Early History

Until 1826 when the first settlers from middle Georgia, the Carolina's and the Virginia's began to populate Vann's Valley, Cave Spring was highly populated with Cherokee Indians.

When gold was discovered in Dahlonega in 1828, the Georgia legislature placed all the lands north of the Chattahoochee River under the laws of Georgia. And so it began. the US Government diivided the land into lots of 40 acres if it was thought there might be gold present, and 160 acres if there appeared to be no gold on the land. Vann's Valley and the area around what is now Cave Spring was sold by lotter in 40 acre land lots.

-- Cave Sring and Vanns Valley by James Coffee Harris

Armstead Richardson was one of the first white settlers to visit Cave Spring from eastern Georgia. He and his son-in-law, Alexander T. Harper and family were the first make Cave Spring their home. Richardson's grandson, Alexander T. Harper, III was the first white child to be born in the area. Stories handed down affirm that Mrs. Harper was startled when a group of Indians arrived to view the child. After assurances from her husband, they were allowed to hold the baby and passed him between them.

In 1832, Cave Spring was established. The Baptist Church appointed an education committee for the purpose of establishing a permanent school


The marjority of the early settlers were Baptists or Methodists; and so devoted to their respective sects they each organized their own schools as soon as their churches were erected. The Baptists founded the Hearn School and the Methodists founded and sutained the Cherokee Wesleyan Institute.

The Hearn school began on Armstead Riechardson's land in a building that he had used as a store. He then sold 200 acres of land to the Baptist Education Executive Committee in March, 1839. They later purchased an additional 480 acres from G. Wynne. Part of this land was cultivated by the pupils of the school under the supervision of the principal: part of it was laid out in lots and sold , then later incorporated in the town of Cave spring. Six small cottages were built as dormitories in 1839. Lott O. Hearn of middle Georgia, a member of the Baptist church and a man of much wealth, was so well pleased with the plans and location of the school that in making his will, he bequeathed it an endowment of $12,500, which was received by the trustees in 1856. To honor him, the school was named the Lot Hearn Manual Labor School and was incorporated by Act of Legislature Dec. 21, 1839.

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