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Eiffert Hanks McClelland Morgan

Oldest Confederate Veteran, John Henry Eiffert, Oklahoma.
By Robert T. Hanks, Webbers Falls, Okla.

As patriotic citizen, father, and friend there is no one more worthy of honorable mention, more highly esteemed, nor held in more veneration by the community in which he has lived since 1869 the John Henry Eiffert, supposed to be the oldest living veteran in the State of Oklahoma, He was born in Lexington, S. C., October 1, 1814. In 1830 he was conducting a mercantile business in McMinn and Bradley Counties, East Tennessee, on the Hiwasse River, some forty miles above Chattanooga, Tenn., when the "poor Los," or Cherokees, were compelled by Uncle Sam to take up there sad and enforced march to the wilderness in the far West. In 1848 he was married to a Cherokee lady by blood, the widow of Dr. Robert T. Hanks, who was Margaret Ann Ward Morgan, a daughter of Col. Gideon Morgan, who commanded the Cherokees in the battle of the "Horse Shoe" under Gen. Andrew Jackson and a cousin to the late Senator John T. Morgan, of Alabama.

Mr. Eiffert went to California during the gold fever, but failed to capture any part of the Dame Fortune's estate and returned to his farm and milling interests in Tennessee, where he remained until the tocsin of war sounded and the first gun echoed from Fort Sumter. Shouldering his old musket, he joined the second company raised in his town, under command of his son-in-law, Capt. Wellington W. McClelland and was in the 29th Tennessee Regiment under General Zollicoffer, this brave officer falling early in the struggle. Afterwards he followed the fortunes of war under Gen. Kirby Smith and later on was transferred to the quartermaster's department at Knoxville, Tenn., where he remained an active and efficient aid throughout all the thrilling and and eventful years of the war.

He was within reach of any stray bullets during several bloody battles, but fortunately escaped injury. He was under fire all day in the famous battle of Lookout Mountain, having been sent down the hill for supplies early in the morning, and the engagement was on before he got back. Of this, in one of his reminiscent talks, he said: "It was a moving picture show that I had a free ticket to see. And when the curtain fell and audience and actors were to go, I did not stand on the order of my going, but went and have never cared to visit Lookout since, not even at a reunion."

Mr. Eiffert is one hundred years and five months old and is able to read the newspapers and keeps posted in the European war. He is in good heatlh, goes regularly to his meals, and helps about the house by carrying in stove wood and making firess.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, May, 1915.

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