MURRAY COUNTY HISTORY 1911
At the last Teachers' Institute the author was elected to edit a "Brief School History of Murray County." This little book is the result. The material has been collected a little here and a little there. The records of the county have been consulted, the oldest citizens interviewed and many books and papers patiently perused.-CHAPTER I-
Then came the more difficult task of fitting the fragments together so as to form an interesting, intelligent and complete record ; yet not exceeding the limit set for it as expressed in the word "brief."
How well I have succeeded I leave my readers to decide. Perfection is not claimed, and could not be expected, but it is hoped that some interest may be aroused in the past and future of one of the very best counties of the State.
Acknowledgements are due Wm. A. Wright, Comptroller General; Hon. S. A. Brown, Jesse Jackson, George Willbanks, Col. R. N. Steed, Wm. Robinson, F. M. Vonberg, J. M. Campbell, J. D. Gallman, F. M. Peeples. Col. H.H. Anderson, Rev. W. J. Cotter, Col. W. W. Sampler. Dr. F. M. Jones, Col, C. N. King and many others for valuable assistance.
McPherson's History and Civil Government of Georgia, Smith's Record of the Cherokee Lottery, Cobb'.s Digest 1851, Field's United States History and various other books and papers have been consulted.
To the boys and girls of Murray, for whom and among whom the best years of my life have been spent I dedicate this little volume. May they gain strength and inspiration from its pages.
Prehistoric Times in Murray
History has always been interesting and valuable. Before man learned to leave a record on the written or printed page, he sought to perpetuate the memory of worthy deeds in song or story.-CHAPTER II-
Thousands of. Years Ago God saw fit to create this little planet. Countless generations have come and gone since then. They each had their pleasures and their sorrows, their victories and their reverses. We of the present time have inherited the culture and civilization slowly and oftimes painfully achieved by our ancestors. Many a noble life that failed to gain a place on the page of history is recorded in the life and character of the men and women of today.
The Same Hills and Valleys that we call Murray County have been kissed by the morning sun since creation, but no record of the savages who inhabited them has come down to us. They pitched their tents by the sparkling springs, hunted turkeys, deer and other wild game, and cultivated here and there a small patch of corn or tobacco. Footpaths furnished a highway of travel. a few feathers or furs enabled them In dress in the height of fashion. The flowers bloomed the same, the birds sang as sweetly, the sun shone as brightly, the showers were as refreshing and perhaps the red man enjoyed these blessings as well as we.
The Discovery of America 1492 was an important event in the world's history. It furnished an outlet for the crowded anil oppressed people of the old world. Many daring navigators at once sought to learn more of the wonderful land which Columbus had found.
Ferdinand De Soto was one of these. He was the son of a Spanish nobleman, and had joined several expeditions to the new world.
He returned to Spain laden with wealth which be obtained with Pizarro in Peru. Later he was appointed governor of Cuba and Florida.
With six hundred men he started to explore the wilderness. From Florida he turned and led his army to North Georgia.
Fort Mountain, one of the highest mountains in Murray County, was chosen for a camp. Here they built the old stone fort which has given the mountain its name. They remained here some time searching for gold. These were perhaps the first white men to set foot in our county. This was about the year 1540. But luckily Murray was not destined to be the home of Spanish greed and oppression. Not finding the fabulous wealth they had hoped for they continued their march and discovered the Mississippi, 1541.
The Settlement of Georgia, 1733, was made partly to check the Spanish settlements of Florida and partly to furnish a home for imprisoned debtors. History furnishes no better example of simple virtue and unselfish devotion to humanity than is found in the life of James Oglethorpe, founder of Georgia. The first settlement at Savannah, Feb. 12, 1733, was rapidly followed by others in the southern part of the State, but none were made in North Georgia until after the revolution.
Disputes About Territory
Georgia's Charter was for the country lying between the Savannah and Altahama rivers, and extending westward from their headwaters to the Pacific Ocean—a vast territory indeed.-CHAPTER III-
After the Revolution the Mississippi River became the western boundary. Georgia still included, in addition to her present area, most of the States of Alabama and Mississippi.
This vast territory was of more apparent than real value. It was in the possession of the Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees and Creeks. These were powerful tribes of Indians who, by previous treaty, were under the protection of the Federal Government.
Land Speculation was one of the leading characteristics of the United States at that time. As early as 1785 applications were made to the legislature for grants of land on the Mississippi. In 1795 a bill was passed disposing of the greater part of what is now Alabama and Mississippi at a cent and a half per acre. It aroused a storm of indignation. The next year the obnoxious act was repealed and the records of the sale publicly destroyed. But many speculators had already sold their land and much confusion followed. The purchasers organized to enforce their claims. Congress appointed commissioners to settle the conflicting claims. In 1802 Georgia ceded all the lands west of the Chattahoochee on payment of $1,250,000 and the promise of the Federal Government to remove all Indians from her remaining territory as soon as practicable.
The Indians Refused to Go, however, and in the meantime the progress of the State was much impeded by their presence within her borders. Various purchases were made from time to time by both Federal and State agents. New counties were organized and opened for settlement. But the Indian at length became suspicious of the motives of the whites and persistently refused to sell.
The Cherokees were nearly 15,000 in number, fairly civilized, peaceable and well-governed. Their conduct afforded no excuse for the use of force, and they stood upon their treaty rights in refusing to sell their land.
President Jackson, a known enemy to the Indian, had now become chief executive. Georgia therefore promptly extended her jurisdiction over the country of the Cherokees and divided it into counties. Jackson approved and withdrew the Federal troops which Adams had sent down to protect the Indians. The Cherokees appealed to the Federal courts, which thrice decided in their favor, but Jackson refused to execute its judgments.
In 1836 a part of the disheartened Cherokees agreed to a treaty commuting their claim for a payment of five million dollars and the expense of removal. In 1837 and 1838 they were conveyed to the West by Federal troops.
Early Settlers of Murray
The First While Settlers. It is not certainly known when the first settlement was made by whites within the limits of what is now Murray County.-CHAPTER IV-
The Cherokees had become fairly civilized, were, as a rule, peaceably disposed, and had made some progress in the common arts of his white neighbors. They cultivated patches of corn, potatoes, tobacco, etc. They owned horses, had fixed places of abode, and some of them even owned negro slaves. Some of them would weave willow baskets and make various useful or ornamental articles which they exchanged for the white man's goods. They had learned the use of firearms and were expert at fishing and hunting.
Before the beginning of the nineteenth century Murray had become a favorite resort for traders, adventurers and fugitives from justice. Rev. W. J. Colter says in the Wesleyan Christian Advocate of Jan. 21, 1910: "From 1828 to 1838 was a most trying decade for the white settlers in that section. The nation bordering on four States was a refuge for outlaws and one of these white men was more to be feared than the Indians. Without the protection of law, exposed to the badness of white men and to the enmities of the merciless Indians the people were in constant dread."
James Vann. About the year 1800 James Vann fled to this wild region to escape prosecution for murder. He was a man of wealth and began trading with the Indians. His store was located where Dr. Steed's drug store now stands. George Cleveland came with him and drove cattle to Charleston after goods for the store. Vann was not an Indian chief but a pure white man. He married an Indian girl by the name of Gann. He had two sons, James and Joseph. This is according to statements made to the author by Mr. Jesse Jackson a few weeks before his death.
The Vann House, as it is commonly called, was built about 1806. It stands just north of Spring Place and is said to be the oldest house in the State. It is certainly one of the oldest in North Georgia. The brick were burned near King's Spring, and mortar was made by tramping mud with mules and oxen. It has been said that Vann had the brick sent over from England, and that the Indians carried them on their backs front Savannah. This was unnecessary, as well as unreasonable, as the best brick clay was on every hand.
Vann's Quarter, as it was called, was located on Mill Creek. He owned a large tract of land and had a great number of slaves. He often had as many as twenty or thirty plows running in one field. In an old court record may be found an injunction against Wm. N. Bishop forbidding him to trespass upon twenty-three specified lots of land—the property of Joseph Vann.
Rev. W. J. Cotter, of Newnan, Ga., is perhaps the only person living who has a personal knowledge of this period of Murray's history. It is through his kindness that many of the most interesting and reliable incidents have been saved, to future generations. (The reader is referred to a series of articles by Rev. Cotter in the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, which appeared during the year 1910.) He lived in Murray from 1832 until 1838. He remembers Joseph Vann as the builder of the Vann House. He says: "He (Joseph Vann) was six feet six inches tall and a man of wealth, fond of horses and racing. I saw him in 1833. His negro quarter was three miles out, at Mill Creek. The brick house was made of good material, planned by a skilled architect and the work was done by a master builder. This magnificent residence was the equal of any in the civilized portion of the State and there was not another like it from the Chattahoochee to the Tennessee river. Joseph Vann left it in 1834. The government had enrolling agents there and all the natives who accepted the terms received ample pay for all their improvements." The house is still in a good state of preservation and is owned and occupied by Mr. Dee Kemp.
The Moravian Mission. About 1817 two Moravian missionaries, Rev. Abraham Steener and Rev. George Byhon, came to Vann, as the trading station was now called. They began their labors in teaching the red man the truths of civilization and Christianity. Charles Hucks is said to have been the first convert. They erected buildings. The mission school stood just a few rods east of Lucy Hill Institute, Spring Place. They did well and prospered greatly until the trouble between the whites and Indians came. They then went elsewhere. The old mission building stood until after the war, when Mr. I,em Jones tore it down.
Vann's children attended this school. Prof. Humphrey Posey was one of the early teachers.
A Lock of Washington's Hair. An incident of more than local interest might be mentioned in this place (Christian Advocate, Feb. 17, 1910). Mrs. Anna R. Kliest Gamboll, wife of Rev. John Gambol!, of Spring Place, Ga., while teaching in Bethlehem, Pa., met Gen. George Washington and received permission to clip a lock of hair from his head. Before her death she gave it to the daughter of Abijah Congor, a Presbyterian missionary among the Cherokees. Miss Congor married Mr. Delazon W. Clark, also a missionary at Spring Place, 1823. The precious souvenir of the "Father of His Country" was finally enclosed in a handsome gold locket and placed in the Museum of the Moravian Historical Society, at Nazareth, Pa.
A Stage Route was operated as early as 1833, between Spring Place and Athens, Tenn. They changed horses every eighteen miles. There were post offices along the route. One of these was located at what is now Eton. About 1835 Packard and Turner began to sell goods there. The store stood near where Mrs. Bryant's residence now stands. The widow Tally kept a tavern at the old Harris place. There were two rooms up-stairs and two down-stairs. There was a log post office.-CHAPTER V-
A Settlement Near Carter's Quarter was begun about this time.". Turner and Humphreys sold goods there.
The Federal Road was the great highway of that time and was full of droves of horses, hogs and nudes going from Kentucky and Tennessee to Savannah or Augusta. A covered scoop shaped wagon, drawn by four or six horses, was a common conveyance. Naturally settlements sprang up along this road.
The McEntire Settlement was begun several years before the Indians were removed. A school was started in 1838 near the Rock Spring, it was taught by a Mr. Parker. Soon after "old field schools" started up in many places. Many of the settlers were intelligent people and felt keenly the need of schools.
Difficulties of the Early Settlers were many and great. They were without many of the conveniences of life. The rugged wilderness had to be conquered. It was far from market and the roads were often almost impassable. There was no organized justice and the outlaws of the border States sought refuge here. Yet in the face of all this settlements grew, schools were conducted and churches established.
Trouble With the Indians. But worst of all the Indian had become hostile. They were jealous of the encroachments of the whites and the settlers lived in constant fear. The Bowman family, consisting of his wife, a little girl and an old. blind aunt, was attacked at night by a band of Indians who broke down the door with an ax, killed Bowman and his wife, bursting out their brains. They left the blind woman to burn to death. The little girl ran out of the house while it was burning. The little thing came to them begging for mercy. The leader, George Took, threw her back into the flames, she taking, clenched in her hand, a piece of his shirt-sleeve. "Surely," says Rev. Cotter, who is authority for the above, "surely we were in the midst of alarms! The barking of a dog, the whoop of an Indian or the presence of a stranger aroused fears till the object of his coming was made known."
Soldiers were called out and stationed at Spring Place to protect the settlers and intimidate the Indians. Capt. A. B. Bishop commanded the Georgia Guards. He was quite a polished gentleman, brave and kind hearted. We shall hear more of him and his brother, William N. Bishop in another chapter.
Murray County Organized
Cherokee Under State Rule. The Cherokees had, up to 1832, been independent of State authority. They were under a sort of tribal government of their own. Chief Ridge and Chief John Ross were two of the most influential leaders. In 1832 the legislature passed an act extending the jurisdiction of the State over the Cherokee country.-CHAPTER VI-
Divided into Counties. One of the ten counties into which the Cherokee territory was divided was named Cherokee County. Many of the Cherokees objected to this show of authority on the part of the State. Chief Ridge advised peace, while Chief Ross headed the dangerous body of the Cherokees and was the bitter enemy of the State of Georgia. He lived where Rome now stands and dated his letters "Head of the Coosa." He moved into Tennessee later. Ross' Landing, now Chattanooga, took its name from him.
Murray County, 1832, was laid out from Cherokee County. It was named for Hon. Thos. W. Murray. It was originally much larger than at present. It comprised what is now Dade, Walker, Catoosa, Whitfield, Murray, Gordon, and a part of Bartow. Walker was taken from Murray in 1833 and in 1834 another slice was taken off and added to Cass County (now Bartow). The other counties named above were at later dates taken from Murray, leaving it the present size and boundary.
Courts Established. For some time Cherokee County was one circuit, under Judge David Irwin, but only a semblance of civil government could be maintained. The first court is said to have been held in Walker County in a hewed log house, between LaFayette and Ringgold. Walker was then part of Murray.
Spring Place was incorporated in 1834, and was made the county site, which it has since remained. It was first called Poinset, but the people disliked the name and called it Spring Place. The records show that on Sept. 19, 1834, Abner E. Holliday and Matthew Jones jointly deeded forty acres of Lot No. 245 to the county "for the purpose of placing a county cite upon."
Superior Court, 1833. The first volume of the Superior Court Record of Murray County, which is still preserved in the clerk's office, is opened with the following preamble:
"As a Superior Court began and holden in and for the county oŁ Murray on the first Monday in September in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-three, pursuant to the law. Present his honor, John W. Hooper."
"As a Superior Court began and holden in and for the county oŁ Murray on the first Monday in September in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-three, pursuant to the law. Present his honor, John W. Hooper."
The First Grand Jury was sworn in as follows: Benjamin Clark, foreman, Asa May, Eli Bouling, Daniel Anderson, Samuel Johnson, James McGhee, John R. Smedley, Samuel Miller, Roger Markins, John Gillian, Ambler Casey, John W. Cain, Thomas Bryant, Robert C. Cain, John B. Marstin, Wilson R. Young, Robert Smith, Benjamine Wheeler.
The First True Bill recorded is against George Took, charged with murder. This was probably for the crime mentioned in Chapter IV. At this time Murray had no jail, so he was taken to Jasper, Cass County. I have been unable to learn what disposition was made of the case. Several old citizens have informed me that the lawless element defied the courts for some time and that the next Judge, O. H. Kenan, was the first who succeeded in holding court and enforcing respect for the law.
Inferior Court, 1834. In an old book of court records is found this opening statement:
"The Justices of the Inferior Court in and for the County of Murray, State of Georgia, convened at Spring Place on the 19th day of February, 1834. Present their honors, Francis Burke, John Adams, Eli Bowlin, James Kencannon."
Order No. 1. By this court, that the place of holding the Superior and Inferior Courts and transacting the public business in and for said county be at Spring Place, at the house of William N. Bishop. Order passed day and date above written.
THOS. J. HARPER, Clerk Inferior Court.
The William N. Bishop mentioned was at the time clerk of the Superior Court, and his "house" was probably the old Mission building. The Inferior Court continued until about the close of the Civil War, when its duties were assumed by a Court of Ordinary and a Board of Roads and Revenues.
The First Election of county officers excited hitter feelings. Wm. N. Bishop was elected first representative. Fraud was charged, and street fights were common. In true bills found at the next court assault, riot, and murder are some of the charges that show the intense animosity that existed. It is said that the opposing forces sometimes would fight regular battles in a small way with sticks and stones.
But after all they were "nature's noblemen," who were destined to lay the foundation, broad and deep, for our counties' wonderful development.
The Land Lottery, 1832. Although the Indians still claimed the land, the State proceeded to survey and dispose of it to settlers by lottery. Those who drew a lot had to pay from $5 to $18. owing to the sort of lot he had drawn.-CHAPTER VII-
Disputes About Title. There was considerable rivalry between settlers, who were anxious to draw lots that were more or less improved. It seemed that the Vann lot was quite a prize, but contentions arose about possession and really there was quite a battle in the house. Blood was shed, but so far as known no one was killed. This battle was between A. B. Bishop and Spencer Riely. Some time after at Milledgeville Bishop knocked Riely down and attempted to shoot him, but his pistol failed to fire.
Enrolling Agents were sent by the Government to enroll the Indians, pay them for their land and improvements, and conduct them to the West. Chief Ross did all he could to persuade his people not to enroll. Joseph Vann left about 1834. Judge Martin, on the Coosawattee, owned nearly a hundred negroes, and accepted the terms.
Rev. Colter says "I saw his daughter sweep the house and burn the broom for good luck, walk out and start on the long journey, no doubt with a sad heart. The place is now known as the Carter place."
John Howard Payne, the author of Home Sweet Home, visited Murray just before the Indians left. The song was written in London and thousands of copies had been sent all over the civilized world. Payne, true to his roving disposition, found his way into the wilderness of North Georgia, made his headquarters with Chief Ross and traveled extensively through the country. People did not know what he was after. Poor Tray was in bad company to say the least of it.
Payne's Arrest. Capt. A. B. Bishop, who commanded the soldiers stationed at Spring Place, sent men to Ross to bring Payne to his command. This was in 1835.
One of the guards was John Oats, well remembered by people of Dalton and all over Murray County. The soldiers were stationed al the brick house (Vann's house). The prisoner heard the soldiers singing Home Sweet Home and satisfied them that he was the author. Payne had friends in Athens, where he was known and he was in a short lime set at liberty.
The Vann Property has been transferred twenty-seven times. Among its many occupants might be mentioned James Edmondson, who had a number of slaves, kept a hotel and was noted for his hospitality. George Waycasey also is remembered. He was a railroad man. He had a daughter, Miss Atlanta Waycasey, who was famed lor her beauty and dancing. Mr. Dee Kemp is the present occupant.
Growth and Prosperity
The Development of the county went forward rapidly after the departure of the red man. Roads were opened, forests cleared, and the soil put under cultivation.-CHAPTER VIII-
The First Baptist Church was organized at Pleasant Valley in 1842. Evans Pierson and Rev. Ramsire were two of the first pastors. A church was built at Fort Mountain about 1849.
The First Methodist Church was known as Harrison's Chapel. The early Methodist circuit rider would go from house to house, read a passage of scripture, have prayer and after a few words of advice or encouragement continue on his round. Wm. Mickey, from Tennessee, was the first of these devoted men to minister to the Murray stations, as they were then called. Mt. Zion church was established by Rev. Elisha Tremble about 1850.
Education also received encouragement. Schools sprang up all over the county. Murray County Academy was incorporated in 1835 and $815 appropriated to "erect a suitable building." Sandy Springs Academy and Clear Springs Academy were established in 1840. Spring Place Academy was incorporated in 1850. In this year a general system of education was established.
Public Buildings. Court was held, as already mentioned, in the old Mission house. The first jail was built by Mose Winters, of logs. It burned as did also a second of the same material.
The brick structure, now known as the "old jail," was really the jailor's house. James Buchanan is said to have been the first jailor. The jail had two rooms, one for criminals and the other for debtors. Under the "Capias Law" people could be imprisoned for debt. This seems odd when we reflect that Georgia was established primarily as a refuge for debtors.
The debtors' room was heller furnished and the debtor could take his own bedding if be wished.
The first courthouse was built of brick on the site of the present one by Henry Steed. It was burned and for a time court was held in the churches. The present court house was completed in 1886.
Cross Plains was incorporated in 1839. its limits were extended and its name changed to Dalton eight years later.
Raising Cotton had become profitable and was considered the "money crop" of the county. It was marketed at Dalton. The county also began to ship much fine lumber.
Immigration steadily increased. James Morris came in the early forty's. He dealt extensively in real estate and did much to build up the county. Ed Gant started a brick yard in Spring Place, a tan yard was put in operation between the Vann bouse and the court bouse. Tommie See, a wealthy man from South Carolina, bought land east of town. Mr. Dwight settled on the "Tilton Place," and Ferris Carter located on Carter's Quarter."
The Colored People were well treated and led a happy life. "Aunt Millie" Leonard, in speaking of those days, said: "The negroes were well-disposed. They attended the white churches, took part in the services, shouted and sang and could join the church if they liked. Mrs. Ferris Carter paid Jimmie Adams $50 a year to preach to the colored people on the plantation."
Searching for Gold. It is said that the Indians knew where to find gold. They would make trips after it, but would not allow the whites to follow them. Much time has been spent prospecting for gold and other minerals. A man named Spence claimed to have found a rich vein of gold, but lost it and could never locate il again. The Legal Tender mine is being worked at the present lime. Undoubtedly rich treasures await him who can find the hidden wealth.
The Civil War
The Secession Convention, Murray, like must of the mountain counties, was disposed to remain loyal to the old flag. Union delegates were elected to the convention. I have not been able to learn their names certainly. Gus McDonald, Anderson Farnsworlh and E. Waterhouse have been mentioned to me in this connection. The convention decided that the State should leave the Union. When the call to arms came, no county responded more nobly than old Murray.-CHAPTER IX-
Ten Companies went to the front from this county. They were led out by R. E. Wilson, Wm. Luffman. D.W. McDonald, John Beck, John Oats, I. W Avery, Wm. H. Harris, T. P. Edmondson, A. J. Leonard and Sam Garner. We refrain from mentioning many incidents during and immediately following the war. Much of the bitterness of those days is better forgotten. Let us rather turn with pride to the brave deeds and unselfish devotion displayed by Murray's sons on many a field of battle.
No Important Battle in Murray was fought. Perhaps the engagement described in Maurice Thompson's poem, "North Georgia Scouts," was the most important on Murray soil. It was here that Tom Polk Edmondson was killed. The poem is found in a following chapter.
The Slaves, as a rule, remained true to their masters during the war. While the men were away fighting, the slaves stayed to labor for and protect the women and children at home. Like Byron's Prisoner of Chilon, many of them "regained their freedom with a sigh."
Murray's Noble Women deserve a tribute for their great self-sacrifice. With their own hands often unused to toil, they struggled to keep the wolf from the door and even found time to make clothing and prepare dainties for the boys at the front. All honor to these noble women and may their daughters not be found wanting in those graces that have made their mothers immortal.
After the Surrender the Boys in Gray returned to their homes and resumed the duties of peaceable citizenship, from which the struggle had called them. Today the red, white and blue has no more loyal defenders than can be found in Murray County. Many people are coming from the North and settling in our midst. They invariably find a sincere and cordial welcome.
The Confederate Veterans have maintained an organization since the war. John B Gordon camp, in this county, is at present under the command of B. W. Gladden.
The Ex-slaves, many of them chose to remain as day-laborers on the plantations of their former masters. Others became renters, or managed to buy modest homes. A third class became idle, insolent and eventually dangerous members of society. The young negroes, no longer under strict control, became troublesome. To make matters worse, certain misguided white men chose to put false notions of civil rights and social equality into their heads. So unbearable did matters become that a band of citizens known as the Ku Klux Klan was organized to deal with the offenders. They represented themselves as the ghosts of soldiers who were slain on the field of battle, and well might a true soldier rise from the dust to defend the honor of his wife and children.-CHAPTER X-
The Ku Klux Klan, as they appeared riding in the moonlight with their horses and themselves robed in white, was truly terrifying. One visit and a serious lecture from the Klan usually converted the frightened darkey from "the error of his way," and elicited a promise to quit his meanness and go to work. Sometimes a whipping was administered, or for a grave offense the culprit paid with his life for his misdeeds.
The Klan Disbanded. The organization seems to have served a good purpose at the time. When with returning law and order the necessity for it passed the Klan was quietly disbanded. But in all this there was a germ of evil—a wrong principle that only smouldered for a while to be revived as we shall see later in another organization with an unworthy motive and a less responsible membership.
Public Schools Established. No general system of public schools existed in the State until 1871. Private schools were kept where sufficient patronage could be secured. The Constitution of 1868 declared for "a thorough system of general education to be forever free to all children of the State."
Rev. S. If. Henry was selected first County School Commissioner. He held the position with credit to himself and to the county for the remainder of a long and useful life. He was succeeded by the present commissioner, W. D. Gregory, who is equally worthy of the important trust placed in his hands.
The Liquor Traffic was forbidden by the charter of the State, but this was unpopular and the trustees soon admitted rum into the colony. Murray, as well as all the other counties, has suffered much from this evil. Many of the brawls already mentioned were inspired as much by ardent spirits as by political enthusiasm. Until several years after the war, from two to five public taverns or saloons were running at Spring Place. About 1886 the county was voted dry. While this stopped the legal sale of intoxicating beverages it encouraged the illicit sale of the same.
Moonshiners, as they were called, ran their stills in the mountains and secretly sold their products all over the county. The revenue officers either could not or would not apprehend them, or if one was occasionally convicted, the sentence was light and he resumed his old occupation at the earliest possible dale.
The White Caps was an organization similar to the old Ku Klux. While it may not have been formed with that intention, it soon became more or less involved in the whiskey business. Although many joined it from honest motives, it must 'be admitted that reckless daring and love of adventure prompted others. Persons who were suspected of reporting stills were beaten or killed. Personal malice quite often prompted their raids. They soon came to be dreaded by the law-abiding citizens as a menace to public peace and safely. While Murray somehow got the credit for the whole affair, the "White Cups" were not confined to our county or to the State. Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and other States have had their white caps and night-riders within very recent years. Fortunately the strong hand of the law has put a stop to the order in this part of the country and none perhaps are more pleased to have it so than the very men who unthoughtedly instituted it.
All these years Murray had been without a railroad, and the products of her fertile soil went to swell the trade of Dalton, the metropolis of Whitfield.-CHAPTER XI-
The Dalton and Alaculsy R. R. was begun in 1902 and for a time went rapidly forward. The grade was almost completed and the road had come to be considered an established fact, when it was suddenly abandoned.
The L. and N. In 1905 another road was begun, which did not prove to be a disappointment. It has now been in operation three or four years. Several thriving little towns have sprung up along its route, Crandall, Oran, Ramhurst, Carters, Eton, Cisco, Tennga and Chatsworth,
Stock Law has been before the people prominently for a number of years. It seems to be gaining, but as yet has not carried more than one or two districts.
Local School Tax to supplement the public school fund has been warmly recommended by the State School Commissioner and adopted in a few districts.
Statewide Prohibition was passed by the last legislature. Although there is yet much whiskey made and sold in the county, there seems to be an awakening of the good people all over Murray to the importance of driving out the whiskey and cigarette nuisance. His honor Judge Fite has done much to discourage many of the common evils of the day.
A New Registration Law has practically disfranchised the negroes of the State. The list of registrars for 1910 shows 1,934 white voters and two colored voters in this county.
The Farmers' Union has taken a firm hold in Murray. They have a warehouse and gin at Chatsworth.
Sheriff Keith while attempting to arrest John Harper was shot by him and died a few days later. Great indignation was felt all over the county. Harper was convicted of murder and sentenced to be hung. The gallows was erected and stood in readiness for quite a while, but finally the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
Rural Free Delivery. Oct. 1, 1904, three routes were installed from Spring Place with Ben F. Bates, Wm. Lowrey and M. W. Shields as carriers. A county service was established May 1, 1909, covering practically the entire county. The Murray routes, with the carriers at present are: Spring Place, R1, E.W. Shields; Spring Place, R2, Wm. Lowrey; Spring Place, R3, M.W. Shields; Carters, W. E. Everett, Ramhurst, J. A. Hemphill; Chatsworth, R. J. Barnett; Eton, Chas. M. Harris; Crandall, Jeff Wood; Fairy, Chas. M. Howell; Cisco, Giles Dunn.
The Recent Primary was perhaps the most orderly and quiet that has ever been held in the county, Political excitement seems to be giving place to quiet judgment and practical common sense.
The First Masonic Lodge was instituted Oct. 30, 1851. It was Cohutta Lodge, No. 145. David J. Johnson, W. M.; Wm. A. Lofton, S. W.; Dawson A. Walker, J. W. A second charter changed the name to Spring Place Lodge, No. 145, 1869. James McE.ntire, W. M.; Walter J. Johnson, S. W., and William Hassler, J. W. Sumach, No. 55, F. and A. M., Nov. 2, 1882; J. C. McEntire, W. M.; W. R. Hill, S. W.; W.H. Rickett, J. W. Eton, No. 509, F. & A. M., 1908; S. A. Brown, W. M.; C. C. Keith. S. W., and J. W. Clements, J. W.-CHAPTER XII-
There are about one hundred and fifty Masons in good standing in the county.
Royal Arch and Eastern Star Chapters have been installed at Eton, Ga.
The First Odd Fellow Lodge was instituted at Spring Place about 1898 with C. L. Henry, N.G. The following list of I.O. O. F. lodges of the county is furnished by R. N. Steed, D.G.G.M.: Spring Place 8l, Sumach 53, Cisco 95, Cohutta Springs 72, Fuller's 39, Chatsworth 71, Ramhurst 91, Prosperity 70. Total membership, 571,
An Encampment has been instituted at Chatsworth, and is in a flourishing condition. So far as I have learned there is no Rebecca lodge in the county at this date.
The Woodmen o( the World have thriving lodges at Chatsworth and Cohutta Springs.
The Junior Order United American Mechanics have lodges at Spring Place and Eton.
The Farmers' Union has locals in various parts of the county. This organization has exerted much influence for good in educating and uniting the farmers and laborers of Murray.
The Growth of Fraternalism has been remarkable. Good fellowship and confidence has taken the place of distrust, envy and malice. Murray has come to be a large family of friendly, prosperous, happy people.
Our Public Servants
List of Cherokee Circuit Superior Court Judges. John W. Hooper, 1833; O. H. Kennan, 1836; Turner H. Tripp, 1839; George D. Anderson, 1843; John A. Jones. 1843: Augustus R. Wright, 1844; John W. Hooper, 1850; John 11. Lumpkin. 1851; Turner H. Tripp, 1855; Leander W. Crook, 1859; Dawson A. Walker, 1860; James Milner, 1860; Josiah U. Parrott. 1868; Cicero D. McCutchen. 1872; Joel C. Fain, 1881; Thos. W. Miller, 1889; Augustus W. Fite, 1897.-CHAPTER XIII-
There has been one legal hanging in the county. James Graves was hung at Spring Place, Nov. 21, 18.44, for the murder of a traveler from Kentucky. The gallows stood just east of the Pendley residence.
List of Superior Court Clerks. Nelson Dickerson, William N. Bishop, John L. Beal, F. B. Morris, E. H. Edmondson. Robert McCamy. Ralph Ellison, U. L. Osborn, Samuel M. Walls, S. B. McCamy, John Gault, Mark M. Leonard, L. F. Peeplcs, Hiram Heartsill, Miles H. Bramblett, Levi L. Campbell, C. N. King, Sam Fincher, Wm. J. Johnson, Geo. H. Arrowood, J. Dan Gallman.
List of Sheriffs. James Buchanan, William Galloway, William McGaughy, R. T. Beck, W. Harvey Ramsey, Wm. G. Harris, John II. Kuhn, Wm. D. Heartsill, John C. McEntire, A. T. Logan, C. L. Terry, S. B. Carter, J. L. Robinson, W. C. Groves, Ben Keith, B.H.. Willbanks.
List of Treasurers. Chas. Staples, W. H. Staples, M. W. Harris, Wm. H. Steed, Sam Walls, Dr. W. J. Worsham, J. W. Patrick, M. M. Roberts, T. J. Ovbey, Ben Gregory, Orange Parrott, Wm. A. Campbell, Richard Springfield.
List of Tax Collectors. Dan Waycasey, Daniel Taylor, U. H. Duncan, Minyard H. Harris. M. M. Bates, J. Y. Hemphill. Mont Roberts. Wm. Loughridge, Daily Gregory, William G. Harris, E. W. Rembert, Lum Loughridge, M. M. Welch, N. A. Parsons, Joshua Chapman, John Gregory.
List of Tax Receivers. Wm. J. Peeples, Chas. D. Adair. U. H Duncan, Jesse. Jackson, J. D. Orr. E. W. Rembert, J. W. Patrick, M. H. Bramblelt. Cicero Lindsey.
County School Commissioners. S. H. Henry and W. D. G regory.
Representatives. Wm. N. Bishop, Dennis Carroll, J. D. McDonald, Ben Carter. Sr., Dr. Leech, Sam E. Fields, Colquit Carter, Tom Conley, John Oats, Nick Harris, Wm. Luffman, Cicero C. Howell, E. W. Rembert, Ben Wofford, M. M. Bates, Pleasant McGhee, W. J. Peeples, Seth A. Gregory, J. J. Bates, V. A. Stuart, W. L. Henry, A. K. Ramsey, Thomas Ramsey, J. W. Austin, S. A. Brown.
State Senators from Murray. Major R. E. Wilson, Col. J. A. McCamy, Trammel Star, E. W. Rembert, Col. C. N. King.
October Election, 1910, passed off quietly. The following officers were elected: State Senator, C. T. Owens; Representative. J. C. McEntire; Clerk, W. H. Robinson, Sheriff, B. H. Willbanks; Tax Receiver, W. C, Lindsey ; Tax Collector, G. T. Smith; Treasurer, R. T. Springfield; School Commissioner, R. N. Steed; Coroner, J. S. Keister; Comity Commissioner, T. M. Hemphill; Surveyor, M. W. Shields.
Education and Religion
The early history of education has been given in previous chapters. During the civil war it was necessarily neglected, but when peace was the good people of the county were quick to recognize the necessity of popular education.-CHAPTER XIV-
Sumach Seminary was founded about 1876, with E. I. F. Cheney principal, and Sam Berry assistant. The school was taught in the church three or four years, when the present Seminary building was erected. C. H. Humphreys, Rev. Mann, Miss Onie Henry, Joe Andersen, Wm. Lowrey and other well-known teachers have helped to make Sumach a pleasant memory in the hearts of countless boys and girls, who, thanks to the training received there, have found themselves well equipped for life's battle.
Eton High School was begun about 1890. Dr. M. P. Bates and J. T. Leamon were two of its early principals. Profs. Cox, Tally, Ronny, Berry, Nanny and others have contributed to its success. Dr. Wm. Greenlee is the present principal.
Lucy Hill Institute was built by a donation from Mr. George Hill, supplemented by local subscription. It was named in honor of his daughter, Lucy. This school has been doing a high grade of work and deserves the liberal patronage it has received. Profs. Harper, Byington, Trotter, Roach, and others have been in charge.
Colvard High School has perhaps the best finished building in the county. The first term was taught last year with Prof. W. M. Rogers, principal.
Chatsworth Graded School has been established only three or four years, but has made an excellent showing. Miss Lula Gladden has been the principal.
Ramhurst Graded School has an excellent building. While it has had some discouragement, there is no reason why it should not.soon become one of the very best schools in the county.
Other Secondary Schools have in the past been taught at Mt. Zion, Oram, Fort Mountain, Camp Ground, and other places. Prof. Dock Trimmier will be remembered as one of the early teachers who deserves special mention,
Primary Schools. The county is divided into twenty-nine school districts. The public supports a five months' term in each district. At present there are enrolled about 2.400 white and 100 colored pupils out of a school imputation of 2,766 white and 124 colored. This leaves nearly 400 pupils that are not enrolled in any school.
Teachers. The county employs forty white anil three colored teachers, and pays annually for the support of schools a total of $8,800. Teachers receive from $25 to $45 per month public money. Greater interest is being taken in education than ever before and the outlook is indeed hopeful. At the last Institute it was decided to have a four weeks' Normal School for training of Murray teachers.
Religious Awakening. There seems in recent years a general awakening along every line of Christian endeavor. Sunday Schools and prayer meetings are better attended. Revival meetings of unusual interest and power are being held all over the county. A healthy sentiment against selfishness and sin is felt everywhere.
It is the sincere hope and fervent prayer of the author that the "night is far spent" and that a glorious day is at hand.
Murray in Literature
The County Paper. Until after the war we had no county paper and the legal advertisements were printed in the North Georgia Citizen, which was published at Dallon. The Murray County Gazette, edited by a man named Holcomb, was printed on an Army press. This press is quite a curiosity. It can be seen at the author's home. G. M. Boyclare, J. G. McNally, I. R. Hix, Sam Carter, C. N. King, Trammel Starr, Clarence Heartsill, Max Keister, Hull Kerr and Miss Eula Edmondson are among the editors.
Clarence Heartsill deserves special mention as a writer of trite and vigorous editorials that gave the "Jimplecute" statewide notoriety.
Will N. Harbin has written a number of stories based upon his knowledge of our county. Dixie Hart, Ma'am Linda, Gilbert Neal and others are favorites.
Chas. H. Humphreys is the author of a number of songs and poems. "Longing for Home" is known and loved by thousands.
Robert Henry, for many years Dean of Cumberland University, was a Murray boy. He is a forceful writer upon theology.
Joe Henley, a Murray boy, now of Texas, writes in a pleasing style that has won many admirers.
Roy Vance, better known as "Peruny," is a young writer of no small ability.
Maurice Thompson has written a poem, "North Georgia Scouts," describing a conflict on Murray soil. We have been able to secure a copy through the kindness of Mr. Carter Edmondson.
Other Writers. Space forbids to mention a number of Murray writers who wield a ready pen and art; making themselves felt in the local literary realm. We hope some boy or girl who reads these pages may be moved to utter many beautiful yet unspoken thoughts that will make the world brighter and better.
We love old Murray County,
With mountains rising high;
'Tis here we love to linger long,
And here we hope to die.
Dear sacred spot, we love thee still.
When far away we roam,
No other place our hearts find rest.
No other place is home.
Murray at the Present
Murray County has an area of 352 square miles. Its population is 8,623, In the eastern part are found the terminal ridges and detached peaks of the Apalachian highlands. The Cohutta has an altitude of 3,722 feet. The mean temperature for January is 42 degrees and for July is 78 degrees. The annual rainfall is 54 inches.-CHAPTER XVI-
Cohutta Springs is celebrated for the excellence of its mineral waters. It is a popular Summer resort.
The Natural Resources of the county are almost unlimited. Productive soil, timber and pasture land, minerals, talc, marble, building stone and brick clay are among the many advanages Cotton, corn, fruit, vegetables, in fact an infinite variety of products are found here.
The L. & N. R. R. Passes through the length of the county. Several thriving towns have already sprung up along the line.
Chatsworth has a population of 550, is well located, has two fine hotels, ten stores, a lumber plant, guano factory, brick plant, two talc mills, grist mill and repair shop, bank, Union warehouse, ginnery, two churches and an excellent school.
Eton has a population of 400. It has a flour mill, lumber plant, ginnery, six or eight stores, a hotel, Baptist church, grist mill, and the largest school in the county.
Ramhurst has a large lumber plant, a church, four stores, two hotels, and a graded school.
Other stations of growing importance are Crandall, Conniston, Tennga, Cisco and Fairy.
Spring Place has a population of about 450. It has the court house, jail, two gins, saw mill, two hotels, five stores, three churches and a graded school
A telephone system has been extended over almost the entire county. It will soon be connected with Benton, Tenn., and with the Gordon County line at Oakman.
Civil Government of Murray
Local Government. The county is divided for local government into ten Militia Districts, known us Doolittle, Shuck-pen, Doogan, Bullpen, Town, McDonald, Ball Ground, Alaculsey, Eighth and Tenth. Each district has a Justice of the Peace, a Notary Public and a Constable.-CHAPTER XVII-
The Financial Affairs of the county are in the hands of a Board of Roads and Revenues.
The Educational Interests arc intrusted to the County School Commissioner and a Board of Education.
The Ordinary is charged with many duties. He issues legal papers, grants marriage licenses, records homestead exemptions, wills, etc. J. M. Camphell is Ordinary.
The Clerk of Superior Court attends all sessions of the Superior Court, keeps minutes of its proceedings, issues various writs and orders, records deeds, etc. J. D. Gallman is the present Clerk.
The Sheriff executes the processes and orders of the courts, has custody of prisoners and is keeper of the peace. Much depends upon his faithfulness. 11. II. Willhanks is discharging these duties at present.
The Coroner holds inquests and acts as sheriff in case that officer is absent or disqualified. J. S. Keister is our Coroner.
The Treasurer receives the county's money and pays it out upon warrants issued by the County Commissioners. Richard Springfield is the present Treasurer.
The Tax Receiver visits each Militia District and receives from each taxpayer a statement under oath of the kind and amount of his taxable property. Cicero Lindsey is Tax Receiver at present.
The Tax Collector collects the taxes due the State and county. He also has charge of the registration of voters. John Gregory is the present Collector.
The County Surveyor has charge of the surveys of the county. Price Hates is the present Surveyor.
Representative. Murray sends one representative to the State Legislature. Hon. Sam P. Brown has that honor at present.
The Forty-third Senatorial District, composed of Murray, Gordon and Whitfield, is at present represented by Hon. L. R. Pills.
The Seventh Congressional District, composed of Cobb, Paulding, Haraldson, Polk, Bartow, Floyd, Chattooga, Gordon, Murray, Whitfield, Catoosa, Walker and Dade, is represented by Hon. Gordon Lee.
The Future Outlook
A Bright future is before us. Murray is not merely awaking. She is already awake to the boundless possibilities that lie just ahead. With every natural advantage, with health, strength and vim that pure mountain air begets, the prosperity of our people is assured. The Railroad has brought to our door a market for our varied products. Millions of dollars worth of lumber and minerals are waiting to reward the toiler. Our broad acres are as fertile as any in tie world. The farmer has only to tickle the soil with a hoe and it smiles with abundant harvest.NORTH GEORGIA SCOUTS
Our Schools are better attended, better graded and doing better work than ever before. Interest in education is more apparent and intelligence is the watchword everywhere.
Rowdyism and Ring-rule has received its death blow within our borders. Honesty has become not only the best policy, but a prerequisite to social, financial or political standing.
The Negro Question has been solved. The colored race has learned that while the white man is his friend, no social equality can exist. The Murray negro is industrious, contented and happy.
The Churches are fast coming to realize that strife and confusion is not of God. The good people of the various denominations are uniting with the single purpose of winning souls and tearing down the strongholds of satan.
Good Roads are receiving marked attention and the future will see great improvements in our public highways.
An Open Hand is extended to all home-seekers to come and locate with us. Many have come to us from the East and the West, from thee North and the South. With scarcely an exception they are well satisfied and write for their relations and friends to join them in this land of promise. Let all unite heart and band for the future welfare of old Murray.
I rode- a horse, a dappled bay,
Coal black its mane and tail—
A horse that never needed spur.
Nor curb, nor martingale.
And by my side three others rode,
Sun-tanned, long-haired and grim,
Wild men led on by Edmondson,
Tom Polk, you've heard of him.
Behind us galloped, four by four,
A swarthy, mottled band
Of reckless fellows, chosen from
The bravest in the land.
Whether away on that fair day?
Oh, just a dash of fun,
To speed our horses and keep up
With Tom Polk Edmondson.
Behind our backs we left the bills;
We crossed the Salliquoy;
My right-band comrade smiled and said:
"I fished here when a boy."
Then from the rise at Hogan's house,
I saw as in a dream
Red-fringed and silver-blue and deep,
The Coosawattee gleam.
A shot rang out! A bullet split
The air so close to me,
I felt the keen hot puff, and then
A roar of musketry.
A leaden wind blew from the wokod;
We met it at a run;
We sped so fast along the lane
The worm fence panels spun.
A horse went down, a dying face
Scowled darkly at the sky;
A bullet clipped my comrade's hat,
And lopped the brim awry.
"Come boys; come on!" our leader cried,
Pell mell we struck the line,
My comrade's pistol spat its balls,
and likewise so did mine.
A swirl of smoke with rifts of fire
Enveloped friend and foe;
Death, so embarrassed, hardly knew
Which way his strokes must go.
The fight closed in on every side,
And tore one spot of ground;
There was not room to swing an arm,
Or turn your horse around.
A moment thus and there we broke,
The circle of our foes.
Old Hogan, in his doorway, heard
The crunching of our blows.
Then, while we used our pistol butts,
As swords on many a head;
And yet, and yet, down in that wood
We left our leader, dead.
So, now you know just how it was
We had our little fun,
Speeding our horses to keep up
With Tom Polk Edmondson.
Maurice Thompson, in Century Magazine, 1905.
Murray County History 1911
| || || |