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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jackson County (Georgia)

On February 11, 1796, Jackson County was split off from part of Franklin County, Georgia. The new county was named in honor of Revolutionary War Lieutenant Colonel, Congressman, Senator and Governor James Jackson. The county originally covered an area of approximately 1,800 sq miles, with Clarkesboro as its first county seat.

In 1801, the Georgia General Assembly granted 40,000 acres of land in Jackson County for a state college. Franklin College (now University of Georgia) began classes the same year, and the city of Athens was developed around the school. Also the same year, a new county was developed around the new college town, and Jackson lost territory to the new Clarke. The county seat was moved to an old Indian village called Thomocoggan, a location with ample water supply from Curry Creek and four large springs. In 1804, the city was renamed Jefferson, after Thomas Jefferson.

Jackson lost more territory in 1811 in the creation of Madison County, in 1818 in the creation of Walton, Gwinnett, and Hall counties, in 1858 in the creation of Banks County, and in 1914 in the creation of Barrow County.

The first county courthouse, a log and wooden frame building with an attached jail, was built on south side of the public square; a second, larger, two-story brick courthouse with a separate jailhouse was built in 1817. In 1880, a third was built on a hill north of the square. This courthouse was the oldest continuously operating courthouse in the United States until 2004, when the current courthouse was constructed north of Jefferson. (source:

Maysville, a town of northeast Georgia, partly in Banks and partly in Jackson county, is on a branch of the Southern railway connecting Athens with Lula. It was incorporated by act of the legislature in 1879, and in 1900 had a population of 453, of whom 309 lived in Banks county and the rest in Jackson. It has express telegraph offices, a money order post office with rural free delivery, a bank, several good commercial houses, schools and churches, and an oil mill doing an active and profitable business.

(Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)

Hoschton, a town of Jackson county, was incorporated by act of the legislature on Sept. 19, 1891. The population in 1900 was 290. It is on the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern railway, has a money order post office, with free rural delivery, express and telegraph service, mercantile interests, and is a shipping point for a considerable section of the county.

(Source: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kim Mohler)

Cities and Towns




Commerce (formerly Harmony Grove)




Nicholson (formerly Cooper)



Unincorporated Communities

Apple Valley



Center (incorporated until 1999)



Dry Pond



Grove Level


Holly Springs

Red Stone



Thompsons Mills



Wilsons Church

Early History

(Some one has said that history is the true record of things in general and inaccurate in some particulars. We accept this definition in recording this narrative.)

The name, Harmony Grove, was first given to a community near Pittman's Bridge on the east side of the Oconee River and on the John B. Jackson place, where there was a school for girls. According to the record of the Post Office Department in the National Archives in Washington, D.C, the post office of Harmony Grove was established here October 24, 1825. Russell Jones was the first post master. The charter for the Harmony Grove Female Academy was granted by the State Legislature December 20, 1824 (see chapter on schools) which was ten months earlier than the establishment of the post office. It is evident that securing the charter for the school had some bearing on the establishment of this post office, which was in the vicinity of the W. M. Potts place, earlier known as the John B. Jackson place. It is well established that the community, or settlement, that was known as the town of Harmony Grove, now Commerce, was settled about the year 1810, or possibly a few years earlier.

Among the first settlers was Hardy Minish, who lived on the small branch between the present Frozen Food Locker Plant and Willoughby Park. Minish Militia District was named for him. He was the father of Pierce Minish from whom C.W. Hood, Sr., bought a large area of land on the west side of Commerce. The younger brother of Hardy Minish, Uncle Dicky, lived at the head of the branch between J.T. Quillian's and W. A. Dale's residences. About 1878, W.B. Power and J.M. Chandler built a tanyard on this branch just below the old Gibb's foundry and it became known as the tanyard branch. In 1882, W.B. Power and W. T. Thurmond had a public gin just where the Dale house stands.

West of the Minish tract was the Bennett place where Tapley Bennett lived. He was the father of Captain A.T. Bennett and Hosea Bennett. This tract was later the W.C. Hood land. The old home, or house, stood near T.J. Syfan's residence where the old chimney of the original house stood for decades. These boys went to California in the Gold Rush of 1849. Captain A.T. Bennett soon returned and settled near Apple Valley where he reared a large family. Hosea remained in Arkansas. The land of Tapley Bennett joined the land of Hardy Minish and Caleb Wood on the north and Isaiah Borders on the west. The Hardy Minish tract probably ran along about the Blue Bell Overall Plant in line with the depot near the present grammar school ground, lying west of this line and joining the Bennett and Borders line.

The Isaiah Borders tract probably extended to the Oconee River. The old house on the hill left of the Jefferson Road is where Isaiah Borders lived and died and where W.L. Williamson was born. Enoch Borders lived on top of the hill beyond Borders Creek. He was the father of Airs. C.T. Nash, Mrs. P.G. Thompson and Eugene Borders. The father, Isaiah Borders, lived and died in the old dwelling now standing on the south side of the Commerce-Jefferson highway. He died about 1852 and was buried in the family graveyard as was, also, his son, Enoch, just across the road in front of the late W.L. Williamson's home. Among the children of Isaiah Borders was Mrs. Bowden, who lived in Harmony Grove to a ripe old age. She first married James W. Shankle, son of Eli Shankle, one of the pioneer setders of Harmony Grove. After his death she married James Bowden. She inherited .all the land on the east side known as the Bowden land from James W. Shankle, her first husband. James Bowden's daughter married a Pomeroy. His son was Bill Bowden.

The Bowles place adjoined the Borders tract on the south where H.E. Haxdman lived and where the water works' plant is located. The elder Jesse Bowles had a null on the creek at the shoals. The old family is buried on the premises with a rock inclosure. It is reported that several hundred dollars in silver and gold were secredy buried on the place.

South of the Bowles place lies the Hardy place up the branch, later known as the Virginia Barnett place and later occupied by Henry Shore who married Tempy Barnett. Amelia Hardy married Jackson Dunson, brother of Linton C. Dunson, who left the country in the sixties and has not since been heard from. He left one son, George Dunson. Virginia Barnett was the daughter of Uncle Johnnie Glenn. Her mother was a Hardy, and her Aunt Temperance Hardy lived with her. Virginia married Joe Barnett, who died in the War of the Sixties, leaving her with two children, Johnnie and Tempy. Tempy married Henry Shore.

G.J.N. Wilson for a number of years was County School Commissioner and author of Jackson County History. He was born and lived on a part of the Bowles or Nash place known as the Wilson place and later the George Martin place near the White Hill School house. During the Civil War, Wilson ran a woodwork shop here, repairing vehicles and blacksmithing.

On the east side of the town was the extensive Shankle land and property, owned by Eli Shankle. This land covered largely the eastern part of the town—a line from the front of the Blue Bell Overall Plant by the depot, school house, now grammar school, to the Harmony Grove Cotton Mill, thence running northeast to the branch adjoining the land of Dr. W.B.J. Hardman, thence north down branch to the Hargrove land, thence west including lands owned by Dave King, Levi Mat-thews, Dilmas Baugh and the Bowden land. Mrs. Bowden's first husband was James W. Shankle, eldest son of Eli Shankle. Dave King, Levi Matthews, and Dilmas Baugh married daughters of Levi Shankle, the second son of Eli Shankle.

Eli Shankle, born in 1784, married Rebecca Hargroves who was born in 1786 and whose father lived near the Hargrove Creek on the Carnesville road. Eli married about 1808 or 1809. He settled near a spring at the head of Shankle Branch, known as the Shankle, or Baugh, Spring. He lived here some months under a brush arbor until his house, hewn out of pine logs, was built. This house was among the first, if not the first building in town, and was his residence where all his children were reared. This house became the home of Levi Shankle, Eli's second son. Levi moved later to the home later known as the Dave King place. The old home passed into the hands of Virginia Baugh who in 1883 sold it to Mrs. M.M. Barber of Washington, Georgia. Mrs. Barber moved there the same year and resided there until her death in 1906.

Eli Shankle was the father of the following sons and daughters: Levi, the second son, who inherited the home place; one daughter, who married Linton Dunson and another, who married Linsey Dunson; Ophelia, who married C.W. Hood, and died in 1857; James W., the oldest son, who married the daughter of Isaiah Borders. After James' death his widow married James Bowden who had two children, one boy, Bill, and one girl, Mrs. Pomeroy. The youngest son was S.M., known as Seaborn, who built the Shankle home near the present post office and was for years in the mercantile business.

Levi Shankle, the second eldest son of Eli, inherited from his father the home place. Levi's sons were Ras, Sam, and William (Dr. W.M. Shankle) who went to Texas. Levi's daughters were Virginia, who married William Baugh; another daughter who married Levi Matthews; another who married Dilmas D. Baugh; and Sarah, the youngest, married Dave King.

The W.C. Farrabee land was just south of Harmony Grove and adjoined the Haggard land on the west and the Buder and Hudson land on the north. His father was old Dr. Jesse B. Farrabee who came from Newton County, Ga., in the year 1835.

Just south of the Farrabee land were the places of Major J.P. Hudson and Pink Buder. Major Hudson was the father of Tom, Andy, and Jule Hudson. His daughters were Mrs. Tom Gober and Mrs. L.J. Dunson. The Pink Buder place lay side of Major Hudson on the east. This place was located at the Buders Railroad Crossing and along side of Buders Cut in the railroad. Just south of this place was the Henry B. Gober, father of Asbury and Jay Gober, place. North of the Butler place was the R.K. Minish place, afterwards Elijah Whitehead's and W.C. Glenn's place. John Minish was the father of R.K. and John W. Minish.

Originally southeast of Harmony Grove, bordering the Shankle land, was the French Haggard tract which was a government grant. W.B.J. Hardman bought off this place, or grant, one hundred acres, or more, in 1855. He built a house on it and it became known as the Dr. W.B.J. Hardman home place and his doctor's office. J.E. and W.R. Haggard lived on the land adjoining. They were sons of French Haggard. French Lord who lived on part of this grant was the grand son of French Haggard.

North of the Haggard place was the land of Bijah Wilbanks, who was the father of Mrs. Elijah Wilbanks; afterwards this was known as the Hilliard Ingram place. The old Buck Nunn place, before the War of the Sixties, adjoined on the west the Wilbank's land. This later was a part of the Shankle land. Adjoining the Shankle land was the Hargrove place just across the creek, later bought by C.W. Hood about 1867, then called the Cratdc Gober home place.

In the northern part of the city was the Caleb Wood property, beginning at a branch on State Street east of Jessie Wood's home. Caleb Wood's property extended north of State Street and east of North Broad and Homer Streets, including most of the property on these streets. This was divided among the sons of Caleb Wood, namely, M.P. Wood, who lived where is now the George L. Carson home, owned by Mrs. Gussie Barber, daughter of George L. Carson. J. N. Wood owned a large part of lots where is now located K.N. Sharp Store, Belk-Gallant Store, down to the Dale Tin Shop. His residence was where his son, E.S. Wood, now lives. Part of this land was sold to Dr. V.H. Deadwyler in 1875 who built a home where the late J.T. Quillian later bought and rebuilt about the latter part of the 1890's. This property has recently been bought by the Blue Bell Overall Company and the house torn down. Jesse P. Wood owned the eastern portion of the Caleb Wood property which is now occupied by his daughter, Jessie Wood. This adjoined the land owned by James W. Shankle afterward known as the Bowden tract of land. C.M. Wood owned the upper end of the Caleb Wood land, containing several acres, running back to Johntown, the Negro section.

P.C. Pittman, who was generally known as Dick Pittman, lived on Pittman's Creek, just a few yards on the east side of the creek. He ran a corn mill on the creek. He owned a considerable tract of land which extended up to what is now Johntown. This land joined the W.J. Goss place just east of Johntown and the Levi Shankle tracts owned by Levi Matthews and Dilmas Baugh.

Development of Harmony Grove From 1810 TO 1884

Some pioneer families and individuals who laid the foundation and formed the background of the village and town of Harmony Grove from its beginning in 1808 to 1880 together with their children and some of their grandchildren:

Hardy Minish - His two sons: Eli and Pierce.

Dickey Minish - Three sons: B.J. M Will and Jesse.

Eli Shankle - Three sons: James W., Levi, S.M. and five daughters: Polly, Elizabeth, Eritha, Martha Ann, Ophelia.

Levi Shankle-Three sons: Sam, Ras, and Dr. William M. and four daughters: Virginia, Mrs. Levi Mathews, Mrs. D. D. Baugh and Sara King.

S.M. Shankle-Five sons: A.G., A.M., L.P., Claud and O.E.; four daughters: Anelia, Ida, Maggie and Pauline.

Tapley Bennett - Two sons: Captain A.T. and Horn C.W. Hood - Two sons: C.J. and C.W., Jr.; two daughters: Mary and Ruth.

W.C. Hood - Three sons: John H., Ben and W.T; two daughters: Estelle and Delia.

W.B.J. Hardman-Six sons: H.E., L.G., R.L, W.B„ T.C, and J.B.; five daughters: Anelia, Ethlene, Lanora, Sallie, Mildred.

His sons were: two preachers, H.E., and T.C; two physicians, L.G. and W.B.; two business and public men, R.L. and J.B.

W.C. Farrabee - Three sons: C.O., L.J. and Luther B.; five daughters:

R.A., R.D., L.H., P.C. and Loonie B. Caleb Wood-Four sons: M.P., J.N„ J.P. and M.C
M.P. Wood - Four sons: John Wn Ed, Pleasant and Ernest; five daughters: Julia, Laura, Viola, Maggie and Marion.

Samps Butler - Two sons: Jesse and Tom; one daughter. Miss Jenny Buder; two grandsons. Bob and Joe.

J.N. Wood -Five sons: D.G, Lee, E, Sn C.C. and Omar; four daughters: Josie, Mattie, Nezzie and Maude.

Jesse P. Wood - Two sons: Carey and Calvin; three daughters: Leila, Toonie and Jessie,

M.C. Wood - One daughter: Lizzie.

Solomon Seegar - Two sons: J. Ansel and Thomas; one daughter: Mrs. J.C. Yeargin.

John C. Yeargin - Two sons: William J. and Charlie.

J. Ansel Seegar-Three sons: S.J. T.P. S.B. and J.W.J.; three daughters: Lizzie, Francina and Mary.

J.A. Williford - Four sons: Q.L., J.H., W.D. and Robert.

D.J. Sanders - Four sons: D.G., C.B., C.M. and R.L.; three daughters: Ella, Florence and Mary.

P.C. Pitman - Five sons: P.J.L, N.0„ T.C and CE.; three daughters: Alice, Sue and Octie.

P.O. Pittman - One son: W.O.; two daughters: Maud and Lillian.

T.C. Pittman-One son: O.C; one daughter: Reba.

C.E. Pittman - Two sons: Brooks and Clarence.

IF. T. Stapler - Three sons: Odell, Carl and Hoyt; three daughters: Emma, Gussie and Hallie.

C.T. Nash - Four daughters: Addie, Rosa, Lovie and Lula.

Dr. V.H. Deadwyler-Eight sons: Henry, Phil, Will, John D., A.B.,

O.E., Hoyt and Clyde; two daughters: Savannah and Lula.

A.B. Deadwyler - One son: Joe; one daughter: Rene.

James C. Campbell - Three sons: Chan, J.B. and Gibson.

Wilson Lord - Five sons: Jim, Dave, Bob, John and Emory.

Mrs. C.A.M. Mann - One son: W.D.; two daughters: Lizzie and Nelia.

J.S.P. Ritchie - Six sons: L.A., R.C, Jim, Gamer, John and Oris; two daughters: Cornelia and Lilly.

L.H. Gober - Four sons: Willie, Marvin, Olin and Lenos; three daughters: Carrie, Emma and Mera.

J. Madison Keith -Three sons: Claudius Alphonso, Byron Sebastian and Adrian Alfucius.

J.M. Chandler - Five sons: Walter, Edgar, Arthur, Herbert and Oovus.

Rush Cromer - Five sons: Eddie, Rondo, Theo, Roscoe and Ponto.

Jonah A. Bonds - Two sons: Charlie and Luther; two daughters: Minnie and Bertie.

Littleton Barber - Five sons: C.T., W.L., Dee, Ed and Henry; four daughters: Jennie, Emma, Frances and Minnie.

C.T. Barber - Nine sons: Clint, Fred, Theo, Wily, Rob, Dave, Calvin, Howard and Talmadge; three daughters: Marion, Estelle and Bell.

W.L. Barber - Three sons: Earl, Hugh and Alf; four daughters: Kathleen, Gertrude, Nan and Camille.

Dee Barber - One son: Cliff D.; two daughters: Pearl and Ruby.

J.O. Adair - Two sons: Thomas B. and Ferdinand; three daughters: Hattie, Montine and Mary.

W.B. Barnett - Two sons: Keff and John.

J.D. Barnett - Three sons: Horace, Harold and Paul; three daughters: Kathleen, Lorena and Merle.

R.S. Cheney - Five sons: Roy, Rob, Hood, Mell and Berkley; five daughters: Kate, Wertie, Edna, Olive and Agnes.

B.S. Bohannon - One daughter: Ida.

Buck Nurm - Home near the L. P. Shankle residence.

Frank Sewell - Home near Methodist Church; later the T.A. Little home.

W.S. Edwards - Four sons: Joe, Hugh, S.N., and Lamar; two daughters: Fannie and Delia.

W.B. Power - Three daughters: Emma, Pearl and Ossie.

W.R. Goss - Two sons: W.J. and I.H.; three daughters: Mrs. D.M Burns, Dora and Ella.

W.J.. Goss - Two daughters: Lady and Grace.

J.J. Ray - Two sons: Charlie and Frank.

W.T. Thurmond - Two sons: Thad and A.H.; four daughters: Exa, Kyle, Alma and Sue.

Micajab Williamsson - Three sons: John, W.L. and L.W.; one daughter: Mary Appleby.

W.F. Stark - Five sons: C.D., Young, W.W., Albert and A G.; three daughters: Mrs. Clara Maddox, Lula and EUie.

C.D. Stark - Four sons: Homer, W.F., E.C. and Hope D.

W.W. Stark - One son: William; two daughters: Ruth and Zelma.

Eli Crow - Two sons: Frank E. and Lonnie; two daughters: Mattie and Lena.

W.T. Harber - Four sons: H.R., P.T., T.A. and R.B.; five daughters: Lizzie, Nelle, Estelle, Lucy Bell and Thelma.

G.W.D. Harber - Font sons: W.Y., John, Henry and Leo; five daughters: Ethel, Ruth, Pat, Marie and Mary Dillard.

W.B. Hardman - Four daughters: Wilda, Elizabeth, Helen and Ida Shankle.

T.C. Hardman - Three sons: Colquitt, Lawrence and Joseph; two daughters: Francine and Mary.

Source: Hardman, Thomas Colquitt,. History of Harmony Grove-Commerce, Jackson County, Georgia.