Georgia Land Lottery of 1827

The Georgia land lotteries, legitimized by questionable and coercive treaties, continued the encroachment by settlers on the ancestral lands of Native Americans in Georgia, inevitably leading to conflict in the Indian Wars. Although Lowndes county, GA was sparsely populated at the time, the “Fortunate Drawers” in the lottery included a few Lowndes pioneers (listed below).

Drawing of winning names and land lots in the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827. Daily results were published in state newspapers.

Drawing the winning names and land lots in the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827. Daily results were published in state newspapers.

The 1827 Georgia Land Lottery was authorized by an Act of June 9, 1825   “to dispose of and distribute the lands lately acquired by a treaty [made] and concluded at the Indian Springs on the twelfth day of February, eighteen hundred and twenty-five”.  Citizens eligible for the lottery were directed to register their names in their home county within two months from the publication of the authorizing Act, however, persons were still being registered up to February 15, 1827.

The 1827 lottery dispensed lots in Lee, Muscogee, Troup, Coweta and Carroll counties.  Surveyors were elected by the legislature to survey the land to be distributed; these State surveyors directed teams of chainmen, axemen, and markers to lay out districts with lots of of 202 1/2 acres each.  Surveyors’ field notes  recorded the distances and points demarcating the district and land lots, land features, roads, and watercourses. These survey and field notes were conducted prior to the distribution of lands. (In the Georgia Land Lottery of 1832,  Levi J. Knight was state surveyor of Cherokee lands, Section 3, District 13). The surveyors sent the district and lot numbers to the governor’s office.

Fortunate Drawers among the pioneer settlers of Old Lowndes County, mother county of Berrien County, GA:

  •  Alfred Belote, one of the original four settlers of Lowndes County,  drew Lot 125 in the 25th District of Lee County, GA
  • Elijah Folsom, son of Lawrence Folsom, pioneer settler of Lowndes County, GA,   drew Lot 255 in the 8th District of Carroll County.
  • Enoch Hall, pioneer settler of Lowndes County, GA and son of Sion Hall,  drew Lot 200 in the 11th District of Carroll Co
  • William Clements of Wayne County, father-in-law of Levi J. Knight, as a veteran was entitled to receive an extra draw and drew Lot 87, 1st District of Muscogee County
  • Dixon Bennett, came with his parents in 1827 to settle on the east side of the Alapaha River in present day Lanier County, registered in Lowndes County and drew Lot 75, 11th District of Muscogee County on the 21st Day’s Drawing – March 30
  • David Gornto, settled in Lowndes County with his wife Eliza Ann Allen Gornto about 1828-1829, drew Lot 195, Section 2, District 10 in Muscogee County.
  • Lewis Vickers, son of Lowndes pioneer Drew Vickers, registered in Underwoods District of Irwin County, drew Lot 133, District 1 of Muscogee County.
  • Levi J. Knight, original settler of the Ray City, GA area, registered in Mannings District of Wayne County, drew Lot 223 in the 23rd District of Lee County.
  • William P. Roberts registered in the 11th District of Lowndes County, drew Lot 216, District 3 of Coweta County on the 5th Day’s Drawing – 12th March
  • John S. Whitfield registered in the 12th District of Lowndes County, drew Lot 176, District 4 of Coweta County on the 8th Day’s Drawing – March 15
  • Sarah Ritcherson, an illigitimate child, was registered in District 4 of Lowndes County, drew Lot 2, District 2 of Troup County on the 13th Day’s Drawing – March 21
  • Henry Parish, a veteran of the War of 1812 and pioneer settler who came to Lowndes County about 1825, was registered in the 10th District of Lowndes County, drew Lot 77, District 30 of Lee County on the 28th Day’s Drawing – April 7th
  • Isben Giddens, a veteran and one of the first settlers in the Ray City, GA area, son-in-law of Levi J. Knight, registered in the 10th District of Lowndes County, drew Lot 248 in the 13th District of Lee County on the 33d Day’s Drawing – April 13, 1827
  • Thomas Folsom,  following his uncle Lawrence Armstrong Folsom came about 1824-25 with brothers Israel and Pennywell Folsom to that region of Lowndes county now Brooks County, GA, registered for the lottery in the 1st District of Lowndes County, drew Lot 1, District 20 in Lee County, GA on 38th Day’s Drawings – April 19, 1827
  • Samuel Register, veteran of the War of 1812 brought his wife and family about 1826 as pioneer settlers of Lowndes County, settled in the 10th Land District near Possum Branch, not too far from the homestead of Levi J. Knight, registered for the lottery in the 10th District of Lowndes county, was a fortunate drawer in the 49th Day’s Drawings, May 2, 1827 drawing Lot 80, District 11 in Troup County, GA
  • Lewis Blackshear, pioneer settler of old Lowndes County registered in the 12 District of Lowndes and drew Lot 198,  6th District of Muscogee County on the 50th Day’s Drawings – May 3, 1827
  • John Kley, soldier, registered in the 10th District of Lowndes County, on the 53d Day’s Drawings – May 7 – drew Lot 37 in the 21st District of Muscogee County

Persons entitled to draw in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery:

  • Bachelor, 18 years or over, 3-year residence in Georgia, citizen of United States – 1 draw
  • Married man with wife or son under 18 years 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, husband and/or father absent from state for 3 years – 1 draw
  • Family (one or two ) of orphans under 18 years whose father is dead, 3-year residence in state or since birth – 1 draw
  • Family (three or more) of orphans under 18 years, 3-year residence in state or since birth – 2 draws
  • Widow, husband killed in Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or Indian War, 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 War, 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 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, 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
  • Child or children of a convict whose father had not drawn in any of the former land lotteries – entitled to a draw or draws in the same manner they would be entitled if they were orphans

Persons Excluded

  • Any fortunate drawer in any previous Land Lottery.
  • Citizens who volunteered or were legally drafted in the War of 1812 or the Indian War and who refused to serve a tour of duty in person or by substitute.
  • Anyone who may have deserted from military service.
  • Any tax defaulter or absconded for debt.
  • Any convict in the penitentiary.

The registered names were sent to the governor’s office at the state capital where they were copied onto slips of paper called “tickets” and placed in a large drum called a “wheel.” District and lot numbers were placed in a separate wheel. (At first, blank tickets were added to this wheel, so that the number of tickets would equal the number of persons drawing.) Commissioners appointed by the governor drew a name ticket from one wheel and a district/lot ticket from the other wheel. If the district/lot ticket was blank, the person received nothing. If the ticket contained a district/lot number, the person received a prize of that parcel of land. A ticket that contained a number was called a “Fortunate Draw.” With later lotteries (after 1820), when blank tickets were not added to the prize wheel, individuals whose names remained in the second wheel were considered to have drawn blanks. Anyone who received a Fortunate Draw could take out a grant for the lot he drew, after paying the grant fee. If he did not take out a grant, the lot reverted back to the state to be sold to the highest bidder. In the 1827 land lottery, the grant fee was $18.00 per land lot.

The Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the lottery was published in A Compilation of the Laws of the State of Georgia, Passed by the Legislature.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

Act of June 9th, 1825 authorizing the Georgia Land Lottery of 1827 disposing of Creek lands.

AN ACT to dispose of and distribute the lands lately acquired by the United States, for the use of Georgia, of the Creek nation of Indians, by a Treaty made and concluded at the Indian Spring, on the twelfth day of February, 1825.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That the territory acquired of the Creek Nation of Indians by the United States, for the use of Georgia, as described in articles of a treaty entered into and concluded between Commissioners on the part of the United States, and the Chiefs. Head Men, and Warriors, of the Creek Nation of Indians, at the Indian Spring, on the 12th day of February, 1825, shall form and be divided into five sections, as follows, to wit: All that part of said territory which lies South of a line commencing on the Flint river, opposite where the line dividing the counties of Houston and Dooly strikes said river, and running due West to the Chatahoochie, shall form what shall be called Section the First; and the criminal jurisdiction thereof shall be attached to the county of Dooly. All that part of said territory which lies North of the line aforesaid, and South of the line commencing on Flint river, opposite where the original line dividing the counties of Monroe and Houston, and running due West to the Chatahoochie river, shall form the Second Section; and the criminal jurisdiction thereof be, and the same is hereby, attached to the county of Houston. And all that part of said territory which lies North of the line last aforesaid, and South of a line commencing on the Flint river, where the original line dividing the counties of Henry and Monroe strikes said river, and running due West until it strikes the Chatahoochie river, shall be, and the same is hereby, called the Third Section; and the criminal jurisdiction thereof attached to the county of Pike. And all that part of said territory which lies North of said line, and East of the Chatahoochie river. shall form the Fourth Section; and the criminal jurisdiction thereof shall be attached to the county of Fayette. And all that part of said territory lying West of the Chatahoochie river, and East of the dividing line between this State and the State of Alabama, shall form the Fifth Section ; and the criminal jurisdiction thereof shall be attached to the county of Pike.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That each of the sections herein before laid out and described. shall be divided into districts of nine miles square, as near as practicable; the district lines running parallel to the lines dividing sections, and crossed by other lines at right angles; and said districts, so laid out, shall be again subdivided by lines to be run in like directions into square tracts containing each two hundred two and one half acres, marked and numbered according to the plan heretofore pursued under the instructions of the Surveyor General.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the fractional parts of surveys, which may be created by the divisions and subdivisions aforesaid, shall be reserved for public uses, and be disposed of as a future Legislature may direct.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That one hundred district surveyors shall be appointed by joint ballot of the Legislature in one general ticket; and the person having the highest number of votes shall be entitled to the first choice of districts, and in the same order, agreeably to the number of votes each surveyor may receive; and in case of a tie between any number of surveyors, then preference in choice shall be decided by lot, in presence of the Surveyor General.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That ten persons shall be appointed by joint ballot of the Legislature, neither of whom shall be a district surveyor, to run and plainly mark the several districts, reserves, and sectional lines, herein before directed, whose duties shall be apportioned by the Surveyor General as nearly equal as practicable ; and that no ticket shall be counted unless it contains the names of ten persons.
Sec. 6. And be it further enacted. That no ticket for district surveyors shall be counted unless it contains one hundred names. Any person elected a surveyor, who shall fail to perform the duties of his office, as required by the provisions of this act, shall be considered as forfeiting his bond, and himself and his sureties immediately liable therefor.

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That the surveyors, respectively, shall give bond, in the sum of ten thousand dollars, to the Governor and his successors in office, with such security as he, or a majority of the Justices of the Inferior Court of the county in which such surveyor may reside, shall approve, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties required of them by this act, which bond shall be deposited in the Executive office.

Sec. 8. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the surveyors appointed in pursuance of this act, to make the surveys of the sections, reserves, and districts, to which they may be appointed, in their own proper person; to mark, or cause to be marked, plainly and distinctly, upon trees, if practicable, otherwise on posts, all stations and all lines which they may be required to run, for the purpose of making the surveys of their respective sections, reserves, and districts, immediately upon being required so to do by the Surveyor General; to cause all such lines to be measured, with all possible exactness, with a half chain containing thirty-three feet, divided into fifty equal links, which shall be adjusted by the Surveyor General according to the standard in his office; to take, as accurately as possible, the meanders of all water courses which shall form natural boundaries to any of the surveys; to note, in field books to be kept by them respectively, the names of the corner and station trees, which shall be marked and numbered under the direction of the Surveyor General—also, all rivers, creeks, and other water courses, which may be touched upon or crossed in running any of the lines aforesaid; transcripts of which field books, after being compared with the originals by the Surveyor General, and certified and signed on every page by the surveyor returning the same, shall be deposited in the Surveyor General’s office, and become a record. And the district Surveyors shall make a return of their surveys and works within ninety days from the time they are notified to enter upon the discharge of their duties, containing a map of their district, in which shall be correctly represented and numbered all lots and fractions of said district, and waters therein delineated, as the Surveyor General may direct; and also return at the same time a detached plat of each lot and fraction which said district may contain, certified and signed by such surveyor, which plat shall be filed among the records of the Surveyor General’s office, and from which copies shall be taken to be annexed to grants: and said surveyors shall conform to such instructions as they may receive from time to time, from the Surveyor General, during their continuance in office: Provided, the same do not militate against this act. And the surveyors appointed to lay out section, reserve, and district lines, shall make return of their works to the Surveyor General within sixty days from the time they shall be required to enter upon the duties of their office, of all such surveys as shall have been made on the East side of the Chatahoochie river; and, as to the remainder of the territory, within sixty days from the notification of the running of the line between this State and Alabama.

Sec. 9. And be it further enacted, That the district surveyors to be appointed by this act, shall receive three dollars for every mile that shall actually be run or surveyed, as a full compensation for the duties required of them by this act, out of which they shall defray the whole of the expenses incident to their offices; and his Excellency the Governor is hereby authorized and required to issue his warrant on the Treasury in favor of each of the aforesaid surveyors, upon his being called into service, to the amount of three hundred dollars, to enable him with the less delay to enter upon his duties; and the balance to which such surveyor may be entitled, shall be paid to him, in like manner, upon his producing a certificate from the Surveyor General, setting forth a performance of the work, and the amount due.

Sec. 10. And be it further enacted, That the surveyors who may be appointed to run section, reserve, and district lines, shall receive three dollars and fifty cents for each mile they may run and survey, as a full compensation for their service, out of which all incidental expenses shall be paid; and the Governor is required to issue his warrant on the Treasury, in favor of each of said surveyors, for the sum of three hundred dollars, upon their being called into service, and, in like manner, to pay any balance which may be due when the work is completed, and the Surveyor General shall certify the same.

Sec. 11. And be it further enacted. That the territory acquired as aforesaid, shall be disposed of and distributed in the following manner, to wit: After the surveying is completed, and return made thereof, this Excellency the Governor shall cause tickets to be made out, whereby all the numbers of lots in the different districts intended to be drawn for, shall be represented, which tickets shall be put into a wheel and constitute prizes. The following shall be the description and qualifications of persons entitled to give in their names for a draw or draws under this act : Every male white person of 18 years of age and upwards, being a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant within the organized limits of this State three years immediately preceding the passage of this act, including such as have been absent on lawful business, shall be entitled to one draw ; every male person of like description, having a wife or legitimate male child or children under 18 years of age, or unmarried female child or children, resident as aforesaid, or who were born and have ever since resided in this State, shall have two draws; all widows, with the like residence, shall be entitled to one draw ; and wives and children, in this State, of persons who have been absent from this State three years, shall be on the same footing as to draws, as if the said husband was dead, and the title to such lots as said females or children may draw, be vested permanently in them as though they were widows and orphans; all families of orphans resident as aforesaid, or who have resided in this State from their birth, under the age of eighteen years, except such as may be entitled in their own right to a draw or draws, whose father is dead, shall have one draw ; all families of orphans, consisting of more than two, shall have two draws, but if not exceeding two, then such orphan or orphans shall be entitled to one draw, to be given in the county and district where the eldest of said orphans, or where the guardian of the eldest resides : Provided, That should such guardian, or such orphan or orphans, or the eldest of such orphans, reside within the organized limits of this State, then such draw or draws shall be given in the county in which such guardian may reside, or such orphan or orphans, or the eldest of such orphans, may reside; all widows, of like residence, whose husbands were killed, or died in the service of the country. or on their return march, in the late wars against Great Britain or the Indians, shall be entitled to a draw exclusive of that otherwise allowed by this act to widows; all orphans, whose fathers were killed or died in the service of the country, or on their return march, in the late wars against Great Britain or the Indians, shall be entitled to a draw exclusive of that otherwise allowed by this act to orphans; and all men who have been wounded or disabled in the late war with Great Britain or the Indians, so they are not able to procure a competency for a support, in consequence of their wounds, be allowed one draw in addition; and they shall take the following oath in addition : I do solemnly swear. that I was wounded in the late war with Great Britain and the Indians, and am so disabled by the same, that it renders me unable to procure a support by my labor: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to entitle any person or persons to a draw or draws in the present contemplated land lottery, who may have been fortunate drawers in any previous land lottery, except such persons as have drawn land as one of a family of orphans, and who have arrived at the age of eighteen, but such person shall be entitled to one draw. and the remainder of such families of orphans shall be entitled to one draw: …And provided, That all widows of Revolutionary soldiers shall have one draw in addition to those already contemplated by this act; and that all Revolutionary soldiers who were not fortunate drawers as Revolutionary soldiers in the late land lottery, shall be entitled to two draws as Revolutionary soldiers; and those who drew one tract of land in the former lottery as Revolutionary soldiers, one draw: Provided, That the citizens of this State, who come under this act as above contemplated, and who volunteered or were legally drafted in the late war against Great Britain or the Indians, and refused to serve a tour of duty, either in person or by substitute, or who may have deserted from the service of this State, or of the United States, shall not be entitled to the provisions of this act, as above contemplated, nor any of those who illegally avoided a draft. by removal or otherwise; and that no person or persons, who have removed from the organized limits of this State, for the purpose of avoiding the laws of this State, or who have absconded for debt, shall, in no wise, be benefited by this act, and who have not paid all taxes required of them. In case any land is drawn by minors, the grant shall issue accordingly, upon payment of the usual fees : Provided, also, Nothing herein contained shall be construed to exclude such persons as by the provisions of this act are allowed a draw or draws.

Sec. 12. And be it further enacted, That any sale or transfer that any person entitled to a chance or chances in this land lottery may make of such chance or chances, or may make of any lot or lots of land, such persons may draw before the grant or grants of the same are taken out, shall be void, and any bond or obligation or letter of attorney given by said person to make titles, shall not be binding on such person: And further, It shall be illegal for any magistrate, or person authorized to administer an oath, to administer an oath to any person selling his chance or chances, lot or lots, contrary to the provisions of this section, that he will make titles to the same.

Sec. 13. And be it further enacted, That nothing herein contained shall be so construed as to allow any convict in the Penitentiary, to give in for a draw in the present contemplated lottery : Provided, nevertheless, That the child or children. who have resided in this State three years, of any said convict, shall be entitled to a draw or draws, in the same manner they would be entitled if they were orphans, and maybe given in for by their mother, or other person under whose care they may be, and the grant or grants shall issue accordingly to any lands so drawn : Provided, no such convict has drawn in any of the former land lotteries of this State in his own name.

Sec. 14. And be it further enacted, That lists of persons entitled to draws under this act, shall be made out by the Inferior Court of each county, or such persons as they may appoint, (not exceeding two to each battalion) within two months from the publication of this act; and said Inferior Court of the several counties of this State, or the persons they may appoint, shall attend in each captain’s district, at least twice. giving ten days’ notice of such attendance, for the purpose of taking the names of the persons entitled to draws; the names of the persons entitled, shall be entered by the Receivers in a book to be kept for that purpose, a transcript of which book, fairly made out, shall be transmitted to the Executive, and the original deposited with the Clerk of the Superior Court of the respective counties; and should the Inferior Court of any county fail to take in such names themselves, or to make proper appointments, by the first day of September next, then the Clerk of the Superior Court, (or his legal deputy in his absence,) in such county, may make such appointments: And said Receivers, before they enter upon their duties, shall take and subscribe the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will not receive or register any name, except the person giving in shall first take the oath prescribed by this act: So help me God.” Which oath any Justice of the Inferior Court, or Justice of the Peace, is hereby required to administer, and the person, or persons, taking in names as aforesaid, shall administer to all applicants for draws, other than widows, guardians, or next friends of orphans, the following oath, to wit: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am a citizen of the United States, and have resided in this State three years immediately preceding the passage of this act, except absent on lawful business, and am an inhabitant of the same ; that I was eighteen years of age at the time of the passing of this act; that I have (or have not) a wife, or child, or children; that I have not given in my name for any draw or draws in the present contemplated land lottery in any other part of the State; that I have not drawn a tract of land in the former lotteries in my individual capacity, or as an individual orphan; and that I did not, directly or indirectly, evade the service of this State, or of the United States, in the late wars against Great Britain or the Indians.” And the widows of Revolutionary soldiers shall take the following oath or affirmation, (as the case may be,) to the best of their knowledge and belief, viz: “I do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I am the widow of a Revolutionary soldier to the best of my knowledge and belief: So help me God.” The following oath shall be administered to all married women entitled to draws on account of three years’ absence of their husbands, as contemplated by this act, viz.: “I do solemnly swear, or affirm, that my husband has been absent from this State three years; that I have resided the three last years in this State, except absent on lawful business, and am now a resident in this district; that I have not put in my name for a draw in the approaching land lottery in any other part of the State; and that I have not drawn any tract of land in the former land lotteries, either in my individual capacity, or as an individual orphan, to the best of my knowledge and belief: So help me God.” The following oath shall be administered to the mother, or next friend, of any minor or family of minors, who may be entitled to a draw or draws on account of three years’ absence of their father, as contemplated by the act, viz.: “I do solemnly swear, that the minor, or family of minors, whom I now return, is, or are, entitled to a draw or draws under this act, to the best of my knowledge : So help me God.” The following oath shall be administered to all Revolutionary soldiers, who shall apply for draws under this act: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I served, as a soldier in the Armies of the United States, during the Revolutionary War, a tour or tours of duty, and am entitled to a draw or draws, according to the provisions of this act: So help me God.” And all guardians or next friends of orphans, or children of convicts in the Penitentiary, shall take the following oath: “And that the orphan, or family of orphans, or the child, or children, whom I now return, is (or are) entitled to a draw or draws under this act, to the best of my knowledge: So help me God.” The following oath shall be administered to all widows: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) I am a widow; that I have resided the three last years in this State, except absent on lawful business, and am now resident in this district; that I have not put in my name for a draw in the present lottery in any other part of the State; and that I have not drawn land in the former lotteries, to the best of my knowledge and belief: So help me God.” That all idiots and lunatics, entitled to a draw or draws by this act, shall be given in by their respective parents or guardians, or next friend, who shall take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that the person whose name I now give in, is an idiot, or lunatic; that he is eighteen years of age, or upwards, at the time of the passage of this act, and entitled to a draw or draws under this act; that he has not drawn land in any of the former land lotteries of this State in his name, or as an individual orphan: So help me God.”

Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That, immediately after the passage of this act, his Excellency the Governor shall cause the same to be published in such of the public gazettes of this State, as he may think proper and shall require all persons entitled to draws to give in their names to the persons authorized to receive them, and said persons taking in said names, shall receive twenty-five cents from each of said applicants for each draw.

Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That, if any person entitled by this act to a draw or draws, should, by absence or other unavoidable causes, fail to give in his name within the time herein prescribed, it shall and may be lawful for such persons to make oath of the draw or draws to which he may be entitled, before any Justice of the Inferior Court of the county in which he may reside, and make return thereof to the Executive at any time before the commencement of the drawing: and it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons, entitled to a draw or draws in said lottery, who are about leaving the State on lawful business, to take the oath prescribed by this act, and deposite the same in the Clerk’s office of the county where such person or persons may reside, and their names shall be registered according to the provisions of this act: Provided, Such person shall swear that he intends to return and remain a citizen of this State.

Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That five persons shall be appointed by joint ballot of the Legislature, to superintend the drawing of the lottery, to be convened at Milledgeville, by the Governor, when necessary, and that, wherever this act imposes duties on the Governor, Surveyor General, Surveyors, Receivers of Names, or Commissioners, such duties shall be severally performed, with as little delay as possible, consistently with a due execution of this act.

Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That, as soon as said lists are made out and returned, his Excellency the Governor, for the purpose of carrying the lottery into effect, shall cause the names of persons entitled to draws, together with other designating remarks of residence, &c. to be placed on tickets as nearly similar as possible, which shall be deposited in one wheel, and the prizes or tickets of a like description, shall be deposited in another wheel, which prizes shall consist of all square lots in said territory, not herein reserved. And from each wheel, as nearly at the same time as may be, a ticket shall be drawn, and delivered to the Superintending Managers, and so on, until the whole number of prizes are drawn out, and said Managers shall make due and particular entry of the names so drawn out, and the prizes corresponding therewith; said names and prizes being first thoroughly mixed in their respective wheels. And his Excellency the Governor is required to give three weeks’ notice of the commencement of the drawing.

Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That, should there be more districts than are contemplated by this act, and Surveyors elected for, or in case the appointment of any Surveyor should become vacant, by death, resignation, or otherwise, his Excellency the Governor is requested to fill said vacancy. And, in case any Surveyor shall be found incompetent, or fail to execute the duties required of him by this act, his office shall be vacant, and his vacancy filled in like manner.

Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That the Surveyors to be appointed in pursuance of this act, shall, before they enter upon their duties, take and subscribe the following oath: “I ________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I an twenty-one years of age; that I will, well and faithfully, to the best of my skill and abilities, discharge the duties which may be required of me as Surveyor in the territory lately acquired : So help me God.” Which oath, the Surveyor General is required to administer. The oath to be administered to Chainmen by their respective Surveyors, shall be as follows: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that, to the best of my skill and judgment, I will measure all lines on which I may be employed as chain-carrier, as accurately, and with as little deviation from the course pointed out by the Surveyor, as possible, and give a true account of the same to the Surveyor: So help me God.” And similar oaths shall be administered by the said Surveyor to all axemen and markers.

Sec. 21. And be it further enacted, That the land to be distributed under the provisions of this act, shall be classed under the following heads, viz: First quality river land, second quality river land, first quality oak and hickory upland, second quality oak and hickory upland, first quality pine land, and pine land ; and that it shall be the duty of Surveyors charged with the business of dividing the districts into lots, to note upon the separate plat of each lot which he is required to file in the Surveyor General’s Office, the quality of each lot, according to the foregoing classes; and that all persons, who may draw lands under this act, shall be entitled to receive grants for the same, conveying fee-simple titles, on paying into the Treasury of this State, the sum of eighteen dollars; and any person drawing, and failing to take out his grant within two years from the date of said draw, shall forfeit his or her right to receive a grant to the land so drawn, and the same shall revert to the State, orphans, lunatics, and idiots excepted. And all persons who shall draw lands in the lottery authorized by this act, shall, whether the same be granted or not, pay taxes thereon, at the same rates as for other lands of similar qualities, until they shall relinquish the same to the use of the State, by writing, to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State. That all returns made contrary to the true intent and meaning of this act, are declared to be fraudulent; and all grants issued in consequence of any law made in the contemplated lottery, on such fraudulent returns, are hereby declared to be null and void; and the lands, so granted or drawn, shall revert and become the property of the State; and the question of the fraud may be tried upon scire facias, to be issued from under the hands of the Clerk of the Superior Courts of the county or counties in which the land lies, in the name of the Governor of said State, for the time being, upon the application of any individual against the tenant in possession of the land alleged to be fraudulently drawn, or against the drawer thereof, setting forth the circumstances of fraud in said scire facias specially, and upon return of said scire facias, with an entry thereon of service effected, by any sheriff of any county of this State, by leaving a copy thereof with the person named as defendant, or at his or her notorious place of abode, or by the return of such Sheriff, that the defendant is not to be found; upon which return the court is authorized to have service perfected by an order for three months’ publication in one or more of the public gazettes of this State; which rule, when duly published, shall be considered as sufficient service to authorize an issue to be made up under the direction of the court to try the question of fraud. And, in case the jury shall find the return fraudulent, the court shall, by judgment, pronounce the grant issued on such return and draw to be void, and order it cancelled; which judgment, when transmitted to the Surveyor General’s office and Secretary of State’s office, and entered on file there, shall be of sufficient authority to those officers to cancel the plats and grants for such fraudulent draws from their offices respectively. And the land when condemned, shall belong one-half to the State and the other half to the informer, and subject to be laid off between the informer and the State by writ of partition, to be issued under the direction of the Superior Court of the county in which the land lies; and to the proceedings of said writ of partition on behalf of the State, it shall be the duty of the Solicitors in the respective circuits to attend. And when the said lands are so laid off, the informer shall be entitled to a plot and grant for his share, upon the payment of the legal office fees: Provided, nevertheless, That no return made by or in behalf of orphan or orphans, shall be pronounced fraudulent until bis, her, or their legal guardian shall have been made a party to the scire facias, or other discreet person appointed by the court in which the case is tried, to defend the case for the said orphan or orphans. And provided, also, The proceedings under this section take place within four years from the date of the drawing.

Sec. 22. And be it further enacted, That no case, after being commenced as aforesaid, by scire facias, shall be settled or compromised by the informer, or otherwise disposed of to the prejudice of the State; and in case it is, said land shall be liable to be returned by any other informer, in manner above prescribed, and division made thereof accordingly.

Sec. 23. And be it further enacted. That no scire facias shall issue until the applicant shall have made, and deposited in the Clerk’s office from which the said scire facias shall issue, the following oath: “I do solemnly swear, that, in making this information, I have no combination or understanding, directly or indirectly, with the drawer, or any other person as the friend of, or on the part of, the drawer.

Sec. 24. And be it further enacted. That a quantity of land on the Flint river, opposite to the old Agency, and equal in size to the reserve on the East side of the same ; one mile square at Marshall’s Ferry, on the Flint river, including the ferry; one mile square at M’Intosh’s, on the Chatahoochie, including the ferry; and a reserve of five miles square on the Chatahoochie river, at the Cowetau falls, and including the same, the Northern boundary to cross the river at a point one mile above the lower shoal, be, and the same is, hereby set apart for public purposes.

JOHN ABERCROMBIE,
         Speaker of the House of Representatives.
ALLEN B. POWELL,
         President of the Senate.

Assented to, 9th June, 1825.
G. M. TROUP, Governor.

http://www.therainwatercollection.com/reference/ref802.pdf

http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/deeds/1827/

 

Postmaster Hamilton W. Sharpe Takes Offense

Hamilton W. Sharpe

Hamilton W. Sharpe was a pioneer settler of Lowndes County and a contemporary of Levi J. Knight, who settled at the site of Ray City.  The two fought together in July, 1836 actions against Indians which occurred in this immediate area including the Battle of Brushy Creek and actions on Warrior Creek  in what was then Lowndes County (now Berrien and Cook counties,) Georgia.

Sharpe first came to Lowndes via the Coffee Road:

As has been discussed, one of the first roads of any kind to be constructed through south Georgia  was the Coffee Road, built by General John Coffee in 1823.  It was a “road” only in the sense that it was a path cleared through the forest with tree stumps cut low enough for wagon axles to clear them.   

One of General Coffee’s overseers in the laying out of the road was Enoch Hall, a son of Sion Hall and Mrs. Bridget “Beady” Hall.  The Halls were among the very first settlers in the area of Irwin County that became Lowndes county by an act of the Georgia Legislature, December 23, 1825. At July , 1824 term of the Irwin County Inferior Court July term, 1824, Sion Hall, James Allen, and Thomas Townsend were appointed to lay out a road from Ocmulgee River to Alapaha River.

Sion Hall established a tavern on the Coffee Road, about two miles north of present day town of Morven,GA and his brother, John Hall, operated a liquor bar there.

In 1826, Hamilton W. Sharpe, then a young man hardly in his twenties, came down from Tatnall County over the Coffee Road, and decided to locate near the home and traveler’s inn of Sion Hall.  It was at Hall’s Inn that the first court in Lowndes County was held a few months afterwards.  Sharpe along with others expected that the permanent county-seat would be established there.  So young Sharpe built a small store building out of logs near the Sharpe home.    Thus, Hall’s Inn and Sharpe’s Store  were situated approximately 25 miles southwest of present day  Ray City, GAthe site first settled by the Knight family in the winter of 1826.

In 1828, Hamilton W. Sharpe obtained the establishment of a U. S. Post Office at his store, for which he was appointed Postmaster.  The Sharpe’s Store Post Office served Wiregrass Pioneers for almost 25 years.

<strong>Post marked Sharpe's Store, Geo., September 29, 1849.</strong><br />The Sharpe's Store Post Office in Lowndes County (now Brooks County) opened from 1828 to 1853 (In 1836 it was briefly known as Magnum Post Office). This letter written by Douglas Graham, was addressed to his cousin, Jno A Brooks Esq, PM in Rockford, Alabama. It was originally rated Free but rerated to 10 cents due. The contents of the letter mention that Graham is interested in information about his ancestors and says he will write a long letter containing what he knows. Graham comments on the

Post marked Sharpe’s Store, Geo., September 29, 1849.
The Sharpe’s Store Post Office in Lowndes County (now Brooks County) opened from 1828 to 1853 (In 1836 it was briefly known as Magnum Post Office). This letter written by Douglas Graham, was addressed to his cousin, Jno A Brooks Esq, PM in Rockford, Alabama. It was originally rated Free but rerated to 10 cents due. The contents of the letter mention that Graham is interested in information about his ancestors and says he will write a long letter containing what he knows. Graham comments on the “Whig Rascals” in Alabama, and on the politics of Georgia. Of the men running for Governor he wrote: “Judge [Edward] Hill probably drinks no more liquor than Towns though he has been called a horrid drunkard.” (George W. Towns won by aggressively endorsing “southern rights” and playing to fears about Congressional interference with slavery.)

 

In December of 1846, Hamilton Sharpe responded to a letter to the editor published in the Savannah Daily Republican, written by a subscriber from Okapilco, Lowndes County, GA. Okapilco was on the mail route from Franklinville via Sharpe’s Store to Bainbridge, GA. Without naming names, this subscriber appeared to be complaining about the way Postmaster Sharpe charged postage due on the mail, the selection of mail routes, the infrequency and irregularity of the mail service, even the quality of the conveyance by which the mail was delivered. To these criticisms Hamilton Sharpe took great offense, and his written, point-by-point response was in turn published in the Republican, transcript below.

Sharpe's Store, December 28, 1846

Sharpe’s Store, December 28, 1846

Sharpe’s Store, Dec. 28, 1846.

Messrs. Editors. – My attention has been called by a friend, to a letter in the Republican of the 9th inst., from a correspondent of yours, writing from “Okapilco, Lowndes Co., Ga.,” over the signature of a “Subscriber.”

I notice the letter, first; because therein is an evident intention to censure some Post Master in this vicinity and secondly, because the writer has made statements which are not facts.  The writer says, “we are now, (a recent thing,) charged ten cents on single letters from your city, and though these letters are originally stamped five vents, by the Post-Master at Savannah, &c., yet on their arrival in this county, an additional five cents is placed over the original by some little powers that be, &c.” Now if your “Subscriber” intends this as a charge against this office, I flatly deny the fact, and will appeal to the way-bills from Savannah, and the Post-Master at that place to sustain me.  If a letter is received from Savannah at this office, charged with five cents only, I feel myself bound, in the discharge of my official duty, to mark the letter “under charged,” and add an additional five cents, which I may have done, but as to “placing an additional five cents over the original,” it is not allowed by this “little power that be.”

Again, he says “there are two routes from Savannah, one via Darien not over two hundred miles.” He must be very ignorant of the rout over which the mail travels “via Darien,” or he would not risk his love of truth in such a glaring assertion.  It had not even been a doubt in my mind whether it is not more than three hundred miles from this to Savannah even by the route via Darien; but as I had no means of ascertaining the precise distance, I was disposed, if I erred at all, to err on the side of the public, and consequently charged five cents on all letters not exceeding half an ounce in weight, until by general consent (“Subscriber” exempted, I suppose,) the mail was changed on the other route, which every body knows to be four hundred miles and upwards.

In 1845, I corresponded with Mr. Schley, the Post-Master, in Savannah, on this subject – a gentleman whom I have ever considered as worthy of the confidence of the public – and I am persuaded that he has said in good faith in discharge of his duty, and will not deny but what his way-bills, are invariably, since the change was made in the rout, charged ten cents on all letters from his office to this.

This gentleman, the “Subscriber” from “Okapilco,” whoever he is, seems to be very censorious. He wants the mail oftener, &c., and who does not? But how are we to get it, by writing to you a letter of censure and compalints, embellished with a few of his little “cat’s paw” flourishes of wit, implicating the conduct of Post-Masters, in the discharge of their official duty?  If this is the way we are to get a change in our mail arrangements, it will present a new aspect to matters and things in the Post Office Department, and besides he will not get many to follow in his walks.  But let him go to work at the right place, instead of censuring the “little powers that be” – let him supplicate the law-making power, and his course will be considered by all to be more open and generous at least, and no doubt he will gain the co-operation and influence of the community at large.

Why arraign the Post-Master General in this matter – we have as many mails now as we had under former Administrations, and get them as regular, and there is as few complaints, and as few causes of complaints.  Perhaps “Subscriber” wants a mail route established for his own especial benefit, twice or thrice a week, and then he would be “blest by the light spreading influence emanating from Cave Johnson’s Express,” sure enough.

What does “Subscriber” means by the “news carrying quadruped” – is it the contractor, the old sulky, the old gray horse that draws the sulky, or little Barney who rides and drives?  I am sure little Barney is a faithful little soul to his business, and as often as the old gray has failed, he has as often obtained a substitute – and where is the cause for this notorious letter from “Subscriber.”

I am at a loss, Messrs. Editors, to know which looks the worst to a man “up a tree,” “little men in big places,” or big men in little places. If “Subscriber” is acquainted with “Euclyd,” perhaps he may solve the question himself. Does “Subscriber” know what the new Post Office law is, with regard to this matter? If he does not, he had better inform himself on the subject. It is found on the first page of the new “Post Office Laws and Regulations,” beginning with the first clause, and if he cannot understand its mystifications, let him employ a lawyer.

I will now take leave of your “Subscriber from Okapilco, Lowndes Co., Ga.,” who, it seems, would seek some notoriety at other men’s expense, but who is very careful to conceal his real name.

HAMILTON W. SHARPE.

Related Posts:

Coffee Road Led to Creation of Lowndes County

When south Georgia was first organized into counties in 1818, the area of present day Berrien County was originally part of  old Irwin.  The land lots and districts in Berrien County are still derived from the original plat of Irwin County.  As related in a previous post (see Coffee’s Road Passed Seven Miles West of Ray City, the earliest roads in Berrien County date from shortly after the formation of Irwin.  In writing on the local histories of Wiregrass Georgia counties, Folks Huxford made a number of references to the Coffee Road, portions of which are  excerpted below.

1822 Map Detail showing Irwin County, GA

1822 Map Detail showing Irwin County, GA

The Coffee Road

The first two roads to be opened up in the new County of Irwin were the Roundtree Trail and the Coffee Road. The former extended from Pulaski County across the headwaters of the Alapaha River and entered present Tift County near Tifton, and then down the Little River. However, the Coffee Road became the great thoroughfare of travel.

It was the main thoroughfare from the older settled portion of the state into South Georgia and  Florida; and practically all traffic from and into Florida west of the Okefenokee Swamp, was over that road.  It led from Jacksonville on the Ogeechee [Ocmulgee] River in Telfair County, southwesterly through the then county of Irwin (but now Coffee, Irwin, Berrien) through the then county of Lowndes (but now Berrien, Cook  and Brooks) into Thomas County and via Thomasville southwardly to the Florida line.

Coffee Road was opened up by the State under authority of an Act of the Legislature approved by Governor John Clark on December 23, 1822.  It was significant that the road commenced at Governor Clark’s home town, Jacksonville, GA, and that the two men appointed to superintend the construction, John Coffee and Thomas Swain, were neighbors of the Governor.  Swain was the operator of the ferry where the Coffee road crossed the Ocmulgee River near Jacksonville. Perhaps these three men foresaw the great stream of commerce which would flow down this road into south Georgia and Florida; and the political power of the time was in their favor.

The clearing of the road was undertaken at a cost of $1500.00  (see Coffee’s Road Passed Seven Miles West of Ray City. Enoch Hall, a Lowndes county pioneer and son of Sion Hall and Mrs. Bridget “Beady” Hall, was an overseer in  laying out the route of the Coffee Road.   Ed Cone, a Coffee Road researcher, observed “Mainly, it was built with slaves and volunteers. Some also suggest that the militia was involved, I find no evidence of this. There was reported to have been about forty slaves that were assigned to this project and Gen. Coffee probably paid their owners for their use.

 The road was duly opened and became known as the ‘Coffee Road’ from the fact that Gen. John Coffee of Telfair County, one of the Commissioners, had charge of its opening.  It ran through the present counties of Berrien and Cook into Brooks and thence into present Thomas. It afforded the main highway of travel for some years down into Lowndes and Thomas and Decatur Counties and into West Florida.

Just two years after the opening of Coffee’s Road, Lowndes County was cut from Irwin. The area of Lowndes county was still a huge country which then included most of present day Berrien County and many surrounding counties.  In those early days of Old Lowndes County, most of the settlement had occurred along the route of Coffee’s Road, or else along the Alapaha and Little rivers.  It should be noted that the route of the Coffee Road was somewhat fluid, as the location of bridges and ferries tended to change over time. In 1854, the Coffee Road was made the boundary between Coffee County and Irwin County, but the Legislature soon realized “the said Coffee road is undergoing changes every year, and subject to be altered and changed by order of the Inferior Courts of said counties.

COFFEE ROAD WAYPOINTS

Jacksonville, GA    Milepost 0

Swain’s Ferry    Milepost ~3
According to Ed Cone, General Coffee, a resident of Telfair County, began work on his road in 1823 at Thomas L. Swain’s Ferry on the Ocmulgee River near Jacksonville, Georgia (Telfair County).  But at the 1831 July term of the Irwin County Inferior Court,  “William Matchett, Daniel Grantham, Sr. and Micajah Paulk, Jr., [were] appointed to lay out and mark a road beginning at Thomas Swain’s ferry and running to Lowndes County line to intersect Coffee road,” The statement, from the History of Irwin County , is confusing but perhaps suggests Swain’s Ferry was not the original Coffee Road crossing over the Ocmulgee.  By the January term, 1836, the “regular” route of the Coffee Road was over the Swain’s Ferry crossing and  Frederick Merritt, Andrew McCelland and Micajah Paulk were appointed commissioners on the section of road from Swain’s ferry to Marsh’s ferry on the Alapaha River.  If the remnants of the Old Coffee Road are still an indicator, Swain’s ferry was somewhere in the vicinity of Red Bluff or Mobley Bluff on the Ocmulgee River.

Leonard Harper’s Place    Milepost ~18

Micajah Paulk’s Place    Milepost ~28

Jacob Paulk’s Home-place    Milepost ~32 
Jacob Paulk’s Home-place was on the Coffee Road on a portion of Lot 10, 5th District of Irwin County, “about one mile north of Willacoochee Creek and six miles east of Ocilla. Paulks of America notes, “Paulk was described as having been a kindly disposed man, very hospitable and godly. He was the owner of many slaves of which he treated with kindness. He was ordained a deacon in the Brushy Creek Primitive Baptist Church.” Paulk was one of the builders of a great wolf trap near the church.

Willacoochee Creek Crossing   Milepost ~33 
As with other waypoints on the Coffee Road, the site of the Willacoochee Creek crossing necessarily changed over time.

Marsh’s Willacoochee Creek Ferry
In 1828, the Coffee Road crossed over Willacoochee Creek on Lot 381 in the 5th District of old Irwin County. Reuben Marsh, who located on this lot in 1828 established a ferry here.

Willacoochee Crossing on Lot 351
An 1869 map of Berrien County, GA faintly shows by that time the Coffee Road crossed over the Withlacoochee River on lot 351, 5th District. This crossing, bridge or ferry, was slightly north of the former Marsh’s ferry over the Willacoochee.

Micajah Paulk, Sr’s  Place    Milepost ~38 
At least by 1838, the route of the Coffee road went by the home of Micajah’ Paulk, Senior, between the river crossing over Willacoochee Creek and the Alapaha River. It seems from Irwin County census, tax, land and court records that there were at least three men in old Irwin County, GA  under the name Micajah Paulk.  One of these men, known as Micajah Paulk, Sr, lived in the fork above the confluence of the Alapaha River and Willacoochee Creek. While the relations of the three men are not easily discernible, it is clear that this Micajah Paulk, Sr. was NOT the father of the well-known Micajah Paulk, Jr whose property was on the east bank of the Willacoochee River on land lots 289, 290, and 310 of the 5th district in Coffee County, where the Union Primitive Baptist Church is located, five miles north of Luke Bridge, and whose home was also on the Coffee Road more than five miles to the north.

Glory, GA    Milepost ~41
Glory was a community that  grew up along the Coffee Road in Berrien county. In 1906 it was described as, “a post village on the Atlantic Coast Line railroad, about twelve miles northeast of Nashville, GA. It has some stores, which do a good local business, and does considerable shipping. The population in 1900 was 54.”

Irwin Courthouse Road Junction    Milepost ~42
This waypoint only lasted a year or two. From 1835, the next waypoint on the Coffee Road was the junction with the Irwin Courthouse Road. This road was ordered by the Irwin Inferior Court to run “from Irwin courthouse to Alapaha River at Marsh’s ferry.”  The January 1835 court appointed Shadrach Griffin, Ruebin Gay and Richard Tucker to lay out and mark the road. “At January adjourned term, 1836, commissioners were authorized to turn the road leading from courthouse to Ruebin Marsh’s ferry on Alapaha to near John Benefield’s on to Elisha Grantham’s ferry on Alapaha and strike Coffee road nearest and best way.”  Elisha Grantham’s Ferry apparently was upstream from Marsh’s Ferry on the Alapaha and provided a more direct route between the Irwin County Courthouse and the Lowndes County Courthouse.

Alapaha River Crossing    Milepost ~42
It again appears there were several crossings of Coffee Road over the Alapaha River, being in service at different places and times.

Marsh’s Ferry
William Green Avera stated that in the early days of the county, Coffee Road crossed the Alapaha River at Marsh Ferry.   James Bagley Clements’ History of Irwin County  documents in numerous places that Reuben Marsh operated a ferry across the Alapaha River by 1835.  An Inferior Court order in 1842 appears to be a re-authorization of Marsh’s Ferry: “At the January term, 1842, an order was passed by the Inferior Court [Irwin County] an order was passed establishing a ferry across the Alapaha River at a place known as Marshes Ferry. The rates were fixed as follows: man and horse, twelve and one-half cents; man, horse and cart, twenty-five cents; two-horse wagon, fifty cents; four-horse wagon, one dollar; pleasure carriages, one dollar; gigs, fifty cents; jersey wagons, thirty-seven and one-half cents; mules and horses, 3 cents per head; cattle, 3 cents per head, sheep and hogs, one and one-half cents per head; foot  persons, free. Rates to be advertised at ferry.”

Lopahaw Bridge
The General Assembly acted in 1836 to fund the construction of a bridge across the Alapaha River stating”it is all important that a bridge should be built across the Lopahaw, at or near Coffee’s Road.”  According to the Legislative Act authorizing the Coffee Road, it crossed the Alapaha “at or near Cunningham’s ford on said river.”  In 1836 a public bridge was constructed over the river, but this bridge was condemned at the January 1856 term of the Irwin County Inferior Court.

 

Tyson’s Ferry
At the 1856 term of the Irwin County Inferior Court, according to James Bagley Clements’ History of Irwin County“Cornelious Tyson was granted authority to erect a ferry on Alapaha River on the Coffee road at the location of the condemned bridge and he is allowed to charge the following rates: man and horse, six and one-fourth cents; horse and cart, twenty-five cents; four-horse wagon, fifty cents; horse and buggy, thirty-seven and one-half cents.”  An  1869 District Survey Plat of Berrien County places Tyson’s Ferry on Lot

 

Cornelius Tyson’s Place   Milepost ~44.0
Cornelius Tyson’s home place according to 1836 Irwin County court records was on or near the Coffee Road.  His property as shown in the county tax records of 1831 and 1832 included Lots 422 and 424 in the 5th Land District of Irwin County. Lot 424 straddled the Alapaha River and Lot 422 was just southeast of the river.  His place was within the area that was later cut into Berrien County in 1856, Tyson being one of the five marking commissioners appointed by the state legislature in 1856 to fix the boundary lines of the newly created Berrien County. He was one of the original Inferior Court judges of Berrien County. Cornelius Tyson is enumerated in Berrien County, GA as Cornelius Tison in the Census 1860.

The Kirby Place    Milepost ~53
Farm and residence of William Kirby and Amy Griner Kirby.  The Kirbys were married in Bulloch County, GA in 1822 and came to Lowndes County, GA about 1829 settling just north of Mrs. Kirby’s parents“on the Coffee Road, one mile northeast of the present site of Nashville lCourt House]”. Mr. Kirby died in 1855. The widow Kirby’s place was the site of the first session of the Berrien County Superior Court held in November, 1856, according to William Green Avera.  Mrs. Kirby was a daughter of Emanuel Griner.

The Griner Place    Milepost ~54
Emanuel Griner in 1829 brought his family from Bulloch county to then Lowndes County, GA where he settled on the Coffee Road at the present site of Nashville, Berrien County.  His son, Daniel Griner, established a residence on land situated on the northwest corner of present day Marion Avenue and Davis Street.  Nashville, GA was founded about 1840 and in 1856,  was designated seat of the newly formed Berrien County. In that year, Daniel Griner sold a portion of his farm to the Inferior Court to become the site of the first Berrien County Court House.

Withlacoochee River Crossing   Milepost ~63
Likewise, the Coffee Road had multiple crossings over the Withlacoochee River, at different places and different times.

Futch’s Ferry
Futch’s Ferry was a later crossing at the Withlacoochee River on the Coffee Road.

Among the earliest waypoints on the Coffee Road were the homes of David Mathis, Sion Hall, Daniel McCranieHamilton Sharpe, and James Lovett.

McCranie’s Post Office    Milepost ~64
“The first post office in original Lowndes County was established in 1827 at the home of Daniel McCranie in present Cook County.  This was on the Coffee Road.  The Coffee Road was the main stagecoach route from the upper part of the state, and was also the mail route.” 
According to the Record of Connell-Morris and Allied Families, Daniel McCranie’s place was on Land Lot 416 in the 9th District of original Irwin County, GA. He purchased this land and built his home in 1824.

Hutchinson Mill Creek Crossing  Milepost ~68

Mathis House Stagecoach Stop   Milepost ~69
In January 1826, David Mathis built a log home, a sturdy and comfortable home  for his wife, Sarah Monk, and family. This home was on the Coffee Road, one mile east of the present village of Cecil, Cook County. It was a stagecoach stop where the horses were rested. Many people in those pioneer days enjoyed the hospitality of the Mathis home. 

Frank’s Creek Crossing   Milepost ~71

Salem Church (Est. 1856)   Milepost ~72
Salem Methodist Church was built on then Coffee Road (now Salem Church Road) in 1856, on land that was deeded by Eli Driver Webb. The first trustees were Randall Folsom, Joseph T. Webb, William Varn, William D. Smith and Berry J. Folsom. It is believed that the first pastor of Salem was either Rev. Joseph T. Webb or Rev. Hamilton W. Sharpe, both local Methodist preachers of that era…The exact year this church was organized is unknown but it is believed that the original church building was a small log structure constructed near a spring fed branch behind the present 110-year-old home place of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Folsom.  – South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church

Public School (circa 1856)
“Many of the citizens of the community attended school in a one-room school across” 
Coffee Road from Salem Methodist Church “and, when needed, the church was also used for classroom space.”  – South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church– South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church

 

Junction with Franklinville Road   Milepost ~74
The Franklinville road joined the Coffee Road just east of Little River. It ran 11 miles east to Franklinville, founded 1827 as the first County Seat of Lowndes County. The connection provided a direct route from Franklinville to Thomasville, seat of Thomas County. 

Little River Crossing 

Joyce’s Ferry   Mile Post ~75
Washington Joyce’s Ferry over the Little River on the Coffee Road.  According to Robert Edward Lee Folsom’s 1889 Historical Sketch of Lowndes County,  In 1824… Washington Joyce settled on the east bank of the Little River, and built a ferry at what is now the Miller Bridge.  In this regard, it seems REL Folsom’s account may be confused. The route of Old Coffee Road west of Little River suggests that Joyce’s Ferry was at or near the location of the present day Hwy 122 bridge, not at the site of Miller Bridge.  Washington Joyce’s home site was the first white settlement in present [1899] Lowndes county. His father, Henry Joyce, had operated ferries across the Ocmulgee River,and the Oconee River.  An 1832 a bill introduced in the Georgia legislature seems to incorrectly place Joyce’s Ferry on the Withlacoochee River, said bill “to open and define a road from Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, through the counties of Irwin and Lowndes, the said road to be laid out and defined on the route now known as Roundtree’s Trail, to intersect Coffee’s road, at or near Joyce’s ferry, on the Withlockcoochee [Withlacoochee?].” Some time before 1840, Washington Joyce moved to Randolph County, GA.

Folsom Bridge
Replaced Joyce’s Ferry. Another waypoint on the Coffee Road, to the northeast of Hall’s Inn, was the Folsom Bridge,  where Coffee’s Road crossed the Little River.  William Folsom’s place was located about a mile and a half east of the bridge.

Miller Bridge    Milepost ~77 (on rerouted Coffee Road).
A later crossing over the Little River two miles down river from Joyce’s Ferry.  This southern route to present day Morven, GA would have  bypassed Hall’s Inn.

Hall’s Inn   Milepost ~77
The home of Sion Hall, who had settled in the territory of present day Brooks County near Morven immediately upon the opening of Coffee Road  in 1823, was the county’s earliest tavern.  Hall’s home was the place of the first Superior Court in Lowndes County, with Judge Thaddeus G. Holt presiding and Levi J. Knight foreman of the Grand Jury.   Being located on the only thoroughfare in the section, ” it was therefore accessible to other pioneers settling in the area.  When Lowndes county was being organized, the Georgia legislature designated Hall’s residence as the site for elections and county courts, until such time as a permanent site could be selected.  The Sion Hall home was situated about 1 1/2 miles northward from Morven, and was on land lot No. 271, in the 12th District of old Irwin County….  The home of Hon. Sion Hall was a public inn on the Coffee Road for many years, and many people stopped there for a meal or to spend the night, and the place found favor with the traveling public.  The Hall home was capable of accommodating as many as twelve or fifteen people at one time without inconvenience.  Overflow guests were allowed to sleep on improvised beds on the floor.  ‘Hall’s’ was always a stopping point usually for the night for judges and lawyers going from Troupville to Thomasville during the semi-annual court sessions.”

Pike Branch Crossing   Milepost ~78
Captain John J. Pike was a son-in-law of Sion Hall. Pike led a company of men in the 1836 Battle of Brushy Creek. He died in 1837 in Lowndes County, GA at the age of 39.

Mount Zion Camp Ground
Near Coffee Road immediately south of Pike Branch.  According to a historical marker on the site, “The first Camp Meeting was held on this site in 1828 by a “few scattered Methodists” before any Methodist Church in the area was organized. William Hendry, William Blair and Hamilton W. Sharpe, as a committee, selected the site. Rev. Adam Wyrick was the first visiting preacher. In 1831 Sion and Enoch Hall deeded the land on which the Camp Ground stood to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Housed first in a brush-arbor, the weeklong meetings were held without interruption until 1881. Then the camp meetings ceased and the nearby church was built. Meetings were practically continuous each day from sunrise until after “candle-lighting.

 

Sharpe’s Store   Milepost ~78
“The next point of interest on the Coffee Road after leaving McCranie’s post office was ‘Sharpe’s Store‘ which was in present Brooks County and situated some fifteen miles westward from old Franklinville  [approximately 25 miles southwest of the point where the Knights settled at the present day site of Ray City, GA]. Hamilton W. Sharpe, then a young man hardly in his twenties, had come down from Tatnall County over the Coffee Road, and decided to locate near the home of Hon. Sion Hall at whose home the first court in Lowndes was held a few months afterwards.  So young Sharpe built a small store building out of logs near the Sharpe home; that was in 1826.  He along with others expected that the permanent county-seat would be established there.  A post office was established at Sharpe’s Store in 1828.

Reverend Howren’s Place (1836)
Reverend Robert H. Howren brought his family to old Lowndes County in 1836 as conflicts with Native Americans were rising in Florida and Georgia.  The Howren’s settled on Coffey’s Road and became neighbors of fellow Methodist Hamilton W. Sharpe.

Sim Philips Place   Milepost ~83

 

Okapilco Creek Bridge   Milepost ~88
The 1827 Coffee Road crossing over Okapilco Creek was about ten miles west of Sharpe’s Store. Thomas Spalding, traveling with an expedition to survey the Georgia-Florida line, in his journal called this “the Oakfeelkee Bridge, which had been erected by Gen. Coffee;” the expedition crossed the bridge on March 30, 1827.  According to mapping done by the Wiregrass Region Digital History Project, this section of the Coffee Road followed a route south of present day Coffee Road, such that the 1827 Okapilco Bridge was about 1.5 miles down stream of the present Coffee Road crossing road over the creek.

Little Creek Ford   Milepost ~85
About a half mile west of Okapilco Creek the Coffee road forded a small tributary of Mule Creek.

Bryant Settlement   Milepost ~86
According to Robert Edward Lee Folsom, “The first white settlement in this [old Lowndes County] section was made on this [Coffee] road in the fork of the Okapilco and Mule creeks in Brooks county, at an old Indian town, by Jose Bryant, in 1823.”

Hendry‘s Mill   Milepost ~87
Another three quarters of a mile west at the crossing of Mule Creek was Hendry’s Mill. William Hendry and Nancy McFail Hendry brought their family from Liberty County, GA to Lowndes County (now Brooks) about 1827, and settled  in the vicinity where Coffee Road crosses Mule Creek, about midway between Pavo and Quitman, GA. William Hendry was one of the prominent citizens of Lowndes County in his day…his upright and godly life and character has been handed down, by word of mouth, to the present generation. The Hendrys seem to have had skill building and operating mills in Liberty County and again on Mule Creek in his new home. He erected the first water driven mill in this part of Georgia.  

Okapilco Baptist Church (Est. 1861) ~ Mile Post 89
Okapilco Baptist Church was organized on Feb. 21, 1861. This church was an important church in that it represented an early place of worship for the early settlers in that area.

Lovett’s Dinner House ~ Mile Post 97
Lovett’s Dinner House was about 10 miles west of Hendry’s Mill. “There were no further inns on the Coffee Road until James Lovett’s home and inn was reached, which was about fifteen miles east of Thomasville near the then Lowndes and Thomas county line.  Lovett’s was reached about noon after setting out from Hall’s after breakfast.  Most travelers stopped there for dinner, hence Lovett’s hospitable home was called a ‘dinner house.'”  According to Ed Cone’s Coffee Road website, “This dinner-house was operated by James Lovett and is located at the crossroad of the Salem Church Road and the Coffee Road about two miles west of Barwick, GA. James Lovett married Catherine (Katy) Zitterauer and they are the parents of Rachel Lovett who married James Cone. They are ancestors of a large Cone family in Thomas County. The “Lovett’s Dinnerhouse has been remodeled but still stands.”

Aucilla River Ford  Milepost ~103
About five miles west of Lovett’s place the Coffee Road crossed over the headwaters of the Aucilla River.   Thomas Spalding, traveling Coffee Road on an expedition to survey the Florida-Georgia boundary,  recorded in his journal on March 31, 1827, “crossed the Ocilla [Aucilla] a small stream where we crossed it, a few miles below, we understand it swells into a lake, after receiving 3 or 4 streamlets from the west.”

Mr. Horn’s Place
Thomas Spalding recorded in his journal on March 31, 1827, “At Mr. Horn’s near one of the streams of this river [Aucilla], we met with good land, and some extension of improvement, he had resided here 6 years, and was a fine looking old man. — He had been forted, and was just taking down the palisades, erected as defence against the Indians. We were now in the vicinity where the late Indian murders were committed, and we had confirmed from his lips that we had previously heard, that these deaths and plunderings, and expence, were produced by two scoundrel young men; who had stolen some Indian horses, and fled into South Carolina with them, their names were known, and if they themselves are not living here, their brothers are. Their circumstances are familiar to every one — yet the law sleeps.

Thomasville, GA  Milepost ~110
On December 24, 1825, …. Five commissioners were named to select a county seat for Thomas, purchase a land lot or land lots, and lay off lots for sale to the public. These early commissioners were Duncan Ray, William J. Forson, Simon Hadley, Sr., Michael Horn, and John Hill Bryan (who was probably “Thomas” Hill Bryan ) …The commissioners purchased lot 39 (in the 13th district of old Irwin) next to the Kingsley place from Thomas Johnson for $210, and this site was declared the county seat.  One Aaron Everett was employed to lay off and survey a courthouse square and other adjacent lots. Soon these lots were sold at public sale but brought low prices.  Consequently, on December 22, 1826, an act of the legislature declared ‘the courthouse and jail of said County of Thomas is hereby made permanent at a place now known and called by the name of Thomasville, and shall be called and known by that name.’ By 1827 Thomasville was an outpost in a pine wilderness. A courthouse was built of roughly split pine logs. In November, 1827, Superior Court was held, and Judge Fort sentenced three Indians to be hanged for murdering Phillip and Nathan Paris, white men who lived in the Glasgow District of the county. Moreover, there were a few dwellings. E. J. Perkins had a home and grocery. Nearby was another home, and James Kirksey operated a store, although this soon burned. One of the first important stores was run by Simon A. Smith and his son. Other families moved in and in 1831 the small settlement was incorporated. Isaac P. Brooks, Edward Remington, Malcolm Ferguson, James Kirksey, and Murdock McAwley were appointed commissioners for the town. – Ante-bellum Thomas County, GA

Duncanville, GA Milepost ~122
Said by REL Folsom to be the southern terminus of the Coffee Road in Georgia.  According to the Table of Post Offices, in 1830 Duncanville was one of only two post offices in all of Thomas County, GA. The postmaster was William Coggins.  According to the January 8, 1859, issue of the Georgia Watchman the Duncanville District was the location of the plantation of General Thomas E. Blackshear, who commanded the 69th Regiment, Georgia Militia in the Indian Wars of 1836.

1861 letter envelope addressed to W. D. Mitchell, Duncanville, GA

1861 letter envelope addressed to W. D. Mitchell, Duncanville, GA

 

Georgia-Florida Boundary.   Milepost ~125
About 15 miles south of Thomasville.

Tallahassee, Florida        Milepost ~145

 

Construction and Maintenance of Coffee Road

“The Coffee Road was maintained by road-hands in the various counties through which it passed, and was in no sense a state road as would be understood nowadays.  The only part the state had was in the opening of it before people ever settled in the territory through which it passed. Gen. Coffee, at the expense of the State, employed a crew of men, some thirty or forty, free-labor, and with the help of state surveyors, projected the road through a wild and uninhabited territory.  It was just wide enough for two vehicles to pass and was not ditched or graded as is done at present (roads never had ditches until after the Civil War and very few then for many years). “

The streams were either “forded” or crossed by means of ferries owned by private individuals.  Fares for ferries were fixed in each county in those days by the Inferior Court.  In times of high water the streams which were “forded” would often “swim” the horse and vehicle for two or three days and at times even longer, and only those on horse-back could have any reasonable hope of making a trip without interruptions.  There were no bridges on any of the streams until after the Civil War.

The 1829 Gazetteer of the State of Georgia, in describing the road from Milledgeville to Tallahassee, stated:

“This is a stage road once a week. Fare $25. Leaves Milledgeville on Wednesdays… The road via Jacksonville and Thomasville is [246 miles] and is destitute of water for many miles.”

Using a historic standard of living for comparison, the $25 fare would have equated to about $612 in 2010 dollars.

Charles Joseph La Trobe, an early traveler on the Coffee Road, wrote about his experiences in 1837.

Charles Joseph La Trobe, an early traveler on the Coffee Road, wrote about his experiences in 1835.

In 1833, Charles Joseph La Trobe, an English traveler and writer, rode from Tallahassee, FL to Milledgeville, GA  via the weekly stagecoach.  Before departing Tallahassee, La Trobe apparently sampled the local hospitality:

In referring to Tallahassee beverages, the traveler [La Trobe] described the mint-julep, mint-sling, bitters, hailstone, snowstorm, apple-toddy, punch, Tom and Jerry and egg-nogg. He was about to give the recipe for mint-julep when he used the following language: “Who knows, that if you get hold of the recipe, instead of being an orderly sober member of society, a loyal subject, and a good Tory; you will get muzzy, and hot-brained, and begin to fret about reform, and democratic forms of government, – doubt your bible – despise your country – hate your King – fight cocks, and race like a Virginian – swear profanely like a Western man – covet your neighbors’ goods like a Yankee speculator – and end by turning Radical Reformer!”  –Thomasville Times, Jun. 22, 1889 — page 7

Despite his warnings to others, La Trobe made notes on the recipes of these concoctions for his own personal use. One wonders if the aftereffects of too much ‘Julep’ were not causative of the ill description of the trip to Milledgeville in his book, “The Rambler in North America:

“…we were well aware that there was some sore travelling in advance.  The roads through the south of Georgia are in the roughest state. The public vehicle which, as it happened, we had all to ourselves, rattled however over the country, when practicable, at the heels of a pair of stout young horses, from stage to stage, with a good-will and rapidity, which would have been very satisfactory, had the impediments in the roads and in the state of the crazy carriage permitted constant advance; but we only reached Milledgeville, the capital of Georgia, after three days and nights of incessant travel and that after a goodly proportion of breakdowns and stickfasts, besides having to wade many deep creeks and swim one or two.
The streams were all flooded and ferries and bridges were seldom seen and I would rather take my chance for swim than pass over the rocking and fearful erection they call a bridge which under that name span many of the deep rivers on the road nearer the coast, and however rotten, are seldom repaired till some fatal accident renders the repair imperative.  Yet the coolness with which the coachman, after halting for a moment on the edge of the steep broken declivity, and craning forward to look at the stream in advance, broad, muddy, and rapid, running like a mill-race, will then plunge into it with his horses, descending down till the water covers their backs, is admirable.  On these occasions we always thought that a preparation to swim was no sign of cowardice, and made our precautions accordingly.  From all this you may gather that travelling in the South is still in its infancy, and I may add shamefully expensive.  You pay exorbitantly for the meanest fare.
Of the scenery, I need say but little.  A great proportion of our route lay over an uninteresting pine-covered country, but there were frequent towns springing up along the line which will doubtless become more and more frequent…’

Prior to the opening of the Coffee Road in 1823, there were very few pioneer families in all of Irwin County ( then encompassing present day Lowndes, Thomas, Worth, Berrien, Cook, Brooks, Coffee Lanier, Tift, Turner, Ben Hill, Colquitt, and parts of Echols and Atkinson counties). Folks Huxford dated the earliest settlement of present day Brooks County. originally part of Lowndes, as occurring in 1823 after the Coffee Road was opened.

“The influx of settlers was so great that within two years after the Coffee Road was opened up there had moved in approximately two hundred families, so that the southern half of the county [of Irwin] was cut off and made into the new County of Lowndes.

Mapquest Route connecting remaining sections of Coffee Road.

Mapquest Route connecting remaining sections of Coffee Road.