Tom Venable’s family has lived in Jackson County for 76 years. He has seen the county grow over his 76 years in Jefferson from a small town with five paved roads, to a population of 67,000 in Jackson County today.
Tom moved to Jefferson when he was two years old but the Venables have been in the area for 300 years.
“My daddy worked in the western side of Carolina and eastern Georgia, that’s where he met my mother. We lived in Slyvania, Screven County, Ga. When my grandmother got sick, my mother was a nurse, so we moved to Jefferson to live with grandparents,” Tom said.
Tom attended Jefferson High School where he was an all-around athlete playing football, baseball, basketball and ran track. He loves Jackson County because of the people and the seasons. The County is pretty every time of the year.
Tom is a retired land surveyor, is married to Sandra and the couple have one daughter; Jill. Tom now raises Red Angus cattle on his farm. “I am a retired land surveyor but I was raised on a farm and I can remember growing cotton and it covered the county. My granddaddy gave me a calf when I was 8 or 10 years old, and that’s what I do now; raise Red Angus,” he said. “I sell bulls to people in the Red Angus business all around the country. One of my best customers is in Mississippi.”
One of Tom’s claims to fame in Jackson County is shooting the largest deer in North Georgia history. “I killed my first deer in the fall of ’64…I shot it and then we were going out of the woods with it and we met the game warden. He said he wanted the deer weighed because it was one of the deer they shipped in from some other state to make the deer around there bigger. The deer weighed 286 pounds and he was 12 point buck, he is still the record weight deer in North Georgia. I haven’t shot a deer in 25 years but I still turkey hunt.”
We want to thank Mr. Venable for taking time to speak with us recently about his life and love of Jackson County.
Q: Who is one of the most interesting people that you have met in Jackson County?
A: “I’d say, JL McMullan, everyone called him Mr. Mack. He was our principal and he knew three days before we did anything…he just knew boys so well. Mr Mack knew how to handle us and to help put us on the right path to go through life.”
Q: What are some businesses in Jackson County that make you feel nostalgic?
A: “There was Gordon Hogan’s store and farm people would come in there. He had a bunch of nail kegs sitting around and everyone sat down and it was just a place for men to gossip. It was where everyone gathered early in the morning, you’d get a Pepsi Cola and a pack of crackers. Then there was the Cotton Gin, I used to love to go there with my granddad and I loved watching them do all that kind of stuff.”
Q: What’s the first movie you remember seeing?
A: “The first movie I ever saw was right in town across the road at the Roosevelt Theatre. I don’t remember what the name of it was. We used to either walk or ride with somebody to town to see the double feature on Saturday evening.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “Go to church and believe in God and the Holy Spirit. Get out and walk in the woods, learn about nature and have some common sense.”
Q: Where would you travel if you had the chance?
A: “If I went to another country, I would like to go Scotland but I’ve only been out of the country once and that was in Mexico. I think Scotland is a beautiful country.”
The Faces of Jackson County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.