HISTORY OF RISING FAWN COMMUNITY

In common with the rest of our nation, the history of Rising Fawn begins with the Native Americans. At the time these tribes of the Cherokee Nation occupied Lookout Valley, the present site of Rising Fawn was a trading post, strategically located in the long narrow valley between protective mountains and well watered by Lookout Creek and other smaller steams. Fish and game were plentiful and the mere matter of existence was simple.

The tribe was ruled by Chief Benje, whose descendants still live in the Middle West. In 1838 just after the administration of Andrew Jackson, the Indians were banished from the land of their fathers to reservations provided for them by the United States Government in Oklahoma. Their route came to be known as the Trail of Tears.

Evidence of their occupation is still to be found in this valley in arrowheads, graves, and a simple legend. The legend is that a child was born to an Indian squaw, wife of the tribal chieftain, and according to custom was to be named for the first object that came into view after the event. At dawn on the following morning, as the chieftain looked out from the lodge toward the rising sun, a small fawn rose from its bed, stretched its limbs, and bounded away into the forest. The chief thought he had never seen a more beautiful sight than a rising fawn, and so it became the name of his small papoose and little did he realize that the name was never to perish.

There is another legend, or perhaps a fact, that a rich lead mine known only to the Indians is located in this valley. Lead for bullets was produced in quantity by the Indians, but no trace of the mines has ever been found.

It is not known just when the first white settlers came to this community, but it was probably after 1800. Few white men cared to venture in until after the removal of the Indians. By 1840 it was well populated and some mining industry begun. Virgin forests, abundant water power, and ever-increasing agriculture gave promise of greater expansion in industry.

The earliest records of settlers contain the names of John Guinn, A. B. Hanna, J. B. Perkins, James Stewart, and James Hall. The village was first known as Hanna, since the post office was on the Hanna Plantation, south of the present location. Later, during the Civil War it was called Stewarts.

In 1870 the first railroad was built, and the station was named Staunton, in honor of the men who built the railroad. Several years later the post office was moved to the station and the name was changed to Rising Fawn in keeping with the Cherokee legend. John G. Hale was the first postmaster and held the office for ten years. During this time the post office was in the home of L. S. Tidwell.

The oldest house in Rising Fawn was the home of A. B. Hanna, who married Matilda, the daughter of John Guinn. The house, now demolished to make way for progress, was located near Hanna Cemetery, which was then a family burial plot, but is still surrounded by the original iron fence. Most of the earliest homes were built of brick, to become the homes of Solomon Cross, Lee S. Tidwell, John G. Hale, W. P. Gilbert and Covington Guinn, and the old brick seminary building, three stories high, which later became the Methodist church and Masonic Hall. Most of these still stand except the seminary building which burned in 1925.

This community also has its Civil War history. Three companies of infantry for the Confederacy were organized here with Col. Cooper Nesbit, Capt. John Hanna and Capt. James Cureton in command. The historic crossing of Lookout Mountain on September 5, 1863, at Johnson’s Crook by forty thousand Union soldiers under General George H. Thomas, just before the battle of Chickamauga, occurred here.

According to the records, this was not a slave-holding community,  as were the large cotton plantations of south and Middle Georgia. However there were known to be several slave owners among the more prosperous planters. The slaves vanished with the emancipation of the Negro, although a few of their descendants continued to live here until their death.

The old iron furnace company organized in 1870 brought many new families into the community to make their homes; also many Negro laborers and their families were brought in. This industry which began operation as Tatum Iron and Coal Company was absorbed by Dade County Coal Company in 1873. Later it expanded and became Georgia Iron and Coal Company and ended shortly after the turn of the century as Southern Steel Company. It was dismantled in 1926. All that remains of the once proud and thriving industry is the old brick commissary building, a few scattered houses and a slag pile, but during its operation the population of Rising Fawn grew to approximately 1500 people and boasted of brick sidewalks, a water works system, and oil street lamps with a Negro lamplighter affectionately called “Uncle Allen.” During the gay nineties they even boasted of a brass band with a marvelously constructed band wagon which served both as band stand and mobile unit.

None of these things remain now except the water works, built in 1881 by George W. Cureton, which still serves this community. Rising Fawn was incorporated September 20, 1881, and the corporation abolished by an act of Legislature August 3, 1904. Sometime during this era a small hexagon-shaped calaboose appeared near the Railway Station, but how it came, or went, is not clear.

The Dade County Gazette began publication in Rising Fawn in 1879 and continued about five years until the Dade County Weekly began publication in Trenton. The printing office of the Gazette was located on the corner of the T. J. Lumpkin property, now owned by Graham Hale.

The first half of the twentieth century in this community has seen the passing of the last of the pioneers, the Civil War veterans, the Negro population, railway passenger service, and many of the old land marks, old habits and customs. The present population based on the last census is approximately three hundred with many new and modern homes, electric and gasoline power, bus service and a new modern Junior High School, new Methodist and Baptist Churches, a new paved highway and other public improvements of which the citizens of this community can well be proud. (Written for the Dade County Historical Society by Mrs. Kathleen W. Thomas.)


  1. RaiulBaztepo

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  2. Hello ! ;)
    My name is Piter Kokoniz. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you!
    Your Piter Kokoniz, from Latvia

  3. alicemc

    This is a county history book. When it is finished it will be moved to a site where you can read or order your own printed copy.

  4. seoadviser

    Hi everyone,

    I thought I’d come here since it seems to be a very interesting and useful community.

    [url=http://sites-web.com/bsbb//profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=512]Optimization Company[/url]

  5. Jacquilyn Fenn

    JUST returned home from visiting Rising Fawn, including Hanna Ceme., Long Ceme., Byrd’s Chapel Ceme. Also took pictures of all of these and would be happy to share. Photographed the whole area and enjoyed being there where my Allisons, Browns, Cartwright and Ketchersides lived, some for generations. Wonderful history!

  6. Elaine DeAlmeida

    Can anyone tell me how to get in touch with those who manage the Hanna Cemetery? My mother, Mrs. Harold Allison, made a contribution to the Hanna Cemetery Trust Fund some years ago. She is still living but expects to be buried there. Would appreciate a reply.

  7. TINA KNOX KESLER

    DEAR Elaine DeAlmeida MY PARENTS ARE BOTH BURRIED THERE. THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE BESIDE THE CEMETERY ARE JUDY AND JOANN WOODYARD THEY HAVE BEEN OVER THE CEMETERY FOR MANY YEARS. THERE PHONE NUMBER IS NOT LISTED BUT I THINK THIS IS THERE SON OWEN WOODYARD AND HIS NUMBER IS (706) 462-2258 IF HE CANNOT HELP YOU I THINK BOBBY RYAN OF RYAN FUNERAL HOME CAN. HIS NUMBER IS (706) 657-3384 ALSO (706) 657-7525. I HOPE THIS HELPS!

  8. August 13, 1904

    Other acts involving Georgia cities and towns approved Aug. 13:

    1904 Charter for Rising Fawn (Dade County) repealed

    Looks lilke this is when the charter of Rising Fawn went away.

    http://www.georgiahistory.com/fcalendar/2009/08/13/#2218

  9. Elaine DeAlmeida

    Thanks so much, Tina, for the information about Hanna Cemetery. I appreciate it.

  10. Shaton Jackson

    My mother taught elementry school at Ider, Alabama in the 60′s and 70′s. Usually about a third of her students were from Rising Fawn and Trenton GA.

  11. joyce thompson jones

    My g-grandfather, James Hanna, who came to Chattanooga from west Tennessee in the early 1900′s, was related to A.B. Hanna. I live in Chattanooga and many years ago came upon the Hanna Cemetary by happenstance. I was impressed that it was in such good shape and could actually read some of the engraving of the old tombstones.

    My father remembered taking the train from Chattanooga to White Sulphur Springs, Ala, where his Hanna relative owned and managed the hotel there. My question is, have there been any recent (past 12 yrs.) books written concerning the history of the hotel or the Hanna family? I remember visiting the court house in Gasden where we viewed the hotel guestbook and were impressed by some of its outstanding signatures. My dad told us the hotel was known for its healing spas, and that many travelers came by train to the depot where they were greeted by the hotel surrey, which drove them up to the hotel, an impressive structure resembling a steamboat.

    Thank you for the very interesting article.

    Joyce T. Jones

  12. Michael Jenkins

    Can anyone tell me how to get to Shantytown Cemetery? For some reason I cant find directions to it. Does it go by another name? jenkins2@bellsouth.net

  13. Hilda Abercrombie Hickey

    Thank you so much for the history of Rising Fawn. My dad and his siblings lived with their parents in Rising Fawn area. My grandparents and some aunts and uncles are buried there at Hanna. I would love to buy the book when it is finished.

  14. verenicehawkins

    You must be Truit and Vera’s daughter. I knew them for several years. He drove my kids school bus and came to the health department when he had diabetes. I have been helping some on the book. We hope it will be finished sometime this summer. I will try to remember to let you. I know your brothers and sister. Verenice Hawkins verenicehawkins@gmail.com

  15. Jeffrey Williams

    I am trying to photograph the remaining Iron Furnaces in Georgia. Is there anything left of the Rising Fawn furnace? Even a foundation or slag pile would be interesting. Thank you, Jeff Williams

  16. verenicehawkins

    The commissary building is still there and another building that some one lives in. There may be a third building I’m not sure

  17. Donna Acuff Holt

    Covington Guinn was my great-great grandfather on my dad’s mother’s side. My daughter found another site on the Killian’s that lead me to this one. Thanks this is great!!!

  18. Kyle Scealf

    My 2nd great grandmother Nancy Gatlin and her siblings were living with Alexander Hanna and his wife, according to the 1870 census. Anyone know much about the Gatlin’s and why they were living with the Hanna’s?
    Email me at: scealf91@yahoo.com

  19. Wayne Moody

    If you haven’t already found out, the old iron furnace still stands in the Preserve area, near the commissary on Newsome Gap Rd in Rising Fawn.

  20. David W. Goode, Sr.

    My mother and brother live in Rising Fawn, Ga. on some of the old Hawkins land. Many of my relatives, including great and great great grandfathers are buried in Beene Family Cemetery just across the Alabama border. We were just there a few weeks ago.

  21. verenicehawkins

    You should have bought you one on the Dade County books while you were here. Verenice

  22. Janet Parker Jones

    I am trying to find information about the Parker family, Lorenzy or Lorensa, married Ellender Murphy. Their sons were Samuel Franklin and George Washington Parker. Frank married Mary Malissa Doyle and George married Margaret Mayo. Any information on these families, esp. the Parkers, would be appreciated.
    Janet Parker-Jones
    janetjonesjj@aol.com

  23. Steven Craig

    Looking for information on Hannah (Cothen) Warren, died in 1800 and buried in Rising Fawn, GA. It sounds like the area was predominately Cherokee during this period. Correct?

  24. I am a member of a few organizations with historical interest including our church, White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, Texas. There is a record that the church was founded in 1871 by settlers from Rising Fawn, Georgia who named the church “Oak Hill” from their church in Georgia. I haven’t been able to find any information on an “Oak Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, South.” Do you have any records on an “Oak Hill” church in the Rising Fawn area ? There is a website for a Rising Fawn United Methodist, but e-mail was returned as no longer in service and the telephone numbers listed were also listed as discontinued, so I am assuming the church is no longer in service. Incidentally the name “Oak Hill” was later changed to “White’s Chapel” for a circuit rider, Parson Lewis C. White, who preached there quite often.

    Robert Paige
    Irving, Texas

    http://www.whiteschapelumc.com

    http://www.oldred.org

    http://www.hallofstate.com

    roberttpaige@aol.com

    http://www.whiteschapelumc.com

    http://www.oldred.org

    http://www.hallofstate.com

  25. verenicehawkins

    I don’t find any record of a church Oak Hill at Rising Fawn. Rising Fawn Methodist has been here for many years and is still active. There are several article in the Dade County History Book about those that went to Grapevine Texas and started the Whites Chapel Church. Read about Austins and Blevins.

  26. Thank you very much for your reply verenicehawkins.
    There was another story about the name “Oak Hill”. It was simply that White’s Chapel is at the top of a rise, or maybe you could consider it a “Hill” and there are lots of “Oak” trees on the hill.

    White’s Chapel also has a Chapel Hill School.They have a song “The little white church on the hill”, which is sung to the tune of “The little brown church in the vale.”

    The names Austin and Blevins are mentioned as charter members.

    There is an Oak Hil Methodist Church listed in Georgia, but is in Ellijay, Georgia, which is considerably west of Rising Fawn, so it doesn’t seem to be much of a candidate for “the church they left in Georgia.”

    Southlake is about four and one half miles west of Grapevine.

  27. Thanks again for the additional information.

    I found the article on the Blevins-Austin wagon trip to Texas, but there was no mention of an “Oak Hill” ?????
    Tried to leave a comment but was unable to do so.

    Also, I don’t believe the community which is now Southlake was ever known as a town or community by the name of White’s Chapel…Only the church by that name and it was first known as Oak Hill from the records at the church.

    Also an error on my previous reply, Of course Eillijay is EAST of Rising Fawn and probably would not have been on their route to Texas.

  28. verenicehawkins

    Read about Stephen Blevins Austin. These articles come from Grapevine Area History 1979. There are some more articles about Austins and Blevins and Grapevine Texas

  29. Barbara Holland

    Correction to above post. Mother was born September 15, 1900. Should have reread more carefully before posting. I always loved the legend of how Rising Fawn got it’s name.

  30. verenicehawkins

    The book has been out 2 or 3 years now. It is for sale at both banks, the library, and Chamber of Commerce for $35. I remember you came to church with Grover and Willie Long at Harmony Grove when you were a little girl. I worked with you daughter Lynn at the Rossville Health Department years ago.

  31. Barbara Holland

    Good to hear from you. Lynn always thought so highly of you.

  32. Barbara Holland

    For Robert Paige: Berry College, was founded by Martha Berry whose home place was named Oak Hill (both in Rome, GA). That’s the only Oak Hill I’ve heard of in the N. Ga. area tho there are probably others.

  33. verenicehawkins

    Tell Lynn that I finally got them to pass a law that all high school students in Georgia be taught CPR. The governor came to Dade County to sign it. Also tell her that Verna Hammon died last Sunday morning.

  34. Frances Tatum Etter

    My great grandfather Tatum came from Rising Fawn. If the Dade County History book has references to the Tatums, I’ll be glad to buy a copy. Most of my grandfather’s family are buried in Belleville Cemeterry near Lockesburg AK.

  35. verenicehawkins

    In the second Dade History there are not any articles about the Tatums but there are references all through the book about Tatums but I don’t know if these would interest you. The first book has an article about Hardy Coates Tatum and Ann Roberts Tatum. This does have a Pierce Tatum who married a Miss Forester. The first book in $20 and the second one is $40 if mailed. They can be bought here at both banks and the library.




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