Growing up in East Armuchee on the old Pope family farm, Scoggins was mostly unaware of the vast treasure of historical tidbits all around him. After moving to New York City, however, his impressions of his small-town roots began to take on a new meaning.
“I think that this book would not have been possible for me to write had I not moved away,” he said. “I have lived in New York for fourteen years now, and that’s a lot of time and distance from when I grew up.
“I realize now how unique and how interesting of a place it really is and how special it really is.”
Scoggins has always had an interest in genealogy and family history, and for the past three years, his obsession has been exploring the lineage of his four grandparents, all of whom are from the Armuchee Valley area. His re-search eventually culminated in a book of collected photos and nearly-forgotten nuggets of information.
“My primary motivation is just to preserve family and local history,” he said. “I started to see how a lot of things that I’ve learned about through family research were just being forgotten and people who lived in the areas that the book discusses are not even aware of these things. I wanted to do things to help preserve that for future genera-tion.”
Through his research, Scoggins was amazed to discover just how much the longtime-resident families of the Ar-muchee valley area are connected to one another.
“I started discovering that there are people that I grew up with or went to school with or went to church with that are connected to my family tree,” he said.
“People are generally aware of their ancestry, but only so far back,” he said. “The connections between people are really interesting. Between people and families. Just the connections between families in the area that I did not know were related to each other... That’s pretty interesting how family branches have been in the same place for so long.”
“Its also interesting to discover just how wrapped up in local history my family is,” he said. For families who have lived in the same location for generations, even everyday sights take on historical meanings and conjure up memories of what used to be.
“You can’t look at things just as silos, for instance,” he said. “Everything is connected to everything else.”
Scoggins also discovered during his research that, despite the fact that the Armuchee Valley area is seen today as rural and sparsely populated, it was once a series of booming towns.
“Villanow and the East Armuchee Valley and that area of Walker County was at one time more populous than LaFayette,” he said.
Areas such as Villanow, Trans and Green Bush and Sublinga, for instance, “those are thought of as communities today, but they really were more like towns in the past.”
“I realized there’s something really important and fascinating here...How much was being lost and I just had no idea.”
Scoggins’s research is still ongoing, and he hopes to continue collecting pieces of local history for many years to come. He is furthermore optimistic that members of the Walker County community with their own historical in-sights to share might be willing to come forward with photos, stories and trivia of times gone by.
“It’s definitely something that people can contribute to if they’re interested,” he said. “I’m also hoping that by reaching out to the community people will get interested and want to get involved.”
Scoggins has tentative plans to write a second book on Armuchee Valley and Walker County area history, should he be able to gather enough information.
“The second book, if that does happen, I would like to branch out. It would be about other family branches that may or may not be about my own family line.”
“I’m definitely very interested in collecting photos and information from anyone in the area, especially from the Armuchee Valleys,” he said. He is hoping for more genealogical information as well, from members of all family trees. “Anything like that would be extremely helpful.”
“I can work with people to help digitize their photos, so they don’t have to give them up and so forth.”
There are still a few remaining mysteries in Scoggins’s own family tree; most notably, he still wonders about the family of his third great-grandmother, Harriet Ann Bruce, who married into the Pope family. He learned that her sister, Susan Bruce, did the same, but has so far been unable to find any more information on the Bruce family. He encourages anyone in the community with any insight on the Bruces to contact him.
Furthermore, Scoggins found three separate groupings of Youngs in his family tree, but is unsure of their con-nection, if there is any. “I suspect they do connect up in some way given they are living in the same small area dur-ing the same general time frame,” he said. He thinks there may still be members of the Young families or their de-scendents living in the Armuchee Valley area today. “I would like to explore this connection with any readers who might be related or know anything further.”
The book “Jordan’s Journey” is available online through Scoggins’s own studio, which also published the tome. Those interested can order the book at bd-studios.com/journey.
Overall, Scoggins is very proud of how the past three years of research have culminated in the published work.
“It was definitely a big chunk of my life,” he said. “But its something I’m very passionate about.
“I find that there’s so much interesting information that needs to be seen. So many of these things are just tucked away in people’s drawers and closets, and they might never see the light of day. These things are too pre-cious to be lost.”