Winter 2021
News & Updates from
the Milton Historical Society
In this issue:

  • MHS First Annual Shindig
  • Remembering Sequoyah
  • Landmark Hiding in Plain Sight: McConnell-Chadwick House
  • Local History Heroes!
  • Evening Speakers' Series Schedule for 2022

Scroll down to catch all the news!
Milton Historical Society hosts
First Annual Shindig
The Milton Historical Society hosted its First Annual Shindig on a magnificent farm owned by Laura & Byron Foster, called Wildberry Creek Farm, in Milton, Georgia.

A ‘shindig’ was a ritual practiced a century ago around September to celebrate the Fall harvest. After months of farming cotton, peanuts, corn… folks would gather around a farm house to tell stories, feast, dance …and pass around a bottle of exquisite homemade moonshine for libations!

On September 25, 2021, fellow history buffs and friends of the Milton Historical Society gathered to feast on real Southern BBQ, Bluegrass music, historical exhibits, hay rides, and outdoor fun for families.

Patrons who joined or renewed at the event, as well as the following week’s Crabapple Fest, and recent evening programs, include:
Robert Ballard
Kristi and Paul Beckler
Sabrina Chotkowski
Jeanne and Bob Coats
Steve Cory
Catherine Everett
Dennis Everhart
Kelly Finley
Carlos Garcia
Brenda and Brett Giles
Katie and Ian Griffin
Marlene Hitt
Megan and Peyton Jamison
Jeff Johnson
Larry Johnstone
Matt Kunz
Lynna and Brian Lee
Carole Madan
Kat and Jeff Meier
Pat Miller
Martha and Sonny Murphy
Julie and Kurt Nolte
Marjorie and Clayton Pond
Julie and Ronnie Rondem
Mary Sandefur
Gary Schramm
Shannon and Tony Sheppard
Jami Tucker
Jeff White
Byron Foster mans his tractor
on a hayride
Jim Farris displays his antique cars
Bluegrass and BBQ -
a perfect day!
Celebrating 200 years of the
Cherokee Written Language

Editor’s Note: The Milton Historical Society would be remiss if we let the year pass and did not mark the 200th anniversary of the Cherokee Syllabary, developed by Sequoyah. The system is based on syllables rather than letters.
Why it is important to remember Sequoyah!

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, TN observed Sequoyah Remembrance Day, Sunday, August 1, 2021 with free admission to the museum. 

Sequoyah, an intellectually-gifted member of the Cherokee Nation, died in August of 1843; we do not know what day he died. We’ve chosen the first Sunday in August to remember Sequoyah and his life.

“This is a day to remember the man who gave the Cherokee people their own written language,” said Charlie Rhodarmer, museum manager/director.

“In 5,000 years of human civilization, Sequoyah is the only person, not literate in any language, who created a written language for his people.”

Sequoyah was born circa 1776 in the village of Tuskegee, near modern day Vonore. He spent most of his life in the Overhill Cherokee area, where he began creating a Cherokee writing system.

After 12 years of work, Sequoyah finished the Syllabary in 1821 while living in Willstown, Ala. The Cherokee Nation adopted the Syllabary and within two years most of the Cherokee people had become literate in their own language. After living a brief time in Arkansas, Sequoyah moved to the Indian Territory, which today is Oklahoma.

In 1842 Sequoyah volunteered to go with other Cherokees to find a group of Cherokees that had left the Overhill area during the American Revolution and had headed toward Texas or Mexico. Sequoyah died on this trip in August 1843. There are several stories about how Sequoyah died and it is not known where he is buried.

The GA Trail of Tears Association includes this statement about Sequoyah in their new Traveling Trunk Teacher's Guide:

"Sequoyah spoke only Cherokee but he had enough contact with European colonists that he understood the importance of the written word. He had a dream to create a written language for the Cherokee. His syllabary enabled his people to communicate, record, and share information throughout their nation. After the official acceptance of the syllabary in 1825, the Cherokee established a strong government and ratified their own constitution. The fact that the Cherokee became a literate nation forever changed the Cherokee people.”

Although we do not have an authentic portrait of Sequoyah, the above image is by Henry Inman (McKinney and Hall Prints). Sequoyah is also depicted on the bronze doors of the Library of Congress and his statue resides in Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Credits: Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
In September 2021, Wanda Patterson spoke about the significant contribution of Sequoyah to the Cherokee nation at the Georgia Trail of Tears meeting at the Funk Heritage Center at Rinehardt University. Wanda displayed the quilt she created to honor Sequoyah and explained the significance of objects depicted on the quilt in his life. These include pages of The Phoenix, the Cherokee syllabary and English language newspaper printed at New Echota, Cherokee capital in North Georgia.

Wanda is a charter member of the Georgia Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association and a well-known speaker on Cherokee history and life. She is a member of the DAR, co-chair of the State American Indians Committee and serves on the State Regent’s Speakers Staff. She is an award winning quilter, painter, gourd artist, and author.
A Landmark Hiding in Plain Sight:
The McConnell-Chadwick House

An Architectural Study of a Milton Treasure
By Robert Gamble

The McConnell-Chadwick house (circa 1840-50) taken a few years ago. The interesting old well shelter may still be seen at the left of the main house.

Linked with two pioneer Milton-area families, the McConnell-Chadwick house is also architecturally important as a more-modest “country cousin” of such celebrated Greek Revival residences in nearby Roswell as Bulloch Hall and the Francis Minhinnett house on Mimosa Boulevard. In fact, ongoing research points increasingly to the likelihood that the same architect/builders were involved -- notably, Connecticut-born Willis Ball or at least one of his skilled crew of artisans. Originally from Windsor in the Connecticut River Valley, Ball seems to have remained in the South, dying in the Tallahassee area after the Civil War. 
The bold, high gable with simple classical trim that dominates the front of the McConnell-Chadwick house (and some of its Roswell counterparts) is much more typical of the Greek Revival style in New England and the Northeast than that of the Deep South. The same is true for the small neoclassical portico that once framed the main door (Georgians tended to prefer long, hospitable front porches like the one that eventually replaced the narrow portico at the McConnell-Chadwick house).
The interior layout, centering on a high-ceilinged bisecting hallway, also seems to be a nod to the traditional southern lifestyle, since such through-halls are much more the exception than the rule in the Northeast. Likewise the long kitchen wing at the rear, originally separated from the main house by an open breezeway, reflects the southern preference for cooking facilities that were separated or semi-detached from the main house. The single long upstairs room currently seen in the house, big enough for a dormitory or a “frolic” (as the old-timers used to say), remains a puzzle -- one of several about this place.

According to Mr. Gamble, “I don’t think it can be emphasized enough how such a house – white-painted, with louvered shutters and a small classical portico – must’ve stood out in an 1850 north Georgia landscape of log cabins and rustic farmhouses. When the house was completed, there may not have been another residence like it between Roswell and Marietta. It was a nod to incoming ‘civilization’ (at least as antebellum Americans viewed it), and a testament to the standing of its owner in the community.”  
Sketch showing the restored facade with its Greek Revival-style Doric entrance portico, later replaced by the present full-length front porch. White-painted, with window shutters perhaps a contrasting dark green, this fashionable house must have stood in sharp contrast to the simple homesteads of the surrounding countryside. Fortunately, the four fluted columns were retained and 'recycled' as supports when the existing porch was constructed. Traces of the hinges that secured the louvered shutters protecting each window are still visible.

The fluted pilasters flanking the sidelights and handsomely-paneled front door indicate the narrow width of the original portico. The pilasters would have corresponded with the portico's outer two columns.
The wooden Doric columns at the McConnell-Chadwick house are nearly identical to the pair of columns forming a screen in the main hallway at Bulloch Hall.

Doorway trim inside the McConnell-Chadwick house
An engraved plate from The Architect, or Practical House Carpenter, illustrating suggested trim for a doorway.

Trim throughout the house, like that at Bulloch Hall and other Roswell structures attributed to Willis Ball, was clearly adapted from The Architect, or Practical House-Carpenter, published in 1830 by the nationally influential Boston architect-builder, Asher Benjamin.

Author Robert Gamble supplied the content and photos for this article. Bob served as the Senior Architectural Historian for the State of Alabama (retired), on staff at the U.S. Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the National Register of Historic Places, and the National Historic Landmarks Program.
History Heroes in Our Midst!
A number of history ‘friends’ of the Milton Historical Society have been honored or memorialized this year. The Society would like to spotlight the following folks who have contributed their dedication and talent to tell the story of the North Fulton community.

Milton High School 100th Anniversary Hall of Fame inductees:
  • Connie Mashburn
  • Aubrey Morris

City of Alpharetta proclamation honoree: Pat Miller

Remembering a major history contributor: William "Billy" Bates
Connie Mashburn  -  Milton High School Class of 1959
Over forty years ago, Mashburn became a charter member of the Alpharetta Historical Society (now Alpharetta & Old Milton County Historical Society). He has served as the group’s archivist, president, and historian. In 2006, Connie was chosen by the city of Alpharetta to author a book on local history to celebrate the city’s sesquicentennial. In 2015, Connie was appointed to serve on the newly created historic preservation commission. Connie was asked to lead the effort to record local Alpharetta residents and over 80 interviews have been captured. 

In 2018, Connie became a founding member and Resident Historian of the Milton Historical Society. Connie was asked to curate the City of Alpharetta’s new history museum. In March of 2018 the grand opening was held at city hall where Mayor Pro-Tem Donald Mitchell dedicated the museum to Connie, acknowledging his sixty years of experience and dedication to historical preservation in Alpharetta and designating him as the Official Historian of the City of Alpharetta. Connie has given over 100 presentations on local history to North Fulton groups and is currently serving on the Milton High School 100th Anniversary Committee.

Long interested in his Scottish heritage, Connie became a member of the St. Andrews Society and a Fellow of Antiquaries of Scotland. Connie was a member of the local Piedmont Chapter of Sons of the Revolution (SAR). 

Early athletic success and career
Connie was vice president of his senior class at Milton High School, and was voted wittiest male by his senior classmates. A talented athlete, highlights include: 
  • Connie was a three-year letterman and point guard on the basketball team. 
  • In track, he was a first place medalist as a high jumper.
  • A four-year varsity baseball player, Connie was awarded a scholarship to play baseball at UGA. 

After completing his active-duty tour with the U.S. Air Force, he enrolled at Georgia State University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. After college, Connie was hired as an auditor trainee by Southern Railway (later Norfolk Southern Corporation) and retired after 35 years as Director of Revenue Accounting. 
Aubrey Morris - Milton High School Class of 1940
While a student at Milton High School, Aubrey’s favorite and most influential teacher was his English teacher, Miss Chrisler. His job during high school was as the ‘rural reporter’ for the Atlanta Journal, a job that he loved. After Milton, Aubrey graduated from the University of Georgia Henry W. Grady College of Journalism in 1945. As a UGA student he was editor of the school newspaper, The Red and Black, and also editor of the Pandora, the UGA yearbook. After UGA, Aubrey was hired as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal and spent 13 years as the newspaper’s police reporter.

He gained fame by being the first reporter on the scene of the 1946 Winecoff Hotel fire which killed 119 people in Atlanta. 

In 1957, the WSB radio program director hired Aubrey to create and manage the news department. Aubrey served as the WSB News and Editorial Director for over 30 years. He was known for his persistence in gaining interviews with important people. He interviewed every president from Truman through Reagan. After the 1962 Orly Airport crash in France in which 122 Atlanta arts patrons were killed, Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen took only one reporter with him to Paris: Aubrey Morris.

Aubrey was inducted into the Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame and became the first recipient of the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Spirit Award. His portrait hangs on the Demosthenian Literary Society Wall of Fame at UGA. After retiring from WSB and coming back home to the Milton area, Aubrey wrote over 150 columns for the Alpharetta & Roswell ReVue and other newspapers that have been donated to the Milton Historical Society.
Pat Miller - Honored by Alpharetta City Council
Pat Miller is a Founding Member of the Milton Historical Society and was instrumental in aiding the research of Milton’s Historical Markers.

Pat has deep roots in the North Fulton area through her Tatum ancestors and tells wonderful stories about the amazing number of interesting people in her family tree.

On August 16, 2021, the City of Alpharetta honored Pat with a Proclamation by the City Council. Pat was recognized for:

  • Leading the Alpharetta and Old Milton County Historical Society for four years. During that time, the Future Farmers of America (FFA) Log Cabin was moved and restored. 
  • Spending countless hours working with the City of Alpharetta History Museum committee.
  • Working to make the downtown historical markers more informative and expanding the marker program to properties outside of the downtown area.
  • Founding the North Fulton History Alliance, bringing together the presidents of the four North Fulton historical societies to explore ways to work together to preserve area history and educate citizens.
  • Bringing the Wreaths Across America program to several local cemeteries.
  • Establishing local history reference sections at Milton High School and several North Fulton County libraries.
  • Assisting numerous citizens with genealogical research.

In January of 2020, Pat was also recognized with a Distinguished Service Award by the Roswell Historical Society for her contributions to Roswell history and preservation and to the greater North Fulton area as well.

Pat is the sixth generation of her family to live in Atlanta. She has a BA in Radio/Television Journalism from the University of Georgia. Following graduation, Pat worked at WETV (now WPBA) and WABE-FM, public television and radio stations owned by the Atlanta Board of Education. She was a founding member of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and wrote the first two local Emmy telecasts.

Pat serves on the Board of the Roswell Historical Society and writes the historical markers in both Roswell and Alpharetta. 

Pat’s current projects include working with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation to present a tour of historic homes and sites in the spring of 2023. She is also working with a developer who plans to preserve and re-purpose the historic Bailey-Johnson School, and with a group of history lovers who are developing a plan to restore the McConnell-Chadwick House.

Pat Miller is an inspiration to all who have great ideas - she helps move those ideas into actions, benefitting the entire community!
Remembering William "Billy" Bates

Born on April 24, 1926 in Milton County, William (Billy) Shirley Bates remained a lifelong resident of Alpharetta. He was a graduate and senior class president of Milton High School. He joined the U.S. Navy, serving in the Pacific area during World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1945. After the war Mr. Bates returned to Alpharetta and became part of his family’s grocery business in the center of rural Alpharetta. Bates and Wood Grocery served the surrounding community for well over 40 years.

After closing the store in 1986, he pursued his many interests and became an expert in each: fishing, furniture building, rock and arrowhead hunting, beekeeping, vegetable farming. Yet he will be most remembered for his devotion to preserving the history of the Alpharetta area and genealogy of its many families. He became involved in identifying and surveying old and abandoned cemeteries. Working with other local historians, he helped identify information on early residents of the community long before computers became a popular tool.

Mr. Bates provided valuable insight into what is called ‘Farmhouse’ which many researchers agree is the site of the original location of the City of Alpharetta. He led initial efforts and worked with community leaders in restoring the town’s historic Log Cabin, which he helped build in 1935 as a member of the Future Farmers of America while attending Milton High School. He was active in starting the Alpharetta and Old Milton County Historical Society and served many years on the board as its historian.

While history can be found in textbooks, to listen to someone like Billy Bates tell many stories of how his community grew and changed over 100 years is priceless.

All his study, research, and documentation is being left for others to use and enjoy. On May 1, 2021, the Patriots of Liberty Chapter honored Mr. Bates with the Daughters of American Revolution Preservation Recognition Award.

Bob Meyers, Director Emeritus of the Milton Historical Society and Billy's first cousin, wrote the eulogy for Billy’s memorial service. “Billy grew up on a 35-acre farm in a white house that still stands on the corner of Bethany Bend and Hopewell Road. Billy’s dad bought the farm in about 1923 and kept it until the prices for farm products were so low that he sold it to go into the grocery business with Billy. The original house burned down in 1931 when Billy was five years old. Billy told me that Uncle William, his Dad, paid $10.00 per 1000 board feet of lumber to rebuild the house. The lumber was carried to the building site by mule and wagon. Billy had a great memory for details.”

Other friends and relatives who shared their memories of Billy in the eulogy, include: Sally Shirley David, Barry Mansell, Norm Broadwell, and Connie Mashburn.

Jackie Angel, Connie Mashburn, Northside Chapel Funeral Home, and Bob Meyers contributed to this article.
Kind Words from the Milton Business Community...

“I am proud of the role the Milton Historical Society plays in preserving the story of Milton’s past and chronicling current events for the benefit of future generations. Our shared history deserves vibrant discussion and interpretation. I urge everyone to support the work of our historical society.”
Adam Orkin, Co-founder Crabapple Market

“Our community is experiencing unprecedented growth that will improve the lives of current and future residents. At the same time, we should not lose sight of the history that has made our success possible. The Milton Historical Society plays a vital role in preserving our story.
John Herbert, 2021 Chairman, Milton Business Council
Coming Attractions...

Milton Historical Society events and programs scheduled for 2021-2022:

  • December 14, 2021 - Patron Holiday Party
  • January 11, 2022 - Sue VerHoef, Director of Oral History and Genealogy at the Atlanta History Center, How to Organize and Maintain Your Genealogy Files at the MIlton Library
  • February 8, 2022 - Wanda Patterson, Georgia Trail of Tears
  • March 8, 2022 - Dr. Kate Wilson, Associate History Professor at Georgia State University, Oral History: Folklore and Folklife
  • April 12, 2022 - Mark Amick, The John Milton Story
  • May 10, 2022 - Ed Malowney, Barbara Latham, Connie Mashburn, Old Milton Post Offices

Watch this space for more information on confirmed dates and venues!
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

** An additional 2021 gift of $250 was made in honor of Robert Meyers

Corporate Sponsors
Lithic Genealogy Group
The William B. Orkin Foundation

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

Family Patrons
Robert Ballard
Kristi and Paul Beckler
Joan Borzilleri
Jeanne and Bob Coates
Mary and Gregg Cronk
Amy Dubroc
Dennis Everhart
Linda and James Farris
Kelly Finley
Laura Foster
Carlos Garcia
Brenda and Brett Giles
Katie and Ian Griffin
Family Patrons (cont'd)
Megan and Peyton Jamison
Kat and Jeff Meier
Pat Miller
Martha and Sonny Murphy
Marjorie and Clayton Pond
Mary Sandefur
Shannon and Tony Sheppard
Jami Tucker

Individual Patrons
Steve Cory
Marlene Hitt
Jeff Johnson
Larry Johnstone
Matt Kunz
Lynna and Brian Lee
Carole Madan
Elizabeth Montgomery
Gary Schramm
Lynn Tinley
Jeff White

Student Patrons
Sabrina Chotkowski
Catherine Everett

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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