Lowndes County, GA, 1839
After south Georgia was first opened to settlers in the 1820s, the federal government established post offices to serve the pioneers. But for many years, the Post Offices of the Old Berrien Pioneers were few and far between.
As of 1836 there were only two post offices in all of Lowndes County, GA, an area which then encompassed present day Lowndes, Berrien, Cook, Brooks, Lanier, and parts of Tift, Colquitt, and Echols counties. These post offices are shown on the 1839 Map of Georgia & Alabama exhibiting the post offices, post roads, canals, rail roads & c.; by David H. Burr (Late topographer to the Post Office), Geographer to the House of Representatives of the U.S.
In 1836 area settlers traveled to post mail either at the county court house at Franklinville, GA, or at a post office on the Coffee Road which existed only briefly in Lowndes County. Contemporary accounts give the name of this post office as Mangum, although the 1839 Burr postal map, the official U. S. Postal Service Record of Appointment of Postmasters, and List of the Post-Offices in the United States give the name as Magnum.
Actually, the Burr map was out of date by the time it was published in London in 1839.
In 1836, the Franklinville post office was located near the Withlacoochee River about 10 miles southwest of the homestead of Levi J. Knight at Beaverdam Creek (now the site of Ray City, GA). But in 1837 this post office was transferred another 12 miles farther southeast to Troupville, GA when the county seat was relocated to the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Little rivers.
The Magnum post office, as shown on the 1839 Burr map, was situated another 15 miles to the west of Franklinville, GA. Prior t0 1836 it was been known as the Sharpe’s Store post office, where Hamilton Sharpe served as postmaster and operated his country store on the Coffee Road. Sharpe, who had become busily engaged with politics and with the Indian Wars, stepped down as post master in 1836. The Sharpe’s Store post office was renamed Magnum post office, and John Hall, Sr. took over as postmaster effective April 1, 1836.
The Milledgeville Federal Union
April 28, 1836
THE POST-OFFICE, at “Sharpe’s Store” Lowndes county, Georgia, has changed its name to that of Mangum and John Hall Esq. has been appointed postmaster.
Postmaster John Hall, Sr. was a brother of Sion Hall. Sion Hall, one of the very earliest settlers of Lowndes (now Brooks) county, had established a tavern on the Coffee Road about 1823. Sharpe’s Store had opened about four years later near Hall’s Inn, which served as the first site of Superior Court meetings in Lowndes County.
The Magnum, or Mangum, Post Office was short-lived, though. Postal records show that on January 28, 1837 the name reverted to Sharpe’s Store Post Office, and Hamilton Sharpe resumed as post master. Sharpe served as postmaster until 1848, and the Sharpe’s Store Post Office continued under other postmasters until closing in 1853.
After the post office moved from Franklinville to Troupville in 1837, the Knight’s and other early settlers of the Ray City area had a round trip of about 44 miles to get their mail. The round trip to the post office at Sharpe’s Store was about 50 miles, although it was may have been on the better travel route via the Coffee Road. But for the Knights, the bustling town of Troupville, with its social happenings, travelers and ramblers, commerce and trade, religion and politics, court proceedings, legal affairs, amusements, hotels and inns, was undoubtedly the preferred destination. On the other hand, Hamilton W. Sharpe, like Levi J. Knight, was a political and military leader of Lowndes County, and the two are known to have had frequent associations.
- Post Offices of the Old Berrien Pioneers
- Posting Mail at Ray City
- Coffee Road Led to Creation of Lowndes County
- Coffee’s Road Passed Seven Miles West of Ray City
- Fourth of July, 1834 and the State Rights Association
- Levi J. Knight’s 4th of July Address at Franklinville, GA 1835
- Levi J. Knight and Lowndes First Superior Court.