April 17, 2014 - 18:05
Now and Then ...
Related Articles
Views: 510
Print E-mail
Article Author: By Ben Harris McClary

(Revised from 17 Jan. 1996)

In the late 1960s, interviewing for a job in the Georgia University System, I was more than a little taken aback by the words of the first panelist:  “Sir,” he intoned, “I have reviewed your credentials, and you, sir, are a fraud!”

The focus of everyone’s bemused gaze, I finally stammer: “On what do you base your statement?”

“I have been to Ocoee where you claim to have been born.”  Then he began to chuckle, “and I do not believed it possible that anyone has ever been born there!”

Relieved to realize that he was joking, I retorted, “I, sir, sit here as living proof of the depth of your ignorance,” and began forthwith to expand on the facts of my birth on July 8, 1931, on my grandfather Kimbrough’s farm on the Ocoee River in the Ocoee post office community.  I soon learned that my “accuser,” Bill Free, had spent many summers growing up at Camp Ocoee, then very isolated and primitive indeed.

In 1995, putting together a Tennessee Humanities-Lee College sponsored seminar on “Changing Rural Life,” the organizer asked me to talk on opening night about the history of the Ocoee River before Whit-water rafting.  In getting my thought in line for that, I came to realize that my brother, Tom, and I have a rather unique relationship with the Ocoee River.

After the removal of the natives in the 1830s, our great-great grandfathers on both sides, Robert W. McClary (1793-1866) and Isaac Kimbrough (1788-1868), settled on opposite sides of the Ocoee River   west of Sam Parks’ Mill.  Robert and his wife are buried in the Cookson Creek Cemetery; Isaac and his wife are in what was a private Kimbrough graveyard in a not-easily reached location between Highway 64 and the Zion Church road.

Years later, before the construction of the dam had begun, our mother was born dangerously close to the river across from Sam Parks’ Mill.  Our Grandmother Kimbrough used to tell about twice hearing flash floods roaring out of the mountains, causing her to rush to higher ground with her young children.  The first time the structure escaped any damage, but the second time a few inches of water got into the kitchen area.  The high point of the flood passed so quickly that she was able to get back into the house before the bread she had been baking in the wood stove oven had had time to burn.  Shortly thereafter, with work started on Parksville Dam, they moved to a higher elevation to a house still occupied in the 1970s, but since torn down.

Our grandfather, Tom Kimbrough, always said that he believed his team and wagon hauled the first load of rock and dirt beginning the construction of the Parksville Dam.  After the dam was finished, he bought and moved about five miles downriver to the river bend farm where I was born in 1931 and where he and our grandmother lived until they moved to Benton in 1957.

As it turned out, Bill Free admitted that, his many summers at Camp Ocoee notwithstanding, he didn’t really know much about the river or the place called Ocoee!

benharrismcclary@comcast.net; 812 La Lane, Chattanooga, TN 37412

Untitled Document
Top News
North Potato Creek treatment moves to ..
The North Potato Creek Treatment Plant treats water contaminated with elevated concentrations of metals and acid. It began operation in 2005.
Commission seeks to protect privacy
Commission rejects Ducktown plan
Audit shows overspending in school sys..
Felony Murder charged
Scam suspects sought
May Primary ballot set
Roof plan sent to Fire Marshall
Parksville precinct to stay open
Standards mean accountability
Local News
Ducktown talks park, trails project
Copperhill lowers water rates
CSCC To Host Get Covered America/Affor..
Festival celebrates spring
Fire destroys Copperhill building
TVA requests electricity reduction
Beekeepers look to help others
Ducktown notes
Polk libraries receive donation
Hooker given community service award
School News
Benton Elementary Junior Beta Club rec..
Shown in the picture are the students who stayed and wrapped gifts after school.
Enriques on Dean’s List
Co-op experience leads to employment
Leadership team project raises $1900
Late score puts Boyd on top
PCHS wins STEM contest
Copper Basin Elemetary Honor Roll
Copper Basin Elementary Honor Roll
CMS Fuels Up to Play 60
PCHS 2013 Salutation
Mrs. Dana Renae Worley, age 50 of Farner, TN
Food for Thought
For this week’s installment of Food for Thought, we have some delicious-sounding ways to bring potatoes to the table brought to us courtesy of Ruth Ann Kersey.
Letter to the Editor
Food for Thought
Letters to the Editor
Remember When...
130 years of history
Letter to the Editor
Editorial opinion 6/19/2013
Letters to the Editor
Polk County Heritage
I’m My Own Grandpa!
Polk County Heritage
Sheep in the Meadow . . Cows in the Co..
Polk’s Septaquintaquinquecentennial ..
1913 photo of the Odd Fellows from Con..
Polk County Heritage - 10-23-2013
Polk County Heritage
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Bill Baxter’s Polk Folks
Part 2: Sacred to Their Memory - The M..
Sacred to Their Memory: The McNairs
Local Events
Guided Spring hike Saturday
Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes on March 22. At Hiwassee / Ocoee State Park, Join Ranger Angelo for an easy 3 mile hike along the beautiful Hiwassee river.
Bulletin Board 3-19-14
Benefit singing March 8
Bulletin Board - 2/26/14
Ft. Loudoun explores Euro-Indian trade
Retirement event
Holocaust Survivor Ester Bauer Back to..
Grape Escape Saturday
Griefshare seminar Nov. 2
A Gem of a show starts Friday
Local Sports
Polk loses ‘Cat fight
Size and speed were important factors in each of the games and three point shooting played an important part
Two ‘Cats named All State
Polk County High School Powder Puff Fo..
Zach Miller and Tanner Plemmons were n..
Polk splits in Battle of States
Copper Basin 2013-2014 Homecoming Court
Juniors lose
Crickets season at 7-2
Lady Cats season ends
Runners in Regions
Friends & Neighbors
Whitmire retires
Whitmire will be honored with a retirement reception on Friday, March 28th from 11 am – 3:00 pm at the 219 Ward Street First Volunteer Office in Benton.
TN Wesleyan honors
Ocoee Region Beekeeper's Association F..
2013 Miss Christmas Belle
Fairest attends convention
Zion Baptist awarded second place for ..
1980-81 Miss Christmas Belle Photo
Burger and Stevens Engaged
Twin sisters arrive
Brock Celebrates Birthday
Nature & Environment
Homeplace daffodils
Sometimes the prettiest daffodils are not in modern home flowerbeds, but are found in the overgrown yard of an old.. » FULL STORY
Spring is coming
Spring crocus
Red-bellied woodpecker
Frost flower
Frozen circles
Bald cypress
Fall colors hit peak
Change of season
Beauty Berry
Recreation & Visitor Information
Kids Fishing Days slated
The first event, hosted by the Forest Service, TWRA, and Trout Unlimited, will be held at Spring Creek on Saturday, April 26th from 7:00 am till 11:00 am.
Changes made at Tumbling Creek
Rail trips start April 5
Turkey shoot
Ocoee River most popular in nation
Recreation season beginning
Watch for flash flooding
Indian Boundary Overflow closed May 7-9
Kid's Fishing Days slated
Advance reservations accepted at Gee C..
Outdoor Sporting
Hog season changes urged
Wildlife Committee members from Polk and surrounding counties met with local lawmakers, wildlife commissioners, and TWRA last Tuesday to discuss the need to revisit hog hunting regulations in Tennessee.
Greasy Creek could close on stocking day
Big bass brought by
Tellico River fishing day slated
Coon hunting to continue
Opposition voiced to coon hunt change
Wild hog regulations change
Record bear harvest in 2011
Comment deadline Feb. 24
Hunter Safety classes available
Classifieds - 4/16/14
Classifieds - 4/9/14
Classifieds - 4/2/14
Classifieds - 3/26/14
Classifieds 3/19/14
Classifieds - 3/12/14
Classifieds - 3/5/14
Classifieds - 2/26/14
Classifieds - 2/19/14
Classifieds - 2/12/14
Public Notices
Public Notices 4-16-14
Public Notices - 4/9/14
Public Notices - 4/2/14
Public Notices - 3/26/14
Public Notices - 3/19/14
Public Notices - 3/12/14
Public Notices - 3/5/14
Public Notices - 2/26/14
Public Notices - 2/19/14
Public Notices - 2/12/14

Untitled Document

Polk County News | P.O. Box 129 | 3 Main Street | Benton TN 37307
phone: 423-338-2818 | fax: 423-338-4574 | email

web site development Lisa Affordable Web Sites