Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Benjamin Chastain (1780-1845)
This series of articles on
family members who settled in North Georgia
the nineteenth century and made a difference here in politics and way
are necessarily tied together. In the first article June 4, I listed
Chastains who settled in Union
County in the
the June 11 article, I retraced the Chastain lineage back to Dr. Pierre
Chastain (1659-1728), French Huguenot settler and planter who settled
This article will focus on Pierre's great,
great grandchild, Benjamin
Chastain, ninth child of the Rev. John "Ten Shilling Bell" Chastain
and John's first wife, Mary O'Bryan Chastain.
Benjamin Chastain was born July
when his father, the Rev. John Chastain, lived in North Carolina in a
that later became Sullivan County, TN. A migration from that section
Chastains, with others of their neighbors, move to the Pendleton
South Carolina. There he grew up, met and married a lady named Rebeckah
Old land deeds often give
the whereabouts of a person. Benjamin was still in the Pendleton
the 1800 census. By 1812 he owned land there. He sold 153 acres on
Mail Creek at the Woolonoy Fork of the Saluda River
for $50 to William Allen. The land Benjamin sold had been willed to him
father, the Rev. John Chastain.
Benjamin and Rebeckah Chastain
children born to them before they left their South Carolina home: Mary, Jonathan
Jeremiah S., John Bunyan, Benjamin Franklin, Nancy B., Elijah Webb and
Land was opening up for
settlement in Habersham
County in North Georgia, and Benjamin and Rebeckah
Chastain moved their family
there about 1817. Their last two children were born in Habersham County,
Jeremiah on June
and Martha Denton on June
Being a leader in his community,
Chastain followed his desire to make a difference by entering politics.
County in the
State Legislature in 1826, 1827 and again in 1832-1834.
With much turmoil occurring
lands and negotiations with the Indians, Benjamin Chastain was
agent to the Cherokee. That necessitated another move for his family.
time, they located near the Toccoa River.
He opened the
first post office in what would later become Fannin County.
First called Tuckahoe, subsequently named Tocoah and still later
this post office was opened on March 15, 1837.
Another task assigned to
former legislator and current Indian agent, was the building and
operation of a
fort at the intersection of the Toccoa River
and Star Creek, on
land now under the waters of beautiful Blue Ridge Lake.
At that fort, the Cherokee were gathered together to await the long
westward to Oklahoma
on the Trail of Tears.
Benjamin Chastain died January 1, 1845 at
his homestead in Old
Gilmer County, bordering Union, prior to Fannin County
being established in 1854. His wife, Rebeckah Denton Chastain, who was
born August 28, 1779,
died January 1, 1872
in Fannin County, Georgia. I find no cemetery
markings for them listed in Cemeteries
of Fannin County (2003). The Pierre Chastain Family History
they were buried in the Old
near the Toccoa
graves mark the final resting places of these pioneer settlers.
The account of Fort Chastain
is another story. That article is forthcoming, as well as Benjamin
part in its location on his property in 1838.
Jones; published June
18, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA.
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
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