Monday, March 21, 2016

Looking Back to Campbell County, Part One

From an article dated February 7, 1932 in one of the Atlanta papers soon after Campbell County became a part of Fulton County. The article was penned by Charles L. Bass and is titled “Campbell County, Now Part of Fulton, Important in Early History of Georgia” with the sub-headline that said, “Campbellton, now one of the state’s ‘deserted villages,’ flourished as county site before the Civil War”.

At the outset of the article Mr. Bass predicts Campbell County would be lost by absorption by Fulton County….that it would submerge as well as merge with Fulton .

Mr. Bass correctly asserts Campbell County’s “history and traditions will silently slip into the annals of the past and become but a memory”, and I would have to agree.

Most people today – eighty-four years later – have no idea Campbell County ever existed.

The article covers several things, but in this post I’m going to relate the information regarding Native Americans and the earliest days of Campbell County.

Later this week I’ll post the remainder of the article.

In the bottom lands of the streams in Campbell County the Indians held their corn dance festival; the early settlers related having observed them.  It is a tradition that on a hill near Pumpkintown a fierce battle had been fought between the Creeks and Cherokees fought with such savage fury that the victors drove the vanquished into the river.

It is probably true as an unusual number of human bones and Indian relics have been washed up near here in seasons of extremely high waters.

Evidence of Indian trails leading to the well-known Three-Notch and Five-Notch trails is still seen as reminders of the occupancy of the vanished race who once proudly claimed it as their own.

The new country with its fertile lands along the Chattahoochee River and its magnificent forests of fine timber then unspoiled by the reckless ax of the woodmen was an inviting territory.

However, settlement in the county was retarded by fear of the Indians who were angry at the treaty made by General McIntosh and who had been foully assassinated by a mob of Cowetas or Lower Creeks at his home in May, 1825.  And constant rumors of further vengeance and unrest against the whites were circulated.

Previous to the treaty signed at Indian Springs on February 12, 1825, by General William McIntosh, representing the Creek Indians, and Duncan G. Campbell and James Meriwether the United States government, the proud descendants of the brave warriors who owned and possessed the land roamed in happy freedom. It was the territory of the Creeks but on the borderland of the possessions of the Cherokees.  Indeed, across the Chattahoochee there was a strip of land considered neutral ground. Here Creeks and Cherokees met and made treaties.

But even before the creation of Campbell County settlers had moved into the territory. Among these early residents were Judge Walter T. Colquitt and with him his young secretary Benjamin Camp, the latter was to become one of the county’s most prominent citizens.

Judge Colquitt had an extensive plantation on the Chattahoochee which had grown a settlement known by the homely name of Pumpkintown or Cross Anchor at the time the county was organized.

I’ll post the remainder of this article later this week……

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