Sarah Gillespie has deep-seeded roots in Rabun County. After settling in the area more than 200 years ago, Sarah’s ancestors helped shape the mountain county into the thriving community it is today.
- Her 4th Great Grandfather, William Gillespie, was one of the founding commissioners when Rabun County was established in 1819.
- Later, her Great, Great Uncle Roscoe Nicholson served as the state’s first forest ranger, where he surveyed over 60% of Rabun County as National Forest.
- Luther Rickman, her Great Grandfather, served as Rabun County sheriff during the prohibition years from 1917-1940.
- In the early 1970s, “Uncle Frank” (John Franklin Rickman), Luther’s son, was appointed to the first Georgia Film Commission, where he played an important role in bringing the film industry to the state of Georgia. You may be familiar with the film Deliverance, which was filmed in Rabun County and along the Chattooga River corridor. Uncle Frank was also a prominent land developer in the area who earned the nickname ‘Red Clay Michaelangelo’. He was one of the developers who carved Sky Valley and Kingwood Resort out of the red clay hills of Rabun County.
Most of the women in Sarah’s family were educators locally. Her great grandmother Stella Nicholson and her great, great aunt Ola Nicholson rode side saddle to teach at the school in Pine Mountain.
Drawn both by the familiar community she so deeply loves as well as the mountain lifestyle, in 2011, Sarah decided to return home to Rabun County. Since returning home, Sarah has dedicated her time to environmental conservation, public service and helping create a vision for continued growth in her local community. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Chattooga Conservancy and Georgia Mountain Psychological Associates. She also serves as the Secretary of the City of Clayton Planning and Zoning Board, honoring her family’s rich and honorable legacy by investing in the Rabun County Community.