A side view of the old Sells Mill with a two story house and grist mill wheel with the river running over a shallow, rocky bottom.

Sell’s Mill is an old mill that ground corn as late as the 1990s.

They say you can’t go back, but a recent visit to the now picturesque Sells Mill Park proved that to be wrong! Though all of this area is now considered part of Hoschton, Ga., when I was growing up, it was called Sells. It even had a post office in the old one-room store that was owned by Mr. Sell and run by a jolly old country boy named, Charlie Stancil, who always gave me a free candy with a smile every time I visited.

Historically, the Sell family has been a major contributor to this area, since Jackson County became an official part of Georgia. In fact, Jonathan Sell purchased 500 acres around Indian Creek in 1815 and then married Rebecca Jones. The couple had six sons including the youngest, Frank who was born in 1862, and returned to Jackson County to revive the family farm in 1885.

Frank purchased an additional 700 acres where he planted cotton, corn, wheat and oats, dammed up Indian Creek, built a three-story mill and the most remarkable house in Jackson County at the time … which still stands today. The Sell’s Mill not only ground grain but produced electricity for a growing farming community. Although Frank Sell married Angie Maynard in 1900, the couple had no children of their own but raised five children in their unique home.

A large home with yellow brick and and white trim and columns.

The Old Sells Family Home

My connection to the Sell family in this area can be found about a mile east on Jackson Trail Road at the old plantation house that belonged to my great-grandfather George MD Moon, who was an officer in the Confederate Army. Though I never met him because he died long before I was born, his son was my Uncle Bob, who taught me so much about life and nature.

Once when we were camping, I watched as Uncle Bob disrobed and eased into the ice-cold waters of a mountain stream to bathe. Even though I was just a lad of 10 at the time, I couldn’t help wondering why being clean was important enough to endure the extremely cold water. Bob Moon firmly believed that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” He had learned the hard way while serving his country in the trenches of France during World War I when he was subjected to living in filth for months in those man-made “hell holes” in the earth, and had promised himself that he would never be unclean again. Bob Moon kept his word to himself and others. It was a lesson I never forgot.

A white church with 3 wooden crosses in the front lawn.

The Old Centre Methodist Church

Like the Sell family, the Moons were big-time farmers, and owned much of the land east of the Sell’s property. Right in the middle between the two major landowners was the Centre Methodist Church that both families attended.

Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department purchased the mill and surrounding property in 2000. Today, Sells Mill Park (706-367-6350) has a covered pavilion with several picnic tables, a playground, restrooms, walking trails and the picturesque old mill. The pavilion is for day use only but can be rented for parties. The Mill Building can also be rented for events, but parking is very limited. It’s a beautiful place to play in the shoals of Indian Creek, see the grist mill and water wheel, have a picnic or explore the walking trails.

Photos: by Bill Vanderford