We have been fortunate to receive permission from Grace Gresham Flowers to publish the following excerpt from her memoir, The Gresham, Weed, Wells and Long Families of DeKalb County, Georgia (click image to view page):
According to DeKalb County Deed Records, Mrs. Flowers’s grandmother, Alma Long Gresham, sold 71.2 acres in District 18 Land Lot 192 to Charles T. and Lenora D. Cathey in July 1949 (Deed Book 775, Folio 51), for a sum of “Ten Dollars and Other Valuable Considerations,” with the exception of a 300′ by 150′ parcel that had been conveyed to Mrs. Flowers’s mother and father in 1938.
In the early 1960’s much of the area was subdivided to create suburban neighborhoods that exist today. Amberwood, Silvastone, Breckenridge and Breckenwood were created during this era. The Cathey family retained 21 acres and continued to live there in the 19th century farmhouse that can still be seen from Briarlake Road. Charles T. Cathey, Jr., now seeks to sell this last remaining acreage at the market value it would bring for residential development purposes.
Many people love this land and this forest the way it is. It provides clean air and water, habitat for many species of animals including foxes, owls, hawks and many songbirds, and a peaceful feeling in the neighborhoods that have existed here for 50 years. It is a quiet anchor to our community that sustains our sense of well-being.
It is difficult if not impossible to put a price on a presence of living beings that predate us by over 200 years, as many of the large trees on the land do. That presence cannot be replaced. The diversity of plants and animals has formed a system that sustains and nurtures us without most of us even being consciously aware of it.
We are creating the next phase of the history of this land. This process began with a contract to sell the land and a request that DeKalb County rezone the land. Our suburban sense of place depends on having zones of quiet, peaceful havens from the bustle of city life. The DeKalb County Comprehensive Plan recognizes this in its policy to “protect stable neighborhoods from incompatible development” (Policy and Implementation Guide). We feel that a nature preserve would enhance the quality of our neighborhoods and are willing to work towards a solution that will provide a place for people in this community to learn about and appreciate the benefits of a diverse ecosystem in our midst.
Interesting piece of history – thank you for posting. Some of the things that make our area unique, like the tree canopy, animals, creeks, etc., cannot be replaced at any cost. Unfortunately, these things don’t have a ‘voice’ unless community groups like this get involved.
What a legacy it COULD be to have this remaining acreage as a permanent greenspace or park rather than another subdivision.
My father Sanford Norris Gresham was raised in the existing house located in Briarlake Forest during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was the third child of John Norris Gresham (1885-1957) and Addie Alma Long (1890-1952). I am a cousin of Grace Gresham Flowers, who contributed the excerpt above. Through life’s highways I left Georgia at an early age and finally ended up here in Paris, Kentucky. I am 66 years old and hope to someday visit Briarlake Forest and see my Gresham home place.