The early history of Miona Springs appears in such a maze of legends that it would take the wisdom of Solomon to determine where facts begin and legend leaves off. However, there are two down-to-earth facts that set the springs down as a local watering place. Several springs, grouped within an area of a few hundred yards, afford a quantity of water impregnated with different minerals. There is one spring of sulphur, one of iron, one of magnesia, one of salt, and one of lithia. These springs at Miona bubbled from the earth within a few feet of each other.
Another legend says the Indians zealously guarded the secret of the springs healing powers from the white settlers as they began to arrive in this part of the wilderness. The punishment for revealing the secret was death. An unfortunate Indian maiden, Miona, confided the secret to her sick white lover, and for her crime she was condemned by her people to die. Its is said that some old timers of Macon County could point out the spot where Miona’s body fell, pierced with arrows.
There is another version that describes the tragic end of the Indian Maiden Miona. It seams that she was given the choice between dying at the hand of her own people or jumping from a certain rock into the river to drown. She chose the latter and was dashed to death on the rocks in the river. The rock from which she jumped became known as Lover’s Leap – one of hundreds so named in the country, probably.
William Augustus Robinson wrote an article about this legend that was published August 31, 1882 in the MONTEZUMA WEEKLY.
He was of English descent and of gentle blood. His grandfather, Sir John Barnard, was an English Baronet and at one time Lord Mayor of London. His son, Col. John Barnard, married Jane Bradley in London in 1743. Col. John Barnard settled his family on Wilmington Island, which had been granted to him by King George II.
Timothy Barnard, their oldest son filled with the youthful spirit of adventure and lured by the stories of untold wealth, left his Wilmington Island home, braving the dangers, and went into the Creek Nation some time before the Revolution.
Timothy Barnard married a Euchee Indian and settled on the banks of the Thronateeska, the Indian name for the Flint River, which means "giving forth". It has also been known to mean "place of stone", "river of death", and "the place where flint is picked up". His settlement was one and one-half miles below where the Opilthlucco (Buck) Creek runs into the Flint River and he remained there 40 years.
His home was on the west side of the Flint River on the present site of the town of Oglethorpe, Ga. There he established a trading post.
His farm was most likely located on the lands above and including Miona Springs, which was known to be a great meeting place of the Indians.
Col. Benjamin Hawkins visited Timothy Barnard at his settlement in 1797. Timothy was to become one of Hawkins most trusted friends.
William Heatly Robinson deeded to his daughter, Laura J. Crumbly, Land Lots 102, 103, 112, 113 & 114 all in the 1st Land District of Macon Co., Georgia, containing 1000 acres. This land was part of William Heatly Robinson’s Lanier Plantation.
Colonel William Heatly Robinson was a lawyer, farmer, judge, and one of the largest landowners in Macon County, Georgia. After the War Between The States Colonel Robinson bought considerable land on the east side of the Flint River, which he gave to his sons William Augustus and John Howard Robinson.
William Heatley Robinson, born July 12, 1813, married Penelope Wicker November 15, 1840 in Twiggs Co., Ga. She was born April 18, 1818 in Twiggs Co., Ga. He died October 1, 1892 and she died November 25, 1900 (Macon County News) They are buried at Lanier, Macon Co., Ga.
William Heatly Robinson was one of the first owners of Miona Springs. His son William Augustus Robinson born at Lanier, Macon Co., Ga. October 26, 1842. He married Margaret Annie Carmichael in Macon Co., Ga. April 27, 1870.
William Augustus Robinson enlisted as Private in Co. I, 4th Regiment Georgia Infantry from Macon Co., Ga. On April 19, 1861. He lost his right arm at Chancellorsville, Va. May 3, 1863.
After William Augustus Robinson returned from the War he wrote the "Legend of Miona Springs" and I hope to locate a copy.
1893 August 3 – THE SCHLEY COUNTY NEWS
Misses Lilla Everett and Charlie Wynn Baisden who have been the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Murphy on North Broad St. for several weeks left Friday evening for Americus, Miss Baisdens home. Miss Everett will spend a few days with friends in that place and then she leaves for Montezuma where she will visit Miss Mamie Green, and also Miona Springs. From thence to her home in Fort Valley. One of our young men took suddenly sick soon after their departure and is not expected to live. He has almost grieved himself to death.
1894 July 17 – THE BUTLER HERALD
A large crowd from Butler attended camp meeting at Miona Springs last Sunday. It was estimated that there were at least fifteen hundred or two thousand persons present from various parts of the county. The ministers present were: Revs. J. B. McGehee, J. M. Austin, W. N. Ainsworth, J. W. Simmons, W. Lane, Malcom Hair, and Dr. W. I. Green. The meeting was pleasant and profitable and Mr. McGehee feels hopeful of better results another year.
1896 November 10 – ATLANTA CONSTITUTION
A rattlesnake five feet long, as big as a man’s leg and carrying thirteen rattles was killed at Miona Springs last week by Mr. Dock Hawkins. This was probably the last of the season.
1902 July 1 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Quite a number of our young people attended a house party at Miona Springs last week.
1902 July 15 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Mr. A.M. Carter and Miss Annie Mathews visited Miona Springs, Sunday.
1902 August 26 – THE BUTLER HERALD
The Misses Montfort, Miss Frierson and Messrs. Eakle and Montfort, of Butler, Miss Ruth and Mr. Calhoun Jones of Potterville, spent Wednesday, August the 20th a very enjoyable and pleasant day sporting and pleasure seeking at Miona Springs.
1903 July 7 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Glover are spending some time at Miona Springs.
1903 August 4 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Mr. Rheete Hicks and family of Delta are spending some time at Miona Springs where they are entertaining a house party most delightfully.
Mr. Charles Pyron spent Sunday at Miona Springs.
Mr. R.C. Paris, Miss Dollie Paris, Mr. Gray Hicks and Mrs. Bessie Mindenhall, visited Miona Sunday.
The families of A.W. and W.R. Hicks spent last week at Miona Springs.
1904 July 12 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Quite a jolly crowd of young people from here spent the day very pleasantly at Miona last Tuesday.
1904 July 19 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Dr. Carpenter and family, Misses Emma Marshall and Melissa Ogburn are spending this week at Miona Springs.
1904 August 9 – THE BUTLER HERALD Mr. Will Ogburn and family are spending a while at Miona Springs, quaffing its cool and healthy water.
1904 August 23 – THE BUTLER HERALD
The Union Meeting begins at Miona Springs, Aug. 28th. All denominations will be represented. Everybody cordially invited. A limited number of cottages for rent at reasonable rates for that week.
1904 August 30 – THE BUTLER HERALD
A jolly crowd of boys and girls from here consisting of Misses Annie, Maud and Lillian Parks, Messrs. Gervis Windham, Marvin Griffith and Belt Alexander, spent Friday at Miona Springs swinging and drinking its cool waters.
1904 September 13 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Not many evenings ago a party consisting of Messrs. J. Weaver; G.H. Goddard and Guy Jolley, Misses Beulah Barrow, Etta and Bessie Barrow and Minnie Draughon went to Miona Springs; after their return a refreshing luncheon was informally partaken beneath the mellow rays of a full moon-light, each enjoying the occasion to the utmost.
1905 July 11 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Meeting at Miona Springs The annual union meeting will be held at Miona Springs, July 18-23. Good preaching and fine music will be the special features of everday’s service. Everybody cordially invited to attend. Grounds free. By order of committee. Rev. T.B. Harris, Chairman.
1905 August 8 – THE BUTLER HERALD
Mrs. E.A. Hollis and children leave today for Miona Springs where they will remain quite a while.
1906 March 3 Macon Co., Ga. Deed Book L, p491
Mrs. Laura J. Crumley sold to O. R. Flournoy for the sum of $3750.00 the following: all of Lot 113 (202-1/2 acres); also 192-1/2 acres of Lot 114 being all of said lot, except some 10 acres immediately surrounding Miona Springs; also all of Lot 102 which lies north of Barnett Creek. All situated and lying in the 1st District of originally Muscogee, now Macon Co., Ga. The rents from the above land to go to grantor for year 1906.
"We address the sick and afflicted of every age and station – north, south, east and west. We speak to those who go from home for pleasure and healthful outings. We know we have in Miona Springs all that any springs can do for you and court your investigation of the place, water and entire proposition.The article goes on to state that you could go and select your own lot, or write for a plat and select your lot from that, or if you live to far away to select your own lot they will select one for you. They also stated their belief that in five years those who bought lots would receive good health worth more than the price of the lot.
In Macon County, Georgia, ten miles from Oglethorpe, are these wonderful and beautiful waters, Sulphur, Iron, Magnesia and Lithia are there in the greatest abundance at a temperature of about 40 degrees, for the healing of the people. These waters cure sick people – dyspepsia, indigestion, liver complaint, kidney trouble and skin diseases give way and vanish when you drink from Miona Springs.
The Southland and Miona Mineral Springs Company own this property and realizing that thousands of people do not want to go to a hotel, but prefer to own a cottage and live a home life there, and realizing that many people would like to build cottages at such a place for rent and investment, they are laying out Miona Springs a number of lots for sale. Streets and avenues are being laid out at right angles in easy reach of the springs and these splendid lots are now offered to the public. The price of each 50 X 140 lot is $150. We give you warranty deed as soon as you send us the money. Then wishing to show the people that we are after their good as well as ours the company gives to the purchasers of lots a guarantee certificate, which entitles them to two weeks free entertainment at the hotels of the company each year for four years, beginning with the season of 1907.
The company is chartered for $50,000.00 and propose opening there in 1907 a resort second to none in the south. The surroundings will be clean morally, and women and children will be protected from the contaminating influences which abound at so many resorts.
These Springs have been off the railroad, but the Miona Springs Railway Company have their charter for a railroad from Fort Valley, Ga, to Southland, on the Atlanta, Brimingham and Atlantic Railroad, by way of Miona Springs for the season of 1907."
The directors of the company were listed as: F. O. Miller, A. B. Green, C. L. Shepard, W. Peddicord, W. W. Henderson, A. O. Brewton, C. W. Arrowsmith, W. P. Meyer and George B. Culpepper. The officers are O. R. Flournoy, President; C. L. Shepard, Secretary and Treasurer; George B. Culpepper, Vice President and General Manager. The Southland and Miona Springs Company, Fort Valley, Ga.
The plat shows a 21 4/5 acres parcel known as Miona Mineral Springs. This parcel was 870 ft x 1090 ft and contained the Miona Springs Hotel, magnesia spring, iron spring, sulphur spring and litha spring.
The Miona Springs Hotel was a two-story wooden building with a porch wrapped around three sides. There were eight upstairs rooms and six downstairs rooms, with a lobby across the front of the downstairs, and a kitchen attached to the back. There was a large dinning room with tables that could be pulled end-to-end for meals.
Miona Mineral Springs Company was incorporated and issued shares valued at $50.00 each. This is a copy of this certificate
This business venture as a health resort was never a great success. The automobile helped make Miona Springs more accessible to people outside Macon County, Ga. There were many visitors from the surrounding counties as well as other parts of the State.
Another factor that may have helped to lessen interest in the springs was the sinking of deep wells in the communities along the Flint River, bringing to the surface the minerals to be found in the waters of Miona Springs. The flowing wells of sulphur, salts and other minerals, greatly enhanced the health of the towns fortunate enough to have them. Since the advent of these wells, it was no longer deemed necessary to go to Miona Springs for health’s sake.
1907 February 28 Macon Co., Ga. Deed Book M, p120
Mrs. Laura J. Crumley sold to Miona Mineral Springs Company for the sum of $3750.00 all of her original Miona Springs Plantation, lying and being in Macon County, Georgia, which was conveyed to her by William H. Robinson (Her father), dated March 20, 1875, and recorded March 22, 1875 in Deed Book C page 243, in the Clerk’s Office of Macon Superior Court, except 10 acres immediately around Miona Springs, which was on July 1st, (?), conveyed in part to one William Minor, and on October 20, 1902 conveyed to S. B. McMillen and D. C. Adams; and excepting also that portion of said plantation conveyed on March 3, 1906 to O. R. Flournoy.
1907 May 28 Macon Co., Ga. Deed Book M, p190
R. R. Underwood sold to Miona Mineral Springs Company a partial of land near Miona Springs. Beginning at Barnett Creek on the western edge of the public road leading from Oglethorpe to Reynolds and passing near Miona Springs. Deed mentions a stake near the dam on Barnett Creek. The tract of land embraced the mill pond, commonly known as "Underwood’s Mill Pond".
1911 November 1 – ATLANTA CONSTITUTION A petition in bankruptcy has been filed by the Miona Mineral Springs Company, of Oglethorpe, Ga., Macon County, and a receiver will be named in a few days. The Company’s assets are in access of $100,000.00, chiefly in lands, including the springs, and its debts amount to over $20,000.00.
1913 June 4 – ATLANTA CONSTITUTION
A merry crowd of Fort Valley folk spent the day at Miona Springs Friday, going by automobile. Thirty-two in number, men, women and children, enjoyed the games provided, and partook of an excellent mid-day meal at the Miona Springs Hotel.
This agreement gives some insight as to what was on the property March 7, 1924, the date of the agreement. The springs that were listed on the agreement were: Magnesia, Iron, Sulphur, and Lithia.
This agreement states that Brasington Lumber Company shall not in any event utilize the blocks, squares and lots as shown upon the plat of Miona Springs in such a manner as to wash and injure the same, or in any way interfere with the leasing and operating of the farm lands thereon, or leasing and operating of the hotel, springs and bathing pool concessions located on said tract. This proves that the pool was there before Charles J. Toller purchased the property.
CHARLES J. TOLER
ANNIE L. (SMITH) TOLER
Charles J. Toler was living in Brevard Co., Florida in the 1920 Census with his wife, Annie L. (Smith) Toler. I am not sure how he learned of Miona Springs, but he purchased it in October, 1925.
His wife had a sister, Augusta Elizabeth Smith, who married Willie Harden Drew and they moved to Macon County about 1925. They could have informed Charles L. Toler about Miona Springs, or Willie H. Drew could have moved to Macon County, Georgia after Charles L. Toler.
Augusta Elizabeth (Smith) Drew died October 14, 1929. In addition to her husband, Willie H. Drew, she was survived by seven children: three sons and four daughters, her Mother, Mrs. Annie Smith of Dublin, three sisters, Mrs. Olean Howell (mother of Charles William "Bill" Powell) of City Point, Fla., Mrs. Jennie Wilkes of Rockledge, Ga. and Mrs. C. J. Toler of Miona Springs, one brother, Oscar Smith of City Point, Fla. Interment was at Oglethorpe Cemetery.
Mrs. Olean Howell was mother of William C. "Bill" Powell who is featured later in this article.
Willie H. Drew moved back to Larens Co., Ga. With his children. He died June 13, 1953 and is buried by his wife in Oglethorpe Cemetery, Macon, Co., Ga.
Charles J. & Annie L. Toler continued to operate Miona Springs as a resort. A 50X100 ft. wooden swimming pool had been built sometime before they purchased the property.
1925 October – George H. Holliday, Leola H. Holiday and Edwin J. Houser, of Fulton Co., Ga.; Franklin C. Houser, of Thomas Co., Ga.; Emily P. Houser, of Bibb Co., Ga.; Reginald S. Houser, of Palm Beach Co., Fla.; sold to C. J. Toler of Brevard Co., Fla. All the following described property for $10,000.00.
All that tract of land lying in the first District of originally Muscogee, now Macon County, Georgia, containing 650 acres, more or less, and being known as Miona Mineral Springs property; being all that tract of 1000 acres more or less originally purchased from Mrs. Laura J. Crumley, R. R. Underwood and George B. Culpepper by the Miona Mineral Springs Company, except such portions, lots, tracts and parcels there of as were conveyed by Miona Mineral Springs Company to various and sundry purchasers prior to the dissolution of that corporation; and being all of the real property conveyed to the Estate of John A. Houser by John R. L. Smith, Trustee in Bankruptcy, for Miona Mineral Springs Company — together with the buildings and improvements now located on the "Springs Tract" of 21 and 4/5 acres, more or less, and known as the "Park Property" of said Miona Mineral Springs property; including all fixtures, appliances and equipment now on the premises and used in the operation of said "Springs".
Some of the permanent improvements located on Miona Springs property at the time Charles J. Toler purchased it were: Hotel, Office building, dressing rooms for pool, outhouses, household furnishings and fixtures.
The following is a complete list of Hotel & Household furnishings and fixtures, as inventoried by Miss Mayme Bryan, local resident looking after the Miona Mineral Springs property for owners.
1930 February 14 – MACON COUNTY CITIZEN
1938 November 1 – Macon Co., Ga. Deed Book L, p508
Mrs. Annie L. Toler sold to the County of Macon, State of Georgia, for $8000.00 all of the following lands to-wit: Lot 114, Lot 113, Lot 112 and all of lots number 102 & 103 north of Barnett Creek which are now possessed and owned by Mrs. Annie L. Toler, the acreage of which is not embraced in the subdivision in the lots as shown by a plat of Miona, recorded in Book L, page 508, Clerk’s Office, Macon Superior Court, in 316.46 acres more or less; also Miona Springs Lot embracing 26.36 acres: Also the following described lots of said sub-division by lots and blocks: (too many to list – there were 1043 residential lots and 867 business lots on the original plat).
Also all the streets, alleys, the reservations, rights of way located in said map sub-division. Also all of the choices in action, causes of action, notes, rights, liens, claim and title to all lots in said sub-division on the map aforesaid which have not been fully paid for and to which deeds have not been executed by the former owner, Miona Minerial Springs Company. It is the intent of this deed and it does hereby convey all of the plantation sold by Mrs. Laura J. Crumbly north of Barnett Creek except such lots only as were sold by the Miona Mineral Springs Company, which were paid for, and as to which deeds were made and delivered. Signed – Mrs. Annie L. Toler
Louise Frederick Hays in her book, The History Of Macon County, Georgia (1933) wrote that there were also several minor mineral springs. She also stated that the Miona Spring, which gave the resort its name, was a bold fountain of sparkling Chalybeate water. (Chalybeate \Cha*lyb"e*ate\, Impregnated with salts of iron; having a taste like iron; as, chalybeate springs. [1913 Webster])
Louise Frederick Hays was also the source of a legend about Miona Springs that I have not located as of this date. She quoted that THE MONTEZUMA WEEKLY, on August 30, 1882, carried a piece named The Legend of Miona Springs written by Gus Robinson. She said that it is an interesting and imaginative story of an Indian girl, Miona, who gave her life to save her pale face lover.
Louise Frederick Hays had first hand information that I quote here because she lived through the period of greater development of Miona Springs. She credited the Indians with being the first owners and Timothy Barnard as the second. She said that William H. Robinson drew Lot 114 in the 14th District in the Land Lottery.
William Minor (1840-1895) was a merchant, farmer and builder in Macon Co., Ga. He built the Minor Hotel in 1879. William Minor became interested in Miona Springs and built a large wooden hotel, a store, and many cottages. This made Miona Springs take on the atmosphere of a real summer and health resort.
When Louise Frederick Hays wrote her book about 1933 and the Miona Hotel had just burned in 1930. She stated that the property was in dire need of repair, but that the same healthful Minerial Springs awaited a capitalist who can make it a modern resort. She believed that in time Miona Springs would rank with the famous Spas of Europe, where thousands gather year after year to take Nature’s treatment for human ailments.
I was asking Mrs. Patsy English, the clerk in the Probate Court about the story in a frame on the wall outside her office. She said that the story appeared in the Macon County News Leader, August 15, 1996 and was written by Sherri Martin. There were also two pictures on the wall that Billie Rooks said had been furnished to the paper by Karon Childs.
It was then that she suggested I talk to her dad, Bill Powell, not the one from WMAZ fame, but the local historian of Miona Springs. She supplied me with the phone numbers of Bill Powell and Karon Childs. I first went to see Karon Childs and she was gracious to let me copy the two pictures you see in the story.
I called Billie Powell Rooks and she set up an appointment with her dad, Bill Powell. I carried a recorder with me and recorded him as he told me the story of how he had come to live at Miona Springs.
Out of respect to his knowledge of Miona Springs and his long standing service to his church and community, also both as a business man and a family man I will refer to him as "Mr. Bill".
Mr. Bill was born May 2, 1917 at Lumber City, Dodge County, Georgia, son of Claude B. Powell and Mary Olean Smith Powell. Mr. Bill’s father died November 9, 1917 when Mr. Bill was only 6 months old, leaving a wife and 4 small children.
Mary Olean (Smith) Powell moved her four children to Brevard Co., Florida to live with her father and mother, William P. & Annie L. (Autry) Smith. Mr. Bill’s mother remarried Blanton Howard about 1921.
Mr. Bill and his brother, Homer B. Powell, were sent to live with Uncle John and Aunt Annie Toler some time in 1925. Mr. Bill was 8 years old and his older brother, Homer was 13. Their mother was a sister of Annie L. (Smith) Toler wife of Charles J. Toler the new owner of Miona Springs. The Toler’s had no children and I am sure the two boys were just what they needed to help with the resort.
Mr. Bill recalled that there were many good houses, about 13 fairly nice houses, but most burned later. Mr. Bill also recalled that you could still find arrow heads in the fields and that some of the trees were as big around as wagon wheels.
"Miona Springs was laid off in lots, he said "Folks bought them but most never built on them." He recalled placing the milk and butter in the cool stream to keep them fresh. "The pool was made of wood and would become very slick and it was mine & Homer’s responsibility to drain the water and scrub the sides and bottom with lime." Mr. Bill said. "It would take all day to fill it back up. The water ran into the pool continuously and was very cold, about 40 degrees."
Mr. Bill said that another of his jobs was to keep the hawks off the chickens. Aunt Annie would say, "Bill you had better get out there in the yard and scare them hawks away". "I hate hawks to this day," said Mr. Bill.
It was their job to empty and clean the chamber pots from the rooms in the hotel. "We would slide down the banister with a pot in each hand, but we never spilt one." Mr. Bill said.
"There was this hotel porter who lived in the hotel, and he was afraid of ghost. Homer and I would tie a rope to a can and run it down from the roof over his room, we would pull the rope and make all kinds of noise, almost scared him to death." Mr. Bill said.
Mr. Bill recalled that the farmers would come to the resort with a pint of liquor in one pocket, a plug of Brown Mule and a knife in the other. They would get rowdy and have fights and throw each other in the pool.
Mr. Bill said, "There was so many bootleggers in those woods along the Flint, in the 1920’s & 30‘s, that it was said they had to buy from each other." He entertained me and his wife, Dorothy, with his tails of the tricks he and his brother did as boys. He said, "I guess we were mean boys." But we all agreed that boys will be boys.
Mr. Bill told us that his brother grew up and moved away to live with a cousin. Mr. Bill told us that he was glad he stayed, "Because if I had not I would not have met the most important person in my life, my wife Dorothy."
Mr. Bill, Charles William Powell, passed away Friday morning, February 4, 2005. The Rev. Clarence Keene officiated, but Mr. Bill preached his own funeral with the way he lived.
He was a member and Deacon of Oglethorpe Baptist Church. He was a veteran of World War II. He operated Powell Auto Parts in Oglethorpe, Georgia for 30 years.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy Avera Powell, of Oglethorpe, Ga.; two daughters and sons-in-law, Billie Jane (Floyd) Rooks and Deana (Ben) Haugabook both of Oglethorpe, Ga.; one brother, Homer Braxton Powell, Sr., of Chipley, Fla.; half brother, James Howard, of Cocoa, Fla.; three half sisters, Louise Smith of McRae, Ga.; Ivie Dell Hogan, of Paradise, California; Nellie Freeman, of East Orange, N.J. Four grandchildren, Lynne (Rodney) Lamberth of Warner Robins, Ga.; Chris (Robin) Rooks of Warner Robins, Ga.; Benjamin (Meredith) Haugabook and Dean Haugabook both of Marietta, Ga.
Six Great Grandchildren, Tanner and Jake Lamberth; Ella and Lily Haugabook; Caleb and Mathew Rooks.
We would appreciate anyone who can contribute to the history of Miona Springs.
Contact us at:
John R. Adams Email:email@example.com
Janice B. Adams Email:Janiceba@cox.net