8514 Rockmoor, San Antonio, Texas 78230
© 2000 Charles W. Johnson, M.D.
Report on our recent trip Aug 9 to Aug 21 1989 to Murray County, GA, Asheville, and Hot Springs, NC and Knoxville, TN.
On our trip we accumulated some books and copied records. On our return our mail contained much genealogical information which we have not read. This report is about our notes made on the trip and does not contain these other sources of information. It is urgent to record our notes; not all of which were written.
Notes from Chatsworth, Georgia:
Chatsworth is the County Seat of Murray County. It is a prosperous town of about 2600, but appears much larger. It is virtually a suburb of Dalton GA, the "Carpet Capital" of the World, they claim. At Chatsworth is Armstrong Carpet Company, a huge plant. The area is mountainous, but there is much valley agricultural land and much industry. Murray County was once much larger and included much of northwestern GA and was formed out of Cherokee County, which was the area taken from the Cherokee Nation and the Cherokee were moved to Oklahoma. The Cherokee Capital was nearby- New Echota [variant name New Eschota bbb], as distinguished from (old) Echota near Ft. Loudon, TN. This was Cherokee headquarters and the area where Sequoia (George Gist (Guest)) operated his educational project for the Cherokee. Chatsworth has a beautiful and elaborate old Courthouse, but it was not the original County Seat. The original County seat was at Spring Place, about three miles away. The old Court house was originally a Methodist Mission to the Cherokee; taken over when the Cherokee were expelled. Spring Place was also the home of the very wealthy Indian, Chief Vann. The house of Chief Vann is the main tourist attraction in the area. Though considered an Indian, Chief Vann was partly Scotch and derived his wealth from his Scottish Trader ancestors. Chatsworth has a new, very nice public library with a small genealogy section, and there is a Murray County Genealogical Society which published a book in 1987, Murray County Heritage, 900 pages of history and family genealogies. (#32.00 postpaid - write to Whitfield-Murray Historical Society, c/o Tim Howard, Rt. 3, Box 480, Chatsworth, CA 30705).
The Chatsworth Library is a subsidiary of the Dalton Library, which is much larger and more elaborate, with a special genealogy room and microfilm readers and censuses and such.
Our main goal in going to Chatsworth was to find the original estate and probate papers of Rev. Nathan Harrison in the Courthouse. We were not successful. The original papers were probably there in the old steel file boxes, but were all jumbled together. They were not indexed, nor were they filed alphabetically - just all jumbled. But we were told that everything in the original files were recorded in the various looks which were organized and readily available and preserved, and indexed. However, even with extensive help from the cooperative staff, the book which would have most of the information we sought was apparently lost! We did have Nathan's Will l previously. We did find they inventory of Nathan's estate (enclosed). Possibly, the original records were jumbled during the 1930's in the process of the WPA Copying process, and so they might be available in typewritten form in the Atlanta Archives. It would he nice to know a complete list of his heirs and final disposition of his property.
At the Courthouse we obtained many Harrison marriages, cemetery records, deeds and such. Not yet studied. Probably most of these were children of Nathan (also known as Nathaniel on several documents) or Jeremiah Harrison. Study along with previous information should help to organize both of their families. There were many deeds. There were also many Hawkins there (Baptist) and I think that connections can be made with our Hawkins of Buncombe County. There were also Lords but no connections made.
(We suspect that Thomas Harrison my wife's great great grandfather and son of Nathan probably married Ann Lord). There were also many Martins (associated with Hawkins in Buncombe County) John Martin was an early Indian Commisioner. Judge Martin was a
wealthy man: and he built Carter's Quarter; presumably a large plantation with many slaves. There were also Worleys there and I believe that they are descended from the Worleys of Buncombe County. There were also Forsters there; Indians with white blood. (We need to consider whether Hawkins and perhaps Harrisons have Indian blood)
From Courthouse records and library sources there (especially Murray County Heritage, which we have but have not done more than scanned so far) it appears that the Harrisons of the area were descended from Nathan and Jeremiah and that Jeremiah was probably Nathan's younger brother. Both were Methodist Ministers and several of their offspring were also. Both were originally in the Holston Methodist Conference which encompassed not only Tennessee but this part of Georgia and North Carolina in the Western portion. Until 1950 the Holston Conference did not list its "local" pastors on their rolls, but this area of Georgia entered the Georgia Conference and they listed their local pastors. This might explain why Nathan and Jeremiah do not appear on the Holston Conference rolls, but they do on the Georgia Conference rolls.
Nathan and Jeremiah were apparently in Murray County as part of the large Methodist Mission to tile Cherokee. But shortly after the Mission's founding the Cherokee were moved out on the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma, and the Mission became an all white institution at Spring Creek, and the building later became the Courthouse of Murray County. In the Chatsworth Courthouse hallway is a painting of this old building, presented in the 1970's, but on our. visit to Spring Place we did not see it. Perhaps it is now torn down. Spring Place is a small town but very close to Chatsworth with some nice old homes.
Chatsworth's first church was "Harrison's Chapel" (Methodist) built in the 1850's. It was named for its circuit riding founder (Nathan or Jeremiah?). Its 1st Pastor was Rev. Joab Humphries who was there by 1835. He married Lydia Harrison, daughter of the Rev. Harrison who was the founder, so the Chapel was named after their father. Lydia and Rev. Humphries had two children: Laura Jane and David Enoch. David was a Confederate soldier, a Lieutenant, who was captured by Yankees. He was later a J.P. in Chatsworth. Harrison Chapel later moved somewhere else and the old building was taken over by another denomination, and later demolished. (Perhaps the successor (Church has old records?)
Many of the early settlers married Indians, especially the Martins, Bates (Methodist minister), Blacks and Brights. By 1838 the Whites, spurred on by gold discoveries, organized an unofficial militia to chase the Indians out. Many white/Indian mixtures moved to Oklahoma even though they did not have to. John Martin was Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. He had two wives at the same time living in separate hoses. He was very wealthy.
Nathan Harrison's Georgia Conference record: Born 10-20-1772. Died 7-18-1852. born NC, died Murray County. became a member of the Georgia Conference 1846. He was an Elder and a pastor and approved for exhortations. His son Samuel, also a preacher became a member of the Georgia Conference in 1847. He was a Deacon (previously?) but also approved for exhortations. Both were in the Methodist Episcopal Church South.
We obtained a list from the telephone directory of some of the many current Harrisons, Hawkins and Lords in the area, with an intention to write them.
Though we have some information for Walton County, GA (near Atlanta) where the Harrisons lived before Murray County, but this has been neglected, and should be more carefully searched. It is said that Nathan reared his family there and some remained in Walton County.
When we left the area for Asheville, we traveled the "back roads" from Chatsworth north through the eastern counties of TN; to Newport and then on to Asheville on IH #40. ' Much of the way home paralleled a railroad which was probably an old important line which was early in Murray County (near Chattanooga). Incidentally, at the outskirts of Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River was "Harrison's Landing" now a State Park, I believe. I believe that it was there before Chattanooga. (Which Harrisons?)
ASHEVILLE, BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NC
We were here 5 nights. However, two of the days were over the week end and devoted to Frances' reunion at Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs. At the reunion we met Peggy (Baler) Dotterer. She is recognized as the town Historian, and possibly the oldest resident in town (Hot Springs), though she doesn't look it or act like it. She is the granddaughter of Colonel Rumbough, the town's most famous citizen in the hey-day of the "Grand" hotel there. He owned it, sold it and then rebought it. We did not get to talk to her very long, but she said that she thinks she recalls hearing that her grandfather and Frances' grandfather, Isaac Newton Ebbs, were checker playing cronies. (Perhaps Frances' grandfather, as a State Senator and an attorney, represented Col Rumbough in some of his many property activities. This could be checked at the Courthouse). Frances remembers her before her marriage as Peggy Baker. already a "mature" woman when Frances was in High School, and a wealthy stylish woman. She is disabled because of knee problems and fairly recent surgery but she gets around with the help of an attendant. She is very alert and well-informed She would be an excellent source for historical information.
While in Hot Springs we went out to visit the old family farm built by Isaac Newton Ebbs. We visited with Ruby (Ebbs) Plemmons who owns the farm and her sister Faye was staying with her at the time. She showed us Isaac Newton Ebbs Family Bible. The Bible did not have any generations earlier than Isaac Newton, but notes we made of the contents:
I.N. Ebbs of Madison County and I.J.E. Balding were married at the bride's home December 28, 1879 by Esq. David R. Lusk. Witnesses were: MDL Balding and Jasper Ebbs (I.N. is Isaac Newton. I.J.E. is Iowa Jane Elizabeth. Lusk was a J.P. who lived on Spring Creek. Jasper Ebbs was I.N.'s brother and County Superintendent of Schools, noted as the father of Education of Madison County; though Ruby had heard that I.N. Ebbs was known as the "father of Education".)
I.J. E. Ebbs born July 22, 1858 and died May 27, 1898. (Ruby recalls the story that Iowa Jane fell down the stairs at Ruby's present farm, while pregnant and a premature birth ensued. The baby was buried at the farm. Ruby had not heard that this was the cause of Iowa Jane's death, but Frances had heard that it was.)
I.N. Ebbs married Mildred Eloise Danks of Rochester, N.Y. Feb. 19, 1899 she was buried May 1, 1954 (in Rochester, N.Y.?) (she had lived at the I.N. Ebbs home in Hot Springs. Some of her stepchildren liked her and others thought she seas too tough a task master. Site became blind and required complete care before her death. When Frances graduated from High School she sent a gift.) Horace 7. Ebbs born March 13, 1890 (Frances' father) died April 29, 1931 Effie Ebbs died Sept. 25, 1933 (Frances' mother)
Ruby and her sister Faye told us about some Ebbs research. There was about an 8 or 10 inch stack of papers to do with the disposition of the property of Isaac Newton Ebbs and of his father's property (Francis Marion Ebbs) up on Roaring Fork. They told us about their brother, another Isaac Newton Ebbs (nickname "Bossy") 11405 Sherrie Lane, Silver Springs, MD 20902. He is interested in Ebbs Genealogy and is collecting information for the purpose of putting the information together in some form of. a book. Currently he has some papers of-. Ruby's which have to do with Ebbs in England. Also, they have been very impressed with a young man, an Ebbs descendent at Appalachian `state University at Boone who visited them and is very interested in enealogy. He is :Michael Christopher Ebbs, °27 Faculty St., Apt. G.S. , Boone, N.C. 28607. He is a descendent of Jasper Ebbs. His father is Stephen I:. Ebbs who lives in Asheville, and apparently his grand father was Carroll Ebbs.
Ruby gave us her mother's name as Hattie Weaver Duckett (not Harriet). She was the daughter of Manson Lafayette Duckett, who was the son of Belton (sometimes spelled Bolton) Duckett whose wife was Mary R. Hopper (Hupfax?).
(It occurs to me that there are probably connections with Weavers. Hattie "Weaver" Duckett and Weaver Harrison, son of John F. Harrison, "Uncle Bone", and his son, Weaver. The Weaver family is well known and documented - Weaverville, N.C. a suburb of Asheville named after the Weaver Family - College - the famous Richard Weaver who was a libertarian philosopher and writer is of this family. Somewhere I have a copy of
an address he gave to a Weaver family reunion at Weaverville)
Ruby explained that her father and Frances' father each had 160 acres of the old family farm. When there was a Railroad strike about the time of WW I Frances' father moved out to the farm from Knoxville and built the foundation to a house close to Ruby's father, but the strike was over sooner than expected and the house was not completed and he moved back to Knoxville to return to work. He sold his 160 acres to Ruby's father. But meanwhile Frances' sister Edith was born there in the old farm house.
(Isaac Newton Ebbs owned the farm which he built on Meadow Fork, but also owned property in town and built a home there, perhaps because of his work as an attorney. Meanwhile there were numerous children; some old enough to work the farm. Probably some lived on the farm and especially the girls lived in town. The house in town was two story with a rather impressive stone and wrought iron fence/wall around it. This was very close to Dorland Bell School, on the main Street. The home was there when Frances attended Dorland/Bell, but she did not know that it had belonged to her grandparents and that her father had probably lived there. The home is now gone. The wrought iron is gone but the wall is still there. It is a vacant lot, but the Forest Ranger Station is on what was probably part of the property, and on this vacant lot is now a section of Railroad Track. Sitting on a railroad siding in town is a newly decorated Caboose - very attractive. It is to be moved to that section of railroad track on I. N.'s old home site to serve as a tourist center. An attempt to move it (the Caboose) was made a couple of weeks ago but they had a problem with the moving equipment. It appears from deed records that his property extended to the rear quite a ways, so that it was adjoining John F. and Rebecca Harrison's property. So, if true, Frances' mother and father were next door neighbors. Also, what was Harrison property there, is now Ebbs property, bought by Frances' brother Jack Ebbs from the people who had previously bought it from Rebecca Harrison after her husband died. It is still owned by Jack's children, some of whom still live on the property. A portion of that old Harrison property is owned by Sid Harrison, whose fattier Troy Clifford Harrison, son of John F. Harrison and Rebecca once owned it. Sid (toes not live there. He lives on the main street about 1-1/2 blocks from the old Isaac Newton Ebbs home.)
EXPLORATIONS - We did some exploring. First we sought out Doe Branch and Sandy Bottom; the site of the Barytes Mines and the home of Jesse and Caroline Harrison and later John F. Harrison and some of his siblings and the Treadways and the Codys.
We drove to Walnut, proceeded down towards the French Broad River and were at Barnard. It now bears a sign to that effect. I realized there that I have been propagating an error. ERROR - The railroad in this area is on the EAST side of the river and stays on the east side until a short distance from Hot Springs where it crosses over a bridge to the West side. Therefore the Harrisons and the mines were on the WRONG side of the river. Transportation of Barytes ore (unless the tracks have been changed) would have required hauling either downstream almost to Hot Springs or upstream some miles to reach the railroad.
At Barnard are some old abandoned buildings and old walls very close to the River. One of the buildings; two story brick hears at the top a sign in concrete:
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