Welcome Guest: Patty Smith Hall

Georgia is Golden

I’m thrilled to be with you today to talk about something that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s the place I’ve lived for most of my life and where my family roots run deep into the famous red clay. It’s my home state of Georgia, and while you may be wondering what the Peach State could possibly have in common with the rootin’, tootin’ wild west, let me tell you—more than you’d think!

At one time, in the early years of our country, Georgia was considered just as wild and free as the western states to come, and it became more untamed when gold was discovered in 1828.

That’s right, Georgia had its very own gold rush!

In the summer of 1828, Auroria, Georgia was a quiet little town nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where the waters of the Etowah and Chestatee Rivers met. Across the river lay the Cherokee nation, led by Chef John Ross. Under his direction, the Indians had acclimated themselves in the ways of the new country, living in houses and educated their children with the help of Quaker missionaries. A border dispute between the Cherokee and the state of Georgia had sent John Ross to Washington D.C. in January of that year. Both communities had been on edge, but things had settled down with the spring planting and summer harvest.

It is said that the Georgia gold rush started one August evening when a young man by the name of Benjamin Park stumbled on a rock as he was walking along a deer path. He had just left a friend’s house after celebrating his birthday and didn’t think much of it until something sparkled at his feet. When he bent down to inspect it, he realized he hadn’t tripped over a rock but a large nugget of gold.

Word spread, first to adjoining counties then throughout the state and the southern region. People began pouring into the area—miners from the first American gold rush in North Carolina, gamblers and thieves. Plantation owners sent their slaves after the crops were harvested, some promising freedom for gold. Over the next year, people from the northern states as well as the Irish, Scots and English invaded the small community, setting up their stakes along the riverbanks. Food was scarce, but liquor was plentiful and with it, crime and fighting.  Some towns had sheriffs but most left law and order up to the Georgia Guard. Most miners panned at night because the state had declared ownership of the rivers’ mineral rights though in truth, it belonged to the Cherokee.

For ten solid years, miners dredged the river of significant amounts of some of the purest gold ever recorded on earth. In 1838, Congress decided to establish a mint in the area. Auroria and Dahlonega were both considered but Dahlonega was awarded the mint. The mint signaled the beginning of the eviction of the Cherokee from their native land and sent west on what is commonly known as the Trail of Tears, one of the saddest chapters in Georgia history.

In 1840, the gold along the banks of the Etowah was almost gone and with it came the demise of Auroria. The mint in Dahlonega produced gold coins well into the 1860s when the confederates took it over, printing gold confederate coins instead.  After the war, the mint was closed down permanently.

The gold rush continues today in the area. Every weekend die hard miners are in the water, some with pans, a few with sluice boxes. It’s mostly for fun but hard work! I tried it once and my muscles hurt for a solid week! But I did manage to find a few flakes of gold!

Gold Dust BrideAbigail Matthews’ lifelong ambition is to run her family’s iron mines alongside her father. With the company in trouble, she heads to the north Georgia mountains where iron and gold are rumored to be found. Abby is certain the mountains hold the iron ore their mining company needs to survive but the task is made more difficult by the influx of miners and the interference of Micah Anderson, the town’s blacksmith and acting sheriff who hinders her progress. . .and steals her heart.

Micah Anderson doesn’t understand the mad rush of people searching for gold. He sees them as gamblers no better than the father who lost him in a card game. That someone as lovely as Abigail would take such a risk grates at him but doesn’t diminish his attraction to her. Working alongside her to provide food for his adoptive mother’s boarding house, Micah discovers the hidden depths of Abigail’s character. But when Abigail is put into danger after witnessing a crime against a Cherokee Indian, will Micah be willing to gamble his heart on the woman he’s come to love?


Patty is giving away a copy of Crinoline Cowboys to two readers who leave a comment today. What is something you love about your home state?

Multi-published author Patty Smith Hall lives near the North Georgia Mountains with her husband, Danny, her two daughters, her son-in-law and her grandboy. When she’s not writing on her back porch, she’s spending time with her family or working in her garden.

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50 thoughts on “Welcome Guest: Patty Smith Hall”

  1. Welcome Patty- I loved your history of Georgia, I had no idea of the gold rush. How fascinating.
    I’m from Texas and I love our rich history and the Texas Men who fought at the Alamo to keep her. Texas is so vast with so many different regions. Glen Rose, TX close to my hometown of Stephenville has the Dinosaur Park where you can see actual dinosaur prints from the river.
    I live in Kansas now and up here we have of course Boothill and all of Dodge City history. I live in the southern Santa Fe trail and there are many many great historical markers with so much indian and settler history.
    Your book sounds amazing. You have a great day and come again.

    • Hi Tonya, and thanks for the warm welcome! I love most history, particularly in my home state of Georgia. And I’m a big fan of Texas too–I fell in love with it over several trips and even read the Houston Chronicle every day just to keep up with what’s going on in the state!

  2. I am from Pennsylvania and I like the mountains and the seasons. We get to have all the weather changes and in the fall the color changing trees are just beautiful

    • Renea, I bet the seasons in Pennsylvania are beautiful! We get some of that here, but it’s usually the middle of November and is quickly followed by a hard freeze. I love spring here–the flowers are beautiful from mid-April to early June. Thanks for coming by!

  3. Good morning! I’m so glad you joined us here at P&P! I didn’t know these things about Georgia! I loved this blog and learning some of Georgia’s history. I’m from the great state of Texas and there is so much to love! For one I love that you can find about any terrain here! Mountain’s, coast, pineywoods, plains, vast canyon’s, caverns, prairie land, major cities that could end up being the largest in the U.S. at the rate they’re growing, you name a terrain and we’ve got it. Not to mention we border another country. I love our Mexican influences we have in our culture because Mexican food is my favorite type of food. I loved it when I lived in El Paso and out my bedroom window I could see Mexico, Texas and New Mexico! We lived up in the top of the Franklin mountains on the upper West side of the mountain. I love our Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers and the fact that once upon a time we were our own country! I obviously could go on and on. I’d love the opportunity to read your book and a giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list! Stay safe in these difficult times!

    • Good morning! I feel the same way about Georgia! There’s so much more to our history than the Civil War, and even that is a more complex subject than has been taught. Thanks for coming by and stay safe!

  4. I was born and raised in New jersey but moved away over years ago. There is not much to love about the state. I have lived in different states in the midwest and have to say Minnesota is my favorite state so many lakes.

    • Minnesota is beautiful! I lived in Michigan for several years and made a few trips to Minnesota during that time. And you’re right–the lakes are gorgeous! Thanks for coming by!

    • Debra, September in Georgia is one of the best times to visit! It’s still warm but not hot like it is in July and August. Everything is still green and there’s usually a ton of outdoor festivals. Thanks for coming by!

  5. This was an interesting post. I never thought of Georgia for gold mining. I live in Texas and honestly can’t think of much that I really love. Of course the history is interesting, but not something I love. I guess I could say the mild winters are the best.

  6. I’m a hoosier!! And very proud of it – hubs family is closing in on being in this area for 200 years!! My dad’s family was from IL!

    • Teresa, you sound like me about Georgia! And our family has been here since the late 1700s–one of my ancestors was given land for his service in the Revoluntionary War. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I’m a native Floridian, and live on the Space Coast. We have great beaches, and I can watch the launches from Kennedy Space Center from my yard. My extended family mostly lives in NW GA and NE AL. I’ve been to the Etowah Indian Mounds and the Chieftains Museum.

    • You lucky woman, living on the coast! We go there at least once a year, though this year, we can’t. I’m an outdoorsy person so the Ocean and the Panhandle fit me to a tee.

  8. I am from Kentucky and I love that its such a friendly state. I am from a small town and every one will wave at you as you passing by. We also have good old home cooking but I will have to say it is not the same state that it use to be. Its known for its horse racing but I have never been to a horse race.

    • Small towns are wonderful, and I love when everyone knows everybody else. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t go five miles over the speed limit without someone calling my parents and getting me into trouble. Probably why I’m alive today! Thank you for dropping by.

  9. Hi, Patty! What an interesting blog — I had no idea there was gold mining in Georgia! I love Georgia. I have cousins living in Alpharetta, and I have visited them numerous times. So much fun, and there is so much to do!

    I want to read your Gold Dust Bride. It sounds like a great story, and I love the beautiful cover!

    I live in Maryland, and my favorite part is the Eastern Shore — Ocean City, MD to be exact!

    • Alpharetta isn’t far from my home. In fact, my oldest daughter works there. And I understand your love for the Eastern Shore–anytime I’m near water is a good time! Thanks for coming by!

  10. My home state is Oregon. I love the fact that you can go from the ocean to the mountains and then the desert in the space of a day.

  11. I had no idea there was gold in them thar hills, Patty! Thanks for the new thing I learned today.
    The coolest thing I saw in Atlanta (besides the barn that still has a musket-ball hole in it), was Margaret Mitchell’s apartment. Still cherish the memory….

    • Laura, years ago, I was going to look through this old house that was once a Union hospital just a few miles outside of Atlanta. Well, I told my grandma about it and she had lived there! Told me to go upstairs to the second bedroom on the right and look at the door jam. There imbedded in the wood was a musket ball. I’ve often thought there was a story there but I haven’t written it yet.

  12. Good Morning, Patty! I love that Texas is rich with history! The mild winters are also a plus.

  13. Kansas raised here! I love learning the history of the state and region. I live in the SW portion of the state, though I was raised on the eastern side. It’s fascinating the history of this area. A town near us, Meade, is home to the Dalton Gang Hideout. We’ve enjoyed visiting there a couple of times as a family. We’ve also gone to Dodge Coty a few times and plan to go more. My parents are so interested in history that they’ve asked my husband and I to plan my family’s first family reunion out here so we can share all the wonders of wild, west Kansas.

    • You have some great history! I’ve been trying to convince my husband that when he retires in a year or two, we should head west and visit some of the historical spots as well as visit the national parks. Thanks for coming by today!

  14. I have lived in New Hampshire all my life, and although there are times when the weather is quite inconvenient, I like that I get to experience four distinct seasons.

    • That was the thing my husband misses most about Michigan, the four seasons. Here in Georgia, we get winter, comfortable, swimming weather, barefoot hot, egg-frying hot, still hot but not as much, two weeks of fall, winter.

  15. NM has majestic mountains, horizons which stretch on forever with bright blue skies and intense sunshine as well as charming, historic towns.

  16. Welcome today. A fun post today. Thanks for sharing. I live in Illinois and what I love the most is that except for two of our family we are all here. Family is huge for both sides of our family. One family member lives in WI two hours away – that is not too bad. The other family member lives in CA – a distance. quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  17. Your post was very interesting. I enjoyed learning about the history. Thanks for the background and information. Living in the great white north requires a great deal of strength, stamina and endurance.

    • I love Texans’ friendliness too, and with my accent, they aways seem to think of me as one of their own! With all this talk aboit Texas, I’m going to have to talk my husband into a visit soon!

  18. I grew up in Michigan. While each state has it’s own unique beauty, the area around the Great Lakes is especially so!

  19. Patty, thanks so much for an interesting post. I had no idea there was gold in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I did know that gem stones, especially emeralds were found. My home state, not where we live now, is New York. I grew up in the Northeast corner right where New York, Vermont, and Quebec, Canada join. It is on Lake Champlain and beautiful country. The Adirondack Mountains border the lake. It is a beautiful area with dairy farms, maple groves, and apple orchards. From our house on the side of the mountain, we could see the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There were mountains to climb, trails to hike, and rivers/ponds & lakes to canoe. It was the best of places to live. Big cities were close enough to visit if you felt the need. We now live on the TN-NC border in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Close enough to check out the gold strike area and maybe try our hand at panning.

    • North Carolina actually had the very first gold rush after the nation was formed so you might be able to pan there. But be ready for sore muscles–Panning for gold is hard work!

  20. I’ve now lived in Maryland longer than the state where I grew up. I love that it has both beaches and mountains, lots of history, a few hours drive to many places between NYC and Richmond, and the best blue crabs.

  21. Thank you for sharing an interesting post. I have never been in Georgia. I’m originally from California (San Diego, CA), and the weather here is almost the same year-round (mostly in the 70’s) but more dry than humid. I still live there near the coast.

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