Near the entrance to Southern Mill Estates are some stones.  These stones are not random, they are the remains of the dam on Cane Creek. All that was part of an old mill that created flour and meal for the Choestoe (rabbit) settlement.  Named the Southern Mill it shared its’ water power with a sawmill.

Jesse William Souther, Jr. was the 7th of 14 children born near Old Fort, NC. A soldier under Captain Hicks Company from Franklin, NC. Served in the Indian Wars and the Indian Removal. Mr. Southern moved to Choestoe in 1848. His brother John settled in what was later named the New Liberty section of Choestoe, securing a deed on March 27, 1837 for Land Lot # 150, 1st District, 16th Section. In the 1850 Union County census, Jesse Souther’s assets were listed as $850.  He set up and operated a grist mill while he lived near Hunting Creek in Wilkes County, NC.

Originally there were 3 brothers that set up the grist & saw mills here on Cane Creek. Jesse, John and Joseph. Joseph being the oldest the census showed his value to be $3,500.00 in 1848.  However in 1853 it shows that Joseph and his family moved to Benton County Arkansas and the mills and lans were sold to Jesse. Still named the Southern Mill, it became known as the Jesse Southern mill.

Jesse and Malinda Nix were married January 12, 1851, two months prior to Jesse’s 39th birthday.  Malinda was born in 1829 and was sixteen years younger than her husband.

Jesse Souther added to his land holdings by purchasing a tract from Ivan J. Collins, a son of Thompson Collins, first settler on Choestoe.  In a note dated May 12, 1862, Jesse gave his bond to pay $125 for the Collins land along Cane Creek that adjoined the property he had secured from his brother, Joseph Southern.

Since a good portion of the community had the flour and corn ground at the mill it became the place where neighbors learned the latest news, argued politics, and weather. Inevitably talk turned to secession, prior to the War between the States. The Civil War years were hard on the Jesse Souther family, the mill continued to run but even the 9 year old son was enlisted as a scout for the home guard.

Jesse died in 1869 but his family continued, on the land and in the mills. To learn more of this area and the what happen specifically in our area at that time, look for a book “Between the Blood and the Bald” by John Paul Souther. My resource was that book and THROUGH MOUNTAIN MISTS Early Settlers of Union County, Georgia. Their Descendants…Their Stories…Their Achievements. Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life. By:  Ethelene Dyer Jones As always we want to thank you for spending a little time with us today &

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