Posts Tagged ‘Dahlonega’

Wrapping Up Dahlonega: the CamScanner

February 6, 2016

(I started writing this post on the iPhone a week ago, but stepped away, mid-post, to get a cup of tea, and the cats pressed “POST”. I figured out how to delete it.)


Almost 2 years ago we were on a pilgrimage to Dahlonega, where Sugar’s great-grandfather was the 2nd president of the North Georgia College. We located the site of their home, after we got home and looked over our research.


I’ve learned about a handy app called a CamScanner. You install a scanner on your phone, and you can edit your photos that you take with the CamScanner feature.

I found the walking tour brochure for the neighborhood where the family of William Starr Basinger lived, and I camscanned it and highlighted the two lots where they lived.

So there’s the contents of the brochure. I went back to the map of the neighborhood, and outlined the lots where the Basinger house was. Keep in mind, the actual image of the lot is smaller than the size of  a postage stamp and I’m drawing with my little finger because I don’t have a stylus thingy. The lots front Water Street.

Plus it’s my first attempt and there’s a learning curve. Overall, I’m pleased. Now the lot location is out there on the big internet!


The Gold Mine in the Closet: William Starr Basinger and Margaret Roane Garnett

November 9, 2014

Everybody knows about William Starr Basinger and Margaret Roane Garnett, right?  ‘Cause I’m single-handedly making them rock stars, 1800’s fashion.  You can read more about them here, and if you want, you can search the blog for Basinger or Garnett, and you’ll find boat-loads of stuff in general.

Sugar found in his closet gold mine two photos, one each of William Starr Basinger and Margaret Roane Garnett.  He believes that W. S. Basinger is in his 20’s, and that Margaret is perhaps somewhere between 16 and 20 years old, so I’m wondering if it was a tradition back in the day to have your photo made at about age 20.  Any thoughts?  I know you have them.

The curious thing to me about these photos, and you’ll see what I mean, is that they are on the same kind of paper, the same size, and the vintage looks the same.  They were stored together, and have the bottom left hand corner broken off, like the two photos were stacked together and the corner became bent and broken completely off.


His is darker with more contrast.  So I’m thinking that someone within the last hundred years took two existing photos and had them reproduced.

When we were in Richmond last year on our history mystery trip, we ate at Garnett’s Cafe (no there is not a family discount).  Our waitress looked EXACTLY like Margaret Roane Garnett.  I mean identical.  I wanted to take her picture, and Sugar said that I should not, and we had a conversation that consisted of hissing back and forth in an effort to be heard and also to be quiet, like older people do.  Of course, I did ask our waitress if she was related or if her name just happened to be Margaret.  Apparently, she’s heard the first part but not the second, and neither were true.

I swear she was Margaret Roane Garnett in jeans and T-shirt.  Same face and build, same dark hair.

A curious coincidence that I’m calling this series “The Gold Mine in the Closet”, and the Basinger family lived for a while in Dahlonega, Georgia, which was the site of the first major U.S. gold rush.

Will these photos ever end?  Apparently not.

I’m typing like crazy, and editing photos, and watching the movies in my head.

And it’s all for you, people.  ALL FOR YOU.  (Sorry, all caps means I might be a little deranged.)

In Which I am a Historian, Part 2

July 20, 2014

Last year, another writer called me a “Historian”.  You can visit J’aime Rubio’s investigative blog by clicking on the link.

I.  Like.  It.

This past March, Sugar and I went to Dahlonega, Georgia, on a William Starr Basinger pilgrimage. The historical society’s newsletter for June, 2014, did a write-up of the occasion. They mailed the newsletter to us, and if you want to check out their website, take a look by clicking here.



In Search of William Starr Basinger: Lots 37, 38, and 22

April 7, 2014

In the “Personal Reminiscences” of William Starr Basinger, he writes about his time in Dahlonega.  They rented a house from an Allen family, then decided to buy another house and add on to that house to accommodate the six children. That house was on lots 37 and 38, and later he bought town lot 22 for a vegetable garden and stable.

We walked about the town and the neighborhood northwest of the square, because we knew that the lots 37 and 38 were northwest of the square.  No houses matched the one in the photo that Sugar had.  (I apologize.  I don’t have the photo of the house.  I’ll have to wrest it away from Sugar and scan it.)

We walked up Church Street, andohmyheartbestill, there was a fabric and yarn shop on the left in an enormous old house.  I decided it might be best if I investigated this house while Sugar walked on, even though the orientation of the street slope and the facade of the house was wrong.  You know, just in case, and perhaps have a peek at the yarns and fabrics.  The super-nice shopkeeper, whose name I did not get said that the house was once owned by a person associated with the university, but it definitely was not the house we wanted.  We went about our business.  Sugar found me with my hands in a yarn bin, up to the elbows.

So, onward.  At the crest of the northwest quadrant, there was an empty lot full of trees and daffodils.  There clearly was once a house here, and there were terraced areas, and brickwork around the trees, but Sugar was sure that this was not it.

We walked on, and came to a historical marker that strangely I didn’t photograph.  Through the magic of the internet, I present this link to the historical marker that is a much better history than I could have provided. (Spoiler alert:  Photo #3 facing southwest – the house on the left, which is actually rental property, perhaps apartments, in on the lot 37 that William Starr Basinger owned.  We didn’t know it at the time.  I know, I know, we were walking all around it all morning.  *sigh*)

We walked further, and around, and perhaps went all the way around Robin Hood’s barn without finding the house.  Yes, we were the insane-looking people walking and staring looking at houses, all squinty-eyed.  Yet, the nice people of Dahlonega did not call the authorities on us.

Then it was off to the courthouse with us to look at actual records.




So Sugar took this book and started looking, page by page, line by line, for his great-grandfather.  He didn’t find a record of a purchase of lots 37 and 38.



Then he said, “Here it is.”  He did find Lot 22.



The index showed that he purchased lot 22 from N. H. Hand, and we pulled the actual book with the transaction on page 431.




Georgia      )                                             This Indenture made

)the 28th day of October A. D. 1889 between

Nathan H. Hand of White Plains in the State of

New York of the first part and William S. Basinger

of Dahlonega in the State of Georgia of the second part.

Whereas the said party of the first part by deed dated

the 28th day of November A. D. 1883 and recorded in

the office of the Clerks of the Superior Court of Lumpkin…






If we only had a map.  We saw a map on the wall, a large, framed map of the town lots.  It was too high for us to read the lot numbers.  If there had not been another person in the records room, I would have stood on the table under the map.  I used the zoom feature on the camera to get a shot, but the glare from the overhead lights reflected on the glass.  (Later, when we learned the location of the lots, I added the lot numbers to the photo.)



None of the staff could help us locate another map.  One staff member said that the frame was bolted to the wall by the maintenance man, and when I used the camera’s tripod to point to the lot numbers, she cautioned me to not tap the glass, so that the map didn’t fall off the wall.

We left at that point, because there seemed to be nothing left for us to do.

It’s just about lunchtime, and it’s time to meet up with Robbie with the Lumpkin County Historical Society, who just happens to own Coloth Type and Graphic Arts on the Square.  So we park on the square in front of her office and call her, and explain the dilemma that the house that his great-grandfather lived in was not the Vickery House after all, it was a house that is no longer standing, and we can’t tie the photo of the house to a specific lot. She said that was even better because it is lost history regained.

Sugar presents her with a photo of the house, and a photo of the Basinger family.


This was the magical moment that everyone that has ever done historical research longs for.  It’s the presentation to someone who is so stinkin’ enthusiastic about what you have done that you just feel like royalty, of sorts.  Suddenly, in one fell swoop, the town has gained a bit of information regarding a family, a house, a President of the college, a history, and a link to the present.

It was a good day.  The oysters and we headed over the line for Tennessee, where Sugar’s cousin waited.

In Search of William Starr Basinger; Or, The Oysters Stay at a B&B

April 5, 2014

Sugar had found a place where he really, really wanted to stay.  He was sad-faced when he learned that they were going to be closed for a private event. The one night that we want to be there.

Plan B:  the Lily Creek Lodge.  It’s on Auraria Road.  After making the reservation, Sugar looked at his great-grandfather’s “Personal Reminiscences” yet again, and saw mention of Auraria Road.  So we get to stay at a place on a road that his great-grandfather traveled.  Bonus.


We checked-in, settled in a bit with a chat with the hostess, who made suggestions of who we should talk to in our search to know more about Dahlonega history.  The drive back into town was only four miles, and supper was needed.  The Picnic Cafe was open but Sugar wanted to try something different.  Hint:  when in Dahlonega, just go ahead and eat all your meals at the Picnic Cafe.  Not to say that the other places don’t have good food, there’s just a good vibe there.

We drove around after dinner, and made a plan for the next day.

And the oysters?  Still in the car, on ice.

In Search of William Starr Basinger, or, The Oysters Go to Dahlonega

April 1, 2014


We left Athens, slowly, driving slowly, on the way to Dahlonega.

Sugar had allowed several hours to get there, but we found it was a very short trip, and we pulled into the town square just in time for lunch at the Picnic Cafe.  How did we decide where to eat?  It was literally in front of our parking spot, and the weather was breezily cold, so we dashed inside.  Plenty of other folks had made the same decision.  A good crowd is a good sign of good food.



Ah, salad and hot soup in a freshly-baked bread bowl.


After stuffing ourselves, we went outside for a look around.  It was still cold and crisp, yet folks were strolling about.




Sugar said that his great-grandfather William Starr Basinger had a law office on the square on the second floor of a building. Why couldn’t this door on the left be the door to his office? I ask you, why not?



I had it in my mind that we would find the house where William Starr Basinger and his wife Margaret Roane Garnett and their family lived.  And as usual, I got my mind all wrapped up around the thought that it could be this house, the Vickery House, which was associated with the college and right by the campus.





There was a log cabin being constructed behind the Vickery House, so here are the photos.




This is a shot of the Vickery House from across the campus using the zoom lens.



We walked back to the square, and I was grateful for my lined, hooded coat and my warm cowl.




Frank W. Hall was a man of means and owned a lot of Dahlonega properties.

After our quick tour, we are no closer to finding the Basinger house.  We have plans to meet with some folks from the Historical Society the next day, and possibly to find some court documents, so cross your fingers!

In Search of William Starr Basinger, or Sugar Plans a Vacation

March 13, 2014

Sugar wants to go on a trip.  He has pestered me to death about going on a trip.  I suggest that we just get in the car.  He has different plans.

He wants to go on a Basinger pilgrimage.  Yes, can you believe that there is one left?  After all, we’ve gone all over Savannah, looking at cemetery plots and locations of former homes and businesses.  We’ve been to the library.  We’ve talked to Starr cousins.  We went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library and viewed the William Starr Basinger collection.  We’ve been to Amelia County, Virginia, to Mattoax to see where he met his wife Margaret Roane Garnett, and then on to Richmond to see where the family home “The Oaks” was moved.  Yes, it seems there is some unfinished business.

So the trip is planned that we will go to the University of Georgia at Athens to walk the campus and see where Uncle Charlie’s house used to be, then on to Dahlonega to see if we can find the location of William Starr Basinger’s home, and then an additional spur into Sewanee, Tennessee, to see a Basinger cousin with an extra attempt to find out more about Sugar’s father’s father who went to school at Sewanee.

Have you ever traveled by car with fresh seafood in a cooler?  For days, like, traveled FOR DAYS with seafood in a styrofoam cooler.  Me, either.  And we lived to tell about it.