Local News

August 26, 2013

Former professor talks about misconceptions about the South

When people think about the American Civil War they’re likely to think in terms of North vs. South.

And they’re wrong to do so, Larry Cooper, a retired associate professor of education from Dalton State College, says.

The war, Cooper said, was more complicated than that.

Cooper, who has released a book titled “Lincoln’s Land” about his genealogy and the Civil War’s impact on eastern Tennessee, spoke at a Dalton State Lunch & Learn program last week.

“I wrote this book for two reasons,” Cooper said. “To correct a misconception that all people from the South were Confederate. I’m a Southerner, but my family heritage is not Confederate.”

In fact, most of the people in east Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains were Unionists, Cooper said, and strongly opposed slavery and the actions of the rest of the state.

In west Tennessee, 11 out of 15 counties supported the proposition of slavery in 1861. In the middle of the state, 20 of the 33 counties supported it as well. But in the area of interest for Cooper, the border region of Tennessee and Kentucky, 27 out of 29 counties opposed slavery and secession from the United States.

“My ancestors just farmed and traded for the rest,” Cooper said of his family who lived in that area during the Civil War. “They were a very self-sufficient, patriotic people.”

People who didn’t own that many slaves, if any, Cooper said.

One such ancestor named Alexander Heatherly actually raised a private army, which he took to join the Unionists in Virginia in 1861.

“It’s really an interesting part of history that is not really talked about sometimes,” Cooper said of Southerners who joined the Unionists and — contrarily — Northerners who fought for the Confederacy.

“Many people in the Union owned slaves,” Cooper said, contending that slavery was the central issue of the War Between the States.

Cooper said he was very interested in exploring his heritage, but not until later in life.

“I think it was so painful, the memories were still there for folks,” he said about the lack of people talking about the war as he was growing up. “They really wanted to forget about it.”

But remembering is important, Cooper said. He encourages others to dig into their past.

His book, which details the life of Heatherly, is available through Amazon Kindle at amazon.com/Lincolns-Land-ebook/dp/B009CA96DQ.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    Money.
    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Avans.jpg Three arrested in arson plot to claim insurance money

    Three people have been arrested for their role in a fire at a Chatsworth home as part of an insurance scam to collect money, officials said.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos