Tag Archives: African-Americans in North Georgia

Euharlee Creek Covered Bridge, 1886, Bartow County

This Town Lattice covered bridge, the only one remaining in Bartow County, was built on Euharlee Creek in 1886 by Washington W. King. King was the son of former slave and master architect and bridge builder Horace King.

The historical marker erected in 2000 by the Georgia Historical Society and the Federal Highway Administration notes, in part: In 1886 the county contracted with Washington W. King…and Jonathan H. Burke for the construction of this 138-foot bridge…This bridge replaced several previous structures, the last having been built two years prior.

The bridge remained in use until the completion of a modern bridge circa 1980. Much of the material used to build the massive Plant Bowen nearby was hauled over this historic bridge.

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Filed under --BARTOW COUNTY GA--, Euharlee GA

Old Brick Mill, 1830s, Lindale

The Old Brick Mill at Lindale is the only surviving antebellum brick grist mill in Northwest Georgia and one of just a handful of surviving antebellum mills of any construction in Georgia. It was built of bricks made on site by enslaved people. Located on Silver Creek just across the road from the entrance to the Lindale Manufacturing Company, it is a favorite spot for photographers. Though it ceased operation as a grist mill in the late 1890s, it remained an important community landmark, serving as home to a local Garden Club, Boy Scout troop, and Masonic lodge at various times throughout the 20th century. The Lindale paper, The Georgia Free Lance, was also printed here around 1909.

The landmark, believed to have been built for Larkin Barnett in the 1830s, has seen various changes over time, including the loss of the mill race, the original wheel, and steps, but retains much of its structural integrity. Subsequent private owners and operators were William Cabe of Alabama [Silver Creek Mills], Jacob Henry Hoss [millwright], Joseph Fulcher, William Hemphill Jones, and Mary Jane & Sarah Elizabeth Jones. It ceased operation when it was purchased by the Massachusetts Mills. It was restored by the Lindale Garden Club, who won a National Award for Historic Preservation for their efforts, in 1975.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Lindale GA

Chubb Methodist Episcopal Church, 1870, Chubbtown

Isaac Chubb and his eight sons [Henry, John, Jacob, William, Isaac, Nicholas, George, and Thomas] arrived in Floyd County circa 1864, via Morgan County, and established a community here, which came to be known as Chubbtown. Isaac was born to Nicholas Chubb circa 1797 in North Carolina. Both he and his father were listed as free men of color, though the circumstances of the former’s manumission are unknown. Chubbtown was a thriving community in its time, with a post office, school, sawmill, general stores, and a coffin factory. The church, now known as Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church, was built in 1870 and is among the only surviving relics of the original settlement.

Because of its rural setting, Chubbtown may have been unique in Georgia, as most free men of color settled in urban areas such as Savannah and Augusta. The community and its ability to survive in a state hostile to African-Americans has become legend, even within the family. The best-known Chubb today is former Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb, now filling that slot with the Cleveland Browns. He and his father Henry discussed some of the family history with Chip Towers in a 2015 interview for Dawg Nation:

“They came and settled and they were never slaves,” Nick says…“That’s the biggest part everybody in the family always talks about — never slaves. I’ve never really understood how they were capable of doing all those things during that time period. I don’t know how they became educated and knew what they were doing. There are still questions about how they were able to do some of the things they were able to do. It’s crazy to think about it.”

Chubb’s father, Henry, fills in some of the blanks…“They say the father, John Henry, got along with the sheriff of Rome, and he kind of looked out for them,” Henry says. “John was the main man. They’d all meet on Sundays and talk about the businesses and what they needed to do that week.”

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Chubbtown GA

Jordan Chapel A. M. E. Church, Haddock

I’m honored to be able to share this photograph by Anne Chamlee; it will be one of several I plan on publishing here and on Vanishing South Georgia. Earlier this year, Anne reached out to let me know that she appreciated the work I was doing documenting Georgia’s rural architecture and that she had some photographs of her own that I might enjoy seeing. After several back-and-forth emails and some phone conversations, I’m so glad we were able to make a connection. She’s just as intrigued by the architecture of rural Georgia as I am and by the late 1980s was wandering around the backroads of Middle Georgia, photographing the endangered examples that sparked her interest. She’s also a delightful conversationalist, which is a bit of vanishing thing itself these days.

A Sooner by birth, Anne came South with her family just as the Dust Bowl was coming to an end. They wound up in Florida and she eventually met and married a man with roots in Hancock County, Tilmon Chamlee. Tilmon was a rising architect who had a very successful career in the commercial sector. After many years in Florida and then Macon, Anne and Tilmon eventually settled at Lake Sinclair in Baldwin County, where he continued his practice and indulged in his love for flying. He was also a commercial and instrument-rated pilot. Tilmon passed away in 2015 but Anne remains active in the community. After talking with her on the phone a few times, I still cannot believe she’s 85.

Regarding the structure: It was located near Haddock and is no longer extant. The photo dates to July 1988. It’s quite unusual as a church structure but was likely a multi-purpose center for the community. My guess is that the second floor was used for Sunday School and possibly even by a fraternal lodge. I hope to learn more.

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Filed under --JONES COUNTY GA--, Haddock GA

St. Mark’s A. M. E. Church, Sparta

Founded by freedmen circa 1867, St. Mark’s was one of the first A. M. E. congregations in Hancock County and was a major social and cultural influence on the newly emancipated African-American community of Sparta. The present structure dates to either 1892 or 1901.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Sparta GA

Mayfield Methodist Church, 1949, Hancock County

I believe this was built by the Mayfield Methodist Church to replace an earlier structure on the site dating to 1897. The property was a gift of Lena Birdsong. The congregation formed earlier in the 1890s and originally met in members’ homes and a one-room schoolhouse. Construction began on this church in 1949, but I’m not sure when it was completed. The congregation was never very large and disbanded years ago.

In recent years it has been home to a couple of African-American congregations, including the Mayfield Church of God in Christ and the Ogeechee Ministries of God.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Mayfield GA

Joe Mike House, Talbot County

Though it’s owned by the Hill family, this tenant house near Junction City is best known as the home of Joe Mike. Thanks to Sherry Rigsby for the identification.

She recalls: I knew the couple that lived there years ago. They always helped my daddy kill hogs or whatever he needed done. A lot of memories. Joe Mike’s wife had a blind brother who lived with them.

A barn also survives on the property. Ken Hamil notes that it was a smokehouse and there was once a hog pen located adjacent to it.

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--

New Bethel Church at Leslie Mill, 1894, Veazey

A newer church at this site is now in use, but the congregation has maintained this historic structure. I’m still searching for a history of New Bethel and will update when I learn more. An historic schoolhouse, associated with the church, is located on the property.

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Filed under --GREENE COUNTY GA--, Veazey GA

New Bethel School, Veazey

I’ve only been able to determine that this was a schoolhouse associated with New Bethel A. M. E. Church at Leslie Mill. The style indicates early 20th century construction. It’s a significant historical school, from a time when churches set the standard for the education of African-American children.

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Filed under --GREENE COUNTY GA--, Veazey GA

Springfield Baptist Church, Circa 1907, Greensboro

An historic marker placed by the church and the Georgia Historical Society in 2010 states: Springfield Baptist Church was established on January 27, 1864 prior to the abolition of slavery, and is among the first African-American churches founded in Middle Georgia. Enslaved workers purchased land from Mrs. Nancy Bickers and began monthly meetings. Levi Thornton, a slave, served as the church’s first pastor. Prior to the Civil War most local congregations were racially integrated, though blacks and whites sat separately. However in 1867 African Americans were dismissed from local congregations. At their dismissal, the white congregations presented Springfield with $200 to help build the current building…

Henry Porter, Frank Massey, Umply Stocks, and Jack Terrell were instrumental in the organization of the church. The congregation first met in the old Georgia Railroad depot in Greensboro. To my understanding, construction of the present structure commenced in 1907 and the bricks were salvaged from the old Greensboro Methodist Church.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --GREENE COUNTY GA--, Greensboro GA