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The Civil War tore apart our country as well as deeply dividing many of our communities when sympathies fell on opposite sides.  Grassy Cove shared in loss and tragedy.  John Ford, Sr. had died before the war began but he had 21 Grandsons who fought in this war.  Having come from Virginia, their sympathies were naturally with the Confederacy, although one grandson, Mark Renfroe, espoused the Union cause, became a Captain and was killed in battle.  He is buried in the National Cemetery in Knoxville, TN. 
Here are some of the Grandsons of John Ford, Sr. from Grassy Cove who fought for the Confederacy:


  James W. Matthews (born 2 Nov 1827, Grassy Cove, Bledsoe County, TN) He was the son of Jane Ford and Richard Matthews.  James was nicknamed 'Soup' and mentioned in the Tales of the Civil War Era booklet compiled by Stella Mowbray Harvey in 1964 for the Tennessee Civil War Centennial Committee.  He died 11 Nov 1911 and is buried in Grassy Cove Methodist Cemetery, TN, listed as a Civil War Veteran.

All 5 sons of Dr. John Ford: Elijah J. Ford, Thomas W. Ford, John F. Ford, Elbert H. Ford and Chris Ford.

The first four of these sons answered the first call to arms by the Confederacy and went to Washington, Rhea County, TN, to enlist.  They served in the Fifth Company under Captain Burton Leuty.  Elijah (Lige) was a casualty of battle.

The fifth son, Chris Ford , enlisted later. 

Chris was  a Private in Co. F., 2 Ashby's Tennessee Cavalry, Confederate. The four muster rolls first show him enlisting 24 may 1862 at Powell's Valley by Col. H.M. Ashby for a period of two years.
In July 1864 he is in Capt. S.C. Stone's Co. of the 2 Regt. Tennessee Cavalry and roll is date Tennie Hill Georgia.  He enlisted at Pikeville, Tenn.
*This company was also known as Co. F, 2d (Ashby's) Regt. Tenn. Cavalry.
Last muster shows him in Co. F, 1st Reg't Tennessee Cavalry ... Col. Gillespie for two years or the war.

Chris's wife, Elizabeth objected to him joining the Confederacy as her father and two brothers had joined the Union cause.  He tried to persuade her that he could not fight against his brothers but it was to no avail and he eventually left to join the Confederacy.  During this time Elizabeth sued for divorce and custody of their two children but Chris returned on leave, counter-sued and he won the custody battle.  He then returned to war leaving his children with his elderly parents, Dr. John and Mary Nancy Ford. 
During this time, on a bleak fall day,
the people living near enough to the road to recognize passersby saw Elizabeth Swan, her father and brother galloping northward bearing the 2 little girls of Chris & Elizabeth Ford.  The children were without wraps on that cold day of the murder and their little faces were spattered with blood
The neighbors, realizing something unusual had happened, rushed to the Ford home were they found Dr. Ford sitting in his arm chair, with a great knife sticking into his skull.   He was breathing but unconscious.  His wife Nancy was found on the floor of the Ford home and placed upon a bed.

  MARY JANE OR 'Aunt Mary"  as she is referred to in adulthood, the baby daughter  of Dr. John & Nancy Loden Ford, who was still at home with her parents at the time of the Civil War, witnessed the murder of her father at the hands of two members of the Swann family, also of Cumberland County, Tenn.  She never married and lived in the  home with her brothers, CHRISTOPHER ARCHIBALD FORD, and bachelor brother, JOHN FLETCHER FORD. They share a common gravestone, a tall column with their names on each side of the square-shaped stone.  The front part of stone has FORD on it.  The stone is located near the white post fence in the old part of the cemetery.  This Mary Ford was in the living room with her parents when Mr. Swan and his son came into the room and murdered her father while he sat in his chair with his son Chris' two young daughters.  She was found lying on the floor, staring into space and unable to speak from fright and from this condition she never did fully recover although she later regained her voice and was able ot tell the story of how the terrible tragedy was enacted.
She did not tell which one murdered him according to family stories but it was widely rumored to be Chris' brother-in-law.  At least he's the one who fled to Kentucky   and stayed awhile before returning to the area. 
This was in the period of the Civil War referred to as Dog Days because the courts were disrupted and there was no recourse or protection from lawlessness. 


Note:  Dr. John is mentioned in some books, including Bledsoe County, Tenn. - A History, written by Elizabeth Parham Robnett, as being in the Civil War himself but in all family documentation, it is mentioned only that he, being too old and feeble for service during the Civil War, contributed heavily towards the Confederate cause until the afternoon of his murder on Oct. 7, 1863.

JOHN FLETCHER FORD

When John Fletcher Ford went into service, he was a Private in Co. F. of the 1st Cavalry, in Capt. Burton Leuty's Co.  He was 33 yrs. old in April 1862 when he enlisted at Sulphur Springs, Tenn. for the period of the war.  The number of miles to his rendevous was 65 on the 1st muster roll I have of his service.  The company was increased to a Regiment in Nov. 14, 1862 by the addition of other companies and became the 1st Carter's Regiment of the Tenn. Cavalry.
John F. told an old veteran friend of his who was visiting one day at the Ford homestead, (told to Steve Cawood from Rhea Cnty. Tenn.) ... "if war is hell, then what would you call the aftermath" "Bittersweet I guess,"Steve replied.
"It was bitter to return home and look upon the worn faces of our women and the frail, undernourished bodies of the little children, and also to find that guerillas had carried off about everything that was portable from the comfortable homes which once were, and to have to travel heartbreak road in re-establishing ourselves, John F. said.
"Yet on the other hand it was sweet to be home again with our loved ones and to possess the strength and ability to stage a comeback. But my loved ones were not all here on my return," he continued. "My father had been murdered and my brother, Lige (Elijah Jehu) died a prisoner of war."
"You know Jane and I were to have been married when the war ended.  You know too, her parents were well off and she had been accustomed to everything money could buy.   When I returned from the war, my mother was lying helpless, paralyzed from the waist down.  Sister Mary had been her sole dependence since father's murder, and she was frail.  I was their sole dependence now. "
"Guerillas had taken even the quilts and blankets and all my civilian clothes. There was very little left that could be hauled away.   I looked around and realized I could not marry Jane and bring her into these surroundings with my mother and sister so helpless and in need of all that I could do to support them under the circumstances, " said John.

Personal description of JOHN F. FORD

John F. Ford was the second son of Dr. John Ford and was a gay young man. He was reared to work in his father's general store in the Grassy Cove community, which with time had grown greatly in population from when John Ford Sr., the Rev. soldier, had led a wagon train here in 1802.   From here John F. had gained much business ability.  He always appeared well dressed at all occasions and he played fiddle in the string band at the Crab Orchard Inn for balls and other social functions held in the Cove during this time.
He rode a large dapple gray horse.  At 3 different times his horse was shot out from under him in battles and he was in many fierce ones, including the Battle Above the Clouds at Lookoup Mtn., Missionary Ridge, Shiloh, and the Battle of Chicamuaga where it is said ... "the creek ran red four days due to the blood men and horses shed in battle there."

RUFUS FORD

RUFUS (RUSSFERD) S FORD, 5th son of Reuben and Susanna Ford, was born ca.1833 in Grassy Cove, Tenn, Bledsoe County. He is deceased about 18 Sept. 1863 after suffering a fatal foot injury during the Civil War.

Member 2nd Regiment Ark. Mounted Rifles, Pvt. in Co. D. Joined 15 July 1861 near Bentonville for a period of 12 months. He traveled 3 miles to place of rendevous according to his muster rolls. Valuation in dollar of his horse was $125 and horse equipment, $10. By 1863 he is in F-Gordon's Regimental Cavalry, 1st Regt. Ark. Cavalry for duration of war. (This Regt. was designated at various times as Carroll's Regt Ark. Cavalry, Thomason's Regt Ark. Cavalry also)

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