The Old Log Church

Montgomery Morgan Folsom was a grandson of Randal Folsom and great grandson of Lawrence Armstrong Folsom, one of the pioneer settlers of Old Lowndes County, GA. On his mother’s side he was a grandson of Sarah Wooten and Morgan G. Swain, early residents of Troupville, GA.

Folsom was, according to his obituary, among the best known and most versatile newspaper men in the South. He wrote prolifically and his stories and poetry were widely published. He wrote about his childhood memories and tales heard from his elders about pioneer days along  Withlacoochee RiverTroupvilleCoffee Road, the formation of Lowndes County,  the Battle of Brushy Creek, fire hunts, and early Wiregrass Methodists.  His grandfather, Randall Folsom, was a leading member of the Methodist church.

In his book, Scraps of Songs and Southern Scenes,  Montgomery M. Folsom recalls his grandfather as larger than life. His details, if not an actual historical portrait, paint the church life of early Methodist pioneers. The piece, “Malachi,” describes a Methodist church which is not identified.  If it is Salem Church, it must be the original structure and not the church built in 1856 on the Coffee Road.  The church in Malachi matches the description of old Salem Church Folsom gave in 1885 “Long time ago there was another Salem, built of logs, clap-boards and puncheons.”  For Montgomery to have ever attended a service in the old log church means it must have stood for some years after 1857, the year of his birth, and saw at least occasional use, perhaps on special observances such as the love feast.

 

MALACHI

Ah, the old log church!

With its long roof of clapboards, and the swag in the middle where the back bone had weakened, and the broad, shutterless door, and the puncheon steps in front.

Then the side door where the women went in, and the window at the back of the pulpit. And the rows of benches running crosswise, and down next to the pulpit, either side, rows of benches that ran lengthwise.

These were for the old folks – mothers and fathers in Israel – and the old women sat on one side and the old men on the other.

The Amen corner. Grandpa had his seat up there, and he wore the old bench slick sitting there listening to the sound of the gospel and raising the hymns.

The old man – sacred be his memory – owned much cattle. He pastured his flocks and herds from the Ocmulgee to the Flint, and from Stono, where the devil dropped his shot gourd; and old Pindertown, on the north, to the black swamps of the Okeefenokee, and the pimple hills of Ocopilco on the South.

He hunted his cattle over an area as big as the German Empire.

He carried a whip that you could hear a mile, and when he hollered “cow holler,” the echoes reverberated from the pine clad ridge and the banks of reedy river, till you would have thought it was a regiment of whangdoodles sounding the charge.

Grandpa was very religious. He used to get formidably happy, and when he shouted he shook the walls of the old log house like Joshua and his ram-shorns on the plains of Jericho.

And he could talk at love-feast till the tears would trickle down the cheeks of the brethren like the summer rain on the furrowed brow of Signal Mountain.

When he prayed I always thought the good Lord paid some attention to him, for the old man meant every word he said, and he spoke out loud, and if he wanted rain he just asked for it.

Some of the rest of them I was a little doubtful about; but I knew the good Lord was obliged to hear Grandpa.

I can see him now, raise himself, clear up his throat, and as the preacher finished “lining out” the hymn, the old man’s broad chest would expand, a new light would come into that keen grey eye that was as sharp as an eagle’s ; and —

” All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
Let Angels prostrate fall.”

Another pause while the next two lines were read and like the rich throb of some great organ —

” Bring forth the royal diadem

And crown Him Lo-o-rd of All —
Bring forth the roy-al di-a-dem

And crow-n H-im Lo-o-rd of All ! “

Weaker voices swelled the grand old anthem of triumph, but Grandpa’s voice led all the rest.

It was like the deep rich roll of summer thunder, accompanied by the rythmic patter of the falling rain.

I just knew then, and I have no doubt to this day, that angels gazed over the walls of paradise and chanted a joyous refrain.

I was a little Catholic. Too young to know much about it, and I looked upon Grandpa as my father in God.

And my confidence was not misplaced.

This very night, somewhere beyond the twinkling stars of heaven, the old man is wandering among perennial pastures and by streams that never go dry. And his great big heart is throbbing with calm contentment, and his great big voice is leading some choir of angel voices in that same old song —

“And crown Him Lord of all ! “

One time, howbeit, the old man got me into a predicament.

It was one Sunday, when they had love-feast. Those wiregrass Methodists had real feasts of love in those days, when they laid aside the bickerings and cares and the fretfulness of earth, and gathered themselves to worship the God of love.

And the sun shone on leafy trees, and the winds were sweet and low as they sang softly among the pines. Wild birds flitted from wind-swayed bough to blooming thicket, and at the foot of the hill the streamlet crooned among the pebbles.

Far away in the golden deeps of the summer heavens cloud-ships lay at anchor, soon to hoist sail for the land of dreams.

One by one the elder members arose and told their experiences, and, good souls, magnified the few small sins their simple lives had known into black and bitter wrongs against their God.

Grandpa sat with his hands on the back of the bench in front of him, and listened with deepest interest to all that was said, now smiling gladly with one whose face beamed with the gladness of hope; now brushing off a tear in sympathy with some one whose anguish of spirit wrung scalding tears from a burning heart.

I grew drowsy.” I had committed but few sins. Stole a few watermelons, perhaps ; or caused Ponchartrain to kill the tabby cat’s kitten ; or broke up a bluebird’s nest ; or told a story about going in swimming. But they were sins too small for God or Grandpa either to mind much.

I sat on a crosswise bench where I could watch Grandpa and keep my eye on the preacher, all at the same time. Besides, I wanted to swap knives with Charlie Remington as soon as they all got through, and the love-feast was of only secondary interest to me.

Grandpa’s time came.

I was watching a jaybird in an oak tree outside, and my eyes were trying to make me believe there were two jaybirds, when I knew there was but one.

The old man arose, and resting his hands on the back of the bench, he gazed away off in the distance for a moment, and then cleared his throat.

“A-hem!”

He took the big red handkerchief from his hat by his side, wiped his ruddy face, and another —

“A-hem!”

Then he began deliberately —

“Well, bretherin, I feel that we aire all sinful creatures in the sight of God. The Scripter saith : ‘He that saith he liveth and sinneth not is a liar, and the truth aint in ‘im ! ‘

“But I don’t b’lieve in puttin’ too much distress on our sins and shortcomin’s. We’re bad enough without that.

“Let us be of good cheer, and not be cast down. Our Saviour tells us that He will send a Comforter, and ‘if I go not, the Comforter will not come.’ I am mighty well satisfied to take His word in all these matters.

“He has gone to prepare us a home, but He has not left us hopeless. That is the beauty of religion.

“And I want to tell you a source of great comfort to me.

You know for sev’ral weeks I’ve been a-ridin’ in the woods and I ain’t had much time to attend to my duties like I ort to, but I’ve kept my Bible with me, and I’ve been a readin’ at odd chances.

“And I want to tell you a little book that I’ve came acrost in the Bible that has done me more good than a little. And I want you all to read it keerfully. It’s a little book away over in the back of the Old Testyment, and you mought miss it unless you looked close.

“Mind what I tell you, now, and ‘tend to this right away. Fust thing when you go home, do you hunt it up and read it keerfully.

“Away out yander in them lonesome woods” — and one rough, brown hand was raised in the direction of the forest — “that little book has be’n a comforter to me.

“It is the little book of Malachi!”

Bang !

The fist came down on the back of the seat; I started from my doze, the jaybird flitted away, several old men groaned, and several old women said “Bless the Lord!”

The old man sat down.

“Malachi, Malachi, Malachi.”

The name seemed imbedded in my memory like a bullet in a tree.

“Malachi.”

All the day it haunted me, and at night I awoke from a dream and muttered, “Malachi!”

Next day I kept thinking over it, and it bothered me.

“Malachi.”

I would look it up. Grandpa said it was good to read and Grandpa knew. So I would make a still hunt for Malachi.

I found it, just as he said, and I read it over and over — skipped the hard names and spelled out the long words.

But to save my life I never was able to discover anything of special interest in Malachi. I found it very short, and I decided that was why he found it so comfortable. He could read it while his horse was eating, and be done with it.

And although I reverence the very wild vines that clamber over his crumbling tomb, and cherish every memory of the good man that is gone, I am still puzzled about Malachi.

Perhaps

If I should live to be
The last leaf on the tree

In the spring, I might find that comforter which the old man found in reading Malachi.

 

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Montgomery Morgan Folsom

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

Montgomery M. Folsom was a poet and a writer of the Wiregrass section of Georgia who contributed to both Georgia and New York newspapers. He was a prolific writer of prose and poetry, which was widely published and read.  He was a protege’ of Henry Grady, outspoken white supremacist and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution.  Folsom’s works captured the spirit of his early life in old Berrien County and the oral history of Wiregrass pioneers and slaves.

Among other topics, Folsom wrote about the Withlacoochee River, Troupville, Coffee Road, the formation of Lowndes County,  the Battle of Brushy Creek, fire hunts, and early Wiregrass Methodists.

His literary writing seems clearly influenced by the work of Joel Chandler Harris; his creative period coincides almost exactly with Harris’ tenure as assistant editor and lead editorial writer at the Atlanta Constitution. In some of Folsom’s stories, his use of dialect and appropriation of African-American culture could be subject to the same criticism as Harris’ Uncle Remus stories.

Montgomery M. Folsom

Montgomery M. Folsom

 

Born in Berrien County, GA on January 31, 1857, he was baptized by Reverend Payton P. Smith at Salem Church near Hahira, GA; He was married in New Pleasant Hill Church, Colquitt County, GA, November 13, 1879 to Frances Edna Croft, daughter of Mary Ann Hiers and William Nathaniel Croft, born in Colquitt County, GA, July 15, 1860.

Children:

  1. Mamie Leona Folsom – Born near Hempstead, Colquit County, GA, August 25, 1881; married in Atlanta, GA, September 15, 1898, to Dr. Frank Alexander Wynne of Rome, GA; widowed [date unknown]; moved to Dallas, TX; wrote stories and articles for newspapers and magazines; taught voice and piano; prominent in club work; traveled to Europe.
  2. Ewell Vernon Folsom – born February 10, 1883 near Tifton, GA; married in Orange, TX, April 7, 190e to Emma Myer Curtis, of Orange, TX; engaged in lumber trade in Orange, TX; prominent in social circles, a writer of short stories, a singer with a fine bass voice; died in Beaumont, TX February 18, 1933.
  3. Noel Byron Folsom – Born December 2, 1885 near New River Church, Berrien County, GA; served in the Army after the Spanish American War as an Assistant Veterinary Surgeon; married in New York, NY in June, 1912 to Mabel Bell Walsh, a resident of Yonkers, NY; craftsman, engaged in ship-building during WWI; writer of prose and poetry.
  4. Julia Grady Folsom – born May 15, 1889 on Fort Hawkins Hill, East Macon, Bibb, County, GA; named for Mrs. Julia King Grady, wife of Henry Grady; married first at age 14 in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta to Richard Trevanion Patton, son of Mrs. Julia Iverson Patton; divorced September 13, 1909, both being too young to carry on; married second on December 31, 1925 to John Daniel Hargraves, son of Frances L. Daniel and Dr. Benjamin Worthington Hargraves, who was First Lieutenant, Company K, 55th Infantry in WWI; writer of many fine poems, published in the Atlanta Constitution and other publications.
  5. Jessie Juanita Folsom, born February 9, 1894 in Atlanta, GA; graduated Law School, admitted to the bar but never practiced; feature writer for the Atlanta Journal; married July 22, 1917 in St. Philips Cathedral, Atlanta to Lieutenant Basil Stockbridge, Atlanta lawyer.

He died very suddenly of apoplexy in Atlanta, GA July 1, 1899. Upon his death, the Atlanta Constitution proclaimed Montgomery M. Folsom one of the best known and most versatile newspaper men in the South.  He was buried July 4, 1899 at Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA.

Montgomery M. Folsom Dead; Had Only A Few Hours’ Illness

Seized with a Sinking Spell Saturday Afternoon, He Rapidly Grew Worse Until the End Came Yesterday Morning,

Apoplexy Was The Cause

He was on the Streets Saturday In His Usual Health.

Was A Capable Journalist And Poet

He Was Well Known in the South and His Writings Were Widely Read and Copied – A Sketch of His Life.

      Montgomery M. Folsom, one of the best known and most versatile newspaper men in the south, died suddenly at his residence, 445 East Fair street, at 7 o’clock yesterday morning, after an illness of only a few hours.
      Saturday morning Mr. Folsom was apparently in his usual good health, and left his home in unusually good spirits. He returned home about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and complained of feeling bad. At 3 o’clock he had a violent sinking spell and was soon unconscious. His family became alarmed at his condition, and Dr. Johnson, who lives in the vicinity of the Folsom residence, was summoned. His efforts were unavailing, and the stricken man failed to regain consciousness.
       Later in the afternoon no change in his condition taking place, his son-in-law, Dr. F. A. Wynne, was called in. He remained by the side of Mr. Folsom all night long, but saw that his condition was hopeless.
At 6 o’clock in the morning he partially regained consciousness, but could not speak. At 7 o’clock death came suddenly and without pain.
      The immediate cause of death was apoplexy, superinduced by an affection of the heart, from which he had been a suffering for the past two years.
      Montgomery Folsom is survived by a wife and five children; Mrs. F. A. Wynne, Ewell V. Folsom, aged seventeen; Noel F. Folsom, aged sixteen; Julia G. Folsom, aged thirteen, and Jessie Juanita Folsom, aged eight. He also leaves one brother and one sister- Carroll R. Folsom and Mrs. Minnie Weeks.

The Funeral Arrangements
      The deceased was a member of the Cherokee lodge, Masonic Order, of Rome. The funeral will be conducted Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock with masonic honors.
      Up to a late hour last night it had not been decided whether the services would be conducted from the residence of a church. The list of pallbearers will also be announced later.

Sketch of his life.
      Montgomery Morgan Folsom was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers in the south, and his literary productions were widely read and copied. He wrote prose and poetry with equal facility, and his acquaintance with men and affairs was extensive. He was an indefatigable worker and one of the most productive newspaper men in Atlanta.
      By nature he was extremely companionable, and made many friends who were warmly attached to him. His death was the cause of universal sorrow among a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
Montgomery Folsom was born near Hahira, Lowndes county, Georgia, January 31, 1857, and was therefore forty-two years old at the time of his death. He was the son of James Rountree Folsom and Rachel Inman Folsom.
       His grandfather, Randel Folsom, was at one time a wealthy planter, possessed of literary tastes, who, when financial reverses overtook him, retired to the seclusion of his library and spent his declining years absorbed in study. It was from Randel Folsom that young Montgomery attained the rudiments of an education, which afterwards ripened into a rare culture.
      Montgomery Folsom was essentially a self-made man, and his fight for an education was a bitter, uphill one, fraught with obstacles in the shape of poverty and scant resources that would have daunted a nature with less steadfast purpose.
      However, he had a marvelous faculty for acquiring and assimulating knowledge, and once he read a book its substance remained with him. His grasp at the salient facts of a history or a scientific treatise was remarkable from the time he was a mere boy.
      Up to the time he was eighteen or nineteen years of age his days were spent in toll on a farm, and his nights in study. Arrived at the age of twenty, he became a pedagogue and taught small country schools in various parts of south Georgia. It was at Thomasville, Ga., while engaged in the avocation of school teacher, that he did his first newspaper work. His first published writings appeared in the Savannah Morning News, when he was a mere boy. They consisted of poems and articles of a literary and humorous vein.
      Later he began to contribute to the northern papers, and the New York Post and The Sun accepted many of his prose writing and verse. Up to the day of his death the later paper gladly accepted everything he wrote.
      The success of his writings decided him to adopt newspaper work as a profession, and his first editorial position was on The Thomasville Times. While at the head of this paper he wrote “Jeff Hancock’s Bull,” a set of humorous verses which attracted widespread attention —– for him a more than local reputation
      From Thomasville he went to Americus where he edited the Times-Recorder. Later he was given a position on the Macon Telegraph, and it was while in that city that his work attracted the attention of the late Henry Grady, who made him the Macon correspondent of The Constitution and encouraged him to write special articles for this paper.

Would Not Accept Pay.
      During the early days when Montgomery Folsom was connected with newspapers in the south he continued to do work for the northern press. This work he refused to accept pay for, and time and time again he returned checks to the senders with the request that they pay him in books. In this way he managed to accumulate a handsome library, which was composed chiefly of the poets. He was particularly fond of Byron, Shelley, Burns and Caldridge and knew many of their works by heart. He was also an ardent admirer of Victor Hugo, and was a deep student of the French revolution. Napoleon was his hero, and probably no man in Atlanta had read more miscellaneous literature bearing on the life and personal characteristics of Bonaparte.
       From Macon he went to Cedartown, where he purchased an interest in The Cedartown Standard, and was placed in editorial charge. In 1887 fire visited The Standard office and the plant, together with Mr. Folsom’s fine collection of books, was burned.
      Soon after this disaster he came to Atlanta and secured a position on the local staff of The Constitution. His  special work at this time, under the pseudonym of “The Night Hawk,” attracted considerable attention throughout the state.
      A connection with Society, a literary paper published by Mrs. Lollie Belle Wylie, followed. From Society he went to The Journal and from The Journal to Rome, where he edited The Tribune for a number of months.
      When The Evening Constitution was started he returned to Atlanta and was placed on the local staff of that paper. After the suspension of The Evening Constitution he returned to The Journal once more, leaving that paper to accept a position on The Chattanooga Times during the Spanish-American war, when troops were encamped at Chickamauga.
       In 1894 Mr. Folsom began to correspond regularly for a number of northern papers, and this work he continued to do up to the time of his death.
       He was a brilliant writer and a kindly gentleman, whose warm heart and generous impulses made for him many friends.

Grave of Montgomery Morgan Folsom, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA

Grave of Montgomery Morgan Folsom, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA

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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/

 

James Rountree (1787-1834), Pioneer Settler of Old Lowndes

James Rountree (1787-1834)

James Rountree, it is said, was the first pioneer settler to build a house in Old Lowndes County, GA.

James Rountree was a son of William F. and Rachel Rountree, born about 1787 in Burke County, GA. His parents were planters of North Carolina, but had come to Burke County some time before James was born.

The research of Robert Jeffries found that James Rountree moved from Burke County about 1808.  He settled in the newly created Telfair County.  Telfair and Laurens counties were created from Wilkinson County by an act of the General Assembly approved December 10, 1807 (Ga. Laws 1807, p. 37).

This map shows Laurens County (upper) and Telfair County (lower) outlined in red to show the original boundaries specified in the Dec. 10, 1807 act creating both counties. http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/histcountymaps/telfair1807map.htm

This map shows Laurens County (upper) and Telfair County (lower) outlined in red to show the original boundaries specified in the Dec. 10, 1807 act creating both counties. http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/histcountymaps/telfair1807map.htm

“County Records show that James Rountree, of Burke County, on June 27, 1808, bought Land Lot #319 in the 14th District … from John Hand of Columbia County for $100 as shown in Deed Book A on page 93, and on the same date he bought Land Lot #318 in the same district and county from Elijah Roberson for $500 as shown in Deed Book A on page 94.

Later that year, on December 13, 1808 this section was cut into Pulaski County by an act of the General Assembly (Ga. Laws 1808, p. 52). (Today, the 14th Land District of old Wilkinson County is now wholly in Dodge County, GA.)

“The Pulaski County tax-digest for 1811, shows James Rountree lived on Land Lot #150 of the 14th District of Pulaski, now Dodge County. He was also listed for taxation on Land Lot # 319 in the 14th District of Telfair County, and he owned the following property: 300 acres of land in Montgomery County, which had been granted to him, 342 acres of land in Burke County, which had been granted to him, 300 acres of land in Burke County, which he had bought, and Land Lot #245 in the 5th District of Baldwin County. He also paid taxes on four slaves.”

It appears that James Rountree married about 1810 or 1811, although  the record of this marriage and the name of his wife is not known at this time.  There are no extant records of the 1810 census in Georgia, and no records of this marriage have been reported from Burke, Wilkinson, Telfair, Laurens, or Pulaski counties.

What is known from the census of 1820, the 4th U.S. Census in Pulaski County, GA, is that the household of James Rountree there were four white children, three girls and one boy, all under age 10, and ten African-American slaves.  There were no free white adult females in his household. One would surmise that James Rountree was a widower, and that his first wife died sometime before 1820, leaving him to raise their four children.

1820 Census enumeration of the household of James Rountree, Pulaski County, GA seemed to indicate he was a widower living with his children and slaves.

1820 Census enumeration of the household of James Rountree, Pulaski County, GA seemed to indicate he was a widower living with his children and slaves.
 https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18200009unit#page/n100/mode/1up
http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/pulaski/census/1820/pg72a.txt

By matching family histories to the 1820 census, the children of James Rountree by his first wife were:

  1. John Rountree- died young
  2. Harriet Rountree (1812-1875); born January 15, 1812; married James McMullen, Jr., October 7, 1830; died November 10, 1873; buried James McMullen Cemetery, Brooks County, GA.
  3. Nancy Rountree (1814-1901); born October 25, 1813; married Clayton Bradshaw; died January 27, 1906, Brooks County, GA; buried John McMullen Cemetery  GroovervilleBrooks CountyGA
  4. Weston W. Rountree (1815-1895); born July 5, 1815; married Edith Elizabeth Folsom, daughter of William Folsom; died February 12, 1895, Lowndes County, GA; buried 
    Salem United Methodist Church Cemetery, Hahira, Lowndes County, GA
  5. Henrietta Rountree (1817-1901); born May, 1817; married Barry Wells, 1833 in Lowndes County, GA; died  ; buried  Berry Wells Family Cemetery, ShilohLowndes County, GA.

James Rountree first came to the southern region of Irwin County, GA in 1815.  According to A History of Savannah and South Georgia, Vol 2:

“Accompanied by three other enterprising and adventurous young men, James Rountree, Drew Vickers and Alfred Belote, [Lawrence Folsom] came to that part of Irwin county now included within the boundaries of Lowndes county, blazing his way through the wilderness on horseback.  

Rountree’s companions were Alfred Belote, Drew Vickers, and Lawrence Folsom.

The blue-eyed, fair-haired, 5’6″ Belote was 22 years old (born 1793). During the War of 1812, Belote was in the reserves with the 10th US Infantry but, according to the National Archives Register of Enlistments in the US Army, he was “discharged April 24, 1815, at Raleigh, NC, term expired,without joining regiment or corps.”  His father, Noah Belote, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  Drew Vickers, 40 years old, was a veteran of the Georgia Militia having served in 1793 in Captain Parrott’s Company of Washington County militiaLawrence Armstrong Folsom (1772-1842), at 43 years old was the senior of the group. His father was a Lieutenant in the Georgia Line during the Revolutionary War.  Folsom was also a veteran, having been commissioned an ensign in the Burke County militia on January 23, 1799. Folsom was married to Rachel Vickers; according to Folks Huxford she was a sister of Drew Vickers, but this is not confirmed by other researchers.

After exploring a considerable portion of South Georgia the quartet invested in government land…The four men went back to their homes in Pulaski and Burke counties, Rountree returning to his motherless children.  James Rountree appears in the 1818 Tax Digest of Pulaski County, paying taxes on 405 acres of pinelands and eight slaves.

The census of 1820 enumerates James Rountree in Pulaski County, GA with his children and slaves. Among his neighbors were William Hendley, his wife Millie Hendley, and four daughters; Nancy, Martha, Jane, and Sophia.  Also next door was the Hendley’s son, Horton Hendley and his family. William Hendley was a Scotsman and a veteran of the Revolutionary War, having served in the Virginia Continental Line.

After some time,  the four companions (Rountree, Vickers, Belote, and Folsom) made plans for relocating to the southern frontier they had explored in 1815,

Mr. Folsom buying a tract about a mile from Little River; Messrs. Rountree and Vickers located near by; and Mr. Belote purchased land that included the present site of the village of Mineola.

Again, Robert Jeffries reports,

“Irwin County deed records show that James Rountree of Pulaski County on March 6, 1821, bought Land Lot#497 of the 9th district of then Irwin, but later Lowndes County, from Kinchen P. Tyson of Jones County for $220 as recorded in Deed Book A on page 27. Also on October 16, 1821 he bought Land Lot #516 in the same district and county from Joseph Barr of Franklin County for $200 as shown in Deed Book A on page 25.”

The History of Lowndes County, GA reports that in 1821, the four settlers returned to that section of Irwin soon to be cut into Lowndes County. Sections in the north of old Irwin County had been settled and several counties had been laid out.  The families of James Rountree, Drew Vickers, Alfred Belote, and Lawrence Folsom and their African-American slaves were the first pioneer families to settle in the original county of Lowndes after moving there in the winter of 1821-1822.

“These gentlemen returned [to south Irwin County, soon to be Lowndes]… with their wives and children, continues A History of Savannah and South Georgia, Vol 2, making the overland trip in carts drawn either by horses or mules, following Indian trails a part of the way, at other times making their own path through the trackless woods. Whenever they came to a stream too deep to ford, they swam their stock across, and built rafts on which to take their carts and household goods across.”

These pioneer families were pathfinders, bushwhacking their way through Wiregrass Georgia. But soon the Georgia General Assembly appropriated funds for construction of  a frontier road. It was on December 23, 1822, that General John E. Coffee and Thomas Swain were appointed to superintend the construction. Enoch Hall was employed as one of the overseers for the construction.  Coffee, Swain, and then Governor John Clark were all neighbors and residents of Telfair County, which undoubtedly influenced the selection of the route. This road, soon known as Coffee’s Road, led to the creation of Lowndes County  It ran 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’s Road passed about seven miles west of Ray City, GA. 

The Coffee Road provided a convenient route between the frontier homesteaders and their family connections in Telfair, Laurens, and Pulaski counties. It appears that about this time, James Rountree left his frontier home to make a return trip to Pulaski County seeking a wife and mother for his young children.   Pulaski county marriage records show James Rountree was married on March 6, 1823 in Pulaski County to Nancy Hendley.  She was the girl next door to Rountree’s Pulaski county property. She was born April 22, 1793 a daughter of William Hendley, Revolutionary Soldier.

1823 marriage certificate of James Rountree and Nancy Hendley, Pulaski County, GA

1823 marriage certificate of James Rountree and Nancy Hendley, Pulaski County, GA

Georgia
Pulaski County

To any ordained minister of the Gospel, Judge, Justice of the Inferior Court, or Justice of the Peace, to celebrate _________
You are hereby authorized and empowered to join in the holy state of matrimony according to the rites and ceremonies of your church James Rountree and Nancy Hendly and in so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant.
Given under my hand this 5th March 1823
Wesley Yarbrough D.C.C.O

The marriage of the with named James Rountree and Nancy Hendly was solomnized on the 6th March 1823 – W B McGehee J.P.

Entered by Wesley Yarbrough Clk Co

James Rountree took his bride back to his south Georgia place. That year, 1823 James’ brother, Francis Rountree,  also came south to homestead.  The home of Francis Rountree near the Withlacoochee River shortly became the center of governmental affairs for the county:  “On November 30, 1826, the county site of Lowndes County was changed from the house of Sion Hall to the house of Francis Rountree,” according to the Digest of Georgia.

The children of James Rountree and Nancy Hendley were:

  1. James Lester Rountree (1823-1905) 
  2. Annie B. Rountree (1826-1910); born January 1826, she was one of the first children to be born in Lowndes County, GA; married James Folsom, son of Lawrence Folsom;
  3. Georgia Ann Rountree (1834-1922); married J. W. Anderson; moved to Madison Florida

Of course, with the opening of Coffee Road and the creation of Lowndes County, many more settlers moved into south Georgia. Among the new arrivals were Jesse W. Hunter, Enoch Hall, Sion Hall, Hamilton Sharpe, David Mathis, Daniel McCranie and the families of William Anderson Knight and his son Levi J. Knight, who was the first to settle at the present day site of Ray City, GA.

James Rountree appears in the 1830 Tax Digest of Lowndes County and he paid taxes on Land Lots #451, 497, and 516 in the 9th District. The Rountree home and plantation was on Land Lots 497 and 516.  In 1833, he served on the Grand Jury of Lowndes County.

Of the Rountree, Vickers, Folsom, and Belote families, A History of Savannah and South Georgia, Vol 2, says:

They were pioneers in very truth, being the first permanent white settlers of Lowndes county, more especially of its northern portion. There were no mills in that section of the country for several years thereafter, all the grain being ground in mills operated by hand. They kept sheep and raised cotton, and the women used to card, spin and weave the homespun material from which she fashioned all the garments worn by the family. The wild game found in the forests furnished the early settlers with a large part of their subsistence, while acorns, beech nuts and walnuts were so plentiful that the only need of feeding hogs was to keep them from growing wild, an occasional meal serving for that purpose. Very little ready money was then in circulation in the south, and in the newer settlements few store goods were used, salt, sugar and coffee being the principal articles brought in.

Pioneer settlers like James Rountree or Harmon Gaskins did most of their trading at Tallahassee in the Territory of Florida, at St. Marks or Newport on the Florida Gulf Coast, or traveled to the east to trade at Centerville, GA on the St. Marys River. Historian Folks Huxford wrote, “An occasional trip would be made to Savannah but most of the trips were made to the other points named; these trips were usually about once a year, and would last a week or ten days.” Huxford describes how the men traveled in horse-drawn carts, “In such event of a trip, … a journey made in company with two or three neighbors situated like himself.  They drove their carts sitting astride their horses, and took rest-spells by occasionally walking by the side of the horse.  Such trips had to be made to St. Marks, Fla., or to old Center Village in what is now Charlton county.  

It was on the return from an excursion to the Florida coast that James Rountree met his  death. Robert Jeffries reported:

James Rountree was murdered and robbed… near Tallahassee, Florida…  while enroute to the “salt works” on the Gulf of Mexico for salt. Early residents of Lowndes and adjoining counties made regular periodic trips to the Gulf for salt. From his obituary, in the “Southern Recorder” at Milledgeville in the April 16, 1834 edition, it is learned that Mr. Rountree was murdered on March 26, 1834, at night, in his camp on the road from Tallahassee to Thomasville, enroute home. He was supposedly killed by three Negroes, one of whom had been apprehended at this time. The deceased was possessed of a kind and gentlemanly deportment – an innocent and good man – a valuable pattern of frugality and industry. 

The story of the 1834 murder fueled southern plantation owners’ fears of slave violence. After the murder of James Roundtree , a group of citizens formed a vigilante committee calling themselves “The Regulators.” The group was organized at the gravesite of Mr. Roundtree and William Lester was elected as the leader. William Lester was a relative of Susan Bradford Eppes (1848-1942), who was born at Pine Hill Plantation, Leon County, FL and grew up hearing the tales of the murder of James Rountree.  The book Creating an Old South describes her later writings about how the “brave ‘Regulators’ led by her relative William Lester caught an interracial gang guarding the booty from a robbery. Then ‘twenty pairs of willing hands did quick work – tree limbs were stout and strong – and five white men and one negro were left hanging high as Haman.”

Rewards were offered for the capture of the two other alleged murderers.  The Governor of the Territory of Florida, William Pope Duval, in the final days of his administration offered a reward of $200 which was matched by the citizens of Tallahassee.

April 18, 1834, reward offered for the murder of James Rountree

April 18, 1834, reward offered for the murder of James Rountree

Georgia Constitutionalist
April 18, 1834

A reward of $200 is offered by the Governor of Florida, and $200 additional by the citizens of Tallahassee, for the apprehension of two runaways charged with the murder of James Roundtree.

The Tallahassee Floridian reported in the July 22, 1837 edition that the murder of Mr. Rountree near the Georgia line had been committed by two runaway slaves named Joe and Crittenden. “The editor of the Floridian claimed that ‘The object of the perpetrators is supposed to have been money, of which the deceased was known to have a small sum,’”   according to a study of  Slave Unrest in Florida published in the Florida Historical Quarterly.

James McMullen served as administrator for the estate of James Rountree, Lowndes County, GA, 1834

James McMullen served as administrator for the estate of James Rountree, Lowndes County, GA, 1834

Milledgeville Federal Union
July 23, 1834

Georgia, Lowndes County

Whereas, James McMullin applies for letters of administration on the estate of James Rountree, late of said county, deceased,

These are, therefore, to cite and admonish all and singular the kindred and creditors of said deceased to be and appear at my office, within the time proscribed by law, to show cause, if any exist, why said letters should not be granted.

Given under my hand at office, this 8th July, 1834.
William Smith, c.c.c.

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