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Hightower Trail History

The Hightower Trail passed through the City of Dunwoody, from Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, on the east to the Chattahoochee River on the northwest. It was a major pre-historic trail from the vicinity of Augusta, Georgia, to the mountains of northwest Georgia and points beyond. It crossed the river at the “shallow ford” a short distance west of the Roswell Road bridge, where people easily could walk across unless the river was in the midst of a flood. No one knows how many hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of years this path served as a major highway for the Native Americans. For more of this story, click on: http://www.thecrier.net/articles/2006/02/07/columnists/past_tense/pasttense.txt

March 2008 (old) Update -- The Georgia legislature approved a new City of Dunwoody. More information at: The Dunwoody Crier -- Proposed (now Actual) City Map from same article is HERE

How many times in your lifetime do you have a chance to make a difference for future generations? -- Dunwoody citizens voted on July 15th overwhelmingly to approve the city charter -- 5 to 1 !!! For years similar measures never came to vote, until the legislature of Georgia changed leadership. Olde Democrat Party leadership then tried to accomplish in the courts what they could not do at the ballot box. Who will not ignore the vox populi; however, this caveat from Alcuin (798AD): nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniæ proxima sit -- "Give ear not to those whom solemnly claim Voice of the people {voila} voice of God, whose common tumult {ie predisposition to riot} always rests close to insanity." An understanding that supports a representative government, not a democracy in the Greek city-state sense.

December 1, 2005: Sandy Springs became a Georgia city. Legislation incorporating the Fulton County community had been enacted at the 2005 session of the General Assembly, but the effective date of incorporation was delayed until one second past midnight on the first day of December 2005. And in 2008, Dunwoody became Georgia's new city. Both new cities share a common border and encompass portions of the Hightower Trail.

The Dunwoody City Council gathered Sunday night (November 30th) at 11:30 p.m. in one specially called meeting to attend to any loose ends. It will then adjourn and reconvene at 12:00 a.m. to begin city operations. The meetings were held in the Asbury Room of Dunwoody United Methodist Church. In advance of December 1, the city website, DunwoodyGa.gov, was operational, with e-mail addresses for Mayor Ken Wright and the council. More about the beginning is set on the table at the Dunwoody Crier.

http://www.hightowerfiles.com/grabbag.cfm -- Everything Hightower
Everything Social Studies -- http://www.pampetty.com/socialstudies.htm -- old site

This day in Georgia History
Our page on James Oglethorpe
DeKalb County History Resources (former site)


The name, “Hightower Trail,” refers to an historically important trading trail, which runs through our town of Dunwoody. The “Hightower Trail” is the eastern border of DeKalb County and the western border of Gwinnett County, beginning in the south of the two counties. Then it travels more northwest in Dunwoody (starting at Buford Highway) into Fulton County. “Hightower” is reported to be an anglicization of the name “Etowah”, a native settlement region to which the trail led (near present day Cartersville in Northwest Georgia). The Creek people of the area lived in large permanent towns called italwa. Some believe that the Creek's ancestors were the occupants of the mound city of Etowah (see http://ngeorgia.com/history/creek.html).

Lake Allatoona, built by the Army Corps of Engineers shortly after the end of World War II sits in the Etowah River Valley. The lake has immersed much of the area's history. Through the center of the lake runs the original bed of the Etowah River, and it was the boundary between the Cherokee nation (to the north) and a “safe” zone controlled by the Cherokee and the Creek Nations. The waters of the lake, cover the old Hightower Trail. The lake also covers the old city of Etowah, at the base of the dam.

The Etowah River and Hightower Trail pass by what is known today as the Etowah Mounds, the location of the once historic "capital" of the Cherokee (and perhaps earlier Creek) Nation near Cartersville. The name Etowah has been applied to one or more native-American settlements and may itself not be of Cherokee origin. In addition, The Etowah River flows through the heart of the North Georgia "gold country" - part of the river actually is conveyed through a tunnel once used to divert the waters for the mining of the river bed for gold. For more information go HERE.





More local Histoire: The original settlement of Social Circle in the early 1800's was founded at the junction of two native paths, today known as Cherokee Road (Georgia Highway 11) and the Hightower Trail (which continued east to Augusta). Please, use the map image or file link below for a more complete map showing the route of the Hightower Trail in northern DeKalb County. The Conyers History page has information about the trail and its role in the settlement of the area. Same story, slightly different location from the Sandy Springs area. Also, more good information is here about the trail and its Dunwoody rededication several years ago. In the Fall of 2005 the Dunwoody Crier published a detailed description of the trail in the Dunwoody Area -- GO HERE. Two more pages: one from nearby Centerville; one about the endangered Summertown Mounds close by Stone Mountain.
DeKalb County was split off from Henry County (with small portions of Gwinnett and Fayette counties added) in 1822, one year after Henry was created from land ceded by the Muskogee (Creek) Indians. The new county spanned the area from Stone Mountain to the Chattahoochee River and it contained a certain tiny settlement, which would become an important railhead and, ultimately, the City of Atlanta.

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/garail/rrhist.htm -- old site

First, however, the name was “Terminus” (1837), because it was the town at the terminating point for the Georgia Railroad, Macon & Western and the state-owned Western & Atlantic. The next name, “Marthasville” (1843), related to Martha, a daughter of the Mayor of the village, and once-Governor, Wilson Lumpkin.

December 22, 1842 Though the town of Marthasville would not be incorporated for another year, the U.S. Post Office Department designated a new Marthasville Post Office for the village that was initially known as Terminus. Sam Mitchell, who had deeded the land for the southern terminus of the Western & Atlantic Railroad, had initially wanted to name the growing village Lumpkin or Lumpkinsville (after then-governor Wilson Lumpkin). Lumpkin thought it improper, so Mitchell then picked the name Marthasville (after Lumpkin's daughter, Martha). Apparently, the name came into use around July 1842. [NOTE: The city was first incorporated on December 23, 1843.] from http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/tdgh-dec/dec22.htm

In 1845 the name became Atlanta, the rail gateway from the western mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The State enacted the charter for the City of Atlanta a few years later (1848) and also carved out Fulton County (named after Robert Fulton of steamship folly fame) from DeKalb in 1853.
In contrast, the County of DeKalb was named (1822) for Major General Johann Kalb, Baron de Kalb, a German-born hero of the American Revolution (June 29, 1721). French army trained, the Baron came to America with Lafayette. Oh he wasn't a Baron, he was born of country farmer stock, but he realized that you go nowhere in the French Army without a title. De Kalb was appointed major general in the Continental Army and he died in the Battle of Camden (1780). Counties in Missouri, Alabama and Tennessee also are named for him. DeKalb County Georgia Links. The Federal Republic of Germany dedicated a monument to him in the City of Decatur Georgia in 1985, the county seat of DeKalb County.
Our county seat, Decatur, Georgia, was named for American hero Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), a distinquished officer of the U. S. Navy, perhaps best remembered for his saying: “Our country, in her [relations] with foreign nations may she always be right; but our country, right or wrong.” Also well known is his daring raid (1804) to burn the U.S. frigate Philadelphia, which had been captured by Saracen pirates and held at Tripoli harbor. He later served with honor in command of the warships USS United States and USS President during the War of 1812. Cities in Illinois, Alabama and Tennessee (as well as countless schools) are named for him, too. More background history here and here { note: The Etowah Trail referred to in Ms. Price's extensive book about DeKalb County, is not the main Hightower Trail, but a branch, which ran from Stone Mountain through Decatur and “Five Points” on toward Villa Rica -- This trail is normally referred to as the Echota or Sandtown trail -- Sandtown being a Native American village at a place about where today Cobb, Douglas and Fulton Counties meet}. The town of Decatur was incorporated on December 10, 1823. The City of Decatur celebrated its 180th anniversary during the month of November 2003.

Much more More Georgia History

‘Atlanta is ours and fairly won’ -- Order of Battle

November 1864 -- Total War in Georgia


Hightower Trail Map -- {100kb gif file} -- does not show well on laptop computers, but will print a passable page-sized item. For information about this larger-sized map -- GO HERE

Click here for more North Georgia History and Resources


Always the trouble maker -- 1736: wlaroche.ee73@gtalumni.org

Georgia founder James Oglethorpe was not allowed to hold public office, receive a salary, or accept land grants in Georgia. However, because of his opposition to slavery and unrestricted female land inheritance, some Georgia colonists began sending allegations against Oglethorpe to the Trustees in London. Though never documented, two charges were that Oglethorpe personally was benefiting from the deer skin trade with the Native Americans and additionally had become a major land holder in South Carolina, as recorded by the Earl of Egmont in his diary:

". . . Mr. [John] La Roche acquainted us that the Bristol merchants [Mr. LaRoche's brother {and this webmaster's great-great-etc.} was a Bristol merchant -- no confict here?] complain Mr. Oglethorp is turned merchant and hath bought up skins at 21 shillings per hundred, whereas they used to give but 20 shillings, so that he has monopolised that trade. Mr. Vernon also told us that he has obtained a grant in Carolina of 12,000 acres. This exceedingly displeased us all, and we express our resolution that if we found Mr. Oglethorp convert this public undertaking to private views of interest, we could no longer be concerned in it. . . . "

Source: Historical Manuscripts Commission [U.K.], Manuscripts of the Earl of Egmont. Diary of the First Earl of Egmont (Viscount Percival) (London: H.M. Stationery Office, 1923), Vol. II, p. 307 (as found at http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/tdgh-nov/nov10.htm).
Interestingly, a descendant in the LaRoche line (Aimee LaRoche) married William Elliot Dunwody, Jr. in Macon Georgia, he the nephew of the man for whom Dunwoody is named. They are some of the forbears of the Glover and Brumby families of this area today. see Dunwody Story GO HERE for a page out of a book.

This page updated 11/30/08 -- dead links can be found thru Web.Archive.ORG