William Brauner Cooper, Missionary Baptist

In the 1840s and 50s, Reverend William Brauner Cooper was pastor of the Missionary Baptist churches at Troupville and Thomasville, GA,  and at Monticello, Florida.  The American Baptist Register of 1852 shows in that year he had 40 church members at Monticello in Jefferson County, Florida, 29 at Ocklocknee Baptist Church in Thomasville, and 22 church members at the  baptist church of Troupville, GA which was then the county seat of Lowndes County, GA.

Rev. W. B. Cooper was a minister of culture who labored successfully to build up [the baptist] denomination in Florida… For meekness, prudence, and humility he was hardly ever excelled and not often equaled…. He was a very earnest minister, and the people loved to hear him. His style of preaching was very instructive. He was a leader in all moral, religious, and denominational works, and he frequently presided over Associations and Conventions. In Hamilton, Columbia, Madison. Jefferson, and other counties he did a grand work for Jesus and for his beloved denomination. – 1881 Baptist Encyclopedia

Wm B. was a farmer and slaveholder, owning considerable acreage at various times in Madison, Hillsborough, and Jefferson Counties in Florida, as well as a “claim” in Texas. He was a great great grandson of Benjamin Franklin

William Brauner Cooper was born 26 Apr 1807 in Abbeville, South Carolina, a son of Joseph Perrill Cooper (1777-1842) and Sarah Ann Franklin (1788-1874). His father served in the War of 1812, in Captain Zachary Meriwether’s company, Austin’s Regiment of the South Carolina Militia. This regiment was mustered from drafted men called into service at the very end of the war. Joseph Perrill Cooper enlisted for 60 days but left his unit after 43 days of service. After his death his widow’s pension claim was rejected ” by reason of insufficient service & personal abandonment.”

[William Brauner Cooper’s] father Joseph, born in Winchester, Virginia, of Quaker parents Jeremiah Cooper and Rebecca Perrill, and his mother Sarah Ann believed to have been born in Maryland of parents William Temple Franklin and Abigail Brauner, came to the Abbeville/Laurens area before 1805, settling on acreage near the Rabons Creek Quaker Meetinghouse. It was here that William B. Cooper and his fifteen siblings would receive their early education and religious training (Huxford Magazine, Vol 27).

William’s father, Joseph Cooper, was a man of rare culture and intellect, and the early education of the son was under his father’s training  (1881 Baptist Encyclopedia). [William’s] father was always very much interested in politics, was an ardent states rights man, and an intimate friend of John C. Calhoun. He, at one time, was a candidate for the state legislature, but whether elected, I am not certain. He had been a carpenter by trade, but taught school in the then thickly settled community, including Greek and Latin in the curriculum of the country district. I have heard my Mother tell how the classes studied out under the trees, and the discipline must have been in keeping more with modern ideas than the switch and ferule of that day, for the kind-hearted Quaker ruled without severity. He was much honored by his family, although he died in 1842, leaving a large number of his children to be brought to maturity by their energetic Mother. The majority of the five sons secured a college education,… (Findagrave).

In 1828, William B. Cooper attended an academy near his home, which was then in Laurens District, SC.   On leaving the academy he went to a [baptist] theological school [Furman Theological Seminary, now Furman University] at a place called High Hills, in Sumter District (1881 Baptist Encyclopedia). The school was named for Richard Furman, a clergyman considered the most important Baptist leader before the Civil War. His son, James C. Furman, became the first president of the Seminary and was the owner of 56 enslaved people. At that time, the school had two professors and about 30 students; the library had 1,000 volumes.

While at the institution William B. Cooper was converted, under the preaching of Daniel Mangram, of Newberry District, and was baptized by him at Mount Pleasant church, SC….He remained two years [at Furman]… (1881 Baptist Encyclopedia).

William B. Cooper first appears in Florida in Hamilton County, which then encompassed all of the land in the fork of the Suwanee River and the Withlacoochee River, and bounded on the north by the Georgia state line.   According to the Florida Baptist Historical Society, William B. Cooper then participated in the organization of the Baptist Church of Christ Concord at Tiger Swamp Meeting-house about one and a half miles south of the community of Wall, FL (now Jasper, FL). Among the founding members were Edmund and Unity Mathis, John Lee, Jesse and Sarah Lee, Perry G. Wall, John L. and Lenora Stewart, Philemon Bryant, Elihu Morgan, as well as William B. Cooper.

Edmund and Unity Mathis were primitive baptists from Lowndes County, GA where they were members of Union Church  having been received April 12, 1828, by letter from Fellowship Church. On June 12, 1830, Edmund Mathis was ordained a deacon in Union Church and continued as a deacon the remainder of his life. Their son, Bunyan Mathis, had brought his family to Hamilton County about 1829.  In fact, “a group of Georgians in search of new farm land migrated to Tiger Swamp located in middle Florida’s Hamilton County. Having established a settlement, several of the Baptists, led by Edmund and Unity Register Mathis, sought the help of Union Church of Lowndes (now Lanier) County, Georgia, to sponsor an “arm” (mission)… Mr. And Mrs. Mathis joined others of the Union Church in a request for that church to establish an “arm” at Tiger Swamp Meeting-house in Hamilton County, near their homes… The group requested the Union Church to provide a ministerial presbytery to help organize and constitute a churchThe request was granted.

According to the Florida Baptist Historical Society, On June 9, 1832, with the assistance of Elders Elias Knight, John Tucker and William B. Cooper, the Baptist Church of Christ Concord as it was then called, was organized. The church called Elias Knight to serve as pastor. The next year the “arm” became an independent church named “Concord” and Deacon Mathis and wife were among charter members. 

William B. Cooper led the church from 1833 to 1836 (Hamilton GenWeb), although in the latter part of this period he was apparently absent pursuing further education. In the spring of 1835 William B. Cooper entered Columbian College, Washington, DC. His choice of institutions may not have set well with some of his church members. Primitive Baptists favor informal training of preachers and consider theological seminaries to have “no warrant or sanction from the New Testament, nor in the example of Christ and the apostles.” There was already a growing “anti-missionary” sentiment among the primitive baptist, and the origins of Columbian College were decidedly missionary.

Columbian College (now The George Washington University) had been planned as “a college and theological institution under the direction of the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist denomination in the United States.” While the charter granted by Congress emphasized that the college must be non-denominational, it remained in the control the Baptists.  The college provided some scholarships for “promising young men…especially if they expressed an interest in becoming ministers of the Gospel.”  “Requisites for admission included an acquaintance with English grammar and arithmetic, a thorough knowledge of geography, and the ability to read and write Latin. The prospective student had to be able to translate, with a high degree of competence, Caesar’s Commentaries, and the works of Virgil, Sallust, select orations of Cicero, and the New Testament in Greek. A candidate for advanced standing from another college had to pass examinations in all subjects previously taken and had to show that he left the other institution in good standing. No one was admitted without satisfactory credentials of good moral character.

According to GWU:

When Columbian College was founded in 1821, the Baptist church and Congress hoped that it would be a national university. But Columbian College quickly got the reputation as a southern institution. There were students from northern states, but the largest contingent of students came from Virginia, then D.C, and to a lesser extent from other southern states on the eastern seaboard….Columbian College existed in a city where human slavery was legal for over forty years prior to emancipation…There are no records of students at Columbian College bringing enslaved people to campus. But the students had opinions about slavery and often freely shared them. In student publications from the time, one common target was abolitionists who the students argued threatened both slavery and national unity. There were also examples found in the pages of these student newsletters of outright support for slavery and by the 1850s, as the sectional crisis advanced, the southern cause. There were also examples of opposition to slavery among the students. The most well-known was Henry J. Arnold, who in 1847 was removed from the school for assisting two men, John R. Smith and a man known only as Abram, who were owned by the college steward. While a student at Columbian, Arnold provided Abram with a letter intended for an attorney and $14 so that he could file a lawsuit to potentially win his freedom in court. For this, he was immediately removed from the student body and the campus by the faculty, an action later approved by the trustees.

Although there is no indication that the college itself ever owned slaves, from the beginning of the college, important leaders and financiers were slave owners and profited from the slave economy. The records also reveal that enslaved people had an almost constant presence on campus working as servants or laborers. Some of these enslaved men and women lived with presidents and stewards on campus while the college hired the labor of others from their masters…The enslaved people that stewards brought to live on campus would have worked as servants (that was their official title) who cleaned and did laundry for the students, prepared meals, and maintained the upkeep of the college building and lawn. We know that enslaved people worked alongside white workers (native and immigrant) and possibly free African Americans…at least 51 of the Board members likely owned slaves at one time or another. A few of the Baptist board of trustee members in slave-owning states (the college was founded and controlled at this time by Baptists), such as Iveson Brooks and Richard Fuller, not only owned slaves but authored influential theological tracts in defense of slavery (GW Libraries). Richard Fuller (April 22, 1804 – October 20, 1876) became one of the founders of the Southern Baptist movement, which split [in 1844] from the Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery in the United States, which Fuller and the Southern Baptists refused to oppose. Northern Baptists held that slave ownership itself disqualified a man for missionary service.

The Historical Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of the Columbian University, Washington, D. C., 1821-1891, shows that William B. Cooper graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1836. He received a Master of Arts from Columbian University in 1839.

After his graduation he went to Augusta, Ga., where he was ordained.   His first ministry was at Hamburg, South Carolina where he is reported to have experienced a rheumatic condition, causing him to seek a milder clime to the south (Huxford Magazine, Vol 27). He removed to Florida… and located at Madison Court-House, FL (1881 Baptist Encyclopedia).

1845 Florida map detail showing Madison County, FL

1845 Florida map detail showing Madison County, FL

While William  B. Cooper was away attending college in Washington, DC., hostilities had broken out at home in Florida  between Native Americans and white settlers. During the period called The Second Seminole War, from 1835-1842,  the remaining Native American inhabitants of Georgia, Alabama and Florida forcibly resisted removal to western lands. The summer of 1836 had erupted into a string of violent encounters.  In Lowndes County, GA  Levi J. Knight led a company of men on or about July 12, 1836 in a skirmish at William Parker’s place. In subsequent days, engagements were fought at Brushy Creek, Little River, Grand Bay, Troublesome Ford, Warrior Creek and Cow Creek in Lowndes County.  In September, 1836, Gen. Jesup ordered Maj. Dearborn with about two hundred United States regulars, into Lowndes county, for the protection of that and the surrounding country against the depredations of Indians.  Dr. Jacob Rhett Motte, a Harvard educated Army surgeon in Dearborn’s command journaled about their duty at Franklinville, GA  in Lowndes County, GA and in Madison County, FL.  In January, 1837, Dearborn’s force moved into North Florida. About February 23, 1837 Dr.  Motte and the troops encamped at Warner’s Ferry on the upper Withlacoochee River, close to the boundary line between Georgia and Florida:

While there [Warner’s Ferry] we built a stockade, for the protection of the neighboring inhabitants, when [after which] we should have left, as a place of refuge for them.

In consequence of an alarm at Hickstown, caused by a body of Indians attacking a plantation in the neighbourhood, on the 1st of March [1837] we crossed the Withlacoochee and marched to the relief of its inhabitants. The swarthy devils, however, had made themselves scarce by the time we got there; so all we had to do was, as the Scotchman says, “to coome back agen.”

We visited San Pedro, which is seven miles from Hicks-town. In truth the latter was nothing but an extensive field, which had once been the site of an important Indian town; but at the time we saw it presented not the least vestige of its former life and bustle or indeed of any life at all. San Pedro was a County-town [county seat], and we found it was the resort of many fugitives who had left their desolated homes to escape the rifles and scalping-knife; and were dwelling in miserable shanties that could scarcely protect them from the slightest shower. The few settlers on the road we traveled on our return, who had not deserted their clearings, were suffering very much from alarm of Indians, who were known to be concealed somewhere in the vicinity; for they would frequently, when prompted by their necessities, leave their lurking place, in the swamps, and commit depredations, and then retire with impunity loaded with their plunder.”

There is a legend that during this period, while the baptist church was still at Hickstown,  “Indians on the war path approached the church and [saw] through the windows the settlers kneeling in prayer.” “Their plan was to massacre the entire assemblage,” according to an old letter reported by State Librarian William T. Cash (1878-1954), “The Red Men then said to each other, ‘They are talking to the Great Spirit and He will be very angry with us if we kill them.” The letter said the Indians then slipped away quietly, but one of them was captured later and told the whites how narrowly they had escaped being massacred in the Hickstown church.” “ A picture of this incident hangs in the vestibule.”  – Middle Florida Baptist Association, 1995


The Florida Militia was also patrolling the Florida-Georgia border during this time. From William B. Cooper’s own Baptist Church of Christ Concord, deacon Edmund Mathis and his son Bunyan Mathis were among those enlisted in Captain John J. Johnson’s Mounted Company of the 2nd Regiment of East Florida Volunteers.  According to military records, the Mathises provided their own horses and were issued U.S. Army muskets, as were other men of the company, The officers of the company provided two horses  and each officer brought a slave as a personal servant.   “Thousands of enslaved men accompanied Confederate officers as their camp slaves, or body servants. These men performed a wide range of roles for their owners, including cooking, cleaning, foraging and sending messages to families back home.” Thousands more were enslaved  as “cooks, butchers, blacksmiths and hospital attendants, and slave owners remained convinced that these men would remain fiercely loyal even in the face of opportunities to escape…” –Diaries of Confederate Soldiers, Smithsonian Magazine

On April 21, 1838, the family and slaves of circuit riding Methodist minister Tilmon Dixon Peurifoy were massacred by Indians near Tallahassee, FL. Attacks at Old Town on the Suwanee River and in Alachua County, FL were reported in the same news accounts.

Reverend Cooper returned in 1839 to the Baptist Church of Christ Concord in Hamilton County, Florida where he became embroiled in the baptist controversy over the appropriateness of missionary work.

Like so many other Baptist churches of the period, the Concord Church in 1839 was confronted by the anti-missions movement. The primary anti-mission proponent was Elder [Elias] Knight, who was still affiliated with the Union Church in Lowndes County (now Lanier), GA.

Serving as the pro-missionary apologist was Hamilton County probate judge and ordained Baptist minister William B. Cooper. The discussion of the pros and cons of the missionary movement continued over a series of monthly church conferences. Finally, Elder Knight told the congregation that the church would take a vote. He explained that whichever faction was in the majority would grant to the opposing faction letters of dismissal so that the departed members could organize another church. The pro-missions’ faction won the standing vote by a slim majority. The missions’ proponents reportedly voted to provide letters of dismission to the anti-missions group, sang a song, shook hands with each other and said their good-byes. The anti-missions’ faction departed and eventually organized the Prospect Baptist Church, which subsequently became a Primitive Baptist congregation. [The Primitive Baptist movement embraced many of the theological positions and faith practices of the early hyper-Calvinists.]

During this contention, Deacon Edmund Mathis and his wife, Unity, were of the anti-missionary sentiment. Upon receiving letters of dismission, they returned to Lowndes County,  where they were received back by Union Church by letter from Concord, Sept. 6, 1839.  Bunyan Mathis and his wife, Elizabeth, went with the anti-mission faction that formed Prospect Church. Although they were at theological odds, William B. Cooper served on the initial presbytery for the organization of Prospect Primitive Baptist Church. Prospect Primitive Baptist Church was located on a bluff overlooking the Suwanee River 17 miles east of Jasper, FL.

It was apparently about this point that William B. Cooper’s Missionary beliefs caused him to abandon the Primitive tenet, and… take a pastorship at newly constituted Hickstown Baptist Church in nearby Madison County (Huxford Magazine, Vol 27).


Hickstown Baptist Church

Portrait of Tukose Emaltha, a chief of the Miccosukee Indians, who was known by the english name John Hicks.

Portrait of Tukose Emaltha, a chief of the Miccosukee Indians, who was known by the english name John Hicks.

The Hickstown Baptist Church was constituted around 1832 to 1835 at the village of Hickstown, about six miles west of present day Madison, FL. The village was named for John Hicks, a chief of the  Miccosukee tribe whose Indian name was Tuckose Emathla. Hicks had moved his tribe to this region after Andrew Jackson’s 1818 punitive expedition against  Miccosukee villages east of Tallahassee, FL (Jackson’s forces included friendly Indians from Chehaw Village, GA, which was massacred by Georgia Militia troops while the warriors were serving with Jackson in Florida.)   Hicks came to realize that the government’s intention to move the Indians to reservations was inevitable and supported peaceful negotiation between the Native Americans and the government. Hicks was among the chiefs signing the 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek, under which terms the Native Americans were relocated to a reservation in central Florida. By 1826 Hicks’ tribe of Miccosukee Indians had removed from Hickstown.

In Madison County on US Hwy 90 a historic marker commemorates the Hickstown site with the following text:

The Miccosukee Indian chief, John Hicks, (English name for Tuckose Emathla) was a prominent Indian leader in the period between the First and Second Seminole Wars (1818-1835). It is believed that after General Andrew Jackson destroyed the Miccosukee towns to the west of here in the 1818 campaign against the Seminoles, John Hicks relocated his village near this site. This village, Hicks Town, was evacuated by the Indians by 1826 as Seminoles were removed to a central Florida reservation. John Hicks died in the winter of 1833-34 after a decade as a major spokesman for his people in treaty councils in which important decisions about the future of the Seminoles were made. White settlers occupied the site in the late 1820’s, and in 1830, Hickstown Post Office was established. By the late 1830’s, the village had disappeared as a center of population due to the Second Seminole War and the creation of an official Madison County seat at San Pedro.

The Miccosukee Indian chief, John Hicks, (English name for Tuckose Emathla) was a prominent Indian leader in the period between the First and Second Seminole Wars (1818-1835). It is believed that after General Andrew Jackson destroyed the Miccosukee towns to the west of here in the 1818 campaign against the Seminoles, John Hicks relocated his village near this site. This village, Hicks Town, was evacuated by the Indians by 1826 as Seminoles were removed to a central Florida reservation. John Hicks died in the winter of 1833-34 after a decade as a major spokesman for his people in treaty councils in which important decisions about the future of the Seminoles were made. White settlers occupied the site in the late 1820's, and in 1830, Hickstown Post Office was established. By the late 1830's, the village had disappeared as a center of population due to the Second Seminole War and the creation of an official Madison County seat at San Pedro. Image source: https://www.waymarking.com/

Hickstown Historic Marker, located on US Highway 90 in Madison County, FL. Image source: https://www.waymarking.com


It was around this time that the Hickstown Baptist Church relocated from Hickstown to the community of Madison, which by 1838 had become county seat of Madison County, FL


“From that time on William B. Cooper’s story is that of a heroic worker and missionary. Neither dangers from the Indians nor toils of the road deterred W. B. Cooper. Throughout the Florida counties of Madison, Leon, and Jefferson, and the Georgia counties of Lowndes and Thomas, he prosecuted his labors with zeal unabated. In the face of bitter opposition from anti-missionary elements, he espoused the cause of missions” – A History of Florida Baptists


Assuming a commanding role in the Florida’s Missionary movement along the Florida/Georgia corridor, he next became the first pastor of Little River/Troupville Baptist Church near present day Valdosta, Georgia, [The baptist church in Troupville was constituted in 1840.] In consort with Georgia’s Baptist leaders [he] strove to turn the tide  [that was] against the Missionary movement, becoming known in the annals of Florida Baptist history as “the first Missionary Baptist preacher of Florida” (Huxford Magazine, Vol 27).

Related Posts:


Map of Old Troupville, GA with Notes on the Residents

Troupville, Lowndes County, GA

From pioneer times to the present day, Ray City, GA , has been under the jurisdiction of three different counties and six different county seats of government.    From 1825 to 1856  the community fell within the borders of Lowndes County. During that period,   the county seat of government was first at Franklinville, GA, then briefly at Lowndesville, and about 1836 moved to the town of Troupville,GA. [A legal announcement in the November 7, 1837 Milledgeville Southern Recorder, pg 4, documents that public auctions were still being held at Franklinville at that date.]

Related posts about Troupville GA:

In its heydey, Troupville was the center of commerce and social activity for the region. Promoters of the town hoped to develop the Withlacoochee River as a navigable waterway.  In the Harrison Freshet of 1841, the town was inundated, the flood setting a high water mark on the old cypress tree there which set a record , according to the March 28, 1897 New Orleans Times-Democrat, which was not surpassed for 56 years.  The Harrison Freshet knocked out bridges all over the region and probably caused the loss of bridges on the Coffee Road, then the main thoroughfare passing through Lowndes County. “Few bridges on the common streams … stood the shock.” The Milledgeville Federal Union declared it a 100 year flood.  The “extraordinary flood…caused awful damage in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina” with major erosion, land slides, “roads rendered almost impassable, and plantations disfigured with enormous gullies.” In 1845, the citizens of Lowndes county petitioned the state legislature “praying that the State tax and 1846 and 1847, be retained by said county, to improve the navigation of the Withlacoochee river,” but the House committee on Petitions returned an unfavorable report.

Among the prominent pioneer settlers who frequented Troupville were the Knight family.  Reverend William A. Knight, was the religious leader of many of the Primitive Baptist churches in the area and the father of Levi J. Knight,  earliest settler at the site of present day Ray City, Berrien County, GA.

White’s Statistics of the State of Georgia, published 1849, describes Troupville thus:

Troupville is the [Lowndes County, GA] seat of justice, immediately in the fork made by the confluence of the Withlacoochee and Little rivers.  It has the usual county buildings, three hotels, two churches, four stores, several mechanics’ shops, two physicians, and four lawyers.  It is distant from Milledgeville 180 miles S.; 40 from Thomasville; 75 from Waresborough, and 75 from Irwinville.  It is a healthy and pleasant village.  Population about 20 families.

Here is a conceptual layout of Old Troupville adapted from a sketch of the town made by C. S. Morgan, and   superimposed on  a modern map of the confluence of the Withlacoochee River and the Little River .

Map of Troupville, GA adapted from C. S. Morgan

Map of Troupville, GA adapted from C. S. Morgan

In addition to the structures depicted on this map, the following Troupville property owners are known:

  • Lot No. 1       “on the east side of the Courthouse” property of William  McAuley prior to 1841
  • Lot No. 2        1/2 acre “water lot”, Jesse Townsend, prior to 1846
  • Lot No. 3        1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 4        1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 5        1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844;  1/4 acre “water lot” property of Jared Johnson, prior to 1846
  • Lot No. 6        1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 7       1/4 acre,Uriah Kemp, prior to 1839; south half (1/8 acre), Daniel S. Graham prior to 1841.
  • Lot No. 8       Uriah Kemp, prior to 1839
  • Lot No.  9      Uriah Kemp prior to 1839, Hiram Hall prior to 1842
  • Lot No. 10     1/2 acre, Hiram Hall prior to 1842, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 11     1/4 acre “well improved” lot owned by John Studstill up to 1845; Richard Allen after 1845
  • Lot No. 13      south half (1/8 acre), James A. Boyet prior to 1842.
  • Lot No. 14      “on the east side of the Courthouse” property of William  McAuley prior to 1841
  • Lot No. 15      1/4 acre  “water lot”, Jesse Townsend, prior to 1846
  • Lot No. 16       1/4 acre, William P. Murdoch prior to 1852
  • Lot No. 17     Daniel W. ThomasTen Pin Alley
  • Lot No. 21     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 25     1/4 acre, William Lastinger prior to 1840; Hiram Hall prior to 1842, Burnett & Hall  (Joseph S. Burnett and Hiram Hall) 1842 to 1843.
  • Lot No. 28     1/4 acre mol, Thomas O. Townsend prior to 1847
  • Lot No. 29     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1844, Samuel Maulden, prior to 1847
  • Lot No. 32     1/4 acre, Hiram Hall prior to 1842, Burnett & Hall  (Joseph S. Burnett and Hiram Hall) 1842 to 1843;  John J. Underwood, 1843 -1844;  property of Hiram Hall, 1844 and described as   ” the place whereon John J. Underwood now [Aug 13, 1844] lives.”
  • Lot No.  34    property of William  McAuley prior to 1841
  • Lot No. 35     Henry J. Stewart, , prior to 1850. Stewart was an Attorney at Law and served as Postmaster in 1848.
  • Lot No. 37     Joseph S. Burnett and Hiram Hall prior to 1841
  • Lot No. 38     1/4 acre, William McDonald, prior to 1838
  • Lot No. 39     1/4 acre, William D. Branch, prior to 1840
  • Lot No. 42     1/4 acre, William D. Branch, prior to 1840
  • Lot No. 45     5 acres mol (Wilson’s Survey), Mikel Myers, prior to 1848
  • Lot No. 46     Peter K. Baillie, prior to 1842
  • Lot No. 50     1/4 acre, “on which is situated the Methodist Episcopal Church,” property Duke K. Jimson prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 53     1/4 acre, Duke K. Jameson;  also Richard W. Kirkland prior to his death in 1848
  • Lot No. 57     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 58     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1846.
  • Lot  No. 59    1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1844; Thomas O. Townsend prior to 1845
  • Lot  No. 60    Thomas O. Townsend prior to 1945
  • Lot No. 61      1/4 acre, Duke Blackburn prior to 1838;  Uriah Kemp,  prior to 1839
  • Lot No. 64      1/4 acre,   Uriah Kemp,  prior to 1839; John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot  No. 65    Thomas O. Townsend prior to 1845
  • Lot No. 66     Thomas O. Townsend prior to 1845
  • Lot No. 67     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 68     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 69     1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 70     1 1/2 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844
  • Lot No. 72     Duncan Smith prior to 1846.
  • Lot No. 73     2 acres mol, Lodowick Miller, prior to 1842
  • Lot No. 91     1/4 acre, John J. Underwood, prior to 1844


  • John Ashley, attorney, 1848
  • Dr. William Ashley,
    Received his medical degree from UGA in 1845. Following further medical education in Philadelphia he moved to Troupville prior to 1850 and established a successful practice. He was a boarder in William Smith’s hotel, Tranquil Hall. In the Crisis of the Union in 1850, he was a pro-secessionist.

    • Georgia Smith Ashley, married in 1851
    • Anna Caroline Ashley
    • Daniel Cornelius Ashley
  • Sumner W. Baker, attorney, 1856; Livingston’s Law Registry, 1859; resident of Tranquil Hall, 1860
  • George W. Behn, attorney, 1845
  • M.J. Bennett
  • W. B. Bennett, attorney, Associate Editor of the Thomasville Southern Enterprise, 1858
  • M. B. Bennett, attorney
  • James B. Bliss, jeweler, 1843
  • Elisha Ward Bozeman  – not a Troupville resident, but  in the 1850s he was  a “hack driver”  who regularly drove carriages through the town on the route from Thomasville, GA to Monticello, FL. He was later a resident of Quitman, GA
  • Henry Briggs, Doctor and apothecary shop owner.
  • Cyprian Brinson, 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • Anthony C. Bruner, Methodist Preacher in 1842
  • Joseph S. Burnett, sheriff, 1839
  • T.A. Caruth, 1857 pastor
  • John B. Cashan, merchant
    • Deborah Cashan, wife of John B. Cashan
    • Children of John B. Cashan
      Ann E. C. Cashan
      Sarah J. Cashan
      John B. Cashan, Jr.
      James S. Cashan
      Jones E. Cashan
  • Albert Converse
  • Mary Converse
  • Reverend William B. Cooper, pastor of Little River Baptist Church/Troupville Baptist Church 1841-1853
    • Ann G. Cooper
    • Eugenia Cooper
    • Frances M. Cooper
    • Ann H. Cooper
    • Franklin Law Cooper
  • Rebecca Perrill Cooper, sister of Rev. W. B. Cooper; married Berrien M. Jones; Mrs. Reba P. Jones, 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • Elizabeth Isabelle Cooper, sister of Rev. W. B. Cooper, school teacher
  • . R. Creech, traveled to New York City, October 1857
  • O. P.  Dasher, traveled to New York City, October 1857
  • S. H. Dasher, 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • William H. Dasher, Attorney at Law, 1852-56
  • T. S. Davies, Attorney at Law, doing business as the firm Davies & Rockwell, 1846.
  • A. Davis, Pastor 1858
  • William Wesley Dowling, Farmer 1849-1854
    • Ardelia Frier Dowling, Wife of William W. Dowling
    • Children of Ardelia and William W. Dowling
      John Moses Dowling
      Sarah Elizabeth Ann Dowling
      Ryan Eli Dowling
      Henry Taylor Dowling
      Mary Emily Dowling
  • Thomas William Ellis,  Doctor and druggist
    • Piercy Dixon Ellis, wife of Dr. Ellis
    • Elisabeth Ellis, daughter of Dr. Ellis
    • Caroline Ellis, daughter of Dr. Ellis, married John B. Cashan in Dooly Co., 22 Jul, 1849
  • Ryan Frier, co-minister of the Little River Baptist Church, 1842
  • Reverend Jonathan Gaulden, organizing member of the Little River Baptist Church.
  • William Oglethorpe Girardeau – of Monticello, FL, had a law office in Troupville, 1848, in partnership with Charles S. Rockwell
  • William Godfrey, Grocery merchant circa 1850
  • Henrietta O. Goldwire, member of the Little River Baptist Church; 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • James O. Goldwire, constituting member and deacon of the Little River Baptist Church
  • Joseph J. Goldwire, resident, arrived at Pulaski House, Savannah, Nov 1, 1844; member of the Troupville Baptist Church; later assisted Rev. Charles Anderson in forming Macedonia First African Baptist Church of Valdosta
  • Marie I. Goldwire, member of Little River Baptist Church
  • William H. Goldwire, second pastor of Little River Baptist Church, Attorney at Law, 1852; Livingston’s Law Register, 1852. attorney, retired;
    • Ann C. Goldwire, Wife of William H. Goldwire
    • Children of Ann C. and William H. Goldwire
      Matilda M. Goldwire
      Sophia B. Goldwire
  • Old Monday, a slave of the Goldwires
  • Thomas Butler Griffin
    • Jane Moore Griffin
    • Children of Thomas Butler Griffin and Jane Moore Griffin
      Marcus J. Griffin
      Samuel Moore Griffin
      Iverson Lamar Griffin
  • W.W. Griffin, Methodist Episcopal preacher, 1843
  • Mrs. J. S. Griffin, ; 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • Joshua Griffith, Sales Agent for the Wiregrass Reporter (Thomas County newspaper)
  • Barney Howell –  in the 1840s “was mail carrier between this neighborhood [Thomasville] and Monticello, Florida, making the horseback journey with great regularity and going via Troupville, which was then county seat of Lowndes County.”   He was a resident of Thomas County and a brother of Caswell Howell, who served as one of the early members of the Baptist Church at Milltown, GA.
  • Thomas Hughes Hines, Attorney at Law, residing at Stansell’s hotel, 1850; doing business as the firm Nelson & Hines, 1852, and on his own account in 1853
  • Seaborn Jones, died November 9, 1849, accidently shot by his nine-year-old son, William Jones
  • Jonathan Knight, hotel operator circa 1840-1849
  • D. B. Johnson, student at Troupeville Academy, circa 1849
  • Isaac de Lyon, publisher of the South Georgia Watchman newspaper
  • Leonoren de Lyon, editor of the South Georgia Watchman newspaper
  • Robert Marlow, member of Little River Baptist Church
  • R. J. McCook, Methodist Episcopal Preacher, 1856
  • Charles C. Morgan
  • David B. Morgan, Attorney
  • William Louis Morgan,  Attorney at Law and Secretary of the Lowndes County Inferior Court; came from Macon to Troupville in 1842; beekeeper; Solicitor General of the Southern Circuit (1843); representative to the 1845 Georgia Democratic Convention; secessionist representative to the 1850 Georgia State Convention which produced the Georgia Platform;Livingston’s Law Register, 1852; grave at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, GA
  • Thomas L. Nelson, Attorney at Law, doing business as the firm of Nelson & Hines.
  • Captain George W. Patterson, born in VA; lawyer and school teacher in Troupville from 1854 to 1860; relocated to Valdosta.
  • James W. Patterson, Attorney, 1854
  • Dr. W. H. Perry, of Troupville, received his medical degree in Augusta in 1843.
  • Henry Peeples, Merchant
  • John Peeples
  • Richard Augustin Peeples, Merchant, later mayor of Valdosta
  • Tillman D. Peurifoy, Preacher, 1840
  • Col. Ephriam H. Platt, Attorney and real estate agent, 1853 -1858.
  • George Robie, Teacher, 1842
    • Frances Barrett Robie, wife of George Robie
    • Georgia A. Robie, daughter of George Robie, b. 1842 at Troupville, GA
  • Charles S. Rockwell, Attorney at Law, doing business in 1846 as the firm of Davies & Rockwell, and in 1848 as the firm of Rockwell & Girardeau; also taught school in Troupville; Livingston’s Law Register, 1852; moved to Thomasville before 1860.
  • Mrs. S. J. Rogers, ; 1857, member Bible Revision Association
  • John Slade,  Methodist preacher riding on the Troupville circuit.
  • Aaron Smith – Storekeeper
  • Duncan Smith, Secretary of the Democratic Party of Lowndes County, 1848; Clerk of court, 1851; Livingston’s Law Register, 1852. attorney, retired;
  • Henry H. Smith, head of Troupville Bible Society, 1856
  • Mose Smith – Storekeeper, owned the first store in Troupville
  • Moses Smith, Jr.
  • William Smith, Innkeeper of  Tranquil Hall and Postmaster of Troupville
  • S. Spencer, Attorney at Law, doing business as the firm of Spencer & Stewart, 1843
  • H. S. Stewart, Attorney at Law, doing business as the firm of Spencer & Stewart, 1843
  • George W.Stansell, Hotel keeper
    • Eliza E. Stansell, wife of G. W. Stansell
  • John Strickland
  • Elizabeth Wooten Swain, 1st wife of Morgan Swain
    • Children of Elizabeth Wooten and Morgan Swain
      Joel Wooten Swain
      Rachel Inman Swain
  • Rebecca Griffin Swain, 2nd wife of Morgan Swain
    • Children of Rebecca Griffin & Morgan Swain
      Silvania Swain
      Emily Swain
      Thomas Swain
      William Swain
      Morgan Swain, jr
  • Morgan Swain, Innkeeper, jailor, blacksmith, and sheriff
  • Tarlton Swain, brother of Morgan Swain
  • Daniel W. Thomas, Shopkeeper, residing at Stansell’s hotel, 1850.
  • John Towells, Sheriff, 1844
  • Solomon W. Walker, Farmer
    •  Mary King Walker
    • Children of Solomon W. Walker & Mary King Walker
      Solomon Wesley Walker
      Matilda Walker
      Nancy Jane Walker
      Sophia Walker
      Henry Clay Walker
      William Webster Walker
      Isham F. Walker
      Mary Walker
  • Lewis P. D. Warren, Attorney, admitted to the bar at Troupville, 1848
  • Powhatan B. Whittle

    Powhatan B. Whittle

    Powhatan Whittle, Attorney; born abt 1832 in Virginia; arrived in Troupville 1854; a lineal descendant of Pocahontas;

  • William Wilder
    • Sarah Wilder
      Hopkins Wilder;
      John W.Wilder;
      Jane M.Wilder;
      Bathsheba Wilder;
      Andrew J.Wilder;
      Edward Gross Wilder
      Sarah E Wilder

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Baskin Family Helped Found Ray City Baptist Church

Baskin monument, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.

Baskin monument, Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.


Frances Bell and James Madison Baskin were among the pioneer families that settled in the Ray City, GA area.

Frances was a member of the Troupville Baptist Church (now the First Baptist Church of Valdosta).  After the New Bethel Church, Lowndes County, was organized 1871, Frances and James were united with it.

Three of their daughters, Georgia Ann Baskin, Martha J. Baskin, and  Sarah E. Baskin were among founding members of Beaverdam Church  who met in the home of Mary and Thomas M. Ray, Sr. with Reverend J. D. Evans on September 20, 1874 to organize the church. While the minutes of that September meeting do not show their father, James Madison Baskin, present at the organizational meeting, he is listed on the plaque honoring charter members along with W.A. Bridges.    James and Frances remained members of the Ray City church for life.

In October 1874 J.M. Baskin was elected first deacon of the church , becoming ordained on March 21, 1875. He served on the committee that selected and procured the site for the construction of the church building.  According to notes written by Mary A. Ray, James M. Baskin and W.A. Bridges were the builders of the church building. Construction began in  January of 1875. Baskin and Bridges hand hewed out all the timber to frame the church. Windows and sawn lumber were purchased but had to be dressed by hand. The pulpit, table and pews were all built on site. J.M. Baskin made the doors himself.  He continued to serve as a deacon of the church until 1903 when dismissed by letter.

Frances Bell Baskin died on June 3, 1885 in Rays Mill, Berrien County, Georgia.  James Baskin was a widower, 56 years old, the youngest of his 11 children just 9 years old. He decided to re-marry. Just six months later, on Dec 30 1885 he married Mary Ann Harrell. She was a native of Lowndes County, born in  Nov. 29, 1859. At 27, she was a prominent citizen experienced in public service, and a former Ordinary (probate judge) of Lowndes county. This union produced six children.

James Madison Baskin lived on his land near Ray City with his second wife until his death on July 7, 1913 .  He and both of his wives are buried at Beaver Dam Cemetery in Ray City.

The graves of James Madison Baskin (1829-1913) and his two wives, Frances J. Baskin (1833-1885) and Mary A. Baskin (1859-1917). The obelisk marking the three graves is the largest monument in Beaver Dam Cemetery, Ray City, GA.