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Pioneers traveled, as early at 1827, in oxen-drawn wagons over Indian Trails to find their land. By 1837, the post office was in the postmaster’s home; the church was a brush arbor; and students attended a one-room school. An 1847-1860 diary, that mentions 150 names, takes you through the daily lives of the people. During the Civil War, Confederate and Union troops were stationed at Dark Corner and foragers took from the residents. There is a list of Freedmen, after the war, who took a last name and registered to vote. Documents show claims filed against the U. S. Government for loss of goods during the war.

 

John Bailey was born in Charleston, S. C., moved to Georgia when he was twelve, graduated from Villa Rica High School and attended West Georgia College. He is married to Elaine, has two children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

        John has been published in The Civil War Times, The Virginia Country Magazine and Military Images. He was the Historical Editor of Looking Good Douglas County Magazine. John has spoken to groups on the Civil War and Native American History for over thirty years. At the Villa Rica Gold Mine Museum, he volunteers, giving tours and demonstrating gold panning. His hobbies are flintnapping and metal detecting. 

 

By John Barker The Villa Rican

Many folks living in Villa Rica have heard the legendary tales of the Dark Corner community that was said to have existed somewhere just east of town. Two local authors have published their third book, confirming the existence of the historic district that little has been known about - until now.

John and Elaine Bailey have two published books under their belts already. The first was Tracks, a coming of age novel set in the 60s and the second was Explosion in Villa Rica, a non-fiction account of the 1957 tragedy, describing the violent blast of a gas explosion that ripped through the downtown business district, killing 12 and injuring 34.

Today they are finishing up their newest, historic venture, a non-fiction book about the Dark Corner militia district. The couple say the community of families was located in a valley, beginning off of Highway 78 over to High Point Road, bordering Villa Rica on its western side and South Flat Rock Road and Cedar Mountain on its eastern side.

“At the beginning of the project I talked to several local historians and they all said, ‘good luck, there’s no information out there about Dark Corner,” John said, who has been doing research for the book for nearly two years with his wife, and co-researcher, Elaine. “Most of the information from our book has not yet been published. We had to dig real deep to find some of these stories.”

The book covers the years 1827 to 1880 and breathes life into the stories of settlers who came in ox-drawn wagons, over Indian trails, to live in the Dark Corner district.

The post office was the postmaster’s home; the church was a brush arbor and the students attended a one-room school, John described in an email. “Stories in the book tell of a great-grandmother who carried a gold nugget in her apron pocket and young boys who found enough arrowheads to fill buckets. An 1827 land owner salted his land with gold and then sold it for 15 times what he paid - until he was caught.”

“This book is going to reveal some unknown history about the early days of Douglas County,” John said. “This area was weirdly-stable. Families stayed there for five generations. I know of a man who’s family got there in 1827 and is still living there.”

“Every time we went to a courthouse or an archive, we found a crumb,” Elaine said. “When we put all of those crumbs together, we had a book that will be nearly 300 pages. In the first three or four months, we weren’t even sure there was a community there. Now it’s a like a run away train going downhill. At first, it didn’t look like we’d have a book with 100 pages.”

Other stories in the book detail the sorrows of the Civil War, including a grandmother who lost eight grandsons and six of her granddaughter’s husbands; two brothers dying within two days of each other. The book also lists former slaves, from 1866 to 1870, with their new last names and who they worked for after the war. Names of 120 Dark Corner men are listed, including 30 “colored” who, by registering to vote, had to take the Oath of Allegiance to the U.S. Government.

The book contains 42 family sketches, 63 old photographs and a few maps.