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Murray County, Georgia

History

Source:  Historical Collections of Georgia, Pudney & Russell, 1853

Laid out from Cherokee, and organized in 1832.  Part set off to Walker, 1833; part added to Cass, 1834.  Named after the Hon. Thomas W. Murray.  

The principle river is the Connasauga.  The lands of this county are generally very fertile, producing all the comforts of life.

Spring Place is the county town, situated a mile and a half E. of Connasauga River, 230 N.W. of Milledgeville.  The scenery around this village is beautiful, the Cohuttah Mountains being in full view.  It was formally a missionary station for the Cherokees.

The Moravian Missions were commenced at Spring Place in May, 1801 by the Rev. Messrs. Abraham Steiner and G. Byhan, although the former, in 1799, was sent out by the society of the United Brethen, to ask permission to establish a school among the Cherokees.  He pressed the subject with great zeal in the National Council, backed by the officers of government, but was utterly refused.  In 1800 he came out again, renewed his application, and was again refused; but before the close of the Council, two influential chiefs agreed to patronize the school independently of the National Council, and offered a place near the residence of one of them, on land which he had cleared.  The other chiefs did not after this press their opposition, and shortly after, the mission at Spring Place commenced.

The Rev. Jacob Wohlfarht was employed in the mission from 1803 to 1805.  The Rev. John Gambold and lady joined the mission in October, 1805, and his brother about four years after.  The first converts of the Moravians were a woman and Charles R. Hicks.  Mr. Gambold cultivated a farm of thirty-five acres.

In 1817, Mr. Kingsbury commenced the first mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions among the Cherokees.  At first, food was purchased in Tennessee, and transported some forty or fifty miles to the mission.  To obviate this inconvenience, and to teach the people the arts and habits of civilized life, a farm was purchased on the Chickamauga Creek.  Mr. Kingsbury laboured alone, until the arrivals of Messrs. Moody Hall and Loring S. Williams.  On the 30th of June, they had twenty-six Cherokee pupils boarding with them, and Mr. Kingsbury preached by an interpreter to a congregation of more than one hundred.  The Rev. Mr. Cornelius visited the mission in this year.  Under his preaching much good was done.  Among the converts was Catherine Brown, the daughter of half-breed parents.  The Rev. Mr. Hoyt and Rev. Daniel S. Butrick joined the mission this year.

In 1818, the labours of the missionaries were eminently successful.  Many of the Cherokees were baptized and received into the church.  In 1819, the mission was strengthened by the arrival of two missionaries.  In 1820, the labours of the mission went on prosperously, and schools were established at different points.  In 1821, the mission suffered much from the sickness of its members.  Subsequently, Messrs. Potter, Butler, Ellsworth, and Parker were added to it.  In 1825, several new stations were commenced.

Mr. Steiner told the missionaries that the chief on whose land the mission was established, built the first wagon, for which he was severely censured by the Council, and forbidden the use of such a vehicle.  But he did not regard their mandate.  The objection was, "If you have a wagon, there must be wagon roads; and if wagon roads, then whites will be among us."*

Extract from the Census of 1850.--Dwellings, 2,047; families, 2,047.  White males, 6,604; white females, 5,888; free coloured males, 3; free coloured females, 8.  Total free population, 12,503; slaves, 1,930.  Deaths, 67.  Farms, 1,034; manufacturing establishments, 25.  Value of real estate, $1,660,705; value of personal estate,  $1,268,406.

Cohutta Springs are 10 miles from Spring Place, on the waters of the Sumac Creek.  The water is said to be strongly impregnated with medicinal properties, and the place is beginning to attract the notice of the public.  Arrangements are being made to accommodate visitors.

There are fine springs in almost every section of the county. 

On the Cohuttah Mountains are the remains of an ancient fort, but when and for what purpose constructed, we are unable to say.

Source:  U. S. Gazetteer, 1854

Spring Place, Georgia, a post-village, capital of Murray county, Georgia, 230 miles N. W. from Milledgeville. It is situated in the midst of mountainous country, with grand and beautiful scenery on every side. There are 40 springs of good water in the compass of half a mile. The village contains an academy and several stores.

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Walker, Ditwson A., jurist, was a native of Tennessee, where he was born in 1819. In 1845 he removed to Murray county, Ga., where he began the practice of law. For some time he was judge of the Cherokee circuit and in 1866 was elected to a place on the supreme bench. His term expired in 1868. His decisions during that time show him to have been a lawyer of profound learning and clear methods of expression. Upon retiring from the bench he resumed practice at Dalton, where he died in 1881.
Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form Transcribed by Kristen Bisanz

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