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Early History


Hurricane Shoals History/Tumbling Waters Time Line


1784    April 22 – Jordan Clark and Jacob Bankston were told by a wandering band of Choctaw Indians of an old camping ground of the Creek and Cherokee Indians where it was believed The Great Spirit once lived, a place known as Yamacutah (Tumbling Shoals). From this Holy Ground up to Yamtrahoochee(Hurricane Shoals) the land was considered to be neutral ground for the Creek and Cherokee and no blood could be shed, not even for hunting. Conflict with the Indians began when Clark and Bankston violated the sanctity of the Holy Ground by killing a bear on the Shoals.June 20 – Bankston, Clark, John Harris and other pioneers returned to Hurricane Shoals and began a settlement.


1787    Dr. Henry Therrauld, Jared Cunningham and James Montgomery came to Hurricane Shoals and expanded the settlement(second in Jackson County) with the building of a fort, a school house, and a grist mill.


1788    First church in Jackson County was built on Shoals. It was Baptist, made of logs and called Etoho – the Indian name for river. Dr. Henry Therrauld was the first minister, as well as first school teacher and doctor.


1790    Smelting plant and foundry established by Union Furnace Co. which used iron ore mined near present-day Commerce and Dry Pond. The foundry continued in operation making cannon balls, ammunition and other war materials for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. The company had over 200 acres, some of which adjoined part of a 5000 acre tract originally granted to Count D’Estaing.


1794    Dr. Therrauld performed the first marriage in Jackson County uniting Bana Mar de Vedo(given in marriage by her adopted Indian father Umausauga) and Mr. Johnson Josiah Strong.


1796    February 11 – Jackson County was cut from Franklin County and incorporated by the State of Georgia with 42 of the 350 population residing at Yamacutah-Yamtrahoochee.


1801    Open hostilities with the Indians continued with the murder of little Egbert Clover and the kidnapping of Flora Clover and Susan Bingham. After seeing her son’s head bashed in on a rock, Mrs. Clover shot the Indian and his skin was made into a razor strap by John Harris. For protection the church was moved downstream two miles to Flat Shoals. The white settlers eventually won out, but Dr. Therrauld was killed in the last serious conflict with the Indians.

(Above material taken from The Early History of Jackson County, Georgia by G.J.N. Wilson, pages186-195)


1812    Revolutionary War soldier, Ansel Cunningham moved to Hurricane Shoals with wife Mary. Ansel died in August


1840 and Mary in November 1852. Both are believed to be buried at the Shoals.


1818    Proposal by Georgia General Assembly to dig canal from   Chattahoochee River to North Oconee River and flood Shoals was defeated. Efforts by Hurricane Shoals residents to form new county named Unicoi, after Indian princess who once lived near Shoals, was also struck down.


1840    Flood destroyed most of the buildings in the settlement.


1852    Church moved to Dry Pond Community.


1870    Cotton gin and grist mill began operation and did so until the mid-1920s. Foundations of the grist mill can still be seen on the Jefferson side of the Park.


1882    Contract was let for construction of the covered bridge which spanned 127 feet over the North Oconee River.


1906    Dr. L. G. Hardman, Governor of Georgia 1927-1931, purchased the property. He opened a natural spring located on the northeast side of the river to the public and named it for his sister, Sally Hardman.


1925    Hardman built an electric generating plant that would provide electricity to the booming town of Maysville. He built two turbines, but only one was operational.


1930    Georgia Power purchased the property from Hardman and operated the plant for two years before abandoning it. A caretaker lived on the property until 1960. The chimney in Pavilion #3 is all that is left of his house.


1954    County Extension Agent Spud Welborn unsuccessfully attempted to receive permission from Georgia Power and its caretaker to allow the County 4H Club to use one side of the Shoals.


1962    Four industrialists: Morris Bryan, Jr. – Jefferson Mills, R.H. McEver – McEver Packing Company Commerce, Jack Makemson – Roper Pump Company and Charles McCollum – Blue Bell purchased the property from Georgia Power,

seeing the Shoals’ potential for a recreational facility. These men formed the Hurricane Shoals Park Association, Inc.


1972    May 31 – Vandals burned the covered bridge. With no one to oversee the area, the Shoals became littered with beer bottles, junk cars and trash. The area was also frequented by undesirables.


1973    November – Community volunteers, Dan Gunnels, Pat Bell and   the 4H Club hauled off 18 dump truck loads of trash. Jackson County leased land from Hurricane Shoals Park Association.


1974    County won National recognition with Water & Soil Conservation and Georgia EMC’s

“Beautification Thru Conservation” Award. County Extension Director convinced Charles Dawson, President of the Chamber of Commerce, who in turn persuaded the County to take on Hurricane Shoals as Bicentennial Project.


1976    18 acres deeded to Jackson County by the Hurricane Shoal Park Association. L.G. Hardman, Jr. appointed to chair the Bicentennial Committee and Jackson County Commission formed the Hurricane Shoals Park Commission – Edna Sell, R.H. McEver, Jr., Pittman Carter, Bill Booth, Charles Dawson, Col. Tuttle Smith and chaired by Hardman.


1977    The Jackson County Commission – Howard Summerour, Chairman, Tom Howington and Jimmy Johnson – made plans for developing the area(paid $1000 per month on the project) with the assistance of the Northeast Georgia Area Planning and Development Commission(Clint Lane) and architect Bill Smith. Jackson County received a $12,500 federal matching grant through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a pavilion, picnic shelter, sandbox, foot bridge, restrooms, picnic tables and grills were built with the help of Rufus Pardue and many others. Hurricane Shoals Park Commission raised $15,000 through donations.


1978    $50,000 later, Park officially opened to public as county park with the unveiling of monument built by Brodus Wilbanks, slab donated by C.A. Townes and carved by Roy Nunnally. Brodus Wilbanks was first caretaker or superintendent and helped build some of the pavilions and picnic areas, as well as doing a great deal of the rock work. Picnic tables were donated by Jackson County 4H. County applied for second grant of $16,200 and purchased 14.75 additional acres west of the Shoals.


1981    Jackson County 4H had 28 picnic tables donated.


1982    Carolyn Townes was contacted by Col. Tuttle Smith concerning producing a drama about the History of Jackson County and staging the play at the Shoals.

May – Steering Committee met to organize a group of individuals who would produce the play.

November – The name Tumbling Waters Society was adopted.


1983    Cecil Hammond drew plans for grist mill, amphitheater and round pavilion. Group of volunteers and retired gentlemen reconstructed the old grist mill on the site of the old power plant.


1984    August – Amphitheater was completed and dedicated at Hurricane Shoals’ Bicentennial Birthday Party. Birthday Cake auctioned for $126.


1985    January 4 – First Articles of Incorporation were drawn for the Tumbling Waters Society. Colonel Tuttle Smith began to write historical drama of Jackson County, now that amphitheater was available for staging drama.


1986    The Tumbling Waters Society was formed and finally incorporated. This group of individuals included Tuttle Smith, Tom Bryan, Sally Allen, Pat Bell, Colin Kelly, Spud Welborn, Sumner Smith, Joyce Ethridge and a few others. Dr. Thurmond of the UGA English Dept. suggested using a young play-write David Mushell, as Col. Smith had given up the idea of writing the play. Greg Forrester of Gainesville was hired to direct the play. TWS produced “Inheritance of the Heart” – an Historical Drama of Jackson County and continued to make improvements in the Park.


1987    TWS produced “Inheritance” for a second year.


1988    TWS produced “Inheritance” for third year and raised over $5000 with Benefit Dinner and Dance at Athens

Country Club.


1989    TWS hired David Mushell to write a second play and produced the new play called “The Accidental Quest: Story of Crawford W. Long.” However, having problems with the director and problems with the sound i.e. crickets and traffic on I-85, production for a fifth year was suspended until TWS could get an assessment of the sound problem from the Head of Outdoor Drama in Chapel Hill, N.C.


1990    TWS continued to make Park improvements with new pavilions, sidewalks, bathrooms and the Pepsi playscape. TWS staged First Annual Art in the Park, instead of the plays.


1991    Art in the Park netted over $5000.


1992    Mrs. Jean Booth approached TWS with a request from the Matthews Family of Nicholson to move the 100 year-old Center Presbyterian Church to the Park. TWS purchased an additional 11.5 acres for the Park(the Perry property) and leased to County. County endorsed plan for Historical Village drawn by John Long. Matthews Family deeded Center Church to the Jackson County Historical Society.


1993    TWS continued to stage the successful Art in the Park Festival and used the proceeds to move historical 100 year-old Center Presbyterian Church and Harrisburg Courthouse to site of proposed Historical Village on Perry property.

September – $25,000(to Looper & Sons and Toy Brown Construction) spent on the moving and roofing of the Center Church, now known as the Miles Wilson Matthews Chapel.

December – Harrisburg Courthouse moved to Village.


1994    TWS raised funds for Historical Village through “Champagne in the Country” held at the Etheridge Farm. $7000(to Smith Wilson of S & W Development) was spent on the renovation of the Chapel. TWS bought the 27.87 acre Jarrett property for $107,320 and leased it to the County. County and TWS applied for several grants, one to reconstruct the old covered bridge and several for the Historical Village. Plans were made for the moving of: the Freeman Log Cabin and several barns from Nicholson(given by Ann Freeman to TWS), the Braselton Log Cabin(given to TWS by H.R. Braselton – retiredpostmaster) and the Pendergrass Jail located on the Bridges property. Resurrection Unlimited(Richard Terwilliger, Laurant Weichberger & C. Keen Zero) disassembled Freeman Log Cabin and moved to Shoals with help of County. Art in the Park raises a record $14,000 for projects. Lane Greene, restoration architect from Atlanta, consulted on placement of Freeman Cabin and hired to draw concept plan for $500.


1995    Resurrection Unlimited began stone pillars and beams for the Freeman Log Cabin. The park was put under the supervision of the Recreation Dept. headed by Linda Parrish, who moved a trailer on site. Two pavilions were screened in and a fence was put around the grist mill.

July – With Lane Greene’s direction, Smith Wilson was hired to complete the restoration of the Freeman Cabin and the Courthouse. The exterior logs, roof and flooring were restored on the Cabin, and all carpentry and masonry work (chimney) completed on the Courthouse. The Elijah Veal Cabin(known as the Braselton Log Cabin) was moved by



Looper & Sons($2000) to the Village and Damon Wilbanks replaced the roof($500). Champagne in the Country, held at the home of Joe & Susan Booth, raised $9000 for the Restoration projects. Plans were made for a Historical(now called) Heritage Village Dedication Ceremony instead of the annual Art in the Park, but time and circumstances caused these plans to be suspended. County Commissioners(Jerry Waddell, Fran Thomas & Forrest Hagen) exercised their option

to purchase both the Perry and Jarrett properties, and after much negotiation TWS deeded both properties to the

County. Debt free, TWS then leased the Heritage Village back from the County so that further restoration of the Courthouse, Freeman Cabin and Braselton Cabin could be pursued.


1996    TWS worked with County on plans to rebuild Covered Bridge and reviewed plans drawn by Cecil Hammond. TWS committed $5000 of 1996 Art in the Park proceeds to pay for Dr. Hammond’s supervision of Bridge project. Steel to span the river was given to Jackson County by D.O.T. Two TWS members, Henry Robinson and Pat Bell, were elected to serve as Jackson County Commissioners. Volunteers painted the Courthouse. A smaller scale, but successful Art in the Park was held with a Dedication of the Miles Wilson Matthews Chapel on Sunday. The Jackson County Bicentennial Choir sang and members of the Matthews Family spoke to an overflow crowd.


1997    Jackson County received a $35,000 grant to help with the reconstruction of the Covered Bridge and formed a Committee to raise the additional $81,000 needed. Hurricane Shoals was taken out from under the County Recreation Dept. County Detainees built stone pillars, front porch and rebuilt floor in the Elijah Veal Cabin, built stone steps and began work on interior boards of Freeman Cabin, and moved two small farm buildings from the Jack Venable Farm to the Freeman Homestead (given by David Maddox and sister. Ike Marsh disassembled an old log barn given by Casandra Johnson and with detainee help, rebuilt the barn behind the Veal Cabin.

September – Steel given by DOT for the resurrection of covered bridge was moved to river bank site. AIP raised $9000.


1998    Henry Slocum took over as Chairman of TWS. County Detainees started stone chimney

of Veal Cabin. DOT informed County that they had received $800,000 ISTEA grant of which the County had to match 20%. Grant was rescinded, but $350,000 retained to build Bridge. Champagne in the Country, held at Keith Ariail’s home, raised $9000. Art in the Park was a huge success, raised $6000.


1999    Bridge Committee working with County on DOT Grant. Heritage Village Committee hired Smith Wilson to complete chimney and floor on Veal Cabin and to finish restoration of other Heritage Village Buildings with handicap ramps. Champagne in the Country/Derby Party held in May at Rosedown in Jefferson raised $4500 which, as designated, was donated to County for Bridge Resurrection. Rick Aguar with Running With The Wind was hired to research for grants and produce a documentary on the Freeman Cabin. The Matthews Chapel was rented for several weddings. By-laws amended to provide temporary leave of absence for Directors. David Maddox and family donated farm implements for Blacksmith Shed. Art in the Park held on third weekend in September. Rock “Hurricane Shoals Park” markers were built at the entrances by the County.


2000    Jimmy Benson took over as chairman. A smokehouse, barn and privy were donated, moved from the Bertha Pittman Harris Farm by Looper and the County; the County rebuilt and constructed stone pillars under the buildings. All buildings and amphitheater treated for termites. Amphitheater and roof of Grist Mill repaired by County.


List of goals and repairs, including new lighting, for the Park were submitted to the County Commissioners with requests for allocation of SPLOSH funds. Bridge Reconstruction bogged down in DOT approvals. Champagne in the Country held at Shields-Ethridge Farm as thank you to patrons. Sue Rylee hired to complete repairs at Village. Art in the Park raised $5800 and the Ground Breaking for the Covered Bridge was held during the Festival.


2001    Contract for Covered Bridge let by County and construction begins on Bridge and bike paths. Sue Rylee took down old cabin on Dwight DeLaPerriere property and stored materials at Village. Two round tables at Concession Stand replaced by TWS. TWS hires Anthony Bennett to build new water wheel at Grist Mill for $16,000. New water trough, fence and lean-to built at Grist Mill. Champagne in the Country, held at Braselton City Hall, grossed $6700. Water line, meter and hydrant installed in Village by County; meter cost TWS $485. Sue Rylee paid $13,500 for repairs in Village ( including stone pillars, scraping and painting Chapel with rental on bucket truck, painting Courthouse and replacement of window/door hardware). Ten bronze plaques made by HTR, Ent. for buildings in Village at cost of $2200. Art in the Park was held in September with patriotic theme in celebration of the American way of life not withstanding the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Nine new Board members approved this year.


2002    Caleb Wood Caretaker’s House, donated by Little Ward Funeral Home, was moved to Village from Commerce by County. Bronze plaques were secured to buildings. Paula Hardy conducted tours of Village throughout year for local school children. County and TWS built restrooms in Village next to Chapel. Sue Rylee dried in Wood Caretaker’s House, chimney built and shingle roof replaced with tin. Freeman Cabin sealed. Heather Pittman drew landscape plan for Village. James Wood Log Cabin, donated by Wood Family, moved to Village by County. During Art in the Park September 22, a Dedication Ceremony was held for the new Covered Bridge over the North Oconee River which was built by the County with an ISTEA Grant.


2003    Landscape plan approved and several trees in Village moved in accordance with plan. Village Committee met with Burke Walker, preservation planner from Athens, to decide on location of Wood Log Cabin – moved to permanent location above Courthouse. Sue Rylee restored floor and front steps on Wood Caretaker’s House. Mr. and Mrs. Freddy Pethel donated a new log cabin to TWS and paid to have the Cabin moved and set up at the Park by the Grist Mill. An old iron stove was placed in the Pethel Cabin.


2004    Trees and shrubbery planted in accordance with approved landscape plan. Champagne in the Country held at the Braselton-Stover House. Stone for fireplaces and logs for damaged portion of James Wood Cabin were purchased. County built split rail fence along road and front edge of the Heritage Village. Jackson County inmates made wood location and directional signs for Park and Village. TWS built web site for Hurricane Shoals Park County built large gravel parking lot across from Heritage Village. TWS contracted with County to buy new state-of-the-art public address system for the Park. The Fourteenth Annual Art in the Park Festival was held on the last weekend in September with the 5K Mill Race on Sunday this year.


2005    Champagne in the Country was held as a barbeque at Wayne Miller’s Talmo Ranch in Talmo. Wood Cabin gutted and stone pillars built. Floor of Wood Cabin taken up and problems with rotten joists. Logs and joists milled. Designs for gazebo in Heritage Village were sought by the Heritage Village Committee


2006    Work was begun on a new Disc Golf Course. Old warden’s house at the back of the Heritage Village was acquired as the new Park Museum and Conference Center. County refurbished interior of Conference Center and built wooden entrance from Conference Center to Heritage Village. Focus on new TWS membership and six new Board members welcomed. No Champagne in the Country held this year, but launched new Friends of Tumbling Waters campaign


for donations. In connection with Friends, two quarterly newsletters were sent out by Tammy Simpson. County built pole barn behind Shirley Corn Crib in Village to store farm equipment donated to TWS and Village. County rebuilt both restroom facilities inside the Park, rebuilt portion of amphitheater and new wooden benches were added to the amphitheater. The Sixteenth Annual Art in the Park Festival was the most successful ever, netting almost $13,000. A bronze and rock monument was dedicated at Art in the Park to the four industrialists who secured and donated the land for the Park. Wood Cabin leveled, joists and log walls replaced.


2007    Work continues on Wood Cabin, stone chimneys and front and side steps built. Logs washed and sub-floor built. Gable rebuilt. Recreation Department builds new Ranger Office and Concession Stand. New lighting inside Park and new grills purchased. Hurricane Shoals Museum and Conference Center open for rental. Artifacts, maps, historical documents and photographs acquired for Museum. Group hiked down Oconee River and located possible site of ancient Holy Ground, finding rocks with unusual markings. Roof replaced on Harrisburg Courthouse and structure painted. Wood Caretaker House painted and antique enamel stove moved inside. Friends Newsletter sent out in June and August. Brochures created by intern at Rec Dept. for Park, Museum and Heritage Village. Most successful Art in the Park held in September. Eagle Scouts cut trails along River.


2008   Heather Pittman hired to produce four Friends Newsletter each year. TWS members take second hike to possible site of Holy Ground. Veal Cabin roof removed and all rotted logs replaced; $14,585 major repair completed by Jimmy Poss and Buz Ward. Grist Mill repaired by Marty Rubio. Jimmy Poss built front porch on Wood cabin.County and inmates built new “Spirit of the River” Miniature Golf Course with historic replicas, carved bears and Indians; course opened and dedicated at AIP. Eighteenth Art in the Park Festival held in September raised over $19,000 for Park. Palmer Corn Crib and Two-hole Privy (from Gray property) moved to Village. Buz Ward tore down cabin on Elrod property and TWS acquired all logs and materials for $1650.


2009   Hurricane Shoals Museum and Conference Center renamed and dedicated Pat Bell Conference Center. Scenes from movie “Get Low” (1930’s drama) starring Robert Duval, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray and Lucas Black were filmed in MWM Chapel in the Village. Duval and Black were on location. TWS leased the Chapel to Get Low Productions for $2500. Friends held a successful fund raiser (“A Night on the Farm”) at Keith and Diane Ariail’s home; Friends acquired three $1000 Lifetime Members. Art in the Park Festival dampened by heavy rain both days; however, profit was $11,000. Plaques on Pethel Cabin were erected; one to Richard Massey for all his hard work during Art in the Park and one in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Pethel daughter’s. TWS made third trip to Holy Ground via Hagan property; Joel Logan mapped GPS coordinates and possible altar rocks and burial ground found.


2010    “Night on the Farm” Friends’ fund raiser again a success; acquired 2 new $1000 Lifetime Members. James Wood Cabin was completed by Bona Fide Construction (David Daniel donated $2000 toward project)for $18,000 including



flooring, doors and windows and framing the covered back porch. Veal Cabin porch was repaired. Art in the Park celebrated its Twentieth Anniversary and raised $11,000 in a strained economic period.

Wood Cabin was dedicated and J.T. Wilkes and Richard Massey added to Memorial Bench.


2011   Cory McClung built a wooden staircase with culvert from the gravel parking lot down to the gate on the Maysville side of the Park as an Eagle Scout project. Committee formed to revise TWS By-Laws. Chapel and Veal Cabin had major repairs done and the County i.e. Marty Rubio repaired the Grist Mill. TWS had over 50 stumps ground down in the Park. New permanent signage was purchased for Art in the Park. The County erected new signage, removed dead trees and had roses planted in flower beds. Two-page article in ABH on Mill in September preceded very successful Art in the Park – great turn-out. Staged First Tony and Ann Ianuario Memorial Bluegrass Festival, hosted by BlueBilly Grit Band, during Art in the Park. TWS hosted a TWS Social(Night on the Farm) at the Shields-Ethridge farm in October.


2012   Repairs were made to the Smokehouse, joists and floors rebuilt. TWS built large storage building at upper end of the Heritage Village to store all the old wood and materials we have acquired for the HV buildings (Boyd Harness Construction).

Danny Elrod moved all the wood, windows, tin and other materials from all the other buildings and organized these. Elrod and Tim Sweat tore down and secured wood from barns on the Braselton property. Board voted to build new web site. Chinking Party held in May was open to general public and large crowd under the direction of John Parks chinked the entire Veal Cabin with traditional mud, straw & sand chinking. New playground equipment was bought by Park & Rec ($28,000) and placed in areas of the Park. Cornmeal sold at booth at Jefferson Freedom Festival. 2012 Art in the Park/Bluegrass Festival was a great success, raising over $12,000. New By-Laws were approved. Buildings in HV were padlocked after Park closed and MWM Chapel painted and porches repaired. Boyd Harness and Danny Elrod made repairs to the Wood & Veal Cabins porches and several of the large logs on the Veal Cabin were replaced.


2013    Helen Gunnels began second year as Chair. Dwight DeLaPerriere reclaimed materials from DeLaPerriere kitchen previously donated. Night in the Heritage Village held May 18 with dinner, silent auction and BlueBilly Grit played in Church; raised $1834. Decision was made not to accept donation of Hosch Store to be moved to HV, but Board accepted donation of late 1800’s black Cross Roads Schoolhouse and it was moved by Looper, Inc from Nicholson to Heritage Village in June with assurances the $48,000 of Splosh money could be used for the moving and reconstruction. Reconstruction done by Smith Wilson. Cross Roads School dedication held 9-15 in Heritage Village. Heavy rain affected crowds on Saturday for 23rd Art in the Park; new to the Festival this year – a two-day Bluegrass Festival, Cherokee Indians and Shape Note Singing. Danny Elrod and committee made further repairs in Village.


2014   Pat Garrison sworn in as chair. New stove purchased for Pethel Cabin. New web site put on hold and old site updated. Night in the Village was held June 14.

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