Clinton History


WAR OF 1862
Aug 13 1925

As I said in past pages, the mountain people were all for the Union, as a rule, but there were leading men who made a change. The citizens of the United States had lived in peace and harmony as long as the devil could stand it. He told one side one thing and the other side another. He told the North to free the negro, and told the South they would have to raise their own cotton and their wealth. They held a convention at Knoxville. Phillip Selber was the only man in Frost Bottom who owned any slaves, except my grandfather Duncan, who owned one negro man. As I said before, Phillip Selber was sent as a delegate to the convention to decide which was the best. He went to Knoxville a Union man and came back a secessionist. That divided the mountain citizens because Phillip Selber had a great influence among the mountaineers. ???? There were already Conferate soldiers camped in Clinton. ?????? W.R. Duncan were for the Union. They met old uncle Soloman Disney who was for the division. They got into an argument and the two men beat the old man with rocks. He went over to Phillip Selber’s house bleeding all over, so Selber wrote out a list and reported every Union man in Frost Bottom and sent it to his father Samuel Selber to take to Clinton. He sent the Confederate soldiers word to come and get them, My father and old uncle Alfred Cross were out in the road talking of the trouble that was rising. Samuel Selber came along and told them what he was going to do. They told him he had better not do that as they were all neighbors and it would cause trouble. But it a availed nothing and he went right ahead. It was not very long till a company of soldiers passed with Mr. Selber. They arrested all the Union men listed on the report. They went to Tom Duncan’s, “Devil Tom,” they called him, and arrested him and two of the Brown boys, Willis and Ell. Duncan asked the soldiers to let him go and feed his old sow and pigs before starting, and they gave him leave. Ell Brown went with him and they took to the mountains. The soldiers took Willis Brown and left. Uncle Sam Selber said they let the devil get away, and he was about right.

They were taken to Knoxville and put in prison. They joined Cain’s battery to get out and got a furlough to come home and never went back. The majority of them went to Kentucky and joined the Union armny. “Devil Tom” Duncan joined Bill Emory’s guerrilla company and it was not long till they came over from the Smoky mountains to Frost Bottom and took the life of poor old Phillip Selber. They said Bill Emory shot him and Tom Duncan stuck a bayonet in him. He fell out of the door on the ground. He had $400 in his pocket, which he took out laid on the ground and covered it with dirt. He had just gotten back from Knoxville, where he had taken a drove of hogs and sold them. They ought to have taken the old man prisoner. This was the second murder that was done at the beginning of the war, or family fuss, of 1861.

A local newspaper

In the 1920’s, Jasper Smith wrote articles for the Anderson County newspaper about the different areas of the county. They are being shared with you because of the genealogy that was written in some of the articles.

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