Farragut

Namesake town pushes back against moving Farragut bust

The call to move the bust of Admiral David Farragut from the state Capitol is rubbing residents of his namesake town in East Tennessee the wrong way. As KnoxTNToday’s Betty Bean reports, Farragut was born in Lowe’s Ferry on what was then called the Holston River. He moved away as a child before embarking on a Navy career that later led his home town to be named after him and the high school mascot to be called the Admirals.

According to Bean:

Farragut had a spectacular career. He was the first-ever American admiral (the Navy had theretofore resisted the hoity-toity British-sounding title) and served an astounding 60 years, capped by decisive, Civil War momentum-changing victories in New Orleans and Mobile Bay.

He probably didn’t say, “Damn the torpedoes and full-steam ahead!” after the Rebs sank one of his ships and then took aim at the one he was on, but he said something very like it, and was a key figure in the ultimate Union victory.

Comptroller Justin Wilson successfully amended a motion to move the bust of Forrest, long a controversial figure because of his career as a slave trader and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan,  to also include the busts of Farragut and fellow Admiral Albert Gleaves, who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I.

The State Capitol Commission voted 9-2 to recommend the removal of the busts to the Tennessee Historical Commission. That latter panel can consider amendments to the proposal, but such a move would likely draw out an already lengthy process. Petitions can only be taken up six months after they are received, and the clock resets for any amendments.