Ridges and Valleys and Streams… Oh My!

View from John's Mountain

The area of northwest Georgia where I grew up is part of the Valley and Ridge region. This region is made up of “long northeast-southwest-trending valleys and ridges that give the region its name” (Geology). The region is not unique to Georgia and “extends continuously from New York to the edge of the Coastal Plain (fall line) in Alabama” (Chowns). No doubt this expansive area is 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 major 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 as well.

Creeks and streams are a part of the geography of these valleys. In 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.

In the West Armuchee Valley, West Armuchee Creek is the primary creek 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 feeds into West Armuchee Creek as well.

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 of them 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 their shopping needs. 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 through this area 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 home places and farmlands of both 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. OhRanger.com, n.d. Accessed 13 Dec 2011.

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


8 Responses to “Ridges and Valleys and Streams… Oh My!”

  1. So beautiful. Sometimes one forgets how stunning America is and how rich with genealogy. I think it takes on a whole new depth than the genealogies of Europeans.

  2. Paul Maloney says:

    Jordan, looks good. I think you know how I feel about the Armuchee Valley. When I first begin to get serious about my genealogical research, I went back down there for the first time in about 20 years. The feeling that this was “home” was just overwhelming, even though I have never actually lived there. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places on God’s green earth. And that may well be why our kinfolks stayed there for so long.


    • Jordan says:

      It’s a beautiful place indeed. In many ways I think I had to move away in order to gain a clear understand of just how interesting a place it is. I hope that /Jordan’s Journey/ will help you connect to your “homeland” in some new and unexpected ways.

  3. joyce says:

    dLove the pic of the valley

  4. Jeffrey Frank Young says:

    Absolutely beautiful. What a sight for sore eyes. Ive looked for this for so long! Thanks for sharing. What time of the year is the best time of the year to come visit this place? Ive got to come see this……….Jy

    • What time of year is best? A difficult question to answer. I actually love it there this time of year (late spring/early summer). But the autumn can be stunning as well. It depends upon what you want to do when you visit, I suppose. The lookout from Johns Mountain is closed during the winter months, for instance (I tried to go there in February but couldn’t).

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