See Rock City

See Rock City

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The First Witness

Don't mess with Southern small town grandmas they know your whole genealogy and they even know the day you were born.

Lawyers should never ask a Georgia grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'

She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'

The defense attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said,
'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.

Obvious Magazine

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Harmony Grove / Commerce, GA


Commerce was originally known as Harmony Grove. The
following article was in the JACKSON HERALD, Jefferson,
Jackson Co.,  GA, issued on Friday, July 15, 1881. It
describes the little  village of Harmony Grove in 1881,
mentions a few of its citizens and their  occupations.
Thought some of you might be interested in a little of this
town's  history.

Harmony Grove:

Mr. Editor: I had the pleasure recently of visiting  Harmony
Grove and vicinity. This village is on the Northeastern
railroad. I  should think it contained about 700
inhabitants, and 10 business houses. It has  two churches
and one high school. Three of the largest tax payers in
Jackson  county live here, almost in sight of each other: C.
W. Hood,  S. M. Shankle and Dr. W. B. J. Hardman. The two
first named are merchants, while Dr. Hardman has retired
from a large, lucrative practice, and is preaching  for the
Baptists in the Grove and some other churches in the
country.  Dr. Charles Harden, who once lived in Oconee
county, is located  here. He is succeeding well; has a large
and increasing practice. His mother lives not farm from the
Grove on a farm. I called to see R. A. Eckles, who has a
large carriage and wagon establishment. He puts up the best
home-made buggy known to me. Any one wanting anything in
this line will  do well to call and see him. Sam Hunter
(col.) formerly an employee of the firm of Langford & Co.,
is painter in this shop. Sam was the only man I knew in the
place. No whisky is sold here, and yet it prospers, and  the
people are quiet and orderly, disproving what we often hear
that a place can't prosper and grow unless this stuff is
sold in it . . . My home was with Mrs. Fannie Henry, and I
could not wish a better one. The people treated me kindly .
. I will write again from Jackson county next week.
W. M. F. in Watkinsville Advance.

   The town of Harmony Grove, now the City of Commerce, is located on an
elevated ridge in the eastern part of Jackson County, Georgia, about three miles
from the Banks County line and the same distance from the Madison County line.
The center of the town is the dividing water shed between the Oconee, Grove, and
Hudson Rivers. The present area is a mile wide and about three miles long. The
city is located on the Southern Railway eighteen miles north of Athens and
twenty-one miles south of Lula. The general topography in the southern part is
level, partly hilly, while the central and northern parts slope off on either
side to springs and streams. Still farther to the northwest, the land lies
gently rolling. The greatest altitude is a bit over moo feet in the . southern
section. Other parts of the town run generally about 950 to 980 feet altitude.
This greater elevation which slopes off to the streams on either side with their
many diversified hills lends unusual beauty to the scenery which is lavishly
bedecked with beautiful trees of varied hues and types of unlimited variety. The
virgin forest perhaps suggested the name of Harmony Grove.

   The city being on the dividing watershed, the soil is varied in its
character, running all the way from a sandy gray loam to a very stiff red type,
the former prevailing in the southern part of the town and the latter in the
central and western part. All this has a firm clay foundation lying in the
Piedmont Section just below the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

   The original location of Harmony Grove was of interest because it was on the
main road from the mountain counties to the markets of Athens, Washington, and
Augusta. This was a camping ground for the covered wagon caravans as they drove
their stock and produce to market. There were no streams to cross but springs
ample for their use. The noted cold sassafras tree was known to all mountain
wagoners which will be referred to in a later chapter.

   This tree stood near the railroad one-half mile below the depot at the curve
in the railroad track. This tree was more than two feet in diameter. The
location of the town was attractive because of its fine and temperate climate
with its groves and forest surroundings. The summer temperature averages three
to five degrees cooler than Athens, yet it is not so rigidly cold as the
mountains in the winter. These environments made it pleasant and beautiful for

   In this select spot in Northeast Georgia the author was born and reared and
has spent the entire years of his life in what we consider the choice section of
the Empire State of the South. Georgia was founded by the English under James
Oglethorpe and settled largely by the English and immigrants from Virginia and
the Carolinas, with some few coming from the northern states. This state was the
youngest of the thirteen colonies that obtained their independence from the
mother country in 1783. It has been the home of numerous statesmen of the
highest quality for the past 16o years, also of leaders and pioneers in the
realms of science, literature and religion. In the religious realm Baptists have
had a marvelous growth, numbering, at present in Georgia, some 1,200,000
members. The first settlements of this section were along the rivers and creeks.
This was in the period immediately following the Revolutionary War, from 1784 to
1800, as evidenced by original land grants from the United States Government.

   In this particular section of rolling hills, fertile valleys, flowing,
winding streams, limitless forests of oak, hickory, chesnut, pine, poplar,
maple, gum, elm, and every variety of verdant growth of trees and vegetation, in
this, the incomparable Piedmont section of our beloved state, the village of
Harmony Grove and our now bustling city of Commerce had its nativity.
The above is a picture of this portion of Georgia, with its unparalled,
delightful climate, at the close of the Revolutionary War when the Cherokee
Indians were receding from this section and passing into mountain countries,
leaving evidence of their habitat and hunting grounds in the form of flint arrow
heads and cooking utensils found in their burial mounds of stone, some of which
were found in this immediate vicinity.

Additional Comments:


Original Roads, Springs, Trees And Landmarks:

   Commerce is interesting because of its unique location just on a ridge of a
water shed that flows each way. Generally speaking, this ridge is followed by
the railroad two or three miles through the town and some two miles east and west.


   The original roads leading into and through the town of Harmony Grove, before
it was incorporated, were: First, the Athens and Clarkesville road. This entered
the southern limits by the L. G. Hardman's peach shed and followed the present
paved road by way of the oil mill and cotton mill to a point in front of the
First Baptist Church, then crossing the present railroad track, it led up Cherry
Street by the Methodist Church, the Shankle residence and his first store, to
the Carnesville Road. Then at a right angle with what is now State Street, it
crossed over the railroad track in front of the Northeastern Bank, continuing up
North Elm Street in front of C. W. Hood's store and residence, again crossing
the track and following the railroad to the J. B. Hardman residence, and the
present incorporate limit, leaving on the west side a narrow field of about
eight acres known as the Hood's field.

   Second, the Jefferson Road, leading from the W. C. Hood place, entered the
town at the B. B. Hawks corner, which is now the present Jefferson Street. The
Homer Road followed the present Homer Street, except after passing the Sander's
home, it bore to the right in front of the Negro Baptist Church, on to Pittman's
Mill on Pittman's Creek. This was also the outlet for the upper Carnesville Road.

   Third, the Jefferson and Carnesville Road led from the Oconee River Bridge by
the Mercer Jackson place, passing through the Dunson and Langston farms,
crossing the Clarkesville Road at Wheeler's Gin, on by the Short and Wilbanks
farms, entered the upper Carnesville Road at the John Scoggins place about two
and one-half miles from town.

   Fourth, the lower Carnesville Road, leading by what is now State Street, then
across to Hargrove bottoms, the place where the present road now runs.

   Fifth, leaving the Athens Road at Water's Store by what is now Madison Street
to the southeast, another road led through Madison County. To the mountain wagon
travellers, this road was known under the various names of Nowhere, Sandy Cross,
Lexington, Washington and Augusta Road. This road passed by the W. B. J. Hardman
home and doctor's office.


   Springs were numerous in Harmony Grove. Beginning on the Madison County Road
near the James E. Haggard place, now Ingram's store, was a very bold spring,
being the head of Sandy Creek. On the north side of the road was a spring, the
beginning of Beaver Dam Creek, which formed the branch on which is located the
Hardman Jones Lake. At the head of this lake was a fine spring known as Whiteoak
Spring. On the east side of Spring Street there is a spring first used by Eli
Shankle, known as the Shankle and Barber Spring, which has been in use for some
one hundred and forty years. This is another head of Beaver Dam Creek known as
the Shankle Branch.

   These two branches came together about a mile from their heads at which
Junction Alfred and J. S. P. Richey had a wheat, corn and saw mill with two mill
ponds, one above the fork on Hardman Branch, and one below the fork. These ponds
were the joy of the boys of that day for fishing and swimming.
   On a Saturday afternoon, the boys of the neighborhood, Henry, Lam, and Bob
Hardman, the Haggards, the Embreys, and others started to the Richey pond for a
swim. As they neared the pond, in the woods and undergrowth ahead they heard a
noise and a rustling among the leaves. All were frightened as to the kind of
wild animal making the noise. Lam appeared to be bolder than the others. He
stepped forward and called out, "Who is that?" Another sharp noise, "chook,"
came from the rustling leaves and bushes. The boys took to their heels, every
man for himself. Some came out near the cotton mill site, some at Haggard's
shop, one or two at home. The boys reporting their experience, the older heads
returned with them and discovered that the noise proceeded from a wild turkey
gobbler, scratching in the leaves and hidden by the under-growth. When
disturbed, he made this queer noise and ran the other way.

   Along these two branches above referred to and between them, the land was
covered largely by original forest woods and partly by old field growth. In this
original forest were many forest pine and some large chestnut trees which had
died decades before, now naked and without bark. Along the branches poplars,
oaks, and hickory abounded. This was a suitable place for wild game, such as
foxes, coons, opossums, squirrels and rabbits, also quite a few wild turkeys. In
these woods were some birds now extinct, or nearly so, in this section. The wood
hen, now extinct, was a large black bird about the size of a crow, but of the
shape of a woods' bird of the Sapsucker family. It had a white head with a red
crest. Other birds, as the yellow hammer, red-headed pecker wood, sap suckers
and blue birds are now rarely seen. Along in the '60's and '70's, migratory wild
pigeons roosted by the thousands in the forest. At night, the breaking of the
limbs from the weight of these birds and the flapping of their wings could be
heard all over the woods.

   On the west side of the railroad and west of the Harmony Grove cotton mill is
a spring long used by the operators. There is also a good one in the L. C.
Hardman pasture used by the tenants. Up nearer in town on the west side of the
railroad was a small spring in the rear of the Cooper lot where once was a gin
and a sawmill, operated by Rush Cromer. On the same little branch was the school
house spring, which was later enclosed in the L. C. Hardman pecan orchard. This
spring for some ten years was the water supply for the school, which was located
on the present site of the grammar school building. Up near Central Avenue was
another spring, near which was once one of the early school cabins, near the
site of the Commerce Brick and Lumber Company, now the Frozen Food Locker Plant.
Very early in the pioneer days, the real head of this small stream, on which the
above was located, was a spring where is now located the City Hall. The other
prong, or head, known as Hood's Branch, had its source west of C. W. Hood's
residence, in what is generally known as Hood's calf pasture. There was, also, a
bold spring in Willoughby Park on this side of this small stream.

   On the east side of the railroad, between the Dale and Quillian homes, was a
spring near which Dicky Minish, one of the pioneer settlers, lived. This was the
head of what was later known as the Tanyard Branch on which was located a
tannery. On the Carnesville Road, north side, was a spring between the Jesse
Wood and Bowden properties which led by the K. N. Sharp swimming pool.

   Another spring and branch is located in the northern part of the town. The
spring heads near Park Street and runs through the J. B. Hardman's dairy pasture
on through the Hood-Quillian Park in which are several springs that make a good
size branch in a few hundred yards. This property along the head of this branch
was owned by W. J. Goss and in the pasture referred to, Mr. Goss had a well
stocked fish pond. In this pond, the writer, together with A. B. Deadwyler and
Oscar Harrison and perhaps others, were baptized by Rev. W. B. J. Hardman in
August, 1885. Mr. Goss then lived on Homer Street in a house now owned by Mrs.
P. C. Strickland. A pathway led from the house to the pond.


   There were many noted trees in Harmony Grove. In front of the Harmony Grove
Cotton Mill office stood a large spreading post oak under whose shading branches
was located a well used by the public and where many weary travellers quenched
their thirst. In front of the Y. J. Johnson home on South Elm between the street
and the railroad stood a very large sassafras tree known to all the mountain
wagoners as the "Cold Sassafras." They spoke of it as the coldest spot between
the mountains and Augusta. This tree was more than two feet in diameter with a
knot hole some ten feet from the ground, from which the school boys robbed the
blue birds' nests. When this tree was taken down, T. C. Hardman for several
months, used some of its roots to make sassafras tea.

   Another noted tree was the large hickory in front of C. W. Hood's store, near
which was a public well. Another, a large spreading water oak, grew in front of
the Hardman Hardware store. This tree attained about thirty-six inches in
diameter in about forty-five years. It was planted in 1882. Under its spreading
branches and shade in summer boys played marbles and passersby stopped to enjoy
the coolness. On one occasion, W. T. Harber, stopping to enjoy the shade, said
to the boys, "If that tree was in my yard, I wouldn't begrudge five dollars."
Tom Stapler remarked, "As poor as I am, if I had it in my yard, I wouldn't have
it cut down for fifty dollars." Harber retorted, "That shows how you appreciate
shade and I appreciate money.”

   In front of the Dr. W. B. J. Hardman’s office on Madison Street, stands an
old knarled oak. This tree served his patients as a hitching place. This, with
the doctor’s small office, is one of the land marks of old Harmony Grove. The
office stood on the same spot as originally built for ninety-one years. The tree
is still standing. On the same road just at the incorporate limits, there were
two large sycamore trees in front of a two-storied wagon and blacksmith shop,
operated by James E. Haggard and later by his son, J. B. Haggard, just where the
home of Miss Rosa Haggard, daughter of J. B. Haggard, now stands.

   At the old home place of Eli Shankle, later known as the Virginia Baugh
place, and still later as the Mrs. Mary M. Barber place, were four large
sycamore trees, two on either side of the house, and one large cedar tree which
gave to the place for a time, the name of "Sycamore Dell."

   Referring to public wells, there was one located at the corner of North Broad
and State Streets at the corner of the Jesse P. Wood building, now occupied by
E. B. Crow. This well was a public watering place and most of the merchants in
that locality came each morning with their buckets for their drinking water.
Some years later after the water system was installed there were some three or
more cast iron drinking troughs provided in different parts of town for watering
stock of farmers and others.

A Northeast Storm:

   A noted occurrence in the northeast section of Georgia was a severe
equinoctial gale on the second Sunday in September, 1882. This storm with heavy
rains, began early Saturday night and continued through Sunday, reaching its
height by noon. The downpour of rain saturated the ground and caused the trees,
especially the forest pines, to fall in great numbers. In fact, millions of
trees were blown up by the roots in this section. In the woods above refered to,
some 200 forest pines were blown down. Peeler and Lovin put a saw mill at the
Roller Mill site and sawed this timber into lumber. For some 25 years or more,
people hunting in the woods at night could locate the points of the compass by
clay roots which pointed from northeast to southwest.

Another Phenomenon:

   Long remembered was the Nash Cyclone which occurred in the afternoon of
February 19, 1884. This cyclone completely demolished and blew away the home of
C. T. Nash, killing Miss Mary Nash, his aunt, and injuring several others of the
family. Mr. Nash, being some distance away, was not in the path of the cyclone,
which was about 3 00 feet wide. The storm seemed to have originated some few
miles south of Jefferson, passing over the Oconee River at the Gathright place,
by the Benton farm, then passing near the Z. W.. Hood home it exactly centered
the C. T. Nash dwelling on the Athens road, on the rise midway between the homes
of Dick Standridge and Ed Holland. It passed over into Madison County and was
dissipated near the Harrison Hix farm.

   This cyclone was seen by the people of Harmony Grove as it progressed in its
path. It appeared as a funnel-shaped cloud and smoke, with the small end toward
the earth. It was preceded by heavy hail precipitation which fell also in the
town of Harmony Grove. Some of the hail stones, as large as cups and saucers,
were picked up and weighed in Dr. L. G. Hardman's drug store. They weighed from
fourteen to sixteen ounces each. This probably was the largest hail stone on
record in this part of the state. 

Identification Of Houses By Streets Before The Town Was Incorporated: 

   Beginning with South Elm Street, situated just below the oil mill on the
knoll where now is the Harmony Grove Mill Ball Park, was a house and lot known
as the Rose residence. In front of P.Y. Waters Store, on the opposite side of the
rail-road, was the Ezekiel Anthony small three room house, still standing, with
additions. On the site of the Harmony Grove Mill office was located a small log
building where John Embrey lived at the close of the Civil War. Josephine Carter
taught school in this building in the late sixties. This school was attended by
H. E. and L. G. Hardman, Billy McGinnis and other children of the community.
Later, this building was occupied by R. S. Cheney as a residence during the time
he was teaching in the first frame wooden school building located on the site of
the present Grammar School. W. B. Powers lived here in 1877, moving from
Oglethorpe County. Later, the building was bought by Mrs. M. S. Webb who sold it
to the Harmony Grove Cotton Mill. The next house on South Elm Street was located
on the hill, the present site of the late R. L. Daughtry home, and is now owned
by the Harmony Grove Mill. This house was occupied in 1875 and 1876 by C. T.
Nash; then by J. H. Campbell who sold it to A. H. Boone, who sold it to L. G.
Hardman in 189o. On the Bran-non Rice lot there was a small house built by
Wilson Lord which still stands on the rear of this lot. The next house on South
Elm Street was the J. H. Campbell house which was first occupied by his son,
Chan Campbell, who had a small store o nthe corner where Col. W. A. Stevenson
now lives. The Campbell house is now occupied by Luther Chandler and is the
property of Mrs. T. C. Hardman. Where the Baptist Church now stands was a log
school house prior to 1874.

   The first two-story school structure was erected in 1874 on the site of -the
present grammar school building, the top story belonging to and used by the
Masons. On the site where the old log school house stood the Baptist Church
building was erected in the same year. Both of these lots were donated by C. W.
Hood as was also one acre for a cemetery. Just back of the late Charley Cooper
home,. or house, at the head of the small branch, Rush Cromer had a saw mill and
a cotton gin. This was the year 1876, being the year that the North-eastern
Railroad was built. About '77 or '78, a house was erected for R. S. Cheney, the
first depot agent, which is now the home of Dr. A. A. Rogers. Dr. L. G. Hardman
built his first doctor's office at the corner of the depot platform and erected
his home, which was used for a hotel. It still stands on Oak Street just behind
the present L. G. Hardman residence. On the corner of South Elm Street where
stands the present City Hall was originally a spring, before the railroad was
built. Sometime after the railroad was built, W. T. Thurmond had a wool carding
machinery shop and some years later a planing mill and furniture factory, which
was operated by Albert Dunstan, who later became a Baptist Missionary to Brazil,
South America. J. A. Seegar owned and ran a livery stable in a wooden building
where the Roxy Theater now stands. On the corner of South Elm Street and Central
Avenue stood a two-story building known as Strickland Hall. The lower floor was
used for legal matters, holding courts, etc. The second floor was used for local
entertainment-slight of hand and other forms of public amusements. T. J. Allen's
photo-graph gallery was in the second story of this building. Just in the rear
of this building on Central Avenue was a boarding house known as the Jennie
Butler house. After her marriage it was known as the Jennie Haley house. Here
many transient travellers found lodging and many country people, when they came
to town, ate their dinner at the price of 15 and 25 cents.

   Continuing north on Elm Street, the next was the Echols House, just above the
old Central Hotel site. C. W. Hood, Sr's store was next which stood just south
of the R. L. Sanders' house at the driveway of Mrs. C. W. Hood, Sr. Between this
store and the railroad was a blacksmith shop run by W. T. Stapler who moved to
town about 1879 or 1880. In the woods at the rear of the present late B. M.
Durham house, C. W. Hood operated a gin and threshing machine. Mr. Hood built a
house for his sister, Mrs. C. A. M. Mann, mother of W. D. Mann, where Mrs. P. B.
Trawick now lives. Just above the Mann house was a house built for, or by, W. L.
Williamson, who was clerking for C. W. Hood, and moved into this house in 1879.
This afterwards was occupied by A. B. Deadwyler and later by his mother, Mrs. V.
H. Deadwyler. Just on the corner of Jefferson Street was the home of Isaac
Wilbanks. His wife was a sister of J. C. and H. W. Wheeler. This home later was
owned by B. B. Hawks. Isaac Wilbanks was one of the early merchants of Harmony
Grove and erected the first brick store, located where Mrs. M. R. Barron's Dress
Shop now is. On the opposite side of Jefferson Street on the site of the
Standard Oil Station was the home of W. S. Ed-wards who was once one of the
early merchants of the town and trustee of the Harmony Grove Common Schools.
This was also the house which F. H. Aderhold bought and lived in until his
death. The other house just above was the home of Addison Chrisler, afterwards
the home of Dr. F. M. Hub-bard, where he spent his life as a physician.
  Beginning on South Broad Street just within the incorporate limit was the W.
C. Farrabee two-story building, erected in 1879. Going north the next was the C.
T. Nash dwelling, which was known as the Eberhart place and where John I. Ray
lived for several years. Later this was owned by Mrs. C. T. Nash. Next was the
old Eli Shankle home off the road, east. Later this place was owned by Mrs.
Virginia Baugh who sold it to Mrs. W. M. Barber in 1883. It is now known as the
Colquitt Hardman home. Next was the Jonah Bond two-story home, later owned by
Mrs. T. E. Key, where Harvey Bray now lives. On the adjoining lot was the Rush
Cromer home, an exact duplicate of his brother-in-law, Jonah Bond's house. It is
now the Will D. Martin home. Next was the home occupied by L. H. Gober,
afterwards bought and occupied by W. T. Harber. And adjoining this was a house
in which a Mrs. Carithers lived which was later bought by Col. R. L. J. Smith.
Adjoining this was the Methodist Church building, which later was remodelled and
replaced by the present brick structure. Just above the Methodist Church on
Cherry Street was the J. A. Segar home, later owned and occupied by T. A.
Little. Just above on Cherry Street was the Green Sewell home, later bought by
W. F. Langston who sold it to P. W. Sheppard. It is now owned by Reagan Sanders.
Next was the S. M. Shankle home of which the ell part, the present kitchen, is
more than a hundred years old. The main body was built about 1879 or '80. On the
corner of Cherry and Carnesville Streets was the house known as the Bowden
house, originally owned by James W. Shankle, who married Martha Borders,
daughter of Isaiah Borders, and who died in 1847. His widow later married James
Bowden. Just across the Carnesville Street was the Caleb Wood home. The original
house is still preserved in the backyard of Miss Jessie Wood. This property
became the Jesse P. Wood home. Adjoining was the Jasper N. Wood home. North of
Carnesville Street, just to the rear of the First National Bank, was the Solomon
Seegar home, where he ran the Northeastern Hotel. It was later bought by W. A.
Quillian and is still standing. Just below, on the same street, was the Eli
Riley house. In the rear of this, near Claud Little's home, was the home of John
C. Yeargin, who was the son-in-law of Solomon Seegar. Farther down on the same
street, toward North Broad, was a building that, for a long while, was occupied
by J. T. Allen, photographer. Farther on was a building owned by Kimsey Smith
and later owned by L. J. Sharp. Following North Board Street was a store
building owned by J. N. Wood, next to W. A. Dale's tin shop and S. G. Dale's
shoe shop, originally Dr. Deadwyler's office. Later it was occupied by T. M.
Daniel. Next were two or three buildings occupied by Negroes. These buildings
were owned by J. T. Quillian and E. B. Anderson. One was Tom Norris' restaurant.
His chief business was feeding prisoners and doing white-washing. Next in the
hollow, Jeff Freeman lived and in this house was a Negro barber shop, later a
Chinaman's laundry. As I recall there were only three or four Chinamen who ever
lived here and ran a laundry. Just in the rear of these houses was the Dr. V. H.
Deadwyler home, later owned by J. T. Quillian. Following North Broad Street was
the John A. Williford home on the site of the Davis Warehouse. On the site of
the A. B. Deadwyler home was the home of Dr. Alexander, a dentist. The G. L.
Carson, Sr., home was the home of Marion P. Wood. The last home on North Broad
was a house on the site of the J. B. Hardman home.

   On the corner of North Broad and Homer Streets originally was located a
cotton gin, operated by W. B. Powers and W. T. Thurmond, where later was the
residence of W. A. Dale and the residence of D. C. Nichols. Just in the rear of
the Nichols' house was a small two-room dwelling with a brick basement, which
still stands. This building was occupied in 1877 by M. L. Parker, superintendent
of the public schools, later by W. T. Stapler. Continuing up Homer Street, there
was a house above the railroad sidetrack, on the present Harden lot, which Dr.
F. M. Hubbard occupied when he first came to Harmony Grove in 1883. Just above
this, was the C. M. Wood home; where he lived all his life. It is now the home
of Mrs. John Carson. The First Presbyterian Church was located on the site of
the L. L. Davis home. North of this was the Riley lot, the house originally
built and occupied by R. L. Hardman, next to the home of Mrs. W. B. Wagnon. The
Wagnon lot was part of the Sander's land. On the west side of Homer Street was
the home of W. J. Goss, now occupied by Mrs. P. C. Strickland. The last house on
Homer Street was the home of D. J. Sanders, still standing on the top of the hill.

   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., 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 Hosea

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 W., Ed, Pleasant and Ernest; five daughters: Julia,
Laura, Viola, Maggie and Marion.

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

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

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

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. Pittman-Five sons: P. O., J. I., N. O., T. C. and C. E.; 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.

W. 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 Otis; 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

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

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 Nunn-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

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. Gross-Two daughters: Lady and Grace.

J. L 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 Ellie.

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.

Development of Harmony Grove from r 8 r o- r 884 25

G. W. D. Harber-Four 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.


E. F. Adair
F. H. Aderhold 
C. C. Alexander
N. C. (Lat) Alexander 
N. Stiles Alexander 
Dr. W. A. Alexander 
W. G. Alexander 
T. J. Allen
E. B. Anderson 
Ezekiel Anthony 
J. H. Ayers
Neal Bates
A. N. Bellamy 
T. J. Bennett
A. M. Benton 
M. A. Benton 
J. W. Black
R. L. Black
C. C. Bolton
Herchel Bolton 
Lenard Bolton 
A. H. Boone
C. H. Brock
E. G. Brock
R. B. Burgess
W. B. Burns
D. U. Carson
G. L. Carson, Sr. 
G. L. Carson, Jr. 
John M. Carson 
C. W. Cooper
Addison Crisler
A. S. Crow 
J. H. Crow 
W. A. Dale
S. G. Dale
John Dale
T. M. Daniel 
Cicero H. Daniel
L. L. Davis 
J. F. Dowdy 
John W. Dowdy
J. L. Dunson 
W. L. Dunson 
Ed P. Eberhart 
Jack Eberhart 
R. A. Eckles 
Charley Eckles 
J. H. Eckles 
Neal Eckles 
W. C. Eckles
R. S. Eidson 
J. F. Goode 
George W. Gordon 
Taylor Gordon 
John M. Gordon 
W. C. Green 
John H. Gunnels
S. D. Harber 
Dr. Charles Harden 
Dr. R. R. Harden 
Dr. W. P. Harden 
I. H. Harris 
A. D. Harris
B. B. Hawks 
Obe Hawks
R. H. Hawks
S. P. Hawks 
Henry Herring 
Joe W. Hill
H. Corbin Hood 
Reuben Howington 
Robert Howington 
P. D. Howington
Dr. F. M. Hubbard 
G. L. Hubbard 
Marcus Jacobs 
Jefferson Jennings
J. P. Johnson
L. B. Johnson 
J. W. Johnson 
Y. J. Johnson 
G. T. Jones 
W. W. Jordan
T. E. Key
W. W. Landrum
W. F. Langston 
Henry Langston
John Langston 
W. P. Lovin 
T. A. Little 
J. R. Little 
T. C. Little 
W. L. Little 
Claud Little 
J. E. Massey
M. T. Massey 
J. C. Massey 
J. U. Merritt 
W. S. Mize 
Lonnie Mize 
Charley Mize 
Theron Mize 
Horace Mize
W. W. Montgomery 
J. O. Montgomery
Claude Montgomery 
Dr. M. F. Nelms
D. C. Nichols 
J. M. Nix
R. C. Nix 
D. M. Nix 
Reuben C. Nunn
Lovic Oliver 
R. S. Pomeroy 
Bit Peeler 
H. W. Peeler 
W. D. Power 
W. A. Quillian
J. T. Quillian 
Joe A. Quillian
T. F. Quinlan
D. D. Qnillian 
R. T. Quillian 
J. M. Rhodes
E. P. W. Richey
A. P. Rice
G. T. Rice 
W. B. Rice
J. T. Rogers
Eli J. Rylie 
John W. Sailers
W. L. Sailers 
Dr. L. J. Sharp
Nathaniel (Nat) Sharp
K. N. Sharp
W. G. Shrarp
B. B. Sharp 
J. F. Shannon 
W. A. Shannon
J. J. Sheppard
W. D. Sheppard
Paul Sheppard
Frank Sheppard
P. W. Sheppard
Press Shore
H. C. Sims
W. H. Simpkins
Kimsey Smith 
R. L. J. Smith 
Jeremiah Strickland
J. N. Telford
William Thurmond, Sr. 
J. H. Walker 
C. M. Walker 
W. B. Wagnon 
Alex Webb
F. P. Webb 
William Webb 
A. S. Webb 
Alcane Webb 
Joe H. Webb 
George Webb 
Leon P. Webb 
Albert Webb
G. B. Whitehead 
W. T. Whitehead
F. O. Whitehead 
J. G. Whitehead 
O. J. Whitehead 
W. Ed Whitehead 
James E. Williams 
Henry E. Williams 
John T. Williams 
Harmon Williams 
Isaac Wilbanks
H. O. Williford
G. N. Wilson
L. W. Williamson 
B. F. Wardlaw 
Neal Yarbrough 
Mack Yarbrough

   Family Record of Eli Shankle who was probably the first settler of Harmony

   Eli Shankle-Born Aug. 5, 1784, died April 15, 1852.
   Rebecca Hargrove Shankle-Born Dec. 4, 1786, died Dec. 4, 1866.
   Polly Shankle-Born March 5, 1811; married Henry B. Gober, father of L. H. Gober.
   James W. Shankle-Born Oct. 18, 1812, died Feb. 12, 1847.
   Levi H. Shankle-Born Feb. 9, 1815, died 1883.
Elizabeth Shankle-Born May 20, 1819.
   Eritha Shankle-Born June 1, 1821; married Linton C. Dunson.
   Martha Ann Shankle-Born Jan. 29, 1823; married Linsey Dunson. 
   Seaborn McKendree Shankle-Born July 8, 1825, died 1885.
   Ophelia Amanda Shankle-Born Sept. 11, 1830; married C. W. Hood, Sr.; died 1857.

   Eli Shankle married Rebecca Hargrove whose father lived on Hargrove Creek.
They married about 1808 or 1809 and settled at the head of a large spring on the
east side of Spring Street. Later he built a log house on the hill west of the
spring, where he reared his family. The home was owned later by Levi Shankle who
sold it to his oldest daughter, Virginia Baugh. Mrs. Baugh sold it in 1883 to
Mrs. M. M. Barber of Washington, Ga. After the death of Mrs. Barber in 1906 this
home was bought by her daughter, Mrs. T. C. Hardman. In 1915 this house was
taken down and a home built on that site, for her eldest son, T. Colquitt
Hardman. Some of the original timbers were put into the new building.


   The Harmony Grove Post Office was established October 14, 1825 and evidently
located near Pittman's Bridge on the place known as the John B. Jackson farm, in
the vicinity of the Harmony Grove Female Academy. There is no recorded
information that this school ever functioned to any great extent and as the site
of the town later known as Harmony Grove began to settle up and to establish
business places, the post office was evidently moved to that place, probably in
the 1830's, not later than 1840.

   The post office when moved from its original site was first located at a
point near the present Harmony Grove Mills office. Soon afterward it was moved
to the center of business activities which was then on State and Cherry Streets
and known as the Athens and Clarksville road. The first location I remember,
about 1876, was in a wooden building on the present site of the C. E. Pittman
brick building. The office was moved in 1882 to a corner in the L. G. Hardman
Drug Store building. Some years later it was moved to North Elm Street in a
building now occupied by Dr. A. A. Rogers. Still later about 1910, or 1912, it
was located on the corner of Central Avenue and South Elm Street where it
remained until 1933. At this date it was moved to the present site into the
government owned building.

   The Commerce Post Office was raised from the fourth class to the third class
on January 1st, 1903. The name was changed to Commerce, November 17, 1903.

   Russell Jones was appointed first postmaster in 1825 and served at the
original location. Of course there were other postmasters during the fifty year
period from 1825 to 18751 but their names are not available.

   Those who have served as postmasters with dates as far as can be obtained:

  Under the name of Harmony Grove:
W. J. Goss         1875-1880
Taylor Gordon      1880-1888
C. C. Alexander    1888-1892
A. C. Appleby      1892-1896
R. C. Moss         1896-1898
J. L. Dunson       1898-1904

After the name was changed to Commerce:
C. C. Alexander    1904-1908
N. C. Alexander    1908-1912
G. L. Carson, Sr.       1913
W. T. Thurmond     1913-1922
J. L. Dunson       1922-1933
Mrs. C. C. Ward    1933-1949

   There are six rural mail routes radiating from Commerce in every direction
and covering all the territory in a radius of eight to ten miles.


   Little is recorded or known of the very early settlers as to their particular
personalities, but from the beginning of the growth of the village of Harmony
Grove, about 1845 or 1850, a number of men came upon the scene whose
characteristics are worth noting.

   (1) C. W. Hood, Sr., who was born in 1827, was the son of William C. Hood and
Winnifred Hood who were charter members of the Beaver Dam Baptist Church in
1826. Mr. C. W. Hood, Sr., was reared near Apple Valley and while a young man
came to Harmony Grove and entered into the mercantile business which he
conducted for more than forty years. Mr. Hood was a man of retiring disposition,
limited education, but with great business qualifications, noted for his economy
and thrift. Having large farm interests, he ac-cumulated a princely fortune for
those days. Mr. Hood was very active in church and school affairs and
contributed largely to these institutions, donating land and money in a liberal
way. He had a large part in building the Northeastern Rail-road, subscribing
stock and giving the site for the depot. Verily, it can be said, he was one of
the founders of Harmony Grove.

   C. J. Hood, son of C. W. Hood, Sr., entered into the affairs of the town and
community about 1883. He was the chief promoter of the Northeastern Bank, the
first banking institution in the town. Mr. Hood in many ways contributed to the
progress of the city, serving as mayor three times and noted as one of the most
liberal contributors to the community welfare.

  (2) W. C. Hood, who was the younger brother of C. W. Hood, Sr., was identified
with the progress of the town after the Civil War. Owning a good portion of the
land in the business section, he sold lots for business enterprises and was
himself engaged in the mercantile business for several years.

   (3) S. M. Shankle was the youngest son of Eli Shankle, born in 1825 and was
the brother-in-law of C. W. Hood, Sr. Mr. Hood's first wife was his sister. Mr.
Shankle inherited a large section of land on the eastern side of the town, most
of which has since been developed as a residential section. Mr. Shankle was
engaged in the mercantile business some thirty-five years. All his life he was a
strong supporter of the Methodist Church in Harmony Grove. He reared a family of
five boys and four girls, all of whom were worthwhile contributors to the
progress of the town and community.

   (4.) Dr. W. B. J. Hardman: Dr. Hardman was born November 23, 1822 and reared
in Oglethorpe County and came to Harmony Grove in 1848 or '49 as a practicing
physician. He boarded with Mr. S. M. Shankle for about two years and was married
to Miss E. S. Colquitt of Oglethorpe County, January 2, 1851. His first
residence for one year was the old Bowden house on State Street. Then he resided
five years in the J. P. Wood house across the street. In 1856, he built his home
on Madison County road. Having purchased a large tract of land, he engaged in
farming while he continued the practice of his profession. Dr. Hardman, in
cooperation with C. W. Hood, Sr., was active in the promotion of a number of
institutions and industries in Harmony Grove. Among these were the establishment
of the Harmony Grove Baptist Church and the fostering of the schools of which he
was for a long time a trustee, serving as Chairman of the Board. He aided in
locating the Northeastern Railroad through Harmony Grove. He, with C. W. Hood,
Sr., was the author of the section in the Harmony Grove Charter prohibiting the
legal sale of intoxicants within the incorporate limit of the town perpetually.
Dr. Hardman had a wide range of territory in his practice before and during the
war as he was the only physician in this section. Dr. Crawford Long of Jefferson
and Dr. Daniel of Danielsville were his contemporaries and were the nearest
located physicians. After practicing his profession for nearly thirty years, he
was called to the ministry and be-came the first pastor of the Harmony Grove
Baptist Church. His family consisted of six boys and five girls, two of whom
died in early girlhood. Two, L. G. Hardman and W. B. Hardman, became physicians.

   Dr. L. G. Hardman had a wide sphere of influence and as a practicing
physician, he succeeded his father in this community. He served in the State
House and Senate and was co-author of the Prohibition Bill that gave Georgia a
dry law in 1907. He served two terms as Governor of the State of Georgia.

   W. B. Hardman enjoyed the distinction of being one of the finest surgeons in
this section and his reputation was state-wide. He was also a popular
practitioner who knew how to treat patients in the home and to meet their needs.
His friendly approach was greatly appreciated and he found a place in the hearts
of the people.

   Two, H. E. Hardman and T. C. Hardman, were ministers of the Gospel. These two
ministered to the churches in the surrounding section as pastors of various
churches. They strengthened the faith and stabilized the spiritual life of the
people. These two preached salvation by grace, a new life and a transforming

   Two, R. L. and J. B. Hardman, were business men. R. L. Hardman spent his life
in the hardware business, opened the first hardware store in Harmony Grove in
1884. He was the second mayor of the town. A few years later he moved to Atlanta
and continued in the hardware business. J. B. Hardman served the town both as a
merchant and in the insurance business. He served four terms as mayor of Harmony
Grove and Commerce. He was later a member of the Georgia Senate. The number of
his friends was measured only by the extent of his acquaintance.

   (5) Caleb Wood was one of the early settlers who lived about two miles
northwest of Harmony Grove at what is now known as the W. B. Hardman Peach
Orchard. He bought and owned a large acreage near the center of town which his
four sons inherited and which was divided into four tracts. From best
information, Mr. Caleb Wood never lived in Harmony Grove, but bought part of the
land he owned in town from Samps Butler; certainly the house and lot on State
Street later owned by his son, Jesse P. Wood and probably some other portions of
land owned by Caleb Wood.

   Two of his sons, J. N. and Jesse P., engaged in business at various times in
Harmony Grove and all four of his sons had a part in the growth of the
community. The two above mentioned reared good size families, most of whom
continued here and furnished growth and strength to the town.

   (6) W. C. Farrabee was a unique character in Harmony Grove. He was high
tempered, temperamental and excitable, with a good bit of Irish in him. He was
always ready to con-tend for what he considered his rights. Harmony Grove was
not complete without this man of eccentricities, yet withal a valuable citizen.
Mr. Farrabee's family consisted of three boys and five girls. These for the most
part remained as citizens of Harmony Grove-Commerce. The eldest son, Cecil, went
to Arkansas in his early manhood and made a success in that state.

   (7) Solomon Seegars was a rather old man when he came from Madison County and
established the Northeastern Hotel some years after the Civil War and had a
small part in the mercantile realm. His son, J. Ansel Seegar, was pioneer in the
livery stable business. For quite a while he furnished the transportation and
drayage facilities for the town.

   (8) W. T. and G. W. D. Harber were brothers who came to Harmony Grove in 1875
or 76 and established a mercantile business together. They were reared in
Franklin County. W. T., the older of the two, had had some business experience
in Marietta, Ga. This firm of W. T. Harber & Brother was one of the stalwart
business institutions' for some thirty years. Both of these men were frugal,
industrious and wise business men and each had accumulated a sizable fortune for
himself and family. After the death of W. T. in 1902, G. W. D. with his son, W.
Y. Harber, conducted a thriving business for a long period. Each of these men
had a family of four boys and five girls, several of whom have made Commerce
their permanent home and contributed to its progress.

   (9) W. B. Power. Perhaps no man was more closely associated with the business
life of Harmony Grove than W. B. Power. Coming here from Oglethorpe County in
1877, he engaged in several enterprises. In 1882 he formed the partner-ship with
J. M. Chandler and R. L. Hardman under the firm name of Power-Chandler &
Company. After a year or more in business, this firm enlarged its partnership
and changed the firm name to Power-Key & Company. This partnership was not a
success and was liquidated. Mr. Power then formed a partnership with John H.
Gunnells which continued for some five years and was finally dissolved. Then,
Mr. Power formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, H. O. Williford. They
built a large supply store in 1891 where the Blue Bell Overall Plant is now
located. Here they conducted a large supply business and cotton buying
enterprise that gave Harmony Grove a wide reputation as a good market. Mr. Power
died in 1904 and the business continued under the firm name of Williford, Burns
& Rice.

   (10) C. D. Stark. C. D. Stark came to Harmony Grove from his country home in
Jackson County in about 1885 and entered the mercantile business. Mr. Stark was
full of life, unbounded energy, good business ability and a liberal supply of
gab. In the thirty-five years of his business activities, he added much to the
reputation of the town as a business center. He often sold goods at a close or
cut price which gave much concern to his competitors, the Harbers, Powers,
Hoods, and others. He had a family of four boys, all of whom have made a success
in life.

   (11) W. A. and J. T. Quillian. These brothers came to Harmony Grove in 188o
and entered into the mercantile life of the town. When Harmony Grove was
incorporated, W. A. Quillian was elected the first Mayor and served for two
years. After some years of partnership, J. T. Quillian withdrew and set up a
separate business in the sale of wagons and buggies, also in the brokerage of
grain, flour and other lines. W. A. continued the business under the name of
Quillian & Sons, T. F. and R. T. being members of the firm.

   (12) E. B. Anderson-W. D. Mann. About the time the Northeastern Bank was
founded, C. W. Hood & Son sold their mercantile business to Anderson & Mann, who
conducted a large supply and general mercantile business which added much to the
assets of the town. This firm continued its operation and became one of the
large cotton factors of the city. After some twenty years, Mr. Anderson withdrew
and established a private bank. Mr. Mann continued the business until after 1920.

   (13) T. E. Key and J. D. Barnett. These men under the firm name of Key &
Company did a general supply and grocery business from about 1888 for fifteen or
twenty years. This firm had a large trade and bought a considerable amount of
cotton during their business career. Each of them served as Mayor of Harmony
Grove and Mr. Key was the first Mayor of Commerce after the new name was adopted.

   (14) J. M. Nix, L. L. Davis, P. W. Sheppard. These fine men came to Harmony
Grove in 1895 and opened the firm of Sheppard, Davis & Nix, later changed to
Davis & Nix when Mr. Sheppard withdrew. This firm supplied a place in the town
of supply merchants after most of the others had discontinued and was probably
the last firm who carried on this method of business after the retirement of
other firms. Mr. Davis became the chief cotton factor under the name of L. L. &
V. L. Davis.

   (15) Among others who did a mercantile business in Harmony Grove from 1880 to
1900 were W. J. Goss, W. S. Edwards, Key & Williamson, Burgess & Allen, Isaac
Wilbanks, W. W. Jordan, Jeremiah Strickland, Alexander & Teasley, A. H. Boone,
B. B. Hawks, Kimsey Smith, J. E. Massey, Hardman & Shankle, Hardman Merchandise
Company, Hardman Hardware Company, L. J. Sharp & Bro., L. G. Hardman & Bro.,
Wagnon & Wood, Marcus Jacob, Bennett & Wilson, A. C. & J. H. Campbell and W. A.
Dale, William Thurmond, Sr., John M. Gordon, I. H. Harris & Co., and Herschel
Bolton, and Benton and Adair Hardware Co.

Harmony Grove Crowd Does Not Want To Be Bracketed With Early Commerce:

By Paul T. Harber, Commerce News, Sept. 13, 1945

   Recent comment in the News relative to Harmony Grove and its successor,
Commerce, and a comparison of the times years ago with conditions today, has
roused the feelings of some of the real old-timers who want to be known as the
Harmony Grove crowd. One of them said, "Don't bracket our crowd with the early
Commerce contingent. They are a different species. Call them old-timers, if you
choose, but let our crowd be known as P.S.A.W., Pre-Spanish American War, which
represents a period before 1898." But let him tell it. Here's what he has to say.

Furnished Spark:

   "Our Harmony Grove crowd" don't want any disunity or unfriendly feelings, but
we want it to be known that it was old Harmony Grove that did big things and
furnished the spark for later progress by the new city of Commerce which carried
on successfully for many years and then was let down by a generation that seemed
to have forgotten the lessons taught them by their grandfathers.

Original Industry:

   What was this community's first industry? Why it was R. A. (Bob) Eckles
exterior finish shop, or buggy and wagon factory, a contribution of Harmony
Grove to the world of transportation.

   Mr. Eckles first made two-horse wagons and began majoring in buggies. He
finished his buggies with 14 to 16 coats of varnish and they shined until you
could see yourself in the body. Judge B. S. Bohannon was one of the painters and
Mr. Petat an expert trimmer.

   No such buggy or wagon, for durability, ever rolled out of any factory.
Studebaker, White Hickory and other wagons were manufactured in large numbers,
but no wagon was superior to that of Robert A. Eckles. His buggies and carriages
were equally as durable and popular. Ask your granddad about this successful
industry in Harmony Grove.

Good Schools:

   Our crowd believed in providing a good education for children. We didn't ask
the state and the federal government for money. Two school buildings were built
by the pioneers. The first was where the grammar school is now located. It was a
two-story frame structure, built in 1874 and it was razed in 1889, and was
replaced by a brick structure which burned to the ground in 1895. The second
brick building burned in 1903.

Capable Teachers:

   The first teachers after the Civil War were G. J. N. Wilson, R. S. Cheney and
G. W. Brown, a one-armed veteran of the Civil War. Mr. Cheney taught again in
1875 and 1876, after which he became the first local agent for the Northeastern

   M. L. Parker succeeded Prof. Cheney in January 1877 and taught for five
years. L. M. Landrum taught in 1882 and 1883 and afterwards was Superintendent
of Boys High School in Atlanta for over thirty years until his death.

   W. H. Key succeeded Prof. Landrum in 1884 and he was followed by Joe A.
Quillian in 1885 and 1886; F. M. Blount in 1887; Henry Walker from 1888 to 1891
inclusive; Harry Strozier and his brother, A. J., in 1892 and 1893; W. Herschel
Cobb in 1893 to 1895 inclusive; Claud Gray in 1896 to 1898; M. L. Parker in 1899
to 1900 and Peter Zellers from 1902 through 1904.

   Prof. Cobb was the father of Tyrus Raymond Cobb, the noted baseball player.

   Miss Rosa Taylor, Mrs. Jennie Truitt, Mrs. Nettie Methvin Holder and other
highly capable women teachers were among those who served in the local school
back in the days of Harmony Grove. We went after the best teachers and got 'em.

Able Pastors:

   In religious circles Harmony Grove was a leader. Such able, consecrated' and
influential preachers as Dr. W. B. J. Hard-man, Dr. Henry F. Hoyt, Rev. W. M.
Coile, Henry E. Hardman, Rev. John H. Wood, Dr. B. F. Riley, Rev. Groves
Cartledge, Rev. G. W. Duvall, Dr. M. L. Troutman and other leaders in religious
thought were among the pastors of the local and nearby churches. Congregations
were large. People went to church in those days.

   Dr. B. F. Riley was pastor of the First Baptist Church from 1894 to 1896 and
the present brick structure which houses the church in Commerce was built in
1896. The wooden structure was moved from the present location of the First
Church to Madison Street Baptist Church where it now stands. Rev. Henry Hardman
was the first pastor of the Madison Street Church. Rev. W. B. J. Hardman served
the First Baptist Church from 1874 to 1890, a period of sixteen years. He was
followed by Rev. W. M. Coile and then Dr. B. F. Riley who served for three
years. Rev. G. W. Garner served the First Baptist Church from 1897 to 1902.

   Somebody ought to write a complete history of the schools and churches of
those days. It would be an inspiration to the newer generations.

Big Retail Stores:

   Our merchants and store-keepers were known for their full stocks of high
class merchandise, consisting of dry goods, groceries, notions, and plantation
supplies. Among the pioneers were Solomon Seegar, Seabom M. Shankle, C. W. Hood,
W. J. Goss, W. T. Harber, G. W. D. Barber, W. B. Power, Jasper Wood, H. O.
Williford, C. D. Stark, T. C. Hardman, W. D. Mann and others who sold goods over
a period of years.

   After the railroad was constructed from Athens to Lula in 1876, Harmony Grove
became one of the leading distributing communities of Northeast Georgia. Trade
from four counties was built up and in time the freight receipts of Commerce
exceeded those of any other town of similar size on the Southern Railway.

Real Farmers:

   Rural soundness was one of the reasons for Harmony Grove's solidarity and
progress. Farmers back in those days were real dirt farmers. They lived in large
white houses with green blinds and broad porches. Commodious barns, smoke-houses
and storage buildings were on the premises. Corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, peas,
sorghum and other crops were raised in addition to cotton. On the place were
apples, peaches, grapes, scuppernongs, figs, and other kinds of fruits. There
were fine farm animals, milk cows, pigs, cattle, and sheep. Yes, the people
believed in raising their own food products and did.

   Rural sections had good church buildings and school houses. Communities like
Arp, Beaverdam, Ashland, Hebron, Nails Creek, Apple Valley, Hudson River, Blacks
Creek, Ft. Lamar, Ila and other country communities, were well known for their
good farms and excellent citizens. In those days the country sections had
medical facilities. Such able physicians as Dr. H. P. Quillian, Dr. W. P.
Harden, Dr. Frank Payne, Dr. George Westbrooks, and Dr. Robert Westbrooks were
among the practitioners who resided in the country districts.

   You said in your paper that the new Commerce women made the old Harmony Grove
store keepers remove the chicken coops from the front of their establishments.
This was true but don't forget that the P.S.A.W. pioneers went in for a chicken
in every pot and a good horse in every stable.

Sociable People:

   People in those days were friendly, sociable, generous and democratic.
Picnics, barbecues, ice cream festivals, school entertainments, family reunions
and candy pullings were popular. A young man could have more fun with a nickel
than modem youth with a dollar. There wasn't much to buy for pleasure purposes.
And there was no such thing as juvenile delinquency. Children had homemade fun.
They were too busy playing wholesome games and working to get into mischief.

Beautiful Women:

   Harmony Grove was also noted for its pretty girls and handsome boys. While
the girls wore puffed sleeved dresses, buttoned shoes, Flora Dora big hats (done
over by milliners each season) and long hair rolled up in a long psyche, their
complexion was peachy and positively beautiful. No period has ever seen such
beautiful Georgia women as those magnolia and old lace days.

Handsome Men:

   And the boys were really handsome. They wore black high-top shoes, detached
white collars and cuffs, bow ties, dark coats and striped trousers and sported a
black derby and a mustache. This combination had its appeal. Topped off with a
bay horse, a red rubber-tired buggy, a highly colored embroidered lap robe and a
$1.50 sporty whip, young men did some fancy courting. Their clothes and
technique were of the Gay Ninety days but no more ardent lovers were ever known
than your grandfathers.

Used Candles And Some Oil Lamps:

   Yes sir, Mr. Editor, the man of yesterday wore jeans breeches, brass toed
leather shoes, boots with red tops, sprouted mustaches, wore long hair which was
cut semi-occasionally by their mothers, using plain scissors, studied by candle
light, played town ball in the streets, cat ball at the church buildings,
baseball in pastures, went barefooted until they were six-teen years of age, fed
the stock, held the calf off at milking time, and helped their mothers with the

   And the girls canned fruit, helped cook and wash dishes, sewed, darned,
churned the milk, worked in the flowers and learned to make their own dresses.
Call them old fashioned if you want to but your grandmothers of Harmony Grove
were among the finest and best looking women the world has ever seen.

   These are just some of the evidences of a sturdy, dependable, thrifty, God
fearing people who paved the way for and set an example for succeeding
generations to follow. So in talking about the new and big things to be
accomplished by Commerce in 1945, look back to the days of Harmony Grove, the
days of your grandparents, for inspiration. Remember the P.S.A.W. people. They
were worthy of your best efforts to build a better community and a better

   The town of Harmony Grove, Ga., was incorporated in 1884, a charter having
been approved by Governor Henry D. McDaniel Dec. 24, 1884. An election was held
Jan. 15, 1885 and the following Mayor and Councilmen were elected:

   W. A. Quillian         Mayor
   W. C. Green            Councilman 1st Ward
   R. B. Burgess          Councilman 2nd Ward
   G. W. D. Harber        Councilman 3rd Ward
   W. S. Edward           Councilman 4th Ward

   The first meeting of the Council was on Jan. 19, 1885. William H. Simpkins
was elected Clerk, W. C. Green, Treasurer, and G. B. Whitehead, Marshal.
Salaries fixed for officers were:

   Mayor         $ 50.00 per year 
   Clerk           50.00 per year 
   Treasurer       15.00 per year
   Marshall       300.00 per year

Councilmen served free:

   All officers were exempted from street tax. Street tax was $3.50 a year. The
first tax assessment was .20 on $100.00 and penalties were designated for
violations of the ordinances. The town was divided into four wards.


 Fines & Cost                         $  173.00
   Tax on Shows                             43.50
   Street Tax                              286.90
Tax on Personal Property & Real Estate     566.00
     TOTAL RECEIPTS                     $1,069.40

 For Work & Material on Streets          245.30
   Officers Salaries                       415.00
   Calaboose & Printing & Misc. Accts.     219.48
   Cash on hand                            189.62
     TOTAL                               1,069.40

                                  Male         Female
White              395            198          197
Negro              184             79          105
Total              579            277          302


               Estimated   Registered Voters    Church Mem'ship.
White               4800         1180                 1979
Negro                600          144                  435
   Total            5400         1334                 2414

   The charter of Harmony Grove was unique in the history of the towns of the
state in that this instrument contained a provision in section 31 that the Mayor
and Council of the town of Harmony Grove shall never have power to license the
sale of spirituous, malt, vinous, alcoholic or intoxicating liquors or beers of
any kind in the town of Harmony Grove. This provision was transferred into the
Charter of the City of Commerce. The credit for this wise provision was due
chiefly to C. W. Hood and Dr. W. B. J. Hardman. An ordinance was proposed in
1906 in reference to the sale of spirituous liquors to increase the fine for
violation from $300 to $ 500, or 60 days, not to exceed 12 months on the street.
This ordinance was passed.

   In 1906, the first electric lights were contracted for with the Harmony Grove
Mill to install twenty or more street lights, the mill to have the street
franchise to install lines and sell current to the town. This contract was to
continue for eleven years. After the expiration of this contract, the city
installed a light plant at the waterworks site, and paid the Harmony Grove Mill
$6,800.00 for their lines, poles and other equipment. The city continued to
produce electric cur-rent until 1927 when contract to purchase current was made
with the Georgia Power Company.

   An ordinance for fire protection was passed in Feb. 1907. A Fire Department
was organized and it was provided that in the fire area that no building or
structure should be erected other than brick, concrete or stone. This area
extended from Homer Street to the railroad crossing near the Methodist Church
and from the railroad on the west. Dwellings were exempted.

   An election was held July 16, 1907 to vote bonds for water-works and
sewerage; $45,000.00 5% bonds were issued in 1908 and $8,000.00 5% bonds in 1909
for sewerage. The first waterworks commissioners were T. C. Hardman, chairman,
C. J. Hood and Claud Montgomery. The first superintendent was D. L. Caston. A
preliminary survey was made in 1907. Purchase was made of 2.6 acres of land from
H. E. Hardman for the waterworks site. Also the right of way for the pipe lines
to the corporate limit was secured and same was incorporated as part of the
city. This land was deeded Sept. 11, 1908. The contract for installing
waterworks and the sewerage system was given to J. B. McCrary Company of Atlanta.

   Eight thousand dollars 5% bonds were issued in 1913 for paving side walks.
The contract was let to W. C. Campbell Company, Columbus, G a. T. C. Hardman,
chairman of the street committee, was supervisor of the project. More than two
and one-half miles of concrete sidewalks were paved in the fall of 1913 and the
spring and summer of 19141 the owners of property paying one-half the cost.

   Thirty-one thousand dollars 5% bonds were issued in 1927 for the paving of
some two and one-half miles of concrete pavement of streets. The paving began at
the corner of Washing and North Elm Streets extending to Madison Street. The
State Highway Department participated one-third in this part of the highway with
the property owners paying one-third on either side of abutting property. This
project covered also Broad Street from intersection of Rice Street to
intersection of Jefferson Street and also Cherry and State Streets. Wingfield
Company of Augusta were the engineers. The Powell Paving Company of
Winston-Salem, N. C., were the contractors. T. C. Hardman, chairman of the
street committee, with the assistance of W. M. Thurmond, supervised the paving.
Later black top street pavement was laid on several streets and concrete
sidewalks were laid in which the property owners paid one-half and the city
one-half. No bonds were issued for this construction. Some streets were paved by
property owners, the city not participating. Among these was Homer Street from
intersecting North Broad to the corner of Short Street. The extension of Homer
Street was paved by the State High-way, property owners paying for grading and
sewerage. Washington and Jefferson Streets were paved by the State High-way.
Other streets have been paved by property owners paying entire cost.

   During the Harmony Grove Period the chief of police was called the Marshal
and the others were nightwatchmen or night police. Under the City of Commerce,
the chief officer is the chief of police and the other officers are designated
by number.

   Street Paving Bonds confirmed Oct. 20, 1927, $31,000.00.

   High School Bonds dated Feb. 1, 1936, $20,000.00.


Mayors        Treasurers        Clerks               Marshals
1885-86       W. A. Quillian    W. C. Green          W. H. Simpkins   G. B. Whitehead
1887-88       R. L. Hardman     T. E. Key            J. F. Goode      J. R. Hix
1889          W. W. Stark       W. S. Edwards        W. H. Simpkins   N. P. Lovin
1890          T. E. Key         W. A. Quillian       H. H. Duncan     B. A. Bray
1892          W. B. Hardman     C. J. Hood           H. H. Duncan     R. H. Hawks
1893          W. B. Hardman     D. U. Carson         A. H. Thurmond   S. T. Hawks
1894          W. B. Hardman     D. U. Carson         A. H. Thurmond   R. H. Hawks
1895          A. B. Deadwyler   M. T. Massey         G. L. Carson     R. H. Hawks
1896          J. D. Barnett     T. E. Key            W. D. Williford  H. S. Jackson
1898          Chas. M. Walker   J. T. Quillian       W. D. Williford  H. S. Jackson
1899-02       J. B. Hardman     L. L. Davis          J. N. Telford    H. S. Jackson
1902-3        C. J. Hood        W. B. Burns          J. E. Stevens    H. S. Jackson
                                                                      Chief of Police
1904          T. E. Key         W. S. Mize           L. L. Davis      G. L. Carson, Jr.
1906          P. Cooley         A. P. Rice           T. A. Little     J. R. Little
                                Clerk and Treasurer
1907          C. J. Hood        A. P. Rice                            H. S. Jackson
1908          J. M. Nix         A. P. Rice                            B. R. Vaughn
1910          J. B. Hardman     C. A. Goodin
1912          T. A. Little      C. A. Goodin
1914          E. B. Anderson    C. A. Goodin
1916          C. J. Hood        C. A. Goodin                          B. R. Vaughn
1918          C. J. Hood        C. A. Goodin                          S. A. Mize
1920          W. W. Stark       C. A. Goodin                          H. H. Seagraves
1922          J. B. Hardman     N. B. Lord                            C. M. Almond
1924          J. B. Hardman     N. B. Lord                            C. M. Almond
1926          C. J. Hood        N. B. Lord                            John W. Sailers
1928          C. J. Hood        Mrs. N. B. Lord (Supplied)            C. H. Nelms
1930          L. L. Davis       P. B. Trawick                         C. H. Nelms
1932          L. L. Davis       P. B. Trawick                         C. H. Nelms
1934          J. B. Hardman     P. B. Trawick                         J. R. Hix
1936          J. C. Verner      Carl Williamson                       J. R. Hix
1938          J. C. Verner      Carl Williamson                       J. R. Hix
1940          L. L. Davis       Carl Williamson                       C. H. Nelms
1942          H. C. Sims        Carl Williamson                       Avery Byrd
1944          H. P. Little      Carl Williamson                       Avery Byrd
1946          H. P. Little      Carl Williamson                       Avery Byrd
1948          H. P. Little      Jack Meaders                          A. D. Fitzpatrick
Acting Mayor  G. 0. Castellaw
Mayor         P. T. Scoggins    Clyde Short                           A. D. Fitzpatrick


   The Hood-Quillian Park was donated to the city for park purposes May 18, 1904
by C. J. Hood and J. T. Quillian. This park was on a branch with a spring at its
head just below J. B. Hardman's dairy on the north side of town. This park was
used for several years, but went out of use after the city received the gift of
the Willoughby Park, nearer town. The Willoughby Park was tendered to the city
Oct. 3, 1910 by heirs of the C. W. Hood Estate. A pavilion was built in 1913.
This park, consisting of about four acres has been improved at various times by
the erection of and by the construction of a swimming pool and electric lighting
of the grounds. This park has served well the needs of the community in public
speakings, barbecues and anniversaries.

   The Hood-Quillian Park was secured by the American Legion and the V.F.W. in
1949 partly by purchase and partly by donation. They are building a splendid
commodious lodge home and otherwise improving the property as a recreation
ground. One of the special features is the restoration of the large spring and
water supply. 

   The churches of Harmony Grove and vicinity were at first located in the
adjacent vicinity, or country-side. There was no church located in the town of
Harmony Grove before 1874.


   The Methodist church was known by the name of Sandy Level, located on the
opposite side of the railroad from L. G. Hardman's peach shed where there is an
old cemetery. To this church belonged as members the Shankles, the Hargroves,
some of the Hudsons, the Gobers and the Butlers. This building was torn down and
moved in 1874 to the present site of the Methodist Church. Just before the Civil
War there was erected a church building on the Dunson place near the beacon
light and was known as the Old Protestant, or Northern Methodist church, which
had a small membership. This church disbanded and disappeared soon after the
Civil War. In addition there was the Mt. Bethel Methodist Church, located three
miles northeast of Harmony Grove. This church contributed much in membership and
otherwise to this denomination in the town, as did also Wilson Church, four
miles north of town.


   There were a number of local Baptist churches located early in the century
near the vicinity of Harmony Grove, namely, Cabin Creek Baptist Church, six
miles south and constituted in 1796; Black's Creek Church, three miles from
town, south-east, constituted in 1803; Beaver Dam Baptist Church, four miles
east, constituted in 1822; Bold Springs Baptist Church, constituted in 1871 at
Addison Chrisler Springs; Grove Level Baptist Church, constituted in 1801, seven
miles north of town. All these churches had members in and around Harmony Grove.
In 1874 the Harmony Grove Baptist Church was constituted with eighty-eight
charter members, some from each of the five churches mentioned above, chiefly
Black's Creek and Cabin Creek.


   The Presbyterians had no local church here until the year 1882. A church was
organized and a house built on the lot where L. L. Davis now lives. Under the
leadership of Rev. Groves Cartledge and Dr. H. F. Hoyt, there was organized a
church with a small membership, these members coming partly from the Hebron
Presbyterian Church in Banks County and Thyatira Presbyterian Church in Jackson
County, the two latter churches being organized before 1800.


  The Madison Street Baptist Church was constituted in 1895. This church was
organized under the leadership of Rev. H. E. Hardman. He requested the gift of
the wooden building of the Harmony Grove Baptist Church, which was granted, and
he moved it and erected at his own expense a building on the present site on
Madison Street. This was the year, 1896, that the present brick building of the
Harmony Grove Baptist Church was begun.

   The primary purpose of the Madison Street Church was to give religious
facilities to the operatives of the Harmony Grove Mill and to the residents of
that vicinity. This church has advanced steadily in growth of membership and
influence. Its membership is among the largest in Commerce.


   The Holiness people of various faiths have had religious meetings in tents
and other ways. In recent years one of these groups has had a church building in
South Commerce which was originally constructed by the Methodist Church, in
which they for a time held services. Some two years ago the Holiness people
secured this building and remodeled it.

   Other religious groups hold services in their homes without having a public
place of worship.


   The Negro churches of Commerce have been an important factor in the religious
life of the community. There are in the section of the city known as Johntown at
least four thriving congregations. The Baptist Church has been in operation for
over sixty years. In 1927, there was erected a splendid brick veneer church
building with all equipment necessary for Sunday School and other church
organizations. This building was erected during the pastorate and under the
leadership of Rev. J. C. Barnett at a total cost of more than $6,000.00, fully
paid off in five years. The present membership enrollment is 250 and the pastor
is Rev. Claud Clayton.

   The Methodist have an equally equipped brick veneer building on the
Commerce-Carnesville Highway, known as the Methodist Episcopal Church with a
membership of 63 and whose present pastor is Rev. P.H.P. Mayes. On another
street is the CME group of Methodist with a nice frame structure and a
membership of too. The present pastor is Rev. E. D. Martin.

   Near by this church is the Holiness Church with a comfort-able house of
worship and a membership of 20.

   The religious life of our town as represented in these five white and four
Negro churches form the background of the high character and moral tone of our
citizenship. These churches have a membership of 2,414. There has been unusual
cooperation and harmony among all the churches and especially have the white
people encouraged and contributed financially to provide splendid church
buildings and equipment for the Negro congregations. The moral tone of the Negro
population has been advanced and improved in proportion to their church and
religious life and school facilities.

Total White Church Membership      1,979
Negro Membership                     435
Total                              2,414


   On Saturday, November 21, 1874, the Baptist Church of Harmony Grove was
constituted with 88 charter members who had been lettered from Black's Creek,
Cabin Creek, Beaver Dam, Oconee, and Grove Level Churches. W. B. J. Hardman was
chosen pastor and R. S. Cheney and L. J. Dun-son elected deacons. On the
following day, Sunday, November 22, the ordination service of pastor and deacons
was con-ducted by a presbytery, consisting of W. F. Stark, A. J. Kelly, W. R.
Goss and W. T. M. Brock.

   The following is a list of the charter members:

J. O. Adair          W. S. Edwards        Elbert Hardman
D. W. Barnett        W. C. Farabee        R. L. Hardman W. B. Barnett        C.
O. Farabee        C. W. Hood E. H. Borders        W. R. Goss           C. J. Hood
John Bruce           I. H. Goss           A. J. Hudson
Chris Coleman        W. C. Glenn          J. M. Hutchins
R. S. Cheney         W. B. J. Hardman     R. K. Minish
W. C. Davis          H. E. Hardman        E. H. Ingram
L. J. Dunson         L. G. Hardman        S. R. Jordan
P. O. Pittman        W. W. Tolbert        W. B. J. Perry J. G. H. Pittman    
Solomon Seegar       E. A. Perry John L. Parks        J. S. P. Richey      S. J.
T. Seegar E. Edwards           Francis Ray          J. A. Skates D. M. Hix 
FEMALES Julia Adair          S. E. Goss           Sarah A. Minish Virginia
Barnett     Martha Hudson        C. A. M. Mann
E. A. Borders        Melissa A. Hood      Minerva C. Nix
F. L. Borders        Temperance Hardy     Mary E. Nix T. A. V. Barnett     E. S.
Hardman        Julia M. Perry Frances Coleman      Flora E. Hardman     Johanna
Eugenia E. Cheney    Lottie Hardman       Sarah Perry Lydia Davis          L. L.
Hardman        M. E. Perry
Mary F. Dunson       Josephine Hudson     Ermine Park M. R. Dunson        
Martha Hutchins      M. A. E. Ray
M. C. Edwards        Emma Ingram          L. P. Richey Delanie E. Farabee   M.
A. Jordan         L. C. Richey
L. H. Farabee        Delilah Ingram       Cynthia Sanders
P. C. Farabee        E. C. Lackey         Dora A. Webb R. D. Farabee       
Sidney Minish        S. F. Tolbert
E. A. Goss           Frances E. Minish    Sarah J. Yeargin
 The first conference was held on December 26th, and several important
transactions are noted: The election of R. S. Cheney as clerk; P. O. Pittman,
assistant clerk; L. J. Dunson, treasurer; and R. K. Minish, chorister. Ten a.m.
was set apart as the hour of prayer on each meeting day. On solicitation of W.
R. Goss several subscriptions were taken for The Christian Index and Baptist.

   The fourth Sunday in July was fixed for the annual revival meeting, services
to begin on Friday before that Sunday.

   Quarterly Conferences were held when they received and appointed
correspondents to sister churches.

   The first large ingathering came at a protracted meeting in July, 1880, at
which time almost every young person of eligible age joined. A majority of these
are living and a number of them are still members with us. Thirty were baptized
and two received by letter.

   The church at first had preaching only one Sunday a month. In 1892 they went
to two Sundays a month, W. M. Coile pastor, and in 1900 they adopted full-time
service, G. W. Gamer, pastor.

   The present brick building was erected in 1896 and dedicated February 14,
1897. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. T. W. O'Kelly of Griffin. The
name of the church was changed from the Harmony Grove Baptist Church to the
Commerce First Baptist Church, September 18, 1904.

   The former wooden building was donated to Madison Street Church, and was
moved and erected by H. E. Hardman at his own expense.

   This church entertained the Sarepta Association five times, in 1879, 1897,
1914, 1936, and 1946; the Sunday School Convention five times and the Georgia
Baptist Convention in 1916.

   Ministers ordained by this church are: W. B. J. Hardman, A. H. Boone, R. S.
Cheney, H. E. Hardman, Ronald Bullin, and T. C. Hardman.

   Deacons ordained: R. S. Cheney, L. J. Dunson, W. C. Davis, H. E. Hardman, J.
D. Barnett, C. J. Hood, T. C. Pittman, A. B. Deadwyler, W. B. Hardman, W. T.
Thurmond, T. C. Hardman, F. M. Hubbard, J. M. Nix, Geo. L. Hubbard, C. J.
Hardman, H. B. Carreker, A. P. Rice, C. A. Goodin, W. C. Dowdy, J. B. Elrod, M.
T. Sanders, J. L. Dunson, A. A. Rogers, L. G. Hardman, Jr., Avery Bird, J. N.
Harris, Dr. G. O. Castellaw. A number of members have come in from other
churches as deacons and have served this church faithfully in that capacity.

   The pastors who have served the church: W. B. J. Hardman, sixteen years; W.
M. Coile, four years; B. F. Riley, three years; G. W. Gamer, five years; W. A.
Nelson, two years; H. W. Williams, five years; Gilbert Dobbs, seven years; W. L.
Culbertson, seven years; W. H. Wrighton, six years; C. C. Tooke, seventeen years.

   We show some figures which show the larger activities during the years. The
first 45 years, for missions and benevolence, we gave approximately $45,000.00;
from 1919 to 1924, $55,000.00; since then $20,000.00; total, $120,000.00; for
schools and education, $60,000.00; total-missions and benevolences, $180,000.00.

   On the same date that the Harmony Grove Church was constituted there was
begun the Sunday School which has been maintained through the entire history. A
Men's Bible Class was organized, also a class for the young men and young women.
The feature of this early Sunday School was the "Beginners or Primaries," taught
by Mrs. W. B. J. Hardman in which the "Blue Back Speller" and "Kind Words" were
used. The "Kind Words" were edited by Rev. Samuel Boykin of Macon.

   From the beginning, over sixty years ago, the school has had a continuous
progress until at present it has reached the A-1 Standard. In 1918 an addition
was built to the church, including a room for the Primaries, and in 1936, a
complete and commodious Sunday School Annex was constructed which is sufficient
for a school of 800 pupils.

   The following have served as superintendents: R. S. Cheney, J. A. Williford,
W. H. Simpkins, H. E. Hardman, J. H. Walker, W. B. Haygood, W. B. Hardman, C. J.
Hood, J. H. Williford, H. B. Carreker, W. H. Martin, C. L. Veatch, J. B.
Hardman, A. A. Rogers, Alvin Collins, and Clyde Nunn.

   The women of the First Baptist Church were among the first of the state to
organize a Woman's Missionary Society, under solicitation of Rev. C. M. Irwin,
about the year, 1881. This group of women carried on the work and supported
missionaries direct for several years. Some years later, under the ministry of
Dr. B. F. Riley, the work was re-organized and has been continuous up to the
present status.

   The B.Y.P.U. organization was established under the leadership of Landrum and
Frank Leavell, about the year 1915, and has been one of the helpful auxiliaries
to the church work.

   The First Baptist Church has enlarged its facilities recently, expending some
$15,000.00 on redecorating interior, laying concrete paving on walks around the
building and enlarging the heating plant. The present membership is 737.


   The Madison Street Baptist Church of Commerce was constituted in 1895 in
South Commerce in the vicinity of the Harmony Grove Mill. The lot was
contributed by the Rev. W. B. J. Hardman and the building was erected by Rev. H.
E. Hardman, who became the first pastor and served until 1911, a period of
sixteen years. The building was the original church house of the Harmony Grove
Baptist Church and was taken down and removed to Madison Street at the time the
Harmony Grove Baptist Church erected a new brick building, which is now the
Commerce First Baptist Church.

   This church has been encouraged and partly supported by the Harmony Grove
Mills. It has cooperated with the Baptist program and has been a liberal
contributor to same, having from the beginning a very active Sunday School with
well organized and prepared teachers.

   This church entertained the Sunday School Convention in 1941. It is also
active in the training of young people, having maintained an active Baptist
Training Union.

   The following have served as pastors: Rev. H. E. Hardman, Rev. W. M. Pettit,
Rev. Chas. Rowe, Rev. W. L. Culbertson, Rev. M. A. Love, Rev. R. J. Tyler, Rev.
G. H. Collins, Rev. P. M. Webb, Rev. G. H. Davis, Rev. Clyde Smith, and Rev.
Edward L. Aiken, the present pastor.

   Those who have served as deacons are: Wm. Thurmond, C. T. Nash, J. L. Lord,
E. J. Pruitt, G. C. Steele, H. C. Minish, Charley Turner, O. G. Chandler, A. R.
Owens, D. P. Morrison, Archie Davis, W. E. Williams, P. D. Howington, Woodie
Phillips, J. J. Morrison, D. L. Nunn, S. R. Spurlock, J. R. Toney, L. Burruss
Morrison, H. Odell Williams, W. L. Ayers, Andrew O'Kelley, Clyde O. Nunn, L. H.
Clarke, Emory E. Vaughn, Martin F. Allen, W. M. Saxon, V. Turner Allen, H. A.
James, Luke L. Smallwood, Rufus O'Kelley, R. S. Gillespie, and A. M. Hampton.

   Those who have served as clerks are: F. O. Whitehead, C. T. Nash, J. H. Webb,
W. A. Webb, Charlie Turner, G. C. Steele, John Thomas, P. D. Howington, O. G.
Chandler, D. P. Morrison, Robert S. Wheeler, C. O. Nunn, H. Odell Williams, C.
L. Burns, Sr., and Wilson Morrison. The present clerk is. Kyle Savage.

   Those serving the church as treasurer are: J. W. Massey, P. D. Howington, H.
E. Williams, L. Burruss Morrison, H. Odell Williams, W. L. Ayers, Emory E.
Vaughn, B. L. Sea-graves, V. Turner Allen, Miss Hilda Boswell, and L. L. Smallwood.

   Sunday School superintendents are as follows: W. F. Stark, Robert Howington,
Jack Cash, T. S. Coleman, F. A. Cole-man, Callie O'Kelley, M. C. Bellew, H. C.
Minnish, G. C. Steele, H. E. Williams, Archie Davis, D. L. Nunn, D. P. Morrison,
P. D. Howington, V. Turner Allen, Kyle Savage, Melvin Minnish, H. Odell
Williams, and Rufus O'Kelley. The present superintendent is A. M. Hampton.

   In 1941 the church called Rev. Edward L. Aiken, of Gainesville, as pastor. It
has perhaps been during his ministry that our church has made more progress than
in any other years of her history.

   There has been a large increase in our membership and attendance. The
building program during his pastorate includes: three additional Sunday School
classrooms, a pastor's study, two restrooms and the vestibule. The church has
been repainted both on the inside and outside, new carpets and light fixtures
added and an oil furnace installed. Present membership 600.

   The present church officers include: Pastor, Rev. Edward L. Aiken.

   Deacons: A. M. Hampton, H. Odell Williams, Rufus O'Kelley, L. L. Smallwood,
R. S. Gilespie, W. F. Williams, and H. A. James.


   The first record in this community of the Harmony Grove-Commerce Methodist
Church is taken from a Sunday School record book (this book was presented in
1921 to the Commerce News by John Gober who was the grandson of H. B. Gober).
The record book covers a period from 1843 to 185 I in which is indicated a
Sunday School was organized in 1843 at Adaline Methodist Church, two miles south
of Harmony Grove on the Athens road, probably between the T. P. Hudson place and
the S. R. Hood place on the west side of the road. Afterwards at this spot there
was a school house known as the Hood School.

   In this Adaline Sunday School were the following names: Christopher Sewell,
Eli Shankle, James W. Shankle, Reuben Nash, William Johnson, William LaMaster,
H. B. Gober, William Gober, and Linton C. Dunson. The Adaline Church seems to
have later been moved to Harmony Grove and located near the present home of Mrs.
L. J. Sharp on the opposite side of Shankle Street. Sometime later this place of
worship was again moved and located near the old Farrabee home site outside the
city limit, some quarter of a mile and on the east side of the railroad. This
church was known as Sandy Level. The place is marked by a small grave yard.

   In 1874 this church was moved to its present site on a lot donated by S. M.
Shankle. The present membership is 460.

   The following is a list of Stewards and Trustees:

F. H. Adams      Claud Montgomery        Herbert Sharp
A. D. Bolton     Milton Nix              T. J. Syfan
W. D. Bolton     Ralph Pardue            Fred Tanner
C. H. Beard      F. E. Durst, Jr.        W. M. Veal James Wilbanks   Charles L.
Brown, Jr.   W. W. Foster
J. D. Parham     Thomas L. Conn          J. L. Hope
N. H. Perry      R. M. Davidson          J. E. Jarrell
W. R. Pickins    Tom Mealor              Corner Fowler
R. L. Sanders 
James Wilbanks, Superintendent of Sunday School.

   The following is a list of the preachers of the Harmony Grove-Commerce
Methodist Church:

J. T. Curtis      1879-1881
J. R. Parker      1882-1883
W. W. Lampkin          1884
Rev. Murrah            1885
J. B. Allen            1886
Rev. Embry             1887
Rev. Bond         1888-1889 George W. Duval   1890-1891
R. Branham        1892-1893
J. D. Milton      1894-1895
C. A. Jamison          1896
G. W. Griner      1847-1898
M. L. Troutman         1900
W. T. M. Bell          1901
G. M. Eakes       1902-1903

G. M. Eakes       1904-1905
A. A. Tilly            1906 W. R. Foot        1907-1908 Walter Robison   
1909-1910 Frank Quinlan     1911-1913 T. Eakes               1914 K. Read      
V. P. Scoville    1917-1918 J. Lytle Jones  Supply 1918
J. E. Ellis       1919-1920 Irby Henderson    1921-1922 J. R. Turner     
1923-1925 J. R. Jordan      1926-1927
J. H. Allison     1928-1929
G. E. Barrett     1930-1931 A. Lee Hale       1932-1933
J. P. Irwin       1934-1935
J. O. Brand       1936-1938
F. E. Crutcher    1939-1941 C. W. Fruit       1942-1948
Hubert Dodd,    present Pastor


   On July 28, 1882, Rev. R. W. Milner, evangelist of Athens Presbytery, and
Rev. Groves H. Cartledge held a meeting ina little log school house near their
first permanent church building on Homer Street. On July 30th, Rev. Cartledge
preached from Isaiah 54: 5, after which they proceeded with the organization of
a church with the following members: T. E. Key and Mary E. Bird from Hebron
Church; T. M. Daniels from Athens; Dr. R. R. Harden from Smyrna; Mrs. Coles from
Gainesville; Mr. M. T. Davis and wife from Wilson's Church; Mr. and Mrs. E. A.
McDonald from Thyatira; and Mr. T. Cole on profession.

   The following officers were elected:

   Elders: T. E. Key, T. M. Daniel, E. A. McDonald.

   Deacons: Dr. R. R. Harden, T. Cole. T. M. Daniel was elected Clerk of the

   Rev. H. F. Hoyt, Rev. Milner, Rev. Stevens, Dr. Henry Newton, Dr. Cleveland
and Dr. Cartledge supplied the church until Dr. Hoyt was elected pastor in 1884.

   In 1883 the Independent Presbyterians of Savannah, Ga., gave the church
$200.00 to be used on a house of worship.

   On July 11, 1886, the day the church was dedicated, a meeting was held in the
afternoon and arrangements made for an afternoon Sunday School, members of other
denominations cooperating.

   Meetings were held in the little school house until July, 1885, after which
they met for one year in the Methodist Church. In January, 1884, a lot was
purchased from J. N. Wood for $200.00. The building was erected on this lot and
dedicated on July 11, 1886. The membership being small, the construction was
slow and the different members took part in the building and contributed
different parts of the furnishings. T. E. Key furnished the blinds; T. Cole made
the pews; and W. T. Stapler gave the organ. The membership gradually increased.
The Hoyts came in 1884; the Telfords in 1888; the Littles in 1889; the Burns in
1891; Mrs. Barnett in 1892; the Smiths in 1892; E. P. Eberhart in 1893; the
Mizes in 1893; the Watsons in 1893; Mrs. Owens and Miss Alice Owens in 1893; the
Kemps in 1891; G. L. Carson and family in 1896; and the Rices in 1899. Our
membership is still small but many members have gone out to take leadership in
other places.

   On April 6, 1905 the name of the church was changed from Harmony Grove
Presbyterian Church to Commerce Presbyterian Church. In June, 1910, it was
decided to change the location and erect a new church building. By October of
the same year, $7,358.00 had been subscribed for the purpose. A trade was made
with L. L. Davis to exchange their present house and lot for a lot on the corner
of Cherry and Bowden Streets, paying him $1,500.00 difference. Later two lots
were sold from the original lot fronting on Bowden Street for $550.00 each. The
erection of this building was begun and completed in 1912 at a total cost of
$12,850.00. This beautiful structure in the center of town furnishes an ample
place of worship and service.

   In July, 1919, the purchase of the manse was decided upon. The purchase was
made January 24, 1920. They bought from W. Y. Harber a seven room house on
Shankle Street for $7,-500.00. Rev. John A. Simpson was the first occupant.

   In all the construction and improvement of buildings, the women of the church
have been of invaluable help in all the undertakings of the church; in the
furnishings and equipping of the Manse, installing the heating plant and the
pews and in many ways showing their devotion to the cause. The present
membership is 130.

   On October 9, 1946, the Presbyterian Church passed resolutions in
appreciation of the faithful, long service in the church of Mrs. A. B. Deadwyler
as organist and assistant organist; Mr. George Rice as Superintendent of the
Sunday School, and of Mrs. George Rice as Sunday School teacher of the Beginners
Class in the Sunday School. Mrs. Ernest Jackson deserves special recognition for
her long service as organist in the church.

   In January, 1906, Dr. L. G. Hardman tendered the Presbyterian Church and each
of the other religious denominations a room in his Sanitorium for the free use
and treatment for the poor of their congregation who needed medical care and
with the provision that congregation supply the necessary furnishings for its
room. This proposition was accepted with thanks by each congregation but did not
materialize as a practical plan.


   For two years after its organization, several preachers sup plied the pulpit
from Sabbath to Sabbath. In 1884, Dr. Hoyt was called as a regular pastor. From
that date on the pastors have been: H. F. Hoyt, total of fifteen years; Rev.
Stevens, four years; H. S. Allyn, three years; D. J. Blackwell, two years; J. D.
McPhail, one year; George M. Telford, three years; J. N. McCord, two years; W.
R. Henderson, four years; John A. Simpson, six years; W. W. Pippin, three years;
H. R. Foster, fifteen years; Reid Newland, four years; Robert J. Marshman, the
present pastor, who is serving his first year.

   The church began by having services once a month. In 1896 they called for two
Sundays. Since 1905 they have varied from full time to three quarter time. The
present pastor is giving his full time.

   The following have served the church as Elders: T. E. Key, E. A. McDonald, T.
M. Daniel, W. G. Alexander, J. N. Telford, W. N. Burns, W. L. Little, G. L.
Carson, Sr., R. L. Smith, R. E. Kemp, E. P. Eberhart, Claud Little, D. M. Burns,
T. A. Little, W. S. Mize, E. B. Watson, George T. Rice, G. P. Martin, T. N.
Mize, W. B. Rice, C. W. Voiles, W. T. Stapler and H. P. Little.

   Deacons: Dr. R. R. Harden, T. Cole, J. W. Carrington, J. N. Marbury, C. A.
Mize, A. P. Rice, M. C. Arthur, C. N. Bird, A. C. Carson, W. A. Echols, W. D.
Martin, C. W. Hood, Jr., T. P. Coker, R. F. Powers, Joe Deadwyler, Lauren
McDonald, F. M. Fuller, W. A. Gibbs, A. S. Johnson, C. C. Ward, L. A.
Richardson, and W. A. Stevenson.

   Sunday School Superintendents: T. E. Key in 1883; J. N. Telford served more
than twenty years to 1908; Claud Little for a total of fourteen years; H. B.
Bible two years; R. L. J. Smith, two years, and George T. Rice, a total of
twenty-three years.

   Clerks: T. M. Daniel, ten years; W. G. Alexander, W. B. Burns, thirty-four
years; Claud Little, twelve years; C. W. Voiles, four years; G. P. Martin, the
present clerk, six years.

   Personal sketches of two pioneer Presbyterian preachers of Harmony Grove and
this section of Northeast Georgia.


   Rev. Groves Cartledge was a Presbyterian preacher high in the Presbyterian
Church of the northeastern part of the state. He was born February 15, 1820 in
Madison County and was the son of Samuel and Agnes Groves Cartledge. He
at-tended the common schools in Madison, Jackson and Gwinnett counties, also Old
Oglethorpe at Midway and Columbia Seminary. He settled in Franklin County about
one mile from Hebron Church, where he spent forty-seven years as pastor of
Hebron Church and other Presbyterian churches in this section. He was also a
successful school teacher and became a scholar of recognized ability. Mr.
Cartledge was a leader in the founding of the Harmony Grove Presbyterian Church.
He died July 5, 1899 in his eightieth year.


   Dr. Hoyt was the son of Rev. Nathan Hoyt, born in Athens, Ga., in 1833. He
graduated from the University of Georgia in 1851 and completed his theological
course at the Presbyterian Seminary at Columbia, S. C. He was chaplain in the
Confederate Army and afterward preached at Darien for some time. He for more
than thirty years served churches in Northeast Georgia at Elberton, Commerce,
Cornelia, Maysville, Homer, and other points. Dr. Hoyt was much admired for his
lovable character and ability as a preacher and pastor. He supplied the Harmony
Grove Presbyterian Church in its early days and was called as pastor in 1884. He
served as pastor at different times for a total of fifteen years and was well
known and universally loved during his ministry in Harmony Grove and Commerce.
He passed away at the Hardman Sanatorium in Commerce in 1912 and was buried at
Maysville, Georgia.