Local News

January 15, 2012

Civil War anniversary: C.B. Wellborn, Mayor of Dalton

Chapley Booth (C.B.) Wellborn was born Jan. 5, 1817, in Knoxville, Tenn. He married Miss Mary Ann Foster of Forsyth County on Sept. 10, 1837, and resided there for the next 13 years.

During this time, Wellborn served as postmaster at Cumming from June 16, 1841, through 1844. By 1850, he was a successful merchant in Cumming living there with his wife and five children. Shortly after he moved his family to Dalton and established himself in business as a retail merchant.

The Wellborn family became members of the First Methodist Church of Dalton where C.B. served as trustee. The Rev. Levi Brotherton recorded in his diary that on Aug. 24,1852, Wellborn’s 1-year-old child Henry Bascom Wellborn died. Brotherton officiated the burial the next day.

In 1855, C.B. Wellborn was elected to the Georgia Senate for a two-year term (1855-1856). While serving in the Senate on June 21, 1856, Wellborn lost a second child, 2-year-old Mary Ann Wellborn. She was laid to rest beside her brother in West Hill Cemetery.

After completing his senatorial service, C.B. was elected mayor of Dalton for the year 1857. In 1858, he was succeeded in office by Councilman Theodore S. Swift who then died while in office on Feb. 28, 1858. C.B. Wellborn was again elected mayor and served in 1862.

On June 11, 1861, C.B.’s oldest son, Robert Penn Wellborn, enlisted in Company E 9th Regiment Georgia Infantry and was quickly promoted to captain. On Aug. 14, 1861, another son, Fleming Olin Wellborn, enlisted in Company E 12th Regiment Georgia Cavalry, later called Avery’s 4th Georgia Cavalry, and was also promoted to captain.

When the war broke out in 1861 Wellborn became a partner in the firm of Wellborn, Nichols and Oliver. They secured a contract with the Confederate government to supply certain items for the military. On Dec. 31, 1861, a summary report was prepared by C.S.A. Inspector E. Andrews of their activities for the year 1861.

“I have inspected 2,500 sets of accouterments consisting of cap boxes, scabbards, belts and cartridge boxes and 625 knapsacks all of which have been shipped. $11,781.25 was paid for them in 1861. They were manufactured by Wellborn, Nichols and Oliver in the town of Dalton, Georgia. I find them to be of quality conforming to their contract.”

James H. Bard was the local inspector and shipped them to the Augusta arsenal and Fort Smith, Ark. Wellborn additionally proposed to Maj. Larkin Smith of Richmond, Va., to furnish the Confederate government with 20,000 pairs of brogan shoes, 1,000 soldier tents 8x7 and 1,000 tents 10x10 to be delivered at Dalton or Atlanta, but the offer was apparently not accepted.

 On Feb. 8, 1862, Mayor Wellborn published a detailed financial report in the North Georgia Times for the city during the year 1861. “The city had collected for the year $2,203.20. Expenditures, appropriations, etc. for the same time were $1,753.00 leaving a balance in the treasurer’s hands of $450.20. Respectfully Submitted, C.B. Wellborn, Mayor.”

In April, May and June 1862, Wellborn, Nichols and Oliver manufactured and shipped 967 knapsacks and 13,270 sets of accouterments for which they were paid $15,845.95. After these shipments were made apparently their contract was fulfilled and none were renewed.

Wellborn then dissolved his partnership with the firm and it closed. Oliver and Nichols secured a new contract with the government and began operations as meat packers under the name of Oliver, Nichols. Their pork-packing factory was in the Willowdale area northwest of Dalton.

One of Wellborn’s duties as mayor was the issuance of passes for individuals to travel about without being detained by the military. One such pass was issued to C.S. Dorsett of Gordon County to go on an errand of mercy to secure salt for his neighborhood and for the wives of absent soldiers. A pass was issued to James McIntire to visit East Tennessee on business and another was given to G.M. Moore to visit Knoxville on business to buy salt.

In June 1862, Wellborn rented a store house on King Street to the Quarter Master Service at $12.50 per month, then sold them a large box stove and stove pipe in November for $37. Winter was coming on.

On Sept. 20, 1862, Military District No. 4 was established in Dalton by order of Gen. Braxton Bragg. C.B. Wellborn was appointed provost marshal by Gen. Samuel Jones. Because of riots among the guards and the convalescents in the hospitals it became necessary to impose martial law for the preservation of good order at Dalton. The sale of all liquors was banned for three miles around Dalton.

An incident occurred on Dec. 10, 1862, when a Mr. Taylor and Mr. Prosser of Tennessee brought four barrels of Tennessee whiskey into the area and were caught red-handed parceling it out by the gallon just north of town. They claimed ignorance of the law but the whiskey was seized, confiscated and after some deliberation turned over to Post Surgeon Falknor H. Evans, commander of post, to be used for medicinal purposes in the hospitals here.

On Dec. 11, 1862, acting as trustee for the First Methodist Church of Dalton, Wellborn received $75 from the quartermaster for five months rent of the church building for hospital purposes. On the 15th he was issued 1,000 blank passport tickets (passes) from the quartermaster to be issued at his discretion.

Two days before Christmas 1862, Mayor Wellborn wrote a letter to the War Department in Richmond on behalf of Mrs. Lucinda Sconce, widow of Pvt. Berry F. Sconce of Co. A 41st Regt. Ga. Infantry who had been killed during the battle at Perryville, Ky., on Oct. 8, 1862.

“Enclosed find claim of Mrs. Sconce for amount due her husband — please forward to her in this case the amount due and oblige, Yours Truly, C.B.Wellborn.”

As scores of homes began to feel the pains of war, Christmas and New Years celebrations were somewhat subdued in 1862.

On Jan. 10,1863, Wellborn sold his letter press to the quartermaster for $15. On the 24th, Post Surgeon F.H. Evans sent the following letter to the Honorable J.A. Seddon, secretary of war C.S.A., “Sir, Provost Marshal C.B. Wellborn has discharged the duties of that office promptly and efficiently. He has resided in Dalton for years, has extended acquaintances with an influence over the people in this vicinity. The population of this section of country are not disposed to render the assistance to the government that circumstances demand of them. We have been compelled to resort to impressment to procure Negroes as nurses in the hospitals and for all public works. We are of the opinion that C.B.Wellborn from his extended acquaintances and influence over the people of this vicinity can perform the duties of the office of Provost Marshal with a greater advantage to the public interest and with more satisfaction to the community than could any stranger. In the circumstances and because he has to this time performed the duties of his office with energy and exercised a control (beneficial to the public interest) over the citizens with but little disturbance. We would recommend that he be continued in his office by your order. F.H.Evans, Post Surgeon - W.F.Ayes, Major & Quarter Master of Post.”

Apparently Wellborn continued in office until the arrival of the Army in Dalton in November 1863.

On Jan. 31,1863, Wellborn and the Rev. John M. Richardson wrote letters of support to the War Department on behalf of Mr. Elius E. Bates to receive any money due his son Pvt. Nelson Bates of Co. A 36th Regt. Ga. Infantry, who died in the hospital here Sept. 20, 1862. Cause of death not stated. On March 3, 1863, Wellborn wrote another letter to Richmond asking for George T. Tate to be paid what money may have been due his son at the time of his death. “Please give this your attention and forward the amount per express or in check to Augusta, Georgia. Yours Truly, C.B.Wellborn.”

 Tate’s son was Pvt. Walton W. Tate of Co. D 60th Regt. Ga. Infantry. This was Dickerson Taliaferio’s Company of “Whitfield Volunteers.” He had enlisted in Dalton Sept. 19, 1861, and died of fever in a Richmond hospital on Aug. 10,1862. No doubt there were many other such letters written. But who was to write a letter for Wellborn?

At the last of November 1863, in the midst of all the turmoil created when the Army of Tennessee came to live in Dalton for the next six months following their defeat at Missionary Ridge, Tenn., Wellborn received word that his son, Capt. Olin Wellborn of Co. E 4th Regt. Ga. Cavalry, had been wounded in action around Kingston, Tenn., on the 27th. He was taken to a hospital and ordered to be sent home to recover. But if that wasn’t bad enough, on the first of December, C.B. received word that another son, Robert Penn Wellborn of Co. E 9th Regt. Ga. Infantry had been killed in action at Knoxville on the 29th while leading his company.

The winter was very cold and rough on the soldiers who had lost most of their tents and bedding in their rout from Chattanooga. On Dec. 14, Wellborn sold 3,000 pounds of wheat straw to the quartermaster for $15. This would help to keep many of them warm that winter.

Christmas 1863 was a sad occasion for the Wellborn family. His oldest son was dead, another one wounded, his term as mayor of Dalton was over, the hospitals had packed up and left Dalton, and the town and the surrounding area was now winter to about 40,000 soldiers. He did what many others were doing. He packed up what he could and moved his family further south to another town until the after the cessation of hostilities.

He was succeeded as mayor of Dalton by Elbert Sevier Bird who became known as the War Time Mayor of Dalton — because Bird served in 1864, a year where Dalton would become front page news as the war’s front lines came to her doorsteps.

After the war in 1865, Wellborn paid taxes in Dalton, but by 1866, he was paying his taxes in Fulton County with a Peachtree Street address. On Jan. 11, 1867, C.B. was granted a Presidential Pardon by President Andrew Johnson in Atlanta and his citizenship was restored. In 1870, the Wellborns were living in Atlanta where C.B. operated a fire and insurance agency. In the middle 1870s he moved his family to Dallas, Texas, and set up shop as a real estate agent.

There on April 20, 1890, at age 73 he passed away ending a long life of giving and caring for his fellow man.

This article is part of a series of stories about Dalton and life in Dalton during the Civil War. The stories run on Sunday and are provided by the Dalton-Whitfield Civil War 150th Anniversary Committee. To find out more about the committee go to www.dalton 150th.com. If you have material that you would like to contribute for a future article contact Robert Jenkins at 706-259-4626 or robert.jenkins@robertdjenkins.com.

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