Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The Miracle of
Brasstown Valley: a Book Review
Governor/Senator Zell Miller has done it again. He has written his seventh book, and has managed within its pages to turn history into a page-turner.
I gratefully received a copy early as a Christmas gift from a very dear friend. I want to recommend that you go out to a nearby bookstore in these days remaining before Christmas and either purchase a copy for yourself or get a copy as a gift for someone special. You will be glad you did.
Miracle of Brasstown Valley
is the story of the founding of
In his foreword, Mr. Miller states:
While all the people, places and most events are real, in some instances I have filtered their undocumented words spoken long ago through my imagination. So be forewarned: this history is not pure and perfect; it's padded. But, as we say in the mountains, this is 'pert near' how it all happened." (page 4).
Getting it 'pert near' right is good enough for me. Not only does the book give the history of the founding of the college in the mountains, which has stood as a shining light for students educated there since 1886, but within these pages we get lessons on geology and theology, politics and religion. The people of yesteryear, whose names are well documented in family histories, in county records of land holdings, in church and cemetery records, in stories of their deeds passed on from generation to generation are mentioned in the book as Artemas Lester makes his way from Yatesville, Georgia, where he was born, to Brasstown Valley in Towns County, Georgia, learning what he can from residents he meets along the way. He wants to know about the land and the people, the sturdy stock who have taken up residence in the mountains. The literary technique is a travelogue. The impact is that of having been there, experienced that.
In the pages of Miracle
we meet people who have a role to play in the
We meet William Jasper Miller,
as "Bud," teacher at Hood's
We see Artemas Lester's first
view of Track
Rock Gap as he travels from Dahlonega to
We meet Widow Nancy Louise
Sanderson, whose help in establishing the school in
This book is full of mountain lore and culture. It is a book about a dream and the price one man paid to see it fulfilled. It is about moving on, even before the school Lester worked so hard to establish, was fully functional.
The book expresses appreciation
for a solid
way of life and for the faith that seeds planted will eventually sprout
bear fruit. Credit is given to many people who figured prominently in
Governor/Senator Zell Miller and
our roots back to Thompson Collins and other people who, although not
educated themselves because of limited academic offerings in those
days, wanted a better way of life and accelerated opportunities for
children and succeeding generations. It was on this principle that the
Artemas Lester set about to found the school in the mountains that
He has Artemas Lester asking Teacher Bud Miller this question:
"Where do they (the students) go when you've taught them all you know?"
Bud stared straight into his friend's eyes. "Ah, that's the question. You tell me."
At Christmas, this book will be rich reading as you discover and rejoice in the answer.
Jones; published Dec. 13, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene 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 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]
Updated August 8, 2009