About the name

The Story about the Name: By Bill Turpin

Many of you have asked:

“Where did you get the name Shoulderbone Ceek Orchestra”
Well here’s the Story…. I wanted to find a name that fit the persona of the Music and the ‘Old Time” Style of Story Songs, I love to Play and Write about. I wanted a name that was a piece of Georgia History that reflected our Heritage and Homeland.

The name came from Shoulderbone Creek located between Eatonton and Sparta Georgia, where on 3 November, 1786, a treaty known as the “Treaty of Shoulderbone Creek” was signed between the Creek Indian Nation and the State of Georgia . It was a treaty of “Peace, Commerce and Amity”.

Shoulderbone Creek Indian Mound is the site of a Late Mississippian Period Oconee Indian Village and Mound Center. This may have been the Indian Village that Hernando DeSoto visited in April 1540.

Millmore Mill on Shoulderbone Creek was built c. 1790 and is still in operation. The Gristmill is still used to grind Corn. We Southerners still love our Grits you know.

Shoulderbone Plantation was named after the nearby Shoulderbone Mounds.
It is an AnteBellum Greek Revival Architecture, complete with Barns and other out Buildings and still on the original 2,000 Acre Plantation. It is on the Registry of Historical Homes and American Treasures.

And last but not least… my Guitar Strap uses the Soulderbone for its Support System!

So Dear Hearts…. What’s in a Name…….

Shoulderbone, it’s a Native American Village and Burial Mound…..
Shouderbone, it’s the location of an Early Historic Treaty between the Settlers and the Indigenous Native Tribes…..
Shoulderbone. It’s a creek that provides the Power for a Late 16th Century Grist Mill…… Shouderbone, it’s a Home from a Civilization Gone that was Spared, Preserved and Honored….
Shoulderbone, It’s a String Band that loves to play for you!

There are some remarkable mounds in this county. A gentleman has furnished us with an account of several on Shoulder Bone Creek. He says. “the principal one is 400 feet N. of the centre prong of Shoulder Bone Creek; its base is 20 feet above the level of the creek. A few years ago it was 37 feet high; around it are the remains of a ditch or intrenchment, containing about four acres. Near the mound is an inclosure. Human bones, to a large amount, have been exhumed.”
Shoulder Bone Creek is memorable as being the place where a tready was made with the Creeks in 1786.


Millmore Mill on Shoulderbone Creek in Hancock County,Ga.
This Mill was built c. 1790 and is still in operation. It is on Hwy 16 between Sparta and Eatonton, Georgia.

November 3, 1786

1786 Georgia authorities signed the Treaty of Shoulderbone Creek with certain Creek Indian chiefs at a location on a creek by that name in present-day Hancock County. In the agreement, the Creeks made no new land cessions, but they reaffirmed the treaties of Augusta (1783) and Galphinton (1785), in which they had given up large areas of Creek land to Georgia–including the vast area between the Ogeechee and Oconee rivers. Chief Alexander McGillivray, however, refused to recognize the three treaties. Their legality was further in question because Georgia–not the U.S.–had negotiated them with the Creeks, despite the fact that under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had exclusive right to negotiate with Indian tribes. Settlement of the debated cessions would only be resolved when the U.S. and Creeks signed the Treaty of New York in 1790.

Georgia did not have many stately plantation houses like “Shoulderbone” before the war, and after General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea, just a few were left standing. Shoulderbone Plantation is 8 miles west of the little town of Sparta (in middle Georgia ), and escaped destruction somehow. It stands today “frozen in time.”

This type of architecture was introduced after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 by rich Anglo-Americans who moved to the area and built homes in the Greek revival style, with columns, grand balcony, et al.

It was as though we had stepped into the past – and we had, because most of these stunning plantation houses are gone now, and as Margaret Mitchell says in her book Gone with the Wind: “Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind… “

A Late Mississippian Period palisaded Oconee (Ocute) Indian village and mound center. Site was excavated in 1986. This may have been the Indian village named Ocute that Hernando DeSoto visited in April 1540, and where a cannon was supposedly left behind. DeSoto did not report a palisade there, and no direct evidence has positively linked Ocute (undetermined location) with the Shoulderbone Site. The Shoulderbone Site had lost most of its population around 1500, and barely existed afterwards. Ocute was last visited by Gaspar de Salas and Friar Pedro de Chozas with 30 Indians in 1597.

The Stoneman Raid GHM 084-14
In July, 1864, Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman’s army [US] closed in on Atlanta. Finding its fortifications “too strong to assault and too extensive to invest,” he sought to force its fall by sending Maj. Gen. George Stoneman, with three cavalry brigades (2112 men and 2 guns) to cut the Central of Georgia R.R. by which the city’s defenders [CS] were supplied. On the 27th, Stoneman left Decatur, crossed the Ocmulgee (Yellow) River near Covington (46 miles NW), and turned down the left bank toward Macon.
On the 30th, at Clinton (7 miles S), he detached parties of the 14th Illinois Cavalry which wrecked railway facilities at Gordon, McIntyre and Toomsboro (SE of Clinton) and at Griswoldville (SSE). They burned trains, loaded cars on sidings, machinery, supplies, trestles and the railway bridge over the Oconee River east of Toomsboro. Stoneman advanced to Macon (19 miles SW) where he was stopped by Georgia Militia, strongly intrenched. Unable to force their works, he shelled Macon briefly, then attempted to retreat.
Next morning, Sunday the 31st, after a night of harassment, he was brought to bay at this point by Brig. Gen. Alfred Iverson, Jr., who, with only 1300 cavalry [CS] had marched to intercept him.
Deceived by Iverson into believing that he was being surrounded, his men exhausted and ammunition running low, Stoneman covered the escape northward of Adams’ and Capron’s brigades; then he surrendered himself, with about 600 men and his artillery and train, to what Iverson had led him to believe was a much larger force.