Historic Boykin Mill Pond
As you enjoy your dinner, you can gaze over a vista that is heavy with the fragrance of the history of the Old South. The pond dam was built sometime before 1820 because it is shown somewhere in the Mill Atlas. Swift Creek was impounded to create a 300-400 acre pond that was sufficient to create 30-50 horsepower at the water driven mill. The pond has been the site of local gatherings and historic events. In early May of 1860, a picnic turned tragedy when a flat boat carrying approximately 50 young people overturned. It was 50 yards of the shore and of the passengers, 24 lost their lives, mostly young ladies.
On the 19th of April in 1865, Union soldiers under General Potter arrived in the area seeking hidden confederate munitions trains that General Sherman had missed. His men, 2,500 strong, included the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers about whom the movie "Glory" was produced.
Seated in the main dining room, you are at the approximate center of the Confederate defensive positions. These soldiers were home guard troops augmented by 500 Confederate Calvary from Kentucky. The Union troops approached across the pond where you now see masses of beautiful white cattle egrets, ibises, and other birds that roost in this nationally acclaimed rookery. The Union troops advanced across the dam, which had been breached, and incurred some loss of life. You can see the end of the dam out of the corner windows. They quickly outflanked the outnumbered Confederates and continued their mission of destruction.
Observe the wildlife of the pond, including frequently seen alligators, among which Old George is a real monster.
When you leave the restaurant, be sure to ride a short bit further down the restaurant road and see the beautifully restored Swift Creek Baptist Church on your left. It was established in 1787 as an independent church that saw the confederate trenches between the pond.
Do not be disappointed if on this visit you miss the bobcats, foxes, and other frequently seen wildlife that, along with the waterfowl, abound and create and ever-changing natural adventure taking place out of the windows.
Thanks to Dr. Cantey Haile for writing this history