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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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/

 

Lowndes Immigration Society, 1867

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

Lowndes Immigration Society, 1867

Richard A. Peeples, a former Clerk of the Berrien County Courts, was among the prominent supporters of the Lowndes County Immigration Society, which formed to seek labor alternatives to employing recently emancipated African-American laborers. Others in the Society included:

  • Charles Henry Millhouse Howell, a planter with 2,200 acres in the 663 Militia District, the Valdosta District, on lots 36, 37, 57, 58, and 264 in the 11th Land District of Lowndes County, former owner of 17 slaves, in 1870 was employing and 13 freedmen and 5 other hands;
  • Henry Burroughs “H.B.” Holliday, father of Doc Holliday, originally settled in 1864 in the vicinity of present day Bemiss, GA  and later moved to Valdosta,  served as a civilian representative for Freedmen’s Bureau of Lowndes County, in 1870 owned 980 acres in the 663 Militia District on lots 146 and 176 in the 11th Land District of Lowndes County,  employed one hand and no freedmen, elected Mayor of Valdosta in 1872 and again in 1876.
  • Daniel J. Jones aka Daniel Inman Jones, during the war received discharge from the Confederate states army by sending a substitute to fight in his place, in 1870 a planter with 3,600 acres of land in the 662 GMD on lots 126, 127, 128, 155, 157, 168, and 180 in the 16th Land District of Lowndes County, GA, employed 31 freedmen and 15 additional hands
  • James Thompson Beville, former captain of the Valdosta Guards, 50th Georgia Regiment, in 1870 owned 2,045 acres in the 662 GMD on lots 62, 63, 64, 75, and 76 of the 16th Land District of Lowndes County, employed 9 freedmen and 11 other hands, later moved to California and lived to the age of 92;
  • David Peter Gibson, appeared on the 1864 Georgia Census of men who had not enlisted in Confederate service, in 1870 owned 1000 acres in the 662 GMD on lots 17 and 18 in the 16th land district and lot 161 in the 11th land district of Lowndes County, GA, employed one freedman and 4 other hands, moved about 1880 to San Sebastian, FL where he organized the first attempt to dig a cut to form Sebastian Inlet;
  • James A. Dasher, Valdosta businessman who sold the Trustees of the School for Colored Children a 1/2 acre lot south of the railroad tracks as the site for a new school, farmed 500 acres in the 663 Militia District on lots 77 and 78 in the 11th Land District of Lowndes County, in 1870 was employing 2 hands;
  • John Richard Stapler, owner of the 1,960 acre Alcyone Plantation, Hamilton County, FL, in 1860 owned 69 slaves and 14 slave houses, one of the commissioners who chose the site of Valdosta, later acclaimed as the breeder of pineywoods cattle known as the Stapler Guinea Cow;
  • Archibald Averett, farmed 880 acres in the 662 Georgia Militia District on lots 119 and 159 in the 16th land district of Lowndes County, formerly owned 25 slaves, in 1870 was employing 7 freedmen and 9 other hands .
  • Philip Coleman Pendleton, editor of the South Georgia Watchman, owned 400 acres in the 663 GMD on Lot 106 in the 11th Land District of Lowndes County, employed no hands
  • Colonel Sumner W. Baker, a lawyer whose office was on Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA
  • Colonel William R. Manning, was a large land-owner and slave-holder in Coffee County prior to the Civil War,  commanded the 50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Confederate States Army, in 1870 owned 1,540 acres in the 663 Georgia Militia District on lots 153, 154, 169, and 170 in the 11th Land District of Lowndes County, employed 3 freedmen and 3 other hands.
  • Archibald McLeod
  • William Zeigler, former owner of 46 slaves

Following the end of the Civil War and abolition of slavery, Southern planters looked for ways of maintaining the economy of their slave-based cotton plantations. In lieu of slavery, cotton growers wanted a system to bind Freedmen to plantations and farms and to compel them to work under conditions deemed intolerable to white men. With contract terms to ensure profitability for the land owners, the risk was left to the Freedmen that their back-breaking labor would even pay enough to feed their families.

A long article in the Milledgeville Southern Recorder, April 10, 1866 edition laid out the philosophy of the southern white planters, asserting that it had only been through their ingenuity that the labor of African-Americans had ever been made profitable.  The position of white planters was that slavery had been unprofitable in the early years of the United States; “From 1790 to 1800 the people of the southern states were seriously discussing the abolition of slavery on account of the unprofitableness of that description of labor.”

In this southern post-war narrative,  white men had devised the extensive cultivation of cotton, and thus enabled enslaved blacks to work profitably, a condition they could not achieve on their own account since “negroes lacked sufficient judgement or intelligence to cultivate cotton successfully, without continual supervision.” In the white southern view, slave-based cotton production had propelled the economic growth of the country, yet the North had caused Secession and the Civil War by unfairly imposing tariffs on the cotton production of the southern states. “Convinced that the high tarriffites of the North would never be satisfied till they had reduced the Southern States to the condition of tributary provinces, paying into their coffers the whole profits of their labor, they seceded, a war ensued, which has ended in their conquest and the abolition of slavery.”

Southern planters held that slaves and former slaves were unfit for anything but agricultural work, but readily admitted profitable cotton production required highly skilled labor: “Picking requires educated labor as much as spinning and weaving the fabric, and the training must commence in childhood. So well established was this fact, that a South Carolina or Georgia [slave] negro would always command a higher price than one from Tennessee.” 

The Milledgeville Southern Recorder article calculated a highly skilled freedman could pick two to three times as much cotton as any white laborer. Furthermore, the article asserted white men were unsuited for cotton cultivation, which was year-round, back-breaking work in intolerable conditions.

“It requires the constant labor of all the hands from daylight till dark, when the picking season commences to secure the crop. In a half hour after the hands enter the field they are as thoroughly wet from head to foot by the dew as if they had been plunged in a river. In two or three hours the scorching rays of an August sun are poured upon their bent backs with an intensity of heat of which no Northerner has any conception yet the vast fields are white white before them and they must toil on if they would secure the fruits of their previous labors. The malarious exhalations of the early morning, the saturation of the clothes with dew, and the subsequent exposure to the direct rays of the noon tide sun would prostrate any white man on a bed of sickness, of serious, probably fatal sickness in a week.”

“On the best cotton lands from which the millions of bales were draw [by slave labor]…the malaria is so dead that no [white] man can live there constantly.”

“After a killing frost, (say from the middle of November till Christmas,)…The pods become hard, presenting curved spines at the open end, which scratch the hands; besides it is cold work in the early morning.”

It was said that in some of the largest cotton producing counties in Mississippi and Louisiana, the only white residents were the overseers who suffered as high as 60 percent to 75 percent mortality rate, even though “they perform no labor and avoid exposure to the morning dews and the heat of the noon-tide sun.”

Can the labor of the freedmen be secured thus continuously and certainly, as the conduct of a cotton plantation profitably absolutely requires; Every man who understands negro character, especially every practical planter, will unhesitatingly answer no. Until some method can be devised to compel freedmen to enter into contracts of labor for terms of years, and to fulfil their contracts faithfully, till they become in some form or other fixtures to the soil, more or less permanent, their profitable employment on cotton plantations is impossible.

With the circumstances imposed by Reconstruction and failed attempts of white planters to regulate black laborers with the threat of “involuntary servitude,” Lowndes County planters set upon a plan to recruit immigrant laborers from Europe.  Among the prominent residents of this section who supported the Lowndes County Immigration Society was Richard A. Peeples, former Clerk of the Berrien County Courts.

Savannah Daily News and Herald
September 16, 1867

Labor Supply and Immigration

        The subjoined proceedings of a meeting of a large number of the most intelligent and respectable citizens of Lowndes county, in this State, will be read with interest. [Note: Freedmen were not citizens until the passage of the 14th Amendment, which was ratified in Georgia July 21, 1868] We have long been persuaded that some plan ought to be adopted to secure the amount of efficient and reliable laborers which our necessities demand, in order that we may successfully cultivate our lands, increase their yield and fertility, and regain the means and the wealth necessary to repair the losses our State has sustained, and reach, it is to be hoped, a higher state of prosperity than we have ever yet realized. The change in our labor system was sudden and violent, and it is not to be supposed that the freed laborer will settle down at once and become a systematic and reliable farm worker. Thus far a very large number, if not a majority of the negroes seems to be rather depredating and nomadic – uncertain and unsettled – indeed, has not made up his mind yet as to the necessity and utility of a permanent home and continuous application to labor. This should, and will, probably, change in course of time, when his interest come to be more clearly understood.
        Now, in spite of all malicious slanders to the contrary, the Southern people are disposed to deal kindly with the freedmen, and give them a fair chance to earn their living if they can be depended upon for constant and regular labor, so that the planters’ calculation in pitching his crop shall be in no danger of failing, as been frequently the case in all parts of the South for the want of the requisite work and proper attention. And here is the real difficulty of the present position of the labor supply question.
       We have urged this matter repeatedly upon the attention of the people of Georgia. There is a unquestionably great need for an increased supply of laborers and industrious cultivators and tenants of our lands. Some plan of encouraging immigration from Europe or the Northern States of steady laborers and agriculturalists ought to be put in operation, and it is important that it should be entered upon at once. If we had agricultural societies formed in the different counties of the State, perhaps those bodies might be the appropriate channels through which information might be diffused throughout the different countries of the Old World. Productive lands, situated in all parts of the State, can be purchased at very reasonable rates; but the difficulty is, there is no systematic method for making this fact known to foreigners who are anxious to buy, or for assisting emigrants in making selections. The desired object may be accomplished by one of three methods: 1st by appointing a commission to go abroad and induce immigrants to come to the State; 2d, by incorporating a company to promote the objects on the plan of land subscriptions or donations; 3d, by establishing a bureau, under the direction of the Governor, to take control over the matter.
           Our friends in the county named have adopted the first.
           Major Pendleton, a gentleman remarkable for his intelligence and tenacity of purpose in obedience to the requirement of the Valdosta Immigration Society, expect to leave for Europe about the 25th inst. Letters addressed to him at Valdosta up to the 20th, to Savannah up to the 25th, to New York up to the 30th, (in care of Wm. Bryce & Co.) will receive prompt attention.
          The true condition of the labor question in the South-the value of negro labor-the reliance to be placed upon them as laborers-may be fairly inferred from the action of the planters of Lowndes, among whom are many of the most sensible, practical and far-seeing in south Georgia.
         We invite attention to the movement. It is a significant one, in which the laborer now employed is perhaps most interested.
         Whether he will see the necessity laid upon him, or heed the admonition of passing events, remains to be seen.

Meeting of the Valdosta Immigration Society.
{From the Valdosta Times}

Valdosta, Sept. 12, 1867
          At a meeting of the citizens of Lowndes and Echols counties, held at this place today, the meeting was organized by calling Col W. H. Manning to the Chair and H. B. Holliday as Secretary. A committee of eleven was appointed to suggest business for the meeting, consisting of the following persons: Capt. J. R. Stapler, A. Averett, Wm. Roberts, J. W. Harrell, A. McLeod, D. P. Gibson, C. H. M. Howell, H.M. Coachman, J. C. Wisenbaker, W. Zeigler, Col. R. A. Peeples, and Maj. P. C. Pendleton. While the committee was out the meeting was addressed by Col. S. W. Baker.
         Our space does not admit of more than an abstract of the proceedings. The committee charged with the duty of suggesting formally, subject matter for the action of the meeting, reported in substance, that, additional labor upon our farms and other industrial pursuits was an absolute and pressing necessity, that could no longer be ignored without great detriment to the country. They report farther: That, from information in their possession, it is entirely practicable to procure emigrant labor of the kind wanted, and that they can be best obtained by sending an agent direct to Europe from among themselves to obtain them.
         That this labor can be had at a cost advance of probably less than $25 per head to be returned in the labor of the immigrant. And further that it is entirely practicable to obtain the labor required for the next crop.
          These were the views of the committee in brief, and when presented in form, received the endorsement of the meeting.
         A committee consisting of Capt. J. R. Stapler, Capt. J. T. Bevil and J. A. Dasher, Sr., was appointed to select an Agent to go to Europe for laborers. They selected Major P. O. Pendleton. The selection met the endorsement of the meeting, arranging for compensation, &c.
         He was instructed to contract with laborers for two or three years if in his opinion practicable and to allow a minster of the Gospel of the faith of the emigrant and also a brewer to accompany them if desired by them. Each subscriber was required to give a descriptive list of the number and kind of laborers wanted, and the Agent authorized to pay as high as $15 per month for labor, the laborer supporting himself.
        It was the expressed and emphatic opinion of the meeting that no planter ought to employ a freedman who has been discharged by his employer for misconduct, but that the freedman should have a recommendation from his former employer.
        On motion, a committee of ten was appointed to act as a Finance and Executive Committee. The following is the committee appointed by the Chair:

J. R. Stapler
J. W. Harrell
Jas. A Dasher, Sr.,
D. P. Gibson
J. T. Bevil
D. J. Jones
A. Averett
C. H. M. Howell
J. H. Tillman,
Executive Committee

         After which the meeting adjourned to meet on next Thursday, the 19th, at which time a further report may be expected from the Agent who has been instructed to visit Savannah to obtain information and in furtherance of the views of the meeting.
         All interested in this and adjoining counties are requested to unite with the meeting on that day.


Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes County Immigration Society

The long journey of Major Philip Coleman Pendleton to Scotland in late 1867 to recruit Scottish immigrants to settle at Valdosta, GA, and work the cotton has been chronicled by his second great granddaughter, Catherine Pendleton in the Pendleton Genealogy Post.

Major Pendleton probably departed Valdosta  via the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad traveling approximately 170 miles to the port at Savannah, GA.  At about 62 miles from Valdosta the train passed through the Tebeauville station, now Waycross, GA. Pendleton himself had founded the community of Tebeauville, settling his family and others of the Pendleton family connection there in 1857. Originally, “The station was to be named Pendleton but Mr. Pendleton requested the station be named Tebeauville after his father-in-law, Frederic Edmund Tebeau of Savannah…Tebeauville had been the ninth station to be constructed on the Atlantic & Gulf RR… To this day many old timers refer to the section of [Waycross] where the Tebeauville station was located as “Old Nine”. 

Pendleton arrived in Savannah, GA on October 18th, 1867.

Milledgeville Federal Union
October 22, 1867

Lowndes County Immigration Society.
Major P. C. Pendleton, Agent of the Lowndes Immigration Society, passed through Savannah on the 18th inst., on his way to Europe for the purpose of procuring Immigrants to this State under the auspices of that Association. The Association with which he is connected have authorized him to offer the most liberal inducements to emigrants from the old world to settle in Southern Georgia, where a rich productive soil and healthful climate invite the husbandman, and where the thrifty industrious laborer will find a generous welcome.

In Savannah, Major Pendleton stayed at the Marshall House, 123 East Broughton Street. The hotel had served as a Union hospital during the final months of the Civil War.

Marshall House, Savannah, GA, circa 1867. Philip Coleman Pendleton stayed here October 18, 1867 enroute to Scotland seeking immigrants to work Lowndes County, GA cotton plantations.

Marshall House, Savannah, GA, circa 1867. Philip Coleman Pendleton stayed here October 18-31, 1867 enroute to Scotland seeking immigrants to work Lowndes County, GA cotton plantations.

The Savannah Daily News and Herald
October 21, 1867

Major Pendleton will, we understand, visit Scotland and Ireland, and will go prepared to give all the information needed and to furnish to those desiring to come to Georgia, such aid and guarantees as will be satisfactory. We trust that he may be eminently successful, and that his mission will result in opening the way for thousands of industrious and thrifty families, who may desire to change the hard terms of the tenant system of the old country, for one more liberal and lucrative in the New World, which promises far better prospects to themselves and their posterity.

After a two week stopover in Savannah, Major Pendleton traveled to New York aboard the SS Herman Livingston

Advertisement for the steamship Herman Livingston, departing from Savannah, GA

Advertisement for the steamship Herman Livingston, departing from Savannah, GA

SS Herman Livingston made the regular run between Savannah, GA and New York

SS Herman Livingston made the regular run between Savannah, GA and New York

The first class sidewheel steamship Herman Livingston sailed for Baker, NY at 10:30am on November 1, 1867 with “P C Peadleton” and 19 other cabin passengers, four passengers in steerage. 1,416 bales cotton, 75 barrels of flour, 60 barrels of fruit, 2 bales deer skins, and 27 packages merchandise. On November 3, 1867 the SS Herman Livingston arrived  in New York, where through passage to Liverpool was available.

It appears Major Pendleton reached Scotland by December 4, 1867, or perhaps he was able to arrange his recruiting campaign in advance of his arrival. Pendleton placed advertisements for workers interested in immigration to south Georgia in the Glasgow Herald.

December 4, 1867 advertisement in the Glasgow Herald placed by Major Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes Immigration Society.

December 4, 1867 advertisement in the Glasgow Herald placed by Major Philip Coleman Pendleton, agent for the Lowndes Immigration Society.

Glasgow Herald
December 4, 1867

Important To Mechanics, Farm Labourers, Domestic Servants, &c.
Emigration to Georgia, Southern States of America

        Wanted, a number of Agricultural Labourers, also a few Blacksmiths and Cartwrights of experience, to settle in Georgia. The country, although in a transition state, is under good government, life and property being as secure as in this country. The climate is pleasant and healthy; provisions moderate in price, and certain soon to be lower. There are a number of Scotch settlers already in the district.
        The following are some of the further advantages which Emigrants may rely on:

  1. Wages nearly double those given in this country.
  2. Shorter working hours, with additional payment for extra time.
  3. A commodious dwelling house, with a piece of ground and sufficient time to cultivate it.
  4. Expenses of passage out defrayed, or assisted in same, and to be returned by instalments from their earnings until paid.

      To working men of industrious habits, and especially to those with large families, this will be found an excellent opportunity of bettering their position in life, as land is cheap, and every facility and encouragement will be give for their acquiring land out of their earnings.
      For general information, applicants will please apply immediately to James McLeish & Co., 48 St. Enoch Square, who will supply all particulars.
P. C. PENDLETON, of Georgia,
Representative of the Association in Scotland.
BANKERS.
The Union Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Messrs, Baring Brothers, London.
Glasgow, Dec. 2, 1867

On December 8, 1867 Major Pendleton wrote home from Edinburgh, Scotland. His letter home from that location included the following:

Edinburgh, Scot., Dec. 8, 1867
…Not a word from home yet. I wrote from Savannah and New York how letters should be addressed to me…Whether the fault may be John Bull’s P. master or Brother Jonathan’s, or that of misdirection, I cannot say…The work given me to do seemed to me so important that I fain would try it, in the hope of future good to those who sent me and to myself and mine. I trust I may be able to get through with it and see home once more.

Arriving in London, Major Pendleton wrote home on December 21, 1867

London, Dec. 21, 1867
I have been to Scotland, made all the arrangements for emigrants, but no money yet has followed me. I am much distressed about it, but I hope I may soon be relieved, be able to do what I came to do, and be speeded back to you…I left a heavy burden in the paper, but I thought I was doing the right thing to come on this mission…The public sense of Great Britain has been very much shocked by the acts of the Fenians. Irish-Americans are looked upon with marked suspicion…I have had one of my fits of dyspepsia, though I have been constantly going, ever at work. The best medicine for me now would be for me to be placed in funds to take out the emigrants so ready to go…I have not gone about much. Take a short walk up and down the Strand for a little air and exercise.  When I first came here I visited two or three points of historical interest. But my mind has been too much occupied with what I came to do, to feel interest in such things…When I have a moment from business to think of home, I think of the trials and labor you have to undergo. How I long to be home again with you, but I must go through the work I came to do if means be sent men and I am spared. May a kind Providence shield you all and bring me safely back to you! My mind has been on such a strain, since our unhappy war began – since our defeat – since this present enterprise- that I feel quite anxious for an opportunity for rest. Don’t know if you ought to expect me before the 15th of February if the money comes – if not, sooner it may be…

He checked into the Charing Cross Hotel. On December 22, 1867 his letters from there included the following:

London, Charing Cross Hotel, Dec. 22, 1867
…In perplexity of mind about many things connected with my mission…I have not been able to write much for paper, It is a hard task, with so much to do, to think of in other matters…No money yet. Have telegraphed and am waiting reply.

London Charing Cross Railway Station and Hotel. The hotel, built in 1865 is at the geographic center of London. Major Philip C. Pendleton, of Valdosta, GA stayed here in December 1867 while on a mission for the Lowndes County Immigration Society to recruit Scottish immigrants to south Georgia, USA

London Charing Cross Railway Station and Hotel. The hotel, built in 1865 is at the geographic center of London. Major Philip C. Pendleton, of Valdosta, GA stayed here in December 1867 while on a mission for the Lowndes County Immigration Society to recruit Scottish immigrants to south Georgia, USA


Major Pendleton’s efforts at recruiting were effective. Hundreds of Scots were eager to make the Atlantic crossing for the opportunity to work in south Georgia. But the new  year came and the Lowndes County Immigration Society couldn’t raise the promised money to pay for the voyage; Pendleton was forced to abandon the effort and return home alone. Pendleton sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, on the iron steamship United Kingdom.

Steamship United Kingdom

 

Major Pendleton arrived in New York on January 27, 1868. The following afternoon at the foot of Wall Street on the East river at Pier 16, he boarded the steamship Cleopatra bound for Savannah, along with Col. William Tappan Thompson, Associate Editor of the Savannah News and Herald, James Roddy Sneed, Editor of the Macon Georgia Weekly Telegraph, 21 other cabin passengers and 14 passengers in steerage.

The SS Cleopatra arrived in Savannah, GA on January 31, 1868.

The Macon Georgia Weekly Telegraph
February 7, 1868

The Foreign Labor Question – Among our fellow passengers by steamer from New York, a few days ago was our friend and contemporary, Major P.C. Pendleton, who has just returned from Scotland, where he had spent several months in securing field laborers for planters in Brooks and adjoining counties in Southern Georgia. He informed us that he found no difficulty in engaging the full number required as an experiment, viz. five hundred; but, unfortunately, his mission was brought to a sudden and unhappy conclusion. When everything was ready and he was about to collect together his laborers in daily expectation of a remittance to defray their expenses across the Atlantic, he received a dispatch from his principals, announcing their utter inability, from the unproductiveness of the year’s labor, to furnish any portion of the money required, and requesting his immediate return. So much for the fall in prices and the oppressive taxation of the Government.
        Major Pendleton informed us that any number of sober, energetic and skillful farmers could be procured in Scotland at reasonable rates, and that they are even anxious to come to the South and aid us in building up our exhausted country. As the Southern people are powerless, and the Government is in the humor of bounties, where could it better direct its appropriations than in filling up the country with just such a population. Our idle naval marine might be well and profitably employed to this end.

In early February Pendleton reached home again. A final account of the mission to secure European laborers was published in the Cuthbert Appeal.

The Cuthbert Appeal
February 13, 1868

Home Again
        After about three months’ absence in Great Britain, in obedience to the wishes of the Lowndes County Immigration Society, for the purpose of obtaining emigrants for this section of Georgia, we are, by the good Providence of God, “home again.” It is painful to have to say that the enterprise has been a failure. This failure was not because emigrants could not be obtained and brought cheaply, but because of the depressed condition of affairs that arose soon after our departure, owing to the low price of cotton and the increasing political troubles in reality and in prospect. The uncertainties arising therefrom, the want of means to carry to successful conclusion the well intended objects of the Association, was the alone cause of the failure.
        The number of emigrants desired could have been had in Scotland, with out difficulty, on the plan we were instructed to propose. Numerous applications wore made to be allowed to come under this plan of the society. Indeed, more than the means expected to be used, to aid their transshipment. – The failure is much to be regretted every way. First, because of the value of these labors to our planters and to the country, and second, because promises were held out to those who had consented to come in the way of assistance, (“holding the word of promise to the ear, but breaking it to the sense,”), thereby possibly placing in discredit any future effort that may be made by the South in the same quarter.
       It is beyond all doubt that the Scotch [sic] laborer is, If not the superior, the equal of the laboring population of any part of the globe. They are industrious, thrifty and painstaking in farm duties, to an extent surpassing anything we know here among the laboring classes. They are very poor, and almost always must remain so, under the system there. A little help given them, and the assurance of homes and work to do, would induce a very large emigration. There were well nigh a thousand applications to the two agencies established in Edinburgh and Glasgow, either by letter or personally, all eager to come; some of them promising to help themselves in part, if they should be accepted; some to pay their way; being allowed to come on the cheaper terms on which a number could be brought, with the assurances of work upon arrival here.
        We went there well endorsed, and credit and credit and confidence at once were given to our statements. It may well be adjudged that the failure to respond here was a painful disappointment to them as it was to us.
        Thus much briefly, until the society shall have had a meeting and speak for themselves after which information more in detail may be given.

Ξ

Freedmen of Lowndes County: 662 Georgia Militia District

Tax Records of Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA as listed in the 1870 Tax Digest

Freedmen listed in the 1870 Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662 tax digest

Freedmen listed in the 1870 Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662 tax digest

“Emancipation is a small evil compared with that arising from the attempt on the part of Congress to regulate the social, civil and political status of the freedmen in the several states.” – Herschel Vespian Johnson, former Governor of Georgia ~ September 12, 1868

Freedmen of Lowndes County:

  •   658 Georgia Militia District
  •   661 Georgia Militia District
  •   662 Georgia Militia District
  •   663 Georgia Militia District
  • 1246 Georgia Militia District

The 662nd Georgia Militia District, also known as the Clyattville District, occupied the southwest corner of Lowndes County.  Following the Civil War and Emancipation there were 200 African-American freedmen living in this district. Of these, only three had achieved land ownership by 1870; Harvey Pemberton, age 50 ; Buck Jones, age 59; and William Jones. Only 152 white men are listed In the 1870 tax records of 662nd GMD .

Some of the men in these rolls may have been present at the Booby Clift Affair, when a group of young white men attempted to bomb a gathering of freedmen attending a political rally at the Valdosta Courthouse on Saturday, April 4, 1868.

Several African-American men in this district immigrated with their families to Liberia in 1872, including Andrew Turkett, Jefferson Bracewell, Eli Ponder, Lewis Hart, Henry Jones, Caesar White. Also immigrating to Liberia from the Freedmen of the 658 Georgia Militia District of Lowndes County were Jordan Lemmon, Aaron Miller, London Wright, and Andrew “Anderson” Obey, and their families.

As a finding aid, the tables presented here are organized alphabetically by Name of Freedman. Images of the original pages are provided below.

Name Employer County District
Abe James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Abram H. C. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Alford R. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Anderson J. ——– Lowndes 662 GMD
Claborn B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Daniel R. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Dennis F. Swilley Lowndes 662 GMD
Ellic G. Cornwall Lowndes 662 GMD
George Studstill Lowndes 662 GMD
Jinks B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Lamb F. M. Gaston Lowndes 662 GMD
Mead R. Y. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Peter A. D. Boon Lowndes 662 GMD
Rufus R. Y. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Thomas G. Cornwall Lowndes 662 GMD
Tim G. Cornwall Lowndes 662 GMD
Wally James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
James Adams D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Doctor Ameson L. H. G. Hunter Lowndes 662 GMD
Drew Anderson C. F. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Ned Anderson D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Isom Austin H. C. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Luke Baker G. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Thomas Banks J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Reuben Bee V. F. Dasher Lowndes 662 GMD
Josh Black G. Cornwall Lowndes 662 GMD
Prince Blake David Peter Gibson Lowndes 662 GMD
Luke Boring J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Manuel Boston Mrs. M. A. B. Zeigler Lowndes 662 GMD
Peter Boston Mrs. M. A. B. Zeigler Lowndes 662 GMD
Moses Bowen J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Lewis Bowling D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Scot Boyd B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
James Boykin James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Jefferson Bracewell self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
George Bradwell B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Martin Brown B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Jackson Bryan B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Ennies Burk D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Bob Campbell Lowndes 662 GMD
Joseph Carbit T. E. Lanier Lowndes 662 GMD
Lafayet Catching Lowndes 662 GMD
Jerry Clayton S. B. Smith Lowndes 662 GMD
Ned Clemons G. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Iverson Collins D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Cox Dr. J. J. Cox Lowndes 662 GMD
Corbet Crocket self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Stephen Crumned Lowndes 662 GMD
Robert Darsey J. M. ——— Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Davis B. J. Sicinger Lowndes 662 GMD
Milton Davis self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Handy Dawson B. Harvey Lowndes 662 GMD
William Dennard J. N. ——– Lowndes 662 GMD
Nelson Dickson J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
William Elling James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Frank Fillmore R. J. Hinely Lowndes 662 GMD
Harrison Flint E. Outlaw Lowndes 662 GMD
Ike Floyd M. T. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Jack Fort D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Jack Fort James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Richard Fort G. Cornwall Lowndes 662 GMD
Jack Gilmore D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Moses Godfrey J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Chick Gordan D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Charles Griffin J. A. Hardie Lowndes 662 GMD
Isom Hall J. N. Strickland Lowndes 662 GMD
David Hamilton B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Robert Harper self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Will Harris J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
C Harrisson A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
William Harrison J. S. Swilley Lowndes 662 GMD
Lewis Hart self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Amus Heart D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Tobey Heart F. Swilley Lowndes 662 GMD
John Henry D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Reuben Horn H. M. Horn Lowndes 662 GMD
Jesse Howell B. L. Zeigler Lowndes 662 GMD
Sol Howell J. A. Howell Lowndes 662 GMD
R Irwin A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
John Jackson J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Henry Jackson B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Ben Jinkins R. Y. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Jack Jinkins self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Bob Johnson self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Boyd Johnson D. P. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Johnson D. P. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Jerry Johnson James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Ned Johnson self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Sam Johnson J. N. Strickland Lowndes 662 GMD
Aaron Jones J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Anthy Jones E. Outlaw Lowndes 662 GMD
Boston Jones B. J. Sicinger Lowndes 662 GMD
Buck Jones J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Dick Jones J. W. Perry Lowndes 662 GMD
Fain Jones J. B. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Handy Jones J. W. Perry Lowndes 662 GMD
Henry Jones self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Jones J. T. ——– Lowndes 662 GMD
Mud Jones B. J. Sicinger Lowndes 662 GMD
Reddin Jones J. W. Perry Lowndes 662 GMD
William Jones J. F. Arnold Lowndes 662 GMD
Henry Kee D. P. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Sam King B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
David Kinsley J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Joe Knight M. T. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Lank Knight M. T. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Abe Lambe W. R. Peterson Lowndes 662 GMD
Jim Lee J. S. Swilley Lowndes 662 GMD
Sesar Lester D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Peter Manor M. A. Lineberger Lowndes 662 GMD
Moses Marell D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Demsey Marshall James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Glasco Marshall R. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Handy Marshel F. M. Peacock Lowndes 662 GMD
Solomon Marshel F. M. Peacock Lowndes 662 GMD
Fayett Massey R. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Joseph McCraney D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Jacob Mckinney self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
James Mckinney self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Ishmal Mckinney self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Paterson Mckinney self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Miles McLeod D. McLeod Lowndes 662 GMD
Joe Miller J. F. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Peter Mincy J. N. ——- Lowndes 662 GMD
Frank Mitchell B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
George Mitchell D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Isam Mobly D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Chashall Mood self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Sabe Moore R. Y. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Monday Morell F. Hinely Lowndes 662 GMD
John Morgan D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Jack Moses D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Kelley Moses A. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Daniel Nelson J. H. —–ey Lowndes 662 GMD
Lewis Nelson J. F. Arnold Lowndes 662 GMD
Solomon Newton C. W. Stokes Lowndes 662 GMD
George Packick D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
R Paton A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
Harvey Pembleton self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Daniel Person D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Eli Ponder self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Jacob Preston B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Lovless Peterson W. R. Peterson Lowndes 662 GMD
Joseph Phillips William Phillips Lowndes 662 GMD
Sippio Prichard D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Hamp Reed Lowndes 662 GMD
Stephen Richards James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
Aaron Richardson R. H. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Jim Richardson M. T. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Tomb Riley E. A. Thompson Lowndes 662 GMD
John Roe D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Russel D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
C Shanks A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
Samuel Shelton E. Outlaw Lowndes 662 GMD
Andrew Simmons James Thompson Beville Lowndes 662 GMD
William Simmons L. H. G. Hunter Lowndes 662 GMD
Aurlander Simpson J. A. Wisenbaker Lowndes 662 GMD
Jim Simson B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Jacob Smith H. C. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Wiley Smith M. T. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Nelson Snell D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Elbert Spain J. W. Perry Lowndes 662 GMD
Elias Spell D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
John Spell D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
William Stanfild Lowndes 662 GMD
Fayet Staw D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Ely Strickland T. E. Lanier Lowndes 662 GMD
I Terrell A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
Allen Thomas D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Berry Thomas R. Y. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
George Thomas H. C. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Lewis Thomas D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Samuel Thomas D. McSwain Lowndes 662 GMD
Ceasar Tison self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
George Townsend self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Andrew Turkett self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
C Vandross A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
Henry Warren B. F. Lane Lowndes 662 GMD
Oren Welch E. A. Thompson Lowndes 662 GMD
Chadwick Wheeler self-employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Caesar White self employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Jeremiah White W. Lineberger Lowndes 662 GMD
Richard White self employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Dan Williams D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
William Dickerson self employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Edgar Williams E. Outlaw Lowndes 662 GMD
Fill Williams D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Frank Williams D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
George Williams B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Isaac Williams B. Harvey Lowndes 662 GMD
Joseph Williams R. J. Hinely Lowndes 662 GMD
Toney Williams W. L. Rogers Lowndes 662 GMD
Ivens Wilson D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Jerry Wilson B. F. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Samuel Winters self employed Lowndes 662 GMD
Moses Witherspoon A. Everitt Lowndes 662 GMD
Sidney Witherspoon D. J. Jones Lowndes 662 GMD
Larry Zeigler B. L. Zeigler Lowndes 662 GMD
Fed Zeigler Mrs. M. A. B. Zeigler Lowndes 662 GMD
Andrew Zitterower J. N. —— Lowndes 662 GMD
Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [2 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [2 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [3 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [3 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [4 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [4 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [5 of 5]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 662, 1870 Tax Digest [5 of 5]

 

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William Patten Drew Lots for Inheritance

William Patten (1820-1907) and his brothers, John Jehu Patten, Jethro Patten, James Patten and Matthew Elihu Patten all lived within the vicinity of Rays Mill, GA (now Ray City) and  Milltown, GA (now Lakeland). They were sons of Elizabeth and James M. Patten. Their mother, Elizabeth Lee Patten, was a daughter of Joshua Lee, who about 1830 dammed the northern outflow of Grand Bay, and constructed a grist mill at Allapaha, GA (now Lakeland), GA. Their sister, Nancy Patten, married John F. Clements in Lowndes County in 1840.

William Patten, of Berrien County, GA Image detail courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

William Patten, of Berrien County, GA Image detail courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

William, the oldest of the Patten brothers, married Elizabeth Register on May 4, 1845. She was a daughter of Samuel Register, of Registerville, GA (now Stockton, GA), born in Lowndes, now Lanier County, August 31, 1828. The couple made their home near Ten Mile Creek in the area later known as Watson Grade where they raised 12 children.  William Patten was Justice of Peace in the 664th district, Lowndes County, 1845-1848, and 1849-1856.

It is widely reported that William’s father, James M. Patten, died in 1846. His grave marker bears that date, but legal  notices published in the period newspapers clearly indicate he died prior to March 4, 1845. On that date William Patten applied for letters of administration on the estate.

William Patten applied on March 4, 1845 for letters of administration on his father's estate. March 25, 1845 Milledgeville Southern Recorder

William Patten applied on March 4, 1845 for letters of administration on his father’s estate. March 25, 1845 Milledgeville Southern Recorder

Milledgeville Southern Recorder
March 25, 1845

Georgia, Lowndes County

Whereas William Patten applies for letters of administration on the estate of James M. Patten, 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 prescribed by law, to shew cause, if any exists, why said letters should not be granted.
Given under my hand at office, this 4th day of March 1845. 
William Smith, c.c.o.

William Patten  was appointed the administrator of his father’s estate. Since the legal rights of women were severely abridged in those days, William Patten also acted as legal guardian for his minor siblings, Sarah Patten, James Patten, Elizabeth Patten, John Jehu Patten, Mathew Elihu Patten and Mary Patten.

Altogether there were 11 heirs to the James M. Patten estate, and a distribution of the deceased’ livestock was conducted at the March 1849 Term of the Lowndes Court of the Ordinary, with Levi J. Knight, Justice of the Peace, presiding and Thomas B. Griffin, Clerk of the Court. The livestock was divided into 11 lots. According to the court records, the lots were “numbred 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and were assnged to the distributees in the fowollowing maner to wit the names of the distributees were writen on another piece of paper and put into another hat. The hats were both well shaken. A name was then drawn from the hat containing the names then a number was drawn from the hat containing the number and in that manner continued till all were drawn.

William drew Lot number 5, consisting of “29 head cattle marked crop & split in one eare and under l— in the other, branded VV, approved to $4 per head” and took possession of similar lots on behalf of his six wards. William also purchased from his father’s estate a crosscut saw at $7.00, one bed & furniture at $11.00, one grub hoe at $.50, one desk, powder canister & trunk at $2.75, and five bee hives at $5.37.

William Patten was baptized into Union Primitive Baptist Church on September 9, 1848.  The church was constituted in 1825 on the banks of the Alapaha River by his parents, Elizabeth and James Patten, and maternal grandparents, Martha and Joshua Lee, along with William A. Knight, Sarah Knight, Jonathan Knight, Elizabeth Knight, Mary Knight, Josiah Sirmans, and Matthew Albritton.  William Patten served as clerk of Union church from May 10, 1851 to 1854 when he was dismissed by letter March 11, 1854, to unite with Jethro Patten, Aden Boyd, Nancy Boyd and others in organizing Empire Church. The Boyds gave the land for the church, located near Five Mile Creek  about six miles northeast of present day Ray City out the Sam I. Watson Highway, on Empire Road. Jethro Patten served as first deacon to the church.

William Patten remained a member of Empire church until his death.  William and Jethro were ordained to the ministry by Empire Church and served as pastors to several churches in Clinch and Berrien Counties.

In 1856, William Patten’s place was cut out of Lowndes into Berrien County and he was immediately elected to the office of Justice of the Peace in the newly formed 1144th district, an office he held from 1856 to 1869.  In 1862 he was Captain of the militia district.

There is nothing in the 1850 Census of Enslaved Inhabitants of Lowndes County or 1860 Census of Enslaved Inhabitants Berrien County to indicate that the Pattens were slave owners.  But like many other southern white men, both slave owners and non-slaveholders, the Pattens went off to fight for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Historian Gordon Rhea attributes non-slaveholders’ commitment in the Southern cause to deep held belief in white supremacy, increasing isolation and alienation from the North, and the southern theological interpretation of biblical support for slavery.  Near universal messaging from Southern religious, political and community leaders  reinforced the fears in white southerners of slave rebellion, collapse of the southern economy, loss of status and privilege, and the alleged criminal desires of freedmen.

It is said that William Patten, John Jehu Patten, James Patten, Matthew Elihu Patten and Jethro Patten all fought for the Confederacy. It appears that Jethro Patten served in the 12th Georgia Militia. Jehu and James served with Company E, 54th Georgia Regiment. William served with Company I, 54th Georgia Regiment. Other Berrien Countians in Company I included John Gaskins, Fisher Gaskins, William Gaskins, Joseph Gaskins, and Lemuel Elam Gaskins.  Matthew E. Patten’s Civil War service is not known.

Children of William Patten and Elizabeth Register Patten:

  1. James Irwin Patten born February 15, 1846; married 1st cousin Leanna Patten, daughter of Jethro Patten and Nancy Brown; died 1934
  2. Lewis C. Patten born October 11, 1847; never married; died September 18, 1890.
  3. William C “Babe” Patten born December 28, 1849; married (1) Sarah Lee (2) Laura Watson.
  4. George W. L. Patten born April 21, 1852; died August 8, 1864.
  5. Henry R. Patten born April 17, 1854; died single, November 23, 1873.
  6. Sylvester M. Patten born May 15, 1856; married Eliza Watson; died 1940
  7. Elizabeth Roena Patten born June 27, 1858; married Levi J. Clements; died 1951
  8. Samuel Register Patten born July 8, 1860; married (1) Laura Curry, daughter of Charles W. Curry (2) Matilda Patten, daughter of Matthew Elihu Patten; died 1938
  9. Marcus Sheridan Patten born 1861; married January 1, 1901 to Mittie Walker, daughter of Edgar D. Walker; died 1950
  10. Catherine Matilda Patten born December 20, 1864; died single July 2, 1893.
  11. Mary Jane “Mollie” Patten born November 30, 1866; married John Thomas “J.T.” Webb (1863-1924); died 1955.
  12. Edward Levi Patten born March 31, 1869; died single July 7, 1928.

In 1865 William Patten joined the Masonic fraternity, receiving his degrees in the old Butler Lodge No. 211 at Milltown, GA (now Lakeland). Other members of Butler Lodge included Thomas M. Ray , Hardeman Sirmans and Jesse Carroll.  William Patten was demitted September 18, 1880, and on account of the attitude of his church towards Masonry, never affiliated with a lodge thereafter.

In 1867 William Patten owned all 490 acres of Lot 385 in the 1144th Georgia Militia District of Berrien County. Lot 385 was north of Milltown (now Lakeland) between the forks of the Alapaha River and Ten Mile Creek. To the west, on Lot 384 his brother James Patten also had some property and the rest of that lot was owned by J. C. Clements. Lot 353 to the northwest was but a small part of the holdings of M. C. Lee.  By 1874, William Patten acquired an additional 490 acres on the adjacent Lot 351 which straddled the Alapaha River.

In 1880, William Patten’s place consisted of 60 acres of tilled land and 920 acres of woodland. He put in 17 acres of corn producing 60 bushels, 20 acres of oats producing 300 bushels, 20 acres of cotton producing 8 bales, 1 acre of cane producing 300 gallons of molasses. He produced well over 100 bushels of sweet potatoes. His orchards included over 100 apple trees and 100 peach trees. His real estate was valued at $800. He owned $50 worth of farming implements and machinery, and $450 in livestock. For the year 1879, he spent $20 on building and repairs, $70 on fertilizer, and $30 on labor. He had one ox, 28 milk cows, and 37 head of other livestock. His herd dropped 16 calves that year and he slaughtered only one animal. On June 1, 1880 he had 75 sheep. His flock dropped 35 lambs that year and he slaughtered three animals. Five sheep were killed by dogs, and ten animals died of stress of weather. He sheared 50 fleeces for 120 pounds of wool. He had 17 hogs, about 20 barnyard chickens and about 50 other poultry. The estimated value of all farm production was $530.

When the 1300th Georgia Militia District was formed in 1889, William Patten was elected Justice of the Peace in that district serving in the office until 1893.

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Freedmen of Lowndes County: 658 Georgia Militia District

Tax Records of Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA as listed in the 1870 Tax Digest

The 1870 Property Tax Digest for Lowndes County, GA was a tax roll of adult male residents. The rolls were organized by militia district.

  •   658 Georgia Militia District
  •   661 Georgia Militia District
  •   662 Georgia Militia District
  •   663 Georgia Militia District
  • 1246 Georgia Militia District

For white citizens, the tax records were organized alphabetically and include fields on taxable professions, dentists, auctioneers, photographers, bowling alleys, billiard tables, game tables, race tracks, children, disabled children, hands employed, real estate, and personal estate.

The tax records of African-American “Freedmen” were segregated from those of whites and placed in the very back pages of the digest. They were organized by ‘Names Of Employer” rather than by “Names Of Freedmen.” The only fields included on the form for Freedmen were for real estate and personal estate. Of the 500 “Colored” men on the 1870 tax rolls of Lowndes County, only 22 were reported with taxable personal property and only 11 owned any real estate.

Some of the men in these rolls were undoubtedly present at the Booby Clift Affair,  which occurred at the Valdosta Courthouse on Saturday, April 4, 1868.  In Valdosta, a group of young white men attempted to detonate an 18 lb keg of gunpowder to disrupt a gathering of freedmen attending a political rally. The speaker, Joseph Wales Clift (derisively called Booby in the southern press), was a Radical candidate for the U.S. Senate seeking the vote of former slaves.

Illustration of Freedmen in Georgia, 1866. The South: A Tour of Its Battlefields and Ruined Cities, a Journey Through the Desolated States, and Talks with the People

Illustration of Freedmen in Georgia, 1866. The South: A Tour of Its Battlefields and Ruined Cities, a Journey Through the Desolated States, and Talks with the People

As a finding aid, the tables presented here are organized alphabetically by Name of Freedman. Images of the original pages are provided below.

Several African-American men in this district immigrated with their families to Liberia in 1872, including Jordan Lemmon, Aaron Miller, London Wright, and Andrew “Anderson” Obey.

658 Georgia Militia District, Lowdnes County, GA, 1870

Name of Freedman Name of Employer County District
Ples Alexander T. Strickland Lowndes 658 GMD
Simon Baalem James Rountree Lowndes 658 GMD
Andrew Baily Land owner, Self-employed Lowndes 658 GMD
Evis Baker J. J. Hutchinson Lowndes 658 GMD
Sam Bevill T. Strickland Lowndes 658 GMD
Morris Brice R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Alford Brown R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Elick Brown I. H. Tillman Lowndes 658 GMD
Aaron Carter W.J. Nelson Lowndes 658 GMD
Moses Davis R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Richard Drayton B. A. Edmondson Lowndes 658 GMD
Daniel Folsome R. Folsome Lowndes 658 GMD
Randal Folsome H. R. Sharpe Lowndes 658 GMD
Caleb Franklin E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Jacob Gayfield W. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Thomas Godin H. B. Heel Lowndes 658 GMD
Charles Green James Rountree Lowndes 658 GMD
Berry Hall T. Strickland Lowndes 658 GMD
Ike Inman J. T. Webb Lowndes 658 GMD
Simon Inman W. Rountree Lowndes 658 GMD
Ned Johnson R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Nelson Johnson L. Cokers Lowndes 658 GMD
Oscar Johnson R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Charles Jones E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Bunch King L.M. Ayer Lowndes 658 GMD
Jef King L.M. Ayer Lowndes 658 GMD
Aaron Kirkling L.M. Ayer Lowndes 658 GMD
Umphrey Law E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Jordan Lemons B. Wells Lowndes 658 GMD
Jack Lukas E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Robert Lukas E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Richard Manor John Hodges, Sr. Lowndes 658 GMD
Green Martin I. H. Tillman Lowndes 658 GMD
William Martin R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Elbert McKennon R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Alexander McLevan W. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Joseph Miley R. Folsome Lowndes 658 GMD
Primus Miley R. Folsome Lowndes 658 GMD
Aaron Miller Land owner, Self-employed Lowndes 658 GMD
Albert Miller R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
John Miller Land owner, Self-employed, Represented by Aaron Miller Lowndes 658 GMD
Sam Mincy R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Wilson Mincy R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Simon Mobley Represented by Aaron Miller Lowndes 658 GMD
Dave Moore R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Jerry Nails L. Cokers Lowndes 658 GMD
Andrew Obea H. R. Sharpe Lowndes 658 GMD
Lorenzo Powers I. H. Tillman Lowndes 658 GMD
Moses Powers M. Nelson Lowndes 658 GMD
Richard Rafe B. A. Edmondson Lowndes 658 GMD
Aaron Roberts Represented by Aaron Miller Lowndes 658 GMD
Bill Rountree W. Rountree Lowndes 658 GMD
Josiah Rountree W. Rountree Lowndes 658 GMD
John Scruggs Represented by Aaron Miller Lowndes 658 GMD
Frank Sharp H. R. Sharpe Lowndes 658 GMD
Ned Sharp R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Henry Sirmons John Folsome Lowndes 658 GMD
Jack Smith M. Nelson Lowndes 658 GMD
Handy Smith M. Nelson Lowndes 658 GMD
Dennis Stafford R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Hamp Stafford R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Ike Stafford R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
Joseph Swain L. Cokers, Sr. Lowndes 658 GMD
Ben Syrmans R. Young Lowndes 658 GMD
William Thompson B. Wells Lowndes 658 GMD
Daniel Vickers William Cokers Lowndes 658 GMD
Simon Vickers A. H. Ennis Lowndes 658 GMD
London Wright Eli D. Webb Lowndes 658 GMD
Wright T Wright John Webb Lowndes 658 GMD
Allen Williams E. L. McRee Lowndes 658 GMD
Williams G. M. Borrew Lowndes 658 GMD
Lee Williams I. H. Tillman Lowndes 658 GMD
Peter Williams J. F. Barefield Lowndes 658 GMD
Peter Williams J. M. Lewis Lowndes 658 GMD

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 658, 1870 Tax Digest [1 of 2]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 658, 1870 Tax Digest [1 of 2]

Freedmen of Lowndes County, GA Militia District 658, 1870 Tax Digest [2 of 2]

The Booby Clift Affair in Valdosta

The Clift Affair occurred at the Valdosta Courthouse on Saturday, April 4, 1868.   Much of what has been written about the incident at Valdosta has minimized what would today undoubtedly be categorized as a terrorist attack.

The Clift Affair occurred just days after the Georgia Ku Klux Klan, probably under the leadership of former Confederate General John B. Gordon, began its reign of political terrorism in this state with the murder of Radical organizer George Ashburn at Columbus, GA. (Georgia would later name its largest military training base of WWI and WWII Camp Gordon in honor of General Gordon).     In Valdosta,  group of young white men attempted to detonate an 18 lb keg of gunpowder to disrupt a gathering of freedmen attending a political rally. The speaker, Joseph Wales Clift (derisively referred to as Booby in the southern press), was a Radical candidate for the U.S. Senate seeking the vote of former slaves.  Local public outcry over the Clift Affair in Valdosta, condemning equally the actions of the candidate and the bombers, was led by Richard A. Peeples, a prominent Confederate veteran and lawyer of Valdosta, and former Clerk of the Court of Berrien County, GA.

 

Joseph Wales Clift, circa 1861-1865. Source: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, National Archives.

Joseph Wales Clift, circa 1861-1865. Source: Mathew Brady Photographs of Civil War-Era Personalities and Scenes, National Archives.

Joseph Wales Clift was born in North Marshfield, Plymouth County, MA. on September 30, 1837. He attended the common schools and Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. He graduated from the medical school of Harvard University in 1862. He entered the Union Army and was acting surgeon from July 13, 1862, to August 7, 1865, then served in the Army of the Potomac until November 18, 1866. Afterwards he moved to Savannah, GA with his brother, Walter Lovell Clift.  J. W. Clift established a medical practice and Walter L. Clift practiced law.  J. W. Clift joined the Georgia Medical Society and was elected Librarian of the organization in January, 1867. The brothers became activists encouraging freedmen to exercise their right to vote which had been granted in the Sherman Military Bill.  J.W. Clift spoke at a Savannah gathering of several thousand freedmen on March 18, 1867.  On May 25, 1867 the Atlanta Daily Intelligencer announced J. W. Clift  had been appointed to the board of voter registration for the city of Savannah by order of Major General Pope under the Reconstruction Acts. Of the 5,330 voters registered in Savannah that year, 3,061 were African-American. At a meeting for the organization of the Republican Party in Chatham County, J. W. Clift was elected as a delegate to the Republican State Convention to be held July 4, 1867 in Atlanta, GA. Both brothers spoke at the Savannah Republican rally October 21, 1867, attended by about 4000 freedmen according to the Atlanta Daily Intelligencer. W. L. Clift was a delegate to the state constitutional convention.  In early 1868, Dr. J. W. Clift was considered as a Radical candidate for mayor of Savannah, but at a mass meeting of freedmen on March 16. 1868 he was nominated as the Radical candidate for the U. S. Congress.

Hitting the campaign trail, J. W. Clift came to Valdosta, Lowndes County, GA. In Pines and Pioneers, J. Shelton described Cliff’s event here:

A candidate for Congress, J. W. Clift arrived in Valdosta to make a campaign speech. Clift sought the Negro vote, and he scheduled an address for Saturday night, April 4, 1868. Without bothering to secure from the authorities the required permission to speak publicly, Clift began his talk to an audience at the courthouse. There was an explosion, for a group of young Confederate veterans had placed a keg containing a “small modicum of powder” beneath the building. No one was hurt, but the young men succeeded in breaking up the meeting.

Primary sources on the Valdosta bombing attack,  the Valdosta Times and Savannah Daily News and Herald, ensconced the event in a shared language that derides the victims and excuses the perpetrators. language that many references have maintained up to the most recent years.

The political candidate, Dr. J. W. Clift was constantly referred to as a “prowling, sniveling booby,” “vagrant scalawag, ” or “carpet bagger.” The terms scalawag and carpetbagger have sometimes been redefined in the modern narrative as neutral;  scalawags were “southerners who supported Reconstruction” and Carpetbaggers were “northerners who came south after the war to seek their fortune through politics.”  But in 1868, these terms were unquestionably pejorative; carpetbaggers were unscrupulous Yankee profiteers and scalawags were the white southern traitors who collaborated with them and the freedmen.  In a clipping from the South Georgia Times reprinted August 20, 1868 in the Atlanta Constitution, Berrien County bragged that it had no scalawags:   “NO SCALLAWAGS IN BERRIEN! No scalawags in Irwin and Telfair, and that’s the reason no election is ordered for those counties. Y.M.D.C. is organized here, but there is not enough radicalism to keep it lively.” (The Young Men’s Democratic Club was the public political wing of the KKK,) Dr. Clift’s brother, Walter L. Clift, a lawyer and delegate to the state constitutional convention, was referred to as a “little cheese-eyed man” and both the Clift brothers were alternately tagged with the description as “a sour little fellow, with weak, wicked eyes…[and] industrious imbecility.” In an extended tirade, the Thomasville Enterprise referred to Dr. Clift as “a silly, overweening school boy, about to be elevated above his capacity…we were never more astonished at the extreme feebleness and want of prestige and capacity in a candidate for so high an office…Such is the contemptible creature who has the effrontery to ask the colored citizens of this district for their votes to send him to Congress of the United States… an unknown adventurer, destitute of talents, character, courage and every manly attribute – an ignorant, insolent upstart, who in the face of an outraged and indignant community, meanly seeks by falsehood and misrepresentation, by appeals to the prejudices and passions of their newly enfranchised race – by hypocrisy and deceit and every base and contemptible artifice, to obtain a position for which he is neither intellectually, morally, legally or socially qualified. 

White Valdostans asserted that by holding the meeting, Dr. Clift himself precipitated the incident  – that he was acting”illegally” since he did not have the approval of civil authorities, although the entire state was then under military rule and Clift was exercising free speech to address a peaceable assembly.  The Valdosta Times even suggested that J. W. Clift planted the bomb himself, in a diabolical plot to implicate “the poor rebs,”  widen the divide between the “good men” of Lowndes county and the “Negroes,” and create a sensation among his black supporters.

Valdosta Times referred to Clift’s audience as “ a mass of villainy, ignorance and vagabondism,” and the “ignorant and credulous classes.” The Valdosta Times wrote that the gullibility of the freedmen was illustrated in their naive belief of Clift’s statements that “white men would have to pay the tax to educate negro children.

The conspirators were just “some of the boys [who] concluded to have a little fun.”  They only “intended to create a ‘big scare’.

The bomb was just a “prank“…“a small modicum of powder, enough to make a little fume with the aid of fire.” Further, it couldn’t have been a real bomb because it was preposterous that any white man would have risked accidentally blowing himself up in the company of “negroes.

Subsequent reports suggest that the conspirators and their allies, having failed in the full destructive effects of the explosion, further broke up and dispersed the crowd of freedmen by force of arms, surrounding the Courthouse building and holding it throughout the night. At the time of the bombing on Saturday April 4, 1868, Valdosta and all of Georgia was still under the  federal military occupation of Reconstruction, and Federal officers viewed the civil unrest as a collapse of local authority. Albert B. Clark,  Freeman’s Bureau agent at Quitman,  “quickly reported to military headquarters at Thomasville that a riot had occurred and that local authorities were ‘powerless’ to do anything about it.

By Monday, April 6, newspapers all over the country were mentioning the Clift Affair in Valdosta, many attributing the violence to the KKK.

The Philadelphia Age
April 6, 1868
At a Republican meeting at Valdosta, Georgia, Saturday night, a disturbance was caused by the discovery of a keg of powder under the speaker’s desk. The meeting dispersed amid general excitement.

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Janesville, Wisconsin Gazette
April 6, 1868

The Tribune’s special Savannah of the 5th says the Republican meeting at Valdosta yesterday was broken up by a band of regulators of Ku klux Klan. Powder was placed under the building in which Dr. J. W. Cliff, the Republican candidate for Congress was to speak.

A New Georgia Encyclopedia article on Reconstruction violence in Georgia notes   “It is impossible to untangle local vigilante violence from political terrorism by the organized Klan, but it is clear that attacks on blacks became common during 1868. Freedmen’s Bureau agents reported 336 cases of murder or assault with intent to kill on freedmen across the state from January 1 through November 15 of 1868.”

At Valdosta, a number of concerned white residents of  met to discuss the bombing and attorney Richard A. Peeples, was called to the Chair.  Peeples was a former Clerk of the Berrien County Courts.  R. T. Myddleton was appointed Secretary. Following a motion by Col. A. J. Little, Peeples appointed a committee to draft a resolution expressing condemnation of the actions.  The committee, consisting of Henry Burroughs Holliday, Col. A. J. Little, B. F. Moseley, G. T. Hammond,  and M. C. Morgan quickly composed the following:

Whereas one J. W. Clift a candidate for Congress came to this place on Saturday last, and without giving to the civil authorities the notice required by military orders – so as to enable said authorities to have a police in readiness to preserve order – did at night hold a meeting composed of a large number of negroes, many of whom were armed and standing as guard around the house.

And whereas, certain irresponsible parties did, in a most irregular and disgraceful manner disperse and break up said meeting – thereby endangering the lives of many persons – much to the regret of all good citizens,

We the citizens in meeting assembled, do hereby, express our condemnation and dissapproval of said riotous conduct.

˜ ° ˜

On the evening of Monday, April 6, the civil authorities at Valdosta moved to preempt military intervention in the case. The Mayor M. J. Griffin, of Valdosta, ordered the arrest of  five  suspected conspirators in the bombing: A. H. Darnell, J. D. Calhoun. Iverson L. Griffin, B. L. Smith and J. J. Rambo.

A slightly more detailed version of the events in Valdosta, highly sympathetic to “the boys,” was published in the Savannah newspapers.

Savannah Daily News and Herald
April 10, 1868

The Booby Clift Affair in Valdosta

        Our readers have had rumors of a muss of some sort got up by the vagrant scalawag who aspires to represent the negro constituency of this District in Congress. We have heard various statements in regard to the affair, but nothing authentic until we met the following in the Valdosta Times of the 8th inst. The editor says:
        On Saturday night last there was quite a stir in our town. One Clift, surnamed booby, was here to make a speech, to induce the colored people to vote for him. He went illegally to work, having no fear of the military before his eyes, called his meeting, went to speaking, sans ceremonie, without so much as saying “by your leave, Mr. Mayor.” Having placed himself in the wrong by his lawless course, it is not to be wondered that there was as little sympathy for him as for his cause. Some of the boys concluded to have a little fun, and placed under the building a keg in which it was said there was a small modicum of powder, enough to make a little fume with the aid of fire.
        Another version of it is, that it was placed there with the cognizance of the said Clift, surnamed as above, for the purpose of making a finishing stroke to the poor rebs, as thereby and therein they were to be demolished indirectly by the gunpowder, but directly by his masterly strategy. It is idle to suppose that there was any intention on the part of the boys, if they did it, to blow up their friends and relations, some of whom were in the building. They intended a “big scare” and carried out their purpose quite effectively.
        We condemn in the strongest terms we can use, all such proceedings. They are both unlawful and unjustifiable. They tend to harm the cause they would subserve. The negroes will, of course, be inclined to listen to those who will endeavor to persuade them that it was really the intention to blow them up, and thus the breach be widened that good men are endeavoring to close up as far as may be practicable and right. And so far as this goes Clift has been partially successful, if his is the strategy that laid the explosive train.
        Our citizens have had a meeting and condemned this procedure in unqualified terms of disapproval.
        The strong presumption is that this diabolical gunpowder plot was “a weak invention of the enemy” – a resort of the prowling, sniveling Booby to create a sensation and to increase his electioneering capital with his ignorant and credulous classes.
         The idea that the young men of Valdosta would attempt with a handful of powder to blow up such a mass of villainy, ignorance and vagabondism as must have composed Booby’s auditory, is perfectly absurd – especially when it is considered that the Guy Fawkes of the enterprise in exploding the powder, to which no train or fuse was set, must necessarily have blown himself up with the rest. However fearless and self sacrificing the projector of such a plot might be, it is utterly preposterous to suppose that any white man would be willing to be blown to Ballahack or anywhere else, in such company.

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Valdosta Times
April 8, 1868

We are sorry that the Radicals have not sent a man of sense to run as a candidate for Congressional honors in the First Congressional District. The negroes yesterday “damned” Clift “with faint praise.” His speech was a feeble, sickly tirade against somebody or something, or nobody or nothing. Not one of his hearers could tell to-day what he said or what he meant. Some of them seemed to arouse when he said that white men would have to pay the tax to educate negro children. The response of one was “Bress God, brodder, let us pray.’’ The more sensible among them know how to estimate such a pretender. They are not quite so senseless as he took them to be.
Valdosta Times April 8th.

About the accused, this much is known:

  • IVERSON L. GRIFFIN
    Eighteen-year-old Iverson L. Griffin was the son of a wealthy planter and merchant of Valdosta. His father, Thomas B. Griffin, had served as a Confederate state senator of Georgia from 1861-1863 and was therefore disallowed from taking the Oath of Allegiance to restore his U.S. citizenship. His father had been the owner of 12 slaves, including 4 mulatto children under the age of 4. It is also noteworthy that the Mayor of Valdosta at the time was M. J. Griffin; the only M. J. Griffin that appears in the Lowndes County census records of that period is Iverson Griffin’s brother, Marcus J. Griffin.
  • JOHN DANIEL CALHOUN
    At the time of the Clift Affair, 24-year-old John Daniel Calhoun was a deputy sheriff of Lowndes County, GA. Census records suggest he may have been orphaned at an early age. His early childhood was in the household of Harmon Sapp. In the 1860 census, he was enumerated as a teenager in the household of William Bradford, working as a laborer. Also in the Bradford household was Richard Ault, who would later serve as blacksmith for the Berrien Minute Men. By the 1880s Calhoun would move to Berrien County, GA where he farmed in the 1145 Georgia Militia District. In 1905 he was serving as Postmaster in Crossland, GA.
  • ALEXANDER H. DARNELL
    Darnell was a young merchant of Valdosta. He was native of Kentucky and the first record of his presence in Lowndes County is his signature on the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, signed October 18, 1867. He was 25 years old at the time of the Clift incident. He died in Lowndes County in October 1869 from an “abscess of the liver”.
  • JOHN JAMES RAMBO
    Rambo, age 17 at the time of the Clift Affair, was an orphan of Confederate veteran Dr. John Rambo and Mary Ark Ryals. According to The Rambo Family Tree, his parents were both born in England and immigrated to Georgia. His father received his medical degree at the Medical College of Georgia in Atlanta, graduating in 1847. John J. Rambo was born January 18, 1851 in Perrys Mill, Tatnall County, Georgia. After his mother died of brain fever in 1859, his father married a second time to Maria Clifton.    His father was enumerated in 1860 as the owner of 7 enslaved people. During the Civil War, his father served as a surgeon in the 47th Georgia Infantry Regiment, rising to the rank of Major.  His step-mother died on March 14, 1862 His father left the army on September 17, 1862 because of a physical disability. Some time during or prior to 1863, John J. Rambo came with his father to live in Valdosta, leaving his half-brother William in the custody of his Clifton grandparents.  John’s father died in Valdosta about August 28 1864 at the age of 34.  After the Clift Affair in Valdosta,  John and some of his Ryals relatives kidnapped his younger step-brother, William Rambo, and traveled by boat to New York.  There, John J. Rambo studied to become a doctor and took up medical practice in Brooklyn, NY for the remainder of his life.

Mayor Griffin’s quick action was temporarily effective in preventing military intervention. By the time Lt. Bard and Corporal John Murray arrived in Valdosta with a detail of federal soldiers the five suspects were already in civil custody. For the time being the U. S. soldiers took no action. But a week later, after the alleged bombers were released on bond, the soldiers moved over night to arrest them and transported them to Savannah for confinement in the federal barracks. Valdosta Mayor M. J. Griffin protested the military arrests and Thomas B. Griffin, father of Iverson L. Griffin, traveled to Savannah to visit the accused in jail.  The South Georgia Times report of the arrest was reprinted in the Savannah Daily News and Herald, along with an exchange of telegrams between Mayor Griffin and military authorities.

Savannah Daily News and Herald
April 10, 1868

The Military Arrests in Valdosta.
{From the South Georgia Times}
         We are sorry to have to state that Monday night last some of our young men were taken from their beds and immediately hurried off to Savannah by United States troops, we presume to undergo military trial. It is alleged that they were engaged in the gunpowder sport referred to in — last. They have already given bond – the four are under arrest – to appear and answer before the civil tribunals. Our Mayor and Sheriff promptly discharged their duty in the premises. The hardship of the case is, that civil law has but a name. The iron is —ering in into the soil, and liberty and law is fast passing away. These young men are to be tried where perhaps their case is already prejudged, far away from their homes and sympathy and kindness of friends. Time was when such an act would have fired the great heart of the country from one end of is bounds to the other. They should have been tried by their peers of the vicin– — age, and if guilty of the violation of law, punished as that law would punish them, and not at the behest of prejudiced strangers.
        Our Mayor sent the following telegram to Gen. Meade relative to what had been done here. General Meade’s reply is appended. Alas! for the rights for which our fathers fought, and of which we have so much boasted.
         A telegram was received by Mr. M. J. Griffin, at 6 o’clock yesterday, from Mr. T. B. Griffin that “the boys were all comfortably quartered in the barracks, and well cared for.”

Valdosta, April 14, 1868
Major Gen. Meade, Atlanta, Ga.
Sir: – At a late hour last night, without my knowledge, a party of U. S. soldiers arrived here and carried away the following persons, viz. A. H. Darnell, Iverson Griffin, John Calhoun, Ben Smith, John Rambo – who are alleged to have been concerned in a riot at this place on the 4th inst. These men, as Mayor, I had arrested and bound to appear at the Superior Court of this county to answer for the same. I respectfully request to be informed if they were arrested by your order, and if not, that they be released and take their trial before the civil tribunals of the county.
I have the honor to be,
Your Obedient Serv’t
M. J. Griffin,
Mayor Valdosta

Atlanta, GA., April 14th, 1868
M. J. Griffin, Mayor Valdosta:
The persons named in your telegram were arrested by General Meade’s order, and will be held for trial by Military Commission.
R. C. Drum, A. A. G.

In subsequent days state and national newspapers provided additional details.

The Macon Georgia Weekly Telegraph
April 24,1868

The Clift Electioneering Trick At Valdosta.
Yesterday, Lieutenant Bard, United States Army, arrived in this city on the train from Valdosta, having in charge five young men, whom he had arrested there the day previous, on a charge of having been the originators of the disturbance which occurred at that place on last Saturday night week. –
This is the general supposition, as nothing was said by the arresting officer of the why and the wherefore of their being taken into custody. Their names are Alexander H. Darrell, John Calhoun, John Rambo, Benjamin L. Smith and Iverson L. Griffin. They are all young men of good family, and entirely innocent of all blame in the matter. Mr. Calhoun was Deputy Sheriff of Lowndes County, and a faithful and efficient officer.- Mr. Griffin was not present at the Court House on the night in question, and in no way connected with the affair. Thus are innocent men torn from their families and thrust into prison by the strong arm of military power, and made to suffer by the rascality of a Radical carpet-bag adventurer. [Sav. Rep., 15th.

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Indianapolis Journal
April 30, 1868

ATTEMPT TO BLOW UP A REPUBLICAN MEETING – Information has reached the Congressional Committee rooms that on Tuesday last [Saturday, April 4, 1868] an attempt was made to blow up the Court House at Valdosta, Georgia, where a Republican meeting, composed mostly of colored people, was being addressed by Dr. J. W. Clift (white). A keg containing eighteen pounds of powder had been purchased at a store in the place, and a portion take out to make a train, and the remainder of the powder was placed under the Court House. Fortunately the cask was discovered and removed in season, but the train [fuse] was fired, and in an attempt of the persons present to escape, they were fired upon by a gang of white men outside, who had surrounded the building. This party held possession of the place that night, but on the next day they were dispossessed by the military, and the meeting was held.

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Bedford Inquirer
April 17, 1868

Terrorism In The South

      Our Democratic brethern would have the people believe that the South would be a perfect paradise if such men as Meade, Pope, Sickles, Sheridan, &c., were kept away. General Hancock has had several months control of the Southwest trying to carry out a different policy from that of the before-mentioned heroes with what results is indicated in the following article from the Pittsburg Chronicle of a few days ago:
      The dispatches which we published in yesterday’s issue, relative to the brutal murder of Hon. George W. Ashburn, of Columbus, Georgia, by a gang of villains in disguise, and the breaking up of a Republican meeting at Valdosta, Georgia, by a band of regulators of the Ku-Klux Klan, come at the heels of much similar information through letters and newspapers, and show that in portions of the South, a reign of terrorism is in actual operation. It verily seems that these ill-fated people are moved by some malignant fatality to thwart all efforts which look towards their gradual restoration to order and prosperous enterprise. Not satisfied with opposing every political measure that has been devised to enable them to get out of the dreadful slough in which they were left upon the suppression of the rebellion, they are actually engaged in the suicidal business of convulsing society so utterly by lawlessness, as to put a complete quietus upon the views and schemes of all those adventurous Northern capitalists, who had begun seriously to meditate risking their families and fortunes in the South…It is not pleasant for us to be compelled to state that at present, in many Southern States, it would he unsafe for a Northern man to buy property and attempt to carry on any farming or manufacturing enterprise. We have never gone out of our way to give added circulation to the prejudicial stories that are periodically current about the South. Whenever we could, consistently with the truth, present the bright side of the picture, we have cheerfully done so .But it is, in our judgment, perfectly clear from the accumulated information which pours in upon us, that, notwithstanding the cheerful fancies of such military optimists as General Hancock, there is an immense amount of crime perpetrated in Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, and portions of Arkansas and Missouri. How far it would be possible to curb these excesses by military power we cannot determine. It is probably impossible to keep perfect order over so wide an area and amongst a population so thoroughly demoralized by a long and unsuccessful war. Years will elapse before anything bearing the faintest semblance to the orderly and regulated institutions of the North will prevail. Then will slowly set in a desirable immigration, and the wasted and cursed South will begin to recover, to get strength,to enjoy the blessings of law, and to reap the fruits of sensibly directed industry.

The citizens of Lowndes county presented a bond for the release of the alleged bombers to the military authorities in Savannah, but this offer was rejected.

STILL IN CUSTODY – The young men who were arrested by the military at Valdosta, because Dr. Clift attempted to blow himself up with gunpowder, for political capital, are still held in custody at the United States Barracks in this city, awaiting the orders of General Mead.

The men were kept incarcerated through the election of 1868, and for a couple of weeks afterward.  After about a month of confinement, the suspects were finally released on bail secured by citizens of Savannah.

May 8, 1868

Release or the Valdosta Prisoners on Bail.
—Yesterday Messrs. A. H. Darnell, J. D. Calhoun. Iverson L. Griffin, B. L. Smith and J. J. Rambo, who, it will be remembered, were arrested on suspicion of being implicated in the supposed attempt to blowup a Radical meeting at Valdosta, previous to the election, while one Clift was addressing it, were released on bail in the sum of $10,000 each, to appear for trial when summoned by the military authorities. This was done by order of General Meade. Captain J. L. Moseley brought to the city a bond of $60,000 of the citizens of Lowndes county, which Col. Maloney would not accept, and six citizens of Savannah, representing nearly $200,000, offered themselves as security, were accepted and the prisoners released. The late prisoners requested us to publish the following:

Savannah, Ga., May 8, 1868.
Editors News and Herald: We, the Valdosta prisoners, who have been confined in the United States Barracks at this place, wish, through your paper, to render our thanks to Col. Maurice Maloney and his command, for their kind treatment, both to us and to our friends who visited us.
Yours Respectfully,
A. H. Darnell, Iverson L. Griffin, J D. Calhoun, B. L. Smith, J. J. Rambo, Savannah, GA, May 8,1868.

To the Citizens of Savannah: We wish to return our thanks for their kind attention and hospitality while we were in confinement at this place in the United States Barracks, and to the noble-minded merchants who have so generously stood our most unreasonable bail required by the military authorities. We trust we may at some future time be in such a position as to repay the many obligations under which we have been placed.
A. H. Darnell, Iverson L. Griffin, J D. Calhoun, B. L. Smith, J. J. Rambo,

The Georgia Election of April, 1868

The election of 1868 was a four day affair which commenced on April 20. Throughout the voting period, the southern newspapers maintained a cacophony of allegations of voter fraud, corruption, official vote rigging, coercion, voter ignorance, and other irregularities.  By 1867, the conditions of Reconstruction required an Oath of Allegiance to the United States in order to be listed in the register of qualified voters.  White southern men whose national citizenship had been renounced by way of the Ordinance of Secession, oaths of  abjuration of national citizenship, oaths of allegiance to Confederate states,  or acceptance of Confederate citizenship were required to swear a new oath of allegiance to the United States in order to have their national citizenship restored and to qualify for the right to vote. Some whites who had held posts in the Confederate government or the governments of Confederate states were disqualified from having their citizenship restored through the oath of allegiance.

The April 1868 election in Georgia was a vote for state officers and U.S. congressmen and a vote on ratification of of a new state constitution.  When the votes were counted, the new constitution  was approved by a vote of 88,172 to 70,200. In the race for governor Rufus Bullock, defeated Confederate General John B. Gordon 83,527 to 76,356. In the elections for state representatives, Radicals won 84 of the 172 House seats (29 of them black) and came within three seats of taking control of the House. In the state senate, however, the Radicals (3 of them black)  carried a solid majority, with 27 seats to the Democrats’ 17 seats. The Radical believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites.

Clift Wins Seat in House of Representatives

Under Reconstruction, the results of the election were subject to certification by the military authorities. In the announcement made by General Meade, Dr. J. W. Clift was declared the winner in the First Congressional District of Georgia.

Milledgeville Southern Recorder
July 7, 1868

Headq’rs Third Military District, Department of Ga., Fla. and Ala.,
Atlanta, Ga., June 30, 1868.

General Orders No. 93,

From the returns made to these Headquarters by the Boards of Registration, of the election held in the State of Georgia for civil officers of said State and for members of Congress, under the provisions of General Orders No. 40, (Paragraph III,) issued from these Headquarters, which election commenced on the 20th day of April, 1868, and continued four days, it appears that in said election the following named persons were elected Representatives to the Congress of the United States from the Congressional

Districts to their names respectively attached, viz :
             First District—J. W. Clift.
             Second District—Nelson Tift, Sr.
             Third District—W. P. Edwards.
             Fourth District–Samuel Gove.
             Fifth District—C. H. Prince.
             Sixth District—John H. Christy.
             Seventh District—P. M. B. Young.

By order of Major General Meade.
R. C. Drum,
Assistant Adjutant General.

Following the ratification of the 14th Amendment by the newly elected General Assembly, the US Congress initially readmitted Georgia to the Union in July 1868.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.

Joseph Wales Clift served in the Fortieth U.S. Congress from July 25, 1868, to March 3, 1869.  

Second Valdosta Attack on Representative Clift

Representative Clift did not enjoy a triumphant return to Valdosta. While passing through the “notorious” town in October 1868, he and his brother, Walter Lovell Clift, were again assaulted and their lives threatened.

Manitowoc Tribune
October 8, 1868

      We are informed that about ten days ago Joseph W. Clift, M. C. [Member of Congress] from Southern Georgia, while riding in the cars on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, with his brother was treated in a manner which shows conclusively that free speech is not tolerated in that section of the country.
     When the train stopped at Valdosta a town of one thousand inhabitants, distant from Savannah about one hundred and twenty miles, a large crowd surrounded the cars, and some fifteen or twenty ruffians, armed with heavy sticks, entered the car with the avowed purpose of taking them out and lynching them.
They were only prevented from doing this by the urgent entreaties of several prominent men, one of whom was an elector on the democratic ticket. The argument of the gentleman was, that the ‘boys mustn’t do it because it would injure the party and town!’ The crowd outside becoming weary of waiting for the sport to commence, hooted and yelled ‘Bring the d—-d Radical out!’ and again the roughs seemed determined to accomplish their purpose but were again met by the same objections on the part of their friends and after heaping all manner of insults on them offensive gentlemen were quietly passing through their town, reluctantly relinquished their purpose and left the train. This town Valdosta enjoys an unenviable notoriety as the scene of a Ku-Klux monstralation last April when a band of forty or fifty armed men first placed eighteen pounds of powder under the Court house where Dr. Clift was about to address a Republican meeting and when by accident the infernal plot was discovered just in season to prevent their drunken tool from firing the train [fuse] and hurling three hundred people into eternity, the meeting was broken up by violence, and the mob took and held the town all night threatening to assassinate prominent Republicans and rendering it necessary to send for military aid before the meeting could proceed.
       Several person prominent actors in the April affair, and now under bonds of $10,000 each for their participation in the same were leaders in the recent attack.

Returning to Washington, DC, Clift presented credentials as a Member-elect to the Forty-first Congress but during the recess period actions in Georgia,  including the expulsion of black legislators from the state Assembly and the Camilla Massacre, had resulting in the re-imposition of Reconstruction and federal military jurisdiction for the state under the command of General Alfred H. Terry.  With Georgia’s return to un-reconstructed status, Clift and the other representatives and senators of  Georgia were not allowed to take their seats in the U.S. Congress.  

Thomas Nast sketch from a montage on Reconstruction violence entitled "Southern Justice," Harpers Weekly, March 23, 1867

“Southern Justice,” Thomas Nast sketch of Reconstruction violence, Harpers Weekly, March 23, 1867  depicted a scene in Texas but aptly portrayed the events of the Camilla Massacre which occurred September 19, 1868.

In January 1870, General Terry  removed ex-Confederates from the Georgia General Assembly, replaced them with the Radical runners-up, and then reinstated the expelled black legislators. “Terry’s Purge”established a solid Radical majority in the Georgia legislature, which ratified the Fifteenth Amendment  in February 1870 and chose new senators to send to Washington.

 The 15th Amendment to the Constitution established voting rights for African American men by declaring that the “right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century. Through the use of poll taxes, literacy tests and other means, Southern states were able to effectively disenfranchise African Americans. It would take the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 before the majority of African Americans in the South were registered to vote

On July 15, 1870, Georgia became the last former Confederate state to be readmitted to the Union.

Upon the withdrawal of federal military rule from Georgia, the rise of KKK terrorism quickly suppressed the newly gained civil and political rights of southern blacks.  When the midterm election put white supremacists back in control of the state senate, Governor Bullock resigned and fled the state rather than face impeachment by a hostile legislature.

Speaking from the steps of the Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C. on November 29, 1871, Dr. Joseph W. Clift made an impassioned appeal to the Radicals of Georgia, which was printed and circulated in a political leaflet.

 

 An address to the Republicans of Georgia .... Joseph W. Clift. Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C. Washington. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.20602100/

An address to the Republicans of Georgia …. Joseph W. Clift. Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C. Washington. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.20602100/

 

 An address to the Republicans of Georgia .... Joseph W. Clift. Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C. Washington. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.20602100/

An address to the Republicans of Georgia …. Joseph W. Clift. Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C. Washington. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/rbpe.20602100/

AN ADDRESS TO THE REPUBLICANS OF GEORGIA.

Governor Bullock having resigned, and the duly elected Representatives of the people having decided by an overwhelming majority that a Governor should be elected for the unexpired term, on the 19th of December, 1871, leaving only twenty days to organize a campaign under peculiar circumstances, and understanding that prominent Republicans, whom I honor and respect, have discussed the advisability of sustaining the veto of Governor Conley, by refusing to nominate or vote for any person for Governor, on that day, thereby letting the election go by default, I am prompted to write this letter and advocate, with such vigor as I may, exactly the opposite course of action.

I admit the arguments of my friends:

First . That there is little time to prepare for such a contest.

Second . That Governor Conley’s action, together with the silence of the Republican Representatives, who apparently acquiesced in it, have some force.

Third . Some minds may also be influenced by the depressing influences which still remain as the result of the election last December; and by the additional reason, that challenging for non-payment of the poll-tax, will prevent many colored Republicans from voting.

It has been said to me, let Governor Conley’s position be legal or illegal, it furnishes the Republican party an excellent excuse for not voting, and being badly beaten, the conditions being so unfavorable to their success in the contest. To many, these reasons, with other reasons, may be conclusive against our party running a candidate, and voting December 19; to my mind, they are not good reasons for such a course of action, and I sincerely hope our friends will immediately reconsider the question , and so far from letting the election “go by default,” make the above reasons alleged as sufficient to deter us from contesting the election with our Democratic friends, reasons for putting forth the most earnest and vigorous efforts to organize the party and meet the old enemies of Equal Rights, and exact justice to the colored man fairly and squarely in the teeth, and do brave battle for some pure-minded, honest Republican, who, if elected, will serve out the term with credit to himself and benefit to the State.

I am thoroughly convinced that this is the very best course for us to pursue. The contrary course seems to my mind neither wise, brave, patriotic, or just. We have as much time to work for the election as our opponents.

Governor Conley’s position is at least of doubtful legality, and even if it were technically correct, the voice of the people, speaking through their Representatives, speaks in thunder tones, and most emphatically—and as I think wisely—construes the language of the Constitution of Georgia to mean that a new Governor must be elected next month.

Neither brief time for preparation, Governor Conley’s position, the result of the last election, or the inability of our friends to pay their taxes, should for one instant shut our ears to this call of the people. It must, will, and ought to be obeyed at any cost.

The wishes of the people are entitled to respect, and the individuals, or party, who fail to heed them when so plainly expressed, and on so important a question as the one pending, will do itself great wrong, and suffer in the end accordingly.

I never did, and do not now believe in shirking a fight with Democracy under any pretext however specious, and circumstances however discouraging.

We ought to be ready and willing to meet them whenever and wherever duty calls, and defend the great principles advocated by our party since ’56, and by many good men long before.

These principles are as good and true to-day as ever they were, and the bitter and relentless warfare waged by our unscrupulous opponents against everything which tends to unshackle the hands of the honest laborer of Georgia—and everywhere else—should only nerve every man of us to “gird up his loins” and fight like heroes for the education and elevation of the masses, and the defeat of the cardinal principles of Democracy.

Instead of giving up the fight, let it be continued, and give them no quarter, till the last stronghold of the greatest foe of Liberty, and Equal Rights in this country, shall be carried, and they shall surrender to the cohorts of Freedom, and to the Civilization of the nineteenth Century.

If we would save our “Common School System,” in Georgia, and preserve the liberties of the people, we must fight it out with them, if we all go to our graves before the cause is finally triumphant. But triumphant it will be, and that at no distant time, as sure as a merciful God exists.

The wrongs of our poor people call loudly for redress, and the cry must be heeded, and responded to by all true hearts.

We must play no cowardly part in this fight, nor bow our neck to the Democratic yoke, otherwise we are not worthy the blessings we seek.

Let them, all the leading Republicans now in Atlanta, take Counsel together immediately, and prevail on Gov. Conley, Hon. J. S. Bigby, Ex-Gov. James Johnson, or one of a half dozen other pure and true Republicans of ability, and prominence, to allow the Party to make an effort to place them in the Gubernatorial chair.

Let Governor Conley reconsider his determination, and contest his right to his position before the PEOPLE, that Mighty Tribunal , higher than all courts.

Let us pay our poll taxes , rapidly organize our party in every county, and poll every vote we can; then , if we are ever so badly beaten, we shall have at least the satisfaction of meeting our old enemy face to face, and doing battle valiantly for the right.

It will put us in harness for the greater battle of ’72, in which the principles of justice will surely triumph over oppression and wrong, and the result be perfect Peace.

JOSEPH W. CLIFT.

Continental Hotel, Washington, D. C., Nov. 29, 1871.

 

Joseph Wales Clift died in Rock City Falls, Saratoga County, NY on May 2, 1908; He was buried in the cemetery adjoining the Clift estate, North Marshfield, MA.

 

Judge Richard Augustus Peeples

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

continued from Richard Augustus Peeples, Clerk of the Berrien Courts.

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

Richard Augustus Peeples was the seventh son of Henry Peeples. He was born in Hall county, Georgia, September 24th, 1829. He moved with his father, first to Jackson County then to Lowndes County (now Berrien), GA, settling on Flat Creek about 1847 or ’48. His father established a store, the locality hence taking the name of “Peeple’s Store.” and acquired some 1530 acres of land. Henry Peeples was enumerated as the owner of three slaves in the Census of 1850.  In 1850, Richard A. Peeples married Sarah J. K. Camp, born July 30, 1830, the younger sister of his brother’s wife.  They were married November 7, 1850 in Jackson County. After marriage Richard A.  and Sara Jane Peeples located at Milltown in Berrien County, GA where he was engaged in saw-milling for time.  Upon the organization of Berrien county in 1856 Richard A. Peeples was elected to serve as the first Clerk of the courts and  moved his residence to Nashville.  He was instrumental in the construction of the first school house and the first Baptist church

While serving as Clerk of the Berrien courts, R. A. Peeples undertook the study of law. In 1860,  he moved to the new town of Valdosta, purchasing ten acres of land outside the downtown area from James W. Patterson for $300. The census records of 1860 record that Valdosta had a population of approximately 120 whites and 46 blacks at that time.  Richard Peeples was the owner of four slaves. His real estate was valued at $2000.00 and personal estate was worth $5,500.00 On being admitted to the bar, he opened an office as one of the first lawyers resident in Valdosta. His law office, and that of William Dasher, were directly across the street from the Lowndes County courthouse. The early years of Valdosta coincided with the War years and, as most of the men were away in Confederate service, the dozen or so commercial and public buildings which had been constructed by 1863 were of rather unsophisticated wood frame construction. J. T. Shelton described the courthouse as “a rough frame building,  with a door leading into the court room and another into the small office of the clerk. The interior of the building had plenty of light from its several windows, but not a single coat of paint.

The children of Richard A Peeples and Sarah Jane Camp were:

  1. Sally Peeples (1850-1938)
  2. Henry C. Peeples (1852-1905)
  3. Charles B. Peeples (1854-1912)
  4. Mary Emma Peeples (1856-1928)

But Sarah J. K. Camp Peeples would not live to see her children grown. She died at the age of thirty-three on July 3, 1863.

Obituary of Sarah Jane Peeples, from the Milledgeville Southern Recorder, July 21, 1863

Obituary of Sarah Jane Peeples, from the Milledgeville Southern Recorder, July 21, 1863

Milledgeville Southern Recorder
July 21, 1863

DIED

         Departed this life, at Valdosta, Lowndes county, on the 2d inst., after a short but painful attack, of a few days, Mrs. SARAH JANE PEEPLES, wife of Richard A. Peeples, Esq., in the thirty-third year of her age.
         Beautiful, calm and trusting, passed the years of her earthly pilgrimage; and as quietly and beautifully has passed away, forever, one of the gentle and loved of the earth.
        She embraced religion in her fourteenth year and connected herself with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which she continued an ardent and devoted member up to the period of her departure from this world of trouble; and her death-bed scene was one of those a——— —-nces of the truth of Christian religion, which blesses the dying and reflects back upon the living the subdued, but steady light, which makes glad the heart of the Christian traveler. Husband, children, friends, servants, all were bid adieu, and forever with hopeful trust, and she quietly fell asleep in her Saviour’s arms and gladly exchanged this body of death for robes of light and immortality.
        Farewell kindly gentle, and loving daughter, wife, sister, mother, friend. May the strong light of thy truthful, Christian life and womanly virtues long dwell around the vacant hearts and habitation of mourning husband and weeping children. And may the God of all goodness and grace suit this deep and sad bereavement to the increased religious conviction of the stricken ones left behind.

A BROTHER.

Did Sarah J. Peeples die in childbirth? The obituary makes no mention of a pregnancy. But an inscription on her grave marker indicates that she was buried with “little Carrie”  – for whom no date of birth or death is given.

Grave of Sarah Jane Camp Peeples and her daughter Caroline "Carrie" Peeples, Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Image source: PhillW

Grave of Sarah Jane Camp Peeples and her daughter Caroline “Carrie” Peeples, Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Image source: PhillW

In the fall  and winter of 1863, when the Berrien Minute Men were with Confederate forces facing the Union Army’s encroachment in Georgia, Valdosta became one of the refugee towns of the South.  “As the Union Army advanced in north Georgia and drove toward Atlanta, residents of those areas left their homes,” J. T. Shelton wrote in Pines and Pioneers,

 Refugees clogged the railroads to the southward, for those areas were remote from the fighting. Riding in coaches if they could find seats, loading furniture, provisions and families in freight cars if they were fortunate in securing empties, a wave of new residents came into Lowndes county [via the new Atlantic & Gulf Railroad.]…Acting as a real estate agent, lawyer Richard A. Peeples helped many to locate on newly acquired properties. Some newcomers brought their slaves, and they had to find farms large enough to produce food for their laborers. When rations of corn and peas proved insufficient, the slaves ranged through the woods looking for hogs, cattle, even gophers to supplement their diet. Consequently the local people distrusted the imported black men with the strange “primitive” speech, for the south Georgians were not familiar with the coastal dialect. Ultimately, the rice laborers found no place in Lowndes and drifted back to their former homes.

Among those who “refugeed” to Valdosta was Miss Sarah Virginia Dent, of Savannah, whose deceased father was Captain James Preston Dent, and whose brother was serving in the Confederate States Navy aboard the Confederate raider CSS Alabama.

According to A History of Savannah and South Georgia, “During the war between the states he [Richard A. Peeples] commanded company of Georgia Reserves, being stationed at Savannah until the capture of that city, and then in Columbia, South Carolina. The Mayor of Savannah surrendered the city to Sherman’s army on December 21, 1864; Columbia, SC surrendered February 17, 1865. After the fall of the latter city Richard Peeples was sent home sick, and was unable to rejoin his command before the close of the war.” However,  the 1864 census for the re-organization of the Georgia Militia shows Richard A. Peeples claimed an exemption from military service because  he was a county tax collector. He was serving as the Enrolling Officer for the militia company in the 663rd Militia District in Lowndes County, at least as late as June 10, 1864. He supplied his own horse and shotgun.

A letter dated May 20, 1864 addressed to Lieutenant R. A. Peeples indicates he was then serving  in the Georgia Militia at  Savannah, GA and seeking a commission in the Confederate States Army.

Head Qrs Geo Militia
Atlanta May 20, 1864

Lt R A Peeples
Savannah Ga

Lieut,
In reply to your favor 21st inst the Maj Gen Comndg instructs me to reply that you are granted leave of absence from these Head Quarters until the point of elligibility is decided, & if against your right to hold a Commission in CSA, you will at once report to these Head Qrs. By order Maj Gen Wayne Commng
W K deGraffenreid A Ag

Richard Augustus Peeples, Civil War Letter

Richard Augustus Peeples, Civil War Letter

Confederate service records show R. A. Peeples was made Captain, Company G, Symon’s 1st Georgia Reserves. He was with the unit for July and August, 1864, as indicated on Company Muster Rolls , and was elected Captain on July 30, 1864. This unit was surrendered with the 6th Regiment Georgia Reserves and were considered prisoners of war after May 10, 1865.  He was paroled at Thomasville, GA on May 18, 1865.

 

About a year after the death of his first wife he [Richard A. Peeples] married Miss Sarah Virginia Dent, of Savannah, who had refugeed to Valdosta, and whose father [Captain James Preston Dent] was largely interested in the shipping interests of that city.[Her father died of cholera on  July 3, 1850.] A brother of hers, Capt. James Dent, was in the Confederate service on board the cruiser “Alabama,” and when she was sunk by the [USS] “Kearsage” he jumped overboard and escaped capture by swimming to the British vessel, “Greyhound.” [Deerhound] He died afterward from the exposure and its results.

By this second marriage there were born to him [Richard A. Peeples] two daughters and three sons, all of whom [lived] in Valdosta. -Memoirs of Georgia

The five children of the second marriage were:

  1. Walter Dent Peeples (1864-1926)
  2. Etta Lee Peeples (1865-1921)
  3. Richard Alexander Peeples (1867-1927)
  4. Fannie Peeples (1870-1938)
  5. William Cincinnatus Peeples (1872-1947)

After the war, Richard Peeples made his life in Valdosta.

[He] followed the profession of law in Valdosta  with more than usual success, accumulating sufficient to place his large and growing family in easy circumstances. For twelve years he filled the office of city judge, and was one of the influential Democrats and public-spirited citizens of this part of the state. Besides contributing largely, he canvassed the field and raised $2,500.00 to aid in building for the Baptists of Valdosta a house of worship, which was one of the finest in southern Georgia. [He also acted as agent for the church.] Later, he erected, almost unaided, very neat church building at Clyattville, in Lowndes county. – History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia

This church was,  “The Benevolence Baptist Church …organized about 1865 or 1866, by Judge Peeples, and the first building was located on the Henry Brown place. The church building was moved in 1884 to land given by Mr. Charlie Arnold, four miles north on the old Valdosta-Clyattville road. There were twelve charter members. The first pastor was Judge R. A. Peeples. Others were: Messrs. Dave Evans, Mart Knight, High, Pitt Head, Henry Bryant, W. J. Ballen, Davis, Thrasher, Gus Sellars, S.S. Mathis, E. L. Todd, Roy Powell, Harvey Wages, A.C. Pyle, W.C. Taylor, W. J. Harrell, and Pulian Mattox. -History of Lowndes County, Georgia

These four buildings [McPherson Academy, Nashville Baptist Church, Valdosta Baptist Church, Benevolence Baptist Church]  are monuments of his Christian zeal and philanthropy. 

In 1867,  R.A. Peeples was among a group of white Lowndes citizens wrestling with the new realities of Emancipation.  The slave economy of the South was wrecked. J. T. Shelton in Pines and Pioneers observed “In the unsettled conditions of 1865, 1866, and 1867, a grower found it difficult to make cotton; certainly the workers had a hard time finding enough to eat.”  Resisting the conditions imposed upon them by Reconstruction the white planters sought alternatives to employing Freedmen. On September 12, 1867 Peeples along with Col W. H. Manning, Henry Burroughs Holliday, Captain John R. Stapler,  William Roberts, John Washington Harrell, A. McLeod, Hugh McCauley Coachman, John Charles Wisenbaker, W. Zeigler, Major Philip C. Pendleton, Col. S. W. Baker, James A. Dasher, Sr., David Peter Gibson, James T. Bevill, D. J. Jones, Archibald Averett, Charles Henry Millhouse Howell, J. H. Tillman  convened to form the Valdosta Immigration Society. The purpose of this organization was to procure emigrant labor of “the kind wanted”, by sending an agent direct to Europe to obtain them. It was also the  emphatic opinion of the meeting that no planter ought to employ a freedman who has been discharged by his employer for misconduct, but that the freedman should have a recommendation from his former employer.  Major Pendleton was selected as the agent to make the trip.

In 1867, R. A. Peeples was elected as a director of the Georgia Masonic Life Insurance company.

He was a member of the Democratic Party of Lowndes County. In March, 1868 he was a vice president of the Democratic Convention of the First Congressional District of Georgia, which convened to elect delegates to the national convention in New York.

Following the bombing of a political rally of Freedmen held by congressional candidate J. W. Clift at  the Lowndes County courthouse on the evening of Saturday, April 4, 1868, R.A. Peeples chaired a civic meeting condemning the actions of both the bombers and the candidate. This event followed just four days on the Camilla Massacre, where 12 freedmen were murdered in what is generally regarded as the first strike of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.

In July, 1868 Richard A. Peeples was a Lowndes County delegate to the Democratic state convention to nominate party candidates for the President of the United States. In late August, 1868, Peeples, Remerton Y. Lane and Iverson Griffin, one of the men who had been implicated in the Clift Bombing at Valdosta in April, were among the organizers of a political rally at Valdosta to be held August 27. The announcement in the Valdosta South Georgia Times read, “there will be a free barbecue at Valdosta. Speakers from a distance may be expected. Let every man, white and colored, turn out.”

At the Democratic Convention of the First Congressional District, held September 16, 1868 at Blackshear, GA, Richard A. Peeples and P.C. Pendleton were delegates from Lowndes County, along with W.H. Dasher, James Dasher, James M. Clap and G.G. Hammond. Benjamin Jones, J. E. Williams and H. T. Peeples were the delegates from Berrien County. Delegates from Appling, Bryan, Chatham, Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Liberty, Montgomery, Pierce, Telfair, Laurens, Ware, Wayne, Brooks, Colquitt, Echols, Thomas, and Screven, as well as “colored delegates appointed by Democratic Clubs” were also seated for the convention [The Young Men’s Democratic Clubs were the public political wing of the KKK]. Richard A. Peeples offer a resolution, unanimously adopted, that the purpose of the convention was the nomination of a candidate for Congress in the election to be held March 4, 1869. On the third ballot the convention nominated Augustin H. Hansell as the candidate. The following day, the state House of Representatives in Georgia passed a bill permitting “none but intelligent persons to sit on juries, and exclud[ing] negroes from the jury box.”

Three or four times he [Richard A. Peeples] was elected alderman of Valdosta, and, once, was elected to the mayoralty.  At the organization of the County Court of Lowndes county in 1874, he was appointed Judge, and …held the position ever since, having been reappointed once; and his decisions were seldom reversed by higher courts.

He was ordained in 1876, at Statenville, in Echols county, the presbytery consisting of Elders N. A. Bailey, James McBride, E. B. Carroll and R, W. Phillips. He became pastor of the Statenville church, and, afterwards, of the neighboring churches of Macedonia and Bethlehem. He was for three years Chairman of the Sunday-school Committee of the Mercer Association, and through his instrumentality, mainly, the cause of Sunday-schools was greatly promoted in the eastern part of the Association. Indeed, all his time, which could be spared from his judicial duties, was given to this work, into which he entered most enthusiastically, organizing, by his own efforts, not less than eighteen Sunday-schools. Attended by the earnest-minded partner of his life, he would journey from neighborhood to neighborhood in Jersey spring-wagon, carrying along an elegant parlor organ, advocating the Sunday-school cause, and furnishing such sweet music and singing such beautiful songs, that all hearts were enchanted. Such zeal and capacity could not but succeed.

Mr. Peeples is man of liberal views, and … broad and comprehensive mind. His reasoning powers are of high order, superinduced by an inquiring disposition, and by habit of analyzing, in detail, every thought and subject presented to him. The creatures of his own brain, as far as such can be the case considering that men are but divine instruments, his sermons are characterized by clearness and independence of thought, rather than by impassioned eloquence. In religion, as well as in the affairs of the world, he thinks and acts for himself, with comparative indifference to the opinions of others, being guided by his own judgment. In his speech and manner he is frank and candid, while deceit is utterly foreign to his nature. Five feet and nine inches high, and weighing one hundred and ninety-six pounds, he is man of robust constitution, and bids fair for much longer life of usefulness.  – History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia

In addition to his legal, civic, and religious work, R. A. Peeples was an accomplished farmer and business man.

Atlanta Constitution
December 19, 1882

Valdosta, December 18.
…Judge R. A. Peeples is one of our largest truck farmers. He is now making quite extensive preparations, and will plant next year 130 acres in melons, 10 acres in cucumbers, and about 12 acres in Irish potatoes, besides two acres in cabbages. The Judge has experience in this industry, and your correspondent will have some interesting facts to submit in a few months in regard to the result of his large operations.

His brother, Henry T. Peeples, farmed in Berrien County, GA where he was the largest producer of rice. His nephew, Henry B. Peeples, was one of the early teachers in Berrien County.

About 1885, Judge R. A. Peeples built a brick commercial building at 200 N. Patterson St. to house R.A. Peeples & Sons, which he had established in 1872 as  Valdosta’s first insurance company.  Today, The main entrance of the Peeples Building faces Patterson Street , but originally the main entrance was on Central Avenue. This building in the 1890s was the home of Dr. W. F. Munroe’s drug store; He had a popular soda fountain and was the first to serve fruit ices. This building now houses Kings Grill.

Judge Richard A. Peeples died on Sunday, July 19, 1891. The Valdosta Times reported his death.

 

Valdosta Times
Saturday, July 25, 1891

Judge Peeples Dead. He Passed Suddenly Away On Sunday Morning Last. Brief Sketch Of A Remarkable Career. Judge R.A. Peeples is dead!

He was called away suddenly at two o’clock Sunday morning last. Heart disease seems to have been the cause. On Sunday morning the 11th inst., he was suddenly attacked with a very severe pain in the region of the chest. He suffered intensely, and Dr. Lang was sent for, but before he came the trouble passed off, and the judge was riding about town apparently in usual health a few hours after. On the Thursday following, he had another but lighter attack which soon disappeared. On Saturday, in response to a petition from a colored Baptist Church in the lower part of the county, he got into his buggy and drove down to the Stegall Plantation to settle a disturbance in the Church. Mrs. Peeples was uneasy about him, and after failing to dissuade him from going, sent Jim Johnson, a colored employee, after him in a road cart. The Judge went to the colored Church, but began to feel so badly he was unable to assist the colored people, and started on the return home. He told Jim several times to drive faster, that he was feeling very badly. He got home about dark, and when the anxious wife met him at the gate he said he was quite sick. He refused all importunities to send for the doctor, or some of his grown children living in town, saying that he was not near so sick as he had been. He retired but did not seem to sleep well – his wife keeping a lonely vigil, while their two younger children slept unsuspecting, in other rooms.

About two o’clock Mrs. Peeples noticed that he was breathing badly, and at the same instant, she heard him slap his hands together, probably to attract attention, and when she got to his bedside he was speechless. His son Cincinnatus was immediately dispatched for a doctor, but the Judge breathed his last, without a struggle, before the young man reached the front gate. When he died, no one was in the house but Mrs. Peeples and their daughter, Miss Fannie. Kind neighbors and friends soon gathered in and performed such services as they could for the afflicted family.

During Sunday scores of friends and acquaintances called to see for the last time a face and form which had been a prominent figure in this community for thirty odd years. Among them were a large number of our colored people, with whom he was always popular. The funeral services were conducted at the house at 9 o’clock on Monday morning. Rev. P.H. Murray, the Pastor of the Baptist Church, was absent from the city, and couldn’t be reached by a telegram on Sunday; and the Judge’s warm friend, Rev. B.F. Breedlove, Pastor of the Methodist Church, officiated in his stead, assisted by Rev. Mr. Reaves. The earnest and eloquent words of the preacher were brief but impressive. The house and yard and street in front of the house of mourning were filled with sympathizing friends. The active pall bearers were Messrs. C.C. Varnedoe, S.B. Godwin, L.F. Zeigler, J.R. Slater, A.A. Parrish and CR. Pendleton. The honorary pall bearers, Messrs. R.Y. Lane, W.H. Briggs, A. Converse, Thos. Crawford, J.O. Varnedoe and Louis Strickland. The funeral procession was perhaps the largest that ever moved through our streets to the cemetery. According to his frequently expressed desire his remains were laid away with the simplest ceremony, and without display.

Although some of his nine children lived many miles away all were present when this last service for his mortal remains were performed. Judge Peeples would have been 62 years old on the 14th of next September. He was one of the very first settlers in Valdosta, and has always been intimately associated with the growth and prosperity of the town. Once its Mayor, several times an Alderman, and always a public-spirited, hard working citizen, he has done perhaps more than any one man to make Valdosta the town she is to-day. For sixteen years he was Judge of our County Court, and during that long period he made a model Judge. His decisions were appealed to a higher court but seven times, and he was reversed but three. This record of able and eminent service stands without a parallel, perhaps.

Grave of Richard A Peeples, Sunset Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Image source: Cat.

Grave of Richard A Peeples, Sunset Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Image source: Cat.

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Richard Augustus Peeples, Clerk of the Berrien Courts

Rice Production in Wiregrass Georgia

Richard Augustus Peeples, Clerk of the Berrien Courts

Richard Augustus Peeples

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

Richard Augustus Peeples (1829-1891)

Richard Augustus Peeples was the seventh son of Henry Peeples. He was born in Hall county, Georgia, September 24th, 1829

His father “Henry Peeples (1786-1854), a descendant of pure Scotch stock, was a native of South Carolina. Henry Peeples, born in Camden District, South Carolina, January 14, 1786, was possessed of a princely fortune which, by an unfortunate fire and by an equally unfortunate speculation in cotton, he lost soon after the war of 1812. Gathering up the wreck of his large estate, Henry Peoples moved to Hall county, Georgia, about the year 1821 or 1822, and settled where Gillsville, on the Northeastern railroad, now stands. Henry Peeples’ household and  and one slave were enumerated in Hall County, GA  in the 1830 census.  There he engaged in merchandising and a farming, but failed again.

By 1840, Henry Peeples moved his residence some 20 or 30 miles to the south. With his own wagons and teams he then brought his family and household goods… to Jackson county, Georgia [where he was enumerated in the 1840 census].

Richard Augustus Peeples had seven siblings, six brothers and one sister. His oldest brother was W. Jasper Peeples, for years a prominent lawyer in the Western Circuit of Georgia, and Solicitor-General for four years. Cincinnatus Peeples, a lawyer of prominence, at one time Clerk of the House of Representatives and afterwards State Senator from Clark county and Judge of the Superior Court of the Atlanta Circuit, was his second oldest brother. Henry Thompson Peeples, the third brother, married Melissa Camp on January 14, 1843 in Jackson County; he later became a lawyer, relocated to Berrien county, became a planter, served as Judge of the Inferior Court of Berrien County,  and for several times a member of the Legislature. Two brothers became substantial farmers in Florida. One died young. His sister Josephine Peeples Carroll died July 9, 1854 at Alapaha, GA.

…Owing to the financial embarrassments of his father, Richard A. Peeples obtained but limited country school education. He made the best of his school opportunities and eventually became well educated man and one of the prominent men of south Georgia. In 1842, when quite boy, he joined the Methodists, but the following year united with the Baptist church at Cabin Creek.

Before the decade was out, Henry Peeples moved his family yet again to the south, apparently leaving behind some debts.  He acquired all 490 acres of Lot #8 in the 10th land district of Lowndes County, but an 1847 legal announcement shows that this land and a slave, “one negro man by the name of Denis, about 45 years of age,” were sold at auction on the steps of the Troupville courthouse to satisfy debts owed to  Fennel Hendrix, E.D. Cook and Nelson Carter of Jackson County, GA.  But in early 1848, he managed to force collect on a debt owed to him by Dennis Duncan, said Duncan forfeiting  all 490 acres of Lot #34, 16th District of Lowndes County, to be sold at auction in Troupville to satisfy the debt.

In 1848 he [Henry Peeples]  came to Lowndes county, settling on Flat creek about two and a half miles from where Allapaha now stands, and there established a store, the locality hence taking the name of “Peeple’s Store.” He continued in active business until his death at the age of sixty years. – A History of Savannah and South Georgia

Richard A. Peeples at age 20, came with his father to Alapaha, then in Lowndes County but which in 1856 would be cut into Berrien county. In addition to Peeples’ Store,  his father acquired some 1530 acres of land and was enumerated as the owner of three slaves in the Census of 1850.

During his youth Richard began helping his father in the store and continued until, up on the latter’s death October 30, 1854, Richard assumed management of the mercantile affairs.  His brothers, W. Jasper Peeples and Cincinnatus Peeples, were by this time practicing law together in Athens, GA.  His brother and sister-in-law, Henry Thompson Peeples  and Melissa Camp Peeples, had by this time relocated to Atlanta where they also operated a mercantile store.

In 1850, Richard A. Peeples made a trip back to north Georgia, but not to visit his brothers in Athens or Atlanta. Instead, he went back to Jackson County, GA to take a wife. She was Sarah J. K. Camp ,born July 30, 1830, the younger sister of his brother’s wife.  They were married November 7, 1850 in Jackson County in a ceremony performed by John Pendergrass, Justice of the Peace. The bride’s father, Berryman Camp, was born in Jackson county in 1800, followed farming there many years, and later settled near Cedartown in Polk county, where he died. Her mother was Elizabeth Lyle Camp.

Marriage of Richard Augustus Peeples and Sarah Jane Camp, November 7, 1850.

Marriage of Richard Augustus Peeples and Sarah Jane Camp, November 7, 1850.

After marriage Richard A.  and Sarah Jane Peeples located at Milltown where he was engaged in saw-milling for time.

In the summer of 1853, discussion arose among the people of northern Lowndes County and southern Irwin county who were remote from their respective sites of county government. There was a general feeling of need for a more convenient and satisfactory location for the people to conduct their business and governmental affairs.

A meeting on this subject was convened June 18, 1853 at the Flat Creek Post Office,  Richard A. Peeples served as secretary:

Richard A. Peeples worked on creation of Berrien County, GA. Albany Patriot, July 1, 1853

Richard A. Peeples worked on creation of Berrien County, GA. Albany Patriot, July 1, 1853

The Albany Patriot
July 1, 1853

Flat Creek, June 18, 1853

        Agreeable to previous notice, a portion of the citizens of Lowndes and Irwin Counties, met this day at Flat Creek P. O., for the purpose of taking preliminary measures in regard to the formation of a new county out of a portion of the above counties.
On motion of Jordan Tucker, Esq., Mr. Jas. Griffin, Sen., was called to the Chair and R. A. Peeples, requested to act as secretary. The object of the meeting being explained, the Chairman appointed a committee of twelve to report through their Chairman, Wm. D. Griffin, which was unanimously adopted:
        Whereas, a portion of the citizens of the counties of Lowndes and Irwin labor under manifest inconvenience on account of the distance of their respective county sites:
        Resolved, therefore, That we, a portion of citizens of the 5th and 6th districts of Irwin, and the 9th and 10th districts of Lowndes counties, will use all the means in our power to secure the formation of a new county out of a part of said districts.
        Resolved, further, That we earnestly solicit the aid of our fellow citizens of the two counties, to assist us in choosing                        Representatives to the next Legislature, who will use their influence to have an act passed organizing and laying out said county.
        Resolved, further, That the citizens of Irwin and Lowndes be notified of these proceedings by publication of the same in the Albany Patriot and Georgia Watchman.
        On motion the meeting adjourned.
        JAS GRIFFIN, Sr., Pres’t
        R. A. Peeples, Sec’y.

Upon the organization of Berrien county in 1856 Richard A. Peeples was elected to serve as the first Clerk of the Inferior and Superior courts of Berrien county.  He promptly moved his residence to Nashville,  the county-site of Berrien county which was then but mere hamlet far from railroads.   According to William Green Avera, “the first session of the Superior Court held in Berrien County, was held November, 1856, at the residence of Mrs. Amy Kirby, on the Coffee Road, one mile northeast of the present site of Nashville. Judge P. E. Love was the judge and R. A. Peeples was the clerk.

Peeples then served on the county committee to draw plans and specifications for the construction of the first Courthouse in Berrien County.

Richard A. Peeples was a Mason and had served as Entered Apprentice at St. John the Baptist Lodge No. 184, constituted  at Troupville on November 2, 1854. According to the History of Lowndes County, GA, the lodge met on the first and third Tuesday nights upstairs in Swains Hotel, situated on the banks of Little River and owned by Morgan G. Swain.  Among other members of this lodge were Reverend John Slade,  Norman CampbellWilliam C. Newbern, William T. Roberts, James H. Carroll, Andrew J. Liles, and J. J. Goldwire.  Later, the St. John the Baptist Lodge No. 184 was moved from Troupville to Valdosta, GA.

Another of Peeples’ fellow lodge members was William J. Mabry, who in 1856 moved to Nashville, GA, to build the first Berrien court house in 1857.

The academy in Nashville was built through the personal efforts of Richard A. Peeples in 1857, large part of the funds coming from his own purse. William G. Avera described the academy, the first school house in Nashville, GA, built with the cooperative effort of local citizens and the Masons, Richard A. Peeples being a Master Mason in the fraternal order. “They constructed an up-to-date two-story edifice, the upper chamber of which, they named the Duncan Masonic Lodge in honor of the venerable Duncan O’Quin…The lower chamber was named the McPherson Academy in honor of John McPherson Berrien for whom Berrien County was named. The street running north and south in front of the building was named McPherson Street. William J. Mabry became the first Worshipful Master of Duncan Lodge No. 3.

 

McPherson Academy, Nashville, GA which was also home of Duncan Masonic Lodge; it was at intersection of W. McPherson Avenue and S. Berrien Street, and faced eastwardly. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

McPherson Academy, Nashville, GA which was also home of Duncan Masonic Lodge; it was at intersection of W. McPherson Avenue and S. Berrien Street, and faced eastwardly. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

Two years later, Richard A. Peeples furnished half the money for the construction of Baptist church in Nashville. This church was across the street from McPherson Academy.

C. W. "Shine" Anderson, facing McPherson Academy, with Nashville First Baptist Church building in background. Image courtesy of www.berriencountyga.com

C. W. “Shine” Anderson, facing McPherson Academy, with Nashville First Baptist Church building in background. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com

While serving as Clerk of the Berrien courts, R. A. Peeples undertook the study of law. In 1860,  he moved to the new town of Valdosta.

Continued….Judge Richard Augustus Peeples

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William Devane

William DeVane (1838-1909) Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com/

William DeVane (1838-1909), planter of Ray’s Mill, Berrien County, GA. His brother, Benjamin Mitchell DeVane (1835-1912), was a notary public and an alderman in the city government of Adel, GA. Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com/

William DeVane was born in Lowndes, now Berrien County, March 30, 1838, and was a son of Francis DeVane. His grandfather, Captain John DeVane, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. William’s father and uncles Benjamin (1795-1879) and William Devane (1786-1870) had come to Lowndes County from Bulloch County, GA about 1831 along with  others of the DeVane family connection.

The 1850 census places William DeVane in his father’s Lowndes County household, along with his older siblings Benjamin and Patrick who worked as laborers. William, age 12, apparently was not yet assisting with the farm work, although records do not indicate that he was attending school at that time, either.   William’s brother Thomas was working the farm next door.  Some of the neighbors included Samuel Connell, William Parrish, Ansel Parrish, Absolom Parrish, James Parrish, James J. Fountain and Thomas Futch.

At the time of the 1860 census, William and Benjamin DeVane were still living in their father’s household and working at farming. The census records indicate William, age 23, attended school that year. Patrick DeVane and Thomas DeVane had farms nearby. Some of the neighbors were Nathaniel Cooper, William B. Turner, Henry J. Bostick, Fredrick M. Giddens, John A. Money, and Ansel Parrish.

During the Civil War, William and his three brothers all joined the army. William was the first to join, enlisting in Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment  as a private  on March 4, 1862 at Nashville, GA.  Benjamin DeVane enlisted in the same company May 9, 1862 at Nashville, GA. He was later elected 2nd Lieutenant of Company D, 50th GA Regiment and served to the end of the war. Patrick joined Company I on August 14, 1862 at Calhoun, GA. He fell out sick at Culpepper, VA on November 18, 1862 and died in a Confederate hospital on December 13, 1862; his estate was administered by William Giddens. William Devane’s brother Thomas Devane enlisted in Company H, Georgia 1st Infantry Regiment on 21 Dec 1862.

The 50th Georgia Regiment was sent to the defenses around Savannah.  Sergeant Ezekiel Parrish, son of the DeVane’s neighbor James Parrish, wrote home on April 23, 1862 describing their encampment situated near Savannah:

“about one or one and a half miles east of the city where we can have a fair view of the church steeples and the nearest part of the town…Our camps are very disagreeable now in consequence of the dryness of the weather, the ground being sandy and loose and the winds high. it keeps ones eyes full of sand almost all the time which is not a very good remedy…It is about one mile or little over to the river from our camps. We can see the steamboats passing almost constantly…Our camps are situated near extensive earthworks or entrenchments for the protection of our troops should the enemy attempt to attack the city by land. Fort Boggs [is] on the river below town about 1/2 miles below…it commands the river tolerable well. the marsh between the channel and the fort is about 1/4 of a mile wide and the fort is on a high bluff at the edge of the marsh and is covered from the view of the river by a strand of thick bushes on the hillside…Captain Lamb‘s Company [Berrien Minute Men, 29th Georgia Regiment] has moved from Camp Tatnall to a place on the river below fort Jackson and about one mile and a half from Berrien Light Infantry, Company I, 50th Georgia Regiment.

The 50th Georgia Regiment went on station at Fort Brown. Fort Brown was situated at the Catholic Cemetery at what is now the intersection of Skidaway Road and Gwinette Street.

Fort Brown was one of the anchors of an extensive earthworks protecting Savannah.

A line of formidable earthworks, within easy range of each other, in many places connected by curtains, and armed with siege and field guns, was thrown up for the immediate protection of Savannah. Commencing at Fort Boggs on the Savannah River and thence extending south and west in a semi-circular form, enveloping the at distances varying from one to two and a quarter miles, it terminated at the Springfield plantation swamp. The principal fortifications in this line were Fort Boggs, mounting fourteen guns, some of them quite heavy and commanding the Savannah River – Fort Brown, near the Catholic Cemetery, armed with eleven guns – and Fort Mercer, having a battery of nine guns. Between Springfield plantation swamp – where the right of the line rested just beyond Laurel Grove cemetery – and Fort Mercer, were eighteen lunettes, mounting in the aggregate twenty guns. Connecting Fort Mercer with Fort Brown was a cremaillere line with nine salients, mounting in the aggregate eight guns. Between Fort Brown and Fort Boggs were seven lunettes armed with eight guns. These works were well supplied with magazines. It will be noted that the armaments of these city lines consisted of seventy pieces of artillery of various calibers, among which 32,24,18, 12, and 6 pounder guns predominated. A considerable supply of ammunition was kept on hand in the magazines. – Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 17

 

On May 18, 1862 Ezekiel Parrish wrote from “Savannah, Ga Camps near Fort Brown”:

We are living very hard here now for the soldiers rations of bacon have been reduced to so small a portion that we are pretty hard {illegible} for something to grease with. Several of our last ration of bacon has been less than one pound to the man for four May’s rations, but of the other kinds of provisions we draw plenty to do well though the pickel beef is so poor and salt and strong that it is not very good and in fact some will do without before they will eat it. Occasionally we get some fresh beef but it is very poor without any grease to go with it…The water here is very bad and brackish and a continual use of it is enough to make anybody sick.

William DeVane, 24 years of age,  would serve only a short time before providing a substitute. Substitution was a form of Civil War draft evasion available to those who could afford it.

Substitution
With war a reality, the Confederate legislature passed a law in October 1861 declaring that all able-bodied white men were obligated to serve in the military. This statute allowed substitutions for men who had ‘volunteered’ for the militia. It also permitted those not required by law to enlist in the military to serve as substitutes. However, by the Spring of 1862, after a year of fighting and hardship, the flow of new volunteers became a trickle, which forced the 
Confederacy to pass the first American conscription law. In April 1862 the legislature authorized a draft of men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years. This law also allowed substitutes to be used. Later that year, in September 1862, the legislature extended the maximum draft-eligible age to forty-five years. The revision specifically stated that only those who were not eligible for the draft presumably those too old, too young, or foreign citizens – could serve as substitutes.  – Mary L. Wilson, 2005, Profiles in Evasion

The market price of a soldier, it is said, soon mounted to from $1500 to $3000. …To employ a substitute or to accept services as one was regarded by many, and almost universally so in army circles, as highly reprehensible.  – A. B. Moore, 1924, Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy

After just over three months of service and without engaging in any action, DeVane secured a discharge from the army June 18, 1862, by furnishing a substitute. According to company rolls, John R. Croley  enlisted that same day at Fort Brown, Savannah, GA as a substitute in DeVane’s stead.   The 47-year-old Croley (also Crowley or Crawley) was himself exempt from military service. Croley had brought his family from Sumter County to Berrien County in 1860.

Shortly after assuming DeVane’s place, Croley and the rest of the 50th Georgia Regiment were sent to Camp Lee in Virginia. Croley was to have a rough time of it. Soon sick, he was left behind at the camp when the regiment pulled out on August 21, 1862. In February 1863 he was admitted to Chimborazo Hospital No. 2, Richmond, VA with Rheumatism. On March 12, he was admitted to the the C.S.A. General Hospital at Farmville, VA with diarrhea.

Confederate service record of John R. Croley, substitute for William DeVane.

Confederate service record of John R. Croley, substitute for William DeVane.

Croley returned to duty April 29.  He was with his unit when the 50th GA Regiment entered the Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863. Severely wounded and taken prisoner of war, he was sent to one of the Union hospitals in and about Gettysburg.  His arm was amputated, but he did not recover. He died of wounds July 31, 1863.  The location of his burial is not known, presumably in the vicinity of Gettysburg.  A monument in his memory marks an empty grave at Keel Cemetery, Valdosta, GA.

Centograph of John R. Croley (Crawley), Keel Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Croley was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, PA while serving as a substitute for William DeVane. Image source: Karen Camp.

Centograph of John R. Croley (Crawley), Keel Cemetery, Valdosta, GA. Croley was mortally wounded at Gettysburg, PA while serving as a substitute for William DeVane. Image source: Karen Camp.

Administration of the estate of John R. Croley in Berrien County, GA

Administration of the estate of John R. Croley in Berrien County, GA

Croley left behind a widow and four children in Berrien County. William DeVane sat out the rest of the war.

DeVane was married on May 10 1865 in Dooly County, GA to Miss Sarah Jane “Sallie” Butler of that county. She was born February 12, 1842, a daughter of Ezekiel and Eliza Butler.

Marriage Certificate of William DeVane and Sallie Butler, Dooley County, GA

Marriage Certificate of William DeVane and Sallie Butler, Dooley County, GA

Born to William and Sallie were eleven children:

  1. Emma Lorena DeVane, born February 18, 1866, married George W. Marsh of Sumter County, FL.
  2. Marcus LaFayette DeVane, born April 25, 1867, died September 15, 1889.
  3. Columbus Clark DeVane, born February 11, 1869, never married.
  4. Ada Belle DeVane, born April 10, 1870, married William J. Hodges of Lowndes County, GA
  5. Ezekiel H. DeVane, born December 4, 1872, married Beulah Parrish, daughter of Elbert Parrish.
  6. William E. Pemberton DeVane, born November 8, 1875, married Mary McClelland, daughter of Robert McClelland
  7. John F. DeVane, born August 2, 1877; died October 1878.
  8. Benjamin Robert DeVane, born October 15, 1879; married Bessie Whitehurst, daughter of Nehemiah Whitehurst
  9. Caulie Augustus DeVane, born September 15, 1882; married Alma Albritton, daughter of Matthew Hodge Albritton
  10. Connard Cleveland DeVane, born November 11, 1884; married Nellie Mae Coppage, daughter of Jehu Coppage
  11. Onnie Lee DeVane, born November 11, 1884; married John W. Strickland, son of William J. Strickland of Clinch County.

The homeplace of William DeVane was about four and half miles west of Ray City on the Nashville-Valdosta Road. It was situated on the north half of lot 457, 10th district. Possum Creek, a tributary of Cat Creek, crosses the northeast corner of this land. The place was given to William by his father before the elder DeVane’s death in 1868. William DeVane had received no deed however, and title was vested in him March 1870, by arbitration proceedings agreed to by all the heirs.

Home of William DeVane (1838-1909) Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com/

Home of William DeVane (1838-1909) Image courtesy of http://www.berriencountyga.com/

The 1870 Census enumeration shows that William DeVane’s household then included his wife, Sarah Jane, and children, Emma, Marcus, Columbus, and Ada, as well as an African-American boy, Rufus Prine, who at age 11 was working as farm labor.

Berrien County Tax records also document that after the War, William DeVane worked his farm with the help of freedman Joseph Prine. The relationship between Joseph and Rufus is not known.  Joseph Prine was born into slavery in South Carolina in 1816. The 1872 tax records show DeVane employed seven hands between the ages of 12 and 65. This count matches exactly with the 1870 Census enumeration of the Joseph Prine household, which then included Joe Prine (56), Jane Prine (54), Samuel Prine (22), Chaney Prine (33), Elza Prine (17), Jasper Prine (14), and George Prine (11), as well as the younger Prine children, Jinnie (8), Huldy (7), Eliza (5), and Philip(2).

In 1872, the William DeVane farm consisted of 508 acres on portions of lots 457 and 418 in the 10th Land District. To the north was Mary DeVane with 755 acres on Lots 418 and 412. Benjamin Mitchell DeVane also owned portions of Lot 418 and 419. John Baker had 122 acres on Lot 419. William H. Outlaw had 245 acres on Lot 419. To the south, John W. Hagan owned 356 acres on lots 503 and 504. J.S. Roberts also had some acreage on 503 and 504.  To the east, the Reverend John G. Taylor, Sr. had 400 acres on Lot 456.  By 1877 John Webb had acquired a 1470 acre tract just to the northeast of the William DeVane place.

 

William DeVane developed one of the finest plantations in Berrien County, containing 935 acres. It was situated on a public road and Possum Creek. The main house was six-rooms, and there was also a three-room house and a tenant house on the place. The six-horse farm of over 100 cultivated acres was said to produce a bale of cotton to the acre. Devane kept 120 head of stock on a fine stock range. His equipment included farm implements, oat reaper, cane mill and syrup kettle, two wagons, and two buggies.

Sallie Butler DeVane died June 15, 1896.  A death announcement appeared in the Tifton Gazette.

Tifton Gazette
July 10, 1896

Mrs. Sallie Devane, of this county, wife of Mr. William Devane, died on Tuesday of last week.

Grave of Sarah Butler DeVane (1842-1896), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.

Grave of Sarah Butler DeVane (1842-1896), Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.

 

William DeVane died March 8, 1909.

Graves of William DeVane and Sarah Butler DeVane, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Graves of William DeVane and Sarah Butler DeVane, Pleasant Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

Grave of William Devane, Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

Grave of William Devane, Pleasant Cemetery, near Ray City, GA

 

A series of legal advertisements regarding the estate of William DeVane appeared in the local papers:

Valdosta Times
March 27, 1909

Notice to Debtors and Creditors All parties having claims against the estate of the late Wm. Devane, are requested to present them properly made out, to the undersigned. Those indebted to his estate will please make settlement at once.
The deceased at the time of his death was not indebted to any of the heirs.
C. C. Devane,
Hahira, Ga., R. F. D. 5.

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Tifton Gazette
November 19, 1909

Notice of Sale.

We will sell to the highest bidder for cash, on the 24th day of November, in Berrien county, at the Wm. Devane estate, the following property: 935 acres of land; one farm containing 150, the other 785 acres; 175 in cultivation, 120 head of stock. Farming implements, oat reaper, cane mill and syrup kettle; two wagons; two buggies; 350 bushels of corn; six tons of cotton seed. Heirs of Wm. DeVane.

Valdosta Times
November 20, 1909

Public Sale

We will sell to the highest bidder, for cash on the 24th day of November, in Berrien county at the Wm. DeVane place, the following property: 2 farms containing 935 acres, 150 in one, 785 acres in the other; 111 acres in cultivation; fair Improvements—timber is fine; 120 head of stock and farming Implements. C. C. Devane, Hahira, Ga., R. F. D. No. 5.

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Valdosta Times
August 14, 1912

FOR SALE—A fine plantation, One of the best in Berrien county, containing 935 acres, within 4 1/2 miles of Georgia and Florida railroad. Nearest station, Ray’s Mill. 6-horse farm in state of cultivation. Soil very productive, will produce bale of cotton to the acre, other crops in proportion. One six-room dwelling, one three-room and a tenant house on the place. Good water. Near schools and churches. Fine stock range. River runs through edge of land. Public road through farm. Will sell on account of division between heirs. If desired stock, mules, hogs, cattle, goats and farm implements can be bought at reasonable prices. C. C. DeVane, Hahira, Ga., R.F.D.

 

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