In 2013, when I was documenting all the Crawfordite churches in Southeast Georgia, I happened upon a little church and cemetery on my way to Sardis. The church I stopped at, Bethel Methodist, was historic in its own right. It’s a white congregation, but there is a small African-American cemetery adjacent to it. It was there that I met this gentleman, who drove up in a new Cadillac. He was an old-timer, he said, and if I recall was about 80. He shared a bit of the history of why the African-American cemetery was located beside the white church, but unfortunately, I lost that information. He didn’t mind his photograph being made and when asked his name, for documentary purposes, he said to just call him ‘Champion for Christ’, no names otherwise.
Category Archives: –CHARLTON COUNTY GA–
Thanks to Sheilia Willis for sharing the location of Mrs. Canaday’s grave, and for this history, some of which (corrected) comes from a Charlton County history published in 1972: In terms of Chief Osceola [born in present-day Tallassee, Alabama to John William and Polly Coppinger Powell. John William Powell was Scottish or Irish and Polly was Creek] , his lineage is most interesting. When he was a boy, some of his family and their friends were given sanctuary in the Moniac area after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend when many of the Upper Creeks fled to Florida. His sister was Missouri Powell who married John Milledge Canaday. He was supposedly a Creek warrior who was born in Coleraine, Ireland, and also had the name of Ossio Yahaltla. Perhaps John’s father was there going to school as some Native Americans did during the 1700s.
In 1800 John traveled up the St. Marys River and built a cabin near what is now Moniac. Then he visited relatives in Northern Alabama where he met and married Missouri Powell. Later, he went back up there to fight Andrew Jackson but when the Red Stick Creeks were defeated in 1814, he brought his wife’s family, including Osceola, down to this area. The Canadays remained here and Missouri’s sister’s family later went to adjacent Columbia County, Florida, but the rest of Osceola’s family moved farther down into Florida where he grew up and became famous as a leader of the Seminoles who you know had some of their origins from the Creek/Muscogee Nation.
The Canadays had many children and one of their descendants lives in St. George and runs the Canaday Gas Station there. My father and I always do a pit stop there when we go to the VA hospital in Gainesville.
Of Missouri’s children, John Milledge Canaday, Jr and his wife Sarah Howell Canaday are buried in North Prong Cemetery, which is a few more miles south and then on the west side of the St. Marys in Baker County, Florida. Sarah’s family was killed by Indians at Toledo. The death of the Howells is sometimes mixed up with the Canaday children but if you check the births, deaths, and marriages, you will see the difference. [The other children were Osceola Nikkanochee Canaday b. ?; Elizabeth Canaday b. 1823; Mary Ann Canaday b. 1824; Henry Canaday b. 1829; James Canaday b. 1831; William Jackson Canaday b. 1833; and Frances Marion Canaday b. 1840.
Also buried with the Canadays is Old Man Jernigan (Johnnygan). I’m unsure at this time as to his connection.
Just east of the Florida state line at the St. Marys River, Moniac is a an isolated community in deepest South Georgia. What they lack in population, they make up for with this friendly store, which doubles as a restaurant. Since I’d already had lunch in Yulee, I bought some Mexican 7-Up (made with real sugar) in glass bottles. They had several brands in glass bottles.
Joe Hopkins writes that this the was commissary for the turpentine operations at Toledo. I would go there on Saturday mornings when I was a kid with my great uncle to pay off the turpentine employees. The store housed basic staples and dry goods for the workers living at the Toledo settlement and the business records of the company. The dirt road on the porch side of the commissary was the original road running from Folkston to St.George.
The Cherokee of Georgia are descendants of the Cherokee who avoided being rounded up by the government during the forced migration known as the Trail of Tears in the 1830s and are therefore recognized by the state as a tribe but not by the federal government. Their ancestors were able to survive through assimilation.
They host Pow Wows here at least twice a year.
Georgia’s southernmost town, St. George, is located within the “Georgia Bend” of the St. Marys River. This historic postcard, mailed from St. George, illustrates a picnic held along the river in February 1909. I have no idea what occasion warranted such a photograph. It must have been a really mild winter, though, as a few of the boys are standing in the river.