The Cloud’s Creek Community

By Alice Hughes

No record exists of the first bridge across Big Cloud’s Creek. Perhaps it was no more than an uprooted tree that fell bank to bank. Maybe, later, cut logs were purposely placed across the stream. Replacements, no doubt, brought improvements. The 1894 map of Oglethorpe County by Thomas B. Moss simply indicates “bridge” with no evidence of age or number.

The community that spanned Cloud’s Creek began to take shape in the mid-1780s with the coming of pioneers from the North Carolina counties of Wake, Wilkes, Johnston. Certain of the families may have known each other first in Maryland before migrating together to North Carolina. On the move again, these people, interconnected by blood, marriage, and friendship, arrived here in what was then Wilkes County that later was to become Oglethorpe County in 1793. Many of the heads of household claimed headright bounties for service in the American Revolution. The families chose land all up and down Big Cloud’s Creek and Little Cloud’s Creek where they built log cabins and managed plantations.

As with any situation, the unforeseen can happen, and so it did. The Creek and the Cherokee claimed this land. Trouble developed resulting in frightening massacres. Anthony Olive constructed a two-storied blockhouse, or fort, for protection.

From my earliest childhood memories in Alabama, I listened to how my ancestor, Robinson Hendon, and two other planters were chased by Indians. One man’s horse stumbled, and the rider was thrown. He screamed, “Ride on. Save yourselves.” Robinson took a backward glance to see his kinsman being scalped. Robinson and his other companion pressed on to the safety of the Olive Fort.

Within those secured walls, 25 men and women gathered on Saturday, September 20, 1788. On that day, they organized Cloud’s Creek Baptist Church with only 3 founders presenting letters from previous churches. The others joined upon profession of faith. Membership grew rapidly with family slaves listed on the rolls as well.

After a few years, the church moved 2 ½ miles south to its present location on land deeded by Thomas Hendon. The church thrived, offering not only religious guidance and moral direction but handling civil matters as well as functioning as a financial institution.

William Hendon bought land from his brother-in-law, Anthony Olive. Ordained at Cloud’s Creek Church, Willliam served as minister until his family along with the interrelated Herrins and the Embrys left for Franklin County, Tennessee.

Of the three Hendon brothers, only Robinson is thought to be buried beside Cloud’s Creek Church. Sister Kerenhappuch may be there as well. That restless Hendon clan went elsewhere as did their Hartsfield kin and the Richardson family.

Jimmy Sims bought land on Little Cloud’s Creek, raised his family, and lived at his home until he died at age 91. His descendants are scattered throughout the western states.

Thomas Johnson married to Penelope Sanders, is believed to have been a medical doctor and a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. They had eleven children.

One daughter, Pheraby, was the wife of Benjamin Tribble, and they came to Georgia with her parents. Though Benjamin and Pheraby are buried at Cloud’s Creek Church, their family migrated to Forsyth County and founded a church where Tribble descendants continue to worship.

The youngest Johnson daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Billey McElroy, after living here for a quarter of a century, once again became pioneers and moved to Haralson County. They died there, substantially less affluent than they had been in Oglethorpe, but rich in descendants.

Samuel Whitehead’s will revealed him to have been a wealthy and opinionated planter in this area who made sure he got the last word legally in an apparent argument with his 6 daughters.

Charles O’Kelley, a Revolutionary War patriot, and his son-in-law, Mark Harwell, War of 1812, were loyal, ruggedly independent, and willing to fight for freedom even at great risk to their own safety.

Penelope Harwell married John South of South Carolina, and became the maternal ancestor of all the Souths to come out of Henry County.

The descendants of Benjamin Standifer and his wife, Rachel Forrest, through their son, Anderson, also of Cloud’s Creek, went west and were instrumental in the founding of The Republic of Texas by helping to win its independence from Mexico.

Uriah Hardman settled on the forks of Cloud’s Creek. Though he died shortly thereafter, his descendants are remembered for their sense of community as they went out from Cloud’s Creek to establish churches along the frontier.

The Fords were adventuresome and courageous. New horizons beckoned. They took their chances, together with friends and relatives.

Simmons and Colquitts never really left. Even today, two Simmons descendants are members of Cloud’s Creek Baptist Church, and a Colquitt serves as deacon. Howards, Johnsons, and O’Kelleys, likewise, continue to be a presence in the Oglethorpe County community.

Other families of whom we have no knowledge have simply disappeared into society at large.

On this day, I represent ALL descendants of the Cloud’s Creek Community. Our ancestors were pioneers of raw courage. They left us a legacy that God, family, and community endure through even the fifth and sixth generations and beyond.

Cloud's Creek Baptist Church

Alice Hughes (Coordinator, Cloud's Creek Pioneer Families and descendant of 3 charter members of Cloud's Creek Baptist Church: Robinson and Elizabeth Hartsfield Hendon and of Adam Simmons)
Daniel Joseph Embry (son of Duane and Kim Embry and the 7th great-grandson of CCBC charter members Joseph and Rachel Olive Embry. And, yes, he was named for his ancestor at Cloud's Creek. Father Duane is a native of Texas.)
Irene Paul (Oldest member of Cloud's Creek Baptist Church. She will be 96 tomorrow. It was she who connected me back to CCBC, and that is how so many families have been able to find their Cloud's Creek roots.)

Special Note about Irene Paul:


When I was growing up in Alabama, my Aunt Florence spun tales of Indian raids, a fort, and a scalping in Georgia. These were all a part of our family’s folklore. With no source to support the stories, I later wondered if those events could have ever taken place at all, especially in Georgia. They sounded like a western movie. Perhaps my aunt embellished the tales to entertain a little girl who loved to play cowboys and Indians. In adulthood, I put the stories away. They were almost forgotten, but not entirely.

Early in 1995, I needed to interview some long-time quilting clubs for a book project. The name of the Friendship Club of Oglethorpe County surfaced. I telephoned President Irene Paul to ask permission to visit with them.

During the delightful conversation, I mentioned, “My ancestor, Robinson Hendon, lived in Oglethorpe County.”
“You mean long, long time ago?” she asked.
“Yes, m’am, a very long time ago,” I answered though I could not remember the date at the time without looking it up.
“I think, well, I’m sure he founded our church. My daughter knows. I’ll ask her and call you back.”
Mrs. Paul did call back to say, “Honey, you’re one of us.”
That was my introduction to Irene Paul.

A month later, I drove to Mrs. Paul’s house to spend the day with her and the quilters from her club. So began a day of which I continue to say: “If every day was like that one, I would choose to live forever.”

My visit to Cloud’s Creek Baptist Church that sunny March afternoon connected me to my ancestors. Since then, other descendants of the church’s charter and early members have found their way back to their beginnings in Oglethorpe County.
Without Mrs. Paul, none of the events of the past few years would have been possible. Because Mrs. Paul remembered the name of Robinson Hendon, I have a link to my past, I have new friends and kin, and the historical marker in front of Cloud’s Creek Baptist Church has secured our joint legacy.

Thank you, Mrs. Paul.

Love, Alice
August 4, 2001

Families and Descendants of Cloud's Creek

CCBC Line #1

Robinson and Elizabeth Hartsfield Hendon - Family of Aliches Hughes my-ggg-grandparents (came to Cloud's Creek on land grant in 1785)

Andrew and Margarett Simmons Hendon --my gg-grandparents (married at CCBC then moved to Troup Co. GA.

William Cincinnatus Lykergus and Susan Frances Colley Hendon--my g-grandparents (married in Troup Co. GA, 1865 and went to Etowah Co. Al, in 1877)

Amanda Jane Hendon and Robert Anthony Wright --my grandparents (married in Etowah Co. AL, 1891)

Robbie Bernice Wright and Dennis Odell Hill - my parents (married in Etowah Co. AL, 1927)

Alice Jane Hill [ -- email not working] and Christopher Maddock Hughes (married in Southport, Queensland, Australia, 1968)

Vyvyan Lorraine Hughes and Roswell Andrew Hathaway III(married at The Citadel, Charleston, SC, 2002)

CCBC Line #2

Adam and Rebecca Pogue Simmons --my gggg-grandparents at Cloud's Creek.

Asa and Nancy _?_ Simmons -- my ggg-grandparents at Cloud's Creek (Asa was killed in War of 1812)

Margarett Simmons and Andrew Hendon --my gg-grandparents (see CCBC#1)

CCBC Line #3

Benjamin and Rachel Forrester Standifer -- Family of Joan Rash Pappa from Cloud's Creek.

Joan Rash Pappa (Living)
Jack Stanley Pappa (Living)

Parents of Joan:
Grady Dennis Rash 14 Feb 1914 - 09 Aug 1997
Martha Mildred Plummer (Living)

Hiram Gale Plummer 03 Jun 1882 - 11 Mar 1925
Charlie Berneice Standifer 24 Feb 1890 - 06 Feb 1983

Charles Anderson Standifer 16 Mar 1862 - 16 Apr 1925
Cordelia Mildred Whorton 18 Aug 1864 - 07 May 1941

2nd Great-Grandparents:
William Anderson Standifer 20 Jun 1840 - 19 Jan 1904
Martha Eleanor Armstrong 14 Jan 1840 - 06 Apr 1924

3rd Great-Grandparents:
William Bailey Standifer 10 Feb 1812 - 08 Jul 1876
Alzada Harrell ca 1767 - 04 Oct 1846

4th Great-Grandparents:
Anderson Standifer ca 1784 - ca 1821
Elizabeth James ca 1792 - 1838

5th Great-Grandparents:
Benjamin Standifer 17 May 1764 - 13 Mar 1839
Rachel Forrest ca 1767 - 1801


219th Anniversary, Cloud's Creek Baptist Church,

Oglethorpe County, GA
By Alice Hughes..2007

Sunday morning, September 16, dawned cool, crisp, and glorious. What more could one ask for the most important gathering of the year at Cloud's Creek Baptist Church? The church was constituted on September 20, 1788 with 25 charter members.

The church buildings and grounds had been cleaned during the week. The historical marker and charter member plaque were shining. Members and guests scurried around bringing covered dishes to Fellowship Hall (which has new carpet, tables, chairs, and new kitchen flooring) and greeting each other warmly. The children's playground had been redone, too. All was in order.

Mrs. Irene Paul, age 96, and the oldest church member, arrived with fanfare and greetings. She now comes for only the most important church events, and everyone gathered around her to welcome her home to Cloud's Creek.

Chris played host to my distant Hendon cousin making his first visit to Cloud's Creek. Meanwhile, I waited for the young Embry family, to whom we had grown so close while living in Walton County. Once inside, I (as a church member) was asked to introduce them to the congregation, and I proudly did that.

The church historian spoke on church clerks over the ages. Duane's ancestor, charter member Joseph Embry, was church clerk in the late 1700s and served for 8 years.

However, the main reason for speaking of clerks that morning was that the current church clerk is stepping down. Miss Josephine Carithers has served as church clerk for 45 years and followed in her father's footsteps, and he was clerk for 30 years. That's 75 years that the clerk has been a Carithers! Noteworthy is the fact that Miss Josephine has been the only woman clerk in the history of Cloud's Creek Church, and she has served the longest of any of them. She was assisted up to the front where she was given a corsage and a plaque commemorating her time of service. I usually do not approve of applause in church (though it's done), but the congregation gave her a standing ovation, and she deserved it.

The children of the church did the special music, and they were wonderful. They have had good training.

The guest speaker was a former director of Baptist missions, Tom Lang. He mentioned that our little church will be here for at least another 80 years because of the children who stood and sang. I have said much the same—sort of "Bring on the Children"—it is they who will carry on the legacy of our little church in the wildwood.

Then it was time to eat, and, oh, the food! It is everything to excess, and that doesn't hurt once a year. We all almost ate ourselves into oblivion.

I sat with descendants of Reuben and Lydia Johnson, who were also charter members. We find so few descendants of these particular founders, and here were some I had never had contact me. I was so pleased to meet them.

A local photographer had set up to take church members' family photos for the directory that will soon be published. Mrs. Paul was right there, too, having her picture done and happily saying "baked potato" instead of "cheese."

The Embrys and the Reuben Johnson descendants followed us home (only a 9-minute drive) by the back roads, meaning through the country by way of Smithonia.

Daniel Joseph Embry (whom I call Joe Dan), 7th great grandson of Joseph and Rachel Olive Embry, has now attended two CCBC anniversaries, and he is but 1 1/2 years old. He had a busy day being introduced in church, playing in the nursery, and being given more than his share of attention in Fellowship Hall. By the time, he was brought to our house in the afternoon, he napped happily and securely.


This page was created on 5 October 2014.

The Journey of Cloud's Creek Community & Church

Beaverdam Primitive Baptist Church, Historic Oglethorpe County, GA

Cloud Creek 2013 News Items & Millstone Creek Baptist Church News


Descendants of Joseph Embry-- Jessica M (Longstreet) Gordon of California contributed this family tree.


Grave of Charles Herndon Found - Forest Cemetery

October 12, 2014 - A Walk Through Time at Forrest Cemetery in Gadsden


October , 2015 - 7th Annual "A Walk Through Time



OPHGR website created and maintained by Patsy Vinson, webmaster.

Webmaster Note: This is a free site. All information contained herein is copyrighted by the webmaster/owner of Organization for the Preservation of Historical and Genealogical Records known as "OPHGR" . The information and images shown on this site are Not public domain and should not be taken without the owner's permission in writing.

The fantastic graphics that I am using on this page were generously provided free of charge for non-commercial sites. Please do not copy the graphics from this site as the "terms of use" requires me to be careful not to furnish images to others. Also, I do not "mix and match" images from more than one source. At the bottom of each page, you will find a link to the individual site for that page. Please advise if you find a page or two that I have overlooked. I will make every effort to correct it and please accept my apologies for any oversights.

© Copyright 2009 -Present Patsy Vinson