Clarkesville, GA has always had a great attraction for all sorts of cranks and oddities, who have drifted here from every quarter, besides having her fair share of the same sort of native production. Did the scope of this paper permit, I could relate many tales of interest both grave and gay. I will speak of one story that used to excite my childish sympathy and interest to the highest degree.
Many years ago, a Frenchman, calling himself Eugene Pinard, came to Clarkesville, no one knew for what reason. He was a mysterious character, stern and reserved, saying nothing of his past, except a few vague hints of a dark past of crime and piracy. A chest of rich clothing and silk and velvet seemed to corroborate his story of having been on a pirate ship.
He married a pretty country girl living as help in General Wyley’s family. He remained with her for perhaps three years, then disappeared as suddenly as he came, taking with him a beautiful little daughter, nearly two years old and leaving not a trace to show where he had gone.
The sympathy of the whole town was aroused for the heartbroken mother and every possible effort was put forth to locate the little child. Kind friends wrote to the French consuls in New Orleans, Mobile, New York and other ports. Advertisements were inserted in the papers of the principal cities of this country and in France, but all in vain.
The fugitives had disappeared as if swallowed by the earth, and the desolate mother never again heard aught of her child. I remember Mrs. Pinard when I was a child a pale, sad woman who made a modest livelihood by nursing the sick and sewing in families, and who grieved as long as she lived for her Victorine.
Interesting Bits Of Habersham County History, a series of un-published articles by Addie Bass; this ‘History of Clarkesville’ excerpt was told her by Mrs. Julia Wales Erwin Wilson, 1927
online at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gahaber2/history/basshist2.htm