July 24, 2014 - 08:18
Sacred to Their Memory: The McNairs
Views: 1074
Print E-mail
Article Author: By Marian Bailey Presswood Polk County Historian
This year marks the 175th Anniversary of the infamous Trail of Tears
Sacred to Their Memory: The McNairs

By Marian Bailey Presswood
Polk County Historian

   This year marks the 175th Anniversary of the infamous Trail of Tears, for it was on May 23, 1838 that the round up of the Cherokees began. This was one of America’s darkest period when Jackson’s Indian Removal Act forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation to Indian Territory, which is now the state of Oklahoma.
  There has been a lot of local activity to mark the trail through Tennessee.  I was recently told that the old grave marker of Jinsey Cooper Boyd was found lying on the ground in a field in Monroe County while researchers were walking the trial.
  A few years back the Banner asked me to write an article about where the Trail of Tears began in Polk County, and I wrote that it began at the dinner table of many Cherokee families. For I had read the Buttrick Diary that recounted some of the saddest experiences I could ever imagine.  Cabin doors of Cherokee families were kicked open and the members were ordered out with little or no preparation for such an arduous trip. It didn’t matter how old, feeble or ill they were, all had to forsake their homes for the unknown circumstances that awaited them many hundreds of miles away. And some records say more than 4,000 of them didn’t make it to the new homes - they perished on the trip and were just buried along the side of the road.
   A Georgia soldier who participated in the removal stated, “I fought through the War Between the States and have seen many men shot, but the Cherokee Removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.”
   One of the more prominent Cherokee families living in what would become Polk County were the McNairs. In the edge of a field in the West Polk community of Conasauga stands a rock walled cemetery plot. The inscription on the marble slab reads:
   “Sacred to the memory of David and Delilah McNair who departed this life, the former on the 15th of August 1836, and the latter on the 30th of November, 1838.  Their children, being members of the Cherokee Nation and having to go with their parents to the West, do leave this monument, not only to show their respect for their parents, but to guard their ashes against the unhallowed intrusion of the white man.”
  Pictured at the McNair house and tomb are l-r: John B. Ross, Judge C. W. Lusk, Mr. and Mrs. Carroll Jones and unknown.
   A nearby historic marker reveals that the McNairs operated a boatyard there on the Conasauga River, which was an important terminus for shipping goods through the Gulf waterway. Looking at the overgrown banks and the mere trickle of water in some narrow places along that river today, it seems impossible to imagine a boatyard operating on this site.  However, with the boatyard, the brickyard, and a store, David McNair was reported to have amassed quite a fortune, due in part to his very influential father-in-law, James  Vann.  Also, Cherokees managed to retain the rights to maintain and control part of the newly opened Federal Road (1804) so McNair’s Stand became a noted stopping place for weary travelers and herders of livestock on their way to Southern markets.   
   A visitor from Connecticut, Benjamin Gold, stopped there once and described the McNair residence: “We came to a Mr. McNair’s, a white man who had married a Cherokee Indian woman, sister of Mr. Joseph Vann, another Cherokee.  He had a beautiful white house and about six or seven hundred acres of the best land you ever saw, and Negroes enough to tend it and clear as much more as he pleased. He raised this year about five thousand bushels of corn, and it would make you feel small to see his situation.”
   The house was replaced with an even more impressive brick structure.  It was built by Robert Howell, who is also reported to have helped construct the brick Vann House in Spring Place, Georgia.  In 1932 a tornado destroyed the roof and upper floor of this house and it was eventually torn down. A beautiful mantel with Indian carvings from the house was preserved for many years by the W. I. Davis family who owned the McNair farm.  I haven’t been to see it yet, but I think Mrs. Davis told me she donated it to the Vann House. (to be continued)

Untitled Document
Top News
Audit committee looks over findings
Committee members are charged with doing an independent review and making recommendations to the County Commission. This was the first meeting of the committee.
New Ag Agent on the job
Growth Plan turned down again
Names protected by HIPAA
Parksville precinct closed
Head start applications being taken
Veterans honored
Attempted murder charged
Budget work begins
Local News
Ducktown School discussed
A group of former students and educators from Ducktown School met with members of the Fourth Fractional Township Saturday July 5th to get a report on what was being done with the school.
Overhill looking for artists and craft..
Ducktown school preservation eyed
Celebrate history and independence
Solar offsets Ducktown energy use
Sale raises $1000 for libraries
Benton notes...
Amendments can be viewed online
Copperhill notes...
Relay for Life Friday
School News
CMS Open House July 31
CBHS rallies around student
Students compete at Lee
CBHS team takes first
CBHS wins state, heads to nationals
Students learn to avoid jerks
Club 21 rewards acheivement
Benton Elementary Junior Beta Club rec..
Enriques on Dean’s List
Co-op experience leads to employment
90, of Charleston
Remember When ...
Remember When ...
Remember When...
Remember When ...
Remember When ...
Food for Thought
Letter to the Editor
Food for Thought
Letters to the Editor
Polk County Heritage
Rev. Jason Matlock Has No Marker
The Esso Station
Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker
Calling All Old Timers!
Polk’s Political Power Struggle
Polk’s Political Power Struggle
Williams and Walker Family -
Polk County Heritage...
I’m My Own Grandpa!
Sheep in the Meadow . . Cows in the Co..
Local Events
Bulletin Board 7-16-14
Bulletin Board - 7/2/14
Bulletin Board 6/25/14
Bulletin Board - 6/18/14
Delano Baptist VBS starts Friday
Bulletin Board - 5/14/14
Production benefits Health Care Founda..
Craft Bazaar May 3
Bulletin Board - 4/30/14
Guided Spring hike Saturday
Local Sports
Jon Tucker new Wildcats coach
Jon Tucker has been named the new head basketball coach of the Polk County Wildcats’ Basketball Team.
Hindman new head coach
Softball banquet held
Former Polk player awarded
Polk athletes playing nationally
Polk loses ‘Cat fight
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
Friends & Neighbors
Williamson in two episodes
UDC meets
Education Foundation meets
Griswold graduates basic
Pittaway to attend Congress of Future ..
GAs have visitor
Whitmire retires
TN Wesleyan honors
Ocoee Region Beekeeper's Association F..
2013 Miss Christmas Belle
Nature & Environment
Swallowtail feeds
A Yellow Tiger Swallowtail feeds on a thistle bloom at Bill Triplett’s barnyard. (Photo by Jim Caldwell)
Flame on
Trips to win
Bluebells blooming
Bloodroot heralds spring
Homeplace daffodils
Spring is coming
Spring crocus
Red-bellied woodpecker
Frost flower
Recreation & Visitor Information
Ocoee getting busy
River getting busier
Olympic model removed
Battle of Athens map available
Road Construction Won’t Delay Memori..
Poker run a success
Kids Fishing Days slated
Changes made at Tumbling Creek
Rail trips start April 5
Turkey shoot
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 - 7/16/14
Classifieds - 7/9/14
Classifieds - 7/2/14
Classifieds - 6/25/14
Classifieds - 6/18/14
Classifieds - 6/11/14
Classifieds - 6/4/14
Classifieds - 5/28/14
Classifieds 5-14-14
Classifieds - 4/30/14
Public Notices
Public Notices - 7/16/14
Public Notices - 7/9/14
Public Notices - 7/2/14
Public Notices - 6/25/14
Public Notices - 6/18/14
Public Notices - 6/11/14
Public Notices - 6/4/14
Public Notices - 5/28/14
Public Notices - 5/21/14
Public Notices - 5/14/14

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