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Tate House
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Tate House, Tate, Georgia
An old Indian footpath ran from the Tennessee River to the Chattahoochee River prior to the start of the 19th century. Crossing into Georgia near John Ross's home (Rossville), the road went through Ringgold Gap, past James Vann's home and bisected Carters Lake. It traveled through Talking Rock and down to Jasper. From here it took an almost straight route to Vann's Ferry across the Chattahoochee River,m now under Lake Lanier. Known as the Georgia Road it was upgraded by General Andrew Jackson's men as they headed south to fight the Seminole War in 1819. At this time the road became known as the Old Federal Road.

One of the regular stopping points on the highway was a tavern run by Ambrose Harnage. It was here, in 1830, that the state of Georgia convened the first court in the Original Cherokee County. This should not be confused with today's Cherokee County, which is actually just a small part of the original.

The original county was designed to extend Georgia's law's over the Cherokee Nation, which would later be ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. Yet the state pushed ahead with its attempts to take the Cherokee homeland by force. Harnage, who was part Cherokee, had moved to Cincinnati to get away from the problems in Georgia. After the Harnage It was in this lottery that Samuel Tate brought a plot of land along the Old Federal Highway where the Harnage House sat. It had been designated land lot #147 in the lottery.

Tate, who had not seen the property when he moved from further east to his new home, made an interesting discovery rather quickly. The property not only had the Harnage Tavern and outbuildings, but the remains of a long-vacated Cherokee village, behind the tavern. This was the site of Long Swamp village, which Andrew Pickens destroyed during the American Revolution (1782). The Cherokee, who sided with the British during that conflict, paid dearly for their choice. Pickens destroyed villages from the present-day South Carolina-Georgia border to here, then demanded the Cherokee cede land to him to make up for backing the English. Pickens didn't know it, but the Cherokee gave up land that belonged to the Creek and moved on.

British writer and geologist G. W. Featherstonhaugh visit the tavern in 1837, now being run by Tate. In his diary he noted:
After a very hot and exhausting journey of forty-five miles, thirty of which I had to walk, we arrived at 8 p.m. in a valley where there was a tolerable tavern kept by one Tate; and having refreshed myself with some good food and got a bath for my feet, I was most glad to lie down.

One of Samuel Tate's sons, Stephen Tate, was an adventurer. When gold fever struck Stephen headed west to California. By 1854 Stephen had returned to Georgia and was selected to help decide the new county seat.

Stephen Tate and his wife raised 19 children on the Tate property. Towards the end of the 19th century quarrying marble was a booming business in the area, with many small, independent producers. Stephen Tate tried to organize the independent producers, but died before he completed the task. Tate's son Samuel, who was known as Colonel Sam, completed the task his father set out to do and created the Georgia Marble Company.

In 1923 one of Sam's quarries (on the old Nelson property) ran into a unique vein of pink marble. The Colonel decided to use for the home he was building. Sometimes called the "Pink Palace," this is the mansion that is known as the Tate House.

After Sam's death in 1938 the property fell into disrepair. When a couple purchased the mansion in 1974 the roof was nearly gone and there was a moonshine still in one of the rooms. She and husband worked hard, first bringing the mansion up to current building code, then creating one of the most unique bed and breakfast offerings in the state. Anne's first husband died and she remarried Joe Laird. Anne and Joe Laird continued to run the facility into the 1990's.

Today the site is an event facility.

Tate House
Tate House is located just west of Tate, Georgia. From Atlanta, take I-75 north to I575. Take I575 north to the Appalachian Development Highway (515). At Route 108 turn right and go through Tate. The mansion is on Route 108 past the town on the right.

Article Links
American Revolution
Andrew Pickens
Chattahoochee River
Cherokee Nation
James Vann
John Ross
Old Federal Road
Original Cherokee County
Tate House

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