Confederate Letters of John William Hagan

In 1954, the Confederate letters of John W. Hagan were published by  Bell Irvin Wiley.  Hagan lived in the Cat Creek community near Rays Mill (now Ray City), GA.  In the Civil War, Hagan enlisted in  the “Berrien Minute Men,” a Confederate army unit organized by  Levi J. Knight, original settler at the site of Ray City.  Hagan served in the 29th GA infantry in Company  D, (later reorganized as Company K, the Berrien Minutemen),  and was elected 3rd Sergeant.  By 1864, he was serving as 1st Sergeant, and at times was in command of the Company.

Confederate Letters of John W. Hagan

Confederate Letters of John W. Hagan

John W. Hagan wrote regularly from field camps and battle lines to his wife and family back in Berrien County. His letters were typically addressed to Amanda Hagan, his wife, or  Rueben Roberts, his father-in-law.  He frequently mentions relatives, colleagues in the Berrien Minute Men, and other Wiregrass Georgia residents including James Roberts, Ezekiel Roberts, Stephen Roberts, Sherard Roberts, Kiziah Roberts, Bryant J. Roberts, John J. Roberts, George Roberts, James Roberts, Levi J. Knight, Jonathan D. Knight, William Washington Knight, William Sirmans, John Herndon, Wiley E. Baxter, Barzilla Knight, John M. Griffin, Thomas Griffin, Asa Newsome, William Roberts, Benjamin S. Garrett, J. L. Robert, Elias Thomas, Harriet Newell Wilson, Ellen Groover Clifford,  John Moore, Nancy Moore, Isbin B. Giddens, William J. Beatty,  James L. O’Neil, William Giddens, Burrell H. Howell, Moses H. Giddens, James Turner, Edward Maloy, U.D. Knight, Henry Harrison Knight, Edwin Griffin, Wiley E. Baxter, William Cameron, Jonas Tomlinson, Thomas Clifford, Jasper Roberts, John C. Clements, Thomas W. Ballard, James W. Mathis, James D. Pounds, James Giddens, Elias Lastinger, James Fender, Aaron Mattox,  Moses F. Giddens, and  William Anderson.

John W. Hagan witnessed  and described the death of Major John C. Lamb, who commanded the 29th Georgia Regiment until he was killed during the retreat from Vicksburg, MS in 1863.  Hagan also wrote about the execution of “Old Yaller” Elbert J. Chapman, who was shot for desertion even though he had left the 29th Georgia Regiment to serve with another unit.

John W. Hagan was captured during the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864 along with John Hearndon, Jonathan D. Knight, James D. Pounds, among others, and was sent to Camp Chase, OH for the remainder of the war .

The 43 letters he wrote home between 1861 and 1865 were published by Bell Irvin Wiley, and subsequently appeared in the Georgia Historical Quarterly.  The content of these letters may now be viewed online through JSTOR archives of the journal articles.

cover-georgia-historical-quarterlyTHE CONFEDERATE LETTERS OF JOHN W. HAGAN. Part I

Bell Irvin Wiley
The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. 38, No. 2  (June, 1954), pp. 170-200
Published by: Georgia Historical Society
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40577510

cover-georgia-historical-quarterlyTHE CONFEDERATE LETTERS OF JOHN W. HAGAN: Part II

Bell Irvin Wiley
The Georgia Historical Quarterly Vol. 38, No. 3  (September, 1954), pp. 268-290
Published by: Georgia Historical Society
Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40577711
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The Lucky Draw

In the  1832 Land Lottery of Georgia, 36 lucky drawers from Lowndes County won land grants in the Cherokee Indian Territory. Among the winners were Hamilton Sharpe, Pennywell Folsom and Bryan J. Roberts, who later fought in the last Indian skirmishes in Berrien County (then Lowndes County). See Pennywell Folsom Fell at Brushy Creek and Bryan J. Robert’s Account of the Last Indian Fight in Berrien County.

The last, or 1832 Land Lottery of Georgia, made available for distribution and settlement that part of the Cherokee Indian Nation which was in Georgia. This was a large area generally north of the Chattahoochee River in the north west and north central parts of the state. There were two distinct areas involved in this Lottery. One part was the area referred to as the gold lots, lying along the south boundary of the subject area, and the other part was referred to as the land lots.

Cherokee land lots were parceled out to white Georgians in one of the two state land lotteries held in 1832. The state conducted a total of eight lotteries between 1805 and 1833.

Cherokee land lots were parceled out to white Georgians in one of the two state land lotteries held in 1832. The state conducted a total of eight lotteries between 1805 and 1833.

Fortunate Drawers from Lowndes County

  1. Jemimah Monk, orphan, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 42, 6th Dist., 1st Sect., Union and Lumpkin County.
  2. Sampson G. Williams, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 242, 6th Dist., 1st Sect., Union and Lumpkin County.
  3. Nancy Ivy, w., Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 314, 6th Dist., 1st Sect., Union and Lumpkin County.
  4. Isom Batton, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 37, 7th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  5. James Jamison, soldier, Barnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 273, 7th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  6. Samuel Carter, Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 321, 7th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  7. Seaborn Bradford, Blair’s Lowndes.
    Lot 128, 8th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  8. Blanset Sutton, widow, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 67, 9th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  9. James McLeod, Burnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 146, 9th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  10. James Anderson, Studstill’s, Lowndes
    Lot 240, 10th District, 1st Sect., Union County
  11. Jane Clark, widow of Revolutionary Soldier., Burnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 250, 10th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  12. Martha Akins, widow, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 77, 16th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  13. Hamilton Sharp, Blair’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 284, 17th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  14. David Bell, Mattox’s, Lowndes
    Lot 316, 19th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  15. Jesse Carter, Jr., Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 3, 19th Dist., 1st Sect., Union County.
  16. Jesse Fulford, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 13, 5th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  17. John Dean, Gaulden’s, Lowndes
    Lot 227, 5th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  18. Green McDonald, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 232, 5th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  19. Benjamin S. Vickers, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 45, 7th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  20. Jacob Carter, Coward’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 17, 8th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  21. Bryan J. Roberts, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 214, 9th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  22. Cannay Burnam, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 183, 9th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  23. John Sutton’s orphans, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 257, 10th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  24. John William Spain, orphan, Studstill’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 127, 11th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  25. Thomas Woods, Blair’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 94, 12th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  26. Isam Watson, Revolutionary Soldier, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 143, 12th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
    Lot 272, 9th Dist., 3rd Sect., Murray County
  27. James Price, Mattox’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 227, 12th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  28. Lovick Green, Johnson’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 78, 13th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  29. Robert Lindsey’s orphan, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 184, 14th Dist., 2nd Sect., Gilmer County.
  30. Alexander Patterson, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 258, 14th Dist., 2nd Sect., Cherokee County
  31. Bartimeus Williams, Blair’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 275, 14th Dist., 2nd Sect., Cherokee County
  32. Samuel Raney, Blair’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 33, 22nd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties
  33. Elias Skipper, Johnson’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 254, 22nd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  34. Aaron Mattox, Mattox’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 281, 22nd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  35. Anna Davis, orphan, Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 322, 22nd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  36. Pennywill Folsom, Burnett’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 116, 23rd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  37. Noah Griffin, Blair’s, Lowndes
    Lot 213, 23rd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  38. Joshua Davis, Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 221, 23rd Dist., 2nd Sect., Cass & Cherokee Counties.
  39. Andrew Tucker’s orphan, Burnett’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 161, 24th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murry and Gilmer Counties.
  40. Moses Beesley, Burnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 308, 24th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murry and Gilmer Counties.
  41. John McDermed, McCraney’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 26, 25th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murray and Gilmer Counties.
  42. William Jerkins’s orphans, Blair’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 16, 26th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murray and Gilmer Counties.
  43. James Wade, Soldier, McCraney’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 119, 26th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murray and Gilmer Counties.
  44. Bartley Green, Johnson’s, Lowndes *
    Lot 324, 27th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murray and Gilmer Counties.
  45. William Newborn, Johnson’s, Lowndes *
    Lot 108, 27th Dist., 2nd Sect., Murray and Gilmer Counties.
  46. Dennis Wirthington, Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 237, 5th Dist., 3rd Sect., Cass County.
  47. Archibald Strickland, Gauldings, Lowndes.
    Lot 115, 6th Dist., 3rd Sect., Cass County.
  48. Peter Warrington, Coward’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 129, 6th Dist., 3rd Sect., Cass County.
  49. John Jones, Jr., Mattox’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 200, 6th Dist., 3rd Sect., Cass County.
  50. Ashley Lindsey, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 46, 8th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County.
  51. Molly Burnett, widow, revolutionary soldier, Burnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 201, 8th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County
  52. Archibald McCraine, McCraney’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 44, 9th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County
  53. Rebecca Tomlinson, widow, Cowart’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 128, 10th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County
  54. John Davis, Revolutionary Soldier, McCraney’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 293, 10th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County
  55. Bryant Burnam, Folsom’s, Lowndes.*
    Lot 284, 11th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County.
  56. Martin Shaw, Folsom’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 316, 11th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County.
  57. John Duke, Burnett’s, Lowndes.
    Lot 3, 12th Dist., 3rd Sect, Murray County.
  58. William G. Hall
  59. John Russell
  60. Green Hill
  61. John Roberts
  62. Asa Griffin
  63. Aaron Mattox
  64. Thomas L. Brown
  65. John Folsom
  66. Nathan Lindsey
  67. Rice Mathis
  68. Jeremiah Wilson
  69. Samuel Whitfield
  70. Silas Cason
  71. James Walker
  72. Edward B. Stafford
  73. Duncan McMillan
  74. Alexander Hodges
  75. James English
  76. John Tomlinson, Jr.
  77. John Duke
  78. John Sutton’s orphans
  79. Duncan Giddens
  80. Michael Peterson
  81. John F. Clements
  82. Robert N. Parrish
  83. Joseph Yates
  84. Silas Cason
  85. Isaac Carter
  86. Henry Hayman, R.S.
  87. Judith McFail, WRS
  88. James Walker
  89. Thomas Bellote
  90. Ely Hendry
  91. Thomas Giddens
  92. David Bell
  93. Samuel McCoy
  94. William McLeod
  95. William Hill’s orphans
  96. George W. Roberts
  97. James English
  98. Thomas Sherby
  99. Jesse Godwin
  100. Jordan Hancock
  101. J. McCranie
  102. Stephens Roberts
  103. William Coulter
  104. James Edmondson
  105. Angus McLeod
  106. John Townsend
  107. Gideon Elvington, RS
  108. Frederic McGiddery

Note- all marked * were granted previous to January 1, 1838.

http://archive.org/stream/cherokeelandlott00smit#page/172/mode/2up/search/lowndes

Georgia’s western and northern boundary had been established in 1802 by the cession of her western territory, from the Chattahoochee River to the Mississippi, to the United States. Although this cession had provided for the peaceful removal of all Indians within these boundaries, in 1828, the Cherokee still remained. Despite the fact the Cherokee were a peaceful and agricultural people, in that year Georgia extended her jurisdiction over them and named the area Cherokee County. Shortly thereafter, the General Assembly, by the Acts of December 21, 1830 and December 24, 1831, authorized the land to be surveyed and distributed by Lottery to citizens of Georgia. In 1832 the surveyors laid off the area in four sections, the sections into land districts about nine miles square, and the land districts into land lots of 40 and 160 acres respectively.

While the surveying was being carried out, those persons who had lived in Georgia three years immediately prior to the Acts of the General Assembly, registered to draw in the Lottery in their counties of residence. Their names, together with the numbers of the lots and districts, were sent to Milledgeville, then the capital of the state, and on specified days tickets from two wheels or drums were drawn simultaneously, one from the wheel holding the name tickets and one from the drum holding the land lot tickets. In this way, a person knew which lot he had drawn and if he subsequently paid to the state a grant fee of $18.00, a grant was issued to the lot he had drawn.

This grant from the State of Georgia was his title to the lot and from that time he could do whatever he wished with his property, although the state did not require that he live on it or cultivate it.

Revolutionary War veterans were given extra draws and were indicated by the letters “R.S.” written after their names. Many other classifications are indicated by initials, such as widows, insane, orphans, idiots, illegitimates, etc. Ordinary married men with their families, or bachelors, etc, are not designated by any initial. Any citizens participating in this and other Lotteries had to take only an ORAL oath when they registered to draw. Consequently, there are no written records as to what they may have said about themselves and their families.

Immediately after the Lottery of 1832 was held, the whole area of Cherokee County was divided into ten counties, i.e., Cass (which was renamed Bartow in 1861), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding and Union, all of which were created in 1832. However, the original survey and grant records in the Surveyor General Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, always use the name of the original county — Cherokee.

The 1832 Land Lottery opened up the last area within the present boundaries of Georgia, which heretofore had not been available to the white settlers and was participated in by more persons than any other Lottery.

In spite of the distributing of the lands in the area, it was not fully settled at first. It was not until a Treaty with the United States and the Cherokee Nation on December 29, 1835 held at New Echota in Georgia, that the Cherokee finally agreed to leave their lands and move west beyond the Mississippi River. Soon after Georgians came in in large numbers and not an Indian was left within her boundaries.

Person Entitled to Draw

  • Bachelor, 18 years or over, 3-year residence in Georgia, citizen of the United States – 1 draw
  • Married man with wife and/or minor son under 18 and/or unmarried daughter, 3-year residence in Georgia, citizen of United States – 2 draws
  • Widow, 3-year residence in Georgia – 1 draw
  • Wife and/or child, 3-year residence in Georgia, of husband and/or father absent from state for 3 years – 1 draw
  • Family (one or two) of orphans under 18 years, residence since birth in state – 1 draw
  • Family (three or more) of orphans under 18 years, residence since birth in state – 2 draws
  • Widow, husband killed or died in Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or Indian Wars, 3-year residence in Georgia – 2 draws
  • Orphan, father killed in Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or Indian War – 2 draws
  • Wounded or disabled veteran of War of 1812 or Indian Wars, unable to work – 2 draws
  • Veteran of Revolutionary War – 2 draws
  • Veteran of Revolutionary War who had been a fortunate drawer in any previous lottery – 1 draw
  • Child or children of a convict, 3-year residence in Georgia – 1 draw
  • Male idiots, lunatics or insane, deaf and dumb, or blind, over 10 years and under 18 years, 3-year residence in Georgia – 1 draw
  • Female idiots, insane or lunatics or deaf and dumb or blind, over 10 years, 3-year residence in Georgia – 1 draw
  • Family (one or two) of illegitimates under 18 years, residence since birth in Georgia – 1 draw
  • Family (three or more) of illegitimates under 18 years, residence since birth in Georgia – 2 draws

Persons Excluded

  • Any fortunate drawer in any previous land lottery who has taken out a grant of said land lot.
  • Any person who mined—or caused to be mined—gold, silver, or other metal in the Cherokee territory since June 1, 1830.
  • Any person who has taken up residence in Cherokee territory.
  • Any person who is a member of or concerned with “a horde of Thieves known as the Pony Club.”
  • Any person who at any time was convicted of a felony in any court in Georgia.

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Bryan J. Robert’s Account of the Last Indian Fight in Berrien County

Bryan J. Roberts, and his brothers Nathan and John, were among Levi J. Knight’s company of men who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836.  Many published accounts of the pioneer skirmishes with Native Americans at  William Parker’s place on the Alapaha River and at Brushy Creek have been related on the Ray City History Blog.

Here is the story the way it was told by B. J. Roberts 50 years after the event:

The Valdosta Times
May 14, 1887

INDIAN FIGHTERS

A Brief Account of the Fighting In This Section In 1836.

Mr. Bryan J. Roberts, father of Mr. W. K. Roberts of this place, is one of the pioneers of Lowndes, and has seen service as an Indian fighter in this and Clinch counties.  He is now in his 78th year and is spending the evening of his life very happily among his devoted children, having a few years ago divided a fine property among them, reserving for himself a sufficiency for his simple needs.  His children are all prospering and he is happy in seeing them happy.

In 1836 the rumors of depredations and murders by Indians in other portions of the State caused widespread alarm in this section, and the citizens organized companies for the protection of their families and property.  Capt. Levi J. Knight commanded the company to which Mr. Roberts belonged.

This company was on duty one hundred and five days, and during that time engaged in two bloody fights with the red skins.

In August, 1835, a squad of Indians raided Mr. William Parker’s home, not far from Milltown.  They carried his feather beds out into the yard; cut them open, emptied the feathers, cut and carried the ticks with them.  They also robbed him of provisions, clothing, and $208.25 in money.

Capt. Knight’s company was soon on the trail of this squad and in a short time overtook them near the Alapaha river, not far from the Gaskins mill pond.  The sun was just rising when the gallant company opened fire on the savages. A lively fight ensued, but it soon terminated in the complete routing of the Indians, who threw their guns and plunder into the river and jumped in after them.  A few were killed and a number wounded.  One Indian was armed with a fine shot gun.  This he threw into the river and tried to throw a shot bag, but it was caught by the limb of a tree and was suspended over the water.  This bag contained Mr. Parker’s money, every cent of which he recovered as well as all the other property taken from his house. The fine gun was fished out of the river and, afterwards sold for $40, a tremendous price for a gun in those days.  In the fight Mr. Peters was shot with this same gun.  One buck-shot struck him just above the waist-band of his pants, passed through and lodged under the skin near the backbone. He was also struck by two shot in the left side, which made only slight wounds.  The Indian was not more than thirty yards distant when he shot him.  Mr. Peters recovered from his wounds in less than twelve months.

Having driven the Indians into the dense swamp beyond the river, Capt. Knight marched his company as rapidly as possible in the direction of Brushy creek, in the Southwestern portion of the county.  When they arrived near that place, they heard a volley of small arms, and on arrival found that the battle had been fought and that the volley they heard was the last tribute of respect over the grave of their brave comrade-in-arms, Pennywell Folsom.  Edwin Shanks and a man named Ferrell were also shot dead in the fight.  Edwin Henderson was mortally wounded and died near the battlefield.  Mr. Robert Parrish, Sr., who lives near Adel, had his arm broken by a bullet in this fight. The Indians lost 27 killed and a number wounded.  We have no account of any prisoners being taken.  The battle of Brushy Creek was fought in a low, marshy swamp where Indian cunning was pitted against the invincible courage of the Anglo-Saxon, and in five minutes after the fight opened there was not a live red skin to be seen.

From this place Capt. Knight marched his company to what is now Clinch county.  He overtook the Indians at Cow Creek, where a sharp engagement took place, resulting in the killing of three and the taking of five prisoners. Mr. Brazelius Staten was dangerously wounded in this fight but finally recovered.

This ended the Indian fighting in which Capt. Knight’s company were engaged. Half a century has passed since then.  Nearly all the actors in that brief but bloody drama are at rest beyond the stars. A few of them are still among us, the valiant pioneers of this country, who bared their breasts to the bullets of the savages in order that their descendants might possess this fair land in peace.

The following is a list, as near as can now be ascertained, of the living and dead of Capt. Knight’s company.  The company numbered 120 men, many of whom came from neighboring counties, whose names cannot now be recalled.

LIVING–Bryan J. Roberts, Moses Giddens, John Studstill, Jonathan Studstill, Aaron Knight, Guilford Register, Echols county.) David Clements, William Giddens, John and Nathan Roberts, Fla.) (Zeke Parrish, Lowndes county,) John McMillain, John McDermid and Robert Parrish.

DEAD–George Henedge, Jeremiah Shaw, Daniel Sloan, John Lee, Moses Lee, James Patten, William J. Roberts, Isben Giddens, Jacob Giddens, Elbert Peterson, John Knight, Thomas Giddens, Harmon Gaskins, John Gaskins, William Gaskins, Sam Lee, Frederick Giddens, James Parrish, Martin Shaw, Archie McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Malcom McCranie, Alexander Patterson, James Edmondson, David Mathis, Thomas Mathis, Levi Shaw, William Peters, Jonathan Knight, Levi J. Knight and Brazelias Staten.

The Indians who passed through here belonged to the Creek Nation and were on their way from Roanoke to Florida to join the Seminoles.  They were first discovered in this county by Samuel Mattox, at Poplar Head, near where Mr. Tom Futch now lives.  Mattox was afterward hanged for murdering the fifteen-year-old son of Mr. Moses Slaughter.  Most of these Indians reached the Okeefenokee Swamp where they were joined by a large band of Seminoles.  From then until 1839 these savages did much damage to the white settlers in the vicinity of the Swamp, but in that year they were driven out and took refuge in the Everglades, where they were, with the exception of a small number, finally captured and sent to Arkansas.
Since the above was put in type another of the gallant old Indian fighters, Mr. Aaron Knight, has joined his comrades beyond the stars.

A 1915 reprint of this article also  noted “The Malcolm McCranie referred to was the father of Mr. Geo. F. McCranie, cashier of the Bank of Willacoochee and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners of Coffee.”

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Bryan J. Roberts ~ Lowndes Pioneer

Bryan (or Bryant) John Roberts (1809-1888)

In 1827, eighteen-year-old Bryan J Roberts arrived in the newly created Lowndes County, GA with his parents and siblings.  His father, John Roberts, settled the family on a plot of land situated near the Cat Creek community, eventually establishing a large plantation there.

Bryan J. Roberts

Bryan J Roberts 1809-1888. Cat Creek Cemetery, Lowndes County, GA.

According to Folks Huxford, Bryan J. Roberts was born in Wayne County, GA on June 4, 1809, a son of Phoebe Weeks Osteen and John R.  Roberts.

In Lowndes County, on January 26, 1832 Bryan J. Roberts married Wealthy A. Mathis (1813 – 1888). As a young woman, she had come from Bulloch County, GA with her parents, Rhoda Monk and James Mathis, to settle at the site of present day Cecil, GA in Cook County.

Wealthy and Bryan J. Roberts established their home place on the land that had been settled by his father in 1827.  Of B. J. Roberts, Huxford says. “He had a large plantation and lived in comfortable circumstances.”     Roberts may have been among the earliest  planters to introduce pecans in Georgia, as pecans are mentioned in a Civil War letter written by John Hagan, of Berrien County, dated June 2, 1862.  Hagan wrote to his wife, Amanda Roberts:

 ”Give my respects to your Uncle Bryant J. Reoberts…Tel him I would like to heare how his little cob corn is doing. Also letter me know if Capt Martin has paid his cotoe [quota] of the precans [pecans] for introductsion.”

Children of Wealthy Mathis and Bryan J. Roberts:

  1.  John Jackson Roberts (1832 – 1907), married: (l) Susan Vickers daughter of Lewis Vickers; (2) Mrs. Catherine Gaskins widow of John Gaskins of Coffee County.
  2. James W. Roberts (1834 – 1900), married Elizabeth “Eliza” Edmondson daughter of David Adam Edmondson .
  3. Mary Ann Roberts (1835-1919), married Archibald Duncan Wilkes of Berrien County.
  4. Stephen N. Roberts (1837 – 1863), never married; joined the Berrien Minute Men in 1861 and served at Brunswick, Sapelo Island and Savannah; died of pneumonia January 6, 1863 in Lowndes County, GA; buried at Owen Smith Cemetery, Hahira, GA.
  5. Jemima Roberts (1839-1913), married William H. Burgsteiner son of John R. Burgsteiner.
  6. Rachel Roberts (1841-1867), married Jacob Dorminy son of John Bradford Dorminy, Jr. of Irwin County.
  7. Nancy Roberts (1843- ),  married William S. Phillips of Stockton.
  8. Warren H. Roberts (1846-1908), married: (1) Virginia S. “Jennie” Edmondson daughter of Rev. John Edmondson; (2) Isabella Strickland, daughter of Charles Strickland.
  9. William K. Roberts (1847-1908), married Phyllis McPherson Oct 27, 1888 in Berrien County, GA.
  10. Leonard L Roberts (1849-1919 ),  married Georgia Ann Baskin, daughter of James Madison Baskin
  11. Elizabeth “Betty” Roberts (1851-1933), married Daniel D. Andrew Jackson Dorminy, son of John Bradford Dorminy, Jr. of Irwin County.
  12. Martha Roberts  (1854-1898), married Frank Moore son of Levi Moore.

From 1827 to 1829, Bryan J. Roberts served as an ensign in the 663rd district of the Lowndes County militia. He was elected Justice of the Peace in the 658th district, Lowndes County, for the 1834-1837 term. He served in the Indian War of 1836-1838 as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s company of Lowndes County militia, and was one of those present at the skirmish with Indians at William “Short-arm Billy” Parker’s place preceding the Battle of Brushy Creek.

Prior to his death, Bryan J. Roberts divided his property among his children. This “self-administration” of his estate was reported in The Valdosta Times, August 8, 1885.

The Valdosta Times
August 8, 1885

His Own Administrator.

      Mr. Bryant Roberts is 77 years old, and he moved to this county in 1827.  He has reared 10 children and there are numerous grand-children.  The old gentleman lost his wife last year, and since that time he has been lonely at the old homestead.  Last week he summonsed all his children together and made up and inventory of all he owned.  It footed up $10,000.  Six thousand of his property was divided up into ten equal parts, and each child drew for his or her share.  The old gentleman reserved $4,000 for his own use for the balance of his life.  The homestead was included in the property divided, and the old gentleman will break up housekeeping and spend the remainder of his declining years around among his children.
      Mr. Roberts has taken this step because he feels that the silken cord has weakened under the weight of years and he prefers to be his own administrator.  We trust his children will make it pleasant for the old gentleman during the remainder of his sojourn with them.

According to the above newspaper clipping, Wealthy Mathis Roberts died about 1884. on July 8, 1888 Bryan J. Roberts followed her in death. They were buried at Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church.

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Related Posts:

Berrien Skirmishes, the Battle of Brushy Creek, and the Indian Maiden

Previous posts have described the Indian skirmishes at William “Short-Arm Bill” Parker’s place on Alapaha River in Berrien County (Martha Guthrie: Babe of the Indian Wars, Short-arm Bill Parker).

Nineteen years after the event, in 1855 the historian Reverend George White, briefly reported it this way:

 On the 13th of July, 1836, on the Allapaha River, near the plantation of Mr. Wm. H. Mitchell, a battle was fought between the whites and Indians. Captain Levi J. Knight commanded the whites, numbering about seventy-five men. The Indians were defeated, and all killed except five. Twenty-three guns and nineteen packs fell into the hands of the whites.

The following account of the incident is quoted from Georgia’s Landmarks, Memorials and Legends, published in 1914 by the Georgia state historian, Lucian Lamar Knight. (For Levi J. Knight’s own account, see Levi J. Knight Reports Indian Fight of July 13, 1836).

 Captain Levi J. Knight was a celebrated Indian fighter. The following story, in which he figures with some prominence, was found in an old scrap-book kept by the late Judge Richard H. Clarke. It was told by Bryan J. Roberts, a wealthy pioneer citizen of Lowndes, who several years before his death divided a large estate between his children. It runs as follows: “In 1836 the rumors of depredations committed by the Indians in other portions of the State caused widespread alarm in this section, and the citizens organized companies for protection. Captain Levi J. Knight commanded the company to which Mr. Roberts belonged. This company was on duty for 105 days, and was engaged in two bloody fights with the red-skins. Some time in the fall of the year mentioned, a squad of Indians raided Mr. William Parker’s home, not far from Milltown, in what is now Berrien. They carried his feather beds out in the yard, cut them open, emptied the feathers and appropriated the ticks. They also robbed him of provisions, clothing, and money in the sum of $308. “

Captain Knight was soon on the trail of the squad and overtook them near the Alapaha River, not far from Gaskin’s mill-pond. The sun was just rising when the gallant company opened fire on the savages. A lively fight ensued, but it soon terminated in an utter rout of the Indians, who threw their guns and plunder into the river and jumped in after them. A few were killed and a number wounded. One Indian was armed with a fine shot-gun. This he throw into the river. He also tried to throw into the stream a shot-bag, but it was caught by the limb of a tree and suspended over the water. Strange to say, it contained Mr. Parker’s money, every cent of which was recovered. The fine gun was fished out of the river and was afterwards sold for $40, a tremendous price for a gun in those days.

Having driven the Indians from the dense swamp beyond the river, Captain Knight marched his company as rapidly as possible in the direction of Brushy Creek, in the southwest part of the county [i. e., Lowndes]. In the distance they heard a volley of small arms. On arrival, they found that a battle had already been fought, and the volley was only the last tribute of respect over the grave of a comrade-in-arms, Pennywell Folsom. Mr. Robert Parrish, who became quite prominent and lived near Adel, had his arm broken in this fight. Edwin Henderson was mortally wounded and died near the battlefield, and there were two others killed. The Indians lost 22, besides a number wounded. The battle was fought in a swamp where Indian cunning was pitted against Anglo-Saxon courage, and in five minutes after the engagement opened there was not a live red-skin to be seen. From this place Captain Knight marched his company into what is now Clinch. He overtook the Indians at Cow Creek, where a sharp engagement occurred. Three were killed and five made prisoners. Mr. Brazelius- Staten was dangerously wounded, but finally recovered. This ended the Indian fighting in which Captain Knight’s company was engaged. More than three quarters of a century has since passed, and the actors in the bloody drama are now at rest.

The encounter at Brushy Creek occurred at a “fort” that had been built by the McCranies and their neighbors to defend against the escalating Indian attacks, especially after the destruction and massacre that had occurred at the small Georgia village of Roanoke on the night of May 15, 1836.  A 1930 history of Cook County, GA gave the following account of the  Battle of Brushy Creek:

Fearing for their lives and in obedience to Governor William Schley’s orders, the people, of what is now Cook County, gathered themselves into three different groups and built three forts. The Wellses and Rountrees and their neighbors built a fort at the Rachel Morrison place which is now the John Rountree old field. This was Morrison Fort and the company of soldiers formed there was known as Pike’s Company. The Futches and Parrishes and others built their fort at the Futch place on the Withlacoochee River where the ferry was located. The McCranies and their neighbors built their fort on Brushy Creek where the George Moore farm is now located. Their company of soldiers was known as the Hamilton Sharp Company.

BATTLE OF BRUSHY CREEK

Scarcely had the people of the present county gotten into forts and formed companies for fighting when the hostile Creeks and Cherokee Indians, coming from the North to join the neighboring Seminoles in Florida, began murdering families along the way.

The soldiers of the Hamilton Sharp Company at the McCranie Fort looked out one morning about the 10th of June 1836 and found the woods just across the Musket Branch from their camp, literally full of Indians. They saw they were so completely out-numbered that they sent Mr. Ashley Lindsey through the country to the Morrison Fort to get aid from Pike’s Company.

While he was gone for help, Hamilton Sharp, Captain of the McCranie Fort, sent out Robert N. Parrish, Richard Golden, Penuel Folsom and William McCranie as scouts to guard the Indians until help could come. The Indians out-witted the scouts and decoyed them away from their camp and attacked them.

They wounded Robert N. Parrish and Penuel Folsom. Folsom was mortally wounded and just as the Indians got to him to scalp him, Pike’s Company came up in the rear, began firing and the Indians fled across Brushy Creek.

The companies were all soon united and together they pursued the Indians, killing men, women and children. Numbers of Indians were killed that day. Pike’s Company lost three brave soldiers, James Therrell, Edwin Shanks and Edwin Henderson.

Penuel Folsom, the first soldier killed in the Battle of Brushy Creek, was buried in what is now known as the Rountree Cemetery, his being the first grave in it. After this terrible battle with the Indians, it was found that an Indian maiden had been captured and held at the fort on Brushy Creek. That night she asked permission to yell and this permission was granted. Her mother soon came out of the darkness to the child and she was released to go with her mother.

To the astonishment of all the whites, when morning came, every Indian corpse that could be found had his or her hands folded and each lifeless body had been straightened, but not buried. Their bodies were never buried. The companies drove the Indians south of Milltown, now Lakeland, Ga. There, they killed one of their biggest warriors.

The historical marker for the Battle of Brushy Creek,  near Adel, Cook County, GA reads:

BATTLE OF BRUSHY CREEK STATE HISTORICAL MARKER
Located at Rest Area #5 on northbound I-75 approximately 8 miles N of Adel
31.24343, -83.46538
(Text)
BATTLE OF BRUSHY CREEKNear here, in July, 1836, a battalion of Georgia militia under command of Major Michael Young, defeated a band of Indians in the Battle of Brushy Creek. In pursuit of the Indians, who had been raiding the frontier as they fled into Florida, the soldiers came upon them in the fork of Big Warrior Creek and Little River and drove them into the swamp. A general engagement followed, fought over a distance of 3 miles, through cypress ponds and dense canebreaks. The result was victory for the militia, with 2 men killed, 9 wounded. Of the enemy, 23 were killed, many wounded and 18 prisoners taken.

In his 1916 account of the engagement, historian Folks Huxford continued this narrative with details of the concluding encounter at Cow Creek.

“From this place [Brushy Creek] Captain Knight marched his company across the Allapaha River into what is now Clinch County. The Indians after the last engagement had crossed the river and took a course southeastward to Cow Creek, about three miles below where Stockton now is. The whites traced them and found them near the creek. They surprised the savages at breakfast and the Indians, abandoning what little effects they had except guns, hurriedly crossed the “Boggy Slue”and then went over the creek. The slue which had been so easy for the Indians to cross, delayed the whites, but finally crossing it they caught up with the Indians on the other side of the creek, where a short engagement occurred. Bill Daugharty had his horse shot from under him in this engagement by a very large Indian, and just as the Indian was about to fire at him, Mr. Daugharty shot the Indian. The Indian’s body was not found until after the engagement was over, when it was found in some bushes. In this short engagement three Indians were killed and five made prisoners. No whites were killed, but Mr. Barzilla Staten was dangerously wounded from which he afterwards recovered.”

William McCranie fought in the Battle of Brushy Creek and at Cow Creek. His personal account was related in the Berrien County Pioneer in 1888.

He was engaged in two pitched battles with the Indians – at Brushy Creek, which was fought in sight of his father’s house, and on Cow Creek, in Clinch county. In both battles, his friend, Jack Lindsey, was close by his side and also in pursuit of the Indians that followed them. ‘Uncle Billy,’ as he is now familiarly called, has always been exceedingly reticent relative to the details of these battles, even to his wife and children. However, one incident of the pursuit of the Indians after the Battle of Cow Creek he sometimes tells with seemingly a pleasing smile. The Indians had been completely routed and the white men were in close pursuit. He and Jack Lindsey had crossed the creek and was emerging from the swamp when an Indian buck jumped from behind a covering of brush. They discovered each other simultaneously and three rifles flew to the shoulder in an instant, but he and Jack was too quick for their antagonist. They fired together, and the Indian with a yell fell dead – a ball in his heart. They fired together, aiming at the heart, and they never could say which killed the Indian. When they went forward to examine the dead Indian, a ‘gal’ jumped up from behind a clump of bushes, and ran to the edge of a cypress swamp where, for some unknown reason, she stopped. By this time some other white men came up, attracted by the rifle shots, and expressed surprise at the sudden disappearance of the Indians and their being unable to find one. “Come along,” said uncle Billy, “and I will show a ‘gal’.” They went to where she was but she would keep some distance between them. The men tried to coax her to come to them but she would not – said she was afraid they would kill her. Finally, Uncle Billy told her to come to him. She refused, but told him to come to her. As he started toward her, she started toward him, and they clasped each other in fond embrace, she gave him such a hug that he has never forgotten it. Whatever became of her Uncle Billy has never told.

James F. Fountain ~ Postmaster & Pecan Planter

Earlier posts discussed the establishment of the post office in Ray City.  In the 1920s, the Ray City Postmaster was James F Fountain. Later his wife, Mamie E. Fountain, would serve as postmistress. (see Posting Mail at Ray City)James’ extended household included  his wife, as well as his parents, brother and sister, and nephew.  In 1920, James and Mamie did not have any children of their own.

In addition to serving as Postmaster, James F.  Fountain was a farmer, living on a farm he owned free and clear, and farming it on his own account.  His wife was a public school teacher.  All the men in the family were farmers.

James F. Fountain was  one of the first to engage in pecan farming in Berrien County. Pecan trees are known to have been introduced in Georgia as early as 1872, grown from pecans sent from Texas.  They may have been grown here a decade earlier, as pecans are mentioned in a Civil War letter written by John Hagan, of Berrien County, dated June 2, 1862.  Hagan wrote to his wife, Amanda Roberts:

 “Give my respects to your Uncle Bryant J. Reoberts…Tel him I would like to heare how his little cob corn is doing. Also letter me know if Capt Martin has paid his cotoe [quota] of the precans [pecans] for introductsion.”

By 1909, 10,000 acres of pecan trees were being cultivated in southwest Georgia, and by the 1920s, pecan farms  were spreading into south central Georgia.

The following appeared in the Oct 1, 1923 edition of the Atlanta Constitution:

 Plan Pecan Nursery

Milltown, Ga., September 30.– (Special) — Dr. W. D. Simmons, of Milltown, and Postmaster J. F. Fountain, of Ray City, are planning to begin a pecan nursery on Dr. Simmons’ farm just west of town. They have recently visited nurseries at Thomasville, Blackshear, and other points. The pecan growing has become a lucrative business.