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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
Fain brothers - early settlers in Union County
The John Samuel Fain and David Mercer Fain families were listed in the first Union County census taken in 1834, when the county was just two years old. This census, conducted under a special act of the Georgia Legislature passed in 1833, was taken in new counties that had been formed from Cherokee lands. The census was completed March 24, 1834, and listed a total of 903 people in the population of Union County at that time.
Who were these Fain brothers, and what led them to settle in the new Union County?
Both John and David Fain were sons of the famed Revolutionary War soldier, Ebenezer Fain (1762-1842). He served five enlistments as a patriot in the war to free America from British rule. The two Fain men who were residents of Union County in 1832 were sons of Ebenezer Fain, patriot.
David Mercer Fain (1782-1852) was the first-born child of patriot Ebenezer Fain and his wife, Mary Mercer Fain. He was born atJonesborough, Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee). The Fains migrated to 96 District in South Carolina, then back to Buncombe County, NC (now Transylvaina). There David Mercer Fain married Rebecca Moore. But the Fains were by no means through with their migrations.
About 1819 Patriot Ebenezer Fain, with his grown children, David Mercer and John Samuel Fain, and a grown daughter, Elizabeth Fain Trammell and her family, settled in a portion of Habersham County (now White) north of Cleveland in what became known as Captain Fain's Georgia Militia District 427 (now Nacoochee District). By 1821, more of the Fain children had migrated to Habersham County, including their daughter Margaret FainWitzel Thomas and her family.
Then came the move into the Choestoe District of what would become Union County, Georgia in 1832. John Samuel Fain and his family settled there first. Then John's older brother, David Mercer Fain and his family joined them. They settled near the Indian village of Choestoe (Militia District 834). It is interesting to note that close friends of the Fain brothers, Thompson Collins and his wife Celia Self Collins, migrated with theFains, also settling in Choestoe District. The Ebenezer Witzel listed in the 1834 Union Census was a grandson of Patriot Ebenezer Fain, and a son of Margaret Fain Witzel Thomas.
Bearing names of the people who lived there, Fain Creek and Fain Branch Road in Choestoe were named for David and John Fain. But by 1839, David Fain got the wanderlust again. His younger brother, John Samuel, had already secured land along Hot House Creek in Gilmer County (now Fannin). David followed, and the two Fain men, along with other settlers at Hot House, established the Hot House Methodist Episcopal Church. FirmMethodists, and associates of early pastors, the Rev. Francis Bird and the Rev. Jesse Richardson, the Fains had been instrumental in establishing a church at Duke's Creek in what became White County, and one at Hot House in what would become Fannin County.
What other landmarks remain in Union County of the Fain settlers? In the 1840 Union census was listed Ebenezer Fain, grandson of the Patriot Ebenezer Fain, and the first child of David Mercer Fain and Rebecca Moore Fain. He married his second wife, Elizabeth D. Roberts in Union County(evidently his first wife, Eleanor Dalton, had died in Habersham County). Elizabeth Robert's parents were neighbors of Ebenezer's parents at Choestoe. This Ebenezer Fain was a justice of the peace. But by 1848, Ebenezer Fain (the younger) bought land in Old Gilmer (now Fannin) along Sugar Creek, evidently wanting to be nearer his parents.
Meanwhile, back at Choestoe where the two Fain brothers settled about 1832, these events were taking place on the land they had sold. John W. Duckworth (b. 1821 in Buncombe County, NC) applied to the US Postal Service and was granted permission to open a post office. It was approved and opened July 14, 1884. The post office was set up at the intersection of the present Fain Branch Road and Town Creek School Road. He named it the Duck Post Office, using the first syllable of his last name. On June 14, 1892, Duckworth's son-in-law, John P. Collins, became postmaster. He applied for a name change, and the post office became known as the Fain Post Office to honor the early settler Fain brothers, John and David. The post office was discontinued on March 30, 1907, but that section of Town Creek in Choestoe District is still sometimes referred to as Fain, Georgia.
[Note: I give credit to H. Dean Thomas of Ringgold, GA, a descendant of Patriot Ebenezer Fain, for information relating to the Fain Family, published in his 2004 FTC Genealogy (Fain, Thomas, Curtis), and available at the dedication service for the Patriot Ebenezer Fain memorial marker on October 16, 2004 at Hot House, Fannin County, GA.]
c2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones;
published April 12, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA.
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.