A Passage to Cuba

In the Spanish-American War, a number of Berrien County men were serving with the 3rd Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry when the regiment embarked for Cuba on Friday the 13th of January, 1899.

The Third Georgia Regiment sailed for Cuba aboard the steamer Roumanian, which had been acquired by the US Army Quartermaster's Department in 1898. In March, 1899, the Roumanian was renamed US Army Transport Crook, photographed here clearing Savannah in June, 1899.

The Third Georgia Regiment sailed for Cuba aboard the steamer Roumanian, which had been acquired by the US Army Quartermaster’s Department in 1898. In March, 1899, the Roumanian was renamed US Army Transport Crook, photographed here clearing Savannah in June, 1899.

Among Berrien County, GA men of  Company D, 3rd Georgia Regiment were Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’Quinn, Pythias D. Yapp, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z.T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan and George A. Martin.  Aaron Cook served as a private in Company E, Third Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry. Other Berrien countians serving in the Third Regiment were Luther Lawrence Hallman and William F. Patten, both in Company B.

The Third Regiment had been organized at Camp Northen, Griffin, GA over the summer of 1898 and mustered into the service of the United States on August 24, 1898 with 43 officers and 1,243 enlisted men.  Assigned to Second Brigade, Third Division, Second Army Corps on October 7, 1898, the Third Regiment left Camp Northen on November 21 and arrived at Savannah, GA on November 22, 1898. There, the Third Regiment  encamped at Camp Onward, awaiting embarkation.  There were numerous delays in arranging transport passage for the regiment.  The original transport was to be the S.S. Chester, but the ship broke her propeller on the return from delivering the 15th US Infantry to Nuevitas, Cuba and had to be put in dry dock for repairs.

SS Roumanian being loaded with supplies for the trip to Cuba.

SS Roumanian being loaded with supplies for the trip to Cuba.

 

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

The Roumanian had been purchased by the U.S. Government for $240,000 from Austin, Baldwin & Co. on July 12, 1898 and assigned to the U.S. Army Transport Service for duty as a troop transport.   The ship had a capacity of 1100 men, 45 officers, and 50 horses.

In spite of the efforts of the Quartermaster Department, the US Army Transports were less than excellent. The crowding, the heat, insufficient sanitary facilities, and the resulting stench made the transports anything but pleasant.  It was very uncomfortable as the vessels sat in the hot sun with inadequate sewage control and a build up of animal wastes.

A soldier who shipped aboard the Roumanian to Puerto Rico in 1898 was not in the least complimentary of the vessel:

“The sleeping quarters were at the bottom of the “black hole”, reached by a crude ladder that ran down through the port hatches, past two decks of houses, into the darkness. Hammocks were hung at night in double tiers between rows of upright posts, and so close together that elbows touched. The air was hot and stifling and the sight of the mass of legs and arms protruding in all directions, in the dismal half gloom from the lantern, recalled Dore’s pictures of the Inferno. The ship having been used for years as a cattle boat, the reminiscent odor combined with the smell of bilge water and stale provisions can convey no adequate appreciation by mere description. From the cracks in the boards that covered temporarily the rough bottom a dark slime oozed and made the footing insecure. One could hardly stay there without feeling giddy, but that is where the men were expected to sleep and eat. A soldier found on deck after taps had sounded was summarily ordered below, on penalty of arrest . . . Only the guard relief and the sick men were allowed to sleep on deck . . . The ship being shorthanded, soldiers were asked to volunteer for stoker duty. The reward was food: three portions of sailor’s stew a day. The temptation to get something beside weevily hard-tack, spoiled canned beef and rotten tomatoes, drew many a sturdy lad to the fire-room . . . Few of the soldiers could stand the test for more than one shift, although the promise of food was hard to resist . . . The water supply provided for the men was warm and polluted. The steward of the boat made a nice profit selling ice water at ten cents a glass and warm beer at half a dollar a bottle, till stopped by the commanding officer . . . The sanitary arrangements or disarrangements of the ship transcend all description. Let it be said in short that the “Roumanian” was considered the very worst transport that ever went out, and its faults were added to by the incompetence of the captain-quartermaster in charge, who it is a pleasure to say afterward went to jail, and by the indifference, to put it mildly, of a regular army martinet, who confessed no love for volunteers, but might have, if he chose, somewhat ameliorated their condition…”

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed dockside in 1918.

There was certainly a feud aboard the SS Roumanian, between the Steward and the Captain. The Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 21, 1898 reported the dispute:

Savannah, Ga., December 20 [1898] Steward lHugh] McClain, of the transport Roumania, was discharge by Quartermaster Wrigley upon the arrival of that vessel a day or two ago. McClain at one began circulating reports against Captain Wrigley, who is a former citizen of Rome, Ga. and a volunteer in the army service.
McClain’s charge was that Captain Wrigley had been feeding the men on the transport a very small amount, though allowed 75 cents a day, and that he had been pocketing the difference. Captain Wrigley says he has been feeding them on less than 75 cents, and so reported to the quartermaster general.
On account of the circulation of these reports Captain Wrigley will have a warrant sworn out in the United States court charging McClain with larceny of government property, it being alleged that he took certain silverware and that he made away with commissary stores by selling them to soldiers. McClain’s attorney does not object to this course being taken he said tonight and he threatened to swear out a warrant charging Captain Wrigley with embezzlement under the charge referred to above.
McClain had Captain Wrigley arrested this afternoon by a state officer on a warrant charging him with pointing a pistol at him.
Wrigley denied the constable’s right to arrest an army officer, and refused to submit. He went, however, to the justice court and entered a protest. The Justice let him go for the present and now has the matter under consideration.
The Roumania will leave the city in the morning with eight companies of the Sixth Missouri regiment under Colonel Letcher Hardeman and will return the early part of next week, at which time it is now anticipated that these cases will get into the United States court, as both parties declared their intentions today of swearing out warrants.

Steward Hugh McNair alledged that he and Captain Charles Wrighley had a deal to sell liquor to the troops on the ship.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Atlanta Constitution
Sunday, January 16, 1899

The Third Georgia Leaves.

Transport Starts with the Boys for Cuba.

Thick Fog Detains Vessel at Mouth of River and She Anchors Over Night.

Savannah, Ga., January 14 -(Special.)- There will probably be a number of court-martials of the Third Georgia men when they are caught and carried to Nuevitas. Some fifteen or twenty members of Colonel R. L. Berner’s regiment who were on hand the day before failed to respond to their names when the roll was called on board the transport Roumanian this morning, and the vessel left shortly after 7 o’clock a. m. without them. Those who can be found in the city will be taken in charge by the provost guard here and sent to Cuba on the next available transport. A few of the boys were discharged before the regiment left and others were waiting for discharges in vain, so they decided to remain behind anyhow. On account of the early hour and the fact that the Roumanian was at the extreme eastern end of the docks, there was no crowd on hand to tell the Georgia boys goodby.

The embarkation point at Savannah was under the direction of Depot Quartermaster Ballinger, who gave “Time from Tybee Roads to Havanna of a ship making twelve knots, two days and two hours; ten knots, two and a half days.  Thus the Roumanian with the Third Georgia Regiment arrived at Nuevitas about January 19, 1899.  There being no wharf at Nuevitas the regiment had to be brought into port on lighters, the entire process consuming nine or ten days time.

In a letter written January 24, 1899 from Nuevitas, J. A. Morrow related the Third Georgia Regiment’s passage to Cuba. Conditions on the vessel seemed much improved.

Much could be said of the voyage from the shores of home to this Cuban port. Despite the sadness of departure, the Georgians soon became interested in the novelty of a sea trip and their faces brightened and their hearts grew light. But later there were many brave soldiers who fell as martyrs to their patriotic desire for service – as victims to that indescribable malady which surely deserves a harsher characterization than that brimstone laden definition of war by General Sherman. Scores of the men went right up against it. They did contortion acts, they tossed and tumbled but still the nausea pursued them and forced them repeatedly to the rail. It seemed that every rare and precious tribute was offered up, but the demon of seasickness was inexorable and heaped upon them tortures infinitely worse when they were bankrupt. Chaplain Warren and Lieutenant Brock, above all others, now know the effects of a tussle with Neptune. But at last Chaos ceased to rein in the stomach, the dismal brown taste left the month, the muscles responded to the will and life became more worthy of consideration. After this trip was one of complete pleasure.
     The United States transport Roumanian which brought the regiment over, is not noted as one of the finest transports, but its record in the service shows that it has been one of the most efficient. It has handled thirteen organization of troops without an accident. While in the service the ship is under the command of Captain Wrigley, of the quartermaster’s department who certainly proved himself a capable and faithful officer and a courteous and cultured gentleman. His thoughtful kindness, his unfailing consideration and his affable personality won the highest admiration of every man under his care on the voyage. And in return he was most highly pleased with the regiment and asserted that it excelled any of the regiments transported by the Roumanian in the courteous and soldierly bearing of its officers, the willingness and efficiency in giving assistance to the ship’s officers, as well as in the high character, patience and obedience of the men. It is no small tribute to the Georgians and they appreciate it highly. No ship ever had a more worthy and capable set of offices than the Roumanian, and every man of them won the esteem and gratitude of the Georgians.        To show their appreciation a detail of soldiers under the command of that popular and efficient officer, Lieutenant Chester Elliot of Company G, were immediately upon unloading put to the task of cleaning ship and the officers say it could not possibly have been done more completely, Lieutenant Elliot did not go ashore for four days in order to perform this work.

Soldiers on deck of former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in Alaska in 1929

Soldiers on deck of former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in Alaska in 1929

Following her service in the war, in 1899, Roumanian was used by the government to return the bodies of men who had died in Cuba and Puerto Rico during the war and afterwards. She arrived in late March in New York with the remains of  554 soldiers who were killed or died in Cuba, and 120 from Puerto Rico.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea, date unknown.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea, date unknown.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) at sea.

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in 1929

Former SS Roumanian (USAT Crook) photographed in 1929

A Christmas Gun

Montgomery M. Folsom in 1889 sketched a Christmas scene from in old Berrien County in which he reminisced about his boyhood desire for a “Christmas gun.”

Montgomery Morgan Folsom (1857-1899) Montgomery M. Folsom was the eldest son of Dr. James Roundtree Folsom and Rachel Inman Swain. He was a grandson of Randal Folsom and great grandson of Lawrence Armstrong Folsom, one of the pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, GA. On his mother’s side he was a grandson of Sarah Wooten and Morgan G. Swain, early residents of Troupville, GA.

Montgomery Morgan Folsom (1857-1899)
Montgomery M. Folsom was the eldest son of Dr. James Roundtree Folsom and Rachel Inman Swain. He was a grandson of Randal Folsom and great grandson of Lawrence Armstrong Folsom, one of the pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, GA. On his mother’s side he was a grandson of Sarah Wooten and Morgan G. Swain, early residents of Troupville, GA.

In the antebellum plantation Christmas, according Marion Harland in The Christian Union,

The ‘Christmas gun’ was a big tree -oak or hickory- a cavity of which, natural or artificial, was plugged with powder and touched with a match. Guns and pistols were discharged in quick succession; canisters and bottles filled with gunpowder were set off under barrels and hogsheads. Everything that could explode and reverberate was brought into jubilant action. ‘Christmas comes but once a year’ was a formula that palliated disorder and excused hubbub… [At] midnight of Christmas Eve…as the clock tolled twelve… the simultaneous roar of the Christmas gun and the scattering detonations of smaller artillery which were kept up until sunrise. 

Given Folsom’s birth date of 1857, this memoir appears to describe Christmas during the Civil War seen through the eyes of a young boy ignorant of the work required to prepare for such a celebration.  His mentions of African-Americans participating in the Christmas celebration are pejorative references to his grandfather’s slave “Uncle Mose” and to the young slave boys,  children of slaves, the Christian Union said, for whom “The nominal holiday meant, for the domestic and stable staff, a week of incessant occupation – cooking, serving, cleaning, much grooming, harnessing, and driving, infinite hewing of wood and drawing of water.

Ragged Reminisences

How Grandpa Got Away With Me on the Christmas Gun.

Oh, I did want a Christmas gun so bad!

For weeks before Santa Claus had started on his rounds I was forever hanging round.

“Grandpa, how much do guns cost? Grandpa, can’t I buy a Christmas gun? Grandpa, get me a gun.”

The old gentleman must have got mighty tired of it, but I lived in hope if I died in despair.

In those days there were various ways of firing Christmas guns. Down at the shop Uncle Peter was able to make a pretty horrible explosion by spitting on the anvil, laying a piece of red hot iron on it and striking it a sharp blow with the big hammer.

I did not understand the reason for this at that time, but age and experience have informed me that it was the steam generated between the spittle and the hot iron. Now, if some other smart fellow would come along and explain to me just how comes steam to make a racket of that sort I shall be a wiser if a sadder man.

I guess it is on the same principle of a pop-gun, but I swear I’ve never correctly understood the principle of a pop gun, yet, I suppose like the Grecian philosopher, that with a gun long enough and a pusher strong enough, a fellow could make a tumultuous noise in the world.

Then there was another sort of a gun that was a rip roarer, but it was rather expensive. That was to bore an inch auger hole in a tree, drive a peg in the hole with a groove in it for the train, and put powder in the hole. The way we fired it was by laying a nice little train of powder, putting some shavings and scraps of cotton on it, setting the shavings afire, and then retreating to a safe distance.

This was a pretty good sort of a gun its own self, and it always reminded me of a story – a very funny story – that grandpa used to tell us about an Irishman who had an aching tooth.

The Irishman, according to grandpa’s version, put powder in the tooth, touched fire to it and ran.

With the full white light of modern research, and the gigantic strides of scientific investigation, I am led to believe that the Irishman was a myth and the whole story a hoax, but I believed it then, and I was happy.

I knew General DeLoach once swinged his eyebrows off and loosened his front teeth, fixing a train for one of those explosions, but the general had wet his eye so often that his vision was bad that day, so grandpa said.

I did want a gun so bad.

I made life exceedingly interesting for grandpa on the gun question.

But grandpa had some sense, and he waived the plea and I got no gun, although I got a good many other very nice things, among them a rag doll that affected my spirit sorely, for above all things I hated for anybody to suppose that I was not thoroughly masculine in all my preferences and predilections. I suppose I might have been a more useful citizen had I never changed my notions.

Old Christmas – you know that comes just twelve days after new Christmas – was a bright and beautiful day. On the night before I had sat on a log and shivered for half an hour to see if the sheep all got down on their knees, as folks said they did, on old Christmas eve. That is a superstition, you know, and they further allege that the black ones get up on their legs and the white ones kneel on the ground. I don’t know about that.

By sun up, and before the frost had melted from the woodpile, a dozen big fat hogs were being scraped and scalded, and we were busy getting the sausage mill ready, and preparing for a hog-killing time.

Then when they were swung up, we boys stood around and claimed melts and bladders. We wanted the melts to broil and the bladders to blow up. I laid siege to the big blue barrow, and stood guard over him for three mortal hours, getting in everybody’s way, and prancing around and cutting up generally, for fear of losing my rights.

It was royal fun to sharpen a twig and string a slice of melt on it and hang it over the glowing coals until it was done, and have it nicely seasoned with a pinch of salt.

I guess I could tackle one with undiminished gusto even unto this day. It was the lingering taint of the savage taste cropping out in our blood, and aided and abetted by the little negroes who were not far removed from the condition of their Hottentot ancestry, after all.

But after the feast was over we began on the bladders. It was a matter of personal pride with us to see who could blow up the biggest. We would blow and blow till our eyes stuck out like pot legs, and we would beat and bang them to make them stretch, and then we would brag about who had the biggest. I blew up the biggest bladder I ever saw that day. It was the big blue barrow that furnished me the material, and I was awful proud of it.

Grandpa, he kept eyeing it, and I noticed that the old gent was in high good humor. He held a conversation with Uncle Mose, and afterwards I could see that Uncle Mose was tickled half to death, and he would keep slipping, and sliding, and snickering around, and every now and then I would hear a half suppressed, “Jesus, Marster!”

They were plotting my downfall, but I, in my childish innocence, went on my way rejoicing.

John Exom had given me an old ramshackle of a flint and steel gun, with only a remnant of stock, and no lock at all. The old thing was rusty, and choked up, and looked like it had been lost in time of the Revolution.

I wanted to get the thing cleaned out, but in spite of all the washing and rubbing and scrubbing I could do, it remained plugged up. When I asked Uncle Peter about it he said I’d have to burn the rust out of it, and while they were finishing up the hogs I embraced the opportunity to clean out my gun. I thrust the breach into the dying embers, and left it while I worked at the bladder.

While I was tying it up securely Grandpa came up to me, whetting the big butcher knife.

“Well, my boy, you’ve got a big Christmas gun now.”

“Jesus, marster!” snickered Uncle Mose, who was standing near, with his back to us.

“Yes, sir, I’m gwine to save it till next Christmas.”

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t do that. To-day’s old Christmas, and that is just as good as new Christmas. Put it down and jump on it hard, now, and let us see what a gun you can shoot.”

“Oh, no, sir, I can’t,” said I.

“Jesus, marster,” whispered Uncle Mose under his breath.

“Why, yes you can. See here, do it this way,” He laid the bladder down near a puddle that had been made in scalding the hogs. He fixed his feet carefully, and went on to explain: “Now, draw in a long breath, place your feet carefully, jump away up—.—”

‘ Slam—bang!—splash!”

“Jesus, marster! Oh, I’m shot!” squealed Uncle Mose, as he jumped up and down and rubbed himself.

Everything was confusion, and as the smoke rose Grandpa picked himself up from the mudhole, with the remains of the bursted bladder clinging to his pants.

“What in the name of common sense is the matter, Moses? Was it loaded?”

Then he saw the old gun barrel smoking in front of the furnace, and the hot coals scattered all around, and he took in the situation.

Uncle Mose walked half bent longer than I did, though…

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Isham Jordan Fought Indians, Opened Early Wiregrass Roads

Isham Jordan worked in 1823 to open John Coffee’s Road from Jacksonville, GA to the Florida line, thus opening for settlement old Irwin County which then encompassed Lowndes and Berrien, and other counties of Wiregrass Georgia.  Isham Jordan, along with Burrell Henry Bailey and others had worked to survey and mark the first public roads in Irwin County.

When Coffee’s road was cut, Jordan and the other hunters who supplied meat to the work party were honored in the songs and stories of the Wiregrass pioneers. Some of these verses were passed down in the works of Montgomery M. Folsom (see also Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek), whom Folks Huxford described as “a sort of grandson of old Troupville,” Georgia.

“Yonder comes ole Isham Jordan,
That ole ‘onest huntin’ man.
Glorious tidin’s he doth bring,
Swain has kilt another turkey hent.

We’ll allow the New Convention;
We’ll all allow the rights of men;
We’ll allay the Injun nation;
The volunteers and the drafted men.”

Isham Jordan and John Coffee were among the early pioneer settlers of Telfair County, GA. Telfair was formed from Wilkinson County in 1807, and named for Edward Telfair.

When Pulaski County was created in 1808, the legislative act,

“Provided, That until the court-houfe fhall be erected the elections and courts for faid county fhall be held at the houfe of Ifham Jordan.”

1822 map detail of Telfair County, GA and Pulaski County, GA

1822 map detail of Telfair County, GA and Pulaski County, GA

The first term of Pulaski Superior Court held in 1809 at Isham Jordan’s house on Jordan’s Creek, presided over by Judge Peter Early.  Early, whose family had one of the largest slaveholding plantations in Greene County, was an outspoken opponent of any attempts to outlaw the importation of African slaves.

Unfortunately, the first three census schedules for Georgia (1790-1810)  are missing, thus there is no 1810 enumeration of Isham Jordan.  Legal actions indicate that Isham Jordan appeared in 1813 before Justice of the Peach, Josiah Cawthorn, in Telfair County, GA where a judgement was found against him in the amount of $25 in favor of Adam G. Saffold. Saffold subsequently assigned the debt to his attorney, Griffin Mizell.

Georgia, Jones County:
Know all men by these presents that I do by these presents constitute and appoint Griffin Mizell my true and lawful attorney so far as to take full and complete control of a judgement in my favor on a note of $25 against Isham Jordan in the Justice’s Court held before Josiah Cawthorn in the county of Telfair; receipt for and receive the same & apply the amount to his own use. May 5th, 1813
(Signed)
Adam G. Saffold.
Carter & Mizell Correspondence

 

Telfair County court records show legal actions were taken against Isham Jordan and Nancy Moore in 1817. Apparently, a bench warrant was issued for their arrest for failure to appear in court. They were hauled before the court and subsequently posted bond in the amount of $800 against their future appearance.

The State vs Isham Jordan & Nancy Moore, Fi Fa, 1817

A rule having been obtained for the Sheriff to return into court the above fi fa with his actings and doings thereon or show to the contrary and cause having been shewn ordered that said rule be discharged.
Petit Jury Sworn
  1. Richard Wooten
  2. William Studstill
  3. Wilkins Fulwood
  4. Arch McLeod
  5. Joseph Fletcher
  6. Jacob Cravey
  7. Meriden Messec
  8. Stephen Hubert
  9. Joshua McCann
10. William Moore
11. William Mooney
12. Henry Jones

The State vs Isham Jordan & Nancy Moore

          William Hendry [sheriff?] surrendered the principles in Court it is therefore ordered that the said be discharged from his recognizance.
         Isham Jordan and Nancy Moore and Andrew Posey aknowledge themselves indebted to the Governor and his Successors in office in the Sum of eight hundred dollars to be void on the condition that the said Jordan and Moore appear at the next Superior Court and not depart without leave thereof.

         his
Isham X Jordan
mark

          her
Nancy X Moore
mark

Andrew Jolly

 

In 1818, it was Isham Jordan who reported the Battle of Breakfast Branch, subsequently conveyed by letter to Governor William Rabun and published in the Milledgeville, GA newspapers.

JOURNAL OFFICE
Milledgeville, March 11, 1818.
Skirmish with Indians.

The following was received this evening by express to the Governor:

Hartford, March 10th, 1818.

Sir :—I have this moment received information through Mr. Isham Jordan, of Telfair County, which I rely on, of a skirmish between the Indians and some of the citizens of Telfair, on the south side of the Ocmulgee River, in the afternoon of the 9th inst., twenty or twenty-five miles below this.

On the night of the 3d inst., Joseph Bush and his son were fired upon by a party of Indians, the father killed, and the son severely wounded and scalped, but he so far recovered as to reach home in two days after. The citizens having received information of the foregoing facts, assembled on the 9th instant to the number of thirty-six, and crossed the river in the forenoon to seek redress. Finding considerable signs of Indians, they pursued the trail leading from the river some distance out, where they came in view of a body of savages, fifty or sixty, advancing within gun-shot. The firing was commenced by each party, and warmly kept up for three-quarters of an hour. A part of the detachment effected their retreat, bringing off one badly wounded; four are certainly killed; the balance of the detachment has not been heard from; Major Cothom, (commandant of the Telfair Militia,) is among the missing. Four Indians were killed.

From information, the citizens below this are much alarmed, and leaving their homes, I have thought proper to communicate the foregoing to you by express. I am your Excellency’s most obedient servant,

Richard H. Thomas, Lieutenant-Colonel.

In consequence of the foregoing, the Pulaski Troop of Cavalry has been ordered out by the Executive, to scour the frontier and afford protection to the inhabitants. – The Telfair detachment we fear, has suffered greatly and we shall rejoice, if all who are missing have not perished. It would seem, that the Indians confiding in superior numbers, had sought to draw out the militia, by permitting the young man whom they scalped to reach the settlement.

Another Milledgeville newspaper added:

Rumour says, that the part of the detachment who are spoken of as having effected a retreat, fled at the beginning of the action, leaving the rest, most of whom have since returned, to contend with the Indians. Mitchell Griffin, Esq., Senator from Telfair, was among the killed.

Battle of Breakfast Branch, March 9, 1818 -Georgia Historic Marker

Battle of Breakfast Branch, March 9, 1818 -Georgia Historic Marker

Unfortunately, the attack on the Bushes and the Battle of Breakfast Branch helped to precipitate the Chehaw Massacre,  perpetrated by Georgia militia soldiers upon a village of Native Americans who were actually friendly to the American government.

By 1820, Isham Jordan and his family appear in the census records of Irwin County, GA.  The enumeration indicates Jordan was a neighbor of Burrell Bailey.

1820 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

1820 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

At the first term of the Superior Court of Irwin County, held September 21, 1820, Isham Jordan was drawn to serve on the first Petit Jury. The court was held at the house of David Williams, on land lot 147, 4th District of Irwin County. His Honor Thomas W. Harris was Judge, and Thaddeus G. Holt was Solicitor. The only business transacted was the drawing of the Grand and Petit Jury for the next term of court. Among those selected as Jordan’s jury mates for the first Petit Jury were Sion Hall and Drew Vickers. Burrell Bailey, Willis King, Elijah Beasley and Ludd Mobley were among those selected to serve on the first Grand Jury.

At the second term of the court the Petit Jury was not called for duty, but Isham Jordan faced charges brought by the Grand Jury for alleged adultery and fornication:

The second term was held at the house of David Williams on March 29, 1821. Judge T. W. Harris presiding, T. G. Holt, Solicitor-General. The only business transacted was by the Grand Jury as follows:

“We, the Grand Jury, for the county of Irwin, at a Superior Court held at the house of David Williams on the 29th day of March, 1821, make the following presentment. We present Isham Jordon and Nancy Moore for living in a state of adultery and fornication in the county aforesaid on the 28th day of March, 1821 and before that time. We present Alexander McDonal and Barbary Kelly for living in a state adultery and fornication in the county of Irwin on the twenty-eighth day of March, 1821, and before.”
(Signed)
Samuel Boyd, Foreman; David Hunter, Thomas Burnett, John Sutton, David Callaway, Achibald McInnis, Elijah Beasley, Redding Hunter, Willis King, James Rutherford, James Burnett, Ludd Mobley, David Allen, David Williams, William Hall, Daniel Burnett, Nathaniel Statum, Green Graham.

It appears that Jordan and Moore stood trial for the charge of adultery and fornication.  An undated Court record provides the following

The State vs Isom Jourdon & Nancy Moore
Adultery & Fornication
Verdict
We find the defendants not Guilty
Thomas Fulgham, foreman

 

 

Irwin County court records show Jordan and Bailey served together as a road commissioners.

At the July term, 1821, an order was passed establishing a public road in Irwin County beginning at the county line at Ludd Mobley and continue a river road, crossing House Creek at David Calaway ford and continue to the upper line, and Ludd Mobley, Willis King and Murdock McDuffie were appointed to lay out and mark said road beginning at county line up to House Creek and Green G. Graham, Burrell [Henry] Bailey and Isham Jordan were appointed to lay out and mark said read from House Creek to upper line of county.

At July term, 1822, an order was passed appointing David Calaway, Isham Jordan and Nathaniel Statum, commissioners, to lay out and mark a river road beginning at David Calaway ford on House Creek and up to line of the county.

Isham Jordan subsequently appears in the 1830 census of Irwin County.

1830 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

1830 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

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Becky Bullard of Nashville

Margaret Rebecca Bullard, of Nashville, GA graduated in 1963 from Wesleyan College, Macon, GA.

Margaret Rebecca Bullard 1963 yearbook photo, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA

Margaret Rebecca Bullard 1963 yearbook photo, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA

Margaret Rebecca Bullard
Nashville, GA
Psychology
Who is the girl to meditate over jokes and then laugh the Loudest? – Becky –
Who writes her “day by day” account of independent study one hour before it’s due? -Becky-
Who can pack cosmetics, hair dryer, and a hat or two in one traincase for a week-end trip to Atlanta -only Becky-
And who can manage a full academic schedule, ten hours a week of work in the alumnae office (with coffee breaks and perusals of the society page), nightly trips to the “Pig,” and frequent visits home to Nashville (the big city with two traffic lights)? -our own fun-loving and friend-making Becky.
She is a bubble of vitality, a portrait of true goodness, and a symbol of honor and truth which all could use as a model. Becky can have no unsolvable problems; for with the objectivity of a psychology major, the warm understanding of a person who loves people, and the eager anticipation of her all-white wedding and fifty years in a full nine-passenger Chevrolet station wagon, Becky has already found her way of life and living.

Wesley Fellowship 1, 4, treasurer 2, secretary 3; Town and Country 1, 2, 3, 4; French Club 1; Volleyball 1, 2; Dance Club; Soccer 2; Executive Stunt Committee 3, 4; Psychology Club 4.

 

Psychology Club, 1963, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA <br> "The objective of a study of PSYCHOLOGY is to understand the abilities, motives, thoughts, and actions of people. Understanding of self and of others is a primary goal. The study is designed to help a person in all areas of life, especially as a Christian, as a homemaker, and as a member of a civic and social group."

Psychology Club, 1963, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA

“The objective of a study of PSYCHOLOGY is to understand the abilities, motives, thoughts, and actions of people. Understanding of self and of others is a primary goal. The study is designed to help a person in all areas of life, especially as a Christian, as a homemaker, and as a member of a civic and social group.”

 

Newspaper Staff, 1963, Town and Country, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA <br> The Name Town and Country dates back to the dates when the Wesleyan campus was in two locations, with the fine arts students in the conservatory in town, and the liberal arts students here at Rivoli. Since that time, of course, the entire school has been moved out to the present location, but the name of the newspaper has stayed with us. The "T and C" is published by the students bi-monthly and endeavors to represent the entire student body in its news coverage and in its editorial policies. The staff is composed of volunteers with a special emphasis being given to any major requirements except for advanced staff positions. In spite of its lack of professional guidance however, the paper has proven to be of almost professional quality and has shown the maintenance of high standards throughout.

Newspaper Staff, 1963, Town and Country, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA

“The name Town and Country dates back to the dates when the Wesleyan campus was in two locations, with the fine arts students in the conservatory in town, and the liberal arts students here at Rivoli. Since that time, of course, the entire school has been moved out to the present location, but the name of the newspaper has stayed with us.
The “T and C” is published by the students bi-monthly and endeavors to represent the entire student body in its news coverage and in its editorial policies. The staff is composed of volunteers with a special emphasis being given to any major requirements except for advanced staff positions. In spite of its lack of professional guidance however, the paper has proven to be of almost professional quality and has shown the maintenance of high standards throughout.”

The March, 1963 edition of Town and Country included the note, “A word to the wise: Let’s be careful about those trips to the “city” with three traffic lights, Becky Bullard! By the way, what’s that on your fourth finger, left hand?”

And the April 25 edition followed up with this:

TELL IT!!
by Hilda Jackson

All year I’ve told it— everything, that is, that wasn’t cut for one reason or another. And there’s one other important thing that I haven’t told — what are all there ring clad, pin clad, or the left out loafer and sack clad seniors going to do now that they have poise, personality, and an education?

This summer is absolutely terrifying filled with the clang, clang of wedding bells. Ann Hutchings is marrying her old professor Jack Bauer in June. Elaine Evatt and Ronnie are taking their infamous train early in June, also. Barbara Johnston will set up housekeeping in their plush chevy with the piped in music after June 23. Nancy Williams and Ned can save gas money this summer — ^they won’t have to drive back to the dorm at 12:00 each night — they’re getting married, too. Carolyn Akin, our future alumnae president, will become Mrs. John Henderson in June of 1963!

Diane Lumpkin stands alone in July unless Becky Bullard has chosen this month. (Becky was out with HIM when I wrote this). Diane and Dewitt have chosen July 6 to make that final payment on the king-size bed.

 

 

Related Posts:

Emily Britton Parker, Ray City Teacher

Reverend Robert H. Howren ~ Methodist Circuit Rider

Reverend John Slade of the Troupville Circuit

1949, Ray City School, 3rd Grade

Ray City School, Third Grade, 1949

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

1949 Ray City School 3rd grade

1949 Ray City School 3rd grade

 

1949 Ray City School 3rd Grade Roster

1949 Ray City School 3rd Grade Roster

  • Harold Scarboro – Harold Duane Scarboro [Scarbrough] -born December 16, 1939, a son of Elmo Clifton Scarbrough and Ruth Martin. His father helped build Moody Air Force Base. The family home was a two-dollar-a-month rental place in the Lois community on the Ray City and Hahira Road. Harold’s grandparents, Lela and Charlie M. Scarbrough, rented the house next door, and uncle Paul Allen Scarbrough was nearby. His brother, Charles Scarbrough, was a Ray City Senior in 1949.
  • Christine Akeridge
  • Leon McCullers – Leon Franklin McCullers, born October 30, 1940, a son of Leroy McCullers and Verdy Martin.  His father was a farmer and a veteran of WWII. His siblings, Dorothy McCullers and James Wesley McCullers, also attended the Ray City School.
  • Martha D. Flowers was a daughter of Ola Browning and James H. Flowers. Her parents were lodging with Lewis D. Browning in a home on the Ray City & Nashville Road in the Lois community. Her father worked as a farm laborer.
  • Bob Cook – Robert Eugene Cook – born July 26, 1936, a son of Isaac Clayton Cook and Mattie E. Sirmans. His father’s occupation in 1940 was fishing. He was a brother of Betty Jo Cook and Bertha Nancy Cook.  The Cooks rented a house on Jones Street, Ray City, GA.
  • Betty Burkhalter – Betty Madie Burkhalter, born March 4, 1938, a daughter of Phillip I Burkhalter and Edna Gertrude Brantley.  Her father was a farmer.  When she was a toddler her great grandfather, Gus Calhoun, lived with the family.
  • Edward Carter
  • J. D. Cone – John Dewey “JD” Cone, born May 27, 1940,  was the son of Dewey Lesley Cone and Velma Sowell Cone. In 1940, the family lived in the Lois community, just west of Ray City, on a rented farm. JD’s father worked as a laborer. By 1942, JD’s father took a job with Henry Gornto working on his farm about a mile and a half southeast of Ray City.
  • Dorothy Skinner – Dorothy L Skinner, born July 23, 1940, a daughter of Payton Shelton Skinner and Mary E. Akridge Skinner.
  • Wilmer Smith
  • Bonnie Fountain
  • Wendell Browning
  • Deloris Barnard – Iris Delores Barnard, born August 19, 1939 in Ray City, GA, a daughter of Charlie Jackson Barnard (1909-1970) and Lola Lee Davis ( 1919-2009). She was the granddaughter of Andrew Jackson Barnard and Nettie Ray Barnard, residents of the Lois community just west of Ray City. She was the sister of Ann Barnard and Charles Barnard.
  • Grace Carter
  • Marion McKuhen
  • Mary Justic
  • Earl Warren
  • Lawana Snipe – LaJuana Jean Snipes, born January 4, 1940, a daughter of Arthur Leonard Snipes (1907–1962) and Louise Elizabeth Garner Snipes (1909–1997), and a granddaughter of Asa Duggan Garner and Bessie Yopp Garner.  She was a sister of Donald Dale Snipes (1943-2016). The Snipes lived in the Lois Community just west of Ray City. Some time in the 1940s the Snipes moved to a house on the south side of Jones Street  in the middle of the block east of Ward Street.  In the late 1950s the family moved just outside the Ray City city limits on the Adel Highway.
  • Willard Bates – attended the New Lois school by 1952
  • Bobby Smith
  • Earl Snipe
  • Kenneth Griner
  • Myrtle Myers
  • Billy Sirmans – Billy Lawton Sirmans, born October 14, 1939, a son of John Abner Sirmans and Lettie Studstill. His father was a veteran of WWI.
  • C. Fountain
  • Gene Baldree
  • M. Fountain
  • R. Dampier –  Ronald Edward Dampier, born December 12, 1940 in Ray City, GA, a son of J W Dampier and Ardie Kent Dampier,
  • Jan Moore was a daughter of Ferris Moore, who was the Ray City iceman.
  • J. Jefferson
  • C. Sirmans
  • Johnny Wood –   He was a son of Jewel and Remer Wood.  His father was a smoke house operator. The family home was on Jones Street and the smokehouse was in the back yard. People would come by the house to buy smoked meat.  Johnny Wayne Wood later moved to Savannah. He came back to Ray City and worked as the Chief of Police.
  • M. Smith
  • Bobby Pevy
  • Carol May
  • Alvis Sauls – a son of Alvis Sauls (1914-1989) and Kathleen Warren Sauls (1917-1977)
  • Bobby Green

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Thanksgiving Reverie 1898

Thanksgiving During the Spanish-American War

During the Spanish-American War, the people of Georgia were anxious to show the valor of the southern soldier, and their patriotic commitment to the defense of the Union. Many commanders in the southern corps of the U.S. Army corps were reconstructed Confederate officers.  General officers from the south had honor guards of Confederate veterans.  Very few African-Americans were accepted to serve in the U.S. Army, and where they were allowed they were organized into segregated regiments.

On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1898, Berrien County men Walter A. Griner, Carl R. O’Quinn, Pythias D. Yapp, Zachary T. Hester, W. Dutchman Stephens, Samuel Z.T. Lipham, James M. Bridges, Charles A. Courson, Love Culbreath, George C. Flowers, James L. Jordan, George A. Martin, Aaron Cook , Luther Lawrence Hallman and William F. Patten were with the Third Georgia Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry, encamped at Savannah, GA. The Third Georgia Regiment was awaiting passage to Cuba, where they would serve in the occupation force following the Spanish-American War.

Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1898 was a beautiful Autumn day in the south. That morning, sermons were preached by local pastors in the assembly tents of the regiments. At noon,  in recognition of service to their country and courtesy of the ladies of Savannah, a Thanksgiving Dinner was to be provided to all U.S. regiments encamped at Savannah. At least for all the southern regiments. For the northern regiments, the cost of the meal was paid by the troops.  The Savannah ladies did offer to do the preparation and serving, but some northern regiments declined the courtesy.  Although some offense was taken by the ladies, the Colonel,”with the feeling that the money, once raised the serving would be a comparatively easy and pleasant task… made the preparation and the serving of the dinner a strictly regimental affair.”

Somehow, through an oversight or miscalculation, the ladies of Savannah were unable to obtain an adequate number of turkeys for the celebration and on the day of feast the Third Georgia Regiment had to make do with other fare.  There was provided, however, an abundance of fruit and cakes for the Third Georgia Regiment, for which the men were most thankful to the ladies of Savannah.

Meanwhile, the Savannah camps of the northern regiments feasted. At the encampment of the 161st Indiana Regiment, William Edward Biederwolf reported

“The boys did not have the ladies but they had warm turkey instead and plenty of it. One thousand one hundred pounds of turkey were furnished by Armour & Co., to be accounted for in surplus meat. There were ninety gallons of oysters that day; there were cranberries and celery and mince pies and other delicacies which appeal to the inner man and which go hand in hand with the day thus observed. An enlisted man, who having disposed of nine pounds of turkey, a quart of cranberries, two mince pies and other edibles in proportion kicked because his capacity for consumption went back on him at time so inopportune. Some of the officers dined with “the boys” at the noon meal then had dinner in the officers mess, “during which service the table fairly groaned under its load of good things.”

After the Thanksgiving dinner,

The afternoon was given over to a diversity of amusements upon which the boys were privileged to attend; many cheered the picked baseball nine of our regiment while it secured a victory over a similarly chosen nine from the First North Carolina on the parade ground of our regiment; others attended the shooting match between picked teams of the best shots from the Seventh Army Corps and the Savannah Gun Club at the rifle range of the latter east of the camp; still others witness the football game in which an eleven from the Second Louisianas contested for supremacy with the First Texas Knights of the Gridiron at the City ball park; not a few attended the matinee at the Savannah Theater or saw the Rough Riders in their exhibition at Thunderbolt. 

The Rough Riders

On Tybee Island the  hosted a free oyster roast; in

The day ended most auspiciously in the evening when some of the ladies of Savannah gave an elocutionary and musical entertainment in the assembly tent at which some of the best talent in the city appeared in the various numbers, a favor highly commendable and thoroughly appreciated; and thus the entire day was one joyous occasion that will long be remembered by every man in the regiment.

The aforesaid festivities were followed on November 25th by a sham battle between the two brigades of the Second Division; the First Brigade was assigned to a position behind the huge earthworks thrown up east of Savannah for the protection of the city at the time of Sherman’s famous march to the sea; the works in question remain intact although overgrown to a considerable extent by forest trees and shrubbery and are a grim reminder of the fruits of war in the terrible strife of ’61 to ’65.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner was not always a southern tradition. During the Civil War by both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln issued proclamations calling for “a day of thanksgiving. ”  In the south it was “a day of national humiliation and prayer“; In the north it was a day to be observed “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.”  But in New England, the day of thanksgiving had also been a feast celebration of the bountiful harvest.

The article below, published while the Berrien men were in the field in the Spanish American War, explains how Thanksgiving became accepted in the New South, and a truly national holiday in the United States.

The Jackson Argus
December 2, 1898

Thanksgiving Reverie
WALLACE P. REED

        Thanksgiving Day for nearly 250 years was a sectional holiday. It was observed in New England, and in some of the middle and western states, where New England ideas and customs prevailed.
The old south had no use for the day. Why should the people take a holiday in the latter part of November, when their festive Christmas followed only a month later?
       Prejudice had something to do with this view of the matter. The descendants of the Cavaliers and Huguenots would not tolerate anything that smacked of Puritanism. and it was enough for them to know that Thanksgiving day started with Governor Bradford and the Plymouth colony in 1621.
      So the old-time southerners jogged along in their own way, giving up Christmas week to good cheer, and devoting their days and nights to pleasure. They had their family reunions, social functions, hunting parties and other recreations, and in many things they closely followed the customs of their ancestors in Merrie England.

      Forty or fifty years ago a Thanksgiving proclamation from a southern governor would have been received with jeers, ridicule and severe criticism.
       The people living south of the Potomac were not willing to recognize the great religious and festal day of the Puritans. They did not believe that any custom or institution having its origin in the shadow of Plymouth rock was suited to the civilization which claimed Jamestown as its starting point.
       The two sections seemed to be for ever divided in sentiment in regard to this matter. Down south Christmas was the royal festival of the year, while in the north it passed with slight recognition, the Yankees preferring to enjoy themselves on the holiday instituted by their old Puritan governor.
       With the growing antagonism between the sections, the southern people become more determined than ever to hold fast to their mode of living, their customs, institutions, manners, dress and their principles and prejudices of a political and social nature.
      The tremendous shock of the civil war shattered systems and wrecked many time-honored theories and fondly cherished beliefs. It was no time between battles, when thousands of families were in mourning, for such a mockery as an official day of Thanksgiving in the sorely afflicted south, but as early as 1862 the people became familiar with days of fasting and prayer.
      The loss of Fort Pulaski in the spring of that year was so disheartening that Governor Brown issued a proclamation setting apart a certain day for “fasting, humiliation and prayer.” Here in Atlanta and in other cities and towns throughout the state, the citizens assembled in the churches to hear sermons suited to the occasion. All business was suspended and the day was solemnly observed.
        The southerners of that generation were old-fashioned in their religious beliefs and many who sneered at the New England Thanksgiving accepted very readily the idea of a day of fasting and prayer. Other governors followed Brown’s example and President Davis more than once issued a similar proclamation for the confederate states.
       It is quite likely that this wartime custom prepared our people for the acceptance of Thanksgiving Day, after the restoration of peace.

     After new state governments had been organized in the south the republican governors issued Thanksgiving proclamations, and in short time the new holiday grew in public favor to such an extent that when the democrats returned to power they followed the precedent established by their predecessors of the opposing party.
        The young people liked the change and their elders soon came to the conclusion that one more holiday was a good thing, and they were, readier to accept it when they found that the northern people had borrowed the southern Christmas and were celebrating it more generally every year. Many very old people now living remember that in then young days Christmas was almost ignored in New England, but in the course of a few years after the war for some mysterious reason, it leaped to the front as the most popular festive season of the year.
        The war worked many radical changes in the social, political, moral and industrial conditions which had prevailed in this region for many generations, the new south differed materially from the old south in many respects. In some directions there is a distinct improvement—a step forward—but in others the old timers say that there has been a retrograde movement.
       The millions of angry people who refused for more than two centuries to adopt the Thanksgiving holiday, and then accepted it, did not stop there. Having overcome the prejudices against this custom, they found it easy to allow other yankee ideas, methods and institutions to obtain a foothold in Dixie.
       The older readers of this article will agree with me that great changes have occurred in the southern mode of living m the past thirty years.
       There was a time when a man might have visited every restaurant and boarding house in a southern town without being able to find such articles as baked beans, Boston brown bread, doughnuts and codfish balls. These things followed the invading federal armies, and they came to stay. They are now recognized articles of diet among native southerners, as well as north settlers.
        We have adopted different foods, fashions and methods. Nearly every successful northern idea has been adopted here or is on trial in an experimental way.
       Many New England isms are making headway in the south. Once there were no Spiritualists here; now there are thousands. The female suffrage idea is spreading, and hundreds of callings are open to women in the south which were closed to them before the war.  A generation ago it was a rare thing to find Unitarian, Unaversalist and Congregational churches in this section, but now they are growing in every state.
       We also have Christian Science, the faith cure, divine healers, etc.
       We have become so tolerant that Mormon missionaries come and go, and preach among us without being molested.

      What has all this to do with Thanksgiving Day?
      A great deal. Any one who is familiar with our history can see at a glance the great revolution which has taken place in the south. Perhaps half unconsciously the new south has taken New England as a model, and is gradually shaping herself accordingly.
      In many ways the change is beneficial, but in others it is to our disadvantage. We can learn many valuable lessons from the north in finance, industry, economy, and in such matters as public schools, municipal ownership and commercial progress, but it would be wise to hold on to all that is best of the old south until we are absolutely certain that it will be to our interest in every way to embrace a new civilization.
       But Thanksgiving Day is all right, no matter when or where it originated, and our people will observe it in the proper spirit for all time to come. If we never borrow anything worse from New England we are not likely to suffer.

The Harrison Freshet

Way back a hundred and eighty years ago, at Troupville, GA which was then still the county seat of old Lowndes county, there stood an old cypress tree. This old tree weathered many a Wiregrass storm and its roots held steadfast. Passing under its boughs, pioneer settlers like Levi J. Knight came to Troupville to conduct the governmental, commercial and social affairs of the county.  The town was built right in the fork of the Little River and the Withlacoochee.  “Troupville only suffered one inconvenience, wrote Montgomery M. Folsom. To get to town three-fourths of the population had either to cross the river of the east or the river of the west and half the time, during the winter and spring, these rivers were raging with freshets, the bridges were afloat and were frequently swept away.”

When the flood of March, 1841 inundated the town the residents noted the high water level by a mark on the old tree. 

The height of that flood, known as the Harrison Freshet, became the standard by which all subsequent floods were judged for a hundred years thereafter.   The flood was associated with William Henry Harrison, who carried the presidency in 1840, in an election which lasted 34 days. Levi J. Knight’s nephew, Henry Harrison Knight, was born November 17, 1840 smack in the middle of the election.

William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison

There has come to be some confusion over which flood is properly known as the Harrison Freshet, some histories placing the so-named flood in 1840 and others in 1841.  Congressional records state the Harrison Freshet “occurred in 1841, lasting from the 11th of March to the 19th.” Newspapers all over the state of Georgia reported rising waters and washed-out bridges during this period, just days after the inauguration of William Henry Harrison as the ninth President of the United States. But parts of Georgia had also been awash in the  flood of 1840, which saw waters rise as high.

The freshet of May [1840] continued while the convention at Milledgeville that nominated General William H. Harrison for the Presidency, was in session, and it was, therefore, called by the people east of the Oconee river the Harrison freshet. In that portion of the country, and beyond the Savannah river and in Carolina, the rivers and streams were higher, and the overflow and destruction greater than by any other freshet since the Yazoo freshet in 1796. The cities of Augusta and Hamburg were submerged.

In the early part of March, 1841, after President Harrison’s inauguration, the big fresh occurred west of the Oconee, and the Ocmulgee, Flint and Chattahoochee rivers, and all other smaller streams, contained more water and produced greater damage than ever known. In this section the last inundation was also called the Harrison freshet; hence the confusion that arose many years afterwards in distinguishing which was the proper Harrison fresh. The discrimination was, however, distinctly recorded at the time of the occurrences. The fresh of May and June, 1840, while the convention was held at Milledgeville, was named by the Democrats, “The Nomination Freshet,” and the fresh of March, 1841, was also named by the same “unterrified” authority “The Harrison Inauguration Freshet.” An iron spike was driven into the western abutment of the city bridge by Mr. Albert G. Butts, denoting the highest water ever in the river down to that time, March, 1841. The spike still remains, and is inspected at every freshet in the Ocmulgee. – Historical Record of Macon and Central Georgia

At Troupville, it was the same; The mark remained on the old cypress tree, and it was inspected at every freshet. The flood of 1897 precipitated such an inspection.

Troupville, GA flood of 1897 described in the New Orleans Times Democrat

Troupville, GA flood of 1897 described in the New Orleans Times Democrat

New Orleans Times Democrat
March 28, 1897
Bridges Washed Away and Railroad Traffic Stopped.

Special to the Times-Democrat.
       Atlanta, Ga., March 27. – All of the streams running into the largest rivers of Southwest Georgia are flooded to such an extent as to have almost suspended travel on the east and west line of the Plant system, as well as on the Georgia and Alabama Railroad Line. The Georgia Southern Railroad is washed out in many places, and no trains have passed in the last twenty-four hours. In the neighborhood of Valdosta the floods have risen to such an extent as to cover almost the entire country. The Willacoochie rose at the rate of two feet an hour at first, and is still rising. It has covered all the railroad tracks from view, though the trestle is a high one, and half a mile long. All the bridges in Lowndes county have been carried away.
      At the old cypress tree at Troupville the high water mark of the Harrison freshet has been covered. The Allapaha river is also on a rampage, and every bridge on the Flint, from its source down to its junction with the Chattahoochee, has been carried away. The Central Railroad branch running from Columbia, Ala., to Albany is so largely under water that transportation has been abandoned. Americus also has been cut off by the overflowing of the Muckalee for a week, and travel is done by boats. It is the most general flooding that part of the country has ever received.

Of course, Troupville is gone now, but whatever happened to that old cypress tree?

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W. E. Hightower, Methodist Minister

William Edward Hightower

The Reverend W.E. Hightower of Remerton, Georgia served as the first pastor of the Ray City Methodist Church. He served at Ray City during 1910-1911. According to the history of the Ray City Methodist church, there was no church building in the town during his appointment.  Originally the services were held in a tent on the north side of town near the homestead of Mr. and Mrs. Will Clements.  Among the first members were Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Luckie, Will Terry, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Turner, Mrs. Julia Dudley, Annie Lee Dudley, and Marie Dudley. Later Reverend Hightower held church services in the Masonic Hall.
In 1914, Hightower served as pastor of the Methodist Church at Warwick when a church building was being constructed there. A story is told that Rev. W. E. Hightower walked from the parsonage to the W.D. Etheridge place to pick cotton to pay his part on the new building
Obituary

Butler Herald
December 7, 1950

Rev. W. E. Hightower Claimed By Death Friday Afternoon

Had Made His Home in Butler Since His Retirement Several Years Ago.

Following a long period of declining health, altho confined to his bed at short intervals, laid down to final rest and permanent dwelling place in Heaven, Rev. William E. Hightower breathed his last at his home in Butler Friday afternoon, Dec. 2, the hour of his passing given as 4:05 o’clock.

Rev. Hightower was born April 3, 1879 at Mountville, Ga., the son of the late Mr. Hillard Jones Hightower and Mrs. Frances Elizabeth Hightower. He united with the South Georgia Methodist Conference at its regular annual session December, 1912 from which time until his retirement, due to declining health in December, 1945. During his ministry he served many very fine charges in the conference including two separate appointments at Butler of 2 to 4 years each and six of the nine Methodist churches in Taylor county. His last year with the active ministry in the conference was served at Doerun. Appointments he served included the following: Oakfeld, 1912-13; Nichols, 1914; Valdosta Circuit, 1915; Pineview, 1916; Hamilton Circuit, 1917-18, Howard Circuit, 1919-22; Bronwood, 1923-26; Butler, 1927; Glenville, 1928-29; Uvalda, 1930-31; Butler, 1932-35; Attapulgus, 1936-38; Byronville, 1939-40; Doerun, 1943-44; Retired, 1945. His schooling included, besides grammar and high school in Harris county graduation at Young Harris with the class of 1909 and one year at Vanderbilt.

Upon his retirement from the South Georgia Conference Rev. Hightower purchased and with his lovely and faithful wife, occupying one of the most comfortable homes in Butler. On land adjacent the home he established, more for physical exercise for himself than otherwise, a nursery for the cultivation and sale of floral plants of the highest type and greatest in demand. He loved flowers to the greatest extent as he worked with them as his strength permitted. –t now that he is gone the many fine examples he set by his Godly living and energetic spirit are to be appreciated.

At the Butler Methodist Church Sunday, December 3rd, 1 p. m. was held the funeral services for the departed muchly be loved one followed by interment of the body in the family lot, Hamilton cemetery. Rev. C. W. Hancock, pastor of the local church was in charge of the funeral service and was assisted by the following ministers: Rev. J. Ed Fain, District Superintendent, Columbus District; Rev. T. O. Lambert, assistant pastor, St. Luke church, Columbus, and who joined the conference at the same time as did the deceased, and with whom he has been closely associated ever since; Rev. J. W. M. Stipe Soperton, pastor Butler charge four years previous to 1949; Rev William Childres, Butler. Others occupying the pulpit at the same time were: Rev. W. S. Johnson. Macon County; Rev. W. E. Scott, District Superintendent, Macon D. District; Rev. W. W. Taylor, pastor Reynolds Methodist church; Rev. Ralph Brown, Waverly Hall, Ga.: Rev. Fred Vanlandingham, Smyrna, Ga.

Speaking on behalf of the deceased Rev. C. W. Hancock, pastor of the local church and officiating minister made the following remarks from the pulpit:

“Once again we are in the still and silent presence of death. Yet I am more convinced than ever that for those who love the Lord, death is but the call of God to a larger and fuller life where the limitations of mortal flesh are known no more and the soul rejoices in its liberation. “Did I not already believe in ‘immortality—I would believe today. For a God of infinite power and merciful goodness could do none other than to grant life immortal as the reward for the earthly life of W. E. Hightower. He was blameless in life; devoted to His God; faithful in the ministering of the word; diligent in his service to his fellowman. Many live and pass on—and the world is none the worse off for their going—but not so with our beloved friend. Life will miss him for his usefulness and for the high quality he gave it.

“Immortality is real because already we are beginning to feel the immortality of his earthly life. There are his deeds done that will never be undone. There is the influence shed that will never lose its alluring charm; there is his spoken word that will ever echo in our memory; there are sinners saved who will know sin no more; there are Christians advanced through his inspiration who are attaining unto the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; there are churches with wider visions and larger service that will not fail.

“There is this town and this county. Who among us has done more to bring the Kingdom of God into full fruition in this place than has he° Across a number of years as active pastor of six out of nine Methodist churches in this county and through a number of years as an active superannuate minister he has touched the hearts of men with the healing presence of Christ.

“Many will never forget that he led them to Christ through the illumination of the way. Many will never forget those loving attempts he made to introduce them to Christ and to bring them into the service of Christ’s Church.

“This church will never forget his persistent loyalty, his wise counsel. You men of his Sunday School class will not forget his immortal words from Sunday to Sunday.

“We of the ministry will live in the influence of his moral and spiritual nature and of the consecration to his calling of God. More—God has not forgotten. We are here in the blessed assurance that God has called and issued a welcome summons to this His noble servant. And it can be said of him as it was said of one long ago—‘And he walked with God—and God took him.’ It is the testimony of his life that he pleased both God and man. “As he gave honor to life, he has given dignity to death. In life he testified to the power of religious experience; in death, he declares the church triumphant unto life eternal.

“So may the God of his life be the God of our life that we, like him, can come to the end of the way as one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

The floral offering was one of the largest and most elaborate ever witnessed in this section of the state besides a number of memorials in the form of large contributions to the S. S. Annex of the local church and for which Rev. Hightower had been teacher of the Men’s Bible class during the past four years.

The deceased is survived by his widow; one brother, Mr. Claude Hightower of Blairsville, Ga.; two sister, Mrs. Edgar Vandiver, Atlanta; and Miss Aldora Hightower of Mountville. Following funeral service at the local church the body was transferred to Hamilton for interment in the family lot Union cemetery Mr. J. W. Edwards II, of Edwards Bros. Funeral Home was in charge of funeral arrangements.

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Tales of Old Troupville: The Pranksters

Tales of Old Troupville, GA

General DeLoach (1795-1884) was a resident of Old Lowndes county in the 1830s, later moving to Hamilton County, FL.

General DeLoach (1795-1884) was a resident of Old Lowndes county in the 1830s, later moving to Hamilton County, FL. DeLoach was among the characters who frequented Troupville, GA.

Back in the days when Troupville, GA was the county seat of old Lowndes County, the town had a notorious reputation, especially during “court week” when the Superior Court was convened.  Troupville then was the site of “much drinking and horse swapping, and for indulgence in cock fighting, horse racing, and other ‘Worldly amusements’. Indeed, among the Godly, it was regarded as a wild town – almost as wicked as Hawkinsville.” Troupville also had a notorious gaggle of pranksters who were ever ready to play a trick. Perhaps the most infamous prank perpetrated by “the boys” was the time they turned the Lowndes Superior Court into a menagerie. Among many hapless victims who fell into their clutches were General DeLoach, Carter Newsome, innkeeper William Smith, Robert Kendrick and Jesse Pipkins.   General DeLoach, who was alleged by Montgomery M. Folsom to imbibe freely, “once swinged his eyebrows off and loosened his front teeth” in an intoxicated mishap while playing with explosives. Deloach lived to the age of 87 and was said to have fathered 24 children.  Carter Newsome brought his family from Warren County some time in the 1850s to settle in the Clyattville district. Robert Kendrick was known for a prodigious appetite. Jesse Pipkins in 1855, according to Pines and Pioneers, was “accused of adultery, fornication or running a lewd house” with  Martha McDonald (1855 Lowndes census shows they were co-habitating), and had to get married to avoid conviction.

An 1885 Valdosta memoir reprinted in the Savannah Morning News recounted some of the Troupville pranksters’ more memorable exploits:

Savannah Morning News
May 18, 1885

Old Troupville.

How the Boys Got Rid of Drunken Characters – Rough Practical Jokes.

“Little River” in Valdosta Times.

         Among the odd characters who frequented old Troupville was old Gen. DeLoach. His rule was “red eye” first, business afterwards. The business was swearing that he could whip the best man in the State, getting down on his hands and knees, bellowing and pawing up dirt in imitation of a bull. The General was once put in jail for some offense. He was a stutterer. The boys gathered around the jail window to tease him, and says he: “B-boys, I c-can c-crow b-but I can’t f-fly down.”
        Another humorous character was Bob K. Uncle Billy Smith was noted far and wide for his excellent table. The boys had a habit of occasionally paying the fare for some famous eater like Carter Newsome and others to have them clean out Uncle B. Bob was on one occasion employed for this purpose. Well fortified with “red eye” Bob fulfilled their expectations, but the red eye and the feast proved too much for him, and Uncle Billy had to wash his floors. The next day he called on Bob for extra damage, which he settled under protest, and in retaliation sang at all the street corners the following:

“Old Billy Smith, that good old man,
I ne’er shall see any more,
He charged the Kendrick seventy-five cents
For spewing on the floor.”

        Jesse Pipkins would come to town and stay for days drinking. Finally the boys got tired of him, and one Sunday morning Jesse was found cooped up in a big crockery crate hanging to the limb of an oak 20 or 25 feet from the ground on the public square. He begged hard to be let down, and having got sober was afraid to make the least movement. Jesse declared that it was 50 feet to the ground.
        Another drinking character, Tom M., would remain in town for weeks together. Circumstances favored the boys in getting rid of him. One dark night Tom was talking with someone in from of Godfrey’s bar. A buggy was standing in the street nearby. It was only a short distance to the river, and there was a high and steep bluff close by the bridge, fringed at the water’s edge by stout trees covered with thick branches. The boys saw there opportunity. While the rest hid behind trees and houses, one of them called Tom off for a private talk and going towards the buggy for convenience they took a seat in it. Now a half dozen or more of the boys rushed from their hiding places, some got between the shafts and some behind the buggy, and a race for the river began. Tom was too drunk to jump out, but on the way his companion jumped out into a sand bed. Just before they reached the edge of the bluff all hands turned loose. On went the buggy. The shafts stuck in the group, capsized the buggy and threw poor Tom headlong on and through the branches of the trees into 10 feet of water. The buggy was left hanging and dry among the trees. All was quiet for a few moments and then Tom’s head was soon above the black waters for an instant only, and then disappeared with a gurgling sound. The frightful truth then flashed upon the boys that Tom could not swim, besides being too drunk to even float. Here the point of the joke was broken off and matters had become serious. Off with coats and into the cold black water plunged several of the boys, and they pulled out poor strangling Tom. He was never seen in Troupville again.

Tales of Old Troupville, GA in the Savannah Morning News, May 5, 1885

Tales of Old Troupville, GA in the Savannah Morning News, May 5, 1885

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A Berrien County Ghost Story

Haints of Berrien County

Just in time for Halloween, another Berrien County ghost story. This one comes from Dr. James Rountree Folsom, father of Montgomery M. Folsom. James R. Folsom, who was a teacher in Berrien County, and later, Postmaster at Cecil, GA, wrote occasionally of Berrien County oddities.  Folsom was a member of Salem Methodist Church; The Church cemetery holds the marked graves of many of the Folsom family connection, among them the grave of Dr. James Rountree Folsom.

Tifton Gazette
December 1, 1893

Berrien County Ghost Story

       Dr. J. R. Folsom, of Cecil, in a letter to the Atlanta Journal under a date of November 26, [1893] recalls a strange story the scene of which is partly laid in Tifton. The facts were true as stated; the editor did not visit the house, but an attachee of the Gazette did and said it was absolutely true, and he was entirely unable to account for it. We do not know whether the disturbing element followed Mr. Bradler away from Tifton, but the same dwelling is now occupied and the ghost has not been heard there since the present occupant moved into it: ” A ghost story of chronic type is and has been going on for some time a short notice of which appeared in the Tifton Gazette some months ago is fresh “on the tap” this morning.
       As related by a gentleman who spent some time trying to unravel the mystery, the story is as follows:
During the first part of the year – in February or March – various noises began to be heard at the house of Mr. Rufus Bradler an engineer working for the Needham Lumber company, near Lenox, a small station on the Georgia Southern and Florida railroad in Berrien county.
      The sounds made at intervals, were like knocks on the floor and wall, rattling chains, and other sounds. Search was diligently made by the Bradler family and later on for the cause, without however, learning anything in regard to it. On one occasion, when the knocking seemed to be done by some one under the floor. Mr. Gillis attempted to shoot where the blows falling against the floor, but his efforts seemed at first to be of no avail. After having snapped several times with his revolver, it fired, but the ball scarcely penetrated the floor, and the knocking continued.
     These noises seem to be always near Mr. Bradler’s little twelve-year old daughter, and her health beginning to decline from the constant annoyance, strong effort were made to solve the mystery. Fires were built in a circle around the house at night the premises repeatedly searched but all to no avail, when Mr. Bradler gave up his job and moved to Tifton, where the annoying sounds followed him.
     After living there some time and the child’s health seeming to be still failing, he again moved to Valdosta.
    “Has the trouble stopped? We would like to know. Mr. Bradler, as said, is a locomotive engineer, and of a class not easily frightened. What can the matter be?

♦♦♦

Tifton Gazette
December 22, 1893
The burning of Prof. Hendricks’ residence, corner of Eight street and Central avenue, recalls the Bradley ghost story. It was the house where that ghost made such wonderful displays of power, and had become known as the “haunted house.” As the house has gone the way of “smoke and ashes” it may not be amiss to enquire what became of the ghost?

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