Summer 2022
News & Updates from
the Milton Historical Society
Your Historical Society at work and play!
Spring Fling and Society Highlights
Spring Fling at the Dufresne house
The Milton Historical Society invited patrons and supporters to a spring gathering at the home of President Jeff Dufresne and Josephine Dufresne on Summit Road in Milton. On May 19, 2022, fellow history buffs and friends of the Milton Historical Society gathered to enjoy appetizers and hear military historian Michael Hitt describe a World War I secret mission at Camp Gordon in Chamblee (present site of Peachtree DeKalb Airport). Hitt also demonstrated and explained a collection of WW I artifacts and memorabilia.
Recap of Society Accomplishments
By President Jeff Dufresne

The Milton Historical Society just celebrated its 4-year anniversary. While half of this time has been enduring the COVID pandemic, I’m happy to report that our Society is alive and well.

Founded in 2018, we are a community of history lovers dedicated to exploring, preserving and sharing the multifaceted, yet little known history of Milton, Georgia. Through research projects, acquiring historical artifacts, erecting historical markers, delivering public lectures as well as online communication, our Society strives to make local history relevant and enlightening to all.

Here’s a partial list of the our achievements to date:

  • Installed 28 historical markers under the auspices of the City of Milton.
  • Collected and preserved local artifacts such as early farmland deeds from the 1832 gold lottery.
  • Introduced popular Society social events such as the Spring Fling and Shindig. 
  • Established a Society headquarters, research center and program venue at Crabapple Market.
  • Interviewed over 50 Milton residents about the impact of COVID on our local community for an upcoming documentary named “Milton Memoirs.”
  • Acquired, scanned, and archived 140 articles by local historian and journalist Aubrey Morris.
  • Performed GIS mapping of Milton’s 28 cemeteries.
  • Conducted in-depth research into the life of John Milton, a Revolutionary War hero and namesake of the City of Milton.
  • Provide technical assistance to preserve historic assets such as the McConnell-Chadwick House (built circa 1840).
  • Assist the City of Milton with naming newly acquired Greenspace properties.
  • Deliver free monthly lectures on subjects ranging from “Archiving your family history” to the “Trail of Tears.”
  • Publish popular quarterly newsletters. 
  • Host a Facebook page named “Milton Historical Society - Georgia.”

In just four short years, the Milton Historical Society has distinguished itself as a thought leader and “go-to” resource for preserving our past for future generations.

Thank you for your support.

Jeff Dufresne
Confessions of a History Lover 

By Jeff Dufresne

Looking back at my childhood school days, I must confess that I was one of those students that sat in the back of the classroom and thought history class was a drag. What’s the point of learning about a bunch of names, places and dates about past events and people long dead. 

Now in my third trimester of life, I’ve learned that history matters. 
History provides us with a sense of identity. Ancient cultures devoted much time and effort teaching their children about their family history. They believed that learning about the past helps a child better understand who they are. It tells them where their ancestors came from and how they interacted with larger historical change. Did our ancestors serve in major wars? Did they endure pandemics? How did they handle other significant events? Understanding our history gives us the ability to appreciate the legacies we may have inherited from our ancestors. Studying our own history can help us better understand ourselves. 

History helps us become better informed citizens. This knowledge can help us take an active role in the political forum through educated debates and by refining our core beliefs. Good citizens are always informed citizens, and no one can consider themself to be an informed citizen without a working knowledge of history. This is the case whether we’re talking about our role in our community or our country on the whole. History helps us become better voters and be more effective members of society by participating in democratic activities such as voting, community work, as well as vying for leadership positions. 

History teaches values. Learning about people who have faced and overcome adversity can be inspiring. You can study how great people of history successfully worked through moral dilemmas, and learn from ordinary people who teach us lessons in courage, persistence and protest. We can draw inspiration from such people and imitate their strength in solving the challenges that face us today. 

Studying history equips us with vital skills such as critical thinking, research expertise, evaluation skills as well as both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Studying history can play a critical role in promoting one’s intellectual growth and development. The study of history can transform us to be a better student, citizen, and person overall. 

History is fun. For thousands of years, humans have used the art of storytelling to educate and motivate. Studs Terkel once said, “People are hungry for stories. It’s part of our very being. Storytelling is a form of history, of immortality, too. It goes from one generation to another.” 

In closing, I invite everyone to have some fun, learn some skills and become good citizens by getting involved with the Milton Historical Society. 

Jeff Dufresne is President and a Founding Member of the Milton Historical Society. 

This footnote from American Historian David McCollough:
"...having no sense of the story of your country is not greatly removed from having no sense of the story of your life. It's a form of amnesia and can be as detrimental to a society as it is to an individual."


By Tommy Hudson, Local Historian and Archaeologist

Sixes Old Town, Cherokee village, near the confluence of
Little River and Etowah River

In their sun-worshipping ceremonies, the Cherokee priests would refer to the sun as Sutallee-dihi, or Six Killer. The term Six Killer probably refers to an old Cherokee legend in which six young men spent or “killed” their entire lives searching for the place where the sun rises out of the ground in the eastern horizon.

The original Sixes area is at the intersection of Little River and the Etowah River and is now under the waters of Lake Allatoona. When white people began to move into and through this area, one of the rest stops on the old Indian path that came down the Etowah River was at Sixes Old Town. Parts of this path later became known as the Alabama Road.

In 1838, after the State of Georgia decided to take these lands from the Indians, the few people living at Sixes Old Town were rounded up to be removed to Oklahoma. The names of these people were listed as follows: Chief Stop, Old Bear, Bear Paw, Smoke, Dogs Head, Rusty Belly, and Shivanna Six Killer. The last name, Shivanna Six Killer, is a female who owned her own home and potato house, had 56 peach trees and 12 acres of fenced bottom land. For this she was paid $232.00 before she was removed to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. It is probable that she took the name Six Killer after the area in which she lived.

It is also possible that the Cherokee called the area Sutallee after the Creek Indians who lived there long before the arrival of the Cherokee.

There are also two ceremonial centers close to Sixes Old Town that are associated with the sun-worshipping cult at the Etowah Mounds.

Another interesting word associated with sun worship is Hun-daye, which means midday sun, and Noonday Creek, which flows into the Little River is probably connected to the sacred history of the area.

Sutallee-dihi = Sutallee = Six Killer = Sixes

Used with permission of the author

Editor’s Note: Other sources indicate that the term “killer” (as in Foe or Four Killer) describes a warrior who showed exceptional bravery in battle.

Map by Reverend Charles Walker
"Maps of the Old Cherokee Nation of Georgia"
Greetings from
Milton Mayor
Peyton Jamison:

“I am proud to be a Family Patron of the Milton Historical Society. Knowledge of the past gives us insights into our own culture and helps us make better decisions in the present. The Milton Historical Society has contributed greatly to our community in just a few short years, and I look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”
Remembering Mom's Clothesline…
Submitted by Byron Foster
The Basic Rules for Clotheslines: (If you don't know what clotheslines are, better skip this.)

  • You had to hang the socks by the toes....not the top.
  • You hung pants by the bottom/cuffs....not the waistbands.
  • You had to wash the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes - walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.
  • You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.
  • You never hang a shirt by the shoulders - always by the tail.
  • Wash day on a Monday! Never hang clothes on the weekend, or on Sunday.
  • Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle.
  • It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather....clothes would "freeze-dry." I remember my Grandfather's union suits standing by themselves frozen.
  • Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the lines were "tacky"!
  • If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.
  • Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed. (Ironed? Well, that's a whole other subject.)

Text: The Knoxville Focus, Knoxville, TN Community News; author unknown
Photo: The charming watercolor, complete with clothesline, by Jay Cox seen at Wisteria Hall in Waynesboro, Georgia
Thoughts for today...

“History is, first and foremost, stories.”
Kurt Russell 2022 National Teacher of the Year,
Oberlin High School, Ohio

“There is only one question. What to do with the time you are given?”
Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings

“There is only one quest and that is for the truth.”
Tommy Hudson
The Birth of Family Names
1100-1500 AD
Contrary to popular belief, most given names preceded surnames by several centuries. The need for an additional name became apparent when, in the 11th century, landowners recorded payment of fines by vassals and needed to distinguish one John from another.

A family name not only indicates one’s origin, but also occupation, such as baker or carpenter, physical characteristics, and the personal mannerisms of old, remote ancestors. Topographical names that distinguished localities were popular such as the compound name Sutcliffe, meaning from the South Cliff.

Surnames originated as descriptions of the person for reasons of better identification; thus Shea, the name of former Irish lords, meaning descendant of Seathda, translates as stately, majestic, courteous, learned, scientific, and ingenious.

A&A Associates, Dennisport, MA
Aubrey's Corner:

Georgia's ethnic cleansing
touched local families

by Aubrey Morris

March 12, 2009 - North Fulton Revue & News
If you’re saddened by the convulsive effect of our current recession and how it determines where and how people live, just consider the cataclysmic events taking place in these parts 175 years ago.

Those were pioneering days in this area of Georgia, when our earliest white settlers were struggling to survive and the Native Americans (Cherokee) were beginning to be forcefully removed from their homeland to be resettled in Oklahoma and other points to the West.

An old friend, the late Dr. Bernice McCullar, a historian and educator, in her defining book “This is Your Georgia,” recorded that the first expedition of what came to be known as the “Trail of Tears,” left the Hiawassee area in March of 1834.

The federal government had expected 1,200 to sign up for the kickoff of its resettlement plan. But only 475 Cherokees, temporarily housed in 28 log shelters outside Hiawassee, made the departure. In April, the McCullar account goes, the contingent had reached the Arkansas River, but 81 had died - 50 of them from cholera.

The following year, on December 29, 1835, the United States government met with some of the Cherokee leaders at New Echota, their capital near present-day Calhoun. There, a treaty was executed for the forceful removal to the West of all Cherokees who remained in Georgia. This was despite the fact that many of them had already been living peacefully, some intermarrying into white families.

Cherokees had taken their fight for their lands peacefully through the American legal system up to the Supreme Court and had won. President Andrew Jackson simply ignored the court. Cherokees found it difficult to appeal the point of a bayonet.

After Georgia officially took possession of the Cherokee land May 18, 1838, The U.S. Army under General Winfield Scott began removing Cherokees by the thousands from the Georgia mountains and foothills. Thus began in earnest the infamous “Trail of Tears,” where a ghastly 9,000 Cherokees, on foot or on water, died.

The above brief recitation on a not-so-proud episode in our state’s history came to mind a few days ago after I spent a delightful afternoon with two lifelong friends - and fellow natives of Roswell - Barry Mansell and his first cousin, Linda Mansell Martin, at Emory University’s Woodruff Library Special Collections section.

Our object was to locate and learn from a rare collection of early records kept by their own great-great-great grandparents, which provided great insight into white and Cherokee Indian history of this area. The priceless collection, “Store Ledgers and Miscellaneous Papers of James Dorris,” were the documents of a resident of what later became Crabapple, beginning in the early 1830s. More than 125 years later, the collection was placed at the Emory Special Collections Section in1962 by Martin’s father the late Roswell merchant, Joe Mansell.

James Dorris (October 26, 1801-July 8, 1877) and his Cherokee Indian wife, Nancy Cook Dorris (March 3, 1799-death date unknown) lived happily, raising a large family whose offspring include many of today’s outstanding citizens of the North Metro area.

The Dorris Store’s “Ledger Books” and “Miscellaneous Papers,” in various groupings, all now faded but still legible, cover the years 1832-1869. Mr. Dorris wrote and signed his will, utilizing one full page of his Dorris Store ledgers. Date June 1, 1875, Milton County, Georgia, the will included adequate provision for “Nancy, my Wife,” during her remaining years, and “all balance of property both real and personal be sold to the highest bidder and after paying my debts, if any, to be equally divided among my children.” (Offspring unnamed in will.)

Among the more-prominent white settlers who traded at the James Dorris Store were Simeon Rucker from South Carolina, an early captain of the Georgia State Militia in these parts and progenitor of the vast Rucker Clan, still very much around. Captain Rucker liked to pay his accounts “By Cash.”

Among the many Cherokee Indians maintaining accounts at Dorris’ Store was a man named “Bark Chicken,” who paid $2 for “1 pr. shoes.” The year was 1835. Could Mr. Chicken have planned to use the brand new “pr. of shoes” for the trek to Oklahoma, then moving into high gear? Apparently not too moved by the federal and state pressure for the Cherokees to leave their beloved homeland was a brave by the name of “Sleepy Man,” who was still here in 1836.

The thrill of discovery clearly was reflected on the faces of Barry Mansell and his cousin, Linda Martin, as they were allowed by the Emory librarian/archivist to examine those documents so lovingly kept by their ancestor.

Editor's Note: Suzanne and Barry Mansell are Patrons of the Milton Historical Society
James Dorris Store Historical Marker
The City of Milton recognized the James Dorris Store with an historical marker in 2018. The text reads:
"Circa 1837. James Dorris (1801-1877) moved to Crabapple from South Carolina around 1834. In 1836 he purchased a 40-acre lot for $65. Dorris, with Cherokee wife Nancy Cook, built a store near this spot. Located along routes to the lottery lands of Cherokee territory, the store was a source of goods and services for settlers and travelers until 1844. Dorris followed a flexible policy of trade, including barter, for both settlers and the native Cherokee. His ledger books recorded transactions that were ‘on account.’ Credit extended by general stores was crucial for early pioneers."
James Dorris Store
historical marker
James Dorris' will
National Park Service image of a Trail of Tears site

About Aubrey Morris: Aubrey Morris was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal newspaper, and in 1957 was hired at WSB radio to create and manage the news department, where he served for over 30 years. Morris wrote over 150 columns for local papers, including the Alpharetta & Roswell ReVue.

The Morris family has generously allowed the Milton Historical Society to copy and reprint the articles.
Remembering a Society Benefactor...
Helen Gilleland, Shirley Morgan, Byron Foster, and Jeff Dufresne
It was with sadness that the Society learned of the passing of Helen Sentell Gilleland on May 16, 2022. Helen was a Pearson cousin of Board member Byron Foster, whose mother was Willie Mae Pearson. One of the first artifact donations the Society received shortly after incorporation in 2018 was a collection of 36 historic documents from Byron, his sister Shirley Morgan, and Helen. The documents consisted of original deeds for Land Lots 260, 187, and 246 from the 1832 lottery of previously owned Cherokee Indian property. Helen had found an old cardboard box containing the treasure in her Sandy Springs basement. She knew the items should not be lost to history and, since the deeds pertained to the Pearson’s Westbrook Road land, the family generously deeded them to the Milton Historical Society. One of the original deeds from the gold lottery has been faithfully digitized and hangs in a prominent place in Society headquarters in Crabapple Market.

According to Foster, Helen Gilleland was the matriarch of the family. She was a hard-working bookkeeper for several businesses including Sandy Springs Hardware and Supply, and Suburban Rental Co. Helen was also a Fulton County school bus driver for 32 years, and played the organ for the Sandy Springs Baptist Church and the Sandy Springs Chapel. Helen was 87 with 11 grandchildren and great-grandchildren…a life well lived.
Coming Attractions...

Milton Historical Society event scheduled for Fall 2022:

September 17, 2022 - Annual Shindig at Wildberry Creek farm

Watch this space for more information on program topics with confirmed dates and venues!
Photo by Leslie Watson
Milton Historical Society Patrons

Many thanks for your support!

Lifetime Patrons
Amy and Mark Amick
Josephine and Jeff Dufresne
Felton Anderson Herbert
Johnny Herbert
Bill Lusk
Linda and Robert Meyers
Adam Orkin
Charlie Roberts
Sarah Roberts
Marsha and Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman
Kim and Dana Watkins

Corporate Sponsors
Lithic Genealogy Group
The William B. Orkin Foundation

Sustaining Patrons
Kathy Beck
Philip Beck
Byron Foster
Kim and Tom Gauger
Fran Gordenker
Sheryl and Carl Jackson
Steve Krokoff
Connie Mashburn
Curtis Mills
Julie and Kurt Nolte
Julie and Ronnie Rondem
Jennifer and Robert Sorcabal
Jennifer Yelton

Family Patrons
Sheree and Marc Arrington
Robert Ballard
Kristi and Paul Beckler
Joan and Don Borzilleri
Luz and Daniel Cardamone
Rhonda and David Chatham
Jeanne and Bob Coates
Mary and Gregg Cronk
Dennis Everhart
Linda and James Farris
Kelly Finley
Laura Foster
Carlos Garcia
Brenda and Brett Giles
Katie and Ian Griffin
Megan and Peyton Jamison
Laura Keck
Dean Lamm
Mary Jo and Ed Malowney
Suzanne and Barry Mansell
Family Patrons (cont'd)
Carol and Doug McClure
Kat and Jeff Meier
Pat Miller
Elizabeth and Andrew Montgomery
Kathy and Paul Moore
Donna and Nick Moreman
Martha and Sonny Murphy
Kirsten and Ryan Muzinich
Marjorie and Clayton Pond
Mary Sandefur
Shannon and Tony Sheppard
Jami and Jayson Teagle
Jami Tucker

Individual Patrons
Stephanie Andersson
Steve Cory
Marlene Hitt
Jeff Johnson
Larry Johnstone
Matt Kunz
Lynna and Brian Lee
Donna Loudermilk
Carole Madan
Gary Schramm
Mallory Staples
Lynn Tinley
Lara Wallace
Jeff White

Student Patrons
Sabrina Chotkowski
Catherine Everett
Claudine Wilkins
We Love our Founding Members!
Ron Wallace
Felton and Johnny Herbert
Adam Orkin
Pat Miller
Dawn and Keith Reed
Amy Christiansen
Kathy and Philip Beck
Jessica and Warren Cheely
Heather and Joe Killingsworth
Ronnie Rondem
Seth Chandlee
Curtis Mills
Mary Ann and Clarke Otten
Mark Amick
Joan Borzilleri
Norm Broadwell
Jeff Dufresne
James Farris
Byron Foster
Kim Gauger
Bill Lusk
Connie Mashburn
Robert Meyers
Charlie Roberts
Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman
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