Conn’s Creek Baptist
The story of Conn’s Creek Baptist is primarily the story of the founder, Samuel Conn, and the continuing saga of Georgia’s growth through acquisition of more and more of the Cherokee nation. The exact history of Samuel Conn is not certain but what is certain is that he and his wife Elizabeth acquired land in the early 1830’s in what is now Cherokee county near the community of Ballground. Several stories mention that he got along well with the local Cherokees and may have been part Cherokee himself. According to one version ‘While in Georgia, Samuel traded a pack of ponies to an Indian chief for a tract of land, dissected by a creek, upon which he built a cabin, then later a house. He also donated part of the land for a school and a church–both of which are still in existence’.
Coexistence between early pioneers and the Cherokees in the 1820’s and 30’s was difficult at best and the discovery of gold made the situation worse when fortune seekers came pouring into Cherokee land. Sixes Mine, on the site of present-day Sixes Mill, was one of the first in the area. The gold from this mine was noted as some of the purest in the state. In fact, according to White’s 1849 statistical abstract it was second only to the gold found in Carroll County. Other mining operations were in production along the Etowah River and the Little River. With the signing of the Treaty of New Echota on December 26, 1835 by a small faction of the Cherokee Nation, and its approval by the Senate of the United States on May 18, 1836 by a single vote, the Cherokee were coerced into giving up their land and moving west. In May 1838 members of the Georgia Guard and the U. S. Army began rounding up Cherokee Indians and moving them to Fort Bluffington, near the Etowah River east of Canton. The conflict over land leading to the Cherokee Trail of Tears is a familiar one in this part of Georgia and is the central theme of these early Georgia pioneers.
In the beginning, Samuel built a one room log house on a high knoll about two miles from the present location of Conn’s Creek Baptist Church. Later, he expanded the house to include 2 stories and 2 fireplaces. He was quite an entrapraneur and was a stalwart of the community, farming the land around Conn’s Creek and also owning a grist mill in Pickens Co. Samuel was also a deacon of Conn’s Creek Baptist Church and was a member for 26 years. He and Elizabeth had 13 children that lived into adulthood, including 6 sons that served in the Confederacy. In 1873, Samuel Conn had an accidental death in which the barn loft full of corn caved in on him and he was buried beneath the corn which caused him to smother to death.