Stand Watie

Cherokee General Hails from old Cass County

 

By Terry Sloope

 

Stand Watie: The Hard Life of a Cherokee Survivor

 

Many Americans have heard of the horrors of the “Trail of Tears” – the inhumane removal of the most of the Cherokee tribe from its homeland in the southeastern United States in the late 1830s.[1]  Thousands of Cherokees died on the forced march to the new Cherokee territory west of the Mississippi, most of which was located in what is now northeast Oklahoma. Modern sensibilities view with contempt the policies and actions of the federal government, as well as those of the state of Georgia, that led to this tragedy. Many people do not realize, however, that the question of the tribe’s removal to the west led to a dramatic split within the Cherokee tribe itself in the years leading up their relocation; that split ultimately led to an internal civil war punctuated with acts of despicable violence that would plague the Cherokee nation for years after their relocation to the west. Stand Watie, along with several close family members, played a critical role in these events; and put his life in grave danger, not from the white population seeking to push the Cherokees out of northwest Georgia, but from members of his own tribe who blamed him and other members of his family for the loss of their homeland. Watie was lucky; he survived the internecine violence that plagued the Cherokee Nation in the 1830s and 1840s. Many of his relatives did not. Watie would become a venerated leader of the Cherokees who supported his actions during these troubled times, and he would distinguish himself further as a skilled military tactician in his role as a commander of Cherokee troops in the Southern army during the Civil War.

Stand Watie was born on December 12, 1806[2] in the small Cherokee Nation village of Oothcalooga, in what would later be the northern extremes of the original footprint of Cass County,[3] Georgia. His father was Oo-wa-tie (“the ancient one”) while his mother, Susanna Reese, was a half-blooded Cherokee. Stand was originally given the tribal name Degadoga[4] (“he stands”). He had one older brother, Kilakeena (“Buck”), three younger brothers and four younger sisters. Stand’s brother Buck, their uncle Major Ridge and their cousin, John Ridge, would become influential leaders of a segment of the Cherokee population that later stood in opposition to the tribe’s principal Chief John Ross.[5]

When Degadoga was a young child, his parents joined the Moravian Church at Springplace, an area about 60 miles north of Oothcalooga and just south of the Tennesee state line. They adopted Christianity as a result of this experience; Stand’s father took the name David. He also dropped the “Oo” from his tribal name and combined the other two parts into “Watie,” adopting that surname for himself and his children. Although Degadoga was given the name Isaac, at some early point he took the name “Stand,” derived from the interpretation of his tribal name.

Stand and Buck were both educated at the Moravian Mission School in Springplace. The school emphasized traditional subjects such as writing and arithmetic along with a healthy dose of instruction in matters of spiritual and moral values. Among members of the Cherokee tribe, Stand was considered to be well educated. His brother Buck would further his education at the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions School in Cornwall, Connecticut. While there, he adopted the name of his sponsor, Elias Boudinot, as his own. Upon his return the Cherokee Nation, Elias would become the publisher/editor of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper.

Meanwhile, Stand Watie’s reputation among his tribe was growing as the 1820s progressed. He helped out on his father’s farm and other business ventures while quietly pursuing other opportunities of his own as well. His rising reputation among his tribe allowed to secure an appointment as Clerk of the Cherokee Supreme Court in 1828, and his experience in that post eventually allowed him to receive a license to practice law in the Cherokee Nation.

By the late 1820s, however, the living conditions in the Cherokee Nation were becoming more bleak for many Cherokees. The most serious threat to their well-being was the increasing encroachment upon their lands by white settlers moving into the region. White Georgians looked at the development of the Cherokee culture in in north Georgia over the years and believed “…(those) efforts to establish a government and constitution on par with the American federal government and recognized by federal authorities signaled the permanent presence of the Cherokee Nation in Georgia and its attempts to entrench itself legally within the state…”[6] which was quite unacceptable to Georgia’s white leaders and citizens. The invaders often used threatening tactics to scare the Cherokee population and dispossess them of their land and businesses, often with the explicit approval of Georgia state officials. The Watie family was not immune from these violations. Beginning in 1825, David Watie operated a very lucrative ferry on the Hightower River under an exclusive license granted by the Cherokee Nation. In 1831, however, the state of Georgia issued a permit to a white Georgian, John Miller, to operate a ferry across this same river, despite objections from the Watie family and the Cherokee Nation that the state had no authority to issue a license for such an operation within their territory. Miller established his ferry just upriver from the Watie ferry and made improvements to the roads connecting to the main travel arteries between southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama, thus drawing business away from the Watie operation and eventually putting it out of business.

There was little hope for an end to these types of violations; in 1829 the Jackson administration announced its intention to relocate members of the numerous Native American tribes in the southeast United States to other unsettled lands west of the Mississippi. It was only a matter of time before the Cherokees would lose all control over their tribal homelands. Most Cherokees continued to resent and resist such a fate. Around this time, Watie’s brother Elias Boudinot wrote to his wife’s sister and her husband “…Trouble upon trouble, vexation upon vexation. I allude to the Georgia affair. The war is becoming hotter and hotter every day….Why do our friends at the north appear to be so careless? Do they not know that a piece of great wickedness is in a course of perpetration? The last right and some respects, the most important right of the Cherokees, is to be fought and contended for – their right to the land. It is true we have been abused persecuted and oppressed beyond measure – our rights have been outrageously wrested from us, yet we are on our lands – we have possession. Our enemies cannot complete their designs until they get the land – they intend to get it by force….Now will the people of the U. States permit such an outrage upon the property of the defenceless?…the Georgians propose in the next Legislature to survey and draw for our lands….One thing is for certain there is a crisis approaching both in the history of the Cherokees & the United States.”[7]

 The Cherokees held a number of public meetings in 1831, with Stand Watie serving as secretary, the result of which was a petition to be the submitted the Jackson administration protesting the treatment of the Cherokees. The resolution noted that previous treaties with the U.S., certain legislative acts and Supreme Court decisions had created an understanding that the Cherokee Nation was to be treated as a separate, sovereign entity with the right of self-government, just like Georgia or any other state in the Union. They asked the Jackson administration to protect the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation from violations by the state of Georgia and the renegade white settlers. Jackson summarily refused to accept the claims contained in the resolution and took no action. Soon afterwards, in the fall of 1832, the Georgia Land Lottery was held to formally distribute Cherokee lands among white Georgia citizens desiring to relocate to the area. Later compensation claims associated with the removal of the Cherokees indicated that Stand Watie lost an extensive homestead located near the confluence of the Coosawatie and Conausauga Rivers[8] to four different white settlers.

By this time, a significant schism was occurring within the Cherokee tribe. A faction of the Cherokees (often referred to as the “treaty party”) led by Stand’s brother Elias Boudinot, their uncle, Major Ridge and cousin John Ridge had come to the conclusion that removal of the Cherokees was inevitable, a view which Stand Watie shared. They knew the government had already begun relocating the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole tribes to new homes in the west. The treaty party leaders rejected any remaining hope that the Cherokees could somehow co-exist peacefully in their homeland with the invading whites and still preserve Cherokee sovereignty and culture. In their opinion, relocation to a new homeland in the west was the only way to accomplish these goals. Their beliefs put them in direct opposition to Chief John Ross and a sizeable majority of the Cherokee Nation. The schism between the two sides would become increasingly bitter as the federal government began the process of trying to reach a formal agreement with the Cherokees for their relocation. The ill feelings between the two groups would smolder for more than a decade and ultimately lead to a wave of violence that cost many of the treaty party leaders their lives.

Major Ridge and Elias Boudinot issued a call for a meeting of the Cherokees at Running Waters in November 1834, which was attended by a relatively small group of treaty sympathizers. Chief Ross’s loyalists refused to participate in the meeting. The result of the meeting was another petition outlining the poor treatment of the Cherokees and concluding that the only course of action that would preserve their culture was to accede to the relocation of the tribe to the west. Presenting a false claim that a majority of Cherokees favored relocation, the petition asked for an agreement that would recognized Cherokee sovereignty in their new lands; annual annuity payments to the tribe (similar to those being paid to other tribes that had been relocated); payments to individual Cherokees for properties, including capital improvements, that had been wrongfully confiscated and distributed to white settlers; and payments to individual Cherokees for expenses related to relocation to the west. Stand Watie was among the leaders who signed the petition;  Elias Boudinot and John Ridge led a delegation to Washington to present their desires to the government.

These efforts were vehemently opposed by Chief Ross and his followers; at this point, Chief Ross became concerned about the opposition faction entering into talks with representatives of the Jackson administration. Chief Ross made his own proposal to the government – which he may have known would be a non-starter – in which he said he would accept 20 million dollars for the Cherokee homeland and removal to suitable lands in the West. The administration rejected Ross’s proposal and let it be known that they would pay no more than $4.5 million dollars for the Cherokee’s land. While the Boudinot-Ridge delegation was in Washington during the winter of 1835 outlining their proposal, and at Elias Boudinot’s urging, Stand Watie was able to take possession of the printing press (which had been seized by Chief Ross’s sympathizers) used to print the Cherokee Phoenix and printed flyers encouraging the Cherokees to reject Chief Ross’s proposal and support the proposal of the treaty party.

The pro-treaty delegation returned home in the spring of 1835, and the Jackson administration appointed Commissioners who were authorized to travel to the Cherokee Nation to negotiate a formal treaty. Back home, the Ridge-Boudinot faction attempted to hold more meetings in order to explain the differences between the two proposals, but few people attended these meetings. The acrimony between the two sides was becoming more pronounced, and the pro-treaty party became quite fearful of violent reactions from the Ross faction.

The two sides finally agreed to a meeting at Running Waters in August 1835. Some 4,000 tribal members attended the meeting. Discussions outlining the positions of the two sides were held; ultimately Chief Ross’s loyalists easily carried the day, winning a formal vote in favor of defying removal by an overwhelming margin. No formal action was taken as a result of the meeting, however.

The leaders of the treaty party engaged in discussions with the federal commissioner, but Chief Ross refused to recognize his authority to enter into treaty negotiations. Instead, the Chief called for another meeting of the tribe to be held at Red Clay, Tennessee in October 1835. Chief Ross pushed through a resolution rejecting the Jackson administration’s proposals for relocation and appointed a delegation to travel to Washington to negotiate a new deal directly with members of the Jackson administration. Eliot Boudinot and John Ridge were included as members of the delegation; Boudinot, wanting to keep an eye on further developments at home, bowed out and Stand Watie was appointed to take his place. This move thrust Watie into the upper echelons of the pro-treaty leadership.

As Watie and the Red Clay delegation travelled to Washington in late December 1835, the federal Commissioner, John Schermerhorn, was determined to complete the job he had been sent to do. The fact that the pro-treaty party enjoyed the support of a relatively small minority of Cherokees was probably irrelevant to him at this point. Schermerhorn encouraged Boudinot and other pro-treaty leaders to call for another meeting. They agreed to do so; that meeting was held at New Echota, the Cherokee capital, on December 21, just after the Red Clay delegation left for Washington. The meeting was boycotted by the Ross faction; the small crowd that assembled there was overwhelmingly pro-treaty. Terms of a treaty were quickly agreed to and ratified by a vote of the attendees at the meeting. A delegation was then appointed to travel to Washington and obtain the support of the members of the Red Clay delegation and conclude the treaty negotiations with the Jackson administration and Congress.

Meanwhile, the Red Clay delegation met with Secretary of State Lewis Cass in early January 1836. They were informed that the federal government would pay them no more than $5 million for their lands; individual Cherokees would not be allowed to take personal ownership of plots of land in the new territories, and all monies would be paid to individual members of the tribe and not to the general tribal treasury.

The Red Clay delegation had no idea of what had transpired at New Echota shortly after they left home for Washington until just a few days before the New Echota delegation arrived. In their confused state, members of the Red Clay delegation registered their disapproval of the new treaty proposal without full knowledge of its contents. Once the New Echota delegation arrived, however, and explained what had happened and what the treaty included, the pro-treaty members of the Red Clay delegation, including Watie, fell in line in support of the new proposals. The New Echota delegation, including Watie and Ridge, immediately set out to paint Chief Ross as an ineffective leader who only had his own interests in mind. He had done nothing to prevent the encroachment of whites settlers into Cherokee lands, and they argued that should the federal government deposit payments associated with the treaty directly into the Cherokee treasury, Chief Ross would use those funds to his own benefit and reward his most loyal supporters at the expense of most members of the tribe, and certainly he would use those funds as a weapon against the treaty party.

There arguments were effective enough to secure ratification of the treaty by the U.S. Senate by just one vote on May 23, 1836, over the strong objections of Chief Ross, who protested to Congress “…an instrument purporting to be a treaty with the Cherokee people, recently made public by the President of the United States, is fraudulent and false, and made by unauthorized individuals, against the wishes of a great body of the Cherokee people.”[9]

 

Among other things, the treaty provided that the Cherokees would surrender their lands for a payment of 5 million dollars; they would be relocated to an area west of the Mississippi covering some 7 million acres west of the states of Arkansas and Missouri; individual members of the tribe would be able to submit claims for individual compensation for properties lost as a result of the removal, pending Senate approval. If the Senate refused to provide for such claims, a lump sum of $350,000 would be set aside for apportionment among the population based on those claims. Most importantly to the Cherokees, the new lands provided for them would not fall under the future jurisdictions of any state or territory, seemingly promising them the sovereignty they had been longing for. The U.S. government pledged to protect the Cherokees from attack by foreign entities, and would ensure domestic tranquility (a pledge that was almost immediately ignored.)  The U.S. would provide transportation to their new homeland and compensate individuals for relocation expenses. In addition, the federal government would provide subsistence for the Cherokees during the first year of their habitation in their new lands. Finally, the Cherokees were given two years to move to their new homes.

 

Upon his return the Cherokee Nation, Watie learned that his wife, Elizabeth,[10] had died during childbirth in late April and, sadly, the child died as well. Meanwhile, the members of the pro-treaty party were vociferously attacked by Ross supporters as traitors, just as they knew they would be. They had warned federal officials that they would be the targets of violent retribution by Chief Ross’s followers. These fears led them to begin preparations to relocate that summer. Word went out among pro-treaty supporters to begin disposing of any property they had. Records indicate that Watie received slightly over $5,000 in payments arising out of various provisions in the treaty, and his other family members, including his new wife Isabella, received considerable sums as well. Meanwhile, Chief Ross instructed his followers to ignore the provisions of the treaty and to remain in their homelands. The vast majority of his followers did just that.

The relocation of the treaty party and their followers began on March 3, 1837. Most of the journey was by boat, although high water during heavy rains required a brief jaunt by train early in their travels. The boats were overcrowded and most of the travelers were exposed to the elements while on the boats. There were periods of cold wind and heavy rain; severe colds and congestion were quite common among the Cherokees, including Stand Watie. There was an outbreak of measles along the way as well, among other maladies. They traveled down the Tennessee to the Ohio River near Paducah, then down the Mississippi past Memphis and then up the Arkansas River. They proceeded up the Arkansas River until they reached Fort Smith, on Arkansas’ western border with the new Cherokee Territory, on March 27. Watie and his family proceeded northward to the area of Honey Creek on the east bank of the Grand River in the northeast corner of the territory (the northeast corner of the state of Oklahoma today), just west of the joint border with Arkansas and Missouri. He was joined in that area by the families of Elias Boudinot and John Ridge.

By the spring of 1838, federal authorities were losing their patience with the far larger contingent of Cherokees loyal to Chief John Ross who remained in lands of the Cherokee Nation in the southeast U.S.[11]  The 1836 Treaty of New Echota required all of the Cherokees – including those who opposed the treaty from the beginning – to leave the area within two years. By the spring of 1938, the Cherokees under the domain of Chief Ross had made little, if any effort, to prepare for their relocation to the Cherokee Territory in the west. Federal troops began detaining the members of Ross’s faction throughout the spring and summer of that year until they could organize their relocation. Finally, in the fall of 1838 federal troops began the forced march of their Cherokee detainees to the west. The conditions on this march were horrendous and cruel. It is estimated that some 4,000 Cherokees died along the way[12]. Over time, the forced diaspora became more commonly known as the infamous “Trail of Tears.”  Ross’s followers blamed the members of the treaty party who, they felt, had sold out the tribal homelands to their oppressors. The arrival of Chief Ross and his followers in the Cherokee Territory in the spring of 1939 exacerbated the ill feelings between the factions and would lead to years of bloody violence.

The members of the Treaty party were not the first Cherokees to settle in the new western homelands. Twice in the twenty years prior to the Treat of New Echota, smaller groups of Cherokees from other parts of the Cherokee Nation had migrated to the territory west of the Mississippi. These earlier Cherokees became known as the “Old Settlers” and they adopted their own leadership structure that encouraged inclusiveness in their governance. The treaty party arrivals readily accepted the Old Settlers form of government upon their arrival in the territory. When Chief Ross arrived in 1939, however, he moved to replace the Old Settlers governing structure with the same system that existed in the original Cherokee Nation, a system that he and his supporters were able to dominate. The factions quickly clashed over the Chief’s plans. A meeting was called in June 1839 to try to unify the various factions, but the threats towards the treaty party faction from the Ross followers were so intense that the treaty party attendees had to flee the meeting for their own safety. Chief Ross called for another meeting to be held in July, but events before then made that proposition moot.

After the failed meeting in June, a group of Ross’s followers met in secret, supposedly without the knowledge of Chief Ross, and swore vengeance on the treaty party leaders. On June 22, Major Ridge, his son John, and Elias Boudinot were all murdered by Ross’s followers. A witness to Boudinot’s murder warned Watie about what had happened to his relatives, and he was able to escape. The killings set off a civil war in the new Cherokee territory.

Watie and a band of his followers fled to Fort Gibson (near present-day Muskogee in the southern part of the Cherokee Territory) and sought the intervention of federal authorities to assure the safety of the remaining treaty party settlers and serve justice against the killers of the Ridges and Boudinot. The military authorities at Fort Gibson spent the rest of 1839 trying to convince the two factions to meet and work out their differences to prevent further bloodshed;  neither party would agree to the other party’s conditions for those meetings. Ross and his followers held their own convention at which they took control of the Cherokee General Council and refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Old Settlers’ government. Watie and other members of his party travelled to Washington to confer with federal authorities and to try and convince them that Chief Ross was intent on destroying the members of their faction, pleading for federal protection. Later that fall, federal authorities made it known that they would not allow the Ross faction to run roughshod over members of the treaty party. Ross, anxious to keep the federal authorities out of tribal matters, led his own delegation to Washington and told the authorities that the conflict was an issue of internal governance among tribal members and thus was not subject to federal intervention. Late in the year, another meeting of the tribe was called by Chief Ross; the Old Settlers and the treaty party faction did not participate in the meeting an any meaningful way. The pro-Ross attendees re-affirmed the actions of the previous meeting adopting their preferred from of government, and federal authorities now recognized this new leadership structure as the legitimate governing body of the Cherokees.

These developments only heightened the fears of Watie and his followers. They now focused on trying to convince the federal authorities that because Ross would never treat their faction fairly and their lives would be in constant danger, the new Cherokee territory should be divided among the factions, with each faction having the right to govern themselves within their own areas. Apparently, the authorities gave this idea some degree of serious thought; Chief Ross feared the loss of control over a significant portion of the territory that would result from such an action and ultimately made some concessions that would allow for the participation of the opposing faction in the governance of the tribe and provide for the security of all members of the tribe. The factions signed an Act of Union on January 26, 1840. The agreement did not go very far in relieving the tensions between the two sides.

Over the course of the next few years, the violence and killings continued, if at a somewhat diminished level. Stand Watie became directly involved in the inter-faction violence in May 1842. While travelling in Arkansas, Stand was involved in an altercation with one James Foreman, a Ross follower who was believed to have been involved in the murder of Major Ridge. Foreman confronted Watie in a store where Watie was having a drink (evidently general stores served several purposes back then); words were exchanged and a fight broke out. The fight continued outside and Watie stabbed Foreman. When Foreman moved on Watie again after being stabbed, Watie pulled a pistol and shot him. Foreman staggered away but died a few minutes later. Watie fled to Van Buren, Arkansas to hide from a posse of Ross’s followers who were looking for him. Watie did not want to be arrested by Cherokee authorities because he feared for his own life. Besides, the killing had occurred in Arkansas, so that state had jurisdiction over the crime. He turned himself in to Arkansas authorities a week later. His trial was delayed until the spring of 1843, and Watie was released pending trial. In the interim, he married Sarah Bell on September 18, 1842. They would have five children together. Later that year, Watie’s father, David, died.

Watie’s trial began on May 15, 1843. The defense argued that Watie had lived in a state of extreme fear for his life during the three years that had elapsed since his family members were killed. His defense did a credible job of painting Foreman as the aggressor in the fight, and established the fact that Foreman was part of a posse that was actively looking for Watie. Watie was acquitted of the murder on the basis of self-defense.

Watie travelled to Washington again in late 1843 as part of a treaty party delegation to present more claims against Chief Ross. They protested Chief Ross’s autocratic control over Cherokee affairs and accused him of misappropriating the annuity monies being paid to the tribe by the federal government. Again they asked the federal authorities to consider a partition of the Cheorkee territory. The government took took no direct action on this request, although it did send investigators to the Cherokee territory to investigate the charges of misappropriation. Chief Ross once again was able to deflect any attempts to partition the territory, however. Meanwhile, the killings continued. Watie’s brother, Thomas was killed by Ross’ men on November 14, 1845, just one of several treaty party members murdered around that time.

Stand Watie was in Washington again in the spring of 1846 when the Mexican War broke out. He offered to raise a regiment of Cherokee calvary, but his offer was declined. Some headway was being made that spring, however, in the efforts to bring the waring factions together. The result was the Cherokee Treaty of 1846, signed on August 17 by President Polk.. A number of treaty party’s concerns were addressed; most importantly, the federal authorities would provide payments directly to individual Cherokees, including Watie’s supporters who were suffering under the biased governance under Chief Ross. A level of peace came to the Cherokees that had not been seen for many years. Watie was appointed to the pro-treaty commission that was to decide on the claims made by his followers. That work was finished by February 1847.

Watie returned to his home at Honey Creek after the Treaty of 1846. After serving on the claims commission, he served as an interpreter for federal authorities who had ordered a census of the Cherokees in the territory. He began to withdraw from the forefront of Cherokee politics and focused instead on his businesses and homelife. The period between 1847-1861 was one of the few extended tranquil periods of his entire adult life. He continued to serve as Clerk of the Cherokee Supreme Court and he eventually received a license to practice law in the Cherokee courts, a profession in which he prospered. He also continued to operate a general store in Millwood, and had significant farming interests. He entered into a partnership to purchase a sawmill in the mid-1850s, and by 1860 had become sole owner of that operation. By 1860 he had amassed significant wealth from these various activities.

He did not completely remove himself from tribal politics, however. He was elected to the Cherokee National Council in 1853, and was re-elected in 1855, serving as Speaker. He continued in that office until the outbreak of the Civil War, although his duties took up only a small amount of his time. While in office, the most critical issue Watie and the Cherokees had to address was the movement to bring an end to slavery. Political, economic, and cultural issues coming to the forefront at that time were leading to a growing sense of sectionalism across the United States. The country was moving inextricably towards civil war, and the issue of abolition was becoming an increasingly divisive, hot-button topic. The Cherokees, including Stand Watie, were slaveholders. The National Council issued a strongly worded resolution condemning the abolitionist movement; abolitionist sympathizers were banned from teaching in Cherokee schools, and anyone encouraging slaves in the Cherokee territory to take actions detrimental to their owners were subject to fines and expulsion from the territory.

The Cherokees were not united as a group on the practical issues surrounding abolition and the impending Civil War. Although the Cherokees shared several common values with white southerners, particularly their reliance on an agricultural economic base and slave ownership[13], Chief Ross and most of his followers preferred to take a neutral stance on the issue of abolition and the impending war. Ross was approached by representatives of the Confederate government early in 1861 in an attempt to bring the Cherokees into the Southern fold. Ross refused their advances at that time, however. Stand Watie and his followers were ardent anti-abolitionists, however, and were more receptive to approaches from the government in Richmond asking for their help. On July 12, 1861, Watie was commissioned as Colonel in the Confederate army and was authorized to raise a force to protect the Indian Territory from federal encroachment. He put together a force of approximately 300 calvary to help in this endeavor. Meanwhile, the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes reached agreements that summer to support the Confederacy. Confederate victories at First Bull Run in August and, closer to home, at Wilson’s Creek near Springfield, Missouri encouraged more Cherokees to align with the Southern cause. Some of Watie’s sympathizers had fought at Wilson’s Creek, and even though he wasn’t present at the battle, Watie received much praise from the southern press, significantly boosting his reputation among the Cherokees. Chief Ross, alarmed at Watie’s growing influence, reached an agreement with the Southern government on October 17 to provide armed support in the Cherokee territory. The Cherokees would provide ten companies of mounted calvary, while the Confederate government was given permission to construct military establishments on Cherokee lands. Slavery was protected; Cherokee troops would not be used outside of the Cherokee territory without permission; and monetary awards were to be provided to Watie’s supporters. Chief Ross raised an army of 1,200 calvary and placed them under the command of John Drew. These troops became the 1st Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles. Watie’s forces were named the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers.

During the course of the war, troops under Watie engaged in a number of smaller engagements designed to stop federal troops, and Cherokee Indians that remained loyal to the north, from encroaching into Cherokee territory. These efforts met with varying levels of success, although Watie’s troops and his leadership received generally high marks for their performance. His forces engaged a somewhat larger force of federal Indians near the Kansas border in December 1861 and routed their opponents without incurring any casualties. Watie’s forces faced several impediments these endeavors, however. One of which was the often confused and ineffective leadership of Confederate officers serving in the west; Watie’s troops often engaged the enemy with little or no support from the main Confederate armies in the region. Another problem was the growing defection of Cherokee forces under John Drew to the northern side. Many of Chief Ross’s followers were never fully committed to the Southern cause; individual members from Drew’s command started defecting to the other side almost as soon as they entered the war. These defections continued and increased over time, making it hard for Watie’s troops to secure their areas of operation. Luckily, the Confederacy and Watie’s troops benefited from the fact that the federal armies operating in the region early in the war often failed to take advantage of the Cherokee’s weakened condition and limited resources.

Watie’s troops did participate in the Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), in northwest Arkansas, in early March 1862. Watie’s troops joined Southern troops under the command of Major General Earl Van Dorn and halted the advance of northern troops under Brigadier General Samuel Curtis on March 7,  capturing several northern artillery pieces. Curtis counterattacked the next day, and the southern armies were forced to retreat, partly due to a lack of supplies. Watie took his troops back into the Cherokee Territory, where they engaged in more skirmishes with federal troops over the next several months. In early June 1862, federal troops began a campaign into Cherokee territory from Kansas and surprised Watie’s troops south of the Grand River. Watie escaped and moved his troops south to Fort Smith. Instead of advancing, the federals retreated back into Kansas, and then staged another campaign, led by Colonel William Weer, into the territory in late June. Watie’s troops attacked the advance units of the federal army at Spavinaw Creek but were forced to retreat. A contingent of southern troops, under the command of Colonel James Clarkson, were encamped at Locust Grove, north of Tahlequah. Clarkson was surprised by Weer’s troops on July 3 and forced to retreat to Tahlequah.

At this point, many of the remaining Cherokees under John Drew defected to the north. Chief Ross was given the opportunity to switch allegiances, but he declined for unknown reasons. Ross was soon detained by northern troops, and moved north with them when they retreated back into Kansas in late July. Ross then travelled to Washington, stopping over to confer with President Lincoln and his advisors, and then continued on to Philadelphia, where he lived for the rest of the war. His defection only exacerbated the split between the remaining forces under John Drew and Watie’s troops. As a result of the defections of Ross’s supporters, the Cherokee troops were reorganized under Watie and renamed the First Cherokee Regiment.

With Chief Ross gone, southern Cherokees met at Tahlequah on August 21, 1862 and elected Stand Watie as Principal Chief. With the retreat of the northern troops and their sympathetic Cherokees back into Kansas, pro-Watie Cherokees who had fled the hostilities early in the war were encouraged to move back into the Cherokee territory and reclaim their homes. This effort was short-lived, however, as federal troops moved to attack their southern counterparts near Old Fort Wayne on October 22. Watie’s calvary was covering the southern troops’ flank, and were the first to encounter the federal invaders. Discovering that they were greatly outnumbered, Watie and the southern troops retreated south and were attacked repeatedly along the way. The result was a significant northern victory; the southern troops were forced south of the Arkansas River, leaving most of the Cherokee territory to northern forces and their Cherokee allies. Watie would move his troops east to Fort Smith where they spent the rest of the year engaging in minor skirmishes and raids on supply trains in northwestern Arkansas. In late December, Watie withdrew his troops back to Webber Falls, south of the Arkansas River, some forty miles west of Fort Smith.

Watie and the Confederate forces were unable to launch any major offensive activity as 1863 unfolded. The weather that winter was harsh, and Watie’s troops suffered severe shortages of basic supplies including food, clothing and military necessities. There was some dissatisfaction among the troops, but they remained loyal to their leader. Watie’s troops were not the only ones suffering from a lack of supplies; a broader catastrophe was unfolding as pro-Southern Cherokee non-combatants fled the tribal territories and relocated to the southern part of the Indian territory and northern Texas. There was little food, housing and clothing available for the refugees; starvation and exposure to the elements became everyday concerns. Watie’s own family -with the exception of his oldest son Saladin, who was serving as an aide to his father while still a teenager – moved to the southern border and then to Burk, Texas where they lived with Sarah’s sister. This didn’t mean they lived in luxury; Sarah’s sister was very sick and there was little money available to provide basic necessities. To make matters worse, Watie’s third son, Cumisky, died that spring. The family’s hardships were a constant theme in the many letters Sarah would send Stand over the next two years.

Meanwhile in February 1863 the northern Cherokees who had repopulated most of the Cherokee territory formally renounced their affiliation with the Confederacy and abolished slavery in the territory.

Watie moved his forces back to Fort Smith in April and then to Webber Falls. On the morning of April 25, northern forces surprised Watie’s troops and forced them to withdraw south. In early June, Watie led a sortie near Tahlequah and Grand River. Federal forces soon took up the pursuit. The two sides met at Greenleaf Prairie on June 16. A series of attacks and counterattacks proved of little benefit to either side; the federals could claim at least a nominal victory as Watie left the field that evening and retreated southward back across the Arkansas River. Returning to northern part of the Cherokee territory later that summer, Watie’s forces attempted to intercept a federal wagon train being sent to resupply Union troops at Fort Gibson. In a two-day engagement at Cabin Creek July 1-2, Watie’s forces were forced to flee after federal artillery came to the support of the northern troops on the second day, resulting in a chaotic retreat by the southern Cherokees. In the biggest engagement of the war in Indian territory, federal troops under Major General James Blunt decisively defeated southern troops at Honey Springs on July 17. While some of Watie’s troops were engaged in that battle, Stand himself was not present, being away on a scouting assignment at the time.

The federals attacked Watie’s forces at Perryville in the Choctaw Nation, pushing the southern Cherokees out of that area. The federal troops then moved on to capture Scullyville before taking Fort Smith on September 1.

Watie led raids near Tahlequah again in October 1863. During those raids, Watie troops went to Park Hill, just south of Tahlequah, and burned Rose Hill, the abandoned home of their nemesis Chief John Ross. Later in the year, Watie’s troops participated in a coordinated movement on Fort Smith but that effort was abandoned after they ran into early resistance. They then tried to attack Fort Gibson in mid-December, but again were forced to retreat without inflicting any meaningful damage. A few days later, Watie was attacked by the North Indian Home Guard under the command of Captain Alexander Spilman. The southern troops were routed and forced to retreat. Watie’s last action in 1863 took place on December 20 when he attacked federal forces at Cane Hill, Arkansas. The attack was repelled.

By late 1863, Watie was becoming disillusioned at the apparent lack of commitment on the part of the Confederate government to driving federal troops and the northern Cherokees out of the Cherokee territory, believing the south could rid the territory of the federals if the southern government would make a good-faith effort along those lines. He also expressed his frustration at the failure of the Richmond government to adequately supply not only his own troops but the Cherokee civilian refugees spread out across the southern territories and Texas. In response, the Confederate government tried to help, but several practical problems exacerbated the supply problems. One problem had plagued Watie’s army throughout the war: many of the supplies earmarked for Watie’s troops never made it to his army; they were pinched by other Southern commanders for their own use before making it to the Cherokees. More immediately, with the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson in July 1863 the North took complete control of the Mississippi River, effectively splitting the South into two separate regions. Moving supplies from the eastern theater to the trans-Mississippi theater became next to impossible. Finally, the financial assistance proffered by the Confederate Congress was virtually worthless due to the astronomically high levels of inflation that had hit the southern states over the course of the war. Watie concluded that the South would never provide the military force necessary to drive their opponents out. Watie called on members of each of the Five Nations to band together and organize a sizeable army of their own to drive the federals out. Although efforts were made to recruit more troops from within the Five Nations in the upcoming year, the outcome was insufficient to meet Watie’s needs.

Although there was some talk by southern commanders about launching larger coordinated attacks in the Cherokee territory in 1864, few efforts were made to bring such attacks to fruition. Watie was, for all practical purposes, left on his own to deal with his enemies in the territory. The supply shortages that had been plaguing Watie’s troops all throughout the war were particularly troublesome in the winter of 1863-1864. He would not be able to take any actions until late spring of 1864. On May 10, 1864 the Confederate Congress ratified Watie’s promotion to Brigadier General; he thus became the only Native American in the southern army to attain the rank of general, and one of only three Confederate Generals from Bartow County.[14]  The southern Cherokee troops were reorganized and Watie was given the command of the First Indian Brigades, which now included several units organized by other tribes. The rigors of four years of war were wearing on Watie’s health, and as the year went by he was deluged by increasingly despondent letters from his wife describing the family’s hardships and begging him to leave the army and return to her and his children.

Watie’s activities in 1964 included a number of small raids into Cherokee territory, but the year was highlighted by two significant engagements that illustrated Watie’s impressive tactical skills. On June 15, Watie’s troops ambushed a federal supply boat on the Arkansas River near Webber Falls. Bound for Fort Gibson from Fort Smith, the boat was carrying a vast quantity of supplies. Watie’s artillery was able to disable the vessel, which was a feat in and of itself. They confiscated the badly needed supplies, but from that point on Watie was unable to capitalize on his victory. Watie did not have sufficient wagons on hand to carry the supplies away. A number of his troops helped themselves to whatever they could carry and then scattered into the countryside. The rest of the supplies were stacked on the bank of the river while Watie waited for the arrival of the needed transportation. Before the wagons arrived, however, high waters carried most of the supplies downriver, and Watie could only burn what supplies were left and skedaddle before federal forces arrived from Fort Smith.

Later that summer, Watie engaged in an operation with troops under Brigadier General Richard Gano in the northern reaches of the Cherokee territory. Once again he engaged federal forces near Cabin Creek in an effort to intercept another federal supply train. Launching a night attack on September 15 that carried over into the next day, the southern forces were able to scatter the northern armies and capture the wagon train and a huge store of supplies. One of his biggest victories, Watie was widely hailed among his own people and across the south. Even his enemies in the north had to admit that he was a most worthy opponent.

While 1864 was generally a good year for Watie’s forces, the overall impact of their efforts was minimal at best. At the end of the year, the federals still occupied virtually all of the Cherokee territory, and there was no hope that the situation would change. It was becoming more and more obvious that the southern cause was collapsing.

On February 14, 1865, Stand Watie was appointed Commander of the Indian Division of Indian Territory. Although the appointment represented the extremely high level of respect Watie enjoyed among southern officials, it had no meaningful impact on military activities in the territories. Watie was in no position to launch any offensives due to the continued lack of supplies. That March, he was told to prepare for a federal attack that seemed to be imminent; that attack never came, presumably as a result of events unfolding in the eastern theater. In May, members of the Five Nations met to discuss plans for normalizing relations with the United States. On May 26, General Kirby Smith, Commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department for the southern government, surrendered his command to northern authorities. Finally, on June 25, 1865 near Doaksville in the Indian Territory, almost three months after Lee surrendered at Appommatox, Stand Watie surrendered his troops. He was the last southern general in the war to do so.

Immediately upon their surrender, the southern Cherokees were told they could return to their homes. Both factions still harbored great hostilities toward each other, however. The northern Cherokees who controlled the territory offered amnesty to those who had fought against them, although Watie and other southern Cherokee leaders evidently were not included in that offer. The federal government convened a meeting at Fort Smith in mid-September where an outline of the terms of reunification was provided to delegates from each of the Five Nations. A unified governmental structure encompassing all of the tribes would be created; slavery was abolished; and the tribes would have to cede some of their lands to the federal government. Delegates from all of the tribes had their misgivings, but eventually signed the document.

In early 1866, Watie travelled to Washington as a Cherokee delegate in negotiations to work out specific details of the new treaty agreement. Many of the same old issues were discussed; the southern Cherokees were still worried about their safety in the territory; they quibbled over the nature of future annuity payments, again displaying great distrust of the pro-Ross faction, and made a last attempt to convince the federal government that the Cherokee territory should be divided between the two groups so that the Watie faction would feel safe. Watie left for home in May before the treaty was finalized later that August. He was returning home to concentrate on his family and restore his wealth, which had been completely destroyed as a result of the war.

Waite’s family moved first to Brushy Depot on the Red River in the Choctaw Nation (near present day town of Atoka). In late 1867 they would move back to the area of Webber Falls on the Arkansas River. Sometime later, Watie would return to the area of Honey Creek on the Grand River and begin building a new home on the land where he and his family first settled in 1837.

Waite became involved in a number of business ventures after the war and was able to restore some level of economic security, although there were setbacks. He started with a farming operation, and in 1868 he and his nephew, Elias C. Boudinot, established the Boudinot and Watie Tobacco Company near Webber Falls. That venture prospered in a relatively short period of time and provided some income, although after Boudinot took over the company a couple of years later it was confiscated by the government because of unpaid taxes. Watie bought a barge operation on the Arkansas River which was profitable, and apparently he was able to take possession of his old sawmill near his old homestead, although it was eventually shut down when he couldn’t find a competent manager. He also entered into a partnership in a flour mill in early 1870. He also farmed cotton, which was another decent source of income.

Watie’s family life after the war was initially quite happy, although great tragedy struck before long. Sarah Watie’s health improved significantly after the war, although Stand was beginning to show the effects of a trying life. He concentrated on providing his younger children a good education, sending them to boarding schools, which ate into his savings. Sadly, their oldest son, Saladin, who had served as an aide-de-camp for his father during the war while still a teenager, died unexpectedly in February 1868. Saladin had provided great assistance and support to his parents after the war, and his death was a severe blow. Their hopes for the future then turned to their lone surviving son, Watica, who was still in school and eager to help his parents once his education was completed. He tragically died from pneumonia in April 1869, however, leaving the Watie’s with only their two youngest daughters to care for them.

Stand Watie’s health continued to deteriorate as the decade closed. He died on September 8, 1871 at Honey Creek. He was buried in the Old Ridge Cemetery[15] in Delaware County near his original homestead in Honey Creek. His family never got to relocate to the new home he was working on at the time of his death. Both of his daughters died in 1875; daughter Ninnie may have had a child who died in infancy around the same time in 1875 as Ninnie. Thus, Stand Watie was left with no known direct descendants.[16] Sarah Watie died in 1883.

Fifty years after his death, the United Daughters of the Confederacy unveiled monuments dedicated to Stand Watie in the Cherokee capital of Tahlequah and at his gravesite, and the Oklahoma Historical Society erected a larger marker to the Cherokee leader at the entrance to Polson Cemetery in 1971. Prior to the ceremonies in 1921, James Keys, who served under Watie during the Civil War, paid homage to his former commander:  “Stand Watie was one of the most remarkable men I have ever known….He was well educated, a lawyer of ability, a man of strong will, undaunted courage, and a born leader of men.”[17]

 

[1] Many people associate the Trail of Tears with the removal of the Cherokees to the west, but the Creek, Choctaw, Chicasaw and Seminole tribes had all been removed from their homes in the southeast under similarly harsh conditions prior to the Cherokees. The removal of the Cherokees should be thought of as the denouement of the Trail of Tears.

[2] “Interesting History of General Stand Watie,” Democratic Leader, Tahlequah, OK., June 2, 1921, p1.

[3] Cass County’s northern border would eventually move farther south in order to create Gordon County. Cass County’s name was changed to Bartow County in 1861.

[4] Sources differ on the spelling of his first name. Kenny Franks’ Stand Watie and the Agony of the Cherokee Nation presents his name as “Degadoga,” while Frank Cunningham in General Stand Watie’s Cherokee Indians uses “De-gata-ga.” Other variations have been seen as well. Variations on this father’s name are common as well, most notable “Oo-wa-tee”.

[5] Much of the discussion of Watie’s early life is adapted from Frank Cunningham’s Stand Watie’s Confederate Indians and Kenny Franks’  Stand Watie and the Agony of the Cherokee Nation.

[6] Fay Yarbrough, Race and the Cherokee Nation, pp15-17.

[7] Theresa Gaul, et.al., To Marry an Indian: The Marriage of Harriet Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823-1839, pp175-176  Letter dated July 1, 1831. Spelling and punctation reflect that in the original document.

[8] This location is southeast of present-day Resaca, Georgia, in the general vicinity of the current day New Echota State Historic site.

[9] Weekly Chronicle and Farmers’ Register, Salem NC, Sept. 10, 1836 p2.

 

[10] Franks (1979) claims that Watie married three times while living in the eastern Cherokee Nation. According to him, in addition to Elizabeth (Fields), Watie was married at some point to one Elanor Looney and, at the time of his departure for the west, one Isabel Hicks, who had a son of her own at the time of the marriage. Cunningham (1959) does not acknowledge a marriage to Looney, and claims that Watie and Isabell separated shortly after their relocation west. Whether he was married two or three times while living in the east, he apparently had no surviving children with any of these women.

[11] Estimates of the number of Cherokees included in the two factions varies depending on the source. The best estimate is that approximately 2,000 Cherokees relocated to the west prior to the forced march in the fall of 1938. Somewhere between 15,000 – 20,000 Cherokees were removed to the west during the forced march.

[12] Russell Thornton places the death toll at more than 10,00 when taking into account the long-term consequences of the forced march and the difficult living conditions in the new territory immediately after the relocation.

[13] See Fay Yarbrough’s Race and the Cherokee Nation: Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century, p23.

[14] William H. Wofford and Pierce Young were the other two; Young was not born in Cass/Bartow County, however; his family moved to Cass County when he was a very young child.

[15] Later renamed the Polson Cemetery, which is located near Grove, Oklahoma. See Feen “Stand Watie Was Man of Courage and Action: Not Everyone Agrees on Final Resting Place,” Miami Daily News-Record, Miami (OK), June 3, 1956, p24.

[16] Individuals posting to a Facebook page belonging to ‘Stand Watie Descendants” claim to be directly descended from Stand Watie through a relationship he had with a slave. While this is not at all implausible, at least one of these people claims that DNA evidence has proved she is a great-great granddaughter of Watie. It is unclear how DNA testing could determine this when his acknowledged children had no surviving descendants of their own; thus there could be no DNA samples available for a comparison test. No specific evidence is offered, and no one has posted on this page in several years.

[17] “Interesting History of General Stand Watie,” Democratic Leader, Tahlequah, OK., June 2, 1921, p1

Home Sweet Home

An Architectural Analysis of Native American Houses
During the Middle Mississippian Period in the Etowah River Valley

By Jordan Farkas

ANTH 3397
Practicum in Anthropology
Department of Geography and Anthropology
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw, Georgia

May 12, 2021

Abstract

The Mississippian period lasted from AD 1000-1550. It is divided into three different subperiods: Early (AD 1000-1200), Middle (AD 1200-1375), and Late (AD 1375-1550). Mississippian life, in general, is characterized by a chiefdom form of political organization, large villages located on floodplains near major rivers, single-set post and wall trenched houses, and a subsistence base centered on corn or maize agriculture. Material culture included plain and decorated pottery and triangular-shaped projectile points.

The Middle Mississippian is distinct from the Early Mississippian and Late Mississippian subperiods due mainly to changes in pottery (temper, thickness, form, and decorative motifs) as well as house design, shape, and construction practices. This research focuses on houses during the Middle Mississippian subperiod and how they compare and contrast with those found at both large and small sites. The research focuses on how they were constructed, where they were constructed, perceived differences in summer and winter houses, and what features were found associated with them. It will examine a single house that has been recently excavated at a small village known as the Cummings site located to the west of the City of Cartersville in Bartow County, Georgia. The Cummings house is compared to those found at Etowah dated to the same time period. Etowah was a large regional center located only three kilometers (two miles) to the southeast of Cummings. Both sites have a well-documented Middle Mississippian component which will allow for a fine-grained analysis of house types situated in the Etowah River Valley.

Introduction

This research looks at changes in houses in the Etowah River Valley during the Middle Mississippian subperiod. Specifically, it examines a single prehistoric Native American house that has recently been excavated at the Cummings site (named after the current landowner). The Cummings house is located on a high terrace above Pettit Creek approximately two miles (three kilometers) northwest of the Etowah Indian Mounds in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia (Figure 1).


Figure 1. A map showing the location of the Cummings Site and the Etowah Indian
     Mounds. Map courtesy of Bryan Moss.

Cummings is the site used for an annual archaeology field school directed by Dr. Terry Powis of the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University (KSU), Kennesaw, Georgia (Figure 2). For the past four years, investigations at Cummings have included Phase I Shovel Testing and Phase II Testing. It was through Phase II test excavations that the house was located. The house was completely excavated in the winter of 2021 as part of an anthropology practicum course. Less of a focus was placed on the material remains derived from the house floor than on the house shape, design, length of occupation, and construction methods used during the Middle Mississippian subperiod. The analysis of the house, located in a small village like Cummings, is compared to structures at Etowah, the largest site in the region. The intent is to use the comparative data to expose the relationship between large preeminent regional centers like Etowah and smaller sites like Cummings during the height of the Mississippian period.

Figure 2. A photo of the Cummings site, looking west. Photo courtesy of Terry G. Powis.

Background

The Mississippian occupation of the Etowah River Valley spans from AD 1000-1550, when European contact was made between Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and the indigenous people living at Etowah. The Mississippian period is divided into three subperiods, Early (AD 1000-1200), Middle (AD 1200-1375), and Late (AD 1375-1550), with the height occurring during the middle subperiod. Mississippian life, in general, is characterized by a chiefdom form of political organization. In these systems, chiefs and their capitals hold religious and economic importance as well as political influence (King 2003). Chiefdom capitals are identifiable during this time by the presence of mounded architecture. Chiefly residences, temples, and other important civic and ceremonial structures were placed on top of these mounds. Large villages are characteristic during the Middle Mississippian, with a mixed subsistence strategy centered around maize agriculture. Other plants and terrestrial herbivores were also utilized. The Etowah River also provided abundant access to aquatic wildlife such as fish, shellfish, and waterfowl. Villages were located on floodplains along major rivers. This settlement pattern is significant as it provided nutrient-rich soil (due to periodic flooding) and therefore served as prime agricultural land to grow maize. The Etowah River Valley, in particular, is the most productive agricultural area in the Ridge and Valley Province, containing soils that are composed of weathered sandstone, shale, and limestone (Hally and Langford 1995).

The Middle Mississippian is distinct from the Early Mississippian and Late Mississippian subperiods due mainly to changes in pottery and architectural practices. Decorative characteristics of pottery in the Etowah River Valley during this subperiod include thick-walled vessels with bold, curvilinear decorative motifs. Vessel forms include bowls, jars, dishes, and bottles. Wooden paddles with carved designs on them were used to create the decorative motifs found on the vessels. This was done by stamping the carved wooden designs on the pottery before they were completely dried. Houses, made using the wattle-and-daub technique, is the most common dwelling style used during this subperiod (Figure 3). Construction methods at this time shifted away from the wall-trench construction pattern used during the Early Mississippian period to a single-set post-wall construction. Therefore, after AD 1200 single-set post buildings became the dominant architectural form (King 2013). This construction method used large wooden posts pounded into the ground or set in pre-dug holes to form the framework of the house. Then smaller wooden limbs (such as rivercane) were used as wattle. The wattle is woven back and forth horizontally in between the upright posts to construct the house walls. These walls would then have been covered/packed in clay to provide insulation. Houses during the middle subperiod would have also been constructed using interior support posts. These interior support posts would have allowed and supported a hip roof design made out of thatch (e.g., long, thick grass). This differs from the early subperiod, whose houses lacked interior support posts and, as a result, had a bent-pole roof design. The Middle Mississippian period also saw a shift in house shape from rectangular, used during the Early and Late Mississippian subperiods, to a square shape with rounded corners.

Figure 3. A reconstruction of a wattle-and-daub structure located at the Etowah Indian
Mounds. Photo courtesy of Terry G. Powis.

Methodology

The data collection for this research included a combination of both field and lab work. The fieldwork consisted of Phase III feature excavation. In order to fully expose the floor of the house, a total of 40 units were excavated. Each unit varied in size, with some measuring 1 x 1 meters, 1 x 2 meters, and 1 x 0.5 meters. All units were excavated using a square flat-bladed shovel, pointed round shovel, and a trowel. Each unit was dug in arbitrary levels of 10 cm. During the excavation of units, depth was maintained and controlled using a line level in reference to a master site datum. Soil excavated from each unit was screened through a ¼ inch mesh screen, where diagnostic artifacts such as pottery sherds, chert and quartz flakes, daub, FCR (fire-cracked rock), and projectile points/knives were collected. Artifacts recovered from each unit level were placed into a clear, plastic unit level bag, with the provenience information written on the front using a sharpie. The provenience information included the site name, quadrant number, unit number, feature number, date, and depth below unit datum.

Upon completion of each quadrant and unit, the north, south, east, and west wall profiles were recorded on graph paper to show the stratigraphy of the soil. Soil texture was recorded, along with the soil color, according to the Munsell Color system. Features were mapped along with any artifacts that were found on and around the house floor. Some of the items included pottery sherds, celts and burnt posts found in situ, fallen burnt posts, large concentrations of daub (clay applied to the walls of a house), lithic tools, and other artifacts of interest. The depth at which these mapped features and artifacts was recorded. After the entire house floor was exposed, it was also mapped. All artifacts were packaged in aluminum foil to be analyzed in the lab at a later date. Charcoal samples were collected in aluminum foil, taken from both the exterior and interior burnt posts found in situ. The charcoal samples were sent to the Center for Applied Isotope Studies (CAIS) at UGA for radiocarbon dating. Charred wood samples were also sent to archaeobotanist Leslie Raymer to determine the species of wood used in the house construction. Once the house was fully excavated, a trowel was used to scrape the floor. This was done to make sure the house floor was uniform across all quadrants and was the same depth. Photographs using a digital camera, video camera, and drone were taken. Photographs were taken of all of the in situ artifacts found on the house floor. General excavation photos were periodically taken to document the excavation process.

While the emphasis of the research was excavating the house floor, a limited ceramic analysis was performed in order to date the construction of the house. The analysis was conducted in the Anthropology Lab in the Department of Geography and Anthropology at KSU. It should be noted that a historic site dated to 1925, called the Adams Family House, is located adjacent to the Cummings site. As such, historic artifacts were occasionally found with prehistoric material in the excavation units. In the lab, the first priority was to separate the historic artifacts from the prehistoric. There were approximately 50 two-gallon Ziploc bags that needed to be sorted. The contents of each bag were placed on a tray, with diagnostic prehistoric artifacts, such as pottery sherds and projectile points/knives with an intact base, separated from the historic artifacts. Prehistoric pottery sherds were placed into one bag and any projectile points/knives into a separate bag, with both bags placed into a “parent” bag with provenience information written on the front. The same procedure was followed for the historic artifacts.

To accurately identify and type the pottery sherds and projectile points/knives, they first needed to be cleaned. Using a soft fiber toothbrush and a tub of water, all of the artifacts were cleaned and left to dry for at least a week. Once all of the artifacts were dry, decorated stamped pieces of pottery were separated from the plain ones, transferring the provenience information to the new bag. Decorated pottery sherds were typed using a flashlight and a high-powered microscope. Using Lloyd Schroder’s “A Field Guide To Southeastern Indian Pottery,” a total of 491 pottery sherds were placed into four different groups: Etowah, Savannah, Wilbanks, and Unanalyzable. Etowah was composed of three subgroups: Etowah Complicated Stamped, Etowah Brushed, and Etowah Simple Stamped. Savannah was composed of two subgroups: Savannah Check Stamped and Savannah Cord Marked. Wilbanks was only composed of Wilbanks Complicated Stamped. The Unanalyzable pottery group was composed of plain pottery, Lamar, Dunlap Fabric Impressed, Deptford Complicated Stamped, and Deptford Simple Stamped pottery sherds too small to comfortably type. Unfortunately, time ran out before an analysis of the 20 projectile points could be made.

Results

The results of the field and lab work indicate that the Cummings house dated to the Middle Mississippian subperiod. The size of the house measured 4.9 m (16 ft) east-west by 4.65 m (15.25 ft) north-south, or approximately 23 square meters (75 ft) (Figure 4).

Figure 4. An aerial image showing the dark stain of the Cummings house, including burned posts circled in black. Image courtesy of Stan Tan.

The height of the house is unknown but may have stood 2-3 meters (6.5-9.8 ft) high based on ethnohistoric accounts. The doorway or entrance into the house at Cummings is also unknown but there is a large enough gap between posts in the southwest area of the house to preliminarily state this was the original access point. Further work is needed to confirm this notion. Evidence on the excavated floor indicates that the house had burned down, which is demonstrated by the large concentrations of daub and the burned posts found in situ (Figure 5).

The shape of the house is square with rounded corners. It was constructed using a single-set post wall construction, with at least four interior support posts. The interior support posts supported a hip roof design. The house is oriented between 8°-18° east of north. An oval hearth is centrally located in the house and recessed in the floor. It measured about 50 cm in diameter, and has a depth of about 15-20 cm.

Figure 5. A photo showing a burned post inside House 1 at Cummings. Photo
                    courtesy of Terry G. Powis.

Analysis of charred post samples from our archaeobotanist indicated the building material of both the exterior and interior posts was pine, most likely sourced locally. The radiocarbon date provided by the Center for Applied Isotope Studies (CAIS) at UGA gave a very narrow date range of AD 1260-1300 for the construction date of the house. This indicates that the house was built at the height of Etowah during the Middle Mississippian subperiod.

As was mentioned earlier, a total of 491 pottery sherds were examined. Eighty-six of these were successfully typed: seven were typed as Etowah Plain; five were typed as Etowah Complicated Stamped; one was typed as Etowah Brushed; and one was typed as Etowah Simple stamped. Thirty-nine pottery sherds were typed as Savannah. Thirty-eight sherds were typed as Savannah Check Stamped, and one was typed as Savannah Cord Marked. Forty sherds were typed as Wilbanks Complicated Stamped (Figure 6). The remaining 405 pottery sherds were typed as Unknown.

Figure 6. (A) shows an example of a Savannah check stamped piece of pottery; (B) shows an example of a Etowah brushed stamped piece of pottery; (C) shows an example of a Wilbanks complicated stamped piece. Photos courtesy of Terry G. Powis.

Other interesting artifacts excavated from the floor include two partial effigy pots, both of which seem to depict a bird/dog/deer on them. The base of a spittoon-style tobacco smoking pipe was excavated from around the hearth. A small broken ground stone spatula, possibly used for mixing food(s), and two greenstone celts were excavated from the northeast corner of the house (Figure 7).

Discussion

Figure 7. (A) shows an undecorated tobacco smoking pipe; (B) shows a broken
                          cooking spatula; (C.) shows one of the effigy pottery vessels possibly depicting a
                          bird’s face on it. Photos courtesy of Terry G. Powis.

 Archaeological evidence such as the burned floor and posts, along with large concentrations of daub, indicates that the Cummings house had burned down. It is not clearly understood how this event unfolded, but there are possible cultural and natural phenomena that could explain it. The most likely natural cause is that the house was struck by lightning, causing the house to burn down. Culturally speaking, there are several possible explanations for the house’s destruction. One idea revolves around the notion that one of the occupants living in the house died and, as a result, the house might have been burned intentionally as part of a burial ceremony. Alternatively, a cooking accident at the hearth may have caused the house to burn down.

Another explanation is that the house might have been burned as a result of conflict or warfare. With villages in the valley reaching peak density during the Middle Mississippian subperiod conflict may have been inevitable given increased competition for land and resources. This may be tied to the political leaders at Etowah who may have had the occupants of this house, among others at Cummings, to vacate the area and move further away. This removal may have been an attempt by the leaders at Etowah to control the ever-growing population in the Etowah River Valley (Adam King, personal communication, 2021). If this was indeed the case, then perhaps the occupants living in the house at Cummings would have burned the house upon their departure from the area. The presence of artifacts on the burned floor of the house suggests that the occupants did not have much time to retrieve them once the fire consumed the house. It should be pointed out that the artifacts might have been purposefully left in situ as they were no longer needed wherever a new house was to be constructed. 

The length of occupation for those living in the house at Cummings is currently unknown. Due to this research being preliminary and limited to only one excavated house, it is unclear whether this was a long-term or short-term occupation. During the Middle Mississippian subperiod, permanent occupation is associated with “paired winter and summer houses” (Lewis 2013). Both houses would have been situated very close to one another so that a single family could move easily between them when the seasons changed. Given that it took 4-5 months to excavate the floor, the seasonality of the house was the only thing not determined relating to the length of occupation. The presence of a hearth is used as one of the indicators of a winter house, and the absence of a hearth is used as one of the indicators of a summer house. A winter house is typically defined as having a central hearth used as the heating source during the cold months but also served as the cooking area. The number of walls is also another indicator of seasonality during this period, with winter houses being fully enclosed (with four walls) and being utilized during the colder months. The type of houses utilized during the warmer months would have been an “open-walled shelter suggesting (with only three walls) that it is a summer house or outdoor activity area” (Lewis 2013). Due to the presence of a central hearth, it is believed that the Cummings house was occupied during the winter months.

Due to the distribution and location of artifacts recovered from the floor, there does not appear to be any discernible activity areas or partitioning of space within the house. Of interest, most of the artifacts were found around the interior perimeter of the house, with very few found in close proximity to the hearth. However, a few artifacts have been recovered that give a general idea of some of the activities the occupants may have been engaged in. The stone celts, effigy vessels, and the broken tobacco smoking pipe suggest rituals may have occurred inside the house. The spatula and pottery vessels found on the floor may point to food preparation and storage. Cooking food inside a house at this time may have been fraught with problems – the main one being that embers could cause a fire inside the structure. Two styluses, or drawing implements, made from ground slate or andesite, along with pieces of galena and carved mica may indicate that the occupants were engaged in art-related activities. In areas where there were no artifacts may reflect where sleeping occurred. We have found no posts located near the house interior walls to indicate that benches were used for sleeping.

In terms of dating the house, there are two lines of evidence that securely date it to the middle subperiod. A single radiocarbon date of AD 1260-1300 provided by the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at UGA, as well as the typing of 86 sherds combine to provide an accurate temporal assessment of when the house was occupied. For the dating of the ceramics, a reliance on changes over time in decorative motifs, was utilized. However, it should be pointed out that while analyzing sherds identified as Etowah, Savannah, and Wilbanks Complicated Stamped types it became evident that there are no real recognized decorative differences between the three types. Today, archaeologists who work with the Middle Mississippian subperiod do not recognize differences between Etowah, Savannah, and Wilbanks ceramic types. This is because when they were initially identified in the 1950s there were personal relationship issues between the principal investigators conducting research in north Georgia, which resulted in the same decorative stamp being labelled as three different types. Therefore, everything that has a curvilinear stamped design is now typed as Wilbanks Complicated Stamped.

Archaeobotanist Leslie Raymer indicated that the building material used for the exterior and interior posts was pine wood. However, the horizontal building material used for the woven material (wattle) in between the exterior posts is still unknown. None of this building material was excavated, and it is likely that none of it survived when the house was burned down. It is believed that this material most likely would have been river cane. This would have been very easily sourced from along the banks of Pettit Creek and/or the Etowah River. The clay walls of the house would have been smoothed with a maximum thickness of about 15 cm. The material used for the roof is also unknown at this time but most likely would have been constructed using thatch. This type of roofing material would have needed constant upkeep as any holes or leaks in the roof appeared. It may have also needed to be periodically replaced as it was also common for these roofs to become infested with bugs and other insects.

Conclusions

In sum, the Cummings house is a square, single-set post construction with rounded corners that measures 4.9 m east-west by 4.65 m north-south, covering 23 square meters (75 sq ft). Our investigations indicate that, based on the house excavated at Etowah, the house at Cummings appears to be domestic in nature. Importantly, the size and shape of the Cummings house mirrors that at Etowah, which King (2001) labelled as a “square, single-set post building with rounded corners that measured 15 feet on a side”. The inhabitants living in the house that Adam King refers to is perceived as high status due to “their location adjacent to Mound B” and that the “inhabitants may have been of elevated status” (King 2001). Were the inhabitants of the house at Cummings of similar high status to those at Etowah or is the size and shape of the house at Cummings standard at all village sites within a certain distance from Etowah? Exactly what this means in terms of the relationship between the two sites is not known. Etowah is the largest site in the area and Cummings is in close proximity and therefore believed to have been under its social, political, economic, and religious authority/influence. Given that both sites share a similar house architecture/construction may signify some kind of close relationship; however, more research in other areas (e.g., village layout, diet and subsistence practices, material culture) related to these houses is needed to determine the exact nature of this relationship. Our fieldwork has demonstrated that the Cummings house was occupied during the winter months but we do not yet know if the village was occupied year-round like Etowah. Therefore, the length of occupation of the Cummings house (and village site) is still considered preliminary.

Future directions for this study could include further excavations around the site. The use of dowsing at Cummings by Carl Etheridge (of Bartow County) has indicated the presence of another dozen or so houses located at this village site. The excavations of these potential houses could help answer questions about whether there is a summer house that is paired with the excavated winter house. Beyond intra-site information about the village layout is the level of interaction with Etowah and other nearby sites. Another area of interest is a complete and thorough analysis of all of the artifacts found in situ on the floor of the house at Cummings. This analysis will help us to understand what kind of activities were taking place inside the house. As of yet, we do know the answer to that.

Acknowledgements

This research would not have been possible without the help and support from a number of people, including Dr. Terry Powis, Carl Etheridge, Kong Cheong, Devlin McElrone, Bryan Moss, Stan Tan, and Leslie Raymer. The Center for Applied Isotope Analysis at UGA is thanked for providing the radiocarbon date of the house post. Lastly, and most importantly, the landowners of Walnut Grove deserve a special acknowledgement for allowing Kennesaw State University to conduct archaeological research on their property.

Bibliography

 Administrator. (n.d.). CGSS late PALEOINDIAN PERIOD. Retrieved May 13, 2021, from

https://peachstatearchaeologicalsociety.org/index.php/8-pottery/338-georgia-pottery-type

Benjamin A. Steere. 2017. The Archaeology of Houses and Households in the Native Southeast.

Archaeology of the American South: New Directions and Perspectives. [N.p.]: University

Alabama Press. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=e000xna&AN=1485477&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Hally, David J. and James Langford (1995). Mississippi Period Archaeology of the Georgia

Valley and Ridge Province. Report Number 25, University of Georgia Laboratory of

Archaeology, Athens.

Kelly, Patricia. (1988). The Architecture of the King Site. Report Number 92, University of

Georgia Laboratory of Archaeology, Athens.

King, A. (2001). Excavations at Mound B, Etowah, 1954-1958. Report Number 37, University of

Georgia Laboratory of Archaeology, Athens.

King Adam. 2001. “Long-Term Histories of Mississippian Centers: The Developmental

Sequence of Etowah and Its Comparison to Moundville and Cahokia.” Southeastern

Archaeology 20 (1): 1–17. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=edsjsr&AN=edsjsr.40713197&site=eds-live&scope=site.

King, A., Walker, C. P., & Kent Reilly, F. (2021). The Etowah Archaeo-Geophysical Survey:

Creating Place and Identity through the Built Environment. Journal of Archaeological

Science: Reports, 36, 102885. doi:10.1016/j.jasrep.2021.102885

King, Adam. 2003. Etowah : The Political History of a Chiefdom Capital. University of

Alabama Press.

https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=cat06545a

&AN=ken.995174613902954&site=eds-live&scope=site.

King, A. (2013). Recent Investigations at Etowah Field School 2013. Legacy, 17(3), 20-23.

Lewis, C.T., Thompson, L. C., & Quirk, P. W. (2012, April). Data Recovery at 9CK1, the Long

Swamp Site, Cherokee County, Georgia. Retrieved May 12, 2021.

Mark Williams, and Gary Shapiro. 1990. Lamar Archaeology: Mississippian Chiefdoms in the

Deep South. Tuscaloosa, Ala: University Alabama Press.

https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip,shib&db=e000xna&

AN=45738&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Pluckhahn, T.J. (2010). Household Archaeology in the Southeastern United States: HISTORY,

trends, and challenges. Journal of Archaeological Research, 18(4), 331-385.

doi:10.1007/s10814-010-9040-z

Schroder, L.E. (2015). A Field Guide to Southeastern Indian Pottery (revised & expanded).

United States of America: Lulu Press.

Historic Newspapers of Bartow County

By Joe F. Head

Historic Newspapers of Bartow County

An Annotated List of Historic Newspapers Published in Bartow County

Recently Tom Hanks starred in a 2021 movie entitled, News of the World. It was the story of a well-educated, former Civil War soldier who earned his living as an itinerant reader of the news at public gatherings. For the admission price of 10 cents, he read sensational excerpts from various state, regional and national tabloids to news hungry audiences.

News of Bartow County

While the practice of reading news to Bartow citizens by an itinerant reporter likely did not occur in our communities, a plethora of newspapers were available and there was a market demand for them as well. The golden age of tabloids thrived in Bartow County, and as a result our history has been well preserved. One only need to do a little research using modern research tools such as Newspapers.com to find rich returns for his/her efforts.

Few people realize that Bartow County has been home to over three dozen newspapers that have printed our history for almost 200 years. Even today these tabloid pages live in the form of brittle hardcopies, microfilm and digital files that serve as a window to our past. Here we can find creditable first and secondhand documentation in the pages of dozens of papers that validate our history. These pages are the historic archives of our past.

We have come a long way from the days of Horace Greeley, paper boys and itinerant readers to a communications explosion of an on demand, 24/7, digital news culture. Today the public gets its news instantaneously via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, text, internet, cable and satellite platforms. Now newspapers take a back seat to mobile options. However, the news of Bartow’s yesteryears still speak from vintage paper and ink that ruled those days.

Sam P. Jones was the son of Rev Sam P. Jones

It is no secret that newspapers are suffering from these technological advancements as the public prefers instant and interactive social media options. Even our local community newspaper curbed its editions from 6 issues per week to three in September 2020, reduced page size and opted to deliver the paper by the U.S. Postal Service. Gone are the days when one could enjoy their cup of morning coffee while reading hot off the press news.

The following research mustered an impressive list of forgotten or faded newspapers that once operated in Bartow County. Some of these papers only survived for a year or two while others merged with competitors, spun off sister papers or went out of business only to surface again under the same or similar name. Research often uncovered early newspapers aligned and deliberately sided with a political party or candidate to gain readership.

A quick survey of other surrounding counties reveal that Bartow County has a vastly greater history and number of newspapers than any other surrounding county with the exception of Clark County with 47. According to the Digital Library of Georgia archive most counties averaged less than ten historic newspapers with Bartow exceeding three dozen. Tabloids thrived in Bartow suggesting that Bartow may have been a hotspot for political, religious, industrial, and commercial activity.

Newspaper                                                                                                   Established

1. Cassville Gazette                                                                                  1835

Established in the 1830’s as a weekly publication, advocated for the preservation of the Union and published in Cassville, Georgia. Publisher/owner possibly John B. Hood

Source:

2. The Georgia Pioneer and retrenchment banner                           1835

Established in 1835 by S. M. Hood & Co. (Title shortened in 1840’s to Georgia Pioneer) Publisher/owner S. M. Hood,

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/


3. The Cassville Pioneer                                                                          1849

Established 1849 by John B. Hood, but removed to Rome, GA.

Source: The Historical News, July 2021, pages 20-21


4. The Cassville Standard                                                                       1849

Established in the 1840’s as a weekly publication. It was burned during the Civil War.

Publisher/owner Thomas Burke,

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/


5. The Standard                                                                                          1849

Established in 1849 as a weekly and operated until 1864 as a democratic newspaper. It printed primarily democratic news and was not in favor of secession from the Union. Multiple proprietors: John Burke, Leeke & Benjamín Bennet, William Wofford, Sam Smith, and John Rice. (John Rice founded the Cherokee Baptist College in Cassville)

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

6. Cassville Pioneer                                                                                  1849

Established 1849, Published by Hood

Source: Historical News, July 2021

7. Etowah Valley Star                                                                                1853

Established in 1854 as a politically neutral newspaper and published weekly. Publisher/owner Henry D. Wray, Source: Augusta Chronicle, March 10, 1854


8. The Cartersville Express                                                                     1858

Established in the 1850’s as a democratic publication and favored secession. Publisher/owner W. T. Goldsmith (Not to be confused with the 1875 Express)

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/


9. The Cartersville Weekly Express                                                      1865

Established 1870 as a weekly (aka The Cartersville Weekly Express) Publisher/owner

Samuel Smith

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

10. The Cartersville Standard                                                                 1870

Established in 1870 under the proprietorship of Wikle and Word.

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

11. The Cartersville Semi Weekly                                                          1871

Established in 1871 as a Democratic publication. Publisher/owner S. H. Smith

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north

12. The Standard and Express                                                               1871

Established in 1871 when the Cartersville Express and Cartersville Standard consolidated. Publisher/owner Samuel H. Smith

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

13. The Semi Weekly Standard and Express                                     1871

Established 1871, printed semi weekly, The Cartersville Standard eventually consolidated with the Standard and Express. Publisher/owner Smith & Wikle

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

14. The Weekly Standard & Express                                                    1871

Established 1871, printed weekly, Publisher/owner Smith & Wikle.

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

15. The (Cartersville) Sentinel                                                                1874

Established 1874 as a weekly Democratic paper often supporting Dr. William Felton. The paper fell into conflict with another local paper and it struggled to survive.

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

16. The Cartersville Express                                                                  1875

Established 1875 as a weekly. The Cartersville Express and Cartersville Standard would consolidate as the Standard and Express (See Cunyus) Publisher/owner C. H. C Willingham (Not to be confused with the 1858 Express)

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

17. The Planters Advocate                                                                      1875

Established in 1875 by W. A. and A. Marschalk

Source: Hawkinsville Dispatch November 4, 1875, Fighting a Cotton Ring https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

                                   
18. The Free Express                                                                                1878

Established 1878 as a weekly and became a fierce supporter of Dr. William Felton and opposed conservative bourbon Democrats. Other papers rallied against the Free Express and its political position. Publisher/owner C. H. C. Willingham (& sons)

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

19. The Cartersville- American                                                               1882

Established 1882 as a weekly but consolidated with the Courant American in 1887. Publisher/owner Douglas Wikle

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/


20. The Cartersville Courant                                                                   1885

Established 1885 as a weekly, no other information

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

21. The Courant American                                                                      1887

Established 1889 as a weekly and eventually merged with the Cartersville News. Publisher/owner Freeman and Willingham

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

22. The Adairsville Ledger                                                                      1890

Established 1890 as a weekly and supported the Democratic Reform candidate Dr. William Felton. It ceased operations in 1891 as a result of stronger newspapers in Cartersville.

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

23. North Georgia News

Established 1890, Represented by Charles Johnson, fiercely against Dr. William Felton, lasted four weeks

Source: Courant-American November 20, 1890, Turned its Toes to the Daisies

24. The Voice of the People                                                                    1892

Established in 1892 as a weekly and supported the Peoples Party. It ceased publication after one month of operation. Publisher/owner Robert Goodman.

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

25. The Signal                                                                                             1894

Established 1894, as a weekly and published by I. W. and J. M. Neaton

Source: Savannah Morning News, September 29, 1894, Signal

26. The Cartersville News (and Courant)                                            1896

Established Courant in 1887 and merged with Cartersville Courant, then becoming the Cartersville News in 1896, Publisher/owner Wikle and Smith

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

27. The Emerson News                                                                            1897

Established in the 1890’s as a weekly edition. The publication was intended to promote and attract people to the Emerson community. Publisher/owner Emerson Publishing Co,

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

28. The Adairsville Banner                                                                      1898

Established 1898 as a Saturday weekly. It struggled because of the stronger papers in Cartersville. Publisher/owner Thomas Johnson

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

29. The News and Courant                                                                      1901

Established 1901 as a weekly. In 1904 it became the Cartersville News and then merged with the Bartow Tribune in 1917. Publisher/owner D. B. Freeman & H. A. Chapman

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

30. The News                                                                                               1901

Established in 1901 as a weekly and became the Cartersville News and then merging with the Cartersville Courant. Publisher/owner NA

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

31. The Georgian                                                                                       1907

Established 1907. Published in Atlanta for distribution in Bartow County. Owner Sam P. Jones (son of Rev. Sam Jones)

Source: Atlanta Georgian and News, Apr. 06, 1907 — page 7, Paper carriers

32. The Kingston Times                                                                           1908

Established 1908 by a group of local citizens. It never declared a political party and discontinued operations in 1912. Publisher/owner W. H. Griffin

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

33. The Bartow Tribune                                                                            1910

Established 1910 as a weekly and sold in 1917. It was supported by the Democratic party and merged later with the Cartersville Courant. Publisher/owner Perry & Callahan

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

34. The Cartersville News (aka Tribune)                                               1917

Established 1904 as a weekly and operated until 1917 when it merged with the Bartow Tribune. Publisher/owner Jim A. Hall

Source: https://gahistoricnewspapers.galileo.usg.edu/regions/north/

35. The Tribune News                                                                               1918

Established 1918, in 1920 M. L. Fleetwood became sole owner of the Tribune News becoming the Daily Tribune News in 1946.

Source: Google, Library of Congress

36. The Bartow Herald                                                                              1929

Established 1929 under W. R. Frier (also established WBHF radio in the 1940’s )

Source: Google, Library of Congress, The Historical News, July 2021, pages 20, 21

37. The Daily Tribune News                                                                    1946

Established 1946, Fleetwood, Currently operating. Publisher/owner Cartersville Newspapers

Source: Google, Library of Congress

38. The Herald Tribune                                                                             1969

Established 1969, Currently operating. Publisher/owner Tribune Publications

Source: Google, Library of Congress

Conclusion

It became apparent that the lineage, ownership, mergers, name changes and consolidations were confusing and entangled as proprietors angled to survive in a highly competitive field. A number of entrepreneurs appeared multiple times in a variety of newspapers and by sheer frequency surfaced as local giants in the tabloid industry.

A scattering of other tabloids existed in the history of Bartow County papers such as the Methodist Way of Life first published in 1832. It was not uncommon for existing newspapers to criticize new upstart papers and declare the field too crowded. One such article appeared in the December 4, 1890 North Georgia Citizen located in Dalton, Georgia. It condemned Cartersville’s North Georgia News as being “one horse journalism.” Not all such papers are reported in this research. Currently there are specialty papers in operation such as the Cartersville Patch, North Bartow News, Bartow Trader and Bartow Neighbor.

To learn more history about newspaper owners, publishers and mergers listed in this article visit the Georgia Digital Library web site printed below.

Acknowledgements

A tip of the hat to Mr. Sam Graham for his keen research skills to ferret out miniscule details and uncover remote information that escapes most individuals.

Bibliography

History of Bartow County, Cunyus, Lucy, 1933, pp 155 – 159

Digital Library of Georgia, Historic Newspapers

Georgia Historic Newspapers

Library of Congress

Roadside Thoughts, Newspapers Published in Bartow County

The Way of Life, 1882, W. A. Dodge publisher, Cartersville,  Methodist Episcopal Conference

The Historical News, July 2021, Newspapers of Bartow County

The Atlanta Georgian & News, April 6, 1907, Cartersville Carriers are Young Hustlers

The Georgia Constitutionalist, Cassville Gazette, May 13, 1834

Augusta Chronical, March 10, 1854, Etowah Valley Star

The Standard and Express, April 1, 1874, Sentinel  

Savannah Morning News, September 29 1894, Signal

The Free Press, August 22, 1878, The Free Press

The Hawkinsville Dispatch, November 4, 1875, Fighting a Cotton Ring

North Georgia Citizen, December 4, 1890, Too Many Newspapers

The News and Courant, July 25, 1901, Some Things Said About the Press

The Daily Tribune News, August 23, 2020, DTN to Reduce Print Frequency

Break It till You Make It

Learning Flintknapping

Darrell Ross

Practicum in Anthropology, Dr. Terry Powis

Introduction

“If I would study any old, lost art, I must make myself an artisan of it.”

F. H. Cushing (1895)

I have very fond memories of looking for arrowheads and fossils as a boy. My friends and I would walk dry North Texas creek beds and look for these treasures. Fossil ammonites were almost as common as the river stones themselves, and petrified wood nearly so. The real treasure was finding an arrowhead. These were our prized possessions, and I still have an old cardboard box somewhere with a few of these in it. As I reflect on it some 40 years later, I’m fairly certain that the excitement and wonder that I felt as a boy contributed to my desire to study archaeology.

Figure 1. Lanceolate Point Courtesy of Carl Etheridge

While pursuing my degree, I quickly focused on lithics. I find these artifacts particularly compelling because these are the things that last the longest. For example, the Oldowan tool industry is dated via potassium-argon methods back to 1.9 million years BP (Bordes 1968, 39-48). Lithics are often the only tangible remnants of a culture that survive to the present. They and the artifacts of their production in the form of debitage are certainly the most numerous artifacts of the past. For me, there is also something incredible about holding these artifacts in my hands. I constantly appreciate that I am literally touching something that another human made – in some cases – thousands of years ago. It is a tangible and personal connection to the past.

I had seen demonstrations of flintknapping done several times and admired the resulting tools (Figure 1). In a natural progression, I wanted to learn to work chert myself. It is my opinion that having a practical knowledge of how these tools are produced and the effort it takes to produce them informs our understanding of the original culture. If we understand how the tools may have been made, then we can begin to understand the resources required and the manufacturing process. Of course, we have very little in the way of a written record on how these lithic artifacts were produced. We, as experimental archaeologists, are reproducing the tools based on the evidence we find in the debitage and the finished artifact. Of course, we cannot be certain that the methods we use today are identical to those used by the original craftsperson, but we can gain insight into their culture by examining and approximating the manufacturing process.

I began trying to learn to work chert in 2019 after I attended a Kennesaw State University archaeological field school located at the Cummings site near Cartersville in Bartow County. I was encouraged by my professor, Dr. Terry Powis, to pursue the skill and explore its value as it pertains to archaeology. As a good 21st century scientist, I began my research with a simple Google search – “flintknapping videos”. I don’t recall how many results I returned on my first searches, but as of this writing you will receive approximately 73,200 results. I watched multiple of these and combined what I learned there with the knowledge I had gained during formal classroom instruction. I also read several articles and books, particularly by the deans of modern flintknapping, Francois Bordes and Don Crabtree. I also studied the case of Ishi, in particular his tools and their construction. When I felt I had a good understanding of the basics, I began to try to work pieces myself.

I quickly learned several hard lessons. First, do not wear shorts and flip-flops while trying to work a piece. Razor sharp pieces of debitage do not feel good in between your toes or in your knee. Second, no matter how hard I tried and how many videos I watched, I could not duplicate the nice flakes that I saw other people making. I would either produce short stubby flakes that ended in what knappers refer to as a hinge fracture, or I would shatter the piece completely. I spent a great deal of time over a period of months attempting simply to make a nice preform with no success.

I had reached a point where I felt I had exhausted the books and online resources, and I was not making any progress. During my archaeology field school, I was fortunate enough to meet a master knapper, Carl Etheridge, who was willing to donate his time to teach me flintknapping. Specifically, Carl would watch what I had learned online and tell me where I was making mistakes. With support from Dr. Powis, we agreed to meet weekly in Bartow County, once again at the Cummings site. We would have multiple training sessions at the Cummings site near Cartersville. During our first session together, Carl was able to point out several key mistakes that I was making. It was quickly made apparent to me that there are “tricks of the trade” that aren’t adequately relayed in online resources or books. I made more progress in that single session than I had in almost a year of my own study. Appendix A contains a pictorial sequence of the lithics I produced over the course of the research and demonstrates the rapid progression I made under direct instruction.

In this paper, I will discuss my applied research learning the lithic reduction sequence and manufacturing process. A brief overview of key figures in lithic experimental archaeology is provided for context. A comparison of the various learning methodologies follows, and the paper concludes with a critical analysis of my own progress as a novice knapper.

Research Methods

This research attempted to evaluate the efficacy of various learning modalities as they apply to teaching a novice the lithic manufacturing process. Sources evaluated included books, academic journal articles, web sites, and online multimedia resources such as YouTube videos. I had previously received formal training in archaeology including a field school and laboratory courses. I reflected on my prior training to filter sources to those relevant to the research.

 H. Bernard Russell tells us “People will know it if you don’t” (2006, 96). With the research goal of actually learning the lithic reduction sequence and replicating it in mind, I began my research by searching specifically for books that dealt with the subject from a practical application approach. In this research, I was not particularly interested in typologies or classification methods, but rather the manufacturing process required to produce lithic tools and the resources required for that process. I also needed resources that approached the subject at a beginner level. I quickly settled on John C. Whittaker’s Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools (1994) as a primary literary resource.

Whittaker is very readable for a beginner and explains important basic concepts including conchoidal fracture and Hertzian cone theory early on in the book (1994, 12-13). The book contains a brief history of flintknapping, as well as chapters dedicated to each of the major knapping techniques including both hard and soft percussion techniques as well as pressure flaking. Whittaker also provides important information on procuring raw materials and the necessary tools. Most importantly, the book emphasizes safety with a short, but detailed chapter on the obvious dangers of flintknapping like getting cut and the not-so-obvious such as silicosis (Whittaker 1994, 79-83).

I traced additional sources from Whittaker including Francois Bordes’ The Old Stone Age (1968) and Don E. Crabtree’s Introduction to Flintworking (1972). Both are considered classics in the field of flintknapping. The Old Stone Age is an exhaustive typology that covers the period from the Lower Paleolithic to the Upper Paleolithic and includes geographic maps of finds as well as excellent illustrations of lithic artifacts. Crabtree’s monograph is a much more practical explanation of the process of flintknapping and is mainly concerned with practical mechanics of working stone.

At this stage, I systematically moved on to scholarly journals and articles. I consulted articles on the history of flintknapping experimentation (Johnson et al. 1978), the life and times of Ishi (Torres 1984), and heat treatment of chert (Mandeville 1973, Mercies and Hiscock 2008). I familiarized myself with the geology of chert from an archaeologist’s perspective (Luedtke 1992), and with Georgia’s chert geology from a geologist’s point of view (Goad 1979).

I also viewed over 40 hours of YouTube videos of varying quality and usefulness. My goal here was to be able to observe the movements of knappers and variations in their technique. I quickly found that the quality of the material is directly related to the search terms used. If, for example, the search term “make an arrowhead” is used, a large number of results will be returned, but the majority are useless in an archaeological context. Experience quickly showed that searching for the terms “primitive technology” and “flintknapping” yielded the best results for my research. However, it was still necessary to be discriminating while watching the video.

My First Tool Set

Having a firm intellectual background and grasp of the basic skills and techniques required, I began my research in earnest by entering stage one of the manufacturing process – acquisition of raw materials (Collins 1974). I began by collecting glass bottles to use as raw material as recommended by Whittaker (1996, 67). In addition, I made my own flintknapping tools (Figure 2). I constructed a percussion tool, or billet, from a wooden dowel and a copper pipe end. I cut the dowel down and sanded it to make a serviceable handle. I melted lead fishing weights, outdoors of course, and poured the molten lead into the pipe end. I then attached that heavy weighted portion to the handle with epoxy. In an ill-advised attempt to replicate Ishi’s tools, I inverted the handle of the tool and attached a pressure flaker made from a copper nail to the end opposite the weighted billet (Torres 1984). Later experimentation showed that this was not an efficient tool configuration for the techniques that I eventually adopted. Finally, I constructed a leg pad from an old pair of denim jeans and a hand pad for pressure flaking from the same denim material. A couple of oven pads sewn in as a lining provided sufficient padding and protection for my flintknapping experiments.

With unbridled enthusiasm, I moved on to stage two of the lithic reduction sequence – core preparation and initial reduction (Collins 1974). I began experimenting with knapping in my back yard using the bottoms of glass bottles as raw material. In short order, I got very good at knocking the bottoms of those bottles out in whole or nearly whole pieces and cleaning up the rough edges with the billet. At that point, my accumulated knowledge failed me. I had an academic understanding of what was required, but I could not produce an adequate preform.

Figure 3 Practice, Practice, Practice

In May of 2021, I began to attend in-person instruction with Carl Etheridge in Bartow County at the Cummings site. Under Mr. Etheridge’s direction, I was quickly able to understand where I was making mistakes in my technique. I gained a deeper comprehension of selecting the proper material, having the correct tool configuration, and using different techniques to accomplish specific tasks such as removing a hinge fracture. I also learned the importance of “practice, practice, practice…” (Carl Etheridge, personal communication, June 12, 2021) (Figure 3). There is no substitute for simply picking up tools, grabbing raw material, and practicing. With Mr. Etheridge’s vast knowledge and patient assistance, I was eventually able to progress through primary trimming of the preform, considered stage three in the manufacturing process, and finally stage four or secondary trimming. In my case, a complex technique was used in stages three and four that involved both percussion and pressure flaking.

The final experiment was to reproduce one or more points previously excavated in Bartow County from the Cummings site. I was provided twenty points as a catalogue to choose from. The experiment required that I use the techniques and knowledge I had acquired to reproduce the point as closely as possible in terms of length, width, and thickness, as well as type. The raw material used would be as close to the original material as was readily available to me. I was not required to spall my own cobbles and was allowed to use previously created spalls as a starting point. The reproduction point I produced was then compared against the original for accuracy.

A Brief History of Flintknapping in Archaeology

Flintknapping has a long history in the field of archaeology. The study of worked lithic artifacts and their manufacture has been ongoing for over 150 years. The first published scientific work on the topic of flintknapping and its importance in the study of human history dates back to 1868. L. Lewis Johnson et al. (1978, 337) quote the following passage from Sven Nilsson’s The Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia:

“When, more than forty years ago, I first began to collect, I found here and there stones which had evidently been fashioned by the hand of man for some special purpose, and which showed distinct traces of strokes or knocks against some other equally hard, but more brittle stone. Having from my earliest youth made a practice of chipping flint-stones, and giving them any shape which I desired, I was able to recognize in these stone hammers the instruments by means of which the flint weapons had in ancient times been made.”

Although Nilsson did not attempt to duplicate the artifacts he found, the publication of his work is credited with beginning the scientific analysis of lithic tool manufacture via flintknapping (Johnson et al. 1978).

The recognition of the importance of flintknapping as it pertains to ancient cultures continued through the 20th and continues today. Interest in the study of flintknapping ebbs and wanes, but it never becomes obsolete. Below, I summarize the main figures in the history of the field with a focus on those that I attempted to emulate during the course of my research.

Ishi

Figure 4. Ishi

Ishi was the last surviving member of the Yahi, a small tribe of indigenous people located in the Sacramento Valley (Figure 4). The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill and the settlement of the nearby valleys for agriculture resulted in a wave of slaughter that eventually eliminated the native cultures in the area. The Yahi managed to hold out longer than most of the local tribes. However, by 1908 we know that only four members of the Yahi tribe survived – an unknown man and woman, an old woman that was likely Ishi’s mother, and Ishi himself. A group of surveyors stumbled upon their encampment on November 10, 1908. The man and woman died while trying to escape across a creek, and the old woman died a few weeks later. Ishi lived alone in the wilderness until he was caught at a slaughterhouse near Oroville, California in August of 1911 (Torres 1984). Originally jailed, Ishi eventually came under the care of Dr. T.T. Waterman at the University of California Museum of Anthropology. Ishi demonstrated a number of Yahi traditional skills while at the museum, including his remarkable flintknapping ability. Ishi remained at the Museum demonstrating his skills until his death from tuberculosis in 1916 (Whittaker 1994).

Ishi was an expert pressure flaker and had mastered the expanded notch technique. Points made in his style are generally referred to today as Ishi points. During the period he lived alone, Ishi supplemented his native supplies by collecting other materials from the outskirts of settler’s camps. He used glass bottles for a blank just as readily as stone. Ishi likely used antler as his primary tool material early on during his evasion and survival, but when iron nails and rods became available, he quickly switched to iron tools because they required less sharpening. Today, a long pressure tool with a nail embedded in the distal end is called an Ishi stick amongst flintknappers. A surviving set of Ishi’s tools is curated at The Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkley (Torres 1984).

François Bordes

Born in 1919 in Southwestern France, François Bordes is an interesting and eccentric figure in European archaeology. He interests in geology and archeology began as a boy near his home in the Perigord. Bordes would tour the area on his bicycle and became intimately familiar with the geology and archaeology of the region. His enthusiasm and intellect allowed him to, at the age of fifteen-years old, be granted a permit to excavate a rock shelter at Le Roc de Givaudan. In 1936, Bordes enrolled at the University of Bordeaux majoring in geology and biology. At the outbreak of World War II, Bordes joined the French Resistance and eventually joined the French military until he received a serious wound from a grenade. After the war, Bordes pursued and received his doctorate in 1951 at the Sorbonne. In 1956, he returned to teach at the University of Bordeaux and would remain the titular overseer of Paleolithic archaeology in Southwest France until his death from heart failure in 1981 (Sackett 2014).

Within the field of archaeology, Bordes is primarily acknowledged for his revision of the approach to lithic typology. Traditionally, lithic specialists had approached typology rather rigidly. The focus of typology was on the systematics or quantifying the typological variation among assemblages. Little or no attention was paid to paleoethnological interpretation of these assemblages. Bordes reformulated this approach. His excavations focused primarily on increasing the quantity and quality of the data collected. All lithic materials including debitage were carefully collected and documented. Samples of related data in terms of stratigraphy, faunal, and palynological data were recorded along with the lithic artifact. The overall result was a more holistic view of the prehistoric archaeological record (Sackett 2014).

With regards to flintknapping specifically, Bordes is recognized as a pioneer in replicating Paleolithic tool assemblages. Bordes collaborated frequently with Don Crabtree during their careers. Their experiments and demonstrations in the 1960s and 1970s proved the value of experimental flintknapping as archaeological research (Whittaker 1994, 59).

Don Crabtree

Don Crabtree was born in Heyburn, Idaho in 1912. Crabtree began experimenting with flintknapping as a young man (Whittaker 1994, 59). Upon graduating high school, he moved to California and enrolled at Long Beach Junior College intending to study geology and paleontology. After one semester, he dropped out of school and continued his studies on his own. He remained self-conscious about his lack of formal education throughout his life and disliked public speaking. Crabtree worked at several California universities as a lab technician in both paleontology and archaeology. In 1939, he was diagnosed with cancer. He survived, and while recovering, he used flintknapping as an exercise to improve his coordination and muscular strength. In the spring of 1941, fully recovered, he demonstrated flintknapping at the American Association of Museums annual meeting. His performance resulted in several universities and museums requesting his talents as an advisor. With the outbreak of World War II, Crabtree returned to California and joined the war effort. After the war concluded, he became a country supervisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service from 1952 until 1962. He reentered the academic world in 1958 and remained at the University of Idaho until his death in 1980 (“Crabtree Lithic Technology Collection”).

Don Crabtree is widely considered the “dean of American flintknappers”. His skill and his collaborations with François Bordes are legendary amongst modern knappers. The majority of his written work is available only in articles in the journal Tebiwa, but it is possible to find copies of An Introduction to Flint Working which I personally consider a true treasure of information. The main thing that is impressive about his work is the level of detail. Crabtree exhaustively explores and describes artifacts to include the potential techniques used to manufacture them.

Carl Etheridge

As related to me in personal communication, Carl Etheridge began flintknapping in the 1970s through an interest in collecting points (Figure 5). As Etheridge relates in his own words:

“I guess you say the impetus behind all this was – after collecting points for quite a few years – picking up a point and looking at it. I thought to myself that it wasn’t that finely made. It was one of your rougher points, but it was an original. Just holding it my hand, I looked at it and thought – that guy, hundreds or maybe a thousand years ago, made that. He was not educated, but he knew how to work this rock. Why can’t I learn how to do it?”

Figure 5. Carl Edtheridge (left) and Author (right)

During the 1970s, there were very few books on flintknapping available. Etheridge started flintknapping by experimenting on his own. He eventually became skilled enough to be able to do demonstrations at the Etowah Indian Mounds. During a demonstration, while knapping a point, two men came up and watched him for a while. One of the men asked, “That’s not bad, but would you like to do it better?” That man was Ron Cloud. Cloud was a close friend of Don Crabtree and had learned flint working directly from Crabtree. At this point, Etheridge began to study under Cloud and learned how to heat treat stone, notch, and other advanced flint working techniques.

Over the ensuing years, Etheridge has continued to refine his technique and acquire new ones. He currently does demonstrations for the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University and participates in regional “knap-ins”. Etheridge also sells reproductions of points, knives, lances, arrows, and other primitive technologies for the enjoyment of his customers (Carl Etheridge, personal communication, July 2, 2021).

Carl Etheridge is a master knapper. He has encyclopedic knowledge of various flint working techniques including both direct and indirect percussion, pressure flaking, notching, and hafting. He is also intimately familiar with lithic typology and can often type a point from memory. In addition, he has a firm grasp of the chert geology of North Georgia and Bartow County and can readily identify local areas with good sources of raw material.

Results

The results of this research are presented below in two sections. The first section is a subjective evaluation of learning methodologies available to beginning knappers based on my own experience. The second section is a critical review of my own progress as a knapper. This appraisal took the form of a practical experiment to reproduce a projectile point excavated from the Cummings site in Bartow County. The Cummings site is a prehistoric Native American village that dates from the Middle Woodlands period to the Mississippian period (100 AD -1400 AD).

Evaluation of Learning Methodologies

Figure 6. Some of the books in my flintknapping library

I utilized three main resources to begin learning to work stone. The first method that I pursued was basic research in the form of books, both in print and online. I read multiple books by various authors with the intent of gaining a broad understanding of the manufacturing process and basic flintknapping techniques (Figure 6). Books and print media in general are an excellent way to gain a foothold and familiarization with the subject matter. In particular, books as a learning tool teach the beginner the proper jargon to communicate effectively within this highly specialized skill. It is vital for a novice to differentiate between a preform and blade, or understand the difference between a cobble and a spall. Books will also teach a beginner specialized vocabulary specific to flintknapping that are not in use in common language, with such terms as bulb of percussion and eraillure scar.

Second to vocabulary, the most important information that is effectively presented in print material is guidance regarding safety. When working with stone, there are important safety precautions that should be taken. It should be obvious that working with and around very sharp pieces of flaked stone requires caution. Hand and eye protection should be self-evident, but there are other hazards that aren’t so readily apparent. The dust produced during flint working can lead to a medical condition called silicosis. Silicosis is caused by inhaling dust generated during knapping. As such, a flintknapper should always work either outdoors or in a well-ventilated area (Whittaker 1994, 83).

Notwithstanding their value as a learning tool, books fall short in teaching actual technique. It is very difficult to effectively explain, in print, how to properly strike a platform or to describe a correct method of pressure flaking. Even books with extensive illustrations such as Crabtree’s Introduction to Flintworking fail to adequately demonstrate technique. Carl Etheridge has validated my own assessment and explained to me during a conversation that he had a similar experience with books. He had originally purchased a book when he first began flint working, but felt that it was not useful because the concepts were laid out in a fashion that made it difficult to comprehend (Carl Etheridge, personal communication, July 16, 2021).

After reading several books on the topic, I moved on to reviewing some of the available multimedia resources online. Specifically, I dove into YouTube. There are literally thousands of videos freely available on YouTube that show demonstrations of flintknapping. Most often, these videos are demonstrations of “how to make an arrow head” or something similar. It is important to be discriminating as to which videos are used as resources. It is equally important to view the video with a critical eye and evaluate the techniques demonstrated analytically or even skeptically. It is also imperative to have a grounded knowledge in basic technique and vocabulary prior to using online videos as a resource. Having that know-how allows the viewer to understand the presenter’s language and properly comprehend the context of the video.

The beauty of modern technology is that it is ubiquitous. YouTube videos are easily accessible on multiple devices including smart phones, personal computers, and smart televisions. This makes this particular learning resource portable and easily referenced even while working a piece. The other advantage is the sheer number of techniques demonstrated. Examples of working with modern materials as compared to original materials, referred to as “aboriginal knapping” in the flintknapping community, are common. In addition, lessons on both direct and indirect percussion, pressure flaking, and notching are all presented on various YouTube channels.

Similar to books, videos fall short in relating actual technique in a manner such that a beginner can translate the demonstrated procedure and replicate it. The main fault is that presenters on YouTube commonly leave out vital steps in the lithic reduction sequence in the interest of making a video that is of the appropriate length for the average viewer.  This may lead a novice knapper to become frustrated when failing to replicate the resulting piece. There are very few videos that actually cover all the steps in the lithic reduction sequence from start to finish, and these are generally the same running time as a feature film.

As a caution, many videos that purport to teach knapping contain incorrect techniques. Once a beginner gains a certain level of skill, it is a fun and interesting exercise to revisit videos previously viewed. Mistakes and incorrect technique become glaringly obvious. In some cases, the presenter is even demonstrating a technique that is potentially dangerous. I have personally seen a video by a self-proclaimed survivalist in which the individual claimed to teach a person how to make a point from a glass bottle. I was shocked to see the presenter hold the glass bottle bottom up and even with his eye to pressure flake it. There is already a risk of a flake getting in a knapper’s eye, but to hold the raw material even closer to your face and then proceed to pressure flake without eye protection is foolhardy.

The final learning method that I had available to me was personal instruction from a master knapper. This is a traditional learning mode that has been used since antiquity to pass the craft of flintknapping from one craftsman to the next. There is a reason this learning methodology was and is favored by knappers. It is by far the most effective way to learn the skill.

The benefits of having a hands-on instructor fall into two categories. Unlike books and videos, there is no opportunity for gaps in the lithic reduction sequence. Working with an instructor, the pupil will necessarily be required to perform each step in the manufacturing process and become familiar with the technique required to perform each. The hidden “tricks of the trade” such as frequent abrading, planning piece layout, and the importance of choosing the correct raw material all go along with the basic instruction.

The other important benefit of being taught to work stone in a master-apprentice fashion is that the instructor provides an instant feedback loop to the student. The instructor can and should be providing constant direction to the student to correct both gross and fine mistakes in technique (Figure 7). Flint working leaves little room for mistakes when attempting to produce a final piece. It is not possible to put a flake back onto a core once it has been struck. The guidance of an in-person teacher can prevent miscalculations and errors on the part of the student. As a result, the beginner gains skill and experience at an exponential rate which in turn produces confidence.

In summary, all of the learning methods evaluated during the course of this research proved valuable in one manner or another. Books and other print materials are excellent primarily for grounding a novice in the vocabulary,

Figure 7. Carl Etheridge teaching my son Devin Ross, the basics of flintknapping

the academics of flint working technique, and, most importantly, safety. Online multimedia resources are ubiquitous and freely available. These video resources are also beneficial in that they demonstrate a wide variety of both tools and skills. As revealed during the course of the research, the most efficient learning modality is in-person instruction led by an experienced knapper. This learning method is unique in that the unseen skills either obfuscated or ignored by the other learning resources are expressly taught during the lithic reduction sequence out of simple necessity. In addition, the instructor provides an instantaneous assessment and correction of the student’s technique. Neither books nor videos are a substitute for the traditional modality of the master-apprentice relationship.

Practical Evaluation

The final experiment for the research took place on July 16, 2021 in Bartow County. During a flint working session, I attempted to reproduce a point that had been previously excavated at the Cummings site near Cartersville, Georgia. As previously mentioned, the Cummings site is a Native American village that date to the Middle Woodland and Mississippian periods (100 AD – 1400 AD). I attempted the reproduction entirely on my own from a raw chert spall without any assistance. The objective of the experiment was to practically evaluate my own personal skill in flint working following eight weeks of in-person instruction by Carl Etheridge.

The point that I chose to reproduce was a leaf-style corner-notched projectile point. Prior to the experiment, I did a typology analysis on the point and identified it as a Jack’s Reef Corner-notched point (Jack’s Reef Corner-notched n.d.). Appendix B details the typology of the target point. The typology’s dimensions, style, and Middle Woodland cultural period are consistent with this artifact, and its location at the Cummings site in Bartow County.

I chose this point to replicate for several reasons. The point itself is of the best workmanship of all of the Cummings site points from which I was given as potential targets to reproduce. I had previously reproduced some of the less refined points provided, but the quality of this point demonstrated that it had been made by a craftsman of more than beginner skill. Gross visual analysis of the point shows that it had been made using a complex technique combining both percussion and pressure flaking (Crabtree 1972).

Other features that I was excited to attempt were the actual shape of the point and its style of notching. The point is leaf-like in shape and exhibits corner notches. My working sessions during training had focused on making Ishi-style points that are more acutely triangular shaped. I had done side notches and stemmed points prior to the experiment, but I had not previously attempted corner notches in any of my instructor-led or solo sessions.

In short, I chose a point that would tax my current level of skill to the limit. The point was of an unfamiliar shape and new style. It had also been created using a corner notching method that I had never attempted.

The result of the experiment was that I failed to accurately reproduce the point I had selected on the first attempt (Figure 8). I was accurate in reproducing the distinctive shape of the point. I was also relatively accurate in producing a point of the same length and width dimensions. Table 1 below illustrates the dimensions of the reproduction as compared to the dimensions of the original artifact. All measurements are taken with sliding calipers and recorded in millimeters.

Table 1. Comparison of dimensions

DimensionReproductionOriginal% Difference vs Original
Length524613%
Width2628-7%
Thickness6450%

The additional length of the reproduction is attributable to my plan to conserve some material in anticipation of length loss during the notching process. The slight reduction in width is due to the realization during pressure flaking that the point was too thick. I lost width in the preform while attempting to thin the point further using pressure.

Figure 8. Comparison photo of the original artifact (a) and my first attempt at reproduction (b)

The key error during manufacture was that I did not succeed in thinning the preform enough during the initial percussion of the raw spall in stage three of the manufacturing process. Once pressure flaking is begun, additional thinning becomes much harder because of the difficulty associated with creating a conchoidal fracture through the preform mass with pressure techniques. It is not possible to generate enough force via pressure to remove the required stone to further thin the piece without consuming additional material. At this stage, I could only thin the reproduction further through pressure flaking which would continue to reduce the overall length and width of the finished piece. While only two millimeters, the added thickness has follow-on consequences to the overall appearance of the finished reproduction. It should be immediately noticeable that the required corner notches are not observable on the reproduction. The additional thickness makes corner notching extremely difficult if not impossible. This additional thickness and its consequent impacts on the reproduction are the primary reasons I deem this reproduction a failure.

The additional thickness in the piece is a common mistake made by novice knappers (Carl Etheridge, personal communication, July 16, 2021). Nevertheless, I have gained enough knowledge and skill in flintknapping to recognize the problem and its follow-on effects in the overall piece. I also know what to correct and how to correct it. As a result, I do not consider the experiment itself a failure, but rather a reflection of the knowledge I have accumulated during my research. I will, of course, continue to attempt to reproduce the point until I have a viable replica of the original artifact.

Conclusion

From my perspective, future research in the field of lithic analysis in Georgia falls broadly into two categories. First, the geology of chert in Georgia is sparsely documented. There is a paucity of reference material available to geologists and even less from the perspective of an archaeologist. There is an immediate need for a collaborative study between archaeologists and geologists that documents the available chert resources in Georgia, catalogues the identifying characteristics of the raw material, and maps sites as prehistoric sources of raw material for lithic tool manufacture. Archaeologists and laypersons with experience in flintknapping are crucial to this study. They are uniquely qualified to evaluate the quality and workability of the raw material in terms of its value in the lithic manufacturing process and therefore its desirability.

Second, using the results of the study mentioned above, lithics recovered at various sites could potentially be traced to the origin sources of raw material. This would help establish trade and procurement patterns. As applied to the Cummings site, this information would aid in identifying the relationship between Cummings and other nearby contemporary archaeological sites.

In this research, I have explored flintknapping and how novice archaeologists can pursue this ancient and honorable craft. Flintknapping has a long and well-deserved history in academia. Practical application of the techniques required to properly manufacture stone tools informs our understanding of the manufacturing process. This is a relevant and applicable tool for archaeologists. In the process of learning to work stone, archaeologists also learn to recognize and analyze the distinctive tool marks left during the lithic reduction sequence – i.e. how the artifact was made. Being able to identify these tool marks as well as accurately evaluate the level of skill required to produce an artifact based on personal experience in turn advises our overall understanding of the culture that made the artifact originally and helps to answer why the artifact was made.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Ann Cummings, for whom the Cummings site is named, for allowing both myself and other students to excavate sites on her private property as well as study the artifacts that are recovered there. I don’t believe the number of students that have been positively affected by the field schools held at the Cummings site can be overestimated.

I would also like to thank Dr. Terry Powis who has acted graciously as my research sponsor and mentor. I am in his debt for sharing his knowledge, time, and research materials. Without his guidance and direction, this research would not have been possible.

I want to acknowledge my other professors within the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Kennesaw State University as well. Each course I’ve taken has been both educational and entertaining. I applaud your efforts at introducing students to this fascinating field of study.

I suppose I must also thank my family and my parents. They have been subjected to hours of documentaries with only the occasional sigh and rolling of eyes. They have had to suffer with chert flakes in their clothes and shoes. They have been my forced audience while I opined on the difference between a “good” knapping rock and a “bad” knapping rock. In particular, I need to thank my son, Devin, whom I have hauled to excavations, knapping sessions, and museums – often with no more reward than a chicken biscuit.

Finally, I must thank Mr. Carl Etheridge. Carl selflessly volunteered his time and energy to teach me flintknapping. He has been a sometimes tolerant and sometimes cantankerous mentor who has generously shared his knowledge, tools, materials, and time with a very slow learner. I hope I can do him justice some day and pass this craft on to a new generation.

References

Bernard, H Russell. 2017. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Lenham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Bordes, Francois. 1968. The Old Stone Age. World University Library. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Collins, Michael Bruce. 1974. “A Functional Analysis of Lithic Technology among Prehistoric Hunter-Gatherers of Southwestern France and Western Texas.” PhD diss. University of Arizona, 1974.

Crabtree, Don E. 1966. “A Stoneworker’s Approach to Analyzing and Replicating the Lindenmeier Folsom,” Ariel 129, vol. 129, pp. 92-114.

Crabtree, Don E. 1972. “An Introduction to Flintworking,” Occasional Papers of the Museum, Idaho State University 28, vol. 28, pp. 1–98.

“Crabtree Lithic Technology Collection.” n.d. https://www.uidaho.edu/class/anthrolab/collections/crabtree.

Cushing, Frank Hamilton. 1895. “The Arrow,” American Anthropologist 8, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 307–49.

Glock, Waldo S. 1920. “The Use of the Terms Flint and Chert.” Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 167-173.

Goad, Sharon I. 1979. Chert Resources in Georgia: Archaeological and Geological Perspectives. University of Georgia.

“Jack’s Reef Corner-notch Projectile Point.” n.d. www.Projectilepoints.Net. University of West Florida. Accessed July 5, 2021. http://www.projectilepoints.net/Points/Jacks_Reef.html.

Johnson, L. L., Jeffery A. Behm, François Bordes, Daniel Cahen, Don E. Crabtree, Dena F. Dincauze, Conran A. Hay, et al. 1978. “A History of Flint-Knapping Experimentation, 1838-1976 [and Comments and Reply],” Current Anthropology 19, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 337–72. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2741997.

Luedtke, Barbara E. 1992. An Archaeologist’s Guide to Chert and Flint. University of California, Los Angeles.

Mandeville, Margaret D. 1973. “A Consideration of the Thermal Pretreatment of Chert,” The Plains Anthropologist, pp. 177–202.

Mercieca, Alison, and Peter Hiscock. 2008. “Experimental Insights into Alternative Strategies of Lithic Heat Treatment,” Journal of Archaeological Science 35, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 2634–39. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2008.04.021.

Sackett, J. 2014. “François Bordes and the Old Stone Age,” Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 24, 24 (January): Art. 3. https://www.archaeologybulletin.org/articles/10.5334/bha.243/.

Torres, Dennis. 1984. “Ishi,” Central States Archaeological Journal 31, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 175–79. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43137417.

Whittaker, John C. 1994. Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools. University of Texas Press.

Appendix A – Pictorial Sequence

Appendix A is a pictorial sequence of the points made during the research period from May 21, 2021 to July 9, 2021.

Appendix B – Target Point Typology

Point Typology Analysis

Location

Site:                 Cummings

Date of Find:   23 Oct 2020

Excavated By: J. McFarlane

            H. Redman

Unit:                4

Level:              1

Depth:             18cm

Measurements

Length:            46mm

Width:             28mm

Thickness:       4mm

Stem Length: 8mm

Stem Width:    20mm

Type

Type:               Jack’s Reef Corner-notched

Period:            Woodland

Date:               1,500 – 1,000 B.P.

Reference Artifacts

Tenant Farming in Bartow County, Josh Reed

Understanding Early 20th Century Tenant Farming in Bartow County, Georgia

Practicum in Anthropology, Kennesaw State University, Dr. Terry Powis

The Adams family house is a historic building situated in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia located only a few miles northwest of the Etowah Indian Mounds. The house was constructed on the Walnut Grove Plantation, owned by the Young family since the early 1830s. Abandoned for nearly six decades, my research focuses on rediscovering what we know about the daily life of the Adams family through archaeological investigation, archival study, and oral history. Uncovering the lifestyle and mode of production of this specific tenant farming family adds to the understanding of tenant farming in general. I was interested in studying this family and historic site in particular to document the information before it was lost forever.

Tenant farming is an agricultural production system in which farmers cultivate crops or raise livestock on rented land. In order to work the rented land, tenant farmers generally provided their own tools and plow animals and were allowed to retain half of the harvested crops. Landowners provided shelter, food, and other necessities that were to be repaid from the tenants share of the crop. So, although they were allowed to keep half of the crops they sowed and reaped, the money earned from their personal bounty ultimately went back to the landowner (Boundless 2018). Tenant farming became prominent directly following the American Civil War due to the bad economy former slaves and poor whites faced. Following Reconstruction, tenancy became the way of life in the Cotton Belt (Conrad 2007).

Background

            The Walnut Grove Plantation is located in Cartersville, Georgia, neighboring the Etowah River and Pettit Creek. For this, its original landowners Dr. Robert Maxwell Young and his wife Elizabeth Caroline Jones Young regarded the property as “the beautiful rolling land in the horseshoe bend of the Etowah River” (Cummings 2009, 5). Native to Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Young’s began their search for property in 1832, specifically looking to speculate in Native American land (Billingsley 2020). They searched for land throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana before finally applying for a land grant in Georgia for Walnut Grove.

            It was only due to the forced relocation of Native American people in 1832 that the Young family was able to obtain this property. Prior to this, Cherokee government heavily resisted the push for white settlers inhabiting their land. However, once Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828, he immediately declared the removal of eastern tribes to be a national focus (Davis 1973, 312-17). Several factors accelerated the push for Cherokee removal, most notably the demand for arable land during the rampant increase of cotton agriculture. Cherokee land plots were then divided out to white Georgians in what is known as the Georgia land lottery (Garrison 2004).

            Bartow County, formerly known as Cass County, was thriving at this point, producing iron, tobacco, corn, wheat, and of course cotton. It wasn’t until the end of the Civil War in 1865 that the American South in its entirety was left in devastation. Over four million slaves were emancipated as a result of the Civil War, much to the dissatisfaction of slaveholders in Bartow County (Hebert 2017). Economic reconstruction had to happen quickly, as the problems the south faced were more severe than just damaged equipment and neglected fields. This social revolution reorganized the labor force, creating a free-labor social system in which neither blacks nor whites were familiar with. As the south still heavily relied on agricultural production, the transformation from a slave society to a society based on free labor began (Woodman 1975, 319-20).

Methodology

Figure 1. Before and after site clean-up. The top photo shows the overgrown Adam’s family house. The bottom photo is after I removed foliage.  

            Data collection for this study included a combination of field and lab work along with oral history and archival research. The first step on site was to clean up overgrown foliage that prevented a clear view of the surviving architecture. Utilizing loppers and a hand saw, I devoted four weeks to the removal of trees, branches, vines, and other dense shrubbery that veiled the site (Figure 1). Once the structure was clearly visible from all cardinal directions, I was accompanied

by Dr. Terry Powis and Kong Cheong in creating a site grid in order to map the house. The five-meter grid was coordinated using a transit level to position stakes exactly five meters apart extending north-south and east-west. Due to the precision of the transit level, we knew that the grid was positioned to true north with exact 90-degree angels in relation to the other directions. A 50-meter open reel tape measure was then spread along the grid lines to begin mapping. Arbitrary

points were selected on the house every one to two meters, where the distance from the

grid line to the structure was measured. Figure 2 shows a digital rendition of the completed map.

While this method created a two-dimensional map of the houses orientation, it doesn’t provide any information on the height range of the structure. In order to map height differences throughout the structure, I created a profile running a leveled line running north-south directly through the center of the house. Similar to the previous mapping method, A 50-meter open reel tape was positioned on the line and points on the house were measured vertically from the fixed line. After spanning the entirety of the house, I then fixed a line running east-west through the house and measured vertically once again. This approach allowed for the mapping of actual features of the house like the front stairs, porch, floor, chimney, and root cellar. I then composed a third map measuring the distance of the house to other major elements surrounding the site including the cotton field and a well. Creating a map with the surrounding features provides more context to the house in relation to the landscape.

Due to the house’s close proximity to a prehistoric Native American village (dating from AD 1200-1300) known as the Cummings Site, all of the artifacts collected through dirt screening were combined with prehistoric artifacts including pottery sherds and chert flakes. Therefore, the first phase in the lab was to discern historic artifacts from prehistoric. There were around 50 two-gallon zip lock bags containing artifacts that needed to be sorted. First, I poured out the contents of the bag onto a tray and carefully examined every piece to determine its placement whether historic, prehistoric, or rock. Once the entire bag was sorted, I put the historic artifacts in their own bag with the parent bags provenience information as well as the prehistoric artifacts in their own bag with the provenience information. After completely sorting through all parent bags, I was left solely with historic artifacts.

In order to accurately view and date the artifacts, they first needed to be washed. Using a tub of water and a toothbrush, I scrubbed every individual artifact clean and left them out to dry, always making sure to keep them with their corresponding bag. Once all the artifacts were cleaned, I began sorting them into like groups using Stanley South’s 1978 Artifacts Classification System. Stanley South is regarded as the “Father of American Historical Archaeology” as he pioneered the process of pattern recognition to group artifacts from historical sites (South 1978, 223). The classification system is based on the original intended function of the artifact. South deliberately fashioned this model to historic sites in order to allow intersite comparisons using group regularities. The concept of combining artifacts into functional groups for investigation remains a fundamental in historical archaeology (Sewell 2004, 23). While the lab work is based off of South’s classification scheme, I modified the groups in order to properly fit my assemblage of artifacts. I organized all the artifacts into the following groups:  Kitchen, Architecture, Furniture, Clothing, Tools, Arms, Personal, Activities, Utilities, and Miscellaneous. Ensuring that each artifact retained connection with its appropriate provenience data, I put the separated artifacts in their own bags and placed them into their designated group. Once all the artifacts from every bag had been organized and placed into their categories, I began to date them utilizing online resources and reference books. I then compiled an excel spreadsheet detailing the category, artifact, quantity, date range, material type, and color (Appendix 1).

Although analyzing the archaeology of the house was the primary focus, oral history and archival research were pivotal in supplementing what the archaeological data communicated. Due to the fact that only three people still alive today have any association to this house and its inhabitants, the information was limited yet revealing. I conducted three informal in-person interviews with an informant that resides about 50 meters east of the Adams family house on the Walnut Grove Plantation. Some questions of interest were:

  • What year was the house constructed?
  • What were they farming? Did they farm the same crop year-round?
  • What was their mode of transportation?
  • Did they have electricity?
  • What year was the home abandoned and for what reason?

The other two informants were contacted via email to fill in any potential gaps or add additional information. Archival information was also narrow, however Georgia’s Natural, Archaeological, and Historic Resources GIS web-based registry (GNAHRGIS) was utilized to find any cataloged information on this historic site.

Results

Figure 3. Elements of the Adam’s Family House. Photo (a) shows the firebox portion of the brick chimney. Photo (b) is the root cellar. Photo (c) is a supporting brick wall in the root cellar. Photo (d) shows the central stairs leading to the front porch.  

Results from the field work illustrate that this is a 1,020 square foot home with a cinderblock foundation, cement porch with central stairs, brick chimney, and a root cellar (Figure 3). The house also features a back porch with cinderblock stairs on the north west side. There is evidence of a gravel drive extending from the southwest side of the house northward. The house is situated about 17 meters north of a cotton field. There is also a well located around 30 meters

west of the structure. Similarly, there is a parking area about 75 meters from the structure to the west.

A total of 1,969 artifacts were collected and dated, generating a time frame spanning from the 18th century to the present. The artifacts were categorized into ten groups: Kitchen, Architecture, Furniture, Clothing, Tools, Arms, Personal, Activities, Utilities, and Miscellaneous. In the Kitchen Group, a total of 1,360 artifacts were collected, in which 780 were bottle glass, 411 were ceramics, and seven were bottle caps. In the Architecture Group, a total of 445 artifacts were collected, in which 91 were square nails, 161 were window glass, and three were barbed wire. In the Furniture Group, a total of six artifacts were collected, in which one was a door knocker and two were latches. In the Clothing Group, a total of seven artifacts were collected, in which two were belt buckles and two were buttons. In the Tools Group, a total of four artifacts were collected, in which one was a combination wrench and one was a horseshoe. In the Arms Group, a total of 21 artifacts were collected, in which six were shotgun casings and 10 were cartridges. In the Personal Group, a total of seven artifacts were collected, in which six were pennies and one was a pen knife. In the Activities Group, a total of 31 artifacts were collected, in which 28 were flowerpot pieces and two composed a child’s toy. In the Utilities Group, a total of 15 artifacts were collected, in which two were coal, three were insulators, and seven were light bulbs. In the Miscellaneous Group, a total of 73 artifacts were collected, in which one was a spark plug and one was a Purex bleach bottle cap.

The information gathered from oral history further clarifies that this house was in fact inhabited by a tenant farming family. The local resident I spoke to grew up on the property and has resided there for decades. “Informant O,” as he wishes to remain nameless, explained that this house was occupied by a tenant farmer by the name of Charles Adams and his mother, Eleanor Adams. He recalls that Eleanor was a nurse by trade and would oftentimes visit people when they were sick. When asked about children being present in the home, Informant O claimed that there were never any children, although artifactual evidence conflicts with this statement. According to Informant O, Charles Adams was responsible for farming several sections of cotton fields, in which each field was composed of 20 acres. He stated that they farmed cotton exclusively and removed burrs in the off season. He recalls them operating John Deere tractors but didn’t know where they were stored when not in use. He was unsure what year the house was built and also unaware of the year or reason of its abandonment.

Informant O describes the dwelling as originally having wood paneling and plank floors, but sometime after its construction updating to sheetrock walls. He explains that there was a garden adjacent to the home on the east side as well as a space for the chickens they kept for eggs. When questioned about a vehicle, Informant O recalls that they had either a 1950 or 1951 Ford truck. While he was aware of the existence of a barn, he did not know what was kept inside or what it was used for. Finally, when asked about their bathroom situation he didn’t recall there being an outhouse, but really wasn’t aware on how they handled their waste as it “wasn’t any of his business.”

Landowner Ann Cummings, as well as Andy Dabbs who grew up on a piece of land bordering the Cummings Site, were contacted via email for any additional information they could add. Dabbs explained that to his best memory the house was empty around 1964-65. He remembered a farmer by the name of Buddy Tatum who farmed the Cummings and Dabbs farms. According to Dabbs, Tatum and a crew put a new tin roof on the house in the mid 1960’s while the house was vacant. He went on to say that no one ended up inhabiting the house and a tree limb fell on the roof letting water in and accelerating its deterioration. In terms of Ann’s memories of the house and its occupants, she recalls when she first married her husband Skip in 1957, she would come to the Walnut Grove Plantation house to visit and Skip’s mother would be visiting with Eleanor in their kitchen.

According to Georgia’s Natural, Archaeological, and Historic Resources GIS web-based registry, the Adams family house was constructed in 1910. It was a single-story, L-shaped gabled wing cottage with two rooms. The archival document provides a black and white photo of the house from some meters away, but it is virtually impossible to make any details out due to lack of clarity. This type of home structure is consistent with the house Informant O still resides in today that was built in 1920.

Discussion

            The field and lab work combined suggest that the Adams’ were a typical tenant farming family that lived to work and worked to live. However, they may have been a little wealthier than average, due to Eleanor Adams working as a nurse and supplementing their income. Similarly, physical evidence and oral history solidifying that they had a vehicle could further indicate excess money. Tenant farmers generally didn’t produce extra capital as the harvest they retained was minimal following deductions from landowners for living expenses. This begs the question, was it actually out of the ordinary for tenant farmers to have a vehicle? Could a vehicle possibly have been considered a living expense that was purchased by landowners and then repaid by tenants? Through oral history I discovered that the Adams’ had either a 1950 or 1951 Ford truck. That is to say that the soonest they possibly could have had a vehicle was 1950. It is known from archival resources that this house was constructed in 1910. Therefore, Charles Adams and his mother Eleanor lived here for 40 years without a vehicle. So, it would be plausible to say that any left-over income they had after paying living expenses could accumulate over 40 years to be able to afford a vehicle themselves. It could also be discussed, however, that a vehicle was simply provided to them by the Cummings family.

            Artifactual evidence and oral history suggest the Adams family house had electricity, although there are still questions surrounding its introduction to the house. The house was designed and built with a root cellar, known to be utilized for cold storage. Although if the house had electricity at the date of construction, a root cellar for cold storage wouldn’t have been necessary. The typical Georgia farm family had no electricity, no running water, and no indoor bathrooms (Zainaldin 2007). However, legislature introduced by Roosevelts New Deal brought electricity to rural residents by 1936. Rural electrification was crucial in Georgia where in 1930 almost 70 percent of the population lived in rural areas (Dobbs 2016). While electricity wasn’t readily available to rural areas at the date of construction, the Adams family house could have had electricity as early as 1936.

            While the artifacts collected from this site supply a time frame spanning from the 18th century to the present, the majority of artifacts date between 1830 to 1940. So why would there be so many artifacts that drastically pre-date the 1910 construction? One reasoning could be that since these tenants were extremely poor and only given what the landowner at the time provided, their house was furnished with dated leftovers the landowner had readily available. Another theory is that this is the location of a log cabin the Young family lived in from 1835-1837 while their house was being built. It is a fact that the Young family lived in a log cabin while their house was being built, however its exact location is still a mystery. The close proximity of the Adams house to Walnut Grove Plantation could have proven beneficial to Dr. Robert Maxwell Young as it is said he required all the building materials were to be made from resources found on the property (Billingsley 2020). Young could have easily supervised his hired help by residing only a mere 200 meters from the construction site.

            Additional evidence to support the notion that the Young family’s log cabin was positioned in the same spot as the Adams family house is the presence of square nails collected from the site. Square nails were produced by hand and utilized from 1820 until 1890. It wasn’t until the introduction of machine-made round nails in 1890 that square nails became antiquated. At that point, houses started to be built using round nails rather than square nails. However, 91 square nails and 96 round nails were recovered on site. By 1910, the year of this house’s construction, it can be anticipated that round nails would have been used exclusively. Although that isn’t the case, whereas there is almost as many square nails as there are round. This could be due to left over materials the Young family had on hand after the construction of their house was built, or it could imply the location of their log cabin.

            Several other artifacts equally support the idea of a preexisting structure in the same location. Heavy duty nuts and bolts were recovered that could have been required materials to hold together and support logs. Likewise, most of the dinnerware ceramic dates to around 1820-1830, which lines up with when the Young family would have been residing in a log cabin. It is a fact that tenant’s houses were furnished by landowners, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that when the Young family provided the farmers this house in 1910, they simply supplied it with their outdated dinnerware. It’s probable that after years of the same dishes they would have been ready for an updated set anyways.

The presence of a well 30 meters from the house further insinuates they did not have indoor plumbing and rather got their water from the well. Likewise, the parking area not too far

from the well provides more evidence to the addition of a vehicle (Figure 4).

Parking area and well in relation to Adams family house. Illustration courtesy of George Micheletti

 The barn is another associated feature of this site that not a lot of information could be collected on. When asked about the barn, Informant O told me that he did not know what was kept in the barn. However, he did inform me that somebody by the name of Charlie Dabbs hanged himself in the barn. This is interesting because Andy Dabbs, the other local that was interviewed, revealed that Buddy Tatum, as previously mentioned, committed suicide years after putting the new roof on the house. I searched several Cartersville and Bartow County obituaries for a “Charlie Dabbs” or “Buddy Tatum” to no avail. It’s possible they could be referring to the same person or there is misremembering on someone’s part.

            Animal bone, pig teeth, and horseshoe artifacts imply that the tenants had access to animals. Informant O mentioned they kept chicken for eggs but did not recall the presence of any other animals. The pig teeth can be explained by the creation of Pettit Creek Farms in 1945, a family-owned farm with pigs, cows, llamas, and other farm animals. As Pettit Creek Farms is only five miles from Walnut Grove Plantation, it’s likely a pig could get loose and wander to the site. A horseshoe however implies they may or may not have had plow animals in addition to the John Deere tractors. These animals and equipment would have needed to be stored somewhere. It has been established that the people living here were definitely farmers, but there are not many artifacts found that relate to farming in terms of equipment or paraphernalia. Would it have been normal for tenants to have separate lodgings for their equipment? The two-story barn was big enough to have housed animals as well as all the farming gear.

            Another interesting aspect of this tenant farming family was their relationship with the landowners. As Ann Cummings remembers, Eleanor Adams would visit with Skip’s mother in her kitchen. This sort of interaction implies a relationship beyond solely employer and employee. Perhaps they were friendly with each other due to close proximity in age, or that there was simply no one else around to converse with and entertain. It’s unclear whether this would have been a normal landlord-tenant relationship, as by 1925 popular sentiment of the relationship mirrored that of master and slave. Although it is said that this mindset changed throughout the years due to many viewing tenant farmers as having a fundamental place in the economic order (Buechel 1925, 336).

            While oral history explained that the house was vacant in the mid 1960’s, it did not elaborate on why that would have been. None of the three informants knew exactly why the house was abandoned in the first place. In the 1960’s, mechanized farming became cheaper and more reliable (Church 2009), which could have been a possible reason for the displacement of the Adams family. The timeline of machinery taking over for human farmers lines up with when the house was abandoned.

            Future directions for this study could be continued archival research. As archival research was not my main focus on this project, there might be more information available, such as a deed to the house. Similarly, if there is any way to get ahold of the negative roll number 29 from the Georgia Historic Resources offices for a clearly picture of the Adams house. There could be archival information on Eleanor Adams if she was in fact a registered nurse. Any additional information on her could certainly enhance what we already know about her story. How did the family end up at Walnut Grove Plantation, was there ever a Mr. Adams, are they still alive, and if not, where are they buried?  It would also be interesting to further investigate if there are any actual studies that have been done on landowner and tenant relationship. Would it be safe to say that visitation was a one-way street, meaning Eleanor only visited the landowner’s home but the landowner did not visit the tenant house? Additional investigations to address questions relating to electricity and transportation would also be valuable.

Conclusion

            The Adams family house was a residence for tenant farmers Charles Adams and his mother Eleanor Adams. It was occupied from its construction in 1910 until the mid 1960’s. The Adams were extremely poor, only retaining a small portion of their harvested crops after living expenses were deducted from their share. They were a hardworking family that had to adapt and navigate through post-Civil War reconstruction, the great depression, and several other political and economic revolutions throughout the decades. Considering what we now know about how the Adams’ lived could reshape what is known about tenancy in general. Was a vehicle common for tenant farmers to have? Was the relationship between landowner and tenant friendlier than previously assumed? Only three individuals alive today knew anything about this house and the people who inhabited it, so without their contributions in oral history, all that information would have been lost indefinitely. I’m lucky to have been able to speak to locals, work in the field and lab, and browse archives to preserve the history of this tenant farming family forever.

Acknowledgements

Thank you so much to Dr. Terry Powis for all of his knowledge, assistance, and resources in conducting this research! It truly wouldn’t have been possible without his efforts and expertise. Thank you to the Cummings Family for allowing me to do research on their property. Thank you to Kong Cheong and all the other student researchers that assisted me in the field. Thank you to George Micheletti for digitally rendering the map.

Bibliography

Billingsley, Jennifer. “Walnut Grove and the Young Family.” Etowah Valley Historical Society, May 21, 2020. https://evhsonline.org/archives/48922. 

Boundless. “Tenant Farmer.” Definition of tenant farmer in U.S. History., 2018. https://oer2go.org/mods/en-boundless/www.boundless.com/u-s-history/definition/tenant-farmer/index.html.

Buechel, F. A. “Relationships of Landlords to Farm Tenants.” The Journal of Land & Public Utility Economics 1, no. 3 1925: 336-42. doi:10.2307/3138901.

Church, Jason. “NCPTT | Documentation Of Tenant Farming Houses.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, October 29, 2019. https://www.ncptt.nps.gov/blog/documentation-of-tenant-farming-houses/.

Conrad, David E. “Tenant Farming and Sharecropping: The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture 2007 https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=TE009.

Cummings, Skip. “Etowah Valley Historical Society.” History of Walnut Grove Plantation 70 January 2009: 5–5. 

Davis, Kenneth Penn. “The Cherokee Removal, 1835-1838.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 32, no. 4 1973: 311-31. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42623406.

Dobbs, Chris. “Rural Electrification Act.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, January 29, 2016. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/business-economy/rural-electrification-act.

Garrison, Tim Allan. “Cherokee Removal.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, November 19, 2004. https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/cherokee-removal.

GNAHRGIS. https://www.gnahrgis.org/gnahrgis/main.do.

Hebert, Dr. Keith. “Reconstruction Bartow County Following the Civil War, Article 6 – Dr. Keith Hebert.” Etowah Valley Historical Society, April 26, 2017. https://evhsonline.org/archives/44713.

Sewell, Andrew R. “Chapter 5 Phase III Archaeological Data Recovery at the Historic Brickworks Component of 36AL480 in Leetsdale, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania,” September 30, 2004, 23.

South, Stanley. “Pattern Recognition in Historical Archaeology.” American Antiquity 43, no. 2 1978: 223–30. https://doi.org/10.2307/279246. 

Woodman, Harold D. “Post-Civil War Southern Agriculture and the Law.” Agricultural History 53, no. 1 1979: 319-37. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3742879.

Zainaldin, Jamil S. “Great Depression.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, November 5, 2007.  https://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/great-depression. 

Mounds_B_and_C,_Etowah_Mound_Site_(April_2011).jpg (4896×1280)

Bartow County’s Mound Legacy

Bartow County’s Mound Legacy

An Inventory of American Indian Mound Sites Located in Bartow County

By Scot Keith and Joe F. Head

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Etowah Indian Mounds, formerly Tumlin Mounds

It is the intention of this research to promote an educational understanding and awareness of American Indian mounds within Bartow County. Readers are alerted to be aware of state laws pertaining to the disturbance or removal of American Indian sites, burials and artifacts.  Policies about American Indian Sites and Objects in Georgia are listed under The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) 44-12-260 and (OCGA) 12-3-621 and specifically address protocol and violation consequences. Specific mound locations are omitted to protect sites from unauthorized and illegal plundering. As many of these locations have already been negatively impacted, please join the advocacy to protect and preserve these significant American Indian sites from further damage.

This work offers a fresh perspective of the presence of American Indian mounds and earthworks within Bartow County based on a review of archaeological survey data from the late 1800s and middle 1900s. A reexamination of this data highlights the fact that the area within Bartow County was a hub of mound building activity in the state for well over a millennium. While many people are aware that Bartow County is home to the Etowah Mounds, many may not know that the county once contained over two dozen individual mounds and earthworks. In fact, Bartow County contains more documented mound sites than any other surrounding county. These mounds were constructed during the Woodland and Mississippian periods, roughly from 200 B.C until the era of European arrival in the 1500s.

Why were mounds and earthworks constructed? The construction of mounds and other earthworks in the Eastern Woodlands of the US began as early as 5,400 years ago during the Middle Archaic period in the area of northern Louisiana.  American Indians relate that mound sites are sacred places. Mound sites are an expression of the cosmological and ideological beliefs of the people who built them, and often served as places of aggregation for those who shared similar beliefs. Similar to a church community, people congregated to pool their time, labor, and other resources to create these places. Mounds were built in various forms, from conical to flat-topped, circular to elliptical, and these forms likely had specific connotations now known only to those who constructed them and their descendants.  Mounds were often constructed in successive stages, with a new stage corresponding to the end of an era and beginning of a new one. They often buried people in or around mounds. Archaeologists have found evidence that they were places where both local and non-local peoples gathered and lived, places of pilgrimage, trade, ceremony, and cultural interaction.

In Bartow County, construction of the earliest known mound was begun during the Woodland period at the Leake site circa 2,100 years ago, while two additional mounds and a ditch enclosure similar to the one at Etowah were built at the site over the next 600 years. Across the river from Leake during this same period, people enclosed the summit of Ladd’s Mountain with a stone wall, buried a person in a log tomb and covered this tomb with stones, and used the large cave in the end of the mountain. Mound construction continued in the valley through much of the Mississippian period (1050-1541 AD), as exemplified by the well-preserved Etowah Mounds.  Thus, mound building was practiced in the county for at least 1,500 years prior to Euroamerican settlement, and perhaps longer. This is a remarkable span of time when one compares that to the timeline of the United States, officially established just less than 250 years ago.

The primary concentration of mounds is in lower southeast Bartow County along the Etowah River.  Mounds dotted both sides of the river westerly from the area of the Allatoona Dam continuing to Cartersville, Old Alabama Road, Pumpkinvine Creek, Highway 113, Ladd’s Mountain, and Raccoon Creek to Kingston. A smaller number of mounds have been documented as far north as Pine Log. While the Etowah Mounds offer a significant view of these stunning earthen constructions, many of the mounds in Bartow County (and other counties) have largely disappeared due to historic era land modifications and activities, including land clearing, farming, road construction, commercial and residential development, along with erosion that is often spurred by such activities.  However, to the trained eye there remain telltale signs of ancient mounds that simply appear as humps, hills and outcroppings camouflaged in plain sight among trees, weeds, and fields. In other cases, level ground conceals the subsurface remnants of mounds.

Mound Inventory

The earliest known systematic documentation of mounds in Bartow County was conducted by researchers working for the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology Division on Mound Exploration under the supervision of Cyrus Thomas (1891, 1894). The goal was to survey and document mound sites throughout the United States in the late 1800s. In sum, the Smithsonian documented 17 mound and earthwork sites, which consists of 26 earthen mounds, two stone enclosures, a stone mound, and a “vault”.

Anonymous , 1917  Indian Mound on Leake Property, 4 Mi. S.W. of Cartersville. Hu-52, Nov. 1917. Photograph mmg01-0052, State Geologist Photographs and Negative Files, Department of Mines, Mining, and Geology, RG 50-2-33, Georgia Archives, Morrow.

The following mound and earthwork sites in the county were documented during the Smithsonian’s effort:

Table 1. Mound and Earthwork sites documented by Cyrus Thomas (1891, 1894)

Site Name/Reference# of Mounds/ EarthworksGeneral Location
Etowah Group6Tumlin property
Parrott Mound13.5 miles west of Cartersville on north bank of river
Edwards Mound1Opposite Tumlin Farm and Etowah Group on south bank
Ben Akerman Mound17 miles west of Cartersville on east bank of Etowah River
Indian Fort1Summit of Ladd’s Mountain
Conyers Mound1Southeastern part of county on Euharlee Creek
Rowland Mounds*3 or 4South bank of river 4 miles west of Cartersville
Leap Mounds*33 miles west of Cartersville next to Cherokee RR
McGinnis Mound1Community/town of McGinnis
Adairsville Mound & Enclosure1Adairsville
Shellman Mound12 miles east of Stilesborough
Vault12 miles from Stilesborough on William Burgess’s farm
Rock Mound**1Near RR crossing at Pettit’s Creek
One Mound1Northern part of the county on Sim Mumford’s property
Two Mounds2North of Cartersville, site location not reported
Sam’s Mounds3Lewis Sam’s property across from Tumlin

* “Rowland Mounds” currently known as Leake Mounds. “Leap Mounds” likely the same as Rowland Mounds.

**Likely the Shaw Mound

In the late 1930s prior to World War II, Robert Wauchope, an archaeologist then with the University of Georgia, conducted a survey of mounds and other significant American Indian sites in the northern portion of Georgia. Due to the war and his career afterward, his fieldwork was delayed until he returned to complete it in the late 1950s. The results of his work were not published until well after WWII by the Smithsonian Institution in 1966. Wauchope was able to relocate many of the mound sites recorded by the Smithsonian, but not all of them. The following is a list of existing and previously existing American Indian Mississippian Mounds found in Bartow County.

Table 2. Mound and Earthwork sites documented by Wauchope (1966).

Site# of Mounds/ EarthworksNotes
Two Run Creek1between Cass Station and Kingston
Ben Akerman Mound1Smithsonian site near Akerman Ferry on river not relocated
Conyers Mound1Smithsonian site on Euharlee Creek not relocated
Conyers Farm1across from Etowah Mounds, not to be confused with Conyers Mound; may equate to Smithsonian Edwards Mound
Raccoon Creek1On Shellman Farm near Raccoon Creek, likely equates to Thomas’ Shellman Mound
Leak Mounds3South bank of river on Hwy 113 near Ladds Mt
Free Bridge1South bank of river west of Free Bridge, opposite Lewis Mound
Lewis Mound1North bank of river near, opposite Free Bridge Mound
Parrot Mound1Not relocated – corresponds to Thomas’ location for Lewis Mound but mound description differs
Etowah Mounds6North bank of river
Rowland Mounds3Erringly reported as southeast of Cartersville, did not realize it is the same as Leake Mounds
Sam’s Farm3Not relocated, may equate to Smithsonian Lewis Mound
Br-24 (Shaw Mound)1Stone mound at base of Ladds Mountain near quarry
Br-17 (Indian Fort)1Stone wall enclosing summit of Ladds Mountain

Interestingly, Wauchope (1966:xvii) describes how the landscape had changed in the 20 years between his initial fieldwork (1938) and his terminal fieldwork (1958):

I had expected that in twenty years a few old things might have changed, a footpath here or a fence there, perhaps a new highway cutting across my old familiar roads. But I was unprepared for the wholesale changes that had taken place; archaeologically speaking, we were lost most of the time. The old roads were almost all gone, or so improved as to be unrecognizable. New bridges spanned the rivers and creeks, with new approaches from different routes…our survey of the ‘thirties served another purpose: it located sites that might never again have been discovered”.

Even during their survey, the Smithsonian researchers occasionally noted the effects of years of plowing had on reducing the size of the mounds (e.g, Thomas 1884:312). Unfortunately, many of the mounds and earthworks built and used by American Indians in the county unfortunately have been largely erased by historic era activities. For example, the mounds at the Leake site were used for road fill of Highway 113 when it was rerouted to its current location, running directly over one of the mounds. The stone burial mound at the base of Ladd’s Mountain was dismantled, with the stones run through a rock crusher to generate gravel for road building. While the preserved Etowah Mounds are a highly visible reminder of the long history of people in the valley, there are remnants of other mounds across the county that are not visible above ground but rather are still present under the ground surface.

Currently, the repository for the state’s archaeological sites – the Georgia Archaeological Site Files housed at the University of Georgia – lists 19 American Indian mound and earthwork sites in Bartow County. Excluding the 10 mound sites recorded by the Smithsonian that archaeologists have since not been able to relocate on the ground, there are nine mound sites in the county with a known location. We know that the preservation and protection of these places is an important component of honoring an area’s heritage and history, of passing knowledge of the past to the younger generations, of keeping history alive. New technologies, such as ground penetrating radar and magnetometer, now provide archaeologists with powerful tools that can help detect subsurface deposits such as mound and earthworks, and one can only imagine what yet-to-be-developed technology will allow us to identify and learn about these places in the future.  This is all the more reason to preserve and protect the remaining portions of mound and earthwork sites in Bartow County, and to be proactive in conducting archaeological studies prior to land development, for one never knows what bit of history may be hidden beneath our feet.

Conclusion

Although nearly 30 mounds and earthworks once defined the landscape now known as Bartow County, very few of the mounds documented within the county are still visible today. While they may not be visible on the surface, some portions of them may remain below the ground surface, which archaeological investigation can help determine. Far after their active life, these mounds stood as testament to a center of cultural development and interaction, a pilgrimage destination for over 1500 years for American Indians from near and far as they created and built these extraordinary sites.  Due to their historical significance at local, regional, and even national levels, these American Indian sites not only deserve attention, but deserve additional documentation, preservation, and protection.  As more land gets developed within the county, Bartow should promote this American Indian heritage and preserve what remains of these sites to help keep this unique legacy alive so that it can be enjoyed by future generations.

References Cited:


Thomas, Cyrus
 1891   Catalogue of Prehistoric Works East of the Rocky Mountains. Bureau of Ethnology Bulletin 12:1-246. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D.C.

 1894   Report on the Mound Explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology. Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1890-1891. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D.C.


Wauchope, Robert L.
 1966   Archaeological Survey of Northern Georgia. Society for American Archaeology, Memoir 21. University of Utah Printing Service, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Acknowledgements:

Thanks to David Archer, Sam Graham and Jim Langford for their in put.

About the authors:

Scot Keith is a Senior Archaeologist with Southern Research, Historic Preservation Consultants. He is a respected and innovative scientist specializing in Woodland period peoples of the Southeast and Midwestern regions of the United States and collaborates frequently with the Etowah Valley Historical Society.

Joe Head is Vice President of the Etowah Valley Historical Society and retired Dean of Enrollment Services at Kennesaw State University. He lectures, researches and writes frequently about Bartow County history.

____________________________

In the interest of learning more about the various mounds that were constructed in Bartow County, the EVHS would like to ask if you may have any old family photos that show mounds, or perhaps artifact collections from mound sites that could be used to determine the age and affiliation of mound sites.

4 Way Lunch Memories

Fond high school memories of a local diner enjoyed by generations

By Philip D. Bridges

Located on East Main and Gilmer Street

To wit, 

I can remember eating at the 4-Way after Cartersville High School football games probably around 1968 or so. If I was lucky enough to find an unattended stool, I would sit down and take in the surroundings. My eyes would always drift to the hamburger meat stacked in pyramid fashion in round balls on a platter over the grill. Each round ball of hamburger was soon to be grabbed from the stack and thrown on the grill by the cook to be flattened out by a spatula for the next hamburger order. The hamburger meat would sit out on that platter perhaps for hours in the open air until all orders were filled. Sometimes, I might order a chili dog. Mr Garrison would place several naked hotdogs in the bun onto his arm/wrist and would then scoop up a ladle of chili while holding his arm over the large pot of chili so that the excess chili would return to the pot for use on the next order! Someone once asked Mr Garrison if he could add lettuce and tomato to his hamburger order to which Mr Garrison replied ‘this ain’t no salad bar’! Those patrons that finished eating learned very quickly that no loitering was allowed and were asked to pay and hit the road. One of my friends once requested a bowl of beef stew. When the order was ready, the cook delivered the stew with one hand filled to the brim with the cook’s thumb hanging over the bowl in the stew! There was nothing better than thumb-flavored stew! I don’t recall anyone ever getting sick after a meal at 4-Way. While sitting on a stool at 4-Way with a friend one day, I wondered how many coats of paint might be on the inside wall at the 4-Way. My friend suggested that each coat of paint helped to hold the building up and preserve a landmark! After a fire at the 4-Way caused extensive damage back in the 1990s, the owner decided to repair the damage and add a new coat of paint so that the crooked roof line could be maintained and in order to avoid compliance with the existing building code requirements. 

Jessica Hopkins Daves

Jessica Daves – Cartersville’s Historic Fashionista

Jessica Hopkins Daves
Jessica Daves, editor of Vogue Magazine, 1946-1962

Miss Jessica Hopkins Daves Parker (1894-1974) established an outstanding career as Editor-in-chief of the well-respected international publication Vogue Magazine. Miss Daves taught school in Cartersville (with 1 year in Hawkinsville) from 1911-1920. Then in 1921 at age 27 she made a bold move to New York City to start her career as a copywriter in the fashion industry. 

After several years as advertising and marketing editor in a number of different New York department stores, she gained recognition among the fashion publications society. The then editor enticed Jessica to join the Vogue staff in the marketing department. She served in increasingly responsible positions until she became editor of Vogue (U.S.) from 1946-62 .  Her contributions to the magazine introduced the readers to more content on fashion, home, and entertaining.  Her unique abilities to spot talented photographers and writers are often cited as important improvements in the publication.  After she retired, she continued to work publishing three books with Conde Nest Publications.  

Miss Daves was born and educated in Cartersville, graduating from the West School in 1910 with “First Honor” (now known as valedictorian). She attended Agnes Scott College on a scholarship for just one year, then returned to Cartersville and began her 9-year teaching career.  Some of her descendants continue to live in Cartersville. She and her husband Robert Allerton Parker are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery. For more information read the full article.

The Abandoned “Paupers Cemetery” Bartow County Poor Farm and Paupers Cemetery

By:  Sanford Chandler, Ed.D.

I received a note from Mr. Ronnie Yancey asking for my assistance.  Mr. Yancey was attempting to visit the burial site of one of his relatives in an abandoned cemetery behind Toyo Tire Manufacturing, Company.   He asked if I could assist him in gaining access to the site. 

            Making a few calls and emails to friends, I finally gained approval to visit the site.  It was through one of these calls I discovered that Carl Etheridge had completed the original Cemetery Survey in 2003.1   My next call was to Carl.   We arranged to meet and visit the Cemetery together. 

Carl and I met in the parking lot of the Hickory Log Personal Care Home.  A modern brick facility that in many ways carries on the tradition of assisting those less fortunate in our community.  

Forest Floor

Carl had not been back to the Cemetery since 2003, when the survey was completed.  By the time we arrived on the site most of the original land marks, roads into the area, and surrounding forest had changed.  It was evident that Mother Nature was taking back that which was hers.  

 I found myself pushing through brambles and briars, ducking under low hanging limbs, jumping over drainage ditches, and stepping over fallen tree trunks as we searched for the cemetery on a beautiful crisp fall day.  The sky was splattered with Cumulous clouds and the sun forced its rays through the trees and onto the forest floor. 

 Maneuvering along the lower slopes of Little Pine Log Mountain, I couldn’t help but think how this Mountain, in the not too distant past, was teeming with mining activity.  Today these industrious activities have given way to Mother Nature’s reclamation.

 The once prominent light-rail track moved load after load of mined materials from the mountain to White.   The numerous community buildings, connective roadways, and mining camps all in support of the substantial mining industry were all gone, reclaimed by nature.

 After a few minutes of orienting ourselves, Carl called out, “it’s over here!”  The pioneer era cemetery came into view.  It was located along one of the lower slopes of the mountain in a somewhat flattened slope.  It was bordered by and abandoned roadway and a pasture.  To the North was a chain link fence separating the cemetery and the mountain from a large manufacturing company.  When the cemetery came into focus I could see the depressions and fieldstone markers—they were too numerous to get a quick count.  

Unable to make a complete count of the graves, Carl pulls out his 2’ x 3’ map and said, “I found 483 graves here in 2003!”  I was shocked.  The original survey revealed the location of 166 grave sites identified by depressions and fieldstone markers and another 317 by remote sensing and probing.  This was the largest abandoned cemetery I have ever seen.   This was what was and still is called “The Paupers Cemetery.”  Individuals have referred, incorrectly, as the Poor House Cemetery, Hickory Log Cemetery, Bartow County Farm Cemetery, among other identifiers.

 The records from the Bartow County Farm or Pauper House were transcribed by Jane B. Thompson and Laurel Baty.  It is from this transcription that I began uncovering the personal stories of some of those living, dying, and laid to rest on the Farm.2                           

The Cemetery is a two acre set-aside of the original 330 acre Bartow County Farm (Farm)— the Paupers or Poor Farm by most all references and I will use the term Farm to describe the institution herein. 

 The Farm itself is a pre-welfare institution.  These institutions were literally spread across the nation and were the conduit whereby the communities, cities, and counties assisted those unable to care for themselves.   Bartow was no exception.  The Farm provided support and assistance to widows, orphans, single mothers and children, the aged, those who were mentally ill, and those with highly contagious diseases. It was not until the early 1930s that the nation, as a whole, began to discover the substantial need for a national system to care for these individuals.  Senator Paul Douglas, seemingly convinced of the need stated, “The impact of all these forces increasingly convinced the majority of the American people that individuals could not by themselves provide adequately for their old age(d) and that some form of greater security should be provided by Society.”

Disease was prominent in these institutions during the19th and early 20th Centuries.  The Farm records reveal numerous payments to physicians and others for the care of individuals housed there.

Small Pox had a dramatic effect on the individuals, the economy, and families of the area.7  An article written by Matthew Gramling gives a precursor of what Bartow County would face in just a few short years dealing with Small Pox.

Those contracting the deadly Small Pox among other diseases were sent to the Farm or to the Pest House2,3 at Stilesboro.  Records reveal that in order to treat, house, and care for these individuals it became a substantial expense.  It is thought that many of the unidentified souls interred in the Paupers Cemetery were victims of Small Pox or other contagious infections.              

The Farm itself was established in the1860s and originally consisted of “a number of stark wooden frame row houses that were built side by side.”  “A nearby open cut ore mine was also named the Pauper Mine.  Mineral rights…were reserved by several ore companies.” 4 The Farm also included a building serving as a church.

The connection between the Farm and the Pest House or Pest Hospital in Stilesboro— some 17 miles distant—is omnipresence in the Farm records.  Small Pox was prevalent between 1866 and 1871 and, in fact, the Farm recorded on “October 3, 1870, a receipt to the RRd for $18.00 for tent for use of Small Pox Hospital.”   It may be assumed that the tent was some temporary measure to assist with the overflow of patients. 

The Farm records help to measure the severity Bartow County faced with this horrible disease.  The Farm provided medical services, courier, supplies, guards, and nursing to the Pest House and the records indicate that the Farm took the financial lead.  Although the Farm was not immune to having cases within its own confines, most seem to have been transferred to the Pest House from the Farm.  Several cases were found in Farm records and medical services that were required to treat the disease.

 Those individuals unfortunate enough require the assistance of the Farm ranged in age from 7 months to 91 years.  These individuals were called inmates on the Farm and throughout the records are referred to as such.  The Farm itself is recorded as being called the Pauper or  Poor Farm.  The inmates’ average age was 46.6 years and in 1872 it cost approximately $92.00 per year to care for each inmate.   Whites, blacks, women, men, and children, at some point, occupied space on the Farm.  Those who could work did so on the farm. Being destitute played no favorites and individuals from all ages and backgrounds came to the Farm for assistance. 

Death came in many forms on the Farm.  Pneumonia is recorded on at least one death certificates and Robert Campbell died from a snake bite. His obituary reads:

 “We are informed by Mr. W.J. Collins, keeper of the pauper farm, that Robert Campbell, an aged inmate of the Bartow poor house, was bitten by a rattlesnake Monday afternoon about four o’clock.  After lingering in the greatest agony he died at 12 o’clock on the same night.”  The snake was about four feet long and had eleven rattles.”Robert was interred in the Paupers Cemetery.6

 At least one baby was delivered on the Farm and quite possibly more but the records simply don’t record but one such incident.  The baby was delivered during the month of February 1872.  The receipt reads.  “To Mrs. M. Ford for 1 case of midwifery—5.00.”  There is no evidence that the child was conceived on the Farm but it is possible as some families were housed there as well as individuals.  Or, she may have come to the Farm for assistance in delivery which in all probability was the case. 

 At least three (3) mothers were left with the difficult decision as to what they were to do with their babies and small children.  Some of the more fortunate were able to turn to their relatives while others found the Farm as a respite.  At least three are documented as giving away their children.2 

 One mother gave up her daughter to J.D. Enlow.  The farm records state, “Mother, who is inmate at Pauper Farm consents that her daughter, Martha Brown, should be bound to J.D. Enlow until she is 21.”  There is no record of the age of Martha Brown. 

Another mother, Jane Barnes, “authorizes me to say that she is willing for her child to be bound to Martha Jones.” 

 The Cofer family which consisted of a husband, wife, and two children gives notice to “Eveline Cofer, next of kin” but fell short of revealing what might have befell the family.  However, by July 1, 1878, the records show that “Lindsey Johnson has applied to have Matthew Cofer a minor in the Pauper farm of said county and about eight years of age bound to him in terms of the statue.”

 The hardships of the inmates prior to, during, or following their tenure on the Farm was taken with them to their graves.  Life stories, diaries, or other written documents have escaped recording.  We will forever wonder about their fates, suffering, and the feelings they must have held as inmates.  In many cases these individuals were branded as morally unfit by the communities, outcasts if you will.  This is not to say that many didn’t overcome their situations but we simply do not have a record of this.

 The Cemetery Records6 of the Pauper’s Cemetery and actual Death Certificates reveal short stories of how some of the inmates lived and died.  All were interred in the Paupers Cemetery.

  1.  May Brinkley, a single white female, age 18.  She was attended by H.B. Bradford, M.D. from June 22, 1921 through July 22, 1921.  The official death certificate stated that she died at 1:00 PM July 22, 1921 from “Syphilis and Pellagra.”  Pellagra was a Niacin deficiency which leads to horrible, debating skin symptoms.  The cause of the disease was most evident when the diet consisted of Corn Meal, Molasses, and lesser desirable cuts of meat.  Ms. Brinkley has no record of a birth date or other family members, nor why she was on the Farm.
  2.  Albert Absolan Nation, a single white male, age 63 was attended by H.B. Bradford, M.D.  He was born in 1856 to Jesse and Lucretia Johnson Nation who were living in Murray County, Georgia.  He was under the care of Dr. Bradford from January 5, 1920-January 18, 1920.  He died on January 21, 1920 of “Broncho-Pneumonia, Pleurisy Right Side.”
  3.  Pamelia W Crosson (Crossen), a single white female, age 72.  She was attended by H.B. Bradford, M.D. on March 25, 1921.  She passed away at 1:00 AM on March 26, 1921.  The cause of death as reported by Dr. Bradford was,  “Burn of anterior and posterior of arms, legs & body of 2nd degree.”  Ms. Crosson’s brother, William, was interred in the Paupers Cemetery in September 14, 1920.  He was 77 years old.  Several of Ms. Crosson’s family members were interred in cemeteries in Coffee County.  Little more is known as to why she and her brother were on the Farm.

The Paupers Cemetery is home to some 483 graves.  We simply do not know the actual number of individuals that passed through the Farm or gained some type of short term assistance.  Some went on to be successful in their own right while others are interred on the slope of Little Pine Log Mountain. 

Their stark graves marked by fieldstone or a simple depression in the ground is all the record we have of them. Hopefully, someday someone will uncover more information regarding these individuals so they can be named and recognized as our ancestors with the humanity and dignity they deserve. 

Appendix A – Deaths and Burials

Find-a-Grave list five (5) memorials in the Paupers Cemetery, and two (2) in the Pest House Cemetery.6 The individuals listed on this site are:

Paupers Cemetery (AKA Bartow Poor Farm Cemetery)

Name Birth DateDeath DateBurial
Brinkley, May Unknown 22 July 1921   Paupers
Campbell, RobertUnknown17 August 1878 Paupers
Crossen, Pamelia W1848 26 March 1921Paupers
Crossen, William Thoma16 February 184314 September 1920 Paupers
Nation, Albert Absolam185621 January 1920 Paupers

Pest House Cemetery

Name        Birth Date     Death Date  Burial
Ash, Maring An Stroup15 August 1829 7 July 1863 Pest House
Knight, Joshua179410 May 1849 Pest House

Paupers Cemetery (AKA Bartow Poor Farm Cemetery)

Note:  These individuals were obtained from the Bartow County Farm Records by the Author.  Corroborating evidence is not presented.  The two sources of the following information was taken from the Farm records or from obituaries found in newspapers. 

18 January 1872 Name11 December 1872 NameBirth DateDeath DateBurial
Emerson,   Unknown5 November 1867   Paupers
Hammond,  UnknownDecember 1868   Paupers
Mitchell, Ben    Unknown    8 June 1870 Paupers
Howell,Unknown    22 July 1871   Paupers
Freedman, Unknown      29 October 1872Paupers
Gibson, L.      Unknown21(29) October 1872 Paupers
Goodson, MathewUnknown11 December 1872 Paupers
Hazel, WmUnknown 18 January 1872 Paupers
Wilson, Baby       Unknown30 September 1872Paupers
Hill, M.T.     Unknown 2 September 1873       Paupers
Campbell, Robert    Unknown22 August 1878    Paupers
Felton, LucyUnknown16 (14) September 1880Paupers
Donald, JohnnieUnknown  6 September 1888Paupers
Doyle,  Unknown    7 November 1889  Paupers

Appendix B – Transcribed Farm Records

 Graves were dug, coffins made, bodies shrouded, and burials were recorded in the Farm Records.  The records do not always coincide with the death of individual on the Farm but all these records were paid through Bartow County Farm resources and all are assumed to be for individuals residing at the Farm.  The full extent of the deaths and burials may never be known. 

November 5, 1867 – Funeral Expenses, $10.00. Last name unclear.  This Emerson.
March 2, 1869 – Receipt to I.O. McDaniel & T.C. Moore Furnishing Hammond & Family paupers House, wood, provisions and attendance—$6.00; ?? & other burial expenses Hammond—$3.00; Coffin-3.00; December 1868.
June 8, 1870 –  Pay to J.C. Roper for expenses of burying Ben Mitchell, Pauper.
July 1870 – To J.C. Roper.  Digging grave for Ben Mitchell Pauper, $2.50; Shrouding for the same, $5.00; making coffin for the same, $5.00; burying, $2.50.
December 3, 1870 – Receipt To J.L. Dysart” for making one coffin.
January 4, 1871 – Pay to Samuel Pitts for expenses burying Pauper Child of Lucy Rodgers.
July 22, 1871 – Receipt to W.C. Grasham to nursing Howell a Pauper from Saturday until Wednesday, 5 days a 2$ pr day—$10.00; to furnishing coffin for same $6.00; to digging grave and burrying-2.50; killed near Stilesboro on 29th April 1871.
January 18, 1872 – Order to pay Cartersville Car Factory a& B.A. $10.00 for “one coffin & box for Wm Hazel, Pauper.
September 30, 1872 – Pay to Anthony Smith for materials and making coffin for body of  child of Mary Wilson.
November 8, 1872 – Receipt to J.B Britton for making a coffin (Pine Log).
Oct 29, 1872 – Pay to Wm. Goldsmith for one coffin for Freedman Pauper on Sept 10, 1872.
October 29, 1872 – Pay to Wm. Gouldsmith for one orrin for L. Gibson, Pauper on Oct 21, 1872.
December 11, 1872 – Pay to Joseph Davis to defray funeral expense for Mathew Goodson, Pauper.
May 6, 1873 – Pay to McDonald & Branton for burial of Pauper.
May 6, 1873 – Pay to Gilbert & Baxter, agts. for graves for Pauper farm.
May 6, 1873 – Pay to Wm. Goldsmith for coffins for Paupers.
September 2, 1873 – Pay to A. Robin for coffin and to Wyley Harbin for burial  expenses for M.T. Hill, Pauper.
October 7, 1873 – Pay to Wn. Goldsmith for coffins for Paupers.
September 16, 1880, p2, Cartersville Express Newspaper, transcribed by Laurel Baty. Mr. W.J. Collins,                                     superintendent of the pauper farm informs us that one of the paupers, Lucy Felton (col) died Tuesday morning.  He also says the general health of the paupers is good and reports the farm in good condition.  There are now sixteen paupers at the farm.”

NOTE:  The Farm records reveal that 116 individuals had some type of documentation during the tenure of the Bartow County Farm.  We simple do not know the full extent of those who lived, were housed there, or died there.

For more information about the former Bartow County Poor Farm and Hickory Log School click here.

Sources:

  1. Carlton G. Etheridge, Investigative Survey Report, County Farm Cemetery, 9Br1048, Circa 1868-1945, October 2003.
  2. Transcribed and Compiled by Jane B. Thompson & Laurel Baty, Bartow County USGenWeb Project, Pauper Farm Records, 2007. https//gabartow.org/Pauper/pauper/Records.shtml
  3. Donna Coffee, Etowah Valley Pilgrimage, Blogging in a time of Pestilence, April 2, 2020. 
  4. Joe F. Head, EVHS VP & Dr. Michelle Haney (Berry College), Etowah Valley Historical Society, Hickory Log School (Former County Poor Farm Property Legacy. Research Courtesy of the Etowah Valley Historical Society.
  5. Transcribed by Laurel Baty, The Free Press, Cartersville, Georgia, August 22, 1878, p 3.
  6. www.findagrave.com, Paupers Cemetery, Bartow County, Georgia.
  7. Matthew Gramling, A Public Health Crisis in Antebellum Bartow County, Etowah Valley Historical Society, 2020.       

The Dark Era of Bartow’s Chain Gang Camps

By: Joe F. Head

Georgia’s chain gang system operated for almost 100 years and in certain instances concealed ghastly conditions that eventually earned it an infamous reputation for hotspots of dark brutality. Unfortunately, Bartow County equally caught high profile attention regarding cruel convict treatment. Periodically, Bartow camps became the epicenter of several state investigations that were featured in a national magazine, courts and major newspapers.

Following the Civil War southern states were faced with widespread destruction including the collapse of the penal system. Georgia was in shambles in the wake of war and particularly the loss of penal facilities, jails and prisons at local and state levels.

Bartow Chain Gang building Old Dixie Highway, 293

As southern states began to dig out of ruin there was little infrastructure left to manage incarcerations. In the Journal of the Georgia Senate Minutes on November 1866 page 24 – 27 a lengthy description appears describing the poor condition of the war ridden state penitentiary and great frustration in how to deal with prisoners. As a solution the penal system turned to a convict chain gang model that did not require brick and mortar facilities. This system operated on a field-based camp method and offered immediate advantages on several levels. It reduced the need to maintain prisoners and delayed the need to fund and build penitentiaries. Further it farmed out prisoners to supervised hard labor camp sites that provided imprisonment, discipline, food and shelter. Furthermore, it served as a divisive replacement for lost slave labor under the “colors of state law.” Typically, discipline was conducted with a strap and more severe methods were used for greater offenses.  Each camp had an appointed “whipping boss” who carried out punishments. One report listed 112 registered whipping bosses statewide. The state maintained an annual whipping roster by name of prisoner that was filed with the state.

Joseph Brown, Georgia’s former Civil War Governor was one of the first to take advantage of the Convict Lease System. He contracted for 300 convicts and struck a deal with the state to rebuild the war damaged railroad system and, in doing so, made a fortune.

In 2006 the author of this research received correspondence from William A. Crump, Ph.D, Georgia State University Criminal Justice Instructor and former Assistant Commissioner of Operations, Georgia Department of Corrections. He addressed the origin of the convict lease system and the convict camp north of White in a topic entitled, Who Changed the Landscape of Bartow County Around White, Georgia.

His brief mentions that the convict lease system began in 1868 when the Georgia Military Provisional Governor, General H. Ruger implemented a law which permitted the farming out of the Georgia Penitentiary. On May 11, 1868 he leased 100 Negroes to William A. Fort of Rome to work in railroad construction, thus beginning the institution.

Soon following the launch of the convict lease system conditions became ill managed, notorious and corrupted. It was designed to relieve the state from shouldering the expense of convict upkeep with a deliberate revenue intent. The state invited bids from private interests to lease chain gangs for hard labor in mines, logging, railroad construction, sawmills, turpentine and other industries. As a side bar, many leases were let to third party private contractors who then managed the gangs for a client such as a mining company. These arrangements became breeding grounds for neglect, mismanagement, inhumane treatment, exploitation, disease and brutality. The chain gang lease system became a convenient revenue for the state, means to “legally press the underprivileged into bondage as well as a discreet tool to continue racial bias and a method to fuel cheap labor.” Records indicated that in most camps black convicts were largely the greater percentage of the population. However, some camps were more segregated.

The chain gang model approved camps at the state or county level for public works and private lease. However, as an unexpected outcome a third level of camps surfaced called “Wild Cat Camps.” These were largely unauthorized chain gangs that were assembled in counties from inappropriate conscriptions drawn from local jails. Unfortunate victims were shanghaied by various landowners or industries. Fines, bails and bribes would be paid by discreet individuals who removed jailed prisoners in chains to work for the period of their confinement. However, it was rare for the prisoners to be released on time or they fell to worse fates.  These gangs were unregulated, ruthless and became dark operations that were outside the color of law. State officials struggled with these camps and attempted on many occasions to disband their existence.

Understanding the Chain Gang history in Bartow County is rather elusive and sketchy as camp identities were confusing. Basically, camps came and went over the years and were operated under nicknames or simply assigned a number. It was often difficult to determine if they were county, state, leased or wildcat operations. Camps were either mobile or stationary depending on the work and often their identity was determined by their duty.

Bartow County entrepreneurs were quick to take advantage of the lease system establishing a long history of operating a variety of chain gangs throughout the county. Primarily these early chain gangs replaced former slave labor in the construction of laying track, building roads, mining, timber and agriculture toil. Prior to the Civil War it was not unusual for local slave owners to lease their slaves to businesses in return for contract fees.  Records found in this research reflect the presence of penal or incarcerated chain gangs operating from the early 1870’s through the early 1940’s. 

Accounts discovered in this study reveal that Bartow had at least fifteen or more known residential chain gang camps and many other temporary or mobile camps that existed over seven decades. According to census reports most camp populations ranged from about 15 convicts to over 100 in each location. Camps were classified as either private lease for business or state/county operations for public projects. It was not determined in this study if Bartow had unauthorized wild cat camps.  After the state lease system for private business interests was abolished in 1908, camps continued, but only as county and state operations. It was not unusual to see county or state chain gang road crews through the 1960’s.

The camps identified in this research were primarily stationary or residential camps as found in the US Census records, Grand Jury reports and newspaper articles.

Hall Station Road Camp                         (1870’s, Between Kingston and Adairsville on Hall Station Road)
Cartersville & Van Wert RR Camp          (1870’s, West of Cartersville adjacent to Hwy 113 to Taylorsville)
Rogers Station Camp       (1870’s, Proximity of Iron Belt Road and Cassville Road, 100+ convicts)
Bartow Iron Works  Camp                   (1875, Lake Point Station area 50 to 150 prisoners)
Sugar Hill Camp(s)          (1880 -1908, NE Bartow County east of 411 north of White – 50 to 124 prisoners)*
Camp Bartow                                 (1900, Misdemeanor at Sugar Hill)*
Chumler Hill Mining Camp     (1901, 24 prisoners off highway 20)
Pine Log Camp   (1900, Area camps and possibly including Sugar Hill Camps 119 prisoners)*
Numbered County Camps   (1900, Area camps and possibly including Sugar Hill Camps 119 prisoners)*
Cartersville City Camp #2   (1910, Lee Street and West Cherokee/Market Street proximity, 20 convicts)
Taylorsville  (1910, Taylorsville, 8 convicts)
Kingston Camp          (1906, Quartered in old school)
Pauper Farm (1912, North of White on Hwy 411, 9 inmates)
Wolf Pen(1912, 35 inmates)
Cross Roads Camp/ “Whites” GA   (1918, Camps 1 & 2 were merged and located to Adairsville, 27 inmates)
Chain Gang Hill Camp(1940’s West of Ingles on Hwy 113 past ACE Hardware at top of hill, 34 – 96 convicts)
*Sugar Hill was simultaneously the home to several misdemeanor and felony convict camps over 3 decades.
 

According to the 1900 US Census the largest number of convicts was consistently centered in the Bartow convict camp around Pine Log District with 119 prisoners which may have included the Sugar Hill Mining Camp. Other camps recorded in the 1900 census ranged between 10 and 50 prisoners. Camps were both fixed locations with long term quarters and rolling camps using tents, wagons and camping equipment to move as the job progressed such as building roads or laying rails. Camps were appointed a warden, a “Boss or Captain and Whipping Boss”. Census records prior to 1910 most often list convict duties as cutting cord wood or mining. Great quantities of wood were necessary for making charcoal and firing the iron furnaces in the area.

As the lease system grew and chain gangs sprang up, so too did complaints and protests around the state emerge to abolish the practice. Bartow took a leading role in protesting the chain gang system. Among local leading voices were Bartow’s own Rebecca Felton, former Confederate General William Wofford, former Sam Jones Methodist Church Pastor General C. A. Evans and Judge Claude Pittman all wishing to extinguish the horrible institution called “Georgia’s Peculiar System”. General Evans became the state Prison Commissioner and testified at the 1908 Sugar Hill hearing that the lease system is radically wrong and needed reform.

On balance, the newspapers found in this research carried both sensational stories of mismanagement, filth and cruelty as well as positive reports on how well camps were conducted. The local papers often featured articles on road repairs and were complimentary of the quality of work. Frequently Grand Jury site visits determined acceptable conditions and satisfied prisoners, but also would cite areas for needed improvements. Chain gangs operated in a variety of capacities throughout the county in known and little-known locations. They were classified as County Misdemeanor camps or State Felony camps. Generally, reports included the number of prisoners, health, diet, sanitation, tools, number of sick or injured, escapes, budget, number of caged transport wagons (metal or wood), work wagons, livestock, road scrapers, negros vs white, male and female convicts and occasionally what work was being accomplished.  Jury reports too often omitted camp identity regarding names, number or location which made it very difficult to understand sites.  On several occasions reports would lean toward the abolishment of the chain gangs. However, the frequency and litany of reported abuses, hearings, deaths, whippings and investigations was painfully obvious.

During the February 1897 Grand Jury session, a full report was made of the Bartow Chain Gang Camp inspection. Matters were found to be in good order. However, the jury requested that a number of other bridge and road repairs be made and then asked the county to abolish the chain gang. In 1911 the Bartow Board of Commissioners voted to consolidate all the county chain gangs and to put them under one warden. Mr. H. K. Land was nominated and approved. However, no details were listed regarding the number or identity of camps.

The earliest documentation of chain gangs operating in Bartow County was in 1870 on the Cartersville Van Wert Railroad construction west of Cartersville and on the Hall Station Road. Newspaper articles referenced that smallpox had broken out in the Hall Station camp and doctors were dispatched to treat the prisoners.

The Cartersville and Van Wert (C&VW) Railroad was chartered in 1866 and 14 miles of track was completed by 1871, between Cartersville and Taylorsville using 100 convicts that had been leased from the state. (It is not certain if this was a rolling or fixed camp.) The railroad was plagued by shady management, unmet payrolls and reorganizations. As work progressed westward chain gang records appeared more in the Cedartown vicinity. As a result of corruption, by 1882 the road name had been changed to the Cherokee RR, followed by the East – West RR and now the remaining railroad bed is used to supply Plant Bowen (Georgia Power) with coal.

A second camp of 27 prisoners was established in 1919 on the Hall Station Road. The Grand Jury reported it was an ideal location and its operation was found in fine order. Surprisingly, the Jury stated it was too well equipped, over staffed, over stocked with farm animals, did not need motor trucks and recommended implements and some men be reallocated to other camps.

A Grand Jury report was made in August 1898 of the Bartow Chain Gang accounting for inventory and men. Items included 10 mules, 5 wagons, 3 road scrapers, harnesses and tools.

The force of men were 10 Negros and 8 white who were interviewed and found to be in good health and felt they were well treated. However, the tents were worn out and badly leaking.

Perhaps the three most notorious camps that operated in Bartow were the Bartow Iron Works Convict Camp near Emerson, Sugar Hill Camp near Pine Log Mountain followed closely by the 1942 Chain Gang Hill Camp west of Cartersville.

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Sugar Hill Convict Camp

The Sugar Hill Convict Camp(s) were likely the most notorious operation in Bartow County. Located in north Bartow County northeast of White off East Valley Road in the upper Stamp Creek area at the base of Pine Log Mountain. It served an iron ore mining community and railroad operation that depended heavily on convict labor. This camp(s) operated from 1878 through 1909 when the Convict Lease System was abolished.

According to Dr. Crump’s correspondence, mentioned prior, there were eighteen different camps in Georgia in 1893. Four of these camps were in Dade County under one supervision and one camp of 51 convicts at camp Bartow (Sugar Hill). He refers to this location as nine miles north of Cartersville on the Rogers Railroad. These convicts were under Penitentiary #1, and lease control of the Dade Coal Company engaged in mining iron ore. Over time, as reports were submitted the number of convicts varied and companies in charge changed from Dade Coal to Georgia Mining and Manufacturing Company. An additional mention cites that I. B. RR. (Iron Belt RR Company) also had 23 convicts in 1899. His conclusion points to the convict lease labor system and mining companies as being key elements in who changed the Sugar Hill landscape around White, Georgia.

If by no other measure Sugar Hill was easily the most reported county camp in local and state newspapers regarding abuse and deaths. The August 1900 Grand Jury reported a list of mis-handlings at both the felony and misdemeanor camps that included self-inflicted wounds, severed toes, broken limbs, deaths, assaults, illnesses and crippling. They uncovered evidence of ill treatment, verbal abuse and a violation of no posted signage regarding rules and regulations for convict treatment. A scandal surfaced about paying wardens and guards under the table additional pay, supplements or bonuses beyond approved salaries.

According to newspaper articles and reported Grand Jury inspections Sugar Hill had both State and County camps in operation at this site. An inspection conducted July 24, 1902 found there were 84 state convicts and 53 county convicts working there. The same report included 48 convicts were at the Chumley Hill Mine. One prisoner was so badly injured that the attending physician recommended he be pardoned as he was paralyzed. On February 6, 1908 another inspection reported there were 76 state prisoners and 27 county prisoners at Sugar Hill. These reports validate that multiple camps operated simultaneously at Sugar Hill over a 30-year period.

The camp was hard labor, dangerous and a brutal private lease enterprise. Convicts were often poorly treated and inhumanely punished. Prisoners were frequently injured or killed in mining and rail accidents. Oral history supports a local legend of “Hangman’s Mountain” that was used as a sentence for violent or disobedient convicts who rebelled or committed aggression against guards or other prisoners. It was rumored that convicts would be taken to the mountain to either climb the steep cliff as punishment or simply to never return.

Prisoners complained of being ordered to perform work under hazardous conditions that put their lives at risk. Examples included being forced to work under heavy loading equipment, explosion zones, unstable mining cuts and overloaded train cars.

Cruel and lethal whippings would occur that often resulted in convict deaths. A charge of manslaughter was filed in 1900 against a Mr. Tomlinson for the whipping death of Mr. George Bankston. According to the investigation Bankston refused to work. A physician declared he was fit to work and following his refusal Mr. Tomlinson struck him with the strap 7 times. The next day he continued to refuse to work, and Tomlinson gave him 30 lashes and then 60 lashes on the third day.  Mr. Tomlinson ceased lashing him, however the convict was found dead on the fourth day. The incident escalated into a full investigation resulting in an involuntary manslaughter charge. The commission eventually exonerated Tomlinson.  

According to the August 13, 1905 Augusta Chronicle Deputy Warden J. W. Tierce at the Sugar Hill Camp was charged with the whipping death of a convict (Virgil Lidelle). The County Commissioner investigated the matter and heard statements from Joel Hurt owner, J. W. Tierce defendant and attorney Paul Akin, but to no satisfaction. The hearing resulted in the dismissal of Tierce and appointment of Mr. J. A. Carson as the new Warden.  A Grand Jury investigation was ordered and eventually Tierce was acquitted.

It was not uncommon at Sugar Hill to witness fights among convicts and guards or guards provoking altercations. In some cases, guards would order convicts to assault or allegedly kill another convict. On one occasion an unusually large negro convict sentenced for five murders refused to come out of a mining cut and declared he would kill anyone who came in after him. A smaller convict volunteered to bring him out. Both were armed with picks. The larger convict swung his pick and missed, but the smaller convict’s pick swing caught his opponent in the cheek penetrating through the jaw and neck proving a fatal blow. The large convict was made to stand up where he was further beaten and chained to a tree where he died shortly after.

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Frequent escapes and accidents were typical at this camp. A fourteen year-old boy was killed in a rock crusher accident, another convict was crushed under the wheels of a locomotive, another convict had his legs severed by a train car and a trestle collapsed injuring several men when the ore cars tumbled down the bank. In February of 1900 five negros overpowered two guards and gained freedom with only one being recovered. An August 9, 1900 Grand Jury report printed in the American Courant cited numerous incidents regarding accidents and negligence. It was noted that tram ore cars had crushed feet and severed toes to an alarming rate, diet was absent from meat, guards were found to be abusive, profane and relied on the whip too often. In 1906, the Grand Jury inspected the work areas and cited unsafe conditions regarding loose rocks, unstable dirt banks and rest areas too close to dangerous cuts.

In 1905 a controversy surfaced around Bartow County Commissioner Henderson as he was questioned about the legality of holding both the post of Whipping Boss at Sugar Hill and that of County Commissioner. While no one seemed to question his honesty or good faith many doubted his propriety or good taste of holding both positions posing a conflict of interest. As a result, he resigned as Whipping Boss and all parties were satisfied.

In 1905 a Grand Jury visit was made to the Sugar Hill Camp and it was reported there were 49 negro prisoners, 20 whites, two negro women and one white woman. It was found the convicts were well fed, well clothed and well housed. It was observed that officers treated the convicts humanely along with the sick and feeble. Convict ages ranged from 14 to 52 years old.

Bartow Iron Works Convict Camp

The Bartow Convict Camp was a privately leased unit under the joint authority of Mr. Harris and Mr. Stegall. They contracted with the Tennessee Coal and Mining Company in 1875 to provide labor at the Bartow Iron Works.

Among Dr. Crump’s correspondence cited earlier he mentions that a lease was granted to J. T. and W. D. on April 1, 1874 for Bartow Iron Ore for 180 convicts at $11.00 per capita per annum. Later the force was expanded to 235. Shortly after they subdivided the camp among several counties to make brick, raising iron ore and working on the Elberton Air-Line Railroad.

The Bartow Iron Works was primarily an iron ore mining community about one mile south of Emerson that is now the Lake Point Sports campus. It was a treacherous place as a result of frequent train accidents, assaults and mining mishaps, but also became a hotbed of convict injuries, escapes, mistreatment, health issues and deaths.

An early incident was a conflict between William Moore the Convict Manager of the Iron Works when he reprimanded a white one-legged convict. The convict cursed Moore for the action and Moore slapped the convict resulting in the convict landing a fatal stab to Moore’s side.

Under the Harris and Stegall 1875 lease the Bartow Iron Works camp consisted of about 50 prisoners who were shackled, chained and housed in a group of wooden shanties. Atrocities there reached extreme levels regarding inhumane treatment, hygiene and sickness. Complaints forced the Governor to investigate the camp.

Governor J. M. Smith sent Dr. V. A. Taliaferro to the camp on two occasions to inspect the conditions. On his first visit he arrived late in the day to observe dinner and saw a disgusting meal service that was void of proper cleanliness. He was shocked to see the quantity and quality of food served. Convicts were seated in a circle around a pit and not permitted to wash.

Trustees carried a wooden bucket filled with fatty fried meat. Each convict held out their shovel to receive a scoop from the bucket followed by a trustee distributing bread and water. He found the meat to be poorly cooked and was informed the diet rarely changed. He learned the diet typically consisted of poor cuts of fatty pork, bacon, beef, molasses, bread, seasonal vegetables and water.

Dr. Taliaferro declared the camp cook, Sarah, to be the filthiest woman he had ever seen in his life. He inspected her and found her body unwashed and clothes to be infested with vermin.

His further inspection of the camp found frequent evidence of inhumane treatment, deaths, tales of harsh punishments, escapes, no fresh clothes and illness. Dr. Taliaferro found poor sleeping quarters filled with old straw and lice. He discovered diseases including scurvy, rheumatism, consumption, syphilis, diarrhea, frost bite, dropsy and old age disorders. His inspection uncovered little to no medical quarters nor supplies on site.

He examined their work schedule and found it to be comparable to regular mining employees and determined prisoners work no more or no less than paid laborers. However, he was not pleased with how restricted they were to water and instructed water to not be rationed nor out of reach.

At the conclusion of his second visit, Dr. Taliaferro recommended to the governor that the camp is bordering on a case of morality and should be closed. At his recommendation Governor Smith annulled the lease contract and asked Dr. Taliaferro to transfer the convicts to a location for treatment and preparation to be bid out to another leasee.

However, additional research discovered that subsequent chain gangs operated at the Bartow Iron Works. Following the disbanding of a camp in Cole City in 1896 by order of the Governor, 400 convicts were moved to new locations.  Governor Atkinson granted permission to establish a new camp in Emerson and named J. A. Bennet as whipping boss. An article on the health of state convicts in the Macon Telegraph reported that in 1901 there were 149 convicts working at the Bartow Mines. In 1908 seven convicts escaped and boarded a fast bound express train. Bloodhounds were used in tracking one convict who was apprehended in Rome, Georgia.

Roger’s Station Convict Camp

Rogers Station was a stop on the Western and Atlantic Railroad located in the vicinity of Iron Belt Road and Cassville Road north of Cartersville. This location also was the site of an iron furnace and mining operation.

In 1880 a committee was appointed by Judge McCutshen to visit the Roger’s Camp. The committee reported that there were 40 men mostly negros working along the railroad.

The men were housed in log buildings but slept in filthy bunks. Six men who claimed to be ill were chained to their bunks. Food rations were deemed sufficient allowing each man ¾ pound of meat daily, cornbread and vegetables as available. They began work at day light, took an hour and half lunch break and worked till sunset.

In July of 1880 The Macon Telegraph reported a dispute at the Roger’s Camp between two guards resulting in the shooting and killing of one of the guards. No charges were filed as the shooting was viewed as justifiable.

The Savannah Morning News reported on November 9, 1900 two convicts were killed on the Iron Belt Railroad while running from Rogers Station to the Sugar Hill mines. An officer also broke his shoulder in the accident.

Sundries (Reports,Services, Appreciations, Accidents)

In 1897 State Convict Camp Inspector Phill Byrd submitted a shocking report to the Governor regarding the state’s county misdemeanor camps (public and private). Byrd states he visited 51 chain gang camps containing 1,792 convicts. As a practice he made a rule to take each camp completely by surprise in order to discover the reality of conditions and treatment. His findings were graphic, horrific and quantitative regarding gender, personnel, race, ages, death rates, diet, methods of punishment and brutality. He reports briefly of visiting the Bartow camp and found all prisoners housed in floored tents year-round with good stoves and ample bedding.

Overall, his final report revealed harsh treatment, poor housing, poor hygiene, poor sanitation, illness and sickening smells across most camps.  He noted that county camps were more often operated slightly better than private. In most instances 90% of the convicts were black and about 1% female. Byrd concludes his report by comparing convict bondage was worse than slavery in many camps. He encourages the governor to systematize and regulate the institution and move it toward reform including finding milder punishments for lesser grades of crime.

Some news accounts reported that local ministers such as Rev. Dunbar would preach monthly to the Bartow County Camps, while other news reported that citizens would hold Sunday picnics with a wide spread of food expressing appreciation for the good work the convicts had done in their neighborhoods. In December of 1920, Rev. Dutton of the First Baptist Church held a Christmas service for the convict camp off of the Dixie Highway near Jones Mill. A sermon, meal and a present were given to each prisoner.

In 1922 the state reported it had 7,667 in the penal population. The report included prisoner illnesses, deaths and comparisons of previous prison populations.

It was not uncommon for newspapers to report varied accidents among the convict road projects. In particular there are several reports of train and dynamite injuries. One explosion was covered in detail that occurred at the Douthit Ferry Mountain near the iron bridge.

Grand Jury Reports

In February of 1912, the Grand Jury submitted an extensive report covering a vast number of topics. One of which was a visit to the convict camp (identity not listed) holding 48 prisoners and Pauper Farm stating only that bedding was in need of replacement. They accounted for mules, equipment, diet and budget. A rather poor report of the jail was included that requested repairs, clean out filth, improve garbage removal, increase daily funding to 0.50 cents per prisoner to provide for better meals and make exterior improvements to the facility.

A November 1912 report was made in the Cartersville News of an unusual site visit to several road projects on the same day to observe work at three locations. The first was in south Bartow on roads leading to Kennesaw to see a new method of using topsoil to build roadbeds that might be used in Bartow. This same day trip was followed by inspecting 9 inmates housed at the county Pauper Farm near White. Discussions centered around how well managed the farm is and the hope to move the farm nearer Cartersville. The jury continued on to Wolf Pen and then White where they found about 35 convicts doing satisfactory work on the dirt roads.

Honor System

In 1912, a forward-thinking Warden, Mr. Land supervising a county camp of 50 convicts introduced the Rule by Honor System. He abolished chains and shackles in return for good behavior and fair treatment. He established a set of rules and if any were broken the accused would have a fair trial among his fellow prisoners and punishment, if determined by his peers.  The prisoners were so grateful, not one escape has been attempted.

Dixie Highway Work (cover photo)

In 1913, the Bartow Chain Gang worked on the road between Cartersville and Emerson. The Georgia Peruvian Ochre Company provided fill dirt for the roadbed followed by a topping from the Bartow Iron Mine. The community and county were extremely pleased with the outcome.

Bartow County State Highway Chain Gang, Pinterest, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/4433299609332126/

In 1918 two reports appeared in the Bartow and Cartersville News reporting that Camps 1 & 2 (“Whites” and Adairsville) have been consolidated and moved to Adairsville. An inventory listed: twenty-seven inmates (8 white and 21 colored), twenty-four mules, one horse, eight hogs, two Nash trucks, nine two-horse wagons, three 99 steel plows, one Oliver plow, one concrete mixer, two road scrapes, one six horse scape, three drag scrapes and one gasoline engine.  At the old crossroads camp (Wofford Crossroads) the following stock remains in shacks: 10 mules, 13 hogs, 3 pigs, 7 bunks, apparel, 3 convict mobile steel cages, 7 wheel scrapes, blacksmith tools, 1 horse wagon, concrete mixer and a gasoline engine. The committee recommends that much of the surplus be sold and other items to be stored for future use.

Chain Gang Hill

Life Magazine 1943

The last residential chain gang to operate in Bartow County was known as Chain Gang Hill or Convict Hill west of Cartersville on highway 113. This camp was transferred from Dallas, Georgia and put under state management to complete the Rockmart Road project (Hwy 113). In the March 12, 1941 Tribune News Warden Ed Goble from Dallas reported that he would move the camp from Paulding consisting of 96 Negros, twelve guards and equipment. The article indicated that the Cartersville camp is one of thirteen camps maintained by the state. It operated between 1942 and 1944. Bartow County assisted in constructing the property consisting of a fenced compound of 5 or 6 wooden buildings composing prisoner quarters, commissary, separate mess halls for guards and prisoners, office, watch tower, supply shed, guard and Captain quarters. Much of the construction labor was provided by the prisoners. It held about 100 prisoners, 20 guards and arrived with a reputation of “Little Alcatraz.” There were frequent escapes, harsh treatment, rubber hose whippings and injuries. During its operation inmate population was reported to range between 47 to 100 men.

Correspondence acquired at the Georgia Archives revealed that Governor Arnall requested the Chairman of the State Board of Prisons to increase the number of convicts at several camps in order to expedite work. Cartersville was included to add ten men in this request. Documentation was found that listed the road project routes this camp was assigned to service consisted of: Highways 3, 20, 61, 113 and 140 totaling 110.3 miles of roadwork. However, its main purpose was completion of the Cartersville to Taylorsville (113 Hwy) road construction. Once the camp was established rumors of mistreatment emerged.

Georgia’s Chain Gang reputation attracted the attention of Life Magazine followed by a visit to the state including Bartow County’s Chain Gang Hill facility. While several camps in Georgia were featured, Bartow’s Camp was the leading story. Photography and interviews were witness to a harsh system that turned public opinion to demand the abolishment of the chain gang system.

On September 23, 1943, Senator Claude Pittman from Bartow county presented to the local Lions Club on “State Prisons offer a living hell to inmates.” He lectured that the senate committee on prisons had interviewed prisoners at the state highway camps and learned of harsh conditions and treatment. He lobbied strongly for its abolishment.

At the Chain Gang Hill camp, it was not uncommon for prisoners to walk off, escape or self-inflict injuries, slice tendons or break legs to avoid hard labor. In 1943, charges were made against Warden A. W. Clay for whippings, verbal and abusive treatment of camp prisoners.

The Senate Penitentiary Committee found that Clay and a seven foot, two-inch tall guard, Big Jim Bryant had falsely testified about concealing whippings and should also be wearing stripes. Following a Life magazine feature exposing harsh treatment at the Bartow camp Governor Ellis Arnall ordered that the camp be disbanded and prisoners to be transferred.

On August 31, 1943 additional documentation in the State Archives from Governor Arnall found that the Governor requested a report on the Bartow County Highway Camp investigation alleging mistreatment by Mr. A. W. Clay. This review resulted in the reinstatement of Mr. Clay without prejudice, free of fault and guilt. However, on orders of Wiley Moore, director of prison operations the camp was closed before the end of the year and prisoners were transferred to the Tattnall County prison.

Conclusion

Bartow County chain gangs were not unlike others that operated in the State of Georgia. In fact, there were news articles and state reports (good, bad and ugly) of even more ruthless and violent camps in South Georgia that used more torturous methods. It was not uncommon to find reports of sweat boxes, knotted whip straps, dogs set upon prisoners, convicts staked out in the sun, neglected infections, ankle spikes, shackles, prisoners suspended from trees or bound in contorted positions and food or water were withheld.

As a result of these abuses, Bartow County was singled out by a 1943 Life Magazine story. Additionally, a book and movie entitled, “I am a fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang” by Robert Burns was published. These exposures drew attention to the mistreatment of convicts, embarrassed state officials and helped to demand change.

In light of a harsh penal system that existed for nearly a century, Bartow can boast of the many local and influential voices that championed the cause to abolish the entire state chain gang system. We pay tribute to those local heroes who advocated for the eradication of chain gangs and are saddened for those who suffered unnecessarily in a cruel, archaic system.

To read a companion article on the history of Chain Gang Hill click here:

Acknowledgement

This article would not have reached the detail and depth of history had it not been for EVHS member, Mr. Sam Graham. His generous contributions from personal files and his additional research efforts in searching digital newspaper sources made this a much richer work.  Thank you, Sam!

Bibliography
Note: Some article titles were not available or have been altered for formatting andspace

Newspapers

Greensboro Herald, The Cartersville & Van Wert Railroad, February 2, 1870
Cartersville & Express, Story of ride on the Cherokee RR to Taylorsville, August 15, 1891
Standard & Express, Communicated (Editorial), March 28, 1872
Savannah Morning News, Penitentiary Convicts, April 11, 1874
Georgia Weekly and Telegraph, Cartersville Telegram to Rome, Bartow Iron Works, July 6, 1875
Weekly Sumter Republican Americus, A Terrible Record, May 21, 1875
The Georgia Press, Georgia Governor abrogates lease, May 18, 1875
Cartersville Express, Notice of Convicts at Cherokee Railroad & Rogers Iron Works, April 8, 1880
The Free Press, Report of the Convict Committee, July 22, 1880
Macon Telegraph, Removal of 400 Convicts, August 5, 1896
Macon Telegraph, Health of Convicts Good, August 24, 1901
Atlanta Georgian and News, Seven Convicts Escape from Gang, April 15, 1908
Augusta Chronicle, Whipped to Death, August 13, 1905
Cartersville News, Kingston, May 17, 1906
Atlanta Georgian and News, The Holder Bill Gives us Five More Years of This, July 22, 1908
Atlanta Georgian and News, A Battle With Picks, July 30, 1908
Atlanta Georgian, Seven Convicts Escape, April 15, 1908
Marietta Journal, John Neill Killed at Sugar Hill, April 16, 1903
Northeast Georgian, The Penitentiary Convicts, April 11, 1874
Macon Telegraph, Conflict Between Guards, July 30, 1880
Macon Telegraph, Bartow Abolishes Chain Gain, December 27, 1895
Macon Telegraph, Removal of 400 Convicts, August 5, 1896
Courant American, Bartow Chain Gang Abolishment Recommended, February 4. 1897
Courant American, State Convict Camp County Chain Gang, August 4, 1898
Courant American, Mr. Tomlinson, May 4, 1899
Courant American, They Over Power Guards, February 15, 1900
Courant American, From the Grand Jury, August 9, 1900
Cedartown Standard, Tomlinson All Right, August 19, 1900
Courant American, Captain Tomlinson Friends, August 23, 1900
Savannah Morning News, Convicts Killed, November 9, 1900
Courant American, Sugar Hill and Chumler Hill Inspected, January 31, 1901
Cartersville News, White Convict Killed, Loses Legs, April 4, 1901
The News Courant, Convict Camps, July 24, 1902
Marietta Journal, John Neill Killed, April 16, 1903
Cartersville News, County Chain Gang, January, 26, 1905
Augusta Chronicle, Whipped to Death, August 13, 1905
Cartersville News, Henderson Resigns, May 18, 1905
Cartersville News, Chain Gang, November 15, 1906
Cartersville News, Convict Camps, February 6, 1908
Atlanta Georgian News, Convict Charges Leg was Crushed, July 27, 1908
Athens Weekly, The Statement, Wild Cat Camps, August 7, 1908
Atlanta Georgian, A Battle with Picks, July 30, 1908
Atlanta Georgian, The Holder Bill Gives us Five Years More, July 22, 1908
Atlanta Georgian, General C. A. Evans Admits Lease System is Bad, August 7, 1908
Cartersville News, Vote to Consolidate County Convict Camps, April 13, 1911
Cartersville News, Convicts Hurt by Dynamite Blast, February 2, 1911
Clayton Tribune, Picnic Celebration Dinner, October 6, 1911
Cartersville News, Bartow Grand Jury Recommends Bonds, February 6, 1912
The True Citizen, Convicts Ruled by Honor, August 31, 1912
Cartersville News, Splendid Work on Roads by Chain Gang, March 6, 1913
Cartersville News, County Chain Gang, May 5, 1918
Bartow Tribune, Two Convict Camps Consolidated, July 25, 1918
Bartow Tribune, Grand Jury Presentments, January 30, 1919
Bartow Tribune, Convict Camp, November 4, 1920
Bartow Tribune, Christmas Service, December 23, 1920
Bartow Tribune, County Road Gangs Does Good Work, April 14, 1921
Tribune News, Convict Camp Being Occupied, March 12, 1941
Tribune News, Convict Camp Location Insures Completion, January 8, 1942
Tribune News, Prisons Offer Living Hell to Inmates, September 23, 1943
Oakland Tribune News, Georgia Reforms Prison Camps, March 26, 1944
Miami News, Georgia Reforms Hell Camps, December 12, 1944

Articles, Correspondence, Reports and Exhibits

Georgia Senate Journal Minutes, State Penitentiary and Chain Gangs, November, 1866

Letter, Dr. William Crump, Who Changed the Landscape Around White, GA, February 8, 2006
Reinhardt University, Spirits of Log Mountain Exhibit, 2021 Dr. Donna Little
Etowah Valley Historical Society, The Legend of Chain Gang Hill , Joe F. Head, December 2000
Digital Library of Georgia selected photos
Life Magazine, Georgia Prisons – State Abolishes Old Abuses, November 1, 1943, pp 93 – 99
North Georgia Journal, A Look Back at The Chain Gangs, Gordon D. Sargent, Winter 1996
Report of Special Inspector of Misdemeanor Convict Camps of Georgia, 1897, Phill G. Byrd
Letter, Ellis Arnall Governor, Clem E. Rainey, Chair of State Board of Prisons, August 12, 1943
Letter, Ellis Arnall Governor, Clem E. Rainey, Chair of State Board of Prisons, August 20, 1943
Letter, Ellis Arnall Governor, Clem E. Rainey, Chair of State Board of Prisons, September 6, 1943
Executive Order, Ellis Arnall Governor, September 10, 1943
Digital Library of Georgia, UGA

Census Records

1880, US Census, Georgia, Bartow County, 822 District, June 26, Pages 43, 70, 71, 72, 73
1900, US Census, Georgia, Bartow County, (no location) Sheets 12, 13-A, 13-B, 14, 22
1910, US Census, Georgia, Bartow County, Pine Log District, April 23-25, Sheets number 2, 5
1910, US Department of Commerce Census, page 216
1920, US Census, Georgia, Bartow County, (no location) January 3, 1920, Sheet number illegible