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
  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 22, 2014

  • gov deal in dalton1.jpg State faces skilled worker gap

    Clay Cooper says HON is producing as many retirees as the company is office chairs.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • house fire on tops st1.jpg House fire under investigation

    Investigators are trying to determine what caused a house fire on Top Street in Dalton Monday that at least temporarily put a family of four out of their home.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo