Arthur Shaw and Shaw’s Still

In 1908, the opening of the Georgia & Florida Railroad gave Ray City, GA residents a transportation access to the world, and a convenient connection to towns on the G & F route. Among those with a Ray City – Willacoochee connection was Arthur Shaw, son of Francis Marion Shaw and Rachel Moore Allen Shaw, of Ray City, GA.  Arthur Shaw, a native of Ray City, spent most of his life at Willacoochee, GA.

Francis Arthur Shaw (1866-1933), son of Francis Marion Shaw, Sr., was born and raised near Ray's Mill (now Ray City), GA. Husband of Victoria Giddens Knight (first wife) and Gertrude Albritton (second wife) Turpentine still operator. Though a native of Berrien county, and some of his turpentine operations were in Berrien county, he resided in Willacoochee most of his adult life. Was a mayor of Willacoochee. Courtesy of

Francis Arthur Shaw (1866-1933), son of Francis Marion Shaw, Sr., was born and raised near Ray’s Mill (now Ray City), GA. Husband of Victoria Giddens Knight (first wife) and Gertrude Albritton (second wife). Turpentine still operator. Though a native of Berrien county, and some of his turpentine operations were in Berrien county, he resided in Willacoochee most of his adult life. Was a mayor of Willacoochee. Courtesy of

Bryan Shaw, of the Berrien County Historical Society, contributes the following:

Arthur Shaw, of Willacoochee, was business partners in the turpentine operations with his brothers, Chester and Lacy Shaw, and brother-in-law, William Clements.

The commissary at  Shaw’s Still was operated by Lacy Shaw. Lacy later ended his partnership with Arthur and farmed near the home place of his parents, Francis Marion Shaw and Rachel Moore Allen Shaw, in Lois, GA just off Possum Branch Road. About 1917 he sold his home to Pleamon Sirmans and moved into Ray City and operated a hardware store there before moving to Valdosta about 1927 or so.

The location of the turpentine operation was actually about a mile or so south of Springhead Methodist Church in Atkinson County. The terminus of the Pinebloom railroad which ran through Willacoochee was at Shaws Still which is shown on the early 1900 railroad maps. The intent at one time was for the Pinebloom to terminus at DuPont, however the extension was determined to be financially unsound and it was given up. Very little is visible of the old Pinebloom railroad bed between Willacoochee and Shaws Still. The terminus of the railroad was about where the Henderson Lumber Company had its operation, near today’s Henderson Road and Springhead Church Road. The still site is no longer visible and is on a  private hunting preserve now.
—Bryan Shaw


The Ocilla, Pinebloom & Valdosta Railroad, originally called the Fitzgerald, Pinebloom & Valdosta, was a logging road and occasional common carrier owned by the Gray Lumber Company. 

[Benjamin B. Gray, a principal of the Gray Lumber Company and the OP & V,  was a brother-in-law of the notorious outlaw Ben Furlong.  Furlong committed his first murder while employed at Gray’s sawmill at Pinebloom, and thereafter wreaked mayhem up and down the line of the Brunswick & Western Railroad.]

The 52-mile Lax-Pinebloom-Nashville line was completed in 1901-03.

In 1906, the FP&V sold the section south of Pinebloom to the Douglas, Augusta, & Gulf Railway (which was controlled by the Georgia & Florida).  The FP&V continued to operate the tracks north of Pinebloom. (Pinebloom was a flag station on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad a mile east of Willacoochee with a 1896 population of about 200. The Gray Brothers saw mill was its largest enterprise.)

The line was renamed the Ocilla, Pinebloom & Valdosta Railroad in 1910, and in 1915 the Henderson Lumber Company gained control.

The 1918 Report of the Georgia Railroad Commission listed the OP&V as a 27-mile line between Gladys, a point on the Ocilla Southern Railroad, and Shaw’s Still, which was about nine miles southeast of Willacoochee. Two years later the Commission indicated that the OP&V had been dismantled and listed its successor road, the Willacoochee & DuPont, as a 9.5-mile line between Willacoochee and Shaws Still.

In 1915, when the Henderson Lumber Company acquired the Ocilla, Pinebloom, & Valdosta Railway, it ran from Gladys to Shaw’s Still. In 1918, the Willacoochee & DuPont Railroad purchased the line and reportedly abandoned the tracks between Gladys and Willacoochee the following year (or used them only for logging or hauling naval stores and turpentine). It continued to operate the eastern and southern section of track from Willacoochee to Shaws Still, but apparently was not able to extend the line past Shaws Still to DuPont, a town on the Atlantic Coast Line in Clinch County. In 1922, this track too was abandoned.

The Shaw Family Newsletter: FRANCIS ARTHUR SHAW 1866–1933, by Bryan Shaw, relates the story of Arthur Shaw’s life, loves, and business dealings:

Shaw Family Newsletter: FRANCIS ARTHUR SHAW 1866–1933

Shaw Family Newsletter: FRANCIS ARTHUR SHAW 1866–1933

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Portrait of Creasy Brown Wood

A wonderful portrait of Creasy Brown Wood (see Creasy Brown Woods buried at Dupont, GA) was recently contributed by reader, Katie Frost. In the early 1900s, Creasy Brown and husband George Washington Wood kept their household just west of Ray City, in the Connells Mill District.

Creasy Brown, wife of George Washington Wood. Around 1910, the Woods made their home in the Rays Mill area.

Creasy Brown, wife of George Washington Wood. Around 1910, the Woods made their home in the Rays Mill area. Image courtesy of K. Frost.

Creasy Brown, born August 14, 1877 was a daughter of  Sarah Hughes and James Brown. Her father was a veteran of the Civil War, having served as a private in Company D, 26th Georgia Infantry, Confederate States Army. Her mother, Sarah M. Hughes, was a daughter of  Nancy Hutto and William Hughes.

When Creasy was about twelve years old, her grandparents were brutally murdered at their home in Clinch county (see The Bloody Story: 1889 Murder of the Hughes Family in Clinch County.)

Creasy grew up in DuPont, Clinch County, GA.   She was enumerated. In the census of 1900 in her parents’ household in the 1280 District of Clinch county.  Their neighbors were Ola and Otis Mikell, subject of earlier posts (Ola Crews and Otis Mikell),

About 1903 Creasy Brown married 18 year old George Washington Wood.  She was 25 at the time.

The couple made their home on a rented farm in the Connells Mill District, the 1329 Georgia Militia District, near the town of Rays Mill.  George worked the farm and Creasy assisted with the farm labor. By the time the 1910 census came along they were also raising four kids.

The year 1911 brought tragedy. In September Creasy was down with illness; by early October she knew the end was coming.  After weeks of illness she passed away on October 10, 1911.  Her obituary mentions she was survived by her husband and five children. She was buried at North Cemetery,  Du Pont, GA, about 20 miles east of Ray City.

Children of Creasy Brown and George Washington Wood:

  1. Children of Creasy Brown and George Washington Wood:
    1. Leon Wood, born August 30, 1901, Berrien County, GA;  died November 8, 1922; buried Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA
    2. Hattie Wood, born about 1906, Berrien County, GA
    3. Gruvey Silas Wood, born March 24, 1908, Berrien County, GA; married Mary Pannal; died May 22, 1984, Savannah, GA; buried Hillcrest Abbey East Cemetery, Savannah, GA
    4. J. Remer Wood, born September 30, 1909, Berrien County, GA; married Jewel Prickett; died October 4, 1995; buried Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA
    5. Henry C. Wood, born August 8, 1911, Berrien County, GA; died April 24, 1986; buried Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA
Children of Creasy Brown and George Washington Wood. Left to right: Gruvey Silas Wood, Hattie Wood, Remer Wood, and Leon Wood (seated). Image courtesy of Katie Frost.

Children of Creasy Brown and George Washington Wood. Left to right: Gruvey Silas Wood, Hattie Wood, Remer Wood, and Leon Wood (seated). Image courtesy of Katie Frost.

George Washington Wood later moved to Savannah, GA and married Fannie Lou Taylor.


John R. Wood Goes to Paris

Ray City, GA was the boyhood home of John Rhoden Wood, a son of Milledge Dewey Wood and Nancy Caroline Rhoden. He went on to a long career as a diplomat with the US State Department, serving primarily in France, from WWI to WWII.

John R. Wood, 1920 passport photo.

John R. Wood, 1920 passport photo.

John Rhoden Wood was born in Dupont, GA on February 7, 1894. Some time before 1910, the Wood family moved from Dupont to the 1329 Georgia Militia District, near Ray City, GA where John R. Wood spent his teenage years.

At the time of the draft for WWI John R. Wood was living in Jacksonville, FL and working for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. He was 23 years old, of medium height and build, with blue eyes and brown hair. Wood entered the Army and was sent to France. He achieved the rank of Second Lieutenant before receiving an honorable discharge.

About 1920 John R. Wood married a French girl, Jeanne Victorine Brissaud.

Jeanne Victorine Brissaud, 1920 passport photo.

Jeanne Victorine Brissaud, 1920 passport photo.

That year Wood applied for a passport  to return to France, giving his permanent residence as Ray City, GA.

John R. Wood 1920 Passport Application

John R. Wood 1920 Passport Application

Washington, DC

I, John R Wood, a native and loyal citizen of the United States, hereby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passport for myself and my wife, Mrs. Jeane B. Wood.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Dupont Ga in the State of Ga, on or about the 7 day of Feb, 1894, that my father, M D Wood, was born in Coffee County Ga, and is now residing at Ray City Ga. that I have resided outside the United Stats at the following places for the following periods:

Paris, France. from Dec 1, 1918 to July 1, 1920 and that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at Ray City in the state of Ga.

I am about to go abroad temporarily, and I intend to return to the United States within -{months/years} with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein; and I desire a passport for use in visiting the countries hereafter named for the following purpose:

France  – Returning to present employment

I intend to leave the United States from the port of New York sailing on board the  (name of vessel) on September 15, 1920.

Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

J. R. Wood

Sworn to before me this 14th day of July, 1920
D F Smith
Agent, Department of State

In the margins the notation was added, “Honorable discharge from Army dated August 11, 1919 and giving rank as 2nd Lieut  seen and returned 7/14/20.”

The description of applicant gave his age as 26 years and height as 5 foot 11 inches.  He was fair in complexion with a full face, light hair,  high forehead, hazel eyes, straight nose, small mouth and square chin.

John Rhodes Wood's 1920 passport application gave his permanent residence as Ray City, GA.

John R. Wood’s 1920 passport application gave his permanent residence as Ray City, GA.

After some time in France,  John Wood made the return passage on the SS Rochambeau.

Over the next decades John R. Wood made several transatlantic voyages.  In May of 1926 he made the return crossing aboard the SS France.  At the time it was one of the fastest liners afloat.

SS France

SS France

In 1929 he sailed from Le Havre, France to New York aboard the SS Ile de France. The census of 1930 shows that John R. Wood and family were living in Paris, France where he was employed as Vice Consul.

SS Ile de France, photographed circa 1935

SS Ile de France, photographed circa 1935

On April 18, 1934 John R. Wood again departed from France, sailing from Le Havre aboard the SS Paris and arriving at the port of New York on April 24.  He gave his address in the U.S. as the Department of State, Washington, DC.

S.S. Paris, once the most luxurious ocean liner in the world.

In 1934 John R. Wood sailed aboard the S.S. Paris, once billed as the most luxurious ocean liner in the world.

In 1939, Wood made the Atlantic crossing on the SS Normandie.

SS Normandie at sea in the 1930s.

SS Normandie at sea in the 1930s.

More than a year after Germany invaded France during WWII,  John Wood departed Europe from Lisbon, Portugal on August 1, 1941, on the USS West Point.

USS West Point, August 1, 1941

USS West Point, August 1, 1941

Jeanne Brissaud Wood died on June 14, 1974 in Nice, France.

Later, John R. Wood made his residence in Colquitt County, GA.  He died in Savannah, GA on June 30, 1996 at 102 years of age.

In death he returned to his boyhood home of Ray City, GA where he was interred at Beaver Dam Cemetery, with his parents and others of the Wood family connection.


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Milledge Dewey Wood and the First Cotton Blooms of 1912

On June 25, 1912, The Valdosta Times reported on some of the first cotton blooms of the season. The growers were G. W. Carter, of Lois, and Milledge Dewey Wood, of Ray City, GA.

Valdosta Times
June 25, 1912

Messrs. G. W. Carter of the Lois District and M. D. Wood of Rays Mill, were  among the first to send in cotton blooms to the Herald.  They are among the enterprising farmers of the county, and have their crops in fine condition.  We appreciate the favor of these friends in keeping us posted on their farming operations.

Milledge Dewey Wood  was the father of George W. Wood and father-in-law of Creasy Brown Wood, subject of previous posts (see Creasy Brown Wood buried at Dupont, GA).

M. D. Wood was a son of Josiah Wood and Caroline Meeks. His gravemarker gives his birth date April 28, 1862, but from census records it appears that he was actually born in 1860.

At the time of his birth, his father, Josiah Wood, was farming in Macon County, GA near the town of Lanier. But with the outbreak of the Civil War, his father joined Company E of the 4th Georgia Cavalry.  Josiah Wood did not serve long in the Confederate States Army. Due to a disability he was discharged after just one year of service.

Some time before 1870, young Milledge moved with his family to Coffee County, GA, where his father farmed a small place valued at $200.

The 1880 census record for M. D. Wood has not been located, but in 1883 he married Nancy Caroline Rhoden. In 1900, the couple made their home in Dupont, GA where Milledge owned  farm free and clear of mortgage.

By 1910 the Nancy and M. D. Wood had moved their family to Georgia Militia District 1329, the Connells Mill district, near Ray City, GA. Wood rented a farm on the Rays Mill-Cat Creek road, next door to farms of  Lacy Lester Shaw and Francis Marion Shaw.

In 1920, Wood was farming a place outside of Ray City,  on the Nashville Road.  On the farm next door was Gideon Gaskins.

Children of Nancy Caroline Rhoden and Milledge Dewey Wood:

  1. George Washington Wood 1884 – 1960, married Creasy Brown
  2. Joseph Bryant Wood 1885 – 1969
  3. Ely Benjamin Wood 1888 – 1978
  4. Willie Westberry Wood (1889 – 1974) – worked for E.M. “Hun” Knight, and later Clements Sawmill
  5. Laura Wood 1891 – 1973
  6. John Rhoden Wood 1894 – 1996
  7. Celia Caroline Wood 1896 – 1988
  8. Lulu Wood 1899 – 1974
  9. James Oliver Wood 1901 – 1975
  10. Dewey Franklin Wood 1906 – 1988
  11. Eliza Bell Wood 1909-1910

Milledge Dewey Wood died October 31, 1932.  He was buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City, GA

Grave marker of Milledge Dewey Wood, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

Grave marker of Milledge Dewey Wood, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA

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Mary Jane Gardner Stewart rests at Beaver Dam Cemetery

Mary Jane Gardner was a sister of Chloe Gardner.

Mary Jane Gardner moved with her parents from Hamilton County, FL to south Florida some time before 1900.   Her sister, Chloe Gardner, married JHP Johnson in 1899 and made her home first in DuPont, GA and later in Ray City.  Upon her death in 1977, Mary Jane Gardner Stewart was laid to rest at Beaver Dam Cemetery, in Ray City.

Mary Jane Gardner Stewart and son, Elton. Mary Jane was a sister of Chloe Gardner Johnson.

Mary Jane Gardner Stewart and son, Elton. Mary Jane was a sister of Chloe Gardner Johnson.

Gardner Sisters: Emma Gardner, Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson, Mary Gardner Stewart, & Martha Leone Gardner. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Gardner Sisters: Emma Gardner, Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson, Mary Gardner Stewart, & Martha Leone Gardner. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Beaver Dam Cemetery

Grave of Mary Jane Gardner Stewart (1884-1977), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Grave of Mary Jane Gardner Stewart (1884-1977), Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

Merchant of Ray City: Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson was born and raised on the old Johnson farm in Clinch county,  about four miles north of Dupont, GA.  His father, Captain Rowan Burnett Johnson, gave a portion of his land for the site of the primitive baptist Prospect Church,  J.H.P. Johnson lived in DuPont for some years prior to moving to Ray City about 1913.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

In 1900 the newlywed J.H.P.  “Joe” Johnson  supported his bride, Chloe Ann Gardner, as a merchant in the Dupont district of Clinch County, GA. In the Clinch County census of 1910 Johnson reported his occupation as “farming”.  Some time about 1913, the Johnsons moved to Ray City, GA where  Joe served on the board of directors for the Bank of Ray’s Mill , and owned  several retail buildings  prior to the Great Depression.  By 1930 J.H.P.  the census shows he was back in the occupation of farming, but he was always in the retail business.  His death certificate in 1953 gave his usual occupation as “merchant and farmer,”   and his type of  business was  owner of a general merchandise store.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson and grandchild. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson and grandchild. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

The Clinch County News
February 27, 1953

Death Of J.H.P.  Johnson

Aged Clinch County Native Passes at Ray City

    Mr. J. H. P. Johnson, known to his old home-county people as “Joe” Johnson, died in the hospital at Lakeland last Saturday morning, age 83 years following a long illness.  Funeral and burial was had at Ray City last Sunday afternoon, the funeral being in the Ray City Baptist Church and conducted by the pastor, Rev. John W. Harrell, assisted by the Methodist Pastor, Rev. D. R. Dixon.
    Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Chloe Gardner Johnson; three daughters, Mrs. Paul King of Orange Park, Fla., Mrs. R. Lawton LeSueur of Americus, Mrs. W. M. Carlton of Nashville; and six sons, R. G. Johnson of Elberton, J. Wallace Johnson of Valdosta, Floyd V. Johnson of Charlotte, N. C., J. H. Johnson and Maurice Johnson of Ray City, and R. Bruce Johnson of Callahan, Fla.
    Mr. Johnson was the last surviving one of the children of the late Hon. Rowan B. Johnson, 1830-1904, well known Clinch County citizen and legislator of years ago.  The elder Johnson died in June, 1904, while a member of the legislature from Clinch serving his fourth or fifth (though not consecutive terms) from this county. The mother of the deceased was Mrs. Caroline Floyd Johnson, daughter of Jason Floyd of Liberty County.  The deceased was born and reared near Prospect Church, on the old Johnson farm now the plantation of Mr. G. C. Griner; and lived in DuPont for some years prior to moving to Ray City about forty years ago.  He engaged in merchandising in Ray City until forced by ill health a few years ago to retire.
      Mr. Johnson was a very fine, upright man,and had many friends.  He was always genial and friendly, and leaves behind the record of a good, clean life filled with many deeds of kindness exemplifying many fine traits of character.
      Mr. G. A. Gibbs of Homerville, is his nephew.  Mrs. O. C. Dukes of Homerville, and Mrs. M. G. Hughes of DuPont, are second cousins.

Death Certificate of Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson. Courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Death Certificate of Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson. Courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Grave of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson and Chloe Gardner Johnson, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Grave of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson and Chloe Gardner Johnson, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, Berrien County, GA

Family of Chloe Gardner Johnson

Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson

Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson and her husband, Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, were residents of Ray City, GA for more than 40 years. They were well known in the community and operated businesses in Ray City and Nashville.

Chloe Ann Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson on their wedding day, December 17, 1899.  They were married at the Methodist Church in DuPont, GA.  Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Ann Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson on their wedding day, December 17, 1899. They were married at the Methodist Church in DuPont, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Chloe Ann Gardner was born November 11, 1879,  a daughter of Martha Ann McCall and Joseph Flournoy Gardner.  She was named after her grandmother, Chloe Ann Folsom. Her great grandfather, Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek during the Indian War of 1836.

Chloe’s father, Joseph Flournoy Gardner (1856-1947), was from Alabama. As a young man he moved to Bartow in Hamilton County, FL. This community, now lost, was perhaps about 50 miles south of Ray’s Mill, GA. There, he married Chloe’s mother, Martha Ann McCall (1856-1932).

Chloe grew up in Hamilton County, FL. Some time before 1900 her parents had moved farther south to central Florida. In 1899, Chloe married Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson of DuPont, GA. They were married in the Methodist Church in Dupont.

Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson with her children, parents and siblings, circa 1909.

Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson with her children, parents and siblings, circa 1909. Left to right, top row: sisters Emma Gardner Langdale, Celeta Gardner, Jennie Gardner. Middle row: Elroy Langdale with son J. D. Langdale, Joseph Flourney Gardner, Ponce de Leon Gardner, Martha Ann McCall Gardner, Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson with son Lawton Johnson. Front row: Martha Leona Gardner, Charles “Charlie” Leon Bryan, Chloe’s children – Floyd B. Johnson, Rowan Glenn Johnson, Mildred “Dish” Lee Johnson, Joseph Wallace Johnson. Then David H Stewart, his son Elton Stewart, and Mary Gardner Stewart. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Children of Chloe Ann Gardner Johnson and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson:

  1. Rowan Glenn Johnson 1901 – 1962
  2. Joseph Wallace Johnson 1903 – 1986
  3. Mildred “Dish” Lee Johnson 1905 – 1989
  4. Floyd B Johnson 1906 – 1982
  5. Lawton Walker Johnson 1908 – 1945
  6. Bess “Bessie” Gardner Johnson 1911 – 2005
  7. Geraldine Blanche Johnson 1915 – 1989
  8. James Howard Pascal Johnson 1918 – 1988
  9. Robert Bruce Johnson 1919 – 2008
  10. Max Maurice Johnson 1922 – 2012

For several years, the Johnsons, JHP and Chloe, made their home in Dupont, but some time before 1918 moved to Ray City, GA where they remained for the rest of their lives.

50th wedding anniversary of Chloe Ann Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, 1949. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

50th wedding anniversary of Chloe Ann Gardner and Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, 1949. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

From the King’s Tree to Ray City: Family of JHP Johnson

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson of Ray City, GA

For more than forty years Joseph Henry Pascal “Joe” Johnson was a resident and merchant of Ray City, GA. The Johnson’s were among the pioneer families of Wiregrass Georgia, and among colonists who settled in the 1700s at the King’s Tree in South Carolina. His father was a captain with the Confederate States Army. His grandfather fought in the Indian Wars and was a Major General of the State Militia.  His great grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his great great grandfather was a South Carolina colonist in 1732.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, tintype. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, tintype, as a boy in Clinch County, GA. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.



JHP “Joe” Johnson was born February 22, 1859 in DuPont, GA. He was a son of Rowan Burnett Johnson and Caroline Amanda Floyd (1842 – 1872). His mother died when Joe was about 13 years old. His father was remarried to a widow, Emaline Dame Clifton.

Rowan Burnett Johnson and Emaline Dame Johnson, father and step-mother of J.H.P. Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Rowan Burnett Johnson and Emaline Dame Johnson, father and step-mother of J.H.P. Johnson. Image courtesy of Julie Hutson.

Memoirs of Georgia” Vol. I, Pg 500 Southern Historical Association, 1895

Rowan B. Johnson, planter, Dupont, Clinch Co., Ga., was born in Lowndes county, Nov. 29, 1830. Three years afterward his father moved to Ware, now Clinch county. He was raised on the plantation, and has devoted himself to agriculture all his life. His education was limited to such as could be obtained at the common schools of the county. When only sixteen years of age he was elected captain of the militia – District 1280 – at a time when it was regarded as a local distinction; and in 1850 was elected a justice of the peace. In 1862 he enlisted in Company B, Second Georgia battalion, and was made first lieutenant. In 1863 he joined the Sixth Georgia regiment, Western division, was commissioned captain of Company I, and served through the war. Returning from the war he resumed farming, and was soon afterward elected a justice of the inferior court, and served a term of four years. In 1892 he was again chosen to represent Clinch county in the General Assembly and as a democrat defeated his populist opponent by and overwhelming majority – more than doubled him. In 1884 he was nominated to represent Clinch county in the General assembly and defeated his opponent by a large majority. Two years later he was again a candidate, and was defeated by a small majority; but in 1869 he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Hon. James P. Mattox (deceased), showing that the people appreciate his ability and services, and have confidence in him as a faithful custodian of their interests. While in the general assembly he was a member of the committees on agriculture, counties and county matters, military affairs and penitentiary. These frequent political successes testify to the strong hold he has on the confidence and esteem of his fellow citizens. Mr. Johnson has been married three times. His first wife was Miss Aleph, daughter of John Tomlinson, who died in 1862. For his second wife he married Miss Amanda, daughter of Jason Floyd, who died in February, 1870. He next married Mrs. Emeline (nee Dame), widow of William H. Clifton, and daughter of George Dame. He is a master Mason, and a prominent member of the Primitive Baptist church.

Rowan B. Johnson was a devout Primitive Baptist. In 1859 he deeded the land for the site of Prospect Church.The church is situated about four miles north of DuPont, GA. This church was constituted January 22, 1859. Rowan B. Johnson died on 19 June 1904 at age 73. He was buried at Prospect Church Cemetery.



JHP Johnson’s grandfather was Major General David Johnson, Jr., of the Georgia State Militia. He fought in the Indian Wars of 1836 and raised five sons who fought in the Civil War, including JHP’s father, Rowan B. Johnson.

Nancy "Mary Ann" Burnett and Major General David Johnson, Jr. were grandparents of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA.

Nancy “Mary Ann” Burnett and Major General David Johnson, Jr. were grandparents of Joseph Howard Pascal Johnson, of Ray City, GA.

The following information on General David Johnson, Jr, Grandfather of JHP Johnson, is adapted from the Miles Files of the Virginia Eastern Shore Library:

Major General David Johnson, Jr. was born on 29 January 1804 at Bulloch Co, GA. He was born in Bulloch County, now Emanuel County, Georgia, the seventh child of eleven born to Martha Hardeman and David Johnson (R.S.). He grew up on the Fifteen Mile Creek, waters of the big Ohoopee River. When he was 20 years old he moved with his father and family to what is now Clinch County, GA. They lived there for about three years when they moved to Leon County, FL, then a territory. After helping his father get settled in Leon County, he moved back to Irwin County, now Lowndes County, in 1828. He married circa 1828 and settled near where Valdosta now stands. He married Nancy ‘Mary Ann’ Burnett, daughter of John and Molsy Sheppard Burnett. They moved back to Ware, now Clinch County, GA and lived there the remainder of his life. He fought through the Indian War of 1836 and won a Commission of Captain. He was noted for his coolness and bravery. Captain David Johnson’s Brigade of Georgia Militia was ordered into Federal Service of the United States by Governor Charles S. McDonald from the first day of November to the thirty-first day of December 1834 [1839?]. He was commissioned Major General of the 2nd Brigade, 6th Division of the State Militia on 16 December 1850. He resigned 22 February 1861. He felt very strongly over his failure to keep the Militia under his command active although the same condition existed all over Georgia in the State Militia, so when the Civil War and possible invasion seemed imminent and the State Militia was not ready for the emergency, General Johnson felt like he was partly to blame, which of course was not true. General Johnson lost two sons in the Civil War; Private Bryant Johnson, Company H (Thomas County Volunteers), 29th Georgia Infantry, died March 11, 1862 of measles and pneumonia in the hospital at Savannah,GA; and Private William S. Johnson, Company G, Clinch Volunteers, 50th Georgia Regiment, died on May 22, 1864 from gun shot wounds in a hospital at Stanton, VA. His other three sons served also: Captain Rowan Burnett Johnson, Company J, 11th Georgia Cavalry; Lieutenant David Hardeman Johnson, 11th Georgia Cavalry; and Private Joseph Burton Johnson in Company H (Thomas County Volunteers), 29th Georgia Infantry. General Johnson survived the war and lived until he was 77. An article in The Valdosta Times on 20 May 1876 reported the General accidently shot himself in his right hand and left knee after returning from a hunt. The Valdosta Times of 23 April 1881 reported his death on 9 April 1881. “He left an aged wife, six children and a host of devoted friends to mourn his departure to that other world. The writer knew him well and knew him to possess a heart filled with the milk of human kindness and a head stored with that ripeness of judgment.” Maj. Gen. David Johnson Jr. was buried at Fender Cemetery, Lanier Co, GA



The following information on David Johnson, Revolutionary Soldier  and great  grandfather of Joseph Henry Pascal Johnson, is adapted from the Miles Files of the Virginia Eastern Shore Library:

David Johnson (R.S.) was born in 1765 at Lorens Co, SC. It is said that his grandfather, David Johnson, was among a colony of 40 Scotch-Irish families under the leadership of Roger Gordon who settled near on the on Black River at “the King’s Tree,” South Carolina in 1732. This colony came up the Black River and disembarking from their vessel at Brown’s Ferry, blazed their way through the forests along what is now the Kingstree-Georgetown road to the King’s tree. These were the first settlers in Williamsburg Township. (Page 10, 21-22, History of Williamsburg.) The greater number of these families had lived in Ireland for many years before coming to America. They had migrated from England and Scotland to Ireland on account of fair promises on the part of the English King. David Johnson, born ca 1760-65, served in the Revolutionary War under Colonel Philemon Waters troops, Colonel Middleton’s Regiment, and General Sumter’s Brigade for 10 months until the end of the war. (See Stub Entries to Endents for Revolutionary War Claims, Book L-N No. 512 Lib. M.) His signature was compared to a bond in Bulloch County Court, 1810 term of Superior Court. Hustus Studstill and Josiah Sirmans were indicted in a case (later dismissed) and David Johnson and Jonathan Studstill were sureties. This was an original signature on the bond and it was the same as signature on Indent Record for Revolutionary War. David Johnson (R.S.) married Martha Hardman, daughter of Capt. Thomas Hardyman (R.S.) and Elizabeth (—–), in 1792 at Effingham Co, GA.The Hardymans (Hardeman) came from Virginia to South Carolina, St. David’s Parish of old Cheraw. Elizabeth Johnson, David’s sister, married Joseph Hardman, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Hardaman about 1781. Page 245 of “History of the Old Cheraws” by Rev. Alexander Gregg, DD shows William Johnson, Ensign, Captain Thomas Hardyman, and Ensign Joseph Hardyman in September 1775 being commissioned as Officers in Colonel Powell’s Regiment of Militia for duty in the Revolutionary War. David and Martha Hardaman Johnson settled on Fifteen Mile Creek which was a part of the Big Ohoopee River in Bulloch County, now Emanuel County. They settled there about 1794 after their first land grant from Washington County, now Emanuel County. The census for 1840 shows David and Martha Johnson in Emanuel as follows: 2 males under age 10, 2 males age 10-16, 1 male over age 45, 1 female under age 10, 1 female over age 45, 2 female slaves & 2 male slaves. About 1823, David and Martha Johnson sold out in Emanuel County and moved to what is now Clinch County, GA. After a few years they moved to Leon County, Florida, acquiring property there January 31, 1827. They are included in the 1830 census of Leon County, Florida as follows: 2 males age 15-20, 1 male age 60-70, 2 male slaves under age 10, 1 male slave age 10-24, 1 male slave age 36-55, 3 female slaves age 10-24. David Johnson died in Leon County, Florida on April 14, 1834 and Martha died March 23, 1837 in Leon County, Florida. They are both buried in a cemetery on his home place in Leon County, Florida. There are no markers on their graves. David made a will on 19 March 1834 at Leon Co, FL:

I, David Johnson, being of sound mind, but in low state of health; and knowing that all men must dye; do this day freely give in this deed to the heirs of my beloved son Young Johnson after my death a certain Negro woman by the name of Lucy, her children Neis, Peter, Moses & Hanner and her increases after this, they are to be kept by him after my death by the said Young Johnson. Moreover, I do give and bequeath to the said Young Johnson all my dwelling house and kitchen furniture and working tools, also five cows and calves. I also do give & bequeath a certain Negro man Clint and a feather bed and furniture belonging to said bed to my beloved son Joseph Johnson after my death. I do also give and bequeath a certain yellow Negro woman called Dinah to my beloved daughter Martha Sirman after my death. I do also give and bequeath a certain Negro woman called Flora to my beloved son David Johnson after my death. I do further give and bequeath the remainder of my beloved children all of the remainder of my stock of cattle after my beloved son Young Johnson gets his five cows and calves out of my stock. I do give and bequeath the above named cattle to my beloved daughters Risa Register, Amelia Wilks, Lavina Mosely and Mary Jones. I have already given as much as I do conceive to be right to my other two beloved children John A. Johnson and Elizabeth Rich. Witt: Allen Skipper, Benjamin Skiper & Nathan Powell.

A daughter of David Johnson, R.S.,  was Martha Johnson who married Lowndes County pioneer Benjamin Sirmans.



David Johnson, it is said, came to South Carolina and settled in 1732 at the King’s Tree, near the Black River.

 Detail of Sam Cook's 1773  map of South Carolina showing the location of Kingstree.

Detail of Sam Cook’s 1773 map of South Carolina showing the location of Kings Tree.


Williamsburg, named after William of Orange, was one of eleven townships ordered by King George II in 1730 meant to develop the “back country” of the Carolina Province. The township was a part of Craven County, one of the original four counties that encompassed present South Carolina. Williamsburg Township then included most of the present Pee Dee region. The township consisted 20,000 acres (80 km²) and was located in front of the Black River. It was later divided and became a number of separate counties, including present Williamsburg County, South Carolina. A white pine tree on the Black River was marked by early surveyor with the King’s Arrow to claim it for the King. The tree was referred to as “The King’s Tree,” and became the center of the new township. Kingstree eventually became the chief town of Williamsburg township. In 1732 a colony of forty Scots-Irish led by Roger Gordon came up the river by boat and settled in the vicinity of the King’s Tree. They were poor Protestants who had come from northern Ireland. They had settled there seeing a better life than in Scotland, before migrating to America.

Two Men Hanged in Clinch County

The public hanging of  Bob McCoy and Willie Hicks occurred on April 3, 1890 in  Homerville, Clinch County, Georgia.   The two men were tried and convicted of the double axe murder of William Hughes and Ellen Sellers Rice Hughes,  an elderly couple of Dupont, GA.  The story of the murders and the pursuit of the killers were reported in newspapers from New York to California .

As told in the previous posts the Hughes were the grandparents of Creasy Brown Woods, of Rays Mill, GA.  The murders, trial, and hangings occurred when Creasy was about twelve years old.

Robert McCoy was apprehended at Live Oak,  Florida by Sheriff Gottschalk “Gus” Potsdamer, who was himself an ex-convict, having been sentenced and later pardoned for the  murder of another sheriff.  William Hicks was arrested after a knife fight in Jasper, Florida.

The Waycross Reporter
Saturday, December 21, 1889, Pg 2

The Hughes Murderers

     Two of the Hughes murderers, William Hicks and Robert McCoy, are now in the Clinch County jail, and it is thought at Dupont that the other murderer, Robert Saxton, will be produced as soon as Governor Gordon offers a reward for him.
Hicks and McCoy were both captured by accident, as it were—that is to say, they were arrested for other crimes, and from a sense of guilt confessed their complicity in the Hughes murder.
Hicks was in Jasper, Florida, one night, and got into a cutting affray at a Negro candy pulling, and was arrested by Constable William Hinton, to whom he confessed.
Robert McCoy went to Live Oak after killing Hughes, and was arrested there by Sheriff Pottsdamer, for carrying concealed weapons.  He said to Pottsdamer, “You have arrested me for something else than carrying a gun, and can’t fool me in this way.”  “What else?” asked Pottsdamer.  “For the Hughes murder,” replied McCoy.  “And I was not by myself in that thing.  Robert Saxton and Bill Hicks helped me.”
A curious coincidence in the matter is that Sheriff Pottsdamer, Constable Hinton, and John P. Lanier had been trying for a couple of weeks to ferret out the criminals, and by accident two of them almost fell bodily into the hands of their hunters.
Sheriff Dickerson, of Clinch County, in the mean time, had sent to Atlanta for a detective named Moyett, and he was working what he considered a good clew at Dupont, where Lanier was also working a cold trail.  Moyett finally lost his trail, and tried to canter into Lanier’s.  The two clashed, had hard words, and came almost to blows.  Moyett then, so Lanier charges, accused Lanier and Hinton of having the murderers spotted, and conspiring with others to wait until a reward should be offered, when they would produce the murderers, and on this statement, Sheriff Dickerson telegraphed the governor not to offer a reward.
It is further alleged that when the news that Hinton had captured Hicks at Jasper reached Dupont, detective Moyett hurried on to Jasper, and offered Hinton $200.00 cash to take him into co-partnership in the capture and information gotten by Hicks’ confession, saying that he would use his influence in Atlanta to induce the governor to offer a large reward for the other two implicated by Hicks.  But Hinton declined the offer with thanks.  Moyett then threatened to use that same influence to prevent any reward ever being offered.
This but confirms what has often been said before—that the average professional detective is usually as unscrupulous and rascally as the criminal he seeks.  Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but Moyett does not appear to be one of them.

The Waycross Reporter
Saturday, March 8, 1890,  Page 2

To Stretch Hemp

    The two Negroes, who brutally murdered old man Hughes and his wife in Clinch County sometime ago, were tried for the murder at Homerville this week.
The courthouse was packed all day.  The case of the prisoners was ably and ingeniously managed by three counsel, but the evidence offered by the state was conclusive, and left no room for doubt of guilt.  The defendants themselves in making their statements, told a most blood curdling narrative of the heinous assassination; how Robert Saxton, who has since been shot and killed while resisting arrest, cam to them stating that a certain white man had agreed to pay him $35 to shoot his cousin, Orin Register, a highly respected citizen of Clinch County, and induced them to go with him to do the murder; they travelled on, and, coming to the plantation of Mr. Hughes, Saxton proposed to murder the old people and rob the house, as he knew they had some money.
All consented, and upon the pretense of desiring to buy a lunch came into the yard, and with an ax literally beat out the brains of the deceased and then plundered the house and made their escape, after dividing up the money and plunder.  During the trial each was proven to have made at the time of their arrest free and voluntary confessions of their guilt.  The jury after being out only a short time returned a verdict of guilty as to both defendants.
On Thursday Judge Atkinson pronounced the death sentence on the two men.  They are to be hung on Friday—.”

The Macon Weekly Telegraph, March 12, 1890

The Macon Weekly Telegraph, March 12, 1890

The Macon Weekly Telegraph
March 12, 1890


Negro Murderers of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes Convicted.

McCoy and Hicks to Swing in Clinch.
April 3-They Confessed in Court
 – Story of the Murderof the Hughes.

Valdosta, March 7. -Special.)- Hicks and McCoy, the negroes who murdered Mr. and Mrs. Hughes in Clinch county last fall, were found guilty in Clinch superior court yesterday and sentenced to hang on April 3.

    The case was called Wednesday. The court appointed attorneys for the defense, and all the testimony which could be obtained  was examined before the court and jury, and at the conclusion when the prisoners rose to make their statement they both made a confession of the crime.  Their attorneys plead for the mercy of the court. Judge Atkinson pronounced sentence upon them on Thursday morning last, and they both will hang.
   There were open threats of lynching during the court and the trial of the prisoners, but the citizens of Clinch county wisely determined to let the punishment for the crime proceed in its legal and orderly way.


   A full account of the crime for which these negroes are to hang was published in the TELEGRAPH last fall. Briefly retold it is as follows:
    The murder at first was enveloped in mystery. Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, two old people living a few miles from DuPont, alone, were found one morning brutally butchered with some instrument of death, evidently an axe.  Their premises had benn robbed, and the murderers and despoilers had fled, leaving no evidence of their identity.  By an accident a month later two of the participants in this crime were arrested under a trivial charge at Jasper, Fla.  Without inquiring into the causes of his arrest, Will Hicks said to Marshal Hinton that he knew why he had been arrested and he might as well make a clean breast of it.


   He proceeded then to make a confession of his part in the murder of the Hughes family and implicated Bob McCoy and Robert Saxon.  McCoy, who was captured at the same time, also made a confession.  When the crime was committed Saxon did not go to Florida with Hicks and McCoy, but fled to the solitude of the pine forest in Wilcox county, in this state. After remaining therer some weeks and feeling secure he wrote a letter under an assumed name to his paramour at Cat Creek, this county [Lowndes], wherein he virtually confessed his connection in the crime. The dusky female could not read the letter and called upon a male relative to read it for her.


    This relative had no sympathy with Saxon in his terrible crime, and reported his whereabouts to a white man neighbor.  There being a reward for his capture, the two armed themselves at once and went to Wilcox county to capture him.  They found him but Saxon took the chances of fight, an was fatally shot. He was brought to the Valdosta jail, confessed his crime and died.
    The negroes in their confessions implicated a white man in the crime,but no evidence could be found connecting him with the crime.

The Waycross Reporter
Saturday, March 8, 1890. Page 2

The Two Murderers

    I have been interviewing the condemned criminals that Judge Atkinson has just passed the sentence of death upon, and are to hang April 5th next, at Homerville.  I inquired into their early life and habits.  In a room closely guarded near the Courthouse I found the prisoners.
    The polite guards, as soon as they knew that I wanted some facts for publication, gave me permission to come in and talk with them.
    Will Hicks is twenty-one years of age, was born in Perry, Georgia, where his father now lives.  He has been in this section of the state about four years, and was mainly engaged in turpentine work.  He cannot read.
    Robert McCoy, was born in Sumter County, South Carolina.  He is 19 years old, can read a little, and once belonged to the church, but when he came out to this state, he soon drifted with the tide of evil so prevalent on these turpentine farms.
    Both of these Negroes are of the deepest African type, the animal showing in their faces and heads as predominating over the intellectual.  Indeed, so deep is their depravity that they seem to be under a stupefying influence that is altogether satanic.  They do not realize their danger, being ignorant of the law.  They were the willing dupes of Saxton, a mulatto of some shrewdness, and much of the demoniac in his mental make up.  In my interview with these doomed men I elicited as the prime cause of their terrible crime these three things: whiskey, cards, and bad company.  Let it be emphasized, and let all men, black and white, know that these are three of the most prominent steps to the gallows.  Let the young men, especially, take warning.  Because everyman that drinks, plays cards, and keeps bad company is on the road to the gallows, and will get there sooner or later, unless he stops or takes another road.
    The sentence, as passed by Judge Atkinson, was so impressive, that in breathless awe the full house of hearers stood as if transfixed for the time being.

 Atlanta Constitution
April 4, 1890


The Murderer of Old Man Hughes Pays the Penalty.

The Assassins Meet Their Fate With Dogged Indifference – The Story of Their Crime and Subsequent Capture.

Waycross, Ga., April 3. -[Special.]- Robert McCoy and Will Hicks, colored, were hanged publicly at Homerville today, for the murder of William Hughes and wis wife.  The drop fell at 1:03.  They died in fourteen minutes from strangulation.


Both men confessed the brutal crime which they had committed, and died game.  They both passed their last night on earth as though nothing was to transpire on the morrow.  After a meagre breakfast they chatted cheerfully and passed the forenoon in singing and praying.  At dinner their menu consisted of a cup of coffee and biscuit.  About 4,000 followed the procession to the gallows.


    The murder which they expiated today was one of the most cold-blooded in the catalogue of crime.  They were hired to kill other parties, and while en route to do their dastardly work, ascertained that Mr. Hughes was known to keep considerable money in the house, and they decided that it would be more lucrative to murder the Hughes family instead.
    They lingered around the premises until evening, and quietly approached the house, found the old lady in the kitchen when she was most cruelly murdered with an ax, and then leaving the kitchen, they met the husband at the gate, and served him similarly.  The ax with which this atrocious crime was committed is still on exhibition.  It was not until the following morning that the murdered bodies were discovered.


Robert Saxton, a third party who aided in this inhuman act, was killed while resisting arrest, thus cheating the gallows of what he deserved.

The Bloody Story: 1889 Murder of the Hughes Family in Clinch County

As told in the previous post the grandparents of Creasy Brown Woods, of Rays Mill, GA, were murdered in 1889 in Clinch County when Creasy was twelve years old.  Her grandparents were William Hughes and Ellen Sellers Rice Hughes.  Sensational stories of their brutal murder and the subsequent capture of the killers ran in the Atlanta Constitution and in newspapers from coast to coast.

Atlanta Constitution
November 18, 1889  Page 2


Arrest of  Three Men Suspected of Complicity in a Double Murder.

Waycross, Ga., November 17.  -(Special.)- Your correspondent learned in an interview with J. H. Morratt of J. H. Morratt & Co.’s detective agency of Atlanta, who arrived here today from Dupont, and who has been employed by Sheriff Dickinson and the county authorities of Clinch to work up the Hughes double murder case, that the following parties are under arrest:  Robert McCoy, at Live Oak, Fla.;  William Hicks, at Jasper, and Robert Baxter, at Valdosta, Ga.  The only clew he had to work on the case was telegram from McCoy to Ed. Ferrell, of Dupont, dated Jasper, as follows:
    “Is you got any money? If you aint I got lots.”
    Upon being questioned, Ferrell gave the whole plot away, thereby enabling Detective Morratt in securing the evidence to prove the guilt of the now arrested parties. On the persons of the arrested parties were found several hundred dollars, along with the gun and pair of shoes which were identified as the property of the murdered couple.
    Robert McCoy gave a voluntary statement, implicating himself and his other two pals in their bloody deeds.  The parties on the night of the murder made good their escape under the cover of darkness by walking to the first station and taking the first train to Jasper, and they divided and were arrested in the different places as described above.
    As soon as a requisition can be obtained they will be removed to Dupont for trial.  Daniel Harper and Henry Johnson, who were previously arrested, charged with with the above murder, have been set at Liberty.  The evidence against the parties now in custody prove their guild beyond a doubt.  Detective Morratt returned to Atlanta on this afternoon’s train very much gratified with his success.

Atlanta Constitution
November 28, 1889  Page 2


McCay and Hicks Certainly the Guilty Parties.

Valdosta, Ga., November 27 -(Special.) Sheriff Dickinson, of Clinch county, came up at noon today with Robert McCay and Wm. Hicks, the murderers of old man Hughes and his wife.  The negroes are undoubtedly the guilty parties, and the two negroes, who were in jail charged with the crime, were set free.  McCay and Hicks both made full and fee confession of the crime, and state that another negro named Sexton helped carry out the double murder and theft.  Sexton is  a yellow negro with large teeth, on or two of which is missing.  He is supposed to be in middle Georgia, and a liberal reward is offered for him.

Atlanta Constitution
December 6, 1889 Page 5


Of The Murder Of The Hughes Family In Clinch.

Robert McCoy and Will Hicks Tell the Full Story of the Murder of the Old Couple, and the Motive.

Valdosta, Ga., December 5. -[Special.]- The Times gives the confession of Robert McCoy and Will Hicks, who acknowledges the murder of the Hughes family.  Hicks owns that he killed the old man and says that Robert Saxton killed the old lady.  Saxton is still at large.
    Hicks and another negro got into a shooting scrape at Jasper over a game of cards, and in the melee a negro woman got shot.  The other negro was captured in the town, but Hicks skipped out in the direction of Live Oak.  Marshal Hinton got on a horse and galloped around by a private road and got ahead of him four miles below Jasper, and waited awhile for his game, and then took him in.  He was carried back to Jasper and lodged in jail. Hinton found out that Hicks had considerable money, and by a series of questions drew a confession out of him.  He also gave the other two away, and said that McCoy was in Live Oak and Saxton was in Valdosta.  McCoy, finding that Hicks had given the whole matter away, also made a confession.  He had Mr. Hughes’s shoes on his feet at the time of his capture.  They led their captors to a place four miles from Jasper, and showed them where they had hidden Mr. Hughes’s gun.  They also went to a point near Mr. Hughes’s residence and showed them where they had thrown the satchel which contained the money and notes.  The notes were still in the satchel when found.


    Hicks and McCoy say that Saxton came to them where they were at work in Echols county, and told them that he had a job for them in which there was some money.  Hicks agreed to go, but McCoy objected at first, but at length agreed.  They went with Saxton to a white man’s house near Statenville.  They did not know his name.  Saxton and the white man stepped aside and had a long talk.  Coming back Saxton said to the white man that he need not fear to talk before Hicks and McCoy, that they “were all right.”  The white man told them to go on with Saxton and do the work and then to come back, that he had twenty-five dollars for them.  He said that he would put a piece of paper on the top of the fence where they were standing, and when they had done the work and returned they must take the paper and put it under the fence and then go down in the swamp near by and remain there until he came to them, which he would do as soon as he had discovered that the paper had been moved, and he would bring them their money.


    They were to go over into Clinch county and kill Mr. Orin Register, who lived near Mr. Hughes.
    When on the way to Mr. Register’s they met Mr. and Mrs. Hughes in the road near their house hauling some water in barrels for their hogs.
    When they had passed the old people, Saxton said to the other two that those old folks had money, and they could kill them with less danger to themselves and get more money than they would for the killing of Register.  This new scheme took at once, and they dismissed Register and set about the new work then in hand.

Atlanta Constitution
December 22, 1889


Which Gave Away the Location of the Murderer.

Saxon, Who Was Concerned in the Slaughter of the Hughes Family, Run Down in Wilcox County, and is Now in Jail.

    Valdosta, Ga., December 21. -[Special.]- Soon after the murder of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, in Clinch county, an account of which was printed in THE CONSTITUTION at the time, two of the murderers were arrested in Florida, and were lodged in the jail at this place.


    Today the other one, Robert Saxton, was brought in.  He had two bullets in his back, put there by the good had of Mr. J. M. Maltres, of this county.  When the officers closed in on the trio at Jasper, Saxton escaped and made his way to Wilcox county in this state.  Several days ago he wrote to a negro woman in this county, to inquire about the fate of his abettors in the crime, and he directed her to address her answer to Henry Williams, at Sibbie, Wilcox county. The woman could not read, and she went to Mr. Maltres to read it for her, and thus he got Saxon’s secret.  There was a reward for Saxon, and Mr. Maltres went for it.  He went to Wilcox county and follow Saxon several days.  He came upon him finally near the Ocmulgee river.  Saxon fled when called upon to surrender, but two bullets from Maltres’s pistol called him to a halt. The wounds are serious, and may prove fatal.

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