Spring 2022
News & Updates from
the Milton Historical Society
In this issue:

  • December 2021 Holiday party
  • Sculpture on the Green
  • Milton cemetery interactive map
  • Story of Pole Town
  • About those silos!
  • Spring evening programs
  • Volunteer opportunity

Scroll down to catch all the news!
Milton Historical Society
Holiday Party
Party venue - one outstanding barn!
Hosts Sarah and Charlie Roberts
Linda and Jim Farris with 'Bentley'
The Milton Historical Society invited patrons and supporters to a holiday gathering at the magnificent barn of hosts Sarah and Charlie Roberts on Freemanville Road in MIlton.

On December 14, 2021, fellow history buffs and friends of the Milton Historical Society gathered to feast on hors d'oeuvres and raise a glass of holiday cheer. The Society celebrated a productive year of local history initiatives and increased patron support.
Party-goers welcomed
Milton mayors
President Jeff Dufresne

Board members Bill Lusk and Byron Foster
study Society artifacts
Josephine Dufresne
Statue on Crabapple Market Green
Pays Tribute to Milton’s Agrarian Past 

By Bob Meyers
A new sculpture on the Crabapple Market Green has caused quite a stir in and around Milton. Weighing 4800 pounds and measuring 9 feet long x 6 feet tall x 2 feet wide, the statue was created by local mixed media sculptor Craig Griffin as a tribute to Milton’s agrarian past.

The statue honors Milton’s cotton growing heritage by incorporating antique agricultural implements donated by local citizens in a striking assemblage. Griffin named his work “Ode to Milton.” He says that the sculpture “is an homage to the families that founded Milton and creates an opportunity to pause and reflect on what has come before us. Common materials, like common people, have extraordinary stories to tell.”

Following a call for items by the Milton Historical Society more than two dozen individuals donated over 100 objects for the sculpture. The main base is a 1947 John Deere tractor. Objects range from pipe wrenches, an iron, disc harrows, picks, chains, farm wheels, a tool sharpening stone, saw, drill bits, pliers and more. To design the structure, Griffin set the items out on his studio floor, repositioning and assembling them over a period of nine months “as the mood hit me.” He then welded the pieces together and painted them black because “monochromatic black is timeless and tones down the chaos of so many different items.”

Griffin retired from a career in landscaping after the death of his teenage son and two heart attacks forced him to recognize the fragility of life. Without any formal art training, he first tried his hand at wood sculpting. As his work became increasingly appreciated, he expanded to other materials. Today he is known for his works in metal, wood, and paint. He can be reached at 770 361-7478. His website is craiggriffinart.com.

The Green is the centerpiece of Crabapple Market, collection of shops, restaurants, offices, and residences connected by walkways and trails created by local business leaders Ron Wallace and Adam Orkin. Just behind Griffin’s sculpture is the new Crabapple Market stage, where community events are held. The idea for the statue came about when Adam Orkin asked Griffin to create a concept for a sculpture.

Griffin recognizes “the inherent beauty in these items that may have been part of the everyday life of someone who has long since passed.” Most of his art is wood and interior wall sculptures. Several of his pieces are available at Loveday Place, the new gallery in Crabapple Market. He also has about 60 pieces at his home studio in Dunwoody and at Jackson Lake.
The City of Milton
partners with Milton Historical Society
to chart 27 burial grounds

By Jennifer Hartwig
Milton Communications Coordinator

Milton cemetery interactive map as seen on the city website

In partnership with the Milton Historical Society, the City of Milton has developed a web-based interactive map of cemeteries as a way to help preserve Milton’s history. This story map features 27 cemeteries within the city, giving exact coordinates of each location, corresponding photographs and valuable information about the site.

To access the Milton Historical Cemeteries map, go to: www.cityofmiltonga.us/residents/maps/milton-historic-cemeteries.

“The main goal of this map is preservation,” said James Farris, a member of the Milton Historical Society (MHS) Board of Directors. “Now that we know where the locations are, we can keep our eye on them and ensure nothing happens to them.”

The first step to developing the map was finding the sites, Farris said. The City, legally, must keep record of known burial sites so the Historical Society (through the City) had GPS coordinates. But, they wanted to make those coordinates as exact as possible. Farris and other MHS members visited, in person, all but one of Milton's 27 known burial sites in Milton, and gathered accurate GPS coordinates and photos from all.

Most of the 27 cemeteries are located on private property, usually on current or former farms, and are small burial plots for about 6 or 7 people. The MHS asked permission from all property owners before entering the sites.

Milton's GIS (Geographic Information System) team worked to build the map with the information provided by the MHS.

"Maps like this allow us (in local government GIS) to do more than just manage geographic data for the internal use of the city," said Justin Rowell, part of Milton's GIS team. "We're creating products that can help to connect the public with data, provide useful map-based services, and at the same time expand their understanding of what GIS is and what it can do."

For MHS, projects like this are a labor of love. “First finding them, then uncovering them and seeing their condition… it was kind of an adventure,” Farris said. “Some people like to read about history, some people – like me – like to touch, feel and experience history.”

This is the second historical, interactive map Milton has developed on its website; the other is Milton Historic Sites, where you can learn about Milton’s history through historic sites in the city. This interactive map allows you to browse the locations of Milton's historic structures and properties, as well as photos and information about each location. Additionally, each of the historic locations on that map has a marker on site with historic information. To view that map, go to:

Used with permission of the City of Milton Communications Department
Meet our New Board Member -
Lynn C. Tinley, Ph.D.!

Lynn is a native of Western New York who moved to Atlanta in 1983 from Miami. She received her BS degree in Accounting from Indiana University and her PhD in American Studies from Emory University. She worked for Management Science America (MSA) and Bell South in Atlanta before moving to San Francisco with her husband Pat when he bought a Palo Alto-based software company.

Her graduate work focused on textiles and religion, and has expanded to include Southern history in the areas of education, textiles, religion, and social history. Lynn was an Adjunct Professor of History at Oglethorpe University from 2012 to 2020. She has been active with Dunwoody Preservation Trust since 2016, serving as Executive Director and Site Manager for the Donaldson-Bannister House from 2017 to 2018.

She has served on various nonprofit boards for the past 30 years. She has been the Editor for the Biennial Symposium Proceedings for the Textile Society of America since 2016. Lynn currently works as an independent textile scholar.
Hear Tell of Pole Town??
A few years ago the Milton Historical Marker Task Force heard stories of a field across the Chattahoochee where wagons bringing produce and goods from North Georgia to sell in Atlanta could stop for the night - it was called Pole Town. Seems there is a rich story to tell (and you get to choose which version to believe!).

Byron Foster, Society Board member (pictured above on the left, with friends), and his cousin, Helen Gilleland contributed this story. Leroy Buice (Paul Gilleland’s elder relative) recounted the story of Pole Town to Paul as he remembered it and personally traveled through it.

“Leroy Buice lived in what is now the Cumming area. He would come to Atlanta by horse and buggy, which was a two-day trip. He told Paul of staying overnight at Pole Town. This was where now Long Island Drive runs into Roswell Road. The area just south of Belle Isle Road was a hill that slanted down going south. Roswell Road was not paved at that time, and because of that, if it was raining for very long, the buggies could not go up or down the hill. The men in the area cut trees and placed them across the road, thus “poles,” and therefore “Pole Town.” There were also poles available on the property to hitch or tie your horse to stay overnight. He would come to Pole Town, stay overnight and go into Atlanta - take care of business, come back to Pole Town, spend the night and return home the next day.”

“Mary Pearson Buice (Byron’s and Helen’s maternal aunt) told the story of living in Atlanta after she was married in the early 1930s. She and Floyd, her husband, would go to visit her mom who still lived in Milton. If the weather was wet they would have a very hard time getting up the high bank of the Chattahoochee River. They had a Model-A Ford. The width of the tires was very thin. She said there were two ruts in the road and they would have to stay in the ruts to make it up the hill (there were no poles there!). She said she would always cry all the way up the hill because she was so afraid."
In the cotton fields - Pearson clan from Hopewell and Westbrook roads
Family of Eunicey Land Pearson - Mother is front and center

Sandy Springs "Pole Town" Families

These families with familiar Milton names lived in Pole Town: Pearson, Foster, Hardeman, Chatham, Spruell, Dilbeck, DeVore, Bates, Pierce, Vaughan, Childres, and Chadwick. Some, like the Pearsons, moved to Atlanta from Milton farms for economic opportunity in the 1920s.

From Byron Foster: My maternal grandmother’s death certificate states that she died in Pole Town:

Eunicey Octavie Land Pearson (known to all as 'Nicey')
Maiden name Land
Born 1872, died 1943
Buried in Hopewell Baptist Church cemetery

Yet Another Pole Town Version…

This from Thornton Kennedy courtesy of mdjonline.com in his article about the no-man’s land between I 285 and Atlanta along Roswell Road:

“Pole Town was a popular wagon stop operated by Mack Dobbins near what is today the Fountain Oaks shopping center (now Sandy Springs). It was the only one between Buckhead and Roswell in the early 1900s, offering weary travelers and their horses a rest and overnight accommodations. Dobbins was an interesting figure. He was from the area but left to join Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders. When he returned he tried to make a living mining his family’s property off High Point Road. He was convinced there were rich veins of gold in the hills. When that didn’t pan out, he planted peach orchards on 50 acres he had acquired on Roswell Road near Mount Paran Road. That did not take either. He acquired another contiguous 50 acres in the vicinity of Belle Isle Road and established his wagon stop."

"The name Pole Town came from the horse corral on the property, which was constructed out of long poles. In keeping with the theme, Dobbins incorporated poles into many of the buildings on the property, and the area became known as Pole Town.”

And Resident Historian Connie Mashburn's take...

"During the late 1940s and 1950s my aunt and uncle lived in the Wieuca/Highway 9 area that was called Pole Town. They understood that at one time, the power company stored utility poles there, which was the origin of the name Pole Town."

Also this travel adventure from Caroline Matheny Dillman about crossing the Chattahoochee River…

First published in her 1987 column and later included in her “Days Gone By in Alpharetta and Roswell Georgia, Vol I”.

“My very first feeling for the Chattahoochee - at least the first I can remember - was one of terror. Not of the river itself or even the crossing of it, but of what lay ahead after crossing on the way back from Atlanta. It was that hill."

"I can hear the sounds even now, of shifting to second, then to low, as I wondered if the car would really make it up that mountain, I would look out the back window apprehensively calculating how fast the car would fly down the hill and into the river if something in the car suddenly failed…I would close my eyes and wait until the car felt level and the appropriate gear-shifting noise would mean we had made it one more time - and I could open my eyes and breathe once again."

"My cousin Anne Maddox Ebright, a few years older than I, has told me of her own brand of fear in crossing the bridge when it was a wooden one with boards for the floor. She was gripped with apprehension with each crossing - sure that the car, with her inside, would slip through the cracks between the slats. After all, she could see the river through every single crack.”
Medlock Bridge - the first steel bridge across the Chattahoochee. William Medlock built this bridge across the river
in 1891.
This 19th century store and bunkhouse catered to hill country farmers who camped overnight en route to Atlanta to sell their produce and livestock in exchange for store-bought clothes, tools, and incidentals.
In the morning, farmer William Medlock ferried them across the adjacent river
for a fee.
Bridge and bunkhouse photographs and text contributed by Bob Meyers
from his book "Barns of Old Milton County"
Post-scripts from Byron Foster:

The richest man in Pole Town sat in the second pew in Sentell Baptist Church at Wieuca and Roswell Road. At the offering he would pull out a large roll of bills, take one out, and ask the usher for change. This story was recounted many times, much to the amusement of the congregation.

As a young boy, Byron had occasion to cross the Johnson Ferry bridge over the Chattahoochee with his family. He remembers the bridge as having one lane with two tracks made for car tires - three boards, then crosswise slats with cracks open to the river, then three more boards. Keeping your tires straight on those boards was important!
History Quiz
By Bob Meyers
Q: How many members of the Rucker family of Crabapple played Major League baseball and how were they related to each other? What positions did they play?

Answers at the end of the newsletter!
Aubrey's Corner:

Crabapple Silos last of their kind in North Fulton
by Aubrey Morris

North Fulton Footprints
The “Crabapple Silos,” three of which still stand majestically alongside Roswell-Crabapple Road, just north of the Houze Road-Arnold Mill Road intersection, easily evoke memories of this area’s rural past.

The rounded roofs of these concrete sentinels of our more pastoral days seem to mock the modern image of North Fulton, in which forests of residential rooftops continue to crowd the horizon.

For those of you who may have wondered about the survival of the silos in an area of urban sprawl, the answer is that they were built to last. They have been on the spot for roughly half a century. And many a cow has gotten a hefty meal of silage therefrom. What are now known as the “Crabapple Silos” were built after World War II by Jake W. Hughes, a wealthy businessman whose various enterprises included a regional bus company which served Atlanta and the Southeast.

Mr. Hughes, a native of South Carolina who came to Atlanta in 1931, later acquired several hundreds of acres of former crop land and woodland in the vicinity of Houze Road, Rucker Road, and Hardscrabble Road and began the raising of various breeds of dairy and beef cattle. This gave the area a neat, prosperous look, quite a change from the boll weevil, Depression-wracked days of pre-WW II.

Jake Hughes died in 1987. His widow, Jane (Patten) Hughes, from an old Roswell family, still resides in the Crabapple area and continues active in business and civic affairs. Learning of current efforts to “Save the Silos,” she proudly told me: “I’m very grateful they’re being preserved. Jake will be too.”

Before the days of the Hughes Farm, silos were rare in this area. I remember a silo at the dairy farm of Homer Powell, Jane’s uncle. It was on Ga. 9 below the country store operated by Jane’s father, James Shirley Patten. The most impressive local silo during my boyhood was at the Swilling Farm, which stood on the spot where North Fulton Regional Hospital now stands.

T.C. Westbrook, an Alpharetta native, now 87, and a resident of Woodstock, has fond memories of the 30 years or more during which he worked in a variety of jobs on the Hughes Farm. This included the arduous task of refilling the silos when homegrown corn or other silage crops were at their peak.

Acre after acre of green corn, cornstalks and all, was harvested by machine, hauled to the silo area and, after being ground into small pieces, blown into the silos until each structure was filled. My well-used World Book Encyclopedia points out that other crops such as clover, oats, rye and alfalfa can also be readily turned into silage for animal feeding.

Silage makes it possible for milk cows to produce almost as much milk in winter as in summer, when green grass is more abundant. And it helps beef cattle maintain their weight when outside grazing isn’t so great. Animal feed, again citing my World Book Encyclopedia, “is preserved in the silo by exclusion of air and by acids, mostly acetic, produced by fermentation…”

Rounded silos, such as our surviving local examples, work better than other shapes, because they better resist the immense pressure of packed feed. And they keep air away from fermenting silage, thus preventing spoilage.

Why are there several small doors, at various heights, scattered about each silo? This allows the removal of contents, from the top downward, during feeding.

Mr. Westbrook remembers that an ample supply of locally produced manure, fortified with commercial fertilizer, was spread, on a regular schedule, over the rolling pasture land adjacent to the Crabapple Silos and beyond. This, Mr. Westbrook believes, may be why many of the pretty lawns dotting the area today have such a lush sheen.

Early American farmers, mostly from England, learned the trick of preserving animal food from newly arriving Europeans, in the early 1870s. The earliest silos were simply pits dug into the ground, but they worked.

A farmer from McHenry County, Illinois, Fred L. Hatch, is credited with building the first silo, a square, wooden job, above ground. Then, along came agricultural scientist, Franklin Hiram King, who invented the first round silo, put into use in the dairying state of Wisconsin in 1882, much to the delight of all the moo cows around. Mr. KIng’s round model was probably similar to the Crabapple Silos in appearance. Which makes ours all the more historic.
Editor's Note: This Morris article came to the Society undated. As an update, we discovered that in the late '90s, Alpharetta residents feared this landmark was in jeopardy. In a December 1998 copy of the North Fulton Neighbor newspaper, Eric Burden quoted Diana Wheeler, Director of the Alpharetta community development staff, talking about the fate of the silos: "If the owner of that property were to come in tomorrow and apply for a demolition permit to take them down, there is nothing in place to prevent that from happening." Subsequently, Alpharetta passed an historical preservation ordinance and purchased the silos' land. It became a pocket park in April 2005. These iconic silos and the park can be enjoyed for years to come!
About Aubrey Morris: Aubrey Morris was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal newspaper, and in 1957 was hired at WSB radio to create and manage the news department, where he served for over 30 years. Morris wrote over 150 columns for local papers, including the Alpharetta & Roswell ReVue.

The Morris family has generously allowed the Milton Historical Society to copy and reprint the articles.
Volunteer Opportunities!
History and research lovers, MHS is seeking assistance cataloging items into our database. If interested, email Kathy Beck at:

Coming Attractions...

Milton Historical Society events and programs scheduled for Spring 2022:

  • March 8, 2022 - Dr. Kate Wilson, Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University, The Voices of the Past: Getting started with oral history (Zoom-only program)
  • April 12, 2022 - Michael Hitt, Backstories of the Roswell Mill Workers - Happenings after the Civil War
  • May 10, 2022 - Ed Malowney, Barbara Latham, Connie Mashburn, Old Milton Post Offices and Early Settlers

Watch this space for more information on confirmed dates and venues!
Answers to the History Quiz

A: Two. John (Johnny) Joel Rucker (January 15, 1917 – August 7, 1985), nicknamed "The Crabapple Comet," was an outfielder for the New York Giants who appeared in 705 games mainly as a center fielder from 1940–1941 and 1943–1946. He is featured on the cover of the April 1, 1940 issue of Life magazine. The Milton Historical Society has a copy of the magazine available to the public.

Johnny’s uncle was George Napoleon (Nap) Rucker (September 30, 1884 – December 19, 1970) who pitched left-handed for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1907-1916 during which time he led the league in shutouts and innings pitched. He was the first left-handed pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Dodger history. After retiring from baseball, Nap became a successful cotton farmer, businessman and politician, serving as mayor of Roswell from 1935-1936 where he was instrumental in bringing running water to the city. He later served as water commissioner for many years.
Milton Historical Society Patrons

Many thanks for your support!

Lifetime Patrons
Amy and Mark Amick
Josephine and Jeff Dufresne
Felton Anderson Herbert**
Johnny Herbert
Bill Lusk
Linda and Robert Meyers
Adam Orkin
Charlie Roberts
Sarah Roberts
Marsha and Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman
Kim and Dana Watkins

** An additional 2021 gift of $250 was made in honor of Robert Meyers

Corporate Sponsors
Lithic Genealogy Group
The William B. Orkin Foundation

Sustaining Patrons
Kathy Beck
Philip Beck
Byron Foster
Kim and Tom Gauger
Fran Gordenker
Sheryl and Carl Jackson
Steve Krokoff
Holt Lyda
Connie Mashburn
Curtis Mills
Julie and Kurt Nolte
Julie and Ronnie Rondem
Jennifer and Robert Sorcabal
Jennifer Yelton

Family Patrons
Sheree and Marc Arrington
Robert Ballard
Kristi and Paul Beckler
Joan and Don Borzilleri
Luz and Daniel Cardamone
Rhonda and David Chatham
Jeanne and Bob Coates
Mary and Gregg Cronk
Amy Dubroc
Dennis Everhart
Linda and James Farris
Kelly Finley
Laura Foster
Carlos Garcia
Brenda and Brett Giles
Katie and Ian Griffin
Family Patrons (cont'd)
Megan and Peyton Jamison
Laura Keck
Dean Lamm
Mary Jo and Ed Malowney
Carol and Doug McClure
Kat and Jeff Meier
Pat Miller
Kathy and Paul Moore
Martha and Sonny Murphy
Kirsten and Ryan Muzinich
Marjorie and Clayton Pond
Mary Sandefur
Shannon and Tony Sheppard
Jami Tucker

Individual Patrons
Steve Cory
Marlene Hitt
Jeff Johnson
Larry Johnstone
Matt Kunz
Lynna and Brian Lee
Carole Madan
Elizabeth Montgomery
Gary Schramm
Mallory Staples
Lynn Tinley
Lara Wallace
Jeff White

Student Patrons
Sabrina Chotkowski
Catherine Everett
We Love our Founding Members!
Ron Wallace
Felton and Johnny Herbert
Adam Orkin
Pat Miller
Dawn and Keith Reed
Amy Christiansen
Kathy and Philip Beck
Jessica and Warren Cheely
Heather and Joe Killingsworth
Ronnie Rondem
Seth Chandlee
Curtis Mills
Mary Ann and Clarke Otten
Mark Amick
Joan Borzilleri
Norm Broadwell
Jeff Dufresne
James Farris
Byron Foster
Kim Gauger
Bill Lusk
Connie Mashburn
Robert Meyers
Charlie Roberts
Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman
The newsletter of the Milton Historical Society is produced quarterly by volunteers of the Society. Have an idea, a link, or a story to share?

We'd love to hear from you at president@miltonhistoricalsociety-georgia.org.
Thanks for reading!