Get Adobe Flash player


Regular deer carcass dumping “disgusting and ridiculous” says nearby resident


Over the past three years, an area resident who regularly drives on Old Fairview Road has counted around 40 deer carcasses dumped alongside the gravel county road that connects with Highway 108. The decomposed remains above were photographed October 27th from the roadway.


See complete story in our print and e-editions.


Outreach office opens for victims of domestic violence and sex assault


The North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network (NGMCN) will open an outreach office in Pickens County effective Monday, November 6. 

Margy Lohman, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Pickens, and their board of directors have agreed to collaborate with the Crisis Network to offer space in their building located at 1222-C East Church Street in Jasper. 

Initially, the Crisis Network office will be staffed on Mondays and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offer services and resources to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Services include assistance with filing for Victim’s Compensation; Temporary Protective Orders (TPOs); referrals for counseling/therapy; support group; and more. 

Those in need of services can simply walk in during the hours of operation and receive assistance or call for a specific appointment. According to Mary Migliaro, executive director of the NGMCN, expanding the days and hours of operation is planned for the future to be based on the needs in Pickens County. For more information, call 706-632-8400.

Ga. high court upholds denial of popular podcast's request for audio recordings



Published Monday, October 30, 2017


Please note: Opinion summaries are prepared by the Public Information Office for the general public and news media. Summaries are not prepared for every opinion released by the Court, but only for those cases considered of great public interest. Opinion summaries are not to be considered as official opinions of the Court. The full opinions are available on the Supreme Court website at .



            The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld a Floyd County judge’s ruling denying the request of the makers of a podcast series to copy a court reporter’s audio recordings made during a murder trial.

Undisclosed, the producer of the podcast about a Georgia murder, argued that under the Georgia Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Green v. Drinnon, a court reporter’s audio recordings are “court records” under Rule 21 of the Uniform Superior Court Rules and that Rule 21 provides the right to copy court records.

Senior school tax topic gets heated

Officials say more exemptions for seniors

means more taxes for the rest of us at forum


Chief Tax Appraiser Roy Dobbs responds to a question during a contentious meeting Monday on senior school taxes as  Superintendent Carlton Wilson, center, and local Democratic Party Chairman David Robinson look on.

   Seniors demanding more relief from school taxes were undaunted by claims that new exemptions would cause the tax rate to rise as much as 30 percent on all other taxpayers during a  forum Monday.

They were similarly not persuaded by a photo of the 2017 Pickens High graduating class with Chief Tax Appraiser Roy Dobbs stating these are the real seniors who will change Pickens County, a riff on the group Seniors for Change, leading the effort to increase senior property tax exemptions.

See complete coverage in our print and e-editions.

A supernatural tale from the early days of this area: Spooky 1873 revival at Sharp Mountain Baptist Church

By Robert Scott Davis

Senior Professor of History Wallace State College 


     Historian Bernice McCullar provided many Georgians of her day with all of the history of their state that they ever knew through her popular Atlanta newspaper column, "Georgia Notebook." In her piece of November 28, 1966 in The Atlanta Journal, she told a tale that still haunts many people: "Tombstones Tell the Tale of Great Revival of 1873."

     McCullar wrote of how she and a friend were looking for a tombstone in northern Cherokee County. They came upon grave markers that told a bizarre story.

     Reverend Francis Marion Williams held the annual revival at Sharp Mountain Church in late September of 1873. He "was about to line out the hymn" for his congregation of Pickens and Cherokee County members when a bright light suddenly appeared in the log church that emitted what sounded like rushing water, angel voices, and music.

     Members of the congregation had such awe of the light that they refused to leave the log church except when necessary. People literally came from miles around, and from other counties, to witness this miracle. The light continued for weeks and finally, when the baptisms began, Williams had to have the aid of colleague reverends Benjamin Hitt and Elias Allred to cut a hole in the frozen Etowah River to baptize the record 73 converts.

     Over the years, many people who had read the article searched in vain for these legendary tombstones in the Sharp Mountain Church cemetery. On James Hendrix's grave marker alone, it states that he joined the church in November 1873 as one of 77 converts baptized the following December.

     The church minutes show only that the revival began on November 2, 1873 and ended 10 days later. The church received 62 persons as new members by experience. The December 6 meeting received 15 other members and four more so joined on December 26.

     The Atlanta Constitution reported that the December 6 meeting had 66 people baptized in 16 minutes. The Christian Index of January 8, 1874 that proudly announced that Reverend F. M. Williams had held a revival at Sharp Mountain Baptist Church for 11 days in November that brought in more than 80 converts by experience and baptism. On the first Sunday in December, the reverends Elias Allred and Hitt administered baptisms to 79 persons in 15 minutes despite "unfavorable" weather. "A. K.," the author, wrote of these events as "the most remarkable revival ever held in Cherokee Georgia" and proof that "the glorious work of the Spirit was indeed overwhelming" but he wrote nothing of the circumstances.  

     Dr. Robert Gardner found in the Hightower Baptist Association minutes that from 1870 through 1872 the membership of Sharp Mountain Baptist Church grew only from 53 to 58 members, with few if any baptisms. The minutes for 1873 do not survive but, in the minutes for 1874, the first association meeting after the events of November-December 1873, the church had a membership of 165 counting 105 baptisms! The following year, the church remained at a membership of 165 and had only two baptisms. The association minutes contain no explanation for these statistics.

     A major "awakening" had happened in this small log country church but whatever happened, no one chose to comment on the details, except perhaps in some now unknown way to Bernice McCullar 90 years later. The Sequoyah Regional Library has a file on the Reverend Francis Marion Williams with extensive biographical material on Williams but not one word, even in his obituary, about the revival of 1873, however.

     The light and sound have a probable, less than miraculous, explanation. Wet rotting logs sometimes develop "foxfire," a slow combustion that creates a phosphorescent glow that does not give off heat and a sound. Fireflies glow for this same reason.

Scientists have also discovered that geological faults cause electro-magnetic discharges of "balls of fire" and plasma, believed to cause some of the "unidentified flying object" sightings. They theorize that these same magnetic fields cause ultra-sonic noise that effect nerves causing cold chills and hallucinations. Under such conditions people can have exceptionally vivid hallucinations and become particularly susceptible to hypnotic suggestions, such as preaching, by events (like the light), or by dreams. Alien abduction tales likely have an origin in such conditions.

     Floyd C. Watkins devoted a whole chapter to Sharp Mountain Church in his Yesterday in the Hills without mentioning the revival of 1873. He did remember that the church had separate front entrances and seating for men and women. The congregation only held revival when the spirit moved them. Its members also prohibited playing musical instruments and paying the preacher as sins against God. 

     Recent events had also contributed to the emotional instability of members of the community and the congregation. In 1873, Georgia and the nation ended the Civil War-Reconstruction era. The Reverend Elias W. Allred, and probably his fellow ministers, worked in those years in healing the often-violent divisions in the north Georgia communities brought about by the politics of the war.

     The Confederate Home Guard hanged Reverend John B. Richards of nearby Conn's Creek Baptist Church (and Sharp Mountain Baptist?) for preaching against secession. State officials arrested Reverend Allred of Pickens County, despite his serving in the legislature, for working with the federal army to organize a company of men to defend against Confederate depredations.

The late John Seawright discovered that an equally divisive controversy followed. In 1866, Josiah or H. J. Scruggs from East Tennessee arrived and, with his powerful preaching, won a numerous following. Word reached the congregations that Scruggs had left Alabama for having fondled a girl on the mourners bench and had been excluded from the Cookston's Creek Baptist Church in Tennessee in May 1861.

     After starting the controversies in Georgia, he moved to Arkansas and new problems. The older members of the Sharp Mountain congregation refused to admit to fellowship Scruggs' new members until they received baptism by a licensed minister. In 1868, the Hightower Association, however, accepted Scruggs' followers, however, and declared Sharp Mountain a rebel "slab-off outfit" (a saw mill term for bad wood) for refusing them as members. 

     According to Watkins, the Scruggs faction responded by locking the church with a chain and pad lock. Grandmother Mary Brown Watkins, sister of Governor Joseph E. Brown, used an axe to break the chain while singing Work for Jesus. Unable to mend the divisions at Sharp Mountain, she transferred to a church in Ball Ground. The Scruggite/Slab-offs controversy raged on for 20 years, creating two new associations, divisions among churches, and even acts of violence.

    These events began before the strange revival of 1873 but whatever happened that November likely pushed an already tense situation to a new level. After the revival and the baptisms, witnesses likely came to realize that they had seen a natural rather than a miraculous event.

    The members of the church chose to promote and remember the results rather than the cause. The event brought at least brief unity to a badly divided congregation when it needed a miracle most. Did the revival include an unearthly light? The Reverend  elias Walter Allred witnessed this event and many more but he left no writings known to survive. If only he had. Instead, the what happened at the revival very much depends, then and since, on what one chooses to believe and to tell. . .


Robert S. Davis, MA, MEd, is the Senior Professor of History, Wallace State College. He contributes occasionally to the Progress on topics of North Georgia history. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


progress square