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.
The most interesting parts of what is now Conn's Creek, are the tabernacle (built in 1914) that you see here, the old schoolhouse (circa 1909) and the cemetery itself. The tabernacle has been well maintained and is still in use for occasional services and 'dinner on the ground'.
What a view of the North Georgia foothills surrounding the old tabernacle and presiding over the cemetery wherein lie so many of prominent citizens of the Ballground community, as well as some of the original settlers in this part of Georgia.....such as Samuel and Elizabeth Conn.
There is something special about one room schoolhouses. They represent a great part of America's rural history. For decades, the only way to deliver educational services to a rural community was via these rustic but elegant old institutions. This one is a great example that was built at Conn's Creek over 100 years ago in 1909 and is one of the last one-room schoolhouses in Cherokee County.
Nothing fancy but built for the task at hand. The biased floor with its center spline leading up to the teachers platform is very unusual. It has never seen a coat of paint inside or out, but not many things age better than Georgia longleaf pine.
What a majestic and peaceful view, and a fair place to spend eternity. Conn's Creek has served this community for over 150 years. There are 325 total interments in the cemetery. For a full documentation of Conn's Creek interments click here.
This a cenotaph in memory of Captain Lewis B. Beard, Captain of Co. G, 52nd Georgia Reg. His service record states 'Beard, Lewis B. - Captain March 4, 1862. Captured at Vicksburg, Miss. July 4, 1863. Paroled there in 1863. Died of illness at Meridian, Miss. August 1863. Buried at Meridian'. His wife, Martha, died in 1901 and is buried beside him. Rest in peace.
The final resting place of Samuel and Elizabeth Conn, who meant so much to this Cherokee County community. We often speak of the uniqueness of Georgia history and its pioneers, and Samuel and Elizabeth are great examples of that. In a short period of time, this land went from Creek to Cherokee to Georgia. Thank you for your hard work and your legacy.
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This community is mentioned in the book Yesterday in the Hills (Chapter 10) by Floyd and Charles Watkins.
I am a decent of Samuel Conn and have attended Church there a few years ago. My name is Randy Conn. I am a southern Baptist pastor. I would like to know when the Conn’s gather there.
I am wondering if there is a listing of the names of the people buried in the cemetery? I am looking for some Ingram and Anderson ancestors that lived in the area in the mid to late 1800’s and early 1900”s….any help is much appreciated!!!
This Findagrave link should give you what you need https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2134402/memorial-search
Thank you for sharing this information. I would like to receive the newsletter and learn more about this interesting treasure.
my correct email is [email protected]
Samuel Conn was my great great grandfather. His daughter, Lucinda was my grandmother, Dora Farmer Parker, mother. I look forward to visiting the church. I have a framed quilt piece from Samuel Conn.
Thanks for sharing that Rebecca. Living history.