In the years after the American Revolution, Georgia settlers moved from the eastern coast towards the western interior of the state, seeking land, freedom, and opportunity. Their eager rush to Dahlonega’s gold mines and territories east of the Flint River inexorably dispossessed Native Americans of their ancestral homes.
Mavis Doering, Ramona Bear Taylor, and Creek Indian Jay McGirt recall Cherokee Indians being rounded up by U.S. soldiers under the command of Gen. Winfield Scott and herded into stockades for the four month long walk to Oklahoma known as the Trail of Tears.
Frank Moon, a fifth generation gold prospector, local Dahlonega bookstore owner Bill Kinsland, and Dr. Ray Rensi at Dahlonega’s North Georgia College describe how news of the discovery of gold in north Georgia spread as quickly as a lightening strike and prospectors poured in just as fast. The boomtown of Auraria sprung up to accommodate miners, but later mining activities centered in Dahlonega, Georgia.
West Georgia College professor Dr. Carol Scott and North Georgia College professor Dr. Ray Rensi discuss how colonial settlers had little need for money as currency was required only when goods were needed that came from elsewhere. During the Dahlonega gold rush, miners did not know how much of their nuggets or gold dust was pure gold. The U.S. Mint opened a Dahlonega branch in 1838, that remained in business, stamping gold coins, until 1861 when the Civil War began. But the mint never reopened. It was gone along with the easy-to-find gold.
Robbie Ethridge, a University of Georgia graduate student, Dr. Ray Rensi of North Georgia College, Bill Kinsland, owner of the Hometown Bookstore in Dahlonega, and University of Georgia professor Dr. Charles Hudson discuss how new people poured into central and north Georgia wanting to own land. The forces eventually driving Indian removal were largely economic.
In the early 1800s there were no reliable means of transportation. Waterways were the easiest routes and most of Georgia’s larger cities grew up along rivers. Michelle Gillespie at Agnes Scott College and Lesa Campbell of the Southeastern Railway Museum explain how it took the steam powered locomotive to bring about a transportation revolution in Georgia.