|History of Banning Mills|
An Interesting Historical Sketch of Banning Mills.
Historic Banning Mills is located in Georgia's only Hidden Gorge on beautiful Snake Creek in Carroll County, Georgia. It is an area rich in history and home to our country inn, Historic Banning Mills. We invite you to visit and explore this history.
The area was originally home to the Creek and Cherokee nations. They lived in lodges made of pine poles and mud plaster and farmed and hunted along the rich and fertile Chattahoochee River area.
Early Settlement and Chief William McIntosh
By the early 1800’s, white settlement had moved into the Carroll County area, which was still considered part of the Wild West. It was also home to Chief William McIntosh, a half breed Creek Indian. He fought with Andrew Jackson and became a Brigadier General, and the only Indian to reach that rank. He even dined with President Thomas Jefferson at the White House. His first cousin was Governor George Troup of GA. McIntosh became a wealthy business man and owned hundreds of acres in Georgia and Alabama. His main plantation was known as Lockchau Talofau, or Acorn Town and was located along the Chattahoochee River and Hwy 5 which was known as McIntosh Trail. It is about 5 miles from Banning. He had almost 100 slaves and white men and Indians working for him to help run his 2 taverns, trading post, overnight lodge and plantation.
Chief McIntosh signed the Treaty of Indian Springs on February 12, 1825. This treaty infuriated the Upper Creek nation and so sealed his death warrant. On May 1, 1825, a large party of Upper Creek Indians came to McIntosh’s home and set fire to it. His wife begged the braves to let McIntosh die bravely. He fought valiantly and as he came out of his home, he was shot several times, then dragged into the yard and stabbed to death. He is buried where he fell at Lockchau which is now McIntosh Reserve, a county park of over 527 acres.
Developing 1800's Mill Industry
Because there were few water power sites in the Carroll County area, large scale industry was late in developing there. In 1846, a manufacturing community, built by the Bowen brothers was located on the Snake Creek which is about two miles from present day Whitesburg. It consisted of a textile mill with five hundred spindles that produced yarn. The mills and town that grew up around it was originally called Bowensville. The textile mills, known as the Amis mill, was in operation throughout most of the Civil War. There were orders for Federal Troops to find and burn them. When the Federal troops finally found the mills in this very hard to find hidden Gorge, the equipment had already been shipped to South Carolina in hopes that the machinery could be saved. Because the mills were found in a "non working" condition, they were not burned.
However, the Federal troops did not want to go home empty handed and decided that Mr. Amis should accompany them. Mr. Amis decided he did not wish to be a guest of the "Yankee" troops and managed to escape. He was shot in the attempt but did escape and did recover from his wounds. The ruins of the mills are still present today.
Textile Mill Post Civil War Era
The post Civil War era saw a decline in the mill town success. In 1878, Arthur Hutcheson acquired the textile mill and U.B. Wilkinson acquired the paper mill, It is now confirmed by Georgia Tech as the birth place of the modern day Paper Industry. By 1882, the textile mill, which was now known as Hutcheson Manufacturing Company had 2000 spindles and 14 cards which manufactured warp and bunchy yarn. It was at this time the name of the mill town changed to Banning. The name change came mainly as the result of other nearby communities with similar names, i.e. Bowersville and Brownsville, which resulted in numerous mail mix ups.
Banning Mills Post Mill Town Era
The mill town was still thriving at the time of Mr. Hutcheson’s death on April 5, 1895. By this time, there were up to 10 mills, including 2 pulp mills, a paper mill, grist mill and saw mill. All of these lay within a miles length of each other along the Snake Creek. It was one of the first towns in Georgia to produce its own electricity- well before Atlanta. In fact diaries talk about day long horse and buggy rides from Atlanta to watch the lights come on at Banning. Electricity was produced there until 1917.
We are here most everyday and welcome you to contact us at 770-834-9149 or send an email when you are ready to plan your weekend getaway, group event, family adventure vacation or corporate retreat. Historic Banning Mills is a non-profit retreat and conservation center. Banning Mills is a non smoking facility!