(This piece was contributed by Dianne Wood – Cowetafamilies@yahoo.com) The Newnan Herald, Friday, February 27, 1925 Following an Indian Trail Across Coweta County Ninety-eight Years Ago (now longer – originally written in 1827!).
In a book written fifty years ago by Absalom H. Chappell, entitled, “Miscellanies of Georgia”, we find this interesting account of a journey to Coweta’s lost town, Bullsboro:
“Having delivered to the Clerk of Superior Court of Troup County information against sundry lots of land charged to have been fraudulently drawn in the then recent land lottery. I inquired how I could get to Bullsboro, the recently chosen judicial site of Coweta County, where I had similar business. Nobody could tell. Luckily the Sheriff arrived at this juncture. He told me there was no road to Bullsboro, and that my best way would be to go home with him and take a trail that ran up the Chattahoochee river. Next morning he told me to take a trail which he directed me how to find and to follow it up the river some 20 or 25 miles when it must begin to look out for some route striking into the interior of the county of Coweta . He knew there was such a route, but did not know how far off it was. I soon found myself in this second King’s Trail” == he calls the trails that we designate Indian trails, “King’s trails”-“ascending the country, and as I jogged along in the little, narrow, well-defined path, just wide enough for a single footman or a horse, and along which no bush had ever been cut away, no wheel had ever rolled. At first I could not help feeling some misgiving as to the persistent continuity of my little path, and dreaded lest it might give out, or in the phrase of the new settlers, ‘take a sapling’ and leave me alone in the trackless woods; and once, indeed, when the day was pretty far advanced, it seemed to …both tracks were so dim that I was in doubt which to take. But clinging almost instinctively to the western or river side, I soon found myself riding along the bank of a considerable water course, which I felt no pleasure at the prospect of having to ford. While this anxiety was yet strong upon me, suddenly the trail plunged into piece of rich bottom land, evidently an old Indian clearing, but now grown up into a dense thicket of young trees and clustering vines, which overreached and darkened the narrow way. But the little path continued distinct and unobstructed, and when I was expecting to come where I should be obliged to risk fording the stream, behold I began to ascend a hill. It grew lighter and lighter, and soon I was on a clear, open hilltop, with the shining waters of the Chattahoochee flashing in the sunlight before me and a plain, open road inviting me, leading eastwardly from the river. Few contrasts have I ever encountered in my life more thrilling and joyous that the almost instantaneous transition from that dark thicket to this bright scene. It was Grayson’s Landing on which I stood as I afterwards learned – a place much noted in old times as a crossing in the Indian trade. (Grayson’s Landing is now 1874, I have heard, not quite so noted a crossing as in old Indian times, though it is still a crossing, under the name of Philpot’s Ferry, in Heard County, just below the mount of the New River, which is the identical river, then certainly entirely new to me, that I so much dreaded to cross the spring of in 1827). It took its name from Grayson, a Scotchman, who was a great Indian trader eighty or ninety years ago, and whose name sometimes occurs in the American State papers on Indian Affairs. He trafficked and traveled and lived among the Indians until, becoming rich and attached to them, he ended by taking an Indian wife and settling down permanently in the Indian country at the Hillabee towns, some distance to the west or southwest from this point on the Chattahoochee. As I paused for awhile on the beautiful overlooking hill that sloped down the river bank, gazing around and breathing freer, I little thought on what historic ground I was standing, or that the eastwardly road, the slight of which was still making my heart leap, was only a modern widening of still another Indian trail – a fact I learned subsequently. It had been wrought into a wagon road during the previous winter by the hauling of corn and provisions from the not very remote settlements, to be floated down the Chattahoochee from this point for the supply of new settlers on both sides of the river. My faithful steed felt no less that myself, the inspiring change from the petty trail he had been treading all day through the woods to the bright, open track that flow solicited him, and he sprang forward with rapid, elastic steps that brought me a little after nightfall to my destination – rude but hospitable Bullsboro – some two or three miles north of the beaten road along which I had been pushing hard during the afternoon.”