Google+ Georgia On My Mind: April 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Georgia Carnival Is Up

Please stop by the latest edition of the Georgia Carnival and support Otter, the host for the eighth edition at Grasping For the Wind.

The official name for this edition is The Emotive Edition and you can view it HERE.

As always your help promoting and directing others to the carnival is greatly appreciated and the participants appreciate your visits and comments

Monday, April 23, 2007

It's Almost Carnival Time...Submit Those Posts!

The next Georgia Carnival will be posted Friday, April 27th hosted by Otter over at Grasping For the Wind.

Writers are invited to send contributions to: or use the handy submission form.

Georgia bloggers are welcome to submit their own post or nominate a post from another site.

Last time the men really showed the women up, so Georgia women I’m counting on you to get those posts submitted!

If you would like to join the Georgia blogroll or display the blogroll at your sitecontact elementaryhistoryteacher at

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Chief Vann House: Stamping Out Stereotypes

The other day I popped the picture you see to the left up on the television screen in my classroom and asked my fourth graders, “Look really closely at this home. It was built in 1804 in northern Georgia. Who do you think lived there?”

There were many great guesses, however, one thing everyone agreed on was that the house was owned by someone who was a rich landowner.

“Hmmm…..,” I asked, “who could have had a house like this?” Of course, students ruled out simple farmers and slaves. They finally decided that only a rich white man could have owned a house like the one pictured in Georgia during the early 1800s.

It would seem so, however, the home was built and owned by James Vann, a Town Chief for the Cherokee Nation.

Students were amazed. I asked them to volunteer reasons why they were surprised. One female student said it as simply as possible, “Well, they’re Indians.”

Another student said, “Yeah, weren’t they no better than slaves?”

A third student, said, “They didn’t live in houses like that. They lived in lodges.”

Earlier in the year we studied Native American regions and we included the Cherokee in our examination of the Eastern Woodland Tribes. Georgia curriculum standards require fourth graders to be very familiar with the environment Eastern Woodland Indians would have lived in, and they must be able to relate how basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing were met based on the natural resources found in the area.

Since we hadn’t talked at great length about the Cherokee Nation since August I launched into a quick overview of their status in the early 1800s. By the late 1700s the Cherokee were considered to be one of the Five Civilized Tribes because as they interacted more and more with white settlers the Cherokee began to assimilate with white culture. They formed a government similar to the United States, they wore European clothing, and hunted, farmed, and built homes similar to white men.

It was at this point I showed students a wonderful video my school has regarding the Chief Vann House. Not only does the video show the interior of the home it also provides some worthy historical background and explains how the Vann family lost the home in 1834.

James Vann was the son of a Scottish trader, Clement Vann, and a Cherokee woman.
Though outwardly he seemed to be living a white life he had three wives and five children. He had several business ventures including a ferry and the plantation that operated on 800 acres surrounding the brick home, and he was very active in tribal affairs.

The home was built in 1804 and contains beautiful carvings and painted woodwork. A cantilevered or floating staircase intrigues many visitors and once the home was restored the rooms took on the original blue, red, green, and yellow color schemes. The picture seen here is the dining room.

The Old Federal Road ran directly in front of the home. The road stretched between Vann’s Ferry on the Chattahoochee to Ross’s Landing, Cherokee Nation (now Chattanooga, Tennessee).

The property included the lovely brick home, 42 cabins, 200 slaves, 6 barns, 5 smokehouses, a grist mill, blacksmith, 8 corn cribs, a trading post, peach kiln, a still, and 733 peach trees.

James Vann sponsored Spring Place Mission School where his own son was one of over 100 Cherokee children to be educated. Moravian missionaries had little success in converting Cherokees to Christianity until they had the assistance and support of Chief Vann whose money paid for the school. However, Chief Vann was more interested in teaching the children how to read and write English than he was in saving their souls.

Chief Vann was education minded, but could be violent as well. Some sources state he fired a gun at dinner guest through an upstairs bedroom floor down into the dining room, and he once fired a gun at his mother. After killing his brother-in-law during a duel in 1808 his family resorted to Cherokee tribal law and killed Chief Vann for his actions at Buffington’s Tavern in 1809.

Vann’s son, nicknamed Rich Joe, inherited his father’s property, increased the family business holdings, and often traveled to Washington D.C. to work on the behalf of the Cherokee Nation. It also wasn’t every Cherokee or white Georgian that could boast an overnight visit from President James Monroe, but Rich Joe could. The picture seen here is the bedroom where Monroe reportedly slept.

In 1834, Rich Joe violated Georgia law when he hired a white man as overseer to run to plantation. The state took over the property and it became part of the land lottery. The house fell into the hands of white owners. The gold found in Dahlonega was also an incentive for whites to move Cherokees off their lands. Cherokees all over Georgia were being rounded up and held in order to march them at the point of a gun to Oklahoma Territory along the Trail of Tears. Rich Joe and his family first went to Tennessee and then settled in Webber’s Falls, Oklahoma.

Though much of his property was stripped from him Rich Joe became involved in the running of steam boats up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Soon he was making money again. Unfortunately, he was killed when his steamboat The Lucy Walker blew up on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky in 1844.

Students entered my room with some misconceptions about Native Americans in Georgia that I was able to clear up. It would be very easy to teach students about the Trail of Tears by simply reading the two or three pages in our text and moving on, but the ugly process of stripping families of their property deserves a longer look.

This was not the only lesson I gave on the Trail of Tears. I will be posting more about it soon.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Georgia Courthouses-Telfair County

I love old courthouses. The structure of the buildings, the surroundings, and even the monuments scattered about interest me. I wonder what types of interesting trials have been heard within the walls. I also become sad when I realize how many of our old courthouses gave way to fire. We are fortunate that some pictures remain of these grand old buildings, and that websites like the Carl Vinson Institute of Goverment maintains many of these pictures on their website.

The Telfair County courthouse seen here is located in McRae, Georgia and was built in 1934.

The image below is the first courthouse in McRae and it was built in 1873. Sadly it burned to the ground in the early 1930s.

The first county seat for Telfair County, however, was located in Jacksonville, Georgia. It is pictured below. The structure is made entirely of wood and was built in 1860.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Georgia Carnival 7: The It's Raining Men Edition

Welcome to the seventh edition of the Georgia Carnival. It’s raining men since every submission was from the male persuasion, so the theme came naturally.

If you have a website and are interested in hosting an edition of The Georgia Carnival, please let elementaryhistoryteacher know via this email address:

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the last edition. As always links to the carnival are much appreciated. Next week’s edition will be hosted by Otter from Grasping For the Wind. Writers are invited to send contributions to: or use the handy submission form.

On to the submissions….

Alvaro at Brain Fitness wants to let high school students know about an essay contest. Check out Brain Essay Contest for High School Students and forward to any high school student you know.

Pastor Bill at Provocative Church is asking questions. He says, “What are the things or people that drive you and me? What makes you irritated, discontented or unsatisfied unless you have that certain thing/person/circumstance? That is the idol of your heart.” Bill’s questions have already convicted me and I’m heading over to his post Identifying the Idols of Our Heart to face myself.

Otter at Grasping for the Wind provides two offerings this time including Book Review: Night which is a well written book review. Otter also challenges us with A Bookish Challenge
where he is asking for reader input. Go on over and answer his question.

Fellow fourth grade teacher, Terrell at Alone on a Limb provides Learning in the Great Outdoors: First Edition which is his first edition of the Carnival of Environmental Education. I kind of like that...a carnival linking to another carnival. Terrell always provides great text and pictures.

Rusty at Radical Georgia Moderate went to New York and returned to discuss My Renewed Appreciation for the South. Yes, there is no comparison when placing New York in one hand and Atlanta in the other. Go let Rusty know what you think.

Don at Idle Minutes has been on the blogroll for a short time. He states he is a Georgia blogger and illustrator and “observes” life as it flies by. He tries to see things from a different angle. Guess what his post Sneeze, Cough, Wheeze is about? His illustrations are worth the click over, and his writing is interesting as well.

David over at Another History Blog educates us with Marian Sims and Reconstruction in South Carolina. The post takes a hard look at an overlooked author/historian who probably gave us a more realistic picture of Reconstruction than more popular offerings like Gone With the Wind.

So there you have it…edition seven. As stated before the next edition will be found at Grasping For the Wind on Friday, April 27, 2007. Submissions will be accepted through 6 p.m. eastern time on Thursday, April 26th. Submissions can be emailed to or use the handy submission form here.

Thanks for supporting the Georgia Carnival!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm Looking For YOU.....

It’s That Time Again

I’ve received a few submissions, but I’m still waiting on yours……..Georgia Carnival submissions are due Thursday (tomorrow) by 6 p.m.

Look for the newest edition of the Georgia Carnival right here on Friday, April 13th.

Submissions can be sent directly to me at or use the handy submission form.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You Go Hank!

Back in the 70s when burnt orange and avocado green were the “in” colors because Better Homes and Garden magazine said so my mom had this tacky old, old sofa (my parents never threw anything away) covered in scratchy burlap fabric in the brightest burnt orange that could be found. The springs were busted mainly because I spent most of my time bouncing up and down on the seat with my short white go-go boot clad feet.

Since the springs were busted they occaisionally surprised a couch sitter by springing up when least suspected into the soft fleshy expanse of one’s posterior. That sofa tore many pairs of pants, but on the flip side it did provide many hours of bouncing fun.

It was on this sofa I lay on the evening of April 8, 1974. My head was in my mother’s lap and we were all hoping that the media frenzy would soon be over. As Daddy said, “If he’s going to break the record, then let’s get it over with.” We were not disappointed and soon old Hammerin’ Hank was rounding the bases (along with those two college kids that appeared from no where) and good old Hank crossed home plate into permanent recognizability.

What many did not realize was the toll Hanks homerun race had on him and his family. They endured threats before, during, and after all the hoopla. Years later when I was a classmate of Mr. Aaron’s daughter at Woodward Academy I found out how serious it was. Many of my other classmates were at the school during the media frenzy and they remembered Hank’s daughter had security with her on campus. It was said at the time that columnist Lewis Grizzard had even prepared a obit for Aaron….just in case. It was THAT serious.

Think about it…..just because he was breaking a record. Senseless waste of time and those involved in the threats should be ashamed.

Now Mr. Aaron is in the news again….and again the comments being made are senseless. In an article taken from Yahoo Sports it would seem folks are trying to make a controversy where one shouldn’t even exist.

Hammerin’ Hank moved on long ago to other things. He’s been an integral part of the Atlanta business scene with car dealerships and philanthropic contributions to our nation, our state, and the city of Atlanta.

Leave him alone, I say. Why should he be trotted out for a dog and pony show just because his record may be surpassed? Why must he be made to feel obligated to contact Barry Bonds or even appear at a game where Bonds might break the record?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Two Faces of Juliette Gordon Low

There is no one more revered by a Girl Scout, even a Girl Scout in her mid-40s, than Juliette Gordon Low. Our founder, our fearless leader, our reason for being…quiet simply there would be no Girl Scouts without the efforts of Juliette Gordon Low. Her birthplace located in Savannah, Georgia is now a museum and is one of the most visited places in Georgia. Girls Scout troops from all over the nation have an ultimate goal…to raise enough money to one day make the pilgrimage to Savannah and see the museum. In fact, Christ Church in Savannah reserves the fourth floor of their parish house strictly for Girl Scout groups to stay in, but reserve it far in advance because it’s quite popular.

Born on Halloween in 1860 Juliette Magil Kinzie Gordon was thankfully saved by her uncle from such a long name when he nicknamed her Daisy. From this point on that is how I will refer to her.

Her father was William Washington Gordon, II while her mother hailed from the Kinzie family of Chicago.

Her grandfather was the first William Washington Gordon, president of Central Railway and Banking Company (Central of Georgia Railway) which was the first set of rails to reach from Savannah deep in the interior of Georgia’s many acres of cotton. Just knowing this little fact it can be quickly ascertained that a fortune was to be made and that the Gordon family were movers and shakers.

Gordon bought a house at the corner of Bull and South Broad Streets (Oglethorpe Avenue) which is known as the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace however, it is also known as the Wayne-Gordon home since it was built in 1821 by James Moore Wayne, an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Today it houses the Girl Scout Museum and is one of the most visited museums in the state of Georgia.

As a young girl Daisy attended school for a time in Savannah before attending boarding school at the Virginia Female Institute now known as Stuart Hall School. She then went to New York City to Mesdemoiselles Charbonniers, a finishing school. A life of priviledge and lifelong connections to powerful families would pay off later.

Many Gordon family members have expressed that Daisy was very eccentric and was often illogical about many things including spending and managing money. She once stood on her head just to show someone her new shoes. She adopted and abandoned pet projects at will never sticking to anything but traveling for very long expanses of time. Her brother once wrote, “Two plus two by no means equals four to her.”

Daisy did enjoy the arts, however. She sketched, painted, sculpted and worked with iron. A bust of her grandfather is on display at the Savannah city hall and visitors to her birthplace can see a wrought iron gate she created.

After finishing school she returned to Savannah for her debut and began spending her time traveling and caring for her young siblings. She had no real obligations and spent most of her time with her art, parties, dances, and teas. It truly sounds like a very carefree life.

On December 21, 1886 she married William “Willy” Mackay Low. He was the son of Andrew Low, a Scottish immigrant and native Georgian Mary Couper Stiles. Andrew Low was an immigrant from Scotland who had come to America to make his fortune in the cotton business, and then later returned to England.

The marriage got off to a bad start when a grain of rice became lodged in Daisy’s ear and her ear drum was punctured during the procedure to remove it. She had already lost her hearing in the other ear earlier in her life when silver nitrate was used to treat chronic ear infections that had plagued her for most of her young life Any hearing she had in the other ear was basically lost after her marriage. Her initial hearing loss caused her much anguish and frustration. The additional hearing loss caused her to have periods of despression and what has been described as melancholy.

For a time the young Low couple lived in the Andrew Low House on Lafayette Square, but spent most of each year in England at a country estate some sources have called Wellesbourne located in Warwickshire. ‘Willy” Low hobnobbed with the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), a close friend of his, along with several member of British high society. “Willy” spent his time hunting, playing cards, and drinking among other things.

While she lived in England Daisy traveled, was presented at court, and gave and attended lavish house parties at various estates. Ever the eccentric she refused to drive on the "English" side of the road stating, “I’m an American.”One source indicates Rudyard Kipling was an attendee at the Low estate from time to time. She had plenty of help to oversee the long country weekends as the Lows kept a full staff and an African American cook had come along from Savannah. I wonder if she prepared fried green tomatos and corn bread for the high born British.

It’s not surprising that in a fifteen year marriage the Lows remained childless and gradually grew apart. Though Daisy partied and traveled much of the time she was married she and “Willy” were rarely together during the final years of their marriage.

Daisy did have her moments of volunteerism. She returned to the United States during the Spanish American War, and volunteered alongside her mother to set up a hospital for returning wounded soldiers from Cuba.

After a fifteen year marriage Low abandoned Daisy for another woman named Anna Bateman, and he even showed up for a country weekend with the mistress at the home he and Daisy shared. She had enough and filed for divorce. Low passed away before the divorce was final and Daisy was shocked to learn that her husband had left everything to his mistress. She was totally shut out of the estate. She filed suit and was eventually awarded the Savannah property, a London home, and a sizeable income.

It’s hard to imagine the Daisy portrayed above is the same Daisy who stuck with and organized the Girl Scouts. Her other side finally came out at age fifty-one once she met Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. She was most impressed with his efforts and she began to volunteer with the Girl Guides, the female counterpart for the Boy Scouts. She wanted the Girl Scouts to be a place where young women could learn self reliance and resourcefulness much like the Boy Scouts.

For once Daisy’s interest and determination in a project did not eventually ebb away. She took advantage of the connections her priviledged life could bring her. Over the years she contacted friends like Edith Macy, wife of the Macy’s Department Store owner and was able to secure a meeting at the White House simply by calling her long time friend Edith Wilson, first wife of President Woodrow Wilson. It also didn’t hurt that Daisy’s sister was married to a member of Congress at the time she was getting the Girl Scouts off and running. She financed most of the expenses to get the Girl Scouts going with her own money.

The Girl Scouts of America began with 18 girls in Savannah on March 12, 1912. The Girl Scouts website advises Daisy felt all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first-aid. Today the Girl Scouts [organization] has over four million members all over the world.

Eventally Daisy contracted cancer and died. Though she no longer handled the day to day running of the Girl Scouts she was heavily involved in promoting the organization and traveled meeting with many different troops and taking part in their activities. Not wanting to be a burden to those around her she remained active through her illness and didn’t want people to know about it.

Daisy was buried in her Girl Scout uniform. A telegram was placed in her pocket from the national headquarters of the Girl Scouts that said, “You are not only the first Girl Scout, you are the best Girl Scout of them all.” Her funeral was at Savannah’s Christ Church and every Girl Scout in Georgia’s first city lined the steps to pay hommage to their founder.

Every life has a course to follow. Every person has a role in this world to play. Juliette Gordon Low is proof that we sometimes have to live a little to determine what our course will be.

Monday, April 2, 2007

New Additions to the Georgia Blogroll

Shelbinator is self-described as opinions and anecdotes from a burned out grad student and ertwhile rocket scientist.

Tra La La is the smart take on the shallow things in life. Yes, everyone deserves to be shallow at one point or another.

Questing Parson….My description would not equal the quality of this site. It is an interesting read, and I think you will enjoy it as well.

Here’s a journalist putting his own twist on the media game…go visit My Urban Report.

Idle Minutes is a very well written and self-illustrated blog you just have to see.

Cadillac Tight’s author describes himself as an average tobacco chewing Joe who states, “The older I get, the better I was.”

A new addition with a an appropriate twist in name is Banter in Atlanter

Daily Gris comes to us Ed Grisamore, the metro columnist for The Telegraph in Macon. Gee, he’s a real bonafide author (he even has an audiobook). Go by and welcome Ed to the blogroll.….Jason wants to tell us about local, state, and national news from a capitalist view.

Confessions of a Political Junkie-----the top post mentioned the name Charles Spurgeon…..I need to spend some more time here.

Elisheva over at Got Bible? is participating in a weekly meme where participants stop each week and post things they are thankful for. Georgia bloggers are participating and she sent the following links to me:

Combine three kids, home, work, and school and what do you get? Sleepless Juggler, of course!

Daddy's Roses is written by a retired educator and lover of language. She shares commentary on news, events of the day; thoughts about family, religion, and education; book and article reports; and observations from daily life.

Ruth is a widow with seven grown child. Reading Ruthlace is like sitting at the feet of your own mother or grandmother.

As always if you have been added to the Georgia Blogroll and if for any reason you don’t wish to be on it please email me and I will take care it at once.

Don’t be shy or wait for an invite. If you would like to have your Georgia blog listed email me your url and a description of your blog’s focus.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...