Dan Tucker’s Grave
“Old Dan Tucker’s Grave” is the burial site of Reverend Daniel Tucker who came to Elbert County to take up a land grant and became one of the county’s most useful and best known citizens. Rev. Tucker died April 7, 1818. His grave site is located off Highway 72 east of Elberton.
The Reverend Daniel Tucker was born in Virginia on February 14, 1740. As a young man he came to Elbert County to take up a land grant and served as a Captain in the American Revolution. Farming the rich land along the Savannah River, he became a very capable farmer. Records show that at least one man was bound to Daniel Tucker to learn how to farm. One of his closest friends and neighbors was the former Governor of Georgia, Stephen Heard.
Another important job that Daniel Tucker had was ferrying people back and forth across the Savannah River between the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Records in the Elbert County Courthouse show that in 1798, Tucker bought from Mr. John Heard for $1,000 in cash, part of the “Cook’s Ferry Tract” with a ferry and all the items that went with it. The ferry was well situated and continued to serve the traveling public until bridges were built for the coming of automobiles.
Besides farming and carrying travelers across the river, Daniel Tucker was probably best known for his role as a Methodist minister who cared very deeply for the slave population. He spent much of his time teaching them and praying with them. The slaves adored him, writing verse after verse about him to show their appreciation for all that he did for them. Their song about “Old Dan Tucker” has become a famous part of American folk music.
Daniel Tucker died in 1818 and was buried near his home. Today, his grave lies on a hill overlooking Lake Russell.
“Old Dan Tucker”
Old Dan Tucker was a mighty man;
He washed his face in a frying pan;
He combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
And died with a toothache in his heel.
Get out o’ the way Ol’ Dan Tucker
Get out o’ the way Ol’ Dan Tucker
Get out o’ the way Ol’ Dan Tucker
You’re too late to get your supper.
From Elberton, travel Highway 72 East approximately 6.6 miles. Turn left on Pearl Mill Road. Continue for 3 miles, turning right on Heardmont Road. After 1.7 miles, veer right, following signs to Dan Tucker’s Grave.
Bicentennial Memorial Fountain
The Bicentennial Memorial Fountain on Elberton’s town square was donated to Elbert County by the Granite Industry in 1976. It lists significant periods of local history on 13 panels symbolic of the 13 original colonies. A sculptured American Eagle sits atop the center shaft.
The Broad River Watershed Association
The Broad River Watershed is approximately 944,000 acres and includes parts of thirteen counties:
The watershed remains in a largely natural state. Its position in the Piedmont with the Appalachians to the north and the coastal plain to the south allows for a highly diverse assemblage of plant and animal communities. It provides habitat for deer, turkeys, bobcats, foxes, beavers, otters, muskrats, quail, dove, mallards, wood ducks, turtles, crayfish and many others. Among the rare and endangered species that live in the Elbert County watershed is the Shoal Lily (Hymenocallis occidentalis) which grows on rocks in and around the river.
The Broad River Watershed Association hosts an annual “Shoal Lily Float” which allows the public to view the rare Shoal Lilies at the mouth of Clarke Hill Lake. For more information about the float, please contact Broad River Watershed Association at P.O. Box 661, Danielsville, Georgia 30633; (706)-795-5097.
Downtown Elberton Memorial Display
The Elberton Granite Association and its members maintain a constantly changing display of work from Elbert County’s granite industry. This display is located at the intersection of highways 17, 72, and 77 in downtown Elberton.
Elbert County contains one of the most unique features in the state of Georgia and hundreds maybe thousands of football fans will attest to this fact.
Elberton, chartered Dec. 10, 1803 was settled because turkey hunters found a pleasant area situated around a spring. In 1812, town commissioners purchased the spring from a private owner. It was used for drinking water until the City of Elberton built a water system around 1899. From that time forward, the spring was forgotten.
The spring was unfortunately used as a trash dump and was overgrown with weeds and bushes. It was right off of the downtown square so citizens had to view this mess daily.
Local resident and Elberton City Parks Director Ben Sutton came up with the idea for improvement. He envisioned a football stadium for the Elberton School System, whose football team was the Blue Devils.
After floating the idea by Elberton High School Football Coach Lee “Chunk” Atkinson, Mr. Sutton talked to City Council and convinced them to support his plan. The Council promised to purchase a culvert, clean the area and install lights and poles.
Beginning in the summer of 1951, local contractors loaned bulldozers for the project. The spring was covered and a drainage pipe funneled it under the portion leveled for the playing field. Local granite companies (Elberton is the Granite Capital of the World) donated various sizes of sawed pieces of granite for the seating areas. Sand for mortar was donated, fill-in dirt was donated and money was contributed.
In 1954, the Elberton Blue Devils prepared for the first game. It had a field-level granite wall circling the field. On the home side five rows of granite seats were complete between the 20-yard lines. The visitors’ side had only two rows, with a 40-foot dirt hill rising above it. Unfortunately, the first game played in the Granite Bowl was lost in the fourth quarter to Morgan County, 7-0. A week later the Blue Devils celebrated a victory defeating Greenwood, SC, 33-0.
The Elberton School system operated from 1900 to 1956 when it merged with Elbert County. The high school became Elbert County High School.
The Granite Bowl has been upgraded through the years. The second major push to finish the stadium came in 1961 enlarging the seating capacity to 20,000. Another interesting addition to the field is the scoreboard sign acquired from Sanford Stadium in 1991.
Nancy Hart Cabin
Nancy Hart Log Cabin was the home site of Nancy Hart. She was a staunch patriot, a deadly shot, a skilled doctor, and a good neighbor. A spy for the Colonists, she is credited with capturing several British Tories. The cabin is located off Highway 17, south of Elberton. In 1932, the Elbert County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, recognizing the contribution of Nancy Hart, erected a replica of her cabin on the site of the original home place. The stones from the fireplace and chimney of Benjamin and Nancy Hart’s early home were used to recreate the cabin to its original state.
Tall Georgia pine trees were harvested, skinned, and notched to build the one room log house. The cabin was constructed for historical authenticity with short doors and wooden shutters over small windows. Holes were left in the mud chinking for “shooting Indians and other unwelcome visitors.” A large stone fireplace at one end of the room provided fire to cook the food and warmth for the winter. Water was carried from a spring less than half a mile from the cabin. The spring still produces a steady stream of clear water, feeding into the beautiful Wahatchee Creek.
The DAR deeded the Nancy Hart Cabin to the State of Georgia in the late 1940’s, and the 14 acre plot was developed as a state park. During this time, the park was used for a wide variety of educational and recreational purposes. The park was deeded to Elbert County because of state budget cuts in the 70’s.
The cabin was restored in 1992 through grants and donations and a generous outpouring of community effort.
Russell Dam & Lake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District, in cooperation with Georgia Department of Natural Resources and South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, developed an overall master plan for recreational development and natural resources management for the Richard B. Russell Lake. Public input was encouraged and received through numerous public meetings. The Richard B. Russell Dam and Lake is the third multipurpose project built on the Savannah River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District. Authorized in 1966 for the purpose of hydropower generation, recreation, and flood control, the project got underway in 1976.
The Russell Dam site is located between the existing Hartwell and Strom Thurmond Dams. It is 18 miles southeast of Elberton, GA, and 4 miles southwest of Calhoun Falls, SC. The dam was built in the headwaters of the Strom Thurmond Dam about 37 miles above the Strom Thurmond Dam. Hartwell Dam is located about 30 miles upstream from the Russell site.
Richard B. Russell Lake covers 26,650 acres with an additional 26,500 acres of land surrounding the waters. Corps of Engineers policy is to manage and protect the shoreline of the lake by properly establishing and maintaining acceptable fish and wildlife habitat, aesthetic quality and natural environmental conditions; and to promote safe and healthful use of these shorelines for recreational purposes by the public. Thus, private exclusive use is not permitted on Richard B. Russell Lake. Boat owners are encouraged to moor their boats at commercial marinas, use dry storage facilities or motor their boats to public launching ramps for removal.
EGA Granite Museum
The Elberton Granite Museum and Exhibit, operated by the Elberton Granite Association, Inc., is one of Northeast Georgia’s newest tourist attractions. The museum, which opened in 1981, contains historical exhibits, artifacts, educational displays, and materials depicting current and past events in the rich heritage of the Elberton Granite Industry.
Hours: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Saturday. (These hours are subject to change according to events.) If you need to know the schedule for a particular date, or if you would like to receive a museum brochure, please contact the Elberton Granite Association, Inc.
Please contact 706-283-2551 to verify hours on any particular day to ensure there are no conflicts with other scheduled events.
Georgia Guidestones (No Longer Standing)
The no longer standing Georgia Guidestones, Elberton’s most unusual granite monument, poses a mystery and also a philosophical message providing guides for the preservation of mankind. Known as the Stonehenge of America, the Guidestones are mysterious in origin, for no one knows the identity of a group of sponsors who provided the specifications for the 19-foot high monument.
This monument is a massive granite monument espousing the conservation of mankind and future generations. Sources for the sizable financing of the project choose to remain anonymous. The wording of the message proclaimed on the monument is in 12 languages, including the Archaic languages of Sanscrit, Babylonian Cuneiform, Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Classical Greek, as well as English, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish and Swahili. The guides, followed by explanatory precepts, are as follows. The words here are exactly as the Sponsors provided them.
The Guidestones Explained
–Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
Means the entire human race at its climax level for permanent balance with nature.
–Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.
Without going into details as yet undiscovered, this means humanity should apply reason and knowledge to guiding its own reproduction. Fitness could be translated as health. Diversity could be translated as variety.
–Unite humanity with a living new language.
A living language grows and changes with advancing knowledge. A new language will be developed de novo – and need not necessarily be adapted from any languages now in existence.
–Rule Passion-Faith-Tradition-and all things with tempered reason.
Faith here may be used in a religious sense. Too often people are ruled by blind faith even when it may be contrary to reason. Reason must be tempered with compassion here – but must prevail.
–Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
Courts must consider justice as well as law.
–Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
Individual nations must be free to develop their own destinies at home as their own people wish – but cannot abuse their neighbors.
–Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
–Balance personal rights with social duties.
Individuals have a natural concern for their personal welfare, but man is a social animal and must also be concerned for the group. Failure of society means failure for its individual citizens.
–Prize truth-beauty-love-seeking harmony with the infinite.
The infinite here means the supreme being – whose will is manifest in the workings of the cosmos – if we will seek for it.
–Be not a cancer on the earth-Leave room for nature.
In our time, the growth of humanity is destroying the natural conditions of the earth which have fostered all existing life. We must restore reasoned balance.
The four large upright blocks pointing outward are oriented to the limits of the migration of the moon during the course of a year.
-An eye-level, oblique hole is drilled from the South to the North side of the center, Gnomen stone so that the North Star is always visible, symbolizing the constancy and orientation with the forces of nature.
-A slot is cut in the middle of the Gnomen stone to form a window which aligns with the positions of the rising sun at the Summer and Winter Solstices and at the Equinox so that the noon sun shines to indicate noon on a curved line.
-The capstone includes a calendar of sorts where sunlight beams through a 7/8 inch hole at noon and shines on the South face of the center stone. As the sun makes its travel cycle, the spot beamed through the hole can tell the day of the year at noon each day. Allowances are made because of variations between standard time and sun time to set the beam of sunlight at the equation of time.
-The site, 7.2 miles north of Elberton on Highway 77, was chosen because it commands a view to the East and to the West and is within range of the Summer and Winter sunrises and sunsets. The stones are oriented in those directions.
Petersburg Trail & Petersburg Town Site
Petersburg, Georgia, (accessible via boat or by trail at Bobby Brown Park) was an upriver market town located in Wilkes County, Georgia, (now Elbert County). It was named after Petersburg, Virginia, and founded by Dionysius Oliver in 1786 largely to serve as tobacco inspection station. Tobacco was quickly replaced by cotton as the most popular crop for export. Cotton required no inspection, and planters would bring cotton by wagon to Petersburg by wagon to be loaded onto 10-ton Petersburg (pole) boats. A crew of four to six would pole a boat south to Augusta and back again.
During the peak of its prosperity, from 1800 to 1810, Petersburg was the third-largest city in Georgia, after Savannah and Augusta. Notable persons from Petersburg included Dr. William Wyatt Bibb, who was elected as a U. S. Representative from Georgia. He went on to serve in the U.S. Senate (1813-1816), moved to Alabama when appointed by the President as the Territorial Governor, and in 1819 was elected as the first Alabama’s first Governor.
Petersburg had the distinction of being home to two concurrent Senators. Charles Tait was brought with his family to the area in 1783 and served in the U.S. Senate (1809-1818), and George Rockingham Gilmer was elected U. S. Representative in the 1820s and later Governor of Georgia from 1829-1831 and again from 1837-1839.
There were as many as eight or ten stores, and many homes. The town, now under the waters of Clarke’s Hill Lake, had a cemetery which was moved by the Army Corps of Engineers during the construction of Strom Thurmond Dam. The graves and headstones were moved to Bethlehem United Methodist Church, just off Hwy. 72. One tombstone with the name of a young boy, Robert Davies Roundtree, was discovered during a drought in the early 1980s which lowered lakes levels by approximately 20 feet. Before the stone and grave could be moved, rains brought lake levels back to normal.
Petersburg residents were known for their refinement, respectability, intelligence and hospitality. Even today visitors who follow the trail from Bobby Brown Park to the site of Petersburg can find bits of bottles and china with markings from England and northern states. The site of Petersburg is on Federally owned land, and removal of any artifacts is strictly prohibited.
On the opposite side of Broad river was the town of Lisbon, and on the opposite shore in South-Carolina, was the town of Vienna. Like Petersburg, these towns died away, and their sites are partially covered by the waters of Clarke’s Hill Lake.
As the war between the Union and Confederacy drew to a close, CSA President, Jefferson Davis held the Confederacy’s final cabinet meeting in Abbeville, SC. At that time, the entire treasury of the Confederacy was moving with the cabinet, and was guarded by sailors of the Confederate Navy.
Fleeing approaching Union troops, the party crossed the Savannah River on a pontoon bridge at Petersburg, Georgia, and the southern tip of what is now Elbert County.
The Confederate gold and silver bullion and coins were last accounted for at Chenault Plantation in what is now Lincoln County. It was never seen or accounted for again. There are rumors that it was divided by officers and soldiers as long overdue pay for their service. Some say that Union soldiers were able to disguise themselves and collect as well. Locals have reported finding gold coins along old dirt roads near the plantation at times.
Many Indian mounds were covered by the waters of Clarke’s Hill and Russell Lakes.
However, some mounds, located on private property are still to be found. There are several on the southwest side of the Broad River where the river empties into Clarke’s Hill Lake, at least one within the city of Elberton off of Church Street, and one that was excavated by the University of Georgia on the Tate/Conger farm on Lake Russell near Middleton (unincorporated).
Arrowhead and relic collectors may find arrowheads, spear points, stone tools and pottery along the banks of Lake Russell. Popular areas include the site of old Edinburg at the confluence of Coldwater Creek and the Savannah River as well as a peninsula near power transmission lines that cross Beaverdam Creek near the end of the reservoir’s navigable waters. Relics are easiest to find after a drought, followed by heavy rain, which exposes small stone artifacts. Another drought or recession of waters is best after a torrential rain since there is more shoreline to explore. This area is accessibly only by boat.
Mounds covered by Lake Russell were surveyed and studied in great detail. Information may be found in the online book Beneath These Waters as well as in The Russell Papers which may be found at the Russell Dam Visitor’s Center. Several Indian sites were excavated near the park in 1980 before the lake was filled, indicating that Paleo-Indians lived in the area more than 10,000 years ago. This area is now called Rucker’s Bottom and lies deep within the waters of Lake Richard B. Russell.
An excellent source of history and archeological findings related to the Savannah River area and Lake Russell may be found in the book, “Beneath These Waters.” https://archive.org/details/beneaththesewate00ka02
Jim-Ree African American Museum
The Jim-Ree Museum is a place that takes a deep dive into the African- American Culture. With low and affordable prices, you can get a tour that provides lots of informative details and facts. It’s a great way to learn about African American history through a rich and storied local lens. This family-run museum is doing the important work of preservation and education.
The Elbert Theatre
The Elbert Theatre opened on February 23, 1940, as the most advanced movie theatre in Northeast Georgia. Built by Lucas and Jenkins, the original Theatre featured the best in modern conveniences for its time: air conditioning, RCA Hi-Fi sound, Simplex Eurprex projection, an Evenlight diffusing screen, hearing aids, extra large seats in a staggered formation for optimum viewing, and a “magic eye” drinking fountain.
For nearly 30 years, the Theater served as Elberton’s gateway to the world of motion pictures, a regular entertainment spot for local residents. Movies eventually were no longer shown and the building fell into disrepair. The facility and land was purchased by the City of Elberton. Renovation began on the Elbert Theatre in 2000 and in 2005 it held its first theatre season.
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