Archives of Barrow County

Archives of Barrow County
From the editors of
Roadside Georgia
Formed in 1914, the county was named for David Crenshaw Barrow a University of Georgia(Athens) professor who was later name chancellor, serving in that position from 1907 to 1925.

The area that today is Barrow County was settled prior to the start of the 19th century. An Indian trail ran through the area (closely following Hog Mountain Road) that attracted settlers. At the Native American village of Snodon, Umausauga invited whites to stay in 1786 after they impressed him with a gift of fish hooks, which he used and enjoyed. The area known as Winder today was called "Jug Tavern" and Commerce was known as "Groaning Rock."

Barrow County's Fort YargoA man name Wilson built one of the first cabins in the area, but this was Indian Territory, so shortly after his arrival the state of Georgia built a frontier fort to protect the settlers. Fort Yargo, one of three forts in the area, is now a state park.

Created from portions of Jackson, Gwinnett and Walton Counties, Barrow was the scene one of the few Union defeats during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. King's Tanyard was the final battle in a group of skirmishes generally referred to as "Stoneman's Raid." By this time Stoneman had been captured and a brigade under the command of Col. Horace Capron was attempting to return to Marietta on a circular route east of Atlanta. They rested in Jug Tavern for a few hours. As they continued the journey the cavalry ran into Williams Kentucky Brigade, who had been warned of the presence of the Federals by townspeople, about 5 miles northwest of Jug Tavern. Here the Union cavalry was soundly defeated, losing 430 men. Capron and 5 or 6 others continued the journey to Marietta on foot, where they arrived 4 days later. William Tecumseh Sherman with typical aplomb, wired Washington after their arrival stating, "On the whole the cavalry raid was not deemed a success."

With the rail expansion that burst on the scene in 1880, Barrow played host to two railroads by the turn of the century, the Seaboard Air-line and the Gainesville and Midland. Originally called the Gainesville, Jefferson and Southern, the G&MRR was built to connect the north Georgia center to Social Circle, west and south of the city. The railroad made a good portion of the run in Barrow County. One of the builders of these railroads was John L. Winder, and the thankful people of Jug Tavern changed it's name to Winder.

The railroad, part of a huge expansion at the end of the 1800's provided Barrow with needed transportation for it's mostly agricultural products. It did have some problems, most famous of which is the train wreck at Barbury Creek. On March 30, 1893, according to newspaper reports, the trestle over the creek gave way while the train was crossing.

After the turn of the century interest began to focus on the automobile as a means of personal transportation. One W. B. McCants registered the first car in Barrow County in 1905 and by 1908 a total of 34 autos were registered in Winder, giving it the title "Auto Center of Northeast Georgia".

Additional links of interest:
Atlanta Campaign

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