I took an awesome family history drive in the country this past week. I went a mere 75 miles from my home to visit an area in Meriwether County, Georgia known as The Cove. What's so special about this place? It's where my 3rd great-grandaunt and uncle, Epsy Mims and Moses Brown, settled in the early to mid-1800's.
Epsy (1811-1879) was the daughter of Williamson Mims, of Houston County, Georgia. [Grandpa, if you read this, Williamson was also the father of Ann. She was the wife of Littleton Peavy.] Moses Brown (1805-1870) was the son of John Brown and Jane Miller.
Moses and Epsy, along with four other Brown siblings and their families bought a lot of land in The Cove. Moses alone purchased over 500 acres. Moses's brother William owned at least that much, as well.
I didn't quite know what I would find (if anything) when I reached the area. My focal point was a marker the state of Georgia erected describing the area. I had an idea where it was located, and I was determined to find it.
I was so excited when we came across the marker. I pulled the car over and got out to take a picture. My guy (who was with me) was quick to ask, "Is this what we drove all this way for?" My response was a ramble about my ancestors and how it is a wonderful feeling to know you are possibly standing where they once stood over 150 years ago. The smell of honeysuckle was strong and the crape-myrtle were in full bloom. I was in Heaven!
This is what the marker said: "The Cove Gorges of the Flint - Pine Mountain to the south makes a complete loop forming a beautiful basin 4 miles in diameter known as "The Cove." It is joined on the south by Oak Mountain, another hard quartzite ridge. Flint River has avoided an easier course on either side and has chosen this spot where it had to cut through four ridges, instead of two, forming picturesque rocky gorges."
In short, once you're in the Cove, you are surrounded by mountains. It's quite beautiful. I offer the following few photos, though they do not do the scenery justice.
I found a couple of other descriptions of The Cove in the book Browne / Brown And It's Variant Spellings Family Genealogy and Ancestry: England to America, South Carolina to Georgia: Meriwether County -- Worth County -- Thomas County -- Georgia to Florida by Lanette Brown Hill Brightwell:
"THE COVE - Meriwether County, GA History:
There is only a couple of ways to get in or out by road. One is by Cove Road just south of Woodbury and the others are from Chalybeate Springs. The Cove was a valley that during prohibition was one of the largest producers of corn liquor. The biggest advantage was if anyone came into the Cove that no one knew, a shot would ring out by road watchers to warn all of the valley that a stranger had just entered the area."
"The Cove had bootlegged whiskey and fiddle playing, and had a great river valley. This is an impoverished land where people lived as sharecroppers on unmechanized farms, where planting, harvesting, and maintenance were done with the aid of mules and black field hands, who worked for a dollar and a half a day. The roads were unpaved, radio reception was poor and staticky, electricity was available on a very erratic basis, and most farms had no electrical appliances."
With these two descriptions in my head, I was expecting a much poorer area. That is not the case today. Much of the land we passed through was dominated by beef cattle farms. And most of the homeowners also appeared to be large landowners.
While explaining to my guy that I wanted to drive around and "see whatever there is to see," he responded with, "Well, there's a cemetery right there." Woo Hoo!
The Cove Baptist Church and cemetery was full of Brown descendants. While I did not find Epsy or Moses, I found many familiar family names. There were several Johns and Williams. Other surnames I know intertwine with the Browns included Bishop and Alford. I was quite confident when I exclaimed, "these people are kin!"
A short distance down the road was another family cemetery. More Browns and familiar names were found. I have a lot of research to do to find where they all fit.
As we continued our drive, we found several streets with familiar names: John Brown, Wesley Brown, and the like. On one road, where I was turning around, we passed an older gentlemen coming off the farmland in a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer. Only after did I see the street name was another 'Brown.' I wonder if he and I are related?
I didn't stumble upon a Brown Family Cemetery containing the graves of Moses and Epsy, and I don't think we ever reached the "picturesque" locations mentioned on the marker. But I know I drove and walked the same land walked upon by my ancestors, and that is a priceless memory. What a day. I won't soon forget it.