First in a series:
Site of Carmel (Taloney) Mission Station
By David R. Altman
Ever wonder about those ‘historical markers’ that we pass along the highway but seldom stop to check out? Well, my wife and I decided we’d find the ones located in Pickens County —and it turned out to be much tougher than we thought! In fact, this week we rode by the first on our list three times before we realized where it was!
The marker below is at the intersection of Old Georgia 5 and Georgia 136 (sounds easy, doesn’t it?). It’s really not. But first, a little history, as this is a marker worth noting. It’s the “Site of Carmel (Taloney) Mission Station”—and it was here that a mission station was established to serve the Cherokee Indians. All of us around Pickens have heard about the Cherokee Indians’ role in our history—and this site was established by Presbyterian missionaries in 1819—just 31 years after Georgia became a state and nearly 42 years before the start of the Civil War.
The missionaries, sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, were sent to Carmel (originally known as Taloney) and were arrested soon after they arrived. The charge: not complying with the new state law requiring “…all white men residing on Cherokee land now claimed by to Georgia to apply for a license and take an oath of allegiance to the State.” According to historical accounts, the missionaries refused to sign the order, feeling that Georgia had no power to enforce her laws over land that belonged to the Cherokees. According to the Georgia Historical Society, the missionaries were arrested and then released on grounds that they were agents of the U.S. Government in the educating of the Cherokees. Missionary leader Rev. Isaac Proctor eventually left Georgia for what was to become Tennessee. The Carmel Mission existed until 1839. This Historical Marker was erected in 1962.
Taloney Mission--The Taloney Mission (later called Carmel Mission) was founded by the Presbyterians in Pickens County along Talking Rock Creek. The Presbyterians established and ran a number of mission schools throughout Georgia from 1817 to 1833. The remains of the Taloney Mission were photographed between 1930 and 1960 (Photo Source: The New Georgia Encyclopedia)
GETTING THERE: From Jasper, go north on Highway 515 and turn right onto Antioch Church Road (the Talking Rock Post Office will be on your left). Go about one block to the dead end and turn left onto Hwy 136 and keep going until you go under the Hwy 515 Bridge. About 300 yards after you go under the bridge look for the marker on your left--just past the entrance ramp to go south onto Highway 515. It will be in the shade close to the tree line, opposite of where Ellijay Road turns to the right. There is room to pull off on the south side of the road, but be careful—it’s a busy intersection. Good luck!
Sources: Georgia Historical Society, www.waymarking.com, the New Georgia Encyclopedia and Irene Duncan at the Talking Rock Post Office (who helped us when we got lost!).