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White County, the 123rd county formed in Georgia, was created in
1857 from a part of the original land lot county of Habersham. In
early times, the area of White County formed a transitional boundary
between the Cherokee and Creek Native-American nations. The county
was named for Newton County Rep. David T. White, who helped to
attain passage of an act creating the new county.
The county seat of White County is Cleveland. Helen is the only
other incorporated community. Cleveland was named after Colonel Ben
Cleveland, who served in the Revolutionary War.
in the northern part of the county, had formerly been a summer
resort but was destroyed by fire. Later, the town was rebuilt and
transformed into an alpine village. It has become a major North
Georgia tourist attraction and thriving community. Helen is also
home to one of the nation's largest
Oktoberfests, held in September and October of each year.
Gold was found in White County in the late 1820s on the Nacoochee
River, then known as Duke's Creek, touching off the Great Gold Rush
of that century. Gold mining operations are still found today along
the banks of the Town and Tesnatee Creeks in western White County.
This area originally belonged to the Cherokee Indians. However,
miners and settlers pressured the U.S. government to such a degree
that eventually the Cherokee were totally removed from North Georgia
to a reservation in Oklahoma.
During the gold mining years, nine gold mines operated in the
county. Commercial gold operations remained profitable until as late
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Vivian Saffold, State Coordinator
Liz Nash, Regional
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