It was a grand occasion that mid-November day in 1928 near Flowery Branch when the Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated a boulder marking where Gen. Andrew Jackson spent the night at Young’s Tavern.
Several hundred people attended the ceremony presided over by DAR Regent Mrs. C.A. Rudolph. An American flag draped over the boulder, and other flags formed a background with flowers and greenery.
Boy Scouts and Riverside Military Academy cadets took part. Mrs. Sidney O. Smith introduced Virginia Hardin, who told about the Jackson Trail in Georgia, and the main speaker, lawyer Ben Gaillard, who waxed eloquently for several minutes about Andrew Jackson.
Elizabeth Hulsey and Jack Hulsey, grandchildren of Mrs. John Hulsey, performed the unveiling. Mrs. Hulsey donated the monument. Karlene Ashford, a descendant of Col. William Candler, for whom the DAR chapter is named, also was on the program. William Candler fought in the Revolutionary War at Kings Mountain, was in Georgia’s first legislature and a judge. Among his famous descendants were A.D. Candler, a Hall Countian who became governor, and Asa Candler, founder of Coca-Cola Co.
Robert Young, proprietor of the tavern where Jackson spent the night, had known the general for some time. Jackson had hired him and two others to lay out a road in that area. Young operated a large plantation near Flowery Branch.
Jackson was on his way to Florida in 1818 during the Seminole Indian War. Young’s Tavern, a 12-room log building, was on the Federal Road, the first vehicular way connecting Georgia and Tennessee.
It was the second monument the local DAR chapter had placed on the Jackson Trail, which traces Jackson’s travels through Georgia. The other is between Winder and Jefferson at the intersection of Ga. 11 and Jackson Trail Road.
One of Hall County’s historical markers is placed at the site of Young’s Tavern near the intersection of Atlanta Highway and Martin Road and mentions Jackson’s stop there. It says his staff and two companies of militia spent the night at the site. The general and his staff left Hall County for Monticello and Hawkinsville on their way south.
Jackson was a bit young to be a Revolutionary War hero. Still, at age 13 he became a courier for the military and was captured and taken prisoner by the British along with his brother. His treatment in prison and the death of his brother, and later his mother, is said to have launched a lifelong hatred for the British. Because he refused to polish the boots of a British officer, he suffered wounds from the officer’s sword, for which he bore scars the rest of his life.
Jackson got his revenge during the War of 1812 as a commander of American forces in the battle of New Orleans.
His military record helped Jackson become the seventh president of the United States in 1828. Widely admired, he also has his critics because of his controversial decisions, especially enforcement of the Indian Removal Act, which forced Cherokees out of Georgia on the infamous Trail of Tears.
But Jackson’s name is all over the place, several counties and other landmarks named in his honor. He was nicknamed “Old Hickory” because his soldiers in the field described him as tough as old hickory wood. Thus, the Old Hickory label is also attached to various places, especially in Tennessee, his home state.
One Georgia town, Jackson, bears his name, but Jackson County, through which Jackson Trail passes, isn’t. Its namesake is James Jackson, who was a Revolutionary War hero, governor 1798-1801 and served in Congress.
• • •
When national Democrats held their convention in Houston, Texas, in 1928, the gavel used to call delegates to order had a connection to Jackson County. The gavel was made by W.H. Smith of Jefferson from the mulberry tree under which Crawford W. Long performed his first surgery using ether to put the patient to sleep. Ninth District Rep. Tom Bell of Gainesville presented the gavel to the convention on behalf of Smith.
• • •
A Gainesville man was one of Georgia’s early comptroller generals. Major Madison Bell received high praise for the job he was doing in the 1870s. The comptroller general is also the insurance commissioner today.
Johnny Vardeman is retired editor of The Times. He can be reached at 2183 Pinetree Circle NE, Gainesville, GA 30501. His column appears Sundays and at gainesvilletimes.com/johnny.