Alpharetta and The Blue Juniata

Growing up in Alpharetta, Georgia, I went to Midway Elementary which was Midway between Alpharetta and Cumming.  One of the first things I learned was how to spell my address A – L – P – H – A – R – E – T – T – A. It almost became a song and I could recite the letters easily. My earliest memories of Alpharetta was the Alpha Drugs in town and the barber shop. They threatened to cut my ears off I did not sit still. There was a Dixie Café, a drive in theater we never went to along with a few shops and stores. Back then it was Highway 19 but later changed to Highway 9 through the city. I lived in a MHP called Rolling Hill and was known before as Shadowpark NW. We played in the woods and near the large greenhouses located above the park. Grimes Auto Parts was there across the street along with a convenience store. I made the mistake once of venturing into the junkyard there. Two junkyard dogs chased me and I hid in a car. I finally managed to escape and never ventured in there again,.


In Georgia Place Names: Alpharetta  supposedly came from a song The Blue Juniata named for an Indian Alfarata. The song was written by Marion Dix Sullivan in 1844 and became popular with several artists remaking the song.

The Blue Juniata” as first published

Wild roved an Indian girl,
Bright Alfarata,
Where sweep the waters
Of the blue Juniata!
Swift as an antelope
Through the forest going,
Loose were her jetty locks,
In many tresses flowing.
Gay was the mountain song
Of bright Alfarata,
Where sweep the waters
Of the blue Juniata.
“Strong and true my arrows are,
In my painted quiver,
Swift goes my light canoe
Adown the rapid river.
“Bold is my warrior good,
The love of Alfarata,
Proud waves his snowy plume
Along the Juniata.
Soft and low he speaks to me,
And then, his war-cry sounding,
Rings his voice in thunder loud,
From height to height resounding.”
So sang the Indian girl,
Bright Alfarata,
Where sweep the waters
Of the blue Juniata.
Fleeting years have borne away
The voice of Alfarata;
Still sweeps the river on—
Blue Juniata!

You may notice there is an Alfarata, Pennsylvania and also an Altoony, Pa. The early Cherokee Indians could have possibly brought these names to Georgia. Think of some of the Indian Chiefs like Kennesaw, Sawnee, Nickajack and Salagoa. and other Cherokee women like Little Wileo and Trahlyta.

It has been said that, as General Sherman’s men marched across the south they sang the lyrics of “The Blue Juniata” to keep up morale. One night while in his tent, General Sherman heard a band playing the tune from across camp. When they finished he sent a runner to tell them to play it again. A group of men nearer to him began singing the words along with the band and thus began the General’s love for the tune.”

by Kenneth K. Krakow 3rd Edition



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