In 1825, the Cherokee inhabitants established a capital called New Echota at the headwaters of the Oostanula River.
At New Echota, the Cherokees built a unique culture that included a written language and a formal government, before they were banished from the area by executive decree, with the state taking over their lands for white settlers.
Feb. 3 marked the 161st birthday for Gordon County and for many civic groups, it was a look back into history.
According to local Calhoun historian Jim Lay, a small town called Dawsonville was created and founded in what is now Gordon County. It was named for the owner of an early general store, he said. Dawsonville was later re-named Calhoun following the storeowner’s death in 1850.
Shortly after, the county was named after William Washington Gordon, president of what was then the Central Railroad and Banking Company in April 1836.
The following information was provided by the City of Gordon, which was written by Ms. Gussie S. Owen and Ms. Miriam M. Brown titled “The Very Beginning.”
“The first house built in the vicinity of Gordon, was an inn about three miles from present town and was a stage stop between Milledgeville and Hawkinsville, one of Georgia's most noted stage routes. The first community in the area was centered on Ramah Church, which was constituted July 10, 1809 by the Brethren Gaylord and McGinty with ten members.
“Educational, social and cultural affairs of the community centered around the church for years before Gordon was established.”
Resaca’s Confederate Cemetery
Throughout the South and in Georgia, special cemeteries are set aside for Confederate soldiers who died in what many in the south refer to as the “War Between the States,” or Civil War.
Back then, the slain Confederates were left without a government to care for their graves, and individuals handled the task of burying the dead.
The Green family of Gordon County, out of concern for the South’s dead, helped establish the Resaca Confederate Cemetery, which was founded on Oct. 25, 1866 and was one the first of its kind in the state.
According to a article titled “Georgia’s First Confederate Cemetery at Resaca,” the cemetery, which has more than 500 graves, is located on the land that was owned by Col. John F. Green and his family. The wooded tract, seven miles north of Calhoun and two miles above Resaca, is part of the ground on which the May 1864 battle of Resaca was fought.
“More Americans died on the Resaca battlefield than at the first Battle of Bull Run,” according to “History of Gordon County.” “Some 160,000 soldiers in blue and gray fought there; almost 6,000 of them died.”
According to the book:
The daughters wanted to give the Confederate soldiers a proper burial, so they devised a plan to finance a cemetery, maintain the land and commemorate the dead respectively.
Money was scarce, so the Green sisters formed a society of other women and collected funds to finance the undertaking. The girls’ father, Col. Green, two acres within the battlefield area, and the cemetery area was cleared of undergrowth, and a picket fence was put up around it; it was later was replaced with a stone wall. Today it still serves as a special Confederate cemetery.
A monument was erected in the cemetery by Gordon County residents. It reads:
Georgia Confederate Veterans
We sleep here in obedience to law;
When duty called, we came;
We country called, we died.
Sources: “Confederate Cemetery Recorded in History,” “Massive Burial Beneath in Granite Cross” and “History of Gordon Count.” These are all works compiled in “History of Gordon County,” by Luke Pitts. The book is available at Calhoun-Gordon County Library.
Oakleigh: an antebellum treasure in Calhoun
Georgians cherish fine architecture; they also take pride in their heritage.
Oakleigh, a historic home in Calhoun, is one example of fine architecture. The antebellum-style grand manor home played a part in the Civil War and was built in the 1850s.
The home, located at 335 South Wall St., was built by a Dr. Wall (his first name is unrecorded in county records) and served as his home. Today the house is owned and preserved by the Gordon County Historical Society.
Oakleigh has much history to offer; it served as the headquarters for Gen. William T. Sherman during his famous march to Savannah.
Then in 1864, Oakleigh was sold to the Jackson family upon the death of Dr. Wall. Following the death of Mrs. Jackson, the Jackson’s next-door neighbors, the Brown family, purchased the house.
Soon after the death of Mrs. Brown, the Gordon County Historical Society purchased the house and now meets there regularly to use the home.
The Gordon County Historical Society provided information about the home.