Looking For Ghost Towns

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, May 19, 2024

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When researching and studying Baker County, I realized that there were so many ghost towns, in such a small area. Even though Decatur County is also on the Flint River, our neighbor seems to have been more on the wild side, especially when it comes to floods.

I think it is going to be fun to learn about these towns from the by gone days and see if there are any traces of them today. I’m sure it is going to be hard to do for some still have a few residents but some others only have ghosts. I decided to start with the stories of hauntings. Hope that you enjoy them.

Hard Up

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The town of Hard Up existed in the in the northeastern corner of Baker County, not far from the Flint River. The closest town was Ledbetter to the south. When you went in an easterly direction, you would come to the Flint River, close to where small, rocky Prosser Island pokes up out of the water. Just a short distance away is where Culpepper Springs joins the Flint. As it was for many towns, they settled by the running water and springs so they could have saw mills and grist mills.

One unusual incident has kept Hard Up alive and that is a legend of a massacre. It occurred on Weldon Road which had seven churches spread on down the road. However, one of these holy places, Weldon Springs Missionary Baptist Church, allegedly became the site of a mass murder that was committed by a preacher, who suddenly turned into a mad man.

On what started out to be an ordinary Sunday night, for some unknown reason, the minister went into a fury. Yielding an ax, he killed all of the members of his congregation! The town of Hard Up did not want to let this horrible tragedy go unaccounted for, so they hanged the minister from a huge oak tree that sat right in front of the church, just off Weldon Springs Road. The bodies of those killed were buried in the Church’s cemetery.

With this scary background, the stories began. Today the church is in partial ruins with part of the building and the pulpit supposedly still standing. Also still there, is the baptismal pool. Also, there is the legend of the mysterious Bible. It was the personal possession of that minister. After the massacre and his death, it cannot be taken from the pulpit. Many have tried to dislodge it, but picking it up and taking it away cannot be done.

Another legend is that the cemetery at the church where the victims are buried, goes on forever and ever, on to the end of the earth. This impression probably came about because it is a very large cemetery with the most of the victims buried in the older part out back. Some of the headstones here, in this wooded area of this historical site, can still be read.

Also, some say that the ghosts of the massacred can be seen wandering through the graveyard as they welcome new “residents” who are being buried there. It is also said that, a picture taken in the cemetery, will show shadowy figures moving around the grounds.

There are also other remains of haunted buildings scattered throughout the land which belongs to Pine Bloom Plantation, once the home of Governor Alfred Colquitt, along with five cemeteries with mostly unmarked graves.

Also, on the plantation land, there are 17 water pumps where at one time groups of houses stood. The plantation is private property, is patrolled and trespassing is a serious offence.


Anna was located near the town of Peace, in the western end of Baker County, and south of Dewsville. There were many farms and many farm families who were part of this tight knit group. Also, Anna does have a spooky history.

It all began during the 1930s depression on the edge of a very deep, very sprawling swamp, which touched what was known as Wolf Pond, on the edge of what is now Ichauway Plantation.

This area seemed to be haunted by strange noises. They were first reported by the Sanders family in the 1930s. It seemed that these sounds always happened at night when they were setting on the porch. This is when the voices joined together to build up into a wild crescendo of a very loud, very eerie chorus of howls and screams which closely resembled the death screams of women and children.

During this time, malaria was a wide spread condition and bringing it under control was still a challenge. Therefore, many died. Some residents did believe the voices were their ghosts. Others believed that the noises were really from Florida panthers and bobcats.

Another unexplained happening in the Anna area occurred at one of its many ponds in the early 1900s. This was known as Richardson’s Pond, located off of Hudson Road. This particular pond is very deep in some areas and has enough of a current to support a saw mill.

Legend has it, that Mr. Richardson was working his oxen at the saw mill that he owned, just off of Hudson Road. The animals were working hard that day, dragging logs in the hot summer sun. The oxen became overheated and to help them, Mr. Richardson let them loose to wade in the pond so they could cool off. It was here that the oxen all waded in deeper and deeper until they drowned themselves in the cool pond water. Some locals believe this was the result of a voodoo curse put upon the pond by ancient Indians.

While there are many abandoned structures, the tiny town of Anna still exists. One structure, Live Oak Baptist Church, established in 1884, by Reverend J. G. Harris, still holds services and has been renovated several times.


What is left of the town of Crestview is located where Crest and Mill Roads come together. At one time, part of its water source was the wet weather Alligator Creek, which begins where a tiny spring comes to life, near the Early County line.

Legend has it, that it is the place where Spanish explorer, DeSoto, supposedly put up camp. Through historical diaries kept by DeSoto’s men, we do know that the party went through what is now Baker County, on its western edge. Another fact that we do know for sure about Alligator Creek, is that during the 1940s to the 60s, it was a popular place to swim.

Most of the town of Crestview is gone, filled with homes in ruin alongside of ones that are inhabited by real folks next to ones where ghosts of residents that are gone now reside. Most homes are located at the intersection of Smith and Newton Roads. One of these abandoned structures is believed to be haunted because several folks have taken a picture of the house, and have discovered a ghost’s face in the photo.

While Hard Up, Anna and Crestview are home to several ghosts, there are some that tried to come back but were not resurrected. They are Fish trap and Ledbetter. These are not known to have ghosts.

Fish Trap

The oldest settlement in Baker County, Fish Trap, was located east of Caney Creek, near where the present day Baker/Calhoun County line now denotes the boundary of these two places. Fish Trap got its name from an Indian custom. They had devised a way of fishing whereby they would build a stone wall that would trap the fish in a certain place in the creek. When harvested, it provided a multitude of fish to eat both in numbers and species. Thus, the name Fish Trap.

Caney Creek also played a part in establishing this town. It supplied a way of transportation for Indian canoes by providing a way to visit and share crops and goods with other communities. Caney Creek became a place where many settlers wanted to develop a town. As a matter of fact, at one time, there were several towns besides Fish Trap: Hoggard’s Mill and Milford that were located along the bountiful banks of this local creek.

The town’s earliest settler, Thomas Tabb, was born 1790. Also, there was resident, Morris Baker born in 1850, lived his entire life in Fish Trap. During the pre-War Between the States days, Fish Trap was home to several plantations and a trading post. The Fish Trap post office opened on April 28, 1848, with William Everett as the first post master.

In the development of Fish Trap, mills became a way of life as they afforded employment as well as a place to market the farm produce. This caused the town to thrive. However, not for long, for Fish Trap ceased to exist sometime around 1880, when the post office closed and mail was rerouted to Milford. History shows that when the post offices moved, the towns sort of disappeared. This was in the year 1852. Last known resident of Fish Trap was Samuel Pendry, who is buried in the town’s cemetery.

Now demolished, Fish Trap does not show up on any modern map. It is a true ghostly memory, as there are no streets left. The only existing structure standing to say that Fish Trap really did exist is a small, abandoned farmhouse at Ivy Mill where a saw mill did exist on Caney Creek and Williamsburg Roads.


In this county that is known for its beautiful ponds, Ledbetter is home to some of the most stunning pools of water. There are many ponds that make up the town. However, most of these go dry in the summer. Having so many ponds does have one downside. Ledbetter is also the home of quite a few panthers that roam north of the lost town in a very large swamp there. Besides having an abundant food and water supply, it is a hilly section of land. All of this is perfect living when you are a panther.

Located six miles northwest of Newton on Pine Bloom Plantation, this tiny town is bordered by Clear Lake Road, Bell Pond Road and Pretoria Road. Ledbetter was well known for the large exports of cotton products, which the farmers grew. The town was also proud of its post office, with H. A. Ledbetter as the first post master.

As often happened in this area of Georgia, when the post office closed in 1884, the town began to crumble and die. By 1887, most of the folks had moved away. Today, there are no full time residents still there. All that exists to confirm that there was a town here in the past is the sad remains of a filling station. Most of what does remain of the town of Ledbetter is on private land that belongs to Pine Bloom Plantation. This land is patrolled to keep out trespassers.

However, not all of the historical towns have been lost. The town of Dewsville has survived.


Turpentine was the driving force in the 1880s, which led to the establishment of Dewsville. In a prime place, 12 miles west of Newton and two miles west of Ichauway Nochaway Creek, it was not that far from where the Ichauway Nochaway empties into the Flint River. Therefore, the town was in a position to take advantage of the powerful waters of this creek. Also, because of the creek, the Baker County Power Company built a dam on an arm of the Ichauway in 1920. The dam was abandoned when, because of the weight of the structure on the limestone bottom of the Flint, it began to crack causing the dam to begin to collapse.

Located where Hudson and Milford Roads intersect, Dewsville became prosperous. At one time, the population grew to somewhere around 1,000 residents.

Named after William W. Dews, he owned one of the two stores in the town where supplies and food could be purchased by those who worked for the turpentine business. He also was the first post master. However, there was a down side to this. The railroad and the telegraph office were located up north, in the town of Leary, in Calhoun County.

When the turpentine business, which employed many people closed, the residents left. Try as hard as they did, the town did not make it as the abandoned houses speak of the dreams of the past.

Among the first churches were Oak Grove Baptist Church and the New Evergreen Church. These two and several others still stand. Now, the town has several farm families that are the only residents in this area, where the farm land is very rich and productive.

Next week we will explore the towns that are alive in Baker County.