History Sketches

  • Luther Rickman (1889 – 1969)

          At age ten, Luther Franklin Rickman (1889 – 1969) announced to his mother that he would one day become Sheriff of Rabun County.  Reportedly, his mother advised him to start making lots of friends, since he would need as many as possible to get elected to such an important position.  Young Luther seems to have taken this advice to heart, making enough friends to complete a law enforcement career that lasted over four decades. 

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  • Roscoe Conklin Nicholson (1887 – 1959)

                As Georgia’s first Forest Ranger, it only seems fitting that Roscoe Conklin Nicholson would have been born in “Pine Mountain,” a heavily forested area in Rabun County where Mr. Nicholson developed the values needed to become one of the most important early figures in the history of the Chattahoochee National Forest. 

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  • Lake Rabun Centennial (1915-2015)

    This year, Lake Rabun, created in 1915 by the completion of the Mathis dam, is celebrating its centennial anniversary.  With that has come a renewed focus on the traditions and history that make it the uniquely charming destination it is today.

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  • Claude Derrick (1886-1974)

    Rabun Makes the Major Leagues  

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  • Josephine Kinman Brewer (1910-1998)

    Rabun County's first public health nurse opened the county's first health department on July 1, 1939 and began giving immunizations and directing a center for expectant mothers and well babies.

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  • Lizzie York Keason (1871-1960)

    Midwife Lizzie Keason of Tiger recalled in a 1955 interview when she was 84 years old that she had delivered 525 babies and assisted in the delivery of hundreds more. She called her talent a "God-given thing," never losing a mother or a baby in her entire career. 

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  • Lillian Smith (1897-1966)

    It’s a fairly certain bet that in mid-twentieth century Rabun County the only person to exchange Christmas cards with Eleanor Roosevelt and to keep Martin Luther King, Jr.’s number beside her phone was Lillian Smith. 

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  • Thomas E. Roane (1870-1959)

    Tom Roane applied for a charter in 1908 to build a hydroelectric generating plant near a waterfall on Stekoa Creek south of Clayton. 

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  • Marie Barlow Mellinger (1914 – 2006)

    Marie Barlow Mellinger was a self-taught naturalist and environmental crusader who spent her life educating others about nature and the need to protect it for future generations.  

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  • Logan E. Bleckley (1827-1909)

    Described as "this long-limbed, large brained son of the mountains," Justice Logan E. Bleckley was regarded by the legal fraternity as one of the greatest legal minds ever born in the State of Georgia.

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  • Rufus L. Moss, Sr.

    Rufus Lafayette Moss, Sr. (1825 – 1912), a founding father of Tallulah Falls, was also a driving force behind Rabun County’s early rise as a tourist and resort destination. 

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  • Frank Rickman: “Red-Clay Michelangelo”

    Frank Rickman (1924 – 2004) was, in many ways, a modern-day Davy Crockett. What many people don't know is how he used his mountain-man skills to make Rabun County a popular destination for the movie industry.

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Help us plan for
Rabun County’s Bicentennial Celebration

Special Exhibit:
Rabun’s Twentieth Century in Review

The Tallulah Falls Railroad arrived in Tallulah Falls in 1882 and tourism boomed in the town next to the gorge and the beautiful series of waterfalls. Many tourist groups posed under the rock formation called Witch's Head. Photo circa 1900

At the turn of the twentieth century, Rabun County remained largely isolated from the outside world. This would change dramatically with the coming of a railroad which also brought tourism, logging and dam building.
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