View from John's Mountain
Looking west over East Armuchee Valley towards Dick’s Ridge

The area of northwest Georgia where I grew up is part of the Valley and Ridge region. This region comprises “long northeast-southwest-trending valleys and ridges that give the region its name” (Geology). The area is not unique to Georgia and “extends continuously from New York to the edge of the Coastal Plain (fall line) in Alabama” (Chowns). This expansive area is undoubtedly filled with numerous communities and fascinating genealogies. Generations of my family are nestled deep in these valleys in Walker and Chattooga counties in northwest Georgia–and that is where the meat of Jordan’s Journey takes place.

The significant ridges of the area are Taylor Ridge, Dicks Ridge, Johns Mountain, and Little Sand Mountain. The valleys nestled among these ridges are East Armuchee Valley (between Dicks Ridge and Johns Mountain), West Armuchee Valley (between Taylors Ridge and Dicks Ridge), Dirt Town Valley (between Taylors Ridge and Little Sand Mountain), and Haywood Valley (between Little Sand Mountain and Johns Mountain). Most of my family history is concentrated in the East Armuchee and Dirt Town Valley areas, with portions extending into West Armuchee and Haywood Valley.

Creeks and streams are a part of the geography of these valleys. On the eastern side of East Armuchee Valley, the Houston Branch and Puryear Branch join the East Armuchee Creek–which runs through the Pope family farm where I grew up. East Armuchee Creek comes together with Dry Creek and Furnace Creek to form the Armuchee Creek. Most of this creek runs away from the road and is only accessible to those who own the land. On the western side of the valley, Dick Creek runs right along Dick Creek Road.

West Armuchee Creek is the primary creek in the West Armuchee Valley, with many smaller streams, such as Shop Creek and Green Bush Brook, feeding into it. At the southern end of the valley, in Chattooga County, Ruff Creek also feeds into West Armuchee Creek.

West Armuchee Creek continues down Haywood Valley, eventually joining with the Armuchee Creek.

Over in Dirt Town Valley, the Little Armuchee Creek runs with many smaller streams and tributaries.

All of these areas are within the Johns Mountain Wildlife Management Area.

There are numerous historic communities scattered throughout these valleys, including Villanow and Trans in East Armuchee; Green Bush in West Armuchee; and Subligna, Farmersville, Gore, and Kartah (once called Dirt Town) in Dirt Town Valley. While these place names are still used today, most are just wide spots in the road–if even that. But they were all once thriving communities that, before the modern era, had post offices, schools, general stores, and other businesses. Over time, all but a convenience store or two have given way to the past. The advent of the automobile meant people could travel to larger towns (such as Dalton, LaFayette, Summerville, or Rome) for shopping. The past has faded to the point where the young people living in these areas today are not even aware of the vibrant history of generations gone by.

Today, you can enjoy a leisurely drive along the Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway, which travels US 27, State Highways 156 and 136, and rural country roads. This route takes you directly through the many homeplaces and farmlands of my ancestors and my childhood. Read more about these people and places in Jordan’s Journey.

X marks the spot: Starting at Villanow, this map follows a route south through East Armuchee Valley, through Subligna, down to Gore. At Crystal Springs you head back north through a different section of Dirt Town Valley, back through Subligna, and up through West Armuchee Valley. Finally you arrive back in Villanow where you started. View Larger Map


Chowns, Timothy. “Valley and Ridge Geologic Province.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, 7 Apr 2006. Web. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

General Highway Map, Chattooga County, Georgia. Georgia Department of Transportation, 2008. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

General Highway Map, Walker County, Georgia. Georgia Department of Transportation, 1998. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

The Geology of Georgia.” University of Georgia, Department of Geology, n.d. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

John’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area., n.d. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway Overview.” America’s Byways. 27 Mar 2006. Web. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

Take a trip into the past

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