Early History of Polk County, Georgia

Multi Part Series From the 1875 and 1876 Cedartown Standard Newspaper

April 8, 1876

Transcribed by Frances Shiflett Hicks
. We owe her a big thanks for her efforts.



Early History of Polk County

Mr. Editor"--I have just been thinking that a history of Cedartown for the last thirty-five years, though imperfect, might be of interest to some of your readers.
     In the year 1841 I became acquainted with Cedartown, at which time it had but little except the name.  At that time the whole of what is now Cedartown, north of the Baptist church was owned by the late Asa Prior, and if I mistake not Mr. Prior was the only citizen.  He owned two dwellings, the one now occupied by Dr. Borders, and the other stood on or near the spot now occupied by Dr. Branch's residence.
    There was an old store house about where Mr. Featherston's stable now stands.  This house was vacant until the latter part of that year (1841), or some time the next year, when Mr. R.S. Simmoons put up a stock of goods in it.  At that time there was no railroad nearer that Madison, Ga., and consequently goods were very high.  Calico sold as high as forty cents per yard.  Factory thread $1 75 to $2 50 per bunch, according to No.  Salt $2 50 per bushel of 50 lbs.  But at that time bread and meat were plentiful and cheap.. Corn 15 to 20 cents per bushel; beef 1 1/2 to 3 cents per pound; pork 2 1/2 to 5 cents, often on time.
    Money was plentiful for a back-woods country; but at the same time some of it was very much depreciated.  A good deal of "City Council" and "Railroad" money afloat that was "below par," but was taken for goods by Mr. S. at par.
    The 5 and 10 cent piecesf were then being introduced, and were taken for goods at 6 1/4 and 12 1/2 cents, there being a good deal of money of these denomiuations in use and current at that time.
    We then had a horse mail from Van Wert, I think, to Cave Spring and back, once a week.  Postage in Cherokee Georgia, at that time, was very high, compared to present rates.  I have known as high as 43 3/4 cents paid for a single letter.  Mr. Simmons was post-master while he remained here.  I think he ledt here some time in the year 1844 and went to Cave Spring.  Mr. B. F.  Bigalow was the next merchant, who came the same year that Mr. S. left.  He remained (a part of the time Bigelow & Weaver) the sole merechant for perhaps eight or ten years.  In fact but few others tried it and all of tyhem short.
    I have heard that prior to the time of the commencement of this history, Mr. L. H. Walthall sold goods here, but of the particular kind, or of the prices, I have never been informed.  Perhaps he can tell, as he is still here.
    In the year 1842 a school was commenced in the "old Academy," as it is still known, by Col. B.T. Mosely, from Penfield, Ga.  Mr. Mosely taught in succession.  After which he taught near Mr. William Peek's for several years,  This school was patronized by all the surrounding citizens who had children.  Many young men came from other counties.  Several followed Mr. M. for Green county, in order to avail themselves of his superior abilities as a teacher.  Mr. Mosely was not a fast man, but he had the reputation of  being a thorough teacher.  He began with Webster's spelling book, and although he taught all the branches of an English education and the classics thoroughly, he did not neglect to teach the Spelling-book thoroughly, also.
    In 1842, and for several years after, there was but one church house, and bur one organized church (Baptist) that I remember in the whole valley.  The "old Academy" was the church then, and I think Rev. John Ho;mes, or Hampton Whatley, was the pastor in charge.  Cedartown then had no physician, except E. H. Richardson, Sr., who lived then where he does now.
    Then there was no lawyer, except John T. Colquitt, who though modest and unassuming, did sometime practice in the lower courts.
    About 1852 or '63 Polk county was made from Floyd, Paulding and Carroll and Cedartown became the county cite.  Since that time the populantin has gradually increased.  The town now has nine (Cherokee Iron Company's store not excluded) dry goods stores, four family groceries, two Drug stores, and one book stor, and in these stores are from one to five mail persons.  There are eight practicing physicians, and nine lawyers, with offices in town.  Two of the doctors and two of the lawyers are natives of the valley.  There are at present three churches for whites, and two for blacks.
    Before the was there were no colored churches, but the whites and blacks occupied the same house, and each church counted its white and colored members, but since the black  have been made "free and equal" they are not admitted in the white churches.
    A few of the citizens of thirty-five years ago, are still in the valley.  Some have gone to the far West, and they longed for the flesh pots of Cedar Valley.  Some have gone to the bourne from whence no traveler returnes.

Faithfully transcribed as printed on Aug 28 2005 . Frances Shiflett Hicks

This page was last modified: Sunday, 18-Sept-2005

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