I’m back! I took some time off from the blog to travel with family and friends since summer is the best time. I visited A LOT of cemeteries, too!
I’m still writing about Chattanooga’s Forest Hills Cemetery. For this final installment, I’m featuring people whose monuments actually resemble them. Many times, it’s an angel or a cross but in this case, it’s a statue or bust that is meant to be the deceased.
This first young woman was born on July 23, 1873 to parents James W. Oliver and Louisa Dikeman Oliver. I could find very little about them, only that James was born in New York and Louisa was born in Pennsylvania. They do not appear in census records. Eldest daughter Grace was born in 1873 and another daughter, Pearl, was born in 1879. There is mention of a son, Edward, in James’ will but he was already deceased when James died in 1892.
I did learn that James was a conductor for various railroads in Chattanooga over the years, from the S&W Railroad (most likely the Savannah and Western Railroad) and the Piedmont Airline.
“A Voice We Loved is Stilled”
Grace died of typhoid fever on Dec. 5, 1890 in Chattanooga at the age of 17. I found an article about her death and burial in an issue of The Conductor and Brakeman describing Grace and her musical spirit. I suspect James Oliver’s fellow railroad co-workers may have assisted in paying for Grace’s monument.
While no photograph of Grace survives, I believe her monument likely resembles her and features her love of music since the figure is holding a lyre on her lap.
The inscription on the side of her monument reads:
A precious one from us has gone
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home
Which never can be filled.
James W. Oliver passed away a little over two years later at the age of 62 in 1892, leaving his estate to Louisa and his daughter, Pearl. Louisa and Pearl lived together in Chattanooga for several more years, with Pearl working as a music teacher. Louisa died in 1925 at the age of 75 of cardiac problems. Pearl died in 1957 at the age of 79 having never married.
James, Louisa, and Pearl Oliver are buried with Grace at Forest Hills, a large obelisk standing beside her monument.
A more prominent resident of East Tennessee was Daniel Coffee Trewhitt, a vocal opponent of secession during the Civil War era. He was the son of Judge Levi Isaac Trewhitt and Harriet Lavender Trewhitt, born in 1823 in what is now Cumberland County, Tenn.
Daniel espoused the beliefs of his father, who was a Unionist. During the Confederate crackdown following the East Tennessee bridge burnings in late 1861, Judge Trewhitt was arrested and jailed on suspicion of aiding the bridge burners. Despite pleas for his release, he died in a Confederate prison in Mobile, Ala., in 1862.
Daniel studied law with his father and was licensed to practice in 1847. He worked as a lawyer in Harrison, Tenn. After facing defeat in running for district attorney general and state senator, Trewhitt was elected to Hamilton County’s seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1859.
A Unionist Voice
Throughout the first half of 1861, Trewhitt canvassed the Hamilton County area, speaking out against secession. He was a delegate to both the Knoxville and Greeneville sessions of the East Tennessee Convention, and represented Hamilton County on the convention’s powerful business committee. The convention sought to create a new state in East Tennessee that would remain in the Union.
Trewhitt was elected to Hamilton County’s seat in the Tennessee Senate in August 1861, but the state having seceded, he fled to Kentucky to join the Union Army. Trewhitt served with distinction, rising to the rank of lieutenant, and fought at the Battles of Stones River and Chickamauga.
In 1864, Governor Andrew Johnson appointed Trewhitt chancellor (judge) of the state’s second chancery division, which included Chattanooga and surrounding areas of southeastern Tennessee. He held this position until 1870, when the new state constitution restored the voting rights of former Confederates, and he was defeated in his bid for reelection. He then returned to private practice in Chattanooga.
Trewhitt died in January 1891. He is buried with his second wife, Mary, and two of their children.
My final story is about a man who is not buried at Forest Hills because his remains were never recovered. Yet a large obelisk honoring him was placed there. Samuel M. Patton’s brief life and tragic death are still worth remembering.
A native of Mississippi, Patton was born in July 17, 1857. His father, Col. William Patton, was a prominent newspaperman and a Confederate veteran. Samuel worked in the business with his father until he began studying architecture and found he was quite good at it.
As a junior partner in the New Orleans architectural firm of Sully, Toledano and Patton, Samuel came to Chattanooga to supervise the construction of the $200,000 Richardson Building in 1888. His obituary mentions he was somehow related to the family. Patton himself was a bachelor and eager to build his budding career.
At that time, Chattanooga was a mecca for ambitious young architects like Patton. Attracted by the prospects for success, Patton established his own office in the newly completed Richardson Building.
A Rising Star
Among the buildings Patton designed in Tennessee were the Lookout Mountain Inn, Mountain City Club, Loveman Building, Temple Court Building and Fourth National Bank in Chattanooga, and the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville (see photo above).
Sadly, Patton’s life ended far too soon. A fire started in the basement of the Richardson Building during the pre-dawn hours of April 3, 1897. While others managed to escape down a back staircase, Patton and local businessman Boyd Ewing (who also lived there) found themselves trapped. Ewing attempted to escape via a window but fell to his death from the fifth floor. Patton never made it out and perished. His remains were never found amid the rubble.
I don’t know who provided this obelisk, topped with a bust, in his honor. But it is a handsome monument to the life of a man who left his mark on Chattanooga and the state of Tennessee in ways that are still in evidence today.
There are countless other stories I could share from Forest Hills but it’s time to move on. But I will always remember the pleasure of spending an April morning strolling this beautiful cemetery’s landscape.