Wolfscratch Wilderness  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , ,

My mother-in-law rented a house in the north Georgia mountains in the amazing serene and beautiful community of Big Canoe. Uncle Glenn and Aunt Jane joined us from Florida and we spent a terrific long Thanksgiving weekend in front of the fireplace, rubbing our full bellies.

On the day we arrived, I looked through the bookcase in the living room and found a booked titled "Wolfscratch Wilderness : A Backward Walk in Time in an Old North Georgia Settlement" by Charlene Terrell. It's a big book (700 pages) with a complete history of this enchanting area, from the days of the Creeks and Cherokees, through the Georgia Gold Rush, Trail of Tears and eventually up to the beginning of the Big Canoe development.

But what truly amazed me are the chronicles of the families who lived here. The Potts, Disharoon, Cox, Cowart, Sanderlin, Pettit, Fields, Gaddis, Vandiver, Fouts, Glass, Brooks, Heath, Hendrix, Blackwell, McElroy, Wigington, Whitley, Byess and Tate families either won land in lotteries or acquired some of this rough terrain and lived here through cold winters, poverty, moonshining, wars, infant and childbirth mortality and other excruciating hardships. The family chapters include testimonials from living family members and amazing photographs of these tough mountain people.

The chapters read very easily and are compiled from census information, court and land records, family bibles, letters and interviews. The author did a terrific job of researching the family histories and added some literary glue around them. There are lots of details and dialogues as well as several letters written by the family members and descendants. I will probably put up a couple of interesting photos that caught my eye, like the family that always took a picture with a big Bible, the girl with her pet bunnies or the moonshiners playing cards.

We also spent a day in Dahlonega, the gold capital of Georgia, which was a short drive away. We visited the gold museum and went panning for gold in one of the nearby mines. I was fascinated by it all and thoroughly enjoyed our day. In the town square were several interesting stores with antiques and other memorabilia from the region. I was on the lookout for a bookstore I read about in a travel guide that promised to have genealogy books, native American literature, old flags and maps. But it had closed down about three years ago and nobody knows where the owner went. The only other store that had antique books was more on the literary side. I did see a couple of extremely expensive books dating back to 1700's including a 3-volume English Baronage from the early 1800's and a couple of old map books. I was kind of upset that these were not in a library somewhere but I guess the store owner has to make a profit somehow, right?

The most expensive book I saw at the store was a 1st edition, 1st print 'Gone with the Wind' with an original letter by Margaret Mitchell. Price? Almost $11,000. Good luck selling that one.

So to sum it up, we had a very relaxing and fun-filled Thanksgiving weekend. Maybe we'll turn it into a family tradition?

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 29, 2008 at 11:06 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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