The history as I remember being told and things that has happened to me in Cloverdale, Ga.
By Billie Kylus Campbell
Back when white folks started coming into the county, folks could get a land grant for a lot of land. They could pick out what they wanted to keep and pay 2 cents an acre for it. It was $20.00 tax for 1000 acres. My great, great grandfather, G. A. R Bible’s father, picked out what later became the Bible home place. It had a lot of small fields and a lot of game trails with wild animals. I think it also had a lead mine that the Indians used to get lead to trade for other items. The lead mine has never been found but a lot of folks spent a long time looking for it.
In the War Between the States, the Bible’s were not for slavery. They sold eggs, milk, butter, pigs, cows and things to the Yankees. They were camped in the bottom land, northeast of the Middle Bridge. The Yankees gave papers for all they bought. The papers could be turned in for cash later. Some of the kinfolks didn’t like selling food to the Yankees. They destroyed all the papers so the Bible folks got nothing.
G. A. R. Bible was the superintendent of schools and was known all over the county. The Yankee officers thought that he should go with them across the mountains just to make sure he didn’t cause trouble till they got there. Hugh Forrester couldn’t find any information about G. A. R. going with the Yankees. Wouldn’t a general look stupid to write down that he got the enemy to guide the Northern Army across the mountain?
I remember my grandfather telling me about his father going with the Northern Army and was gone for 6 or 7 days. He told me about hearing the “big guns” at the battle at Chigamauga.
I can remember things that happened when I was real young. I even remember when I was nursing and lots of things that a lot of folks order then me didn’t remember.
I was always interested in machines, water mills and the like. The water mill that I remember starting was at the shingle mill operated by Jack Whitehead. It was located across the railroad track from the section houses. A ditch is probably still there that took the water out of the creek and to the water tank. A near as I can figure, there would be about a 4 foot water fall to make power. This mill ran only when there was lots of water in the spring. By the use of a under shot water wheel there was enough power to cut shingles. Shingles were used on the outside of log houses to keep rain from washing the mud out from between the logs. The better shingles were used to cover the house, crib and barn. I remember when my daddy split enough shingles to cover the barn. It was my job to stack the shingles. I was too young to go to school but old enough to stack shingles. We worked for several days and got a lot of shingles ready to go on the barn.
The next source of water power was farther north on Lookout Creek to the Thomas Mill. It was moved across the railroad and the bottom portion of the building was used for a house. That was the house I was born in. The top room was used for a corn crib. It was able to run only after a big rain or in the spring when there was a lot of water. Farther north, before the creek went under the railroad, there was an Indian mill that was in working order until about 1927. It needed a lot of repair and was finally torn down.
The next mill, was a little father past Rising Fawn called the Cureton Mill. Mr. William Cureton bought a big “Famous” Hit& Miss 8 horse power engine. It was made by International Harvester Company in 1907. It was a tank cooled farm engine. It probably weighed about a ton with big wheels on each side. With this big engine, he had power all the time and folks would come for miles to get corn ground. Bill Simmons of Stone Mountain, Ga., purchased the engine, restored and painted it. It looks like it did when it was new in 1907. It is on a trailer and taken by Mr. Simmons to antique motor shows all around the area. I’m going to include a picture of this engine that was used by Mr. Cureton.
At Trenton, a little father north, there is a big water mill that ran up until the late 1940’s. It might still be in working order, I’m not sure.
Here is some information I remember about some of the schools. The first one was the State Line Methodist Church and School on the Alabama state line. When I went to it in 1929, Miss Ewing Blake, Tom Blake’s daughter, was the teacher. She later married Jack McElroy. My sister and two brothers attended that school for a while. My brother, Joe, had to go to Trenton, Ga. And Wallace went on to high school in 1930. The State Line School was soon combined with Rising Fawn School.
They got my daddy to carry a few students in his model T Ford that he used to deliver mail to Ider, Alabama. He was the substitute mail carrier and told them he would have to do his job of delivering the mail. They got Mr. Bill Amos to take the students from the State Line School and Cloverdale to Rising Fawn to school. He used a 1 ½ ton truck to make into a bus. He built a box on the back of it with screen sides. He also had a canvas to let down when it was raining and cold. We would get very cold. I remember that it could only go about 20 miles per hour at it’s fastest speed. John Price would pick up the high school students then, and take them on to Trenton.
Lark Blake told me that he went to school with P. G. Bible, my grandfather. (P. G. Bible later became the superintendent of schools until about 1920.) The school was in a building located between the road and railroad. This was before WWI. Lark showed me where the building was. It was south of the road going across the railroad track to the Ricey Hammock house. The building is gone now and not a trace is left.
The next school would be the Cloverdale School. Bertha Forester was the teacher. Edna Baugh can tell more than I can about the Cloverdale School. Oscar Hartline drove a bus to Rising Fawn and took the high school students on to Trenton. He was a good bus driver, even if he did have to put me off the bus to find my own way home. I was not behaving myself and caused a lot of trouble. I got expelled from school.
There was one teacher that I had a lot of respect for and that was Mrs. Luther Allison. She was strict and she helped me so much. I was ashamed to misbehave in her class and I really tried to learn something. If I knew that she was still living, I would try to see her and tell her thank you for doing so much for me.
There are some other things I remember about the State Line School in the church building in 1929. Miss Ewing Blake was the teacher. There were oil lamps but no running water or bathroom. There was a running trail to the outhouse, one to the north and one to the south, in the woods. The men went to the south one.
Each family must pay something to go to school. My father furnished the wood for the stove for the church and the school. We were clearing the land to grow corn and had lots of wood. It was my first year in school. Wallace and Joe (my brothers) were going to Cloverdale to school. Edna Baugh can tell more about that. The State Line School only lasted one year. Miss Ewing got married during that year.
We use to carry water from Bud Hartline’s well to the school. He lived across the road from the school. There was a dipper in the bucket to use to pour the water into your cup. You could not drink out of the dipper. Most had a can or a jar to drink out of. .
Bud Hartline was the blacksmith. He had a small buggy that he was working on. He had everything off of it, just the wheels and frame was all that was left. The boys stole the buggy frame and pushed it to the top of the hill, back of the church. They were planning on riding it down by the blacksmith shop at dinner time, when the blacksmith would be gone to dinner. Wallace got me to run with him and we rode the buggy down the hill. He was guiding it with his feet on the axel. I was to put on the brakes. It got to riding so rough, that all I could do was hang on. We went by the blacksmith shop, across the road and landed in a cotton patch. We all got back to the school yard without being noticed.
After we went back inside, Mr. Bud Hartline, the blacksmith, came in. He wanted some of the boys to push the buggy back to his shop. We all wanted to go push, but only 3 went.
When Joe started to go to Trenton to high school, he had to walk across the ridge and catch to the bus, which was about 2 miles through the woods. My sister, Clara, went to school at the State Line school. She was two years older than me and did not get into trouble. I was the youngest. We would play the old games like “dare base”, “hide and seek” and others that had running.
In 2006, when we went by the old building, it was gone. I think someone has a home there now. Just memories is all that is left, soon there won’t be that.
Written by B. K. Campbell Stone Mountain, GA