John J.A. Sharp, who was born on March 6, 1828, and his two brothers moved to Cherokee County from South Carolina in approximately 1855. The trio settled in the Waleska community to establish a store, a cotton gin and a tobacco factory.
Sharp served four years as a lieutenant colonel during the Civil War and was wounded in North Carolina in March 1865. After the war, he reorganized his Cherokee County mercantile business and began to play an active role in educating the local children, organizing a debating society and local lodge of the Georgia Christian Temperance Union, and loaning books for area children to take home and read.
Sharp married Mary Reinhardt, A.M. Reinhardt's sister. Like A.M. Reinhardt, Sharp took an interest in politics, serving in the state legislature from 1865-66 and from 1875-76. He also became Waleska's first mayor when the town received a state charter in 1889.