July 15, 2014 at 12:12 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Uncategorized)
Tags: Alapaha River, Barton Ferrell, Bartow Ferrell, Battle of Brushy Creek, Big Warrior Creek, Captain Henry Crawford Tucker, Captain James A. Newman, Captain John Pike, Charles Screven Gaulden, Chattahoochee River, Chickasawhatchee Swamp, Daniel McLane, Edwin Shanks, Hamilton Sharpe, Hamilton Sharpe's Company, Indian Wars, James Blackshear, Lasa Adams, Levi Arnold, Little River, Lowndes County GA, Michael Young, Pennywell Folsom, Roanoke GA, Robert N. Parrish, Tallokas GA, Tampa Bay, Thomas County GA, Thomas Edward Blackshear, Thomasville GA, Troublesome Ford, Wiley Swilley, William Drew, William Schley
Col. Thomas Edward Blackshear
Col. Thomas Edward Blackshear made an official report to Governor Schley about the engagement between whites and Indians that took place on Brushy Creek on July 14, 1836 in what is now Cook County, GA but at that time in Lowndes County. Image source: http://thomascountyhistory.org/antebellum-1825-1860/
Historian Folks Huxford said the Battle of Brushy Creek was, “An engagement between the whites and Indians took place on Brushy Creek in what is now Cook County but at that time (1836) in Lowndes County. This battleground is well known locally in Cook and Berrien counties and the whites consisted of the settlers who were serving in the militia, most of them living within 20 of 25 miles of where the battle took place.”
The Battle of Brushy Creek, GA in the summer of 1836 was part of the larger conflict between the Creek Indians and pioneer settlers of the Georgia frontier. Lasa Adams, who joined the Thomas county Militia in 1836 the week after the engagement at Brushy Creek, gave this synopsis of the escalation:
Mr. Adams gave a different origin of the War of 1836 than that generally understood, and wrote thus: “The Government was to send the Indians west; between three and five hundred of them were dissatisfied with the treaty and withdrew and though they would go and unite with the Seminoles in Florida near Tampa Bay; so they started and crossed over the Chattahoochee River and burned up a town called Roanoke, Georgia. The whites formed companies and went in pursuit and had a fight with them in Chickasawhatchee Swamp near Albany. The Indians were scattered and between 100 and 300 were in the gang in the Brushy Creek battle. Several more small squads went through the country, from fifteen to twenty in the squad, each in a different direction.”
A more immediate and local prelude to the Brushy Creek battle was the Skirmish at William Parker’s place on the Alapaha River, where Levi J. Knight’s company of militia fought with Indians on July 13, 1836. Knight’s company then marched toward Brushy Creek to join with militia companies there under the leadership of Major Michael Young (Thomas County), Capt. James A. Newman (Thomas County), Capt. John Pike (Lowndes County), Capt. Hamilton Sharpe (Lowndes County), and Capt. Henry Crawford Tucker. By the time Knight’s Company arrived at Brushy Creek, the fighting there had concluded and the burial of the dead (Pennywell Folsom) was in progress. Levi J. Knight’s official letter informing Governor Schley about the Skirmish at William Parker’s place was transcribed in a previous post; Levi J. Knight Reports Indian Fight of July 13, 1836.
The official report of the Battle of Brushy Creek was written by Col. Thomas E. Blackshear in a letter (transcribed below) to Governor William Schley on July 19, 1836, just days after the engagement was fought.
Col. Thomas E. Blackshear’s letter to Governor Schley reporting the Battle of Brushy Creek.
Milledgeville Federal Union
July 26, 1836
INDIANS IN THOMAS COUNTY
The following is a copy of a letter received by the Governor, on the 24th instant.
“His Excellency, Governor Schley,
“I have to inform your Excellency that on the night of the 11th inst., authentic information reached Thomasville that a party of Indians about fifteen in number were seen in the upperpart of Thomas County marching in the direction of Florida. By seven o’clock A. M. the next day, a company of men, forty-six in number, under the command of captain James A. Newman, was dispatched in pursuit of them. On Thursday thereafter, this company was joined by a company of about forty men from Lowndes County under the command of captain [John] Pike, when the companies elected Michael Young to take command of the battalion.
“Scouting parties being dispatched, the Indians, fifteen in number, were discovered in the fork of the Big Warrior creek and Little River. The Battalion immediately proceeded across the River and scoured a very thick, muddy swamp about two miles wide and three long without making any discovery. A company of thirty-one men from Thomas County under the command of Captain Luckee and of thirty-one men, from Lowndes, commanded by Captain [Hamilton W] Sharpe then joined the battalion. The next morning Captain Sharpe was sent up the east side of the river to ascertain whether or not the Indians had crossed the river and left the swamp. Having found their trail he dispatched a messenger to the Battalion and proceeded to follow after the Indians. After pursuing them about three miles he came up with them, about sixty warriors and their families, a battle ensued in which he lost one killed (Mr. P. Folsom) and one wounded when he was forced to retreat.
“The Battalion hastened to his assistance, and in about three miles came up with them again, posted in a very advantageous position on a pine ridge, their rear protected by a cypress pond and in their front a wide, open, boggy meadow. A general engagement commenced about 9 o’clock A. M., and after a severe fight for about two hours, the Indians were completely routed, with a loss of twenty-two Indians and two negroes killed, that were seen, many wounded and eighteen of the women and children were taken prisoners.–
“The battle was fought over a distance of three miles, through several cypress ponds and bays and a very thick hurricane. The loss on the part of the whites were two killed (Barton Ferrell of Thomas county and Edmund Shanks of Lowndes,) and nine wounded. Several horses were killed, several ran off during the engagement and have not since been heard of. The prisoners have been confined in the county jail under a guard for their safety. Your Excellency will please direct what disposition to make of them. The expenses of the detachment will be furnished you as soon as the Quartermaster can make out his account.”
THOMAS E. BLACKSHEAR
Colonel commanding 69th R.G.M.
Lasa Adams, who joined the Thomas county Militia the week after the engagement at Brushy Creek listed among the wounded “Daniel McLean of Thomasville, William Drew of Lowndes (now Brooks), James Blackshear of Thomas County, Capt. Charles Screven Gaulden of Lowndes (now Brooks), and Robert N. Parrish of Lowndes (now Cook) County. Mr. Adams could not recall the others who were wounded, saying they were from Lowndes County and he did not know them personally. Mr. Adams said the Indians who were captured were kept in jail at Thomasville about a month and then sent west. He said there were eight or ten women and children.”
May 13, 2014 at 12:38 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Uncategorized)
Tags: Bartow Ferrell, Battle of Brushy Creek, Benjamin Grantham, Berton Ferrel, Bethel Primitive Babtist Church, Boston GA, Brooks County GA, Burton Ferrell, Captain Michael Hentz, Cason F. Adams, Charles Screven Gaulden, Chattahoochee River, Chickasawhatchee Swamp, Daniel McLane, Dennis Adams, Dennis R. W. Adams, Edwin M. Henderson, Edwin Shanks, Gabe Ferrill, Gadsden County FL, General Julius C. Alford, Hamilton Sharpe, Ison Vaun, J. M. Yates, James Blackshear, James C. Adams, James Rountree, James Williams, Jane Irene Adams, Jefferson County FL, John Blackshear, Lasa Adams, Lawrence Folsom, Little River, Lowndes County GA, Madison County FL, Mary Holman, Michael Young, Okefenokee Swamp, Orpha Holloway, Orpha Lee Holloway, Redden Wooten, Rhoda Ann Adams, Roanoke GA, Robert Parrish, Sarah Wooten, Seminoles, Tallokas GA, Tampa Bay, Tampa FL, Texas Smith, Thomas County GA, Thomasville GA, Wakena FL, Warrior Creek, William Drew, William Holloway, William Hurst, William T. Gaulden
Lasa Adams (1811-1894)
Grave of Lasa Adams, Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Brooks County, GA. Image source: Robert Strickland
Lasa Adams [sometimes referred to as Lacy Adams] was born May 13, 1811, in Georgia, a son of Dennis Adams. While yet a boy, his parents moved first to Alabama then to Gadsden County, FL, where he grew to manhood on a frontier still troubled by conflict with Native Americans who resisted being displaced from their ancestral lands.
According to William Harden’s History of Savannah and South Georgia, Lasa Adam’s father established the family homestead in Gadsden County, FL:
“Dennis Adams located near the present site of Wakena, Gadsden county, becoming one of the original settlers of that locality. His brother-in-law, a Mr. Carr, located on a tract of land two miles away. Indians were then very troublesome in that locality, and one night when Mr. Carr and his wife were away from home raided his place, and brutally massacred their two children. A slave made his escape to the Adams farm, and told Mr. Adams the tale, and Mr. Adams sent to Thomasville, Georgia, for aid. The following night the red skins paid a visit to the Adams cabin. The family were well prepared, and after several of the Indians had been killed the remainder retreated.”
It was around 1834 that Lasa Adams came to Thomas County, GA and on December 1, 1834 he married Sarah Wooten, daughter of Redden Wooten of the Tallokas district (territory now in Brooks). Another of Wooten’s daughters married Morgan G. Swain, who owned a hotel at Troupville, GA.
“Lasa Adams was young when the family came from Florida to Georgia to escape the malignant attacks of the Indians, although many red skins were then living in this vicinity, the dense forests being their happy hunting ground. The few daring white people of the county built a strong log fort to which the women and children were sent when ever trouble with the savages was brewing, and he immediately joined the company formed for protection against their raids, and took part, in 1836, in the battle of Brushy creek, when the Indians made their last stand in Georgia.”
Lasa Adams left this area in the 1850s to make his home in Florida, but not long before his death June 17, 1894, he returned to Brooks County after an absence of forty years. On May 5, 1893 Lasa Adams, responded to a questionnaire by William T. Gaulden about the Battle of Brushy Creek. Although he joined the militia the week after the battle was fought, he was intimately familiar with the participants and subsequent engagements against the Indians.
Mr. Adams recalled that the Indians were Cherokees who were fleeing “to the Seminoles in Florida, near Tampa Bay” to escape the forced relocation to western territories. Adams questioned the purported force of Indians ranging through the district that July of 1836 “estimated to be 300, but I have my doubts. I think 150 would be a fair count. About 300 men were after Indians but only about one hundred were in the battle,” which took place “about the 12th or 13th of July, about 10 or 11 o’clock a.m.” and lasted about two hours.
The engagement at Brushy Creek was fought under the leadership of Major Michael Young (Thomas County), Capt. James A. Newman (Thomas County), Capt. John Pike (Lowndes County), Capt. Hamilton Sharpe (Lowndes County), and Capt. Henry Crawford Tucker. (Captain Levi J. Knight (Lowndes County) and his company of arrived just after the conclusion of the battle, coming straight from a skirmish with a squad of Indians at William Parkers place in eastern Lowndes County.)
Adams gives an accounting of those killed at Brushy Creek, listing the dead as Pennywell Folsom and Edward Shanks, of Lowndes County, and a man from Thomas County, Gabe Ferrill, who is variously identified in other accounts as Bartow Ferrell or Burton Ferrell. (A Berton Ferrel also appears in the 1830 census of Thomas County). Among the wounded were Captain Charles Screven Gaulden, Lowndes County; Daniel McClane, Thomasville, GA; William Drew, Lowndes county; James Blackshear, Thomas county; Robert Parrish, Lowndes County. (To this list of wounded Norman Campbell, who also completed a questionnaire, added Agnes McCauley, Malcolm McLane, Monroe, and Ed Henderson, who later died as a result of his injuries.)
The story of how Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek was posted previously. According to Ferrell family research, a brief note on the death of Burton Ferrell appeared in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder a few days after the incident.
Milledgeville Southern Recorder
Tuesday August 2, 1836
KILLED…. On Friday the 15th ultimo in the county of Lowndes, BURTON FERRELL of the county of Thomas, was killed in battle with a band of Creek Indians. It is not the intention of the writer to eulogize the deceased, but this much it is considered necessary to say, that Mr. Ferrell was brave almost to a fault; for he refused to take shelter which the trees might have afforded him in the fight, and rushed fearlessly in the front of the company, and was shot through the body at the first fire of the enemy.
Adams noted that among the Indians, those killed at Brushy Creek were “about 15 or twenty, including women and children” and captured were “eight to ten women and children…no men taken.” These prisoners were taken to Thomasville, GA where they were held about a month before being sent west.
Following the Battle of Brushy Creek, Lasa Adams was drafted to serve in a Thomas County company under Captain Grantham in further actions against the Indians on Warrior Creek. The local militia was joined on August 12, 1836 by forces of General Julius C. Alford, who had pursued the Indians from the Alabama border above Chickasawhatchee Swamp north of Albany, GA. General Alford assumed command of the combined forces which by now included Capt. Grantham’s company as well as the companies of Capt. Pike, Capt. Newman, Capt. Burnett, and Captain Levi J. Knight. Following the advice of Captain Knight, their goal was to prevent the Indians from reaching Grand Bay, near present day Ray City, GA, and thus cut off their rendezvous with the force of Indians gathering in the Okefenokee Swamp.
In August of 1836 the Georgia newspapers were full of celebratory news of victory over the Indians in engagements all across the state. From the perspective of half a century of reflection on the conflict, Adams offered “My opinion is the whites were in the wrong.”
Lasa Adam’s responses to the questionnaire on Indian Times, along with his sketch (provided below) of his service in Captain Benjamin Grantham’s company of Thomas County militia during the 1836 Indian War, was posthumously published in the Valdosta Times, November 16, 1895. Adams describes how his company came to the aid of a Company of men, who were the advance force of General Alford. Adams variously refers to the captain of this company as Captain Hawthorne, Hatthorn or Haththorn. Undoubtedly, he is actually referring to Captain Michael Hentz, and his Company of Baker County Militia, who was operating under the orders of General at the time and place described.
“Government let out Indian Claims at Cherokee, Georgia, and were to send them out west. Between 3 and 5 hundred were dissatisfied with the treaty made with the chief – and they withdrew and thought they would go and unite with the Seminoles in Florida near Tampa Bay. So they started and crossed over the Chattahoochee River and burned up a town called Roanoak, Georgia. The whites formed companies and went in pursuit of them, and had a fight in Chickasawhatchee Swamp above Albany. Indians were scattered and between 100 and 300 were in the gang that was in the Brushy creek battle. Several more small squads went through the country from 15 to 20 in squads, in different directions.
At Brushy Creek, Capt. Scriven Gaulden had a company from Lowndes county, Col. Mike Young from Thomas county, Capt. Hamilton Sharp of Lowndes county, Georgia.
They all united, and Capt. Scriven Gaulden led the front guards to battle and made the attack on Indians at Brushy creek and then the fight commenced. Captain Scriven Gaulden was hit by three balls from Indian guns only one took effect right cheek “I think,” one passed through his hat, one hit his pistol in pants pocket (pistol saved his life.) Several more were slightly wounded but don’t remember the names of none, as they were from Lowndes county and strangers to me. All Indians not killed and captured kept their course for Tampa, Fla.
In about a week or so after the Brushy creek battle, I was drafted together with 30 or 40 more men, and Capt. Grantham was elected our captain. We were ordered up on the Warrior creek, as squads of Indians were continually passing down that creek. One day while on a scout we heard guns firing. Capt. Grantham ordered a force march and we went as quick as he could in order, and when we got nearly to the place Capt. Hawthorne had followed a squad of Indians from above Albany and had attacked them, and the Indians had whipped him out and he was retreating and the Indians had captured six horses from his men.
Then Capt. Grantham, with his men and a few of Capt. Hatthorn’s pursued the Indians and run them in the Little River swamp near James Rountree’s place in Lowndes county (now Cook), and we had to stop, as night overtook us. We camped over the other side of the river, expecting the Indians to come through next morning. That night Buckston, Ison Vaun and myself were detailed to go to Capt. Hatthorn and tell him to come down and draw supplies at Lawrence Folsom’s place. We returned from Capt. Haththorn’s to our camp, and we received news that Indians had gone across the river that night. The Indians had used a little stratagem to fool us. They made a display that night with torch lights as if they were going across the river, so next morning we had to go back to Capt. Haththorn to carry the news that Indians had crossed the river, and about daylight as we were on our way to carry the news we discovered Indians jumping over the road to keep from making any sign, and they were going down the river. So we returned to our camp and reported what we had seen and Capt. Grantham ordered a force march to a ferry three miles below on the river, expecting to head them off, but they had beat us to the ferry and kept down the river swamp. We struck their trail and followed them down the swamp near Maj. Simmon’s plantation and pushed them so close that the Indians took into the swamp and we recaptured the six horses taken from Capt. Haththorn’s men. That night General Aulford [Julius C. Alford] came to us with 30 or 40 men and took command of the forces. A good many volunteered and joined us. Gen. Aulford ordered all the men to string across the river 20 yards apart and drive up, as we had got ahead of the Indians. We had gone about one mile up the river when the Indians used another trick to draw us off. The Indians were seen in Jones’ peach orchard on one side of the rive and in John Blacksher’s peach orchard on the other side. They were fired at by scouts at long range in John Blackshear’s orchard. This shooting frustrated our drive up the river, and we made for Blackshear’s. A little Indian girl about eight or ten years of age went next day to the house of James Williams and Mrs. Williams was at the wash tub washing. The little girl went and put her hands in the tub before Mrs. Williams saw her, and like to have frightened Mrs. Williams to death. Mrs. Williams kept the little girl and raised her and sent her to school and she married a man by the name of Artley. This was another one of their tricks, sending the child in to make us believe they were in that neighborhood.
General Aulford went over the river after the squad in Jones’ peach orchard, and I never saw him in about two weeks. We were ordered back to the Warriors and General Aulford followed Indians down in Florida and the Indians went into the Okeefenokee Swamp and he gave them up.
I think that was the last squad that passed through. If any more passed, the squads were so small they made no signs and did not bother anyone.
Additional Notes about Lasa Adams:
“Lasa Adams bought land in what is now the Tallokas district, Brooks county, and engaged in farming. He married Sarah Wooten on December 1, 1834 in Thomas County, GA. There was one son born to that marriage, Dennis R. W. Adams, born 1839.
“There being no railways in the state all transportation was by teams, and after his land became productive he used to take his cotton to Newport, Florida, going in company with several of his neighbors, some of whom perhaps lived miles away from him, each man taking provisions with him, and camping and cooking by the wayside.”
After the death of his first wife, Mr. Adams married Miss Orpha Lee Holloway, born 1825, youngest daughter of William and Orpha Holloway who were among of the very first settlers of what is now Brooks county. This marriage took place April 17, 1842. There were four children by the second wife:
- Rhoda Ann Adams, born 1843, married William Hurst of Brooks County, GA.
- Jane Irene Adams, born 1845, married J. M. Yates of Brooks County, GA.
- James C. Adams, born 1850, married Mary Holman of Jefferson County, FL.
- Cason F. Adams, born 1852, married Texas Smith, daughter of J. R. M. Smith.
Lasa Adams was elected Sheriff of Thomas County in 1842 but resigned a few months after assuming office.
Lasa Adams Sheriff’s Sale, 1842. [Note: This legal advertisement appeared in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder, Mar. 29, 1842 – the date printed in the ad is typo.
During his short term as Sheriff of Thomas County, one task Lasa Adams dealt with was the sale of two town lots in Troupville
, and other goods, to satisfy a debt owed by Joseph S. Burnett and Hiram Hall to Bazzel Kornegay, of Thomas County
In 1852, Lasa Adams returned to Florida:
“In 1852, Lasa Adams sold his Brooks county land, moved to Florida, locating in Madison county, where he purchased a squatter’s claim to a tract of government land situated about sixteen miles northeast of Monticello, and about the same distance northwest of Madison. A few acres had been cleared, and a log cabin had been erected. He continued the improvements, and there carried on general farming for some time. In 1864 he enlisted in the Florida Reserves, and continued in the Confederate service until the close of the war, when he again assumed charge of his farm. Selling out in 1870, he was for four years a resident of Jefferson county, Florida. Coming from there to Thomas county, Georgia, he bought land three miles south of Boston, and was there employed in tilling the soil for many years. Shortly before his death, which occurred in 1894, he returned to Brooks county, Georgia, and there spent his last days, passing away at the venerable age of eighty-three years.”
Lasa Adams was buried at Bethel Primitive Baptist Church cemetery. His second wife (Orpha Lee Holloway) died September 28, 1887, and is also buried at Bethel.
Lasa Adams account of the 1836 Battle of Brushy Creek, Lowndes County, GA
March 30, 2014 at 12:51 am (Knight Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Aaron Knight, Andrew J. Miller, Anne Donald Clements, Battle of Brushy Creek, Berrien County GA, Brunswick & Florida Railroad, company h, Compromise of 1850, Elias Roberts, Elizabeth Knight, Hardeman Sirmans, James Aaron Knight, Jesse W. Carter, John Knight, Jonathan D. Knight, Kizziah A. Knight, Levi A. Knight, Levi J. Knight, Mary Adelaide Knight, Mary Elizabeth Clements, Mexican War, Milltown GA, Sarah Cone Knight, Sarah Knyte, Thomas Giddens, Troupville GA, W. Cowles, William Anderson Knight, William Knyte, William Patten, William Washington Knight
By the early 1840s Levi J. Knight, pioneer settler of Ray City, GA, was well known across the state for his military and political leadership, and had been noted in the national press for his actions in the Indian Wars. In his home county of Lowndes, (now Berrien), GA Knight had a well established estate and was consolidating his real property. On April 11, 1842 he purchased 9 lots in the 10th District. These Lots were available for purchase to anyone with the cost of the $18 survey fee. The Digest of the Taxes of Lowndes County for the Year 1844 shows the following about the property held by the Knight family:
Levi J. Knight owned 7350 acres of pines in the 10th district, Lowndes County, 40 acres of “oak & hickory” on Lot No. 830 in the 18th District, Cherokee county, and seven slaves.
William A. Knight, father of Levi J. Knight, owned 2940 acres of pine land in the 10th district in Lowndes county, this land improved with bridges and ferries valued at $200. Also three slaves and 250 acres of pine land on Lot 250 in the 7th District in Early County. His tax liability for the year was $15. 26.
John Knight owned Lot No. 453 in the 10th District, Lowndes county, with 490 acres of pine land. No slaves were assessed, with his total property tax being $0.85.
Aaron Knight owned the adjacent Lot No. 454, with all 490 acres in pines. No slaves were assessed, with his total property tax being $0.85.
In 1846, Lowndes County Deputy Sheriff Jesse W. Carter advertised a Sheriff’s sale which included Levi J. Knight’s property in Lot No. 292 in the 10th district. The land was sold to satisfy a debt Knight owed to Elias Roberts.
The Milledgeville Federal Union, April 28, 1846 — page 3 Lowndes Sheriff’s Sale. Will be sold on the first Tuesday in June next, within the legal hours of sale, before the Court house door in the town of Troupville, Lowndes county, the following property, to wit:… …at the same time and place, will be sold 490 acres of land, known as lot No. 292, in the 10th district of originally Irwin now Lowndes county; levied on as the property of Levi J. Knight, to satisfy a fi fas from Lowndes Superior Court-Elias Roberts vs. Levi J. Knight: property pointed out by defendant. JESSE W. CARTER, D.S. April 16, 1846.
Elias Roberts, plaintiff in the above case, was a fellow veteran of the Indian Wars. He had settled a home place in western Lowndes county bordering on Mule Creek. About him, historian William Harden wrote,
Elias Roberts, having bought land bordering Mule creek, first built a house of round logs to shelter his family. Then his slaves laboriously whip-sawed boards from the native timber and with a skilled house-joiner and carpenter to direct the operations, a commodious two-story dwelling was erected. The boards were two and a half inches thick, were dove-tailed together at the ends, and were fastened to the studding with wooden -dowel-pins in lieu of nails. When finished, and for some years afterward, this was the most pretentious residence in all this countryside… Before coming into this part of Georgia, he had served under General Jackson in the Florida Indian wars, and after coming here was a member of a company organized for protection against the Indians over the border, the company being several times called out to drive the red men back to their reservations. During such troublous times the Roberts homestead above described became the place of refuge for the women and children of the settlement, so that it served both as a residence and a fort. Elias Roberts had been a participant in the battle of Brushy Creek in 1836, when the Indians made their last great stand in defense of their hunting grounds.
In 1847, L. J. Knight’s eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married Hardeman Sirmans. According to historian Folks Huxford, “Mr. Sirmans served in the Indian War as a private in a volunteer company of Lowndes County militia commanded by his father-in-law, Capt. (afterwards General) Levi J. Knight, August 15th to Oct 15 1838. He was 1st Lieutenant of the 664th militia district, Lowndes County, 1845-46, then served as Captain in same district 1847-1851. Folks Huxford also states in his sketch of Levi J. Knight that when the Mexican War broke out in 1848, Knight enlisted and served as a captain of volunteers the greater part of that war. About this service, little else is known. In 1850 Levi J. Knight resigned his commission as Major General of the 6th Division of the Georgia Militia, an office he held since 1840. He tendered his resignation in a simple letter to Governor George W. Towns posted September 16, 1850 from Troupville, GA. (see The Commission of Major General Levi J. Knight.) Resignation notwithstanding, state newspapers continued at least through 1854 to report Maj. General Knight as in command of the 6th Division, Georgia Militia with his Head Quarters at Troupville, GA . The 1850 census of Lowndes County, Georgia showed Levi J. Knight’s real estate holdings by that time had amassed a value of $5000. At the time of enumeration his occupation was listed as farming. The Knight household in 1850 included Levi J. Knight (47) Ann D. Knight (48), and children William Washington Knight (21), John Knight (18), Mary A. Knight (14), Levi A. Knight (12), Jonathan D. Knight (10), Keziah A. Knight (7). Also in the Knight home was Elizabeth Clements, age 80, blind, born in Ireland. Sons William and John assisted their father with farming, The General’s neighbors were his son-in-law Hardeman Sirmans, and William Patton, who was Justice of the Peace. These were difficult and contentious political times. The threat of southern rebellion over the constitutionality of slavery, the fugitive slave law, and the admission of free states to the Union was imminent. In November of 1850, Levi J. Knight was selected by “the People of Lowndes county, believing that no just cause of resistance now exists” as the Whig delegate to a state Convention that had been called “to resist past aggression – the admission of California into the Union.” In light of the Compromise of 1850 which had been passed by the U.S. Congress the previous month, Knight pledged that he believed the people of Georgia could honorably acquiesce in reference to the subject of slavery; that he would exercise “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation” at the Convention; and that he would commit no act nor give his vote for any measure that would tend directly or indirectly to subvert the Constitution of Georgia, or the United States. As one of the most educated men in the county, L. J. Knight was frequently called upon by his neighbors to handle legal affairs. In 1850 he acted with power of attorney for Thomas Giddens, an illiterate veteran of the Seminole Wars, to receive 80 acres of land due Giddens as compensation for eight months of military service. In the election of 1851, Levi J. Knight was re-elected to the State Assembly as the Senator from Lowndes, Ware, and Clinch counties. Following his retirement from the Georgia Militia, General Levi J. Knight engaged in the construction of Georgia railroads. He became one of the principals in the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, apparently as both a commercial venture and as a strategy in response to looming military conflict (see General Levi J. Knight ~ Railroad Tycoon and General Knight’s Railroad Rolls Into Civil War ). In 1856 L. J. Knight was instrumental in the laying out and establishing of Berrien County, newly created from portions of Lowndes, Irwin and Coffee counties. One of Knight’s unhappy senatorial duties in 1856 was to serve as chair of the legislative delegation sent to pay last respects to Andrew J. Miller, a member of the Georgia Legislature for 20 years and twice president of the state senate.
The joint committee of the Senate and House appointed to attend the funeral could not reach this city [Augusta] in time. The Mayor received the following dispatch from the chairman : — Macon, February 5. Hon. W. E. Dearing, Mayor: — A joint committee of both Houses came this far on their way to attend the funeral of the Hon. A. J. Miller; but the trains failed to connect, and we cannot reach Augusta in time. Levi J. Knight, Chairman.
In the fall of 1857, Levi J. Knight suffered the passing of his wife, Ann D. Herrin Knight, she having died on October 14, 1857. The burial was at Union Church cemetery, in present day Lanier County, GA.
Grave of Ann D. Knight, Union Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
On Sept 1, 1858, the General’s youngest daughter, Keziah, married her cousin, James A. Knight. The Census of 1860 shows the couple living in the General’s household. November, 1859 Levi J. Knight was among the gentlemen “appointed by the Governor, Delegates from the State at Large, and from the several Congressional Districts, to represent the State of Georgia in Southern Commercial Convention, to be held in the City of Savannah, on the 8th of December next.” In the winter of 1859 Levi J. Knight’s mother and father both passed away. His mother, Sarah Cone Knight, died of old age in November 1859 at the age of 80. The following month his father William Anderson Knight, revered Primitive Baptist minister, also succumbed at the age of 82. Their deaths are recorded in the 1860 Berrien County Mortality Schedule under the names William Knyte and Sarah Knyte. The year came to a close with Levi J. Knight disposing of some of his Lowndes county property:
Weekly Georgia Telegraph. Dec. 13, 1859. Advertisement. Pg. 1 FOR SALE! In Lowndes County – fourteen hundred and seventy (1470) acres land – particularly desirable for planting and conveniently located in one body. For description, apply to Gen. Levi J. Knight. Milltown, Berrien county, Ga., or to W. COWLES nov 12 at E.L. Strohecker & Co.
The 1860 United States Federal Census lists Levi J.Knight’s occupation as a farmer, with real estate valued at $5000, and a personal estate of $1500. Related Posts:
December 6, 2013 at 12:32 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Berrien Light Infantry, Gaskins Family, Knight Family, Sirmans Family)
Tags: Abner Sirmans, Alachua County FL, Alapaha River, Appling County GA, Archibald Lacy, Atkinson County GA, Bannockburn GA, Battle of Brushy Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Benjamin S. Garrett, Berrien County GA, Bryant Gaskins, Captain Levi J. Knight's Company, Catherine Calder, Centerville GA, Chambliss Place, Company I 50th Georgia Regiment, Company I 54th Georgia Regiment, David G. Clements, David Gaskins, Drewry Garrett, Elizabeth Clements, Elizabeth Sirmans, Emily Gaskins, Empire Cemetery, Fisher Gaskins, Fisher J. Gaskins, Fisher Jackson Gaskins, General Levi J. Knight, George D. Griffin, Gideon Gaskins, Grand Bay Swamp, Hardeman Sirmans, Harmon Gaskins, Harriet Sirmans, Harris Gaskins, Irwin County GA, James Sirmans, John B. Lacy, John Gaskins, John Gaskins Jr., Joseph Barrow, Joseph Gaskins, Joseph Newbern, Lemuel Elam Gaskins, Lowndes County Superior Court, Mary Lacy, Mary Pollie Barrow, Mobley's Bluff GA, Moses C. Lee, Ocmulgee River, Pitcher Slough, Polly Barrow, Ray City GA, Rays Mill Pond, Rhoda Rowe, Riverside Church, Roxanna Sirmans, Sarah Ann Sirmans, Sarah Knight, Savannah GA, St. Mary's River, Telfair County GA, The John Ford, The Roundabout, Thomas Gaskins, Thomas M. Ray, Warren County GA, Will Garrett, William Clements, William Gaskins, William Patten
John Gaskins (1802 – 1865)
Grave marker of John Gaskins (1802-1865), Riverside Cemetery, Berrien County, GA
John Gaskins was one of the early pioneers of Berrien County, settling along with his father, Fisher Gaskins, and brothers near present day Bannockburn, GA. They made their homes on the west side of the Alapaha River about 16 miles distant from today’s Ray City, GA location, settling there about the same time the Knights and Clements were homesteading in the area around Beaverdam Creek.
John Gaskins was born June 29, 1802 in Warren County, GA. He was the eldest child of Fisher Gaskins and Rhoda Rowe, and a grandson of Thomas Gaskins, Revolutionary Soldier. When John was around four or five years old, his parents and grandparents moved the family back to Beaufort District, South Carolina, from whence they had originated. The family appears there in Beaufort District in the Census of 1810. By the time of the 1810 enumeration, John Gaskins’ parents had given him four siblings – two brothers and two sisters.
But immediately following the birth of her fifth child, John’s mother died. He was eight years old at the time. His widowed father packed up the five young children and moved the family back to Warren County, GA. There, on January 17, 1811 his father married Mary Lacy. Her father, Archibald Lacy, was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and her brother was the Reverend John B. Lacy, who would later become a prominent Primitive Baptist Minister. Around this time John’s father was expanding his livestock business and began looking for good grazing land for his growing herds of cattle.
By 1812, John Gaskins’ father moved the family to Telfair County, GA where he acquired good grazing land for his cattle. His father and his uncle, David Gaskins, were very successful in the cattle business and soon had large herds, not only in Telfair County where they were enumerated in 1820, but also in Walton and other surrounding counties where good natural pasturage could be had.
Around 1821, the Gaskins again moved their families and cattle herds to the south, crossing the Ocmulgee River at Mobley’s Bluff and pushing into the new frontier of Appling County,GA. John, now a young man of 17 or 18 years old, made the move with his family. His uncle, David Gaskins, halted in an area of Appling County known as “The Roundabout”, situated in present day Atkinson County, where he found good range land for his cattle. John’s father took his herd across the Alapaha River into then Irwin County at a location that for many years was known as the John Ford.
The Fisher Gaskins clan, John’s father and his brothers, settled west of the Alapaha River a little south of present day Bannockburn, GA near the site of Riverside Church. On April 14, 1825 John Gaskins married Mary Pollie Barrow in Irwin County, GA. This was about 15 miles north of the area where the Knights and Clements were settling their families above Grand Bay, near present day Ray City, GA. John and Mary Gaskins established their homestead just to the north of his father’s place. By the end of 1825, the Georgia Legislature divided Irwin County and from the southern portion formed the new county of Lowndes.
On August 11, 1826 Mary Gaskins delivered to John his first son, Gideon Gaskins. A second son arrived on February 16, 1828, whom they named Fisher Jackson Gaskins; Fisher – after his paternal grandfather, and Jackson perhaps after Andrew Jackson, the Hero of New Orleans who would be elected President that year.
John Gaskins appeared as a head of household in Lowndes County in the Census of 1830, as did his father, Fisher Gaskins. About 1829 or 1830, John’s father moved his cattle across the county and settled on Lot 91 of the 9th Land District, which was subsequently known as the Chambliss place, and later became the home of George D. Griffin.
About 1831 a contagious disease struck Fisher Gaskins’ herd, killing off several hundred head of cattle and inciting the elder Gaskins to seek new pastures yet again. With the help of hired hands, he drove his remaining cattle into North Florida to settle in the area of Alachua County, FL. John and Mary stayed behind in Lowndes County (now Berrien), as well as John’s brothers, William and Harmon.
“When he moved to Florida, he [Fisher Gaskins] left much of his herds behind in Georgia to be looked after by his sons, John, William, and Harmon who by that time were grown. These herds multiplied and in turn, other herds were formed and placed about at various points in what is now Clinch, Echols and Lowndes counties and over in Florida, under the management of herdsmen, who for their services were paid at the end of the year a percentage of the proceeds of the cattle sold that year. The beef cattle were driven to Savannah and other distant places each year and sold. This arrangement with the herds and herdsmen continued with the elder Gaskins making periodic visits of inspection until his death, after which the three sons in Georgia received the Georgia herds in a division of the estate.”
Cattlemen like John Gaskins sold their Berrien County livestock at points like Savannah, GA or Centerville on the St. Mary’s River, or Jacksonville, Florida.
John Gaskins fought in the Indian War 1836-1838, serving in Levi J. Knight’s Militia Company. Georgia historian Folks Huxford wrote, “His home was visited by the savages on one occasion while the family was absent, and a good deal of vandalism and theft was committed.” John Gaskins and his brother William were among those who took part in the Battle of Brushy Creek, one of the last real engagements with the Creek Indians in this region.
At age 38, John Gaskins and family were enumerated in the Census of 1840, still living in the northeast area of old Lowndes county now known as Berrien County. His brother, William, was living next door, and nearby were the homesteads of David Clements and William Clements, and other early settlers.
In 1850 the Gaskins remained in Lowndes County. Enumerated nearby the Gaskins home place were the residences of General Levi J. Knight, William Patten, Hardeman Sirmans, David Clements, Moses C. Lee, and other early settlers. John Gaskins was a farmer, with $600 in real estate.
Around 1855 the Gaskins were involved in some sort of public disturbance in Lowndes county. Hardeman Sirmons, Benjamin S. Garrett, Drewry Garrett, Will Garrett, John Gaskins, William Gaskins, Gideon Gaskins, and Lemuel Gaskins were all brought before the Lowndes Superior Court for their involvement in a riot. In 1856, however, the Gaskins and their neighbors were cut out of Lowndes county and placed in the new county of Berrien. The defendants were able to have their case transferred to Berrien County in June of 1856, and apparently escaped serious consequences.
In the Census of 1860 John Gaskins appeared on the enumeration sheets listed next to Thomas M. Ray, who would begin construction of Ray’s Millpond just a few years later.
From 1858 to 1861, John Gaskins served as a Justice of the Peace in Berrien County.
During the Civil War five of his sons joined Georgia Volunteer Infantry regiments: Fisher J. Gaskins, William Gaskins, Lemuel Gaskins, Joseph Gaskins, and Harris Gaskins, .
Children of John Gaskins and Mary Pollie Barrow:
- Gideon Gaskins, born 1826, Berrien County, GA; married Sarah Knight (July 17, 1831 – February 03, 1902); buried Riverside Baptist Church, Berrien County, GA.
- Fisher J. Gaskins, Sr., born February 16, 1828, Berrien County, GA; married Elizabeth Sirmans, daughter of Abner Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment; died November 14, 1908, Berrien County, GA; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church.
- John Gaskins, Jr., born January 16, 1830, Berrien County, GA; married Catherine Calder; died May 6, 1886.
- Emily Gaskins, born 1832, Berrien County, GA; married Joseph Newbern.
- William Gaskins, born March 5, 1833; married Elizabeth Clements, daughter of David G. Clements; served in Company I, 54th GA Regiment; died August 27, 1910; buried Empire Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.
- Lemuel Elam Gaskins, born 1836, Berrien County, GA; married Sarah Ann Sirmans, daughter of Abner Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment; died October 26, 1862, Richmond, VA; buried Richmond VA, memorial marker at Riverside Baptist Church.
- Joseph Gaskins, born April 28, 1840, Berrien County, GA; married Harriet Sirmans, daughter of James Sirmans; served in Company I, 50th GA Regiment; died February 4, 1911; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church.
- Harmon Gaskins, born 1842, Berrien County, GA; died young.
- Harrison “Harris” Gaskins, born April 5, 1842, Berrien County, GA.; married Roxanna “Roxie” Sirmans, daughter of James Sirmans, on April 17, 1862; served in Company K, 29th GA Regiment; died January 7, 1926; Buried at Riverside Baptist Church
- Bryant Gaskins, born 1846, Berrien County, GA
Clinch County News
April 23, 1937
John Gaskins – 1802-1865
Oldest son of Fisher Gaskins by his first wife. Came to Berrien while a youth, grew to manhood here. His wife was a daughter of Joseph Barrow… Immediately after their marriage John Gaskins and his wife settled on the Alapaha River a short distance north of the old home of his father and near where Bannockburn now is, and there they spent their entire married life together. The death of John Gaskins occurred at this home July 18, 1865; and 23 years later, January 6, 1888 his widow joined her husband in the spirit-land, at the age of 83. Both are buried at Riverside Cemetery and their graves are substantially marked. They were the parents of a large family of sons and daughters and their living descendants in this county to-day are very numerous.
John Gaskins was a man who spent his life at home and gave his time and attention to his avocation. The farm was made self-sustaining; work was the rule and grim want never came to stare the inmates of this farm-home in the face. Food for family and stock was well and abundantly supplied and the excellence of the range went a long way in helping him to provide meat for family and lay up money from the sales of beef-cattle. Deer and turkeys were plentiful and could be taken at any time. Fish abounded in the river and with all of these good things around life on the frontier was not so bad after all. Hogs grew almost wild in the hammocks and only required a few weeks’ finishing off with corn or field crops to be ready for slaughter. Cattle were let to go at large all the time except they were penned regularly for about six weeks during the months of April and May so that they may be marked and branded and kept under control; and the annual sale of these beef-cattle brought the gold in their homes against the rainy-day and old age.
John Gaskins took part in driving the last of the wandering bands of Indians from Georgia soil, and one of the last engagements with the redskins fought on Berrien county soil took place near the home of this old pioneer. His home suffered from Indian predations to the extent that the feather beds were taken out, the ticks ripped open, the feathers emptied and scattered and the ticks carried away with some other articles of the household. Some of these articles were recovered, among which was a beautiful pitcher which had been treasured as an heirloom for many years. The place where the pitcher was recovered after it had been cast aside by the Indians in their flight across the Alapaha River, is known to this day among the local inhabitants as “Pitcher Slough.”
Following the death of John Gaskins in 1865 his sons Fisher J. and John, Jr. served as the administrators of his estate.
Milledgeville Federal Union
August 21, 1866 — page 4
Georgia, Berrien County.
Two months after date application will be made to the Court of Ordinary of said county for leave to sell the lands belonging to the estate of John Gaskins, Sen., deceased, for the benefit of the heirs and creditors of said deceased.
F. J. Gaskins,
John Gaskins, Jr. Adm’r’s.
July 2d, 1866. WEC 50 9c
August 14, 2013 at 12:53 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Knight Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Aaron Mattox, Alapaha River, Allappaha Swamp, Battle of Brushy Creek, Gaskin's Ferry, George Mitchell, Jesse Carter, Last Indian Fight in Berrien County, Levi J. Knight, Short-arm Bill Parker, William Anderson Knight, William Parker, William Peters, William Schley
The Ray City history Blog has previously reported various versions of the last Indian fights in Berrien (then Lowndes) County, the 1836 skirmish near Short-arm Bill Parker‘s place and the Battle of Brushy Creek, all published some 19 to 90 years after the fact.
Below is Levi J, Knight’s own account of the skirmish near William Parker’s place, written immediately after the encounter.
This letter, dated July 13, 1836, is from Levi J. Knight to William Schley, Governor of Georgia (1835-1837) is perhaps the only primary source documentation of the fight, written by one of the principal participants at the time of the event.
Knight writes from Lowndes County, Georgia to inform the governor of the defeat of a band of Indians 20-25 in number following their raid on the homestead of William Parker. Over a three day period from July 10 to July 12, 1836 Levi J. Knight and a party of about 75 men, pioneers of old Lowndes County, pursued and engaged the Indians near the Alapaha River. Knight reports that the engagement occurred on the banks of the Alapaha River about 10 miles above Gaskin’s Ferry. According to Knight, only six Indians escaped, the rest being killed in the skirmish. Knight’s group suffered one casualty; William Peters receiving two wounds in the encounter. This skirmish was a prelude to the Battle of Brushy Creek, which occurred some days later in the western part of the county.
Knight’s account of the skirmish made the national press, the content of his letter being published in newspapers all over the country. (Plain text transcript provided below image.)
July 13, 1836 letter from Levi J. Knight to William Schley, Governor of Georgia.
The Constantine Republican
September 21, 1836, Front Page
From the Standard of Union, August 22.
Lowndes Co., Ga. July 13, 1836.
To his Excellency William Schley:
Dear Sir: – I hasten to inform you of a defeat met by the hostile Creek Indians, in trying to pass through our country. On the 10th of this instant a party of Indians, about 15, were discovered near Aaron Mattoxe’s, in the 10th district of this county, by two of his sons, and were travelling an east course, and on the same day about 8 miles from where they were then by Mattox, and in the direction they were travelling, three were seen by Mrs. Boyett and daughter; on the next day, Monday, a number of us, say 40, repaired to where they were discovered by Mattoxe’s sons, and took their trail; they travelled very near east to the Allappaha swamp, almost twelve miles, and passing them were discovered by Mrs. Boyett, about one mile south.
Night setting in we were compelled to make up camp on the swamp of the Allappaha, and about dark, and in a few minutes after we had encamped, two runners came to us, stating that the Indians at two hours before sunset, were at Wm. Parker’s four miles above, plundering his house. In the morning of Tuesday, we divided our force, which had increased in the day to near eighty men, and sent all but 35 men over the river to rendezvous where they were expected to cross; we then repaired to Wm. Parker’s, found that they had robbed his house of every thing of value in it; had many other things about 25 lbs. of powder, 30 bars of lead, and 140 weight of shot, also $308 in money. We took their trail through a most desperate swamp – through lakes and creeks, several of them up to our arm pits, and bushes and briers almost impenetrable by any human being other than a savage, for two miles, when we came to their camp, on a large lake near the river bank, here the trail bore up the river, a north course to Gaskin’s ferry, eight miles of Parker’s; here we despatched a runner to our force, which had crossed the river, to recross, and come up to us, as the trail continued up the river, and now a little north west; our men pressed forward with a zeal and fierceness that would surmount any difficulty; by night we were so near them, that we knew where the camp was – about ten miles above Gaskin’s ferry – an open bluff opposite Mr. Mitchell’s, was examined by a party of our men after sunset, and found the Indians had not passed, and continuing up within two miles. Night now setting in our reinforcement coming up we encamped at Mr. Mitchell’s; in the morning at day break our party again divided, thirty-eight men were posted on the bluff, their left resting on the river bank, and their right extending about two hundred yards right out from the river, who were silently to await the approach of the enemy; Jesse Carter was chosen to command on the left, William A. Knight in the centre, and William Peters on the right; thirty-three repaired down to where we could again find the trail, and bearing up until we came in sight of our men that were posted at the bluff where we saw them charging down towards us, and bearing into a point of bushes, in a small bend of the river, a tremendous fire ensuing, our trailers dashed off at the top of their speed, and Mr. Peter’s company who were in the lead, dashed up among the enemy, who had selected their position in a clump of pines and bushes, at the river bank, fired at our men who were coming up with great bravery; Mr Peters was badly wounded in the right breast, and the left side of the abdomen; he fell, but cried out to his men to charge on the whole force, now bearing in from above and below, and but few had discharged their guns, reserving their fire to see an object to shoot at, and charging at the top of their speed, the Indians dropped every thing, throwing their guns into the river, and plunged in for life; our men ran to the bank and shot them while swimming; only six made their escape to the other bank, and from their trail two or three of them were wounded; there were about from 20 to 25, one squaw, was shot in the back with four buck shot, as we ascertained by the dress which she dropped at the edge of the water, and was perforated with holes; she was heard to make a noise until she arrived to the middle of the stream, when all was silent, as the warriors never yelled after they dropped their guns, 15 of their packs were found, and ten of ther guns was got out of the river by our best swimmers, two of the Indians that were nearest the bank were got out, and left a prey to the buzzards and wild beasts on the bank. Parker’s property was nearly all obtained, and his money was found in one of the shot-bags found in the river in his own pocket book, his name being written in several places. On of the number of these marauders was from every appearance a white man, from his dress and complexion : it was in the shot-bag carried by him, that the money was found ; he was never seen to climb up the opposite bank, so he has paid for his treachery : the six that got across the river reached the bank naked, except their flaps ; we trust this rebuke will be a caution to the next party that may try to pass through our country.
I have the honor to be your excellency’s most obedient and humble servant,
LEVI J. KNIGHT.
N. B. We had but two commissioned officers among us, and they both captains, who only filled the place of privates as the company claimed the right of choosing their own leaders. I forgot to state that myself was chosen to lead on the trailers, Ivy Simmons to second, and Wm. C. Knight third or in the rear.
L. J. K.
P. S. – Their guns and ammunition and property of every kind was sold on the spot, and the proceeds given to Wm. Peters, as he was the only sufferer – their property amounted to $170. They had some valuable guns.
November 19, 2012 at 12:59 am (Register Family, Skinner Family)
Tags: Alapaha River, Appling County GA, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, Battle of Brushy Creek, Battle of San Felasco Hammock, Bellamy Road, Bulloch County GA, Clay's Landing, Dade Massacre, David Register, Dock Shaw, Dorcas Register, Eady Register, East Florida Volunteer Militia, Elizabeth Cowart, Elizabeth Register, Elizabeth Skinner, Fort Gilleland, Francis Langhorn Dade, Guilford Register, Harriet Brown, Hillery Cowart, Hillery P. Mathis, Indian Wars, Ivy Register, Jacksonville Road, James B. Johnson, Jesse Shelby Shaw, Jincy Register, John J. Johnson, John Jumper, John Register, John Tomlinson, Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, Josephine Guthrie, Lavinia Arnold, Leta Lee, Levi J. Knight, Lowndes, Luraney Harnage, Martha Register, Mary Ann Fiveash, Mary Hutto, Matilda McDaniel, Moses C. Lee, Newnansville FL, patten, Phoebe Register, Possum Branch, Priscilla Ann DeVane, Ray City GA, Rebecca Register, Registerville GA, Reubin Register, Samuel E. Register, Samuel Register, Samuel Register Jr, Savannah Albany & Gulf Railroad, Screven GA, Seaborn Lastinger, Seminole Indian Wars, Seminoles, Seneth Lee, Stockton GA, Stockton Georgia, Thomas J. Jessup, Thomas Mathis, Thomasville GA, Troupville GA, W. Wall, War of 1812, William J. Mills, William Parker, William Patten, William Register, Young Johnson, Zachariah Lee, Zilpha Register
According to Folks Huxford, Samuel Register came from Appling County to Lowndes County about 1826 and settled in the 10th Land District near Possum Branch, not too far from the homestead of Levi J. Knight and the future site of Ray City, GA. Samuel Register’s place later became the farm of Jesse Shelby “Dock” Shaw.
Samuel Register was born in Sampson County, North Carolina on December 1, 1786, almost three years before that state would ratify the U.S. Constitution. He was a son of Dorcas and John Register.
Some time before 1804 Samuel Register came with his family to Bulloch County, GA where he apparently made his home for some 20 years, although there is no records to show that he ever owned land there. In April of 1806 he married Elizabeth Skinner, a native of South Carolina.
When the U.S. went to war with Britain from 1812-1815 in response to British actions against American expansion and trade, it appears that Samuel Register, like other Wiregrass pioneers (see Dryden Newbern) joined the Georgia Militia. In the War of 1812 the Georgia Militia was occupied with three main theaters of operation: the Creek War of 1813-14, the British blockade, and the British occupation of St. Marys and Cumberland Island in 1814-15. British control of St. Marys, GA would have disturbed the economy of the entire Wiregrass region, interrupting trade on the Alachua Trail which ran from the Altamaha River through Centerville, GA, then across the St. Marys River and into East Florida. The resistance of the Georgia Militia against the British incursions is described in the New Georgia Encyclopedia article on the War of 1812.
After the War of 1812, Samuel and Elizabeth remained in Bulloch county until about 1824 when they moved to Appling County, and then on to Lowndes county in 1826. In 1827, Samuel Register received a draw in the land lotteries for his service as a soldier in the War of 1812.
The land lotteries, legitimized by questionable and coercive treaties, continued the encroachment by settlers on the ancestral lands of Native Americans in Georgia, inevitably leading to conflict. In Florida, hostilities were greatly escalated in December 1835 by the Dade Massacre, where Seminole Indians resisting forced removal to the West wiped out a force of 110 regular army troops under the command of Major Francis Langhorn Dade. When conflict between the Wiregrass pioneers and the resistant Indians erupted in 1836, local militia fought engagements in Berrien county.
In the summer of 1836, a company of militia under Capt. Levi J. Knight of near Ray City was sent to protect the settlers from marauding Indians on their way to join the Seminoles in Florida. When a party of Indians plundered the plantation of William Parker, near Milltown, the militia pursued them N. E. across the county overtaking them near Gaskins Pond not far from the Alapaha River. Several were killed and some injured as the Indians fled across the river. A few days later the militia encountered more Indians at Brushy Creek and ran them off. That was the last real battle with the Indians in this section.
Across the state line in Florida, actions against Indians were being fought by militia on a regular basis. The Battle of San Felasco Hammock was fought September 18, 1836, when a force of 25 US Army Regulars and 100 horse-mounted militia from Fort Gilleland, with 25 armed residents of Newnansville, FL engaged and routed about 300 Indians led by Seminole Chief John Jumper. Fort Gilliland, a picketed fortification located south of the Santa Fe River at Newnansville in present day Alachua County, FL, was one of a string of forts stretching from Jacksonville, FL to Clay’s Landing, at the mouth of the Suwanee River. Newnansville, the largest inland town in East Florida, was strategically located at the junction of the Jacksonville road and the Bellamy Road which ran from St. Augustine west to Tallahassee and Pensacola. Newnansville was about about 80 miles southeast of Troupville, in Lowndes County, GA.
In the spring of 1837 militia troops from Lowndes county were sent across the state line to join the forces at Fort Gilleland:
Jacksonville, May 11, 1837
—Extract of a letter from Col. Mills, to the Editor, dated Fort Gilliland, May 8.
“Major Staniford, with two companies of the 2d Infantry, arrived here yesterday in obedience to orders from Maj. Gen. Jesup, from Lowndes county, Georgia, and are here encamped, awaiting orders.”
The following summer, in 1837, Samuel Register and other Lowndes county men went south to join the East Florida Volunteer militia to fight against the Indians on the Florida frontier. According to the records of the Florida Department of Military Affairs, Register traveled first to Fort Palmetto, on the Suwanee River at Fanning Springs, FL.
Samuel Register and his sons, David and John, served with “Captain John J. Johnson’s Company of the 2nd Regiment, East Florida Mounted Volunteers, commanded by Colonel William J. Mills, ordered into the service of the United States by Major General Thomas J. Jessup under the Act of Congress approved May 23d 1836, for six months from the 16th day of June 1837 to the 18th day of December 1837. Company enrolled at Fort Palmetto, Florida, and marched sixty miles to place of rendezvous at Fort Gilliland, Fla. Company mustered in by Lieutenant W. Wall, 3d Artillery.”
His son-in-law, John Tomlinson, and two other Registers in this same service and company: Samuel Register Jr and John Register, Jr.. Seaborn Lastinger, of Lowndes County, served as a private; he would be shot for desertion during the Civil War. James B. Johnson and Young Johnson , grand uncles of JHP Johnson of Ray City, served in the Florida Drafted Mounted Militia.
Muster Roll of East Florida Volunteers
Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson’s Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.
Muster Roll of Captain John J. Johnson’s Mounted Company of the 2d Regiment of East Florida Volunteers, 2d Brigade of Florida Militia, Commanded by Colonel William J. Mills.
Samuel Register was honorably discharged at Newnansville in December, 1837. He subsequently “served another enlistment in the Indian War under the same Capt Johnson (April 1, 1838-July 31, 1838). He also served a third term under this same Capt Johnson in the Georgia mounted Militia (Aug 25, 1840-Oct 18, 1840). On his Bounty Land application dated Nov 23, 1850, he was granted 160 acres of land for this service. His son-in-law John Tomlinson (husband of Zilpha) who served in the same military unit was granted 80 acres of land for his services”
Between 1840 and 1842, Samuel Register sold out his home-place in the 10th District, and moved from Possum Branch to the 11th Land District where he acquired Land Lot 500. This lot was in that part of Lowndes county that was cut into the new county of Clinch in 1850, and in 1920 was cut out of Clinch into Lanier County.
In 1856, it was a great boon to Register when the Atlantic & Gulf railroad was charted to run from a connection with the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad at Screven, by way of his land to Thomasville. But when the surveyors for the new railroad selected a route through Valdosta bypassing Troupville, that old town was doomed. Register had a portion of Lot 500 platted into town lots and founded the town of “Registerville.” Although when the railroad people came through, they changed the name to “Stockton”, in honor of one of their contractors, a Mr. Stockton, who had charge of the road construction.
Children of Samuel Register and Elizabeth Skinner:
- Zilpha Register, born Feb. 4, 1807, married her first cousin John Tomlinson.
- Eady (Edith) Register, born Mar. 1, 1809, married Thomas Mathis Nov. 1, 1826 in Lowndes County.
- Guilford Register, born Jan. 7, 1811, married Priscilla Ann DeVane.
- David Register, born Apr. 10, 1813, married Matilda McDaniel of Bulloch County.
- William Register, born Sept. 24, 1814, married Luraney Harnage from Liberty County.
- John Register, born June 10, 1819, married 1st Elizabeth Cowart, 2nd.Mary Ann Fiveash.
- Rebecca Register, born Apr. 5, 1821, married Reverend Hillery Cowart of Echols County.
- Phoebe Register, born Aug. 15, 1823, married Zachariah Lee of Clinch County.
- Jincy Register, born June 15, 1824, married Moses C. Lee of Berrien County.
- Ivy Register, born Apr. 22, 1825, married 1st Leta Lee, married 2nd Lavinia Arnold
- Samuel E. Register, born Sept. 16, 1826, married 1st Seneth Lee, married 2nd Mary Hutto, married 3rd Josephine Guthrie, lived in Berrien County.
- Elizabeth Register, born Aug. 21, 1828, married William Patten of present Lanier County.
- Reubin Register, born Nov. 25, 1830, married Harriet Brown, lived in present Berrien co.
- Martha Register, born Dec. 18, 1831, married Hillery P. Mathis of present Lanier co.
July 14, 2012 at 12:09 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Parrish Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Aaron Knight, Alexander Patterson, Archibald McCranie, Bank of Willacoochee, Barzilla Staten, Battle of Brushy Creek, Board of County Commissioners of Coffee, Bryan J. Roberts, Captain Knight's Company, Daniel McCranie, Daniel Sloan, David Clements, David Mathis, Edwin Henderson, Edwin Shanks, Elbert Peterson, Everglades, Frederick Giddens, Gabe Ferrill, Gaskins Mill Pond, George F. McCranie, George Henedge, Guilford Register, Harmon Gaskins, Isben Giddens, Jacob Giddens, James Edmondson, James Parrish, James Patten, Jeremiah Shaw, John Gaskins, John Knight, John Lee, John McDermott, John McMillan, John Roberts, John Studstill, Jonathan Studstill, Levi J. Knight, Levi Shaw, Malcolm McCranie, Malcom McCranie, Martin Shaw, Milltown GA, Moses L. Giddens, Moses Lee, Moses Slaughter, Nathan Roberts, Okefenokee Swamp, Pennywell Folsom, Pioneers of Old Berrien, Poplar Head GA, Robert Parrish, Roberts, Sam Lee, Samuel Mattox, Seminoles, Short-arm Bill Parker, Skirmish at Cow Creek, Thomas Futch, Thomas Giddens, Thomas Mathis, William Gaskins, William Giddens, William J. Roberts, William K. Roberts, William Parker, William Peters, Zeke Parrish
Bryan J. Roberts, and his brothers Nathan and John, were among Levi J. Knight’s company of men who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836. Many published accounts of the pioneer skirmishes with Native Americans at William Parker’s place on the Alapaha River and at Brushy Creek have been related on the Ray City History Blog.
Here is the story the way it was told by B. J. Roberts 50 years after the event:
The Valdosta Times
May 14, 1887
A Brief Account of the Fighting In This Section In 1836.
Mr. Bryan J. Roberts, father of Mr. W. K. Roberts of this place, is one of the pioneers of Lowndes, and has seen service as an Indian fighter in this and Clinch counties. He is now in his 78th year and is spending the evening of his life very happily among his devoted children, having a few years ago divided a fine property among them, reserving for himself a sufficiency for his simple needs. His children are all prospering and he is happy in seeing them happy.
In 1836 the rumors of depredations and murders by Indians in other portions of the State caused widespread alarm in this section, and the citizens organized companies for the protection of their families and property. Capt. Levi J. Knight commanded the company to which Mr. Roberts belonged.
This company was on duty one hundred and five days, and during that time engaged in two bloody fights with the red skins.
In August, 1835, a squad of Indians raided Mr. William Parker’s home, not far from Milltown. They carried his feather beds out into the yard; cut them open, emptied the feathers, cut and carried the ticks with them. They also robbed him of provisions, clothing, and $208.25 in money.
Capt. Knight’s company was soon on the trail of this squad and in a short time overtook them near the Alapaha river, not far from the Gaskins mill pond. The sun was just rising when the gallant company opened fire on the savages. A lively fight ensued, but it soon terminated in the complete routing of the Indians, who threw their guns and plunder into the river and jumped in after them. A few were killed and a number wounded. One Indian was armed with a fine shot gun. This he threw into the river and tried to throw a shot bag, but it was caught by the limb of a tree and was suspended over the water. This bag contained Mr. Parker’s money, every cent of which he recovered as well as all the other property taken from his house. The fine gun was fished out of the river and, afterwards sold for $40, a tremendous price for a gun in those days. In the fight Mr. Peters was shot with this same gun. One buck-shot struck him just above the waist-band of his pants, passed through and lodged under the skin near the backbone. He was also struck by two shot in the left side, which made only slight wounds. The Indian was not more than thirty yards distant when he shot him. Mr. Peters recovered from his wounds in less than twelve months.
Having driven the Indians into the dense swamp beyond the river, Capt. Knight marched his company as rapidly as possible in the direction of Brushy creek, in the Southwestern portion of the county. When they arrived near that place, they heard a volley of small arms, and on arrival found that the battle had been fought and that the volley they heard was the last tribute of respect over the grave of their brave comrade-in-arms, Pennywell Folsom. Edwin Shanks and a man named Ferrell were also shot dead in the fight. Edwin Henderson was mortally wounded and died near the battlefield. Mr. Robert Parrish, Sr., who lives near Adel, had his arm broken by a bullet in this fight. The Indians lost 27 killed and a number wounded. We have no account of any prisoners being taken. The battle of Brushy Creek was fought in a low, marshy swamp where Indian cunning was pitted against the invincible courage of the Anglo-Saxon, and in five minutes after the fight opened there was not a live red skin to be seen.
From this place Capt. Knight marched his company to what is now Clinch county. He overtook the Indians at Cow Creek, where a sharp engagement took place, resulting in the killing of three and the taking of five prisoners. Mr. Brazelius Staten was dangerously wounded in this fight but finally recovered.
This ended the Indian fighting in which Capt. Knight’s company were engaged. Half a century has passed since then. Nearly all the actors in that brief but bloody drama are at rest beyond the stars. A few of them are still among us, the valiant pioneers of this country, who bared their breasts to the bullets of the savages in order that their descendants might possess this fair land in peace.
The following is a list, as near as can now be ascertained, of the living and dead of Capt. Knight’s company. The company numbered 120 men, many of whom came from neighboring counties, whose names cannot now be recalled.
LIVING–Bryan J. Roberts, Moses Giddens, John Studstill, Jonathan Studstill, Aaron Knight, Guilford Register, Echols county.) David Clements, William Giddens, John and Nathan Roberts, Fla.) (Zeke Parrish, Lowndes county,) John McMillain, John McDermid and Robert Parrish.
DEAD–George Henedge, Jeremiah Shaw, Daniel Sloan, John Lee, Moses Lee, James Patten, William J. Roberts, Isben Giddens, Jacob Giddens, Elbert Peterson, John Knight, Thomas Giddens, Harmon Gaskins, John Gaskins, William Gaskins, Sam Lee, Frederick Giddens, James Parrish, Martin Shaw, Archie McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Malcom McCranie, Alexander Patterson, James Edmondson, David Mathis, Thomas Mathis, Levi Shaw, William Peters, Jonathan Knight, Levi J. Knight and Brazelias Staten.
The Indians who passed through here belonged to the Creek Nation and were on their way from Roanoke to Florida to join the Seminoles. They were first discovered in this county by Samuel Mattox, at Poplar Head, near where Mr. Tom Futch now lives. Mattox was afterward hanged for murdering the fifteen-year-old son of Mr. Moses Slaughter. Most of these Indians reached the Okeefenokee Swamp where they were joined by a large band of Seminoles. From then until 1839 these savages did much damage to the white settlers in the vicinity of the Swamp, but in that year they were driven out and took refuge in the Everglades, where they were, with the exception of a small number, finally captured and sent to Arkansas.
Since the above was put in type another of the gallant old Indian fighters, Mr. Aaron Knight, has joined his comrades beyond the stars.
A 1915 reprint of this article also noted “The Malcolm McCranie referred to was the father of Mr. Geo. F. McCranie, cashier of the Bank of Willacoochee and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Coffee.”
March 27, 2012 at 1:11 am (Governance & Civics, Troupville of Old Lowndes County, Uncategorized)
Tags: Allen Paige, Archibald McCranie, Battle of Brushy Creek, Burrell Henry Bailey, Catherine Shaw, Christiana Morrison, Coffee Road, Cumberland County Militia, Cunningham's Ford, Daniel 'Big Thumb' McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Daniel McCranie R.S., Duncan McCranie, Elijah Beasley, Elizabeth McCranie, Elizabeth Parrish, Franklinville GA, General Levi J. Knight, Hamilton Sharpe's Company, Henry Parrish, Isham Jordan, James Mathis, James Paige, John E. Coffee, John Lindsey, John Mathis, John McCranie, John Morrison, Joshua Lee, Kenneth Swain, Kittie Holmes, Lowndesville Georgia, Malcolm McMillan, Martin Shaw, Mary McCranie, Melvina Beasley, Nancy McCranie, Nancy McMillan, Neil E. McCranie, New Salem Church, Ochlocknee River, Pleasant Church, Ray City GA, Rebecca Monroe, Robert N. Parrish, S. B. Godwin, Sampson G. William, Sarah McMillan, Silas Godwin, Thomas Lindsey, Thomas Swain, Troupville GA, Wilkes Cemetery, William A. Knight, William Anderson Knight, William McCranie, William Smith, Winnie Lindsey, Withlacoochee River
On this date, one hundred and eighty-five years ago, March 27, 1827, the first post office in Lowndes County was established at the home of Daniel McCranie on the Coffee Road. The post office, situated on the only real “road” in the county, was perhaps a fifty mile round trip from the point to the east where Levi J. Knight settled, at present day Ray City, GA.
Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie had come to this area of south Georgia in the winter of 1824 or 1825. This was before Lowndes County was created out of parts of Irwin County, and about the same time that William Anderson Knight brought his family from Wayne County. Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie, ‘of full Scottish blood and fiery temper,’ was known to still wear a kilt on certain occasions.
|Did Daniel McCranie have Brachydactyly?His nickname, ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie, might indicate that Daniel McCranie had brachydactyly type D, a genetic condition that affects 1 out of a 1000 people, commonly known as clubbed thumb or toe thumb. Brachdactyly captivated the attention of the entertainment media in 2009-10, when movie star and superbowl headliner Megan Fox was identified with this condition.The word brachydactyly comes from the Greek terms brachy and daktylos. “Literally, what it means is short finger,” says Dr. Steven Beldner, a hand surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center.”The nail of the thumb in this condition is often very short and wide.””It is usually hereditary,” Beldner explains. “Although it could also have been caused by frostbite, or it could have been an injury to the growth plate in childhood.”Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/brace-megan-fox-imperfection-actress-thumbs-article-1.196125#ixzz1qGndhWsv
McCranie, Daniel 1772-1854
Daniel ‘Big Thumb’ McCranie was born in North Carolina in 1772, a son of Catherine Shaw and Daniel McCranie, R.S. His father had immigrated to North Carolina from Scotland and fought with the Cumberland County Militia during the American Revolution.
About 1793, young Daniel McCranie married Sarah McMillan, daughter of Malcolm McMillan of Robeson County, N. C.
To Daniel and Sarah were born:
- Neil E. McCranie, born 1794, married Rebecca Monroe. Moved to Florida.
- Mary McCranie, born 1795, married John Lindsey, son of Thomas Lindsey.
- John McCranie, born 1797, married Christiana Morrison, daughter of John Morrison.
- Daniel McCranie, born 1800, married Winnie Lindsey, daughter of Thomas Lindsey.
- Malcolm McCranie, born 1802, married Elizabeth Parrish, daughter of Henry Parrish.
- Duncan McCranie, born 1805, married (unknown). Lived in Liberty Co.
- Nancy McCranie, born 1808, married Robert N. Parrish.
- Archibald McCranie, born 1810, married a cousin, Nancy McMillan.
- William McCranie born 1812, married Melvina Beasley, daughter of Elijah Beasley.
- Elizabeth McCranie, born 1815, married Sampson G. William
Daniel McCranie’s parents moved from Robeson County, North Carolina, to Bulloch County, GA about 1800 and shortly thereafter, Daniel and Sarah also brought their family to Georgia, moving to Montgomery county sometime before 1802. He was a Justice of the Inferior Court of Montgomery County and was commissioned Jan. 17, 1822.
It was on December 23 of that year, 1822, that the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $1500.00 for construction of a frontier road to run from a point on the Alapaha river to the Florida Line. General John E. Coffee and Thomas Swain were appointed “to superintend the opening of the road, to commence on the Alapaha at or near Cunningham’s Ford” and running to the Florida line near the “Oclockney” river. The route, which became known as Coffee’s Road, was an important for supply line to the Florida Territory for military actions against Indians in the Creek Wars, but also quickly became a path for settlers moving into the south Georgia area.
In a previous post (see Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek), historian Montgomery M. Folsom’s described General Coffee’s ‘road cutters’, his hunters Isham Jordan and Kenneth Swain, and the Wiregrass pioneers that honored them with song. Isham Jordan, along with Burrell Henry Bailey and others had worked to survey and mark the first public roads in Irwin County.
About Coffee’s Road,
“This road was a great thoroughfare and many a hardy settler has packed his traps in a cart drawn by a tough pony, and driving his flocks and herds before him has traversed the lonely pine barrens in search of a more generous soil and greener pastures.”
About 1824, Daniel and Sarah McCranie moved their family from Montgomery County and settled on Coffee’s Road in the lower section of Irwin County . The place where they settled was Lot of Land No 416 in the 9th district of Irwin County. In 1825 this section of Irwin was cut off into the new county of Lowndes. (In 1856, this property was cut into Berrien, and in 1918 into Cook County.)
The McCranie’s home served as the first postoffice in original Lowndes County. Known simply as “Lowndes,” the post office was established March 27,1827, with Daniel McCranie as the first postmaster. That arrangement lasted only a year, as the following year the Lowndes county seat was established in the new town of Franklinville, GA. The postoffice was moved to Franklinville and William Smith became the new postmaster.
In the Indian War in 1836, Daniel McCranie provided forage for the local militia. It is said that five of McCranie’s sons fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek, serving in Captain Hamilton W. Sharpe’s Company, of the Georgia Militia. The Battle of Brushy Creek, was among the last military action against Native Americans in this area.
Sarah McCranie died about 1842. Her grave is the earliest known burial in Wilkes Cemetery. Following her death, Daniel McCranie married Mrs. Kittie Holmes Paige in 1844. She was the widow of James Paige of Jefferson County, GA. Kitty Holmes was born Jan. 2, 1802, in Duplin County, N. C., and moved with her parents to Washington County, Ga., in 1812. In 1818 she married Silas Godwin and by him had one son, S. B. Godwin, who became a resident of Berrien County. After divorcing Silas Godwin she had married James Paige of Jefferson County, Ga., and lived with him twenty years until his death. By James Paige she had two children, one of whom, Allen Paige, became a resident of Lowndes County.
Kitty joined Pleasant Primitive Baptist Church, Lowndes (now (Berrien) County on October 17, 1850. A month later Daniel joined, on November 16, 1850.
Daniel McCranie died in 1854 and was buried in the Wilkes Cemetery in present Cook County. After his death, Kittie left Pleasant Church for New Salem Church, Adel, Georgia. Kittie McCranie died in 1889 and was buried beside Daniel at Wilkes Cemetery.
February 16, 2012 at 1:37 am (Gaskins Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Alfred Richardson, Appling county, Archibald Lacy, Avera mill, Bannockburn GA, Battle of Brushy Creek, Captain Levi J. Knight's Company, Center Village Georgia, Charlton County, Clayton Jones, Cornelia McCutcheon, David D. Gaskins, Elsie Hughes, Empire Church, Fisher Gaskins, Fisher H. Gaskins, Five Mile Creek, Francis Mobley, Gaskins Cemetery, Hardeman Giddens, Harmon E. Gaskins, Harmon Gaskins, Harmon Gaskins Jr, Harriet Jones, Henry Jones, Irving Jones, Jane Gaskins, John A. Gaskins, John B. Lacy, John Gaskins, Jonathan Sirmans, Lowndes County Georgia, Malissa Rowland Rouse, Mark Mitchell Watson, Martha Gaskins, Martha Patsy Rouse, Mary Bostick, Mary Lacy, Mary McCutchen, Matthew Jones, Nancy Gaskins, Ocmulgee River, Polly Ann Griner, Rachel Gaskins, Rachel McCutchen, Ray City GA, Rhoda Gaskins, Rhoda Rowe, Roberton McCutcheon, Samuel Griner, Sarah C. Gaskins, Solomon Griffin, st., St. Marks Florida, Telfair County Georgia, Thomas Connell, Thomas Gaskins, Thomas H. Gaskins, Walton County Georgia, Warren County Georgia, Wayne Gaskins, Willacoochee Road, William Gaskins, William Griffin, William H. Gaskins, William M. Avera, William M. Griner
Over the course of his life, Harmon Gaskins twice married widows named Mrs. Jones. He first married Melissa Rouse Jones, widow of Clayton Jones, and second married Mary McCutchen Jones, widow of Matthew Jones. For nearly forty years, Harmon Gaskins and his family lived near Five Mile Creek, about six or seven miles northeast of present day Ray City, GA.
Graves of Melissa and Harmon Gaskins, Gaskins Cemetery, Berrien County, GA
Harmon Gaskins was one of the early pioneers of Berrien County, originally settling along with his father, Fisher Gaskins, and brothers John and William near present day Bannockburn, GA. They made their homes on the west side of the Alapaha River about 16 miles distant from today’s Ray City, GA location.
Born in Beaufort, South Carolina around 1808, Harmon Gaskins was the youngest son of Rhoda Rowe and Fisher Gaskins, and a grandson of Thomas Gaskins, Revolutionary Soldier. Fisher Gaskins and his family appear there in Beaufort District in the Census of 1810. That same year, when Harmon was perhaps two years old, his mother died. His widowed father packed up the five young children and moved the family back to Warren County, GA, where the family had lived prior to 1807. There, on January 17, 1811 his father remarried. Harmon’s new step-mother was Mary Lacy. Her father, Archibald Lacy, was also a veteran of the Revolutionary War. His stepmother’s brother, the Reverend John B. Lacy, would later become a prominent Primitive Baptist Minister
It was about this time that Harmon’s father, Fisher Gaskins, began to expand his livestock operations. Soon he was looking to acquire good land on which to raise his growing herds of cattle. By 1812, Harmon’s father had moved the family to Telfair County, GA where there was good grazing land for his cattle. His father was very successful in the cattle business and soon had large herds, not only in Telfair County, but also in Walton and other surrounding counties where good natural pasturage could be had.
Around 1821, Harmon’s father moved his family and cattle yet again, this time to the newly created Appling County, GA, south of the Ocmulgee River. Harmon Gaskins, now a lad of 12 or 13 years, moved with the family.
By the end of 1825, the Georgia Legislature formed the new county of Lowndes out of the southern half of Irwin County. It was around that time or shortly thereafter, Harmon’s father brought his cattle herds and family father south into that portion of Lowndes County that would later be cut into Berrien County. Fisher Gaskins (Sr.) brought his family into Lowndes County and settled west of the Alapha River perhaps a little south of the present day Bannockburn, GA, and about 15 miles north of the area where William A. Knight, Isbin Giddens, and David Clements were settling their families above Grand Bay.
Around 1832, Harmon’s father moved farther south into Florida where it was said that there was even better pasture land for cattle. Harmon stayed behind, as well as his brothers, William and John.
Harmon Gaskins married about 1835 and first established his own home place on the Gaskins land near Gaskins cemetery. Harmon Gaskins, and his brothers William and John, were among Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company of men who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836. Many published accounts of the pioneer skirmishes with Native Americans at William Parker’s place on the Alapaha River and at Brushy Creek have been related on the Ray City History Blog.
In the late 1830s, Harmon Gaskins moved his family to a location near Five Mile Creek, about six or seven miles from present day Ray City, GA. The Census of 1850 shows the Harmon Gaskins place was located next to the farm of Mark Watson, which was in the area of Empire Church. Harmon Gaskins kept his residence here until 1875, when he decide to build a place nearer the Alapaha River. Just two years later, Harmon Gaskins died and was buried at the Gaskins Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.
Sixty years after his death, the Clinch County News ran an account of Harmon Gaskins life in Berrien County:
The Clinch County News
April 23, 1937
Harmon Gaskins – 1808-1878
This the youngest of the three sons of Fisher and Rhoda Rowe Gaskins, was born in 1808, and began life for himself as a laborer on the farm of a neighbor, Mrs. Clayton Jones. He was about grown when his father decided to move to Florida; and ere long he was in love with Mrs. Melissa Jones, widow of Clayton Jones. Mrs. Jones’ husband had moved to this county from Emanuel County along with the Sirmans family of Clinch and Berrien counties. Her husband died about 1830 or 1832 and left her with three children, viz; Irving Jones and Henry Jones and Harriet who later married Wm. M. Avera. The daughter Harriet was only about two or three years old when her father died, she being born in 1829. Mrs. Melissa Jones was an illegitimate daughter of Miss Martha (Patsy) Rouse who later became the wife of Jonathan Sirmans of this [Clinch] county. The father of this illegitimate child was named Rowland, a fair-haired, blue-eyed Scotch-Irish man of handsome mien and who deceived the youthful maiden and went away never to return. This illegitimate child grew up and married Clayton Jones in Emanuel county, and they came to Berrien county about 1825, and he died about 1830-2 as already stated, leaving his widow possessed of a home and farm and with five children to take care of. Harmon Gaskins, about her age, but a little younger, after working for her on the farm a year or two, proposed marriage and was accepted and they were married about 1835.
Their first child Rhoda was born Jan. 17, 1837, at the old homestead which was located on the Willacoochee Road leading east from Nashville by way of Avera’s Mill 7 miles east of Nashville and near the Gaskins Graveyard.
The early life of Harmon Gaskins was not different from that of other pioneers’ sons growing up in the atmosphere of frontier life. He was reared to live the chase and many were the conquests made by him in company with his father and brothers of the wild beasts that then abounded and roamed through the country. Like his father and brothers, he became the owner of a vast herd of cattle, and from the proceeds of sales of his beef-cattle each year he was able to save up gold and silver which in his hands stayed out of the channels of trade for years at the time. He was inured to the hardships of life as it then existed. His only mode of travel was horseback unless he had to make a trip to a distant trading-point for supplies that could not be produced on the farm. In such event of a trip, the horse was hitched to a two-wheeled cart of his own construction he being an excellent blacksmith and wheelright; and journey made in company with two or three neighbors situated like himself. They drove their carts sitting astride their horses, and took rest-spells by occasionally walking by the side of the horse. Such trips had to be made to St. Marks, Fla., or to old Center Village in what is now Charlton county. An occasional trip would be made to Savannah but most of the trips were made to the other points named; these trips were usually about once a year, and would last a week or ten days.
After the birth of two or three children the homesite of Harmon Gaskins was moved to a different location on the same lot of land and for many years he lived near Five-Miles Creek just east of his first location. This was his home until about 1875 when he decided to locate on a lot of land which he had owned for several years lying nearer the Alapaha River and east of his old home. Here he constructed a plain log dwelling and began the work of making a new home for himself and family, renting out the old home-place. He died at his last location.
After the death of his first wife, Mr. Gaskins was married to Mrs. Mary Jones, widow of Matthew Jones and daughter of Robert and Cornelia McCutcheon, pioneer citizens of Irwin and Berrien counties. By his two marriages, Mr. Gaskins had fourteen children – nine by his first wife and five by the second wife.
Harmon Gaskins’ death was sudden and was deemed by his older children to appear to have been surrounded with peculiar circumstances. A suspicion arose that he was poisoned by his wife. This suspicion was nursed and grew in the minds of the children until it was determined several weeks later to have the body exhumed and a post mortem examination of the stomach made. The State Chemist failed to find any trace of poison and the decision reached that he came to his death by natural causes. This however engendered much bitterness and ill-feeling between the widow and her step children, and she entered suit for damages for slander. She was given a verdict for $1600.00. She later married Alfred Richardson by whom she had four children, and with whom she lived until a few years before her death in 1918.
Harmon Gaskins enjoyed but few and limited opportunities for obtaining an education. Nevertheless he was one of the best-posted men on political issues and economics of his time. He was a liberal subscriber to the newspapers of his day, and he had a good collection of books on history and other subjects of all of which he was a great student. His counsel was found to be safe and his judgement sound; he was often sought after by others. He was appointed one of the first judges of the Inferior Court of Berrien County, serving many years. After the court was abolished he served many years as Justice of the Peace. However, he never sought political office but rather preferred to stay home. He labored with his own hands as long as he lived, and put in a good day’s work the day before he died.
At the death of his father in Columbia county, Fla., he inherited a large stock of cattle from the estate which ranged in Volusia and St. Johns counties, Fla., and until a few years preceding his death he made trips down there once a year for the purpose of rounding up the cattle, marking and branding the calves, and talking over his business affairs with those he had arranged to look after the herds. The men were usually men living in the neighborhood there and under their contract were to look personally after the cattle and pen them about three months in the spring and each summer in order to keep them tradable, and sell the beef steers in the summer, and bring the money from the sales to the owner. For this service the herder was to receive every fifth calf raised and these calves were marked and branded for the herder at the April round-up.
Incompetent and probably dishonest herders in due time began to appear among those entrusted with the care of the Florida herds, and this with the gradual failing of the range and the development of the country there and the influx of people, all worked to the detriment of the enterprise. The income from the cattle grew less each year until Mr. Gaskins decided to sell what he had left and let Florida cattle growing alone. Thus he sold out about 15 or 20 years before he died. After his death some sixteen hundred dollars in gold and silver coin and several hundred dollars in paper money was divided among his heirs after having lain in his trunk for many years.
The children by the first wife were:
(1) Rhoda, born Jan. 17, 18–, married first to Francis Mobley and after his death in the civil war she married Wm. M. Griner.
(2) Martha, married first to Thomas Connell who was killed in the civil war; second to William Parker who died three months later; third husband, Hardeman Giddens, was a first cousin on her mother’s side.
(3) Nancy, married Solomon Griffin of Berrien county.
(4) Fisher H., married Polly Ann Griner.
(5) Harmon Jr. Never married, died a young man during the war.
(6) Rachel, married William Griffin.
(7) Sarah C., married Samuel Griner.
(8) Thomas H., married Rachel McCutcheon.
(9) John A., married Mary Bostick.
The children by the second wife were: Wayne and Jane who died in childhood; Harmon E. Gaskins, never married, living single in east Berrien county; William H. Gaskins and David D. Gaskins, The latter married Elsie Hughes.
Grave of Melissa Gaskins, 1810-1864, wife of Harmon Gaskins, buried at Gaskins Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.
Grave of Harmon Gaskins, Gaskins Cemetery, Berrien County, GA
January 5, 2012 at 12:29 am (Battle of Brushy Creek, Folsom Family, Uncategorized)
Tags: Anna America Folsom, Anna Jane Folsom, Ashley Lawson, Bartow Ferrell, Battle of Brushy Creek, Berrien County GA, Bryant P. Folsom, Chloe Ann Folsom, Coffee Road, Edieth Folsom, Edwin Shanks, Emily Folsom, Enocb Hall, Folsom Bridge, George Folsom, Hamilton Sharpe, Indian Wars, Isham Jordan, John McDermott, Kenneth Swain, Levi J. Knight, Lucuian Lamar Knight, Mary Ann McLeod, Montgomery M. Folsom, Morrison Fort, Norman Campbell, Orville Shanks, Pennywell Folsom, Penuel Folsom, Rachel Morrison, Ray City GA, Robert N. Parrish, Rountree Bridge, Rountree Cemetery, Skirmish at Cow Creek, Weston Rountree, William Folsom, William Parker, William Smith
Penuel Folsom, the first soldier killed in the Battle of Brushy Creek, was buried in what is now known as the Rountree Cemetery, his being the first grave in it. – Lucian Lamar Knight
Grave marker of Pennywell Folsom, Rountree Cemetery (aka Evergreen Cemetery), Cook County, GA
Pennywell Folsom fell in the first volley fired in the Battle of Brushy Creek, fought in July, 1836. After the fighting was over, Captain Hamilton Sharpe carried Folsom from the battlefield on horseback, but the mortally wounded soldier could not long survive. Folsom was carried back to the fort at the Rachel Morrison place (now the property of the Rountree family) near the Little River, where he was buried in a lone grave. Sharpe’s Company fired a volley of gunfire over the grave in salute to their fallen comrade. As that final tribute sounded through the forest, Captain Levi J. Knight and his company of men arrived on the scene. (Levi J. Knight was the original settler on the site of present day Ray City, GA.) Knight’s company had marched 30 miles from the Alapaha River where they had skirmished with Indians at the homeplace of William Parker (see Short-Arm Bill Parker and the Last Indian Fight In Berrien County, and Levi J. Knight Reports Indian Fight of July 13, 1836.)
Fifty years after the event, Montgomery M. Folsom reflected on the death of his kinsman:
The Atlanta Constitution
June 24, 1885 Pg 2
Down the River
The Folsom bridge, a noted crossing place, spans the [Little] river here. In the olden time a party of road cutters under the command of General Coffee passed through south Georgia from east to west. At this point they crossed the river. If you were to ask the old settlers they would show you the blazes on the pine trees that were made long ago. This road was a great thoroughfare and many a hardy settler has packed his traps in a cart drawn by a tough pony, and driving his flocks and herds before him has traversed the lonely pine barrens in search of a more generous soil and greener pastures. The hunters of Coffee’s party were Isham Jordan and Kenneth Swain. The song that was made by the hardy pioneers has been given to posterity as follows:
“Yonder comes ole Isham Jordan,
That ole ‘onest huntin’ man.
Glorious tidin’s he doth bring,
Swain has kilt another turkey hent.
We’ll allow the New Convention;
We’ll all allow the rights of men;
We’ll allay the Injun nation;
The volunteers and the drafted men.”
About a mile and a half from the bridge, eastward, the ancestor of the Folsom’s settled. It had been a populous Indian town, and there are in existence to day, a tomahawk, a sofka pestle, a small cannon ball, and innumerable arrow-heads and skinning knifes of flint that were found there. The old gentleman had erected a strong block house, and when there was an alarm of Indians, the women and children were carried there, and the old men and boys left to defend them while the ablebodied once sallied forth to meet the foe. From this fort they marched forth to the bloody encounter at Brushy creek. The Indians had been goaded to madness. They were concealed in the dark swamp, and awaited in silence the approach of the whites. Penuel Folsom had made his will before leaving home, and when the soldiers were all drawn up at a safe distance from the enemy, and the scouts were cautiously advancing, he and Orville Shanks dashed forward with a yell and received the fire of a dozen unerring rifles. Shanks fell dead, and Folsom desperately wounded, was carried from the field, after the battle was over, behind Captain Sharpe who rode a powerful horse. When they halted he was laid down on the green grass and breathed his last. Some years ago I visited his grave in a lonely spot in the heart of one of the gloomiest forests of Berrien county. – Montgomery M. Folsom
There is a more detailed account of the Battle of Brushy Creek given at the Early History of Lowndes County and Valdosta , Georgia website:
Levi J. Knight described the fight to the governor, who later commended Knight and his comrades for their bravery. Knight wrote that both Enoch Hall and Hamilton Sharpe were in charge of companies of militia. In the course of tracking the Indians through Lowndes, fifteen men commanded by Captain Sharpe formed a battalion with thirty-one men from Thomas County after they discovered Indians in the fork of the Little River and Big Warrior Creek. Following the trail for three miles down the east side of the river, Sharpe and his soldiers encountered about sixty warriors and their families. In the ensuing fight, Captain Sharpe lost one man, Mr. P. Folsom, and one wounded, when he was forced to retreat. Reinforced by the remainder of the battalion, the Lowndes men pursued the Indians for another three miles and found them on a pine ridge, their rear protected by a cypress pond, and in their front a wide, open, boggy meadow. A general engagement commended about 9 o’clock a. m. and after a severe fight for two hours, the Indians were completely routed, with a loss of twenty-two Indians and two Negroes killed, that were seen, and many wounded. Of the militia, Bartow Ferrell of Thomas County and Edwin D. Shanks of Lowndes County were killed and nine wounded.
Norman Campbell, John McDermott, Robert N. Parrish, Pennywell Folsom, Ashley Lawson, Edwin D. Shanks, West Roundtree and others were among those going to the battle from around Troupville.
Knight’s Company and other militia units would continue to pursue the Indians across Berrien county. A few weeks later, the militia caught up with an Indian band in southeast Berrien county at a place called Cow Creek.
THE ROUNTREE CEMETERY
Pennywell Folsom no longer lies alone in deep Georgia woods. Around his grave, the Rountrees placed their own dead, until this burying ground became known as the Rountree Cemetery. This cemetery is located in present day Cook county , on Evergreen Church Road (CR 99), near the intersection with Rountree Bridge Road (CR 251) (see map). Around 1945, the present Evergreen Church was constructed adjacent to Rountree Cemetery, the original church building located on Rountree Bridge Road having been destroyed by fire.
Notes on Pennywell Folsom:
Pennywell Folsom was born in 1810 in Hawkinsville, GA. He was a son of Edith Pennywell and George Folsom. His father served during the War of 1812 in the Georgia Militia under Captain Allen Tooke builing forts on the frontier of Pulaski County to defend against Indian attacks.
When Pennywell was about 10 years old, around 1919, his father died. Pennywell became a ward of his uncle William Folsom and moved to Lowndes County (then Irwin County.)
According to Internet histories, Pennywell Folsom married Mary Ann McLeod about 1827. Their children were:
- Anna Jane Folsom 1828 – 1830
- Chloe Ann Folsom 1830 – 1906
- Bryant P. Folsom 1832 – 1864
- Anna America Folsom 1833 – 1912
- Edieth Folsom 1833 – 1907
- Emily Folsom 1835 – 1908
Captain Hamilton Sharpe, who led the Lowndes militia at the Battle of Brushy Creek, served as the administrator of Pennywell Folsom’s estate:
Captain Hamilton Sharpe administered the estate of Pennywell Folsom, killed under Sharpe’s command at the Battle of Brushy Creek, July 1836.
August 23, 1836
Georgia, Lowndes County
Whereas Hamilton W. Sharpe applies to me for letters of administration, on the estate of Pennywell Folsom late of said county, deceased:
These are therefore to cite and admonish all and singular the kindred and creditors of said deceased, to be and appear at my office within the time prescribed by law, to shew cause (if any they have,) why said letters of administration should not be granted.
Given under my hand, at office, this 1st day of August, 1836.
WILLIAM SMITH, Cl’k c.c.
August 16 31 5t
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