Yesterday I had a fun thing happen. I had the opportunity to meet Harold Freeman, who is Noah Garland’s great, great grandson. Who is Noah Garland, you ask? Noah was an early resident of Toccoa, the owner of one of the city’s two livery stables, and someone I wish I could have met. For years, I have read about him, and tried to imagine where his stable and home were located. Yesterday I found out the answer to both of these questions and much more.
After talking to Mr. Freeman for a few minutes, he smiled at me and said, “I have something to show you.” Then he took me outside where he proudly produced an old buggy seat from one of Noah’s wagons. We were at his daughter’s house and almost immediately, he began to explain that he did not have the springs that go with the seat with him or some edging. I barely heard any of what he had said because my eyes were fixated on the wording that was in front of me. “N. L. Garland Toccoa GA.” I knew I was looking at a rare piece of Toccoa history. This old buggy seat or hack seat, as they were often called, was all that remained of the old livery that was once located on the corner of Tugalo and Pond streets.
In this picture, Noah is second from the left with his hands of the reigns of a horse. This is his first livery stable. It also was the one that burned to the ground in the late 1800’s. I have just finished writing a history book on the city of Toccoa with another author—Kelly Vickers. It will be out this summer, and you had better believe Noah Garland will be in it. However, the photo below won’t be.
I just saw this one for the first time yesterday. It is of Noah Garland holding a small child, and family members. Mr. Freeman told me that Noah was an extremely kind man, a devout Christian, and someone who would do almost anything for others. The family lived in a huge house behind the livery stable. At one time, it had been a school and may have been the first school in Toccoa!
“Noah loved that house,” said Mr. Freeman, “He would invite anyone home with him to eat lunch or dinner. His wife always cooked very large meals because she never knew who Noah would bring through the door.” Doesn’t that sound like a family you would like to know?
People like the Garlands and the Freemans are just one of the reasons I love living in this area. You make friends for life here, and Noah Garland is a testimony to this.