Screven County History



Provided by Dale Reddick

Here are a couple of paragraphs from Dixon Hollingsworth's history of Millhaven:

    "The history of Millhaven goes back to Francis Parris (or Paris) who  began purchasing land in the vicinity of Pine Log Crossing on Brier Creek about 1769.  He put together a 4,700 acre property from land previously owned John Stirk, Thomas Morgan, John Graham, and William Williams, and built a saw mill which was said to be the largest in Georgia at the time.  Water power was generated by a dam with a stone base which was constructed on Brier Creek.
    Parris installed a ferry at the crossing and by 1779 had replaced the ferry with a bridge.  A road running up from the River Road crossed the creek at this point and rejoined the River Road at Mobley Pond.  Travelers used this road when flood conditions prevented crossing on the lower road."

There are two Georgia state historical markers placed in the little village of Millhaven.  One relates to the 1779 Battle of Brier Creek (down at Tuckahoe, in the Fork of Creek just above Freeman's Bridge; and near the Mouth of the Creek or old Haga Slaga), while the second marker describes Paris' Mill.   The mill was said to develop 400 horsepower.  There were two mills at the main mill dam on the creek and a third mill was developed nearby (or at the same site [?]).  There is a fine picture of the remaining mill foundation on the cover of the 2003 telephone directory of the Planters Telephone Cooperative.  It shows a fragment of the old stone dam foundation rising above the waters of Brier Creek.  There is a bit of white water where the creek flows over the remainder of the crumbled dam foundation stones.  Topographic maps show the location of a mill race on the southwest side of the creek just upstream from the present-day bridge over creek.

Francis Paris and his son Francis Paris, Jr. were associated with three generations of Reddick along the Ogeechee River and along Brier Creek in both Burke and Screven Counties.  Francis Paris, Jr. was a near neighbor to John Reddick as shown in the 1820 census of Burke County.

When the elder Francis Paris built his mill circa 1769 he did so in the colonial Georgia parish of St. George.  In 1777 the new state of Georgia created eight new counties and the old St. George Parish became Burke County.  In 1793 the lower part of Burke County was combined with the upper part of Effingham County to form Screven County.  On the plat of the new county line can be seen the point where Paris Road crosses the county line between Burke and Screven Counties.  I suspect that this may be what is now known as Millhaven-Girard Road, or else might be what we now know as Stoney Bluff Road (in Screven County - not the same road so named in Burke County).

The early Paris' Mill and surrounding properties were sold to the Augusta attorney Seaborn Jones in 1795 & '96.  The elder Francis Paris appears to have died in 1795.  His son seems to have been the individual who completed the sale of the mill and surrounding property to Seaborn Jones.  Afterwards, Francis Paris, Jr. appears to have acquired land near present-day Sardis, Murray Hill, or near to Ellison Bridge (on Brier Creek).  In 1820 he and his family were only five households distant from my ggg-grandfather John Reddick and his family.  And I've just learned of an 1832 plat showing what appears to be a continuous holding of that land of John Reddick to this present day by the  Reddick family.

The Rev. George White, "Historical Collections of Georgia" New York: Pudney & Russell, Publishers, 1855.

pp. 631

"The instances of longevity are, Mrs. L. Thrower, who died at 137; Mrs. Jane Black, over 100; Mr. Herrington, over 90; Michael Doherty, 140. Many others might be given. Sylvania is the county site, situated five miles below Jacksonborough, on the Middle Ground Road. Jacksonborough was formerly the county site. Mill Haven is six miles from Matthews' Bluff. Paramore Hill is a considerable elevation, which the Central Rail Road crosses. At Hudson's Ferry the British army encamped in February, 1779, under the command of Lieutenant Prevost.

Extract from the census of 1850.-Dwellings, 567; families, 567; white males 1,625; white females, 1,548; 1 free coloured male. Total free population, 3,174; slaves 3,673. Deaths, 32. Farms, 498. Value of real estate, $1,260,577; value of personal estate, $1, 101,900. Among the early settlers of this county were, J. H. Rutherford, James Boyd, John Bonnell, Henry Bryan, Wm. Rushing, Benjamin Greene, Wm. Shepard, Robert Warren, Joseph Tanner, John Fletcher, John Nevil, Anthony Bornell [Bonnell?], Bird Lanier, Matthew Coleton, Wm. Pearce, Daniel Blackburn, John Jeffers, Wm. Rauls, M. Greene."

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