This is the second part of Georgia’s own Betsy Ross, Joanna Troutman, who actually designed the Texas “Lone Star” state flag that Georgia troops carried to Texas for inspiration when joining the battle against General Santa Anna. This week, we hear the rest of her story:
A few years later, Joanna Troutman married Solomon Pope, a lawyer from Alabama, who moved to Knoxville, Georgia, and became a planter. He and Joanna lived a peaceful life until he passed away in the 1870s. She remarried and lived until 1880, when she died at the age of 71.
In 1913, Gov. Colquitt of Texas, along with the Texas Legislature, had Joanna Troutman Pope exhumed and reinterred on the Capitol grounds at Austin. There, a 9-foot bronze statue was erected over her grave with the names of the Georgians that carried her flag and were massacred at Goliad. A picture of Joanna was hung in the Texas state capitol. and it still ain’t over.
Mrs. McIntyre assumed the duties of Secretary of the Oostanaula Methodist, after a death in the church. Like anybody with a new position she began to organize church papers into her own system. While doing this she became quite familiar with the history and background of the church.
Soon after she finished she was visited by two ladies looking for any leads into an ancestor of theirs named Joanna Troutman Pope. These ladies had traveled from San Francisco and Canberra, Australia, to find the Floyd County connections of Joanna. It seems that Hiram Troutman had bought 1,700 acres in the 1840s in what was to become Floyd County. It was pretty equally split by the Oostanaula River and he gave it to his son Marcellus Troutman and his daughter Joanna.
Mrs. McIntyre recognized the name Joanna Pope while organizing the church papers. The visitors were delighted and said the find in Floyd County was the highlight of their trip.
That was the story I received the day I interviewed Mrs. Pauline. Chuck and I went to the church and walked through the cemetery where many Troutmans are buried. Joanna’s farm is now the state experiment station on Bell’s Ferry Road, and the church, once known locally as Pope’s Chapel, is still a vibrant part of the community.
Down the road from the church on state property, along the river near where Johnson’s Ferry used to be, there are two small graves. One is Joanna’s and Solomon’s son, who died in 1847, and the other is their 12-year-old granddaughter who died in 1882.
After visiting with Pat Millican, Rome’s foremost genealogist and researcher, at the Rome-Floyd County Library, it was determined that both Joanna and Marcellus built homes on the river. Marcellus actually moved to Floyd, but Joanna and her husband split their time between Knoxville, Georgia, and Floyd. Marcellus has relatives all over Floyd County. Solomon and Joanna had one other son who died not too long after Joanna’s death. He was living in Arkansas at the time.
Joanna never received any notoriety or reward for any of the things she did on this earth. I have to believe that would be the way she wanted it.
Lone Star has become a trade mark of everything Texas. As I remember from my days as a sailor in Galveston, many years ago, they even made a Lone Star Beer. and somewhere around here I have a Lone Star belt buckle. The trademark is a big business.
Joanna and her husband also deeded the property for the Oostanaula Methodist Church. I saw her name on a copy of the deed Mrs. McIntyre gave me and from the papers Pat found in the courthouse. That might even be a bigger business. The good people at the church named their fellowship hall after Joanna.
The Lone Star flag is still flying, and the Oostanaula Methodist church is still in the soul-saving and God worshiping business. It’s good that we don’t have to decide which is the most important. Wouldn’t be hard for me.