Here is some history. Periodically, the Georgia Safe Dams folks contact us to get permission to check the dams at our farm. They interact with the Federal agency that monitors 92,000 dams in the USA that could potentially cause harm if they failed. Their surveyors take measurements and assessments to evaluate each dam for safety. I noticed on the Federal Inventory of Dams that our pond is "Boyette Gin Pond". When the State of GA contacted me during the pandemic to check the dam, I said, "sure." I asked the girl there why they had it listed as a "Gin Pond". She followed up a few months later and sent me the dam inventory card from the 1980's when it was all done by hand. See the card below...it is what got me started on a quest that led me to discover an old mill site at the farm. So far, I have recovered 2 big mortise and tenon timbers that were part of the mill, a BIG cut nail and we now understand that the walls in the pond that made the bridge we always walked across...those walls were part of the mill race. Once we drained to pond off, Alex was down in the mud exploring and probed the mud...and discovered there was a concrete bottom between the walls. One of the walls had _889 etched into the concrete along with someone's initials. Mr. W.G. Bostick bought the farm in 1884...either the mill was already built by then (I think it was) or he did some work on the mill race walls and they etched the date in the wall.
Old farm deeds reference "Bostick Mill Creek" which is where the mill walls are...someone built the pre-Civil War dam at a creek and created a "Gin Pond" to power the mill. I have one of the mill stones (about 36 inch diameter) that was found at Grandaddy's shop. From old 1908 maps it looks like the pond was about 6 acres. When G'daddy built his ponds in the 1950's, he built up the road below the Gin Pond about 8 feet and that became the dam. It backed up enough water to make a 20 acre pond that included the original Gin Pond. Before building up the road to make a dam, he cut all the timber along the creek...those are the stumps I posted pictures of. I found old timber leases where he had two different timber outfits log the areas to build his ponds. He actually made a South Pond (which I inherited) and a North Pond which is to the north of the road dam. He built a BIG dam to contain the North Pond. It is about 11 acres size.
The 1956 aerial map shows North and South ponds shortly after Grandaddy completed them.
The picture with the blue lines shows the full property I inherited...about 90 acres. At the right upper area is the South Pond...the blue property line runs along the road, east to west. You can see the original dam south of the road..we call that small one the "Road Pond". View attachment mill site finds via metal det (3).mp4
I am keeping the timbers in the water at the mill race for now...along with two old sinker logs. Picts of Mr. Bostick's grave...it is the only known grave on the farm. It is on the highest hill and overlooks the ponds and mill site.
In the old 1908 maps, in Land Lot 48 where it says "Fish Pond"...that is our pond when it was a Gin Pond. I found 1902 land deeds that reference the "Gin Pond", the first true reference to it I had found so far.
Totally. You just asked a great question. I've always wondered if there were some graves that we don't see but I think that's not the case. A couple of months ago when I was at the farm I took about a 2-hour wander through the Fellowship Baptist cemetery where a lot of our family is buried.. including my grandfather and grandmother that owned the farm at one time... plus my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc.
I noticed a very unusually shaped gravestone not too far from my grandfather's plot and when I got close enough to read it, the person buried there was Mrs W. G. Bostick. I always wondered why she wasn't buried up on the hill with Mr. Bostick, but when I looked at the dates I started understanding. Mr. Bostick died in 1904...she died in 1944. By the time she died, the farm was out of Bostick hands and belonged to Johnsons (My grandmother, Armetta's, family name). Mrs. Bostick was 102 years old when she died!
On a recent DOT map it lists "Bostick Cemetery" on our farm...and there is only the one grave in the cemetery. Maybe Mr. Bostick had it "registered" as a cemetery plot area before he died...another mystery that I probably won't have time to investigate.