Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cohutta Springs in the 1860s

By the 1860s, several boarding houses and resorts had located around the old mineral springs at Cohutta Springs in the 2nd Section of Murray County (Cohutta Springs, east). Water was an important commodity, then as now. People would dip drinking water from the wellspring. Also at the eastern Cohutta Springs were some boarding houses and resorts. People came to summer at the mountain spring, as respite from the summer heat.

One young lady, Myra Inman, of Cleveland, Tennessee, writes about Cohutta Springs in her diary. Her family summered at Cohutta Springs, not long before the Yankees came into Cleveland. Cohutta Springs is also mentioned in Sara Wadley's diary. Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy stayed at Cohutta Springs one summer, early in the War (before the Atlanta Campaign brought the Yankees into Georgia). Wadley (as I read between the lines of her diary) may have had a crush on a young man who was Stephens' secretary. These diary entries refer to Cohutta Springs, east. Myra Inman places the location as about two miles from Summerhour's. The mineral springs is on what is now Cohutta Springs Road, Crandall, Georgia (off of U.S. Highway 411).

Cohutta Springs, west: Thomas Calloway, of Cleveland, Tennessee, and his nephew, Callaway Campbell, owned land near Waterhouse's at the "other" Cohutta Springs (five miles west of the mineral springs). That Cohutta Springs was on the Spring Place and Cleveland Road (now Georgia Highway 225, where Hall's Chapel Road and Georgia Highway 2 intersects 225). The area was scouted by Union soldiers in 1864. Colonel Eli Long, U.S.A., camped at Waterhouse's plantation in February 1864, en route to the First Battle of Dalton.

(Note: I did a quick Wikipedia lookup to verify the name of the vice president of the Confederacy.)

Clearer references to the Myra Inman diary (book), Sara Wadley diary (on-line excerpts), and the Callaway Campbell letters (library holdings) will be given later.

Cohutta Springs in the 1840s

Homesteaders poured into Murray County after the 1838 removal of the Cherokee. Land speculators had bought the land cheap. They quickly resold it at a profit ~ some in whole lots, others subdivided into halves and quarters. Many of the county's early residents were from nearby counties in Tennessee. (My own genealogical research shows that northern Murray County was pretty much settled by East Tennesseans from Blount, Sevier, and surrounding counties in Tennessee). The early days of settlement were pretty rough ~ there were some lawless elements in the county.

Once again, not much is known about these early times. Possibly, more research on the old deeds, plats and abstracts will help. My own speculation is that there were already grist mills in the area even before the Cherokee removal. An 1866 deed for lot 320 mentions a place where an old mill once stood. Allowing for time and the elements, one might assume that something as substantial as a mill had been there for at least twenty or thirty years before it disappeared, which might place it into the 1830s or earlier. (See notes below).*

*NOTE: My curiosity has been piqued in a big way by the old mill. It's a little tricky to research. I haven't walked up there myself. The location is in the woods, well north of the old Coffey Mill of the early 1900s, near North Cohutta and Hampton Springs. Crandall residents are familiar with the mill site. Differences in the old surveys of different eras make it a little tricky to line up the exact corners of lot 320 and the same lot on the modern map, as it it marked. The mill was on or near the old one-acre plat reserved by Morris and/or Edmondson in those very early deeds.

Cohutta Springs in the 1830s

Before the 1830s, Cohutta Springs (if it was so named) was still located within the Cherokee Nation. On early maps, the place name was located on the Old Federal Road, which forked at Chief Vann's plantation in Spring Place. The early maps are so generalized that the location of the place name can't easily be compared to modern maps. One branch of the Old Federal Road ran northwest toward Rossville, and the other, northeast, crossing the state line at Tennga, going past Chief David McNair's home in Tennessee. (See notes, below).*

The mineral springs in the eastern section would have been used as a watering place for people traveling along the Old Federal Road. The word "Cohutta" is said to be Cherokee for "poles of the shed" (such as the Cohutta Mountains, referring to poles which hold up the sky). However, it is not known whether the mineral springs bore this place name in these earliest times. There may have already been a grist mill near the springs even in the 1830s, but this is speculation. Not much is known about the very early history of Cohutta Springs.

In the late 1820s and early 1830s, the Cherokee Nation was pressured by the State of Georgia to give up all Cherokee lands within the boundaries of the state. Cherokees were told to move and were given a grace period. The date of forcible removal was set for May 1838. The U.S. Post Office established a branch at Cohutta Springs in 1836, before the removal. The location of the post office was near western Cohutta Springs (five miles west of the mineral springs).

Early deeds in Murray County usually specify county land as "originally Cherokee now Murray County." Cherokee County was a large, undivided county in North Georgia, so named by the State during the era that the Cherokee lands were claimed and confiscated. One of the lots lying in Cohutta Springs is Murray County Land Lot 320 in the 27th District, 2nd Section, once owned by James Edmondson. Further abstracts and look-ups in the land lottery books show that it was first granted (sold) to Thomas Clark on March 27, 1834, who sold it to James Morris in 1835. Edmondson acquired it after the land lottery.

The Trail of Tears, or Cherokee Removal in this area occurred in 1838. The minor chiefs who opposed John Ross and signed the Treaty of New Echota had tried to negotiate to allow Cherokees to remain in Georgia as Georgians, each keeping a homesteader's lot ~ but this clause was stricken by the president. Whether specific chiefs would have been the beneficiaries of this clause needs researching. Various participants in the treaty were later executed by the Cherokee government

For more on these topics, search Georgia History sites for the Act of December 21, 1830, Act of December 24, 1831, 1832 Georgia Land Lottery, and the 1838 Cherokee removal, or Trail of Tears. Also, here's a very good document (with references) that I found while doing a quick look-up on McNair's name: http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v011/v011p0927.html

*NOTES: Specific details about the Old Federal Road were gleaned from the Georgia DOT's document on the subject: 
I had to do a quick look-up to clarify that the Old Federal Road did run past McNair's.


The word for "Cohutta" is thought to come from a Cherokee word, "gahuti" or "ga-hut-yi," meaning the poles of the shed, referring to the Cohutta mountains as the poles that hold up the sky. (See note, below).*

Several landmarks, places, and businesses in the Southeast bear the name of Cohutta or Cohuttah. In North Georgia, there are the Cohutta Mountains (part of the Appalachian Mountain Chain) various Cohutta Springs communities (discussed within this blog), and the unrelated town of Cohutta in Whitfield County, Georgia.

*NOTE: More about this reference will be given later. The definition for Cohutta appears in quite a few local histories, that have it as meaning "poles of the shed" or "frog." A year or so ago, I tracked the original reference down to an old trade journal or encyclopedia. I further traced the word origin and found one Cherokee language site in which syllables similar to ga-hut-yi (but not exact) did add up to meaning shed poles. I did not find anything among the various words for "frog" or "toad" that resembled gahuta, gahuti, or Cohutta, and I had to wonder if people had confused several words. A part of the same mountain chain, in Tennessee, is called "Big Frog." In a more recent casual search of Cherokee pronunciation databases, I couldn't find anything that resembled any word that sounded like Cohutta or gahuti. I'll try to find my notes and give more detailed references on these facts.

Red Clay

Red Clay, near Cleveland, Tennessee, is a Tennessee State Park and Historic Site. From 1832 to 1838, the Cherokee Council was held there. Cherokee chiefs met with their people, trying to prevent the State of Georgia from confiscating their lands. These councils failed, and the Cherokee were forced to leave their land on the Trail of Tears. Red Clay is about 15 1/2 miles from downtown Cleveland, Tennessee, and 27 miles from Cohutta Springs in Crandall, Georgia.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Old Summerour Church

Old Summerour Cemetery is on Old Summerour Church Road in Crandall, Georgia. The community was named after the Summerour family who owned land there. Old maps of Murray County show a chapel there. The church that is remembered by most people now living in Murray County is a later church. It, too, was very old. It was built as, or became, a Methodist church.* Summerour Methodist Church was located less than a mile west of the old chapel, on Old Summerour Church Road. The little white-framed church was built in the late 1800s and stood for 105 years. Across the road from it is Summerour Methodist Cemetery. (My great aunt had a son buried there). One year, the church survived a tornado that knocked the building off of its corner stones, but didn't do too much harm, and it was placed back on a better foundation. Summerour Methodist Church had simple-but-pretty purple, textured stained-glass windows. On sunny days, the church was filled with a pleasant, pink-tinged light from the windows. The church was sitting empty in the 1970s and '80s. I remember that some of the windows had been broken by vandals. Amazing Grace Baptist Church renovated the building and began to hold services in the little church some time after that. There were enough stained-glass window panes left that they were able to form a purple cross in each window by putting the glass in the center panes only. The little church was a landmark ~ its steeple was visible from a long way down the road. Sadly, the church building was destroyed by arson in the 1990s (as I recall). Amazing Grace built a new church on the premises, and it is very like the old church, though not quite as pretty. Amazing Grace also has a new cemetery behind the church. The church and cemeteries are about 1 1/2 miles from Cohutta Springs. *I'll try to research and clarify some of these things as I go!

New Echota

New Echota was the capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 to 1832, when the State of Georgia claimed the lands of the Cherokee and ordered the removal of the Cherokee People. New Echota was the site of a treaty signed by minor Cherokee chiefs who did not have the authority. They opposed Principal Chief John Ross and did not seek approval from the Cherokee people through Council, as required. By that treaty, the Cherokee people lost all of the remaining land lying within the boundaries of Georgia. New Echota is a State Park and Historic site just north of the town of Calhoun, Georgia, on Georgia Highway 225. New Echota is located at 1211 Chatsworth Hwy NE Calhoun , Georgia. It is 31 1/2 miles South of the community of Cohutta Springs.

Chief Vann House

The Chief Vann House is in the community of Spring Place, Georgia, about 12 1/2 miles south/southeast of Cohutta Springs. The State Historic Site was once owned by Cherokee Chief James Vann, and later, by his son Joseph Vann, who was finally forced from his home by Georgia State Militia in 1834. The Vann House features tours of the restored Vann House and plantation (including slave cabins), and a fine small museum. It is located at the intersection of Georgia Highway 52 Alternate and Georgia Highway 225, Chatsworth, Georgia (in the community of old Spring Place).

Site Address

This blog (History of Cohutta Springs) is a sub-section of CohuttaSpringsHistory.com. Its URI is History.CohuttaSpringsHistory.com.

Cemeteries in the Summerour Community near Cohutta Springs (east)

Summerour Chapel was once located near the area of Cohutta Springs (era not known, probably Civil War era and perhaps earlier). It is sometimes spelled "Summerhours," especially in old correspondence. It was located near the Old Summerour Methodist Church Cemetery and lies east of the railroad track on Summerour Church Road. Later, Summerour Methodist Church was built about 1905. The cemetery across from the location of that church (no longer a Methodist Church) is Summerour Methodist Cemetery. It is located west of the railroad track on Summerour Church Road, Crandall, Georgia. The Summerour Methodist Church burned a decade or so ago, and the church now located there is Amazing Grace Baptist Church, on Summerour Church Road. These are the cemeteries in that community, with links to the memorial pages at Find A Grave.

Old Summerour Methodist Church Cemetery
Surnames include Ash, Caldwell, Carnes, Dunn, Hicks, McCamy, and many others.

Summerour Methodist Cemetery
Surnames include Aly, Beavers, Dunn, Lackey, Gossage, Hansird, Henson, Jones, and many others.

Summerour Family Cemetery: I don't actually know the location, and don't know whether it is near the old Summerour community featured here. It says Chatsworth, but many areas over the county are designated by mailing route as "Chatsworth." (This may be the site at the corner of Cohutta Springs Road and U.S. Highway 411, where there is an old grave with an infant burial. I don't have the name of the child right now and cannot check this list for it.

Amazing Grace Baptist Church Cemetery
(Burials there are fairly recent.)