This mill was built by John P. King in 1850. Mr. King was a prominent citizen of Oothcaloga Depot – the small hamlet that was soon to become Calhoun. The mill was located on Oothaloga Creek west of town. This location is just south of the present Highway 53 Connector bridge and it would also be just south of the covered bridge built over the Oothcaloga in 1853 by Stephen M. Jones.
The story of the mill parallels the story of the development of Calhoun. Not long after construction of the mill the citizens of Oothaloga Depot were competing to have their town named county seat of Gordon County. A negative aspect of the geographical location was the proximity of the town to Oothalooga Creek and the millpond associated with the mill. The locals feared the miasmatic conditions of the millpond. The miasmatic theory held that stagnate waters and putrid smelling air were the source of diseases like swamp fever and malaria. Mr. King squelched the fears of the people when he donated a 30 acre strip of piney woods that separated the mill pond from the growing town. This wooded strip became known as “The Thicket” and was thought to buffer the people from the disease-ridden area.
The mill exchanged hands several times. Before the Civil War it was owned by James Carter Longstreet. This Longstreet was the first cousin of the famous Confederate General James Longstreet. He was also a prominent lawyer and was appointed Solicitor General of the Cherokee Circuit in 1856. Two year Longstreet was dead at age 29 and was buried in the Longstreet Cemetery on the hill on the opposite side of the creek from the mill. After the Civil War the mill was owned by an A.P. Bailey. In 1873 he was in litigation pertaining to debts that he had incurred to make repairs to the mill. Whether the damage was associated with the Union activity in the vicinity in 1864 is not clear. There is a 1920 reference to Coley’s Mill and a 1928 reference to the mill as Long’s Mill. The mill was demolished in 1955.
Bicentennial History of Gordon County, Georgia, 1976, Edited by Burton Bell
Printup vs. Barrett, Reports of Cases of Law and Equity argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Georgia at Atlanta, Part of July Term 1872, Vol. XLVI
The Longstreet Society, http://longstreet.org/childhood.html, accessed December 26, 2008.
Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Department of Archives and History, Office of the Secretary of State, gor008, Photograph of Coley’s Mill, Gordon County, Georgia, ca. 1920.
Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Department of Archives and History, Office of the Secretary of State, gor261, Photograph of baptism, Gordon County, Georgia, ca. 1928.
Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Department of Archives and History, Office of the Secretary of State, gor318, Photograph of Oothcaloga Mill, Gordon County, Georgia, ca. 1980-1890?.