Historical Collections of Georgia by George White

Polk County

This is a new county laid out in 1851. It is bounded east by Paulding, west by the state of Alabama, south by Carroll, and north by Floyd and Cass. Length, 24 m; breath; 20 m. Named after the late James K. Polk, President of the United States. The streams are Pumpkin Pile, Euharlee, Cedar, etc. In some parts the lands are of excellent quality, yielding cotton, corn, wheat, rye, etc., Cedartown, in Cedar Valley, is the capital, handsomely located, 18 miles from Rome, 25 from Dallas, and 9 from Cave Spring. At Cedartown is one of the finest limestone springs in the state. It is surrounded by a beautiful natural growth of cedar. The spring affords water sufficient to move machinery of several horse-power. It is proposed to supply the town with water by means of a hydraulic dam. We feel peculiar pleasure in stating that the citizens of this county take a deep interest in the subject of education. At Cedartown there is an excellent school called the Woodlawn Seminary under the direction of the Rev. Mr. Wood, a gentleman of very superior qualifications. The institution is yet in its infancy, but we feel confident that it will soon occupy a high rank among the many resorts of learning of which Georgia may justly be proud. The following are the names of some of the persons living in the county at the time of its organization, viz; Thomas H. Sparks, Dr. E. H. Richardson, Wm. Peek, Asa Prior, Col. Springer, R. C. Gibson, Wm. F. Janes, W. E. West, G. W. West, James O. Griggs, B. F. Bigelow, W. O. B. Whatley, B. Crabb. The first Superior court in this county was held on the second Monday of September 1852.

This was also reprinted in The Cedartown Standard on March 20, 1919


 

 

THE RECORD CEDARTOWN, GA, JUNE 12, 1875

Regarding the:  "Early History of Polk County"

BY ONE OF THE FIRST SETTLERS

Slick & Company, Cleantown, Cedartown... a whole lot of Indian tales here...

Cleantown was also named by the Indians, in the language the most stinking and filthy name they could think of, in order, as they said, to suit the class and character of the people who lived around it. The white people, though, modestly called it Cleantown.

Cedar Valley, during the summer and fall of 1832, was settled by a few scattering white families, generally respectable and honest, and a great number of poor, degraded Indians, reduced to poverty, they said, by the “Pony Club,” who had stolen all their horses, cows, hogs and money, and they would frequently track up their horses and cows, and be afraid to claim them, as the Pony Club were cruel to persons hunting stolen property, and would frequently lynch an Indian for no other crime than claiming his own property.

A large majority of the settlers of Cleantown, or Euharley [sic] valley at that time, were members of the Pony Club, with some good, honest, respectable citizens among them. But this class was generally forced to keep dark, or say nothing as to the acts or doings of the Club. In fact it was dangerous for a citizen of Cedar Valley to come out and openly oppose the Club. They were a set of men who had fled from justice from the States, and had banded themselves together for the express purpose of thieving, with a regular set of by-laws, said to be similar to those of Murrell. They had the Indians perfectly submissive, but the better class of the whites, as they would move in, were disposed to resist their conduct. The good people were finally forced to form what was known as the “Slick Company,” for the protection of persons and property [this part missing from the scanned document] them for stealing a horse or anything else on a certain day; he would frequently get two or three witness from Alabama or some other place, to come over and swear that he was in Alabama or Tennessee on the same day the horse was stolen, and the result was, a bill of costs to pay and the thief set free; hence the necessity for the Slick Company.

When a citizen of Cedar Valley lost a horse, he would summon his Slick Company and track up his horse, and when overtaken, they would take both thief they would take both thief and horse over into Floyd county or Alabama, and give him from thirty-nine to sixty-six lashes on his bare back, and he would frequently confess or reveal the fact of all the horses and cattle that had been stolen for months previous, where traded and by whom stolen.

In the fall, or winter, of 1832, thirty head of fat hogs had been stolen from a pea field in Vann’s Valley, from the old man West, familiarly known as Cherokee West, while the men folks were attending an Indian council above Rome. They were followed to Villa Ricca, but the hogs had been killed and sold out to the miners. Zeke and John, sons of Cherokee West, who were in pursuit, learned the names of the parties who stole the hogs, and they were both large, portly young men, who feared neither God, man nor devil, finally caught one or two of the thieves, and gave each sixty-six lashes or their bare backs, and marked in the same mark of the stolen hogs. The thieves then left this country, and I don’t suppose they ever returned.

The law had been extended over the Cherokee purchase, embracing ten counties, and but one Sheriff and Clerk for this large territory. These officers resided in Cherokee county, near Canton, at which place the Court was held, and all other legal business transacted for the whole purchase, consequently the good people of this valley were forced to take the law into their own hands to protect themselves and property.

Nearly every week during the winters of 1832 and 1833 Scouts would come from Cleantown to Cedartown, with the threat that every man in Cedar valley who was a member of the Slick Company who did not leave the county in three days, would be either hung, shot or whipped. I had forgotten to mention that a great many low, degraded Indians were engaged with the Pony Club, more as guides or “lackey boys,” to do their low work. The pure,full blooded Indians, unadulterated by the whites, were honest, and denounced stealing or anything dishonest.

As but few of the younger people in this country ever saw an Indian, I will give a short description of the Cherokee Indian. The men were generally tall, large boned and well formed, with black eyes, coarse black, hair, high cheek bones, large mouth and thick lips, and generally walked straight and erect, and are of a red or copper color. They are fickle and impetuous; very kind to their friends, but vindictive and cruel to their enemies. Their dress consists of moccasins, made of deer skin, and leggin’s of the same, which reaches to the upper part of the thigh; an apron or breast cloth passes between their legs, and attached to a belt around their loins, and commonly a blue hunting shirt covers the upper part of the body, and a large red handkerchief tied around the head. Thus rigged, with a few drinks of whisky added, and its “big Ingin me!” The women are generally short, with fine feminine features, well shaped faces, with some expression of mildness. They perform most of the hard labor, while the men lie up in their idleness and have two or three wives to wait on them.

The legislature of 1832 passed an act to organize each of the ten counties comprising the Cherokee purchase, and the election for county officers of Paulding county came off on the first Monday in march, 1833. The contest was first, as to where the election should be held, Cleantown or Cedartown, Every effort and all sorts of tricks were resorted to on both sides, but orders were finally issued for the election to be held at Cedartown. In a short time a large number of distinguished names were before the people as candidates for the various offices, and the old feuds appeared to die down as the canvas progressed. Cedartown and Cleantown passed and repassed until election day. . Everybody entitled to vote in the county was in Cedartown at the election, and every man had his rifle or shot gun with him, and handed in his vote with gun in hand. The election passed of quietly till late in the afternoon.

"The end result after the Slick's came in" ... E. R. Forsyth was elected Clerk Superior Court, Elisha Brooks, Clerk Inferior Court; Isaiah C. York and Wm. S. Houge, Sheriffs, Woodson Hubbard, J. G. Deritt, James Cleghorn, John Lawrence and James Johnson were elected Judges Inferior Court. Cedar Valley got many of the offices, and several prominent men were candidates. This valley at that time possessed more wealth and intelligence than any other portion of the county.

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