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A Bit of Ball Ground History

What do you know about the place where you live? Do you know how or when it came into existence? The older people get, the more they seem to appreciate history, especially the history of the city they call home. This month, I celebrate my 37th anniversary serving as Ball Ground's city clerk. In those 37 years, I have learned a lot about this great city.

On September 27, 1883, by Acts and Resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, an Act to incorporate the Town of Ball Ground in Cherokee County was signed. The Act further states that it is to "provide for a mayor and five councilmen, to define their powers, and for other purposes therein named."

Section 1 states that it be enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia that from and after the passage of the Act, the corporate limits of the Town of Ball Ground extend one-half mile in every direction from the present railroad crossing on Gilmer Ferry Road.

The Act further states that the town had to elect a mayor and five councilmen 20 days after its passage. A 10-day notice had to be posted in as many as three places in town. Thereafter, an election would be held annually on the first Saturday in January. The election was held and managed by one justice of the peace and two freeholders. The persons receiving the highest number of votes were declared duly elected.

Capt. Patterson H. Lyon was elected as the first Ball Ground mayor. Dr. A.M.F. Hawkins, W.A. Hayes, R.J. Boling, and J. H. Kirby were elected to serve as councilmen, and J. N. Purcell was elected marshal. Unfortunately, there are no recorded minutes that reflect the time when the city was incorporated. For those who do not know, the city clerk is the official record keeper of the city. This person takes notes of discussion and decisions made by the city council at meetings.

Unlike earlier times when notes were handwritten in a book, they are now typed and put into a book to be kept as permanent records. Ball Ground's oldest minutes of record (1913 through 1924) are handwritten in a book. Beginning in 1960, the minutes have been typed and put in a book. According to the Local Government Record Retention Schedules, minutes and approved attachments are permanent records and should never be destroyed. It is unknown how or why the records from 1925-1959 were destroyed, depriving future generations of valuable information. 

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