Roster of Levi J. Knight’s Independent Militia Company, 1838 with Notes on the Soldiers

Second Seminole War
Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company, 1838

In 1836 as bands of Indians moved across Lowndes County, GA towards the Okefenokee Swamp, Captain Levi J. Knight’s company and other local militia companies engaged them in skirmishes at William Parker’s place, Brushy Creek, Warrior Creek, Cow Creek, Troublesome Ford and other places. In 1838, when Indians raiding from the swamp attacked and massacred nearby settlers and travelers militia companies were again called up, first on local authority of the Lowndes County Committee of Vigilance and Safety, then on the authority of Governor Gilmer.  J. T. Shelton summarized the situation in Pines and Pioneers:

In 1838, Governor Gilmer authorized the call up of eight additional volunteer companies, notifying Colonel Enoch Hall to have any company raised there to report to General Charles Floyd in charge of the militia at Waresboro.  Levi J. Knight promptly volunteered the services of a company of mounted riflemen of which he was captain, Barzilla Staten first lieutenant, and George Roberts second lieutenant, and sixty-five men who were “ready at a minutes warning-to march where ever you may order.” Knight had been operating for some time under the Committee of Safety for Lowndes County; He had searched the west side of the Okefenokee for fifty miles and found signs of about 500 warriors who had left ten days ago; he believed they would come back to steal corn and potatoes; he approved of the executive’s use of “efficient means to rid us of these troublesome neighbors.” Gilmer quickly accepted Captain Knight’s independent company and that of Captain Tomlinson into Floyd’s regiment. Knight, with a full company complement of seventy-five men served in the “sudden emergency” from August 15 to October 15, 1838.  

The 1838 muster roll of Knight’s company was transcribed and published in the South Georgia Historical and Genealogical Quarterly. Nearly a third of the men in Captain Knight’s Company had prior military service. Many had served under Captain Knight in skirmishes with the Indians in 1836.   Governor Schley had noted in his November 7, 1837 address to the Georgia Assembly that militia volunteers who served enlistments in 1836 had received “payment for articles lost ‘in battle, or in the immediate pursuit of the Indians, or while employed in actual service,’ which shall not extend ‘beyond the loss of horses and equipages, wagons and wearing apparel of the soldier.’ The Governor paid “all accounts for ‘subsistence forage, ammunition, clothing, tents, camp equipage, cooking utensils, medicine, hospital stores &c.’…  “The laws of the United States allowed each militia man in the service of the United States, two dollars and fifty cents per month in lieu of clothing.” No compensation was given for horses which died of natural causes.  Militia volunteers, privates and officers received the same pay as soldiers enlisted in the U. S. Army. Sick or wounded men were compensated for any expenses for medical treatment they received from civilian physicians.
The militia volunteers enlisting in 1838 probably expected similar compensation.

Muster roll of Levi J. Knight's Independent Company, 1838. South Georgia Historical and Genealogical Quarterly

Muster roll of Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company, 1838. South Georgia Historical and Genealogical Quarterly

 

(Editor’s Note: In 1838 the Indians in this section of Georgia went on the warpath, and the state malitia was called out to repel them. The following seven companies of state militia from Ware and Lowndes counties saw service in this war, and these rosters are taken from the records in the capitol at Atlanta. The following is the caption as copied concerning Capt. Levi J. Knight’s company:

MUSTER ROLL OF CAPT. LEVI J. KNIGHT’S Independent Company from Lowndes county, from 15th day of August, 1838 to 15th day of October, 1838, which entered the service on a sudden emergency to repel the invasion of the Indians into that county in the year 1838.

  • Levi J. Knight, Captain
  • Barzilla Staten, First Lieut.
  • George Roberts, Second Lieut.,
    Martin Shaw (1803-1876), First Sargent
    Martin Shaw (Jr.), born in SC April 1, 1803, a son of Pvt. Martin Shaw; apparently moved with his father and siblings to Liberty County, GA between 1811 and 1816; moved by 1825 to McIntosh County where he paid a poll tax of 31 cents and 2 1/2 mills in Captain Duncan McCranie’s district; moved to Lowndes County, GA about 1828; a Whig in politics; in 1834-1835, a member of the State Rights Association of Lowndes County, GA; deputy sheriff of Lowndes County, 1834-1836;   served as a private in Captain Hamilton W. Sharpe’s Company of Florida Volunteers in the Indian War of 1836; Sheriff of Lowndes County 1836-38, and at that time a resident of Franklinville, the then county seat of Lowndes County; after a short residence at Franklinville moved to that part of Lowndes County cut off into Berrien in 1856; married 1st in 1839, to Elizabeth Mathis, daughter of James and Rhoda Monk Mathis; married second Mrs. Matilda Sharpe of Colquitt County; served in the Indian War as a private in Captain Levi J. Knights company of Lowndes County Militia in 1838; served on 1849 committee to nominate a Whig candidate for Lowndes County representative to the state legislature; in 1852, administrator of the estate of Riley Deloach, Lowndes County, GA; in 1853, administrator of the estate of Abraham Deloach; He was cut out of Lowndes County into Berrien in 1856; elected one of the first Justices of The Inferior Court of Berrien county, serving 1856-1861; in 1858, served on Resolutions Committee to protest the proposed route of the the Atlantic & Gulf railroad to the south to bypass Troupville, GA; paid 1866 IRS “buggy” tax in Berrien County, GA; served as County Commissioner of Berrien County, 1872-73; 1872 offered as unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Berrien County representative to the state legislature; died suddenly at his home in Berrien County, GA (now Cook), two miles east of Adel, November 7, 1876; buried Old Salem Church cemetery, now in the City of Adel, GA and known as Woodlawn Cemetery.
  • William P. Roberts, Second Sargent
    A fortunate drawer in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery.
  • Abram Register, Third Sargent,
  • Reubin Roberts, Fourth Sargent
  • James Johnson, First Corporal
  • Mark Ratcliff, Second Corporal
  • John Register, Third Corporal
  • Harmon Gaskins, Fourth Corporal

PRIVATES

  1. Box, John (1795- )
    John C. Box (1795- ) born in South Carolina; came to Lowndes County, GA some time between 1830 and 1838; moved to Clinch County, GA prior to the 1860 census.
  2. Brance, James T. (1818-1906)
    James Thomas Branch, born February 6, 1818, Laurens County, GA; as a young man moved to Irwin County, GA; Married February 13, 1838 to Ruthie Ann Sumner; served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company, Lowndes County, GA, 1838; Commissioned as militia Captain, September 7, 1861; enlisted as a private Company F, 49th Georgia Infantry Regiment, March 4, 1862; transferred to Company A, 61st Georgia Infantry Regiment; May 1864 elected Justice of the Peace, 690th Georgia Militia District, Irwin County, GA; moved to Berrien County, GA about 1878; later moved to Worth County; died November 8, 1906; buried Hickory Springs Baptist Church, TyTy,GA.
  3. Bell, David
    David Bell; resident of Mattox’s District, Lowndes County, 1832; served as militia captain in Lowndes County; supporter of State Rights Association of Lowndes County; fortunate drawer in the 1832 Land Lottery; served for the January, 1837 term of the Grand Jury of the Lowndes Superior Court; served as a private in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County, 1838, during Indian Wars.
  4. Clements, John F. (1810-1864)
    John Franklin Clements born October 7, 1810 in Wayne County, GA;  served as Wayne County Tax Collector  1830-32; moved to Lowndes County (now Berrien) in 1832; served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County; married Nancy Patten, a daughter of James M. Patten and Elizabeth Lee, in 1840; served on the Lowndes County Grand Jury of 1841; died on September 23, 1864; buried at Union Church Cemetery, Lakeland, GA.
  5. Clements, William
  6. Clements, David
    Marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836;
  7. Cribb, John (1897-)
    John Cribb, born about 1897 in South Carolina; came to Lowndes some time prior to 1838; served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County; appears in the 1840 and 1870 census of Lowndes County, GA.  John Cribb died between 1870 and 1880. His widow, Eady Cribb, and daughter, Elizabeth Cribb, appear in the 1880 census of the 661 Georgia Militia District, the Naylor District, Lowndes County, GA.
  8. Douglas, Eaton (1800- )
    Eaton Douglas, born 1800, Burke County, GA; relocated to Tattnall County, then Appling County, GA; married Maria Branch in Appling County, GA; Administrator of the estate of Penelope Branch, 1835, Appling County, GA; about 1835 he located on Land lot 506 in the 11th District, north of Stockton, Lowndes County (now Lanier), GA;  in 1838 served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County;  served as 2nd Lieutenant under Captain John J. Johnson in the Indian War, September 22, 1840 to October 18, 1840; joined September 9, 1848 to Union Primitive Baptist Church, expelled by request September 11, 1863.
  9. Douglas, Barzilla (1821- )
    Barzilla Douglas, born about 1821, son of Eaton Douglas and Maria Branch; in 1838 served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County;   married Dicey Bennett about 1839; established his household next to his father’s homeplace north of Stockton, GA; later moved to Florida.
  10. Devane, Francis (c1798-1868)
    Francis DeVane, born circa 1798 in North Carolina, son of Captain John DeVane, Jr. and Ann Julia Davis, and brother of Benjamin Devane; Private, War of 1812 in Captain Montesquieu W. Campbell’s Company, New Hanover County Regiment of Militia, NC; Private in the company of Bladen County, NC Militia commanded by Captain Sellers. married  Frances Giddens about 1815; tax defaulter, 1815-16, New Hanover County, NC; in 1825, acted as attorney for Lucretia Rogers and her children James Rogers, Ann Rogers and Benjamin Devane in the sale of 585 acres of land in New Hanover Count, North Carolina; relocated to Lowndes County (now Brooks County), Georgia in 1828, moving with the Rogers family;  in 1838 served in Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company of Lowndes County; Died March 8, 1868 in Berrien County, Georgia; buried Pleasant Cemetery.
  11. Devane, Benjamin (1796-1878)
    Benjamin Devane  was born 1796 in New Hanover County, NC,  son of Captain John DeVane, Jr. and Ann Julia Davis, and brother of Francis Devane; served in the War of 1812 as a Corporal  in the New Hanover Regiment of Militia, New Hanover County, NC, serving from July 20, 1813, to August 2, 1813, under Captain George W. Bannerman; in 1814 married Mary Rogers of New Hanover County and afterwards moved to Bulloch County, GA; moved to Lowndes County, GA around 1828;  enlisted as a private at Pedro, Fl, under Captain M. C. Livingston in the 2nd Regiment, East Florida Volunteers, June 16, 1837, and was honorably discharged at Newnansville, December 18, 1837; In 1838, Benjamin Devane served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company, Lowndes County, GA; served as a private in Captain Thomas Langford’s Florida Mounted Militia, volunteering at Fort Collins, September 4, 1839, serving until March 4, 1840; In 1848 moved to Madison County, Fl; about 1858 moved to Brooks County, GA; in 1861 returned to Shady Grove, Madison County, FL; after the Civil War moved to Hillsborough County, Fl; received a land grant June 29, 1878, for services in the Indian War; received a pension for service in the War of 1812; died October 28, 1879 in Hillsborough County, FL; buried in Mount Enon Baptist Church cemetery near Plant City, FL.
  12. Durrance, William (1804-1841)
    William Durrence was born in 1804; married Lourany Deloach on February 19, 1824, in Tattnall County, Georgia and settled on land near Bull Creek; Justice of the Peace, 1829, Tatnall County; moved to Lowndes County, GA some time after 1830; In 1836 served in Captain Hamilton W. Sharpe’s Company of Florida Volunteers; In 1838,  served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company, Lowndes County, GA; 1841, filed a fi fa action in Lowndes Superior Court, Troupville, GA, against Elias Skipper; died on March 8, 1841, in Lowndes County, Georgia, at the age of 37.
  13. Edmondson, James (1799-1870)
    James Edmondson, born 1799 in Bulloch County, GA, son of Revolutionary Soldier Isaac Edmondson and Ann Cox; married Sabra James about 1820 in Bulloch County; between 1825 and 1828 moved to that part Lowndes County, GA now in Brooks County; relocated one year later to near the Withlacoochee River, about 8 miles southwest of present day Ray City, GA (four miles east of Hahira); baptised into Union Primitive Baptist Church, December 12, 1832; a lucky drawer in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery, drawing Lot 55, 18th District, Fourth Section, Walker County, GA; transferred Muscogee County, GA land grant to Thomas Belote in 1832; appointed by the Georgia legislature December 12, 1834 as a commissioner to determine a new location for the Lowndes County courthouse and jail; served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Independent Company 1836-1838, in the skirmish with Indians at William Parker’s place and afterwards; owned in 1840, 490 acres, Lot 3, 11th District of Lowndes; owned in 1844, 980 acres and 5 slaves in Lowndes County, GA;  dismissed by letter from Union Primitive Baptist Church, October 9, 1847 and later joined Pleasant Church; died about 1870.
  14. Emanuel, Amos (1795- )
    Amos Emanuel, born about 1795 in South Carolina; married about 1819, wife Martha; located in Montgomery County, GA by 1820, owning Lot Nos. 250 and 240 in the 11th District, Montgomery County; involved in 1825 Fi Fas legal action with John J. Underwood against William Gibbs; sold at auction in Montgomery County, April 3, 1827, one slave woman, Mary Ann, property of Amos Emanuel; relocated to Lowndes County, GA about 1827; authorized by the Georgia Legislature  on November 14, 1827 “to establish a ferry across Little River where Coffee’s road crosses the same, in Lowndes County, on his own land“; enrolled for six months service, June 16, 1837 to December 16, 1837 in Captain John G. Johnson’s Company of the 2nd Regiment East Florida Mounted Volunteers; In 1838, served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company, Lowndes County, GA; removed to 719th Georgia Militia District, Ware County, GA prior to 1840; July 2, 1844 Ware County Sheriff seized seven head of stock cattle, taken as property of Amos Emanuel, to satisfy debts owed to the Superior Court of Ware County.
  15. Griffis, Joel (1803-1871)
    Joel Griffis, born 1803 in Clinch County, Georgia, a son of Nancy and Samuel Griffis, elder brother of Pvt. Littleberry Griffis and Pvt. John Griffis, and nephew of Charles A. Griffis; the father, Samuel Griffis (1775-1851), also served with Captain Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars; moved to Appling County with his parents when he was young; Captain of the militia in the 719th district, Ware Co, 1835-1840; served a short volunteer term of enlistment in Capt. Levi J. Knights independent company of Lowndes County militia in 1838; married Elizabeth Bennett, 1841, daughter of John Bennett and Sallie Register; lived on lot of land number 310, 12th district of Ware County; sold out to Abraham Hargraves, of Ware County in 1851, and moved to Land lot number 149, 12th district in the southwest corner of Clinch County; Joel and  Elizabeth Griffis were received and baptized in 1847 in Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church – He was excluded in March 1867; died 1871 in Clinch County, Georgia; buried at Wayfare Church, graves unmarked.
  16. Griffis, John (1809-1880)
    John Griffis born 1809 in Georgia; a son of Nancy and Samuel Griffis, brother of Pvt. Joel Griffis and Pvt. Littleberry Griffis; the father, Samuel Griffis (1775-1851), also served with Captain Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars; married Easter Bennett (1817-1855) about 1830;  moved in his youth with his parents to Appling County, thence to Ware County; served as a second lieutenant in the Ware County militia, 719th district 1830-35; served as a private in Capt. Levi J. Knight’s militia company in 1838 in the Indian War; married about 1843 to divorcee’ Esther Padgett who had abandoned her husband, John Stalvey, and children; moved to that part of Columbia County, FL later cut into Bradford County, FL; died about 1880 in Bradford County, FL
  17. Griffis, Littleberry (1811-1895)
    Berrian “Littleberry” Griffis, born August 24, 1811 in that part of Ware County cut into Clinch County, GA, in 1850, and into Atkinson County in 1917; a son of Nancy and Samuel Griffis, younger brother of Pvt. Joel Griffis and Pvt. John Griffis; the father, Samuel Griffis (1775-1851), also served with Captain Levi J. Knight in the Indian Wars; married Easter Bennett (1817-1855) about 1830; moved with his family to the 12th land district of Ware county (now Clinch); October 30, 1833, purchased a note held by A. E. Thomas on Lot Number 57,  Sixth District, Carroll County, GA and sold same note August 15, 1850 to Miles J. Guest; In 1838 in the Indian Wars, served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company, Lowndes County, GA; November 1st to December 31, 1839,served as a private in Captain David Johnson’s company of Ware County militia; purchased land lot 417, 12th district, Clinch County, about 1852 where he established his homeplace; married second, widow Mrs. Sarah Brooker; baptized October 2, 1874 into Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, Echols County, GA and dismissed March 9 1876 to unite in constituting Ramah Church in Clinch County, which he did April 15, 1876- expelled July 24, 1882; married third, Sidney Lee in Cinch Co, Dec 16 1878 -separated in August 1884-divorced 1892; died April 1, 1895; buried Moniac Cemetery, Charlton County, GA.
  18. Giddens, Thomas (1789-1857)
    Thomas Giddens, born 1789 in North Carolina, believed to be the son of Thomas Giddens, Sr., Revolutionary Soldier; brother of Frances Giddens Devane, Ann Giddens Rogers, Morris Giddens and Pvt. Duncan Giddens; married first  Mrs. Gregory; married second, on April 25, 1825, Mary “Pollie” Nevill in Bulloch County, GA; moved from Bulloch County to Mattox’s District, Lowndes County, GA some time before 1830; a fortunate drawer in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery, drawing Lot 280, 9th District, Walker County, GA; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836; volunteered April 3, 1838, at Troublesome, GA (now Statenville) and served under Captain David R. Byran in his company of Lowndes County militia, and was honorably discharged there July 22, 1838; served July, 1838 to October 15, 1838 as a private in Captain David R. Bryan’s mounted company; served as a Private in Capt Levi J Knight’s Company of Georgia Militia, 1838; In 1850 assigned power of attorney to Captain Levi J. Knight to secure 80 acres of bounty land due Giddens as compensation for eight months of military service during the Indian Wars; died February 22, 1857.
  19. Giddens, Frederick (1812-1867)
    Frederick Giddens born 1812 in New Hanover County, North Carolina, son of Thomas Giddens (1789-1857); his mother died when he was a boy and from age 12 he was raised by his step-mother Mary “Pollie” Nevill; came with his father to Lowndes County before 1830; December 8-9, 1833, fortunate drawer in the Cherokee Land Lottery, drawing Lot 325 in the 4th District of Cherokee County, GA; married Elizabeth Mathis, 1833, in Lowndes County, GA; Lowndes County 1834 tax records show he owned 80 acres of oak and hardwood land in Cherokee County; settled in  Lowndesin that part which was  cut into Berrien County in 1856, on the Nashville-Valdosta Road, the homeplace later being known as the Harmon F. Gaskins place; served as a Private in Captain Levi J Knight’s Company of Georgia Militia in 1836 in the skirmish at William Parker’s place and in 1838; Lowndes County 1844 tax records show the Frederick M. Giddens homeplace was 980 acres in Captain Sanderson’s District on Land lots 464 and 465 in the 10th District; February 6,1867, administrator of the estate of John W. Giddens, acting in the sale of 365 unimproved acres of Lot No. 334, widow’s dower excepted, in the 10th District of Berrien ; According to Berrien County court records,  Frederick Giddens sold property to Benjamin Wooding which included the grave of a Giddens’ infant, and subsequently a feud arose between the two over burial rights at what Giddens considered a family burial ground; died July 5, 1867 in Berrien County, GA; buried Woodlawn Cemetery, Adel, GA.
  20. Guthrie, Aaron (1788-)
    Born 1788 in South Carolina; Lowndes County Tax Digest show him in Captain Sermon’s District in 1840;
  21. Guthrie, John (1795-c1870)
    John L. Guthrie, brother of Aaron Guthrie; born 1795 in South Carolina; In the Indian Wars (Second Seminole War) served enlistments in Captain Johnson’s Company, Captain David R. Bryan’s Company, and Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company; donated the land for Guthrie Cemetery, Berrien County, GA; His son, Samuel Guthrie married Martha Newbern, daughter of Etheldred Newbern;  Died about 1870; buried Guthrie Cemetery.
  22. Guthrie, John, Jr. (c1821-1904)
    John Hamilton “Hamp” Guthrie, son of John L. Guthrie; born about 1821; in 1849 a member of the Berrien Tiger hunting party along with brother Samuel Guthrie; Census of 1850 shows he lived on 675 acres in Clinch County, GA; died 1904; grave unknown.
  23. Guthrie, Hamilton
  24. Giddens, Isbin (1788-1853)
    Pioneer settler of Berrien County, GA and brother-in-law of Captain Levi J. Knight; born in Blounts Creek, Beaufort County, North Carolina on November 4, 1788; lieutenant of the 334th District Militia, Wayne County, from 1816 to 1820;  Member of Kettle Creek Baptist Church, 1823; Member of Union Primitive Baptist Church, 1827; Fortunate drawer in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836;
  25. Giddens, William
    Marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836;
  26. Giddens, Moses  (1821-1906)
    Son of Isbin Giddens and Kiziah Amanda Knight, born November 14, 1821, Appling County,GA; served with Levi J. Knight’s company in 1836 skirmishes with Indians; a private on the 1860 muster roll of Levi J. Knight’s Berrien Minute Men, Company K, 29th Georgia Regiment; died January 11, 1906, Alapaha, GA.
  27. Griffis, John J.
  28. Gaskins, John (1802-1865)
    Pioneer settler and cattleman of Berrien County, GA; born June 29, 1802 in Warren County, GA; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836; Gaskins’ own home was raided by Indians while the family was away; died July 13, 1865; buried Riverside Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.
  29. Griffis, Leighton
  30. Griffis, Richard
  31. Gaskins, Harmon (1811-1877)
    Harmon Gaskins, Brother of Pvt. John Gaskins; born January 15, 1811; among Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company of men who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836; appointed one of the first judges of the Inferior Court of Berrien County; Justice of the Peace;  Died September 4, 1877; buried Gaskins Cemetery, Berrien County, GA
  32. Giddens, Duncan (1808-1907)
    Duncan Giddens, Son-in-law of Pvt. John Mathis; born in North Carolina in 1808; came to Lowndes County, now Berrien about 1827-1828; 1st Lieutenant of the militia in the 664th District of Lowndes County 1834-1840; died in Brooks County, GA, on November 26, 1907; buried Old Giddens Family Home Cemetery, Sandy Bottom, Atkinson County, Georgia.
  33. Griffis, Charles, Jr. (1800-1875)
    Charles Griffis, Jr., born 1800 in Montgomery County, Georgia, and died 1875 in Appling County, Georgia.
  34. Hodges, John (1809-1875)
    John Hodges, born in Tattnall County in 1809 and came to Lowndes County at the age of nineteen; participated in the Battle of Brushy Creek; established a mule-powered cotton gin on his farm; died 1875.
  35. Hodges, Alex. (1816-1884)
    Alexander Hodges, brother of Pvt. John Hodges; born May 17, 1816 in Tattnall County, GA; became a Primitive Baptist reverend; Died April 6, 1884 at High Springs, FL; buried New Hope Primitive Baptist Church.
  36. Hodges, James
    James Hodges, Brother of Pvt. Alexander Hodges and Pvt. John Hodges.
  37. Harnage, George (1807-1895)
    George Harnage, born 1807; came to Lowndes from Liberty County, GA; a son-in-law of Jeremiah Shaw; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836; Primitive Baptist Deacon; died about 1895.
  38. Harnage, Isaac (1804-1868)
    Isaac Harnage, Brother of Pvt. George Harnage; buried Boney Bluff Cemetery, Echols County, GA
  39.  Hearndon, Wm. Z. (c1804-1865)
    William Z. Herndon, born about 1804 in North Carolina; married Amelia Ann Freaux (or Fruhock); made their home in  Appling, Lowndes and Ware County, GA; Served in Levi J. Knights Independent Company of Lowndes County from August 15, 1838 to October 15, 1838; about 1842 moved to Columbia County, FL; appointed U.S. Postmaster, January 20, 1853 at New River, Columbia County, FL; became a Methodist Preacher in Indian River County, FL; in 1860 moved to Fort Meade, Polk County, FL; died in 1865; buried at Homeland, FL.
  40. Henley, Elmore
  41. Johnson, David (1804-1881)
    David Johnson, born January 29, 1804, Bulloch County, GA, son of Martha Hardeman and David Johnson, Revolutionary Soldier, and grandfather of J.H.P. Johnson, of Ray City, GA; moved in 1822 to the Mud Creek District near the Alapaha River in Irwin County (now Clinch) where he was among the first to settle; about 1825 moved to Leon County, Florida Territory; about 1828 moved to Lowndes County, GA near present Valdosta, GA; married about 1828 to Nancy “Mary Ann” Burnett; moved to Ware (now Clinch) County GA; served as a Private in Capt Levi J Knight’s Company of Georgia Militia, 1838; from November 1, 1839 – December 31, 1839, captain of a Georgia Militia company ordered into Federal Service in the Indian Wars; commissioned Major General of the 2nd Brigade, 6th Division of the State Militia on December 16, 1850; elected April 1, 1850, Justice of the Inferior Court, Clinch County; served as Justice of the Inferior Court April 12, 1850-1854;  in 1855 a candidate for state senator from Clinch County; Justice of the Inferior Court January 10, 1861; on February 2, 1861, resigned commission as Major General of the 2nd Brigade, 6th Division of the State Militia; delegate to the 1868 Democratic district convention at Blackshear, GA; died April 9, 1881; buried Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA.
  42. Johnson, James R.
  43. Knight, Jonathan
    Jonathan Knight, Son of William Cone Knight; came to Irwin County (in the Lowndes territory) over the winter of 1824-25; a constituting member of Union Primitive Baptist Church; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836;
  44. Knight, John
    John Knight, marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836; In 1844 John Knight owned Lot No. 453 in the 10th District, Lowndes county, with 490 acres of pine land. No slaves were assessed, with his total property tax being $0.85.
  45. Knight, Aaron
    In 1844, Aaron Knight owned the adjacent Lot No. 454, with all 490 acres in pines. No slaves were assessed, with his total property tax being $0.85.
  46. Knight, William
  47. Kirkland, Lemuel
  48. McDonald, Wm.
    William McDonald, born 1810; Lucky Drawer in the 1832 Georgia Gold Lottery, drawing Lot 1034 in Cherokee County; died on December 1, 1889; buried at Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Cemetery
  49. Mathis, Riley (1817-1864)
  50. Mixon, Michael
  51. Mathis, Tyre (1806-1891)
    Tyre Mathis joined Union Church by letter April 12, 1828, dismissed by letter December 11, 1847; buried Prospect Church Cemetery, Clinch County, GA
  52. Mathis, John (1802-1875)
    John Mathis, Brother of Pvt. Tyre Mathis; born 1802, Bulloch County, GA; Ensign of Militia, District 442, Appling County, GA 1822-25; married in 1827 to Jemima Lee b 1807 GA, daughter of Joshua Lee; Justice of Peace, District 664, Lowndes County, GA 1833-38; Coroner, Clinch County, GA 1851-58 and 1861-64; transferred his church membership January 22, 1859 to Prospect Primitive Baptist Church, Clinch County, GA near his home; owned land Lot 441, 7th Dist in Clinch County, GA; died 1875, Hamilton County, FL; buried Prospect Cemetery, White Springs, FL.
  53. Mixon, Joshua
  54. McKennon, James (1804-1880)
    James McKennon (or McKinnon) Born about 1804 in North Carolina; a private in the Indian War under Captain Levi J. Knight, Lowndes County Militia; enumerated in 1840 in the 586th militia district of Ware County; sheriff of Coffee County 1856 to 1858; died 1880, Coffee County, GA.
  55. McDaniel, Benj. (1790-)
  56. Newbern, Etheldred (1794-1874)
    Etheldred Dryden Newbern, born 1794 in South Carolina, the eldest son of Thomas Newbern; came with his family to Georgia about 1798, to Bulloch County; said to have fought in the War of 1812; had moved with his family to Tattnall County by 1815; moved with his family to Appling County, near present day Blackshear, GA; married 1823 to Elizabeth  “Betsy” Sirmans and homesteaded in Appling County; cut into Ware County in 1825; 1825 to 1827 served as First Lieutenant of militia, 584th district; 1828, moved to Lowndes County (now Berrien) to a site on Five Mile Creek; elected First Lieutenant of the militia in the 664th district of Lowndes County, Captain Levi J. Knight’s district; July, 1836, served as a  private in Captain Levi J. Knights Independent Militia Company in the skirmish at William Parker’s place; moved to a homestead on the west side of the Alapaha River; 1865 moved to Clinch County; purchased Lot 256, 10th District; died 1874; buried in an unmarked grave at Wayfare Church, Echols county, GA.
  57. Peterson, Eldred
  58. Peterson, Henry
  59. Prester, Henry
  60. Roberts, Lewis (1802-1854)
    Lewis Leonard Roberts, son-in-law of Jonathan Knight; his home was a polling place in the Lowndes County election of 1829; died September 1, 1854; buried Swift Creek Cemetery, Lake Butler, FL
  61. Roberts, Bryant (1809-1888)
    Bryant J. Roberts, born in Wayne County, GA on June 4, 1809 and came to Lowndes County in 1827; ensign in the 663rd district of the Lowndes County militia, 1827 to 1829; Justice of the Peace in the 658th district, Lowndes County, 1834-1837 term; private in Captain Levi J. Knight’s company of Lowndes County militia, and present at 1836 skirmish with Indians at William “Short-arm Billy” Parker’s place; Died July 8, 1888; buried Cat Creek Primitive Baptist Church.
  62. Sirmans, Jonathan (1796-1850)
    Jonathan Sirmans, neighbor of Etheldred Newbern; father of Rachel Sirmans, Hardeman Sirmans; step-father of Melissa Rowland who married Harmon Gaskins; buried Fender Cemetery, Lanier County, GA
  63. Sirmans, Hardy
  64. Shaw, Jeremiah (1800-1883)
    Owned portions of Lots 499 and 500, 10th Land District, Lowndes County (later Berrien);
  65. Sloan, Daniel
  66. Stalvey, John J.
  67. Slaughter, Moses (c1796-1868)
    Moses Slaughter, father of Samuel and William Slaughter; the murder of his son William in 1843 resulted in two sensational trials at Troupville, GA and the hanging of Samuel Mattox; owned 490 acres on Lot 240, 10th District, Lowndes County;
  68. Sirmans, Hardeman (1821-1896)
    Hardeman Sirmans, son of Pvt. Jonathan Sirmans; son-in-law of Captain Levi J. Knight
  69. Skinner, Randol
  70. Shaw, Martin, Sr. (1773-1863)
    Martin Shaw Sr., born about 1773 in South Carolina; married 1st to unknown in South Carolina; came to Georgia between 1811 and 1816; married 2nd, Elizabeth Chancey on September 12, 1816 in Liberty County, GA; moved by 1825 to McIntosh County, owning 400 acres of pineland and 200 acres of swamp in Captain Duncan McCranie’s district; a fortunate drawer in the 1827 Georgia Land Lottery, drawing 400 acres in Muscogee County, GA; moved to Lowndes County, GA about 1828, establishing residence in Folsom’s District; a fortunate drawer in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery; in 1834 a tax defaulter in Captain Caswell’s District, Lowndes County, GA; in 1835 paid taxes on 980 acres of pineland on Cat Creek in Captain Bell’s District on Lots 408 and 420, 10th District, Lowndes County and 40 acres in Cherokee County, GA; marched with Levi J. Knight’s company in the Indian Wars of 1836; served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knights company of Lowndes County Militia in 1838;  died 1863; buried Old Salem Church cemetery, now in the City of Adel, GA and known as Woodlawn Cemetery.
  71. Slaughter, John (1798-1859?)
    John Slaughter, born about 1798 in South Carolina, son of James Slaughter, and uncle of William Slaughter who was murdered in Lowndes (now Berrien) county, GA in 1843; married Sarah ? some time before 1825; came to Lowndes County about the time it was created from part of Irwin County, and settled in that part of the county which would be cut into Berrien County in 1856; served as a private in Captain Levi J. Knights company of Lowndes County Militia in 1838; Resided in Lowndes until 1840 when he removed to Jefferson County, FL; in the Civil War, his sons, Moses H. Slaughter and John H. Slaughter deserted Confederate service and took their families to seek refuge on the U.S.S Sagamore at Cedar Key, FL along with hundreds of other Floridians.
  72. Thomas, Dixon
    Dixson Thomas, according to family researchers born 1805 in Screven County, GA, eldest son of William Thomas and cousin of Ryall B. Thomas, Isham B. Thomas, and Elias Thomas; in 1831, occupied as a surveyor in Bulloch County, GA with his cousin Ryall B. Thomas; married on May 2, 1831 to Susannah Bennett in Bulloch County; juror for the July 1833 term of the Inferior Court of Bulloch County; by 1836 moved to the vicinity of Franklinville, Lowndes County, GA with others of the Thomas family connection; served August 6, 1836 to September 6, 1836 in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company during which time was engaged in local actions against Creek Indians along Warrior Creek, Little River, and at Cow Creek; served September 19, 1836 to October 15, 1836 in Captain Levi J. Knight’s Company;  in November 1836, held on charges of riot, along with William M. Thomas – after the two escaped from custody charges were dropped; purchased in September, 1838 Lot number 180, District 11, Lowndes county for $250 – sold same to Joshua Hightower on January 14, 1845 for $250; purchased in November 1845 Lot number 89 and half of Lot number 50, District 11 Lowndes County for $150; purchased in March 1848 the remaining half of Lot 50 for $33 – “Lot 50 included all and every part and parcel of town lots originally lay out and runs off in the town of Franklinville, GA”; sold Lot numbers 50 & 89 to Thomas A. Jones in July 1851 for $600; in 1852, moved to that area of Camden County, GA which was cut into Charlton County in 1854; on March 5, 1855 received 80  acres bounty land in Lowndes County, GA, Warrant No. 47,191 for service in the Indian Wars; On April 05, cancelled warrant number 47,191 and requested William Smith to prosecute his claim and receive his (new?) Warrant when issued; In 1855 received 80 acres bounty land in Charlton County, GA, Warrant number 19383, probably at Trader’s Hill, then the government seat of Charlton County, GA; died October 10, 1857 in Charlton County, GA;  said to be buried at Mill Creek Primitive Baptist Cemetery, Nassau County, FL with others of the Thomas family connection, although the grave could not be located in 2016.
  73. Thomas, Harvey
  74. Thomas, Elias
  75. Thomas, Jesse

John Guthrie Tells Story of Berrien Tiger

John Guthrie, folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA relates the story of the Berrien Tiger.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985) , folk musician and merchant of Ray City, GA. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

The legendary Berrien Tiger was a large panther that attacked two Wiregrass victims in 1849, before the creation of Berrien county, GA.  Guthrie was a nephew of Hamp Guthrie, who was mauled by the big cat, and grandson of Martha Newbern Guthrie, who was an eyewitness.

John Elwood Guthrie was a son of Arren H. Guthrie and Elizabeth Lucinda “Lucy” Newbern Guthrie.  He moved with his family to Ray City in 1922 and attended the Ray City School. He and his parents and siblings resided on the the farm of his sister, Effie Guthrie Knight on Park Street.  As a boy he attended the Primitive Baptist Church but later attended the Ray City Methodist Church.  He married Madge Sellers and they made their home on North Street in Ray City.

John Elwood Guthrie (1911-1985)
Ray City, Georgia,
August 20, 1977

I was borned out on the Alapaha River.

You want me to tell you a little story about the Alapaha River?

OK. Now, believe it or not, now…if you want do a little research you can go back and find this story.

Now my grandmother…she was about ninety year old when she first began to come to our house. She’d sit in a rockin’ chair and all of us kids would gather up around her, and she would begin to tell us stories about the Civil War and things that happened back during that time.

Here’s a story…now you can believe it or not. Now, it did appear in the Valdosta paper, the Valdosta Times, and also in the Berrien Press. If you want to do a little research you can look it up. But, it happened.

A young boy back in those days, he went down on the Alapaha River a lookin’ for some hogs down there at was lost. And whiles he was down there they was some animal. Now, they said it was a tiger – now you can believe it or not – they said it was a tiger. But it appeared, now, in both these papers. They said it was a tiger.

He jumped on this boy’s back, and he clawed him up, and bit ‘im, and he thought he had killed ‘im. And he tried to drag ‘im back in the river swamps down there. But he’s too heavy. He couldn’t carry ‘im. Instead, he covered ‘im up with leaves. Covered ‘im up with leaves.

So this boy, when he came concious again, he was almost dead, but he got back ta house an he told his brothers and sisters and his parents an’ everything about it. Well, they formed a search party and they went down there lookin’ for this animal. They had their dogs, and their guns, and everything. That’s on Alapaha River, now, right over here.

When they got down to the swamp, the dogs, the first thing, they began to bark, you know, and run all down the river swamps. Well, it wasn’t very long before all them dogs came back, and their hair was standin’ right straight up on their backs, up there, and they just whimperin’, the dogs.

So, the men decided they’d go down there an’ see what had happened. Well, they went down there, and an ol’ uncle o’ mine, his name was Hamp -now, this is history, now if you don’t believe it you can go back and search. His name was Hamp.  And, he was a little bit behind all the rest. Well, this animal, whatever it was, jumped on his back. Jumped on his back and he began to claw ‘im an’ bite ‘im, an’ almost killed ‘im.

Some of the rest of the fellas in the search party looked around back there, and they saw what was happenin’ and they had a gun and they just shot whatever it was, if it was a tiger or whatever it was. They shot ‘im and killed ‘im. And when they killed ‘im, they had to pull his claws out of Uncle Hamp’s back, back there.

Now, this is history, now if you won’t believe it, all right. If you don’t, you can go back an’ search the records, and that’s part of the history.

Adler, T. A. & Guthrie, J. (1977) John Guthrie tells stories and plays guitar, Ray City, Georgia. Ray City, Georgia. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc1982010_afs20900/ .

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Eyewitness Accounts of the Berrien Tiger

The legendary Berrien Tiger was a large panther that mauled two Wiregrass victims in 1849 (before Berrien county was actually created). The first victim was Jim Hightower (aka James Stewart), step-son of  Thomas B. Stewart.  One of the eyewitnesses who saw the carcass of the Berrien Tiger was Martha Newbern Guthrie,  who was mother to generations of Berrien County residents, and who spent time in her final years living with her son Arrin’s family at Ray City, GA.  Her husband and brother-in-law were among the men who hunted down and killed the beast, after it attacked a young boy. Other stories of the Berrien Tiger (Early Account of the Berrien Tiger, 1849,  1849 Adventures With A Panther in Berrien County, GA) were posted over the past week. The account below, originally published in 1923 nearly 75 years after the event, provides additional details (or embellishments?) not included in early versions of the tale.

[When the Wiregrass Pioneers] were begining to realize a sense of relief from Indian depredations but not from the depredations of wild beasts, there occurred a thrilling encounter between a magnificent specimen of that species of felines known as a tiger and a party of men which encount- —– does when trying to decide whe- ——— only encounter of its kind in all this section originally known as Irwin County.

Setting in Mud Creek

It was back somewhere about the year 1848 and the scene of the episode was in what is now Clinch County but at that time Lowndes near the Alapaha River at what is known locally as the Mud Creek bridge, or “Indian Ford” as it was then known.

In that neighborhood lived Samuel and Hamp Guthrie, Alfred Herring, Jesse Vickery and a man by the name of Stewart (Editor’s note This man was Thomas B. Stewart, born 1798 in Virginia and a blacksmith by trade, and he  lived neighbor to Hamp Guthrie) and also Green Akins and others of the hardy pioneers who were in — swamp, immediately striking wind  —try from the wild man and the wild animals and making it a fit dwelling place to live. Stewart had a step-son named Jim Hightower. This boy was about 14 years old. He had had the misfortune to get his right hand mangled while feeding an old-fashioned wooden roller cane-mill by feeding his hand into the mill along with the cane when a very small boy, and when it healed up so far as I can learn, was the — of distorted and crumpled up stub of bones, consequently he had very little use of that member in any of the tasks he had to perform. The accident occurred at the home of Green Akins and Mrs. Akins who were the parents of Mrs. Jerry May who is now living about five miles east of Nashville. Mrs. Akins released the little fellow from his awful position by first stopping the horse, loosing him from the lever, backing the mill off the boy’s hand and releasing it.  It was impossible to obtain the service of a physician in that section and with the very best skill which Mrs. Akins could master she dressed the boy’s hand in her own way.

Hunts Hog, Flushes Tiger

This boy, Jim Hightower, in company with a little half brother was sent out one morning early to look for some hogs down by the river swamp. Their faithful dog accompanied them. Hunting along beside the swamp they were startled by the strange acts of the dog which had been running about, sometimes in the bushes, sometimes outside when suddenly like something half-dead with fright the dog came tearing out of the bushes and cowered down at the feet of his young masters and no persuasion of any sort could avail to get that dog to return to the swamp. The boys knew not what to think except that they surmised the dog was overcome with cowardice and only needed to have his masters near to encourage him in the face of supposed danger; and with this thought in mind no doubt, the boys proceeded on down nearer the swamp at the place where the dog emerged, at the same time setting the dog on and encouraging him in every way they could to go on in. But nothing they could do could avail to get that dog into the swamp ahead of them.

 While they were thus engaged and while they were pushing their way a little further on into the low bushes, the elder boy being somewhat ahead, they were struck with terror to see a great tawny red body rise out of the bushes with a sudden bound, alighting on Jim’s shoulders and bearing him to the ground. The small boy immediately took to his heels accompanied by his dog, leaving Jim to the fate to which the tiger would subject him.

 Alarm Given

Going by a neighboring house which was nearer than his home the small boy gave the alarm, the family being seated at breakfast. Quickly the man of the house ran to Stewart’s and told the family that a tiger had killed Jim. The news was spread from house to house as fast as possible and the dogs were on their way down to the swamp to make a search, expecting to find the boy Jim torn to pieces or probably eaten. Their guns consisted of the old-fashioned muzzle-loading shot gun, some of which had flint-locks, but in addition each man was armed with Bowie knives with which to fight if it should come to a hand-to-hand struggle.

When they arrived at the place where the small boy said the attack was made, there was the blood, the signs of the struggle, the leaves and straw where the victim had evidently been covered up but no trace of the boy or his clothing, except his little cap, could be found and except the blood.

Dogs Encounter Tiger

The dogs were set off into the swamp, immediately striking wind of the game and began raising a mighty din of yelps and the party knew that they were right on the animal. Immediately, however, the anticipatory sounds of the baying changed to death howls, and the party knew that their faithful dogs were being killed.

Three of the men, Hamp Guthrie, Alf Herring, and Jess Vickery, agreed to stand by each other until death and go into the swamp to the relief of their dogs. Armed with their guns and Bowie Knives they pushed their way as fast as they could through the swamp to where the battle between beast and dogs was raging, and were horrified to see that one or two of the dogs had already been killed and others were being mangled as fast as they came in reach of the in position in the center of the pack of dogs and in such close proximity that a shot could not be made without danger of wounding or killing a dog. Hamp Guthrie, being of a daring and intrepid character, somewhat braver than the other men, decided to get into the fight and tackle the beast with his knife but he made the others promise to stand by him and help him out of the danger to the last. The animal didn’t wait however for Guthrie to reach it. Releasing its hold on the dogs it leaped with a mighty bound upon the shoulders of Guthrie and bore him to the ground. There, in a perfect pandemonium of shrieks, growls, and yelps it held him while it proceeded to tear his flesh with teeth and claws until Jess Vickery ran up an holding the muzzle of his gun to its side, caught a moment when he could discharge his gun without danger to Guthrie, and drove the whole load from his gun through its body. The shot however, failed to make the animal release its hold. He then clubbed his gun and broke it over the animal’s body, still the beast did not let go. He then grabbed up Guthrie’s gun which had been dropped when he was attacked, and broke it over the animal. By this time , Alf Herring had run up with his Bowie knife and together with Vickery they succeeded in stabbing and cutting the beast until it fell over dead.

Guthrie had been terribly lacerated and bitten on the neck, shoulders and head, and his clothing were torn to shreds. He was weak from loss of blood and from the terrible encounter but was able to walk home.

Hightower Turns Up.

By this time, others of the neighborhood had arrived on the scene and brought to the hunters the news that Jim was not dead but horribly wounded and mangled by the tiger, his back, neck, and face and head being terribly torn, two of his jaw teeth broken out by the biting of the animal and clothing literally torn off of him.

The story of the attack as related by Jim, was to the effect when the tiger bore him down he fell on his face and having presence of mind, he would not cry out from the pain but would remain perfectly still like as if dead and worthy of his foe,  hold his breath when the animal would cease his biting and apparently listen, precisely as a cat does when trying to decide whether she has succeeded in extinguishing the life in the rat she has caught.  This was continued no doubt to what seemed an age to the suffering and bleeding boy, until finally the animal decided that it was safe to leave him and pursue the other and smaller boy.  Jim said he watched from one side as he lay on his face , the maneuvers of the tiger as he would lift his head and look in the direction in which the small boy left.  Finally, he said, the great cat began hastily to rake up leaves and straw over Jim’s body and when he had covered him he bounded off Jim knew not where.  When all was quiet and Jim could hear nothing more, he cautiously raised his bleeding head and looked around and listened again to see if he could hear anything of his foe.  Not hearing anything, and thinking it would be safe to try and reach home, he arose ans as fast as he could in his terrible condition, struck out towards home.  He had proceeded only a few hundred yards before coming to a little branch over which he had to pass in order to reach  home by the nearest route and by which route his little brother had gone. When he came in sight of that little branch, imagine his fright if you can, to see that tiger standing there in the path and lapping water.  Fortunately the animal didn’t see him and Jim turned and made his way home by a different route and so escaped a second attack.

Carcass Displayed

The men tied the tiger together, swung it upon a pole and carried it out to the home of Green (W.G.) Akins, placing it in the yard where it lay for a day, a sight to the numbers of people having heard of the great tiger fight, had come for miles to see.

It was a male tiger, a magnificent specimen, and from the description given by those who saw it, must have weighed as much as 250 pounds and as much as four feet in length. It was a solid tawny red in color and about 30 to 36 inches in height.

Jim Hightower, by reason of the many adventures he experienced, may be said to have possessed a charmed life.  He not only had a hand ruined in a cane mill and miraculously escaped death from a tiger, but was struck by lightning and stunned and was weeks in recovering; and he was bitten by a small rattlesnake and suffered greatly from that. Then later on in life he got into difficulty with a man named Wheeler, killing him and for which crime he served a penitentiary sentence of thirty years.

Story Said True

The above story is true and is given substantially as related to me by two persons who were living in the vicinity at that time.  One of them, Mrs Martha Guthrie, widow of Samuel Guthrie, the latter was in the hunt and was a brother of Hamp Guthrie. She and her husband were living at the Joe Stevens place on the Berrien County side of the river at the time, and she had been married two or three years.  She is still living at the home of her son S. F. Guthrie, in the Upper Tenth District of Berrien within four miles of where the hunt took place.  She is 87 years old, totally blind, but otherwise in possession of her faculties. Her mind is bright for one of her age and she talks intelligently about many things that happened in pioneer days.

Witnesses Named

The other living witness who can talk intelligently about frontier life is Mrs. Annie May, wife of Mr. Jerry May, who lives five miles east of Nashville, out on the Milltown Road.  She will be 87 years old on the 26th day of May, 1923, and is well-preserved for a woman of her age. She has spent a lifetime of hard work and still keeps house with her husband who will be 89 years old on next Sept 2nd.  She does her own cooking and housework feeding the chickens and pigs. She is the mother of seven children, all grown and married; and the youngest son Sirmans G. May lives near his aged parents and has grandchildren of his own. Mrs. May was a daughter of Green Akins, in whose front yard the slain animal was viewed by her as a little girl and by the hundreds who came to see it.

By all accounts, the Berrien Tiger  was certainly a large panther specimen. If it was as large as indicated in the account above – 250 pounds – then it was larger than the current record specimen, killed in Colorado in 2001.

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Early Account of the Berrien Tiger, 1849.

An early account of the Berrien Tiger, the panther that attacked a boy named Stewart in 1849, was published in the September 18, 1849 edition of the Columbus Enquirer, just one month after the attack. Earlier posts (1849 Adventures With A Panther in Berrien County, GA ) have given subsequent tellings of the incident.

Even in this early account by the Columbus Enquirer, the victim of the panther attack is still only identified as a son of a “Mr. Stewart”.   The only other individual mentioned by name is  “Mr. Guttery,”   an early spelling for Guthrie.   As the records have shown, Thomas B. Stewart and family where neighbors of John H.  “Hamp” Guthrie in Lowndes County in the census of 1840 (prior to the creation of Berrien County).

 Columbus Enquirer, Sep. 18, 1849 — page 2  

 A PANTHER IN WARE COUNTY

We have received from a correspondent, the following account:
    On the 16th of August, in Ware  county, on the Alapahaw, two lads, sons of Mr. Stewart, went out to feed some hogs, and had a small dog with them and were attacked by a large Panther or American Tiger.  He first made his attack on the dog, but soon left the dog and laid hold of one of the lads, and tore him to the ground and bit and tore the lad till he supposed him to be dead, then scratched and covered him up with dirt and sticks and then left him and pursued after his brother, who had by this time made the best of his way home.  The wounded lad finding the tiger gone rose up out of his grave of sticks, and made his nearest way home, and being severely wounded and nearly famished for water, he recollected a hole of water in the creek, and directed his course for it; and when he came near the water, he saw the tiger at it, and as the tiger put his head down to drink, the boy went off the other way towards home; he had gone but a short distance, before he saw his father and three other men in pursuit hunting him, and he told them where he saw the tiger last; they went on to the place and found the tiger still there, and they put the dogs after him – but he did not give an inch of ground, but fought most ferociously and gave one of the dogs a deadly wound, and then the men advanced in shooting position, and the tiger seeing the men, quit the dogs and sprang upon one Mr. Guttery, and one of the men broke his gun over the tiger and still continued to fight with the barrel, but to no effect.  The men then drew their knives, cut the tiger’s throat and his entrails out, but the tiger never quit biting and lacerating with his claws, till the last breath left him.  If mortification does not take place, it is possible that Mr. Guttery will get over it.  But as for the boy, there is no chance for his recovery.  This tiger was one of the largest of the male kind.” – Fed. Union

But as we have seen, “the boy” did survive and went on to live a remarkable life (see The Misadventures of Mr. Stewart).

1850 United States Federal Census enumeration of John H Guthrie

Name: John H Guthrie
Age: 29
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1821
Birth Place: South Carolina
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Formerly Lowndes County, Clinch, Georgia
Family Number: 924
Household Members: Name Age
John H Guthrie 29
Mary Guthrie 19
Catharine Guthrie 5
Reason M Guthrie 3
Francis E Guthrie 1

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