The town of Talking Rock, as well as a creek of the same name, is located in Pickens County in northwest Georgia.
In 1805 the state of Georgia surveyed the Federal Road, its first state highway, through the Cherokee Nation and across Talking Rock Ford at the site of the present-day Highway 136 bridge.
At the subsequent white settlement of Talking Rock, in the late 1840s, English-born brothers William C., James, and Thomas Atherton built a cotton factory, a cotton gin, a wool carder, a gristmill, a sawmill, and a blacksmith shop. The Lebanon Presbyterian Church stood at the "Y" fork in the road. During the Civil War (1861-65) the Third Kentucky Cavalry (Union) defeated the local Confederate Home Guard in 1864, putting a temporary halt to the depredations against local pro-Union families. The Atherton mills were destroyed during the war, and the Lebanon Church, except for its cemetery, was destroyed in a snowstorm in 1888.
After World War II (1941-45) the decline of marble and cotton caused Talking Rock to wither into hardly more than a few churches, scattered farms, and ruins. The incorporated town of Talking Rock today consists of antique stores, a schoolhouse museum, and according to the 2010 U.S. census, sixty-four residents.
Robert S. Davis Jr., "How Talking Rock Was Named," North Georgia Journal 5 (winter 1989): 18-19.
Pickens County Heritage Book Committee, Pickens County, Georgia Heritage, 1853-1998 (Waynesville, N.C.: Don Mills, 1998).
Robert Scott Davis Jr., Wallace State College, Hanceville, Alabama
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