Saw Dust, as its post office was known when it operated between 1852 and 1895, was the first settlement in the area that would later come to be known as Harlem. Its name came from the presence of three sawmills, which derived their power from Big Kiokee Creek. The town had a raucous reputation for its numerous bars and saloons and this prompted a name change from community leaders. This structure was likely a commissary or general/grocery store.
The iconic “Shingle House”, so named for its shingle siding, is the last remaining structure related to the Franklin-Creighton Gold Mine near Ball Ground. The mine had its origins circa 1832, when Mary G. Franklin obtained 40 acres along the Etowah River in the Gold Lottery of 1832. It became the Franklin, or Franklin-Creighton Mine circa 1883 and was said to be one of the most productive in the area, until1907, long after other area mines were long exhausted. The structure has reportedly served as a commissary, post office, and boarding house.
The community that grew up around the mine was known as Creighton, and the post office was operational from 1887-1918. The property is part of Gold & Grass Farms today.
One of the best surviving grave houses I’ve found in Georgia is the final resting place of two pioneers of the nearly forgotten Eudora community, John Ashbury Allen (11 January 1815 – 5 October 1891), and Nancy Goodman Crawford Allen (6 September 1816 – 30 May 1882). The Allen family were involved in farming and also owned a store and ran the post office in Eudora at one time, I believe.
NOTE: The Allen Family Cemetery is private and can only be seen from the roadside.
The only information I’ve been able to locate on the history of Wesley Chapel, located in the forgotten community of Beatrice, is that it was established in 1838.
That date comes from the old South Georgia Conference-provided sign at the front of the church. The sign is of a type used by the conference in the 1930s-1940s or thereabouts.
An architectural survey dates the present structure to 1890. The stained glass windows appear to be later additions.
Perhaps as interesting as the church itself is the historic cemetery which lies adjacent to the structure. The earliest burials I noted dated to the early 1840s. The cemetery affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and is characterized by two large enclosures made of local stone. They are great examples of early vernacular funerary architecture.
The shady respite of the Sims Plot is enclosed by a local stone fence, abundant with Resurrection Fern.
The plot of pioneer Thomas Turner House [18 April 1787-14 June 1851] & Elizabeth Young House [20 Jun 1787-5 December 1863] and family is made of local red stone and is a massive enclosure.
A gate once guarded the plot but is long gone.
The fence was well built and has survived largely intact, though this section has collapsed. It is likely descendants have made repairs over the years.
Saxon is a crossroads settlement located just south of the Broad River. This old store/filling station is about all that remains. I believe it dates to circa 1930.
The lost community that came to be known as Church Hill was opened to white settlers by the Land Lottery of 1827. To accommodate new arrivals, Native American trading routes were improved or superseded by the creation of new roads. In 1832, Timothy Barnard’s Path, which ran from Columbus to St. Marys, became known as the St. Marys Road or the Old Salt Trail. At a point between Kinchafoonee Creek and Lanahassee Creek, where three roads crossed St. Marys Road, five churches were built in a relatively short time, including: Mt. Pisgah (Kinchafoonee) Free Will Baptist (date unknown); Shiloh Baptist (1835); Christian Union (1840); Smyrna Associate Reformed Presbyterian (1838); and Evan Chapel Methodist (1838). Records indicate a school known as Centerville Academy was formed by the Smyrna trustees in 1838, suggesting the original name for the community was Centerville. It is unclear when the moniker of Church Hill came into use, but it first appeared on maps in 1870. The Church Hill post office was operational from 1893-1903, so it is likely that the area suffered a significant population decline at the beginning of the 20th century.
Shiloh-Marion is the last remaining church of the five that gave Church Hill its name and is a great example of vernacular Greek Revival architecture, common in antebellum churches in Georgia. A sign at the church notes the founding date as 1812, the year of the first mission; further documentation gives the founding date as 1835, when eleven members joined the Bethel Baptist Association. The church structure is believed to be contemporary to the latter date.
Shiloh-Marion Baptist Church Cemetery, 1830s
The cemetery is a fascinating landmark in its own right, containing typical Victorian monuments and an unusual collection of stone markers. The stones are either stacked in elongated triangular forms or used as fencing. There has been some speculation that they are Native American in origin and to my knowledge there are no familial claims by church members. This still doesn’t get anywhere near evidence of Native American ties, but t’s worthy of investigation either way.
A sign and wooden cross mark the slave cemetery.
Unmarked concrete stones have been placed at approximate burial locations.
I believe this was a house, but it’s possible it was a store. It’s located at the center of what was once Rupert. It’s difficult to distinguish the town site today.
This house is of a form very common in late-19th-century Georgia.