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2014 Essay 3

Arthur Woody  by Anna Head 

Arthur Woody has played a major role in the Forest Service and bringing wildlife back to Suches, Georgia. People have said he was a cross between Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, and John Wayne. Arthur Woody was born on April 1,1884 in a log cabin in Suches. His parents were Abraham Lincoln Woody and Eliza Ingram Woody. Woody’s education was in a small room next to his house. At age 16, he entered North Georgia College in Dahlonega. After a year of studying there, he returned to Suches to work with his father on his farm. While working on his father’s farm, Woody learned to work hard and to set goals and strive toward them.

Woody got married at age 18 to Nancy Emma Abercrombie. Their first son was named Walter W. Woody, which was born on July 3,1902. Clyne Edward Woody was born on April 30, 1905, which was their second son. Three years later, Mae Woody was born on July 15,1907, which was their third and final child. As an axeman, he began his career with the U.S Forest Service on October 1, 1912. As time progressed, he soon advanced to surveyor for the lands acquired by the forest service. With the assignment of protection, on May 1,1915, Arthur Woody was sworn in as a forest guard. This job included the protection of forestry lands from fire, trespassers, and poachers. Among the first in the nation, on July 1, 1918 Woody became the first Forest Ranger in Georgia.

The entire Blue Ridge District was controlled by him, but was later called the Chattahoochee National Forest. At a young age, Arthur Woody mastered all the basic of life in the forest. Pursuing on with life and his promise to wildlife he began to restock the mountains with deer. As he began, he bought five fawns with his own money and began to nurture them. He named them Nimble, Nancy, Billy, Bessie, and Bunnie-Girl. When they became strong enough to make it on their own, he turned them out into the wilderness. By 1941, the deer population increased to about 2000. He also replenished the bear population; in fact their names were Mike and Ike. Moving on with restoring the wildlife, next he made an effort to restock the mountain streams with rainbow and speckled trout. The first shipment arriving in 1918, these fish had been shipped into the Gainesville train depot from Denver, Colorado. The train was met by Clyne Woody and his father. The barrels of fish were hauled to the foot of the mountain, then taken by wagon across Grassy Gap. The fish was distributed to the cold mountain streams by Woody’s sons and others.

After helping the environment, Woody and his crew decided to build Dockery Lake. One of Woody’s dreams was to build a road from Stone Pile Gap to Suches through Woody Gap. The road he built, Highway 160, Sosebee Cove, was a favorite stopping place for Woody. Often times on the job he would cheer up members on the crew. He was once quoted to say this to a man that was down, “These Mountains must be a little human. They go through periods of dark and cold, and it looks like night will never end. But I’ve been watching it for nigh onto 60 years and it always does.” Woody was not only known for helping wildlife, he was known for helping others. Woody and many of the young men (CCC boys) built roads, strung power lines, and protected the forest from fires, which it was during the “New Deal” period. He really enjoyed working with these boys.

As life progressed, Woody experienced some health problems. He was known to have high blood pressure. On June 10, 1946 the great Arthur Woody died. It was told he died of several heart attacks. His funeral was held at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Sanctuary. Over 1,500 attended his service. He was buried at Mt. Lebanon Church cemetery. Woody Gap School stands as a monument to Woody. We thank Mr. Woody for all the wonderful things he done for our wildlife and our community. Woody made a strong impact on all of us, and he will never be forgotten.

 

Citations:

I Remember Dahlonega/Volume 3 by  Anne Dismukes Amerson, page 36, Chestatee Publications, 1994.

I Remember Dahlonega/Volume 2 by  Anne Dismukes Amerson, page 291, Chestatee Publications, 1992.

Internet Citation: http://www.aboutnorthgeorgia.com/ang/Arthur Woody ,  Date: 1/9/14