News from The Standard and Express

The Standard and Express
Cartersville, Georgia
April 25, 1872, page 2
Transcribed by:  

Cherokee County Sketches.
By P. B. Brewster.
No. 1

Our father removed from Gwinnett county, and settled in Cherokee in the winter of 1834.  We were quite a small boy at that time, but many things which occurred then are more distinctly remembered than a great many events which have transpired more recently.  We remember the novelty incident to the journey from one county to the other, and thought it was a very long one.  We remember camping the night after starting in a new log cabin, in which there was no floor.  We slept among the sleepers, and our repose was sweet and refreshing.

Early the next morning we resumed our journey westward, and ere the close of the day we arrived at “Downing’s ferry,” where Field’s bridge now stands.  Then we saw for the first time the beautiful Etowah river, which has been so familiar ever since, and there upon its banks, we saw the first Indians we ever beheld, and looked upon those strange beings with feelings of mingled fear and wonder.  In a short time after crossing the river we reached our destination, some double-log cabins, within whose humble walls we were to live.  Those cabins stood near where Mr. James McKinney now resides, and there we spent a great portion of that period which is usually called “happy childhood.”  But our experience is, that no stage of life is entirely exempt from sorrow and care.  We had our little troubles then, and they were as burdensome perhaps as greater ones are now.  But there are many pleasant reminiscences connected with the days of our childhood and early youth.  We remember many happy scenes which occurred on the beautiful lawn, in the tangled wildwood, on the banks of the river, and around the cheerful fire-side; and many other things which were not so pleasant, have also a place on memory’s page.  Only a few of those scenes we propose to mention in these rough drawn sketches, as we pass along.

The “cold Saturday” occurred in the winter of 1834, and made some impression on the writer.  The river was frozen from bank to bank. And our father having just opened a ferry, below Downing’s, we remember that it was necessary to cut the ice away from the flat and across the river, in order to pass over.

We remember gathering quantities of “hog” potatoes which were thrown out in digging down the banks of the river, in order to open the ferry; and those native tubers were not entirely unpalatable when roasted.  We have since often thought that they might be rendered valuable by cultivation.  There was also a weed which we called the “stinging nettle” which was very abundant in those river bottoms at that time.  This weed we think is the same as the celebrated “ramie plant,” which has been attracting a good deal of attention of late years, and which promises to be a valuable acquisition to agriculture and commerce.  Our father having noticed that the bowstrings used by the Indians were remarkably strong, was led to inquire what they were made of; and being shown the plant used for the purpose, made some experiments in a small way, and communicated the result to the principal agricultural journal which was then published in the State.  Thirty years afterwards the article was republished.  Whether the discovery of the ramie plant is due to that article we are not entirely certain, but we are inclined to think that it is.  Our father died soon after the publication of the article.  If he had lived, he perhaps would have continued and perfected his experiments.

For several years, our home was in the wilds of Cherokee, there being scarcely another white family nearer than Canton, a distance of six miles.  Often the lonely stillness of the night was broken by the yell of the Indian, the sharp bark of the fox, and the howl of the wolf.  It would seem that those were fearful times, but we children thought we were safe, even when our father was absent, under the protection of our mother, who possessed an unusual amount of courage and presence of mind.  More than once we were warned that a certain night had been appointed by the Indians to kill us all, but mother would tell us there was no danger, and our fears were put to rest.  Our father was often absent on business, but our red neighbors entertained towards him a feeling not only of respect but of awe, and this had a wholesome influence over them.  He often flogged them, and thus taught them the importance of good behavior.


GO TO: Text Site Map
770-382-3818 ext. 6283
13 N Wall Street
Cartersville, Georgia 30120

Bartow GenWeb Coordinator: Trey Gaines   
Georgia GenWeb State Coordinator: Linda Blum-Barton

          ©2002 - 2019 Bartow History Museum

Last modified: December 5, 2006