Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Legacy – Patrick and Maude
The Haralson Civic Center
stands as a memorial to two people who were solid citizens of Union County in
past years and contributed much to the growth and culture of the town.
deaths of the Honorable Patrick Henry Haralson and his wife Maude
Mildred Conley Harrison, both of whom died in 1956, land was donated by
the family on which the Haralson Civic Center was
built. The building was named in their honor and has been a location
for many events since its erection.
We go back in
time to trace the Haralson family. To note how some of them bore names of outstanding citizens in early America
attests to the patriotism of this family.
Jefferson Haralson (1819-1899), father of Patrick Henry Haralson, was
an early merchant in the town of Blairsville. He
also owned and operated the tan yard to which many of the citizens
brought their skins to be treated and turned into leather. Thomas
Jefferson Haralson married Mary Logan (1828-1892) of White County.
Haralson was born to Thomas Jefferson and Mary Logan Haralson on October 30, 1871.
Notice how they gave this son the name of another famous American
Patriot, Patrick Henry, whose famed quotation, "Give me liberty or give
me death," reverberates to this day. Perhaps the name was prophetic of
what the new baby would become, a public
servant. When Patrick Henry Haralson was born, the Civil War was just
six years in the past, and, although not scathed by battles here, the
county was still struggling to overcome post-war problems.
as he was known, showed early signs of scholarship. He was educated in
the schools at Blairsville and entered Young Harris College when
it was in its struggling early years. Upon graduation from Young
Harris, he entered the University of Georgia,
pursuing a degree in law. He graduated in 1897, having earned top
honors in two areas of law study. He was admitted to the Georgia Bar and
opened his law practice in 1897.
had been courting a young lady with ties to the Ivy Log District of
Union County. A bright young lady, she was a graduate of Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia,
with a major in music. She was said to be the first woman from Union County to
receive a college degree.
Conley and Patrick Henry Haralson were married May 11, 1902. Her
parents were Francis Edward and Davie Colwell Conley. Her father owned
and operated a mercantile business at Ivy Log. Later, in Madison, Georgia, her
father opened a wholesale grocery warehouse. Moving back to
Blairsville, the Conley family became active in First Baptist Church
where Francis Conley was a deacon. He was postmaster at Blairsville and
also represented the county in the state legislature. From this
background, Maude Mildred Conley Haralson was well-equipped to serve as
the wife of a lawyer and legislator.
Maude Conley Haralson's parents were active Baptists.
Merchant Thomas Jefferson Haralson, Pat's father, was a Presbyterian.
But because that denomination had very few members in the Blairsville
area in the nineteenth century, the land on which the First Methodist
Church of Blairsville was erected was given by Thomas Jefferson
Haralson. That family became active Methodists and supporters of that
church. Thomas Jefferson Haralson (1819-1899) and Mary Logan Haralson
(1828- 1892) were buried in the "old" Blairsville Cemetery
alongside the graves of some of their children who died at an early
To Patrick and
Maude Conley Haralson Conley were born four children: Juanita Pat,
Frank Conley, Austine and Thelma Louise.
Haralson, with some success as a lawyer in his native Union County, as
well as in the US District Court, the Court of Appeals, and in US
Superior Court cases, entered politics. He represented Union,
Towns and Rabun Counties,
then known as District 40, both as a state legislator and a senator
from the district. His tenures at the state capitol also saw him
serving as Assistant Secretary in the Georgia Senate.
appointed to the Governor's Staff in 1943. He also served as the
attorney for the Neel Gap Bus Line and the
representative for the Tennessee Copper Company at Copperhill, Tennessee.
Litigation for these businesses kept him watchful and on his legal
A most helpful
proposal before the state government was for the road across Neel Gap, completed in 1925 and now known as US
Highway 129. Prior to the completion of this fourteen-foot-wide paved
road, Blairsville was cut off from Gainesville and Atlanta except
through the Logan Turnpike over Tesnatee
Gap, a steep dirt road used for wagon traffic, yet the best road
available prior to 1925 for Union County farmers to get their produce
to market. As president of the Union County Good Roads Association,
Lawyer Haralson was active in getting the highway built and operable.
Many of us
remember the stately Haralson House which stood just off the square in
Blairsville as the street led out to Young Harris. A few years ago,
that landmark was purchased, moved and set up in another location in Union County. The
moving of the house marked the close of an era.
Haralson died September
15, 1956. A little less than two months
later, on November
12, 1956, his beloved wife, Maude
Mildred Conley Haralson died. Both were buried in what is called the
"new" Blairsville Cemetery just
off Blue Ridge Street
leading west out of Blairsville.
c2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 24, 2008 in The Union
Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Updated December 24, 2008
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