11/28: Trip to Canada; Mossy Creek Campground; Not on Santa’s list

GwinnettForum  |  Number 17.65  |  Nov. 28, 2017

SOON TO BE BUILT at the former rest stop on Interstate 85 north of Suwanee will be the new Gwinnett State Patrol area headquarters and barracks.  Under an agreement with the Georgia Department of Public Safety, the county will build the facility for $5.8 million out of SPLOST funds, and lease it for 50 years to the Department. The Department’s 10 Hero units will also be housed at the facility. The patrol currently operates out of county leased space on Pleasant Hill Road. (Schematic design by Precision Planning, Inc.)
TODAY’S FOCUS: Husband and Wife Enjoy Leisurely Trip To Western Canada
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Enjoyable Day at Mossy Creek Campground and Meaders Jug Country
ANOTHER VIEW: Perturbed by All Sorts of Gifts That Santa Cannot Bring
FEEDBACK: Rather Have Good Solutions for Problems of Our Country
McLEMORE’S WORLD: Recognizing Senior Citizens
SPOTLIGHT: Mingledorff’s
UPCOMING: Christmas Concert by Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is December 18
NOTABLE: Mountain Park Football Field To Convert to Turf by Mid-2018
RECOMMENDED: Wonder, the movie
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Slave Private from Georgia Awarded Land for His Service
TODAY’S QUOTE: Why Some People Are Rarely Mentally Ill
MYSTERY PHOTO: External Ladder May Be Key Clue in This Mystery Photo
CALENDAR: Charity Collection Continues Through December 8

Husband and wife enjoy leisurely trip to western Canada

Bow Lake, Icefields Parkway, Alberta, Canada.  More photos

By Rick Krause, Lilburn, Ga.My wife, Sandy, and I took an enjoyable road trip to the Canadian Rockies this summer. The primary objective was to visit my older brother and some of his family in Alberta.

There were other objectives and rationale for driving rather than flying to Calgary and having to make the many associated travel connections. It was as much about the journey as it was the destination. We love to take road trips throughout the U.S., Canada, and even Mexico, and have done so extensively.

We do it to enjoy the scenery, to go at our desired pace and route, and to be able to pull off the road and go to locations for hiking, birding, botanizing, photography and such. On a whim, we’ll modify our itinerary and agenda. Although we had driven to and from the Canadian Rockies before and had seen nearly all the parks and scenic attractions, on this trip, we took as many roads as possible that we hadn’t traveled before.

This road trip was also therapeutic, as it was in stark contrast to Gwinnett and metro Atlanta traffic and population density. After St. Louis, we traveled through the sparsely populated areas of Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Montana. We drove along reaches of the Missouri River, and along the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Trail.

Buckskins, west of Bowman, N.D.

The countryside became more enjoyable beyond the monoculture farmland of the Midwest into the rangeland and badlands. Two of the states that we drove through, each having an area larger than the State of Georgia, have a population less than that of Gwinnett County! We were often Miles From Nowhere, as Dayton Duncan describes in his book of the same name.

We sought public lands—our land. Unfortunately, those lands (public ownership) are diminishing, as our present Administration and Congress are giving them away to private interests, especially to the extraction industries. We left the U.S. in Montana, and drove into Alberta and then British Columbia.

We visited National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, State and Provincial Parks, National Monuments, National Grasslands, and such. Highlights were the several National Parks in Alberta and British Columbia: Waterton Lakes, Jasper, Banff, Yolo, and Mt. Revelstoke; and Glacier, Theodore Roosevelt, and Wind Cave National Parks in the U.S. Although we had been to these parks in the past, it had been a long time ago, and we knew we wanted to experience the grandeur again.

We had great weather; not hot and nearly no rain; and long days of daylight. We didn’t encounter crowds, except in Glacier and Lake Louise; we tried to make it a point to avoid crowds. We saw a lot of wildlife, including Grizzly and Black Bear, Bison, Elk, Wolf, Caribou, Pronghorn, Mountain Goat, Big Horn Sheep, Mule and White-tailed deer, Prairie Dogs, and even a Fisher, and many species of birds. And oh, we experienced a pull-over, turn-the-engine-off cattle drive down our road in Alberta. You just don’t see that in Gwinnett.

Rejuvenated after nearly four weeks and 6,550 miles, we arrived home safely, and are planning our next trip.


Enjoyable day at Mossy Creek Campground and Meaders Jug Country

Photos courtesy of the White County News.

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher  |  Every now and then it’s nice not to be in control, and just enjoy what others are directing.  Take a recent afternoon: Billy Chism of Toccoa had invited several of us to lunch, with the promise of learning distinctive North Georgia history afterward.

We arrived at a restaurant on U.S. Highway 129 north of Gainesville, and a short distance south of Clermont. It was Quillian’s Grill, a place you might not notice when driving by. But you should, for the food is delicious. And let me warn you: save room when ordering for their homemade desserts. They are tremendous. I didn’t save room, and merely had to eyeball the coconut chocolate pie while others dived into.

When we arrived, our host and several others, including Hill Jordan, formerly of Lawrenceville, now of Sautee-Nachoochee, were already there. Soon we were joined by Emory Jones, an eminent storyteller and author, of Cleveland.

After lunch, Emory caravanned the four car unit northward, heading for the Mossy Creek Campground. We turned east on Georgia 254, and after a few more turns, were at the campground. This is southeast of Cleveland in White County, but near the Hall County line.

Campground meetings were serious churchly events back in pioneer days in Georgia. People would flock to these Methodist campgrounds during August for what amounted to a revival, plus homecoming. A historical marker, erected in 2008, succinctly tells the story:

Mossy Creek Campground was established in 1833 and has continued as a site of yearly religious revival meetings since that time. (Nearby) Rock Springs Campground was established in 1887 and is one of the few remaining camp-meeting sites organized by black congregations in Georgia. Similar sites developed throughout the region during and after the Second Great Awakening of the early nineteenth century. In addition to religious teaching, camp meetings provided social opportunities for isolated rural communities. Brush arbors, or open-air shelters, like the ones at Mossy Creek and Rock Springs, are typical of southern camp-meeting sites.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Mossy Creek Tentholders, Rock Springs Campground Association, and White County Historical Society.

Emory Jones told us of his memories of attending the Methodist Campground as a boy, staying in the tents (by then really wooden houses) of families that built them around the covered outdoor meeting site.  The campground tradition continues each summer. For 2018, it will be held Sunday to Sunday, July 21-28

After that, we drove a short distance to a place where the area where the Meaders family made their famous North Georgia face jugs. They are said to be the most influential family in the history of Southern Appalachian folk pottery. Many of their “face jugs” are highly sought after by collectors, some bringing $3,000. A particular clay in the area was the basis for the original jugs.

Emory’s cousin, Lanier Meaders, is the subject of a Smithsonian Institution documentary about the jugs. We visited a dilapidated barn where Mr. Leaders turned and kilned many of his jugs, where Emory remembers seeing him at work.

In Cleveland, each fall the White County seat holds the Meaders Pottery Face Jug festival to recognize the century-old contribution of this family to the area. Called “Pottery Comes to Town,” it is sponsored by the White County Historical Society.

Each fall the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia in Sautee puts on “The Folk Pottery Show and Sale.” It will be on Saturday, September 1 in 2018.  Neither event is exclusive to the Meaders family; however, the Meaders folks will be there in force.

We also visited the cemetery where many of the Meaders extended family are buried. It is also where some of Hill Jordan’s family is buried.

Happily, it was a fine fall afternoon given to letting go, having others guide you, and etching in your mind the way it was back in campground and face jug days.


Perturbed by all sorts of gifts that Santa cannot bring

By Debra Houston, contributing columnist  |  Dear Santa: I’m looking through newspaper Black Friday advertisements two days after Thanksgiving and all the store coupons have expired. Why read them now? Because I didn’t want to work myself into a shopping frenzy in which yours truly could get trampled on by greedy door busters. It’s a madhouse out there. Good thing you have elves to build toys. That sounds a lot safer than shopping on Black Friday.

But I must laugh, Santa. While reading the ads, I found one that claimed shopping at its store was like “getting paid to shop.” Now that defies logic. You should relay the news to Mrs. Claus. She’d find it hilarious enough to forego her usual cup of good cheer.

What’s up with “Black Friday” anyway? It sounds outright demonic to shop on a black day, especially after we’ve just thanked the Lord for our blessings the day before.

Besides, what I want for Christmas you can’t deliver. I want to turn on the television without hearing of another terrorist attack. I want drug cartels to stop killing our kids. I want politicians to work for us instead of themselves. I want late night comics to stop lecturing me. I want con artists to stop phoning me. I want race baiters to tone down the rhetoric. I want families to stay together.

In other words, I want peace on earth, good will toward men. You can’t fit that in your sleigh, can you Santa?

I must end my letter now. It’s time to trim the tree and place the shining star on top. Good luck gliding through magic skies on Christmas Eve when the kids are sound asleep. And say hello to Rudolph and those delightful little elves for me.



The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today’s featured sponsor is Mingledorff’s, an air conditioning distributor of the Carrier Air Conditioning Company. Mingledorff’s corporate office is located at 6675 Jones Mill Court in Norcross Ga. and is proud to be a sponsor of the GwinnettForum. With 34 locations in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina, Mingledorff’s is the convenient local source with a complete line for the quality heating, ventilating, air conditioning, and refrigeration parts and supplies you need to service and install HVAC/R equipment. Product lines include Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Totaline and Mitsubishi.


Would rather have good solutions for problems of our country

Editor, the Forum:

Poor George Wilson!  I guess his memory is as short as his bank account.  Think back George when President Obama asked the rhetorical question:  How much money is enough?  (Para-phrasing here)  The fact that our economy was already upside down when DT took office is lost on George.    Now, according to George, the mean Repubs and conservatives want to do away with….(let’s see now)…… Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Really now, George, you sure you don’t want to include Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and oh yes. let’s not forget the tooth fairy on your list?

Let’s you and I start a movement, George?  Our federal government can only spend what they take in.   We have that law right here in Georgia (of course our slick local politicians get around that by forming various Authorities that operate outside the State budget.)

Put forth a good solution, George, instead of pining for the good old days when tax and spend was the mantra.  I would like to see what you propose.

— Dave Robertson, Flowery Branch

Remembers Thanksgiving dinner by Marines near Laos in 1968

Editor, the Forum:

When y’all do your around the table blessings, pray for our troops! I was fed by the Marines near Laos on Thanksgiving 1968. We had to blow up about 10 large trees so the choppers could land with hot meals, fresh clothes, ammo. The food was incredible. Our  platoon commander gave a magnificent blessing. I’ll never forget.

Tell your guests… the troops feel your prayers for days. I did and still remember !

— Jimbo (Doc “Whitewhale” radio call sign,) aka, Jim McCraw, Dacula

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Christmas concert by Symphony Orchestra and Chorus is Dec. 18

Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus announces that an upcoming Christmas concert for the whole family, “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” will take place on Monday, December 18 at 7 p.m. at the Infinite Energy Theater, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth.

The program will include favorites of holiday music, traditional, pop, kids, secular and spiritual, plus an audience sing-a-long led by none other than Santa himself! Special guests include Frosty, Rudolph and Suzy Snowflake. Santa will also assist the children from the audience as they come on stage in what has become a Gwinnett Symphony tradition where each child has a turn at conducting the orchestra in “Sleigh Ride.”

After the concert, children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa on his sleigh while their parents snap a few photos. Love offerings will be appreciated.

The chorus director and conductor for this concert, Rick Smith, says: “This program will be a special time to share with family and friends but also for remembering our home planet where an amazing physical and astronomical event took place 2,000 years ago.”

Tickets are for reserved seats and may be purchased through Infinite Energy Center on line or at their box office. (https://www.infiniteenergycenter.com/events/detail/let-there-be-peace-on-earth) Additional fees apply for online purchases.

  • Ticket prices are Kids 12 and under and Kids-at-heart (55 and over), $12. All others are $17. For more details about the program, visit http://www.gwinnettsymphony.org.

Muslim group plans fundraiser to benefit suffering and conflict

Humanity First Fundraising dinner will help relieve suffering caused by natural disaster and human conflict, promote peace and understanding, and strengthen people’s capacity to help themselves. The dinner will be Saturday, December 9 at 6 p.m. at 5th Avenue Event Hall, 2720 Mall of Georgia Boulevard, in Buford. It is hosted the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The target goal is to raise $50,000. Special announcements will be made at dinner to acknowledge sponsors. Learn more about Humanity First by going to its website,


Mountain Park football field to convert to turf by mid-2018

The football field at Mountain Park Park will be rebuilt this winter as a 100,000 square-foot synthetic turf field for football, soccer and lacrosse. Completion of the SPLOST-funded upgrade is scheduled for July 2018.

The old field and press box will be demolished along with a baseball backstop and dugouts. The new field will have a new press box, lighting, fencing and goals. Work will also include drainage improvements, paving and retaining wall construction. Gwinnett commissioners awarded the nearly $2.3 million contract to low bidder Precision Turf LLC of Lilburn,

Mountain Park Park covers 44 acres southeast of Lilburn at 5050 Five Forks Trickum Road. It features baseball/softball fields, tennis courts, a skate complex and sand volleyball court plus playgrounds, a pavilion, restrooms and trails. The associated Mountain Park Aquatic Center is located nearby on Rockbridge Road.

Commissioners approve 2 sidewalk projects from SPLOST funds

Gwinnett County Commissioners earlier this month approved construction contracts on several SPLOST-funded pedestrian improvement projects.

Commissioners approved a construction contract to install sidewalks on both sides of U.S. 29/Georgia Highway 8/Lawrenceville Highway from Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Mimosa Drive near Lilburn.

Completion of this project means continuous sidewalk will run along U.S. Highway 29 from Jimmy Carter Boulevard to Ronald Reagan Parkway. These sidewalk additions will help connect residential areas to Gwinnett County Transit bus service.

Construction 57 Inc. of Lilburn was the lowest of four responsive bidders at $894,688. The sidewalk project also will include drainage improvements, including curb and gutter.

Close to 30 percent of the funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration. The balance comes from the 2014 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

* * * * *

The Dickerson Group of Atlanta was the low bidder on a package of additional pedestrian improvements in the Lilburn area. At $839,396.40, Dickerson was the lowest of six responsive bidders for the projects that are in both commission districts 1 and 2. The projects will install a total of about 1.5 miles of sidewalk in these locations:

  • The east side of Arcado Road from Cedars Road to US 29/SR 8/Lawrenceville Highway’
  • The north side of Burns Road from Dickens Road to Indian Trail Road; and
  • The northwest side of Pirkle Road from Singleton Road to Oakbrook Parkway.

Wonder, the movie

Reviewed by Cindy Evans, Duluth  |  I just saw the sweet film, Wonder, in the theater. It was great! Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson are the parents of a little boy, played by Jacob Tremblay, who has  facial deformities. He goes to a public school for the first time.  It’s a good movie about being kind and not blending in when you’re born to stand out. I also liked the music and the message on friendship. It’s based on the book by the same name and is currently playing on the big screen.

  • An invitation: what books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (100 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. –eeb

Slave private from Georgia awarded land for his service

Austin Dabney was a slave who became a private in the Georgia militia and fought against the British during the Revolutionary War (1775-83). He was the only African American to be granted land by the state of Georgia in recognition of his bravery and service during the Revolution and one of the few to receive a federal military pension.

Born in Wake County, N.C, in the 1760s, Austin Dabney moved with his master, Richard Aycock, to Wilkes County, Ga., in the late 1770s. In order to avoid military service himself, Aycock sent Dabney to join the Georgia militia as a substitute. Serving as an artilleryman under Elijah Clarke, Dabney is believed to have been the only black soldier to participate in the Battle of Kettle Creek, one of the most significant battles in Georgia, which took place near Washington on February 14, 1779. He was severely wounded in the thigh during the fighting, and Giles Harris, a white soldier, took Dabney to his home to care for the wound. Dabney remembered Harris’s kindness and worked for the Harris family for the rest of his life.

On August 14, 1786, Dabney became the only African American to be granted land, 50 acres, by the state of Georgia in recognition of his military service during the Revolution. The legislature also provided 70 pounds to emancipate Dabney from his owner, Richard Aycock. Dabney continued working for Giles Harris and eventually paid for his son, William Harris, to attend Franklin College (later the University of Georgia). Dabney supported Harris financially throughout his studies in Athens and while Harris read for the bar with Georgia attorney Stephen Upson in Lexington.

Although a war veteran, Dabney’s race precluded him from participating in any of the Georgia land lotteries of the early 1800s. Upson, by then a state legislator, supported Dabney’s cause and sponsored a resolution to provide him with additional land not distributed in the 1819 lottery.

In 1821 Dabney received an additional plot of 112 acres in Walton County. This grant caused unrest among the residents of Madison County, who felt that whites and blacks should not be regarded as equals in terms of land allocation. In addition to the two land grants, Dabney also received a federal invalid pension of $60 a year starting in 1789 (which increased to $96 annually in 1816) for the wound he received at Kettle Creek.

The friendship between Dabney and the Harris family continued for the rest of Dabney’s life. He followed them to Walton, Burke, and Pike counties, and in 1835 William named a son, Austin Dabney Harris, in Dabney’s honor. At his death in Zebulon in 1830, Dabney left all his land and property to Harris and was buried in the Harris family plot in Pike County. His name appears on a historical marker in Griffin, and U.S. Senator Max Cleland of Georgia lauded him on the Senate floor in February 1998 for his war service and close relationship with the Harris family.


External ladder may be key clue in this Mystery Photo


This distinctive tower has an external means of getting to its top. You don’t see that in every tower. Now figure out what it is, and where. Send your answer to elliott@brack.net, and be sure to include where you live.

Two people recognized a rural Georgia church from the last mystery. Lou Camiero, Lilburn, wrote:  “Built in 1856,this is the Union Church in Irwinton, Ga. After the church burned, it served both Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterians congregations until 1960. The church was spared by Sherman but not until he had burned the courthouse.” The church photo is part of the Vanishing South Georgia collection of Brian Brown of Fitzgerald.

George Graf of Palmyra, Va. called it right, too: “It is the Union Church in the small city of Irwinton in Wilkinson County, Georgia. After the fires of 1854, a number of citizens came up with the idea that a common church that could be shared among Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists that would offer the best solution for the town.  Thus the Union church was incorporated by the Georgia general assembly in 1854 and called the Irwinton Free Church, now called Union Church.  The rotation called for the Methodist Episcopals to use the church the first and third week of each month, the Presbyterians the second week and the Missionary Baptists the fourth week.


Holiday Punch at Lionheart Theatre, through December 3. An adult night out or Christmas Party with friends.  See seven ten-minute plays to put you in the holiday spirit. Tickets are $20 each (no discounts for this event.) House made and gourmet meats, cheeses, pates and assorted breads and crackers, too, plus a beverage. For reservations, see lionheartre.org.

(NEW) Walk a Mile in My Shoes Charity Collection Event: through December 8, the second annual Love Circle Foundation of the Norcross First United Methodist Church Charity Event will be collecting items for the holidays. The event is designed to bring the community together to help those in need during holiday season, and encourage a spirit of philanthropy among young people. For more information, visit www.thelovecirclefoundation.org.

The Food for Thought Conference of the Georgia Farmers Market Association will be held November 30 to December 1 at Gwinnett Technical college. .The conference is an interactive two-day conference that will propel forward the vision for those in agriculture businesses. The conference is designed to equip and empower those in the sustainable agriculture community through a host of workshops and demonstrations. To register visit: Food for Thought Conference. Cost is $175 for members and $225 for non-members.

Walking Tour of Homes in Lilburn will be Saturday, December 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lilburnwomansclub.org. Homes on the tour are those of Alicia and Scott McCready; Rowan and Hugh Wilkerson; Anne and Johnny Crist; Catherine and John Calhoun; and Joann and Brad Rosselle. Proceeds benefit the Lilburn Cooperative Ministry.

Ribbon cutting of the Lilburn Activity Building, on December 5 at 4:30 p.m. The building is at 788 Hillcrest Road, and was formerly the Lilburn Library. It is now under the supervision of the Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Department.

(NEW) Job Fair hosted by the Gwinnett County Public Library and Goodwill of North Georgia will be Wednesday, December 6 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch, 2380 Five Forks Rod, Lawrenceville. Bring a resume, dress professionally and get hired. For more information, visit www.gwinnettpl.org or call 770-978-5154.

(NEW) What to do when a death occurs? Rick Johnson from Tom M. Wages Funeral Service will answer your questions and discuss topics such as: what’s necessary to administer an estate, who do you need to notify, what legal forms you should complete, and about veterans benefits. Join Gwinnett County Public Library for this seminar on Thursday, December 7 at 10:30 a.m. at the Lawrenceville Branch, 1001 Lawrenceville Highway, Lawrenceville.  This class is free and open to the public.

(NEW) Holiday Potluck for the Southern Wings Bird Club will be Monday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rhodes Jordan Park Community Center.  This night will include ta photo extravaganza and gift exchange. Details: www.southernwingsbc.com.

Christmas Gala Holiday Pops will open the 2017-12018 subscription season by the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra on December 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Johns Creek United Methodist Church. Tickets for this public performance are $32 for adults; $27 for seniors; and $16 for students. For tickets, call (678) 748-5802 or visit www.johnscreeksymphony.org.


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