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Old News Stories
Recalling Pioneering Days of Chatsworth, 1934

From The Chatsworth Times
June 21, 1934

Pioneering of Chatsworth
by Alvin Jones

In the year of 1905 about the last of July, C. N. King and L. W. Thompson optioned the then John Willbanks lot of some 45 acres, now in the center of the town. A mass meeting of Spring Place Citizens appointed a committee to locate a depot. After meeting with the locating engineer, he told the committee to drive a stake where we wanted the depot. The committee chose the site, then we found that King and Thompson owned the land and they were part of the committee. Then we bought of them an interest in the lot.

It was divided into five shares, King, Thompson, Williams, Owens, and Jones. Each sharer was assessed $ 50 to start work cutting underbrush.

Jones took over the work for a short time at one dollar per day and gave hands 75 cents per day.

Jones hired Hill Anderson first. The two started across the country three miles from Spring Place, ax on shoulder, lunch in hand, out a little country road to start a town. Anderson was anxious to know about the job at 75 cents. Jones said, "We will find the job—it is on ahead of us." At last we came to the corner; a small maple about six or eight inches in diameter, first to be cut. Anderson was ordered by Jones to stand until he (Jones) made a speech. He told Anderson of a nice little town in the future, and Jones and Anderson could have a fine hotel and a barber shop (that was Anderson's profession at the time.)

Two weeks was payday and twelve hands were paid off, the money being carried in a half-gallon bucket. About this time the J. N. Moreland lands were bought. A little later the Jack Keith lands were bought. Jones sold his stock to Lee Cox, and went into business in a stall of the Willbanks' barn. James Bagley hauled his goods out with four mules. Jones sold to J. N. Moreland on his first sale five cents worth of candy which gave him a start in finances. By this time the land company was chartered and the DeSota Hotel was named. Squire Hamilton surveyed and plotted off the town. Capt. Freeson became the promoter and lot salesman. George Kelley built a box storehouse on First Avenue, and Jones built one north of Kelley. The railroad came along with a ten or twelve foot board which read "Chatsworth." "Where did the name originate?" is often asked. We have omitted that until now and we are asking the railroad to give us this history.

The talc mill, managed by Marion Williams was one of the first industries, and The Pendley Brick Company about the second, and Ryan Brothers Lumber Company next. Sam Barnett was the first depot agent and hotel manager. Erwin Baggett built one of the first homes.

James asked for a post office named Chatsworth. He stamped four cents worth of stamps the first day after he was commissioned. The postmaster got sixty per cent of all cancellation and the post office department forty per cent. This gave the postmaster another financial lift.

Ezekiel Dunn took charge of brush cutting and opening up streets. Lot sales came on, maps were made, a big rally day was staged on November 21 and 22, in 1905. 1323 lots being placed on sale.

The land company realized a good sum and went forth to build a good town. Dunn Brothers started a livery stable. J. B. Gregory Co. built a store on First Avenue, later built upon the corner of Third Avenue and Market Street, the first brick house in town.

S.M. Barnett and Bradley Brothers started a store on the corner of Fort and Third Avenue. Thompson and Hill built on the corner of Fort and Second Avenue. T.M. Wright built the hotel on the corner of Second Avenue and Market. A well was drilled in the middle of Second Avenue and Market Street by Charlie Gray. The town's location with its environment was a drawing card as it is at the foot of Fort Mountain, the historic mountain of North Georgia. The courts were held at Chatsworth in 1915, and in 1916 the courthouse was built.

The first mayor of Chatsworth was Lawyer Gann and he drew up the code for the town corporation.

The first paper in Chatsworth was a small sheet called the Chatsworth News by George Sherman, but later Will S. Cox became editor. Cox ran our first hardware and furniture store. Keith and Jones had the first warehouse.

The Chatsworth Bank with Mack Sanders as president and Blackburn as cashier, was one of the early businesses. The Cohutta Talc Mill and the Georgia Talc Mill are among the industries at the beginning of the town. Richoreek and King opened a small restaurant, and were the first to serve meals here; they were located on First Avenue.

The purchase of the Murray News and merger into the Chatsworth Times was made by Huffstetler Bros., and it became the official county paper. The town demanded sidewalks and a water system. The Nix Spring was the object for water.

J. N. Moreland was the land owner and oldest citizen. He and his son, Thomas, were the first citizens of what is now a town of about one thousand population.

Thrift and industry have brought the town to where it is today. No wealth was poured into the lap of Chatsworth; her people have worked it out.

The Methodist Church was built about the same time that the Baptists built theirs. A school block was given by the land company, and a small frame house built on it. The Methodist parsonage was located on the church lot. All were donated by the Chatsworth Land Company.

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