A Brief History of Beaver Dam Baptist Church

In 1874 when Mercer Association missionary Reverend J. D. Evans came to Ray’s Mill, Thomas M. Ray was deeply moved by the baptist’s message.  Evans and Ray were both Confederate veterans and former slave owners.

During the Civil War, Evans had been Captain of the Berrien Light Infantry until he deserted in the summer of 1863.  After the war Evans took up the gospel as a layman. In 1871 he organized a Sunday School at a log house near Morven, GA and was a founding member of Philadelphia Church there.  Shortly afterwards he was ordained by Philadelphia Church, and took up missionary work helping to found a number of Wiregrass baptist churches. In 1874 this work brought him to Ray’s Mill.

At first the missionary baptist church meetings were held in the old log school house and  big revivals that were held at Ray’s Mill in May and July, 1874. Thomas M. Ray must have attended the events for he became instrumental in the formation of a Baptist Church at Ray’s Mill (see Men at Beaver Dam Baptist Church.)  On September 20, 1874 a small group of followers met with Reverend J. D. Evans  at  the  home of Thomas and Mary Ray to organize the church.  Thomas M. Ray and David J. McGee were elected to represent the new church to the Mercer Baptist Association and were sent as messengers to the Valdosta Church. The Reverend J. D. Evans wrote a petitionary letter which they carried to the association. In November 1874 Thomas M. Ray was appointed to a church building committee along with James M. Baskin and David J. McGee. He served on the committed that selected and procured the site for the construction of the church building. He continued to serve on the building committee until his death.

The original wooden church building at Beaver Dam was constructed by William A. Bridges and James M. Baskin (see Baskin Family Helped Found Ray City Baptist Church).  Construction began in  January of 1875.  Baskin and Bridges hand hewed the timbers to frame the church.   Sawn lumber was purchased but had to be dressed by hand. The building was finished with windows and siding. The pulpit, table and pews were all built on site. J. M. Baskin made the doors himself.

Pastors of Ray City Baptist Church

John D. Evans 1874-1875
William E. Morris 1875-1876
George M. Troupe Wilson 1876-1876
John D. Evans 1876-1878
T. W. Powell 1878-1880
William Adolphus Pardee 1884-1887
John D. Evans 1887-1889
William Henry Dent 1890-1898
Malcolm Augustus Grace 1898-1900
J. L. Milner 1900-1901
H. C. Strong 1901-1903
W. J. Odom 1903-1903
W. J. Ballew 1903-1903
A. J. Gross 1905-1906
E. L. Todd 1906-1913
Perry Thomas Knight 1913-1917
M. L. Lawson 1917-1917
N. C. Wilkes 1917-1918
Clayton Samuel Yawn 1918-1921
W. Harvey Wages 1921-1922
J. C. Moore 1924—1925
A. W. Smith 1925-1925
Walter Branch 1925-1935
Carl W. Minor 1936-1937
C. . Schwall 1937-1940
John W. Harrell 1941-1945
P. T. Peavy 1945-1945
John W. Harrell 1946-1953
Claude Tuten 1954-1958
C. C. Lynch 1959-1962
J. Ray Allen 1962-1963
Bob M. Brown 1964-1967
Allen Bates 1967-1972
Wiley Vickers 1973-1977
Dr. William Rathburn 1978-1990
Lee Graham 1990-2006
John E. Patten 2006 –

 

Men at Beaver Dam Baptist Church

Baskin Family Helped Found Ray City Baptist Church

Pearl Todd Baptist Retreat

Wilmont Pierce and the Valdosta Baptist Association

Perry Thomas Knight Attended Oaklawn Baptist Academy

Mixon Graves at New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery

Owen Clinton Pope, Reconstruction Teaching and Preaching

Spanish-American War Vet Rests at Ray City, GA

Mary & Saunto Sollami Buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery

There Is Nobody Killed But A Private Or Two

On Wednesday, June 22, 1864 both companies of Berrien Minute Men were in the line of battle at Marietta, GA.  It was a hot summer day.

That morning John W. Hagan, of Berrien County, GA, wrote his wife Amanda there was “only 7 but what was killed or wounded” in the 29th Georgia Regiment. That made the total count of men killed, wounded or missing in the past week an even 100 from the 29th GA Regiment.  Hagan reported that among the dead was Jasper M. Roberts, of the Berrien Minute Men. He asked his wife to tell Jasper’s mother, “he was killed dead in a charge he was gallantly leading & chering his men on to battle and was successfull in driving back the Yankees. He was taken off the battle field & was burried as well as the nature of the case would permit.

In the evening, on the other side of the line, Pvt Charles T. Develling, 17th Ohio Regiment wrote in his journal.

June 22nd, the rebels gave us a severe shelling this afternoon, from five different points. Our artillery replied promptly and with effect. Shortly after dark we moved to the right and into front line, already fortified, in an open field, in the hottest hole we have yet found, as regards both the sun and fire from the rebels.

That same day, the Columbus Times, Columbus, GA published a Civil War poem by an anonymous author, a poem apparently not ever appearing elsewhere in print before or since.

For the  Times.
There is Nobody Killed but a Private or Two.

The crack of the rifle in the distance is heard,
From the hills far away comes the shriek of the shell
Through the valley re-echoes the huge cannon’s roar,
Mingling its deep thunder with the victor’s wild yell.

At last we are told that ’twas only a skirmish,
That again to their colors our gallants were true ;
Tho’ around them flew thickly the shot and the shell,
“There was nobody killed but a private or two.”

At the dawn of the morrow a squad is detailed,
’Tis supplied with no arms but the shovel and spade;
To the scene of the conflict their steps are now turned,
Where their comrades lie sleeping in death’s gloomy shade,
The dead are wrapp’d hurriedly in the cold, wet sod,
Uncoffin’d, unshrouded, scarcely hidden from view,
Their task is soon over, to the camp they return,
For “there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”

The telegraph columns of the papers, announce
Another slight skirmish just in front of our lines;
The report is scarce read, and the public complain.
That there’s so little news, considering the times,
Ah ! yes, there is one who has scanned the dispatches,
In her hands her pale face is now hidden from view,
Great God! she exclaims, ’tis my husband they have slain,
Tho’ “there’s nobody killed but a privateer two.”

That mother sits weeping alone in her cabin,
The low mourning winds in the tree-tops are sighing,
Her four little children stand gazing around her,
Wondering the reason why mamma keeps crying.
“Your papa, my darlings, never more will return,
Never more the’fond ties of affection renew,
In the cold distant grave his body’s reposing,
But there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”

How lonely and sad is the cold world to them now !
Ah ! who can portray the deep sorrow that is there!
Four orphans so desolate, left drifting alone,
A mother’s heart wrapp’d in the black gloom of despair!
When they think of the grave where that father’s now sleeping.
Recall to the memory his last fond adieu,
How sad to be told with such wanton indifference,
That “there’s nobody killed but a private or two.”
B***.    – Columbus Times 6/22/1864

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Nathan Byrd

Nathan W. Byrd

Nathan W. Byrd was one of the mail carriers for the post offices of Old Berrien County, GA. He carried mail on  the postal route between Nashville, GA and Milltown (now Lakeland, GA) in the period after the Civil War.  This road from Lastinger Mills at Milltown to the county seat at Nashville was one of the first public roads built in Berrien County. The route passed by the residences of Isben Giddens, Levi J. Knight, and John M. Futch, among others residing in the vicinity of Ray’s Mill, GA.

In 1875 Nathan W. Byrd was awarded the contract  to carry mail between Nashville, GA and Alapaha, GA, 13 miles and back, three times a week. The trip was a four hour ride each way.

The 1876 records of the U.S. Congress show in that year Nathan W. Byrd also put in a bid to carry the mail on  the route from Nashville, GA to Allapaha, GA.

1876 mail routes, Berrien County, GA

1876 mail routes, Berrien County, GA

The route was awarded to William J. Nelson of Allapaha, who was contracted to provide the mail service, three round trips a week, for $190 per year.   That sum would equate to about $49,300 in comparative 2013 dollars.

Nathan W. Byrd was born October 6, 1808 and raised in Sampson County, North Carolina.  He was the only child of Robert Byrd and his second wife, Elizabeth Gulley.   Nathan’s father, Robert Byrd, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War who served with the North Carolina militia from about 1777 to 1780. Nathan’s maternal grandfather, William S. Gulley was also a soldier of the Revolutionary War.

As a young man, Nathan Byrd came to Georgia where he met Ellen Gay, of Alabama. On January 24, 1834  the 25 year-old Nathan W. Byrd married Ellen Gay, age 16 and the couple made their home in Stewart County, GA.

Marriage license of Nathan W. Byrd and Eleanor L. B. Gay. August 14, 1834, Stewart County, GA.

Marriage license of Nathan W. Byrd and Eleanor L. B. Gay. August 14, 1834, Stewart County, GA.

Georgia, Stewart County
I do certify that Nathan W. Byrd and Eleanor L. B. Gay were duly joined in Matrimony by me this 14th day of August 1834
James S. Lunsford, M.G.
Recorded this 22nd day of August 1834
Thomas M. Dennis, Clk

 

The following year their first child was born, James Byrd, but the child died in infancy.   A daughter, Mary Elizabeth, was born to the couple in 1837,  and in 1839 a second daughter, Martha, was delivered. The following year their son, William Byrd, was born.   By 1840, the Byrds had moved to Houston County, GA where they appear in the census of that year, along with their three children.

Over the next decade, the couple added three more daughters to their growing family; Sarah (1843), Ellen (1846), and Susan Catherine (b. 1848). The Census of 1850 found them still living in Houston County. Nathan was a farmer with $2000 in real estate. At age 40, with four daughters and only one son, William, age 9, to help with farm labor, Nathan would have found it tough going. But the Slave Inhabitant Schedule in the 1850 Census shows that he owned three slaves.

Also enumerated in 1850 living in the Byrd household was 22-year-old William Gay, farmer. A search of the available records has failed to disclose the exact relation of William Gay, but it seems most likely that he is the younger brother of Ellen Gay Byrd. The parents of Ellen or William Gay are not known, the only clue to their origins being Huxford’s assertion that Ellen Gay was “of Alabama.”

In 1850, Nathan W. Byrd was a member of the Southern Rights Party of Houston County, a party dedicated to repelling “the efforts of the North…to interfere with [Southern men’s] rights in slave property.”  At that time there was grave sectional contention  over the future of slavery in this country.  In September of that year, the United States Congress passed the Compromise of 1850,  a package of five separate bills which defused the political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired in the Mexican–American War.

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865.

Joseph E. Brown, Governor of Georgia from 1857 to 1865.

In Georgia, the Legislature directed Governor Joseph E. Brown to convene a State Convention to consider the impact of the Compromise of 1850 on the state’s federal relations.

Each county was to select delegates to this convention. In Houston County,  Nathan W. Byrd was appointed as an elector to nominate four Houston county delegates to the convention.  In Berrien County, one of the candidates for convention delegates was Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA. Levi J. Knight was a pro-Union man and lost out to candidates who favored secession.

The State Convention met at Milledgeville, on the 10th of December, 1850 “for the purpose of taking into consideration the many aggressive measures persisted in by the North upon the institutions of the Southern States, and as far as possible and consistent with the provisions of the Federal Constitution, to redress past wrongs and insure sufficient protection for the future.

The Compromise of 1850, dealing with territory acquired during the Mexican War, had numerous critics despite its passage by Congress. Southerners were upset by the admittance of California as a free state, which gave free states a majority of votes in the U.S. Senate. Northerners protested the inclusion of a tough Fugitive Slave Act, designed to appease Southerners. Several Southern states, including Georgia, had highly vocal secessionist movements calling for immediate secession. The Georgia General Assembly authorized a call for a state convention to determine the state’s course. Howell Cobb, Alexander H. Stephens, and Robert Toombs, who represented Georgia in Congress, wielded their influence in Georgia in support of the Compromise. Of the 264 delegates elected to the special convention in November 1850, 240 were Unionists. A Committee of Thirty-three drafted a response, pages 14-26, adopted by a vote of 237 to 19. In it, Georgia gave a qualified endorsement to the Compromise so long as the North complied with the Fugitive Slave Act and ceased to attempt to ban the expansion of slavery into new territories and states. – Georgia Archives

The outcome of this 1850 Georgia Convention was a statement known as the Georgia Platform.

 Supported by Unionists, the Georgia Platform affirmed the acceptance of the Compromise as a final resolution of the sectional slavery issues while declaring that no further assaults on Southern rights by the North would be acceptable. The Platform had political significance throughout the South. In the short term it was an effective antidote to secession, but in the long run it contributed to sectional solidarity and the demise of the Second Party System in the South.

 

Nathan W. Byrd served as a Grand Juror on the November 1853 term of the Houston County Superior Court.

Up to about 1854, the Byrds continued in Houston County with two more daughters added to the family; Caroline (1851), and Annie (1854). In February, 1854 the Georgia General Assembly passed an Act creating Coffee County from portions of Clinch, Irwin, Telfair, and Ware counties. Seeking opportunity in the newly created county, Nathan Byrd relocated his family. Records show he served as a Grand Juror in Coffee County for the June term, 1854.  Sometime before the 1860 census, William Gay left the Byrd household, or perhaps he remained behind when the family moved from Houston County. In Coffee county, a final child was born to Nathan and Ellen Byrd, a daughter, Eliza, born 1857.

When Douglas, GA was founded in 1855 as the seat of Coffee County, the Byrds were one of the first families in the new town. For a few years they operated a boarding house at Douglas.  Perhaps the location was not conducive, or perhaps the looming war held back development, but the town was slow to develop.  “From 1854, when Coffee County was created, until the 1880s, only a white frame courthouse, a hotel, a store or two, and a few houses occupied the site in the middle of the piney woods.”

National Archive records of Appointments of Postmasters show on October 34, 1856 Nathan W. Byrd was appointed postmaster at Byrd’s Mills, GA. In those days shortly after the creation of Coffee county, the  only other post offices in the county were at Douglas, Ocmulgeeville, and Red Bluff.  Nathan Byrd was succeeded as postmaster by James W. Overstreet on October 13, 1857.

On January 8, 1857 Nathan and Ellen’s eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Byrd, then 19, married Littleton L. Albritton  in Berrien County, GA. He was a brother of Matthew H. Albritton.  It was her second marriage; her first husband was a man named Mobley. Mary Elizabeth and Littleton Albritton  were enumerated in Nashville, Berrien County, GA in the Census of 1860.  Nathan Byrd and family were enumerated still living in Coffee county, in the vicinity of Bird’s Mill, GA.

The 1860 Gazetteer of Georgia describes Bird’s Mill as a post office and small village, one of only five towns in all of Coffee county.  By this time daughter Martha had also left home. Their son, William Byrd, now 19, was working as a school teacher.  Nathan Byrd owned $2000 in real estate and $3490 in personal estate. The Slave Inhabitant schedule in the Census of 1860 shows he owned three enslaved people, a 24-year-old black woman, a 3 year old mixed-race boy, and a 3 month old girl. In 2009 dollars his comparative net worth would have been about $1.85 million dollars.

According to Huxford,  the Byrd  family moved to Clinch County in 1861 and made their home at the community of Guest Mill.  Little information is available about the historic community of Guest Mill.  The location of “Guest” is shown on the U.S. Coast Survey Map of 1865,  about nine or ten miles due east of Homerville, GA.  The Guest Millpond Dam is drawn on the modern United States Geological Service (USGS) Sandy Bottom Topo map. Guest Millpond Dam is located in northern Clinch County, GA in the 1061st Georgia Militia District. The dam is located at the latitude and longitude coordinates of 31.1949275 and -82.8606999.

Nathan W Byrd was enrolled in the militia of the 1061st GMD in 1861, and in 1864 he was enumerated there in the Census for Reorganization of the Georgia Militia. He was 55 years old and occupied in farming.  Among his neighbors enumerated in the 1864 census was Miles J. Guest.

Around the end of the war, Nathan Byrd moved his family across the Alapaha River about 25 miles southwest to Nashville, GA where his  daughter, Mary, and son-in-law, Littleton Albritton, were residing. Huxford’s sketch details, “there Mr. Byrd bought a tract of land within the present limits of the town but at that time outside of town. He farmed there and also carried the mails between Nashville and Milltown (Lakeland) for some years.”

On November 28, 1869 Byrd’s daughter, Susan Catherine Byrd, married Confederate veteran Matthew Hodge Albritton,  the brother of her sister’s husband, Littleton Albritton. Matthew and Susan Catherine Albritton  lived first in Nashville, GA, but later made their home near Ray’s Mill in southern Berrien County. Matthew’s sister, Mary Jane Albritton, was the first wife of Thomas M. Ray, of Ray’s Mill.

In the Census of 1870, Nathan and Ellen Byrd, were living in the 1157th Georgia Militia District, centered on Nashville, GA.   Like other men of antebellum wealth in Berrien county, Nathan Byrd had lost most of his net worth after the war. By 1870 Byrd’s assets amounted to just 12 percent of their pre-war value, but he still had a farm.  The 1870 Agriculture Census shows the Byrds were living on 30 acres of land, with three acres improved and the rest in woodlands. The farm was valued at $250 with $10 worth of farm equipment. Byrd owned one horse, two dairy cows and five other cattle, 15 sheep and 15 hogs. All together his livestock was valued at $273. He had 50 bushels of corn, 75 bushels of oats, and 150 bushels of sweet potatoes on hand. He had 60 pound of butter, 110 pounds of honey and 10 pounds of wax. His farm products included two bales of cotton, 400 pounds each, and 34 pounds of wool. The value of “home manufactures” was $106 and the value of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter was $114. The total value of all farm production including betterments and addition to stock was $682. Nathan Byrd was now 61 years old, still supporting his wife and two minor children.

The 1878 Berrien County tax records show Nathan W. Byrd owned 30 acres of land on Lot 190 in the tenth land district. This lot was on the east of Nashville.

The 1879 records show his neighbors included: John D. Calhoun on Lot 189; Daniel McCranie on parts of 190 and 225; and Levi Sapp on Lot 191; Thomas Asa Baker and his wife Nancy Griner Baker on parts of 191 and 192.  Jane Ivey held an additional 90 acres of Lot 190.

This land was valued at $165 in land and $25 in “town property”. He owned $50 in household furnishings, $47 in livestock, and $15 in other property.

Nathan W. Byrd died at his home January 5, 1881. Mrs. Byrd died March 17, 1901.

 

Related Posts:

1862 Train Schedule for Valdosta, GA

Previously: Neigh of the Iron Horse 

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County.

The  Atlantic & Gulf, like railroads all over the south,  was being built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Railroad Jubilee held there July 31, 1860 celebrating the arrival of the railroad.

By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily. Valdosta saw four trains a day;  eastbound passenger, eastbound freight, westbound passenger and westbound freight.

PUBLISHED MONTHLY. . . PRICE 75 CENTS. .

CONFEDERATE STATES RAIL-ROAD & STEAM-BOAT GUIDE

CONTAINING THE

Time- Tables, Fares, Connections and Distances on all the
Rail-Roads of the Confederate States; also, the connecting lines of Rail-Roads, Steam-
boats and Stages,

AND WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY
A COMPLETE GUIDE OF THE PRINCIPAL HOTELS,

With a large variety of valuable information, collected,

compiled and arranged

BY C. SWAYZE.

GRIFFIN, GEORGIA

HILL & SWAYZE, Publishers, and for sale by all Booksellers in the Confederacy.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by HILL
& SWAYZE, in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the North
-ern District of the State of Georgia.

1862 Train Schedule for the Savannah, Albany & Gulf "Main Trunk" Railroad serving Valdosta, GA

1862 Train Schedule for the Savannah, Albany & Gulf “Main Trunk” Railroad serving Valdosta, GA

SAVANNAH, ALBANY & GULF ROAD. 
Maj John Scriven, Pres't, . 
G. J. Fulton, Superintendent, Savannah Ga   

Savannah to Thomasville.       Ο{ October— }Ο    Thomasville to Savannah 
Pass   | Fr't.| Fare | Mls.|                   |Miles|Fare |  Frt |Pass
 a. m. | a.m. |      |     | Leave      Arrive |     |     | a. m.| p. m. 
 7 00  | 6 00 |      |     |......Savannah.....| 200 | 9 00| 5 05 |  6 00 
 7 44  |      |   50 |   9 |......Miller's.....| 191 | 8 60|      |  5 20
 8 25  |      | 1 00 |  16 |.......Way's.......| 184 | 8 10|      |  4 43 
 8 55  |      | 1 25 |  24 |......Flemming*....| 176 | 7 85|      |  4 16
 9 25  |      | 1 50 |  32 |......McIntosh.....| 168 | 7 60|      |  3 49
 9 55  |      | 2 00 |  40 |...Walthourville...| 160 | 7 10|      |  3 22
10 20  |      | 2 30 |  46 |......Johnson†.....| 154 | 6 80|      |  3 01
11 05  |      | 2 50 |  53 |.....Doctortown....| 147 | 6 50|      |  2 28
11 30  |      | 2 85 |  58 |.......Drady's.....| 142 | 6 15|      |  2 09
12 20  |      | 3 25 |  68 |.......Satilla.....| 132 | 5 75|      |  1 33
 1 00  |      | 3 65 |  77 |......Patterson....| 123 | 5 33|      |  1 02
 1 28  |      | 4 00 |  86 |.....Blackshear....| 114 | 5 00|      | 12 28
 2 30  |      | 4 50 |  96 |....*Tebeauville†..| 104 | 4 50|      | 11 50
 3 11  |      | 5 00 | 108 |......Glenmore.....|  92 | 4 00|      | 10 45
 4 03  |      | 5 75 | 122 |.....Homerville†...|  78 | 3 25|      |  9 54
 4 35  |      | 6 25 | 131 |.......Lawton......|  69 | 2 75|      |  9 22
 5 03  |      | 6 75 | 139 |......Stockton.....|  61 | 2 25|      |  8 54
 5 22  |      | 7 00 | 144 |.......Naylor......|  56 | 2 00|      |  8 35
 6 06  |      | 7 50 | 157 |......Valdosta.....|  43 | 1 50|      |  7 52
 7 30  |      | 8 00 | 174 |.......Quitman.....|  26 | 1 00|      |  6 52
 7 56  |      | 8 25 | 181 |.......Groover.....|  19 |   75|      |  6 04
 8 25  |      | 8 50 | 189 |.......Boston......|  11 |   50|      |  5 30
 9 00  |      | 9 00 | 200 |....Thomasville....|     |     |      |  5 00
 p. m  |      |      |     |Arrive        Leave|     |     | a. m.| p. m.

Connections. — At Savannah with Georgia Central (p56), and Charleston & Savannah Rail-Roads (p60).
At Thomasville with stages for Bainbridge, Chattahoochee and Tallahassee, Florida. The eventual terminus of this road is designed to be at some point on the Chattahoochee river. Bainbridge is on its route. Stations indicated by an asterisk (*) is where the train stops for Breakfast. Those by a dagger (†) for Dinner.
WARTHOURVILLE [Walthourville], a post-town in Liberty county, Georgia, forty miles South-west of Savannah, is the largest place in the county. It contains two flourishing academies, and about 400 inhabitants.
BOSTON, a post-town in Thomas county, Georgia, eleven miles south-east of Thomasville.
THOMASVILLE, a post-town, and capital of Thomas county, Georgia, two hundred miles from Savannah, and at present the terminus of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf rail-road. It contains a court-house which is creditable to the county, and a school called the Fletcher Institute, under the direction of the Methodists. Population about 600.

October 1862 Hill & Swayze Confederate States Railroad & Steamboat Guide - Comparative Time Table.

October 1862 Hill & Swayze Confederate States Railroad & Steamboat Guide – Comparative Time Table.

COMPARATIVE TIME-TABLE, Showing the Time at the Principal Cities of the Confederate States, compared with Noon at Richmond, Va. There is no “Standard Rail-Road time” in the Confederate States, but each rail-road company adopts independently the time of its own locality, or of that place at which its principal office is situated. The inconvenience of such a system, if system it can be called, must be apparent to all, but is most annoying to persons strangers to the fact. From this cause, many miscalculations and misconnections have arisen; which not unfrequently have been of serious consequence to individuals, and have, as a matter of course, brought into disrepute all Rail-road Guides, which of necessity give the local times. In order to relieve, in some degree, this anomaly in American rail-roading, we present the following table of local time, compared with that of Richmond, Va:

Atlanta, Ga..........................................11 30 A.M. 
Augusta, Ga..........................................11 43  " 
Beaufort, S. C.......................................11 49  " 
Charleston, S. C.....................................11 51  " 
Columbia, S. C.......................................11 44  " 
Fredericksburg, Va............,,,,,,.................12 00  " 
Galveston, Texas.....................................10 01  "  
Griffin, Ga..........................................11 29  "  
Huntsville, Ala......................................11 23  "  
Jackson, Miss........................................11 10  "
Jefferson, Mo........................................11 02  " 
Knoxville, Tenn......................................11 30  " 
Little Rock, Ark.....................................11 02  "  
Lynchburg, VA........................................11 53  "  
Milledgeville, GA....................................11 37  "  
Mobile, Ala..........................................11 18  " 
Nashville, Tenn......................................11 23  "  
Natchez, Miss........................................11 05  "  
New Orleans, La......................................11 10  "  
Norfolk, Va..........................................12 05 P.M.
Pensacola, Fla.......................................11 22 A.M.
Petersburg, Va.......................................11 52  "
Raleigh, N. C........................................11 55  " 
Savannah, Ga.........................................11 45  "
Tallahassee, Fla.....................................11 32  "
Tuscaloosa, Ala......................................11 20  "
Wilmington, N C......................................11 58  "

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Neigh of the Iron Horse

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County. Over time, the trains would bring new economic & tourism opportunities to Wiregrass Georgia, like Henry Bank’s Elixir of Life mineral springs at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

The track of the A & G “Main Trunk” Railroad had one month earlier reached Station No. 14, Naylor, GA, sixteen miles east of Valdosta.

The Valdosta (Lowndes Co.) Watchman, on last Tuesday [June 26, 1860], says:
“The ware-house at Naylor Station (No. 14) has been completed, and freight is now regularly received and forwarded. The grading on Section 29 is finished to the eastern boundary of Valdosta, the cross ties are being distributed along the line, and nothing save some unforeseen providential contingency can postpone the arrival of the train at No. 15 longer than 20th July ensuing. The whistle of the Steam Horse has been heard repeatedly in our village the past week.”

The railroad had been built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA.

For the opening of the tracks to Valdosta, the town invited the A & G railroad executives and prominent citizens of Savannah to a grand celebration of the event. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Jubilee held July 31, 1860.

Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
August 10, 1860

Railroad Jubilee at Valdosta

The Valdosta Watchman says, the opening of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad to that place was celebrated with a public dinner. A train of seven passenger cars brought numerous guests from Savannah and intermediate places on the road, who arrived at Valdosta at one o’clock, and were welcomed with the heavy booming of a nine pounder.
On the same day the friends of Breckinridge and Lane held a meeting, ratified the nominations, appointed five delegates to Milledgeville and were addressed by Col. Henry R. Jackson and Julian Hartridge, Esq.

 

 

Among the prominent attendees:

  • Reuben Thomas “Thompy” Roberds, Mayor of Valdosta; attorney; owner of 10 enslaved people
  • John Screven, President of both the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; Mayor of Savannah; State Representative from Chatham County;  a rice planter on the Savannah River; owner of Proctor Plantation, Beaufort, SC; owner of 91 enslaved people.
  • Gaspar J. Fulton, Superintendent of the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Julian Hartridge, State Representative; owner of four enslaved people
  • Robert Grant, Savannah attorney
  • Henry Rootes Jackson, prominent attorney and prosecutor of Savannah; former U.S. Minister Resident to the Austrian Empire; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks County, GA
  • Col. Thomas Marsh Forman, former state senator, wealthy planter of Savannah, owner of Broughton Island, political rival of Julian Hartridge, son-in-law of Governor Troupe, owner of 171 enslaved people in Chatham, Laurens and Glynn County, GA.
  • Young J. Anderson, of Savannah, former Solicitor General of the Eastern Circuit, attorney and owner of 6 enslaved people. One of his slaves was the remarkable Rachel Brownfield, who through her own efforts earned enough to buy her own freedom, but Anderson reneged on the deal.
  • Joseph John “JJ” Goldwire, accountant, resident of Valdosta
  • Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, resident of Valdosta
  • Benjamin F. Moseley, alumnus of the University of Georgia, resident of Georgia Militia District 662 (Clyattville District); his brother, Augustus Moseley, owned 33 enslaved
  • William Zeigler, wealthy planter of Valdosta and owner of 46 enslaved people.
  • Sumner W. Baker, Troupville, GA attorney residing at Tranquil Hall hotel
  • Rufus Wiley Phillips,  Troupville, GA attorney; owner of three enslaved people; later mayor of Valdosta and a judge of Suwannee County, FL
  • Lenorean DeLyon, editor of the Valdosta Watchman newspaper; his brother, Isaac DeLyon, was the first station agent for the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad at Valdosta. A neice, Lenora DeLyon, was a passenger on the first train to reach the town.
Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Savannah Daily Morning News
Thursday Morning, August 2, 1860

Railroad Celebration at Valdosta.
In response to the invitation of the citizens of Lowndes county to the officers and Directors of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the citizens of Savannah, to join with the people of Lowndes and the adjoining counties in celebrating the completion of the Main Trunk to that point, in company with a number of gentlemen we left the city in a special train for Valdosta, at 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning [July 31, 1860]. Not withstanding the extreme heat of the weather, and the dustiness of the track, the trip, over a good road, through a county so recently almost a wilderness, but which is already beginning to exhibit evidences—in its increasing population, rising towns, and growing prosperity and enterprise, of the great benefits which must result to our section of the State from the completion of this great work—was both interesting and pleasant. As the train progressed, and as we neared the point of destination, our party was increased by continual accessions of people, and by the time we reached Valdosta, the cars were filled to the extent of their capacity.

Arriving at Valdosta about two o’clock, we were surprised to find a gathering of some three thousand people, of whom a large proportion were ladies and children—the town surrounded by vehicles of every description, and saddle horses tied to the trees in every direction. The company had just partaken of a most bountiful and well-prepared barbecue, which was spread out upon tables under a shed erected for the purpose. The guests from Savannah were cordially received by the committee, by whom we were invited to the tables, and introduced to many of those present.

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

After the company had retired from the tables, a meeting was organized by calling Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks county, to the Chair, and appointing Dr. Folsom, Secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated by the chairman, Capt. John Screven, President of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf and Main Trunk Railroads, responded to the general call in an eloquent and appropriate address, in which he spoke of the interesting event to celebrate which, in a becoming manner, he was happy to see so many of fellow citizens and fair countrywomen of Southwestern Georgia assembled in Valdosta. He alluded to the immense benefits which must result to the people of the interior and the cities of the seaboard from the completion of the great iron link which was to bind them together in bonds of mutual Interest and mutual friendship. Capt. Screven’s address was received with demonstrations of cordial approval.

Henry Rootes Jackson

Henry Rootes Jackson

Brief and appropriate addresses were also delivered in response to the call of the meeting by Hon. Henry R. Jackson, Julian Hartridge, Esq., Col. Thos. M. Forman and Y. J. Anderson, Esq., of Savannah, S. W. Baker,Esq., Chairman of the Committee of arrangements, also addressed the meeting. Other gentlemen were also called by the meeting, among them Robert Grant, Esq., of this city. None of them responding, the meeting was finally adjourned, and the immense crowd, most or whom had many miles to travel to their homes, began to disperse. Some objection having been made to a proposition to reorganize the meeting as a political meeting, notice was given that the friends of Breckinridge and Lane would reassemble at the Court House for the purpose of holding a ratification meeting.

A large portion of those present repaired to the Court-house, where a meeting was organized by calling William B. Zeigler, Esq., to preside., and appointing R. T. Roberds

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

esq., secretary.

The official proceedings of this meeting, which was a very spirited and enthusiastic demonstration of the prevailing sentiment, not only of Lowndes but of the surrounding counties and throughout that section of the State, in favor of Breckinridge and Lane and sound State Rights principles, will be found in another column or our paper.

Judge Jackson, being Invited to address the meeting, made one of his happiest and most effective  efforts. After a brief history of the action of the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions, and a fair statement or the great Issue before the country, he confined himself mainly to a most searching review of the political record of John Bell, whom he clearly demonstrated had given evidence by his frevuent votes against the South, and with the North, that his ambition is stronger than his patriotism, and that he is utterly unworthy the confidence of the South in a crisis like the present.

Mr. Hartridge, followed Judge Jackson in one of the ablest and most forcible political speeches we have ever heard him deliver.

Col. Forman, In response to the call of the meeting made a brief and pertinent speech which was also well received by the meeting.

Alter the passage of the resolutions and a vote of thanks to the speakers, the meeting adjourned with three hearty cheers for Breckenridge and Lane.

The crowd at Valdosta on Tuesday comprised a full and fair representation of the people of that portion of Georgia, its brave men, its fair women, and bright youth; and was one of the largest as well as most respectable assemblages we have ever seen brought together in the interior and more sparsely populated sections of our State. As we contemplated the vast crowd, and looked upon Valdosta, just emerging from the native pine forest, then echoing the first startling neigh of the Iron horse, who, as he leaps the heretofore impassable barriers that have shut out Southwestern Georgia from the commerce of the world, we endeavored to picture to our mind the great change which a few years must bring to this long neglected and almost unconsidered portion of our noble Slate.

Valdosta, the present terminus of the Main Trunk road, is distant from Savannah 155 miles. The first trees upon its site were felled In February last, and though only a little more than six months old, its present population numbers about five hundred souls. It is handsomely laid out, and though the native trees still obstruct its streets, it has three or four dry goods stores, two grocery stores, two hotels, two steam mills, a court-house, several neat private residences, and last, not least, a printing office and a newspaper.

The Valdosta Hotel, at which we stopped, is well kept by very kind and obliging people, who made up by their willing efforts for whatever they lacked of ability to provide accommodation for a crowd that would have given even our Pulaski House something extra to do. In the emergency of the case we are greatly Indebted to Mr. J. G. Fulton, the worthy Superintendent of the Road, who kindly provided us and many others with excellent sleeping quarters for the night on the cars.

The perfect safety with which the entire trip was made over the road, on a considerable portion of which the rails have been but recently laid, bears testimony alike to the excellence of the road itself and to the carefulness and attention of its employees.

————————♦————————

Breckinridge and Lane Meeting At Valdosta.

There was a barbecue given at the above place on Tuesday, 31st July, to celebrate the arrival or the cars at Valdosta, the friends of Breckinridge and Lane availed themselves of this opportunity to hold a ratification meeting, and assembled, after the close of the exercises pertaining to the railroad celebration, in the Court house at Valdosta, In the afternoon of the same day for that purpose.

On motion of Mr. J. J. Goldwire, Mr. William Zeigler was called to the Chair, and R. T. Roberds requested to set as Secretary.

Mr. Goldwire then introduced the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

1st, Resolved, That we, the Democracy of Lowndes county, do hereby ratify the nominations of John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane, for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United Slates, and we pledge to them our hearty and undivided support, believing, as we do, that it is high time for the people of the South to be united and vigilant In the recognition and enforcement of their constitutional rights.

2d. Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting do now appoint five delegates to represent the county of Lowndes in the Democratic Convention to assemble at Mllledgevllle on the 8th of August next, to nominate an electoral ticket to cast the vote of Georgia in the Presidential election.

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

3d. Resolved, That should it be inconvenient for any one of said delegates to attend said convention, that those who do go be instructed to cast their votes for them, having the same power of the original delegates.

The following gentlemen were appointed by the Chair, to wit: Benjamin F. Mosely, R. W. Phillips, J. J. Goldwire, Dr. A. R Taylor, and Col. Leonorean DeLyon.

Col. H R. Jackson being present, was called on to address the meeting, which he did in his usually eloquent and forcible manner, entertaining his audience with satisfaction for a consider able time, notwithstanding they were fatigued with the other exercises of the day, and so situated  as to have to stand to listen at his speech.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

At the suggestion of Col. Williamson, the privilege was extended to any one who wished to take part in the discussion In behalf of Bell or Douglas. No one responding.

Mr. Julian Hartridge was loudly called for, and addressed the meeting in an able and eloquent manner, clearly defining hit position, and giving a satisfactory account of his conduct as a delegate from Georgia in the recent Democratic Presidential Conventions.

Col. Thomas M. Forman was also called for, and addressed the audience in a few pertinent and entertaining remarks. Col. DeLyon moved that the thanks of the meeting be tendered to the speakers, which was. It was then moved that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Valdosta Watchman, Savannah Morning News and the Georgia Forester.

The meeting then adjourned, with three cheers for Breckinridge and Lane, Jackson, Hartridge and Forman.

Wm. Zeigler, Chairman.
R. T. Roberds, Secretary.

————————♦————————

By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily.

 

Related Posts:

Tebeauville, Old No. Nine

Previously:

Tebeauville, Old No. Nine

Prior to the Civil War General Levi J. Knight, of present day Ray City, GA, invested in the development of railroads across Wiregrass Georgia.  Two of Knight’s investments were in the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, and the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, the junction of which was at Tebeauville, GA.   When the Civil War commenced, Knight’s railroads were still being constructed, largely with the labor of enslaved African-Americans. During early part of the war, Knight’s company of Berrien Minute Men was transported on these railroads to their posts at the coastal defenses of Georgia.

Depot at Tebeauville

Depot at  station No. Nine, Tebeauville, GA (now Waycross, GA) was the junction point of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad with the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.

Although the Brunswick & Florida Railroad had been chartered in 1837, construction did not commence until 1856.  The track was started at Brunswick, GA but by 1857, only 36 miles of rail had been completed.  If completed, the B&F could move men and materials from ports on the Gulf of Mexico to the Brunswick port on the Atlantic in 24 hours “in case of war between this country and a foreign nation.”  And there were plan that the B&F would make connections to bring passenger and freight traffic to Brunswick from as far west as Vicksburg, MS.

The shortline Brunswick & Florida Railroad would run from Brunswick to the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad station number nine, which was also to be a junction with the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.  The Atlantic & Gulf was intended to serve the two coastal railroads as a “Main Trunk” stretching across south Georgia.  At Bainbridge, GA  it was planned to serve the steamboat docks on the Flint River creating a passenger and freight connection to the Gulf of Mexico.

The junction point of the B&F, A&G and the S,A&G, was ninth station to be constructed on the line from Savannah and was situated just south of the Satilla River. The eponymous community which sprang up there was No. Nine.  Blackshear, GA. was No. Eight and Glenmore, GA was No. 10.

Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

In 1857, Philip Coleman Pendleton had settled his family at No. Nine before the tracks of the S, A & G  or the B & F even reached the station. At Tebeauville, Pendleton engaged in farming and timber. He also served as postmaster and stated the first Sunday school in Ware county.   (Pendleton had come from Sandersville, GA where he was co-owner of the Central Georgian newspaper, with O. C. Pope, Sr. )

At that time [1857] a Savannah company headed by James Screven, father of the late John Screven, was building a railroad from Savannah to Thomasville. The western terminus [of the Savannah, Albany and Gulf Railroad] was then at a point some twelve or fifteen miles east of Blackshear…The laying of the iron reached Mr. Pendleton’s place about a year later…  The old stage road between Thomasville and Brunswick passed here, with a fork running to Burnt Fort, on the Satilla River. There was a post-office at this place called “Yankee Town.” It was so designated because northern people operated the stage coaches and they owned at this place a relay stable; but it passed away with the coming of the railroad, and Screven named the station ‘Pendleton’. The man thus honored took the first train to Savannah and caused the name to be changed to Tebeauville, after his father-in-law, Captain F. E. Tebeau, a member of one of the old Savannah families. Perhaps a year or so later a civil engineer came along surveying the route for the [Brunswick & Florida Railroad]. When he arrived at Tebeauville he made a side proposition to Mr. Pendleton to run the prospective city off in lots and to give him each alternate lot. Mr. Pendleton did not think that the man was authorized thus to approach him, and suggested that he tell the president of the road to see him in regard to the matter. Miffed at this rebuke, the engineer went back three or four miles pulling up the stakes as he went, and made a curve to miss Mr. Pendleton’s land. If one will stand at the crossing near Tebeau Creek, in the heart of Waycross, and look towards Brunswick, he can see the curve in the road [railroad tracks], caused by this effort of the engineer to make something on the side. – Georgia’s Men of Mark

The tracks of the Savannah, Albany and Gulf reached station No. Nine on July 4, 1859.

By 1859,  60 miles of B & F track had been laid stretching from Brunswick north around the headwaters of East River then westward toward Tebeauville. The B&F junction at station No. Nine completed a rail connection between Brunswick and Savannah, and connected Brunswick with the the “Main Trunk” Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.

 

Civil War era map of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, running from Yankee Town (now Waycross), GA to Brunswick, GA - Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Civil War era map of the Brunswick & Florida Railroad, running from Yankee Town, the post office at Tebeauville (now Waycross), GA, to Brunswick, GA – Atlas to Accompany the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

Construction of the A & G  was progressing westward from Tebeauville toward Lowndes County, GA.  The steel rails were imported from Le Havre, France.  There were 1200 slaves at work building the Atlantic & Gulf, making the railroad perhaps the largest single concentration of enslaved people in Georgia. In 1859,  75 percent of railroads in the south used slave labor and one-third of all southern lines worked 100 or more slaves.

African Americans maintaining a southern railroad. In 1859, 1200 African American slaves labored to build the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad across Wiregrass Georgia, laying a little over a mile of track every week. The first train reached Valdosta, GA on July 30, 1860. Image: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cwpb.02135/

African Americans maintaining a southern railroad.
In 1859, 1200 African American slaves labored to build the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad across Wiregrass Georgia, laying a little over a mile of track every week. The jubilee train reached Valdosta, GA on July 31,1860. Image: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cwpb.02135/

The southern railroads were dependent on enslaved black laborers for construction and maintenance, and sometimes operations. Slaves were either owned outright by the railroads or leased from their owners. “Sometimes owners were actually reluctant to hire out their enslaved laborers because of the extreme danger associated with rail construction and train operations; if they did so, they often would take out insurance on their [human] property from working on the riskiest tasks. Of course, those contractual provisions were not always obeyed, leading contractors and slave owners to the courtroom.” – From Here to Equality.

About 20 miles west of Tebeauville, railroad superintendent Gaspar J. Fulton made a side investment in real estate. Fulton purchased land along the tracks from John Smith, of Clinch county. However, no station was established there until the 1880s (now Argyle, GA).

By February 1860, the A & G track had crossed the Alapaha River near Carter’s Bridge about nine miles south of Milltown (now Lakeland, GA).  By March 12, hundreds of bales of cotton were being shipped to Savannah from Station No. 13 at Stockton, GA, which was described as “‘quite a brisk little place, with its hotel and livery stable’ to say nothing of its numerous refreshment saloons.” There were 50 bales of cotton shipped from “Alapaha” on March 10. By about the end of the month at Station No. 13, there were “about 120 bales of cotton for shipment, and the warehouses crowded with western freight.”  The May 1, 1860 annual report of the A & G [inclusive of the S, A&G] stated that in previous 12 months [during which track was extended from Tebeauville, GA to Naylor, GA] there were 4.8 million feet of lumber and timber shipped over the railroad.

The residents at Troupville, GA, then county seat of Lowndes, were hopeful that the town would be the site where the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad spanned the Withlacoochee River.  By July 1860, the Atlantic and Gulf track extended 62 miles to near the Withlacoochee but the route passed four miles southeast of Troupeville and crossed the river eight miles downstream, sorely disappointing the town’s residents.  The many of the town residents packed up and moved to the tracks, some even moving their houses, and founded the city of Valdosta, GA.

The Satilla was the first locomotive to arrive at Valdosta, July 4, 1860. The engines of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad (Savannah, Albany & Gulf) were named for the rivers of South Georgia. The Satilla is on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

The Satilla was the first locomotive to arrive at Valdosta, July 30, 1860. The engines of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad (Savannah, Albany & Gulf) were named for the rivers of South Georgia. The Satilla is on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, MI.

John Screven, president of the A & R reported that the tracks reached Valdosta on July 25, 1860.

The Augusta Daily Constitutionalist reported the completion of the Atlantic & Gulf railroad to Valdosta, GA

The Augusta Daily Constitutionalist reported the completion of the Atlantic & Gulf railroad to Valdosta, GA

When the Civil War broke out, the completion of the Brunswick & Florida, the Savannah, Albany and Gulf, and the Atlantic & Gulf railroads became strategically important, although the threatening “foreign nation” was the United States.  Troops from all over Wiregrass Georgia were mobilized on the railroads. P. C. Pendleton “was engaged in planting and looking after his splendid timbered lands when the war came on… “Tebeauville, though not a town of much size, at the outbreak of the war in 1861, nevertheless furnished several recruits to Colquitt’s Brigade” … [Pendleton] raised a company of volunteers in Ware county and upon its organization became a major of the 50th Georgia Regiment.  – J. L. Walker, State Historian, DAR

During the war, the Sunday School at Tebeauville was superintended by Mrs. B . F. Williams, wife a Confederate army surgeon. Mrs.Williams lived a few miles from Tebeauville at Sunnyside, near the Satilla River. She also helped to organize a non-denominational church “composed of ‘Hard-Shells,’ Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, that existed and flourished for years in perfect harmony. – J. L. Walker, State Historian, DAR

In 1861 the Berrien Minute Men,  the Confederate infantry company raised by General Knight, traveled on the Brunswick & Florida from Station No. 9, (Tebeauville) to Brunswick.  Per orders,  Captain L. J. Knight took his company of Berrien Minute Men to the Georgia coast where they and other volunteer companies from south Georgia counties were garrisoned at Camp Semmes for the defense of the port at Brunswick, GA (Berrien Minute Men at Brunswick ~ July, 1861).  The Confederate States government compensated the railroads for providing transportation.

Robert E. Lee visited Tebeauville, GA in 1861

Robert E. Lee visited Tebeauville, GA in 1861

Robert E. Lee stopped for a few hours in Tebeauville in 1861 while making a general survey of the Confederate coastal defenses. In a letter to his wife, transcribed in Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, he referenced the Battle of Port Royal, in which the 29th GA regiment was engaged,  and mentioned plans to visit Brunswick:

“Savannah, November 18, 1861.

“My Dear Mary: This is the first moment I have had to write to you, and now am waiting the call to breakfast, on my way to Brunswick, Fernandina, etc. This is my second visit to Savannah. Night before last, I returned to Coosawhatchie, South Carolina, from Charleston, where I have placed my headquarters, and last night came here, arriving after midnight. I received in Charleston your letter from Shirley. It was a grievous disappointment to me not to have seen you, but better times will come, I hope…. You probably have seen the operations of the enemy’s fleet. Since their first attack they have been quiescent apparently, confining themselves to Hilton Head, where they are apparently fortifying.

“I have no time for more. Love to all.

“Yours very affectionately and truly,

“R. E. Lee.”

In his 1914 Georgia’s Men of Mark, historian Lucian Lamar Knight included:

It is one of the local traditions, to which the old residents point with great pride, that when in command of the coast defense, at the outbreak of the war, General Robert E. Lee stopped for a short while in Tebeauville. Many of the people who lived here then remember to have seen this Man of the Hour who still lives in the hearts of the people today. Among the the citizens who resided here then were the Tebeaus, the Reppards, the Remsharts, the Parkers, the Grovensteins, the Millers, the Behlottes, the Sweats, the Smiths and the Cottinghams.  To this day many old timers refer to the section of [Waycross] where the Tebeauville station was located as “Old Nine”. 

At the time of General Lee’s survey, the campfires of the Berrien Minute Men were made at garrisons defending Darien, GA, the next port north of Brunswick. “As a result of [General Lee’s] coastal survey, upon his return to Savannah 3 days later, he notified the War Department in Richmond of the confirmation of his previous opinion that the ‘entrance to Cumberland Sound and Brunswick and the water approaches to Savannah [including Fort Pulaski] and Charleston are the only points which it is proposed to defend.'”  National Park Service 

The defenses of Georgia’s sea islands were abandoned, their guns and men redeployed to defend the three southern ports. The Berrien Minute Men were moved to garrisons around the port of Savannah.

Ultimately, Levi J. Knight’s investment in the B&F railroad became another casualty of the Civil War.  “The Brunswick and Florida Railroad was in operation up to the fall of 1863, when the Confederate Government seized it under the Impressment Act, tore up the rails, and distributed the property of the Company among other railroads, which were considered as leading military lines. The line of the B&F had become a liability as U.S forces had occupied Brunswick in early 1862.

P. C. Pendleton moved his family to Valdosta, GA in 1862 where after the war he established the South Georgia Times newspaper. His former business partner, O. C. Pope moved to Milltown in 1866 where he taught in the Milltown Academy.

In late 1867 Major Philip Coleman Pendleton again passed through Tebeauville as a passenger on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad from Valdosta to Savannah, where he was sailing for Scotland.  He was on a mission for the Lowndes Immigration Society to recruit Scottish immigrants to settle at Valdosta, GA, and work the cotton, as Wiregrass planters had an aversion to hiring and paying freed slaves to do the work.

The town of Tebeauville was incorporated in 1866. “In 1869, the State of Georgia provided about $6 million in bonds to rebuild [the tracks from Tebeauville to Brunswick]. The railroad was then reorganized as the Brunswick and Albany Railroad.”  Tebeauville was designated county seat of Ware County in 1873. It was incorporated as “Way Cross” on March 3, 1874. Waycross gets its name from the city’s location at key railroad junctions; lines from six directions meet at the city.

Tebeauville Historic Marker, Waycross, GA

Tebeauville Historic Marker in Bertha Street Park, Waycross, GA,  “On this site stood the old town of Tebeauville. Erected by the Lyman Hall Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Waycross, GA.

The B&A went bankrupt in 1872 after a bond was nullified by the Georgia General Assembly. It was reorganized in 1882 and was then named the Brunswick and Western Railroad.

The name Tebeauville remained in use for the station at Waycross at least as late as 1889, as evidenced in railroad schedules and newspaper references.

(See source citations below)

Related Posts:

Sources:

Georgia.1836. Acts of the General Assembly of the state of Georgia passed in Milledgeville at an annual session in November and December, 1835. An act to incorporate the Brunswick and Florida Railroad.pg 187.

United States. (1851). The statutes at large and treaties of the United States of America from. Boston: C.C. Little and J. Brown. pg 146

Dozier, Howard Douglas. 1920. A history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. Houghton Mifflin. pg 79.

Phillips, Ulrich Bonnell. 1908. A history of transportation in the eastern cotton belt to 1860. pg 358.

Georgia Telegraph. Dec 20, 1853. From Milledgeville. Macon, GA. Pg 2

Georgia Telegraph. June 13, 1854. Minutes of the stockholders of the Brunswick and Florida Railroad. Macon, GA. Pg 3

Southern Recorder, May 15, 1855. Brunswick and Florida Railroad. Pg 2

Georgia Telegraph. Apr 8, 1856. Minutes of the Board of Commissioners of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad Company, First Meeting, Wednesday, Feb 27, 1856. Macon, GA. Pg 3

United States. 1857. Appendix to the Congressional Globe containing speeches, important state papers, laws, etc., of the third session, Thirty-fourth Congress. Naval Depot at Brunswick, Georgia: Speech of Hon. A. Iverson of Georgia in the Senate, January 20, 1957. pg 270-275.

Poor, H. V. (1869). Poor’s manual of railroads. New York: H.V. & H.W. Poor; [etc., etc.. Pg. 337.

Loyless, T. W. (1902). Georgia’s public men 1902-1904. Atlanta, Ga: Byrd Print. Pp 166.
Miller, S.F. 1858. The bench and bar of Georgia : memoirs and sketches, with an appendix, containing a court roll from 1790 to 1857, etc. (1858). J. B. Lippincott & Co. Philadelphia. Pg 170

Milledgeville Federal Union, Nov. 18, 1856. Commercial Convention at Savannah. page 3. Milledgeville, GA.

United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.Census Place: , Berrien, Georgia; Roll: M653_111; Page: 362; Image: 363.

Mitchell, S. Augustus. 1855. Mitchell’s new traveller’s guide through the United States and Canada. pg 87

Swayze, J. C., & H.P. Hill & Co. (1862). Hill & Swayze’s Confederate States rail-road & steam-boat guide: Containing the time-tables, fares, connections and distances on all the rail-roads of the Confederate States, also, the connecting lines of rail-roads, steamboats and stages, and will be accompanied by a complete guide to the principal hotels, with a large variety of valuable information. Griffin, Ga: Hill & Swayze.

Railga.com. Brunswick & Florida Railroad. https://railga.com/brunfl.html

Walker, J. L. (1911, Nov 11). Tabeauville. Waycross Evening Herald.

Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment at the Battle of Port Royal

The Berry Infantry of Floyd County, GA, along with the Berrien Minute Men of Berrien County, GA, were among the companies forming the 29th Georgia Infantry Regiment in the Civil War…

Eight months after the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter the US fleet struck back, attacking Port Royal, SC.  To make the attack, the fleet of some sixty ships sailed from New York through the Expedition Hurricane of 1861, while the Berrien Minute Men weathered the storm on Sapelo Island sixty miles south of Port Royal.  The Federal naval assault came on November 7, 1861; on Sapelo Island the Berrien Minute Men could hear the sounds of the Battle at Port Royal. The untested men on Sapelo were impatient for battle and lamented that they were stuck in a backwater of the war. Not so, their future regimental mates, the Berry Infantry of Rome, GA who were hurriedly dispatched from their station at Camp Lawton near Savannah to Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island overlooking Port Royal Sound, SC.    The Berrien Minute Men and other Confederate companies on Sapelo would have gone, too, it was said, but for the Colonel commanding being too drunk to take the men into battle.  Had the men on Sapelo known what the Berry Infantry were facing, they would perhaps not have been so eager to go.

The destination of the Berry Infantry was Fort Walker, a Confederate earthworks fortification hastily built of sand in the summer of 1861 using the labor of enslaved African-Americans owned by the planters of Hilton Head Island. Construction continued through the summer with the slaves hauling palmetto logs, digging trenches, erecting a powder magazine, and constructing gun emplacements. But the fort was not complete when the Federal fleet commenced the attack on the morning of November 7, 1861.

A soldier of the Berry Infantry, upon returning to Savannah, wrote a series of reports to the Rome Weekly Courier under the pen name “Floyd” describing their experience at the Battle of Port Royal. The writer was probably Thomas J. Perry of Floyd County, GA, a lieutenant of the Berry Infantry, who was known to have written the Courier under this name. In composing these passages, the writer freely confessed, “I have had to write amidst confusion, and under the most unfavorable circumstances. We are hourly expecting to hear of the approach of the enemy. News came last night that they had landed at White Bluff, eight miles below here [Savannah, GA]. I have given you the points though much disconnected.” The narrative has been reorganized here, to present events in chronological order:

Our Savannah Correspondence

Camp Lawton, near Savannah, Ga., November 12th, 1861.

Dear Courier:

There are some facts connected with our departure to Hilton Head Island, that are worthy of notice, The night we first started [Nov 5, 1861,] H. W. Berryhill, H. C. Smith, G. W. Freeman and W. H. Mitchell, had got furloughs to go home, and were getting ready to start, when orders came at 8 o’clock,

Lt. Henry W. Dean, Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment

Lt. Henry W. Dean, Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment

for us to be at the Charleston Wharf at 9. Berryhill and Smith abandoned the idea of going home, and at once informed their Captain that they would go with him. B. had just recovered from a spell of sickness, and was not able to do duty. Smith had been sick in his tent for two days. The Captain objected to their going, but they begged so hard that he consented, and they went to the boat with us, and would have gone, if the orders had not been countermanded. Freeman was not able to go, having been sick for the last three weeks; so he and Mitchell left. Lieut. H. W. Dean, who was just recovering from the measles and had just came into the camps that day, got ready to go with us but was ordered to remain. He insisted on going, but the company refused, and ordered him to remain. We left, but on reaching the boat, we found him there, armed and equipped.

The next morning [Nov 6, 1861] when we left, again, the Captain found it necessary to detail one man to stay and take care of the sick. H.C. Smith was by this time broken out with the measles. The Captain asked if there was any one that would stay, and no one responded. He then said, “I must make some one stay.” All spoke and said they wanted to go, and voted for Dean or Berryhill to stay, but they refused, and go they would.  R. Dollar [Reuben Dollar] was then requested to stay, but he refused, although he had just recovered from a hard spell of sickness. Finally James McGinnis was left.

Our Savannah Correspondence.
Camp Lawton, Nov. 9, 1861.

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. Col. Thomas James Berry, CSA, led a Regiment of Georgia troops, including the Berry Infantry, at the Battle of Port Royal. He was a graduate of West Point, class of 1857.

Twenty-six-year-old Lt. Col. Thomas James Berry, CSA, led a Regiment of Georgia troops, including the Berry Infantry, at the Battle of Port Royal. He was a graduate of West Point, class of 1857.

Dear Courier—Our Regiment left here on Wednesday  morning [Nov 6, 1861] at 9 1/2 o’clock, on board the steamer St. Marys, under the command of Lieut. Colonel Thos. J. Berry, for Hilton Head Island, on the South Carolina coast, and arrived there at 1 o’clock, p. m., and then took up the line of march to Port Royal, five miles distance, and arrived there about dark, and spent the night in some old barns.

Next morning [Nov 7, 1861] at 8, we were ordered out, and formed in a line of battle about one mile from the beach, and in the rear of the sand Battery [Fort Walker]… There was no fort, only a sand battery with 13 guns, and only two large ones, and all exposed… At half past 8, the fleet came up, and opened fire on the battery of 13 guns.

Battle of Port Royal. The Berry Infantry, 29th Georgia Regiment were at Fort Walker during the bombardment.

Battle of Port Royal. The Berry Infantry, Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment was at Fort Walker during the bombardment.

The fire was returned, and soon became general.

It was soon announced that one vessel had passed the battery. We were then ordered to advance within a half mile of the beach—we did so, and were ordered to lie down—the enemy discovered our position, and turned loose a shower of shot and shell on us. We lay there for about one hour, the balls and shells fell thick and fast around and about us.

 Bombardment of Fort Walker, Hilton Head, Port Royal Harbor, SC by United States Fleet, November 7, 1861. The Berry Infantry (later Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment) was among Georgia companies sent to defend the island. Image source: Campfire and Battlefield


Bombardment of Fort Walker, Hilton Head, Port Royal Harbor, SC by United States Fleet, November 7, 1861. The Berry Infantry (later Company D, 29th Georgia Regiment) was among Georgia companies sent to defend the island. Image source: Campfire and Battlefield

[At Fort Walker] The largest [gun] was dismounted at the first shot, the next at the 2d fire, so there was only 11 small ones, and Capt. Ried’s [Capt. Jacob Reed, Company D, 1st GA Regulars] two brass pieces to contend against over 500 guns, and they on steel and iron clad vessels.

Cameron [John D. Cameron] went with us, and the evening we arrived there [Nov 6, 1861], he said he would spend the next day in hunting oysters for us, but when morning came he saw that a fight was on hand, and went into the Hospital, where he could have a good view of what was going on, thinking, of course, that he was in a secure place; but the fun had not lasted long before a ball passed through the top of the house; the second soon came along, and then others in such rapid succession that he thought he had got into the wrong pew, and left in double quick, and dodged behind a pine stump, and would occasionally peep around, and could see the balls falling and hear them whizzing bye, and presently he saw a ball strike a tree and tear it to pieces. The thought struck him, that the stump was but little protection, and double-quicked it a little farther. This is his own story. In justice to him I will say he stuck closer to the Berry Infantry, all day, than it could have been expected of him, as he was not allowed to come near our ranks, while in line of battle, as he held no position in the Regiment as yet, not having received his commission. Night came but Cameron had found no oysters, at least he said nothing about them….

General Thomas F. Drayton was in charge of the overall defenses of Port Royal Sound

General Thomas F. Drayton was in charge of the overall defenses of Port Royal Sound

[On the beach] The Captains of the several companies requested Gen. [Thomas F.] Drayton, under whose command we were placed on reaching there, to let us fall back, but he refused. The Captains not being willing to see their men murdered up, took the command of their companies, and ordered them to fall back out of the reach of the guns, until the enemy landed. They accordingly did so. The General soon ordered them back near the beach. The fleet turned loose on us again, with about five hundred guns. We stood there, not being able to return a shot with any success. About 1 o’clock, we were ordered to Reid’s Battery of two guns, near the sand Battery. We remained there until half past two, amid the shower of shot, grape and shell…

There was a continuous roar for five and a half hours. No one could count the reports, and at times could not distinguish the guns.

 

Capt. [John W. ] Turner, Lieuts. [Thomas F.] Hooper and [Henry W.] Dean acted well their parts, perfectly cool all day; in fact there was no fault to be found of any, under all the circumstances.

Our ammunition gave out…

Capt. Reid gave orders for us to leave, as he had lost 15 of his men, killed and wounded.

The men retired calmly, much more so than could be expected…  We [left] all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing.

Those that were with the wounded were left. … There were some left of the South Carolinians wounded. The dead were left on the ground. I heard of no arrangements made by General Drayton to have them buried.

No pen can describe the scene. The fences and houses and Hospital were torn to pieces—men falling in all directions. Some with their heads off, some arms and legs off, and some with their bodies torn to atoms. The balls tearing up the ground in holes deep enough to bury a man. It is impossible to say how many there were killed and wounded.

Gen. Drayton gave orders to fall back with the South Carolina troops in front, and the Georgians to bring up the rear.

The South Carolina troops were the first to leave the field, half an hour before the rest.  Stiles’  [William H. Styles] Regiment next, ours were the last, and our company the last of the Regiment, and Sargeant W. H. H. Camp [William H. H. Camp] the color bearer, the last man to leave. The balls, grape shot and shells falling and passing as thick as hail, as the fleet had ceased firing on the battery and had all their guns were bearing on us, said to be about 500, and we in half a mile of the beach. They continued to fire at us as long as we were in reach of them. I am aware that some will think that this is a strange tale, nevertheless it is true. Our military men men say it was the most terrific bombardment on record.

He [Drayton] marched off, and said nothing about leaving the Island til we got some distance. We all thought when we left the scene of action, we were only going to the woods, to prepare for the enemy when they landed, but to our utter astonishment, we found that the General was making for the boats,

1861 map of Hilton Head Island showing locations of Fort Walker, the woods, Skull creek, and ferry. Distance from Fort Walker to the Ferry landing was about 7 miles.

1861 map of Hilton Head Island showing locations of Fort Walker, the woods, Skull creek, and ferry. Distance from Fort Walker to the Ferry landing was about 7 miles.

We lost all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing….If [Drayton] had let us know he was going to evacuate the Island, we would have brought all our things.

Retreat of the Confederate garrison commanded by General Drayton from Fort Walker to Bluffton, during the bombardment by the Federal fleet, on the afternoon of November 7, 1861. - Frank Leslie's Illustrated History of the Civil War. Image source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/38263.

Retreat of the Confederate garrison commanded by General Drayton from Fort Walker to Bluffton, during the bombardment by the Federal fleet, on the afternoon of November 7, 1861. – Frank Leslie’s Illustrated History of the Civil War. Image source: House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/38263.

On reaching the coast we found that the General had succeeded in getting himself and [the South Carolinia] men off before sundown.

He got himself and [the South Carolina] men off the Island first, and leave us [Georgians] to shift for ourselves, exposed to the enemy’s cavalry.

Colonels Stiles and Berry were very indignant at the General’s conduct—they went to work and made arrangements to get us off about 9 o’clock. It was low tide, and we had to wade some distance to get to flat boats, and then some distance to the steamer St Johns. 

Those that were [left at Fort Walker] with the wounded [had] remained some half hour after the regiments left and as soon as they found the condition of things, they picked up the wounded and made for the boats, and succeeded in getting there in time.It was about 11 o’clock before we got on board. We then run out about 4 miles and cast anchor, and remained there until daylight [November 8, 1861], and then set sail for Savannah, all the time on the look out for the fleet to pursue us, but Providence protected us…

Providence alone protected us. The wonderful escape of our soldiers on that occasion should be a sufficient evidence to all God’s people, that he is a prayers-hearing God and will grant their requests when asked in faith. Prayer is greater than steel or iron, or fleets with all their guns, and skill to man them. For trees,

houses, and fences to be torn to peices, the air full of dust from balls striking the ground, and an array of men walking along, and comparatively few hurt, looks too unreasonable to tell, but prayer availeth much. So we are taught in tho Book of Books and a few of us have realized it. A very wicked young man, who has pious parents, remarked to me the evening of the battle, “I have often heard Pa talk about Providence protecting us, and never could under stand it, but I now comprehend his meaning, for if Providence did not protect us to-day, l am at a loss to know what did.” Tears came into his eyes and he seemed deeply impressed.

The Boat was so crowded that there was no room to set or lie down, so we had to stand up, perfectly exhausted, having had nothing to eat since Wednesday morning, but some cold broad, and but little at that, and no water that was fit for horse to drink, feet and legs wet and no means of drying them.

We arrived safely here [Savannah] at 9 1/2 o’clock, We lost all our knapsacks, blankets and clothing. We are all in rather a bad condition,- most of our boys are not able  to change clothing, and all on account of General Drayton’s conduct…

Col. Thomas W. Alexander, once Mayor of Rome, in the uniform he wore as a Confederate Army officer. Image source: A history of Rome and Floyd County.

Col. Thomas W. Alexander, once Mayor of Rome, in the uniform he wore as a Confederate Army officer. Image source: A history of Rome and Floyd County.

On returning [to Savannah] we found Lt. Col. Alex- [Thomas W. Alexander] and Lt. J. E. Berry [James E. Berry] had arrived, and were preparing to join us.

There is several distinguished military men here, among whom is Gov. Brown.  The troops have been moved off all the Islands, and quite a number stationed near here. Gen. Lawton has had a large vessel sunk in Skull Creek, and one anchored at the Oyster Bed, ready to sink, as soon as the news reaches the city that the enemy has taken possession of the Island.

More than half the citizens [of Savannah] commenced packing up their furniture and goods, and having them drayed to the several depots. The Mayor [Thomas Pilkington Purse, Sr.] was soon

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1842, Alexander Robert Lawton lived in Savannah, Georgia where he was involved in state politics and railroad administration. Lawton was Colonel of the 1st Georgia when that unit overtook Fort Pulaski in January of 1861, and by mid-April he was a Brigadier General in charge of Georgia's coastal defenses. - National Park Service

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1842, Alexander Robert Lawton lived in Savannah, Georgia where he was involved in state politics and railroad administration. Lawton was Colonel of the 1st Georgia when that unit overtook Fort Pulaski in January of 1861, and by mid-April he was a Brigadier General in charge of Georgia’s coastal defenses. – National Park Service

informed that a great many men were leaving also. He issued his Proclamation, forbidding any to leave under 45, and laid an Embargo on all goods being shipped off, and in that way kept some from deserting the city. He let the women and children go. The cars has been crowded for several days going up the country. Some of these ladies had said that they would never leave their homes, unless it was to stand by the side of their husbands, fathers or brothers in repelling the foe, and that they put their trust in God, but as the time drew for them to make good their promises, they put their trust in the Railroad cars.

Yours, Floyd. 

The account in the Savannah papers are very imperfect. We had two wounded in our company. Joseph S. Ayers, slightly wounded in the foot, W. H.  [William H.] Perkinson in the hand.— We have Ayers at a private home. There never was a greater outrage perpetrated upon any set of men, than Gen. Drayton, of South Carolina, did upon the Georgia troops sent to his assistance. He acted more like a mad-man than a General. It looked like he wanted to have us slaughtered, by marching us up under the fire of over five hundred guns, and where we could not defend ourselves.

I hope he will never be in command of any more Georgia troops for he is not the man for a General. 

In the first place, the island was not sufficiently fortified.

And if South Carolinians want help she should first do her duty, and prepare for the worst. She has been boasting that she was ready—she now sees to what extent she was prepared.

Battle of Port Royal headlines, Savannah Daily Morning News, November 9, 1861

Battle of Port Royal headlines, Savannah Daily Morning News, November 9, 1861

Battle of Port Royal
Terrific Cannonading!
Evacuation of the Batteries by the Confederates!
The Forts In Possession Of The Enemy.

About half past one o’clock yesterday morning we received the dispatch published in our morning edition, announcing the evacuation of Fort Walker by our troops and their retreat towards Bluffton. This astounding news was only the precursor of teh more disatrous accounts which reached the city this morning by the boats from the scene of the action which arrived here early this morning.
In the confusion of statements of persons engaged in the action, it is impossible, in the time allowed us to obtain a very connected or circumstantial account of the fight. From various sources we have gathered the following.
As stated in our paper yesterday, the firing between Fort Walker and the fleet commenced about nine o’clock, the fleet giving the most of their attention to Fort Walker. Before ten o’clock seven of the largest steamers of the fleet had passed the batteries, and when the St. Marys left, from whose passengers we obtained our account of the first part of the action, a most terrific cannonading was going on. The fight continued until the departure of the Emma, at twelve o’clock, and when the Savannah left, at 2 o’clock, the firing was unabated, except at the Bay Point battery, which had been silenced between eleven and twelve o’clock. At this time a tremendous cannoading was kept up by the fleet, consisting of some thirty odd steamers and gun boats, which was returned by Fort Walker, the battery on Hilton Head.
The Fort Walker armament consisted of sixteen guns, nine of which bore upon the shipping, the balance being in position on the land side. Five or six of these guns, among them the 24 pound rifle cannon and one ten inch Columbiad, were disabled during the forenoon.- Thus disabled and their ammunition exhausted, the garrison evacuated Fort Walker between three and four o’clock, retiring in the direcgtion of Bluffton, leaving the guns in position and unspiked, have no spikes for that purpose.

In the course of the morning and previous night, considerable reinforcements of infantry and artillery from Georgia and Carolina had arrived at Hilton Head, and were stationed in or in the vicinity of the batteries, but we are unable at present to ascertain the number of troops engaged in the battle.

Capt. Jacob Reed’s artillery corps of the First Georgia Regiment of Regulars arrived at the scene of action on Wendesday night, and, on yesterday bore a gallan part in the fight. Four or five of his men were killed early in the action. The corps lost two of their guns and several horses.
Col. Randolph Spaulding, Georgia Volunteer Regiment, commanded by Capt. Berry were also in the engagement. THey were marched to the beach where they received a galling fire of round shot and shell from the fleet, which, however, they were unable to return with their muskets. Of the Floyd county Berry Infantry, Jas. S. Ayres and Second Surgeon Wm H. Perkinson, received slight wounds.
Col. Wm. H. Styles’ Volunteer Georgia Regiment reached the scene of action at 11 o’clock, havng marched from Skidaway, seven and a half miles distanct, at the double-quick. But they were also unable to fire on the fleet, which was out of the range of their guns. The Regiment had several killed and wounded by shells from the fleet. Our informant states the Col. Styles had two horses shot under him, and in the fall of one of them received a slight injury in the shoulder. The Colonel and his Regiment was at one time exposed to a terrific shelling from the ships, and it is only surprising that more of them were not killed and wounded.

Col. Randolph Spaulding, not bein in command of his Regiment, joined a corps belonging to another Regiment, and engaged in the fight, as far as it was possible for the infantry to participate in it, with his musket on his shoulder

Between 11 and 12 o’clock, twelve vessels engaged the forts, five of them first class steam frigates, the other seven were second class steamers, with a tug leading. The tug opened fire on our infantry stationed some distance from the beach. One of the frigates, the Minnesota, at a distance of two miles, also threw shot and shell at the infantry.
Our informant assures us that seven Dahlgren guns from one of the frigates fired many shots on the hospital containing our wounded, hitting the building several times, notwithstanding the yellow flag was flying. The Surgeons were compelled by this barbarous act to have our wounded moved further into the interior.
The Minnesota is reported to have been on fire three times from hot shot thrown from the batteries.
Col. Spalding’s regiment lost all its baggage, blankets, &c., but saved all their arms.
In the hurry of preparing our noon edition it is impossible to obtain reliable accounts of much that we hear by rumor. We understand that the loss on our side is about twelve killed and forty wounded. Among the latter is Capt. J. A. Yates of Charleston, who was seriously injured by the bursting of a shell. Dr. [Edwin Somers] Buist, of Greenville, South Carolina, was instantly killed by a shell striking him in the head.
We have no positive information from Bay Point battery, farther than it was silcenced at 11 o’clock. We hear that it suffered serious loss. It is reported that garrison retired in safety toward Beaufort.
Of Col. DeSaussure’s regiment, stationed at Fort Walker, four were killed at the battery and twenty wounded.
We understand that the Confederates lost no prisoners, except, perhaps, one or two from Col. DeSaussure’s regiment.
The killed were covered with blankets and left. The wounded were all placed on board of steamers, and will arrive in Savannah today.
The abandon batteries were taken possession by the enemy and the United States flag waived over them as our troops retired.
Thus ends the first act in the grand drama of invasion and subjegation on our Southern coast.
We have no time for comments, and can only say, important as it is, let it not dishearten or discourage, but rather let it stimulate our entire people, every man, woman and child, to determined and unconquerable resistance.

 

Return to Berrien Minute Men on Sapelo Island: Part 5

 

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Benjamin Thomas Allen

Benjamin Thomas Allen  was born February 23, 1852 at the Metcalfe community, near Thomasville, GA. He grew up during the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1861 his father enlisted in a company from Thomasville known as the “Dixie Boys,” Company A, 57th GA Regiment and was sent to Savannah, GA but was discharged with pneumonia and came home sick in 1862.  His father then secured a job as railroad section master which, as work essential to the war effort, exempted him from further military service.

In 1864, the family was at Johnson Station, now Ludowici, GA,  where the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad had a stop referred to as “Four and a Half.”  General Levi J. Knight, of Ray City, GA had been one of the original board members of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.

By the late 1860s,  Benjamin Thomas Allen and his family were residing in Berrien County on the Nashville & Milltown road about a mile east of Nashville, where he was likely attending the McPherson Academy.  His older brother, Samuel D. Allen, was attending the Valdosta Institute in Valdosta, GA where he may have been a classmate of Matthew F. Giddens and John Henry “Doc” Holiday, who attended the Valdosta Institute during the same general time period.  Some time before 1870, the Allen family moved to Valdosta, and B. T. Allen, called “Bee Tree” by his friends, followed his brother in attending the Valdosta Institute.

He also attended the Fletcher Institute of Thomasville, GA, a  Methodist boarding school and then one of the most prestigious high schools in Wiregrass Georgia. Hamilton W. Sharpe was one of the Lay Trustees for the school, which offered a “Course of Study [in] Orthography, Reading, writing, and Arithmetic,… with the higher branches of an English Education, embracing Natural, Mental and Moral Philosophy, Rhetoric Logic, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Bookkeeping, and Political Economy,…Latin, Greek, French, Algebra, Geometry, Mensuration, etc —the object of which is to accommodate young men, who do not wish to go through College, with such a course as will enable them to enter upon any of the learned professions of this country.”

In Valdosta, B.T.’s father and brother worked for the Railroad, James Allen working as a Railroad overseer and Sam Allen working as a clerk. B. T. Allen was employed as a type setter, probably for the South Georgia Times newspaper owned by Philip Coleman Pendleton.  The Lowndes Historical Society notes, “In later writings B.T. Allen mentions his experience with the Pendleton’s and the Valdosta newspaper. In 1875 he played on Valdosta’s first baseball team.

In August of 1877, B. T. Allen was appointed City Clerk of Valdosta,  Joseph J. Goldwire having resigned the position.

In the 1880 census [B.T. Allen] is living in Quitman and is listed as a printer.

In the 1890’s B. T. Allen was editor of the Tifton Gazette.

In the 1900 and after censuses he is living Pearson, Georgia with the occupation showing lawyer or lawyer/editor.”

As editor of the Pearson Tribune in the 1920’s Benjamin Thomas Allen wrote a series of stories about growing up in Wiregrass Georgia. He published a memoir of the Reconstruction in Berrien County, GA on May 21, 1920.

PEARSON, GEORGIA, FRIDAY, MAY 21,1920
MEMORIES OF THE LONG AGO.
Nashville Young People Attend Milltown School Closing.

Monday the editor goes to the Press meeting at Nashville and Tuesday to the fish dinner at Milltown. These events, so near at hand, awakens in his memory afresh events of more than half a century ago. To be precise, it was in the Spring of 1867. In these events both Nashville and Milltown had a part.

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr was principal of the Milltown School, (Lakeland, GA) in 1867.

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr was principal of the Milltown School, (Lakeland, GA) in 1867.

At that time Milltown had a most excellent educational institution presided over by Elder O. C. Pope, who came to Milltown from Sandersville, Washington county, to be the pastor of the Baptist church and also principal of the School. He was a young benedict, of polished manner and thoroughly educated. He was a most competent instructor and created quite an admirable reputation for the Milltown school. His sister, Miss Virginia, was his capable assistant.

It was in the springtime, the latter part of May, the school was to have special closing exercises. The people of Milltown were putting forth every effort to make it, an event to be long remembered — I remember it as if it was yesterday.

Invitations had been sent to the young people of Nashville to attend this school closing. So arrangements were made whereby a number of Nashville’s girls and boys could go, among them my brother, Sam, [and] myself. My brother was just home from school at Valdosta and ready for an outing. But there was a dark obstacle in the way of brother and I going. Mother was practically an invalid at that time/a laundress could not be secured to put our underwear in condition for us to wear, and brother had about given up the trip and made his supposed disappointment known by his ill humor. This editor confesses he wasn’t as sweet as a peach over the prospects.

It was Wednesday morning prior to the eventful day, mother called me to her and said: “Son, I am sad over your apparent disappointment and want to suggest a way to overcome the obstacles. You’ve played the part of cook and housemaid all the year, suppose you try your hand at laundering. I believe you, with my instructions, can do the laundering all right.”

That afternoon I got busy; selected all the necessary pieces for brother and I, gave them a thorough washing and rinsing. The next morning, under the direction of mother I prepared the starch and starched the clothes and put them out to dry. That afternoon I dampened and ironed them. Mother all the while, was near at hand to explain every detail of the task. [Boys, never for get your mothers; they are your dearest friends on earth.]

To the average boy laundering does not appeal as a manly task, but I was proud of my first experience. Mother approved it as a real neat job. I was proud of it because it drove away disappointment and would please brother Sam, who was not wise to the effort I was making to overcome the obstacle in the way of the Milltown trip. Early Friday morning we were ready, looking just as trim and neat as any of the boys who made the trip.

Our home was about a mile east of Nashville and on the then Milltown road, and we were to be picked up on the way. There was three two horse wagons, furnished by Judges James F. Goodman, H. T. Peeples and E. J. Lamb, and when brother and I got aboard there was no room to spare. As I remember the party, the ladies were Mrs. McDonald, the widowed daughter of Judge Peeples, and her step daughter, Miss Virginia McDonald, Misses Helen, Carrie and Annie Byrd, Poena Goodman, Victoria Dobson, Lula and Mary Morgan, and Miss Simpson whose given name have escaped me; the gentlemen were Dr. H. M. Talley, Silas Tygart, John Goodman, Henry Peeples, W. H. Griffin, William Slater, Arthur and John Luke, brother and myself. It, was a jolly party, sure enough!

The party reached Milltown about 10 o’clock. The way we had to go it was seventeen miles from Nashville to Milltown. The school was housed in a large two story frame building, erected conjointly for a Masonic Lodge and School. The exercises had begun and the building or school room crowded to its utmost capacity.

At noon, a bountiful and splendid basket dinner was served on a lawn under some wide spreading oaks.

Very few of the country folks who lived closed by remained for the exhibition at night, so there was plenty of room in the auditorium and everybody got a seat. It was too far for the Nashville party to go home, they remained for the exhibition and were entertained for the night in the hospitable homes of Milltown. Brother and myself spent the night at the home of Elder Pope. Milltown, at that time, was an important trading point and had been for years. The people of the town and adjacent country were well to-do—-some of them wealthy —refined and cultured, and it was a delight to mingle with them. It was on this, my first visit to Milltown, I formed the acquaintance of Judge Lacy E. Lastinger, who has just celebrated his golden wedding anniversary; he was single then. Judge Lastinger’s father, William Lastinger, built the original Banks’ mill and created the mill pond from the waters of which the fish for the Editors’ dinner is to be caught. At the time of which I write he had already sold the property to Henry Banks, a wealthy North Georgian, and it is still the property of his estate according to my best information.

Related Posts:

Judge Richard Augustus Peeples

Lowndes Immigration Society, 1867

Richard Augustus Peeples, Clerk of the Berrien Courts

Matthew F. Giddens ~ Teacher, Businessman, Public Administrator

The Booby Clift Affair in Valdosta

General Levi J. Knight ~ Railroad Tycoon

Joshua Berrien Lastinger

 

Owen Clinton Pope, Reconstruction Teaching and Preaching

Owen Clinton Pope (1842-1901) came to Berrien County, GA during Reconstruction. He was a Confederate veteran who before the War was a rising pastor in the Baptist ministry. He may have come to Berrien County because of his acquaintance with Philip Coleman Pendleton or with Mercer University classmate Edwin B. Carroll. A graduate of Mercer, Pope was highly qualified to teach in country schools of Wiregrass Georgia and took jobs at the schools at Milltown, GA and Ocean Pond, GA.

 

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr.

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr.

Owen Clinton Pope was born February 15, 1842, in Washington County, Georgia.

His father, Owen Clinton Pope, Sr.,  was a farmer and newspaper man for 30 years associated with the Milledgeville Southern Recorder.   O.C. Pope Sr. became a business associate of Philip Coleman Pendleton and together they purchased and operated the Central Georgian newspaper at Sandersville, GA. Census records show Pope, Sr had a three-horse farm, with 300 acres of improved land in addition to large tracts of undeveloped land.  In 1860 O. C. Pope, Sr owned 20 enslaved African-Americans ranging from infants to 25 years in age. The age and gender distribution of the people enslaved by O. C. Pope, Sr. from 1850 to 1860 suggests that he may have been raising slaves for the slave market.

His mother, Sarah Sinquefield Pope, died in 1843 when Owen Jr was but one year old. His father remarried on Owen’s second birthday, February 15, 1844, to Nancy Miller Hunt in Washington County, GA.

At the age of 16, O. C. Pope, Jr. entered Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, graduating in 1860 with a bachelor of divinity degree.

Shortly after graduation from Mercer, at barely 18 years of age, he married Mollie Sinquefield of Jefferson County, Georgia, and was also called to pastor the Baptist church of Linville, Georgia. He was ordained to the ministry in 1861.

He was married December 18, 1860 to Miss Mollie W. Sinquefield, daughter of Hon. William Sinquefield, of Jefferson County, GA, a young lady who was educated at Monroe Female College, and who, as a wife, like ‘the holy women in the old time’ has always been ‘a crown to her husband'”

Marriage Certificate of Owen Clinton Pope, December 18, 1860

Marriage Certificate of Owen Clinton Pope and Mary “Mollie” Sinquefield. The ceremony was performed by Asa Duggan, Minister of God, December 18, 1860 in Washington County, GA

In January 1861, the newlyweds O. C. and Mollie Pope took charge of the Railroad Academy at Sandersville, GA.

When O.C.’s father died of paralysis on September 10, 1861 leaving an estate of nearly 1,500 acres, O. C. Pope, Jr. was still regarded by law as a minor. A bill was introduced in the Georgia Legislature, “to authorize Owen C. Pope, a minor, of the county of Washington, to probate and qualify as Executor of the last will and testament of Owen C. Pope, senior,” passing in the house of representatives but failing in the senate. His step mother, Nancy Miller Pope was appointed Adminstratrix.

In December 1861, O.C. Pope became principal of  the newly incorporated Mount Vernon Institute at Riddleville, GA, a co-educational high school of the Mount Vernon Association of Churches. While teaching, he continued to preach in local churches.

These positions as pastor and teacher he resigned at the call of his country, enlisted as a private in the Confederate army.

He enlisted on May 16, 1862 at Washington County, GA for twelve months service as a private in Company E, 1st Regiment of Florida Cavalry. He provided his own horse and uniform. Pope wrote that he was “attached to first regiment of Florida Cavalry; not because he was ashamed of his native state, for the valor of her sons and the hospitality of her inhabitants are proverbial throughout the confederacy,”

He rendered military service on the staff of Gen. W.G.M. Davis in the Tennessee and Kentucky campaigns.

In June of 1862, Pope left his bride and work behind and made his way “by personal conveyance” to the camp of the 1st Florida Cavalry regiment on the banks of the Tennessee River, some 265 miles northeast of his home at Sandersville, GA.

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ARMY CORRESPONDENCE
Of the Central Georgian.

Camp Kerby Smith, 22 Miles West of
Chattanooga, June 28, 1862

Dear Georgian – As war is the all absorbing topic which occupies every mans thoughts, I have have concluded that it would not be amiss to give a few items of its progress in East Tennessee, through your columns to old friends in Washington. I am at present attached to first regiment of Florida Cavalry; not because I was ashamed of my native state, for the valor of her sons and the hospitality of her inhabitants are proverbial throughout the Confederacy, but having some intimate friends in it, and on account of its destination to a healthy climate and active field I was induced to cast my humble lot as a soldier with it.
Having traveled by private conveyance through Georgia to Chattanooga, I had ample opportunity to inform myself with reference to the wheat crops. I regret to say that I have seen but few fields which promised anything like an average crop, and in this portion of Tennessee, wheat is almost an entire failure. Corn however, looks very fine and if seasons continue, we have reason to hope that we will make bread enough to feed our army until a peace is conquered or another crop comes on. Considerable damage has been wrought upon the farming interest on the opposite side of the river, by the predatory habits of our would be conquerors. The Tennessee river, upon the banks of which we are now stationed, appears to be the dividing line between us, but we occasionally cross over in scouting parties and bring over a few prisoners.
The position which we have is one of natural strength, consisting as the country does of mountains with only here and there a narrow pass. There is quite a contrast between the level piny woods of Washington, and the mountainous rocky regions around here. Near our encampment is Knickajack cave [Nickajack Cave], is almost two hundred feet in width, with an altitude of about one hundred feet, the walls being composed of massive rock in regular strata, varying from six to ten feet in thickness. From it emerges a beautiful stream navigable with canoes for many miles underground. This place is rendered important by the manufacture of Saltpetre, carried on by the government. The work was suspended about six weeks ago by the appearance of a band of Yankees who frightened away the laborers and destroyed the utensils; it has, however, been renewed since the appearance of our force in this vicinity.
The mountains around contain coal, considerable quantities of which are excavated and sold to the government for foundry purposes. I was favorably impressed with the novelty of a coal mine, and should renew my visits often were it not for the high position of the miners, which requires considerable effort for one not accustomed to their ways to attain.
It is important therefore to the Confederacy that the enemy should not obtain possession of this side of the river while the blockade is closed against saltpeter and coal. But it is much more important in a military view, as their occupation of this part of ——— would place Chattanooga in a more critical position, and subject Georgia to invasion, as we are now only four or five miles from the line. Some Georgians may be surprised to hear, that I, with a detachment of twenty-six others, withstood the enemies shell from two pieces for six hours within 1 1/2 miles of Georgia soil. Georgians must rally to the rescue, strengthen our forces, and beat back the enemy, or the time may soon come when her farms shall be desolated and her citizens carried away prisoners by the ruthless invader who is attempting to crush us beneath the iron heel of tyranny. I have seen those who were compelled to forsake their homes, even gray haired fathers, and as they recounted the bitter wrongs they had suffered, I’ve heard them swear deep and eternal vengeance against the foe. May high heaven grant that such may not be the lot of any who call themselves Georgians.
The skirmish I alluded to above, took place at a little place called Shellmound, a railroad depot. Myself, Charlie and Lawson G. Davis, were detailed with a few others of our regiment, to accompany a detachment of Artillery of two pieces from Macon, to take position on the river that we might prevent an armed steamboat from passing up the river to set troops across near Chattanooga. Our pieces were arranged on the bank of the river during the night, but on the morning our position being discovered, we were opened upon by a regiment of infantry, and two pieces of artillery from the opposite bank of the river. As we were unsupported by infantry, we were compelled to fall back behind the railroad embankment, a few yards off, which answered as a breastwork of protection. We could not use our pieces but few times before the successive volleys of minnie balls rendered it prudent for us to use only a few Enfields and Manards, which we happened to have along, with which we returned the fire in regular guerrilla style. If they had been aware of our force, (only 27) they might easily have crossed the river and captured our pieces. We remained with them however, until night, carrying them off, having killed three and wounded five, without having a single man hurt on our side.
We have made several excursions across the river capturing several prisoners. Last Saturday our regiment killed a Captain and Lieutenant, and wounding several, bringing off four prisoners without any injury to our party.
It is rumored in camp that the Confederacy is recognized by France. Many a stout heart would rejoice if the invader could be checked and driven back. I know not how long we remain here. I would be well please if you will send the Georgian, direct to Chattanooga, care of Capt. Cone. 1st Florida Cavalry. As I may be irksome I will close promising that if anything of interest transpires to write again and commending of country and her cause to the God of Sabbath.
Respectfully
O. C. Pope

Harpers Weekly illustration of Nickajack Cave, Feb 6. 1864. Owen C. Pope's regiment was encamped near the cave in 1861. <br>  <em>The "Nick-a-Jack" Cave near Chattanooga is one of the main sources from which the Confederates have derived the saltpeter required for the manufacture of powder.</em> <em>The cave is situated at the base of Raccoon Mountain, which rises abruptly to the height of twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the low grounds. In the face of a perpendicular cliff appeared the yawning mouth of Nick-a-Jack Cave. It is not arched as these caves usually are, but spanned by horizontal strata resting on square abutments at the sides, like the massive entablature of an Egyptian or Etruscan temple. From the opening issues a considerable stream, of bright green color, and of sufficient volume to turn a saw-mill near at hand. The height of the cliff is about 70 feet, that of the opening 40 feet, and about 100 in width immediately at the entrance, and of this the stream occupies about one-third. The roof of the cave is square and smooth, like the ceiling of a room, but below, the passage is rough and irregular, with heaps of earth and huge angular masses of rock, making exploration both difficult and dangerous.</em>

Harpers Weekly illustration of Nickajack Cave, Feb 6. 1864. Owen C. Pope’s regiment was encamped near the cave in 1861.
  The “Nick-a-Jack” Cave near Chattanooga is one of the main sources from which the Confederates have derived the saltpeter required for the manufacture of powder. The cave is situated at the base of Raccoon Mountain, which rises abruptly to the height of twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the low grounds. In the face of a perpendicular cliff appeared the yawning mouth of Nick-a-Jack Cave. It is not arched as these caves usually are, but spanned by horizontal strata resting on square abutments at the sides, like the massive entablature of an Egyptian or Etruscan temple. From the opening issues a considerable stream, of bright green color, and of sufficient volume to turn a saw-mill near at hand. The height of the cliff is about 70 feet, that of the opening 40 feet, and about 100 in width immediately at the entrance, and of this the stream occupies about one-third. The roof of the cave is square and smooth, like the ceiling of a room, but below, the passage is rough and irregular, with heaps of earth and huge angular masses of rock, making exploration both difficult and dangerous.

During Pope’s service in the Confederate Army, he preached nightly to the troops. He was discharged November 15, 1862 “by reason of the Conscript Act approved April 21st, 1862.” Pope suffered ill health throughout the balance of his life due to his time of service in the Civil War.

At the the expiration of his term of service, he returned home… he found few churches could support a full-time minister, 

He moved to Lee County, GA, taught at Smithville and Sumterville, and preached to country churches till the close of the war… When peace was restored, disorganized churches and the desolate country made extreme poverty the inevitable lot of those who, previous to the war, had depended upon ministerial charges for support…Pope found his property swept away and his health impaired.

Virginia Rhodes Pope, sister of Owen Clinton Pope, assisted him with teaching at Milltown School (Lakeland, GA) in 1867. She later returned to Washington County, GA and married James Berrien Stephens.

Virginia Rhodes Pope, half-sister of Owen Clinton Pope, assisted him with teaching at Milltown School (Lakeland, GA) in 1867. She later returned to Washington County, GA and married James Berrien Stephens.

About 1866, Pope relocated to south Georgia, perhaps because his father’s old business partner, Philip Coleman Pendleton, had opened the South Georgia Times newspaper at Valdosta, GA.  Or perhaps Pope was influenced by former Mercer classmate Edwin Benajah Carroll who was preaching and teaching at Milltown. Like Pope, Carroll was a Confederate veteran, having served as Captain of the Berrien Minute Men, Company G, 29th Georgia Regiment.

In any case, Pope found work in Berrien and Lowndes County, “giving the week to the school-room at Ocean Pond [Lake Park, GA] and Milltown [Lakeland, GA], and the Sabbath to the pulpits of Milltown, Stockton and Cat Creek churches.

O. C. Pope with the assistance of his 13-year old sister, Virginia R. Pope, took charge of the Milltown School. “He was a most competent instructor and created quite an admirable reputation for the Milltown school.”   The prestige of the school grew during these years. At the close of the school year in 1867, students from all the surrounding country schools were invited to the commencement ceremony to view the accomplishments that had been made that year.

By 1870, O.C. Pope had moved to Jefferson County, GA to preach and to teach at academies there. He moved to churches in Tennessee and took up publication of several Baptist periodicals. He moved to Texas and added missionary and fundraising to his interests. He moved to New York to work for the Church Edifice Fund for the American Baptist Home Mission Society. In 1898, at age 55, Pope accepted the position as president of Simmons College, Abilene, TX.

 

 

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr. taught at the Milltown , GA (now Lakeland) school in 1867.

Owen Clinton Pope, Jr. taught at the Milltown, GA (now Lakeland) school in 1867.  Owen Clinton Pope later went on to become president of Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University), a Baptist college in Abilene, Texas.

O. C. Pope biographical material compiled in part from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography., Hardin-Simmons University Website, History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia, and The Portal to Texas History

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Nashville’s Whiskey Distillery

Just days before the passage of the National Prohibition Act, a writer to the Pearson Tribune reminisced about a whiskey distillery that once operated in Nashville, GA.

The National Prohibition Act was enacted October 28, 1919 by Congressional override of President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. The Act, known informally as the Volstead Act, was enacted to carry out the intent of the 18th Amendment (ratified January 1919), which established prohibition in the United States. The Anti-Saloon League‘s Wayne Wheeler conceived and drafted the bill, which was named for Andrew Volstead, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who managed the legislation.

But in 1908, Georgia already had already enacted a state prohibition, that legislation having been vigorously promoted by Jonathan Perry Knight, a native of Ray City, GA.  Knight’s legislation was in opposition to longstanding pioneer tradition; alcohol was widely produced in Wiregrass Georgia. Pioneers brewed their own farm beverages – wine, buck, cane beer, or liquor. On court days, liquor was an expected stapleNumerous toasts were drunk at social events. In the days of old Lowndes County, before Berrien County was formed, the county seat at Troupville was considered a wild and wicked town…with much drinking.  Licenses for legal, market production of liquor were issued by the state.  In the late 1870s even Nashville, GA had its own, licensed  whiskey distillery.

Anonymous memoir on 1876 whiskey distillery at Nashville, GA appeared in the Pearson Tribune, October 24,1919.

Anonymous memoir on 1876 whiskey distillery at Nashville, GA appeared in the Pearson Tribune, October 24,1919.

PEARSON, GEORGIA, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1919

MEMORIES OF THE LONG AGO.
Nashville’s Whiskey Distillery, Paulk’s High License Law.

One of the industries of Nashville in 1876 was a full-fledged, licensed, distillery. It was located on the lot now [1919] occupied by the First Bank of Nashville. A man by the name of John Tucker was the owner and John Carey was the distiller.
Various grades of the “Ardent” were manufactured here, but the principal product was corn whiskey. Some grape wine and brandy, blackberry wine and brandy, small quantities of peach and apple brandy, and rum from cane skimmings. The products of the plant were absolutely pure, and it was strange that only a small quantity of it was sold locally. The greater portion was shipped to Savannah.
Mr. Tucker became indebted to my father for supplies and finally turned the plant and the land over to him in liquidation.
My father did not attempt to operate the distillery. He sold the plant and fixtures to parties who moved it away from Nashville. The title to the land was disputed, an ejectment suit followed and resulted in my father losing the land two years later. He was represented by Messrs. Peeples & Whittington. He got enough out of the plant to reimburse him for the advances he had made Mr. Tucker.
The most remarkable fact about the presence of this distillery at Nashville: There was no apparent increase of drunkenness, the old topers would take their occasional sprees as had been their custom. It was there in plenty, there was no embargo on it, and anyone could get some who wanted it. No one seemed to care anything about it.
The plant was sent away; the government, in its effort to tax the non-essentials for the payment of the war debt, assessed a heavy revenue tax on distilled spirits, made it high-priced, scarce and hard to get. it was then the mania for liquor in Berrien county —and else where —had its origin. A few years later Berrien county was represented in the legislature by Hon. Thomas Paulk, father of Dr. George A. Paulk, of Alapaha. He saw the tendency of the times was toward drunkenness and debauchery, and set himself to the task of finding a remedy for the situation. As a result of his quest, he drafted and procured the pass age of the first high-license law ever placed on the statute books of Georgia. If provided for the payment of a license tax of $10,000 before a person could engage in retailing ardent spirits in Berrien county.
The example was soon followed by representatives of other counties; they adopted and placed their counties under the prohibitive tax law. It put the retail dealers out of business in every one of the counties adopting the measure.
The writer wants to make this observation, in passing, that not a single one of his young men associates at Nashville, embracing W. H. Griffin, H. B. Peeples, Wm. Slater, John Parramore, Silas Tygart, R. K. Turner, J. J. Goodman, Arthur and John Luke, W. H. Morris, W. Henry Griffin, Alfred Simpson, John Connell and Lott Sirmans, were addicted to drinking whiskey, and if they acquired the habit of getting drunk they did so after the good year 1867 [typo? 1876?] Some of them chewed tobacco. I attempted to acquire the habit but did not succeed. It made me deathly sick, the first quid, and I have never taken the second. Tobacco chewing is an evil hardly second to whiskey.

 

Prohibition didn’t stop drinking of Demon Alcohol in Ray City. There were plenty of “blind tigers” running moonshine stills and selling liquor in Berrien County, despite the efforts of lawmen like Jim Griner, Bruner Shaw and Cauley Shaw.   In 1919,  reports of drunkenness and lawlessness in Ray City were making newspapers throughout the section.

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