Monday, November 12, 2007

The Great Georgia Gold Rush

White County, Georgia, was created in 1857 from part of the original land lot county of Habersham, which was created in 1818 from Indian treaty lands. In early times, the area of White County formed a transitional boundary between the Cherokee and Creek Indian nations. Gold was found there in the late 1820s along the Nacoochee River (then known as Duke's Creek) touching off the Great Gold Rush of that century. During the gold mining years, nine gold mines operated in what became White County, and operations remained profitable until as late as 1940.
Two parties of sixty-one families emigrated to the Nacoochee Valley in the early part of 1822. These two parties came from Burke County, North Carolina, and rapidly spread over the entire county.
History records of Habersham County indicate that "Alexander Erwin, a North Carolinian, son of a man who as a mere boy fought at the battle of Kings Mountain, came to the county in 1829. He, with Gen. B. F. Patton, a brother-in-law of Dr. George Phillips, put up a store for the purpose of trading with the Indians. Their place of business was the old O'Callaghan building on the site of the present Court House. Too old for service when the War Between the States broke out, he kept the post office and helped to look after the affairs of the town, but he sent three gallant sons, Capt. W. S. Erwin, J. B. Erwin and Capt., afterwards Judge, Alex S. Erwin."