Hamilton Sharpe and the Electoral College

Hamilton W. Sharpe, pioneer settler of Lowndes county, post master and proprietor of Sharpe’s Store on the Coffee Road, was a contemporary of Levi J. Knight, original settler at the site of Ray City, GA (Ray City and most of Berrien County then being a part of Lowndes.)

Hamilton Wynn Sharpe

Hamilton Wynn Sharpe, Lowndes County, GA was selected in 1852 as representative to the Electoral College for presidential candidate Daniel Webster.

Hamilton W. Sharpe, although a Whig in politics declined to support the party’s nominee, Winfield Scott, in the Presidential Election of 1852.  While loyal Whigs like Judge Lott Warren, General Eli Warren, and Judge James Jackson Scarborough were all attending the 1852 Scott Convention in Macon, GA,  Hamilton Sharpe was across town, supporting third party candidate Daniel Webster, of Massachusetts, and vice presidential candidate Charles J. Jenkins, of Georgia.  Hamilton W. Sharpe was selected at the Third Party Convention as the  electoral college representative from Georgia’s 1st Congressional district.

1852 Political Cartoon. Third party candidate Daniel Webster challenges Winfield Scott and Franklin Pierce for the presidency of the United States.

1852 Political Cartoon. Third party candidate Daniel Webster challenges Winfield Scott and Franklin Pierce for the presidency of the United States.

Seventeen years earlier, at the 1835 Independence Day celebration at Franklinville, GA, Hamilton Sharpe, Levi J. Knight and others had joined a chorus of prominent Lowndes County citizens denouncing the actions of President Andrew Jackson and toasting the right of states to nullify federal law. Now Sharpe would vote for one of Jackson’s strongest supporters.

Georgia’s third party convention was widely reported in state and national newspapers.

Louisville Daily Democrat
August 25, 1852

Macon, (Ga.,) Aug. 18, 1852.
The Scott convention met here to-day. William B. Fleming, of Savannah, was chosen President. No joint nomination having been agreed to by the committee of the conference with the Webster committee, the convention appointed an electoral ticket and adjourned sine die.

Macon, (Ga.,) Aug. 18, 1852.
The third candidate convention met according to adjournment. The committee of twenty four reported through it chairman, R. P. Trippe, that there was no way through which a union with the Scott convention could be effected, and recommended the nomination of candidates for President and Vice President other than those now before the people. They reported the platform of the whig party as the platform of the third candidate party, and an electoral ticket as follows.
H. H. Cummings, of Richmond, and Edward T. Hill, of Troupe, for the State at large.
First District – Hamilton W. Shape, of Thomas.
Second District – Wm. M. Brown, of Marion.
Third District – Washington Pope, of Bibb.
Fourth District – Blunt C. Forrell, of Troupe.
Fifth District – Warren Aiken, of Cass.
Sixth District – Y. L. G. Davis, of Clarke.
Seventh District – John G. Floyd, of Newton.
Eighth District – Philip S. Semle, of Jefferson.
They also reported to support Daniel Webster for President, and Charles J. Jenkins for Vice President.
The report was unanimously adopted, and the following executive committee was appointed:
James T. Nisbett, of Bibb; W. S. Norman, of Monroe; Gen. B. H. Rutherford, of Bibb; R. M. Orme, of Baldwin; Thomas H. Pollhill, of Jefferson; Stephen F. Miller, of Macon; T. C. Sullivan, of Sumter; P. W. Alexander, of Chatham; Charles Turner, of Pike; W. S. Jones of Richmond; C. A. Cloud, of Chatham.
After the adoption of several unimportant resolutions, the convention adjourned.

Webster had been a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson and had opposed the nullification strategy of state’s rights supporters.

In December 1832, Jackson issued the Proclamation to the People of South Carolina, warning that he would not allow South Carolina to defy federal law. Webster strongly approved of the Proclamation, telling an audience at Faneuil Hall that Jackson had articulated “the true principles of the Constitution,” and that he would give the president “my entire and cordial support” in the Nullification crisis. He strongly supported Jackson’s proposed Force Bill, which would authorize the president to use force against states that attempted to obstruct federal law.

Webster had been a long-standing opponent of slavery; in an 1837 speech he called slavery a “great moral, social, and political evil,” and added that he would vote against “any thing that shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add other slaveholding states to the Union. But, unlike his more strongly anti-slavery constituents, … “Cotton Whigs” like Webster, …emphasized good relations with Southern leaders.  He did not believe that Congress should interfere with slavery in the states.  

After the Mexican-American War Webster voted against the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which the United States acquired the Mexican Cession, not because of objection to the potential expansion of slavery into the territories, but because he was strongly opposed to any acquisition of Mexican territory at all  (with the exception of San Francisco). Webster became a prominent supporter of the Compromise of 1850 which allowed the people of each territory to decide whether or not slavery would be permitted. The compromise also included a more stringent Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  Southern Whigs called the law “the Act for the recovery of fugitives from labor.” In the North, it became the most controversial portion of the Compromise of 1850, and Webster became closely involved in enforcing the Fugitive Slave Law.

Disputes over fugitive slaves were widely publicized North and South, inflaming passions and raising tensions in the aftermath of the Compromise of 1850. Many of the administration’s prosecutions or attempts to return slaves ended badly. 

One such case was that of Thomas Sims, an African American who escaped from slavery in Georgia and fled to Boston, Massachusetts in 1851. He was arrested the same year under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, had a court hearing, and was forced to return to enslavement. Sims was one of the first slaves to be forcibly returned from Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The failure to stop his case from progressing was a significant blow to the abolitionists, as it showed the extent of the power and influence which slavery had on American society and politics. On April 13, Sims was marched down to a ship and returned to Georgia under military protection. Sims exclaimed that he would rather be killed and asked for a knife multiple times. Many people marched in solidarity with Sims to the wharf.  Upon his return to Savannah, Sims was publicly whipped 39 times and sold in a slave auction to a new owner in Mississippi.  – wikipedia

The full resolutions of the Georgia Third Party Convention of 1852 were printed in the Savannah Republican, August 20, 1852.

Resolutions of the Georgia Third Party Convention of 1852. Hamilton W. Sharpe, of Lowndes County, GA was selected for the party's ticket for the Electoral College.

Resolutions of the Georgia Third Party Convention of 1852. Hamilton W. Sharpe, of Lowndes County, GA was selected for the party’s ticket for the Electoral College.

Sharpe’s hopes for a third party victory in the election of 1852 were dashed when Daniel Webster died October 24, 1852, nine days before the election.

On a positive epilogue,  Thomas Sims eventually escaped enslavement again, and returned to Boston in 1863. In 1877 he received an appointment to a position in the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Emily Britton Parker, Ray City Teacher

Emily Britton Parker taught at Ray City School in 1947.  She was a fresh graduate of Wesleyan College, Class of 1947,  where she was a schoolmate of Barbara Swindle of Ray City, GA. She was the bride of Reverend Pledger Parker, who served as minister of the Ray City Methodist Church in 1946-1947.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College senior portrait, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College senior portrait, 1947.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College senior portrait caption, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College senior portrait caption, 1947.

Ostensibly Emily is majoring in religion, but her real major is an important man named Pledger. Her religious sincerity, her straightforward honesty, her sympathetic listening ability and her warm friendly smile endear her to all Wesleyannes. Emily, with her sparkling eyes, and untiring energies in a variety of fields, have made her a real asset to Wesleyan.

Emily Britton Parker, Wesleyan College accomplishments, 1947.

Emily Britton, Wesleyan College accomplishments, 1947.

Emily Britton
Camilla, Georgia
Religion

Pres. Freshman Commission; Hiking Club 1; I. R. C. 1, 2, 3, 4; Sophomore Council; Advisor to Freshman Commission 2; Glee Club 3, 4; Chairman Macon Church Activities on “Y” 3; Junior Marshall; Dance Club 4; National Methodist Church Scholarship 4; Vesper Choir 4.

Obituary

Emily Elizabeth Britton Parker
6/21/1925 – 11/2/2017
     

Emily Elizabeth Britton Parker, 92, of Macon, Georgia, went to her eternal home on November 2, 2017. At the time of her death, she resided at McKendree Village in Hermitage, Tennessee. The Reverend Pledger Wilson Parker, a member of the South Georgia Conference, and Emily were married for 67 years prior to his death in 2014.

Emily was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 21, 1925, to The Reverend Charles Britton, Jr., and his wife, Eleanor. Since her father was a member of the South Georgia Conference, Emily spent her childhood in several South Georgia communities. After graduating from A. L. Miller High School in Macon, she attended Wesleyan College, graduating cum laude in 1947 with a degree in Christian Education. She later pursued graduate studies in Library Science at Georgia Southern College, University of Georgia Extension Service, Georgia College at Milledgeville, and Mercer University.

Emily was the Director of Christian Education at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church for three years. She was also the Head Librarian of the Junior Department of Macon’s Washington Memorial Public Library for four years, an Elementary School Media Specialist for nine years, and a school teacher.

She was actively involved in the South Georgia Conference as a youth and as an adult. Emily organized the South Georgia Conference Ministers’ Wives Retreat and served as President for two years. She was an avid participant in the Women’s Society of Christian Service and United Methodist Women on the conference and local church levels. She was active in the life and ministry of the churches Pledger served, often working with college-age students. After his retirement from the pastorate, they connected with Mulberry Street UMC, where they particularly enjoyed being part of the Interest Group Sunday School Class and the “Scampers” Camping Group. In 2010 they moved to Nashville to be near their daughter, Cherie.

Emily was devoted to her family. She was the consummate hostess and loved to cook for family, friends, and the many people that ministry brought into her sphere. She loved hiking, camping, and bird-watching, was a charter member of the Georgia Wilderness Society, and was active in the Ocmulgee Audubon Society. She also served on the Board of the Friends of the Library. Emily loved attending cultural events and playing and teaching board games. She possessed a powerful will and boundless energy. It can truly be said of Emily: “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of our Lord.”

Emily is survived by three daughters: Giglia Parker of Loma Linda, California; Karen Parker DeVan (Jim) of McDonough, Georgia; and Cherie Parker (Jack Keller) of Nashville, Tennessee; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A graveside service officiated by The Reverend Dr. Peter van Eys was held on November 6 in the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta. A memorial service, officiated by The Reverend Creede Hinshaw and The Reverend Jimmy Towson, was held at Mulberry Street UMC on November 7. Phillips-Robinson Funeral Home in Nashville was in charge of funeral arrangements.
– Book of Remembrance, Southe Georgia Conference, United Methodist Church.

 

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The Old Log Church

Montgomery Morgan Folsom was a grandson of Randal Folsom and great grandson of Lawrence Armstrong Folsom, one of the pioneer settlers of Old Lowndes County, GA. On his mother’s side he was a grandson of Sarah Wooten and Morgan G. Swain, early residents of Troupville, GA.

Folsom was, according to his obituary, among the best known and most versatile newspaper men in the South. He wrote prolifically and his stories and poetry were widely published. He wrote about his childhood memories and tales heard from his elders about pioneer days along  Withlacoochee RiverTroupvilleCoffee Road, the formation of Lowndes County,  the Battle of Brushy Creek, fire hunts, and early Wiregrass Methodists.  His grandfather, Randall Folsom, was a leading member of the Methodist church.

In his book, Scraps of Songs and Southern Scenes,  Montgomery M. Folsom recalls his grandfather as larger than life. His details, if not an actual historical portrait, paint the church life of early Methodist pioneers. The piece, “Malachi,” describes a Methodist church which is not identified.  If it is Salem Church, it must be the original structure and not the church built in 1856 on the Coffee Road.  The church in Malachi matches the description of old Salem Church Folsom gave in 1885 “Long time ago there was another Salem, built of logs, clap-boards and puncheons.”  For Montgomery to have ever attended a service in the old log church means it must have stood for some years after 1857, the year of his birth, and saw at least occasional use, perhaps on special observances such as the love feast.

 

MALACHI

Ah, the old log church!

With its long roof of clapboards, and the swag in the middle where the back bone had weakened, and the broad, shutterless door, and the puncheon steps in front.

Then the side door where the women went in, and the window at the back of the pulpit. And the rows of benches running crosswise, and down next to the pulpit, either side, rows of benches that ran lengthwise.

These were for the old folks – mothers and fathers in Israel – and the old women sat on one side and the old men on the other.

The Amen corner. Grandpa had his seat up there, and he wore the old bench slick sitting there listening to the sound of the gospel and raising the hymns.

The old man – sacred be his memory – owned much cattle. He pastured his flocks and herds from the Ocmulgee to the Flint, and from Stono, where the devil dropped his shot gourd; and old Pindertown, on the north, to the black swamps of the Okeefenokee, and the pimple hills of Ocopilco on the South.

He hunted his cattle over an area as big as the German Empire.

He carried a whip that you could hear a mile, and when he hollered “cow holler,” the echoes reverberated from the pine clad ridge and the banks of reedy river, till you would have thought it was a regiment of whangdoodles sounding the charge.

Grandpa was very religious. He used to get formidably happy, and when he shouted he shook the walls of the old log house like Joshua and his ram-shorns on the plains of Jericho.

And he could talk at love-feast till the tears would trickle down the cheeks of the brethren like the summer rain on the furrowed brow of Signal Mountain.

When he prayed I always thought the good Lord paid some attention to him, for the old man meant every word he said, and he spoke out loud, and if he wanted rain he just asked for it.

Some of the rest of them I was a little doubtful about; but I knew the good Lord was obliged to hear Grandpa.

I can see him now, raise himself, clear up his throat, and as the preacher finished “lining out” the hymn, the old man’s broad chest would expand, a new light would come into that keen grey eye that was as sharp as an eagle’s ; and —

” All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
Let Angels prostrate fall.”

Another pause while the next two lines were read and like the rich throb of some great organ —

” Bring forth the royal diadem

And crown Him Lo-o-rd of All —
Bring forth the roy-al di-a-dem

And crow-n H-im Lo-o-rd of All ! “

Weaker voices swelled the grand old anthem of triumph, but Grandpa’s voice led all the rest.

It was like the deep rich roll of summer thunder, accompanied by the rythmic patter of the falling rain.

I just knew then, and I have no doubt to this day, that angels gazed over the walls of paradise and chanted a joyous refrain.

I was a little Catholic. Too young to know much about it, and I looked upon Grandpa as my father in God.

And my confidence was not misplaced.

This very night, somewhere beyond the twinkling stars of heaven, the old man is wandering among perennial pastures and by streams that never go dry. And his great big heart is throbbing with calm contentment, and his great big voice is leading some choir of angel voices in that same old song —

“And crown Him Lord of all ! “

One time, howbeit, the old man got me into a predicament.

It was one Sunday, when they had love-feast. Those wiregrass Methodists had real feasts of love in those days, when they laid aside the bickerings and cares and the fretfulness of earth, and gathered themselves to worship the God of love.

And the sun shone on leafy trees, and the winds were sweet and low as they sang softly among the pines. Wild birds flitted from wind-swayed bough to blooming thicket, and at the foot of the hill the streamlet crooned among the pebbles.

Far away in the golden deeps of the summer heavens cloud-ships lay at anchor, soon to hoist sail for the land of dreams.

One by one the elder members arose and told their experiences, and, good souls, magnified the few small sins their simple lives had known into black and bitter wrongs against their God.

Grandpa sat with his hands on the back of the bench in front of him, and listened with deepest interest to all that was said, now smiling gladly with one whose face beamed with the gladness of hope; now brushing off a tear in sympathy with some one whose anguish of spirit wrung scalding tears from a burning heart.

I grew drowsy.” I had committed but few sins. Stole a few watermelons, perhaps ; or caused Ponchartrain to kill the tabby cat’s kitten ; or broke up a bluebird’s nest ; or told a story about going in swimming. But they were sins too small for God or Grandpa either to mind much.

I sat on a crosswise bench where I could watch Grandpa and keep my eye on the preacher, all at the same time. Besides, I wanted to swap knives with Charlie Remington as soon as they all got through, and the love-feast was of only secondary interest to me.

Grandpa’s time came.

I was watching a jaybird in an oak tree outside, and my eyes were trying to make me believe there were two jaybirds, when I knew there was but one.

The old man arose, and resting his hands on the back of the bench, he gazed away off in the distance for a moment, and then cleared his throat.

“A-hem!”

He took the big red handkerchief from his hat by his side, wiped his ruddy face, and another —

“A-hem!”

Then he began deliberately —

“Well, bretherin, I feel that we aire all sinful creatures in the sight of God. The Scripter saith : ‘He that saith he liveth and sinneth not is a liar, and the truth aint in ‘im ! ‘

“But I don’t b’lieve in puttin’ too much distress on our sins and shortcomin’s. We’re bad enough without that.

“Let us be of good cheer, and not be cast down. Our Saviour tells us that He will send a Comforter, and ‘if I go not, the Comforter will not come.’ I am mighty well satisfied to take His word in all these matters.

“He has gone to prepare us a home, but He has not left us hopeless. That is the beauty of religion.

“And I want to tell you a source of great comfort to me.

You know for sev’ral weeks I’ve been a-ridin’ in the woods and I ain’t had much time to attend to my duties like I ort to, but I’ve kept my Bible with me, and I’ve been a readin’ at odd chances.

“And I want to tell you a little book that I’ve came acrost in the Bible that has done me more good than a little. And I want you all to read it keerfully. It’s a little book away over in the back of the Old Testyment, and you mought miss it unless you looked close.

“Mind what I tell you, now, and ‘tend to this right away. Fust thing when you go home, do you hunt it up and read it keerfully.

“Away out yander in them lonesome woods” — and one rough, brown hand was raised in the direction of the forest — “that little book has be’n a comforter to me.

“It is the little book of Malachi!”

Bang !

The fist came down on the back of the seat; I started from my doze, the jaybird flitted away, several old men groaned, and several old women said “Bless the Lord!”

The old man sat down.

“Malachi, Malachi, Malachi.”

The name seemed imbedded in my memory like a bullet in a tree.

“Malachi.”

All the day it haunted me, and at night I awoke from a dream and muttered, “Malachi!”

Next day I kept thinking over it, and it bothered me.

“Malachi.”

I would look it up. Grandpa said it was good to read and Grandpa knew. So I would make a still hunt for Malachi.

I found it, just as he said, and I read it over and over — skipped the hard names and spelled out the long words.

But to save my life I never was able to discover anything of special interest in Malachi. I found it very short, and I decided that was why he found it so comfortable. He could read it while his horse was eating, and be done with it.

And although I reverence the very wild vines that clamber over his crumbling tomb, and cherish every memory of the good man that is gone, I am still puzzled about Malachi.

Perhaps

If I should live to be
The last leaf on the tree

In the spring, I might find that comforter which the old man found in reading Malachi.

 

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Reuben Marsh, Coffee Road Ferryman

Reuben Marsh was a pioneer settler of that area of old Irwin County which later became Berrien County, GA. This section of south Georgia was opened up for settlement with the cutting of the Coffee Road in 1823.  Marsh was a ferry  operator on the Coffee Road for nearly 20 years.

Independent ferry operators were authorized by the Georgia Legislature to provide river crossings on the Coffee Road.

Independent ferry operators were authorized by the Georgia Legislature to provide river crossings on the Coffee Road.

Reuben Marsh was born about 1793 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. According to  Roots & Branches Genealogical Society of West Volusia County, Florida, he came with his family to Georgia in about 1800, settling in Telfair County.  His father died there in 1805 at age 31.

In 1812, at age 19 Reuben Marsh married fifteen-year-old Nancy Marshall,  daughter of Matthew Marshall and Margaret King. The young couple first made their home in Telfair County, GA. In 1820, Reuben Marsh was enumerated there as a head of household along with his wife, five children, and one slave.  A white female over age 45 enumerated in his household may have been his widowed mother. It is said his mother died that year.

Reuben Marsh, of Telfair County, was among the fortunate drawers in the Third or 1820 Land Lottery of Georgia announced in the December 19, 1820 edition of the Milledgeville Southern Recorder.  This lottery was to dispose of an immense area of land now covering the southern third of the entire state of Georgia, which had been demanded from the Creek Indians by President Jackson after the Creek War (1814).    A second section of land in northeast Georgia was included. This other, smaller section defined the eastern end of the Cherokee Nation for 12 years. The lottery winners drew lots in Appling, Early, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Rabun, Walton or Irwin county.

According to Huxford’s Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Vol. 2, Reuben Marsh moved to Irwin County, GA about 1828 and settled in the 5th district on land Lot 381.  This lot which straddles Willacoochee Creek is where he established a farm and a ferry to serve travelers on the Coffee Road. The Coffee Road had been blazed through the Wiregrass wilderness in 1823 by General John Coffee, and first opened the area of Lowndes County and present day Berrien County to pioneer settlers.  

Enhanced detail of Irwin County survey plat District 5 showing location of land lot 381 on Willacoochee Creek. Reuben Marsh established a ferry over the Willacoochee in 1828.

Enhanced detail of Irwin County survey plat District 5 showing location of land lot 381 on Willacoochee Creek. Reuben Marsh established a ferry over the Willacoochee in 1828 to serve travelers on the Coffee Road.

Marsh, an early settler of Irwin County,  was appointed by an act of the Georgia legislature as one of five Commissioners to establish a site for the county government.   The legislation, signed by Governor Gilmer on December 23, 1830, assigned the location of Irwin’s county seat to Land Lot 255 in the Fourth District, directing that it be named Irwinsville.  This location would have placed the Courthouse near the Ocmulgee River about 40 miles north of Reuben Marsh’s residence. Section Three of the act named Robert H. Dixon, Jacob Young, William Bradford, Daniel Luke, and Reuben Marsh as Commissioners for the town with authority to lay out and sell town lots and to contract for building a courthouse and jail.  The Marshes and Bradfords must have been good neighbors, as their sons and daughters intermarried.

 

On December 23, 1830 Governor George Gilmer signed an Act appointing Reuben Marsh as one of five commissioners to establish the town of Irwinsville as county seat of Irwin County. However, a year later no action had been taken and a new Commission was named.

On December 23, 1830 Governor George Gilmer signed an Act appointing Reuben Marsh as one of five commissioners to establish the town of Irwinsville as county seat of Irwin County. However, a year later no action had been taken and a new Commission was named.

 

This 1830 Act followed more than a decade of indecision and failure of prior commissioners to establish a location for the Irwin courthouse. However, for whatever reason, another year went by without action by the appointed commissioners. On December 22, 1831 Governor Wilson Lumpkin signed yet another act designating “the public site in the county of Irwin…permanently fixed and located on lot number thirty nine, in the third district of said county,” and appointed a new set of Commissioners for the town. The new location on Lot 39, 3rd District shifted the site of the Courthouse about 20 miles to the southeast, just east of the headwaters of the Alapaha River but still no closer to Marsh’s residence.

That year, Reuben Marsh was also serving as a road commissioner for an Irwin County road following along the Ocmulgee River.

At the July term, 1831, an order was passed appointing Ruebin Marsh, John Fussell and Ludd Mobley, road commissioners on road from line of Telfair County up to Big House  Creek at Isaac Stevens’, that Jehu McCall, George R. Reid and Daniel Luke be appointed commissioners from Big House Creek to Pulaski line at Norman McDuffie’s.

This river road started from “the line of Telfair County.”  At that time the boundary of Telfair County extended south of the Ocmulgee River on a line running from Jacksonville, GA due south to the Satilla River.  The Coffee Road followed the Telfair county line  for ten miles south from the Ocmulgee River before the road veered to the southwest to skirt around the headwaters of the Satilla.  The road ran on the south side of the river from the Coffee Road fifteen miles west to Big House Creek, or House Creek,  then on another 24 miles to the Pulaski County Line.

It appears that sometime between 1832 and 1835, Reuben Marsh acquired land Lot 424, 5th District on the Alapaha River, about five miles south of Lot 381 on the Willacoochee. Nashville, GA,  future county seat of Berrien County, GA was about 12 miles south on Coffee Road, situated on Lot 189 in the 10th District of Old Irwin County.

Irwin County tax records show that prior to 1832, Lot 424 was owned by Cornelius Tyson, who would operate a later ferry on the Alapaha River.   By 1835, records of the Irwin County Inferior court indicate Marsh had established a ferry across the Alapaha. In that year a road was constructed from the Irwin courthouse on Lot 39 to Marsh’s Ferry.

At the January Term, 1835 of the Inferior Court [of Irwin County]…Shaderick Griffin, Ruebin Gay and Richard Tucker [were appointed] to lay out and mark road from Irwin courthouse to Alapaha River at Marsh’s ferry.

 

Enhanced Detail of Irwin County District 5 survey plat showing relative location of Lot 381 on Willacoochee Creek and Lot 422 on the Alapaha River.

Enhanced detail of Irwin County District 5 survey plat showing relative location of Lot 381 on Willacoochee Creek and Lot 424 on the Alapaha River, GA.

Unfortunately, Irwin County tax records for the later 1830s aren’t available, but from 1836 onward there are multiple mentions of “Marsh’s Ferry on Alapaha” in the records of the Irwin County Inferior Court.

At January term, 1836 [Irwin County Inferior Court], Daniel Luke, Hezekiah Walker and Mathew Merritt, appointed commissioners on road leading from courthouse to Widow Mobley’s and intersect there with Coffee Road, also Frederick Merritt, Andrew McCelland and Micajah Paulk, appointed commissioners on Coffee road leading from Thomas L. Swain’s ferry to Ruebin Marsh’s ferry on Alapaha.

In 1836 Swain’s Ferry was the Coffee Road crossing over the Ocmulgee River near Jacksonville, GA. Thomas L. Swain had been one of the builders of the 1822 Coffee Road. Swain had a plantation on the north side of the Ocmulgee situated between Jacksonville, GA and Fort Clark, two miles west of the town.   John Clark, later Governor Clark, also had a plantation and house adjacent to the fort.

Thus, Micajah Paulk, Frederick Merritt and Andrew McClelland were responsible for oversight of the approximately 40 mile stretch of the Coffee Road which ran from the Ocmulgee River to Marsh’s Ferry on the Alapaha River. Micajah Paulk’s home was situated on this section of the Coffee road, 10 miles north of Marsh’s Ferry on the Alapaha.

At January adjourned term, 1836, commissioners were authorized to turn the road leading from [Irwin County] courthouse to Ruebin Marsh’s ferry on Alapaha to near John Benefield’s on to Elisha Grantham’s ferry and strike Coffee Road nearest and best way.

Furthermore, later Berrien County tax records show all 490 acres of Lot 424 was in the estate of Reuben Marsh. (This section of Irwin County was cut into Berrien County when Berrien was created in 1856.) The 1872 Berrien County tax record lists Little Berry Marsh, son of Reuben Marsh, as the executor on his father’s estate representing Lot 424.

The year 1836 began yet another period of armed conflict between encroaching pioneer settlers and the Native American occupants of Wiregrass Georgia.  Along the Alapaha River south of Marsh’s Ferry,  Levi J. Knight led a company of white settlers against a band of Native Americans in a skirmish at William Parker’s place.  Historian James Bagley Clements cites another battle in Irwin County, fought at Wavering Pond, also known as the Battle of Gay’s Hammock:

As an illustration, in what is now Wilcox County, but originally Irwin, lived a man by the name of James Brown. He caught an Indian stealing a hog and shot him. The Indians did not molest Brown but went from there about five miles west of Ashburn, now Turner County, at least thirty miles away where lived a family by the name of Willis. The husband was away from home at the time and they killed his wife, mutilating the body severely and took a small baby by the feet and smashed its brains out on a stump. The settlers came together and gave chase, following them south out of the country. From that time until his death Mr. Brown went by the name of (Indian Jim Brown). The lady’s name who was killed was Peggy Willis. The company following these Indians came up with them south of Ashburn on what is known as Hat Creek at a point not far from where the road crosses said creek leading from Irwinville to Inaha. In the company following the Indians was a man named Hobby who was riding a spirited young horse. The Indians were concealed in the swamps of this creek and a battle was fought. Mr. Hobby’s horse became frightened and threw him in the creek where he lost his hat. The horse followed after the horses of the whites and when he appeared among them the whites thought Hobby had been killed but later on he appeared on foot bare-headed and upon relating his experience the creek was then named Hat Creek, by which name it is known to the present time. The settlers followed the Indians from this point on, finally coming up with them at a point on the Albany road at a place now in Worth County, formerly Irwin, at a pond called the  Wavering Pond, where a battle was fought and a majority of the Indians were killed or captured.

An account published in History of Worth County, Georgia adds,

They came upon the Indians at Wavering Pond…while they were cooking breakfast. The Indians were surprised and fled in such haste that a baby was left swinging to a limb. This little baby girl was raised in this county as a slave girl and married a negro. The Indians fled to a hammock, and here a great battle was fought. Two Indian Squaws were captured. A white man by the name of Luke Jenkins, a brother-in-law of John Ford, was left to guard them as prisoners while the company pursued the rest of the Indians. As the sun began to sink in the west, Jenkins, fearing other Indians might come upon him, killed his prisoners and fled.

In the Indian Wars of 1836, Marsh’s Ferry provided crossing over the Alapaha River for Georgia Militia troops moving on the Coffee Road. After the cessation of hostilities in 1840, Reuben Marsh sought payment from the Georgia legislature for services rendered, which in turn sought reimbursement from the federal government. The Georgia Senate took up this billing in session in December, 1840.  The resolution erroneously reports that Reuben Marsh’s ferry was across the Altamaha river, rather than the Alapaha river.

 

1840 Resolution of the Georgia Senate to compensate Reuben Marsh for service to ferry soldiers across the Alapaha river in the Indian Wars. The resolution erroneously refers to the Altamaha river.

1840 Resolution of the Georgia Senate to compensate Reuben Marsh for service to ferry soldiers across the Alapaha river in the Indian Wars. The resolution erroneously refers to the Altamaha river.

Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia, 1840

MONDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 21, 1840.

Mr. Gordon, Chairman of the Select Committee, which was appointed, laid the following report on the table; which was taken up, read, and agreed to, viz:
– – The United States, – Dr.
To Reuben Marsh, of Irwin county,
1836.        to ferriage of soldiers across the Altamaha River,  $4.18
May 3,      to ferriage of forage for horses,                              24.12
April 11,          do                do                                                 2.–
                                                                                            $30.30

The Select Committee, to whom was referred the claim of Reuben Marsh, of Irwin county, for ferriage of soldiers across the Altamaha River, and for forage supplied to the mounted men, report, that they have examined the account, and find it just, and one that should be paid by the State, and made a charge against the United States, and recommend the following resolution: -Resolved, That the sum of thirty dollars thirty cents, be paid to Reuben Marsh, of Irwin county, for ferriage of soldiers across the Altamaha River, in 1836, and for forage supplied, and that the sum be charged to the United States; and that his Excellency, the Governor, serve his warrant on the Treasury for the same, to be paid out of the Military Fund.

According to Roots & Branches Genealogical Society, oral tradition has it that Reuben Marsh also went into active service with the Georgia Militia during the Indian Wars:

Reuben and Nancy raised 14 children, 13 of whom were born before Reuben joined the Georgia Militia fighting the Indians in the Second Seminole War. He was among a party of soldiers who set up a camp near what is now Astor [ Astor, Volusia County, Florida, is situated on the St. John’s River below Lake George, about 200 miles south of Reuben Marsh’s place on the Alapaha River ]. The story was passed down that Reuben was much impressed with the terrain, the abundant game and mild climate. Family tradition has it that he said that if he lived through the war he was going to come back and settle in Florida. He didn’t make it back. After the war he returned to farming in Irwin County, Georgia. –Roots & Branches Genealogical Society of West Volusia County, Florida.

By 1837, a road from Milledgeville, GA intersected the Coffee Road at Marsh’s Ferry, providing a route from the capitol city of Georgia to Tallahassee, the capitol of Florida.  The 1837 Gazetteer of the State of Georgia reports a stage ran between the two cities once a week. The fare was $25.00. The stage left Milledgeville on Wednesdays and arrived in Tallahassee after five days of travel. The road was destitute of water for many miles.

Milledgeville to Hartford ————- 61     61
                         Jacksonville, ——— 44   105
                         Ferry on Alapahaw – 33   138
      Here you enter Coffee’s Road
                         Thomasville, ——– 68   206
                         Tallahassee, ——– 40    246

James Bagley Clements’ History of Irwin County indicates the Inferior Court of Irwin County continued to authorize Marsh’s Ferry and set rates in 1842:

At the January term, 1842, an order was passed by the Inferior Court establishing a ferry across the Alapaha River at a place known as Marshes Ferry. The rates were fixed as follows: man and horses, twelve and one-half cents; man, horse and cart, twenty-five cents; two-horse wagon, fifty cents; jersey wagons, thirty-seven and one-half cents; mules and horses, 3 cents per head; cattle, 3 cents per head, sheep and hogs, one and one-have cents per head; foot persons, free. Rates to be advertised at ferry.

At same term of court a ferry was established across the Willacoochee where Coffee road crosses said creek and the above rates shall govern said ferry. – History of Irwin County

Reuben Marsh died in Berrien County at age 56 in 1849, leaving Nancy with six minor children. The Berrien County Georgia census records enumerated Nancy Marsh as head of household in 1850. The households of her sons, James Marsh and Henry Marsh were next door.

1850 census Nancy Marshall Marsh, Irwin County,GA

1850 census Nancy Marshall Marsh, Irwin County,GA

Name: Nancy Marsh
Age: 53
Birth Year: abt 1797
Birthplace: Georgia
Home in 1850: Division 44, Irwin, Georgia, USA
Gender: Female
Family Number: 7
Household Members:
Name              Age
Nancy Marsh     53
Little B Marsh    21
Martha Marsh   17
Susanah Marsh 15
Rheubin Marsh 14
Geo W Marsh   12
Marian Marsh   10
Moses Marsh     8

 

Children of Reuben Marsh and Nancy Mary Marshall:

  1. Sarah Marsh, born April 22, 1813, Montgomery, GA; married 10 November 1832 to Jacob A. Bradford  in Telfair Co GA; Committed February 1860, to state sanitorium for long periods of poor health; died,1875; buried Connell Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.
  2. James J. Marsh, blacksmith; born 1815, Telfair County, GA; died of fever June 16, 1879, Sumter County, FL; buried Adamsville Cemetery, Adamsville, FL.
  3. Dr. Henry Marsh, born April 28, 1818, Telfair Co., GA; married Rhoda Bradford; died December 10, 1883, Sumter County, FL; buried Sumterville Cemetery, Sumterville, FL.
  4. Eady Marsh, born 1820, Telfair County, GA; married William Griffin; died date unknown.
  5. Nancy Marsh, born April 22, 1823, Telfair County, GA; married John Ellis Connell,  November 21, 1841 in Irwin County, GA; died April 22, 1866; buried Crossroads Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Adel, GA.
  6. Abigail Marsh, born 1826, Telfair County, GA; married Daniel H. Clanton, August 29, 1847, Irwin County, GA; died date unknown.
  7. John Jasper Marsh, born July 09, 1828, Telfair or Irwin County, GA; married Rebecca Hall November 15, 1846 in Irwin County, GA; died October 8, 1897; buried Fort McCoy Cemetery, Fort McCoy, FL.
  8. Littleberry Marsh, born 1829, Irwin County, GA; died date unknown.
  9. Martha Virginia Marsh, born April 11, 1833, Irwin County, GA; married Sion Hall Pike; died February 20, 1918, Marion County, FL; buried Umatilla Cemetery, Umatilla, FL.
  10. Reuben Marsh, Jr., born April 1, 1834, Irwin County, GA; married Mary Jane Clanton, 1859; died January 26, 1908; buried Bethel Cemetery, Deland, FL.
  11. Susannah Marsh, born April 11, 1835, Irwin County, GA; died date unknown.
  12. George Washington Marsh, born about 1838; died date unknown
  13. Mary Ann Marsh, born 1840; married Nathaniel A.J. Gordon; died date unknown; buried Millwood Cemetery, Reddick, FL.
  14. Moses M. Marsh, born 1842, Irwin County, GA; married Cora O. Bracy, May 25, 1875, Volusia County, FL; died April 29, 1893; buried Beresford Cemetery, DeLandVolusia CountyFlorida

The newsletter of the Roots & Branches Genealogical Society of West Volusia County, Florida gives a detailed sketch of the family.

In 1851 Nancy and the children came to Florida, except for Mary who had married Jacob Bradford and remained in Georgia. The family settled near Ocala in Marion county. Eventually the family scattered… 

Abigail Marsh married and returned to Georgia. Nancy went to Alabama.  James, and Henry moved to Sumter County, FL and Eady (Edith) married and went on to Hillsboro County, FL. John Marsh married Rebecca Hall; they, with his mother Nancy remained in Marion County, FL. Nancy (Marshall) Marsh died in Marion County and is buried in the Ocala City Cemetery.

When the Civil War started all seven of the Marsh boys joined the Confederate army. The brothers joined three Regiments according to their ages.

    • James Marsh, 1st Regiment, Florida Infantry Reserves;
    • Henry Marsh, 1st Regiment, Florida Infantry Reserves;
    • John J. Marsh, Company F, 9th Regiment, Florida Infantry; fought in the Battle of Olustee, Ocean Pond, FL, February 20, 1864.
    • Little B. (aka Littleberry or L.B.) Marsh, 9th Regiment, Florida Infantry;
    • George W. Marsh, 9th Regiment, Florida Infantry;
    • Moses Marsh,  2nd Regiment, Florida Cavalry
    • Reuben Marsh, Jr, 2nd Regiment, Florida Cavalry

Reuben, Jr. with his 18-year-old bride Mary Jane Clanton came to Volusia County where Reuben purchased a Settlers Claim from Bryant Osteen. He built a cabin and a store at Cabbage Bluff on the St. Johns River. Cabbage Bluff was where boats on the river stopped when they could not get into Lake Beresford.

Related Posts:

Marsh’s Ferry, the Lopahaw Bridge and Tyson Ferry

Coffee Road Led to Creation of Lowndes County

Coffee’s Road Passed Seven Miles West of Ray City

 

1949, Second Grade, Ray City School

1949, Second Grade, Ray City School

Special Thanks to Chris Clements for sharing Ray City School records.

1949 J. P. Skinner, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 J. P. Skinner, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Flowers, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Flowers, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Carson Avera, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Carson Avera, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Marie Smith, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Marie Smith, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Preston Driskell, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born June 3, 1941 a son of Helen Gaskins and Roy Driskell. Died September 5, 2005.

1949 Preston Driskell, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born June 3, 1941 a son of Helen Gaskins and Roy Driskell. Died September 5, 2005.

1949 Gloria Grissett, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Gloria Grissett, second grade, Ray City School, GA.

1949 Robert Cornelius, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Robert Cornelius, second grade, Ray City School, GA.  His father drove a school bus for the Ray City School.

1949 Helen Corey, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Helen Corey, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Martha Green, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Martha Green, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Jack Roberts, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Jack Roberts, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Elizabeth Garner, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Elizabeth Garner, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Richard Vaughn, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Richard Vaughn, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Myers, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Myers, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Bill Lindsey, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Bill Lindsey, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Harnage, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Harnage, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Charles Ray, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Charles Ray, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Duggan Snipe, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Duggan Snipe, second grade, Ray City School, GA His family lived in a home on Jones Street next door to Lessie and Rossie Futch

1949 Henry Lewis, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Henry Lewis, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Charles Sirmans, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Charles Sirmans, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Willie Sauls, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born July 1, 1939 a son of Rhoda Register and Alvis H. Sauls.

1949 Willie Sauls, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born July 1, 1939 a son of Rhoda Register and Alvis H. Sauls.

1949 Frank Warren, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born December 7, 1939 a son of Mattie Selph and William Warren. Died February 10, 2013; buried Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

1949 Frank Warren, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born December 7, 1939 a son of Mattie Selph and William Warren. Died February 10, 2013; buried Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

1949 William Etheridge, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 William Etheridge, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Hubert Smith, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Hubert Smith, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Leonard Maynor, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Leonard Maynor [Maynard], second grade, Ray City School, GA. Born September 5, 1939, a son of Lillie A. and Luther Maynard. Died 1975; buried Poplar Springs Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.

1949 Betty Rose Harnage, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 Betty Rose Harnage, second grade, Ray City School, GA. Daughter of Stancy Ray and George Harnage.

1949 unidentified, second grade, Ray City School, GA

1949 unidentified, second grade, Ray City School, GA

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