An article written by H.A. Crawford gives information relating to the Hiwassee Garrison and was found in the Crawford papers which have a wealth of information about the Crawford family. In this document Crawford tells that Hiwassee Garrison was built sometime between 1806 and 1814, and that it consisted of block houses and stockades and was surrounded by a deep and wide ditch and a high split log picket fence. He also states that in 1814 it was occupied by a regiment of mounted soldiers commanded by Colonel Doherty. Crawford wrote that the fort was built and the soldiers put there to guard the white people of the county against the raids of the Cherokee Indians who, at that time, occupied all the territory south of the river. He further states that there were several cannons at the garrison and that the soldiers picked out spots on the side of the bluff across the river and used them as targets for cannon and musket practice. Crawford wrote that when they began cannon practice the Indians around the south side of the river would “break for tall timber!”

Crawford’s article states that in the fall of 1814 the soldiers were loaded on flat boats and floated down the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to Chickasaw Bluff (now Memphis) where they were quartered for only a short time. Then they were put on boats bound for New Orleans during the first of January, 1815. According to Crawford’s writing, they arrived in New Orleans during the evening of January 8, 1815, just as the Battle of New Orleans had ended. He wrote that they were too late to take part in the fighting, but were able to help bury the dead and take care of the wounded. Also, they saw the British General, Packingham, who was killed in the battle, and General Jackson.

Henry Anderson Crawford was a very unique and interesting man. Records of his family which appear in the “History of Rhea County” are taken from the Crawford files, cemetery and census records. H.A. Crawford, the son of John and Martha (Griffith) Crawford, was born in Rhea County on October 2, 1835. He first attended Luminary School, and then went to Tennessee Academy at Washington. When Henry was a little older than eighteen, he became a Clerk and Salesman in the store of R.N. Gillespie at Washington. This job lasted for four years, and gave Crawford a knowledge of the mercantile business.

Crawford was elected Clerk of the Rhea County Court in 1860, and remained in that office until the federal army took possession of Rhea County in 1863. He enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, and was a sergeant in his father’s Company E, 26th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry. Henry was assigned to duty in the Commissary department until the close of the war, and was paroled at Atlanta, Georgia on May 23, 1865.

After the War Between the States, Crawford went into steamboating on the Tennessee River. He next entered the mercantile business at Washington with R.N. Gillespie, Jr. whose sister, Anna, he married at a later time. Henry was also in that same business at different times with Captain William Perry Darwin, W.N. Ault and J.R. Crawford at Washington and Dayton. Crawford served as a School Director in the Rhea County public schools for approximately twenty-five years. He was labeled as a “fine” historian, giving the last few years of his life for preservation of the history of Rhea County. Henry was a member of Washington Lodge No. 236, and had been a Master Mason for more than fifty years.

Crawford married Anna Neilson Gillespie on October 8, 1868 at the bride’s home near the Tennessee River. Anna was born in Washington, Rhea County on March 14, 1842. She was the daughter of Robert Neilson Gillespie and Hannah Leuty Gillespie. She died on November 20, 1905; Henry died on December 30, 1911, and both are buried in Buttram Cemetery. Anna and Henry had six children.

As we can see, the family of Henry Crawford encompasses other families through work, marriage, war and so many other events. In 1891, Henry and Anna donated land which was to be used for a church building, and is known as New Union Baptist Church today. Also, Anna, Henry’s wife, was the sister to my great-great grandmother, Adelia, who married William Perry Darwin. Therefore, we can see just how complicated and intertwined all families are. No family stands alone; each one is an interlocking of other people.

As your Rhea County Historian, I remind you to learn from the past so that we can live in the present and prepare for the future.

Pat Guffey can be reached at pat459@charter.net