Tallapoosa County, Alabama Genealogy Trails

TOWN OF SUSANNA

 ** The Forgotten Community  **

On December 31, 1926, Alabama Power Company dedicated giant Martin Dam across the Tallapoosa River, flooding over forty thousand acres under what is now Lake Martin. Only two towns had established on or near of the banks of the river stretching from well above Horseshoe to its union with the Coosa to form the Alabama River. One of those towns was Tallassee, located at the future site of another dam at the great falls, and named after the Upper Creek warrior village of Talisi for miles down river.

The other town was a small farming community with a post office, bank, sawmill, gristmill, its own gold mine, and several other businesses.

It was called Susanna, and it would be flooded by the waters of Lake Martin. Not so much is known about the founding and early history of that fated community, now lost forever. But its location was in the vicinity of the beautiful bluff above the Tallapoosa River that the Murphs once made their home. Susanna was actually centered just south of the original Murph compound a few hundred yards up Blue Creek flowing from the east.

Perhaps it is not too much to imagine, or too romantic, tha the name Susanna might have been altered from its original Soosquana, and that Saul and Callister Murph's little settlement was the first non-Indian town on the majestic Tallapoosa, ancient and revered homeland of the once mighty Muskogi Nation. (Submitted by April Wood James)

In the early twentieth century, the Tallapoosa River flowed through Cherokee Bluffs, a deep gorge with high rock cliffs on both sides that was a popular picnicking area. The river is the dividing line betweenTallapoosa and Elmore counties. As early as 1916, Alabama Power Company began acquiring options and purchasing land to be flooded, and many families had left the area long before the company completed the 168-foot high dam that stretched 2,000 feet across the Tallapoosa River gorge at Cherokee Bluffs. The communities of Susanna (Sousanna) and Benson, including several houses and churches, were razed, and the company relocated 12 cemeteries containing 923 graves.  (Submitted by April Wood James)

One of the earliest settlements in Tallapoosa county, now partially covered by Lake Martin, was Suzanna (early spelling was Susanna). It was located on Blue Creek between what is now Curry's Point and Stillwaters. During the mid-1800's, and until Martin Damn was completed in 1926, Suzanna was a thriving community. The community was a prosperous farming area the bussinesses included a general mercantile store, a bar, post office, shingle mill, grist mill, saw mill. gin, a gold mine, blacksmith shop, a school  and a church. Suzanna was a stagecoach stop for the main stage coach route that originated in Maryland and came through Georgia and into Alabama. The stagecoach made its way from Suzanna to the Old Georgia Road. The relay station and hotel were located approximately two or three miles south of the community.  (Submitted by April Wood James)

MAP SHOWING SUSANNA

Source: Geological Survey of Alabama
Close up of Susanna on the map.
Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1909

 

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