The Good Judge Holt

It is said that the Honorable Thaddeus Goode Holt presided as judge at the first session of the Superior Court of Lowndes County, GA in 1825, convened at the home of Sion Hall.

About the Judge…

As a lawyer and a judge on the Southern Circuit,  Thaddeus G. Holt was well known to Wiregrass pioneers. He was later a prominent citizen of Macon, GA and built a fine home there.  Judge Holt was father of  Captain T. G. Holt, Jr. of the Confederate cavalry, brother-in-law of Confederate general Alfred Holt Iverson who was disgraced at Gettysburg,   and great grandfather of Doris Duke who in the 1930s was known as “the richest girl in the world.”

Thaddeus Goode Holt, born September 20, 1793, was a son of Martha Goode and Thaddeus Holt.  His father, Thaddeus Holt, was a wealthy landowner in Baldwin County, GA and counted more than 4000 acres of land, numerous slaves,  grist mills and sawmills, a ferry and later a toll bridge among his holdings. The senior Holt served as a member in the Georgia Assembly in 1809, as a captain in the Georgia militia, and as a lieutenant colonel in the War of 1812.

Colonel Holt was somewhat of a brawler and participated in several duels during his life. He was bushwhacked by  John “Whiskey” Jones in October, 1813,  while traveling between his properties on the Oconee River in Baldwin County, and died a week later on October 14, 1813.
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Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser
October 13, 1813
On Thursday last, Thaddeus Holt was shot through the body, (supposed with a rifle bullet) which entered below the breast bone and came out just under the right shoulder blade. He received the wound in Oconee Swamp on the way to his lower plantation by John Jones, (Whiskey.) It is worthy of remark, that early in Col. Holt’s life, he fought a man, both armed with knives, in which affair both were badly cut to pieces. In Kentucky, in a duel, he wounded through the leg; and directly after in many Indian skirmishes. Afterwards he was shot through the neck; and in the year ’95 had his mouth shot to pieces in a duel – all of which he survived, and lives to agonize his present wound, from which it is probable he will recover, being the 4th day since it was received.
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Thaddeus Goode Holt, attended the University of Georgia in 1814. While there, he resided in a cabin his father, Colonel Thaddeus Holt, had built in Athens,GA on Jefferson Road (probably present day Prince Avenue) within a mile of the University of Georgia “in which his five sons kept bachelor’s hall whilst they were students in the University.”
Old College, University of Georgia, constructed in 1806. Today, Old College is the oldest remaining structure on UGA's historic north campus.

Old College, University of Georgia, constructed in 1806. Today, Old College is the oldest remaining structure on UGA’s historic north campus.

After graduating from UGA, Thaddeus Goode Holt, studied law at the Litchfield Law School, Litchfield, Connecticut. The Litchfield Law School, founded by Tapping Reeve is often cited as the first formal school of law in the United States offering a vocational curriculum for future attorneys.
Article on the "First American Law School", published 1921.

Article on the “First American Law School”, published 1921.

In the 1887 work Virginia cousins:a study of the ancestry and posterity of John Goode of Whitby, a Virginia colonist of the seventeenth century, with notes upon related families, a key to southern genealogy and a history of the English surname Gode, Goad, Goode or Good from 1148 to 1887author George Brown Goode gives the following short biography:

Judge THADDEUS GOODE HOLT, of Macon, Ga., son of Thaddeus and Martha Goode Holt,  was born Sept. 20, 1793, and died May 8, 1873. Married, 1828, Nancy, daughter of John and Martha Flemming. Children: —

  1. Hon. Thaddeus Goode Holt, Jr., b. Oct. 16, 1836.  
  2. Allen F., m. E. J. Monghon.
  3. Ellen, m. D. E. Notris.
  4. Leroy, d. aet, 23.

Judge Holt was educated at the University of Georgia, at Athens, and became a prominent lawyer. He was Solicitor-General of the southern circuit of Georgia, 1819-22, and Judge of the southern circuit, 1824-28.

Avery’s History of Georgia mentions “a public meeting held in Macon, 1862, presided over by that noble gentleman, and distinguished ex-Judge Thaddeus G. Holt, to devise means to strengthen the army of the new nation.”

View of the exterior of the Holt - Peeler House, Macon, Bibb County, GA, built by Judge Thaddeus Goode Holt in the 1840s. Judge Holt served on the Southern Circuit of Georgia, and is said to have presided at the first session of Superior Court in Lowndes County, GA in 1825.

View of the exterior of the Holt – Peeler House, Macon, Bibb County, GA, built by Judge Thaddeus Goode Holt in the 1840s. Judge Holt served on the Southern Circuit of Georgia, and is said to have presided at the first session of Superior Court in Lowndes County, GA in 1825.

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