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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Braselton, GA

Braselton is a town in Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall, and Jackson counties in the U.S. state of Georgia, about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Atlanta. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 7,511, with an estimated population in 2012 of 7,875.

Chateau Elan

The Gwinnett and Barrow County portions of Braselton are part of the Atlanta–Sandy Springs–Marietta, GA, Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the Hall County portion is part of both the Atlanta and Gainesville, GA Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The remaining Jackson County portion of Braselton is not part of any core based statistical area.
Robbie Bettis, owner of the Braselton Antique Mall and Ye Olde Station antiques in Hoschton, shows a photo of the first post office in Hoschton. Bettis talked to the Friends of the Braselton-West Jackson Library, Inc. during the group’s annual meeting last week about the histories of Braselton and Hoschton.

A history of two cities

Group learns about histories of Braselton, Hoschton

Braselton and Hoschton may seem today to be molding their own futures, but their pasts are tied to one another by a few things — including a railroad, former American Indian trails and family blood.

Robbie Bettis, owner of the Braselton Antique Mall and Ye Olde Station antiques in Hoschton, told members of The Friends of Braselton-West Jackson Library, Inc. last week about the two cities’ histories.

Bettis’ book, “Passing,” which explains how the small town-atmosphere is dying, is expected to be published this summer.

Braselton and Hoschton grew around the Mulberry River, which is the modern-day border between Jackson and Barrow counties.

Images BRASELTON, GEORGIA Mayfield Diary & Visitor Center
Mayfield Dairies Visitors Center

Indians used the path of the Mulberry River for their trails, which later became the routes for Ga. 211 and Ga. 53, Bettis said. An Indian burial mound is located off the banks of the Mulberry River on Hog Mountain Road in Barrow County.

Hog Mountain Road — which is also known as Peachtree Road and Covered Bridge Road — was a vital road in the founding of Hoschton, Bettis added.

And the beginning of Hoschton can be traced to 1813, when Henry Hosch moved from South Carolina to Walton County.

Hosch bought land from several Northeast Georgia counties, including Jackson County in the 1840's, Bettis said. He married Matlida Camp in 1837, and their first daughter, Susan, was born in Walton County. Eight children would be born in Hoschton.

Lt. Hosch volunteered to fight in the Civil War following a recruitment gathering at Rockwell Church. He immediately left for battle without saying good-bye to his family, Bettis said.

Hosch died in Richmond, Va. in 1862, following an illness. He is buried in a copper coffin in the Hoschton cemetery.

In 1867, Susan Hosch married William Harrison Braselton, who was considered “beneath her,” Bettis said. Susan was trained in the fine arts, while William Harrison was a “dirt farmer,” she said.

It was soon after that controversial wedding took place that the two cities truly began to establish their townships.
Susan Hosch’s brothers, John and Russell, opened the Hosch Store when they were 15 and 10, respectively. A post office opened in the town in 1878 and a school began operating in 1881.


The town didn’t receive its name until a railroad company wanted to lay track in the growing village, Bettis said. The town’s founding brothers — John Robert (J.R.), Russell Angel (R.A.), Henry Andrew and William — divided Hoschton into 3/4-acre lots, starting from the new train station.

“The railroad became an extremely important thing for towns and cities,” Bettis said.

The railroad service between Gainesville to Social Circle began operating through Hoschton in 1882. Service ended in 1947. During that time, passengers may have boarded the train at the Hoschton Depot, while merchandise was delivered at a stop at the Braselton Brothers Store.

That store’s roots began in 1887, when John Oliver Braselton — one of three sons of William Harrison and Susan Braselton — starting selling items to field hands. In 1904 the “Three Bs,” brothers John Oliver, Green and Henry, opened a brick store.

Business was so good for the Braselton Brothers Store, that it was expanded in 1910 and a bank was added in 1911, Bettis said. The brothers also built a cotton gin, enterprise flour and grist mill, blacksmith shop, co-op fertilizer plant and saw mill.

And business was doing well in Hoschton, too.

In 1898, the city had 10 stores, two drug stores, two blacksmith shops, a millinery shop, a planning mill, a shoe shop, a wood working shop, a tannery and harness shop, a gristmill, four boarding houses, a soda bottling shop and a cotton gin.


The medical profession also lured more people to Hoschton, Bettis said.

During its early history, the city had numerous doctors, including William “Bud” DeLaPerriere, Earnest DeLaPerriere, J.W. Darby, Ralph Freeman, L.C. Allen, and Myron Allen.

Dr. L.C. Allen and his son, Myron, opened the Allen Clinic in the 1930's (which is today located on the corner of Peachtree Road and Ga. 53). The clinic severed numerous patients throughout Northeast Georgia, including the “mountain folks” who would camp on the clinic’s yard until visited by a doctor, Bettis said.

L.C. Allen’s clinic once operated in the city square in the building that is today city hall. He lived in an antebellum house on White Street that has seen its use as a tea house in recent years.

Myron Allen, on the other hand, became the talk of Hoschton when he accidentally shot his wife in 1936. Allen was still practicing on patients before he was acquitted of his wife’s death by a Jackson County jury, Bettis said.

Hoschton also owes its history to another family who settled in West Jackson.

The DeLaPerriere family — which has a “French Connection” — first moved to Jackson County in the early 1880's.

In 1785, the Georgia General Assembly gave Count Charles Hector Theodat D’Estaing 20,000 acres in what would later become Jackson and Banks counties. The land gift was the legislators’ way of thanking D’Estaing for his assistance in Savannah during the American Revolution.

But, D’Estaing probably never saw his Georgia land — he was beheaded in 1794 during the French Revolution. The 20,000 acres was given to his sister, whose first husband was General Ange DeLaPerriere. Their son, Ange, is considered the ancestor of the present DeLaPerriere family.

Ange DeLePerriere was a doctor, and state representative and senator. He settled near the present-day spot of West Jackson Middle School and is believed to be buried on the Traditions of Braselton property, Bettis said.


In the early 1900's, the three Braselton brothers built their homes, which are still occupied today.

Images BRASELTON, GEORGIA The Story of the great house on the corner
The Story of the great house on the corner

John Oliver Braselton’s house, which was built in 1904, is located on the corner of Ga. 53 and Ga. 124 and is today the home of former mayor Henry Edward Braselton, John Oliver’ son.

The W. H. Braselton Home

Henry Braselton’s house was built and in 1910 and is now the Braselton Town Hall. The house was extensively remodeled in the late 1990s and Bettis described the building as “one of the most beautiful city halls in the state.”

Images BRASELTON, GEORGIA Braselton-Stover House
Braselton-Stover House

In 1918, Green Braselton built his house on Ga. 53. Today, the Braselton-Stover House operates from the building.

The Hosch brothers also built their homes on their land. John Hosch’s house, which was built on Ga. 53, is now occupied by Prudential Georgia Realty.

A real estate deal in 1990 brought national media to Braselton, when the Basinger Group — which included actress Kim Basinger — purchased the town for $20 million. The town was first listed on the real estate market in 1980 for $17 million, Bettis said. Braselton was sold again to a group of developers in 1994.

The Braselton Family


The Braselton Family Marker Photo, Click for full size
By David Seibert, September 16, 2006

1. The Braselton Family Marker
Inscription. In 1876 William H. Braselton, Sr. and his wife, Susan Hosch Braselton, established a 796-acre farm in western Jackson County . The Braseltons’ children, Henry, Green, John Oliver, Belle, and Lena , grew up working on the family farm, developing several support businesses such as a store and fertilizer operation. The arrival of first the railroad in 1902 and then a state highway in 1927 allowed expansion of farming operations. In 1916 the town of Braselton was incorporated. In addition to the farm, the development of a mercantile and grocery business as well as a grist and flour mill led the brothers to form Braselton Brothers, Inc. in 1921. Braselton Brothers also funded local schools, and published the monthly Four County Booster from 1912-1933.


And local history stories wouldn’t be complete without a mysterious figure — in this case, the “Wog.”
“Every great story has to have a creature,” Bettis joked.

An early history book of Jackson County recounts that the “Wog” was supposedly seen lurking on Hog Mountain Road in Hoschton and near Jug Tavern (which is now Winder).

According to one written account, the “Wog” was described by locals as a creature with a “bear-like head,” with black hair “ugly lips,” a forked tongue and a large tail in constant motion. Like a local “boogie-man” figure, it was common for parents to tell their children about the “Wog,” Bettis said.

“Well, I hate to tell everybody, but it was a legend,” she said.


Braselton Flour and Grist Mill

Text from an article in the Braselton News, January 6, 2010.
It's been quietly sitting in the heart of downtown Braselton for probably a century - but little is known about the former state-of-the-art mill. Located at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 53 and Frances Street - across from Northeast Georgia Bank - the Enterprise Flour and Grist Mill in Braselton was once considered one of the most modern operations for converting grain into flour.
While no one knows for certain when the three-story wooden building was constructed, writing from an old photo says the roller mill was built around 1900. Most likely, it was one of several businesses started around the turn of the 20th century by the town's founding brothers - the "3Bs" - who established the Braselton Brothers Store, just one block from the mill. It survived a tornado that hit the town in 1920, but destroyed the first Braselton High School a block away.
An article from The Atlanta News in 1907 describes the first full roller process flouring mill in Northeast Georgia. "Their complete Murray ginning system is up to date and has a fine patronage, ginning from 800 to 1,000 bags every season," according to the article. "It is always a place of push and system and it infuses new life in one to visit there and see the wonderful accomplishments of these young men in the past few years."
A 1939 article from The Jackson Herald said the building contained "a wheat mill with the latest and best machinery that money can buy." Herbert B. "Kit" Braselton, 89, remembers installing equipment in the roller mill - where self-rising flour was produced. "That was unusual for a rural mill to make self-rising flour," he said. The Braselton mill produced two brands, "Three Bs" and "Fast Flyer."
"People came from great distances for their wheat that they ground," Kit Braselton said. The mill had a daily capacity of 50-70 barrels of flour and 300 bushels of meal, according to the 1907 The Atlanta News article. Today, nobody in the town knows how the equipment in the Braselton mill was operated, said town manager Jennifer Dees.
Robbie Bettis, who has written a book about the history of Braselton and Hoschton, said it is believed to be the last mill in Georgia to make self-rising flour. The mill probably stopped operation in the 1950s. "It's really in excellent shape for something as old as it is," she said. Inside, it looks as though the old mill could start running again - the equipment remains virtually untouched, the belts appear strong and wheat dust from the last run decades ago is scattered throughout the building.
It is believed that John Braselton, who once lived in the residence that is now town hall, was the last person to operate the mill. A tour of the building reveals mementos of the decades from Braselton. There's graffiti with a Bible verse written on a wall with a date of 1943. Food boxes from the former Dado's Foods restaurant, which was demolished in 2004 to make way for a new Northeast Georgia Bank branch, litter the interior near a few windows. And there's plenty of beer cans from brands once popular in the 1970s.
For now, town officials plan to spend 2010 stabilizing the building and weatherizing it. The roof was replaced several years ago. The building won't be affected by the upcoming realignment of Ga. Hwy. 124 behind the Braselton Brothers Store, although an old telephone building near the structures will be relocated. The town now owns the building, but officials haven't decided what - if anything - to do with the interior of the old mill. "The exterior is relatively easy, but we've got to figure out what to do with the interior," said town manager Dees. Another -and more well known - grist mill, Sells Mill, was opened in 1914. Jackson County bought the mill's property located on Jackson Trail Road in Hoschton in 2000 for a park and renovated the mill in 2005.
The photos below were a part of the same newspaper article. As you can see from the photo above, the mill is not open to the general public.
And one last photo that I took on this breezy January morning, 2010. It's nice to know that this old mill will be around for a long time to come (with a lot of work).


The town is named after Harrison Braselton, a poor dirt farmer who married Susan Hosch, the daughter of a rich plantation owner. Braselton built a home on 786 acres (318 ha) of land he purchased north of the Hosch Plantation. The land he purchased was later called Braselton.

In 1989 actress and Georgia native Kim Basinger bought the town for $20 million, intending to turn it into a tourist destination. Five years later, on the eve of personal bankruptcy, she and her partners sold the town at a large loss.

William Henry Braselton, the first mayor of Braselton, built this house in the early 1900s. Today it is used as Braselton's town hall, and the structure is rumored to be haunted. 
William Henry Braselton, the first mayor of Braselton, built this house in the early 1900's. Today it is used as Braselton's town hall, and the structure is rumored to be haunted.
The town of Braselton, incorporated in 1916, occupies thirty-four square miles in northeast Georgia, spreading across Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall, and Jackson counties. In 1876 William Harrison Braselton bought 800 acres of land and built a plantation on it. His eldest son, William Henry, served as the first mayor of Braselton. Descendents of the Braseltons continued to serve on the city council until 2001, when Henry Edward Braselton lost the title of mayor to Pat Graham.
The headstones of William H. and Susan F. Braselton, the founders of the town of Braselton, are located in the Braselton family graveyard off Jesse Cronic Road.
The headstones of William H. and Susan F. Braselton, the founders of the town of Braselton, are located in the Braselton family graveyard off Jesse Cronic Road.

In 1887 one of William Harrison Braselton's sons, John Oliver, then eight years old, constructed a six-foot-by-six-foot merchandise house in the yard to sell items to the farmhands on the plantation.
Eventually, his two brothers joined in his investment, and with their father's encouragement, the miniature store turned into a thriving business along the railroad tracks that ran through the family's property. The enterprise became the Braselton Brothers, with the motto "Dealers in Everything." The store, which in its fourth iteration in 1904 included a brick warehouse, was a sixty-by-ninety-five-foot structure with fourteen-foot walls and a thirty-by-sixty-foot basement for heavy groceries. Serving Gwinnett, Hall, and Jackson counties, the store sold groceries, dry goods, notions, shoes, and millinery and clothing. The town's first bank was added to the structure in 1911. A tornado destroyed it in 1919, but with help from the community, it was rebuilt.
In the early 1980's Donald and Nancy Panoz, owners of the Elan Corporation, a drug-delivery products and technology company, established the 3,500-acre Chateau Elan Resort and Winery in Braselton, a major attraction. In 1999 Donald Panoz founded the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), a series of automobile endurance races. Many factory-backed and privateer teams compete with some of the world's most exotic sports cars. The Panoz Esperante, a handmade, American sports car, is built in Braselton by the Panoz Motor Sports Group. The International Motor Sports Association and the premier racing circuit Road Atlanta (which hosted one ALMS race in 2006) are also located in Braselton.
In the late 1980's the actress Kim Basinger, a Georgia native, selected Braselton as a suitable location for developing a tourist attraction that would feature movie and recording studios, boutiques, and a film festival. She headed an investment group that purchased the 1,800-acre town for $20 million. Due to financial problems, however, Basinger dropped her plans and sold the town in 1993 for just $1 million.
The bell that once rang for the Braselton High School, from 1920 to 1957, now sits on the grounds of Braselton's town hall. 
The bell that once rang for the Braselton High School, from 1920 to 1957, now sits on the grounds of Braselton's town hall.
Eventually, Braselton expanded its boundaries and attracted major companies, turning the small town into a booming residential and manufacturing area. The Mayfield Dairy Visitors Center opened in 1997, Panoz Auto Development Company opened in 1999, and Haverty's Distribution Center opened in 2002.
Parks and rural space are important to the residents of Braselton. In addition to the Braselton town park and a multiuse park along the Mulberry River, Braselton is home to the Thompson Mills Forest, Georgia's official state arboretum. With 330 acres of native trees and plant species from the Appalachian region and the world, the research forest, managed by the University of Georgia's Warnell School of Forestry, serves as an educational facility.
Many historic structures have been preserved in Braselton, in addition to the Braselton Brothers store.
The new town hall was built in 1909 and restored in the late 1990s. The Braselton-Stover House, originally built by Green Braselton in 1918, has been renovated and is a popular site today for weddings and receptions.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, Braselton's population was 7,511, an increase from the 2000 population of 1,206.


Braselton borders the mailing addresses (not city limits) of Gainesville (Candler), Flowery Branch, Oakwood (Chestnut Mountain side), and Pendergrass. The town borders the city limits and shares a ZIP code with Hoschton.

Henry Braselton, former mayor of namesake town, dead at 82

Henry Braselton, former mayor of namesake town, dead at 82

BRASELTON — Former mayor and councilman Henry Edward Braselton passed away Monday, according to town officials.

He was taken by ambulance Monday morning to Barrow Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to Town Manager Jennifer Dees.

"He was the mayor who hired me," she said Monday morning. "It really shocked me."

Henry Braselton, one of the sons of town founder John Oliver Braselton, served as the town’s mayor from 1988 until 2001. He also served for more than 40 years as a town councilman and lived in the white house at the corner of Ga. 53 and Ga. 124 in downtown Braselton.

"We mourn the passing of Mayor Henry Braselton, the consummate mayor who embodied the good life of small town America," Braselton Mayor Pat Graham said in a statement issued Monday. "He served with high distinction as mayor of Braselton for 14 years, carrying forth the honored tradition of his ancestors. His efforts to recruit business and industry for jobs for the citizens of Braselton are unparalleled. His love for the historic traditions of the town will be long remembered. We express our profound sympathy to his family as he was a legendary Southerner with a wonderful sense of history and place and pride. Forever, we will remember his oft-spoken gentlemanly invitation, ‘Come to see us.’"

Henry Braselton was born Jan. 8, 1927, and was a lifelong member of Zion Baptist Church. He served in the Georgia Home Guard and the U.S. Navy. He attended Emory University and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, according to Graham’s statement.

In addition to his tenure as mayor and his time on the Braselton Town Council, Henry Braselton also served on the Northeast Georgia Regional Development Commission board, the Northeast Georgia Soil and Water Conservation district board and was a charter member and past president of the West Jackson Lions Club.
Graham’s statement also said Henry Braselton was credited for recruiting several businesses and industries to town, including Chateau Elan, Sears Logistics, Haverty’s, Panoz Automotive, Mayfield Dairy, Braselton Poultry and others. He also directed the upgrade of the town’s public works including water tanks, water and wastewater plants and started the town’s first full-time police force.

He was married to the former Janice Martin of Gainesville for 48 years. They have three daughters, three granddaughters and two grandsons.

Little and Davenport Funeral Home is in charge of the funeral arrangements.

External links

Source: Internet

POSTED: December 21, 2009 11:42 p.m.