Returning the Confederate marker taken from Riverside Cemetery will net someone $500. The marker belonged to Col. John Houston Savage, a Confederate soldier who was born and raised in McMinnville.
“We have increased the reward to $500 in an effort to renew interest in this,” said Heritage Alliance president Jimmy Haley, a local historian. “Someone has to know where the marker is.”
The reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for removing the marker, or the return of the marker with no questions being asked.
“In the end, what we want is the return of the marker,” said Haley. “It’s of historical significance. No questions will be asked if someone wants to return it and get the reward.”
The exact time of the marker’s disappearance is unknown. Riverside Cemetery is owned by the city of McMinnville. While the marker was there last year, it’s disappearance was noticed over the summer.
Savage was born in October 1815 in McMinnville to George and Elizabeth Kenner Savage. He spent his youth as a farmer on his father’s farm.
Among his numerous accomplishments:
• In 1836, he enlisted in a company commanded by John B. Rogers of Rock Island, called “The Mountain Blues” to help in the war raging in Texas as it fought for its independence.
• Studying law in 1837, he was admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Smithville.
• In 1841, he was made attorney general of Tennessee’s 4th District, holding the post until 1847 when he resigned and enlisted in the Army to join in the war with Mexico.
• Appointed major in the 14th Infantry he was severely wounded by a shell in the assault on Molino-del-Rey.
• Promoted to lieutenant colonel he was assigned to the 11th Infantry. After the death of Col. William M. Graham he commanded this regiment until the close of the war. On returning home, he again took up law.
• He was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives from 1849-53 and from 1855-59.
• Answering the call to arms at the start of the Civil War, he was appointed colonel on June 10, 1861.
• Wounded twice, and having his horse shot from under him at the Battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills) on Oct. 8, 1862, he continued in command until the battle was over.
• He was again wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro (Stones River), which lasted from Dec. 30, 1862 to Jan. 3, 1863.
• After the war he moved his practice to McMinnville, and in 1872, he moved to Hot Springs, AR, to rest.
• He was elected to the state House of Representatives 1877-79 and 1887-91, and the state Senate 1879-81.
• In 1903 he published his memoirs, “The Life of John H. Savage.”
• On the March 26, 1904 he petitioned that a monument to the 16th Tennessee be raised in McMinnville. It was unveiled on the May 10, 1904. Savage died in early April 1904. Funeral services were held at Cumberland Presbyterian Church and he was buried in Riverside Cemetery.
If anyone has information pertaining to the marker, call McMinnville Police Department at 473-3386.