James Warren Clift



One of the County's Oldest Settlers Passes Away 
After Long and Painful Affliction

  Capt. James W. Clift, known all over Hamilton county as "Uncle Jimmy," member of one of the leading families of the county, ex-soldier of the Mexican war and veteran of the confederacy, died at his home in Soddy yesterday morning about the breakfast hour.  The last illness of the deceased dated from a day three years ago when paralysis of the creeping kind overcame him and he went down with a stroke that at the time seemed fatal.  He rallied and has lived since in ever-present consciousness that his time was short, and has merely waited for the end.  For a year he has been in a condition of pitiable helplessness, unable to wait upon himself or speak.  And yet, while his family and friends knew death was inevitable, news of the end proved shocking and saddening.

  "Uncle Jimmy" Clift was a good citizen, an honest man and a Christian gentleman always.  Born in Soddy in 1838, he has lived his seventy-two years in Hamilton county, and in Soddy, except a brief period he spent in Chattanooga.  He was the third child and oldest son of William and Nancy A. Clift, who were among the early settlers of the county.  When a boy he united with the Presbyterian church, and in early manhood became a ruling elder of the church, remaining a staunch and active supporter of the church until death.  At the age of 17 he volunteered as a soldier in the war with Mexico and, because of his ready mastery of the Spanish tongue, was detailed as interpreter for the commanding general.

  In 1861 he raised a company for service in the southern army, but later was commissioned a captain in the regular army of the confederacy and detailed to drill duty, serving in that capacity during the war.

  After the final surrender Capt. Clift returned to Soddy and engaged in farming.  Later he became interested in the Soddy Coal company, and for fifteen or sixteen years managed its mercantile business.

  In a public way he figured prominently in county and state politics for many years.  One term he served as tax assessor.  He was a member of the legislature the year of Bob Taylor's first candidacy for the senate.  In other small offices he has served his neighbors whenever elected by the people or appointed by competent authority.  Ex-Gov. Cox, who was in the city last night, spoke in highest terms of Capt. Clift, with whom he served in the legislature.

  There were seven children in the family of William Clift.  Since the death of Capt. James Clift, only two survive.  They are Joseph J., former esquire, who is now grievously afflicted, and Maj. M. H., of this city, well-known citizen, lawyer and politician.

  The surviving family of the deceased is composed of three sons and two daughters.  The sons are William, who lives in Texas; the Rev. Wallace, who is a well-known Presbyterian clergyman living at Galena, Kan., and Joseph W., who lives on McCallie avenue, this city, and is at present deputy county trustee.  The daughters are Mrs. M. E. Miles, one of whose daughters is Mrs. Herbert Bushnell, of this city, and Mrs. Aldine Newberry--both of the daughters residing in Soddy.  The relationship includes the Wallaces and Hendersons, the ramifications of which kinship extend to all quarters of the county.

  Funeral servies will be held at Soddy this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock.  The Rev. Wallace Clift, son of deceased, will conduct the services.

The Chattanooga Times, March 9, 1910.

Submitted by Bruce Clift