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 Murray County Museum  
A BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF
MURRAY COUNTY'S HISTORY

Before Georgia even existed, various tribes of native Americans occupied present-day Murray County. The Mississippians, a tribe most remembered for building earthen mounds over graves of important tribesmen, are credited with creating the mounds near Carter's Dam. No one knows what early group built the mysterious fort atop Fort Mountain.

The Creeks for a time lived in permanent settlements in present-day Murray County. One such settlement was called Guaxule, near today's Carter's Quarter. By the early 1500s, the Creeks lived primarily in what would eventually become southern Georgia and the Cherokees claimed most of northern Georgia.

It is highly probable that the first white men to visit present-day Murray County were Spaniards—Hernando DeSoto's band of explorers. In 1540, this group visited Cherokees then living at the old Creek settlement called Guaxule, which Cherokees had renamed Coosawatee. After lingering several days with the Cherokees, DeSoto's group departed to continue their exploration, eventually reaching the Mississippi River.

Cherokee settlements within what eventually became Murray County included Rabbit Trap, approximately 15 miles south of Spring Place, Coosawatee Old Town, some 17 miles south of Spring Place. Just above the junction of the Conasauga and Coosawattee was the Cherokee capital, Ustanali. Seven miles north of Spring Place lay a village named Sumach. To the north-west was the village of Red Clay. Dogwood, Crayfish Town and Chestnut Town all were west of Spring Place. Although Indian trails connected these villages, no roads yet existed in the Cherokee Nation.

During the 1700s a few whites traveled through this region, primarily adventurers, renegades, trappers, traders, and explorers. A few decided to live with the Cherokees. One such Scot trader, James Clement Vann, settled in present-day Spring Place in the late 1700s and quickly established a trading post and a mill. Within a few years Vann owned several stores, taverns, and ferries within the Cherokee nation.

1800?

John Martin built first part of a house which would eventually become Carter's Quarter.

1801

Moravian missionaries arrived in Spring Place to set up a mission and school under the sponsorship of James Vann.

1802

Georgia ceded all of its western lands to the Federal government in exchange for a promise that all Indians would be removed from Georgia.

1803

Construction of the Vann house began late in the year.

1805

Work completed on the Vann House. The family moved in during March.

1805

Vann forced the Cherokees to officially approve the building of a Federal road through Cherokee lands from Athens, Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1805

Tradition claims that the Spring Place Moravian missionaries decorated the first Christmas tree ever used in Georgia.

1806

First wagons traveled the new Federal road.

1818

Moravians completed building of a new church and school building, a "blockhouse" design?

1819

James Monroe became the first American President to visit present-day Murray County.

????

Cherokee Nation moved their capital from Tennessee to New Echota, Georgia.

????

Cherokee Alphabet introduced by Sequoyah.

1819

Post Office established at Spring Place.

1825

Limited stagecoach service was available from Spring Place.

1826

The Cherokee Phoenix began publication at New Echota. This was the only newspaper being published by an Indian tribe using its own language.

1828

A major gold strike in nearby Dahlonega, the largest to date in the United States, brought thousands of prospectors into the Cherokee Nation.

Georgia extended the state's criminal jurisdiction to include all of the Cherokee Nation.

1830s

William Hassler operated a huge grist mill that ground both corn and wheat just east of present-day Eton.

1830

Georgia assumed ownership of the Cherokee Nation and named it Cherokee County.

1831

Georgia divided Cherokee County into ten counties, the largest of which was Murray County.

1832

Bates Family built a home near Eton (now known as the Loughridge Home).

Georgia held its first land lottery, awarding lots of 160 acres each to the winners, except in areas thought to contain gold, those lots were only 40 acres.

1833

First Murray County elections were held in New Echota in March.

First Murray County court was held in September. Tried George Tooks for murdering four members of the Bowman family.

The northwestern portion of Murray County became Walker County. (Dade County subsequently was created from Walker County in 1837.)

Pleasant Valley (present-day Eton) was founded as a stagecoach stop for those traveling between Spring Place, Georgia and Athens, Tennessee

1834

Spring Place became the county seat for Murray County. The Moravian mission building served as the first court house.

Murray ceded land to Bartow County.

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church (present-day Eton) was founded.

James Graves, a Cherokee, was found guilty of murdering a white man. Graves was the first person sentenced to be hanged in Murray County.

A post office was established at Rock Spring (later renamed Coosawattee) near present-day Carters.

1835

Georgia guard members from Spring Place crossed into Tennessee where they arrested John Howard Payne and brought him to Spring Place where he was confined for encouraging Cherokees not to sign the treaty to remove them to Oklahoma. Payne was known around the world as the composer of "Home, Sweet Home."

Joseph Vann's family was expelled from the Vann House for violating one of the many new State laws prohibiting Indians from engaging in certain business arrangements. They fled to Tennessee.

First jail was built at Spring Place.

1836

A road opened between Spring Place and La Fayette (present-day Walker County).

Post Office established at Cohutta Springs, northern part of Murray County.

1837

Moravians conducted their last service in Murray County on Easter Sunday.

A second jail was built in Spring Place, replacing one that burned.

A post office was established at Cross Plains (present-day Dalton).

1838

Murray County's remaining *** 2,000 Cherokees were forced to depart on the difficult journey to Oklahoma Territory that would become known as "the trail of tears."

On January 20, the Superintendent of Cherokee Removal issued a notice indicating that on February 5th suitable steamboats would be available at Ross'Landing (Chattanooga) and opposite Bellefonte, to take 1,000 people to their new homes in the west. Notice indicated that the boat trips would require 15 days. Those not voluntarily leaving the area by boat prior to a May deadline would be forcibly removed by the military.

The Army built rough stockades of upright logs in which to hold the Cherokees they forcibly removed from their homes until they could be escorted west. The two such forts in present-day Murray County were named Fort Gilmer and Fort Hoskins. General Winfield Scott resided at the Chester Inn in Spring Place while he commanded those involved in the Cherokee removal. More than 4,000 of the 16,000 Cherokees forcibly removed from the eastern Cherokee Nation died before reaching their new homes in the west.

Murray gave up some land on the east side to become part of Gilmer County.

The U.S. Government opened a Mint in Dahlonega to create gold coins for the nation.

1840s

Spring Place Baptist Church was founded.

1840

Construction of a new court house began at Spring Place.

When the U.S. Census of 1840 was taken, Murray County included present-day Whitfield and Catoosa Counties. Spring Place was the largest town, boasting a hotel, a tanyard, a brickyard, and numerous establishments licensed to serve liquor.

1845

Spring Place was described in Statistics of the State of Georgia as having "the usual county buildings, two hotels, one academy, four stores, three groceries, one saddler, one carriage maker, two blacksmiths, two tanyards, three lawyers and two physicians." The town's population stood at 250.

Cross Plains (present-day Dalton) had ten families, two small stores, a post office, one blacksmith shop, one tavern and one saloon. A German settlement existed just north of the town.

1847

The village of Cross Plains, in the western part of Murray County, was incorporated as the City of Dalton.

The Methodists moved into a church in Dalton.

The Presbyterian Church of Dalton was organized.

The First Baptist Church of Dalton was organized.

1848

New Prospect Baptist Church was organized (just south of Casey Springs).

Holly Creek Baptist Church was founded.

1849

Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church was organized (near Ramhurst).

1840s

Hall's Chapel was founded.

Zion Hill Baptist Church existed near present-day Northwest School.

1841

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, which would eventually be called Eton Baptist Church, was organized.

1847

Six miles north of Spring Place, Zion Hill Baptist Church was organized.

1848

Holly Creek Baptist Church was founded.

1849

Mount Pisgah Baptist Chursch, near Ramhurst, was founded.

1850s

Harrison's Chapel (Methodist) was organized where Chatsworth would eventually be located.

1850

The Census of Murray County (which still included present-day Whitfield and Catoosa Counties) reported a population of 12,503 living in 2,047 dwellings. The slave population was put at 1,930.

At Tunnel Hill, the first train passed through the just-completed tunnel, considered an impressive engineering feat for the time.

1851

Whitfield County was created from western Murray County. (Two years later Catoosa County was created from Whitefield County.

A Methodist church was built at Spring Place.

Church that would later be known as Sumach Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized.

1852

At Ball Ground, Mt. Herman Baptist Church was built.

1854

A grist mill called Gatts Mill was operating on Holly Creek.

1859

The Spring Place Volunteers, a militia company was formed.

1860

Murray County had shrunk to its present 342 square miles. The 1860 Census ***

1861

Georgia convened delegates from all counties to decide the question of secession. Murray County delegates voted against secession, preferring to maintain the Union. When the votes were counted, Georgia had elected to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. Because the citizens of Murray County were divided in their loyalties, hundreds of men enlisted to fight for the Confederacy, while hundreds of others enlisted in Federal military units to fight for the Union.

1864

Two Civil War skirmishes took place just west of Spring Place.

Union Army troops occupied nearby Dalton for the winter.

1865?

Moravian mission buildings at Spring Place were demolished.

1869

A factory making wooden chairs was operating on Holly Creek in an area called May Hill.

Dennis Mill was built.

1870

Treadwell Mill was built on the Conasauga River near the ferry crossing to Dalton.

1870s

Talc was discovered in Murray County.

Casey Springs Methodist Church was formed.

Casey Springs schools was operating.

1872

Fort Mountain School opened.

Talc was first commercially mined in Murray County.

1874

The KKK hanged a Negro named Carter Griffin in Spring Place.

May Hill Bridge was built crossing Holly Creek.

1875

In Spring Place a new Methodist Church was built on foundations of an earlier church that had burned.

1876

A post office opened at Carter's (closed in 1973).

Cool Springs Baptist Church was founded (near present-day Eton).

Sumach Seminary was formed by combining two existing schools.

1878

The first newspaper published in Murray County, the Murray County Gazette, began publication at Spring Place. (Eighteen months later, publication was suspended.)

A post office opened at Sumach.

1880s

A community called Casey Springs, on present-day Highway 225, was flourishing. It had two churches, several stores, a school, a grist mill, and cotton gins.

Another community, called Wells, near Carter's, boasted a post office, a cotton gin, a blacksmith shop, a sawmill, and at least one general store.

1880

The Coosawattee Steamboat Company was founded to provide riverboat service from Murray County to Rome.

1881

Post Office opened at Cisco.

1883?

A newspaper called The Spring Place Times was being published. This paper was later known as the North Georgia Times. ( Ceased publication in 1887.)

1884

A fire in Spring Place destroyed the courthouse, one store, and one home.

Southwest of Fashion, Fullers Chapel Methodist Church was founded.

1885

The City of Spring Place was incorporated.

1886

In Spring Place a new courthouse was built on site where earlier one had burned.

1888?

New Hope Baptist Church was organized southwest of Spring Place.

1890

Brown's Bridge was completed across the Conasauga, an unusual bridge that had a 30 degree turn in the middle. Before the bridge was built travelers had to use Smokes Ferry or ford the river when water was low enough to permit such crossings.

Dewberry Baptist Church was organized near Crandall.

1890s

New two-story brick jail built at Spring Place.

1891

A newspaper called the Spring Place Jimplecute began publication in Spring Place.

1892

A post office was established at Amzi (near present-day Hwy 76 at Conasauga River).

First bridge was built over the Coosawattee at Carter's.

1893

Rocky Face Baptist Church was organized at Cisco. Later became Cisco Baptist Church.

1895

Murray County combined the Chapel and Tickle Gizzard schools into Hooker's Academy.

Calvary Baptist Church was founded near Cisco.

Free Hope Baptist Church was founded.

1896

The school budget totaled $5,781.03—to pay a superintendent, members of the Board of Education, and more than 50 teachers. $120 was spent on buildings and school supplies. The county spent an average of 72 ˝ cents per month per student that year. Enrollment totaled 1,893 of which 153 were Negroes.

1897

Miss Lula Gladden was the first female to graduate from Sumach Seminary.

1899

Five people died in a house fire in Spring Place—Dr. Bagwell, his three children, and a housekeeper, Mrs. Williams.

1900

Census put Murray County's population at 8,623.

1901

Between Ramhurst and Spring Place, Smyrna Baptist Church was founded in 1901.

1904

Murray County began Rural Free Delivery of mail.

1905

Cohutta Banking Company opened for business in Spring Place.

L & N Railroad came through Murray County. The little town of Ramsey grew rapidly. By 1910 the name had been changed to Ramhurst and the town boasted a train depot, a hotel with 15 rooms, a large lumber company, numerous stores, a livery stable, a boarding house, a cotton gin, a grist mill, even a company selling grave markers.

Eton was founded beside the new L & N tracks, draining the life out of older communities Dunn and Pleasant Valley.

Town of Crandall founded beside the L & N tracks.

Town of Cisco built a train depot.

1906

Fire destroyed a store and a jewelry shop in Spring Place.

Chatsworth Post Office opened for business.

1907

While attempting to arrest an escaped murderer in Eton, Sheriff Ben Keith was shot. He escorted the prisoner to the Spring Place jail before seeing a doctor. The sheriff died of the wounds five days later.

The Chatsworth Progress newspaper started publication in Chatsworth.

The first two-story house in Chatsworth was built by William Cox.

First Baptist Church of Chatsworth was founded.

The DeSoto Hotel was built.

Chatsworth Elementary School opened as a "two-room wooden school."

1909

An entire block of Spring Place was destroyed by fire, one of the buildings destroyed was the Bond Hotel.

The Spring Place Church of God was founded.

West of Eton, Mt. Carmel Baptist Church was organized.

Eton High School opened. (Building burned in 1937.)

The Wright Hotel, a three-story, 17 room facility, opened in Chatsworth. It was later known as the Chatsworth Hotel.

Lowery's Cotton Gin was built in Chatsworth.

At the Georgia-Tennessee state line, a community earlier known as Whip, was chartered as Tennga.

1910

Population of county according to the Census: 9,763.

The Bank of Eton was founded.

1913

After a bitter fight, Chatsworth became the new county seat for Murray County.

The Chatsworth Times commenced publication.

Two hotels opened in Eton: the Mountain View and the Pierce.

1914?

The Shield Hotel in Spring Place was destroyed by fire.

The newspaper, Murray County Messenger, began publication at Eton.

1916

New Courthouse completed at Chatsworth.

1918?

Luke Cox began a scheduled Chatsworth-Dalton bus service.

1919

A new federal highway from Atlanta to Knoxville is planned

1920s

Eton residents subscribed to limited electrical service provided by a Delco light plant.

Electricity was turned off every night at 10:30.

A county library was established in Chatsworth, staffed by volunteers.

Chatsworth Telephone Company was operating.

1920

Census for Murray County tallied 9,490 residence, a small decline from decade earlier.

1923

Chatsworth announced that, for the first time, it was debt free.

A new three-story brick school building was completed to house both Chatsworth Grammar School and Chatsworth High School. (Lightning started a fire that destroyed this structure in July 1934).

1924

Murray County Board of Education issued public notice stating that "the license of any teacher teaching in Murray County will be revoked if he or she attends a dance, whether they dance or not."

1926

Chatsworth passed an ordinance saying that any lewd woman of bad character found upon the city streets after 9 p.m. would be arrested.

The City speed limit was 15 mph. Horses were not supposed to be hitched to trees.

1927?

The Chatsworth branch of Kenemer Brothers Funeral Home opened.

1929

Georgia Power service was connected to Chatsworth.

1930s

The J. Fletcher Charles Tourist Camp was in operation north of Chatsworth.

1930

Census Bureau reported Murray County had 9,215 residents.

1932

The Presbyterian Church in Spring Place was demolished.

1933

First 150 young men arrived at the Holly Creek Camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to build cabins in which to live, then to build roads, a dam, two fire towers, and a lake in Fort Mountain State Park. (Camp disbanded in 1941.)

1934

Ivan Allen, Sr. donated land to create Fort Mountain State Park. The road across the mountain connecting Chatsworth and Ellijay was built the same year.

The county's three high schools, Chatsworth, Eton, and Lucy Hill, were consolidated into a single Murray County High School housed in a newly constructed rock building near Chatsworth. The building was built through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) program of the depression years.

Public water and sewer system opened in Chatsworth.

A school for Negroes opened at Chatsworth.

1935

Highway from Chatsworth to Eton was paved.

A newspaper called The Murray Herald started publication in Chatsworth. (It ceased publication in 1943.)

On Highway 52, just east of Chatsworth, the WPA built a "county home."

Thirty-eight senior graduated from the new Murray County High School.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent the night in a private railroad car stopped at the Chatsworth Depot.

1936

Chattahoochee National Forest was established, includes Grassy Mountain.

1937

Chatsworth's population passed 1,000.

1938

Chatsworth's sewer system was completed.

A company called Chatsworth Spreads began manufacturing bedspreads.

Approximately nine miles north of Chatsworth, on Highway 411, Fairy Valley Baptist Church was founded.

1940

Census reported an increase in county's population to 11,137.

52.5% of those employed in the county worked in agricultural jobs.

1940s

Telephone operators were replaced by new dial telephones in Murray County.

Murray County had two major chenille companies ("spreadhouses"), McCarty Chenille and Crown Chenille, providing employment for scores of local citizens.

Chatsworth Heights Cemetery was established.

Three motels were in operation south of Chatsworth–Adco, Chief Vann, and Fort View.

1943

V. C. Pickering donated 165 acres that earlier had been part of "the Davis farm" to Murray County Board of Education to be used by Agricultural students enrolled at the High School.

1944

Funeral for Miss Lula Mae Gladden, teacher for more than 50 years and author of Murray County High School's Alma Mater, was held at the High School.

1946

Subdivision called Lakeview Estates was built.

1947

Tennga Baptist Church was founded.

Carters School for Negroes consolidated with Chatsworth.

1950s

Dalton Utilities extended water lines along highway 52/76 to Murray County customers.

Highway 225 was paved from Spring Place to Calhoun.

1950

Murray County population was 10,676 according to the Census Bureau.

Murray County Memorial Hospital opened on Walnut Street and Fourth Avenue.

1951

Odell Ingle began building business complex that became known as "Central"

1955

Subdivision named Chatheton was built.

1956

Southwest Elementary School opened. (This school consolidated with Spring Place in 1969.)

Sumach, Colvard, and Franklin Schools consolidated into Northwest Elementary School.

1957

Old county courthouse at Spring Place, used for many years as part of Spring Place Elementary, was sold at auction for $525.

1958

The restored Vann House opened to the public.

1960

Census reported Murray County had 10,447 inhabitants.

The percentage of people working in agricultural jobs in Murray County dropped to 13.8%.

The Murray County Saddle Club sponsored its first Wagon Train, an overnight trip by horse-drawn wagons across Fort Mountain to Ellijay.

1965

Whispering Pines subdivision was built.

County Board of Education voted to close existing Negro schools and permit students to attend "school of his or her choice."

1967

Barksdale Estates was built.

1968

Galaxy Carpets was founded.

1969

Murray County Junior High School, with grades seventh, eighth, and ninth, opened.

Spring Place Elementary School moved into new facilities.

1970s

Direct-dial long distance telephone service started in Murray County.

Major subdivisions were built, including Riverview, Fort Mountain Estates, Murray Springs, Mountain Acres, and Woods Estates.

1970

County's population reached 12,986 according to the Census Bureau.

Chatsworth approved a new city charter.

Diamond Carpet Mills was founded.

1971

Springdale Estates became a major new subdivision of Spring Place.

1973

An amusement park called Frontierlands opened on Fort Mountain.

1974

Tornadoes hit Murray County.

1975

A portion of the Chattahoocha National Forest was designated as the Cohutta Wilderness Area.

Carters Lake opened.

Chatsworth improved the city's water system by adding reservoirs at Eton and Spring Place, making sewage service available to all city residences, and extending water service to addition areas near Eton and Spring Place.

The First National Bank of Chatsworth opened.

A new hospital opened on Old Ellijay Road, replacing the existing Murray County Memorial Hospital, in use since 1950.

A Vocational Education Wing was added to the Murray County High School.

1976

A "new, smoother, straighter, and safer" Highway 411 opened, replacing a very dangerous stretch of north-south highway.

1977

Carter's Dam was completed. The largest earth-filled dam east of the Mississippi created a lake with a shoreline of more than 60 miles and a depth of up to 400 feet. The project cost some $107,000,000.

1979

Seventh Day Adventists began work on Cohutta Springs recreation and convention center estimated to cost $5,000,000.

Chatsworth renovated many downtown business buildings, using a Williamsburg theme.

New County Library opened on Old Ellijay Road near old rock high school.

1980

Census reported county's population as 19,685.

1981

A new five-lane highway connecting Chatsworth to Dalton opened, replacing old Highway 76.

1982

Chatsworth's Wright Hotel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1983

Fast-food franchises came to Murray County, first Tastee-Freeze, followed by Hardee's, McDonald's and Pizza Hut.

1985

Nancy Calhoun was sworn in as Murray County's first female lawyer.

Carter's Quarter held its first-ever open house, featured as the Historical Society's Christmas Holiday House.

2001

Spring Place held a Bicentennial Celebration, marking the arrival 200 years earlier of the first Moravian missionaries from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

2002

Vann House opened a new "interpretive center" to visitors.

2004

Murray County High School's original rock building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

2005

Much of old-town Spring Place, including the Methodist Church, the Moravian Mission and cemetery sites, the old jail, and several homes were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

2005

Murraycountymuseum.com opened as a county museum in cyberspace. (Smile)



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