This Endless Search for Historical Markers

Saving history one day at a time

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For this leg of the trip I stayed in another cottage Indian Springs State Park (Georgia State Parks – Indian Springs State Park). Again, thanks to Judd Smith and the good people at DNR for helping me make this reservation.

This area has a long, sometimes confusing and often tragic history. Creek Indians valued the location for the healing properties of the spring. It was at this location that two “Treaty of Indian Springs” were signed. In the first of the two treaties, 1821, Creek Indians ceded their lands in Georgia to the state for cash and prizes. In the Second treaty, 1825, Creeks ceded all land east of the Mississippi. One year later, however, the Creek nation decried this treaty as invalid because it was signed without popular consent. Creeks were so upset that they assassinated signer William McIntosh and sued for a new treaty, signed in 1826, which repealed many of the provisions of the previous year’s treaty. For more information on this very important but also confusing saga please follow links.

Treaty with the Creeks at Indian Springs, 1825 (Senate Doc. 222, 18th congress, 2nd session)

Treaty of Indian Springs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S.-Creek Treaty of Washington, Jan. 24, 1826

Treaty of Washington (1826) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

After 1821 new settlers arrived at Indian Springs and they developed the area into a popular little resort town based around the spring’s qualities. I also went to the spring in search of liquid rejuvenation. My reaction was that by “healing properties” they meant sulfur water, and if I really wanted to smell like a match head then I could save myself a lot of time and just go swimming in the Savannah river (just kidding, not about the Savannah river part, though)

Indian Springs State Park is thought to be the oldest state park in the nation. In the 1930’s many buildings, including the spring house and adjoining stone buildings, were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to beautify our state and to keep young men out of trouble. And it really is pretty. The stone work is first rate and the setting is very nice. Indian Springs really is a quirky little community with pretty Victorian architecture, and I can’t wait to re-visit. Especially so I can buy some well-worn metal junk, which just so happens to be available in abundance from nearby peddlers.

For my purposes (that’s another way of saying: more importantly) Indian springs hosted (or was inhabited by) Sherman’s army on his “March to the Sea”

Sherman at Indian SpringsIndian Springs

According to the marker a detachment of Sherman’s forces was assigned to protect the town population and to keep order. Mmm. Protect from whom or from what, I wonder. Melancholy? Was the 100th Indiana actually a singing troup? Sounds dubious, but, heck, what do I know, I wasn’t there.

The park also has a 105-acre lake (see the many beautiful photos on the the park’s website Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites), which at 9pm after an exhaustive day on the road seemed too inviting to resist (although I’m pretty sure swimming out of the boundaries is not allowed). So after sauntering down the hill from my cabin I reached the edge of the darkened abyss. Nary a light was to be seen (really, I am pretty sure that I was the only person in this place) so I stripped down and eased my bones in. No matter how many times you tell yourself that there is nothing in this lake that could possibly hurt you, you just can’t help twitch a little at suspect noises (during one such attack I actually ducked under water in an attempt to hear an approach). Jeez. Click the link for an artistic recreation of the event!

Being from Tallahassee I have plenty of experience with swimming critters.

From this experience I know that 1) they won’t bother you and, more importantly 2) there are no gators up here! So after side stroking to the middle of the lake I felt sufficiently relaxed and more than a little fatigued so I turned forth and aimed for the darkened spot where I thought that I had triangulated as the location of my clothes. Close enough. Only had to stumble on the bank for about 30 yards groping with my way ignominiously over rocks and roots.

I went for another swim in the morning just to see if my visions were at all accurate. Oh, not even close. Not even the spiders.

Later in the day I surveyed Macon and was surprised, this being my first time in downtown Macon, to find a really pretty, interesting place. It also seemed a nice enough place to walk around, grab a bite and enjoy life a bit. I, on the other hand, had no time for such pleasantries and I was off again before my shadow could catch up, the Chevy crossover leaving a dust cloud in its wake.

Before crossing the Ocmulgee, though, I stopped at Rose Hill Historic Cemetery. It was amazing (pics).


I had the place to myself, that is excluding a dozen state prisoners on work detail who were menacingly eying me, my wheels and my freedoms. Perhaps we had a failure to communicate? Who knows? They were, however, doing a fantastic job of landscaping! Rose Hill is built on, well, a hill (appropriately enough) just north and slightly west of downtown. Broad views to the river below and thoughtful, well crafted Victorian funeral monuments throughout. Among the significant personages buried in Rose Hill are General Edward Dorr Tracey Jr. (he of the cadenced appellation) and Alfred Holt Colquitt. Both men served in the war (though only Colquitt survived). In Rose Hill these men were buried not far from many dozens of their brothers in arms.

I hope I make the time to go back because I spent a few nice moments of an otherwise wearisome afternoon there, and its not everyday you get to negotiate through dozens of men in striped jumpsuits wielding power tools.


Written by 4baldtires

November 10, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses

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  1. I read about your blog and travels in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).

    My interest is in roads and history. I’ve even gotten photos of historical markers for the Old Federal Road in Forsyth County (located at intersection of GA 9 and GA 369 north of Cumming).

    I’ve also got a picture of the Federal Georgia Road marker I found in Tennessee just off I-24 in Marion County (just west of Chattanooga).

    Great blog and best wishes in your endeavors.


    November 13, 2008 at 9:17 am

  2. This sounds like a wonderful adventure. Too bad there isn’t a webpage setup were people could actually help you. Also, you could publish great places to eat, sleep, and see along Shermans March. Again, great gig, want some company?


    November 13, 2008 at 11:37 am

  3. I’m with Stately Oaks Plantation; Historical Jonesboro/Clayton County Inc. We saw the article about cataloging the historical civil war markers. We would like to know when you come to this area and would love to speak to you about your work on the civil war markers.

  4. Mr. Hanley;

    Excellent initiative. If, in your travels, you could pinpoint the location of “Camp Preston near Atlanta” where Gov. J.E.Brown was entrenched at some point in 1864, you would be doing local historians a great favor.

    While researching Mayson family history 10-12 years ago, I came across a letter dated May 8, 1864, by J.R.Mayson, addressed to the governor at “Camp Preston near Atlanta.” In trying to locate this camp I checked out Bill Smedlund’s book, Campfires of Georgia’s Troops – nothing there. Local historians, including Franklin Garrett, drew a blank – as did many who I questioned at Civil War Round Table sessions. Nor could the Civil War Trust or people like Ed Bearrs shed light on a ‘Camp Preston.”

    So, in your wanderings, should you ever come across the location of Camp Preston, I would appreciate it if you would contact me.

    Good luck in your travels,

    Edmund A. Bator
    Foreign Service Officer, retired
    3432 Stratfield Drive NE
    Atlanta, GA 30319
    Tel: 404 266 9636

    Edmund A. Bator

    November 13, 2008 at 2:53 pm

  5. PLEASE visit:
    Driving directions to sites of Griswoldville & the Battlefield
    I-75 to Macon;
    Take exit 165, I-16 East (toward Savannah);
    Take exit 2 (US 80) Coliseum Drive/MLK Jr. Blvd.;
    [going left gets you on Coliseum Dr.; going right puts you on MLK & leads you to the Downtown Welcome Ctr., ~6/10 mile on the left]
    Go left (north) onto Coliseum Drive (US 80 /Ga. 87) (go by the Coliseum Hospital) until it ends (~½ mile);
    Turn right onto Emery Highway (US 80 /Ga. 19)
    go 2.2 miles;
    At BP gas station (on right), go left onto
    (US 80 /Ga 19 East)(Jeffersonville Road) go 1½ miles;
    At Family Dollar Store (on left) / Citgo, bear left onto Ga 57 East (Irwinton Road) go 4 miles;
    At Jet Convenience Store (on right), go left onto Henderson Road,
    go 1.2 miles;
    [cross RR tracks, stop and read the historical markers, the site of former Griswoldville town, burned by Sherman‘s troops]
    Turn around, cross back over RR, go left onto
    Old Griswoldville Road, go 1.4 miles;
    Turn left (at “Battlefield” sign) onto Baker Rd., go .4 mile to entrance of battlefield (on left).

    Donna McLendon Gawlas

    November 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm

  6. Dear Will,

    About 15 years ago I photographed and mapped the locations of all the Georgia historical markers I could find for the Atlanta Campaign. I would be more than willing to share this information with you if you are interested.


    Robert E. Zaworski, M.D.

    Robert E. Zaworski, M.D.

    November 14, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  7. Great blog, I found it in the AJC Thursday. I’m often in Savannah on business and enjoy walking the squares—any unusual historical markers to check out? Also, thanks for the links attached to the “Indian Springs” lake episode, hilarious. It’s good to have a little humor while you work.


    November 15, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  8. Your project is facinating and I compliment you on your efforts.

    I live in Atlanta area but own a farm in near Calhoun, Georgia and there has been Civil War Marker about the “Lay’s Ferry crossing” during the Civil War. (Where the Union forces fought to cross the Oostonala River). My farm in a few hundred yards from Lay’s Ferry. (actually in Sugar Valley, GA). For 30+ years there has been a marker at the intersection of Hwy 136 and Halls Memorial Road but in the last 6 months the marker has disappeared. Wondering if you know why it was taken down, stolen, etc.???

    Of more interest. Most people do not know that Meriwether Lewis’s childhood was spent in Georgia. The remains of his step-father’s plantation and where Lewis lived in 1782-1785 are east of Athens, Georgia. Wondered if you have an interest in further info.

    Of most importance!! I have traveled the Lewis and Clark Trail 3 times and just recently released a book of CD’s containing well over 1,000 photographs of the L & C Trail and I’m near completion of documenting all the GPS coordinates of a step-by-step travel planner of the L & C Trail. If you have any interest I’d be glad to mail a complimentary copy of the CD. There are 100’s of L & C sites that have markers and would appreate talking to you further about efforts to identify sites with markers.

    Thanks again for all your efforts!

    Ed Haley

    November 18, 2008 at 11:23 am

  9. Mr. Hanley,
    Just read about your work on cataloging the historical monuments around GA in the Dalton Daily Citizen. Very interesting… since I have such a marker in my front yard. It is marker # 155-22 & commemorates the small Civil War battle that took place just S. of my house, & a Confederate Artilery unit which was positioned on Potato Hill (or Picket Top) 100 yds. SE. of my house.
    It is really special to me, not only because of the signigicane of that battle, but also because there is good evidence that my great-grandfather’s Confederate unit – 22nd Alabama Reg. — was camped very near where my house is during the winter of 1863-1864.
    The marker is located on Reed Rd. 3 mi. N. of the N. Bypass in Dalton. It used to be on the corner of Reed & Reed Pond Roads, but had fallen in disrepair, & was covered with weeds. I offered my property (300 yds. S. of original location) for the maker to be moved to, & the Park Service folks over at the Chief Vann House in Springplace who are in charge of the marker, graciously refurbished it & moved it to its plresent locatation in my yard.
    It is now very visible from Reed Rd. & I see people stopping often to view & read it.
    If you have not already been by to see & catalog it, when you are coming this way, if you’d let me know, I’d love to talk to you (use my accompanying e-mail address to let me know). I also know where there are number of other markers in my general area that rlate to that part of our history.
    If you’d give me your e-mail address, I could send you a photo of the marker at its present location if you should need it.
    Thank you for doing what you are doing. It is a very valuable service.
    Ronnie Missildine

    Ronnie Missildine

    November 18, 2008 at 11:44 am

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