Wednesday, August 1, 2018

North Georgia, Featuring Murray and Whitfield Counties

North Georgia, was once part of the Cherokee Nation, and was one of the last places that the Cherokee lived in Georgia. When gold was discovered in Dahlonega (Lumpkin County), Georgia, the State of Georgia became eager to remove the Cherokees from the land. Cherokees were forced from their native land and left Georgia on the Trail of Tears, also known as The Place Where They Cried. As the Cherokee moved out, pioneers of European descent moved in. Citizens ~ many of them speculators ~ bought land and gold stakes cheap in lotteries that took place between 1828 and 1838.

Murray County, Georgia, and nearby Whitfield, were two of the northernmost counties of the state. As those early land lots were resold, homesteaders began to settle Murray County in 1838 to start small farms. It was a rough and wild place, as some early Murray Countians tell of it. The Civil War came in 1865. Murray County did not see battle (beyond a few skirmishes with Yanks who were camped just north of them in Cleveland, Tennessee); but nearby Whitfield and Gordon Counties endured battles, at Tunnel Hill and Resaca respectively ~ the first battles of the Atlanta Campaign. The action quickly by-passed Murray County as Sherman headed further South. After the War, the people returned to farming.

Chatsworth, Georgia, is Murray's county seat. Other towns in Murray include Eton, Crandall, and Cisco, in the northern part of the county. There are quite a few historic communities in Murray, which are not official townships, by Georgia's definition. Those include Spring Place, home of the Chief Vann House, and once the county seat; Ramhurst; and Cohutta Springs, once a thriving watering place, famous for its mineral springs (and now part of Crandall). Many of Murray County's homestead farms were handed down among families for several generations. Only recently have some of those farms been subdivided by developers. Whitfield County developed somewhat differently, as a cottage-tufting industry took hold and grew there. Dalton eventually became "The Carpet Capital of the World."

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