Abraham Leffler Advertisement in 1881 Berrien County News

Abraham Leffler Advertised in 1881 Berrien County News

The Berrien County News was published at Alapaha, Georgia from 1875 to about 1886. In 1881, the newspaper was owned by W. H. Lastinger.

July 2, 1881 advertisement of Abraham Leffler, Wholesale Grocer, Savannah, GA. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, Leffler was a resident of the Rays Mill District, Berrien County, GA

July 2, 1881 Edition of the Berrien County News advertisement of Abraham Leffler, Wholesale Grocer, Savannah, GA. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, Leffler was a resident of the Rays Mill District, Berrien County, GA

Abraham Leffler was a German merchant who came to Berrien County, GA before the Civil War. Although he suffered personal tragedy in the loss of his wife and a son, he apparently was among those men who prospered financially during the war and Reconstruction. The 1867 Berrien County tax digest shows that he owned town property valued at $350, had $1500 cash on hand, $6000 in merchandise, and $375 in other property, for a aggregate value of $8175. It appears that he paid a professional license fee of $1.00.

The 1870 census of the 1144th Georgia Militia District, Rays Mill District, shows he was a country merchant with a personal estate of $200 and real estate valued at $14,010. He had three children still in school, and a housekeeper, Miss Victoria Brooks.

Very shortly thereafter, Abraham Leffler relocated his family to Savannah, GA. The 1871 Savannah City Directory shows Abraham Leffler was in business with Adolphus Gomm, as wholesale grocers under the name Gomm & Leffler.

In Savannah, Abraham Leffler did not forget his old friends and business acquaintances from Berrien County.  By 1874 a rail transportation route was opened from Berrien County to Savannah.   The Brunswick & Albany Railroad passed through northern Berrien and a stop called Alapaha Station had been established.  The B & A ran through Tebeauville (now Waycross, GA) where the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad provided connections to Savannah.  Levi J. Knight, of Ray’s Mill, GA, had been an investor in the construction of the A&G.  The route opened a door for Savannah merchants to trade in Berrien County. By 1881 Leffler was advertising his wholesale groceries in the Berrien County News, the newspaper printed at Alapaha.

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Isaac Strickland, Confederate School Teacher

Isaac Newton Strickland (1835-1912)

On October 31, 1864 during the Civil War, 25  citizens in Lowndes County, GA petitioned Governor Joseph E. Brown for Isaac Newton Strickland to be detailed from Confederate military duty in order to teach in the local school in the 662 Georgia Militia District of Lowndes County. Most of the signers of the petition had husbands, sons, or brothers who were serving or had died in the war; many were “slave owners.”

The petition appears to be written by William Wisenbaker, at least he is the first to sign. It claimed several reasons for excusing Isaac Strickland from military duty. Isaac’s father, Henry Strickland (b. 1794) was over 70 years old and farming in the 658 GMD of Lowndes County.  Two of Isaac’s five brothers had been confirmed killed in the war: Robert M. Strickland (1832-1862) killed May 8, 1862 at the Battle of McDowell; Henry L. Strickland (1825-1862) enlisted Sept 21, 1861 26th Georgia Infantry; killed June 27, 1862 at the Battle of Cold Harbor. Another was thought dead.   William W. Strickland (1841-?) enlisted Jan 13, 1864 at Thomasville, GA and mustered into Company A, 20th Battalion, Georgia Cavalry, later consolidated into Company D, 8th Regiment Georgia Cavalry; He appeared in the 1864 census for reorganizing the Georgia Militia and swore the Oath of Allegiance in Lowndes County, GA in 1867.  James M. Strickland (1829-1877) and Thomas B. Strickland (1839-1893) also survived the war.

The Petition (transcribed below with notes on the petitioners)
Correspondence of Governor Joseph E. Brown

Lowndes County citizens petition to have Isaac Strickland detailed as a teacher in the 662 Georgia Militia District, October 31, 1864.

Lowndes County citizens petition to have Isaac Strickland detailed as a teacher in the 662 Georgia Militia District, October 31, 1864.

Lowndes County citizens petition to have Isaac Strickland detailed as a teacher in the 662 Georgia Militia District, October 31, 1864.

Lowndes County citizens petition to have Isaac Strickland detailed as a teacher in the 662 Georgia Militia District, October 31, 1864.

Mr. Wisenbaker & Others
Oct 31, 1864
Petition for detail of Isaac Strickland as School Teacher

Lowndes County

The undersigned citizens of said county and supporters of the school in the 662 GM District respectfully petition that Isaac Strickland of said county be detailed to continue our school on the following grounds
1st The school numbers forty scholars and he has heretofore and is now the, if detailed, teacher and it is impractical to supply his place
2nd His constitution is delicate and health feeble by reason of weak health he was not able to render material service at Atlanta and returned home prostrate in strength and health.
3d He makes no charge for indigent children
4th His father is over seventy years old and has lost three sons in the military service and has two now in the army and it would be an aid to him in managing and conducting his farm that his only remaining son Isaac live with him while and carry in the said school
5th The granting of this application will confer a public benefit for if our schools are closed our children will grow up in ignorance
Respectfully Submitted

Wm. Wisenbaker
Thomas Harp
William Peterson
Wm Stanfield
M N B Outlaw MD
Edward Outlaw
Mrs. G. E. Golding
Micager Amerson
Mrs. Winy Howel
Mary Zeigler
Ana D. Clayton
Martha Clayton
Rama Howell
Mrs. E—-
Mrs. C. Carter
L. R. Clower
Virginia Brasseton?
A.C. & D. I. Jones
Elizabeth Jones
Martha Creach
Sarah Creach
Nancy Creach
Robert ?
Fredrick Hinley

During Reconstruction and afterwards, Isaac N. Strickland remained in Lowndes County. He signed the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America on June 22, 1867.  In 1870, he was employing Isom Jordon, a “freedman” in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA. In 1872,  Isaac Strickland was listed as a witness to support a claim by Abraham Leffler against the US government for property confiscated during the Civil War; Abraham Leffler was a former resident of the Ray’s Mill District of Berrien County.   Strickland’s enumeration in the 1880 Census of Lowndes County includes Mariah Jordon, a formerly enslaved African-American woman with whom he was living, and their children.

Notes on the Petitioners

William Wisenbaker (1816-1883) was a farmer and prominent citizen of Lowndes County. The 1860 census shows he was the “owner” of two enslaved people. His son, William H. Wisenbaker, served in the Valdosta Guards, Company D, 50th Georgia Infantry and died of typhoid fever in 1863.

Thomas Harp (1808-1892), a farmer in the 662 Georgia Militia District and husband of Mary McLeod, appeared on the 1864 Census for reorganization of the Georgia Militia. They had children of school age who might have attended the school taught by Isaac Strickland.

William R. Peterson (1812-1885), of Lowndes County, GA. Image source: Phil Ray

William R. Peterson (1812-1885), of Lowndes County, GA. Image source: Phil Ray

William Peterson – William R. Peterson (1812-1885) a farmer and “slave owner” in the 662 GMD and husband of Catherine McLeod, appeared on the 1864 Census for reorganization of the Georgia Militia. Their children were school age. The 1870 tax digest lists  two “Freedmen,” Abe Lamb and Lovless Peterson, employed by W.R. Peterson that year in the 662 GMD.

Dr. Meshack Napoleon Bonaparte Outlaw (1820-1895) was a “Physician Farmer” and “slave owner” with a young family in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA.  Dr. Outlaw enslaved 17 African-American men, women and children who resided in three “slave houses” on his property.

Edward Outlaw (1825-) was a “Master Carriage maker,” unmarried, living in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA. He was a brother of Dr. MNB Outlaw. In 1870, he was employing freedmen Harrison Flint, Anthy Jones, Samuel Shelton and Edgar Williams in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA.

Colemna Outlaw Colding , wife of Captain John Badger Colding. Image source: Outlaw Geneaology

Colemna E. Colding (1835-1905), sister of Dr. MNB Outlaw and Edward Outlaw, and widow of  John B. Colding. He was a Captain of Company G, 60th Georgia Regiment, killed June 13, 1863 on the battlefield at the Second Battle of Winchester, VA; before the war, he was an attorney in Dooly County, GA, a Democrat and a strong supporter of Governor Joe Brown.  Colemna Colding never remarried and is buried at the Outlaw Family Cemetery, Vienna, GA

Micager Amerson – Micajah Amerson (1825- ), Wheelwright, living in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA with his young family.

Mrs. Winy Howel – This may be Winnaford Howell (1835-), wife of George W. Howell, who in 1860 was residing in Tallokas, Brooks County, GA. Her husband was a blacksmith in the Valdosta Guards, Company D, 50th Georgia Regiment. In 1863 he was in Chimborazo military hospital with gonorrhea. He was detailed to Richmond as a blacksmith. He was hit in the right leg by a minnie ball at Sailors Creek on April 6, 1865. He was captured and sent to Lincoln Hospital, Washington, DC and released on Oath of Allegiance July 18, 1865.

Mary Zeigler, appears to be Mary A. B. Zeigler (1829-1904) or possibly her 16-year-old daughter Mary A. E. Zeigler (1848-1927). Mary A. B. Zeigler was the widow of Jacob Jefferson Zeigler (1831-1864), a planter and “slave owner” in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County.  Jacob J. Zeigler enslaved 28 African-American men, women and children who resided in five “slave houses” on his plantation. He enlisted August 15, 1863  in Company A, 20th Battalion Georgia Cavalry and served as a corporal. He was killed May 28, 1864 at the Battle of Haw’s Shop  leaving Mary with eight young children to raise. Mary A. B. Zeigler and Jacob J. Zeigler were grandparents of Jacob Fredrick Hinely who operated the Ray’s Mill Hotel in the early 1900’s. In 1870, Mary A. B. Zeigler was employing freedmen Fed Zeigler, Manuel Boston and Peter Boston in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA.

Ana D. Clayton, appears to be Annah Zeigler Clayton (1838-1904), wife of Duncan Clayton (1829-1897). Confederate military service records confirm her husband served in Company G, 26th Georgia Infantry Regiment in late 1861 and early 1862. Albert Douglass, a colorful deserter from the Berrien Minute Men also joined the 26th Georgia Regiment, but it is not clear if their service overlapped. Duncan Clayton before the war was employed as an overseer of enslaved people. Annah Zeigler Clayton is buried at Old Lake Park Cemetery.

Martha Clayton (1827-), Martha Kennedy Clayton, wife of Jackson J. Clayton and sister-in-law of Duncan Clayton. Jackson J. Clayton served with the 10th Florida Regiment. Before the war he was occupied as a laborer in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County. Their children would have been of school age.

Joseph Lott Howell, Civil War photo

Joseph Lott Howell, Civil War photo

Rama Howell, or Remmie Farmer Howell (1847-1925), wife of Joseph Lott Howell (1835-1906) and sister of James M. Stanfill (1846-1864). Her husband, Joseph Lott Howell, and brother James both enlisted January 26, 1864 in Company A, 20th Battalion Georgia Cavalry where they were company mates of Jacob J. Zeigler. In the Battle of Haw’s Shop. May 28, 1864 Ziegler was killed and James M. Stanfill mortally wounded. Stanfill was sent to a Virginia hospital where his right leg was amputated; he died in the hospital June 29, 1864.  Joseph Lott Howell, however, spent most of his enlistment detailed on recruiting missions according to Confederate military service records.

Mrs. C. Carter

L. V. Clower  was Louisa Virginia Jones Clower (1842-1912).  She was a daughter of Berrien M. Jones and his first wife, SStan Jones. Prior to marriage, the 1860 census lists Louisa Virginia Jones as “slave owner” of 12 enslaved people ranging in age from 3 months to 60 years old; Her father’s estate in 1860 included 37 enslaved people. In 1862, She was married  to Dr. William P. Clower in Thomas County, GA.  Her husband was  appointed on January 18, 1862 as Regimental Surgeon for the 29th Georgia Regiment, which included the Berrien Minute Men. Surgeon Clower’s brother,  John T. Clower, would  serve as the doctor in Ray’s Mill (now Ray City, GA) from 1870 to 1887.

Virginia Brasseton?

A C & D I Jones.  Aaron L. C. Jones (1840-1917) and Daniel Inman Jones (1836-1891). Aaron L. C. Jones was a son of John Jones of Carroll County, GA. He enlisted in May of 1861 in Company F, 7th GA Infantry and went to Richmond with his unit. But after extended illness he was “discharged by reason of Surgeon’s certificate of disability” on September 12, 1861. He enlisted again May 5, 1862 in Company B, 56th Georgia Infantry. He was taken prisoner July 4, 1863 at the surrender of Vicksburg, MS. He swore an oath not to serve again in the Confederate States military and was released on July 8, 1863.  However, he broke that oath and returned to his unit. He was captured again on Dec 16, 1864 near Nashville TN and sent as a POW to Camp Douglas, Chicago, IL.  Daniel Inman Jones was a son of Berrien M. Jones and his first wife, Sophrona Inman Jones, pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, GA. By 1860 Daniel Inman Jones had his own farm in the 661 Georgia Militia District of Lowndes County where he was enumerated as a “slave owner” of 19 enslaved people. He enlisted March 4, 1862 in the Valdosta Guards, Company D, 50th Georgia Regiment. Confederate Military Service Records note that he was discharged June 12, 1862 by furnishing a substitute, George Plankinhorn, to serve in his place. The 1870 tax digest lists  31 “Freedmen” employed by D. I. Jones that year in the 662 GMD.

Elizabeth Jones (1848-1873) appears to be a daughter of Rebecca Perrill Cooper Jones (1810-1887) and Berrien M. Jones (1799-1854), pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, GA. She was a niece of William Brauner Cooper and of Francis Jones. The 1860 census shows Elizabeth in her widowed mother’s household; Her mother’s net worth being valued at $20,000 in real estate and $34,577 in personal estate. Her mother was then enumerated as “slave owner” of 37 enslaved people. Some time between 1864 and about 1868, Elizabeth Jones married William Lang Thomas. Her husband was a Confederate veteran, having served for about 8 months in 1864 before being furloughed sick; he served as a private in Company D, 4th Georgia Cavalry Regiment, along with regimental mates George Harris, James Harris, and Josiah Wood.

Martha Creach – Martha Creech (1810- after 1870), widow of Charles Pinckney Creech, was farming and raising her large family in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA. Her son, James Bryan Creech (1832-1890) was serving in Company C, Hood’s Battalion (29th Georgia Cavalry). He later was a member of the Georgia Constitutional Convention of 1877, along with Ray’s Mill (now Ray City) resident Jonathan David Knight and Judge Augustin H. Hansell. Before the war, he was a merchant of Tallokas, Brooks County, GA.

Sarah Creach (1840-), daughter of Martha Creech, appeared in her parents’ household in the Census of 1850.

Nancy Creach, was probably Nancy Creech (1838-), daughter of Martha Creech, who in 1860 was still living in her widowed mother’s household. But possibly could have been Nancy J. Newsome Creech (1835-1919), daughter-in-law of Martha Creech and wife of James Bryan Creech.

Robert ?

Frederick Hinley – Frederick Hinely (1815-1886), a farmer and “slave owner” in the 662 GMD of Lowndes County, GA; enslaved 11 people. He was the husband of Ann Elizabeth Wisenbaker (1817-1888).  The 1870 tax digest records that  “Freedman” Monday Morell was employed by Frederick Hinely after the war. Ann Elzabeth and Frederick Hinley were grandparents of Jacob Fredrick Hinely who operated the Ray’s Mill Hotel in the early 1900’s.

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Timely News from Ray City

Timely News from Ray City
The June 17, 1948 edition of the Nashville Herald (Nashville, GA) include a column of personal mentions written by Polly Hughes Lewis, wife of Jesse Columbus Lewis. She and her husband rented a farm on the Upper and Lower Mud Creek Connection road in the Lower 10th District of Berrien County.  A number of the Hughes family connections had farms along that stretch of road, and like Jesse, worked 60 hours a week, 52 weeks a year to make a living.  Polly Hughes Lewis and Jesse Columbus Lewis are buried at Empire Church Cemetery, just north of Ray City.

Timely News from Ray City, GA. Nashville Herald, June 17, 1948

Timely News from Ray City, GA. Nashville Herald, June 17, 1948

Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Patten and daughter Barbara Lynn, of Atlanta, visited their mother, Mrs. J.M. Patten, and sister, Ruth, last week-end in route to Daytona Beach, Fla., for 2 weeks vacation.

James Edwin Patten, a son of Ida Lou Hall and James Marcus Patten of Ray City, GA was visiting his widowed mother. His parents had once been teachers at the Ray City School. His wife was Francis Louise David, a daughter of Maude E. and Robert T. David, of Atlanta. James Edwin Patten had a bachelors degree from Georgia Tech and was employed as an electrical engineer at the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Atlanta, GA. Although Polly Lewis’ Nashville Herald article didn’t mention it, the Patten’s “vacation” was really a bereavement; just a month earlier, their two-year-old daughter, Judy Elyse Patten, had died in a tragic accident.

Mrs. Vera Yawn is visiting her aunt, Mrs. Mollie Studstill, for a few days. She will return to her home in New York the last of this week.

Mrs. Vera Laura Roberts Yawn was the ex-wife of Clayton Samuel Yawn and the mother of D’Ree Yawn.  Mollie Clements Studstill was the widow of James Monroe Studstill, who died October 14, 1947.

Mrs. Joe Featherstone and son have returned to their home in New York, after several months visit with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. P. N. Sirmans.

Mrs. Joe Featherstone was Hilda Sirmans Featherstone. Her husband was Sergeant Joseph Henry Featherstone, Jr., US Air Force.  He had served in the US Army Air Force in WWII and would later serve in the Korean War and Viet Nam. Hilda’s parents were Pleamon N. Sirmans and Mary Ellen “Minnie” Clements Sirmans.

Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Bradham and son and Miss Merle Sirmans and Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Lewis and son attended the show in Valdosta Friday night.

Willis Henry Bradham was an ex-marine and husband of Hazel Sirmans Bradham. She was another daughter of Pleamon N. Sirmans and Minnie Clements Sirmans. Merle Sirmans was another of the Sirmans’ daughters. Others in the party were Jesse Columbus Lewis and Polly Hughes Lewis; Their son was William Henry Lewis.

W. E. Hughes is spending a few days this week with Henry Lewis.

Willie Ervin Hughes was a farmer and brother of Polly Hughes.

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Early Days on the Georgia Frontier

In 1841, as Major General of the 6th Militia Division of Georgia, Levi J. Knight exercised local military authority over a vast area of the Georgia Frontier. General Knight’s home was near Cat Creek, a tributary of the Withlacoochee River,  near present day Ray City, Berrien County, GA in the area then encompassed by Lowndes County. His commission was ordered by the Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Georgia Charles J. McDonald on December 11, 1840, just five months before Col. William J. Worth assumed command of the U.S. Army of Florida in the campaign to subjugate and remove the Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi.

In his history of the Florida war, John T. Sprague, Worth’s aide-de-camp and later to be his son-in-law, vividly put the new commander’s problem this way: “Forty-seven thousand square miles in the territory of Florida, was occupied by an enemy by nature vindictive and revengeful, treacherous and subtle, striving for their rights, and for the soil made sacred by those superstitious influences which became part of an Indian’s nature, by his duty to the Great Spirit, and the injunctions of parents and prophets. Every hammock and swamp was to them a citadel, to which and from which they could retreat with wonderful facility. Regardless of food or the climate, time or distance, they moved from one part of the country to the other, in parties of five and ten; while the soldier, dependent upon supplies, and sinking under a tropical sun, could only hear of his foe by depredations committed in the section of the country over which he scouted the day before.” -John K. Mahon

Levi J. Knight’s Division of Georgia militia included companies which were well versed in the tactics of swamp warfare. For five years, the militia companies of Lowndes County and of the 6th Division had been sporadically called out to patrol the rivers and wetlands spanning Lowndes County, GA and Hamilton County, FL. These routes provided cover for Indian movements between the Okefenokee and other south Georgia swamps, and the Florida Territory.

The wave of violent engagements in Georgia began in 1836, when the US Army hired contractors to begin removing Indians from Georgia on what would become known as the “Trail of Tears.”  Some Native Americans forcefully resisting removal to western lands moved across southwest Georgia making their way to the Florida Territory. In July 1836, then Captain Knight led a company against a band of Indians on the Alapaha River. The July 13, 1836 Skirmish at William Parker’s Place was followed July 15, 1836 by the Battle of Brushy Creek. In August, 1836 subsequent local actions were fought  along Warrior CreekLittle RiverAlapaha River, Cow Creek,  Troublesome Ford, and Grand Bay.   State militia officers in Lowndes County at the time of these engagements included Colonel Henry Blair, Captain Enoch Hall, Capt. Henry Crawford TuckerCapt. Hamilton Sharpe (Lowndes County), Capt. Scriven Gaulden, Capt. John Pike (Lowndes County), Capt. Samuel E. Swilley, as well as Captain Levi J. Knight.  In September, 1836, Gen. Jesup ordered Maj. Dearborn with about two hundred United States regulars, into Lowndes county, for the protection of that and the surrounding country against the depredations of Indians.  Dr. Jacob Rhett Motte, a Harvard educated Army surgeon in Dearborn’s command journaled about their duty at Franklinville, GA  in Lowndes County, GA and in Madison County, FL.  In January, 1837, Dearborn’s force moved into North Florida. About February 23, 1837 Dr.  Motte and the troops encamped at Warner’s Ferry on the upper Withlacoochee River, close to the boundary line between Georgia and Florida. On April 21, 1838, the family and the enslaved African Americans of circuit riding Methodist minister Tilmon Dixon Peurifoy were massacred by Indians near Tallahassee, FL. Attacks at Old Town on the Suwanee River and in Alachua County, FL were reported in the same news accounts. When Indians raiding from the swamp attacked and massacred travelers and nearby settlers, militia companies were again called up, first on local authority of the Lowndes County Committee of Vigilance and Safety, then on the authority of Governor Gilmer. Captain Knight’s independent company of mounted militia and Captain Tomlinson’s company  were mustered into Colonel Rinaldo Floyd’s regiment. Knight, with a full company complement of seventy-five mounted men served in the “sudden emergency” from August 15 to October 15, 1838.

The mood of the Florida war changed sharply when Colonel Worth took charge of it. Worth was raised a Quaker, but had eschewed the Quaker principles to become a career military man. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, and a former commander of West Point.

William Jenkins Worth, as a colonel in 1841 was in command of U.S. forces in the Florida Territory during the Second Seminole War.

William Jenkins Worth, as a colonel in 1841 was in command of U.S. forces in the Florida Territory during the Second Seminole War.

Considered one of the handsomest men in the army, Worth was of middle height, had a martial bearing, a trim figure, and the appearance of physical strength. He showed to best advantage when mounted, for he was one of the finest of horsemen. During combat he radiated confidence. Could he have remained forever on the battlefield there probably would not have been a more famous officer in the service. Unfortunately he had a petty streak mingled with overweening vanity, which cropped up when he was not in a fight. Rash and impetuous, he often said and did things he regretted afterward. His mind was intense and narrow; he was self-centered. … Yet in spite of this quality, or perhaps because of it, Worth was a capable soldier who drove hard… -John K. Mahon

Worth embarked on a radical campaign. Previously the Army of Florida had spent the summer months “lying in camp feeble and discouraged, in the vain hope the negotiation and the proffers of peace would end a mode of life disgusting to the soldier, and degrading to the intellect and habits of man.” 

The season of the year was a …formidable obstacle. Summer operations had heretofore failed. The past gave no encouragement. The troops sunk under the debility arising from exposure to noonday suns, constant rains, cool nights, turbid water, and the heavy marches through deep sand. Defeat discouragement, and disease, marked too sadly and plainly the effect of military operations, at the same time proving the complete triumph of the enemy.” –John T. Sprague

While the sweltering Florida summer prostrated the Army, it was the Indian’s power. Each summer the Indians planted and harvested their crops in concealment, and restocked their stores for the coming months of warfare. Now, for the first time in the Florida War, Worth would keep troops active in the field year round. Even through the sickly summer months, even if the climate put soldiers health and lives at risk, Worth’s army would relentlessly pursue the Indians. With nearly 5000 regular Army troops in the field, Worth discharged the active companies of Georgia and Florida militia.

Worth’s instructions to his commanders were simple, “Find the enemy, capture, or exterminate.” If the enemy could not be found, the tactics were to dislodge the bands of Indians from their strongholds in the Florida swamps and to destroy every resource or crop in the field that could be located. Soon bands of haggard Indians, their provisions destroyed, were turning themselves in for deportation.

A large number of the Indians were sent to the West. They now appeared discouraged, especially as their provisions had been destroyed, and their swampy fastness invaded. Yet for several months they maintained a kind of guerilla warfare, ravaging the remote borders, shooting the unguarded traveler, and harassing the soldiery. The Americans suffered greatly from sickness, especially yellow fever and dysentery, brought on by the heat. Many died of sheer exhaustion. – Indian Wars of the United States.

By the fall of 1841, the newspapers were full of praise for the way Colonel William Jenkins Worth was conducting the war against the Seminoles.

General Levi J. Knight, General Thomas Hilliard and Governor C. J. McDonald were not as satisfied with the protection afforded the Georgia frontier. Only two companies of federal troops were positioned along the Georgia line to protect settlers and prevent combatant Indians from moving into the state, which Governor McDonald had repeatedly warned the War Department would result from Colonel Worth’s successes in the Florida Territory. Both companies of federal dragoons were stationed on the east side of the Okeefenokee Swamp, along the St. Mary’s River, one at Fort Moniac, the other at Trader’s Hill, GA.

Indian attacks on white settlers continued to occur along the southern frontier of Georgia and just south of the state line. In the assessment of the settlers of Lowndes County, GA and other border counties, the federal troops detailed to protect the Georgia border were entirely insufficient.

The Indians continued their raids and depredations, and many Floridians and Georgians ascribed their success to the inability of the regulars to handle Indian warfare. Indeed the grand jury of Madison County in Florida issued a presentment setting forth that proposition. Veteran hunters were required to do the job, the jurors found, not the kind of men who entered the army. The solution of course was militia. Properly officered and free of party spirit —which, by the way, was ruining the country— militiamen could end the war. Naturally the regular officers disagreed with such opinions. They believed that the Floridians [and Georgians] were frequently frightened by imaginary Indians, and that the object in criticizing the army was not so much to end the war as to get themselves on the federal payroll.

In Camden County, GA, Aaron Jernigan wrote a letter to Governor McDonald  August 31, 1841, regarding the placement of the federal troops in Georgia.

“I do not think it any protection to the exposed part of the state…The officers and men being unacquainted with the country, and having no guide, it causes them to render but little service to the country…Fear of the Indians, and their attacks down in Florida, have driving the more exposed families from their homes, while others offer their farms at reduced prices, with a view of leaving. I must therefore request your excellency to call into the service of the state at least two companies of volunteers. The safety of the exposed citizens of Georgia requires it. The citizens here have little disposition to turn out for a second term of service, and seldom move but in defence of their own families, owing to the failure to receive pay for their services of last fall...”

Jernigan was an experienced “Indian Fighter” and well familiar with the Georgia Frontier. He led his company of Stewart County militia at the Battle of Shepherd’s Plantation, four miles above Roanoke, GA, in June, 1836.  In July 1836 his company pursued a band of Indians into Chickasawhatchee Swamp and participated in the battle there.  In January 1841 while scouting south of the Okefenokee Swamp between Fort Moniac and Fort Taylor, Jernigan’s company surprised and trailed three warriors six miles into a swamp called “‘Impassable Bay,’ probably one of the most thick and boggy swamps in any part of our country” about 18 miles below the Georgia line in present day Osceola National Forest.  Overtaking the Indians, shots were fired killing one warrior. Jernigan personally killed another, “Jernigan fired, and the Indian fell mortally wounded, but still attempting to rise, the Captain mounted him with his knife, and soon ended the struggle.” A third Indian was wounded but escaped. Jernigan took as trophies “two very fine rifles, almost new; a very splendid silver mounted “Bowie knife,” supposed to have belonged to some officer who was killed by them; several pounds of balls, and two horns of the finest rifle powder, containing two pounds each, and lastly, not least, their scalps, being by far the best prize, I think,” according to a report sent by Captain Henry E. W. Clark to his Excellency Charles J. McDonald, Governor of Georgia.

Governor McDonald replied to Captain Jernigan on Sept 14, 1841:

Executive Department
Milledgeville, September 14, 1841
Sir: Yours of the 31st August has this moment been received, from which I am surprised to hear that the Georgia frontier is still in an unprotected condition, the forces stationed there by the commanding officer in Florida, being inadequate to the purpose. From the strongest assurance of Colonel Worth, that ample protection should be given to this section of Georgia, I had hoped that before this a sufficient military force had been provided, to inspire the people with confidence, that they might remain at their homes without the slightest apprehension of danger.
You will, without delay, organize your company, and call on Captain Sweat to join you with his company, and adopt such immediate measures to prevent the depredation you apprehend from an incursion of the Indians. You will scour the whole exposed district; and I must confide in your judgement in regard to the necessity for the continuance of the force. You will have supplies furnished at the lowest possible cost.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Charles J. McDonald

Governor McDonald followed up with a letter to Colonel Worth, forwarding the intelligence from Captain Jernigan and requesting supplies for the Georgia Militia companies he had ordered into the field.

Executive Department
Milledgeville, September 15, 1841.
Sir: I have the honor to enclose to you the copy of a letter received yesterday from Captain Jernigan, by which I am informed of the state of alarm existing among the inhabitants of the section of Georgia which has been so long subject to the hostile incursions of Indians from Florida. A sense of insecurity on the part of the people, together with the late hostile demonstrations of the Indians in Florida, on their usual rout to Georgia, is well calculated to give rise to the state of things described in Captain Jernigan’s letter. I presume that the unprecedented sickness that has been prevailing in Florida has prevented you from sending as great a force for the protection of this district of the country as you intended when you addressed me in your letter of the 24th of July. But, be the cause what it may, I cannot consent to permit the people of this State to be exposed to the depredations of the Indians, and have ordered out two companies of mounted men for their protection. I must ask you to supply them with the necessary forage and subsistence as long as it is necessary to retain them in the service.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant.
Charles J. McDonald.

Captain Jernigan again wrote from Camden County to Governor McDonald on October 1 to report an Indian attack three miles below the Georgia line.

It was on the 26th of September last Moses Barber, of Florida, was attacked near his dwelling by a party of eleven Indians, was fired on by them, and badly wounded, though he made his escape into his dwelling, defending himself against their firing. They burnt his outhouses during the night, as the attack was made about the going down of the sun. On the next day there was a party of four men assembled themselves for the purpose of going to the relief of Mr. Barber; not knowing the number of Indians, they proceeded on within a mile of Mr. Barber’s house; the Indians arose from each side of the road, and fired upon them, killing two and wounding the third, and killing his horse from under him. The fourth made his escape without any injury, and assisted the wounded one by taking him on his horse. These depredations were committed about three miles from the Georgia line. As soon as the news reached me, I immediately mounted my horse and proceeded to Fort Moniac, to procure a force to pursue them, which was dispatched with as little delay as possible. I volunteered my services to go with them as a guide, and to trail off the Indians. There were four other men in my neighborhood who volunteered their services also, to proceed to the place where they had done their work of havoc, and took their trail, and followed it for two days; but, they having one day the start of us, we could not overtake them. Their course was for the nation, and on their way back they fell in with three other men, killing one and wounding another, who made his escape; the third escaped unhurt.

Scant newspaper accounts of the attack on Moses Barber’s place published in the Savannah Daily Republican indicate the Indians took provisions from the Barber homestead including “some cattle and about 20 bushels of corn.” The two killed in the “party of four” who went to Barber’s aid were Jonathan Thigpen and a Mr. Hicks. For two days Captain Jernigan and the squad of men from Fort Moniac trailed the Indians who were apparently making their way south in the direction of Garey’s Landing (now Middleburg, FL). By September 29, 1841 the fleeing Indians had made their way 30 miles below the Georgia line to Horse Hole Branch, about nine miles north of Black Creek, FL where crossed trails with three white men;  Mr. Bleach, Mr. Penner were killed and a third unidentified man escaped.

General Thomas Hilliard, Brigadier General, 2nd Brigade, 7th Division reported to the Governor from Waresboro, GA in early October,

Dear Sir: The people of this county have again become alarmed at the appearance of Indian signs on the Okefenokee swamp. Some of the inhabitants have left their homes, for fear of being attacked by them, whose forces are daily increasing.
This last intelligence received from the inhabitants adjacent to the Okefenokee swamp leads me to believe that the Indians have again returned to that swamp. Under this impression, I have requested Captain Sweat to call out his company, for the purpose of giving relief to the exposed inhabitants, and to scour the country effectually. He is now upon that duty. Should it become necessary, I will call out another company.
I am apprehensive that Captain Sweat’s company will not be sufficient to protect the exposed country.
Please write me on the subject at as early time as may suit your convenience.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 
Thomas Hilliard.

On October 6, 1841, James A. Sweat’s company of Ware County Militia was called out. Captain Sweat immediately informed the Governor, “Indian signs have been discovered in several places around the Okefenokee swamp, in this county, causing considerable alarm among the inhabitants.” By October 11, 1841, Captain Sweat’s company was garrisoning Fort Floyd. Fort Floyd, erected and occupied by federal troops from 1838 to 1839, had been reactivated.  Fort Floyd was located on the Blackshear Road near the northeast corner of the Ware County side of the Okefenokee swamp. Like Captain Jernigan, Captain Sweat found the local inhabitants, who had not been compensated for previous support of the militia in the field, where unwilling to extend credit to the State for their goods or militia service.

Headquarters, Fort Floyd
October 11, 1841.
Sir: I have the honor to inform your excellency that on Saturday last, while on a scout near the Okefenokee swamp, at a place called the Cowhouse, I discovered considerable Indian signs, most of which were quite new. The trails were mostly leading into the Okefenokee swamp. Having at the same time sent a detachment from my company, I was not able to pursue them to any advantage; but, as soon as I can procure suitable rations for that purpose, I intend to give them a chase.
In relation to our supplies, we get corn, beef, &c., from the inhabitants, on the credit of the State, on which we find some difficulty to obtain it. Your excellency will please advise the most suitable mode to procure supplies. Many of the inhabitants part from their corn, &c., with much reluctance, in consequence of the delay which attended the collection of former claims upon the Government.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
James A. Sweat, Captain.

By October 13, at the urging of Georgia governor McDonald, Secretary of War John Canfield Spencer ordered that the two Georgia militia companies in the field (Jernigan’s Company and Sweat’s Company) be “mustered into the service of the United States,”  although this action was not communicated to McDonald for another two weeks.

An Army memo dated October 17, 1841 detailed the position of regular U.S. troops defending the Georgia frontier. Col. Worth and garrison commanders were convinced these forces were adequate to protection for the settlers in north Florida and South Georgia.

U.S. Army memo on the position of troops defending the Georgia Frontier, October 17, 1841

U.S. Army memo on the position of troops defending the Georgia Frontier, October 17, 1841


Oct. 17, 1841

Memorandum exhibiting the disposition of the troops proximate to the Georgia borders

At Traders Hill                                              1 Compy of Dragoons
At Fort Moniac                                             1 Compy of Dragoons
At Thigpens/South prong of St. Mary’s river 1 Compy of Dragoons
At Norths station                                         1 Compy of Dragoons
At Natural bridge on Santa Fe                    1 Compy of Dragoons
At Fort White on Santa Fe                          1 Compy of Dragoons
At Fort Macomb on Suwannee                   1 Compy of Dragoons
At Fort Pleasant                                         2 — ” — of infy
At Ft. Hamilton / on Bellamy road            1 — ” — of infy [infantry]
.                           near the Ocilla               

at Ft. R. Gamble / 28 miles east of             2 — ” — of infy [infantry]
.                           Tallahassee 

Active scouting has been kept up from Fort Moniac and Traders hill during the summer & until late in Septr. without discovering any Indian Signs. On the 30th of that month the commanders of those stations reported signs of indians & that troops were actively engaged in pursuit of the enemy.

Head Qrs. Ay of Fla. Tampa
Octo 17, 1841

In General Knight’s assessment these federal garrisons were entirely inadequate, which might be understood given their remoteness from the watershed routes into Lowndes County. Troupville, the county seat of government in 1840, was situated on the Withlacoochee River.

  • Traders Hill, GA, 1 Company of Dragoons, was situated on the St. Mary’s River east of the Okefenokee Swamp, approximately 100 miles by road from Troupville, GA.
  • Fort Moniac, 1 Company of Dragoons, on the St. Mary’s River south of the Okefenokee, approximately 75 miles from Troupville
  • Thigpens/South prong of St. Mary’s river 1 Company of Dragoons, on Deep Creek, in the Florida Territory about 6 miles south of the Georgia line, about 110 miles from Troupville.
  • North’s station, 1 Company of Dragoons, at Blount’s Ferry on the Suwannee River at or near the Georgia line, approximately 55 miles from Troupville
  • Natural bridge on the Santa Fe River, 1 Company of Dragoons, on the Bellamy Road, approximately 85 miles south of Troupville, GA in the Florida Territory
  • Fort White, at a steamboat landing on the Santa Fe River, 1 Company of Dragoons, in the Florida Territory about 85 miles south of Troupville and 10 miles west of Natural Bridge.
  • Fort Macomb on Suwannee River, 1 Company of Dragoons, approximately 70 miles due south of Troupville, GA, 30 miles west of Fort White.
  • Fort Pleasant, 2 Companies of infantry, at the crossing of the Econfina River, about 65 miles southwest of Troupville, GA
  • Fort Hamilton, on Bellamy road near the Aucilla River, 1 Company of infantry, about 55 miles southwest of Troupville.
  • Fort Robert Gamble,  28 miles east of Tallahassee, 2 Companies of infantry, on Welaunee Creek, about 10 miles west of Fort Hamilton and about 55 miles southwest of Troupville, GA
A fort in the Florida Territory, Second Seminole War

A fort in the Florida Territory, Second Seminole War

Certainly across the state line from Lowndes County, GA the citizens of Hamilton County in the Florida Territory were alarmed. Hamilton County stretches from the Suwanee River on the east and south to the Withlacoochee river on the west, and includes the confluences of the Withlacoochee and Alapaha rivers with the Suwannee. These watersheds provided routes for Indians moving from the Florida Territory into Georgia.

In the first district of Hamilton County, the settlers had gathered up in a stockade at Livingston’s Ferry, which crossed the Suwannee River five miles south of the junction with the Withlacoochee, about 45 miles south of Troupville, GA.  Families who remained outside a fortified enclosure were risking their lives.

Overstreet Murders

Jacob Crosby, recalled events of 1841 in a memoir published May 26, 1885 in the Athens Banner Watchman.

The only hostile gun ever fired by the Indians within the boundaries of the county [Hamilton County, FL], was in the first district on the Alapaha river, near its junction with the Suwannee. George Overstreet, with his family, had been living in the stockade at Livingston’s ferry, situated at the foot of the shoals below where Ellaville has been built up since that time.
Mr. Overstreet found the morals of the people in the stockade growing so bad he determined to take the chances of a life in the forest with all its risks and inconveniences, rather than remain. He moved up the Suwannee into the neighborhood of the place where Mrs. Bird is now living, about five miles west of the lower Suwannee spring. Here he remained by a short time, being satisfied that the Indians were near him and watching for an opportunity to attack him.
He moved again, crossed the Suwannee and settled on the Alapaha, a mile or two from Zipperer’s ferry. He built a new double pen house, and had completed one end of it, in which he and his family slept, the other end being in an unfinished condition; his family cooked and eat their meals in an older house that stood near.
On the 11th of October, 1841, [October 17, 1841] Mr. Overstreet and his family had supper in early evening, and had gone into the new house to prepare for going to rest; his family was composed of himself, wife, several children, a nephew and Dr. Ragland.
Mrs. Overstreet had one of her little ones in her lap, the remainder of the family was seated around the fire, but [Silas] Overstreet [1830-1895], who was then a buckie-lad of a fellow, quite unlike the man he has grown to be since. He was in a sort of loft of a place, and was amusing himself with a hatchet, when the Indians fired a volley of rifles and arrows through the cracks of the house. Two of the children were killed, the one in its mother’s lap and one other.
Mr. Overstreet caught up his rifle and ran out doors and attempted to fire into the squad of savages, but the gun snapped which made the Indians run off and during their absence he ran back into the house and told his family to run for their lives. Mrs. Overstreet found the child in her lap was dead and laid on her bed and taking another of her little ones in her arms ran out with the rest of her family; in the entry they were met by the Indians, who fired another volley at them wounding her with an arrow in the arm; near the shoulder joint and [Silas] Overstreet with an arrow in the thigh. Dr. Raglan was hit in four places but all ran out into the dark; Mr. Overstreet would snap his gun at the Indians and keep them backed off until his family got off without further injury. Dr. Raglan and Mr. Overstreet’s nephew were together all night and being cold the little fellow smuggled up close to the old man all he could to keep warm, and when they found the little boy’s clothing were so bloody everybody thought he was covered with wounds, be he had not been injured. Mrs. Overstreet pulled the arrow out of her arm, and Dr. Overstreet attempted to get rid of his, but left the arrow head in his thigh, where it remained five months, but was finally taken out by Dr.[Henry] Briggs of Troupville.
   [Silas] Overstreet concealed himself and family in a tree top, that had fallen until morning; during the night the Indians passed so near their place of concealment that they were heard very distinctly talking, but they passed without discovering them. Dr. Raglan and the little boy lay in a sink until morning.
The Indians sacked their house and burned it; in moving the bed out in the yard to get the ticking they took the little dead child out that was killed in Mrs. Overstreet’s lap, the other was burned in the house. The next day when Mr. Overstreet and his neighbors returned they found the bones of the dead child, the bones having been eaten by the hogs; some of the bones of the other child were recovered from the burned building and Mr. Overstreet preserved them carefully until the death of his wife, when he buried all in the same grave…

A month after the event, an account was published in the St. Augustine News. The story was picked up by newspapers all over the country.

St. Augustine News
Nov 13, 1841


Mineral Springs. (Fla.) Oct. 21, 1841.
To the Editors of the News:
Sir-I here hasten to give you an account of recent murders committed by your savage foes, on the family of one of our most respectable citizens. On Sunday night (17th inst.) between the hours of 7 and 8 o’clock, the house of Mr. George Overstreet, distant 10 miles from this place, and on the West bank of the Suwannee river, in Hamilton County, was fired on by a party of Indians, supposed to number about fifteen. Two of Mr. G. Overstreet’s children were killed, and his wife and two children wounded. Two of Mr. Silas Overstreet’s children were in the house at the time but escaped unhurt. Dr. Raglin, who was also in the house at the same time, is mortally wounded, have received three balls in his body. He immediately fled from the house, but from the loss of blood, was unable to proceed more than three hundred yards, where he secreted himself until morning. Mr. Overstreet, his lady, and two wounded children fled, and made good their escape. Mrs. O. and her two children who are wounded were shot with arrows. This is the most conclusive proof that the ammunition of the Indians must be nearly exhausted. The Indians plundered the house then applied the torch, burning it to the ground, with the lifeless bodies of Mr. O’s, two children in it. Mr. O. who was well situated in life, and who had every thing comfortable around him, is now with his wounded wife and two children, thrown upon the world with scarcely a change of clothes.

1838 map showing locations of Frankinville, GA and Mico Town, FL

1838 map detail showing locations of Franklinville, GA and Micco Town, FL

In pursuing the Indians it was found that they had crossed the Withlacoochee above where Ellaville [FL] is, on rafts made with logs; they made good their escape into the swamps of Madison county.

According to the Madison County, Florida Genealogical News, the perpetrators of the Overstreet murders were lynched.

A pursuing party, headed by Robert Dees, was formed to trail the Indians. The party trailed the Indians into Madison County, where they were re-enforced by General William Bailey [1790-1867] and his company of Militia. A scout sent out by Bailey captured eight Indians and two white men who had accompanied the party that had attacked the Overstreet home… The eight captured Indians were killed by the scouting party.

“The old diary from which the above it taken, states that every one of the volunteer soldiers was anxious
to shoot the captured Indians. It was Mr. Dees who did the hanging. He tied one end of the rope around the
Indian’s neck, and would throw the other end over a limb, and would draw him up like a bucket of water from a well, holding him in this fashion until everyone had had a chance to shoot the savage. When every member of the party had taken a shot, the Indian was let down and another drawn up in the same manner.”

The two white men, Stephen Yomans and Jack Jewell, were returned to Fort Jackson, where they were tried, convicted, and sentenced to hang.

Jacob Crosby reflected on the hanging of Yomans and Jewell.

Stephen Yomans and Jack Jewell were hanged by a convention of the citizens of Madison and Jefferson counties, presided over by General William Bailey, of Jefferson, for [im]personating Indians and committing robbery and murder on the highway. They admitted their guilt with the rope around their necks. The justice of the execution of these men was conceded by all at the time, but many years afterwards, Gen. Bailey was the democratic candidate for Governor, and, was opposed by Thomas Brown, who raised the cry of regulation, and defeated the General. It may have been right, but I think until now that Gen. Bailey ought to have been elected, if hanging Yomans and Jewell was all his opponents could charge against him.

Other settlers were suspected of collusion with the Indians.

There was much hard talk among the people before the close of the war against the Charles family who lived at Charles’ ferry on the Suwannee, during the entire seven years war with the Seminoles, within the territory occupied by the Indians the family was never interfered with by the Indians and that circumstance gave rise to severe criticism.
Ambrose Cook lived on Cook’s hammock during the entire time the war lasted and when the Indians left after the war, he disappeared also and many were of the opinion he went away with them.

In Lowndes County, GA, Levi J. Knight, Major General of the Sixth Division State Militia, learned of the Overstreet murders five days after the attack.  General Knight ordered Captain Solomon W. Morgan and Captain John J. Johnson to take their militia companies into the field. He immediately fired off a letter to Governor  McDonald.

Lowdnes County, October 23, 1841
Sir: I this day received information, through Captain John J. Johnson, an experienced officer who served under General Nelson and Captain Morgan, who has a volunteer company organized for the purpose of entering the Florida service, that several of George Overstreet’s family had been murdered by Indians on the 17th instant, ten miles below the Georgia line, and from their trail, proceeded up the river, supposed to be about fifteen or twenty in number. Signs of them were found by Captain Morgan and others, above Micco, five miles below the line in the Alappaha swamp, yesterday. Believing they have continued up into the State in this county, I issued orders to Captains Johnson and Morgan to take a detachment of twenty-five men each, and proceed immediately in search of them, and report to me immediately if any signs are to be found in this State between the Suwannee and Alappaha. As there are no forces in the field in that section, I have thought proper to order these companies to protect that section until your excellency shall have an opportunity to cause forces to be sent, or orders for these companies, or one of them to remain and defend it.
Very respectfully, your excellency’s obedient and very humble servant,
Levi J. Knight, Maj. Gen.
His Excellency Charles J. McDonald.

Within days, General Knight was receiving reports from Captain Morgan that signs of an Indian band had been found along the Alapaha River. Morgan intended to search for the Indians and asked after what provisions he should expect and where he should take up station.

Letter to General KNIGHT.

Lowndes County, October 28, 1841.
SIR: In obedience to your order, I collected a part of my company, and proceeded down the river in search of the Indians. In the river swamp, immediately at the Georgia line, I found considerable signs about two or three days old. On Monday last, several Indians were seen at Mr. Duncan’s about eight miles below this line; and on Tuesday last, Mr. Lee’s son saw several at or near his father’s house. Mr. Lee lives immediately on the line, and on the Alappaha swamp. I believe there is a good number of Indians in this neighborhood ; a trail of some ten or fifteen Indians we found bearing towards Suwanoochee creek, in a northeast direction from the Alappaha river, three miles below the line. All the families in this section are assembled together for protection. I will start tomorrow with a full company in search of them. Captain Johnson is gone to Centreville to meet the United States paymaster, and will not go himself. I expect some of his men will go under his lieutenant. I would be glad you would issue orders where to station, and what we must do for provisions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

General Knight’s reply was that the men were not being called up for a definite period of service, and should provision themselves.

Captain J. J. Johnson.
Lowndes County, November 1, 1841.
As the Indians are in your neighborhood, you· will proceed with your company to search with energy the swamps between Alappaha and Okefenokee swamp until further orders; the men will furnish their own provisions, forage, &c. I have written to his excellency, enclosing copies of your letters. As I am not advised what forces are in the field for the protection of the Georgia frontier, I do not know whether or not your company will be wanted longer than till other forces can be sent.
Respectfully yours,
Levi J. Knight, Major General

N. B.· The same was sent to Captain Morgan.

The Georgia Militia companies in the field continued to report signs of Indian presence in and around the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and the Florida Territory, but were not mustered into service. Nor were the militia companies of Florida.

Governor McDonald, of Georgia, had a list of grievances against the U.S. Army. The people of Florida charged the Federal Government with maladministration of the war effort. Governor Richard Keith Call was removed from office for his criticism of the conduct of the war. The removal of Governor Call did not silence criticism, however.

The war dragged on through 1841 with no apparent end in sight. The Overstreet murders were not to be the last of Indian attacks on the Georgia Frontier.



Seaborn Lastinger Shot for Desertion

A sad Berrien County scene was the execution of Seaborn Lastinger for desertion from the Confederate States Army.

Civil War deserter executed by firing squad.

Civil War deserter executed by firing squad.

Seaborn Lastinger was one of the early settlers of Old Berrien, arriving before 1830, before Berrien even was a county. He was  enumerated in the 1830 Census as a head of  household Lowndes County, GA. He was a brother of William Lastinger, who owned the Stoney Hill plantation and the Lastinger Mill at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA and who before the Civil War “was the largest landholder, the largest slaveholder, and the largest taxpayer in Berrien and Lowndes counties.

Seaborn Lastinger was the husband of Elender Driggers Lastinger, and father of Nancy Lastinger, Mary Lastinger, Ellen Lastinger, Sarah Lastinger, William Lastinger, and Susan Lastinger. According to the history of the John Lastinger Family of America, he was a soldier in the Confederate States Army. During the Civil War, he left his unit without permission and came home to Berrien County.

Taking “French leave,” or going absent without leave, was not uncommon among Confederate soldiers (see J. D. Evans was Skulking and Hiding OutElbert J. Chapman Was A Victim of Military DisciplineAlbert Douglass: Soldier Grey and Sailor Blue) Rewards were offered for deserters. Companies sent men to hunt them down. Throughout the war, the penalty for being absent without leave ranged widely. The penalty might be as lenient as amnesty, a stern lecture, extra duty, confinement to tent, or loss of rank. But some men were executed. Widows of men executed for desertion would later be denied a pension.

The execution of Seaborn Lastinger made an indelible impression on his  six-year-old niece, Nebraska Lastinger, daughter of William Lastinger.  In a letter written from Nashville, GA seventy years after the event she described the scene.  Her narrative suggests the family and perhaps she herself witnessed the execution.

Nebraska Lastinger wrote about the execution of her uncle Seaborn Lastinger during the Civil War.

Nebraska Lastinger wrote about the execution of her uncle Seaborn Lastinger during the Civil War.

“I will try to explain what Detail meant.  During the Civil War the soldiers would come home without furlow; they were called deserters.  The Details were a Company of men too old to serve in the army.  Their duty was to find deserters and send them back to the army.  For a deserter’s third offence he was to be shot by a squad of the details appointed by the higher officers.

Uncle Seaborn was shot at sunrise.  He was blindfolded standing on his knees by a large pine tree.  My father took it hard, and recorded it in his record this way: (Shot by those damned men called Details).”

The execution apparently occurred about 1863, but no official record of Seaborn’s military unit or service has been forthcoming.  What became of his family is not known.

Related Posts:

Pioneers appeal to the Governor about Indians in Lowndes County, GA

 Portrait of William Schley (1786-1858 ) Governor of GA from 1835-37, O/C, unsigned but in the manner of Rembrandt Peale or Gilbert Stuart

Portrait of William Schley (1786-1858 ) Governor of GA from 1835-37, O/C, unsigned but in the manner of Rembrandt Peale or Gilbert Stuart

Following the 1836 Skirmish at William Parker’s Place, the Battle of Brushy Creek, and other violent encounters with Native Americans in old Lowndes County, GA, an emissary from among the Lowndes pioneer settlers in late August, 1836 traveled the 180 miles to the state capitol at Milledgeville, GA to personally convey the state of affairs to Governor William Schley.  Even while the spokesman was in transit to Milledgeville, militia under the command of Col. Henry Blair, Captain Levi J. Knight and Captain Lindsey engaged a band of Indians at the Skirmish at Cow Creek,. The Lowndes appeal to the governor was widely reported in Georgia newspapers.  Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, had previously written to Schley on militia actions against the Indians on July 13, 1836. Among those men serving in Knight’s company were David Clements, James Edmondson, Thomas Giddens, Frederick Giddens, Isbin Giddens, William Giddens, Moses Giddens, John Gaskins, Harmon Gaskins, George Harnage, Jonathan Knight, John Knight, Etheldred Newbern, Bryant Roberts, Martin Shaw, Sr.,  and Dixson Thomas.

The Creek Indians, who were fleeing forced migration to western states, were attempting to make their way to join the Seminoles in Florida. Indeed, the Alabama Emigrating Company had already been contracted to remove “these troublesome neighbors” as quickly as possible, at a price of $28.50 per head; General Thomas Sidney Jesup was credited with executing the contract for the “speedy removal” by the “most efficient means.” Jesup was famously quoted as having declared about the Seminole that “[t]he country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”

Ft. Hawkins, GA Messenger, Sept 8, 1836, reports Indians in Lowndes County, GA.

Ft. Hawkins, GA Messenger, Sept 8, 1836, reports Indians in Lowndes County, GA.


Ft. Hawkins Messenger
September 8, 1836


A most respectable and intelligent citizen of Lowndes has just visited Milledgeville, in order to communicate to the executive full information of the unhappy condition of his fellow citizens, for the last too months there have been parties of Creek Indians almost constantly in that county. Lowndes lies on the route travelled by the Creeks in escaping from the Alabama Creek country to Florida; and it abounds in wide deep and dense swamps, forming a continuous covered and secret way for the passage of the Indians. Parties of savages, or their recent traces are so frequently seen that the county is kept in a state of continual alarm. No family can feel safe at night, under a belief that there may be a party of hostile and cruel savages lying hid within a few miles of them. Many plantations have been plundered of every article that could he carried away by Indians. The people of Lowndes have acted with extraordinary alacrity and spirit.— On the discovery of Indians or their fresh signs, parties of citizens immediately assemble and pursue them. Whenever they have overtaken the Indians, they have attacked them successfully; but most frequently the savages elude their pursuers in the swamps. The entire military population of Lowndes is about three hundred; of whom one third have been in constant service for a month past. These parties of Indians have killed none of the whites except in battle; but squaws who have been taken in one of the engagements say that when the women and children shall have been conveyed to Florida, the warriors, aided by the Seminoles, will return, and carry on a different kind of war. It is believed that they are now collecting provisions in a very deep swamp lying on the border of Lowndes and Ware: and that they intend to make a permanent lodgment in this tangled, boggy and almost impenetrable wilderness. Federal Union, Aug. 30.

——— ♦ ———

The Creeks, it appears, are dividing themselves into small parties of from ten to fifty in number, in order to elude the vigilance of the Georgia troops, and make good their escape to Florida, where they hope to battle to better advantage. Hundreds, we may say have already made their way to the Seminoles, where prompted by the almost universal success of that nation, and in conjunction with them, they will make a bold and daring stand.
A gentleman recently from Hamilton county, informs us that body of Indians, from ten to sixty in a gang, are continually passing down, and when interrupted by the whites hastily collected together, fly to a hammock, and dare them to come in. — Floridian.

Related Posts:

Reverend Edwin B. Carroll

Edwin B. Carroll, Captain of the Berrien Minute Men, Company G, 29th Georgia Regiment.

Edwin B. Carroll, Captain of the Berrien Minute Men, Company G, 29th Georgia Regiment.

Reverend Edwin B. Carroll

Rev. Edwin Benajah Carroll was born March 3, 1841 in North Carolina and died at his home in Carrollton, GA on October 13, 1903. He is buried in the Hickory Head Baptist Church Cemetery, Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia.


Edwin B. Carroll was a son of James Carroll and nephew of Jesse Carroll, brothers who were pioneer settlers of that area of old Lowndes County, GA cut into Berrien County in 1856, and which is now  Lanier County, GA. Edwin was eight years old when they arrived. The Carrolls were prominent in establishing the Missionary  Baptist church in this area.

“In 1857 Daniel B. Carroll (James’ son [and brother of Edwin B. Carroll]) and James S. Harris (James Carroll’s son-in-law) deeded land for a Missionary Baptist Church. Trustees to whom the deed was made were James Carroll, James Dobson, James’ sons John T. [Carroll] and James H. [Carroll], and James S. Harris.  Rev. Caswell Howell, who had recently settled here, is said to have been its first pastor. [Rev. Howell was a brother of Barney Howell, who was a mail carrier on the Troupville route.] The church, directly north of today’s courthouse [present day site of Mathis Law office, 64 W. Church Street Lakeland, GA], was built of hand-split lumber with hand-hewn sills, and put together with wooden pegs. The ten-inch-wide ceiling boards were planed by hand.” – Nell Roquemore, in Roots, Rocks and Recollections

After attending local country school Edwin’s father sent him to Marshall College. In 1860 he entered Mercer University where he was a classmate of Robert Hamilton Harris; Both men left the college for service in the Confederate States Army and served in the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment.

Edwin B. Carroll left the school in 1861 to join the Berrien Minute Men, a Confederate infantry unit in the 29th GA Regiment.  He served on coastal artillery in Savannah and in the Atlanta Campaign.  He was captured in July, 1864 and spent almost a year in Johnson’s Island Military prison before renouncing Confederate citizenship and taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America.  When he was released in June 1865 he 24 years old.

When the War ended, and he returned home, he could find no employment but teaching, in which he has been engaged almost every year since… In October, 1865, he was married to Mrs. Julia E. Hayes, of Thomasville, Georgia. She is all that a preacher’s wife should be.

Minutes of Penfield Baptist Church show he was granted a letter of dismission on April 15, 1866.

The church at Stockton, Georgia, where he was teaching, gave him, unsought, a license to preach, and in 1868, he was ordained at Macedonia Church, without having requested it, by a presbytery consisting of Revs James Williamson and R.S. Harvey. He does not seem to have enjoyed preaching much, however, until 1873. He often made failures, as he thought, at times not speaking more than five minutes before he would take his seat. He has always felt it a cross, but one that he must take up.

The 1870 census of Berrien County, GA shows he was living in Milltown (now Lakeland), GA and working as a school teacher.

His first pastorate was in 1873, at Ocapilco. The same year he accepted a call to Hickory Head, of which he has ever since been pastor. For two years he preached two Sabbaths in the month for the church at Madison, Florida, and for the same length of time, at Valdosta, Georgia. He is now (1880) pastor of Hickory Head and Quitman churches. In these seven years, he has baptized about two hundred persons.

 In 1874, he was tendered a professorship in the Young Female College, Thomasville, Georgia, but declined for fear he could not fill it satisfactorily, thus modestly distrusting his own abilities… He is a cousin of Rev. B.H. Carroll [Benajah Harvey Carroll] of Waco, Texas, and of Rev. J.L. Carroll, of Virginia. 

Reverend Carroll served as pastor of the Okapilco Baptist Church from January 1873 to November 1875. He served as pastor of Hickory Head Baptist Church from 1873 to 1890. In July 1874, Rev. Carroll conducted a great revival at Hickory Head.

At the 2nd annual session of the Mercer Baptist Association, October 2, 1875 convened at Friendship Church, Brooks County, GA, he was elected clerk of the association. He was also preaching at Madison, FL and occasionally at Valdosta, GA. In addition to preaching, E. B. Carroll was principal of the Hickory Head Academy near Quitman, GA.  In politics he favored increasing state funding for education and year round school.

In 1876, E. B. Carroll, along with James McBride, N. A. Bailey and R. W. Phillips formed the presbytery for the ordination of Richard A. Peeples; At the time, Peeples was judge of the County Court of Lowndes County, GA and had previously served as Clerk of the Court in Berrien County.

At the commencement of Mercer University in July 1876 the Board of Trustees conferred on Edwin B. Carroll the degree of Master of Arts. In 1878 he became pastor of the Valdosta Baptist church and preached his first sermon in that capacity on  Sunday, February 3, 1878.  The Christian Index reported, “He has charge of two churches, and a school, and controls, also, a fine farm.”

He is now [1880] living on his farm, in Brooks County, Georgia, preaching to his two churches and superintending his planting interests, quiet and contented. He is ever full of praise and gratitude to the Giver of all good, and seems to desire only the privilege of living to the glory of God and the good of his fellow-men.

Reverend Carroll and Julia Carroll were the parents of eight children.

  1. James Albert Carroll (1867–1941)
  2. Campbell Carlton Carroll (1870–1899) 1 September 1870 • Berrien County, GA
  3. Mary Elizabeth Carroll (1873–1945) 24 June 1873 • Thomas County, GA
  4. Julia Emma Carroll (1875–1881) 12 October 1875 • Brooks County, GA
  5. Cora Ethel Carroll (1878–) Jan 1878 • Georgia
  6. Edwin B. Carroll, Jr (1879–)Oct 1879 • Georgia
  7. Josephine A. Carroll (1882-1966)
  8. Patterson Carroll (1883-)

From 1879 to 1881 Reverend E. B. Carroll was pastor of the Quitman Baptist Church, preaching in the original frame building which stood on West Screven Street, Quitman, GA.

Reverend E. B. Carroll was one of the 71 Georgia delegates in attendance at the 1879 Southern Baptist Convention convened at Atlanta, GA, May 8, 1879. Among the other delegates were P. H. Mell, E. Z. T. Golden, and C. S. Golden. Rev. Carroll preached the Saturday service at the 1880 Sunday School Convention of the Mercer Baptist Association at Grooverville, GA; Rev. R. A. Peeples preached the Sunday service to a packed church. Reverend E. Z. T. Golden was president of the convention.

For the November 1880 term of the Superior Court of Brooks County, GA, Edwin B. Carroll served as foreman of the Grand Jury.

In early August 1881, the Carroll’s six year old daughter Julia came down sick. After an illness of five weeks, she passed away on a Saturday morning, September 17, 1881 at Hickory Head, GA.

In 1882, Rev. E. B. Carroll preached at the Thomasville Baptist Church, filling in for Rev. Mr. Golden who was on vacation. The town’s other clergy were Rev. Mr. Wynn, Methodist; Rev. Mr. Fogartie, Presbyterian; Rev. Charles C. Prendergast, Catholic; Rev. N. Waterman, African Baptist Church, Rev. J. A. Cary, African Methodist Episcopal.

By 1884, Rev. E. B. Carroll had given up management of the Hickory Head Academy, but continued to serve as pastor of the Hickory Head Baptist Church. He was also preaching at the Baptist Church in Boston, GA


In 1885 Edwin B. Carroll participated in the organization of a Farmer’s Club at Boston, GA.  As an investment, he purchased ten acres of land from Mr. G. W. Garrison on the Jones Road near the Thomasville city limit.

In May 1885, he was a delegate at the Southern Baptist Convention held at Green Street Baptist Church, Augusta, GA. On July 4, 1885 it was announced that he had accepted the pastorate of the Baptist Church at Camilla, preaching there the first and third Sundays each month. He was also appointed Principal of the Camilla High School. Later that year he moved his family to Cairo, GA, there taking up the former residence of Mr. Griffin.  He was appointed to manage the Cairo Academy, his predecessors being Rev. John Byron Wight and Robert Hamilton Harris, who wrote about his experiences as a lieutenant of the 29th Georgia on Sapelo Island where the Berrien Minute Men had stationed in 1861.

In January 1886 Edwin B. Carroll resigned the pastorate of Hickory Head Church, Brooks County, and accepted a call from Friendship Church in Thomas County.  By June of 1886, the  Baptist Church at Camilla had raised a salary sufficient to induce Reverend Carroll, of Cairo, to make Camilla his home, and there preach two Sunday’s a month. He also resumed teaching in Camilla with a school of some 70 students.

In Camilla, the Carroll’s social engagements included sponsoring the Camilla Literary Club which met in the parlor of their residence. Rev. Carroll’s school also put on an annual exhibition at Bennett Hall, and he was involved in organizing the Camilla lodge of the Knights of Honor.  The Knights of Honor (K. of H.),  a fraternal order and secret society in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, was one of the most successful beneficiary societies of its time. The order was created in 1873 specifically to charter lodges idolizing Confederate leaders, which other fraternal organizations had refused to do.

A year later, the Camilla Baptist Church provided Rev. Carroll an annual salary of $900 to preach four Sunday’s a month.  He, with Rev. Powell continued to teach at the Camilla Academy. Rev. Carroll tendered his resignation from the pastorate at Hickory Head Church and moved his family into the Hotel Georgia  at Camilla, renting some six or seven rooms on the second floor. The newly opened Hotel Georgia was said to be elegantly furnished, constructed at a cost of $68,946.84. It was a three-story, 68 room affair, situated on Broad Street in Camilla, GA. The hotel’s rooms included a gentlemen’s Parlor, a drummer’s sample room, and a very large dining room with the table setting of silver-ware costing $1856.16. The hotel was under the management of Col. George G. Duy and his wife, with assistant manager Capt. C. R. Parrish. The kitchen was staffed with three cooks and equipped with a $1,200 range. The carpet on the parlor floor cost $3.15 per yard. Rev. Carroll continued to host the meetings of the Camilla Literary Club in his parlor at Hotel Georgia.

The Pittsburgh Ramie Manufacturing Company planned to erect a large factory at Thomasville, GA to process ramie plants into fiber.

The Pittsburgh Ramie Manufacturing Company planned to erect a large factory at Thomasville, GA to process ramie plants into fiber.

On April 28, 1888, the Thomasville Times announced that Reverend Carroll had sold the ten acre tract in which he had invested three years earlier.  The land was purchased by the Pittsburgh Ramie Manufacturing Company for the purpose of cultivating ramie. Ramie, or China Grass, is one of the oldest fiber crops, having been used for at least 6,000 years, and is principally used for fabric production.  It was anticipated that ramie would become an important agricultural crop in the U.S., but the fiber found limited acceptance for textile use.

About the first of May, 1888, Rev. Carroll moved his family into houses owned by W. A. Hurst at Camilla, GA. Mr. Hurst moved into the Hotel Georgia. By October, the Carrolls moved into the new Baptist parsonage. Rev. Carroll’s preaching schedule changed to two Sundays a month at Camilla Baptist Church,  and two Sundays a month at Flint and some other church.

In 1889 he took over preaching at Mount Enon Church, Cumming County, GA.

In 1890, Reverend E. B. Carroll was chosen as pastor of the First Baptist Church at Albany, GA.  The Carrolls traveled by train to Albany. Arriving at the Albany depot on Tuesday February 18, 1890, the Carrolls were received by a large crowd. They occupied the residence of Mr. Gary Pittman.  That year, Rev Carroll traveled to Jonesboro, GA to visit the Civil War battlefields where he had been a prisoner of war 25 years earlier, and where his brother died.

Rev. E.B. Carroll of Albany had a brother killed at the battle of Jonesboro in the “late unpleasantness,” and while there last week visited the old battle fields. The relic hunter has made but few invasions on this spot, and Mr. Carroll picked up an old musket barrel and bayonet, both marked by the ravages of the elements during the twenty-five years of peace, and will preserve them as relics of sacred memory.

Rev. E. B. Carroll, of Albany, has found some interesting relics on the battlefield of Jonesboro. They consist of the barrel of a muzzle-loading musket that was pulled from the breastworks in a dilapidated condition, a bayonet, that has been placed on the muzzle of the barrel, and several bullets, battered by their contacts with objects on the field.

On April 26, 1890, he gave the invocation at the Albany, GA cemetery for the Confederate Memorial Day observation and fundraiser for a monument “to the sainted memory of the dead.”

“In 1874, the Georgia General Assembly [had] approved legislation adding as a new public holiday ‘The 26th day of April in each year – commonly known as Memorial Day.’ April 26 marks the anniversary of the end of the Civil War for Georgia, for it was on this day in 1865 that Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina became official. Johnston had been in charge of Georgia’s defense, so this day marked the end of the war for Georgia…The day of observance may trace to the women of Columbus, Georgia, who on April 12, 1866 organized a memorial association and began a campaign to have a special day for “’paying honor to those who died defending the life, honor and happiness of the Southern women.’

Rev. E. B. Carroll’s brother, Dr. William J. Carroll, was pastor of the Baptist church at Milltown, GA.

Edwin B. Carroll

Edwin B. Carroll

In May 1891, Rev. Carroll attended the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, AL representing the Mallary Association. In October that year the Baptist Church of Dalton, GA sought his services, but he remained in Albany. He was a leading figure in fundraising for the construction of a new church building for Albany. The Albany News and Advertiser reported, “Rev. E.B. Carroll deserves especial commendation for the interest he takes in this affair and the indomitable energy with which he is pushing the work.” The building was completed in February, 1892.

Rev. Carroll gave the introductory sermon at the Georgia Baptist Convention which convened in LaGrange, GA in 1892. The delegate from Valdosta was Reverend P.H. Murray.

When the Columbian Exposition was about to open in 1892, Rev. Carroll led a petition drive opposing the opening of the Exposition gates on Sundays. Public funds for the Exposition had been appropriated by U.S. Congress on the condition that the Expo would be closed on Sundays, but the organizers  and the Chicago Women’s Club were lobbying to have that condition removed.

Followers of Totten’s prophecies…

Charles Adiel Lewis Totten is listed in Who Was Who in America (1: 1247) as a professor of military science at Yale from 1889 to 1892, who resigned to spend more time on his religious studies. He was a British-Israelist, believing that the Anglo-Saxons were the lost tribes of Israel, and an Adventist, who predicted the reign of Antichrist would occur in the seven-year period from 1892 to 1899.

Rev. Carroll again represented the Mallary Association at the 1893 Southern Baptist Convention, met at Nashville, TN.

In 1894, Rev. Carroll accepted the pastorate of Vineville Baptist Church, Macon, GA, which had been founded in 1891 just a couple of miles from the campus of Mercer University.

In February 1895, a 10 acre parcel of land owned by Rev. Carroll on the Bainbridge Road in Thomas County was seized by the Superior Court and sold at auction to satisfy a debt he owed to Alice D. Tiller.  On June 23, 1895, Rev. Carroll made a return visit to Camilla, GA where he gave the commencement sermon for the Camilla High School.  That summer Mrs. E.B. Carroll was among the women of Macon who pledged to boycott stores that kept clerks working after 6:00 PM. The petition was published in the Macon Telegraph:

“Believing that for the sake of humanity that clerks who are on their feet all day should be allowed some recreation during the long summer days, and knowing that no merchant could possibly lose a cent if they will agree to close at 6 o’clock in the afternoon, we, the undersigned ladies, agree not to trade with any dry goods merchant who does not close his store at 6 o’clock p.m. (Saturdays excepted) from June 24 to September 1, 1895”

At the 1896 State Baptist Convention at Cedartown, GA, Rev. Carroll was elected to the Board of Trustees of Mercer University. From that membership, he was elected Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board. In October he issued the following:

The executive committee must have help or the young men who are in Mercer preparing for preaching the gospel must be told not to return after the Christmas holidays.
There are more than twenty of them receiving aid from the committee. Will not the churches send us money to keep these men here through the entire session?
The committee is greatly interested in this work, and indulges the hope that the brethren will respond to the call made.
Brother C.B. Willingham is treasurer of the committee, and he will be glad to receive your checks.

The Superior Court of Bibb County on December 14, 1896 appointed Rev. E.B. Carroll chair of a council of white church members of the First Baptist Church of Christ and the Vineville Baptist Church to supervise the election of a pastor at the African-American First Baptist Church, where a dispute had emerged among the congregation regarding the selection of a pastor.

The First Baptist Church on Cotton Avenue was established by African-Americans more than a quarter of a century before the adoption of the Emancipation Proclamation, which called for the freedom of all slaves on United States soil. Its origin was in the Baptist Church of Christ at Macon. For the first eight years, whites and African-Americans worshiped in the same building. Records indicate that at the time, there were two hundred eighty-three African-Americans and one hundred ninety-nine whites. In 1835, E.G. Cabiness, an early historian, wrote: “It’s thus seen that a majority of the church are slaves.” As members of the racially mixed church, the African-Americans were to a great extent, a distinct body. Alternate services were led under the direction of a licensed minister and deacons of their own color. Members exercised authority to receive and exclude persons as members of their church body. The ordinances, however, were administered by the pastor of the whole church. On March 1, 1845, land and building were deeded to the colored portion of the Baptist Church at Macon, “for religious services and moral cultivation forever.” -http://firstbaptistmacon.org/history.php 

Through the Civil War the African-American First Baptist Church was under the pastorship of white ministers. Black congregations were required by law to have white ministers and supervision. The church’s first ordained African-American minister was not called until Reconstruction. In 1886, the church became a charter member of the National Baptist Convention. In this period, Black Baptists in the former Confederacy overwhelmingly left white-dominated churches to form independent congregations and get away from white supervision. Following the death of Reverend Tenant Mack Robinson in 1896, a disagreement among the deacons resulted in the church being closed by court action in November, 1896 and the appointment of Reverend Carroll to the supervising council.

In February, 1897 he made a visit to Griffin, GA, scene of his boyhood education and baptism:

The Macon Telegraph

February 16,1897

A Macon Minister Preached to a Large Congregation Sunday.

Griffin, Feb 15. – Yesterday the pulpit of the First Baptist church here was filled by Rev. E. B. Carroll of the Vineville Baptist church, and a large and appreciative congregation gathered to hear him, and some who were unable to attend had their residence connected by telephone and listened to his discourse in the quiet of their homes. Mr. Carroll is not a stranger to Griffin, for it was here that he received a portion of his education and was converted and joined the Baptist church thirty-nine years ago, and, as a singular fact, he was the guest of the only man that was present in the congregation who had been a member as long, and that gentleman was Col. George I. Jones. Other singular coincidences connected with his visit are these: The first night here was spent under the first roof that ever sheltered him in Griffin in 1858, when he came to enter the school as a pupil at the old Marshall College. His Sunday was spent at the home of Mrs. R. C. Jones, whom he boarded with for two years and a half, and he found that not a death in the family in all those years. The organist of the Baptist church was Miss Nettie Sherwood, a niece of Rev. Adiel Sherwood, who was pastor of the church at the time that he joined, and also president of the Marshall College. Mr. Carroll’s visit here was the occasion of recalling many pleasant reminiscences of his school days, and the tenor of them seemed to mark the beginning of the future of the minister. Among those who he had known then he was simply the Ed Carroll of boyhood days, lovable and companionable; but to the younger generation that listened to the after-dinner talk, he was the grand man that he is – a worthy minister to the court of heaven.

A funny thing happened on the way to the Convention. In April 1897, the Baptist and Reflector shared the amusing anecdote.

Edwin B. Carroll catches train in Macon, GA, April 29, 1897 Baptist and Reflector

Edwin B. Carroll catches train in Macon, GA, April 29, 1897 Baptist and Reflector


In May 1897 he was a Georgia delegate at the Southern Baptist Convention at Wilmington, NC. And in 1898 he attended the convention at Norfolk, VA.

He was a delegate in attendance at the 1899 Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, KY. In September 1901, he accepted a call to preach at the Baptist Church at Carrollton, GA.

In 1903 Rev. Carroll served on the Nominations Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, convened at Savannah, GA.  The pastor of the Ray City Baptist Church, Reverend H.C. Strong, was among the delegates. Other delegates from the area included: E. L. Thomas, J.T. Fender, attorney Elisha Peck Smith Denmark, planter John Lane, Robert T. Myddleton, Reverend Luther Rice Christie and William Carey Willis, Valdosta; B.F. Elliott, Adel; Reverend Charles Gaulden Dilworth, Tifton.  On May 24, 1903 he preached the commencement sermon at Norman Institute, Norman Park, GA. While there he made a visit to Berrien county, his old home.  In July he returned  to hold services in some of the old churches he had served in this section.

Rev. Edwin Benajah Carroll was born March 3, 1841 in North Carolina and died at his home in Carrollton, GA on October 13, 1903. He is buried in the Hickory Head Baptist Church Cemetery, Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia.

On Sunday, April 10, 1904 memorial services were held at his old church at Hickory Head, GA with his widow in attendance.

US Army Hired Contractors to Remove Indians From Georgia on “Trail of Tears”

In 1836, amid conflicts with Native Americans who were being forced from their home lands in Georgia and Alabama, the U.S. government contracted for the removal of the Indians to western territories. In old Lowndes County, GA, which then included Berrien County, local battles included the Skirmish at William Parker’s Place, the Battle of Brushy Creek, Actions at Little River and Grand Bay, Skirmish on Cow Creek, the Skirmish at Troublesome Ford and other violent encounters with Native Americans in old Lowndes County, GA.

Alfred Iverson, Sr., a Justice of the State Superior Court, invested in companies that defrauded the Creek Indians of their land and "removed" them on the Trail of Tears.

Alfred Iverson, Sr., a Justice of the State Superior Court of Georgia, invested in companies that defrauded the Creek Indians of their land and “removed” them on the Trail of Tears.

Removal Contractors

A Removal Contract was let out by the U.S. Army on August 12, 1836 at Tuskegee, AL. The contract called for the Alabama Emigrating Company to remove Indian “men, women and children, and their slaves” to an area west of the territory of Arkansas.  Alfred Iverson, Georgia Superior Court Justice and later US Senator, was a principal in the company, along with Edward Hendrick, James C. Watson, A. Abercrombie, James Abercrombie and others. A founder of the Columbus Land Company, Iverson had already been involved in defrauding the Creek Indians out of over 10 million acres of land. The Daily Savannah Republican postulated that the Creek land fraud was the cause of the present violent Indian resistance and tried to make it a political issue, to little avail.

The ‘Removal Contractors’ , firms like the Alabama Emigrating Company … amassed a fortune and like vultures plucked from the tribes what little remained , after the debacle” of the Trail of Tears was over (The Indian Historian, 10:26).

On the forced march to the western lands, known as the Trail of Tears, 4,000 Native Americans died of cold, hunger, and disease.

Athens Southern Banner edition of August 27, 1836 reports Army contract for removal of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama.

Athens Southern Banner edition of August 27, 1836 reports Army contract for removal of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama.


The contract for the removal of the Creek Indians was let out on the 12th inst. at Tuskegee. We understand that it was taken by a large company of gentlemen associated under the name of the Alabama Emigrating Company. –
Amongst others, the members of the Old Emigrating Company are concerned in conjunction with Mr. George Whitman and others, of Montgomery, and a number of other citizens of Alabama, comprising in the aggregate about twenty persons, and combining the best talents and the most efficient means for the prompt transportation of the Indians. –
The contract was taken at twenty-eight dollars and fifty cents per head, and the contractors are to furnish their own means, and be ready at a moments’ warning to remove the Indians by parties of from one to five thousand, as soon as they can be collected.-
There was a good deal of competition in bidding for this important contract. There were a great number of applicants, some at lower prices than the sum given to those who obtained the contract. But the price agreed upon was considered a medium bid, and the company who obtained were thought to possess advantages fir a faithful performance of it over any others who applied for the contract. It is a large company, possessing a great deal of ready capital, an efficient force of active and energetic men, and having considerable experience in the business. Considering that the most important point is, the speedy removal of these Indians, and the immense expense of the Government of subsisting them where they now are, it was very proper for the officers having charge of this business to employ the services of able and efficient contractors who would create no delay, and move straight forward to the execution of their trust. We consider the contract under all the circumstances, a most favorable one to the Government; and much credit is due to Gen. Jessup and Capt. Page for the promptness and discretion exercised in making it. We learn from the contractors that a large party of about 3000 will start between the 20th and 25th inst., and that the whole nation will move in convenient parties within sixty days at farthest. Gen. Jessup is using great exertions to get off these troublesome neighbors-and for his active, prompt and energetic movements in this branch of the public service, he deserves and will receive the approbation and thanks of the whole community. – Columbus Sentinel.

Related Posts:

An Act to Provide for Payment of Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Campaigns

Compensation for Georgia Militia volunteers in the Creek Campaign of 1836

In the spring of 1836, pioneer settlers all across Wiregrass Georgia faced increasing hostilities from the Native Americans who were being forced out of their ancestral lands.

Levi J. Knight, to protect his family and the families of other settlers around Beaverdam Creek,  mustered the men of his district into an independent company in the Lowndes County Militia, which he commanded at the rank of Captain.  For three months in mid 1836,  Knight’s Company was on active duty and skirmished with Indians in separate engagements in the swamps around Berrien County (then Lowndes). Militia units under Col. Henry Blair, Captains Enoch Hall, Levi J. Knight and Hamilton W. Sharpe engaged groups of Creek warriors, women and children in pitched battles. There were engagements at the Alapaha River, Brushy Creek, Warrior Creek, Cow Creek, Little River, and Grand Bay;  the bloodiest action was the Battle at Brushy Creek.

In 1830 William Schley became a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1832 and again in 1834, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives. He resigned from that position to become the 36th Governor of Georgia from 1835 until 1837.

In 1830 William Schley became a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. In 1832 and again in 1834, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives. He resigned from that position to become the 36th Governor of Georgia from 1835 until 1837.

At the 1836 legislative session of the Georgia Assembly, an act was passed to provide compensation to the men who served. Captain L. J. Knight had paid many expenses out of his own pocket. Now he was responsible for submitting a roster of his troops and an accounting of expenses incurred. In turn, Governor Schley was directed to seek reimbursement of State expenditures from the federal government.  The attendant difficulties in implementing this act were later reported by Governor Schley (below), including reports by Hamilton W. Sharpe of fraudulent claims from Lowndes county, GA.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.

An 1836 Act to provide for the payment of Georgia Militia Volunteers in the Creek and Seminole Wars.


To provide for the payment of Volunteers in this State, in certain cases, for services, loss and expenditures, during the late Creek and Seminole campaigns, and to point out the manner of doing the same.

Sec. I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the several companies or other bodies of less than sixty men, battalions, or regiments of the militia, which were ordered out to defend the frontiers of this State, against the recent hostilities of the Creek and Seminole Indians, by the commanding officer of such company, battalion, regiment, or brigade, and such companies as were or were not formed and volunteered for the immediate defence of the same without such orders, all of whom were not mustered into the service of the United States, shall be entitled to receive the same compensation for their services as though they had been regularly mustered into said service.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each and every commanding officer of the several companies or bodies of men as aforesaid, whether commissioned, or breveted, or appointed by the members thereof to the command under the exigencies of the moment, to make out a muster roll of his company or body of men, containing the names and rank of the members thereof, the time of their actual service, whether infantry or cavalry, the number of days of subsistence and forage for man and horse furnished by each, and the quantity of ammunition expended.by each in said service and upon the presentation of such muster roll, duly certified to the Governor, by the commanding officer of such company, it shall be his duty to issue his warrant on the Treasurer for the amount due said company, according to the requisitions of the first section of this act, and full pay for the ammunition, in favor of the officer commanding the same.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That all field and staff officers shall be paid at and after the same rates, which similar officers are paid in the service of the United States upon the presentation of their accounts duly certified to the Governor.

Sec 4. And be it further enacted, That the said commanding officers of companies shall state upon their muster rolls, what property of said company may have been lost in battle or in the immediate pursuits of the Indians, or while employed in actual service, together with a statement of the value and name of the owner, and shall transmit likewise to the Governor, such testimony as the claimant may furnish to him of the loss and value thereof, it shall be the duty of the Governor to pay for the same: Provided, that the provisions of this act shall not extend beyond the loss of horses, and equipages, wagons, and wearing apparel of the soldiers.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That his Excellency the Governor, be, and he is hereby required to pay all accounts for subsistence, forage, ammunition, clothing, tents, camp equipage, cooking utensils, and medicine, and hospital stores, transportation, and all expenses necessarily incurred in fitting up the public arms, which may have been contracted by the commanding officer of any company, battalion, regiment, brigade or division, or by the quarter master of either of them thereof, for the use of the same, either in the Creek or Seminole campaign, or in the Cherokee Counties of this State, either before or after they had been mustered into the service of the United States: Provided, such payment has not been made by the United States, Provided his Excellency shall be satisfied that the same shall have been purchased in good faith. And Provided also, that the officer purchasing or issuing said provisions, in the event of his not having received compensation therefor, shall be paid at and after the same rates which similar officers are paid for like services, in the army of the United States.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That inasmuch as many of the volunteers both in the Creek and Seminole campaigns were sick or wounded, and required medical assistance, which could not be obtained otherwise than from physicians unconnected with the army, his Excellency the Governor is hereby authorized to pay all reasonable accounts for necessary medical attention and nursing of the Volunteers in the Creek campaign, who were, or were not, mustered into the service of the United States, or wounded Indian prisoners, as well as all similar accounts contracted by the Volunteers in the Seminole campaign, either going to, or returning from the same, who were unable to procure the services of the surgeon of the army.

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That all of said companies and other bodies of men, who had to defray their own expenses on their way home, shall be paid such reasonable expenses; Provided, the same has not been paid by the United States.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That all payments made under this act shall be made out of any monies in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, and that all such payments shall be charged by the Governor in account against the United States. 

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That where any duties are required by the commanding officer of any company, under the provisions of this act, the same may be performed by the next highest officer in command: Provided, the said officer may be dead or removed from the State.

Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That all accounts to be settled under this act, shall be audited by the Comptroller General, who, upon evidence of their reasonableness, under a liberal construction of this act, shall recommend the same to be made to the Governor, who shall thereupon draw his warrant on the Treasury for the same.

Sec. 11. And be it further enacted, That his Excellency the Governor, be, and he is hereby authorized to demand of the Treasury of the United States, re-payment of the amounts paid under this act, which are properly a charge under the Rules and Regulations of War ; and that he be authorized to request our Representatives and instruct our Senators in Congress to obtain the passage of a special act of Congress for the payment of the accounts not so chargeable under the existing law of the United States.

Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That our Senators in Congress and our Representatives in that body, be requested to use their most strenuous efforts to obtain an act of Congress for the appointment of Commissioners, under the United States, to adjust and liquidate the claims of all the citizens of this State, for losses incurred by them in the late Indian wars.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate.

Assented to, Dec. 26, 1836.


According to Governor Schley’s 1837 annual address to the Georgia Assembly, about four thousand volunteers served in the Creek war. The act for the payment of volunteers was

“attended with much difficulty in its execution. Many claims were presented which could not be allowed; and when the officers, to whom was confided the administration of the law, endeavored, in the conscientious discharge of their duty to the people, to ascertain the will of the Legislature by the usual and commonsense mode of construing laws, they were condemned as unfriendly to the volunteers and attempts were made to lessen them the public estimation, by misstatements of facts and unjust inferences and conclusions. But whatever may have been the opinions of any in regard to the correctness of the construction placed on the statute, all knew and felt that, as no interest accrued to the officers, there could be no motive to do wrong, and therefore their integrity remained, unimpeached….

Under the fourth section payment was demanded for horses which died a natural death, and for clothes which cost higher prices than it was supposed the Legislature intended to comprehend within the meaning of the words “wearing apparel of the soldier”…, including fine cloth coats, overcoats, gold breast-pins, and other expensive articles…

Under this act upwards of one hundred and seven thousand dollars have been paid from the Treasury, and many accounts remain unpaid. A portion of this amount has no doubt been drawn on fraudulent muster rolls and accounts,…It will be seen by the letter of Hamilton W. Sharpe, Esq. of Lowndes county, that a man named Wm. T. Thompson, has committed a fraud, and received the sum of one thousand five hundred and ninety-four 14-100 dollars upon two muster rolls – one in his own name and the other in the name of John Homes for whom he acted as agent…Many other cases of a similar character no doubt exist, but it was impossible to prevent these frauds – that section of the act authorizing payment on muster rolls requires no oath of the Captain nor certificate of a superior officer, and therefore we were bound to pay every roll presented, on the mere certificate of the person representing himself as the commanding officer.  

Later Levi J. Knight himself would face allegations by the federal War Department that the activation of Georgia militia companies in 1842 had been unnecessary and warranted no reimbursement of state expenditures. The Secretary of War disputed the Indian War claims of Captain Knight.

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Matthew Franklin Giddens

Matthew Franklin Giddens (1845-1908)

Grave marker of Matthew Franklin Giddens and Mary Elizabeth Knight Giddens. Image source: Lori Humble

Grave marker of Matthew Franklin Giddens and Mary Elizabeth Knight Giddens. Image source: Lori Humble

Matthew Franklin Giddens was born and raised in Georgia. A son of Elizabeth Edmondson and  William Giddens, he was born in 1845 in that part of Lowndes county which was later cut into Berrien County.  His boyhood was spent  on his father’s farm, near Ray City, GA in the 1144th Georgia Militia District, where he and his brothers helped work the farm.

Matthew’s grandparents were among the earliest settlers of the area. His grandfather, Isben Giddens, and father, William Giddens, both served in the Lowndes County Militia during the Indian Wars of 1836-1838, under the command of  Captain Levi J. Knight.  The Giddens 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. His maternal Grandfather, James Edmondson served in the Indian campaign as a private in Capt. Levi J. Knight’s 1838 Independent Company of Lowndes County militia. His  future father-in-law, Joel Knight, served in the Indian Wars in the 2nd East Florida Mounted Volunteers and  during the Civil War served in the 1st Battalion, Florida Special Cavalry, Company C.  This unit was part of Lieutenant Colonel Charles James Munnerlyn’s famous “Cow Cavalry,” which was detailed to protect the supply of Florida cattle to feed the Confederate Army.

Matthew Franklin Giddens served in the Confederate army, enlisting in the Berrien Minute Men, Company G, 29th Georgia Infantry at the age of sixteen. He saw two years of active service before being captured near Atlanta on July 22, 1864.  He spent most of another year as a prisoner of war;  first seven months at Camp Chase, Ohio then four months at City Point, VA. He was released June 10, 1865 after swearing an oath of allegiance to the United States of America. The Oath of Allegiance was a condition of release since he, like other Confederate States soldiers and citizens had renounced their U.S. citizenship.

After the war he returned to Berrien County where he was enumerated in the Census of 1870  residing in the household of Thomas and Marentha Devane and working as a farm laborer.

Shortly thereafter he moved to Florida, settling in that portion of Manatee County which is now DeSoto.

Matthew Franklin Giddens married Mary Elizabeth Knight (1853-1939) on Valentine’s Day, 1872, which was also the bride’s 19th birthday. She was a daughter of Virginia Mitchell and Joel Knight, born at Knight’s Station, FL. She was a granddaughter of Mary Roberts and Samuel Knight. Her father, Joel Knight, was a farmer and cattle dealer.

In Florida, Matthew Franklin Giddens engaged first in mercantile business and later in the cattle business. By 1880, his brother Isbin S. Giddens had moved to Manatee County, Florida  and was residing in Matthew’s household while working as a grocer. Isbin enjoyed great success as a grocery merchant, forming his own company,  I. S. Giddens & Co., wholesale grocers, of Tampa. Two other Giddens brothers also settled in Tampa, where they were among the prominent  citizens of the city:  Dr. John A. Giddens, a well known dentist, and Henry Clay Giddens, a successful business man.

Matthew Giddens became county superintendent of public instruction of DeSoto County and also a member of the board of public instruction of the same county for several years. He removed to Tampa and continued to reside there till his death, in 1908, at the age of sixty-two years.

Matthew Franklin Giddens and Mary Elizabeth (Knight) Giddens became the parents of seven Children, as follows:

  1. Sumner Edmondson Giddens, born 12 Dec 1872 Manatee, Florida; married Marion McLeod, a niece of the wife of Governor Henry L. Mitchell; died 2 Jun 1944, Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida.
  2. Larue Breckenridge Giddens, born 31 March 1876; married Elizabeth Wallace.
  3. Marcus J. Giddens, married Josephine Hill; resided at the old Knight homestead at Knight’s Station, FL.
  4. Virginia Giddens
  5. Eva Giddens, married Dr. James Smoak
  6. Paul Knight Giddens, married Mary Malone; moved to Kansas City, MO.
  7. Grady Mitchell Giddens, born 14 October 1892; Cpl US Army, WWI; died 5 September 1964; buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Tampa, FL
  8. Frances Jane Giddens, died in childhood
Obituary of Matthew Franklin Giddens

Obituary of Matthew Franklin Giddens

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