Tag Archive: Paulding County Georgia


By Trent Tibbitts

Growing up on the banks of the Raccoon Creek,  I had often wondered where the waters went. I knew that they flowed north and entered the Etowah River some 10 miles away.  But how did they get there and what was it like along the way.  From a young age I wanted to make this trip.  I have made it a goal to travel the entire length of the Raccoon Creek and to eventually follow the waterway to the Gulf of Mexico.  But one step at a time.  I have covered most of Raccoon Creek, only needing to complete the uper most section of  a few miles.  However, I was able to complete a large portion of Raccoon Creek with a canoe trip from our property at the Ford, all the way to the Etowah River.


It was Saturday  May 28, 2016, Memorial day weekend. We had a party at the creek  for Wyatt who had just graduated from North Paulding High School. Being a three day weekend,  I wanted to take advantage of the time I had. John had been at the party all day and had helped setup.  His wife and kids had plans for the night so he was free to do whatever. I told John that I wanted to canoe down the creek to the Etowah.  He was up for it. The party wrapped up around 7 PM. It took about an hour to get everything together and in the boat. We both keep our backpacks packed and ready.  John gathered his supplies, emergency food and clothing. I took an extra MRE. We weren’t sure how long we would be gone. I then loaded a cooler with leftover ice, drinks, uncooked  hamburgers and hotdogs. I had the bread, pop tarts for breakfast, candy and a few ofher things in grocery bags under the seats. I put my portable gas grill in the back of the boat. I was sitting in the back with the cooler between my  legs.  Both packs were in the middle and John was in the front seat. I was trying to video document the trip,  so after a short video, we were off.

We launched at the camper right below the Ford.  I quickly realized that I didn’t have my sunglasses. We stopped at John’s Pavilion and I ran back to get them. Good thing, I had left the camper door open. I ran back to the waiting boat and we were off again. The creek water level was down some. One indicator of how much water is flowing is if any water is running over the road or not. There wasn’t any water flowing over the road, all of it was going through the pipes. This made the shoals difficult to navigate.  We were able to push our way through some if the waters were to one side of the creek. Often this ment we were right next to the bank and the low hanging tree limbs. John cleared the spider webs out for me.  If the waters were wide going over the shoals,  it would only be a few inches deep and we would have to get out and pull the boat along. Most of the time we would keep walking until the water got up to our knees. Just below John’s Pavilion is a small stream flowing into the creek from papa Hollis Tibbitts original Lake.  The stream forms the land line between John and Carlton. We paddled past Carlton’s place and to the Poky hole.  A favorite swimming hole of my youth.  It is a small rock ledge named after a female slave of the McGregor’s who were the first white settlers to live here. Papa Hollis Tibbitts was baptised here. A few hundred feet on down is the remnants of a cable Crossing.  The inspiration for my zip line across the creek at the camper.  Only a few dozen feet on down is the Mill Branch.  It is a good size branch with lots of water. You can read about it in my other post. It does drain a large area of the Sheffield WMA. The old Tall Pine road comes down the ridge here. It comes from Dent Myers Camp. Dent owns Wildman’s in downtown Kennesaw Ga. I’m not 100 percent sure of how the story goes but I believe he bought that land from Alton Cates, or papa who bought it from Alton.


Poky Hole



Mill Branch


Side note about Dent,  he was hired to be in a commercial for Canon Ball Tobacco. The seen was Dent and other Confederate reenacters charging across a field and a Canon being fired. This was in the 1960 and was being filmed in the pasture where the sub station is now on Tibbitts road. A lot of people gathered to watch the filming. When the canon was fired, it blew off the wheels. Dad said Papa got a big kick out of that and would tell the story often and laugh about it.


The Tall Pine road used to follow the creek down stream before crossing it just before where the power lines cross now. The creek has washed away the bank and the is no longer room to walk in some places, much less have a road. Once across the creek, the road is the same one that comes up by Carlton’s and then on by Fed’s house. When Papa bought this land it was a public road. He had to put a fence on each side.  During  WW2 War years, when Papa and his three oldest sons and his brother Maston with his sons were cutting lumber, they would haul lumber out of the mountains on this road.



Below the Mill Branch,  the creek makes a hard right against a big Boulder and travels East. Then in a few hundred yards goes under the power lines for the first time for this trip. One of only two times it travels on the east side of the lines before Crossing a final time in Taylorsville.  As we cross under the power lines we are on the lookout for deer and jump one on the North shore.  A King Fisher then flys by. We didn’t go five minutes the whole trip without seeing a King Fisher.




Just past the power lines is the area known as the cliffs.  Not sure how tall they are, maybe 70 feet or more. On top of the cliff is the Copper mine.  A shaft that goes into the mountain about 30 feet and then has a shaft that goes down who knows how deep. The well part stays full of water.


Copper mine

A little ways down is some bottom land, the old Charlie Burt farm.  The farm was bought by Jim Grant, he operated Lama’s of Atlanta from this farm.  Jim keep exotic animals on the farm.  He would have several types of deer, Elk, ostrich, zebra, I’m not sure what all he had. The watershead from my land ends up in the stream that flows through his farm. Along with everything between mountain Road, the top of the mountains at the water tower and Burt road. The creek makes a U turn at the Grant house that is on a bluff just above the creek.  We are now going in a northwest direction.  It is starting to get noticeably dark. We spook Wood Ducks a few times.  Once being right in here.



We pass our last home sight before going into the WMA section of the creek.  We get right to the edge of the power lines before the creek U turns back to the northeast. It makes a big upside down S shape here and as we enter the top of the upside-down  S,  on the left is a flat area about a 3rd of an acer. The creek is on three sides and a large hillside is to the back. It is truly dark now. We have been using flashlights while padding for the past 15 minutes.  We beach the boat. A good bit of water is in the boat and several of our items are wet, including what we are waring.  We pick out our campsite and start a fire. John gathered most of the wood while I started the fire. Once we had a good fire going, we hung our hammocks. Luckily none of our sleeping gear got wet. One of my pads did but no big deal.  We got out the grill and cooked up two hamburgers each. While the burgers cooked we stripped off our wet clothes and dried them by the fire. I had a pair of dry pant and a long sleeve shirt to sleep in. We had a armadillo come through camp. John has a crank radio and we enjoyed country gold to midnight, then went to sleep shorty afterwards.  I had set out a crayfish trap that night and in the morning had caught, with out any bait, 3 crayfish,  two small fish, and a small turtle. No bigger than a 50 cent peace. We keep the turtle for a collection to the Aquarium. It made the trip to the end, not sure from there what happened to it. Packing up was uneventful.


Hill Climb at Forsyth Shoals

We may have gotten on the water around 930 or 10. John was now in the back seat. Just above our camp was a small stream coming in on the left. It drains a small Valley in the WMA. There is a old home place there but I am not sure who lived there. Could have be a Forsyth because not far from there is a shoals on the creek called Forsyth Shoals. It is just below our camp and is under the next power line crossing. The creek has a good rock bottom here and was used as a place to ford the creek for many years.  On the North side of the creek is what was once a hill climb for motorcycles in the 60′ and 70’s. Several organized races where held here and covered in dirt bike magazines of the time. At the shoals,  the creek turns a little and is running west. As we go over the falls, John sets up his camera and gets a good action shot of us.


Forsyth Shoals

Past the Shoals,  the creek stays straight for 1/8 of a mile and then turns North and to the right. At this point is where the wildcat den is supposed to be.  I have yet to find it. It may have be filled in with debris over the years.  I think Joe built a box and put down in it an caught a bobcat.  Just a few more yards down is the stone fence / rock wall that no on knows who built.  We believe it was built by Indians. Papa Hollis Tibbitts said he played on it as a boy and no one at that time knew who built it. It serves no purpose that I can tell. It runs up the side of a steep embankment about 100 feet. It would have been 3 or 4 feet tall when first built.


Stone fence

We saw a lot of different types of fish in the water as we went. The water was clean and clear.  Very little man made trash was in the water. We only saw a few cans and a few tires the whole trip, and most of that was closer to Taylorsville.  We saw lots of big turtles fallin off log as we would turn a bend in the creek.  We only saw 3 snakes.  We also saw a Blue Heron and a few Red Tail Halks. The health of the creek is very good. The best part of the trip for me, was to know how well the creek is doing and how natural it is.


About a 1/4 mile on down from the Stone fence, is the Murray branch coming in on the right.  This is the largest amount of water to enter the creek below the Ford.  It has a larger watershed;  From Blue hole road to Burt road to Braswell  Mountain, to HWY 61 to the north end of Narroway Church Cr., to Clay root Rd. The branch was once know as Gold Creek and a few gold mines we operated at its headwaters.  I have seen gold come out of it before and one good nugget.  Narroway once conducted baptisms in the branch below the Church.  Many of my family,  including myself was baptised there.


Not to far on down the creek is where Clay Root Rd cross the creek.  The road one ran the ridge top from the city of Braswell,  through the Braswell Mountains,  past Iron Stob, past Clay Root,  past Pine mountain,  crossed the creek,  crossed the power lines and ended on Narroway Church Cr.


We then passed several cabins along the creek belonging to the Cochran family.  The Grindstone Branch enters the creek in this area on the left. The last large branch to do so while in the mountains. The branch gets it name from a mill that once was on this branch.  From the top of Pine mountain there was a road that turned south off of Clay Root Rd and followed a ridge down to Grindstone Branch.  The mill site was just upstream from where the road crossed the branch in a small Valley.  When I was young,  beavers damed up the branch and a good size pond filled the valley.  Dad and I counted 17 dams in that area at that time. The road was blocked by several piles of dirt dumped between the high road banks. This made great four wheeler jumps and mud holes for me to play on. Brandon and I spent a lot of time there. He and I hiked there not to long ago.

Just before the creek exits the mountains there is one more noted area. Harris Bottoms or Sand Bottoms is another area we used to ride four wheelets. There was a large sand bar that had a bowl in it from all the four wheeler that had done donuts in the same spot. It was always a fun destination.  Once I rolled my four wheeler in the creek there. It took several hours to get it running again after getting the water out of the engine.  Another time I came up on Jason Tibbitts walking out. He had run out of gas. That is a long walk so I gave him a ride home. John and I hiked this area last year. Part of the  Union army crossed Raccoon Creek here on their way to Burnt Hickory then onto New Hope and Dallas.  It has a hard rocky bottom for a good long ways.  We decided to stop here for lunch. We grilled the last 3 hamburgers and 2 hotdogs.  We had a nice lunch on the gravel bar. Up to this point we had a tough time with shoals . A lot of dragging the boat. I was hoping that from here on we would be in deeper water.


I was right about having deeper water but the number of logjams exploded. Up to this point we had only gone under 3 trees. From here to the river, must have been 20 or more. Two of them we cut our what thru,  two we carried the boat around, several we lifted the boat over and some we got out and floated the boat under. The rest we navigated. If the log looked like we could clear under it, no matter how small the space,  John though it fun to gain as much speed as possible and see if I could duck to the bottom of the boad before being decapitated.


Last Crossing of the Power lines.

We were now in the Etowah River Valley and out of the Braswell Mountains.  The creek travels through hay fields,  cow pastures,  cotton fields and small patches of woods. We cross a few field roads and got out at one to make contact with the rest of the world, having been cut off in the wilderness for atleast 18 hours. John made plans for Linsey to pick us up and we were off again. This was the toughest part of the trip. The logjams really wore us down.  We only saw two other people while on Raccoon Creek and it was a man and woman hanging out on a sand bar in this area. We said hello and kept moving


Not much to report in this area. We did see one more deer in the creek. About the only history I know is that about half of the Union army crossed Raccoon Creek in this area also on their way to Dallas. (Different from the aboved units)  I read just yesterday about the men bathing in the creek and watering livestock.  May of 1864. We did travel about a mile or more along a farm where the owner had lined the banks with old concrete. We did pass one more cabin and just before the 113 bridge there was a house on the right.


Once at the bridge we called Linsey again to give her a up date. From Harris Bottoms to the bridge was a longer distance that I thought it would be.  From the bridge to the rive is about a half a mile. We only had one difficult log to cross. We went under the old Railroad bridge for the line that travel from Cartersville to Rockmart.  People used to take the train out to Rockmart and the on over to Van Wert to hear Sam Jone Preach at Van Wert Methodist Church. It later became a Baptist Church. I have direct ancestors buried there on the Johnson side.  We went under the Railroad bridges that supplies plant Bowen. Coal is delivered via train. It is one of the largest Coal fired plants in the country.  Just passed the last Railroad bridge is the Etowah River.  Several people were taking a break from kayaking and on on the left shore.

We enter the Etowah River feeling a real sense of accomplishment. I don’t know of anyone else who has made this same trip.


Confluence of the Raccoon Creek and Etowah River

From Raccoon Creek at river mile 128 to the Euharlee road bridge at river mile 132 it is an easy 4 miles. The river looked to be up but did not seam to be moving that fast. We quickly pass by the Etowah Cliffs, an antebellum plantation.  At the base of the bluff is a spring coing out of the rock face.

At mile 129.8 is one of dozens of fishing weirs along the river. This one is a little more impressive. It is in a very wide part of the river and is a double V. Lots of nice homes are on this section of the river.

At mile 130.8 is the water intake and discharge for Georgia Powers plant Bowen. The plant takes out 40 million gallons a day and returns half.  The rest is evaporated.  The returning flow is the size of Raccoon Creek and is hot to the touch.  The plant produces 20 percent of the power Georgia Power sells.


Milam Bridge

At mile 131.2 is Milam bridge. Only the iron skeleton remains.  This is where in 1955, Grady Cochran, who was working for Green Tibbitts at the time sawmilling,  dumped the body of Patricia Cook, a 13 year old girl who he had murdered.  He used chains belonging to Green to weigh the body down. Grady was arrested at the job site. A relative who was a GBI agent was able to get a confession and the location of the body.  He was coveted and died in the Georgia Electric Chair. During the War of Northern Aggression, and before the iron bridge was biilt, half of the Union army crossed the river here. The Confederate Soldiers burned the wood bridge but the Union built a pontoon bridge in its place.

At mile 131.5 is the Euharlee creek. Only a half mile up the creek is the old covered bridge and the old mill. The sisters who ran the mill last had some type of dealings with papa Hollis Tibbitts about timber they owned. I believe he gave them advice on its value. Euharlee is rich in history and has a good little Museum. Well worth the trip.  You can tube the creek down to the river from the town.

Only a half mile more is the Euharlee road bridge at river mile 132. We ended our trip here. Linsey came and picked us up in my truck with in 10 minutes of our arrival.

Very tough adventure.  A little tougher than I thought that it would be.  But very rewarding also. I am very happy with the health of the creek and the amount of wild life we encountered. This completed a live long goal and a bucket list item for me. Raccoon Creek is a channel that I can take to my past, my history,  my family history, history of the land but it is always flowing.




Surviving The Playground

By Trent Tibbitts


I was talking with a coworker today about childhood playgrounds. That got me thinking about how we survived the playgrounds of the 1970’s and 1980’s.


We will start with the playground at Dallas Elementary, where I attended K through 4th grade.  There were two separate playgrounds, K through 2nd grade and 3rd grade through 4th grade. Let’s explore the first one. There were the Monkey Bars. Constructed of galvanized steel pipes. If you don’t know what Monkey Bars are let me describe them for you.  Image two ladders about 6 feet high and 15 feet apart connected with another ladder across the top. The idea is to climb the ladder and cross over to the other side by hand over hand hanging from the top ladder. What made ours more interesting was the mud puddle under it. The sun would make the bars very hot. Next to the Monkey Bars were the Jungle Gym. Again made from steel pipes.  Think of a framework of three-foot square boxes stacked on one another, about 21 feet wide and 12 feet high.  Kind of a pyramid. Then we had a poll maybe 12 feet tall that had wedges cut in so you could climb up and then jump off.  Next were eight giant tires that were sunken a third of the way in the ground.  I would crawl inside the side walls of the tires and hang out.  Behind the tires was the tunnel.  The tunnel was a 30 inch concrete Pipe at ground level with dirt piled on top. It to had a mud puddle inside the whole length.  On the side of the playground were the swings. Again made from steel pipes and steal chains. The coolest thing on the playground was what we called the platform and was a long the rear  area. The platform was 4 or 5 feet high,  60 feet long with ramps on each end.  It had several slides coming off of each side that were made of sheet metal.  Very hot. You could hang out under the platform to keep cool but you had to watch out for the nails that were sticking out.  We had a few balance beams and see saws. The other supper cool structure was the cargo net. This one was not like the ones you may see today that are on an angle.  This one went straight up 10 or 12 feet. There were a lot hard surfaces for 5 to 8 year  olds to play on. The worst injury I can remember was someone cutting their head on a nail under the platform.



The second playground was a lot more open.  There was a ball field where we played kick ball. A “baseball” style game where you drilled your friends with a rubber ball to get them out. We would play Red Rover Red Rover. A game where two teams would line up across from one another and a teammate would run across and try to break the grip of the other team.  We had a tether ball pole. That was not to dangerous but it was just a steel pipe concrete in an old tire. There was a huge concrete pad that had a basketball court on part of it. That was were I learned to shot baskets using the square on the backboard.  During one class out on the pad we  built ovens out of cardboard box’s and tinfoil that we cooked hot dogs in. We would also try to break dance out on the pad.  I remember one day some buddy’s were eating Cool Aid powder on the playground and the teachers though it was drugs.  I don’t think any of us had ever heard of drugs. This playground had Monkey Bars and Jungle Gym too. It also had swings.  These were big swings.  We would get as high as we could and jump off, lot of hang time. Once playing this game I got side ways and on the down swing I hit one of the pole square in the back. I thought I was dead. It knocked the breath out of me. I ran to get help from my teacher who was smoking.  That’s right,  smoking.


The other regular playground of my youth was the McDonald’s.  Everything there was dangerous also.  There was the ride on Fry Guys that were mounted on a big spring. You would go as back and forth as fast as you could with your head just inches from hitting the ground. If you got going to fast you were slung off.  Then there was the Mary Go Round. You hung on as long as you could while your friends spun it around as fast as they could. Then there was the Hambugerler tree house. All metal.  It was a pipe that had a ladder inside it that you climbed up to get to the hamburger section.  It was alway super hot inside. I think that playground had a super high all steel slide. All the slides would burn you because they were so hot. Every kid in Dallas had their birthday party there.




I think we stayed at a hotel once that had one of these.

Just some memories.

“The Builders” by Charles Elliott. It appeared in the February 1952 Edition of Outdoor Life magazine.


The hunters made camp in a mountain glade and sheltered it from the weather with a emerald backdrop of massed hemlock and Rhododendron. They could hear the wind screaming through the leafless winter branches of the trees high on the ridge. Scattered flakes of snow whirled through the clearing and died in the heat of the campfire.

They were a discourage group of men. For two days they hunted the hillside and crouched near game trails through tense, frozen visual. They had flushed doe deer and found Bucks signs, but no one hand sighted a worthy trophy.

E.F. Corley threw a green oak log on the blaze. When the Cascade of spark subsided he kicked a stray firebrand into the flames and sat down again.

“Fellas”, he said, “I did some thinking out on that ridgetop today. Every year we come up here in the Blue Ridge for deer hunting. We could do the same thing a lot near home.”

“We could sure do as well,” one of the hundred snorted. “We ain’t got deer at home and we can’t find none here worth shooting.”

“What I’m figuring”, Corey said, “is stocking deer in the hills behind home. Our country in Georgia isn’t much different from this, only smaller and not so high.”

“You ain’t got a chance of starting deer in there”, the hunter said. “Town people and farmers too would shoot’em before they could be put out of a truck.”

“The six of us here,” Corley persistent, “represent a sizable chunk of land – maybe 12,000 acres. That’s a start. And there’s twenty times that much wild land in the corner of Polk, Bartow, Paulding counties. That’s enough to grow a fittin’ deer herd.”

“Even if everybody agreed, which they won’t, where you gonna get the deer?” Another hunter asked. “How’ll you protect’em? What authority-”

“I don’t know all the answer”, Corley admitted, “but I reckon findin’em out might be worth a try.”

The men around a campfire were sons of the soul. Most of them made their leaving from the Earth from cotton, milk, bottom lane corn, and livestock. Corley himself was a farmer, saw mill, trucker, contractor, and, to take up his unused hours on Sunday, an ordained Baptist minister. Two were dairymen who sold their milk in bulk to the nearest processing plant. For a week each year the men went hunting deer together.

That night the men laid out there new idea just as they might plan next season farming operation. They realize that there wasn’t a chance in starting a game refuge until all their neighbors and acquaintances favorite one. Half a dozen hunters could blast deer out of the woods faster than they could be put in. In many ways Paulding was then a typical backwoods County. The courts regarded cases brought in by the local game warden as annoying and frequently pigeonholed such complaints. Any man who wanted a fish dinner simply seined for it, and everyone knew that squirrels were fatter  and quail easier to kill weeks before this season open.

Quietly and without fuss, preacher Corley, Hollis Tibbitts, Gene Colbert, Bennie Jones, Joe Mathis, O. N. Black – the men around the campfire – begin to sell a program which has improved the status of their county more than anything since the Civil War ended. From an idea that started as a game project, it has blossomed into a county wide system of soil conservation, forest protection, rural electrification, and better schools and roads.

It didn’t come easy. Testimony to that may be found in the rough, forest clad hills that rise to 1,700 feet on both sides of state highway 61, North out of Dallas. For almost 80 years since the Yankees storms  around Kennesaw Mountain and turned southward to the Battle of Atlanta, the farms scattered widely through this rugged terrain remained about the same.

With the help of the county agent, Corley, Tibbitts, and Corlbert made up a map showing ownership of every tract of land in the area. The territory consisted of  150,000 acres lying roughly in the triangle between Dallas, Cedartown, in Cartersville. Then they went to work selling their plan to neighbors.

A hunting committee was organized, and it prepared an argument whereby each land owner who signed pledged himself to bar hunting of any kind on his property for 5 years. He also promised to help keep down forest fires and to help control predatory animals either by his own efforts or through the Paulding County Conservation Club, in which he automatically became a non-dues-paying member.

The committee made several trips to surrounding towns, to the State Capitol at Atlanta, and even crossed the line into Alabama to get signatures. Non-resident owners sign without hesitation, for it ment protection of property some of them had hadn’t seen in years but a few farmers close to home couldn’t see any sense in “turning good laying back to the varmints.”

“What’ll I do for a mess of squirrels in Hickory Nut cutting time if I agree not to go busting no cap for five years?” When asked.

“If one man shoots,” Corley argued, “everybody’ll want to, and some aren’t as honest as you. It’s only a couple of miles from your place across the highway into the Hickory Nut bottoms on the other side. You can get your squirrels the there.”

Nevertheless ,this farmer didn’t put his +name to the document into the members of his parish corners him in the the church Grove for four straight Sundays in a row and kidded him into it.

Two or three signatures made their marks willingly but with glints in their eyes as they visualize the prospect of a private hunting area at their back door. Canvassers made mental note of this. A local businessman who owns a small forest track on the edge of the preserve read the agreement carefully and send it with a big smile. “First time I ever put my name to something that I didn’t cost me money,” he said.

The businessman was only partly correct. Getting folks to sign the pack, which took more than a year of Education, and checking, and pressure was only the first step in the long range program. The second step call for raising money for the initial stocking program. The hunting partners made a list of how much each member could afford to donate, and then issued invitations to that infallible southern crowd-collecting affair, a barbecue with Brunswick stew and m(meat cooked over Hickory coals.


At that first “formal” meeting of the Paulding County Conservation club, Corey outline the whole plan. It wasn’t new by then. For more than a year it has been discussed and cursed around those at Crossroads, Country stores, in church groves, and across plowstocks. But Corley went over it again, and ended by donating $200 to be used for the stocking program. When each man present had made his pledge, the treasure added up the subscription. The total came to $1,400, some $400 more than the committee anticipated.

” We hadn’t figured on spending but $1,000 for dear”, the preacher said. “We got too much money for that”.

.”Them creeks are mighty cold,  maybe they’ll take trout, ” Another suggested.

We’ll need something for fire protection, ” a farmer cautuoned.  “We can put out the fires ourselves if we can find out when they start and where they are.

The committee gathered the newly hatched proposal under its wing and went back to work.  The telephone line stopped at Dallas City limits,  so the committee applied for an expansion of phone service and then signed up potential subscribers.  Committee members spent hours away from home during the hot summer months,  taking the temperature of the streams to determine whether the water was cold enough to support mountain trout.  They talked with the county agent and the county commissioner about setting up funds to provide for forest protection. The agent was willing.  The commissioner had only one brief comment: “Costs too much”.

At one time or another, uncontrolled fires had burned every acre of woods thereaout. Why waste money and manpower to stop them now? Trees grew in spite of annual burns. It would be an extravagant use of taxpayer’s money. That was that. But it didn’t stop the committee. The group inquired into the cost of pumps, axes, shovels, hoes, and other fire-fighting equipment which could be keep handy at strategic points.

Laying the groundwork for good fishing and hunting near home took the better part of two years. Now the club members were ready for the first real test – getting the state to help . A committee of four called on the State Game and Fish Commission in Atlanta and laid the club’s plans before it.

“We got the money and the land,” Corley explained. “All we want is information on how to legally set up a refuge, and where we can buy a stock of deer”.

“How do you propose to protect it?” the commission director asked.

“We got that figured out,” a committee member put in. “If you’ll deputize five or six of our members as game wardens they’ll do the job with help from your local officer.”

The project was approved at the next game-commission meeting. Though a little skeptical that this was on the up and up, or could succeed in a county where game protection had long been a joke, the commission located a herd of twenty deer for sale on a private estate in South Carolina.

The price was $1,500. Corley got them for $1,000. In February, 1944, deer went bounding into the hills of northwest Paulding County for the first time in more than half a century.

Before fall that same year 100 wild-turkey eggs were purchased from an Eastern game breeder, hatched at the state quail farm with unsatisfactory results, and reared to stocking size with still unsatisfactory results at a farm on the edge of the project. Against the recommendation of the game technicians, the club purchased fifty half-domesticated turkey hens and gobblers and turned them out with the wild poults.

That fall club members also hauled 20,000 fingerling rainbow trout from the Summerville hatchery and released them in the headwaters of the creeks rising on the project. The club applied to the State Department of Forestry for a county-wide fire-protection system, and was promised assistance if the county commissioner would agree to co-operate financially. From then on the commissioner couldn’t walk down the street without being pestered by his constituents for the forest-fire unit and for better roads to make the project more accessible to those engaged in protecting its trees and game. He never did give in but his successor was won over.

Thus the refuge, so carefully nurtured thought its think and theory stages, at last became a reality. Corley and his associates had thought that when thy reached this point most of the work would be  behind them. Instead their headaches and heartbreaks had just begun.

One buck in their first truckload of deer suddenly turned into a man hunter. Raised in captivity and unafraid of humans, he developed a propensity, as big bucks sometimes do, for stalking men and nudging them in the seat of the pants with his antlers.

He hooked a railroad worker who was walking down the side of a steep embankment, and then attacked an old man who was hoeing his garden. A clamor went up for his head. Who ever heard of wild animals being allowed to run loose and hurt people/ So the first hunt of the project was organized, but not for game. Men with specially loaded shotgun shells peppered the offending buck with peas and rock salt and drove him back into the woods.

Then the poacher problem came up. The violators were not town people or nonresidents, but several natives who lived within the boundaries of the preserve and who had signed the agreement.

The worst offender, from all reports, had just added deer slaying to his other crimes. He made bootleg whisky and to help hide the smoke from his still, set forest fires. He also stole automobiles, stripped them, and sold all non-traceable parts.

The committee decided that this character was beyond reform, and that the only way to get rid of him was to buy him out. With the sheriff and state patrol on his trail, he was persuaded to sell his place and move away.

The other known poachers had no bad habits other than stealing game occasionally. As an experiment, the club hired some of these men and assigned them to keep down game-law violations and control predators.

Typical of these good-natured hill men was on who raised only enough crops to feed his hogs, chickens, mule, and family. This didn’t take too many weeks out of his year. He spent the rest of his time ranging the slopes and ridges with his single-barreled shotgun. He took a heavy toll of wild creatures within a ten-mile radius of his home. Corley and Tibbitts went to see him in September. They found him barefoot on the steps of his weathered house.

“We’re looking for deer sign,” Corley said.  “Seen any of he bucks we turned loose over in the valley?”

“Some,” he admitted. “One’s been in the pea patch, an’ I seen several hoof tracks where they crossed the ridge.” He led the two farmers over a narrow mountain trail to show them the tracks in the next gap.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get bitten by a rattler, going around like that with no shoes on?” Tibbitts asked.

“Been doing it fifty year, I reckon,” the hill man said, “an’ ain’t never been bit but twicet.”

He agreed to take the job as deputy warden and protect his side of the refuge from hunters. The club bought him some steel traps and set him up in the fur and varmint business. He took his job seriously from the beginning. He visited neighbors with whom he had hunted in the past years and explained his new status. They agreed to keep their guns and dogs off the preserve.

Other trappers scattered around the preserve warred on the wildcats, skunks, opossums, and foxes which had played hob with the attempt to restock turkeys.


Meantime the state game officials, realizing that the club’s venture might succed, let a helping hand. Charles Pierle, co-ordinator of Pittman- Robertson projects sponsored jointly by the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, arranged to have a truckload of big Wisconsin white-tails released in the mountains. Two additional loads of surplus deer from Texas were turned loose in the bottomlands of Raccoon and Peggymore Creeks, where the larger northern deer were not ranging.

This herd immediately started to feed on a hay bottom belonging to the brothers Harvey and Bob Crews. When they casually mentioned this fact to Hollis Tibbitts, he brought it up at a meeting and was instructed to use club funds to pay for any damage done. The Crews boys allowed that they’d rather have the deer than the hay, but the club paid them anyway for an estimated two tons of feed.

As for the 20,000 rainbow trout, most disappeared. No on knew why. It may have been a change in water, or maybe the fish traveled downstream to look for larger pools, only to be trapped the next summer by the warm, muddy rain water that flowed off the fields. After a second stocking also failed, Corley and his associates thought up another idea.

Bennie Jones furnished the land and ten club members pledged the money to build a fifty-acre lake at the head of a tributary flowing into Peggymore Creek. Wartime lack of labor and materials put a halt to the plan, but Bennie later built the lake himself.

Corley started the construction of a 100-acre lake on a creek immediately below. This set off a chain reaction that within two years saw a dozen manmade lakes thereabouts. Corley’s lake, built out of concrete and earth, was completed and stocked last fall-with largemouth bass, smallmouths, and bluegills – and will be ready for fishing in another year.

But the club’s main interest centered around the deer. A total of 107 animals were stocked on the rugged mountain and in a six-year period. The herd was seriously threatened a couple of years ago when hunters slipped in from neighboring towns and for a month took pot shots at any animals they saw from the roadside between Remus and Beatty Switch. Deputy game wardens found two dozen cripples that had gone into the woods to die. The club increased the number of men assigned to guard the area, and went to see the judge. Word got around that the court was prepared to jail anyone caught with a loaded rifle on the refuge. The malicious practice soon stopped.

The club plans to hold its first buck hunt next fall, when perhaps a dozen bucks-mostly those that have been hanging around the farms and nipping at the crops – will be harvested. The area will be open to the pubic, with shooting by permit only, and it’s hoped that the meat will be divvied up so that all hunters can have a taste of venison. Meantime, club members estimate that their original stock of 107 deer has increased to perhaps 600 animals, spreading from east of Cartersville clear across the Alabama line.

The club has big plans for the future. More landowners have requested admission. Now that the predatory animals and stray dogs are at an all-time low, the gobbler committee is again looking around for a stock of wild turkeys.

And in the meanwhile the quail – which haven’t been shot since the preserve was set up – are doing fine. Men have jumped coveys all over the place, and there should be some swell hunting when the lid goes off.

The spirit has spread into other community affairs. When the district schoolhouse burned down, the club members got local suppliers to sell them construction materials at cost, then pitched in and erected a new building with their own hands. It cost around $ 15,000 and is valued at $75,000.

Paulding County now has complete forest-fire protection – trucks, jeeps, radios, and fire-fighting equipment. The unit co-operates  with  neighboring setups when fires break out anywhere in that part of the state.

“You can hardly strike a match to light your pipe but a fire truck skids to a stop behind you and a patrolman jumps out with a hose in his hand,” Corley says.

The roads around the area and one that runs through it have been improved and made part of the county highway system. The area got R.EA. electric power in 1948 to improve living conditions on the farms, and the telephone company expects to service the whole north end of the county within the next few months.

Corley and his associates are planning big thins ahead. Their community is fired with the spirit of progress, and its list of achievements grows month by month. But most important to the sportsmen who sat around the campfire on that cold winter night in the mountains, big-game hunting has now been brought to their very back doors.

The conservation idea is so firmly implanted in the minds of their neighbors that it will be a long time before those parts will again be as barren of game and fish as they were only seven short years ago.

The End.




My Papa Tibbitts, Joseph Hollis Tibbitts,  who was born in 1903, would tell us, as kids, short stories,  poems and songs. He called them speeches.  His mother taught them to him during his childhood, a time before television,  phone,  electricity,  computers and all the other modern conveniences.  These speeches were part of their entertainment. When he was raising his own family he taught them to his own children.  He gave each child one that was theirs to learn.  They would recite them while doing chores and one they learned it, they could be done with that chore. Around the age of 80 he recorded several and I have transcribed them here.  They tell of life on the farm in the Rural south.


Hollis Tibbitts recordings:


Number One.  The shortest speech.


A squral is a pretty thing, carries a brushy tail, cuts down the farmers corn, he shells it on the rail.


Our old Sandy sow is next.  Number two.


Our old Sandy sow she had a great long snout,  she stuck it in the potato hill and rolled all the potatos out. Same old sow had eleven pegs,  she razed them all on nuts and twigs. She razed them all to be seven months old. We sold them all for weight in gold.  So what we going to do for bacon now.  Sambo shot the Sunday sow. She jumped a fence, she broke a rail.  Sambo shot her through the tail.


We ain’t got no bacon yet.


Next the little bird. Truth in it.


Once there was a little bird that lived outside the door,  wanted to go inside and hop up on the floor.  No, No said the mother bird, you must stay with me, for little birds are safer sitting up in the tree.  I don’t care said the little bird,  he gave his tail a fling.  I don’t think you old folks know, quite everything.  So down he flew,  and the cat grabbed him before he had time to blink.  He cried, I’m sorria (sorry) but I didn’t think.


He should have minded his Mama and been all right. That’s the way little children ought to do. Mine Mother, be good.


The raccoon,  opossum and the rabbit.


The raccoon tail is ringed all around but the opossum tail is bear, the rabbit hadn’t got no tail attail (at all), just a little white bunch of hair. But in the night time, is the right time, so I’ve understood, is the habit, of Sir rabbit, to dance in the woods. The opossum was in the persimmon tree and the raccoon on the ground.  The raccoon said to the opossum,  shake me some persimmons down. Raccoon and opossum were both walking across a log, Raccoon said to the opossum, I think I hear a dog.  Raccoon and the opossum,  they travel after dark,  but they don’t ever think to be afraid to they hear my hound dog bark.

This is a fellow that had a yellow cat and he couldn’t get shed of him no way.

Because the cat came back the very next day, the cat came back,  because he wouldn’t stay away.  Old Bill Jones had troubles of his own, had an old yellow cat that wouldn’t leave his home.  He tried all plan he thought was new, none of these plans it never did do. Because the cat came back the very next day,  the cat came back,  because he wouldn’t stay away.  Old Bill Jones done what he thought was the best,  he gave him to a Niger that was going out west. He went around a corner and struck a broke rail, wasn’t a soul left for tell the cat tail. Cat came back the very next day,  the cat came back, because he wouldn’t stay away.

Now next is our friendly cow.

Our friendly cow all red and white, I love with all my heart.  She gives us cream with all her might,  to eat with apple tart. She wanders low, here and there and yet she can not stray. All in the pleasant open air, the pleasant light of day.  She is blown by all the wind that blow and wet by all the shower.  She walk along the meadow grass and eats up all the meadow flowers.

These speeches and sayings covers most everything on the farm in the old timely days of life.

Next is a chicken speech.

The old roster was named Barn Door. The little hen was Little Wife.  Barn Door stayed up at the barn and he said to Little Wife,  come along my Little Wife let’s take a walk today.  There is barely in the barely field and hay seeds in the hay. Thank you said the clucking hen, I’ve got something else to do.  I’m busy sitting on my eggs,  I can not walk with you.  The clucking hen had made a nest,  she had made it in the hey. Warm and snug,  beneath her breast a dossen white eggs lay. Crack, Crack went all the eggs. Out dropped the little chickens small.  Come along my little chicks, now I have you all. Good morning old Barn Door.  We’ll all take a walk with you.  Hello said old Barn Door.  Cock A Doddle Doooooo!

This is a cow in a garden. Don’t sound like it but that’s what it is.

When I went into my wherely whicky whacky.  I met old Boom Bicky Back and I called old Tom Ticky Tacky to come run old Boom Bicky Backy out of my wherely whicky whacky.

It was just a cow in a garden is all it was. The garden was the whicky whacky.  The cow was a Boom Bicky Backy. My dog Tom Ticky Tacky had to run Boom Bicky Backy out of the wherely whicky whacky.

Little Robin Red Breast.  This was mothers first speech that I ever learned.

Little Robin Red Breast, he’s coming in the snow.  He peeps in the windows while the cold wind blows.  He’s waiting for his breakfast with a merry song. He comes every morning all the winner long.

The faithful dog.

The only unselfish friend that a man may have in this world is his dog. His son or a daughter that he has reared with great love and care my prove unfaithful to him when misfortune sets his clouds up on your head. The dog will stand by his master in health, sickness and poverty.  When the wind blows cold and the snow drifts appear,  if he’s only near his masters side. When riches takes wings and reputation falls to pieces, the dog is constant in his love, as the sun in it’s joinery  through the heavens.  Finally last of all when death takes his master, in it’s embrace and his body is to be laid under the cold grave and all other friends pursue their way from the graveside,  there by the graveside may the noble dog  be found with his head between his paws but his eyes alert.  Fateful and true even in death.

Here’s another old speech that I learned when I was very small.  It tells you something little children.

Old lazy sheep now tell me why all in the sunny field you lie.  Your doing nothing all the day if what good are you I pray. Little boy I thought you knowed on my back your coat once growed. If no more knowledge you can show,  you better go to school and wiser grow. For you must be an ideal boy, you better now your time employ. Stop not over that fence and peep, but grow and be useful like a sheep.

This is a little girl speech about a doll.

Suppose my little lady, your doll should break it’s head. Could you make it whole again by crying till your eyes and nose were red? Wouldn’t it be wiser just to take it as a joke and say you was glad that dolly’s head and not your head that broke.

Now here’s a little boys speech.

Drive the nail aright.  Hit it on the head. Strike with all your might.  While the iron is red. If you got a job to do,  do it with good will.  For they that reach the top, first must climb the hill.  Standing a the foot gazing at the sky how can you get up there if you don’t never try.

Here’s some poems of ryms now. I’d knowed’em a long time.

Man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds. When the weeds began to grow,  when the weeds begin to grow,  it’s like a garden full of snow. When the snow begains to melt,  it’s like the gardens full of himp. When the himp begins to rust, it’s like a garden full of dust. When the dust began to fly,  it’s like a Eagle in that sky. When the sky begin to roar,  it’s like a lion at the door.  And when the door begin to crack, it’s like a Hickory on your back.

Here’s about a common little house fly. Now lesson at it.

Baby by here’s a fly, let us watch him, you and I. How he crawls up the wall, yet he never falls. I believe with those such legs, you and I could walk on eggs. I can show you if you choose where to look to find his shoes. Three small pair, made of hair, these he always wears. So there he goes on his toes, tickling the baby’s nose. Spots of red, dots his head. Rainbows on his wings are spread. That small speck is his neck,  see him nod and beck. Little fly, mind your eye, for spider is near by. If a secret let me tell, spider will not treat you well.  For in the sun, webs are spun. What if you were to get into one. But when it rains, he complains, with his busy wings on the window pane. So little fly heed your way, little fly good day.

The Lullaby Lady.

The Lullaby Lady from Hushaby Street, come stealing, come creaping, with the popys that hang from her head to her feet, they each have a dream that are tiny and sweet, and she bringeth her popys to you my sweet, when she finds you sleeping on Hushaby Street.

This is the old farmer of years ago.

Come wife said good old farmer Gray, put on clean cloths this market day. We’ll be off to the nearest town, we’ll get back before the sun goes down. Old Spotty barked, Spotty wined, he maid up his doggish mind to follow along under the wagon.  So they went, the route not paved, joy came into the farmers face. Spot said he wants to come, but I’m awful glad he’s left at home.  For he minds the barn, he gides the cot, keeps all the cows run into the lot. I’m Not so sure of that thought said Spot. Because the big dog was under the wagon. On to town, all the produce sold, they got their pay in yellow gold. Started back after dark,  through a lonesome forest.  A robber sprang from behind a tree. Your money or your life said he. The moon was up, but he didn’t see the big dog under the wagon.  Spot didn’t bark, nor he didn’t wine, but he quickly cought that theft behind.  He drug him down,  in mar and dirt, he tore his coat, he tore his shirt. Two front feet the farmer bound, come Spot up into the wagon.  He rode grand and gay. A silver collar, Spot wares today. Among his friends and among his foes, every where that farmer goes, he follows on his undercoat the big dog under the wagon.

This is what king Kanbo wanted.

Mr.Frorg went a courtin, he did ride. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. Had a big pistol on his side. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. He rode up to Mis. Mouse’s house. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. There he gave a great loud squawk. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He says Mis. Mouse are you within. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Yes kind Sir, I sit and spin. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He took Mrs. Mouse upon his knee. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Says Mis. Mouse will you marry me.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. No kind Sir, I can’t do that . A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  With out consent from old Uncle Rat. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Old Uncle Rat, he gave consent.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  So they got married and away they went. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Where shall our wedding super be. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Way down yonder in a hollow tree. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  What should our wedding super be. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Two butter beans and a black eye pee. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  While they were eating what did happen.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Great black cat, she made a snap.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  The mouse went a running up the wall.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Her foot slipped and she got a fall. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  (The cat eat it up) The frog went a swimming across the lake. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  He got swallowed by a snake.  A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  That was the marriage of the frog and the mouse. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Neater one of them lived to need a house. A Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo.  Cairo, Cairo Captain Pharaoh, fem fom, shem shom, roddle bottle, Rig Bong Dum De Kind Bo. 

Well we have had a few funny speeches, a few funny songs. Lets get back and sing some that’s not so funny.  I will sing the old Uncle Ned song.  He was an old Niger long time ago, but we still got his song if he is gone.

Old Uncle Ned was a good old Niger and he died a long time ago. He had no hair on top of his head, the place where the wool ought to grow. So he layed down the shovel and the hoe, and he hanged up the fiddle and the bow. No more work for old Uncle Ned,  done gone where the good Nigers go. His fingers was stiff like the canes of the break. He had no eyes for to see. He had no teeth for to eat a whole cake, he had to let the whole cake be. So he layed down the shovel and the hoe, and he hung up the fiddle and the bow. No more work for old Uncle Ned, done gone where the good Nigers go. Old Uncle Ned was sitting on a stump. Just as happy as a Niger could be.  So Along comes death, thumped him on the head. Come on Ned with me. Had to lay down the shovel and hoe, had to hang up the fiddle and the bow.  No more work for the old Uncle Ned,  done gone where the good Nigers go. So his poor old dog, he lay on the grave,  howls by the light of the moon, waiting for old Uncle Ned to catch a opossum and a coon. Done layed down the shovel and hoe, done hung up the fiddle and the bow.  No more work for old Uncle Ned, done gone where the good Nigers go.

Well that’s the Uncle Ned song.  Heres another, sort of like it. Fits me pretty good, I tell you thetruth about it.

Still to come:

I am getting old and feeble

Rich old merchant

Put my little shoes away

Little Mary Phagan

When the evening sun is setting

Lost child

There are more that I need to record here but I want to get these published for now. If you have a story of Papa’s or a story about Hollis I would like to here it.




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