Church, she grew up on Walden’s Ridge in the home on Anderson Pike purchased by her father in 1912.
After her marriage to Attorney Tom McCoy they lived in Asheville, N.C., where their daughter, Sally was born. Mrs. McCoy maintained a close association with her parents and the home in Walden’s Ridge, returning with her family to live there to care for her mother after her father’s death in 1947.
Walden historian Karen Paul Stone knew Mrs. McCoy when she was growing up. During the years Mrs. Stone lived away the McCoys were married, lived in Asheville and then returned to the mountain.. He died in the early fifties, so Mrs. Stone, who returned in 1985, never knew him, but “he was said to be one handsome man. She kept his picture on her dresser forever.”
Mrs. Stone has many fond memories of Mrs. McCoy in the days when she would ride her horse on the McCoy property or see Mrs. McCoy riding her horse by her home. Mrs. McCoy invited any of the children to ride their horses on her property, so long as they behaved properly.
Mrs. Stone’s mother, Virginia Paul, was a good friend of Mrs. McCoy and Mrs. Stone’s friendship with Mrs. McCoy was renewed when she moved back.
“She was very attractive in every way,” Mrs. Stone said. “She had an erect carriage, but was not snooty. She had the kindest, sweetest way, but was very much in charge. From her father and grandfather she inherited a sense of duty.”
Mrs. McCoy was a vivacious woman who loved life and people and Walden’s Ridge, according to Mrs. Stone and Walden Alderman Elizabeth Akins, who became a friend before Walden became a town. :”She loved the mountain people and rode her horse all around the mountain,” Mrs. Stone said. “She was quite adventurous.”
She loved animals and often fed homeless animals, Mrs. Akins said. She regularly fed wild animals, with foxes on one side of the house and racoons on the other, so they would not fight.
In a talk to the Signal Mountain Lions Club, Anne Huff said Mrs. McCoy was a champion of the Ridge and its people. She was well known for her historical sketches and talks in which her continuing theme was the community spirit and fellowship of all the inhabitants of Walden’s Ridge, irrespective of town or county residence. Her passing marks the end of an era.
She modeled her father’s innate, inflexible love of justice and sense of personal honor. While her social graces were refined, she demonstrated a humble spirit. She was generous in giving of her possessions and herself while she retained her own sense of strong personal identity. She was reared to serve others and was an active leader in the community. She served on the boards of Little Miss Mag Day Nursery, Girls Preparatory School, the Red Cross, Family Service Agency, volunteered at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute and was a member of First Presbyterian Church, the DAR and .the Colonial Dames of America.
Bachman Elementary School was named for the Senator and one day when she was writing a history of the school, Mrs. Akins had an interview with Mrs. McCoy. Mrs. Akins had also lived in Asheville before moving to Signal Mountain, so the two women soon became good friends.
When the town of Walden was incorporated, it had no funds and Mrs. McCoy sent a donation. “She was always interested in town affairs,” Mrs. Akins said. “When we decided to build a Town Hall, we wanted to buy part of the McCoy property, but she refused., saying ‘You can’t afford it.'”
Some years later the Town did purchase the old five-acre Miles homeplace, which she owned. Then in her will she gave the old McCoy home place and five acres around it to the Town and the option to buy the remainder of the property.
“Her daughter and three grandchildren had all moved away and did not intend to return, so they cooperated with her will,” Mrs. Stone said.
In the will Mrs. McCoy specified that the property should be used for an arboretum, a public park or passive recreation. For years the Town had been setting aside money with which to buy the property upon her death and since the purchase the Town has been considering ways in which to use the property.
The mayor and aldermen thought this decision should be made by the citizens of Walden and so there have been discussions and visits to the property to make suggestions. Then the Town hired the landscape architecture firm Barge Waggoner Summer and Cannon Inc. to develop plans from suggestions submitted by the community in previous meetings. The blueprint developed includes plans for walking trails, community gardens and an arboretum.
The property includes 34 acres of land. Once a working farm, now consists of an apple orchard, wild flowers and woodland, the main house, a two-car garage with an apartment above, a tenant house, a smoke house, riding ring, party house, barn, corn crib, tool houses, equipment sheds, potting house and gardens.
An open house will be held Jan. 20 to seek community comments on how the Walden community will develop the Martha Bachman McCoy property at 1517 Anderson Pike across from St. Augustine Church. Whatever plan evolves will probably be carried out in phases, as money is available, Mrs. Akins said.
“She had a most charming funeral,” Mrs. Stone said. “She had written her own service and set it at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Everybody loved her and skipped church to come to the Forest Hills graveside. The service ended with a phrase she often used when it was time for a meeting to end: ‘It’s time for you to go home now.'”
—-Emma Bell Miles at Albion View—-
(note: This is text of a speech given by Kay Gaston on April 28, 2017, relative to the 5 acres closest to the intersection of Anderson Pike and Taft Highway.)
by Kay Baker Gaston
Emma Bell was only ten when she and her parents, B.F. and Martha Ann Mirick Bell, set off from Evansville, Indiana to Walden’s Ridge in June of 1890. Her parents drove a wagon and she rode on her pony. They came up the Sequatchie Valley side of the mountain on the Anderson Pike, passing through the Horseshoe and the settlement at Fairmount Spring before emerging at Albion View on the eastern brow. They reached Chattanooga on July 16th, settling at Red Bank before returning to Walden’s Ridge in the early summer of 1891 to build a frame Victorian house on land B. F. Bell had purchased from the Reverend Joseph T. Woodhead. While the house was under construction they stayed at “Shingle Shanty,” a four room log house partially sided and roofed with white oak shingles, located near a big spring on Frank Woodhead’s property. Just up Anderson Pike was the Oakwood School, where Mrs. Bell began teaching.
Emma made friends with Rose and Minta Stroop, whose family spent summers in their house on the road to Signal Point (now James Boulevard). The girls walked to the post office where there was also a store and a dance pavilion looking out over the old corduroy road replaced by the “W” Road in 1893. They played on the rocks at the Nelson spring and the natural stone bridge at Rocky Dell.
She and Grace Catlow, whose family lived on the old Red Road leading from Albion View to the Signal Point Road, explored on horseback, riding astride and scandalizing the natives. By the time she was 15, Emma virtually lived in the woods. She drew, read, wrote a little, and began associating with the mountain people. In the summer of 1898, when Emma was 18, she met Frank Miles, a handsome mountain youth who drove the hack to and from Chattanooga on the “W” Road. While attending the St. Louis School of Art in 1899 and 1900, Emma corresponded with Frank. After her mother died on October 3, 1901, Emma married him at the Fairmount home of Reverend M. K. Hollister, thereby gaining access to a culture accessible to her only as the wife of a mountain man.
Initially she and Frank lived in the vacant Bell house on Anderson Pike, which Emma’s mother had left to her in a penciled will. On September 8, 1902 twin daughters Jean and Judith were delivered by Frank’s mother, Cynthia Jane Winchester Miles. But on July 1, 1903, B. F. Bell usurped Emma’s claim to the house and sold it to Francis Martin. Frank, Emma, and the twins spent the rest of the summer in canvas tents pitched in the yard of Frank’s sister and brother-in-law, Ab and Laura Hatfield, on Wilson Road in Summertown.
That summer Emma met sisters Alice MacGowan and Grace MacGowan Cooke, successful writers who helped Emma publish several of her poems in Harper’s Monthly. After giving birth to a son, Joe Winchester Miles, on February 1, 1905, Emma continued writing poems published in Century, Lippincott’s, and Harper’s that summer. She was also hard at work on her book The Spirit of the Mountains, published in October of 1905 by James Pott & Company of New York. She illustrated her landmark study of the way of life of mountain people living on Walden’s Ridge with photographs of Frank and his relatives. Emma explained how mountain people loved the wildness of their surroundings, calling upon them to unite against the corruption of civilization, represented by the summer employers who destroyed their self-sufficiency.
Emma herself sold sketches and post cards to the summer people, as she explained in a letter to Anna Ricketson of New Bedford, MA, soon after the birth of her fourth child, Katharine, called “Kitty”, on January 19, 1907. That summer they walked down the dusty road past the Bates place to make blackberry camp at the Reuben Brown cabin. In the fall of 1908 they moved to the Hedges house on the road to Signal Point where they gave a party on September 8 to celebrate the 6th birthday of Jean and Judith. Dancers ranged from big George Levi who “danced all over” to young Barney Miles in his work clothes, dancing with the graying Mrs. Catlow. After enjoying a basket of large ripe apples, they all joined in a rousing Virginia Reel.
That fall they picnicked at the Nelson Spring off Miles Road among hickories Emma described as “masses of crumpled shattered gold, with bits of sky let in like polished sapphires.” She was enthralled by the beauty of this mountaintop that had been lifted out of the valley “safe and still as an enchanted isle.” “The rest of the world fades to a dream,” she wrote; “its sounds reach you echo-thin and sweet, its lights are a necklace of jewels on the dusky velvet-bosom of the hills—all fairy like, unreal and dim.” In March of 1909 Emma bore another child, Mark.
At Sarah Key Patten’s house party at “Topside” in April of 1911, Emma painted a study of a pink moccasin flower one of the guests had found at Mabbitt Springs, and took orders for copies. In May she went sketching at the Davidson Place on the brow and with the children climbed down the bluff to the shelter of a rock house. In January, 1913 she was devastated by the death of her young son Mark. But in April she painted “Emma Bell Miles, Sketch Classes” on the drop leaf of her old sewing machine and nailed the sign to a tree on the Signal Point Road. She hoped to earn enough to move to town where she could find more work.
Emma and Kitty were hunting greens for poke salad when they met up with Judge and Mrs. Nathan Bachman and their little daughter Martha, dressed in a cowgirl outfit and halfway up a tree. The Bachmans asked Emma to do a painting of their summer house nestled in the blossoming orchard. She went to work immediately and was well pleased with the painting, as were the Bachmans who paid her $10 (this painting is now in the Walden Town Hall). Mrs. Bachman and Mrs. Lyle enrolled Martha and two Lyle children in Emma’s sketch class. On the way to visit her sister-in-law Laura Hatfield in Summertown, she stopped to see Mrs. Poindexter, who interrupted feeding her ducks and White Orphington chickens to pay Emma $5 for handmade books of her poems.
In early May Emma, Frank, the children took a picnic to the Nelson Spring and afterwards went for a walk in the woods with Frank’s brother, Joe Miles, and his family, who lived on Miles Road. Joe Miles was later famed for the quality of his whiskey and during Prohibition regularly dispatched his product, marked as “books,” via Railway Express to Judge Bachman when he was serving as a U. S. Senator in Washington, D. C.
The center of the community was the store, post office, and dance pavilion at Albion View. Jo Andrews built the store and later sold it to Willowby Adams. James Alfred Conner was the postmaster for the post office moved there from Fairmount in 1893. “Every day around noon we would either drive the 2-1/2 miles or ride horseback over to the Top, take a mail bag and get the one we had left the day before with mail in it,” Sarah Key Patten of “Topside” recalled. “It was fun and you saw lots of people over there and generally bought a nickel’s worth of candy or maybe a bottle of soda pop.”
Under the management of A. W. Freudenberg and later of Lon Keef, the dance pavilion became a gathering place on Wednesday and Saturday nights for mountain people, summer colonists, and townspeople. Emma and her family attended a dance there in July of 1914. She described a rough lumber pavilion with four oil torches and a floor crowded with dancers, most native born. Over the counter of an enclosed stall at one end of the room, “Big Gus” Freudenberg was dispensing soda pop, ice cream cones, and sandwiches of split boiled weinerwurst. The three musicians were fiddler Jim Guess, a trusty from the county workhouse gang who played the guitar, and Dock Miles, Emma’s brother-in-law, on the banjo. After each set the men and boys paid 10 cents apiece, with $1.50 of the total collected during the evening going to each musician when they quit at midnight.
The next year the Albion View post office closed, and four years later Emma died in North Chattanooga on March 19, 1919. On July 4, 1924 the dances at the Albion View pavilion ended after a shoot out between rival bootleggers. But the sense of community that Albion View represented has enjoyed a modern day reincarnation here at the McCoy Farm & Gardens, where everyone is invited to attend the annual Memorial Day celebration on Monday, May 29, 2017. There’ll be plenty to eat, family activities, and good music–but no shoot out!
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