Sue Hansard spent the first 17 years of her life on a farm without running water or electricity — up until the 1950s.

“Raised on Red Dirt” tells the story of Hansard’s time spent on the self-sustaining family farm growing up in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In her memoir, Hansard, now 74, recalls growing up at the end of an era of the old farming lifestyle in the Macedonia community in east Cherokee County.

“We didn’t get electricity or modern amenities into the house until 1954, so we lived with no running water in the house, having to draw water from the well and pulling water from the creek for the animals,” Hansard said. “Slowly, my dad was able to get electricity on the property and we were able to install a water pump. Before that though, we were pretty much living the lives of pioneers.”

Hansard said she grew up without a TV, and even bought her parents their first TV later on after she moved away.

Although she moved away from the farm as a teenager to live along Toonigh Road and later Holly Springs, she moved back to the farm in 1986, building a house on 11 acres of the original farm.

The author wrote the memoir to share some of her family history; her relatives have lived in Cherokee County since 1918.

“I have a lot of nieces and nephews, and I thought it would be interesting to document some history for future generations,” Hansard. “I wanted to share this experience for my family and anyone else interested in reading about my story.”

Hansard was inspired by a book about mountain life and started writing her memoir four years ago, she said.

“My son, Lance Hansard, was getting a writing degree at Kennesaw State University at the time, so he started taking me to the Georgia Writers Association with him, and I started writing my stories down,” Hansard said.

Hansard will hold a book signing 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Rock Barn, 658 Marietta Highway in Canton. “Raised on Red Dirt” was published last month by Everything Engraving, and is available at Mid-City Pharmacy in Canton and the Funk Heritage Center in Waleska. Books can also be purchased by messaging Hansard on her Facebook page,

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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