In the mid 1800's, after the time of the Native American settlers, the Tugaloo Bend Heritage Park was a working farm for approximately 110 years.
During that time, various crops were farmed and harvested along with the raising of livestock.
What is known about farm life to this point is chronicled below. Be sure to also view the photos below for scenes of the working farm during that time.
The Stephens County Foundation purchased the property from Channing "Bill" Hayes in 2002.
Mr. Hayes recollects the history of the propery in his own words below.
"This history is necessarily subject to error because it is based entirely on recollections of past conversations.
The first people to occupy this land that I am aware of were the Scotts. Mr. Scott was a son-in-law of the Prathers, and Mrs. Scott was the sister of Mrs. Martin who owned the farm presently known as the Johns' farm. The rock ledge in the river midway of the farm was known as Scott Shoal.
The original plantation house, c1853, (since taken down) and the barn and other major improvements were built during this period. It is presumed that slaves provided most of the labor. The .fields were ditched and the streams were re-routed to create the present appearance. Brush was laid in the old stream beds and covered over. The land in the cove was also cultivated. Mr. "Bonn" England owned the farm for a time. The Englands are prominent in Westminster, South Carolina. I do not know if Mr. England acquired the land from the Scott family. My grandfather, Sam D. Rothell, grew up on Brass Town creek and he remembered Mr. England very well. He also recalled that the Englands grew what was called "upland rice" on the place. The Prathers operated a rice mill to process the crop.
The farm was bought by Mr. Henry Moseley possibly with a partner about the turn of the 20th century. A map prepared by a surveyor named Kinsey showed that the farm extended from just north of Walker's Creek to the Johns' place. There was a considerable amount of mountain land that was joined to the farm by a narrow neck at the top of the mountain. It ran back toward Black Mountain. That part, known as Mozeley's mountain farm, was sold to the Forestry Service.
Some time later, Mr .Moseley sold an unsurveyed piece of land to the predecessor of the Georgia Power Company, and that tract extended from the mouth of Walker Creek to the head of the cultivated field. It extended part way up the mountain across the road and back to the river where the cropland begins. This gave the power company possession of the "logjam" in the river. The river, however, was listed as navigable to Panther Creek. The power company subsequently built the dam at Yonah.
That transaction caused me no end of trouble. The sale agreement stipulated that no "bottom land" was included in the sale. The power company surveyed the line at a later date and put in ground stakes where they thought the line should be. Their line excluded the bottomland.
There is no intelligible record of the survey ---only a non-intelligible plat recorded in the county record book. Ground stakes notwithstanding, the Power Company wanted me to pay them $500 for a Quit Claim deed, which I refused to do.
My grandmother was angry with my grandfather when he bought the farm from Mr. Mozeley's estate in the mid 1930's because she thought he already had too much to look after and he told her he bought the farm for me. He had Mr. Matt Collier make a plat of it but unfortunately this plat did not agree with where John Paul Johns and Henry Mozeley believed the line lay.
By the time Grandaddy bought the place, the barn was in poor condition. I was then about eleven years old. I remember swinging on the end of the prize poles the workmen used to straighten out the building, while they heaved away at it! Grandaddy also built a "rent barn" at the foot of the hill. I was twelve then. As we were nailing the doors, he told me that I should tell my grandchildren that I had worked on those doors!
When we were working on the barns, Grandaddy and I would eat our lunch at the "spout spring. " There was a large area round the spring and enough trees to provide shade before the highway was built. This was a favorite resting place in olden times for people from Panther Creek, Brass Town, and the upper Tugaloo. It was said that "there was more corn likker drunk there than arie place in Georgia!"
In past years, A. Paul Johns had been a tenant on the farm. John Paul Johns told me that they moved off the place while he was still wearing dresses! John Alford was another tenant. He won a watch one year when farming there for being the champion corn grower in the State of Georgia. After Grandaddy bought the farm, it was farmed by Jim Payne and "Megg" Meeks. Mr. Meeks was the father of Cleo Johns.
When I came back from the service in 1946, I went back to the University of Tennessee to complete my degree program. After that I came back and raised a small crop. In 1947 O.C. Williams and Red Walker's boys were farming the place too. In 1951, I went to work in New York City and left the farm with the Walkers for five years. I came back in 1956 and farmed the place full time. I raised corn, soy beans, grain sorghum, barley, millet, cattle and hogs. I also planted improved pasture.
I made farrowing stalls for sows on the ground floor of the old barn and used the front of the barn to keep bins for the feed I ground from the grains raised on the place. I kept a flock of 500 White Leghorn hens in the upstairs of the old barn. In the early 1960's, I had Mr. Ryder cut enough timber to build a new house on the hill overlooking the farm. When we could spare time from the field work, my helpers and I built the house as it stands today (2000)
In a few years it became apparent that when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed for the Hartwell Dam, the engineers had left out a contour line. This oversight made the property appear to be at least five feet higher than it actually was. And after the dam was completed and they began filling the reservoir, much of the rich bottomland flooded.
I concluded by 1964 that there was not enough arable acreage left for me to make a decent living and began working in New York State. I was transferred to Missouri in 1970. I sold the land across the highway in order to pay for the house I had built there.
Throughout all the years of its history, Indian artifacts have been found on the land ---old rifles, beads, pottery, arrowheads and such. I hope this brief history will be helpful and I appreciate
VIEWS FROM THE WORKING FARM
Tugaloo Bend Heritage Park site looks very different today than it did when it was a working farm during the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Scroll through the slide show for a glimpse of the working farm through all four seasons. For the complete archive of photos of life on the farm, click on the button below.