Friday, May 30, 2014

The top 10 things you NEED to know about New Tama!

Lists regarding a Number of things you Need to know regarding Topic-in-Vogue X are as bogus as they are prevalent. We have yet to fully grok the psychological mechanism such headlines appeal to among the denizens of the internetz, but We have sufficient experience to recognize a strong aversion to, nay, hatred of, such click-bait tactics.

We regard information as the most valid an long-lasting currency of the twenty-first century. Yet info laid bare can be tasteless and bland. Would you rather live on a processed brick of molded protein a la 
Firefly, or enjoy the spicy curry of your favorite Thai restaurant? This is the crux of! We offer genuine information - We offer the truth! But We also strive to make it tasty!

It's Our own flavor of embellishment to say that central Piedmont Georgia is the most interesting place in history, and we aim to convince with its most delectable tales. Did you know that way before the Republic of Texas, long before California's Bear Flag Republic, Our Kingdom of New Tama was home to short-lived independent nation founded by Elijah Clarke known as the Trans-Oconee Republic?

Such are the stories that We wish to make available. Stay tuned for tales about the Oconee War. Did you know that the United State's first state-charted public institution of higher learning, the University of Georgia, was founded in 1785, but could not be built at the time due to threats of Indian raids? Indeed, the nearby town of Greensboro was raided and burned by Creek Indians in 1787! Middle Georgia was once a fearsome frontier - the wild west! It was home to marauding bands of Indians,  horse thieves, bandits, escaped slaves, and even escaping royalists. Future posts will expound about the various impossibly true facts of Our shared Territory, so stay tuned!

Wishing you a happy June,
Your bold and steadfast monarch,
The King of New Tama

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Dream

It started in the middle. At least, I find that I am unable explain the preceeding events. Perhaps I forgot them, or never experienced them in the first place. All I can say for certain is that it began with me and several of my friends in the city of Covington.

It’s like no part of Covington I’ve ever seen in reality, but it’s beautiful, serene, and completely familiar. Our surroundings were those of an idyllic small town with several old buildings, beautiful trees, and brick-paved sidewalks; it was quaint and charming. The weather was chilly, like a typical early winter day, but not unpleasant, for it was also bright, sunny, and calm. As of this telling I can’t recall why we were there, perhaps something work related, but at the time it made perfect sense. We were milling about on a quiet street at the interface of downtown and a residential area (perhaps we had just finished breakfast or lunch?), and there was nothing at all hurried about our actions. We leisurely strolled down the block, chatting about Covington. 

Who’s we? Well, it seemed to magically evolve as the events unfolded. People popped in and out, but when they were present they always had been. As of that moment I distinctly remember only Mike. We were talking about how great a place Covington would be to live, especially if planned public developments continued to advance: parks, sidewalks, golf cart lanes, and public transit to other cities. This conversation was likely spawned by a glimpse of a public rail terminal we could see under construction in the not too far off distance. We talked about how now might be a great time to move here, before real estate prices skyrocketed. By this point we had walked down the street a ways onto a residential block that contained a very distinctive architectural hodgepodge. 

We commented on the housing, which we felt was generally overpriced, based on the occasional ‘for sale’ sign. There were at first a few gorgeous but utterly unaffordable nineteenth century mansions of that classic southern variety, followed by a few charming early twentieth century cottages, but these quickly gave way to slapdash homes of 1970s vintage. We observed peculiar styles, such as a long, narrow, almost trailer-shaped bright green structure that was somehow three stories tall, with each identical floor serving as a small apartment; these were on the market for six figures a piece! Perhaps living here was not as desirable as imagined. Yet despite the sometimes hideous dwellings, the scenery was still pleasant, as each lot was generously sized and covered with aged but manicured trees and shrubbery. 

For the remainder of the block, houses continued to gradually lessen in age and quality, until a stark transition when we reached a set of railroad tracks. Beyond, the regular grid devolved into a dendritic pathway of winding and forking streets, and the houses became mere shacks. We might have turned back then, but several young men passed by, one of whom was known by Mike. He was a very tall black man, and he and Mike spoke quite amicably. Frustratingly, my friend didn’t seem to think to introduce me to his, so I never learned his name. When Mike asked what this old friend of his was up to, I think he meant it in a general sort of way, conversationally, as one does when catching up with an old schoolmate or acquaintance, akin to asking, all at once, “So how’s life, where do you live, are you married, and what do you do for living?” His friend, however, chose to answer narrowly and presently: he and his mates were volunteering for a community revitalization effort, fixing up poor houses and the like. They were heading that way now.

Bewilderingly, Mike wanted to follow and join in. I awkwardly tagged along down the downtrodden street, passing by ramshackle houses, but I lagged behind, uncertain. Several young black boys went riding by on bicycles in the same general direction. Then I was suddenly with some other of my other friends in addition to Mike, who they were exactly I can’t say for certain, and they all were urging me along. We headed off in the same direction, but splintered apart from Mike and his friend when they took a divergent path to the construction site. My other friends and I had apparently decided to explore a bit. The neighborhood was run down, but it seemed friendly enough. The landscape was growing more rugged, the vegetation denser, and the houses sparser. We heard the young boys on the bikes shouting that they were off to the “holler.” Somehow it sparked the imagination, and we wanted desperately to see this place, so we followed.

We turned down a hilly, narrow side street. After a short distance the paving and houses ended abruptly and gave way to a small dirt path, where the boys had thrown down their bikes and continued on foot. We headed down into a glorious forested valley. I thought about how wonderful it was to have an undeveloped natural patch of land such as this within walking distance of downtown, though we were likely a couple miles out by then. It was sort of an informal park; it seemed to contain several hundred wooded acres not yet encroached upon by the residential sprawl of town. There was a thick carpet of dead brown leaves and an army of naked trunks thousands strong. Looking up, the trees’ gnarled branches traced intricate fractal patterns across the bright blue canvas of the sky. Walking through a winter wood is always a joy for me, and this was the epitome of that experience. In the summertime, the dense foliage of a southeastern deciduous forest can be too confining and can make me feel claustrophobic. This place, however, felt open and free; I could sense a hundred possible paths unfolding before me. 

Of all the conceivable rural settings, this is perhaps my favorite. Consider a more stereotypical image of the countryside, such as a perfectly wide open flat farmscape of a coastal plain plantation, or the dusty expanse of a western ranch stretching far to the horizon. Although quite often immense and impressive, such places hold, in my opinion, less mystique. Although huge, I find soon they feel quite small, because they too quickly reveal all of their secrets to the eye. In contrast, the hilly, forested piedmont terrain is mother nature’s equivalent of a sprawling mansion with a million rooms, each uniquely furnished. It’s a landscape that prompts and rewards blissful wandering.

And blissful it was. The experience in the woods was essentially trance-like and touched me deeply. My friends and I followed the boys, who had become conversant with us, but I wasn’t paying attention. I vaguely saw the shapes of the others ahead of me on the trail, but they were somehow less real than my surroundings. The faraway trees crawled along slowly, while those nearby flew past, generating a palpable parallax and a sense of space so strong it was almost overwhelming. In my head there was music, not a song I’d ever heard before, but it was beautiful. It was driving, powerful, and hard, like rock ‘n roll, yet also soothing and pleasant. I wished desperately that I could record it, or that I had the musical prowess to later reproduce it somehow, as I was certain others would find it as moving and profound as I. But alas, the joyous compositions of my subconscious are ephemeral and, while leaving behind a distinct impression of something unfathomably grand, I find that I’m now unable to hum a single measure.

We crossed a dry creek bed and took a winding path around the nose of a small ridge. Up ahead the trees thinned, and in a few moments we were standing in a small meadow. The music in my head and the associated euphoria ceased and were replaced by a nagging sense of foreboding. On a hill were several old farm buildings: a grain silo, a large, low barn, and a storage shed. Down slope and off to the left was a small terraced field and a long chicken coop. It was beautiful and yet simultaneously unnerving. The buildings all had the appearance of having been long-dilapidated before only very recently being roughly refurbished. I immediately thought of Mike’s friend’s community revitalization project, but the boys with us indicated otherwise. They said it was a brand new church full of weird white folk, and that they heard they did strange things up here so they came to spy.

Not being ourselves interested in boyish peeping, we let the boys wander off and didn’t follow as they edged around the treeline to their sneaky viewing places around and behind the buildings. We were nevertheless curious, and approached the compound in a much more straightforward and honest way. The building that had once been a barn was clearly occupied; perhaps a service was going on, and we thought we might attend.

We weren’t shy about entering into what we presumed was the front entrance, and discovered a most peculiar scene. The interior still looked like a barn, with an earthen floor and just planks for walls, but it also had the character of a church, for in lieu of livestock a human congregation was present. Wedged in amongst the rough-hewn wooden beams supporting the roof were simple benches rather than pews, each holding row of upon row of well-dressed people. Their worship, then in progress, seemed to involve, curiously enough, smoking from very large hookahs, of which there were many, all evenly spaced out along front of each bench of people, and shared by anywhere from between one to four neighbors. 

The smoking congregants looked placid. The air was perfumed with incense. There was no pulpit, and the benches faced no particular direction. A plainly dressed man that appeared to be their leader moved among them, whispering strange, soothing words. Suddenly we were sitting down on one of the benches and the man was welcoming us by lighting up another pipe. I can’t recall a word he said, but I remember his message sounding peaceful. Several of my friends, I think perhaps Joey was among them, readily partook of the hookah. Did he come with me, or had he always been here? I myself was tempted. The smoke smelled delicious. Then Sarah, wait, when did she arrive? Anyways, she politely refused the smoke and watched the people nervously. My own feelings were mixed; I didn’t want to be rude and refuse a kind welcome, but neither was I thinking this place particularly normal.

Where had these people come from? Do they live around here? How long had they been at it? And why so quiet? But then I was calm again. The atmosphere was very friendly and relaxing. The preacher, for lack of a better word, wasn’t pushy or forceful, and seemed content to let us be among them, participant or no. He walked off, continuing to make his rounds, confidently and lovingly, like a farmer tending his prize vegetables. The quality of the light in the room, the smiles on people’s faces, the gentle but not overpowering haze of smoke, all combined to put me at ease. I reached down and picked up the hose of a nearby hookah and took a puff, only mouth deep. I’m not sure what they were smoking, but it was sweeter than tobacco. I smiled over at Sarah.

I could see that her unease was growing. The look on her face caused me to suddenly reevaluate my surroundings. Where am I? Is this place for real? Why are we in a rundown barn smoking hookahs with strangers? This time I couldn’t shake the queerest sensation that there was something wrong about this place. I became increasingly paranoid. I made nervous movements and tried to hasten our leaving. Yet some of my friends were deeply engrossed and intractable. They seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Them. That’s right, those are mine over there. I think. Wait, who are my friends? Did I come here with anyone, or was I alone? Or maybe everyone here is my friend? They all certainly look familiar. Isn’t that..? Wait, no. Who are these people? Why do they look so vacant? What am I doing here? This place isn’t right!

Sarah and I get up to leave, but at that moment the tone of the preacher changed. His words were barked; they sounded more like orders than prayers. He said more unfamiliar things that I didn’t understand. Was that something about a ‘reaping’? Was it even English? It certainly roused his audience. Everyone was getting up at this point, not just Sarah and I. They all seemed to be moving cohesively with some purpose, but I thought that there were many among them just as confused as me. No, that look on their faces, that wasn’t confusion. It’s just… blank.

The herd wandered out the door, slowly, their zombie-like plodding carrying them out in the direction of the aforementioned sloping field adjacent to the coop. What were they going there to do? In the clear fresh air some of my senses were returning to me. And yet while I knew all of this to be very strange and potentially unnatural, I was uncertain of how to react. They don’t seem dangerous. Should I be running away? What about my friends? Maybe I’ll just stay and watch whatever it is that’s about to happen, but not participate.

Suddenly, the boys that we had walked here with were running up to us, looking concerned, tugging at our shirts, urging us in hushed voices that “we all gots to get out of here, quick, quick... shit! it’s happening again, they’re gonna come down!”

I turned back toward the barn and saw the preacher man in the doorway, smiling evilly. His head turned upward, and I spun around to see what he saw. There was a silvery-white disk floating noiselessly above the field. I felt my heart sink and my stomach turn. This was not supposed… how is this possib… I knew then that something wholly unpleasant was about to happen. My depth perception, earlier so acutely honed in the woods, was failing me. Was that thing…was it really right there, or was it miles above? It looked so formless and inconceivably smooth. Was it the size of a frisbee or a freighter? It was impossible to tell. Then it moved. Frighteningly. Sickeningly. It seemed to have only moved a few feet closer, but now it was eclipsing a tree in the background. So it was there. I mean, right there. No space for comfort. We were in its presence. It was over us, unashamedly exposed - a secret, otherworldly phenomena not in the shadows, but in plain daylight. I’ve never before experience such fear, terror, and dread.

And yet noone but myself, Sarah and the boys even looked concerned. The vacant, placid throng continued to march over, closer, toward it, under it. They looked at it without alarm and without joy. It moved over them with impossible silence in defiance of gravity. Suddenly it shot forth a beam of solid blue light, straight down onto a member of the crowd. The man, a human man, an earthling, possibly with a family, but definitely with hopes and dreams, was instantly frozen. Not in ice. Just... stopped. As if cast in bronze. But he was just the first. Then another, and another. Within the span of, maybe ten seconds, five were frozen, and the rate was getting faster. Five seconds more and they were going at easily one a second, like a terrific machine gun of blue light. It would be less than a minute more before the whole crowd had been frozen, and then...

I was panicked. Time to go. Gotta get out of here. But will I make it? Can I outrun the impossible thing floating in the sky? They’ll want to silence us of course, they’ll want to prevent witnesses. That’s what I thought, stupidly. Something heinous and evil and otherworldly was unfolding, and all I could think was that they wouldn’t want witnesses, like some kind of gangsters or petty crooks.

We ran but didn’t get far. As I was frozen I looked into the eyes of the preacher man and in that instant I saw it all clearly. He was no man, merely an avatar for an inconceivably strange and horrifying beast. Behind those eyes was hidden a gargantuan, terrible being of extraordinary power. Unnatural, black, many-legged, fearsome, glowing... graceful? It was sharp, prickling, brilliant, radiant, confident, yet scared. It yearned with purpose unfulfilled. It was forlorn. It wasn’t meant to be here. It wasn’t happy. It was simply doing what it must. The alien, while sorry, was very hungry.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Postmodernism Burns the Brain

Subjects! Pardon Our lapse into first person pronouns, but we all got to rant sometimes.

I’m frustrated by the absurd power of things that aren’t.

I’m befuddled by the infinite web of problems people create for themselves and others.

There are too many people with too much imagination and too little sense.

Humankind is lost in a fog of meaningless, complex constructions and conventions devised by pretentious postmodernists, who, ironically, have been afforded the luxury of unfettered thought mainly due to advances initiated by the very philosophy they abhor and seek to “deconstruct.”
In these post-modern times, there’s a growing worship of self, identity, and subjectivity that I find perverse. It can start innocently enough. Maybe you dabble in art, economics, politics, philosophy, or anthropology. You come to realize that there exists a vast and diverse array of worldviews. Finding them all irreconcilable, you drift (and/or are devilishly led) into a mindset of relativism, a dangerous trap in which otherwise sensible minds will become stuck if they linger too long.

My grandfather’s epistemology was grounded in the scientific method, which takes an ontological, empirical reality as axiomatic. But provided that a proposed explanation for a given phenomenon is repeatedly verifiable through observation, anything goes. This, therefore, is not a limiting philosophy; it is liberating. The power and utility of the scientific method when applied to problem-solving is self-evident to any student of recent history: revolutionary advances in our understanding of the nature of the universe have brought about radical improvements to innumerable aspects of our daily lives: mobility, communication, medicine, technology, lifestyle, etc. Sure, there has been a fair share of cockamamie ideas leading to severe problems and unintended consequences along the way, but clear, critical thinking afforded by the scientific philosophy is ultimately self-correcting and has therefore yielded a reliable track-record of elevating the human condition.

But now we're living in an age that so desperately tries to transcend common sense, where scrutiny and criticism have been transformed from tools of inquiry into the semantic weapons of lunacy. The scientific mind is under attack. Here’s how it goes: Science, they’ll tell you, relies too much on truth, reality, and other fallible concepts. Our linguistic inability to express discrete meanings renders moot all attempts communicate objectively. The reliance on dichotomies and comparisons to describe the world makes intrinsic meaning impossible and is inherently violent. So called “Western” thought is just one mode of thinking that is no more valid or useful than any other arbitrary creed, religion, or fantasy. In fact, it is worse, because unlike the other, more harmless worldviews, western thought is laden with intractable problems of racism, sexism, and classism, and its entrenchment as the prevailing philosophy over the last several centuries is the root of all modern evils.

Apparently, to merely believe something is to create a universe unto itself in your mind, and it is inherently imbued by your status as a thinking mind with meaning and significance. To deny someone their fantasy by attempting to contradict their notions with silly things like “evidence” is tantamount to robbing them of their agency. Murderer! Mind-slave!

Give me a break, amiright?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

As Ice storm strikes New Tama, Fear Not, for your King lives!

What is truth? How is it reckoned? Who is its arbiter? What is it worth? Subjects, please do not concern yourselves with such trifles. We trust the goodthinking people of New Tama to know it when they see it.  But bear in mind: truth and fantasy are both poisonous in pure form. For maximum healthfulness, please always temper one with the other. But in what proportion? Now that's something worth arguing about.

You may have noticed it has been exactly a year since We last spoke in this forum. It seems the internet is full of blogs whose authors have chosen to end a hiatus by apologizing for not posting in a while. In fact, there's a meta-blog devoted to reposting examples of the Sorry I haven't posted phenomenon. These blog entries predictably consist of an apology, followed by an excuse detailing the life events that led to the inactivity, and end with a promise to post at more regular intervals. Which is hilarious because, obviously, nobody cares. Inevitably, most of these bloggers will again lapse into long periods of inactivity, and yet the world still goes on. There's a certain psychology to these posts, however, that is very interesting. It seems to Us that it's not really so much about consoling a neglected readership as it is a personal, back-in-the-saddle-again pep talk. We Kingly types, however, are not so desperate for a motivational boost as to stoop to making such hollow and pointless gestures. Unless, ironically, We just accidentally did.

Mother nature has turned her freeze ray upon us. All is frozen over. Hunkered down in the palace, unable to survey the Kingdom on its icy roads, your King is cooped up. And in this moment of boredom, it suits Him to acknowledge that this site still exists - that the goal of informing the populace about the wonders of this land they inhabit so as to promote a sense of nationalism and pride is not forgotten. Fear not, gentle subjects! New Tama will soon thaw, and so perhaps will this blog.

Signed, shiveringly
Yours Truly,
His Royal Phatness,
The King of New Tama

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

History repeats repeatedly

Imagine a people, wild and free.  Illiterate but wise, ignorant but noble - they are capable of constructing colossal monuments but also of committing horrific atrocities.  They are lawless heathens; a people whose barbarism must be tamed, but whose bravery and cunning make them a worthy foe.

For this is how they are described by another people who are the dominating force in the world.  A literate society of wealth and power that controls vast armies and the narrative of history - thinking themselves as bearing the light of civilization.  A people whose vast empire impacts the entire world.

Had history given those first described a voice, they might have said of their supposed ‘civilized’ oppressors: “they’re pillagers of the world, they exhaust the land by their plunder.  To robbery, butchery, and rapine they give the lying name of ‘government;’ they create a desolation and call it peace.”

These roles are timeless; persisting perpetually, although the actors change.  One millennia its Celts vs Romans, the next its African or American colonies vs Spanish/French/English empires.

This pointless and obvious historical observation is brought to you by the King of New Tama, who will leave it to the wiser among us to determine the fundamental laws of human behavior from which this endlessly repeating pattern results.

Pardon the random nature of this post. Please expect more well-researched, highly informative posts about local locales imminently.

Lovingly and wholesomely,
Without an inkling of coercion or force,
Your Dutiful Dictator,
The King of New Tama

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Watch out New Tama, Paul Broun interested in Senate

Despite Our misgivings, New Tamanians continue to participate in what are supposedly democratic, representative governments, namely the State of Georgia and the United States of America.  We enjoy letting our subjects tend to the matter of governing all by themselves and do not wish to fiddle with this process.  As monarch and ceremonial head of state of The Kingdom of New Tama, which geographically is contained within the aforementioned states, We prefer to stay "above the fray" and will rarely stoop to discussing politics.  It is Our policy to continue to let the people choose who to represent them in these increasingly dominant, controlling institutions of governance.

But it is difficult to stay silent when Paul Broun plans to run for the US Senate seat left vacant by Saxby Chambliss.  Yes, the same Paul Broun (Republican congressmen from Georgia's 10th district) that called the science of evolution "lies from the pit of hell."   We have mentioned his antics previously.  We, like many other New Tamanians unfortunate enough to be represented by "dr" Broun, chose to write-in long dead naturalist Charles Darwin as a protest vote when Rep. Broun was running for re-election unopposed last November.

Fellow New Tamanians, surely this man has brought our region enough shame as a congressmen - let's not have him as a senator as well!  Admittedly, we have other laughable idiots supposedly representing us in the US House.  Hank Johnson (Dem) of Georgia's 4th district stupidly and infamously expressed concern about the island of Guam sinking.  Why are we continuing to elect such numbskulls?  Oh right, probably because our uninformed, gerrymandered electorate is more concerned about voting along party or race lines than actually learning anything about the candidates running to represent them!

This sad state of affairs reminds Us of the not-so-subtle social commentary in the new movie Warm Bodies, which We saw and enjoyed this weekend.  The movie is a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, except it's corpses vs the living rather than Capulets vs Montagues.  The movie has a fun and whimsical "love conquers all" tone, with a subtext that our modern society suffers a severe malady similar to that of the fictional zombie plague depicted in the movie.  People are numb, mindless, uncaring, and continue to make poor decisions thoughtlessly.  It's time to wake up.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Factory Shoals

Ah, we've been looking forward to this, as this place is dear and near to your Dear Leader!  Factory Shoals!   In Our youth We, among countless other New Tamanians seeking fun (or a good way to beat the summer heat), used to attend family picnics here and play out on the slippery rocks.  It's a blast, but be sure to watch your footing; one mere slip may equal a cracked skull!  See a beautiful photo of the shoals here.

For those New Tamanians of Newton County, you are likely to be very much familiar with this place, while others may need further explanation.  So what/where is it exactly, you ask?  Factory Shoals is a series of rocky rapids in the Alcovy River, just north of Lake Jackson, easily accessed from Highway 36.  It's a county park with a mere $2 parking/entrance fee that features picnic tables, reservable pavilions and campsites, trails, and the wonderful river shoals. It's location has been conveniently mapped on [NEW] The Kingdom of New Tama Google Map, a feature which We will update continually with locations mentioned in the blog henceforth.  You can see Factory Shoals now by following this link.

But we do not bring up Factory Shoals with the purpose of advertising it or promoting it.  We want the people who already know and enjoy Factory Shoals to think of it as more than a nice spot along the river.  For it concerns Us somewhat that this fabulous place is visited by hoards of folks annually intent on recreationing but without the faintest clue as to its history.  A nearby historical marker sums it up, but doesn't quite do it justice.  We hope the information provided herein will make your next visit to Factory Shoals more meaningful.  Be it known this is not original research;  yet be assured all references are cited via links or otherwise.  One source you'll see referenced that cannot be linked to, as it is not online, was authored by Tom Gresham, Roy Doyon, and Dean Wood who conducted archival research and archaeological investigations documenting mill ruins prior to park construction for Newton County's recreation department (Wood et. al. 1981).

According to the Georgia Wildlife Federation page on the history of the Alcovy River, the original Native American (Muscogee) name for the river was "Ulcofauchatchie" meaning "river among the pawpaw trees."   Would that be rendered OƂkihahtchi in Hitchiti?  Who knows.  Supposedly, this name during the early historic period morphed into something easier for the white man to say and eventually came to be pronounced "Alcovy."  This same etymology is proposed in Kenneth Krakow's Georgia Place Names book (link - top of page 3).  Lest you respond incredulously to this explanation, be it known that similar phonetic shifts related to the anglicization of native words are proposed for numerous regional place names in and around New Tama, for example Hightower (Etowah) trail.

In the early 19th century Georgia's boundary marched steadily westward, with treaty after treaty extracting more land from the Native Americans, who still had claim on the territory west of the Alcovy River until the 1821 land cession.  With each westward expansion came a land lottery, and, with a booming white population, land lust was such that all the plots were quickly gobbled up. Grist mills were vital to settling new frontier land; you gotta eat right?  Mr. Harrison Jones provided that service to what would come to be known as Factory Shoals, setting up a dam and grist mill in the area as early a 1833, apparently even before he owned the land, having purchased it in 1834! (according to Wood et. al. 1981)  This was the earliest mill here, but more were to come.

The antebellum south is known for its large cotton plantations.  In many respects its economy was little different than in the Colonial era, with plantations producing bulk goods for shipment overseas to the more developed industrial economies of Europe.  Something had to give, however, as tariffs, recession, and other economic factors were sending prices for bulk commodities like cotton into the gutter.  Luckily, the south had in abundance the raw material (cotton), water power (rivers), and cheap labor (e.g. slaves), and the motto became "bring the spindles to the cotton."  Thus textile manufacturing came to Georgia.  This became a big business opportunity for the early Americans and immigrants alike.

The first cotton mill in Newton County was apparently the one at Cedar Shoals on the Yellow River to the west, which would eventually come to be the city of Porterdale.  Porterdale's History is another topic worth exploring... but back to the Alcovy, we find that by 1849 (but probably also earlier, see below) a vibrant cotton mill and associated village known as Newton Factory had developed.  The head honcho appears to have been one John Webb, owner of thirty five slaves.  No doubt this factory would have been employeed in manufacturing textiles for Confederate Uniforms during the Civil War, and was reportedly burnt by Sherman's army during March to the Sea.  But it was likely not without some nearby, friendly(?) competition: White's factory.

The White family were Irish immigrants and early industrial pioneers in Newton county.  Their fascinating history is summarized at this website, information authored by Kay J. Stowe.  We've heavily referenced this source in the paraphrasing of their story.  Robert White Sr., born 1776 in Ireland, was married to Elizabeth Moore and had eight children.  White Sr. brought the whole family over to America in 1829 based on the recommendation of his adult son John, who saw plenty of opportunities in the fledgling manufacturing industry.  They first arrived in Charleston, but made their way to Anderson SC where they operated a mill at Hurricane Shoals.  Next they were off to Athens, where son John ran the early Georgia Factory mill, perhaps the earliest manufacturing in Georgia.  A mini White family diaspora occurred as the adult children wandered off to found their own mills across the southeast, some in South Carolina, some in Georgia, one all the way over in Mississippi.

Robert White Sr., sons Hugh and Thomas, and daughter Margret ended up in Newton County.  Robert White was listed a partner with John Webb at Newton Factory in 1846, but they had dissolved their partnership by 1847.  White bought lots on the west side of the Alcovy, deeded some to establish a Methodist church, but the rest would end up with his children.  At the time of his death in 1859, his will indicated he owned a factory, saw mill, and grist mill.

While the exact date it was established is uncertain, sons Hugh and Thomas ended up operating Whites Factory, a cotton mill factory just south of Jones' Grist Mill.  It too was burned in 1864 by Sherman, but the brothers rebuilt.  Census and tax records indicate that both continued in the business of cotton manufacturing up until the 1880s.  Their sister Margaret, who never married, also owned some land in the area.

The cotton and grist mills at Factory Shoals were but a small part of the vibrant water-powered industry in that period of history.  The industrialization of the south is a fascinating topic.  Georgia at the time was considered the "New England of the South" due to quick development of relatively advanced manufacturing.  You can read more about it over at Georgia Encyclopedia, or if your really into it check out this new history book that just came out last year: Transition to an Industrial South: Athens, GA 1830-1870.

But alas, the heyday of the mills and factories at Factory Shoals was fleeting, and ruins they were destined to become.  In the Gilded Age of the later part of the 19th century, remote local manufacturing was not viable or competitive in the face of larger scale industry in the big cities.  The pace of history proved too much for those mills, resulting in their decline.  Or as stated by the historical marker:
"Sherman's march to Newton County, 1864, the flood of 1881 and other economic forces fore-shortened the post-bellum prosperity of this remarkable development."

Today walking around Factory Shoals you can still see the brick ruins of many of these old mills.   The ruins of Jones Grist Mill, Newton Factory, Whites Factory, and associated houses and development, have been documented by archaeologists (Wood et. al. 1981). These are important cultural and historical sites, please do not even think of in any way disturbing them, for this would be a travesty and furthermore a crime for which the punishment is severe.  But feel free to look and wonder.  In a busy modern world obsessed with growth and development  it's quite stunning to see evidence of the inevitable opposite, the constant forces of entropy at work shaping our world - decline, decay.

One thing We particularly love about places is how they change.  Or rather, how they persist, despite our changing interests in them.  Today we see scenic beauty and the opportunity for recreation in the rushing rapids of Factory Shoals, while 19th century industrialists saw power in that moving water.  We wonder what attitude people will have towards this spot a century from now, and if its function will change accordingly?  Regardless, it is comforting to know that the slate will never truly be wiped clean, that in the same way scholars read faint writings in the margins on palimpsests, future archaeologists will find clues to Factory Shoals' past in the ruins and artifacts left behind. New Tama history has left its indelible mark on this bit of geography.

Wishing all of Our subjects safe, slip-free lives,
Sincerely, honestly, truly,
and without the faintest hint of disingenuousity,
Your Kingly King,
The King of New Tama