Bob Hope once lived in Gainesville.
No, not that Bob Hope; not the one who for decades caused us to laugh out loud and always thanked us for the memories.
Gainesville’s Bob Hope was an entrepreneur who traded horses, mules and real estate. He once owned property around the downtown square.
He must have come from a family of horse traders because another Hope, Charley, did the same thing before him.
There are Hopes all over North Georgia and have been since the time of early settlers to the area. Joseph Hope married Nancy McEver in Hall County in 1838. He had fought against the Indians near the Florida border.
The census of 1830 listed James and William C. Hope as Hall County residents. William had married Penelope Saunders in 1829. James Hope’s house was crowded with eight other males and two females.
The 1836 militia of Hall County listed J.G. Hope in the company of Thomas Holland. The commander had written to the governor that “the Gainesville Draggoons are now in a state of readiness to march to any point where their service may be required, whether to aid in protection of our own citizens, or those of Florida.” He suggested more enlistees would be enrolled shortly, and all were mounted and armed with swords and pistols.
William Hope published an inquiry in a newspaper in 1866 seeking information on the whereabouts of his son, Charles M. Hope, a private soldier in Co. D, 27th Georgia Regiment of the Confederate Army. He had been last heard from when he had been wounded and captured at Sharpsburg, Md. Unfortunately, Charles died of his wounds in a Sharpsburg hospital.
Another Civil War veteran was J.T. Hope, probably a son of James and Mary Hope, who had nine sons, two daughters, 79 grandchildren 110 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren. Still another son, L.H., a native of Forsyth County, but who lived most of his life in Hall County, was a sergeant for the Confederate Army in Northern Virginia. He ended up in prison in Elmira, N.Y., but survived and lived in Gainesville until 1917 when he died at age 72. His funeral was in St. Paul Methodist Church, and he is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, now part of Alta Vista Cemetery. Besides his wife, he was survived by 10 children, perhaps one of the reasons so many Hopes still abide in North Georgia.
One of those survivors was Eula Thompson, grandmother of Jimmy Hope of Hall County and mother of Jerry Hope, an electrician who worked on numerous important projects in Hall County. Jimmy says his father carried electric power into many Northeast Georgia communities. He also is credited with the idea of using cooling fans in poultry houses.
Jerry and his wife also are responsible for the proliferation of Hopes as they had 10 children.
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Legend has it Wolf Pen Gap is so named because wolves were so prevalent and a threat to humans and livestock, pens were scattered about the area to capture them. It’s on Ga. 180 off U.S. 129/Ga. 11, which runs between Cleveland and Blairsville. There’s also a Wolf Creek in the area, as well as a Stink Creek and Wolfstake Road.
The curvy Ga. 180, one of the most scenic routes in Georgia, leads to Brasstown Bald on its eastern end.
On the western end nearby is Choestoe, supposedly from the Indian name Tsistu-yi, translated to mean “land of the dancing rabbits.” They probably danced a lot trying to get away from the wolves.
According to the Northeast Georgia Travel Association, settlers’ confusion of an Indian word led to the misnaming of Brasstown Bald, the state’s highest mountain at 4,784 feet. A Cherokee settlement on the Hiawassee River in what is now Towns County was named “It-se-yi”, meaning “New Green Place.” But whites misinterpreted it as
“unt-sa-yi” or “Place of Brass” and applied the name “Brasstown” to the mountain.
Etowah was a Cherokee settlement, but the name applied to a river that originates in Lumpkin County and flows southwest, eventually merging with the Oostanaula in Rome. White settlers confused it, however, and originally named the river Hightower.
While those early Southerners had trouble understanding Cherokee, some outside the South today say they have trouble understanding us.
Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times.