Custody Battles Begin

In 1939 it was New York’s turn to have a World’s Fair, and the old General was invited. She was shipped on a flat car to the Flushing Meadows site of the New York World’s Fair and joined several other historic locomotives in the railroad exhibit. The Fair was extended another season in 1940, and the General did not return to her berth in the Union Depot in Chattanooga until the fall of 1940.

The General at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

The year 1939 also saw the first of several skirmishes in the press that were to take place concerning the custody of the General. James V. Carmichael, then representing Cobb County in the State Legislature, authored a resolution of the General Assembly, requesting that the General be removed from its place in the Union Depot in Chattanooga to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park for permanent display. Almost immediately, descendants of Captain William A. Fuller in Atlanta and Chattanooga, and a host of others, came out in opposition to the move, preferring that the General remain in Chattanooga. As has often been the case over the past one hundred years, anything to do with the General and the Texas provided the color for a series of newspaper stories. After a few weeks the matter was laid to rest and nothing was done.

In 1948, the General made her third trip to Chicago. The occasion was the Railroad Fair sponsored by the Nation's railroads, and the General was one of the many historic locomotives on display. Again the move was made by freight car in regular freight service. While at the Fair, security was not as good as it should have been, and several oil cups were stolen and almost a cord of wood taken from the tender! Upon her return from the Fair, the General was once again placed on display at the Union Depot, Chattanooga.

The General at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948.

On February 17, 1950, the governor of Georgia approved a resolution of the General Assembly, authorizing the posthumous presentation of a gold medal to William A. Fuller for his services to the W&ARR and the State of Georgia, in successfully pursuing the Andrews Raiders on April 12, 1862. Actually, Governor Joseph E. Brown sent a message to the General Assembly on November 6, 1862, recommending that this be done. There were too many problems facing Georgia at that time to do anything about the governor's recommendation. Now the medal was to be presented to the oldest living survivor of the family of William A. Fuller. Honorable mention was made in the Resolution of those who assisted Fuller in the pursuit. The late Wilbur G. Kurtz, Atlanta artist and historian, who had married a daughter of William A. Fuller, and who devoted most of his life to a study of this event, was commissioned to design the medal. Unlike the design of the Ohio Memorial in the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Mr. Kurtz presented a true likeness of the General as she appeared in 1862, based on his many years of careful research. The medal was struck by The Williams and Anderson Company of Providence, RI, and was presented to William A. Fuller at a public ceremony in front of the Cyclorama Building, Grant Park, Atlanta, on May 15, 1950.

While the General rested peacefully at her place in the Union Depot in Chattanooga in 1957, a significant event took place that would have a lot to do with her future. On August 30, 1957, the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway was merged into the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. Under the terms of the merger, all assets of the NC&StL became the property of the L&NRR, as did all the obligations and liabilities of the NC&StL Ry. This included the lease of the Western & Atlantic Railroad which was originally leased to the NC&StL for 29 years effective December 27, 1890. Upon the expiration of that lease, a new lease for 50 years was entered into that expired on December 27, 1969. In this way the L&NRR acquired custody and ownership of the General.

The Early Days | During the Civil War | The War Ends, Repairs, Back In Service | Rebuilt & Converted | Important Railroad Achievement | 1887 | 1888-1889 | 1890-1891 | 1892-1897 | The General On Display | Gone With the Wind | Custody Battles Begin | Custody Battle No. 2 | The General Is "Stolen" Again | The General Becomes An Oil Burner | Civil War Centennial Years | The General's Biggest Day | At the New York World's Fair | Georgia Asks For The General | Custody Battle No.3 | A New Home For The General | The General's Final Journey | General's Final Journey -In Color

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