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Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight

The Confederate government realized early there were not enough volunteers to fight a war. In April 1862, less than a year after the war began, they passed a conscription act requiring all males between 18 and 35 to enroll. A few months later the upper age was raised to 45.  Two years later even more desperate measures were taken when 17-year old boys and 50-year-old men were also included.

Exemptions included Confederacy and state officials and other occupations deemed essential to social, economic and political stability, such as large slave owners, factory workers, millers, etc. One could also pay another to take his place. As was often said, it was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.

Conscription embittered many, calling it an infringement of personal liberty. The Union was forced to do the same the following year.

Most of my maternal kin were small farmers from North Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, and did not own slaves. All that enlisted before April 1862 obviously volunteered, and supported the Southern cause. However, it is fair to say most of those who enlisted after March 1862 were conscripted. …

Read the full story by Travis McDaniel: A rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. – Smoke Signals.

Cherokees in boarding schools

Once a 19th-century Indian industrial school located in Genoa, Neb., this building has been converted into a museum. Photo: Wikipedia

Years after the Five Civilized Tribes – Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw – had been removed to reservations in Oklahoma, the U.S. Army concentrated on removing the western tribes to reservations, completing that work in the mid- to late-1870s. The government’s treaty provision for providing food to Indians on the reservations was inadequate, and, mostly, it was unfit to eat.

Thus, they were starving. The government did little to resolve this problem. Therefore, many warriors left the reservations to hunt for food. Some of that food was to be found on the ranches of the encroaching white settlers.

Richard Henry Pratt, an officer of the Army’s 10th Cavalry, spent the period of 1867-1875 in Indian Territory trying to force the warriors to stay on the reservations. Finally, in 1875, he was put in charge of rounding up 75 warriors from the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo nations.

They were exiled to St. Augustine, Fla., and incarcerated at Fort Marion Prison. In Florida, Pratt made the Indians dress in military uniforms and follow military discipline, dividing them into companies.

It was during this time he began to formulate his ideas on Indian education. His philosophy, and that of the Quakers and other missionaries, was to civilize the Indians to become like white men.

He modeled some of his ideas on the Hampton Institute in Virginia, which was established in 1868 as a boarding school for African-American children. This school was designed to educate by training “the head, the hand and the heart” and then to return the children, after many years, to their communities as leaders. Some of Pratt’s Indians chose to go to the Hampton school after their imprisonment at Fort Marion.

Pratt’s philosophy eventually led to his most famous quote: “Kill the Indian, save the man.” ….

Read the full story by Don Wells in Smoke Signals.

The music of Appalachia: an American treasure

The music of Appalachia was shaped by Native American, English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish and African influences. The early settlers came from the northern latitudes of Europe. It was mostly Scotch-Irish and English who brought their Gaelic and balladeer music to the mountains.

When coal mining became a major industry in the mountain region, African-Americans began migrating to this area. This cross-pollination of musical culture created the unique Appalachia sounds and music.

Life was hard in the Appalachian Mountains, and money was short. For many, there was no power, no telephone, no television and little transportation to go to town for entertainment. For them, gathering family and friends on the porch to sing after chores were done was a way of life.

Read the full article: The music of Appalachia: an American treasure – Smoke Signals.

Moonshine making a comeback

Moonshine making a comeback

Moonshine – the once taboo spirit  found in cabins deep in the Appalachian mountains far away from the long arm of the law – is now making its way  into mainstream drinking thanks to specialty restaurants and legal distilleries right here in Georgia.

Once kept in Mason jars and transported in souped-up cars  in the dead of night, moonshine makers are now getting on the right side of the law and selling legally throughout the nation. The closest distillery is most notably our neighbors to the east at Dawsonville Moonshine. The other Georgia distillery is Ivy Mountain Distillery in Mt. Airy which has moonshine and sour mash and (once the most common around here) various fruit brandies.

At 61 Main, Jasper’s farm-to-table dining destination, a moonshine-based drink is their most popular.

Read full story by Christie Pool in the Pickens Progress: Moonshine making a comeback.

Tate depot may finally start in December

Photo by Lisa Schnellinger

Photo by Lisa Schnellinger

The long-delayed Tate Depot project may finally get going by the end of the year, state officials say.

Bids for the Tate train depot project will be let in December according to Georgia Department of Transportation Senior Project Manager Steve Aderwale in a statement to Smoke Signals June 6. He said the project approval process was in the “final stages.”

The project calls for moving the depot across the street to a vacant lot at the corner of Highway 53 and Highway 5, and renovating it for use as an historical tourist attraction. The depot was built in 1916.

Read the full story: Tate depot project set to get underway in December? – Smoke Signals.

Reindhardt University 2nd Annual History Symposium

Reinhardt 4

Hear little-known and never-heard-before stories about the interplay of gold mining, kinship, religious networks, and education in North Georgia’s history at Reinhardt University’s second annual history symposium March 22 & 23.

All activities are in the Bannister Glasshouse in the Hasty Student Life Center, unless otherwise noted. For more information and to register click:

http://www.reinhardt.edu/Events/2013/history-symposium-2013-gold-religion-education.html .

Friday, March 22

  • 3:30 p.m. – “Waleska as Epicenter: Gold-seeking Methodists & the Development of Emory, Reinhardt & Young Harris Colleges” (featured address by Dr. Kenneth Wheeler)
  • 5 p.m. – Optional dinner in the nearby Gordy Center for $6.50 per person
  • 7 p.m. – “Echoes of Cherokee County”, dramatic readings from selected primary historical documents (produced by Dr. Kevin Crawford, Assistant Professor of English and Theatre, Reinhardt University).

Saturday, March 23

  • 8:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast
  • 9 a.m. – “Emancipation & Education in ‘Them Thar Hills’: Schools & North Georgia After the Civil War” (featured address by Dr. Jennifer Lund Smith)
  • 10 a.m. – “Understanding the Intertwinings” Panelists Dr. Jonathan Atkins, Berry College; Dr. Tene Harris Davis, Georgia State University; and Dr. Kenneth H. Wheeler, Reinhardt University will share remarks & answer audience questions.

Black History in Pickens: Part 11

This article is condensed from a series of articles written for the Pickens Progress by Dr. Kathleen Thompson. The project was made possible by the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance, and grants from the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The research and interviews that underlie these articles have taken place over a period of three years (2009-2011). During that time many people have been instrumental in the production of this record of Black life in Pickens County, from the time of the first slaves who were owned by a Cherokee Indian plantation owner, and thus predate early White settlers, to today. I would like to begin by thanking those who have helped.

The Pickens Progress and Dan Pool have been generous in their willingness to run these articles. Never have I been asked to shorten the articles that I submitted to Mr. Pool. The Progress staff is committed to recording local history.

Funding for the historical research was provided by two state agencies. The Georgia Council for the Arts supported a photography project that recorded life in the Black community. Lisa Payne and her Pickens High School photography students, and Lisa Snellinger, and Al Clayton did a fantastic job with their photojournalism.

The Georgia Humanities Council provided grant monies to pay for the cost of research including, equipment, research fees, books, and travel expenses. A committee, which included Lawton Baggs, Justin Davis, Robert McClure, Portia Goss, and Willie Mae Weaver, provided leadership. The fiscal agent for the grant was the Pickens Arts and Cultural Alliance (PACA).

Two women provided extensive guidance and insights and have become good friends. I would like to tell you why I admire both of them.

Emma Julia (Collins) Washington


Emma Julia began her working life as a maid in the homes of White families and ended her career as an educator. In between was a life of hard work, determination, and accomplishment.

Beginning at age eighteen Emma Julia worked for several White families, sometimes two at a time. She would cook at one home and clean at another

“I was tired of cleaning other people’s houses. I wanted to better myself and set an example for my children,” recalled Emma Julia, explaining her decision to attend college in her 30s. While considering returning to school she received encouragement from Jean Parrow, Dr. Parrow’s wife. Mrs. Parrow herself had returned to college and earned a degree and certification in special education that allowed her to teach in the local school system.

Willie Mae Weaver

Children were always the central focus of Willie Mae Weaver’s life. She grew up in a family of six girls. They lived in Tate where her father worked in the marble industry. The noise and confusion of so many folks in one household was something Willie Mae loved.

After graduation from Morris Brown College, Willie Mae Green taught in Blue Ridge, Georgia, at “Padgett’s Chapel Colored School”. After marrying Howard Haywood Weaver Willie Mae

moved to Tate where Howard took a job with the Georgia Marble Company. The quiet home of the childless couple drove Willie Mae to distraction. Husband Howard suffered with her as she longed for children. He developed a plan, making an appointment at the Department of Family and Children’s Services. His plea was direct, “We got to get some children for Willie Mae before she goes crazy, “he implored of the social worker. And they did get foster children, a total of forty-four. “I still hear from some of those children”, Willie Mae offered. She was an elementary teacher at the Black Tri City School, and later Tate Elementary and Head Start. Altogether Willie Mae taught for thirty years.

This article is a section of Black History Series Part IX.To read the entire Article click on the link below.



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