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1871-1872 John T. Wilder

John T Wilder(Lived January 3, 1830 – October 20, 1917)

General John T. Wilder’s first introduction to Chattanooga occurred on August 21, 1863, when he led a Union Army expedition onto Stringer’s Ridge and shelled the city during the Civil War.  He returned to participate in the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battles for Chattanooga.  After the Civil War, he returned to Chattanooga to begin the Roan Iron Works.

A civic and business leader in his adopted city, John Wilder became Mayor in November 1871.  The largest employer in Chattanooga, Wilder’s Roane Iron Works owned land throughout eastern Tennessee, and he traveled extensively outside of the city.   During the first six months that he held office, Mayor Wilder attended only one Board of Aldermen meeting, leading him to resign his office on May 18, 1872.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea