History of Henry County


History of Stockbridge

The brevity of this historical record of Stockbridge, gives witness to the undeveloped nature of this portion of Henry County between 1821 - 1921. The writer shares his prophecy for the future of Stockbridge in his statement, "The town looks out into the future with good prospects of prosperous growth and a useful career among the progressive towns of old Henry County." A contemporary perspective of the day, as she takes part in the celebration of the county's 100th birthday.  Today this account offers a unique perspective into the growth which has taken place since the History of Stockbridge was written.

By Reverend W. O. Butler


History of Stockbridge

By Rev. W. O. Butler

Among the early settlers of this part of Henry County were the followings; James Coker, Matthew Johnson, Jethro Harrell, Josiah McCulley, Gaston Hinton, Henry Merritt, Dr. Falls, John W. Henderson, James Wllkerson, James Nix, Elijah B. Arnold, Peter Zachry Ward, Davy James, W. W. Bay, 0. McLendon, William Tuggle, Bins Willingham, Wiley Milam, and Joseph Askew.  

The town of Stockbridge takes its name from Professor Stockbridge, who taught school at what is now known as Old Stockbridge, before the war of the sixties. Grouped around that place were several houses, among them four log cabins, occupied by Sam Skelton, Lewis Coleman, Mrs. Harriet Brannan, and John Friddle. One of the settlers was Mike Jones, who owned forty acres of land. This property was bought by J. T. Bond, who set up a store, shoe shop, and postoffice. He was also mail carrier, going to and from Jonesboro twice a week on horseback. Another postoffice, called Cotton Indian, Was located three or four miles to the south. Which supplied the people there with mail once a week from Decatur. The first physicians were Dr. Hambrick and Dr. Hightower.  

The coming of the Southern Railroad in the year 1881 was an epoch and made great changes. This road was being built from Macon to Atlanta. The settlers who owned land about Old Stockbridge advanced the price of land to such a degree that the people would not buy it. The railroad would not locate a depot there. Two prominent Atlanta citizens, John W. Grant and George W. Adair, came and bought a tract about a mile to the south and offered lots at a reasonable price. This offer was readily accepted by many and on this tract the town of Stockbridge began its existence in 1882.  

Before the war of the sixties a settler named William Askew lived in a log cabin on the ground where the town is now built. His widow, Mrs. Emma Askew, still lives there. The first home erected in Stockbridge was built by J. T. Bond, early in 1882, the dwelling in which he now (1921) lives, in his 89th year, its oldest inhabitant. There seems to be some question as to who built the first dwelling in Stockbridge. W. W. Ward is said to be the builder of the first house, and J. T. Bond is given the same honor, so we will say that the two men who built the first two houses were these two citizens.  

The first ginnery was put up by Wiley Milam and James Hill about where J. C. Walden's residence now stands. The first- store house was built by J. T. Bond, where the postoffice was kept. John and Dave Suttles also built a store house, followed by J. W. Clark, Sr. The first drug store was established by Dr. Richard Hightower. Among the early merchants were John W. Grant, J. C. Walden, H. S. Elliott, John and Arthur Mays.  

The Masonic Lodge was transferred to Stockbridge in 1890. Its organization dates back to October, 1851, under a warrant issued by the officers of the Grand Lodge of Georgia: William C. Dawson, Grand Master; to E. B. Arnold, T. S. Mays, and S. B. Crawford, of Henry County, being organized at McLendon's store, and called Harmony Lodge, No. 166.  

Stockbridge today has about 400 inhabitants, five churches - two of them colored, two schools, a splendid bank, telephone exchange, steam ginnery, eight stores, electric light plants, two cotton warehouses, hotel,, lumber yard, two garages, a commodious brick school building, with auditorium and five recitation rooms; two physicians, one lawyer, and one of the best police officers in the state.  

The town is well governed, the present board is composed as follows: W. W. Milam, Sr., mayor; John C. Walden, recorder; J. D. McCullough, clerk, C. M. Power, Joseph Mann, H. M. Askew, C. A. Pless, councilmen, and Vess Moseley, marshal.  

The three white churches are in growing condition, having each a good Sunday school and beloved pastors. The Methodist Church, South, pastor is Rev. G. T. Sorrells; the Baptist pastor is Rev. B. W. Collier, of Atlanta, and the Presbyterian pastor is Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, of Hapeville.  

The town looks out into the future with good prospects of prosperous growth and a useful career among the progressive towns of old Henry County.  

James Coker was a member of the Georgia legislature before railroad days. He rode horseback from Henry County to Milledgeville in order to serve his county as representative.  

Elijah B. Arnold later served as representative in the legislature. He was a staunch Union man, and when he saw that Georgia was going into secession, he resigned his seat at Milledgeville and went home.  

Some people here remember the time when the only two houses in this section was that one that stood on the spot where the cemetery is located and the other stood near the overhead railroad bridge.  

The first painted house in the Stockbridge region was that of James Coker, which stood on the ground now known as the new cemetery.  

In 1881 Mayor-William W. Milam, then a ten-year-old boy, saw the laying of the cross-ties and rails of the railroad as it was built to Old Stockbridge.  

The first peach orchard set out in the county was by Jethro Harrell, on the ground now known as the new cemetery.

By Rev. W. O. Butler

History 1821 -1921

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