The site was originally part of the 1773 "New Purchase" or "Ceded Lands" obtained from Creek and Cherokee Indians. It became part of Wilkes County when the legislature created that political division in 1777. An early reference to the area mentions a William Candler,
A few immigrants settled in the Goose Pond area before 1780, including North Carolinian and Revolutionary patriot Elijah Clarke, as well as Holman and John Freeman of Virginia. But the American Revolution (1775-83) disrupted settlement in the Goose Pond, as for all of Wilkes County. A later arrival, George Mathews of Augusta County, Virginia, spearheaded settlement immediately after that conflict. Mathews gained familiarity with Wilkes County when serving in Georgia during the last years of the Revolution. He petitioned the General Assembly for numerous grants of land and in 1783 purchased a disputed title to an 800-acre tract south of the Broad River and west of the Long Creek, known as the Goose Pond. His homesite later became known as the Mattox farm.
In 1793 the Goose Pond community became part of newly formed Oglethorpe County. Its residents actively influenced economic, religious, and political developments of the state. Most Virginia settlers established an economy of tobacco plantations and grain production. They helped introduce a wider practice of slavery to the Georgia frontier and intensified that practice as cotton production gained popularity during the early 1800s. So vigorously did residents cultivate these crops that by 1827 most of the original pond had been drained for agriculture. Planters and farmers of the Goose Pond community created an extensive market for their crops, making contacts in Augusta and in Charleston, South Carolina.
Goose Pond gradually experienced an economic and population decline by the late nineteenth century because of soil depletion caused by tobacco and cotton production; the opening of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas territories; distance from the railroads; and the Civil War (1861-65).
Carol Ebel, "First Men: Changing Patterns of Leadership on the Virginia and Georgia Frontiers, 1642-1815" (Ph.D. diss., University of Georgia, 1996).
George R. Gilmer, Sketches of Some of the First Settlers of Upper Georgia, of the Cherokees, and the Author (New York: D. Appleton, 1855).
Clarence L. Mohr, "Oglethorpe County, Georgia, during the Formative Period, 1773-1830" (master's thesis, University of Georgia, 1970).
Carol Ebel, Armstrong Atlantic State University
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