On July 4, 1945, over 4,000 people attended a celebration at Trenton when Dade graciously struck the Confederate banner, raised Old Glory and rejoined the Union.  This celebration attracted national attention and even a congratulatory telegram from President Harry S. Truman.  Everyone enjoyed the occasion and it left a lasting impression in the minds of Georgians.


One of these minds belonged to E. Merton Coulter, one of Georgia’s most respected and best loved historians.  Dr. Coulter looked very carefully at the records and concluded that this most popular story was not true.  In fact, Dade’s two delegates to the secession convention voted against the secession.  Nevertheless, Georgia did secede in January 1861.  Dade Countians immediately joined the Confederate Army in quantity and served their new nation well in units like the Yancey Invincibles, the Lookout Dragoons, the Dade County Invincibles and the Raccoon Roughs who wore coonskin caps.  Dade County men saw action at Manassas (1st and 2nd), Fredricksburg, Cold harbor, Gettysburg, Vicksburg and most of the major battles.


As for the “State of Dade,” it did exist in a physical sense until 1940.  Dade is tucked into the northwest corner of the state behind the steep slopes of Lookout Mountain.  Until the completion of Georgia 143 (Old S.R. 2), Dade was accessible only from Alabama or Tennessee unless the traveler had the skill of a mountain goat.  Until the all-weather road went through, Dade had been tied to the economy of Chattanooga.  Maybe the celebration on July 4, 1945, was a belated announcement that the State of Dade was ready to join Georgia culturally, physically and economically.


Whether the story had a true basis or not may be irrelevant.  The story was believed by enough people so that it has become viable cultural folklore, which is almost as good as history.  Besides, everybody really enjoyed the celebration.



(Used by permission, History of Dade County Georgia, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, 1981.)

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