50th Anniversary


Golden Wedding of Capt. and Mrs. J. W. Clift at Soddy Yesterday Attended by a Host of Admiring Friends and Relatives.


  One of the most notable social events that has occurred in Hamilton county in recent years was celebrated yesterday at Soddy, being the golden wedding, the fiftieth anniversary, of the marriage of Capt. and Mrs. James W. Clift, which occurred at their residence in that village.  A sumptuous dinner was prepared and invitations were sent to a large number of the friends and relatives of the aged couple.

  The family residence was beautifully decorated and the table was loaded with all the bountiful products of Capt. Clift's splendid farm, and all the fruits and confections of the season.  The dinner began at 1 o'clock and lasted until 4:30 p. m.

  Guests were presents (sic) from all parts of the county, seventy-five in all sitting at the tables, chief among them being Mrs. M. A. Henderson, sister of Capt. Clift.  All of the living children of Capt. and Mrs. Clift were also present, as follows:  Mrs. D. J. Miles, Police Sergeant W. M. Clift, Rev. Wallace Clift, pastor of the Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church; Joe W. Clift, secretary and treasurer of the Lookout Boiler works, and Mrs. Thomas Newberry, of Soddy.  In addition to these Esquire J. J. Clift, brother of Capt. Clift; M. M. Henderson and wife, J. R. Henderson, wife and daughter, Warren C. Henderson, Miss Jane Henderson, nephews and nieces of Capt. Clift; Capt Winfield S. McKenzie, of Texas, brother of Mrs. Clift, who came all the way from the Lone Star state to attend the celebration; Col. W. Joe Clift, and Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Vinson, of this city

  Many beautiful presents, all in gold, were received by the happy celebrants, attesting the kindly affection they are held by their friends and relatives.

  After the dinner had been thoroughly discussed, short addresses were made by Capt. Clift, C. W. Winson and Col. W. Joe Clift, all full of interest and abounding in recitals of incidents occurring during the fifty years' interval between the present and the time when the ceremony that made the generous host and his loving helpmeet man and wife was performed.

  Capt. Clift alluded tenderly to the happiness his wife had given him by her love and devotion during all the years of their joint pilgrimage to this time, sharing with tender solicitude their sorrows and with equal gladness their ... and pleasures.  He said ... that God had been very good ... giving him this woman. ... that He had allowed ... the same path together ... gone by with so ... tranquillity and ... sorrow as compared with many others.

  At the conclusion of these addresses there was general handshaking and the "bride and groom" received the congratulations of their guests and friends on their sturdy appearance, despite their years, and wished for them many happy returns of their wedding anniversary.


  James W. Clift was married to Miss Mary Jane McKenzie at Harrison, at that time the county seat of Hamilton county, Dec. 27, 1849, Rev. James Clift officiating.  Four of the attendants at that wedding are still living: Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Vinson, Mrs. Vinson being at that time Miss Elizabeth Copeland; and Mr. and Mrs. J. W. C. Henderson, the latter at that time being Miss M. A. Clift and a sister of Capt. Clift.  Among the "young" men present at the wedding Capt. Clift recalled Col. W. Joe Clift, of this city, two of his own brothers and W. S. McKenzie, of Texas, brother of the bride.  Capt. Clift could recall very few of the great crowd of friends present on that occasion, now living, the vast majority of them having "gone on before."  The couple went from Harrison to Soddy, where they have resided continuously since, with the exception of a few years when Capt. Clift was clerk and master, at which time he resided temporarily in this city.

  Capt. Clift was at one time state senator from this county, but has never been a politician, preferring the quiet and dignified rethirement (sic) of the country gentleman, esteemed and admired by all who know him.

Chattanooga Daily Times, December 28, 1899.

Submitted by Bruce Clift