Moore’s Bridge dedication Saturday in Whitesburg
by W. Winston Skinner
Moore's Bridge Park at Whitesburg will be dedicated Saturday.
The park was the site of two Civil War events and is also associated with Horace King, a black bridgebuilder from antebellum times. The dedication program will be at 9 a.m. The park is at the end of Old Newnan Road.
Cowetans who are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are planning to participate and be part of the SCV honor guard at the dedication.
King built two bridges on the property that is now part of the park. He and his family maintained the bridge and collected the toll from people using the bridge for several years.
On July 12-13, 1864, there was an “attempt of the Union Cavalry to cross the Chattahoochee River and cut the railroad at Newnan,” according to Sam Pyle, commander of McDaniel-Curtis Camp 165, Sons of Confederate Veterans.
U.S. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman sent Maj. General George Stoneman downstream from Atlanta to find a crossing over the Chattahoochee. In the Bbattle of Moore's Bridge began, Union troops were driven off, but as set the bridge afire.
Although the battle was a relatively small one, the strategic location of the bridge delayed the Battle of Atlanta for several days. Sherman refused to cross the river 40 miles upstream until he knew Stoneman had either secured or destroyed the bridge.
“This is also the site of the 1864 Army of Tennessee baggage trains crossing,” Pyle said. That action occurred when Gen. John B. Hood was moving troops north from Palmetto.
The Carroll County Department of Community Development submitted a pre-application for the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant cycle in 2010 for the development and rehabilitation of Moore’s Bridge Park. The federal grant program helps state and local governments acquire recreation lands and develop and rehabilitate outdoor recreation facilities.
In 2009, Carroll County purchased approximately 485 acres from the Trust for Public Land for use as a passive recreation park. This park is located near Whitesburg and buffers 1.4 miles of the Chattahoochee River.
"The many layers of history are the most unique aspect of this land," said Doug Mabry, an archaeologist and Carroll County historian. "By 1827, this former Creek Indian territory began to serve as the gateway to Carroll County via a series of ferry crossings and later, a few bridges that crossed the Chattahoochee River.”
"This is a tremendously important acquisition for Carroll County," said Bill Chappell, Chairman of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. "This area was one of the most important unprotected heritage areas remaining in the Southeast, and it could play a significant role in the county's evolving heritage tourism initiative by becoming the 'southern gateway' to Carroll County once again. We are grateful for all of TPL's efforts and support to help make this park a reality."
A key feature of Moore’s Bridge Park is the historic James Moore House. In the early 1800s, James D. Moore owned the property, and his house is the most historically significant feature still standing on the site.
The house is centrally located within the park just above the former Horace King Covered Bridge site.
King was a master bridge builder who earned his freedom in slavery times because of that ability. Several bridges built by him still stand. One of the oldest is the Red Oak Creek Covered Bridge at Imlac in Meriwether County.
King built the first Moore’s Bridge in 1857. King owned a third of the bridge – along with James Moore and Charles Mabry. King and the two white men formed the Arizonia Bridge Company.
“James D. Moore supplied the land for the bridge, which was just below his house. Charles Mabry supplied the timber, and Horace King supplied the labor in exchange for his one-third interest in the toll bridge,” said Doug Mabry, who is a distant cousin of Charles Mabry.
The 480-foot long wooden covered bridge spanning the Chattahoochee River was burned by Union troops during the Civil War on July 14, 1864.
King built a second wooden covered bridge at the Moore’s Bridge site between 1867 and 1868, which he also co-owned with Moore and Mabry. This bridge was washed away in a flood of 1881.
During the early 1900’s the Jones family acquired the site and erected a metal bridge across the Chattahoochee in 1917. Remnants of the 1917 metal bridge are still visible
Bill Chappell, who was chairman of the Carroll County Commission when the park land was acquired, described the tracts as “a tremendously important acquisition, … one of the most important unprotected heritage areas remaining in the Southeast.”
At the time of the acquisition, Chappell said the park “could play a significant role in the county's evolving heritage tourism initiative.”