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Our History: Let's Go Back in Time

Ever wonder what Downtown Douglasville looked like more than one hundred years ago?

Editor's note: Lisa Cooper's newest work can be found at douglascountyhistory.blogspot.com.

This week I want you to imagine yourself traveling back through time to the spot where the old courthouse is located in downtown Douglasville. There you are–standing on the sidewalk on Broad Street facing where the old building is today. All the buildings along Douglasville's main street have fallen away and suddenly the street noise has ceased.

What do you see?

What?

A group of Cherokee Indians standing alongside a chestnut tree that has had all the bark scraped off?

Oops.   Sorry.   You've gone back too far.  

Move ahead in time a little from that spot.

There.  Try that. 

What do you see?

Yes, it's okay that you still see the very large chestnut tree. Do you see any people? Yes, you are in the right place if you see a wagon with a white man and white woman.

The year is 1835 and the land where you stand is still part of Campbell County.   Douglas County will not exist for another 35 years, and very soon the ten-mile-wide No-Man's Land separating the Creek and Cherokee Nations will no longer be necessary. The strip of land had been created in 1821 by the state of Georgia as a buffer zone between the Lower Creek Nation and the southernmost settlements of the Cherokee Nation since they fought constantly. The agreement stated the natives could not settle within the buffer zone but could hunt and fish there.  

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was the death knell to the Creeks and Cherokees in Georgia. The Creeks ceded their lands and were removed from the state in 1832, and by 1838, following a lengthy court battle the Cherokees would walk that long Trail of Tears.

While there were many wagons with white settlers entering western Georgia one in particular is important to the Douglasville story–that would be the wagon carrying W.G. Black and his wife, Sarah. They had traveled all the way from Carrabus, North Carolina along the Indian trails to Campbell County, Georgia.  At the Chattahoochee River they crossed at Buzzards Roost, an island in the middle of the river, and finally made their way along the trail to the lone chestnut tree high up on a ridge within No-Man's Land.

Black decided to settle on the land staking out a claim on both sides of the trail.  Soon he saw the advantages of his location as more and more wagons passed his place close to the tree that would become known as Skint Chestnut. W.G. Black set up a trading post, dug a well, and set up a few camping spots for travelers to rest along their journey.  

Trading posts were necessary in those days just like we need convenience stories, fast-food joints, hotels and motels today when we take long trips.   Travelers could meet up with other people, hear the latest news, purchase and barter necessary items, and most importantly they could rest.

W.G.Black and his wife are both buried at Winn Wilson Cemetery found on N. Flat Rock Road off Cedar Mountain Road in the woods behind the Rufus Nicholson farm (as of 1977) northwest of Douglasville per this website.

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