Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
From past columns, we have seen
first Cathey (of Scots-Irish descent) to be registered in Union County,
in 1840 was the family of William Cathey (1782-about 1860) and his
Elizabeth Bryson Cathey (1787-about 1872). They lived in the vicinity
Harris, a portion of Union
Towns when that county was lined out and organized in 1856. This family
first Cathey family to disperse from North Carolina to our section of North Georgia.
This William Cathey was the son
D. Cathey who died in North
in 1808. Andrew was a common name, passed down through many generations
Cathey family. Up in North
about ten miles west of Salisbury,
fourteen families made up what was known in the late 1700's as the
Settlement." There the patriarch of the Cathey settlement, James,
a mill and had a land grant of 3,752 acres. It is hard for us to
oversight of such a broad span of land. An interesting story comes out
settlement of how the westward pull hit the Cathey Settlement. Not only
of them named William migrated to North Georgia,
but one named Andrew "went west" in his young manhood.
One of the Cathey men,
descendant of James
Cathey, not to be confused with a son of William and Elizabeth Cathey
very same name, decided to go west. Andrew Dever Cathey, this one born
in Buncombe County,
NC, died in California
(date unknown to this writer).
When the California Gold Rush occurred in 1849, this Andrew Cathey, his
and son-in-law, Benjamin Wills left Fort Smith Arkansas,
the family had moved earlier from North Carolina, and made an
exploratory trip. They went by
river boat from Ft. Smith,
Arkansas to New Orleans.
They got ship's passage to Panama, and boarded
another ship there to go to San
Francisco. Once on the west coast, they took a
to Indian Gulch in Mariposa
Andrew mined for gold
for two years in California.
He must have been rather successful, for he returned to Ft. Smith, Arkansas
in 1851 to load up his family on a wagon train bound for California
It took about two years for the
of twenty families to make the long trek from Arkansas to California. A diary of the journey
the route they took, the hardships they faced, and the challenges to
and especially water through much desert terrain. They took along a
number of cattle, which they kept intact by riding herd on them with
The cows provided milk for families in the wagon train. They also sold
others they met along the way and thus earned some "traveling" money.
The entourage arrived at their destination on October 27, 1852.
They named the place they
settled in Mariposa County,
"Cathey's Valley" after the leader of the wagon train that had
brought them safely from Fort
their hero, Andrew D.
In that California valley, Andrew purchased
for $1,500 from a Mr. Evans. Andrew and his wife, Mary, helped to
church, a school and a cemetery on land they donated for those
sons, too, purchased land and settled their families in that vicinity.
Cathey's Valley, even in this era, a celebration is held at Christmas
the restored little one-room schoolhouse. At other times during the
pioneer settlers of Cathey's Valley are honored for their hard work,
responsibility, and entrepreneurship.
A large stone monument in the
records the history of the Andrew D. Cathey family and their settlement
in 1852. Some of the trees and vineyards set out by Andrew Cathey long
still intact. The little schoolhouse has been restored by the Cathey's
Whether this Andrew Dever Cathey
is a brother to the William Cathey who settled near Blairsville prior
is unknown by this writer. However, since William and Elizabeth named
their sons William Dever Cathy (1809-1882), we can believe the
Andrew Dever Cathey was indeed related to William Cathey of Union County.
The California Catheys have a
the family's civic contributions in a valley named for them in Mariposa County. On Island Colonsay, Scotland,
Standing Stone marks the place where the clan leader of MacFie
Cathey) was killed in a battle in 1623. There certainly are not
historical spots in every place the Cathey Clan members dispersed. But
accounts we hear about them, the more we can see that they were solid,
hard-working citizens wherever they settled.
Jones; published February 5, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator, freelance wirter,
poet, and historian. She may be reached
at email firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411
Updated May 11,
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