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Margaret L Painter

1865 – 1946

When Margaret was born in September of 1865, she must have been a miracle sent to the Lanning family on Turniptown Road. It had been fifteen years since John J. and Annie’s last child, Francis Marion, had been born, and with the death of Enos only a year old, the new baby surely softened the heartbreak of this family tragedy.

The baby girl was named Margaret Adeline and was affectionately called Margaret. Younger generations never knew her by any other name. We find where Margaret was enrolled in school on Upper Turniptown in 1880. She was 15 at the time and it was during this same year, Margaret either finished school, or abandoned her education to marry 20 year old John Wesley Painter. W.J. Tillerman, minister, untied the young couple.

Margaret and John settled down on Turniptown to raise a family. Over the years nine children were born into this household. Two of these children died in infancy and were buried in the family cemetery beside their grandfather, John J. Lanning. Until sometime after 1906, the year Annie died, these three graves were the only ones in the cemetery.

John raised cattle, farmed, and did other occasional work to provide for his growing family. His cattle roamed the mountain ranges and to identify his from those of his neighbors, he branded them. His stock brand was registered in the Gilmer County Courthouse as: ‘Smooth Crop off left ear and 2 splits in same ear.’

Mining Gold

To pick up extra income, John worked at mining gold. One day he was mining with Lloyd Henson and another neighbor when they found a large gold nugget. The men took the nugget to market and sold it for $60, which was a good price at that time. The money was split three ways, each man taking $20. John took his share and bought a cow.


For a social life, Margaret spent some of her time quilting with her neighbors on Turniptown Road. Quilting was a necessity and the women often got together meeting in each others homes. They prided themselves on their fancy stitches and were eager to add their handiwork to a neighbors quilt for all to see. Mountain women were often judged by the number of quilts they owned. It was said, “A good woman never let her family sleep cold for want of bed cover.”

One night Margaret dreamed of the design for a beautiful quilt. The following night she had the same dream. When morning came she got out of bed and before doing anything else she commenced to draw the pattern for the quilt while it was still clear in her mind. From the intricate pattern, she drew and cut the pieces, and then sat down to quilt the quilt of her dreams. When she finished the quilt it was in the pattern of a tree, and she had fashioned it complete with detailed roots and leaves. Margaret named her quilt, “Tree of Paradise”.

In 1909 Margaret bought 33 acres of lot # 20, 11th Dist. 22 Sec. on Turniptown for $160. She also owned parts of lot # 2 in the 6th Dist.

A Minister’s Wife

Margaret became the wife of a minister when her husband, John, answered the call to preach the gospel. John had the misfortune of sticking a small splinter in his leg that resulted in infection which led to amputation and his wearing an artificial limb. This affliction did not hinder his duties as a minister. Throughout his ministry, John pastored several churches, including Mt. Zion, Salem, and Turniptown in Gilmer County, Price Creek in Pickens County, and Riverdale in Cherokee County.

Prayers Answered

After John died in 1929, and after the children had grown up, married and left home, Margaret lived with her son, Andy and his family who had moved to East Ellijay. During World War Two, Margaret had twelve grandsons who entered the armed forces. She was in her eighties then, and prayed she would live to see them come home from the war safe and sound. Her grandsons did survive the holocaust and all were home only a short while when on May 26, 1946, Margaret died. She was buried in Turniptown Baptist Church Cemetery beside her husband, John.

The Painter Family

John Painter was the son of Alston and Phoebe Painter of Turniptown and Ellijay. Alston was a prominent Gilmer County resident, and at one time served as County Sheriff. In addition to owning a vast amount of Turniptown property, he also owned town property in Ellijay. For a number of years he operated a boarding house and a grocery store. The Painter Boarding House was on town lot # 62 on the Turn Pike Road (Highway # 5). In 1854 Alston sold 4763 square feet of town property for the huge amount of $100.

That Alston was prominent comes as no surprise. He frequented estate auctions throughout the county and bought things he needed at bargain prices. When the Joseph Garren estate was auctioned off in 1853, Alston bought, among other things, 100 bushels of fodder for 85¢. However, when the Southern family auctioned off their belongings on Turniptown, Alston apparently didn’t need, or didn’t consider it a bargain, his neighbor’s potato patch. Alston failed to raise the high bid, and the potato patch sold for 25¢.

Alston owned all, or parts of, lots # 17 – 20 – 53 in the 11th district. After his death, his wife, Phoebe, disposed of these lots gradually over the years. One of the mountains on Turniptown Road was named for this Pioneer settler, and is still known as Painter Mountain.

See Appendix B For Margaret Adeline Family Tree

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This page last updated on 1/18/2003 7:40:15 PM.