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.
BETTIS SPEAKS ABOUT CITIES’ PASTRobbie 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.
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 RAILROAD COMES TO TOWN
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.
DOCTORS FLOURISH IN CITY
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.
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.
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.”
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
|1. The Braselton Family Marker|
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 MillText from an article in the Braselton News, January 6, 2010.
HistoryThe 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.
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.
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.