Isham Jordan Fought Indians, Opened Early Wiregrass Roads

Isham Jordan worked in 1823 to open John Coffee’s Road from Jacksonville, GA to the Florida line, thus opening for settlement old Irwin County which then encompassed Lowndes and Berrien, and other counties of Wiregrass Georgia.  Isham Jordan, along with Burrell Henry Bailey and others had worked to survey and mark the first public roads in Irwin County.

When Coffee’s road was cut, Jordan and the other hunters who supplied meat to the work party were honored in the songs and stories of the Wiregrass pioneers. Some of these verses were passed down in the works of Montgomery M. Folsom (see also Pennywell Folsom fell at Brushy Creek), whom Folks Huxford described as “a sort of grandson of old Troupville,” Georgia.

“Yonder comes ole Isham Jordan,
That ole ‘onest huntin’ man.
Glorious tidin’s he doth bring,
Swain has kilt another turkey hent.

We’ll allow the New Convention;
We’ll all allow the rights of men;
We’ll allay the Injun nation;
The volunteers and the drafted men.”

Isham Jordan and John Coffee were among the early pioneer settlers of Telfair County, GA. Telfair was formed from Wilkinson County in 1807, and named for Edward Telfair.

When Pulaski County was created in 1808, the legislative act,

“Provided, That until the court-houfe fhall be erected the elections and courts for faid county fhall be held at the houfe of Ifham Jordan.”

1822 map detail of Telfair County, GA and Pulaski County, GA

1822 map detail of Telfair County, GA and Pulaski County, GA

The first term of Pulaski Superior Court held in 1809 at Isham Jordan’s house on Jordan’s Creek, presided over by Judge Peter Early.  Early, whose family had one of the largest slaveholding plantations in Greene County, was an outspoken opponent of any attempts to outlaw the importation of African slaves.

Unfortunately, the first three census schedules for Georgia (1790-1810)  are missing, thus there is no 1810 enumeration of Isham Jordan.  Legal actions indicate that Isham Jordan appeared in 1813 before Justice of the Peach, Josiah Cawthorn, in Telfair County, GA where a judgement was found against him in the amount of $25 in favor of Adam G. Saffold. Saffold subsequently assigned the debt to his attorney, Griffin Mizell.

Georgia, Jones County:
Know all men by these presents that I do by these presents constitute and appoint Griffin Mizell my true and lawful attorney so far as to take full and complete control of a judgement in my favor on a note of $25 against Isham Jordan in the Justice’s Court held before Josiah Cawthorn in the county of Telfair; receipt for and receive the same & apply the amount to his own use. May 5th, 1813
(Signed)
Adam G. Saffold.
Carter & Mizell Correspondence

 

Telfair County court records show legal actions were taken against Isham Jordan and Nancy Moore in 1817. Apparently, a bench warrant was issued for their arrest for failure to appear in court. They were hauled before the court and subsequently posted bond in the amount of $800 against their future appearance.

The State vs Isham Jordan & Nancy Moore, Fi Fa, 1817

A rule having been obtained for the Sheriff to return into court the above fi fa with his actings and doings thereon or show to the contrary and cause having been shewn ordered that said rule be discharged.
Petit Jury Sworn
  1. Richard Wooten
  2. William Studstill
  3. Wilkins Fulwood
  4. Arch McLeod
  5. Joseph Fletcher
  6. Jacob Cravey
  7. Meriden Messec
  8. Stephen Hubert
  9. Joshua McCann
10. William Moore
11. William Mooney
12. Henry Jones

The State vs Isham Jordan & Nancy Moore

          William Hendry [sheriff?] surrendered the principles in Court it is therefore ordered that the said be discharged from his recognizance.
         Isham Jordan and Nancy Moore and Andrew Posey aknowledge themselves indebted to the Governor and his Successors in office in the Sum of eight hundred dollars to be void on the condition that the said Jordan and Moore appear at the next Superior Court and not depart without leave thereof.

         his
Isham X Jordan
mark

          her
Nancy X Moore
mark

Andrew Jolly

 

In 1818, it was Isham Jordan who reported the Battle of Breakfast Branch, subsequently conveyed by letter to Governor William Rabun and published in the Milledgeville, GA newspapers.

i214

Georgia settler’s encroachment on territory of the Creek Nation, recognized in treaties with the U.S. government, led to conflict.  Image source: “Four American Indians

JOURNAL OFFICE
Milledgeville, March 11, 1818.
Skirmish with Indians.

The following was received this evening by express to the Governor:

Hartford, March 10th, 1818.

Sir :—I have this moment received information through Mr. Isham Jordan, of Telfair County, which I rely on, of a skirmish between the Indians and some of the citizens of Telfair, on the south side of the Ocmulgee River, in the afternoon of the 9th inst., twenty or twenty-five miles below this.

On the night of the 3d inst., Joseph Bush [Burch] and his son [Littleton Burch] were fired upon by a party of Indians, the father killed, and the son severely wounded and scalped, but he so far recovered as to reach home in two days after. The citizens having received information of the foregoing facts, assembled on the 9th instant to the number of thirty-six, and crossed the river in the forenoon to seek redress. Finding considerable signs of Indians, they pursued the trail leading from the river some distance out, where they came in view of a body of savages, fifty or sixty, advancing within gun-shot. The firing was commenced by each party, and warmly kept up for three-quarters of an hour. A part of the detachment effected their retreat, bringing off one badly wounded; four are certainly killed; the balance of the detachment has not been heard from; Major Cothom, (commandant of the Telfair Militia,) is among the missing. Four Indians were killed.

From information, the citizens below this are much alarmed, and leaving their homes, I have thought proper to communicate the foregoing to you by express. I am your Excellency’s most obedient servant,

Richard H. Thomas, Lieutenant-Colonel.

In consequence of the foregoing, the Pulaski Troop of Cavalry has been ordered out by the Executive, to scour the frontier and afford protection to the inhabitants. – The Telfair detachment we fear, has suffered greatly and we shall rejoice, if all who are missing have not perished. It would seem, that the Indians confiding in superior numbers, had sought to draw out the militia, by permitting the young man whom they scalped to reach the settlement.

Another Milledgeville newspaper added:

Rumour says, that the part of the detachment who are spoken of as having effected a retreat, fled at the beginning of the action, leaving the rest, most of whom have since returned, to contend with the Indians. Mitchell Griffin, Esq., Senator from Telfair, was among the killed.

Battle of Breakfast Branch, March 9, 1818 -Georgia Historic Marker

Battle of Breakfast Branch, March 9, 1818 -Georgia Historic Marker

Another account of the route of the Telfair Militia was included in Pate’s History of Turner County:

In 1884, Wash Graham, an aged mail carrier from Abbeville via Ashley, Grover and on to Wolf Creek, related the following story:

About 1818, Joseph Burch was building a house near Poor Robin Spring. He was killed and one son lay perfectly still and let the Indians scalp him. The young man recovered, and Mr. Graham afterwards saw and talked with him about the massacre and his escape. The white people came over from Telfair County and encountered the Indians at Breakfast Branch below Abbeville to punish them for their crime.

The white people were terribly and quickly routed by the numerical strength of the Indian band of marauders and murderers. Before the battle Capt. Mark Wilcox and Mr. Nat Statham had been carrying guns for each other. In the retreat Mr. Statham came across his deadly enemy wounded and being left for the torture of the Indians. Uncle Nat, a powerful man, threw his old enemy across his shoulder and carried him to a place of safety.

One of the party was shot through the knee and knowing he could not outrun the Indians, ran into an old cypress pond, got behind a log against which the trash had lodged and was all under the water but his nose and although they hunted the pond over carefully they failed to get his scalp. In the race for the boats in the river, the faster runners got to the river first and carried all the boats across, leaving the bravest to swim, drown or be killed by the Indians.

∫∫∫

The dead were a Mr. Nobels, William Mooney, William Morrison, Michael Burch (brother of the scalped Littelton) and Captain Benjamin Mitchell Griffin…Mark Willcox, son of John, was severely wounded with a rifle ball in the head but was saved by Thompson Nathaniel Statham…In addition to Mark, Moses Roundtree and John Lawson were wounded and both recovered…Others known to have been in the battle were Redding Hunter, Daniel Drawdy and Daniel Campbell… John Wilcox,  James Lea Wilcox.  Four Indians were known to have been killed. –  Thomas Wilcox Family

Unfortunately, the attack on the Burches and the Battle of Breakfast Branch helped to precipitate the Chehaw Massacre,  perpetrated by Georgia militia soldiers upon a village of Native Americans who were actually friendly to the American government.

By 1820, Isham Jordan and his family appear in the census records of Irwin County, GA.  The enumeration indicates Jordan was a neighbor of Burrell Bailey.

1820 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

1820 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

At the first term of the Superior Court of Irwin County, held September 21, 1820, Isham Jordan was drawn to serve on the first Petit Jury. The court was held at the house of David Williams, on land lot 147, 4th District of Irwin County. His Honor Thomas W. Harris was Judge, and Thaddeus G. Holt was Solicitor. The only business transacted was the drawing of the Grand and Petit Jury for the next term of court. Among those selected as Jordan’s jury mates for the first Petit Jury were Sion Hall and Drew Vickers. Burrell Bailey, Willis King, Elijah Beasley and Ludd Mobley were among those selected to serve on the first Grand Jury.

At the second term of the court the Petit Jury was not called for duty, but Isham Jordan faced charges brought by the Grand Jury for alleged adultery and fornication:

The second term was held at the house of David Williams on March 29, 1821. Judge T. W. Harris presiding, T. G. Holt, Solicitor-General. The only business transacted was by the Grand Jury as follows:

“We, the Grand Jury, for the county of Irwin, at a Superior Court held at the house of David Williams on the 29th day of March, 1821, make the following presentment. We present Isham Jordon and Nancy Moore for living in a state of adultery and fornication in the county aforesaid on the 28th day of March, 1821 and before that time. We present Alexander McDonal and Barbary Kelly for living in a state adultery and fornication in the county of Irwin on the twenty-eighth day of March, 1821, and before.”
(Signed)
Samuel Boyd, Foreman; David Hunter, Thomas Burnett, John Sutton, David Callaway, Achibald McInnis, Elijah Beasley, Redding Hunter, Willis King, James Rutherford, James Burnett, Ludd Mobley, David Allen, David Williams, William Hall, Daniel Burnett, Nathaniel Statum, Green Graham.

It appears that Jordan and Moore stood trial for the charge of adultery and fornication.  An undated Court record provides the following

The State vs Isom Jourdon & Nancy Moore
Adultery & Fornication
Verdict
We find the defendants not Guilty
Thomas Fulgham, foreman

 

 

Irwin County court records show Jordan and Bailey served together as a road commissioners.

At the July term, 1821, an order was passed establishing a public road in Irwin County beginning at the county line at Ludd Mobley and continue a river road, crossing House Creek at David Calaway ford and continue to the upper line, and Ludd Mobley, Willis King and Murdock McDuffie were appointed to lay out and mark said road beginning at county line up to House Creek and Green G. Graham, Burrell [Henry] Bailey and Isham Jordan were appointed to lay out and mark said read from House Creek to upper line of county.

At July term, 1822, an order was passed appointing David Calaway, Isham Jordan and Nathaniel Statum, commissioners, to lay out and mark a river road beginning at David Calaway ford on House Creek and up to line of the county.

Isham Jordan subsequently appears in the 1830 census of Irwin County.

1830 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

1830 Census enumeration of Isham Jordan in Irwin County, GA

Related Posts:

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

James Rountree (1787-1834)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, Robert Jeffries reports,

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

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

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

These pioneer families were pathfinders, bushwhacking their way through Wiregrass Georgia. But soon the Georgia General Assembly appropriated funds for construction of  a frontier road. It was on December 23, 1822, that General John E. Coffee and Thomas Swain were appointed to superintend the construction. Enoch Hall was employed as one of the overseers for the construction.  Coffee, Swain, and then Governor John Clark were all neighbors and residents of Telfair County, which undoubtedly influenced the selection of the route. This road, soon known as Coffee’s Road, led to the creation of Lowndes County  It ran from Jacksonville on the Ogeechee [Ocmulgee] River in Telfair County, southwesterly through the then county of Irwin (but now Coffee, Irwin, Berrien) through the then county of Lowndes (but now Berrien, Cook  and Brooks) into Thomas County and via Thomasville southwardly to the Florida line.   Coffee’s Road passed about seven miles west of Ray City, GA. 

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

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

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

Georgia
Pulaski County

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

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

Entered by Wesley Yarbrough Clk Co

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

The children of James Rountree and Nancy Hendley were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Georgia Constitutionalist
April 18, 1834

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

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

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

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

Milledgeville Federal Union
July 23, 1834

Georgia, Lowndes County

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

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

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

Related Posts

Lowndes County Seat Almost Sunk in 1827

Berrien Skirmishes, the Battle of Brushy Creek, and the Indian Maiden

Grand Jurors of 1845, Lowndes County, GA

Pennywell Folsom Fell at Brushy Creek