Neigh of the Iron Horse

When the very first train rolled into the newly laid out town of Valdosta, GA, the state newspapers reported the “neigh of the Iron Horse” was heard.  Valdosta was Station No. 15 on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the first train, arriving on July  25, 1860, was pulled by the locomotive “Satilla.” Levi J. Knight, original settler at Ray City, GA, was instrumental in bringing the railroad to Lowndes County. Over time, the trains would bring new economic & tourism opportunities to Wiregrass Georgia, like Henry Bank’s Elixir of Life mineral springs at Milltown (now Lakeland), GA

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad, iron horse

The track of the A & G “Main Trunk” Railroad had one month earlier reached Station No. 14, Naylor, GA, sixteen miles east of Valdosta.

The Valdosta (Lowndes Co.) Watchman, on last Tuesday [June 26, 1860], says:
“The ware-house at Naylor Station (No. 14) has been completed, and freight is now regularly received and forwarded. The grading on Section 29 is finished to the eastern boundary of Valdosta, the cross ties are being distributed along the line, and nothing save some unforeseen providential contingency can postpone the arrival of the train at No. 15 longer than 20th July ensuing. The whistle of the Steam Horse has been heard repeatedly in our village the past week.”

The railroad had been built largely by the labor of enslaved African-Americans. The construction had commenced in 1859 at Tebeauville, GA.

For the opening of the tracks to Valdosta, the town invited the A & G railroad executives and prominent citizens of Savannah to a grand celebration of the event. Three thousand people were at Valdosta for the Jubilee held July 31, 1860.

Macon Weekly Georgia Telegraph
August 10, 1860

Railroad Jubilee at Valdosta

The Valdosta Watchman says, the opening of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad to that place was celebrated with a public dinner. A train of seven passenger cars brought numerous guests from Savannah and intermediate places on the road, who arrived at Valdosta at one o’clock, and were welcomed with the heavy booming of a nine pounder.
On the same day the friends of Breckinridge and Lane held a meeting, ratified the nominations, appointed five delegates to Milledgeville and were addressed by Col. Henry R. Jackson and Julian Hartridge, Esq.

 

 

Among the prominent attendees:

  • Reuben Thomas “Thompy” Roberds, Mayor of Valdosta; attorney; owner of 10 enslaved people
  • John Screven, President of both the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; Mayor of Savannah; State Representative from Chatham County;  a rice planter on the Savannah River; owner of Proctor Plantation, Beaufort, SC; owner of 91 enslaved people.
  • Gaspar J. Fulton, Superintendent of the “Main Trunk” Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Julian Hartridge, State Representative; owner of four enslaved people
  • Robert Grant, Savannah attorney
  • Henry Rootes Jackson, prominent attorney and prosecutor of Savannah; former U.S. Minister Resident to the Austrian Empire; owner of 11 enslaved people.
  • Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks County, GA
  • Col. Thomas Marsh Forman, former state senator, wealthy planter of Savannah, owner of Broughton Island, political rival of Julian Hartridge, son-in-law of Governor Troupe, owner of 171 enslaved people in Chatham, Laurens and Glynn County, GA.
  • Young J. Anderson, of Savannah, former Solicitor General of the Eastern Circuit, attorney and owner of 6 enslaved people. One of his slaves was the remarkable Rachel Brownfield, who through her own efforts earned enough to buy her own freedom, but Anderson reneged on the deal.
  • Joseph John “JJ” Goldwire, accountant, resident of Valdosta
  • Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, resident of Valdosta
  • Benjamin F. Moseley, alumnus of the University of Georgia, resident of Georgia Militia District 662 (Clyattville District); his brother, Augustus Moseley, owned 33 enslaved
  • William Zeigler, wealthy planter of Valdosta and owner of 46 enslaved people.
  • Sumner W. Baker, Troupville, GA attorney residing at Tranquil Hall hotel
  • Rufus Wiley Phillips,  Troupville, GA attorney; owner of three enslaved people; later mayor of Valdosta and a judge of Suwannee County, FL
  • Lenorean DeLyon, editor of the Valdosta Watchman newspaper; his brother, Isaac DeLyon, was the first station agent for the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad at Valdosta. A neice, Lenora DeLyon, was a passenger on the first train to reach the town.
Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Satilla locomotive, Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

Savannah Daily Morning News
Thursday Morning, August 2, 1860

Railroad Celebration at Valdosta.
In response to the invitation of the citizens of Lowndes county to the officers and Directors of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf Railroad and the citizens of Savannah, to join with the people of Lowndes and the adjoining counties in celebrating the completion of the Main Trunk to that point, in company with a number of gentlemen we left the city in a special train for Valdosta, at 5 o’clock on Tuesday morning [July 31, 1860]. Not withstanding the extreme heat of the weather, and the dustiness of the track, the trip, over a good road, through a county so recently almost a wilderness, but which is already beginning to exhibit evidences—in its increasing population, rising towns, and growing prosperity and enterprise, of the great benefits which must result to our section of the State from the completion of this great work—was both interesting and pleasant. As the train progressed, and as we neared the point of destination, our party was increased by continual accessions of people, and by the time we reached Valdosta, the cars were filled to the extent of their capacity.

Arriving at Valdosta about two o’clock, we were surprised to find a gathering of some three thousand people, of whom a large proportion were ladies and children—the town surrounded by vehicles of every description, and saddle horses tied to the trees in every direction. The company had just partaken of a most bountiful and well-prepared barbecue, which was spread out upon tables under a shed erected for the purpose. The guests from Savannah were cordially received by the committee, by whom we were invited to the tables, and introduced to many of those present.

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

John Screven, president of the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad

After the company had retired from the tables, a meeting was organized by calling Col. E. R. Young, of Brooks county, to the Chair, and appointing Dr. Folsom, Secretary. The object of the meeting having been stated by the chairman, Capt. John Screven, President of the Savannah, Albany & Gulf and Main Trunk Railroads, responded to the general call in an eloquent and appropriate address, in which he spoke of the interesting event to celebrate which, in a becoming manner, he was happy to see so many of fellow citizens and fair countrywomen of Southwestern Georgia assembled in Valdosta. He alluded to the immense benefits which must result to the people of the interior and the cities of the seaboard from the completion of the great iron link which was to bind them together in bonds of mutual Interest and mutual friendship. Capt. Screven’s address was received with demonstrations of cordial approval.

Henry Rootes Jackson

Henry Rootes Jackson

Brief and appropriate addresses were also delivered in response to the call of the meeting by Hon. Henry R. Jackson, Julian Hartridge, Esq., Col. Thos. M. Forman and Y. J. Anderson, Esq., of Savannah, S. W. Baker,Esq., Chairman of the Committee of arrangements, also addressed the meeting. Other gentlemen were also called by the meeting, among them Robert Grant, Esq., of this city. None of them responding, the meeting was finally adjourned, and the immense crowd, most or whom had many miles to travel to their homes, began to disperse. Some objection having been made to a proposition to reorganize the meeting as a political meeting, notice was given that the friends of Breckinridge and Lane would reassemble at the Court House for the purpose of holding a ratification meeting.

A large portion of those present repaired to the Court-house, where a meeting was organized by calling William B. Zeigler, Esq., to preside., and appointing R. T. Roberds

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

Reuben Thomas Roberds, first mayor of Valdosta

esq., secretary.

The official proceedings of this meeting, which was a very spirited and enthusiastic demonstration of the prevailing sentiment, not only of Lowndes but of the surrounding counties and throughout that section of the State, in favor of Breckinridge and Lane and sound State Rights principles, will be found in another column or our paper.

Judge Jackson, being Invited to address the meeting, made one of his happiest and most effective  efforts. After a brief history of the action of the Charleston and Baltimore Conventions, and a fair statement or the great Issue before the country, he confined himself mainly to a most searching review of the political record of John Bell, whom he clearly demonstrated had given evidence by his frevuent votes against the South, and with the North, that his ambition is stronger than his patriotism, and that he is utterly unworthy the confidence of the South in a crisis like the present.

Mr. Hartridge, followed Judge Jackson in one of the ablest and most forcible political speeches we have ever heard him deliver.

Col. Forman, In response to the call of the meeting made a brief and pertinent speech which was also well received by the meeting.

Alter the passage of the resolutions and a vote of thanks to the speakers, the meeting adjourned with three hearty cheers for Breckenridge and Lane.

The crowd at Valdosta on Tuesday comprised a full and fair representation of the people of that portion of Georgia, its brave men, its fair women, and bright youth; and was one of the largest as well as most respectable assemblages we have ever seen brought together in the interior and more sparsely populated sections of our State. As we contemplated the vast crowd, and looked upon Valdosta, just emerging from the native pine forest, then echoing the first startling neigh of the Iron horse, who, as he leaps the heretofore impassable barriers that have shut out Southwestern Georgia from the commerce of the world, we endeavored to picture to our mind the great change which a few years must bring to this long neglected and almost unconsidered portion of our noble Slate.

Valdosta, the present terminus of the Main Trunk road, is distant from Savannah 155 miles. The first trees upon its site were felled In February last, and though only a little more than six months old, its present population numbers about five hundred souls. It is handsomely laid out, and though the native trees still obstruct its streets, it has three or four dry goods stores, two grocery stores, two hotels, two steam mills, a court-house, several neat private residences, and last, not least, a printing office and a newspaper.

The Valdosta Hotel, at which we stopped, is well kept by very kind and obliging people, who made up by their willing efforts for whatever they lacked of ability to provide accommodation for a crowd that would have given even our Pulaski House something extra to do. In the emergency of the case we are greatly Indebted to Mr. J. G. Fulton, the worthy Superintendent of the Road, who kindly provided us and many others with excellent sleeping quarters for the night on the cars.

The perfect safety with which the entire trip was made over the road, on a considerable portion of which the rails have been but recently laid, bears testimony alike to the excellence of the road itself and to the carefulness and attention of its employees.

————————♦————————

Breckinridge and Lane Meeting At Valdosta.

There was a barbecue given at the above place on Tuesday, 31st July, to celebrate the arrival or the cars at Valdosta, the friends of Breckinridge and Lane availed themselves of this opportunity to hold a ratification meeting, and assembled, after the close of the exercises pertaining to the railroad celebration, in the Court house at Valdosta, In the afternoon of the same day for that purpose.

On motion of Mr. J. J. Goldwire, Mr. William Zeigler was called to the Chair, and R. T. Roberds requested to set as Secretary.

Mr. Goldwire then introduced the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

1st, Resolved, That we, the Democracy of Lowndes county, do hereby ratify the nominations of John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane, for the Presidency and Vice Presidency of the United Slates, and we pledge to them our hearty and undivided support, believing, as we do, that it is high time for the people of the South to be united and vigilant In the recognition and enforcement of their constitutional rights.

2d. Resolved, That the Chairman of this meeting do now appoint five delegates to represent the county of Lowndes in the Democratic Convention to assemble at Mllledgevllle on the 8th of August next, to nominate an electoral ticket to cast the vote of Georgia in the Presidential election.

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

Rufus Wiley Phillips, Valdosta attorney

3d. Resolved, That should it be inconvenient for any one of said delegates to attend said convention, that those who do go be instructed to cast their votes for them, having the same power of the original delegates.

The following gentlemen were appointed by the Chair, to wit: Benjamin F. Mosely, R. W. Phillips, J. J. Goldwire, Dr. A. R Taylor, and Col. Leonorean DeLyon.

Col. H R. Jackson being present, was called on to address the meeting, which he did in his usually eloquent and forcible manner, entertaining his audience with satisfaction for a consider able time, notwithstanding they were fatigued with the other exercises of the day, and so situated  as to have to stand to listen at his speech.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

Dr. Augustus Richard Taylor, Valdosta physician.

At the suggestion of Col. Williamson, the privilege was extended to any one who wished to take part in the discussion In behalf of Bell or Douglas. No one responding.

Mr. Julian Hartridge was loudly called for, and addressed the meeting in an able and eloquent manner, clearly defining hit position, and giving a satisfactory account of his conduct as a delegate from Georgia in the recent Democratic Presidential Conventions.

Col. Thomas M. Forman was also called for, and addressed the audience in a few pertinent and entertaining remarks. Col. DeLyon moved that the thanks of the meeting be tendered to the speakers, which was. It was then moved that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the Valdosta Watchman, Savannah Morning News and the Georgia Forester.

The meeting then adjourned, with three cheers for Breckinridge and Lane, Jackson, Hartridge and Forman.

Wm. Zeigler, Chairman.
R. T. Roberds, Secretary.

————————♦————————

By 1862, the regularly scheduled trains of the merged Atlantic & Gulf Railroad and the Savannah, Albany & Gulf railroad passed through Valdosta, GA daily.

 

Related Posts:

Morz Swain was Innkeeper, Blacksmith, Sheriff & Jailor of old Troupville, GA

By special request…

On August 9, 1851, A brief announcement appeared in the newspapers of the state capitol at Milledgeville, GA.  Morgan G. Swain, prominent and colorful citizen of Troupville, GA, was dead.

Obituary of Morgan G. Swain appeared Aug 19, 1851 in the Milledgeville Federal Union newspaper.

Obituary of Morgan G. Swain appeared Aug 19, 1851 in the Milledgeville Federal Union newspaper.

The Milledgeville Federal Union
August 19, 1851

DIED. – In Lowndes County, on the 9th inst., after a short but severe illness, Morgan G. Swain in 48th year of his age.

A slightly longer obituary appeared a few days later in The Albany Patriot.

Obituary of Morgan G. Swain.

Obituary of Morgan G. Swain.

The Albany Patriot
August 22, 1851

OBITUARY.
Departed this life on the 9th instant at his residence, in Lowndes county, Geo., MORGAN G. SWAIN, aged fifty years, after an illness of nine days.
He has left a wife and a large family of Children, besides an extensive circle of acquaintances to lament his loss.
Troupville, August 13, 1851.

Born in 1805 in Montgomery County, Georgia, Morgan G. Swain was one of thirteen children of Rebecca Johnston and Canneth Swain (1770-1831).  His father, Canneth Swain, was a planter of Montgomery County and served there as Justice of the Peace  from 1808 to 1812.  Swainsboro, GA was named after his uncle, Senator Stephen Swain, who served in the Georgia Assembly for more than twenty years and who introduced the bill that created Emanuel County.

About 1826, Morgan G. Swain moved with his parents to the newly created Thomas County, GA where his father had purchased land in 1825.  In addition to the property in Thomas County,  Canneth Swain owned nearly two thousand acres of land in Early and Lee counties, and herds of hogs and cattle.

On September 3, 1828 Morgan Swain married seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Wooten in Thomas County, GA.  She was a daughter of Redden Wooten and Susannah Byrd. Swain’s brother-in-law was Lasa Adams, who fought in the Indian Wars of 1836.

1828 Marriage license of Morgan Swain and Elizabeth Wooten, Thomas County, GA

1828 Marriage license of Morgan Swain and Elizabeth Wooten, Thomas County, GA

To any Judge  Justice of the Inferior Court   Justice of the peace or ordained Minister of the Gospel    Greeting   These are to authorise you to Join together in holy and sacred Matrimony Mr Morgan Swain and Miss Elizabeth Wooten for which this will be your sufficient Licence given under my hand at office this the 18th August 1828

Neill McKinnon CCC the witness    Executed on the 3rd day of September by Amelus Hughen   Minister of the Gospel    1828

Entered this the 23 December 1828

On the census records of 1830, Morgan Swain was enumerated in Thomas County next to his father-in-law, Redden Wooten. For several years the Swains made their home in Thomas County;  Morgan Swain served as 1st Lieutenant of  the Militia in the 763rd District.  But when Troupville was establish in 1838 as the county seat of Lowndes County,  the Swains moved  there to be among the town’s first residents. In Troupville, Morgan Swain set up a blacksmith shop  and  also took work as Deputy Sheriff, both trades that suited him as one of the biggest, strongest men in Wiregrass Georgia.

For five years the Swains prospered in Troupville.  While Elizabeth Swain raised their children,  Morgan Swain “became owner and operator of Swain’s Hotel in Troupville, which competed with “Uncle Billie” Smith’s hotel [Tranquil Hall] for public patronage, especially during court and muster days.”  But on June 20, 1843 Elizabeth Wooten Swain died at age 32, leaving Morgan with two young children to raise.  Elizabeth Wooten Swain was buried, it is said, in Bethel Primitive Baptist Church cemetery, where others of the Wooten family connection are interred.

About six months later, in January, 1844 Morgan Swain married a second time. On January 11, 1844, Swain married Rebecca Griffin, eldest daughter of Shadrach Griffin. Her father was a pioneer settler of Irwin County, and a road commissioner on that section of the Coffee Road which crossed over the Alapaha River. Morgan and Rebecca were married in a ceremony performed by X. Graham. The wedding was announced in The Macon Telegraph.

Wedding announcement for Morgan G. Swain and Rebecca Griffin appeared in The Macon Telegraph, Feb 20, 1844.

Wedding announcement for Morgan G. Swain and Rebecca Griffin appeared in The Macon Telegraph, Feb 20, 1844.

Morgan G. Swain operated one of the three hotels in Troupville. One was “Tranquil Hall” run by William “Uncle Billy” Smith.  The second was that operated by Jonathan Knight for eight or ten years until he moved away to Appling County about 1849.  A third hotel, situated on the town square,  was operated by Swain.

Upon the occasion of his marriage in January, 1844 Swain apparently felt it necessary to advertise his intention to continue as innkeeper. “Swain’s Hotel,” the tavern operated by Morgan G. Swain, was properly called The Jackson Hotel, and for several months in 1844 he ran this ad in the papers of the state capitol.

Jackson Hotel, Troupville, GA was operated by Morgan G. Swain.

Jackson Hotel, Troupville, GA was operated by Morgan G. Swain.

The Milledgeville Federal Union
February 6, 1844

JACKSON HOTEL
Troupville, Georgia
The subscriber respectfully informs his friends, and the public generally, that he still continues at his old stand, and feels grateful for the liberal encouragement heretofore extended to him, and assures his friends that no effort on his part, shall be wanting, to render the utmost satisfaction to those who may favor him with a call.
His Table will at all times, exhibit the best specimens of eating, the country affords.
His Stables are large and commodious – he is likewise able to oversee in person, that every care and the best of provender, is amply supplied to all animals, entrusted to him.  His terms are adapted to suit the times – very reasonable.

MORGAN G. SWAIN
Troupville, Ga., Jan. 16, 1844

Morgan Swain’s grandson, Montgomery M. Folsom, was a Wiregrass poet and historian whose writings have been featured in previous posts on this blog.  According to Folks Huxford, Folsom, a sort of grandson of old Troupville, in his series of articles entitled “Down the River” published in ‘The Valdosta Times’ in 1885, also wrote of old Troupville in an interesting manner”

‘Old Troupville! What a charming spot for the mind of the lover of reminiscent lore to contemplate! Here, semi-annually the Judge and his satellites, the jurors, litigants, court attaches, sightseers, horse-swappers, peddlers, tinklers, bummers, rowdies and all the rabble rant; all did congregate in august assemblage and solemn conclave.

* * * * *

Among those who settled in Troupville and left behind many momentous memories, was Morgan Goodgame Swain, a burly blacksmith from Emanuel, who was ever ready for a fight, frolic or a footrace. He stood six feet three and weighed over two hundred without pound of surplus flesh. As handsome as a Greek god he was gifted with herculean strength and a heart that was generous and true. He erected his forge on the bank of the Ockolockochee, and his wife took possession of the tavern. Becky, she was lord above, and Morz was lord below.

* * * * *

There, at that pile of rocks stood Morgan G. Swain’s blacksmith shop, and the rocks are the remains of his forge. Many a time and oft has he stepped out in the road and throwing off his hunting-shirt, flop his arms and crow like a game-cock “Best man in Troupville, by —–!’

Despite this zest for life, in late 1845, Morgan Swain sought to dispose of his hotel and Troupville city lots.

In November 1845, Morgan G. Swain advertised to sell the Jackson Hotel and his Troupville, GA property.

In November 1845, Morgan G. Swain advertised to sell the Jackson Hotel and his Troupville, GA property.

Albany Patriot
November 26, 1845

NOTICE

Being desirous of paying up my debts and moving into the country, I offer my possessions in the county of Lowndes, consisting of FOUR LOTS in the town of Troupville, three of which are Well Improved, and 245 Acres of Pine Land, also well improved, in the immediate vicinity of Troupville, for sale at the lowest price for which property can  be had.
    On the Town Lots now is standing, and in good repair, a Large TAVERN, suited for the accommodation of Travellers.  Purchasers, by paying a part of the price in cash,  can have their time to pay the balance.
    The above will be sold at Public Outcry, on the First Tuesday in January, if disposed of before at private sale. The house-hold and kitchen furniture will also be sold in the same manner.
MORGAN G. SWAIN
Troupville, Nov. 26, 1845

During this period Swain had continued to hold public office, serving as Justice of the Peace of 658th District of Lowndes County from 1844 to 1849, and also as the county Jailor.

In 1847 Swain’s old place, the Jackson Hotel, hosted the Lowndes County Democratic party for the purpose of selecting representatives to the gubernatorial convention and also candidates for election to the state legislature. In 1849, Swain’s further interest in politics was apparent in his involvement in the activities of the Democratic party in Lowndes county.

Morgan G. Swain was a member of the Democratic Party.

Morgan G. Swain was a member of the Democratic Party.

The Albany Patriot

Democratic Meeting in Lowndes.
Troupvill, May 6th, 1849 
   The Democratic party of Lowndes county held a meeting in the Court House today. – On motion, William Hines was called to the Chair, and – Edmondson requested to act as Secretary.  The object of the meeting was explained by Morgan G. Swain, Esq.  The following resolutions were passed:
Resolved, That this meeting appoint a committee of seven to select delegates from each district to meet the delegates from the county of Ware at David Johnson’s, Esq., on the 4th Saturday in June next, to nominate for this district a Senatorial candidate for the Legislature.
Resolved, That James Jamerson, David G. Hutchinson, William Zeigler, James Coston, Thomas B. Griffin, James C. Hodges, and Wm. L. Morgan, Esqrs. be selected delegates to the Convention in Milledgeville to nominate a Governor of the Democratic party.
Resolved, That the citizens of the different districts in this county be requested to appoint  two delegates each to meet in Troupville on the first Monday in July next, to nominate a candidate for Representative of this county to the next Legislature.
Resolved, That this meeting now adjourn.
WM. Hines, Chm’n
–Edmonson, Sec’y

As given above, Morgan G. Swain lived a short but prominent life in old Troupville, GA and there he died on August 9, 1851.  It is said he was buried in the cemetery of Bethel Primitive Baptist Church, Brooks County, Ga.

His father-in-law, Shadrach Griffin, served as administrator of his estate.

1822 Legal advertisement for administration of the estate of Morgan G. Swain, appeared in The Albany Patriot, August 22, 1851.

1822 Legal advertisement for administration of the estate of Morgan G. Swain, appeared in The Albany Patriot, August 22, 1851.

The Albany Patriot
 August 22, 1851.

Georgia Lowndes County.
Whereas, Shadrick Griffin applies to me for Letters of Administration on the estate of Morgan G. Swain, late of said county dec’d.
     These are therefore to cite, summons and admonish all persons interested, to be and appear at my office within the time prescribed by law, to shew cause (if any) why said letters may not be granted.
     Given under my hand at office, this, 16th day of August, 1851.
DUNCAN SMITH, cco.
August 22, 1851.

Swain’s widow applied in July 1852, for guardianship of the “minors and orphans” of the deceased.  Dr. Henry Briggs, Ordinary of the Lowndes Court advertised the application in The Milledgeville Southern Recorder.  Dr. Briggs was one of the first doctors to take up residence in Troupville, GA.

Rebecca Swain applied for guardianship of "the minors and orphans of Morgan G. Swain."

Rebecca Swain applied for guardianship of “the minors and orphans of Morgan G. Swain.”

Milledgeville Southern Recorder
July 13, 1852

 GEORGIA, LOWNDES COUNTY
     Whereas Rebecca Swain applies to me for letters of Guardianship of the persons and property of the minors and orphans of Morgan G. Swain, late of said county, deceased –
     These are, therefore, to cite, summon and admonish all persons interested to be and appear at my office on or before the first Monday in September next, and show cause, if any exist, why said letters of Guardianship should not be granted.
     Given under my hand this  1st July, 1852.
H. BRIGGS, Ordinary L. C.
July 6, 1852

Shadrach Griffin, Swain’s father-in-law and administrator of his estate, continued with the disposal of his property and the conclusion of his affairs.

Administrator's Sale: estate of Morgan G. Swain

Administrator’s Sale: estate of Morgan G. Swain

The Albany Patriot
February 6, 1853

Administrator’s Sale.
Georgia, Lowndes County.

Will be sold at the late residence of Morgan G. Swain, late of said county dec’d, on Thursday the 1st day of April next, all the personal property, consisting of cattle, horses, hogs, stock cattle, and household and kitchen furniture, and a great many other articles too tedious to mention.  Sale will continue until all is sold.  Terms of sale made known on the day.
SHADRACH GRIFFIN, Adm’r
February 6, 1853.
——————————————-
All persons indebted to the estate of Morgan G. Swain, late of Lowndes county dec’d, will come forward and make payment – and all those having claims against said estate will render them in according to law.
SHAD’H GRIFFIN, Adm’r.
February 6, 1853

Oct 12, 1918 ~ 372 U.S. Soldiers Lost in Sinking of Otranto

OTRANTO SUNK IN COLLISION

October 12, 1918 details of the sinking of the troopship Otranto began reaching the U.S.  Out of 699 soldiers on board, 372 were lost. Berrien County and Ray City, Georgia would pay a heavy toll in the disaster.

The October 12, 1918   Atlanta Constitution carried the story.   Nashville, GA resident Early Steward was listed as one of the Otranto survivors.

372 U.S. Soldiers Lost As Result of Sinking Of Transport Otranto

Fort Screven Men Among the Rescued.
A Scottish Port, October 11. –The following American survivors of the Otranto, all of them privates, have been landed here: Charles E. Smithson, David R. Roberts, George S. Taylor, Earle Garver, Stewart Early [Early Steward], Noah Taylor, William Cooney, Robert F. Schaun, Thomas A. Kelly, Ben Smith, Robert Brown, Joseph S. Richards, William Richards, Emil Peterson, Joseph M. Tollock, Sergeant Charles MacDonald, all from Fort Screven automatic replacement draft, and John E. Wean, casual company, Camp Merritt, N.J.

A British Port, October 11. – A large number of American troops have been lost as the result of the sinking of the transport Otranto in the North channel Sunday night between the Scottish and Irish coasts in a collision with the steamer Kashmir.
The Otranto after the collision was dashed to pieces on the rocks off the south Scottish coast with a probable loss of 372 American soldiers.
Three hundred and one men were taken to Belfast by the British destroyer Mounsey, the only vessel which made an attempt at rescue in the terrific gale when the Kashmir, another vessel in the convoy with the Otranto, rammed the Otranto amidships.
Seventeen men were picked up alive on the Scottish coast.
Of the 699 American soldiers on board the Otranto, 310 were landed. Seventeen were rescued alive at Islay, leaving 372 unaccounted for.

Collision Occurred in Storm.
The Otranto and the other vessels of the convoy were battling with the heavy seas and high winds Sunday morning. The storm was so severe and the visibility so bad that the Kashmir, a former Peninsular and Oriental liner, crashed into the Otranto squarely amidships.
The Kashmir backed away badly damaged, but was able to make port.
As the bows of the Kashmir were pulled from the great hole in the side of the Otranto, the water rushed in, but for a time it did not serve to stop the engines. The Otranto tried to proceed, but made no headway against the gale in her crippled condition.
Within a short time the water put out her fires and the Otranto drifted helplessly toward the rock coast of Islay Island, where most of the Tuscania victims met their deaths.
Thirty minutes after the crash the British destroyer Mounsey, herself damaged by the heavy seas, appeared out of the haze in answer to the distress calls from the Otranto. When the destroyer maneuvered to get alongside Captain Davidson, of the Otranto, warned Lieutenant Craven, commanding the destroyer, not to make the attempt.
When it was seen that Craven would make the attempt anyway the men were ordered to remove their shoes and heavy clothing and try to save themselves as best they could.
The destroyer stood off about 100 feet and the gradually came nearer, against the great odds of high waves and the wind, which threatened momentarily to carry her entirely away from the Otranto or dash her to pieces against the side of the wounded vessel.

Struck Rocks Sunday Night.
The Otranto struck the rocks Sunday night south of Saligo bay, Islay Island, an uninhabited section where the coastline in many places rises straight out of the water to the rocky peaks many feet above.
As the destroyer neared the side of the Otranto the men began to jump from 30 to 40 feet from her decks.  The most experienced sailors of the sailors had better success than the soldiers, many of whom had never seen the sea until this trip.
As the destroyer steered toward the side of the steamer many of the men leaped too quickly and missed their reckoning and dropped between the boats. Some of these disappeared in the water, but others of them were caught and crushed between the boats and the lifeboats which had been lowered to act as buffers. The destroyer was badly shattered.
The captain of the destroyer, each time it was brushed away from the side of the Otranto, again would push near enough for many more men to jump to the deck of his vessel. He described  as a veritable rain the number of men landing on the destroyer.
Many of those who reached the decks of the vessel suffered broken bones or otherwise were hurt. Those who missed the deck of the destroyer went almost to instant death.
Four times the battered destroyer came alongside, and each time the previous scene was repeated. At the end of the fourth trip she had 310 Americans, 236 of the crew, 30 French sailors and one British officer on board. The boat was full and having done all possible, she started for port.
The survivors saw the Otranto drifting helplessly toward the rocks as they pulled away toward the Irish coast.  The destroyer barely had time to send a brief message when her wireless was carried away.  The little overloaded vessel had a rough trip to port.

Soldiers at Attention.
One of the American soldiers on board the Otranto pictured the scene when the vessels collided. Soldiers lined the decks as though on parade, and at the word of command stood at attention like statues. They never wavered, remaining there in military formation, exemplifying during the crisis the noblest traditions of the army for heroism and discipline. The same thing, said the soldier, applied to the seamen.
Numbers of bodies today were being washed up rapidly on the shore. It was reported that 175 had been counted at noon and nearly all of them had been identified.
A seaman on the Otranto described the most tragic moment of the disaster as that when the order came for the men to jump and save themselves. The destroyer looked a very small boat alongside the former Orient liner and many landsmen among the American troops thought themselves safer aboard the larger vessel. This was fatal to many of them.
The victims are to be collected at the most suitable place and buried there.  A boat left Liverpool today with material for coffins, fifty laborers and carpenters and chaplains to conduct the funeral. The grave of every man will be marked and charted.
There were few cases among the dead where identification was delayed. Every man had worn an identification tag on his wrist or neck, but in some instances these were torn off and it was necessary to take finger prints of the men.

Heavy “Y” Man Saved.
An instance of the many rescues by the Mounsey was that of T.L. Campbell, a Memphis lawyer and secretary of the Y.M.C.A. He weighs 220 pounds. He was perched on the Otranto’s rail awaiting a chance to spring upon the destroyer the third time the Mounsey came up. As he leaped the Mounsey lurched away and instead of landing in the middle of the deck, as he had hoped to do, one of his legs caught in the cable on the side of the destroyer. Campbell pulled himself aboard uninjured.

“Just when the destroyer was pulling away the last time,” said Campbell today, “the men lined the rails or stood on the afterdeck waving a farewell. A huge wave struck a crowd of about eighteen privates on the afterdeck and a dozen of them were swept into the sea to sure death, as it was impossible to save persons from waves running sixty to seventy feet high.”

London, October 11. -The news of the collision reached London Monday, but nothing was known of the fate of the Otranto until Thursday morning, when the first reports came from Italy. The storm continued to make further attempts at rescue impossible.  No ships pass close enough to that coast in rough weather to see a stricken vessel ashore.

ROLL CALL OF THE OTRANTO DEAD FROM BERRIEN COUNTY,  GEORGIA

Pvt. Hiram Marcus Bennett, Sparks, GA

Pvt. Jim Melvin Boyett, Milltown, GA

Pvt. John Guy Coppage, Cecil, GA

Pvt. Rufus Davis, Sparks, GA

Pvt. Mack Hilton Easters, Lenox, GA

Pvt. George Bruce Faircloth, Milltown, GA

Pvt. Lafayette Gaskins, Nashville, GA

Pvt. Bennie E. Griner, Nashville, GA

Pvt. Lester A. Hancock, Alapaha, GA

Pvt. Robert J. Hancock, Lenox, GA

Pvt. Arthur Harper, Enigma, GA

Pvt. William P. Hayes, Alapaha, GA

Thomas H. Holland, Adel, GA

Pvt. George H. Hutto, Adel, GA

Pvt. Ralph Knight, Ray City, GA

Pvt. Benjamin F. McCranie, Adel, GA

Pvt. James M. McMillan, Nashville, GA

Pvt. William McMillan, Enigma, GA

Pvt. John Franklin Moore, Adel, GA

Pvt. Charlie S. Railey, Alapaha, GA

Pvt. Tillman W. Robinson, Enigma, GA

Pvt. Thomas J. Sirmons, Nashville, GA

Pvt. Shellie Loyed Webb, Ray City, GA

Pvt. Joel Wheeler, Nashville, GA

Pvt. William C. Zeigler, Sparks, GA