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For 300 years, since the travels of Hernado de Soto, white Europeans and later Americans searched in vain for gold in the hills of north Georgia and Tennessee. In 1828, the quest was realized and the first major gold rush in the United States commenced. The discovery of gold in the Cherokee nation overwhelmed the area with white prospectors - some say as many as 25,000. The state of Georgia quickly annexed the land and, after a series of questionable deals with the Cherokees, distributed the land by lottery in 1832.

 

Lewis Perry (Asaph's grandfather) moved into the geographic heart of the gold rush, Lumpkin County, after the land lottery, sometime between 1834 and 1840. Lewis was a small farmer originally from South Carolina. We do not know why Perry moved to Lumpkin County, but suspect it was related to the Gold rush. We do know he did not stay long in Lumpkin County. In the late 1840s, Lewis Perry and his wife Martha moved 5 miles south to High Tower, in Forsyth County.

 

Asaph's father James, born in Lumpkin County in 1847, followed in his father's footsteps, working a small plot of land with the help of his six sons. Much like Lewis, James never amassed much of a fortune. When Aspah was born, the Perry's small farm was worth just a few hundred dollars.

 

 

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