Tag Archives: Native Americans in South Georgia

Seminole Chickee Grave Shelter, Ware County

Chickee is the Seminole word for house, and these iconic shelters are still scattered throughout Florida. To my knowledge, this chickee in the Carter Cemetery is the only such grave shelter in Georgia.

In addition to the construction, the shells marking the graves of George Washington Carter (25 October 1862-4 July 1934) and Millie Louvine Thrift Carter (18 January 1860-30 December 1947) honor a Native American ancestry. Mr. Carter, who was born on Cow House Island, was one of the pioneer settlers of the Okefenokee Swamp. The Thrifts were also early residents of the swamp.



Filed under --WARE COUNTY GA--

Radium Springs, Albany

70,000 gallons of water issue from the underground caves at Radium Springs every minute, making it the largest springs in the state. It’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia and is located just outside Albany. Over a quarter mile of the underground caves encompassing the springs were mapped by Deloach, Young, and Exley, for the National Speleological Society. Features of the caves have names like Fat Man’s Misery, Mermaid’s Tunnel, Hall of Giants, and Neptune’s Trident. Only the most experienced divers have ever seen these wonders and though rare, permits are occasionally still issued to experts wishing to explore the area. Guy Bryant has shared some nice footage on YouTube.

It was a revered ceremonial site first known as Skywater to Native Americans. After encroachment in the 1830s it came to be known as Blue Springs and was a popular swimming hole with pioneer settlers of Albany and surrounding areas. Standing near the cave entrance/springhead today, one is likely to see numerous fish schooling, including Gulf striped bass which wouldn’t be here without the cool temperature of the springs.

By the early 20th century, its prominence as a commercial recreational site was ensured and developers constructed a restaurant and guest cottages to meet the needs of day trippers who enjoyed bathing in its waters, which were a constant 68 degrees. Traces of radium were found in the water in the 1920s and the name was changed to Radium Springs to reflect this discovery. Mineral springs were all the rage in the era as they were thought to have healing powers and this only added to the popularity of the site.

The Radium Springs Casino was completed in 1927. It rose above terraced stone walls and featured a cavernous dance hall and elegant dining room.

A fire in 1982 and devastating floods in 1994 and 1998 damaged the casino beyond repair. The remaining structure was removed in 2003.

A courtyard stands today on the site of the casino and features interpretive signs detailing the history of Radium Springs.

The stonework surrounding the springs and pool is one of the most significant remaining architectural features of the site.

These features are generally not accessible today, though, as they are beginning to crumble and in serious need of restoration.

This is one of two gazebos that were located along the beach.

The spring run which empties into the Flint River is known as Skywater Creek.

The ruins of the main gazebo are being restored.

They’re located just inside the historic gate. Both structures date to the 1920s, when the casino was constructed. At the peak of the site’s popularity, a nearby golf course was equally popular as the springs and attracted notables, including the great golfer Bobby Jones.

The entrance gate is a monumental Colonial Revival landmark.

It features two ticket booths.

Known today as Radium Springs Gardens, it’s operated by the City of Albany and admission is free. It’s a wonderful green space that everyone should see at least once. Though swimming or fishing is no longer allowed, it’s a wonderful place to unwind.


Filed under --DOUGHERTY COUNTY GA--, Albany GA

Missouri Powell Canaday, Sister of Osceola, Moniac

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 Billy Powell 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.



Filed under --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, Moniac GA

Moniac Baptist Church & Canaday Cemetery, Charlton County

Adjacent to Moniac Baptist Church is the historic Canaday Cemetery, established in 1830. Notably, it’s the final resting place of Missouri Powell Canaday, the sister of the Seminole chieftain Osceola. Many of the pioneers of this section were assimilated Native Americans.

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Filed under --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, Moniac GA

Cherokee of Georgia Tribal Grounds, 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.


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Filed under --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, St. George GA

Kolomoki Mounds, 350-750 AD, Early County

kolomoki mounds national historic landmark temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Located along Kolomoki Creek, a tributary of the nearby Chattahoochee River, Kolomoki Mounds is among the largest Woodland Period burial and temple complexes in the Southeast.  The site dates to 350-750AD/CE and may have been one of the most populous settlements north of Mexico at the time. Most of the mounds are quite small in contrast to the Temple Mound (seen above), which has a base of 325 by 200 feet and a height of 56 feet. It is believed that the Temple Mound was used for religious ceremonies and there is speculation that the chieftain’s house was located on the west side (seen below) of the mound, which is slightly higher than the east side.

kolomoki mounds early county ga temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Various tribes made this site home, including Weeden Island, Kolomoki, and Lamar Indians.

kolomoki mounds ga view from atop temple mound photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

This view, from atop the Temple Mound, looks out onto a vast plaza. This was a typical layout for Woodland villages. The plaza would have included various houses of wattle and daub construction, roofed with local grasses. In its time, all of this would have been exposed red clay.

kolomoki mounds temple mound stairs photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

Looking down the steps to the plaza gives some perspective as to the size of the temple mound.

kolomoki mounds national historic landmark photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

This burial mound, on the plaza, is known simply as Mound D. At 20 feet, it’s one of the largest extant Woodland burial mounds. It was completely excavated in the early 1950s; radiocarbon dating has suggested it was built around 30AD/CE, with a margin of error of 300 years. More information about the site’s smaller mounds and a history of archaeological excavations conducted here over the years can be found at the New Georgia Encyclopedia. Sadly, a theft at the site in 1974 resulted in the loss of numerous pieces of pottery and other artifacts. It’s hoped that an inventory of the stolen items, which are still sought by the park, will eventually lead to some of them being recovered.

kolomoki mounds state historic park gopher tortoise photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

There is much to see at Kolomoki Mounds State Park, including abundant wildlife and flora. This Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), covered in red clay, was crossing the main road in the park. They were likely quite abundant here in the Woodland Period.

National Historic Landmark



Filed under --EARLY COUNTY GA--

Herod, Georgia

Herod GA Church Precinct House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

This little crossroad has quite an interesting history. Herod Town was one of the last remaining Indian villages in this section before European settlement. Local legend maintains that when General Andrew Jackson and his troops came through here en route to the Seminole Wars in Florida in 1818, they met with the village chief, “Old Herod” and were on friendly terms with him.

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Filed under --TERRELL COUNTY GA--, Herod GA