Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
This Old House
"Did you know that the old
Hunter-England Cabin is being torn down?"
So was the distressed call I
week about the old cabin beside Highway 129/19 at Choestoe, which had
landmark as long as any of us can remember, and much longer.
Legend holds that John Hunter
(b. c1775 in
VA, moved to Buncombe County, NC, then to Union Co., GA; d. 1848 in
County, GA) built the cabin about 1832 (no later than 1834).
The Cherokee were still
residents of the
area. A story passed down in the family is that John Hunter and other
who built the cabin had to ward off Indians who looked with disfavor
of light skin building a dwelling beside the Nottely River on land that
been hunting grounds and home for the Cherokee for untold generations.
"That's such an historical
there something that can be done to prevent its being torn down?"
distressed caller asked me.
My response to him was that we
and lovers-of-history had neglected to get the old house officially on
Register of Historic Places. Our hands were somewhat tied as to what we
do, outside of having the money for the price being asked for the
was destined for tearing down and removal.
It was obvious by the telephone
emails to me that many in Union County and descendants of the
families for whom the cabin was originally named were "up in arms"
about what was happening with the ancestral home.
The Hunter-England Cabin.
As a lifetime member of the
Historical Society, and as a descendant of those pioneer settlers, John
and Daniel England, I wanted to do what I could, albeit long-distance,
assure that the cabin would not be razed and lost to posterity. We had
little bit of time to really take action.
I thought of what a landmark the
in my growing-up years. I grew up "across the Nottely River"
(on the east side) from the Hunter-England cabin. But my mother's
land from her father, Francis Jasper "Bud" Collins, was acreage that
adjoined the land on which the Hunter-England cabin was built. When my
Louise, married Ray Dyer, they built their first house across the
the cabin. In those days, when I walked a footlog across the Nottely in
short-cut from our farm to my sister's new house near the old cabin, I
the old house on each trip to visit my sister's family. In those days,
cabin was occupied, rented to people we knew, other kin who always
in to warm by the cabin's fireplace or take a friendly meal in the
lean-to kitchen that had been built onto the old cabin. "This old
was a fixture in our community, a place built a hundred years before I
born. It's sturdiness seemed to assure all of us in the community that
be around forever.
I thought about John Hunter and
England, my ancestors. John Hunter moved his family from the Mills
Section of North Carolina, then Buncombe County,
and later named Henderson
County. In the
ones coming to Georgia
with John and his wife, Elizabeth, were sons Andrew, William Johnson,
Henderson, and daughters Harriet and Martha. Later, his daughter
had married Samuel Riley Lance in North Carolina, also came to Georgia
and settled near her father
and mother. It is through Samuel Riley and Rebecca Hunter Lance that
our noted Union
poet, Byron Herbert Reece, traces his lineage through his mother, Emma
Reece. Settler John Hunter was the great, great, great grandfather of
John Hunter's son, William
(1813-1893), married Margaret Ann ("Peggy") England,
daughter of William Richard and Martha "Patsy" Montgomery England.
was a granddaughter of Daniel and Margaret Gwynn (Guinn) England.
Daniel England was noted as a
giving aid during the Revolutionary War from his iron foundry in North Carolina.
and Peggy married in Habersham
County in 1839. In
they built their house not too far from William's father's cabin. That
said to be one of the first built of planed lumber in the Choestoe
stands today on Liberty
Church Road. It was the ancestral home of
descendants, including 103-year old noted teacher, Mrs. Dora Hunter
Spiva. It is through one of the ten children of William and Peggy
Hunter that I trace my ancestry to John Hunter, the cabin builder.
daughter, Georgianne Hunter, married Francis Jasper Collins, and they
grandparents through my mother, Azie Collins Dyer.
When John Hunter died in 1848,
buried in the Old
on a mountain directly up from the cabin he built. It is a sad
indeed, to think that the long-time landmark will no longer be on land
final resting place.
Jones; published Apr. 3, 2008 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Updated August 9,
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