Nestled beneath the towering shade trees, in a cemetary older than the
City of LaFollette, a new monument to a Campbell County vertan now stands.
No longer shrouded by the silence of the grave, the memory of John Cabbage,
a soldier in the War of 1812, may now be celebrated.
Cabbage served in the Third Regiment of the Tennesse Militia, which was commanded
by Henry Hunter. The organization still has ties with the military in Tennessee,
including the all volunteer Tennssee Defense Force. He followed in the tradition
of his father, who, according to family records, served in the Revolutionary War
and lived in Campbell County for a time. John Cabbage was drafted for service at
Rutledge, Tennessee in September, 1814 and served until he was honorably discharged
in Knoxville in April of 1815. For his time in service, he was paid approximately
$8.00 per month and collected a total of $60.26 for his total time in service.
In a ceremony with full military honors held this past Saturday, Cabbage family
members were on hand to erect a veteran's tombstone marking his final resting place,
the location of whic had eluded family members for 15 to 20 years.
Cabbage had settled in this area in 1819 after purchasing land in the Indian Creek
He and his wife had acquired some 315 acres of land in Campbell County before his
death on November 20, 1836.
After his death, his widow Catherine, who was 70 at the time, filed a formal petition
for John's "bounty land," a portion of his pay for having served in the military
which amounted to around 80 acres of land. After disposing of that property, she
made a second application for more land under and act passed in 1855. When Catherine
died, she left the land in her will to daughters Elizabeth, who married Joseph Delap,
and Phebe, who was married to George Delap.
The end of their search for their ancestor's grave came on the heels of two stories
which chronicled the efforts of LaFollette resident Girtrue McFadden, who gives of her
own time to keep what is know as the "Talley Cemetary" clean. The cemetary reportedly
got it's name in reference to the large contingent of Italian-Americans who lived
near the site which is located on East Forest Street in LaFollette.
McFadden, a World War II veteran, succeeded in her efforts to have the City of LaFollette
assist in doing some of the mowing and trimming at the cemetary, yet she still does a
great deal of the work herself.
The story of McFadden's efforts first appeared in the LaFollette Press last summer and was
picked up quickly by WATE-TV 6 which aired an interview with McFadden. During that
interview, she repeated her finding of the gravesite of Cabbage and noted that her
records showed that he was indeed a veteran of the War of 1812.
As that story was being aired, a resident of Grainger County who is a Knox County teacher,
weary from grading a mountain of papers, caught a glimpse of it.
As fate would have it, that teacher was a descendant of the veteran who also bears the
name, John Cabage, spelled without the second "b." He is a descendant of the elder
Cabbage's, linking him to the veteran as a cousin. He is the president-elect of the
family's association which gathers in large numbers yarly.
He immediately contact directory assistance and got McFadden's phone number calling her
before the story finished airing.
"When I picked up the phone, this fellow said that he was John Cabbage. I told him I hoped
it wasn't the same one I'd just shown on T.V.," McFadden stated.
From that point, members of the Cabbage-Cabage family were contacted and
information was assembled in order to obtain Cabbage's military record. The military
record allowed the family to secure approval for the errection of a veteran's memorial
stone indicating his service in that war.
The new memorial replaces what was the only remant of Cabbage's burial there, a crude piece
of standstone which had his name of date of death hand-carved into it's surface. The exposure
to the elements as well as vandalism has destroyed several other stones in the cemetary, but
records organized by McFadden and Cabbage family members indicate that there may be several
other veterans buried there whose graves are not properly marked.
Retired Army Colonel Tom Stiner was called upon during the ceremony to give an impromptu speech.
Stiner recounted a little known historical fact that one of the first soldiers to die in the War
of 1812 was a Campbell Countian by the name of Lemuel P. Montgomery. Stiner said that the
veterans of the War of 1812 held a special place in history because it was the first conflict
in which the United States had become involved since gaining it's independance. "This (erecting
the monument) will bring honor to this community," Stiner stated.
Cabbage was honored with a 21-gun salute and the playing of taps provided by the members of the
Disabled American Veterans. John Ferguson, Commander; Campbell County Honor Guard, Major Hatmaker,
Commander; P.O.W./M.I.A. Chapter, led by Russ Martin; D.A.V. Ladies' Auxilliary, led by Devonia
Ferguson; and the Tennessee Defense Force, led by 1st Lt. Gene Davis. The Campbell County Veteran's
Memorial Committee was represented by Ronnie Daugherty.
The Cabbage family also presented McFadden with a certificate of appreciation from the family for
her efforts in helping to locate their ancestor.