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Davidson's History of Wilkinson County (GA)


The HISTORY OF WILKINSON COUNTY GEORGIA, by Victor Davidson, has been out of print for 48 years. It was published in 1930.

Due to the circumstances brought about by the economical depression during that era, a limited number of copies were issued. Conditions also dictated who would actually do the printing. It had to be done as economically as possible. The job was given to a Macon firm not usually associated with book work. It was actually a job printing place.

The slick paper stock used deteriorated over the years, becoming discolored and frayed. Binding also came loose from the spine.

These conditions resulted in a difficult situation in producing clear electro plates - especially the finer print inside the book.

For such reasons - and the job being done by a non-professional, this re-issue lacks some of the qualities found in commercial jobs.

Joseph T. Maddox

June 1978

Copyright 1930



Copyright expired 1958


Fourth Edition 2002













Without intending any invidious comparison, the local history of Wilkinson County written by Victor Davidson, Esq., is the best of many I have read. The author has a proper sense of proportion in knowing what to put in, what to leave out, what to treat in detail, and what to handle in a brief way. His treatment of the background is, it seems to me, par excellent. His knowledge of Indian affairs, a large part of which is related to the early settlements in Wilkinson, and therefore properly a part of this volume, is nevertheless of state-wide interest; and students who wish to know more of Georgia's dealings with the Indians will find here the fullest treatment of the subject that has fallen under my eye - indeed I know of no other source where the connected story may be found, and it has been written in a most attractive style.

Mr. Davidson has also shown, in the following pages, much of the inner life of the people of his county. He has not contented himself with mere dates, and names, and of sounding the praises of the more prominent ones, but he has portrayed the home life of the people and has recorded many of the side lights without which no true picture could be presented.

No history of the entire State can do what these county chronicles are doing. The former is limited to a statement of the outstanding facts which affect the current of the whole commonwealth; but the latter can and should make mention of many things for which there would be no place in the other; and yet, it is the lights and shadows of the little things that make up the complete portrait.

His treatment of the part played by the country in the War Between the States is especially well done.

The work has been so thoroughly wrought, and with so much pains and accuracy, that the talented writer who is responsible for it is entitled not only to the thanks of the people of Wilkinson, but of those everywhere who are interested in the history of the State.



who first impressed me with a desire

to write this book



who assisted me in the work





THERE is unmistakable evidence to be found throughout this section pointing towards the fact that hundreds of years ago the country was thickly populated with human beings. There are large mounds to be found near Black Lake, below the old Oconee Town, south of Milledgeville, near Lord's Lake, several miles farther down the river, one near Wriley, one on Cedar Creek near Burke's Old Mill Site, one farther down the creek not far from the Dublin and Irwinton Road. There are many places in the county where numbers of arrow heads indicate that they might be on old battlegrounds of contending tribes. Likewise, in the memory of people yet living, there were many more indications of Indians to be found years ago which are now obliterated. Mrs. J.W. Fordham, who lives near Ball's Ferry, gave the author the information that during her childhood, there was located on the lands now belonging to Mr. Ennis Miller a round tract of ground, packed very hard, which was said to have been the place where the Indians were accustomed to dance their war dance. Mr. J.J. McArthur, of Gordon, tells of there having been a similar spot of ground near the Irwinton and Macon Road about seven miles from Irwinton on his old home-place. Mrs. C.G. Kitchens, tells of an old site resembling that of the cliff dwellers near Turkey Creek about two miles from Danville from which she digged some bones and pottery. Among the things found there was the petrified skeleton of a human being. It had been buried in a sitting position apparently after a number of things had been

burned near him. Among the ashes were some partly burned bones the nature of which she was unable to determine, also a piece of metal chain and many arrowheads. Some excellent pottery was found in one of the mounds near Black Lake several years ago. This pottery was sold to the Superintendent of the State Sanitarium at Milledgeville at that time. The mounds near Lord's Lake are large and have large flat rocks piled on them.

According to the hearsays handed down by the past generations and told to the author by C.B. Lamb, about three hundred years before Wilkinson County was first settled by the whites, which would have been about the year 1500, the most terrible hurricane that had ever been before experienced by the Indians devastated the section of the country from the vicinity of Turkey Creek as its eastern boundary and extending approximately twenty miles in width from this section to the Ocmulgee river, uprooting all the monster yellow pines that covered this whole section, and almost exterminating the tribes of Indians who then dwelt at Allentown and on Turkey Creek, so frightening the remainder that they left in a body, never again returning to live here. As the tradition goes, the yellow pine was not reseeded in this particular section but that in its stead the "short-strawed" pine took its place, and although this whole section is surrounded by lands upon which the yellow pine flourished, never since then has it been found here. The tradition says further that when the white man first settled here the roots and stumps of these old yellow pines could frequently be found.

An old tradition told the author by B.C. Arnold several years ago is to the effect that Devil's Branch near Danville was so named by the Indians who were accustomed to go there to hunt, but every time they would go there, a hairy monster in the shape of a man and with flaming eyes would chase them away, and for this reason they gave it the name of the Devil's Branch and avoided the spot. It will also be noted that this stream flowed near the old Indian village at Allentown.

By the same person, the author was informed that

Turkey Creek was so designated by the Indians on account of the numerous wild turkeys to be found there, and the Buck Creek was given that appellation by reason of the deer that were always there.



THERE is a vast diversity of opinion as to the route taken by De Soto in his journey through this section of the State. The map accompanying Irving's "Conquest of Florida" indicates that the route led by way of the present city of Macon and thence to Milledgeville, before proceeding to Silver Bluff near Augusta. Numerous writers accept and follow this theory.

Still others among whom may be mentioned Stevens, in his History of Georgia, frankly admit that it is impossible to trace the exact route. The translations of Garcilaso, of Biedman, of Elvas and of Ranjel in the Carnegie library of Atlanta do not give sufficient data to determine the route absolutely, but these apparently just as strongly sustain the opinions of Charles C. Jones, Jr., who, in his History of Georgia, indicates the route as having led through Coffee or Irwin county, thence crossing the Ocmulgee, on through Laurens and up the Oconee for a distance before crossing. There is much data to sustain Jones in this opinion. Pickett in his History of Alabama states that De Soto spent the winter of 1539-40 near Tallahassee, Florida, and it is agreed by practically all modern writers on the subject that the Silver Bluff near Augusta is identical with Cofachiqui, and that the general direction of De Soto's line of march was northeast. It will be observed that a straight line on the map connecting Tallahassee with Augusta, will follow the route suggested by Jones. Mention is also frequently made of the Indian trail which was followed by this expedition, and over which the Indian guides assured De Soto they had previously traveled the entire distance. This leads us to believe that it is extremely probable that the old trail, shown on the Map of 1715 "Plate C" accompanying Swanton's History of

the Creek Indians, must have been the same trail followed by De Soto.

Mention is made by Irving and others of the Spaniards passing through the province of "Atapaha" or "Altamaca," and some conclude this was Altamaha. However, it is just as probable that this was Alapaha, as the river of this name crosses the route suggested by Jones, while the Altamaha river is much farther to the east of the route. After leaving Atapaha the next province the Spaniards reach was Ocute. Swanton in his History of the Creek Indians gives his opinion that Ocute and Hitchitee are synonymous and in his map "Plate I" accompanying his History of the Creeks indicates that the territory in the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee which was later to become the lower portion of Wilkinson County was the province of the Ocute of De Soto. Some idea of the populous condition of the country is given when the chieftain of Ocutes sent a deputation of two thousand Indians to meet De Soto carrying with them as presents, rabbits, partridges and dogs. When De Soto arrived at his town he gave up his mansion to the Governor.

All the writers mention the fertility of the soil, the plentiful supply of food and game, as well as the hospitality of the people of Ocute or Cofa. The location of the town of Ocute or Cofa is fixed by Jones as being in the present Laurens County, formerly Wilkinson County. It was here that De Soto astounded the Indians by pointing a cannon at a tree and with two shots cut it down. Before leaving, the cannon being too heavy to carry, he presented it to the chief.

The adjoining province on De Soto's route was Caofaqu and was ruled by the brother of Ocute, but much more rich and powerful. Starting thither he was accompanied by four hundred Indians sent by the chieftain as burden bearers, and a messenger was also despatched to the Chief of Cofaqui acquainting him of the approach of the visitors.

If Jones is correct, then it is probable that Old Oconee Town is identical with Cofaqui.

The Chief of this province advanced to meet De Soto

with a retinue of richly decorated warriors with headdresses of tall plumes, and rich mantels of martin skins. He, too, gave up his mansion to De Soto.

This chief tried in vain to dissuade De Soto from going on to the northeast telling him of the great wilderness intervening. Failing in this he sent scouts out and assembled eight thousand of his subjects to accompany De Soto, four thousand as soldiers and four thousand retainers to carry supplies.


At the sight of so many armed Indians the Spaniards were alarmed but it soon developed that the wily old king had determined to make use of the Spanish army in wreaking a vengeance upon the inhabitants of Cofachiqui who were perpetually at war with his tribesmen and who frequently worsted them in battle. Calling his war chief, Patofa, he made known to him his plan. Irving in his "Conquest of Florida" gives a most vivid picture of this occasion:

"The Indian leader, whose name was Patofa, was of a graceful form and striking features. His expression was haughty and noble, promising dauntless courage for war, and gentleness and kindness in peace. His whole demeanor showed that the cacique had not unwisely bestowed his trust. He rose, and throwing aside his mantle of skin, seized a broadsword made of palmwood, which a servant carried behind him, as a badge of his rank. He cut and thrust with it, as skillfully as a master of fence, much to the admiration of the Spaniards. After going through many singular evolutions, he stopped suddenly before the cacique and made a profound reverence. `I pledge my word,' said he, `to fulfill your commands as far as in my power; and I promise, by the favor of the strangers, to revenge the insults, the deaths, and the losses, our fathers have sustained from the natives of Cofachiqui. My vengeance shall be such, that the memory of past evils shall be wiped away for ever . My daring to reappear in your presence, will be a token that your commands have been executed. For, should the fates deny my hopes, never again shall you behold me, never again

shall the sun shine upon me! If the enemy deny me death, my own hand will find the road! I will inflict upon myself the punishment my cowardice or evil fortune will merit!'"

Not only was Patofa an orator but he was a born leader. The discipline he maintained over his eight thousand Indians equaled that of De Soto over his Spaniards, and his posting of sentinels, the order and regularity of his army was such that the Spaniards were in constant dread of their allies.

After losing the way and wandering for several days a frontier village of Cofachiqui was found and De Soto encamped for several days:

"During which time Patofa and his warriors were not idle, but, sallying forth stealthily, ravaged the country for leagues round about, slaying and scalping man, woman, and child, sacking and pillaging villages and hamlets, temples and sepulchres, and refraining only from setting fire to them, through fear that the flames might betray their doings to the Spaniards.

"When De Soto heard of this cruel ravage, he made all haste to get rid of his bloody allies. Sending for Patofa, he thanked him for his friendly conduct and valuable escort; and giving him presents of knives, trinkets, and clothing, for himself and his cacique, dismissed him and his followers.

"The savage warriors set off on his return, well pleased with the presents, but still more gratified at having fulfilled the vow of vengeance made to his chieftain." (Irving's Conquest of Florida, p. 216.)



SWANTON in his history of the Creek Indians indicates several tribes here. The Oconee tribe whose town was a few miles below the present town of Milledgeville and located, according to the Purcell map, on the sharp bend in the river, about midway between the mouths of Buck Creek and Town Creek in the original Wilkinson County. Swanton's maps also locate the Tamali and Hitchiti towns near the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee and the Chiaha town in approximately the vicinity of Hawkinsville. There was, according to Mrs. Sarah Allen, of Allentown, who was near ninety years of age at her death, an old Indian village at Allentown, where two trails crossed, and that there are still to be found indications of the burial ground.

There is a tradition that once a tribe of Indians built their village on the creek which flows into the river just above Dublin and that a great drought came, preventing any crops from being grown and the whole tribe almost starved, so that the survivors moved away, but before leaving named the creek, Hunger and Hardship, which name it bears to this day.

It is also said that there was an Indian village on what is known as Bear Camp Branch near Irwinton. Likewise there was another on the homeplace of J.T. Dupree, Sr., six miles west of Irwinton.


It is probable that Spanish explorers and priests traveled through this country, as they had a mission among the Indians south of the junction of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers. The Missionary Pareja mentions this tribe in 1602, and in 1608 governor of Florida, Ibarra, again mentions this tribe. The next time we hear of the Oconee Indians is in 1695, when, in order to avenge an invasion made by the Indians of this section against some of the Spanish Indians, seven Spaniards at the head of four hundred Indians invaded this country, and among the towns captured was Oconee Town.

Wilkinson county can justly lay claim to having for centuries belonged to the most remarkable tribe of Indians that has ever dwelt on the American continent, a tribe whose loyalty to friends and whose hostility to its enemies has never been exceeded, whose bitter enmity to the Spaniards in Florida and whose friendship for the English might have, in no small way, determined the contest between these nations for Georgia, in favor of the English.

The Oconee Indians were a part of the old Hitchitee group, and according to their traditions was the most ancient of the tribes dwelling in this section; that they came across a sea which was narrow and frozen and traveled from there toward the east until they reached the Atlantic Ocean, seeking in vain for the place from which the sun came.

The fact that the Oconees were of the Hitchitee stock, that the Ocute of De Soto and Hitchitee are synonymous and the further fact that the chief of Cofaqui was the brother of the chief of Ocute, lends color to the idea that the town of Cofaqui visited by De Soto is none other than our Oconee town.

It is not known how the enmity arose between the Oconee Indians and the Spaniards, but it is possible the invasion in 1695 might have intensified it. History shows no deadlier hatred of one people for another than that of the Oconee Indians towards the Spaniards. We find them at every opportunity venting their hatred against every thing that pertained to Spain. Even the Indians friendly to that nation shared in their undying animosity. It is possible that this feeling of the Oconees and their allied tribes prevented the Spaniards from obtaining a foothold here.

As contrasted with the Spaniards, the English after planting settlements in the Carolinas made friends with the Oconees, and established trading posts among the Indians of this section. As history shows no greater capacity for hatred than that of the Oconees for the Spaniards, at the same time, it shows no greater loyalty than that of the Oconees for the English, a loyalty that existed for centuries. This was tested in 1702 when the Spaniards and Indians were on their way to

destroy the English settlements in the Carolinas, and the English traders and Creek Indians defeated them. In the following year they united with the English against the Spaniards. In order to avoid having friction, they gave up their town on the Oconee River about 1715 and moved to the Chattahoochee. We find the Oconee chieftain, Oueekachumpa, or "Long King" in the council held by Oglethorpe in 1733 and in this council he claims kinship with Tomochichi. Secoffee, or "Cowkeeper" who succeeded Oueekachumpa seems to have continued this friendship and we find him moving to Florida and spending most of his time fighting Spaniards, as did his nephew, Payne, who succeeded him and for whose service during the Revolution he was given a silver crown by the British. Even after the British were driven out during the Revolution the Oconee Indians who had now moved to Florida where they had formed the nucleus around which the Seminole Nation grew, yet they maintained their friendship for the English and when the English declared war against the United States in 1812, the Oconee sounded the warwhoop on the side of their old allies. Payne who was still king did not wait for the British armies to arrive but in 1812 committed depredations against the Georgia settlements.


A few years after the visit of De Soto, a hostile invader appeared from the far West. Apparently a great nation moved in one body to this section of America. We can imagine runners speeding from tribe to tribe calling them to arms to resist the great Muskogean invasion. Doubtless the bloodiest wars of the history of the Hitchitee tribes were now fought in an effort to save their hunting grounds. It appears that in the end peace was made and the invader was given portions of the hunting grounds and the Oconees became a part of the great Creek Confederacy at the same time retaining intact their ancient domains.


It would seem that the Uchee tribe of Indians once lived on the Oconee River not far from Toomsboro, possibly Ball's Ferry vicinity, their hunting grounds probably extending up and down the river. There is a Uchee Creek not far from the Indian dance ground described by Mrs. Fordham: there was also an old Indian trail called the Uchee trail which led up and down the river when this territory was surveyed in 1804. The old plot and grant at land lot No. 311 to Jonathan Snider is in the writer's possession showing this trail. The old road from Toomsboro to Messer's Bridge probably follows this route. In addition to this there was an old trail leading from the vicinity of White Bluff or Lord's Lake across Commissioner Creek near Claymont crossing the Irwinton and Macon road near the old home of J.J. McArthur, thence across Big Sandy and on through Twiggs County passing near Jeffersonville and thence to West Lake or Buzzard Roost, known as the Upper Uchee Trail.

In the description of the route followed by the Hartford road in the act creating this road, this trail is mentioned as being the Uchee trail. In addition to this, there was what was formerly called the Lower Uchee trail leading from the Ogeechee (Uchee) river to the Oconee river at Carr's Bluff above Dublin, and a continuation of this trail crossed the Tauloohatchee (Palmetto or Turkey, as it is now called) Creek, thence by the present town of Cochran and on to the crossing where Hawkinsville now stands. (This trail, however, was explained to the author several years ago by a Mr. Grantham, then near ninety years old living near Cochran. He told the story as told him by his parents when a child. The trail was named for an Indian chief, Uchee Billy. He made a treaty with the white men and granted a lot of the hunting grounds. His tribesmen were incensed and made known their anger to their chieftain, who promised faithfully never to cede away any more land. Later, he violated this promise, and not only sold their hunting grounds but traced out a road from the white man's country on this way and into the Indian country beyond the Ocmulgee. His tribe was so furious that they hanged him.

In Swanton's History of the Creek Indians, Uchee Tustenaggi or Uchee Billy is mentioned as being the chief of the Uchee Indians from about 1785 and on up to at least 1823. In the treaty of Fort Wilkinson his name appears.

Another trail led from Carr's Bluff in a more westerly direction by Allentown, Danville, by Mt. Zion Church and on to Buzzard Roost or West Lake. At one time it was known as Jameson's Trail.

Although the Uchees had a language and customs distinct from the Creeks, yet they were often uniting with them in their wars, and were considered members of the Creek Confederacy as their chief signed the treaty of Fort Wilkinson. However, their reputation among the other tribes was none too good. It seems that some tribes accused the Uchees of being cannibals but Swanton says there was really no foundation for this charge. However, the other Indians feared them and the Creeks ever welcomed them as allies.

Wherever they lived, the Uchees were bound to stir up trouble. Before the English settled in the Carolinas they were the bane of the Spaniards in Florida. Once in 1639 they tried to ally themselves with the Spaniards but they ended up by inducing another tribe to attack the Spaniards. For a while they were neighbors to the English in the Carolinas but they became so troublesome that a war broke out and the Uchees about 1681 were forced to move to some point between the Oconee and Ocmulgee. Swanton thinks they settled near Indian Springs but it is possible that they moved to this section, and while here adopted these trails and caused the trails and the creek to be named for them. The Uchees were great hunters and fishermen and the trail up and down the river led to some of the finest fishing and hunting grounds to be found in the county today.



THE trail leading from Oconee Town to the Carolina Settlements was, perhaps, for many years the main artery uniting the Creek Indians of this section with the English, and over which practically all articles for trade were carried.

The English forces passed along this route in 1703 when Col. Moore at the head of fifty volunteers from the Carolina settlements marched through here where he was joined by one thousand Creek Indians in an expedition against the Spaniards on the west coast of Florida. During this expedition Col. Moore writes of leaving the Ocmulgee river and later destroying old Fort St. Lewis near the Gulf of Mexico. The route taken by these forces as shown by an old map of 1715 giving the location of the Indian tribes was the trail leading from Charles Town (Charleston) by way of the Indian town near where Augusta now stands, thence to Oconee Town, thence south by southwest across the county and on to old Fort St. Lewis. It is probable that this trail followed the same path as the Carolina-St. Augustine path until it reached Stephensville and there diverged to the right passing through the lower part of the county and on through where Allentown now stands.

Frequently high water made it impossible for streams of this county to be crossed and at Stephensville there was a bridge maintained by the Indians. The author is indebted to Mr. James E. Lord of near Toomsboro for this information. He was eighty years old and remembered his teacher, Mr. Littleton Jenkins, telling him during the Forties that the reason the bridge was known as "Lightwood Knot" bridge was on account of the fact that this was on the old Indian trail leading from Augusta to St. Augustine and the Indians built a bridge there by piling large heaps of lightwood knots and using them as piers and laying logs from one to another.

The old Mitchell map of 1755 shows a trail leading from Augusta by way of Oconee town, thence westward, crossing the Ocmulgee where Macon now stands thence on to the Mississippi River. The map states this trail was followed by Col. Welch in 1698, and since then followed by traders. This map also indicates that the English had factories and traders in all the Indian towns except the Alabama; and that they had established them as early as 1687.

There is frequent mention in Indian Affairs, Vol. I, of the Cussetah Path leading from Fort Fidius or Rock Landing across this section to Buzzard Roost. This trail must have passed near Gordon.

The old English Purcell map of 1770 shows a trail leading from the east probably from Savannah crossing the Oconee River below Oconee Town, at White Bluff, thence crossing both Commissioner and Big Sandy creeks and crossing the Ocmulgee about Macon.

With the settlement of Savannah the trail leading by way of Ball's Ferry, thence to Macon by way of Irwinton probably became an important one as it was the most direct route between Savannah and the tribes on the Chattahoochee River to the northwest of Macon, although for the tribes further south the route known as the Chicken or Chickasaw Trail by way of Dublin and Hawkinsville might have been more often traveled. The other trails through the county were probably traveled a great deal both by the traders and the Indian hunters who still owned these hunting grounds, the Uchees even using the Ogeechee River as hunting grounds up to 1740. It is also probable that a few families of Indians continued to live here even after the main body of the tribe had moved away. In 1775 Bartram, the English naturalist, visited this section and among the trails mentioned is that leading from the old Ocmulgee town at Macon to Old Oconee Town. Benjamin Hawkins in his letters gives a vivid description of this route in his journal dated 1797.


The ancient crossings of the Oconee give us an inkling

as to the location of the Indian Trails. There was a crossing at or near Rock Landing and later a ferry was established near this known as McKensie's Ferry, now as Tucker's, still another, known as Tom's Ford three miles above the Rock Landing: another at White Bluff; another near the home of P.M. Jackson; another farther down the river known as Rutherford's Ferry (this ferry is mentioned in an old Milledgeville newspaper). Ball's Ferry was evidently owned by John Ball, Senator of Wilkinson county, as his administrator, Anson Ball, in 1816 operated it, and paid a rent to the estate for it. Still another, Fordham's Crossing below the mouth of Big Sandy; another at Carr's Bluff near the present Blackshear's Ferry; another at the present site of Dublin called Jenck's Ferry.


Mr. J.F. Billue, Sr., described what was called in his childhood "The Old Federal Trail," which led from the direction of Toomsboro crossing Big Sandy about the home of E.J. Helton's, thence across Cedar Creek and on by way of Allentown. He merely recalled its name and having seen traces of this old trail, but did not know how long since it had been used or its origin. It would seem that in order to have that name it must have been established by the Federal garrison at Milledgeville or officials prior to the treaty at Fort Wilkinson as an artery of travel to the Indian country to the south, and to the Spanish posts at Tallahassee, St. Mark's and Pensacola. This trail was used later as the mail route and stage road leading from Milledgeville to Tallahassee, Florida.



ALTHOUGH this section lay on the direct route leading from the Indian Towns to the Georgia Settlements and across which the Indians were obliged to travel during the Revolution, yet there is but little written history covering this section during this period. McGillivray had left the counting house of Samuel Elbert and had gone back to his mother's people and was claiming his right as chieftain of the whole Creek nation. Having received a commission from the British government as Colonel it had become his duty to keep the Creek Indian warriors on the warpath against the Georgia settlements. How well he succeeded is told in the history of Georgia's bloody days during the Revolution. The paths across this section were filled with the raiding bands of hostile Creeks en route to or returning from the frontiers laden with booty and scalps of the Georgians.

During the latter days of the Revolution when the banners of the patriots were in the ascendancy and the once victorious Tories were being compelled to flee from their homes and take refuge wherever they might, it was in this section they sought a rallying place. We thus find them here in 1782 uniting into a strong band their own forces with those of the Creeks and preparing to attack Georgia. The alarm, however, was carried to the frontiers by Jesse Spears who had been living with the Indians. He stated that on a certain day these foes would rendezvous on the west side of the Oconee and from there make a stroke on the Georgia settlements. In addition to his regiment of faithful Wilkes county veterans, Elijah Clarke placed himself at the head of one hundred South Carolinians who had been sent to reinforce him and with these made forced marches to the scene of the rendezvous. Apparently the enemy having both the Ogeechee and the Oconee rivers between them and the Georgians was feeling secure at


this distance from the frontier and was not keeping proper sentries, as Clark was able to cross and march a few miles on the west side of the Oconee and to make a surprise attack, defeat and scatter the Tories and Indians without any loss on his part. (Am. State Papers, Ind. Affairs Vol.1. page 317. McCall's History.)

The end of the Revolution in favor of the American arms brought much trouble to the Creek nation which had risked so much in anticipation of a British victory. The Cussetahs and certain other tribes, however, had remained neutral during the war and immediately upon its close extended the olive branch by gathering an immense quantity of property stolen from the Georgians during the Revolution and bringing it to the Oconee river, at the same time sending messengers to the seat of government at Savannah that they were ready to deliver up this property.

The memories of the bloody massacres during the Revolution was not to be so easily wiped out and the cession of the lands east of the Oconee was demanded at the treaties of Augusta, Galphinton and Shoulderbone. During the same period Georgia was confiscating the properties of the Tories which were still to be found in the state. Lachlan McGillivray, the father of Alexander, had fled the state and his enormous holdings were promptly seized. Seeing the rush of settlers to the east banks of the Oconee and at the same time the wealth of his father which he hoped some day to inherit swept into the hands of the Georgians, McGillivray's rage knew no bounds. The Indian in his blood seems to have now dominated him and he gave himself up to that hate for Georgia of which the Indian nature is capable. He seems to have been willing to sacrifice all in order to wreak his vengeance on Georgia.

His English allies were no longer in reach but there was Spain in both East and West Florida and in Louisiana, ancient enemy of Georgia, and with whom a quarrel was already brewing over the boundary question. To Pensacola he went in 1784 and entered into a treaty with the Spanish governor, granting to that power the trade of the Creek nation

and forming an alliance through which Spain agreed to come to the aid of the Creeks in case of war; to supply the Creeks with arms and ammunition and to give McGillivray a commission as Colonel in the Spanish army.

Recognizing the vast possibilities of an alliance with such a strong nation on the frontiers of the weak American Government, Spain lost no time in carrying out her agreement as to the arms and ammunition. Her arsenals at Pensacola, St. Augustine and New Orleans were opened to the Creeks and in a short time McGillivray was enabled to turn his warriors against the Georgia settlements on the Oconee. His repeated demands as his price for peace were that the Georgians retire from the Oconee lands to the lines formerly occupied by the British.

And Georgia was in no condition to withstand an Indian war. Left to her own devices by an almost impotent national government, from which she could expect no aid at all; bankrupt from the untold ravages of the Revolution and unable to purchase arms and munitions for defense; her credit gone and her citizens impoverished; adequate protection could not be provided. As best they could the frontiersmen had to bear the brunt of the Indian hordes, forming bands for mutual protection, building rude forts in which refuge could be taken when the Indian alarms were given. So helpless were these forts, that massacres would occur almost in their very shadows.

The war constantly growing worse, the federal authorities sent James White as Commissioner to make a treaty with the Indians in April, 1787. Meeting with McGillivray and many of the chiefs of the Indians at Cussetah he attempted to make peace. McGillivray was in complete control at this meeting and after a courteous introduction put forward as the main speaker for the Creeks none other than the very chiefs who had executed the treaties of Augusta, Galphinton, and Shoulderbone, who had been so ostracised by the Indians since that time they were now in a mood to repudiate these treaties. This they proceeded to do in the most emphatic terms,

threatening immediate war unless the Georgians should retire from the Oconee to the old line. McGillivray now came forward and proposed that if a new state should be formed south of the Altamaha he would be the first to take the oath of allegiance. He then announced to White that he would give him until the first of August for an answer.

No answer arriving, the war now broke out in redoubled fury. It seemed as if the whole Creek nation was united and ready to do the bidding of McGillivray. As never before the settlers on the east bank of the Oconee felt the full weight of his vengeance. His hordes poured across the river burning, pillaging, massacring and scalping. Swooping down upon the fort guarding the town of Greensboro, they burned it as well as the town. Although the Seminole Indians who were now living mainly in Florida but who still owned the bulk of the vast territory which was later to become Wilkinson county, yet we find their warwhoops mingling with those of the other Creeks and doing much mischief. (Ind. Affairs Vol. I, Page 30.)

In addition to this tribe it seems that the bloody Uchee tribe which was usually closely allied with the Seminoles was doing its part in this immediate section. On through 1788 the war was raging. White's Statistics of Georgia, pages 677, 678, tells of the bloody scenes occurring in the neighborhood of Kemp's fort in Washington county.

In addition to the Indian foes there was another enemy to be dreaded more than these, the lawless Tory element which at the end of the Revolution had been forced to flee from Georgia and had now taken up their abode among the Indian towns. They, too, had a grudge to repay as did McGillivray, for many of these had property confiscated by the State of Georgia. The sparsely settled country along the Oconee where they could steal horses and other property and then flee into the Indian country was an opportunity not to be overlooked.

And of all enemies none was so hated as were these Tories by the Georgians. The bloody massacres of the Indians and the horror of their deeds during the Revolution could be

excused as being acts incited by the Tories. But nothing could atone for the deeds of these who instead of aiding in establishing the liberties of Georgia had done their utmost to lay it in waste, and caused the patriots of Georgia to suffer as no other state suffered. McGillivray thus found in these who had been outlawed by Georgia, strong, able and willing allies. The Indian towns furnished them not only a haven of refuge from the infuriated Georgians, but also a market for their stolen goods. To these Tories is due much of troublous times which for years afterwards afflicted both Georgia and the Creek nation. For many of them rising into leadership among the red warriors were constantly inciting them to mischief.


It was about this time that John Galphin, the half-breed son of George Galphin, the famous trader among the Indians and patriot extraordinary, comes into prominence. John and his brother, George, had settled in Washington county. John near Kemp's fort. On one occasion rumors of an impending attack having reached the ears of Captain Kemp, commanding this fort, the families which fled to the fort for protection sent John as a spy through this section to gain information and prevent a massacre. Enroute to the Indian country, on the Lower Uchee Trail probably, he met a band of the hostiles who passed him without molestation. No sooner than out of their sight he turned his horse about and taking another route hurried as fast as possible to warn the settlers of the approach of the enemy. Exhausting the strength of his horse, he dismounted and continued his journey for forty miles on foot arriving in time to give the alarm and the Indian massacre was averted. John later accused the Washington countians of ingratitude towards him and became a bitter enemy. (Ind. Af. Vol. I, p. 36.)



THE power and influence of McGillivray over the Creeks continued to wan stronger as he took advantage of the cession of lands east of the Oconee and the Tallahassee country and used this to fan the Creek nation into a frenzy against the Georgians. No man knew how to play upon their prejudices and hatred better than he. Throughout the domains of the mighty Creek nation his word was now law, and the red warriors glad of the opportunity to accumulate the coveted scalps, were ever ready to fall upon the Georgians, or the settlements on the Cumberland. It was well for this section along the Oconee that McGillivray was a chieftain better skilled in diplomacy than in leadership in battle, and that he would send his lieutenants to lead the raiding bands instead of going in person. Had he been a warrior as well as the great diplomat that he was, history might have told a different story.

Having made the treaty with Spain which not only guaranteed him an abundance of military stores, arms and ammunitions for the Creeks, but the aid of armies and the naval power of this nation, McGillivray's dreams began to expand and he was now planning a far greater Indian Confederacy than that of the Creek nation with himself at the head of it, one that would embrace the Cherokee, the Choctaw and the Chickasaw nations as well. It was a dream well within the realm of possibility and one worthy of the mastermind of this "Talleyrand of Alabama." His successes in battle along the Oconee and on the Cumberland, his growing power and fame had spread into these nations. Added to this was his partnership in the Panton, Leslie & Co., the English firm trading from the Floridas whose traders were scattered throughout all these four great nations, and whose great influence among the Indians was turned towards the consummation of this great dream of McGillivray. But, perhaps above all was the cease

less activities of Spain. In this projected Confederacy this power saw a strong buffer state lying between her American colonies and the rapidly growing young Republic of the north, a buffer state which would be closely allied to Spain and at the same time in bitter hostility to the United States. No effort was spared to bring this about and the other nations besides the Creeks were given access to the Spanish arsenals.

While the Indian massacres were at their height along the Oconee, McGillivray played another stroke of diplomacy in having Spain to file protests to the American government over the alleged mistreatment of the Creeks, by the Georgians. These protests led to considerable discussion and at one time threatened to lead to war between the United States and Spain. Only the weakness of the bankrupt federal government at the time probably prevented war.

But a new movement was on foot which was destined to affect the trend of history in this section. The federal constitution was in process of being adopted, uniting the states more closely than the loosely joined federation could ever have done. And McGillivray, master diplomat that he was, kept his ear to the ground. Foreseeing the growing strength of the American Republic and knowing the weakness of the Spanish colonies, he recognized the fact that sooner or later it would be to his best interests to become allied with the Americans rather than risk all by remaining loyal to the alliance with Spain. We thus find him frequently intimating to the Federal government that he would entertain overtures for an alliance with the United States.

During 1788 every possible effort was being exerted towards placating the fury of the Creeks. Although a truce was proclaimed by the Governor of Georgia in July of that year, yet this seems to have been of short duration. So fierce was now the conflict that Governor Pinckney of South Carolina rendered his services as a mediator to bring about peace between the Creeks and Georgia. Likewise Congress taking cognizance of the plight of the state of Georgia was in passed a resolution notifying the Creeks that if they persisted in refus

ing to enter into a treaty upon reasonable terms the arms of the United States should be called forth for the protection of the frontier.

All these efforts, however, proved unavailing. McGillivray in a very diplomatic letter to Governor Pinckney in February 1789 placed the grievances of the Indians before the governor in a very convincing manner, and at the same time assured him that every effort was being made to have all the Indian tribes to keep the truce which was still in force.

However, during the spring of 1789, hostilities broke out anew and in spite of the threats of the federal government, the Indians began preparing for a new offensive against the Georgia settlements. As if in answer to the threat of Congress, McGillivray, called a great council of all the chiefs of the whole Creek nation, and informed them that the Georgians were not going to give up the lands between the Oconee and the Ogeechee, and informed them that the Spaniards had already provided fifteen hundred stands of arms and forty thousand pounds of ammunition for the use of the Creeks. The Creeks exulting at the prospect of an opportunity to recover their lost lands were ready for an immediate onslaught upon the settlements. Plans were made and three thousand Creeks were ready to make a drive which should sweep away all the settlers west of the Ogeechee, and the Indian alarms extended to the very heart of Savannah, itself. Parties were on the warpath, when the new federal commissioners, Osborne and Pickens, came on the scene and despatched the two half-breed brothers, John and George Galphin, to the Indian nation with a new invitation for a treaty. They arrived in the nation in May, 1789, and just in the nick of time. The date set for the proposed treaty was in June, 1789, and it was suggested that a truce be in force until the treaty was held. The Galphin brothers succeeded in inducing the nearest Indian towns to withhold their warriors and to send runners to intercept bands already on the march to the frontier, until the answer of McGillivray in Alabama could be had to the new proposals. McGillivray refused to attend the meeting in June or allow it to be held thus

putting an end to all prospects of holding it then but suggested a date for three or four months later, and agreed upon a truce until then. However, he adroitly suggested that the chiefs of the Creeks would like to know upon what grounds the Commissioners wanted to treat. The commissioners promptly wrote McGillivray that the treaty which should be offered to be signed would be upon liberal grounds, and significantly stated that they would like to see McGillivray privately before the treaty was made. The meeting date for the treaty was thus fixed for September 15th, 1789.

Both the authorities of the state of Georgia and the federal authorities being informed of the date set for the treaty began making every preparation that would tend towards making a complete success of it, Georgia appropriated several thousand dollars and supplied Osborne and Pickens with necessities for the immense army of Indians which was expected to attend. In the meantime three other commissioners were appointed to supersede Osborne and Pickens, in spite of the fact that General Pickens was considered a friend of McGillivray, and in whom McGillivray had the utmost confidence, these three new commissioners being Cyrus Griffin, a former president of the Continental Congress, David Humphreys, one of Washington's military aides, and General Lincoln who had commanded the southern army during the Revolution. It is doubtful that if ever in her history were so many celebrities on Wilkinson county's soil as were at this treaty.

The new commissioners were delayed in arriving at Savannah until September 11th, when they sent couriers to Osborne and Pickens notifying them of the fact that Washington had made the new appointments for the treaty and that they would shortly arrive on the scene.

In the meantime McGillivray and his horde of Indian warriors numbering not less than two thousand arrived at the Rock Landing on the 2nd of September. Never since the days of De Soto had there been such an army of Indians in this county. On the opposite side of the river was the small

company of artillery under Burbeck. The contrast in the strength of the negotiating parties must have had its effect upon both the numerous Indian chieftains as well as upon the commissioners of the United States. It might well have impressed upon the American authorities a wholesome respect for the man who could wield such a power over such an army of savages. Customary as it was for the Indians to operate in small bands, yielding obedience only to those who kept in close contact with them, this was indeed an epoch in the history of the Creek nation when so many warriors were ready to do the bidding of one man.

The arrival of the intelligence that they had been superseded as commissioners prevented any further negotiations by Osborne and Pickens, although they continued their exertions towards keeping the great motley body of Indians satisfied and in a good humor - apparently a herculean task judging from the records. Food in enormous quantities had to be provided. Separation of the Indians from the settlers across the river must be maintained.

On the 15th, the new commissioners still not having arrived, McGillivray served notice on Osborne and Pickens that unless new commissioners arrived by the 18th, the Indians would depart. An express was sent with this message to the new commissioners which met them upon their arrival in Augusta. Astounded at the information they at once sent couriers with a letter to McGillivray assuring them that they would start at once for the Rock Landing and would arrive there on the 20th of September. One can imagine the wily chieftain of the Creeks smiling to himself at the thought of the three dignified Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United States galloping headlong over the hundred miles of rough frontier roads separating Augusta and the Rock Landing in order to reach there before the Indians departed. It was indeed not surprising that one of the commissioners failed to arrive on the 20th, having been "unavoidably detained" on the road. Two of them arrived in the afternoon of the 20th, probably slightly sore from their ride, but at once sent a note to McGillivray with

their "respectful compliments."

McGillivray waited until next day to acknowledge this and then replied in the courteous manner for which he was so well noted. At the same time he sent three of his most prominent chiefs to call upon the commissioners, to welcome them and assure them of their earnest desire for peace.

From the very beginning of the negotiations there was always evident the masterful tactics of the great Indian chieftain, in putting the commissioners on the defensive. Instead of crossing the river and greeting the commissioners, he sent an invitation for one or two of them to cross the river and call upon him for an interview, an invitation so tactfully worded that the Commissioners could do nothing but accept. The next day he returned the visit and spent the greater part of the day with the commissioners on the east side of the Oconee. The question of his Spanish treaty being raised he frankly admitted his alliance with the Spaniards and his rank of Colonel in the Spanish army, stating that the treaty had been of great benefit to the Creeks as well as of pecuniary advantage to himself. However he adroitly insinuated that he would be willing to renounce his allegiance to Spain and take the oath of allegiance to the United States if something better should be offered.

The other commissioner arrived on the 23rd and apparently every demand of the commissioners upon the Indians would be granted and the greater part of the day was spent in drafting the proposed treaty for the Indians to sign. They had fallen into the trap laid for them by McGillivray, who had skilfully maneuvered the negotiations so as to create a feeling on the part of the commissioners that all their demands would be acceded to by the Indians.

Twenty thousand dollars had been appropriated by Congress in addition to that furnished by Georgia for the expenses of this treaty, for presents for the Indians and the payment of such sums as might be necessary to induce the Indians to sign a reasonable agreement.

Washington, in his instructions to the commissioners

had also authorized them to offer as another inducement for the Indians to sever their allegiance with the Spaniards a free port on the Altamaha through which the Creeks could import and export their merchandise on the same terms as citizens of the United States; also to offer to McGillivray a military distinction superior to the colonelcy given him by the Spaniards. They were also instructed not only to make peace between Georgia and the Creeks but to look into the treaties of Augusta, Galphinton, and Shoulderbone and see if any unfair methods had been practiced by the Georgians in obtaining cessions of the land lying between the Ogeechee and the Oconee; that if they found these treaties to have been fair to treat with the Indians for a confirmation of them, and if the Creeks should refuse to confirm these treaties, to inform them that any further molestation or injury to Georgia would be punished by the arms of the United States. Instructions were given that if the disputed lands had been acquired by unfair means, then the commissioners were authorized to purchase them from the Indians. A very significant sentence is found in these instructions to the commissioners which was sufficient to impress upon them the great responsibility that was resting upon them, the necessity of their success in negotiating the treaty and the dire results which might be realized upon their failure: "On your success materially depends the internal peace of Georgia and probably its attachment to the general government of the United States."

The overconfidence of the commissioners seems to have affected their draft of the treaty and the terms which were provided required the confirmation of the cession of the lands granted at Augusta, Galphinton and Shoulderbone, with but very little in return. After having it reduced to writing the commissioners notified McGillivray that they were ready for the meeting with the Indians. Here again McGillivray put the commissioners on the defensive by suggesting that they come to the Indian camp and hold the meeting there. Again the commissioners crossed the Oconee at his bidding and at the meeting after a short talk to the Indians by the commissioners,

which was received with apparent approval by the Indians, but which was not replied to by McGillivray or any of the Indians thus leaving no opportunity for any further discussion by the commissioners, there was nothing else to do but leave the draft of the treaty with the Indians for their action. This was done and the commissioners recrossed the river, apparently believing their mission fully accomplished.

McGillivray was now absolutely master of the situation. He had completely outgeneraled the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States and by strategy had caused them to draft a treaty for the Indians to sign such as would hardly be considered sufficiently reasonable by Washington as to cause a war to be declared against the Creeks for refusing to sign it. The commissioners having left the meeting and returned across the river gave him the opportunity of treating the draft of the treaty as an ultimatum. The treaty was thus promptly rejected by the Indians.

The next day, McGillivray wrote the commissioners that the Indians were dissatisfied at the terms mentioned and tactfully suggested that a truce be maintained until he heard further from the United States, ending by saying that the Indians were resolved to depart and suggesting that presents be supplied the Indians. To this the commissioners hastily replied urging him not to depart but bluntly refusing to give any presents unless a treaty were made. One of the commissioners hurriedly crossed the river and interviewed McGillivray getting his promise to come across the river and confer with the commissioners, but the next information was a verbal message from him that he would fall back four or five miles to obtain forage for his horses. Instead of falling back this distance he retired fifteen miles and later to the Ocmulgee.

Consternation now reigned in the camp of the commissioners. The negotiations for a treaty which meant so much to Georgia and the United States, as well as to the reputation of the Minister Plenipotentiary were about to fail utterly. They had been completely foiled by the savage from the wilderness of Alabama." As a last resort one of the superseded commis

sioners, General Pickens, who was still at the Rock Landing accompanied by Messrs. Few and Saunders of the delegation appointed by the governor of Georgia to attend the treaty was sent to overtake McGillivray and induce him to return but to no effect. A letter was also written McGillivray by the commissioners in the form of a threat in which they stated that if he departed without a full discussion it would be regarded as a refusal to establish peace. To this he replied in a very courteous letter stating that the chiefs had entreated him to depart and "We sincerely desire a peace but we cannot sacrifice much to obtain it."

This master in the art of diplomacy had now achieved his ends. He had skillfully demonstrated to the American government his great power over the Creek Indians, as well as to his unequaled skill as a diplomat. He had shown the Americans how necessary it was to have his allegiance, and had hinted as to what his price for that would be. Likewise, he was causing much apprehension among the Spaniards at the prospect of losing his allegiance, and could now play off one nation against the other in his demands on each. His agreement to a truce was a masterful stroke in that it averted all prospect of a war against the Creeks, not merely convincing Washington that war was unnecessary but unwise at this juncture, but would also have the effect of putting Georgia in an embarrassing position should she send armies against the Creeks, thus making them the aggressors in the eyes of the other states. Then, too, he was getting his revenge; well might he now gloat over his "cause of triumph, in bringing these conquerors of the old masters of the new world, as they call themselves, to bend and supplicate for peace at the feet of a people whom shortly before they despised and marked out for destruction." His diplomatic victory at the Rock Landing was unquestionably the most important event in the life of this great chieftain. His star was now in its zenith. He was indeed and in truth the Great Chieftain of the Creeks.




BUT the refusal of McGillivray to sign the dotted line at Rock Landing was not the signal for the federal government to rush armies into the Creek country. President Washington first considered the matter, and after an investigation as to the distance inland the armies would have to march and the supplies be transported, he found that the campaign would cost at least fifteen million dollars. He found it would be much cheaper to buy McGillivray. Colonel Marinus Willett was thus despatched to McGillivray on a confidential mission with an invitation for McGillivray to visit the President. The upshot was the treaty of New York in which McGillivray was given a commission as Brigadier General, and other emoluments for himself and six of his trusty chieftains, and the return to the Creeks of the Tallassee country, the claim to the Oconee lands to be relinquished by the Indians. McGillivray made a most excellent bargain both for the Creeks and for himself.

It now appeared that peace would reign along the Oconee and that the settlers would not be afflicted with the Creek Massacres and Spanish intrigues any longer, now that McGillivray had formed an alliance with the American Government. However, in this they were to be rudely disappointed. Thoroughly alarmed at McGillivray's diplomacy in turning to the United States, Spain began to take steps towards counteracting this and ere long McGillivray was drawing a salary of thirty-five hundred dollars a year from that power. The establishment of the trading post at Rock Landing by the federal government about this time was another serious blow to both Spain and to Panton, Leslie & Co., for while the former was losing the enormous customs to which she had been accustomed to collect on the goods destined for the Creek nation, the latter was losing the great profits incident to the

Indian trade, for the post at Rock Landing was not only selling goods cheaper but was paying the Indians higher prices for their peltry.

Rock Landing was now an important center. Roads were leading here from Augusta, Savannah by way of Sandersville, and from both up and down the river on the Georgia side. The trails leading across the Indian lands were now more and more traveled as the Indians would bring their produce to market and exchange it for supplies and firewater. Traders with their packhorses likewise were constantly passing to and fro along these well defined trails. All of this the Spaniards viewed with concern.

Although the treaty of New York was perhaps the best possible settlement of the bloody dispute between Georgia and the Indians yet it was very unpopular in Georgia. They felt that President Washington had betrayed this state in setting at naught the treaties of Augusta, Galphinton and Shoulderbone and granting back to the Indians the Tallassee country. Criticism galore was heaped upon the chief executive. He was burned in effigy and other indignities heaped upon him, notwithstanding the fact that a careful examination of all the facts leading up to and surrounding the executing of these treaties might not redound altogether to the glory of the Empire State of the South.

For a time it seemed that peace would now reign along the Oconee, but no sooner had McGillivray been pacified, than new discordant elements appeared on the horizon. The Spaniards had now redoubled their efforts to arouse the Indians against the Georgians. In this they were aided in one of the provisions of the treaty of New York which provided that in October, 1791, delegations of the Creeks should meet at the Rock Landing and in company with the Americans should mark out the boundary line above the south branch of the Oconee. Emissaries of the Spaniards worked in concert with the traders of Panton, Leslie & Co., and began to inflame the passions of the Indians against the Georgians and sentiment was soon strong among the Indians against the running

of the line. Criticisms of the treaty and of McGillivray, himself, began to break out among the Creeks, and apparently he saw the handwriting on the wall for when the date set for the tracing of the line arrived, he found some excuse to absent himself.

About this time an entirely new element was added to the already complicated international and domestic situation. Hitherto, from the close of the Revolution it appeared that Great Britain had abandoned all intrigue with their old Creek allies. It is true Panton, Leslie & Co. was a British firm and purchased the greater part of their merchandise in England but up to this time the traders of this firm among the Creeks seems to have devoted their activities towards influencing the natives in favor of the Spaniards. But Panton, Leslie & Co. having antagonized Lord Dunmore, the latter set about taking revenge. He soon found a most willing and competent tool in William A. Bowles, who as a Tory from Maryland had seen service during the Revolution among the Lower Creek tribes. Furnished with supplies by Dunmore he appeared among the Seminoles, the tribe which still claimed this section, claiming to be Emperor of the Creeks. Quickly allying many of the Tories and Seminoles to his side he rose rapidly in influence among the whole Creek nation. Taking advantage of the terms of the treaty of New York he played upon the prejudices of the Indians and soon had alienated a large portion of the Creeks from their absolute domination by McGillivray. Promising the Indians the return of the British and a resumption of the rich presents which that nation had been accustomed to bestow upon the Indians he was soon a factor not to be despised.

Although he hated Georgia as much as did McGillivray and in arousing the Indians against this state he was playing into the hands of Spain, yet he also hated Spain with a still greater hatred, if possible, and lost no opportunity to injure that power. Added to this was his deadly hatred for Panton, Leslie & Co., whose ships he loved to capture, and whose rich stores he loved to loot with his bands of red warriors. Absolutely

fearless and a born leader, Bowles was a leader after the Indians' own hearts. He possessed that which the great McGillivray lacked in order to endear himself completely to the wild savages, leadership in battle. The advent of this new bold adventurer was thus threatening to overturn the existing order of things and appeared to be giving Great Britain the ascendancy in the great diplomatic battle which was being waged between England, Spain, and America for the Creek influence. The outcome of this diplomatic warfare meant much to the peace of the Georgia frontiers.

Not only was Spain thoroughly alarmed at the situation and began taking steps towards counteracting Bowles' influence, but McGillivray, himself, shared in the general alarm, and he was not long in invoking the strong arm of both Spain and the United States towards removing this troublesome factor from the midst of the Indians.

The treaty of New York having provided that the line between Georgia and the Indians should be marked out in October, 1791, pressure began to be exerted on McGillivray and the chiefs to perform this duty.

A new misunderstanding now arose concerning where the line should strike the Oconee. The treaty provided that the south branch of the Oconee and the Indians contended that the north branch of the Oconee should be the line, according to their understanding. They insisted that the treaty had never been presented to the nation by McGillivray for their ratification. Here was another opportunity for Bowles and he was not long in availing himself of it. Criticism and feeling against McGillivray was rife throughout the Creek nation and his power began to wane while the influence and power of Bowles was daily growing stronger among the Creeks and was extending into the Cherokee nation as well. Still another event which encouraged the Indians to resist the running of the line was the total defeat of St. Clair's army by the northern Indians which caused the Creeks to hold the American troops in less awe.

In the spring of 1792 the American government continued its pressure upon McGillivray and in order to aid him

in overcoming the growing power of Bowles and having sent two additional companies of soldiers to Rock Landing together with considerable sums of money and merchandise suitable for the Indians at the same time wrote McGillivray that these federal forces were available for his needs towards ridding the nation of Bowles, and that the merchandise and money was for his use in accomplishing the same purpose. (Indian Aff., Vol. I, pages 246, 249, 254.)

About this time another event took place which for the time being effected the purpose of removing Bowles but not his influence. His repeated raids upon the Spaniards in Florida had so incensed this power against him that by strategem they succeeded in making him a prisoner, and he was soon sent to Havana. But the spirit of opposition to the running of the line was kept alive by his numerous followers and the influence of McGillivray was at an end. The treaty of New York had proved his Waterloo.

While McGillivray was betraying the Americans on the one hand, and perfidiously playing with the Spaniards on the other, his tribesmen aware of his treachery towards these two nations were losing confidence in him, and the Mad Dog began to assume in a small way the greatly needed leadership of the Upper Creeks. None knew the treachery McGillivray was capable of better than the Mad Dog. He was one of the few Indians who knew of the secret treaty McGillivray entered into at New York with President Washington.

None knew the weakness of McGillivray for entering into treaties which would fill his personal pockets as did the Mad Dog. We thus find him when in 1792 McGillivray was making his plans to meet with the Americans at Rock Landing for the purpose of running the boundary gathering together a few strong chieftains and firmly refusing to permit McGillivray to leave the nation.

At this time rumors were rife throughout the Creeks that Bowles, who was still claiming to be emperor of the Creeks would soon be in the nation, that England and the U.S. would again be in war with each other.

While not an adherent of Bowles the Mad Dog realized what it would mean for the nation to be worse divided on the question of the line. Already Bowles was taking advantage of the fact that the Creek nation was split asunder on account of the treaty of New York and was using these dissensions to unite the discordant elements against McGillivray.

This act of the Mad Dog at the head of their other chieftains might well be termed a peaceful revolution. The reign of the erstwhile Indian monarch had ceased, in spite of the fact that the United States continued to recognize him as chief and was asking the Indians to support him (Indian Aff. p. 301).

McGillivray, now, no longer able to wield his authority over his people was forced to see the powerful Creek nation slip back into a bedlam of confusion, to split into factions led by petty chieftains; himself to lose utterly the confidence of the American authorities as well as that of the Spanish. Small wonder that this once powerful monarch to whose nation the hills and vales of Wilkinson belonged should slip away and spend the few remaining months of his life in seclusion at Pensacola, dying in February, 1793.

The death of McGillivray left the Creek nation in a terrible condition - great famine was stalking the land, and the American government ignoring the intermittent warfare which this nation had been waging for years against the Georgia and Tennessee frontiers was supplying them with corn. Bowles had returned from his captivity in Madrid and renewed his claim as emperor of the whole Creek nation, and now that his erstwhile rival was no more it appeared that his aspirations would meet with success. To aid him in his designs the British had sent Shawnee emissaries throughout the Creek nation promising them the aid of the British in a war against the Americans. For months Capt. Oliver had been disseminating Spanish propaganda among the nation and the Pensacola arsenal was supplying the Creek as well as the Cherokee nation with arms and munitions to such a degree that they were better armed than the Georgia militia.

Added to this, a spirit of jealousy had been created between the Georgia militia and the federal troops on her border, and a feeling of contempt on the part of the people of Georgia for the federal officials located in the state, so much so that at times serious clashes were narrowly averted and even Seagrove's life was threatened.



IN the meantime, Seagrove had been appointed superinten-

dent of Indian affairs for the Creeks and established his headquarters at Rock Landing from which place he carried on an extensive correspondence with the Creek chieftains.

The continued efforts of Seagrove towards getting the Indians to meet him at Rock Landing bore some fruit and in May, 1792, a body of two hundred Creeks met him there. Nothing of benefit was accomplished at this meeting. Instead of this remedying the situation it had the effect of aggravating it, as the large number of hunting parties of Indians gathered near the frontiers began to be troublesome to the settlers. Thieving bands would cross the Oconee and steal horses and cattle. The losers began to complain to Seagrove and were on the verge of attacking the Indians. Seagrove set off along the Indian trail leading through this county down the Oconee during the month of June. From one Indian camp to another he went collecting the stolen property and restoring all he could to the owners. Though the plundering bands were almost daily occurrences for the time being the whites of Washington county were doing all in their power to avert a general Indian war which was appearing more and more imminent.

In July of 1792 two hundred Creeks without any invitation from the federal authorities returned to the Rock Landing for a conference, for the purpose of calling a meeting of the Creeks to be held at St. Mary's. Again the presence of the Indians on this frontier resulted in trouble between the Georgians and the Indians. Col. Samuel Alexander, the famous Indian fighter of Greene county came to the Rock Landing, and while there had a difficulty with Charles Weatherford, the brother-in-law of McGillivray. Numerous other difficulties arose before the Indians returned to the


It was during this month that Captain Benjamin Harrison had six horses stolen from him by the Uchees at Carr's Bluff in Washington county. As they year 1792 wore on, the discord among the Indians continued to grow in violence. Spain was now more strongly than ever trying to carry into effect her plans of allying the four great Indian nations, the Creeks, the Cherokees, the Chickasaws and the Choctaws into a confederacy. Arms, ammunition and supplies were now poured into these nations and every possible effort made to cultivate their friendship. During 1792 a failure of the corn crop brought the Creek nation almost to the verge of starvation and President Washington supplied them with ten thousand bushels of corn. But even this could not keep their warriors from attacking the frontiers of Georgia.

The clouds of war continued to gather as the year 1792 wore on. The state of Georgia was bending every possible effort towards preparing for the inevitable conflict, a struggle which threatened to involve not only Spain but also England. South Carolina thoroughly alarmed at the impending struggle, recognizing that her own frontiers were in danger of feeling the weight of the Red invasion hurriedly put her thousands of militia on a war basis, and prepared to rush them at a moment's warning to the aid of her sister state. At the same time her governor was writing a most urgent letter to President Washington informing him of the dire peril with which Georgia was being confronted. (Ind. Affairs, Vol. I, 316.)

Not only did the frontiersmen depend on their forts for protection but so great became the destruction from the Indians that it became necessary for patrols and spies to be sent across the river into this county for the purpose of keeping acquainted with the whereabouts of the attacking parties of the red men. The old Indian trail leading down the Oconee River now came in handy for the border patrols, as any skulking band of warriors were compelled to cross this path in order to get to the settlements and their horses would have to leave a trail which the patrol would be sure to discover. Ever on the

alert for signs of the enemy, these patrols would daily ride up and down this old trail. Others would penetrate still farther on the trails that led to the Indian towns. Woe to the hapless Indian that fell into the hands of these patrols. So great was the desire for revenge on the part of the Georgians that they were not particular from what town the Indian came, whether friendly or otherwise. One of these rangers was the son of Major David Adams of Hancock County. The major on one occasion stated to a federal officer that these rangers would "kill any they saw, let their tribe on business be what it would." (American State Papers, Indian Affairs Vol. I, p. 414.)

The critical conditions of this section was soon realized by President Washington and the federal government began pouring arms and ammunition into the arsenals of the state. Washington requested Governor Telfair of Georgia not to permit offensive expeditions against the Creeks, on account of the delicate state of our relations with foreign nations. During the spring of 1793 conditions were rapidly growing worse. Many frontiersmen were leaving their homes. Others built forts on their own lands and armed not only their families but their slaves. (Ind. Aff. Vol. I, page 420.) The unbearable situation was such that the Georgia militiamen could no longer be restrained from punitive expeditions. An Indian raid into Washington county near Car's Bluff on the 18th of April, 1793, resulted in the death and scalping of William Pugh, the capture of a negro and four horses by the Indians. In May so great became the carnage and havoc in every direction on the frontier that the governor found it necessary to call out bodies of the Georgia militia and assemble them on Shoulderbone Creek in Hancock county, at the same time urging the Secretary of War to rush forward thousands of stands of more arms and supplies. General Irwin hurriedly erected forts at Carr's Bluff, Long Bluff, White Bluff and other places.

Rumors about this time came to the ears of the imperiled frontiersmen that John Galphin, now a chief of the warlike Coweta tribe, had started on the warpath with five hundred braves, that he would unite his forces with the Seminoles

under King Paine and would sweep the white settlements from the Oconee to the Ogeechee. His deadly hatred for the people of Washington county whom he had once saved but whom he had charged with mistreating him was well known, and this county must now feel the weight of his vengeance. The warlike character of the Seminoles was also well known and the great dread seized upon the Georgians.


At this juncture when it seemed no power on earth could prevent the bloody tragedy which was approaching, a new ally came to the aid of the fear-stricken frontiersmen, in the form of Nature. Terrific rains began to fall and continued with such force that the Oconee became a raging torrent forming a wall of defense which the red warriors could not pass. For weeks the floods continued and the rage of the Indians seems to have slightly abated. (Ind. Aff. Vol. I, pp 368-369.)


Still another ally came to the aid of the hard pressed Georgians. Piomingo, the great Chickasaw warrior, was engaged in a quarrel with Efau Haujo, the Mad Dog of the Tuckabatchees, who was apparently the leading figure in the Creek nation. The Americans grasping this opportunity to distract the attention of the Creeks from the Georgians and the Cumberland settlements encouraged Piomingo; Seagrove encouraged Efau Haujo with promises of aid. The Mad Dog's brother was slain by the Chickasaws and the war between two Indian nations burst with a fury seldom equalled in the annals of Indian's warfare.

The English and Spanish had overlooked the fact that at least some of the Americans could play the diplomatic game as well as the master diplomats of Europe. Suddenly their house of cards through American machinations tumbled. Instead of the powerful alliance of the four great Indian nations the Creeks, Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws and a combined attack with the fifteen or twenty thousand warriors they could bring into the field, there came the news

of the outbreak of war between the Creeks and Chickasaws. Quickly the Choctaws aligned themselves on the part of the Chickasaws. It was thought the Cherokees would ally themselves with the Creeks. And thus almost overnight it appeared there were the four great southern Indian nations arrayed against each other. However, the Cherokees partly by Spanish interference, partly by sad memory of a previous disastrous war with the embattled Chickasaws did not rush to the aid of the Creeks. Likewise Spanish influence seems to have affected the hostility of the Choctaws. In addition to this the Cussetah tribe of the Creeks claimed ancient friendship with the Chickasaws and could not enter a war against them.


In the meantime the federal agent, Seagrove, was not idle. Aware of the traditional hatred of the Seminoles for the Spaniards which had existed from the days when as Oconee their town had been burned by the Spaniards on the Oconee River, he began overtures of peace with Payne. A treaty with this chieftain meant much to this section, for he grudgingly yielded allegiance to the Creek nation except when it pleased him. Though he and his tribe lived in Florida yet the Creeks acknowledged that the Seminoles owned the lands below the Rock Landing. Thus this tribe as an ally would be not only worth much to the Georgians along the Oconee but their domicile being in Florida and Payne having a penchant for fighting Spaniards, they would be a thorn in the side of Spain. Though Payne made peace, yet the war along the Oconee was continued by the other Indians.




SO great was the alarm during the spring and early summer of 1793 that the governor of Georgia determined upon sending an expedition against the Indians. Thus on June 8th, Major General Twiggs, with Brigadier Generals Irwin, Clark, and Blackburn, led a force of 750 men comprising 450 mounted and 300 foot across the Oconee at Rock Landing and took up the line of march for the Indian country. Col. Gaither gave them information as to which were the hostile towns. The route taken, however, led to the Buzzard Roost and had they succeeded in reaching the Indian country it is extremely probable that peaceful towns would have been attacked thus aggravating the almost unbearable situation. The expedition marched across the distance separating the Oconee and Ocmulgee and after crossing the latter river built a fort. General Irwin was ordered by General Twiggs to command detachments of cavalry and march to the Uchee village on the Flint River and seize the head men of the town.

Before this order could be executed, it seems that dissension arose among the officers and men. Too many generals appear to have been one trouble, lack of discipline and a refusal to yield themselves to authority another. The result was that a mutinous spirit took possession of a majority of the officers and men and they returned home forcing the others to do likewise without striking a blow. Major Gaither criticised this expedition in the strongest of terms, reporting to the War Department that Twiggs' command had been in open rebellion against the general government ever since November, 1792, violating the Indian treaty, firing their rifles at the sign of the President, etc. (Ind. Af. Vol. I, p. 422.)

The effect the utter failure of this expedition would have upon the Indians was much dreaded for the time being, as it was thought it would inspire contempt for the Georgia forces and would be the incentive of fresh attacks upon the

Georgia frontier. To counteract this, a letter was sent by the federal authorities to the Indians stating the President had commanded the soldiers of Georgia to return. The Indians now began to be alarmed, the Georgia militia having come so near them. All the more so as a new report began to be circulated throughout the Indian nation that Elijah Clarke was raising an army of 2,500 men to march against them. Having had bitter experience with this general, they felt they had an enemy to dread.


In the meantime the Washington countians along the Oconee, opposite this section did not take kindly to these Indian forays, but one expedition after another was sent into this country to overtake the Indian raiders.

Chiefest of these was Benjamin Harrison of Washington county who believed in the doctrine of "an eye for an eye". Living opposite of Carr's Bluff, his own and his neighbor's plantations often bore the brunt of Uchee raids. Time after time his horses were stolen, his cows killed, his neighbors scalped.

Harrison had no compunctions against giving direct to the Indian town and taking redress. We thus find that in 1792 having lost six horses he called together his command and set out to the Indian nation across this section. Arriving at their towns on the Flint, he was promised by the Uchee king and the Cussetah king they would help him get his horses. At another time having had a horse stolen and a cow killed by the Uchees, he gave chase with his command, overtaking them, and had a skirmish with them taking three of their guns. The Uchees in a rage returned to the nation and began raising a force to return and take vengeance upon Captain Harrison. However, through the influence of Timothy Barnard who had married a Uchee squaw they were induced to delay their hostile expedition. Barnard wrote to Harrison explaining the situation and asked him to give the Indians back their guns, which he did. (Indian Aff. 309.)

Captain Stokes in command at Long Bluff lost two

horses in September, 1793. He immediately pursued them with his command, overtaking them as they were crossing the Ocmulgee. Stokes' men rushed down upon the Indians killing one outright and mortally wounding two others. Not only were the two stolen horses recovered but another horse and four guns were taken. (I.A. 372.)


In October, 1793, to take revenge for stolen horses, a body of 200 mounted militia from Washington county, under Captains Harrison, Stokes, Kitchian, Irwin, Carson, Wilbern, and Hampton, all under the command of Major Brenton, set out from Carr's Bluff for the Indian nation in defiance of the authority of General Irwin who ordered them to return. Their destination was the Chehaw village, on the Flint river where they expected to find many runaway negroes and other stolen property. Arriving opposite the Chehaw town they started to ford the river when the Indians discovering them opened a fierce attack upon them. Although the Indians were only sixteen in number with four negroes aiding them, all the rest of the warriors being in Florida hunting, the advantage was with the defenders. In the face of a galling fire the whites had to cross the river; the number of the Indians, was unknown and the dreaded Indian ambush should they succeed in crossing was another danger. Two whites were killed and two others wounded before they gave up the attempt to capture the town. Three of the Indians were wounded. (I.A. pp. 415, 468-469.)

In the meantime changes had been taking place in the federal garrison stationed at Rock Landing. Following the attempted treaty there with McGillivray in 1789, Captain Savage with fifty-five men were placed there for the protection of Georgia against the whole Creek nation and Spanish forces in the Floridas. In October, 1791, two additional companies were sent there, all then under the command of Major Call who had been ordered to join the main army.

In the spring of 1793 Fort Fidius was built a short

distance from Rock Landing and in April of that year the stores and guard from the Rock Landing were moved to Fort Fidius. (Ind. Aff. p. 257.) A few months later Seagrove moved his headquarters to the new fort.

Another change took place as to the crossing of the river. Formerly it seemed that the main crossing was at the Rock Landing but about this time a new crossing known as Tom's Ford located three miles above Fort Fidius was becoming more and more used. The name of this seems to have been given it by reason of the fact that a Cussetah Indian named Tom was serving as courier for Seagrove, bearing messages to and from the Creek nation and used this fording place.



WHILE we regard the years 1861-1865 as the period during which Georgia had seceded from the Union, yet, during the years from 1790 to 1794, the state of Georgia was in almost open defiance of federal authority; Federal garrisons were being regarded as much inimical to the interests of the Georgians as the Indians themselves and the first time in history that the militia of any state might be termed to have ever arrayed themselves against the American flag after the adoption of the Constitution was when the Georgia militia of Hancock county under the leadership of Major David Adams in May, 1794, defied the Federal authorities and threatened to storm Fort Fidius for the purpose of seizing and executing thirty Indians who had taken refuge in the fort seeking protection from the infuriated frontiersmen of Hancock, and the demonstration was staged on the soil of Wilkinson county.

At this Hancock county embraced the territory along the east banks of the Oconee adjacent to the present city of Milledgeville and extending down the river near Fort Fidius whose federal garrison was commanded by Captain Richard Brooks Roberts.

All along the Oconee there existed in the hearts of the settlers a bitter, undying hatred for the savages who for years had waged unceasing warfare upon the scattered settlements lying near the river. Massacres of defenseless women and children, burnings of homes and the carrying away of their property had been felt by so many that every Indian was regarded as an enemy. The Federal government, though setting at nought the treaties which Georgia had entered into with the Indians, and in doing so inspired in the red men a contempt for the Georgia officials, yet with its handful of troops in a few garrisons was able to offer no protection against the marauding bands. Hence, Georgia was forced to organize the border counties into military units which could

quickly assemble at some appointed place whenever the Indian alarms were given. Time after time these mounted commands were called on to rush to the aid of their beleaguered neighbors, sometimes to pursue the red warriors over the Oconee, and occasionally into the very heart of the Creek nation before punishment could be inflicted upon them. Hancock had suffered her full share of Indian horrors and her trained militia had the well-earned reputation of being rough and ready fighters. Hancock could not have selected a braver or more determined man than David Adams to command these defenders of the frontiers. Born in South Carolina only nine years before the Revolution began yet before it ended he was serving in a campaign under General Henderson against the British and Tories. Here in Hancock we find him when the apparent incompetency of some of the federal officials in Georgia and their utter disregard to the protection of the Georgia frontiers were inspiring in the minds of a large class of people a contempt for federal authority.

Though the federal Agent, Seagrove, had entered into a treaty of peace with the Creeks in November, 1793, and Indian depredations along the Oconee had almost ceased since that time, yet the people of Georgia put no faith in the promises of the Indians. The years of the double-dealing of the great Indian chieftain, McGillivray had destroyed all faith in this race.

In the face of the innumerable dangers which might reasonably result through the presence of a large body of Indians on the frontier, Seagrove very unwisely invited the Indians to come in full force and spend their time in hunting between the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers while he, with Efau Haujo and other chieftains journeyed to Augusta "to brighten the chain of friendship with the Georgia governor." Great crowds of them came, pitching their main camp on the west side of the Oconee opposite Fort Fidius, and near the present boundary of Wilkinson and Baldwin counties.

The Indians arrived about April 25th, and trouble was not long in brewing. A band of Indians on May 2nd crossed the

Oconee and stole some horses near Sparks Station in Franklin county. The alarm was given and pursuit of the outlaw band was started. Their trail led towards the High Shoals of the Apalachy passing near the fort which had been built by the Georgians and was manned by Georgia militia under Lieutenant Hay. Here, the pursuers were re-inforced by Lieutenant Hay and his dragoons and the pursuit resumed. For fifteen miles into the Indian country the Indians lured the Georgia militia, then doubling back on their trail and selecting the proper spot they laid the ambush which Hay with his dragoons and the other militia rode headlong into. It was the old scheme of the Indians luring the pursuing forces sufficiently far so that reinforcements could not arrive, and then posting their warriors in the shape of a half moon so that their foemen would be almost surrounded when the deadly warwhoop should be the signal for the volleys from the rifles of the hidden warriors. In this the Indians were successful. Lieutenant Hay and two of his soldiers were killed outright and another wounded. Thrown into confusion by the suddenness of the attack and the loss of their leader, the Georgians were soon forced to retreat. However, during the action the Indians' horses becoming frightened at the noise of the conflict, stampeded and seven of them, including one of the stolen horses, were captured by the Georgians and brought off the field and back to the settlements.

No sooner had they arrived than rumors began to fly thick and fast of a general Indian uprising. Runners were sent quickly along the exposed territory bearing the dreaded news. Dispatches from the Indian towns reported three tribes on the warpath. The militia began to assemble. Couriers were also dispatched to Augusta acquainting Governor Matthews of the attack. The danger in which the Indian chieftains who were then at Augusta found themselves was so great that the governor at once started them towards their homes under a strong guard commanded by no less a person than General Glascock. And the route to the Indian nation led by way of Fort Fidius through Hancock county.

In the meantime the militia was beginning to cross the Oconee for the purpose of attacking the Indians wherever found. On May 8, a detachment discovering the Dog King of the Cussetahs on Little River in Putnam county hunting with his brother, opened fire, wounding the king but both Indians escaped into the swamp.

None of the militia were more infuriated than that of Hancock county. Major Adams collected 150 men and at their head crossed the Oconee with the avowed intention of killing every Indian that fell into his hands.

Though the greater portion of the Indians encamped opposite Fort Fidius was in the woods hunting, having left their horses, saddles and other equipment in the main camp, news of the happenings soon reached them. Timothy Barnard arriving on the scene in advance of the forces of General Glascock guarding the Indian chieftains, and learning of what had occurred and knowing the mood the Georgia militia was in, on May 9th ordered all the Indians to return to their homes at once. Many set out immediately but a considerable number remained. About ten o'clock on May 10th, Major Adams and his Hancock avengers arriving opposite Fort Fidius swooped down upon the Indian encampment without a moment's warning, firing as they charged. Though surprised at the sudden onslaught of the infuriated Georgians the Indians having no time in which to prepare a defense against the overwhelming numbers, yet they did not retire from their camp until they had offered a short, sharp resistance, mortally wounding one of Adams' command, and then quietly slipping into the swamp carrying with them one of their own number slightly wounded, their only casualty. Ten of the fleeing Indians crossed the Oconee and took refuge in Fort Fidius expecting to be protected by the federal garrison. Major Adams' forces proceeded to seize the Indian horses, saddles and other property as spoils of war.

In the meantime the noise of the firing had aroused the federal garrison at Fort Fidius and Captain Roberts evidently recognizing that it was unquestionably the Georgia militia

wreaking vengeance for the death of Lieutenant Hay and his two dragoons, sent one of the officers in the fort, Dr. Frederick Dalcho, across the river to investigate. Dr. Dalcho's written report as taken from American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. I, page 484, gives us a very vivid picture of what occurred. It is as follows:

"In consequence of an order from Richard Brooke Roberts, captain commander, to ascertain the cause of the firing that was heard over the river, I crossed this morning for the purpose.

"On rising out of the canebrake, I saw two different parties of militia; the one on the edge of the canebrake, employed in plundering the Indian camp; the other at some considerable distance, on this hill. I inquired for the commanding officer, whom I found to be Major Adams. I demanded, in the name of the United States, the cause of their attacking the Indians, who were on a friendly visit, with Major Seagrove, at this post, and while they were under the protection of the United States?

He told me, that, in consequence of the death of Lieutenant Hay, on the Apalachy, he had raised one hundred fifty men, to pursue and destroy any party of Indians he might gain intelligence of; that an Indian who was wounded at that time was now in our garrison, under the care of the surgeon, from which supposed he was one of the party who are now here, and that he was determined not to return until the whole of them were killed; that he would advance to the mouth of the cannon, and take them from the fort; for he was able to do it. I assured Major Adams that the wounded Indian had not been at our garrison since the accident happened. I demanded Mr. Barnard's horses. This brought on the most bitter exclamations from a number of them, particularly Major Adams, who swore he would rather kill Barnard than an Indian; for he had given a pass to the Indians who killed Lieutenant Hay, certifying that they were friendly disposed towards this country; that this pass was found sticking up on a sapling, over the dead body. He told me that Mr. Barnard's horses should not be

taken; when a number of his men exclaimed, that it was the lives of the Indians they wanted, and not their property; notwithstanding which, I discovered several of them with Indian horses, rifles, skins, etc. Mr. Barnard's negro boy, who was with me, was threatened by a number of men. I was further informed, that the Big King, and the rest of the chiefs who are now on their return from Augusta, where they have been on a visit to the Governor, should be killed; that they should make no distinction of tribes. I told them it was in vain to talk so, for the Governor had given assurances to Major Seagrove that they should be escorted by a strong guard, under the command of Brigadier General Glascock. Some of them immediately replied, that they could raise more men than General Glascock, and would take them. I heard several of them mention, that a party, under Colonel Lamar, were on their way down, on this side of the river. One of the militia received a ball through his belly, which I believe will prove mortal; the loss of the Indians is not yet known; one only was seen to fall, who crept into the canebrake. Just before I left them Major Adams swore he would have hair before tomorrow night; and that Brigadier General Clarke had marched against the Creek towns. "Given under my hand, at Fort Fidius, this 10th day of May, 1794."

The situation of the garrison at Fort Fidius was now most desparate. No one in the fort doubted for a moment that Major Adams would make good his threat and either storm the fort or by siege force a surrender in order to get the Indians therein.

The fort was in no condition to be defended against the odds that could easily be brought against it should the pent up anger of the Georgians be directed against it. The thirty Indians who had taken refuge in it, instead of being a help in the impending assault, would only the more enrage the Georgians should they be used to prevent the capture of the fort. The sixty-nine soldiers in the fort could not long hope to hold at bay Major Adams' superior numbers who were momentarily expecting the arrival of the reinforcements of Col. Lamar's contingents from Hancock county. Thus in the heart of a

hostile country surrounded on all sides by the families and friends of those who were on the verge of storming the fort who could possibly bring thousands more to reinforce Adams; added to this the fact that the fort was located three hundred yards from a supply of drinking water which made it especially vulnerable in case of a siege, well might Captain Roberts worry over his predicament.

To add still more to the worries of the harassed commandant there was the almost assured probability that Efau Haujo and the other Creek chieftains would be attacked and slain, so great was the anger of the people. Rumors also arrived that bodies of militia had already started to invade the Creek country. These acts must unquestionably bring ten thousand Creek warriors into the field in a general Indian war. In such event even although he should be able to defend the fort successfully against the assaults or siege of Major Adams, yet being on the frontier this must necessarily be one of the first places to be attacked by the Indian hordes.

Couriers were at once despatched to the War Department acquainting the Secretary of War of the desperate situation Fort Fidius was in and assuring the War Department that the fort would be defended to the last. Weeks must elapse though before these messages could reach the capital and Captain Roberts could expect no succor from that source. At the same time messages were sent toward Augusta to intercept General Glascock who was now enroute with the Creek chieftains, advising him of what might be expected should he continue his course by way of Fort Fidius. However, there was no assurance that any of the despatches would ever reach their destination as messages sent the following day were intercepted by armed men. (Ind. Aff. Vol. I, p. 486.)

Captain Roberts now determined to spirit the Indians out of the fort and across the river before Major Adams could post guards all along the river banks. Although some of the Indians wanted to remain and help protect their chiefs they were induced to depart. These had not been long gone before Long Tom, a prominent Cussetah courier, and very friendly to

the whites, arrived at the fort with two other Indians, having in some manner crossed the river without being discovered by Adams' men. These two were hustled across the river to safety a short time before the guards were posted. Not knowing of the escape of all the Indians Major Adams posted a cordon of men along the Oconee that night to intercept every Indian that might attempt to cross.

In the meantime the couriers had reached General Glascock with the news from Fort Fidius. Instead of pursuing his line of march by that point he altered it and during the night he was successful in getting his Indian chieftain charges safely across the Oconee at White Bluff, fifteen miles below Fort Fidius, where taking another path across what is now Wilkinson county they continued their way to their homes without mishap. The departure of all the Indians from the frontiers seems to have allayed the wrath of the Georgia militia and no further demonstrations were made against the fort.

While the escape of all the Indians in the fort as well as the safe arrival of the Indian chieftains into their own country on the night of the 10th of May greatly lessened the danger the garrison at Fort Fidius was facing yet the morning of the 11th found the communications of the fort with Savannah now cut and armed men standing guard. The courier bearing despatches to the Secretary of War acquainting him of the escape of the Indians, seeing the hostile party returned to the fort, and thus saved his despatches.

To the surprise of not only the federal authorities but to the Georgians as well, the events which had just transpired did not bring on an Indian war against the frontiers of Georgia. The reasons for this are obvious, however. Prior to this the Indians considered the federal authority supreme and had no respect for the authority of Georgia. But now they had experienced the temper of the Georgia frontiersmen, and had seen them in such a rage that the soldiers, the cannon and the forts of Longknife (Congress) furnished no refuge. The erstwhile respect and awe for the Georgians which Elijah Clarke and other Georgians had inspired years before now returned. Efau

Haujo and other able chiefs had talked with Governor Matthews and the precautions taken by the Governor to have them safely escorted to their lands seems to have made a favorable impression on them. The years following found fewer Indian troubles along the Oconee than had been since the white settlements had first been made.

As for Major Adams and his Hancock militia, they returned to their homes and nothing further was said about their having violated the federal laws. For years he remained one of the most prominent and respected men of that county, serving in the legislature. Later when the Indian lands west of the Oconee were opened for settlement he removed into what is now Jasper county where he continued to serve the state. The legislature in recognition of his ability elected him Brigadier General and later Major General. He commanded an expedition against the Indians in the War of 1812 and distinguished himself in the battles fought in Alabama. Still later he served as one of the commissioners for Georgia in acquiring the Indian lands lying between the Ocmulgee and the Flint rivers.

(American State Papers, Indian Aff. Vol I, pp. 482 et seq., Cyclopedia of Georgia.)



IT would seem that the territory which was later to become Wilkinson County has never had a more interesting period than during these years. Not only was it the bone of contention in the British, Spanish, and Indian intrigues and the scene of warfare between the Georgia frontiersmen and the Creek Indians, but in April and the early part of May, 1794, it was on this soil that the adherents of Elijah Clarke from Georgia and South Carolina collected for the memorable expedition against the Spaniards. And along the old Indian trail down the west side of the Oconee marched this redoubtable veteran of the Revolution at the head of his band of Sans Culottes, Georgians and South Carolinians, but now flying the French flag, en route to the St. Mary's from which place after being reinforced by the French fleets they planned to lay siege to St. Augustine and seize all Florida for the French.

These years found pandemonium not only evident along the Oconee but ruling the whole civilized world. Europe stood aghast at the victorious progress of the apparently invincible armies of the new French Republic, and in fear was uniting against France. Likewise the newly constituted American Republic with Washington at the head was sharing in the general chaos, as on all sides were rampant insurrections, threats of secession, revolts against Federal authority, foreign intrigues, treachery of public servants, sectional jealousies, disastrous Indian wars, and the constant threat of wars with foreign nations which looked with contempt upon the new government.

Chiefest among these was Spain whose East and West Florida and Louisiana colonies were a constant irritant to the southern and western settlers, forbidding the settlers west of the Alleghanies the right to transport their products down the Mississippi to market, a right, which in the day before the advent of the railroad destroyed all progress for these western

American settlements. For years clashes between the western settlers and the Spanish settlements had been frequent recurrences and more than once there had been threats of an invasion and the seizure of the Spanish colonies. Added to this the bulk of the Indian trade had been diverted through Spanish ports.

But Georgia considered herself more aggrieved than any other section. Her boundaries as fixed by the treaty of Paris following the close of the Revolution conflicted with the claims of Spain, and Spanish troops were stationed at Natchez and Fort Panmure in Georgia's Mississippi territory, and no amount of peaceable persuasion could induce them to remove. Added to this, Spanish agents were constantly among the Cherokees, the Creeks, and other tribes stirring the Indians to hostility against the Georgians, and for years had kept the Georgia frontiers in a continuous state of war, with massacres frequently occurring, and there was ever the constant threat of the uniting of all the tribesmen with the Spaniards in a general war of extermination of the whole state, not an idle threat, for it was well known that the arsenals at Pensacola, St. Augustine, New Orleans and elsewhere were supplying the Indians with all the arms and ammunition they needed. Three companies of cavalry had been organized and equipped among the Cherokee Indians for service whenever the expected war between Spain and America should break out, and it was revealed to the American authorities that as a whole the Indian tribesmen were better armed and equipped than the Georgia militia, who thoroughly alarmed at the impending dangers were hurriedly being prepared for the defense of the state. Protests to the Spanish authorities over their acts were treated with contempt. War with the Indians appearing inevitable, the American government through its representatives at Madrid made an inquiry as to whether, in case of a war between the United States and the Indians, Spain would take sides with the Indians. The equivocal reply convinced the people of Georgia and the United States of the designs of Spain. Sentiment in all Georgia was that further forbearance was no longer a virtue

and was ready to welcome a war against both Spain and the Indians. So strong was the feeling in Georgia against the Spaniards that open threats were being made that if the United States did not remove the Spaniards from her soil, she would do so herself.

At just this moment when the tension in Georgia was tightest the newly appointed French Minister, Genet, landed at Charleston where he was accorded perhaps the greatest ovation ever received by a foreign diplomat in America. Especially were the South Carolinians vociferous in their applause, for not only were many of the inhabitants descended from the French Huguenots enthusiastic over the success of the French Republicans, but there was also evident the spirit of gratitude towards the French people for the aid given in the struggle for independence. Genet thus found sentiment ripe for his plans of raising land and sea forces with which to attack the enemies of France. It was even said that Governor Moultrie was in sympathy with his schemes, until reminded by the South Carolina Legislature that such a course would conflict with the program of neutrality entered into by the American government. In spite of the half-hearted efforts put forth to prevent infractions against neutrality, the preparations for the expedition against the Spaniards were continued by the people of that state. Threefold was the urge that kept this up; first, the traditional hatred of the Spaniards for their grandfathers had fought in Oglethorpe's wars with this enemy; second, the gratitude to the French, and thirdly, the desire for plunder.

It soon became apparent that large forces could easily be raised in South Carolina and Georgia for the subjugation of East Florida, and the next problem was the selection of the leader of the expedition. Due to its geographical situation, Georgia appeared the proper place from which to select the leader, for it was necessary for the South Carolina forces to march through Georgia to the place of rendezvous on the St. Mary's and supplies would have to be purchased in Georgia. The movement thus demanded as its head a man popular with the Carolinians as well as with the Georgians, a man powerful

enough to overcome any opposition that might be raised in Georgia. No man filled all the qualifications needed as did Elijah Clarke. No man in Georgia was more popular with the rank and file, or who could rally a stronger following. His unparalleled bravery as displayed on many a bloody battlefield in South Carolina during the Revolution had endeared him to the people of that state. The almost superstitious fear with which the Indians regarded him would guarantee passage across the Indian country without opposition and could be counted on towards rallying them to his side. Added to this was the fact that Clarke knew well the country through which the expedition would have to march en route to the rendezvous, for during the Revolution he had marched at the head of his regiment of Wilkes county cavalry through this very section in the expedition against the British who then controlled Florida, and fought as none other fought in the disastrous battle that broke the spirit of the enterprise, falling desparately wounded in the charge. No fitter man could have been selected by Genet to lead the sans culottes.

Clarke was thus commissioned Major General at a salary of ten thousand dollars per annum and steps were taken towards organizing the adventurers who favored the enterprise in both South Carolina and Georgia into military units with officers at their head. It was decided to make St. Augustine the first objective where the land forces would be supported in the siege by a French fleet. Throughout the year 1793 the trusted agents of Genet were busy in South Carolina and Georgia making every preparation for the expedition. A report was circulated in Georgia that Clarke was raising an army of 2,500 men with which to march against the Indians which spread fear among the red tribesmen but the real intent was probably known in Georgia and no effort was being made to discourage the movement.

In the meantime, after having laid his plans in South Carolina, Genet proceeded to the seat of the National Government and was everywhere greeted with acclamations of welcome. Sentiment throughout the nation was running strong for

an immediate alliance with France against her enemies, and but for Washington's determination not to risk a war at a time when this infant republic was in such a weak condition the United States would probably have become a party to the wars then raging. While the United States made declarations of neutrality, yet there was the unmistakable sympathy for France evident on many sides. Openly it appeared that the administration was trying to maintain a strict neutrality, but one cannot read the American State Papers carefully without getting the idea that Washington and his cabinet had their fingers crossed all the time, and though cognizant of the proposed expeditions, far from crushing, were secretly encouraging them. We find Thomas Jefferson, while Secretary of State, giving Michaux, one of the agents of Genet, a letter of Introduction to the Governor of Kentucky who was apparently in sympathy with the expeditions against the Spanish Colonies on the Mississippi. We further find him reminding Genet that a little explosion on the Mississippi would be welcomed by the Americans as tending to convince Spain that it would be wise to make a treaty with the United States. Likewise, we find Genet's enterprises largely financed by payments by the American Government, on the French debt before the installments fell due. We are thus led to suspect that Washington was not ignorant of the expedition against East Florida.

During the year 1793 the recruiting was being continued. In South Carolina William Tate, Jacob R. Brown, William Urby, Robert Tate, Richard Speke, Stephen Drayton, and John Hamilton were commissioned by Genet and actively engaged in enlisting men, and organizing them into battalions with officers to be commissioned according to the number of men any individual could enlist. It was planned to raise five thousand men. The pay of the privates was to be 25 cents per day, rations, clothing and a share in the plunder, and a share in the lands conquered. A portion of the plunder according to the plans were to belong to France. Many were almost ready to depart for the place of rendezvous.

A new factor had, however, now entered. The ovations

accorded Genet and the successes of his enterprises seemingly had gone to his head. His extreme demands upon the American government were rapidly alienating the friends of France. Thomas Jefferson, than whom France never had a stauncher American friend, became indignant at the insolence of Genet. Likewise, there was growing a revulsion of sentiment in South Carolina, as the conservative elements began to realize the seriousness of the situation.

Thus in the early part of December, 1793, the South Carolina legislature made an investigation of the rumors. Resolutions were pased condemning the enterprise, a copy of which was sent President Washington. Governor Moultrie issued a proclamation forbidding the enrollment in the undertaking by any of the inhabitants of that state. Upon learning that the South Carolina authorities had arrested a number of persons charging them with accepting commissions from him, Genet wrote the Secretary of State of the charge and denied that he had authorized the recruiting as charged but admitted commissioning some to go among the Indian tribes and attack the Spaniards and English. Although notified of the situation in South Carolina, yet it is a striking fact that President Washington took no action at all until the 15th of January, 1794, when he laid the information before Congress.

In the meantime the disquieting news had reached Quesada, the Governor of East Florida,a that his dominions would be invaded by large forces from Georgia and Florida in conjunction with the French, now enormously exaggerated by the time it reached St. Augustine. His information was that Col. Samuel Hammond of Savannah had been commissioned Brigadier General by the French and was to command the expedition, that there were already sixteen hundred cavalry on the border in Camden county, well provided with magazines of ammunition and provisions, that Abner Hammond should command the cavalry which was soon to be augmented by large reinforcements from other parts of Georgia and South Carolina and that three French frigates with 1,100 men on board were to sail from Beaufort, South Carolina, and that the

attack should be made on East Florida about the middle of February. Abner Hammond having crossed the St. Mary's River and falling into the hands of the Spaniards was brought before Quesada. Upon being questioned, instead of giving accurate information he increased the panic of fear of the Spanish governor by assuring him of the absolute truth of the wild rumors that had reached St. Augustine as to the size of the invading forces.

(Note: Abner Hammond was then sent to Havanna and imprisoned in Moro Castle for years. Later he was released after which he made Milledgeville his home.) (White's Statistics.)

Although having on January 7th written Governor Matthews that there were rumors of an expedition against East Florida, which seemingly had but little effect on the Georgia governor, upon receiving the latest alarming news. Quesada again hastily wrote him, acquainting him of what he had learned and urging him in the name of neutrality to take steps to stop the enterprise and assuring Matthews of the friendship of the Spaniards for the Georgians. It is noteworthy that the spirit of this letter was entirely different to that in former letters written by him when protests were made concerning his intirigues with the Creeks which had caused Georgia so much trouble. Matthews appeared not to lose any sleep over Quesada's predicament. Finally on the 5th of March Governor Matthews issued a proclamation similar to that of Governor Moultrie of South Carolina.

The Georgians seemed to have paid about as much attention to the proclamation as might have been expected under the circumstances. Although large forces of militia were quickly available along the Oconee River, being already organized for defense against Indian invasion, yet not a hand was lifted to prevent General Clarke and his men from marching across the river and encamping opposite Greensboro, the Rock Landing and at Carr's Bluff, preparatory to marching to the St. Mary's.

Among the Georgians involved in the expedition were

Col. Carr and Major J. Williamson, Jr., both of Washington county. Also Captain Bird, who had formerly commanded the federal forces at Fort Matthews, was commanding the detachment opposite Greensboro. Captain McKinsey commanded the detachment encamped opposite the Rock Landing.

Neither did the federal troops in Georgia take any steps towards discouraging the movement of troops, but on the contrary we find Col. Carr and Major Williamson fraternizing with Captain Martin, who commanded Fort Fidius and spending a day and night with him at that fort on the 8th of April, where they freely discussed their plans with the captain, showing him a list of the men to whom Major Williamson who was serving as Clarke's paymaster, had paid their mileage to the point of rendezvous. Ten days later Constant Freeman, agent for the Department of War in Georgia at Fort Fidius rather belatedly wrote the Secretary of War of what had transpired.

In the meantime the French were co-operating. The sloop of war, Las Casas, with two hundred men arrived at the St. Mary's River and it was reported that thirteen other war vessels, equally well armed and manned were soon to arrive. A few days later the Las Casas seized a base on Amelia Island, south of the St. Mary's, and landed guns and erected defense. General Clarke had now arrived and was in charge of his forces on the Georgia side of the St. Mary's which were growing larger each day.

On May 14th, though, it was reasonable to suppose that by this time Clarke's army was already across the Florida border en route to St. Augustine. Henry Knox, Secretary of War, made a gesture towards stopping the expedition by writing Governor Matthews, urging him to take such measures as should prevent it, and authorizing him to use the federal forces in Georgia, at the same time writing Lieut.-Col. Gaither commanding the federal forces in Georgia, that if the Governor should call upon him to assist him, to do so.

In the meanwhile, the "little explosion" had occurred on the Mississippi, and the expedition of George Rogers Clark

had been nipped in the bud at the proper moment. It was now time for the Georgia bubble to burst. The necessary steps had already been taken for the denouement. Genet had been recalled by the French government and a new ambassador appointed who was opposed to the expedition, and withdrew the sanction of the French government as well as the financial aid. This seems to have had the desired effect. Clarke's men returned to their former encampments on the west side of the Oconee River.

The United States was still neutral, no overt act having been committed. The Governors of the Spanish colonies were thoroughly frightened and ceased their meddling with the Indians. The American government now followed the plan which Thomas Jefferson might well be suspected of setting on foot, and new overtures were made to the Spanish court for a treaty by which the demands of the United States might be granted. Spain, convinced that the United States could not much longer restrain the anger of the people of Gerogia as well as that of the settlers of the western states bordering on the branches of the Mississippi, and being faced with the possible loss of all the Florida and Louisiana territories, within a few months graciously granted all the demands, agreeing to remove their troops from the soil claimed by Gerogia, as well as open the Mississippi to navigation to the western settlers. What years of peacable negotiations had failed to accomplish the "little explosions" did.

As might be supposed, Elijah Clarke did not lose in popularity by embarking on the enterprise which was destined to have such happy results for Georgia. Neither did the American government take any steps towards punishing him for the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors. Taking all the circumstances in the case, we cannot look upon Elijah Clarke as a mere soldier of fortune in this adventure, but rather the leader of an unofficial American expedition, marching under the French flag. But having failed in their Florida objective his men were now in the mood to establish a new republic of their own.



IN the summer of 1794, Elijah Clarke, returning with his Sans Culottes to their former encampments in what is now Wilkinson county encamped upon the lands here, and having pacified the Indians, by renting these lands, as was stated, had established their homes, built and garrisoned forts all along the Oconee and at various places between the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers. One of these, Fort Advance, was located just across the river from Fort Fidius. Another, Fort Defiance, was in all probability located near the present site of Milledgeville, as its location is given as being six miles above Fort Advance. There was also another fort near the line of Laurens and Wilkinson counties, not far from Turkey Creek, as some old fortifications and the skeleton of an old flint lock pistol has recently been found, and it is supposed to have been one of Clarke's forts. On the level fields lying between Itchee-wam-Otchee or Black Creek, and Thlock-Laoso, or Fishing Creek, about the present site of the George Hollingshed farm on the Milledgeville and Toomsboro Road, near the line of Wilkinson and Baldwin counties, the metropolis of Clarke's Republic was laid off. Here Clarke established his headquarters. While E. Bradley was President of the Committee of Safety, Clarke was the acknowledged head of both the army and the government.

The news of Clarke's intended republic on the soil which was later to become Wilkinson County met with the approval throughout many parts of the state. Numbers of settlers flocked to the newly seized lands. Cabins were built as the vast expanse of fertile lands stretching between the two rivers was now opened for the masses of land-hungry Georgians heretofore forbidden to cross the Oconee in search of new lands. How many came, how thickly settled this country became under the brief regime of Clarke, written records fail to disclose. However there are indisputable signs evident in innumerable places in the county which prove that at some

period before the county was finally settled, white men in considerable numbers dwelt here. This is shown by old house sites, where pieces of broken English pottery, pieces of iron, gun barrels, etc., are to be found and traditions are handed down that the first settlers had no knowledge of how these old house sites came to be there.

Adventurous spirits, these, who first dared to build their homes on these lands. They came defying not merely the laws of Georgia; the laws of the United States; the power of Spain whose garrisons in Florida were in striking distance and who was championing the cause of the Creeks in every dispute with the whites; the power of England who was constantly exerting her influence with the lower Creeks and inciting them to depredations; but above all, they came in the face of all the horrors the Indian nations could bring to bear upon them. Uneasy must have been the sleep of Clarke's adherents during these months.

The Indian massacres almost ceased. The riflemen of Clarke, as was the case during the Revolution, stood guard between the inhabitants of Georgia and their enemies. No wonder his enterprise should grow in favor with the Georgians, and his popularity which was already great should continue to grow. Few in Georgia dared to begin the opposition. Governor Matthews sent a half hearted demand for him to remove from the Indian lands, but Clarke having pacified the Indians, believed that he was doing Georgia no injury in settling on lands guaranteed to the Indians by the Federal Government, and that the militia of Georgia would never march against him. He was also convinced that the United States government had neither the constitutional right to interfere, nor sufficient military force to put any interference into effect and refused to obey the orders to remove from the Indian lands.

But the federal government was thoroughly alarmed at the prospect of a rival republic so nearby, headed by the redoubtable Elijah Clarke whose prowess in battle, whose friendship with the French, whose popularity among the

Georgians and Carolinians was so well known; a leader dreaded by the Indians as the Scourge of Death, who doubtless could ally them to his standard; a leader who only a few months before, had spread terror into the very midst of the walls of St. Augustine, when it had appeared that his Sans Culottes in conjunction with the French fleet would attack that place. None realized the possibilities of Clarke's dream of an empire as did the federal authorities at the American seat of government.

And yet none realized the impotence of the federal government in dealing with this menace better than did the federal officials. There was a bare handful of soldiers in the whole federal army, which it sent against him in order to reach his settlements would have to march one hundred and fifty miles over land from the seacoast through a state whose sympathies were with Clarke. It was madness to make such an attempt. None knew the extent of Clarke's popularity in Georgia and the Carolinas. The nearest federal troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Gaither were at Fort Fidius, almost within gunshot of Fort Advance but it is a striking fact that not one act of aggression was made by these troops, evidently because of the unpopularity of the federal government, any act of these troops might so incense Clarke's men, as well as incense other Georgians, that much trouble might result.

In the dilemma, the Secretary of War called upon the Governor of Georgia to act with despatch in forcing Clarke to remove his men, and the Governor of South Carolina was likewise appealed to for aid in sending such forces to assist Georgia as might be needed. The burden of the removal was thus placed on the state, and the federal government avoided the criticism of further infringing on States Rights.

Governor Matthews acted with alacrity. The campaign was now on. The manner in which Governor Matthews and his generals handled this campaign was a masterpiece of diplomacy. Instead of an immediate invasion with arms which might have had the effect of alienating much of Georgia,

another plan, much more effectual was resorted to - that of propaganda. In this they were aided by the powerful charge of Judge Walton to the Richmond county Grand Jury in which Clarke's Revolutionary service was praised and his present course condemned as violative of the laws of Georgia. This charge was printed and widely circulated. It successfully appealed to the zealous law-abiding citizens of the state, and the leaven began to work, as they realized that Clarke was violating the laws of Georgia.

But suddenly another piece of strategy was resorted to which was destined to prove fully as effective, and which was intended to appeal to the cupidity of all the citizens, and under color of legal authority to do what Clarke was doing illegally, and which perhaps did more to mould sentiment against Clarke than anything else. A petition was circulated throughout the state asking the Legislature which was to convene in November to pass an act for the surveying of the Indian lands and the opening of a land office for the distribution of the lands east of the Chattahooche to the citizens of Georgia. It quickly became apparent that the act would be passed by the Legislature. Sentiment in Georgia was soon running strong against Clarke, and some of the citizens began to urge the Governor to remove his settlers.

In the meantime military operations were not idle. Forces of dragoons were raised, placed under the command of Captain Fauche, with orders dated July 30th to blockade the line separating Georgia from Clarke's settlements and prevent supplies and re-inforcements from Georgia reaching his garrisons. Detachments of these were placed at Waffords, High Shoals on the Apalachy, at Fort Twiggs, and at White Bluff, fifteen miles below Fort Fidius with orders to patrol the whole line. One-third of the entire militia of Georgia was ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's notice. Heavy artillery was being brought to the scene of hostilities from Augusta and Savannah.

General Twiggs and Irwin now considered the time ripe to treat with General Clarke and upon visiting him at Fort

Advance attempted to reason with their Revolutionary comrades, and urged him to desist from his course of action. Clarke referred to his men the question of whether their demand should be acceded to and the forts surrendered. Their answer was that they would risk their lives in defense of their settlements, after which no amount of persuasion could change Clarke's determination to resist to the end.

Operations now began in earnest. General Twiggs ordered Major David Adams, who a few weeks before was threatening to storm Fort Fidius, to cross the Oconee and urge the garrison at Fort Defiance to remove from the Indian lands. This was refused and Adams' life threatened. He retired without injury to himself or his troops.

When it became apparent that a resort to arms would be inevitable Clarke hastily began strengthening his forts. The garrisons in the various forts were withdrawn and concentrated at Fort Advance and Fort Defiance, he, himself, remaining at Fort Advance. Perhaps the letter of Elijah Clarke to the Committee of Safety is the only copy of any official document issued by any official of the ill-fated Republic:

Fort Advance, 5th September, 1794


Your favor of the 3d instant is now before me; accept my thanks for your information and attention to that may, if ever neglected, so materially injure our enterprise. I consider myself honored by meeting with the unanimous voice of all the officers belonging to the different garrisons. I shall always endeavor to acquit myself worthy of the command committed to my charge. The information you have received agrees with mine from Augusta. The artillery of Augusta are ordered to be in readiness to march in eight or ten days, and one-third of the militia are directed to be draughted. It has been tried in Burke and Richmond counties, but quite unsuccessful; the troops declare they will not fight against us. I am happy to find the disposition of the people with you, so exactly agrees with my own friends' here; I believe it to be the general disposition of every garrison. I am determinately fixed to risk every thing,

with my life, upon the issue, and for the success of the enterprise, you will apply to the enclosed orders how to conduct yourselves with inimical individuals. In case of a body appearing, you will give me the earliest information. If you are summoned to surrender in the garrison, you must refuse, with a firmness ever accompanying the brave. Inform those who apply, that, if you have done wrong, and the grand jury of the county have cognizance of your crime, you will cheerfully submit to be tried by a jury of your fellow citizens. But you will consider any orders from the Secretary of War, to be unconstitutional; the Governor's proclamation, as determined in Wilkes, illegal. I am informed that Captain Fauche's troop are directed to stop men and supplies, crossing to the south side of the Oconee. They have no right to take hold of any private property whatever, and, for everything detained, to the value of one shilling, belonging to any adventurer, they shall suffer the penalty of the law. If such case should turn up, apply to a magistrate, and bind the party offending to the next superior court. To avoid disputes, it will be best to use a prudent precaution in every case. The president of the board of officers, E. Bradley, Esq., mentions my appointing a meeting of the committee of safety on Monday, the fifth of October; if it is the first Monday of the month, that is the day on which our constitution requires them to meet. If two members meet, they may adjourn from day to day, until the whole or a majority of them can be convened. It is entirely out of my power to appoint the 22d of this month, or any other day, if does not agree with the constitution; you will attend to appointing your members for the committee on the 15th of this month, at the several garrisons. Meet the first Monday in next month, but in case of the election as mentioned, the members who cannot attend on Monday, meet on Tuesday or Wednesday, that is, those who first meet must adjourn from day to day, until they are convened. Must beg you to copy orders, and send them to the several garrisons above you.

Yours, etc.,


NOTE; -You receive one petition, which will suit everybody but a real tory. Our own people and particular friends will subscribe them, with the addition of the office being opened to no persons but those who will become settlers. (I.A. ap. 501.)

On September 23rd a detachment of Fauche's dragoons succeeded in capturing one of Clarke's lieutenants near Fort Advance and later in the day being reinforced, seized the landing opposite the fort and began cutting Clarke's lines of communications. On the 25th Fauche arrived with other reinforcements and two other prisoners fell into the hands of the Georgians.

In the meantime Brigadier General Jared Irwin was approaching with his forces. On the 26th he took up his line of march from Town Creek, nine miles from Fort Fidius, and proceeded to cross the Oconee and encamp near Fort Advance. On the same day Col. William Melton of the Greene county militia, who had won fame the year before as an Indian fighter when at the head of the Green county yeomanry he had carried the war into the very heart of the maurauding Creek town, and made the Indians respect the strength of the Georgia militia having now with his command formed a junction with Colonel Lamar and Major Adams and other officers of the militia arrived on the scene and crossing the river cut off all communication between the beleaguered forts.

Closer and closer the cordon of steel was being drawn around Clarke's forts. Up to now not a man had been killed or even wounded. On the 27th the Georgians were in position and ready to advance. Before the assault was ordered General Irwin made a last appeal to General Clarke, and urged him to march his men out with all the honors of war.

The supreme crisis of the life of Elijah Clarke had arrived. Absolutely devoid of fear, as had been so ably demonstrated in the scores of battles in which he had engaged in the struggle for liberty against British oppression, no show of force could induce a surrender, provided that force was composed of enemies. To yield meant the crashing of his

dreams of glory and of the empire which had been almost within his grasp, dreams of a mighty nation that he would build in this, the choicest territories of the New World, dreams of marching at the head of conquering armies into the lands of the enemies of his new nation.

But he was being confronted with a power against which he had not counted when he originated his plans. At most he had probably expected a Federal army to be sent against him - and he felt convinced he would be doing no wrong to resist such a force of a government which was not only oppressing the state of Georgia by its assumption of authority over the Indian lands but would be acting unconstitutionally in so doing. But instead of strange soldiers, commanded by strange generals, there stood before him in battle array men whom he loved, the very men who had fought and bled with him in the battles of the Revolution, men whom he had provided with homes on the lands between the Ogeechee and the Oconee, through his Indian treaties, and by his certificates of Revolutionary service; commanding these men was his beloved old comrade-at-arms, Jared Irwin, - and above these men, there floated the banner of Georgia, the banner for which he had given his life blood on more than one battlefield and had devoted the best years of his life. Upon these he could not order his men to fire. For this first time in his life the grand old Revolutionary chieftain acknowledged defeat. The colors of his Republic bowed before the banner of Georgia, and Clarke's men marched out of the fort.

Fort Defiance having now also surrendered, the torch was applied on the 28th of September. From garrison to garrison and from cabin to cabin the flames were spread. Clarke's settlers were scattered and today, tradition remains to tell the story of the Trans-Oconee Republic.

For a brief period, Clarke's star was in eclipse, but two years later he witnessed the utter disgrace of Matthew's administration. Could he have lived a few years longer than he did, he would have beheld his son, John Clarke, organizing his famous Clarke party, and later as governor, guiding the affairs

of state in the rapidly growing city that had sprung up almost on the very ashes of Fort Defiance.

Note: The exact location of the Clarke's Forts seems to have been lost during the lapse of more than a century. However, a careful examination of Indian Affairs, Vol. I, gives us such data as permits us to fix the various places with some definiteness. We have seen that the main crossing of the Oconee in this section was at the Rock Landing and that a garrison was there until 1793 when Fort Fidius was built, and the garrison was moved to Fort Fidius. It is extremely probable that Fort Fidius was built for the health of the soldiers on a bluff a few hundred yards from Rock Landing when we take into consideration the fact that removal to any great distance would have very likely created some objection on the part of the state of Georgia, as this state was not feeling kindly to the federal government just now. We also find Seagrove, the federal Indian agent, writing of Rock Landing and Fort Fidius as if they were one and the same place. (Ind. Affairs, Vol. I, 408, 409.) The fact that they were very close together is further shown on page 394 where it is stated that General Twiggs' command crossed the Oconee near Rock Landing and on page 421 it was stated that they crossed at Fort Fidius.

Anyone driving along the Milledgeville and Toomsboro Road between these creeks cannot but notice the suitableness of the level lands for the purpose of building a city thereon. Clarke's sans culottes had their camp opposite the Rock Landing prior to their departure for Florida. (Ind. Affairs, Vol. I, p. 485.) Upon his return we thus find him building his metropolis on the lands opposite Fort Fidius. Anyone selecting the site for a metropolis in this section would most assuredly choose these high, level lands.

Note: Data for the above obtained from Dr. E.M. Coulter's "Elijah Clarke's Foreign Intrigues and Trans-Oconee Republic"; Vol. I, Indian Affairs; Vol. I, Foreign Relations; Vol. II, Stevens' History of Georgia; White's Statistics; Chappell's Miscellanies of Georgia.



THE propaganda set in motion for the purpose of removing Elijah Clarke, and providing for the taking possession of all the Indian lands east of the Chattahoochee by legal processes was soon to take the form of an enactment of the Legislature. A few months later when the Legislature met, so great was the demand for more lands on which the citizens of Georgia could settle, the act was passed, and on December 28, 1794, received Governor Matthews' signature.

It provided $20,000.00 for the purpose of extinguishing the Indian claims "should any there be," and the senators and representatives in Congress were directed to apply for a treaty to be held with the Indians for these lands.

The act provided that persons applying for these lands could obtain 300 acres headright, 50 acres for his wife and 50 acres for each child under 16 years of age. One of the requirements was that every person acquiring said lands must settle in said district within twelve months and cultivate at least one acre to every hundred acres granted him.

In order to encourage settlers still more to move on said lands the act exempted them from all taxes for four years.

The act further provided as follows:

"That the territory lying between the rivers Oconee, the branch thereof called the Apalachy, and the Ocmulgee, shall be laid off into five districts, in the following manner, viz: All that part from the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers, up to a line to be run directly from Carr's bluff, on the Oconee, to the place where the Cussetah path crosses the Ocmulgee river, shall form the first district; All that part lying between the said line, and a parallel line to be run directly from the mouth of Shoulderbone to the Ocmulgee

river, shall form the second district; All that part lying between the said last mentioned line, and a parallel line to be run from the mouth of Jack's Creek, on the Apalachy river, to where the same shall intersect the northernmost, or the main, branch of the Ocmulgee river, shall form the third district; All that part lying between the north and south branches of the Ocmulgee river, that is to say, from the fork thereof, up the said northern or main branch off the said Ocmulgee, to the place where the Bloody-trail crosses the same, thence a due west course to the Chattahoochee river, thence down the said river to a point on the same, from which a due east line shall strike the head or source of the main southernmost branch of the said Ocmulgee, thence down the same to the place of beginning, shall form the fourth district; And all the remaining part of the said territory shall form the fifth district.

"And be it further enacted, That his Excellency the Governor shall, previously to his issuing any warrant of survey to the citizens of this state, or any other person whatsoever, cause three thousand acres of land to be laid off on the south side of the Altamaha river, on the bluff lying nearest to the confluence of the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers; two thousand acres on the south side of the Oconee river, on the most advantageous bluff, near the Rock Landing; together with one thousand acres, in addition to the foregoing in each of the districts contemplated by this act, in the most advantageous parts of the said districts, for public uses."

It was provided, however, that the act should not take effect until two months after a treaty should be made with the Indians.

There was now the prospect that this section which in later years would be Wilkinson county would be the most favored for development in the whole state. At the lower extremity near the confluence of the Oconee and the Ocmulgee there would spring up a large city which would have the broad Altamaha as an artery of commerce. At the Rock Landing which was considered the head of navigation of the Oconee and also the converging point of so many Indian trails would

be built another city. One of these would have undoubtedly been made the capital of Georgia. How great must have been the changes in the tale that history now tells of Wilkinson county had the dreams of the whole people of Georgia been realized in this effort to get possession of the lands of this section.

However, the enactment by the Georgia Legislature created much disturbance in the mind of President Washington and upon getting information of it hastily sent a special message to Congress concerning both it, and the infamous Yazoo Act which was passed about the same time. In his message he stated, "These acts embrace an object of such magnitude and in their consequence may so deeply affect the peace and welfare of the United States that I thought it necessary now to lay them before Congress."

Congress immediately enacted laws prohibiting depredations against the lands of the Indians and authorizing the military forces of the United States to confine parties guilty of this offense.

The failure of the federal government to get any cessions of the lands in question from the Creeks for the time being, prevented the realization of the plans outlined in the act of the Georgia Legislature. However, complaints of the surveying of lands and the using of them by the white men were frequently made.

In the meantime the storm of disapproval over the Yazoo Act, which was in reality a supplemental act of the one in question was sweeping Georgia. Likewise, Congress was expressing its disapproval in the strongest of terms. Instead of pursuing the original course of attempting to get a great deal of the Indian lands, the efforts of the Georgians were now limited to procuring the lands lying between the Oconee and the Ocmulgee. The Governor, Senators and Congressmen approached President Washington on the subject and a few months afterward he appointed Benjamin Hawkins, George Clymer and Andrew Pickens as commissioners to bring about the treaty. Notices were sent to the Creeks inviting them to

meet at Colerain for a treaty and in 1796 it was held. The negotiations were a complete failure insofar as the acquisition of any lands was concerned. The Indians were determined to sell no more. All that the Commissioners could get the Indians to agree to was that the federal forts might be built on the Indian lands and a tract about five miles square on the Indian lands opposite Fort Fidius was set aside for a trading post and fort. The description of the tract recommended as a post as taken from the Journal of the Proceedings of the treaty is as follows:

"The Cowetas and Cussetahs visited us, to take leave.

"They requested that the President would cause the troops, at Fort Fidius, to be removed as soon as possible. That, after gaining the best information they could, from the hunters, who were present, they now came to recommend one place.

"There is a high bluff, a little below Fort Fidius, perhaps one mile below, on their lands. Two miles below this bluff, there is a creek, called Itchee-wam-aotchee, and about three miles above the bluff, there is another creek, called Thlock-laoso, or Fishing Creek, very valuable, always, for fish, particularly for shad in the spring. The lands between the creeks is high and good, and, bordering on the creeks, covered with cane, and fine for stock. This is the fittest place for a military post, according to the information which they have obtained.

"The chiefs request, that, if this spot is selected by the President, the troops of the garrison, and those connected therewith, only, should be permitted to take fish out of the waters belonging to the Indians.

"There is another bluff, about one day's ride, or twenty-five miles, still higher up the river, and the same distance below the mouth of the Apalachy, or Tulapocka, where the old Oakfuskee path crosses the Oconee. They mention this, but cannot recommend it; it is not so high as the other, nor the lands so valuable; however, it is the best they now have any information of, and they thought they would

inform us of it."

Although the War Department did not build Fort Wilkinson on the bluff suggested by the Indians, yet it was built between the creeks and about three miles above the bluff they recommended. The fort was begun in the early part of 1797 and the garrison moved to that place, Colonel Gaither commanding. Thus, according to the treaty, the tract of land five miles square was attached to the post. The store used as a trading post for the Indians was completed in September.

The moving of the garrison from Fort Fidius now necessitated a change in the crossing of the river and the site just above the mouth of Camp Creek was selected.



ON October 28, 1795, an event occurred near Carr's Bluff which again threatened to plunge Georgia into a general Creek Indian War. A number of Indians had crossed the Oconee on a visit and was in one of the homes near the Bluff, apparently behaving themselves peaceably when Benjamin Harrison, Vessels and others gathered a band of settlers together and fell upon the Indians, massacring seventeen, in cold blood, consisting of one Creek, four lower Creeks and twelve Uchees.

A storm of indignation swept the whole Creek nation at what they considered such an act of treachery on the part of the whites. On all sides rose the cry for vengeance, from tribe to tribe the bloody stick was borne by the fleet runners and at the appointed time the avengers were enroute for Carr's Bluff. The Uchees were the most outraged of any of the tribes. The Indians had learned that Harrison had led the expedition and although Harrison had built himself a stockade for the defense of his plantation, this did not deter the Indians from the attack. At dawn the attack was made in true Indian fashion, but to the disappointment of the Indians they found Harrison gone. After burning his stockade they swooped down on Old Bushes Fort nearby, capturing that fort, killing one man and after killing cows and taking horses they returned to the Indian nation.

In the meantime the murder of the Indians by Harrison had created such a revulsion of feeling on the part of the people of Georgia that the Indians were not blamed for their attack. The Legislature passed resolutions of regret at Harrison's act. He and a number of his men were arrested on the charge of murder. All these activities on the part of Georgia were made known to President Washington and to the Creek Indians, as the Treaty of Colerain which was then pending necessitated that the Creeks be placated as much as possible. Seagrove at

once took up the matter with the Creek chieftains and got their promise to wait until Washington could be heard from before taking further vengeance and at the same time promising the Indians that the murderers would be executed.

The date set for the treaty to be held at Colerain being in June, 1796, hostilities now ceased. However, at the treaty they at once brought this question up, demanding redress. Numbers of the relatives of the murdered Indians were on hand expecting to see Harrison executed for the crime at this place.

John Galphin whose rascalities had caused him to be outlawed by the Americans and who was refused admittance into the meting at Colerain now shrewdly used the Harrison Massacre as a means of getting himself recognized as a part of the convention. Having under his influence a large band of young Indian braves who were at all times eager to do his bidding he came boldly into the Indian camp. The chiefs informed him of the fact that the American Commissioners had forbidden his coming to the convention. He served notice that if he went away he would carry his young men with him. The Indian chiefs at once realized the significance of this statement and that if he and his warriors rode away many of whom had friends killed by Harrison, the frontiers of Georgia would feel the weight of his displeasure. Hastily they went to the Commissioners and explained the situation and requested the Commissioners to permit Galphin to remain in their camp where they could keep an eye on him.

During the course of the proceedings at Colerain, the chiefs and friends of the towns which had lost Indians in the massacre made a second visit to the Commissioners, inquiring whether the murderers would be punished, giving the Commissioners a full account of the occurrence, and stating that the letter from Seagrove which promised redress had caused them to suspend their usual mode of vengeance.

Next day "the Indian chiefs again visited the Commissioners to deliver a message from the children and near relations of the murdered men. They mentioned the distressed

condition of six young children and some others whose dependence for support was upon those who were killed; that besides this loss, some property was taken at the time, to which they had just claim; that they now applied for the property, the whole of which was not much, but little as it was, it was of value to the relatives. If the murderers could be puinished this loss would be deemed of still less value, and they should never have mentioned it. But they hoped, as the commissioners came to see justice done, they would order this payment, and cause the chiefs to carry it and deliver it in their name to the relatives."

This request was agreed to but the next day the chiefs came again explaining the vexation of the relatives of the victims at there being no execution of Harrison, and asked advice as to what information they could give them. They agreed to follow the advice which should be sent them by President Washington, but urged that the guilty be punished. They stated that they did not believe the murderer would ever be punished in Georgia and that they had no other reliance than on the justice of the President.

Vessels, one of the party charged with the crime, soon died but the courts delayed months and months any semblance of trial of the others. In the meantime the Uchees had not forgotten the massacre and in the spring of 1797 after having waited eighteen months for the courts of Washington county to try Harrison, they suddenly without warning fell upon the settlements near Long Bluff, a few miles above Carr's Bluff, killing a man named Brown and seriously wounding his wife, burned three houses, fences, etc.

Benjamin Hawkins who had now been appointed the Indian Agent in the place of Seagrove at once demanded that the Creek chiefs punish the Uchees who had committed these depredations. A meeting of the nation was called and certain chiefs, one of whom being Tustunnagau Emauthlau was appointed to execute the Uchees who committed the murder. (Note: This was the same Tustunnagau Emauthlau who was arrested for an offence in Oglethorpe county, confined in jail

and while in the jail, a mob attempting to storm the jail was fired upon, some being killed, by the Georgia militia protecting the Indian chieftain, who was later acquitted by a jury of the county.)

Upon hearing that the other Indians had decreed the death of those who had killed Brown, the Uchees determined to resist any effort to carry it into effect. A civil war among the Creeks was now in prospect. At the same time letters from Deputy Agent Richard Thomas were being received stating that the Uchees were on the warpath against the frontiers of Washington and a few days later he wrote again that another man and woman had been killed near Long Bluff.

In the meantime the Indian who led the party which killed Brown had filed his plea with the Creek chieftains and gave as his reason, that he had lost his son in the Harrison Massacre and although he had waited a long time he had never received satisfaction for it. This plea was apparently a justifiable defense in the eyes of the Creeks but they notified Hawkins that if he insisted on retaliation when he returned to their nation they would kill the leader of the band and one of the Uchee women.

The entire Uchee tribe continued very bitter towards the white settlers throughout the year. During September of 1797 they again started on the warpath. The other Creeks, however, hurrried runners after them commanding them to return and thus further bloodshed was averted for the time being.

During November the chiefs appointed to execute the leader of the Uchees who had killed Brown, at the head of a band of Creek warriors marched to the Uchee town but he had fled. They followed him from town to town among the Indians until at last he fled to the Shawnees, too far away to pursue farther. The chiefs then consulted one another about their old custom of killing one of the family in the place of the culprit, and but for the orders of Hawkins this would have been done.

In February, 1798, the hostile Uchees again crossed the Oconee, killing a man by the name of William Allen near

Long Bluff. At the time the woods on the Wilkinson county side were filled with bands of hunting Indians, some of whom had their women and children in the camps. The commander of the federal forces at Fort Wilkinson at once recognizing the peril the Indian hunters were in by reason of the killing of Allen, should the Washington county settlers fall upon them, hurried forces of cavalry from Indian camp to Indian camp appraising them of the danger they were in.

A few days later, an Indian climbed a tree on the west side of the Oconee near Long Bluff to talk with a man named Oats. While the conversation was going on some one slipped up behind Oats and shot the Indian, killing him on the spot. Fearing the vengeance of the Indians would be turned against him, Oats removed from his plantation. About this time another Indian was killed near Long Bluff. A white hunter on the Washington county side heard what he thought to be the bleat of a fawn and halted. He then heard something like a snap of a gun and looking about saw an Indian, who had just flashed at him. Jumping behind a tree, he fired and killed the Indian. Letters of Benjamin Hawkins, pp. 450, 102, 249, 288, 462, 463, 464. Indian Affiars, Vol. I, pp.. 615, 6166, 595, 610.

A story told the author by J.J. McArthur which was told him by his grandmother Pearson, is to the effect that the Pearsons had moved across the Oconee and were living on the Indian lands prior to the treaty of Fort Wilkinson and that one morning early they noticed an Indian prowling around rather suspiciously. They immediately opened fire upon him, killing him. Realizing what it would mean should the Indians learn of their having killed him, they at once destroyed all traces of the killing and after weighting the body put it in an old lagoon in the Oconee swamp.



AS an illustration of the enormity of the losses occasioned by the Indian horse thieves, the Georgia Commissioners at the treaty of Colerain complained of a loss of 825 horses, 1,159 cattle, 495 hogs and 115 houses burned. One can easily understand the reason for so much thieving among the Indians as the Indians felt the need of horses very badly. They were frequently invited to visit the Spaniards in St. Augustine and Pensacola for treaties and these towns were hundreds of miles distant. The Americans would invite them to various places for treaties which required much journeying. Often it was necessary for them to come nearly a hundred miles to trade at Rock Landing, Fort Fidius or Fort Wilkinson. Once a year they had to come here for their stipends paid by the federal government under the treaty. The growing scarcity of game required them to go many miles on hunting expeditions. Lack of salt and proper feed caused many of their horses to die and the "jackies" or ponies they attempted to raise were of inferior quality. Thus, horses were to them such a necessity as they felt warranted in getting them from the Georgians in any manner possible.

However, the Indians were not altogether to blame for the stealing, as shown by extracts from the letter of the White Lieutenant of Ocfuskees, "I likewise undertook to inform you of a thing, you, before, perhaps, have been ignorant of, viz: no sooner the talks become a little friendly, but our paths are filled with traveling renegade people, and some families that pretend they are going to the Spanish country; others of them are bad men, who steal from your people, and fly to our land, and impose their plunder on us, and we, though in a state of

ignorance, are blamed for it . . . I likewise take the liberty to inform you, that it is my opinion that bad men that live on the frontiers of your country, do your people and ours great injury by getting our drunken people over the line, and buying their property from them, particularly horses (with rum) the people are then on foot, and, sooner than remain so, go and steal the first man's horse they come across; this, I hope you will prevent by some early step, as, if suffered, it will tend to bad consequences."

With the rise of Efau Haujo to power in the Creek nation, the chieftains were induced to enact such a law among themselves as could be effectually enforced and which stopped horse thieving in this section. Thus, shortly after the treaty of Colerain, whipping was made the penalty for all those who dwelt in the Indian nations who stole horses, and the Indians, themselves were the ones to inflict the punishment. No one was allowed to sell or buy a horse, to or from an Indian without a permit from Benjamin Hawkins who had now succeeded Seagrove. How well this law worked on the Indians is shown by the letter of Richard Thomas, Dep. Agt. to Benjamin Hawkins (Letters of B.H., pages 488, 489). "With pleasure I announce to you that the law enacted by the chiefs at the Tuckabatchee, with respect to the horse thieves, has been put in force by Efau Tustunnagau and his warriors and one of the sticks that was made use of to inflict the punishment sent to the Cowetas and the Tallauhassee. The next day the Cowetas brought in four horses; they say they found them this side of the line. Another of the sticks has been sent down the river to the towns below. The Ooseuchees stole five horses from the white people; four is brought in and one died by the bite of a snake. If the chiefs are peaceably inclined, they will certainly punish the horse thieves and deliver up the horses, but if they should be only awaiting a supply of powder from the Spaniards, they will not think of fulfilling their promises to you. I shall keep a good lookout, and if any talks or invitations arrive from the Spaniards, will immediately inform you of it.

As early as 1792 there seems to have been an outlaw

organization, its ramifications extending throughout Georgia, North and South Carolina. The Creeks were continuously raiding the Kentucky and Tennessee settlements, driving off their droves of fine horses, and after bringing them through the Creek nation, would, by means of white confederates convey them to Savannah, and the seaport towns of the Carolinas, where good prices could be obtained and where recovery by their owners was practically impossible. (I.A., page 265.)

The traffic in stolen horses thus seems to have grown to immense proportions. On their swift Kentucky steeds, the Indian braves could make their sudden attacks on the frontiers along the Oconee and laden with loot dash back along the paths leading across these lands and to safety before pursuers could start on the trail. The nearness to Florida made it possible to dispose of any horses not needed by these outlaw bands. The trails of this section were thus filled by a stream of horses from the Indian nation to be sold in Georgia, and another stream of horses stolen in Georgia for use elsewhere. And woe to the traveler who met these outlaws and who was not able to protect himself.

The Tory element which had settled among the Indians as usual was found more troublesome when it came to stealing horses than any other. "From the declaration of peace to the introduction of the plan of civilization in 1796, these white people generally continued their predatory warfare; at that period some of the worst fled, some died and some promised to reform; their red associates stole horses and they found a market for them."

The law enacted by the Indian chieftains now began to apply to this Tory element and they found themselves receiving the same punishment which the Indians received. This caused many to leave the nation. Efau Haujo in a "talk" to Hawkins says:

"The white horse thieves are censuring my conduct and say it is no business of mine who steals horses or who comes and goes without passports, but I shall do my duty regardless of their threats or frowns." (Letters of B. Hawkins, p. 496, 429.)



THE rush of settlers shortly after the Revolution to the lands east of the Oconee river quickly took up all the available lands on that side and then there was the clamor for more lands. Across the Oconee they could see satretching from the Oconee to the Ocmulgee vast forests of monster yellow pines, limitless fields of wild oats, offering pasturing for myriads of cattle and horses, going to waste under these pines; the lowlands covered with hardwood, berries, fields of reeds, also offering unlimited pasturage for hogs, cattle and horses, millions of acres of the most productive lands in the world, wasting for the sake of the herds of deer, the bear, and other game which the Indians valued so highly. Soon the cattle, horses and hogs on the east side got hungry and it was an easy matter to get them across the river to the land of plenty. As the years passed, more and more of the whites began to take advantage of this free pasturage. Farther and farther from the river the animals would feed. Each man would have some particular spot to salt his cows and in this way could keep up with his herds. Others would feed their hogs at certain places. It is a tradition that Cowpen Creek, a few miles west of Irwinton was so named from numerous cowpens built on it by those driving their cows here from Washington county while the lands still belonged to the Indians., The abundace of game and fish here also lured the white hunters across the river to hunt, fish, and trap.

Indian hunters soon learned of the trespassing by the whites on their lands. Complaints were frequently made by the Indians. The Georgians would complain of the Indians stealing horses, cattle and hogs. Benjamin Hawkins tells of one Indian lad who was in this section with a heavy pack of skins to carry back to Cusseta Indian town. Nine years prior to this his brother had a horse stolen from him by the whites. He came

across a mare and colt grazing on the Indian lands. Catching the mare he packed his skins on her back and rode her into Cusseta town with the colt at her heels. Being informed that he would have to give her up, he refused until he could see his brother who had lost a horse.

In the face of the Indian depredations, squatters began to cross the river as early as 1793 and build houses on the Indian lands, so great was the demand for more land. A vivid picture of the situation here is given in the letter of Timothy Barnard, Deputy Agent, to Seagrove.

Flint River, 20th March, 1793

Dear Sir:

Your express, by Mr. Mordecai, came safe to hand: I received it at the Cussetahs, where I have been ever since my last to you, by Mr. John Galphin, except five days I spent at the Buzzard Roost, where I was obliged to attend in consequence of some complaints I heard from the Indians, respecting the inhabitants on the Oconee driving great gangs of cattle over on this side in the fork of Jullah Packa, and from that up, forty or fifty miles higher; besides that the white people had built two or three houses on this side. When I got to the Buzzard Roost, I found the report I had heard was not groundless, as there was a white man that had just arrived at the Roost from Rock Landing, who convinced me that it was the case. I heard, while I was at the Roost, that the Cowetas were just going out to drive off all the stocks and kill some of the inhabitants. I immediately sent off an express to the Rock Landing, and wrote to the commanding officer there, to order the people to drive their stock back. I likewise acquainted his Excellency the Governor with the circumstance, and of the ill consequences that would follow, if he did not put a stop to such proceedings; I at the same time wrote to Captain Philips, that lives nearly opposite where those cattle were driven over. I have since been at the town, had a letter from Captain Phillips, where he mentions, that some of the hunting Indians had given them liberty, last fall, to drive their stock over till the spring, which I do not believe; but whether or not, I should imagine that they might

have a little more knowledge of Indian matters than to think such liberties would hold good with the whole nation. Major Gaither was kind enough to answer my letter, wherein he informs me that he has given his orders for all the stock to be driven back, which he says was duly complied with. A few days ago at the meeting, I have had more complaints laid before me of the like nature which I immediately informed Major Gaither of, and Captain Philips; both of which is, that the white people came and encamped out, thirty or forty miles on this side of the river, and hunted, with fire, and all day with rifles, and destroyed the game so bad, they can hardly find a turkey or a deer to kill, and with great gangs of dogs hunting bear; this the Indians say they cannot put up with; and if the white people do not decline such proceedings, they will kill some of them. . . Had it not been for those imprudent steps of the Oconee settlers, driving their stocks over the river, the Shawanese talks would not have had near as much effect on the minds of the Creeks, as it was a good subject for the Shawanese to work on, telling them it was the way the white people served them to the northward. (I.A., pp. 381, 382.)

The trespassing on the Indian lands is blamed for a lot of the Indian troubles of this period. Likewise this in all probability encouraged to a great extent the attempted settling of these lands in 1794 by Elijah Clarke.

Following the drastic action taken by the Georgians in removing Clarke's settlers, there seems to have been fewer violations of the law forbidding trespassing on the Indian lands for a short period of time. However, before the treaty of Colerain in 1796, they were at it again. At this treaty the complaint of the Indians is as follows:

"On the west side of the Oconee, high up, that is, from Fort Fidius upward, that the woods is full of cattle, hogs, and horses, some of which range near the Ocmulgee. Besides that, those woods are constantly full of white men, hunters, even going about in the night, hunting deer with firelight. They say their hunters, in consequence of such proceedings are frightened, and drove in from their hunting grounds; every cane

swamp, where they go to look for a bear, which is part of their support, is near eat out with the stocks put over by the citizens of Georgia.

" . . . From the fork of the Oconee and Ocmulgee, up to the mouth of Apalachy, and all up the west side of that river, there have been seen, hogs, horses, and cattle, ranging as far back as the waters of Ocmulgee, all the winter past. As that land is the property of the Indians, these must be immediately removed to the east side of the Oconee.

"The white people come over hunting; they hunt by night, with fire; they go even to the creeks of Ocmulgee, they encamp, and tarry days and nights on the heads of those waters; they carry off fish by loads, and when the Indian hunters come into these lands, they find the whites there, taking their deer and other game; and this they do constantly. This is a complaint, which the whole representation of the nation now present, old and young, make to you. And we require that an immediate stop should be put to this trespass on our rights. The young men, particularly, who are most interested and most injured by it, request this.

"I have stated many complaints of the nation, and I am desirous to state the wishes of the Indians. It is, that it be exponed as the understanding of the nation present, that, from the middle of the Oconee, on the east side, belongs to the whites, that there they may do as they please; but that all the west side of the centre line which divides the Oconee, including creeks, and all waters, belongs to the Indians, and that the whites have no right to go there." (Indian Affairs Vol. I, pp. 604, 607.)

The complaint of Efau Haujo at the Treaty of Fort Wilkinson likewise illustrates some of the things the Indians had to put up with during the years preceding 1802.

The year following the treaty at Colerain found a number of settlers on the west side of the Oconee not merely engaged in stockraising but now with plantations. Col. Gaither, the federal commander, placed himself at the head of cavalry and forced these settlers to remove and destroyed their plan

tation. In addition to the federal law, there was a state law providing for the punishment of trespassers on the Indian lands and the Justices of the counties along the river were required to punish violaters of this act. After the treaty of Fort Wilkinson this act was repealed and the statement was made that though the law was on the statute book yet not a single man had been convicted.


During 1797, following the treaty of Colerain, which was such a bitter disappointment to the Georgians, the federal, Col. Gaither, found his hands full in preventing violations of the treaty. Though having destroyed the settlements of the trespassers who had actually made their homes on these earlier in the year, in May the poaching on these lands had become so notorious that detachments from Fort Fidius captured four Georgians and confined them in the fort on the charge of fire hunting. Announcement was made that they would be sent to Savannah to be tried by the Federal court. So great was the rage of the people of Hancock county at this act on the part of the federal soldiers, that Col. Thomas Lamar, who was at this time commanding the militia of Hancock county, having had considerable reputation as an Indian fighter in the expeditions sent out against the Indians, now placed himself at the head of one hundred men and marched against Fort Fidius and demanded that the men confined in the garrison be surrendered to him. Though refused, Col. Lamar evidently considered the fort too strong for his small force to storm. In order to carry these men to Savannah for trial it was necessary to pass through the portion of the state bitterly hostile to the federal authority and it was expected any attempt to carry them there would be the signal for a battle between the militia and the federal detachments. However, in the face of these threats, Col. Gaither sent Captain Webb with forty-eight dragoons and the four prisoners were delivered safely at the Savannah jail. (Letters of B. Hawkins, 460, 463.)



SO the Georgians penned within the narrow confines east of the Oconee the failure of the treaty makers at Colerain to obtain additional cessions of territory was a most serious matter. The population was increasing tremendously, yet there was no increase in land.

To the Indians, likewise, who were accustomed to live by hunting and fishing a cession of their hunting grounds was a serious matter. Following the Treaty of Colerain, Benjamin Hawkins, as Agent having been instructed to approach the Indians on the subject reported that so bitterly opposed were the Indians to any further cession that one had to be high in their confidence to mention such a subject to them without being openly insulted.

Hawkins, however, set about preparing the Indian mind, by indirect methods for a cession. First, he succeeded in convincing them he was sincere in his efforts towards helping them. Next he began introducing a plan of civilization suitable to the Indians psychology and mode of living. He taught them gradually to use plows and cultivate larger crops and to substitute the raising of cows and hogs for a living rather than depend on hunting. Less land was thus needed by those Indians who would adopt his plans, and they slowly became reconciled to the idea of selling a portion.

The treaty with Spain in 1795, which bound that power to refrain from interfering with the relations of this government with the Creeks and the removal of the Spanish garrisons from the lands claimed by Georgia, had a most wholesome effect on the Creeks. No longer supplied with guns, ammunition and supplies from that power, the Creeks became more and more dependent upon the American government for their stipends and trade. With the growth of civilization their wants

were increasing and their annual stipends were insufficient to supply their needs. Debts at the trading post at Fort Wilkinson began to mount, and it was provided these debts should be deducted from the payments agreed upon by the federal government under the treaties of Colerain and New York. It was soon evident that the Creeks would have to sell a portion of their lands or lack many necessities.

Following closely on the heels of the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as President events leading to a cession of lands began to move rapidly forward. Milledge, Baldwin and Jackson, Commissioners from Georgia to treat with the United States on the Mississippi Territory question, having solved the Yazoo problem and bound the American government by a covenant to extinguish the Indian claims to their lands in Georgia, Benjamin Hawkins, Andrew Pickens and General James Wilkinson were appointed Commissioners to represent the American government in a treaty to be held with the Indians at Fort Wilkinson in May, 1802.

The summons were sent to the chieftains of all the tribes to meet the Commissioners at that time. Not knowing what would be demanded of them at this meeting the chiefs were greatly agitated and continuously for months prior to the meeting importuned Hawkins to give them information on the matter, but apparently he only whetted their curiosity and upon every opportunity suggested the advisability of their selling some of their lands in order to pay their debts and supply their wants.

In the meantime it would seem that the British were resuming their interference with the Creeks, inasmuch as at this very opportune time we find Bowles returning from England, and stirring up more trouble among the Seminole towns in opposition to the proposed treaty. Landing a shipload of goods which had been received from the Bahamas, the wily Bowles attempted to break up the Fort Wilkinson conference by inviting the Creeks to come down and share in the gifts which the British had sent. But the power of Bowles over the main body of Creeks was insufficient to lure them all away,

although he did induce a number of towns to stay with him, conspicuous among which was the old Oconee tribe now the nucleus of the Seminoles. In addition to this, many other partizans of Bowles scattered throughout the Creek nation, disseminated false rumors concerning the treaty and induced all they could to go towards St. Marks near where Bowles was. Thus there was a strong minority element among the Creeks which very likely had its effect in making the Chiefs at Fort Wilkinson cautious in selling lands. (Letters Benjamin Hawkins, 414, 415, 417, 418, 421.)

Great preparations were now going on at Fort Wilkinson for the entertainment of the Indians. So great a quantity of food was necessary that the country, in the vicinity could not supply it and runners were sent to the stock raisers among the Indians for beef.

Early in May the Indians began to arrive, and pitched their camp two or three miles from Fort Wilkinson. Each day their numbers were augmented as more and more arrived until an excellent representation from the nation was on hand, thirty-two towns being represented.

The Commissioners deeming it advisable to be as near the Indians at all times, as possible, moved out and encamped with them.

Unavoidable delays occurring which prevented an immediate entering into the treaty, the Indians began to grow impatient, and to insist that the Commissioners distribute presents among them. Rumors arrived that Bowles with his Seminoles and other adherents was attacking the Spaniards in Florida and plundering them. To add to the troubles of the Commissioners, an Indian in the camp while having a difficulty with a negro slave, was set upon by the negro's owner. Being hard pressed in fighting both, the Indian drew a knife and stabbed the white man in the leg, and then turning fled to the Indian country. Some white men seized the opportunity to steal a number of the Indians' horses. In spite of all this the Indians remained peaceful, and did not make any raids upon the frontiers.

The commissioners realized that one of the most important cessions of land to insist on was that west of the Oconee. It was soon evident, that the Indians would refuse to cede all the lands to the Ocmulgee, but if the settlers once were allowed to cross the river, even for a narrow strip of land the psychological effect would make it easier to obtain further cessions later. Thus the Commissioners began bending their energies toward obtaining as much land here as possible.

Upon approaching the chiefs on the subject of selling that part of the lands which was later to be Wilkinson County, they urged that this be not insisted on as these lands belonged to the Seminoles or Oconees below the Rock Landing, and that if this land was sold the Seminoles in revenge would attack the frontiers and thus involve the whole Creek nation in war with the Americans (I.A. p. 670).

The Commissioners "had to combat, not only the jealousies, distrusts, and fears, natural to the Indians, but, also, an apprehension, serious and alarming to the old chiefs, that, if they ceded any part of their country, their young warriors might resist it, and joining the partizans of Bowles, divide the nation, wrest the government from those who at present administer it, and, by some hasty and imprudent act, involve their country in ruin." (I.A. p. 680.)

Efau Haujo, the Mad Dog of the Tuckabatches, had been elected chief speaker for the Indians. He had served under the great McGillivray and had imbibed from him a knowledge and a skill in the art of diplomacy, seldom found at that time in the full blooded Indian. He knew the great need

of the white man for more land and carefully estimated the lengths the Commissioners would go in order to obtain even a small cession on the west side of the Oconee. He knew the value of the lands the Indians were ceding and he demanded full value. He knew the stock would graze on the remainder of the Indian lands to the Ocmulgee; he put all this in the bill - and got his demands. A careful reading of the talks of this great chieftain convinces one that the American Commissioners were not dealing with an ignorant savage but with a man who could hold his own in the game of making treaties, and that the Creeks could not have selected a better leader to protect their rights. One gets the impression from his talks that although he was speaking to the Commissioners, he knew his words which had been reduced to writing would be read by President Jefferson, and that he was making use of this opportunity to let Jefferson know of the condition of the Creeks.

The Creeks first had determined on selling merely the small scope of land lying between the Indian path leading from the Rock Landing to the Crossing of Commissioner Creek, thence northward to the High Shoals on the Apalachy. Although having been served with notice that the Creeks present disclaimed title to the lands below the Rock Landing, however, when General Wilkinson rose to reply to the talks of Efau Haujo he insisted on the Indians selling all the lands lying east of the Ocmulgee and also the Talassee country but said if they could not spare all this to sell them all the land from the mouth of Commissioner Creek up the Creek and on to the High Shoals of the Apalachy, at the same time referring to the needs of the Indians for the additional money and goods which would be paid them.

General Wilkinson further referred to the rebellious Seminoles as opposing the will of the Creek nation and uniting with the imposter Bowles, stating that they had been invited to attend this meeting but had refused to come. He deftly insinuated to the Chiefs that their authority had been flaunted by the Seminoles, and urged them as rulers of the land to assert their mastery promising them that should the adherents of Bowles

make trouble, the American army would go to the aid of the Creeks.

It was perhaps due to this speech of General Wilkinson that the Indians at this time were induced to sell the lands which belonged to the Oconees, and, in all probability, this was one reason why the Legislature later named the county which comprised these lands, Wilkinson. Suffice to say after a short conference following Wilkinson's speech, the Coweta and Cussetah Chiefs informed the Commissioners they would sell more lands than they first intended, and as set forth in the treaty.

The treaty having been concluded Efau Haujo sent a peremptory order to the Seminoles that they immediately cease their rebellious attitude towards the other Creeks and their warfare against the Spaniards, threatening them with punishment unless they altered their course. He demanded that they write him at once what they meant to do. A white man, Burges, the interpreter among the Seminoles at the time, had fallen into disrepute lately. The latter part of his letter commanded Burges to interpret the letter straight.

Mooklausau Hopoie, another Chieftain, seems to have had no faith in any answer of the Seminoles, so he sent two men to "watch the eyes of the Seminoles, their tongues and lips and every feature of their countenance whilst they are speaking."

Thus a portion of the lands of Wilkinson county was now obtained at the expense of the Oconees, the rightful owners; trouble was expected to result from this sale with the Creeks and by the whites. With a leader such as Bowles to spur them on and with a number of towns allied with them it would be but natural for the war cry of the Oconees to be heard again on the waters of the Oconee. Likewise, a Civil war among the Indians was a strong possibility. The surveying and cutting out of the Indian boundary lines usually was the scene of trouble, and the new boundary line through the county had to be marked out, the custom being to cut down all trees along the route thirty feet wide.

Bowles did not wait for the treaty at Fort Wilkinson to be completed before starting his campaign.

While a large number of the Creeks were still at Fort Wilkinson treating with the Commissioners for the sale of the lands, Bowles was calling together his henchmen to meet him in Council at Estesunalga, and had resolutions passed denouncing in the bitterest terms the actions of the Commissioners in treating with the Creeks. A copy of the resolutions written in Bowles' handwriting was sent to the Commissioners:

"To the Commissioners of the U.S. at Ft. Wilkinson, on the Oconee:


"We, the legal and constitutional head men of the Muscogee Nation, called by you the Creeks, hearing that you had invited a number of men to the Fort on the Oconee promising them presents, in order to induce them to go; and having long experienced the evil tendency of such meetings, where you have exhibited long instruments of writing, that could neither be explained by you nor understood by those of our people present; yet you have by means, best known to yourselves, procured thereto, a long string of names, giving the appearance of a national authority and sanction to instruments of writing, as agreements made between us , and held them out to the world as such, while we never knew or understood anything of the business.

"Having observed at this time, that our people have been promiscuously invited to the Oconee, and promised large presents, rather more mysterious than on former occasions. We think it a duty we owe to our country to put a stop to such practices, which tend only to create disturbance between us, that may terminate in a war, the which we do not wish. Therefore, we being now met in Council, do determine and declare, that this Nation is not, nor cannot be bound by any such talk or agreement so made. That no act whatever is legal unless done in Full Council of the Nation, at a place previously

appointed and agreed on by the head men for such meeting; and according to the laws of our confederation with our brothers, the Cherokees, Chickasaws and Chactaws, no lands can be ceded except by agreement of the Chiefs of the Confederation in Council met.

"We are now engaged in a war with the Spaniards in defense of our rights, our lands and everything dear to us; and we shall defend ourselves against all peoples, who shall attempt to usurp or make encroachments on us.

"We wish you Americans to be honest, lay aside your schemes of land speculations, and be good neighbors, we promise to be so with you. Let us have peace and a free trade between us, which alone can be mutually beneficial.

"We are ready to form a treaty with you and regulate all matters between us, so that fair limits may be set, and a criterion fixed by which to regulate the conduct of our respective people. But such transactions must be National Acts and not done by people who go to the Oconee in order to have a drunken frolic.

"Done in Council at Estesunalga.

"This 4th day of June, 1802, being present the chief and head men, as follows: Pnethla Mekko, Tallegisko Mekko, Hallato Mekko, Tussakia Mekko, Chehane Mekko, Hallato Mekko.

"With the representatives of sixteen towns and presenced by us the Director General of Muscogee.


"The foregoing letter being read in full Council of the Nation, at the Parrackockla Town, the 2nd of March and again, agreeable to adjournment, at the Tuckseesaile, the 18 March where it was unanimously approved of, and passed into a resolve:

"And whereas some attempts have been made to interrupt the trade between the State of Georgia and this nation, the following resolves among others were entered into and passed into law:

"I. Resolved. That from this day forth any person who

shall take part with our enemies and act any way against us, shall suffer death.

"2. Resolved. That our trade shall be free to all people not at war with us subject only to the laws made by us in Council; and that the papers circulated by Benjamin Hawkins are of no effect and not made with our knowledge or consent.

"Ordered that our resolves be made public."

(The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State, June 25, 1803.)





The chiefs sent to inform the commissioners that, on the next day, they wished to receive them, according to the ancient customs of their country, at the public square; and they requested the commissioners to be ready to move from their encampment early in the morning, and as soon as the runners arrived, to inform them that everything was ready for their reception.

MAY 24.-The commissioners went to the square, and were seated, with all their attendants. The chiefs of the Upper and Lower towns having met at some distance from them, moved on in a body; two men in front, dancing the eagle tail dance, to music, accompanied by the voices of all men and women. As soon as they arrived at the square, the commissioners moved to a place prepared for them, when they were touched by the wings in the hands of the dancers; behind General Wilkinson was a small pit, and a white staff standing by it; they brought a bow and arrows, painted red, showed them to the commissioners, then broke them, put them into the pit, covered them with earth, and with a white deer skin; three great chiefs, representing the Upper and Lower towns, wiped the faces of the commissioners with white deer skin, spread

the skins on a log, and they sat them down. General Wilkinson was directed to put his foot on the skin covering the pit. With three other skins they covered the commissioners, and after the embrace of friendship, Efau Haujo addressed them as follows:

We, this day a fine one for the occasion a clear sun and sky, meet our friends, brothers, and fathers to take them by the hand, according to the customs of our forefathers, as old as time itself. We have at the foot of the General, buried the sharp weapons of war, which were in use in old times, and such as we have; our white deer skins we place on the seat of our friends, and cover them with the same; we add on other emblem, a pipe.

The advice of our father, Washington, we have taken; we remember it, and this day we renew it. I am happy we meet in our own land, under the shades of our own trees, fanned with our own air, with straight hearts. Some time since, our father Washington left us, and is buried. The advice he gave was good for us; we see it, and know it; his successor followed his example, and the now great man comes with like assurances; they are brought us by their great General and beloved men. Oconee's waters are divided; one-half was given to the whites; thence from its source, over the Currahee mountain, to the other nation's lines. When the old President Washington sent commissioners to the chiefs of the Creeks, he said, when that line was run it should be fixed and permanent.

I am speaking for my young kings, warriors, and my nation, to the commissioners, that all may know we wish them well. I have a white staff now in my hand, for the new great General, which I will plant; it will grow and have a shade, fanned with cool breezes. When this tree is put there to grow, it will have a shade, for our friends quite round to the Mississippi. I have but a short talk today, and I deliver with it the tree to the commissioners.

You three gentlemen saw me when I was in my own land. You saw me here; you told me that the great man to the Northward gave you great talks, and you have given them to

us. I mentioned when I saw you, that I was old, but nevertheless, we would talk over old things together. I was told by your beloved men, that the talk you have given us was straight, and that, before we parted, everything would be straight on both sides. According to what has passed between us about the business, we have come forward, and today I am going to talk about the same. I was told, that when all things were made straight, it would be to the happiness and tend to prolong the safety of the red people. I wish to give a talk, that will be the means of putting it in power of being friends with all my red people, and the white people.

I address myself to the gentlemen appointed to speak to us, to let them know our poverty and distress; and I hope they will think what I do will be right and acceptable. I have been talked to a great deal before I could lift up my head, but now I can lift up my head and look up. The thing that was asked us to part with, was like asking us to cut ourselves in two, and take one half one way, and the other half the other way. I was told by the great men, who were appointed to bring us the talk of the great man, that they hoped we would not throw his talk away; and I hope they will consider that we have not thrown his talk away. You see my situation; I am poor, and I consider that I have made myself very poor in complying; yet I have considered it, and I have done it. I saw the great complaints which hang over our land; they have been laid before us; we have considered them as they are. Upon the talk you gave us, we have considered much; it was some time before I could make up my mind upon it, but I have weighed it well, and am now going to give my mind upon it. When a man has a child, he considers him, and is not willing to distress him and make him poor. I hope what we do, though is not as much as was required and expected, yet it will be thought sufficient. I hope it will be considered as it is; and that, although it is not what was asked, yet it will suffice for the present demands. We now give on paper (delivering the map) what we mean and intend; it is a map of the country we cede.

The Oconee is a large river, half was ours; it was a

stopping place; but we see cattle is over, and will be over; and if they were on Ocmulgee, the cattle would be over, and being near to the Indians, there would be no chance of preserving peace between them and their friends. I hope it will be considered it is not right to make us too poor, and that it will not be thought hard that we parted with no more; we can lie down and enjoy what we have; although it is but little, we may rest on it. I have been told our people are very mad; it is so, they are so; but we are not the only mad people; the white people, they come over, hunt on our lands, some with fire and with firearms; and the cattle they are over, and have eaten all the food of our black game (the bear). We were told that people were set to prevent it, and to protect our rights, but they cannot prevent these things; they are over, and we see they are over; and we see they cannot be prevented. The President of the United States, who sent these talks, we hope and expect, gave you full powers, and that you will, as formerly, endeavor to put things in force, to prevent these things, before there is an end of our business. What I speak in time for, is, I see when there was a river, people could not be restrained; and now, when there is no water boundary, they will perhaps act as they have done; they have stopped our creeks with fish traps, and also our part of the river; they cut cedar on the Ocmulgee, and at other places. The fish at Ocmulgee, and terrapins, are ours, and we wish they may remain to our use.

Why I say so much on this subject is, that I know the past, and I wish to begin in time, to prevent the consequences which I apprehend. I speak, that the whites, and Indians may equally take pains, in a gentle manner, and by gentle means, in time, to preserve good neighborhood, and that they will exert themselves to that end. I consider it in this light, that the heads of the white people, who can govern their people, should take the necessary precautions on their part, to keep their young people in bounds, and we will do the same on our part, as well as we can. When Oconee was made the line, the river was the bounds for stock; we were told, in Mr. Seagrove's time, if hunters came over, we might take their guns; if

trappers came, we might take their traps; and if cattle came over, we might drive them off. We have not done these things; we wished to be in peace and friendship with our neighbors, and therefore we have not done these things; and we have submitted to the loss of our grass and game, to be in peace with our friends. This is not all. It is not here only, but on Cumberland; they have large dogs and horses, and they come out there, and hunt for, or drive off the bear, before our hunters get there. Our faults were mentioned; we must mention our complaints against our neighbors.

I give this warning before hand, because I know cattle and horses know not lines, and will go after grass. When a man goes after his horse or cow, let him take a bridle and go after him, if it is on our land, but he must go without a gun; I hear that here, where the lines are known, the people come over a day's walk from the line to good food, and there give salt to their stock; they also take out their hogs with corn, and leave them in every part on our borders. By carrying their stock out so far, they accustom them to going still farther, and they get lost, and when they are lost, the Indians are blamed for it; sometimes they have seen horses out for ten months as strays, and the Indians are accused, and charged with stealing them. I wish that the white people would keep their stock as much as possible on their own side, and endeavor to induce them to stay on their own side. If cattle go over the line, we wish that they may be returned in peace; horses, hogs, and everything, may be returned in like manner. There must be many white people unknown to us, who have stock among us; when they come after it we wish to assist them in getting it back, and will direct them by signs and other ways to get their property, if they cannot talk our language.

The day is appointed to consider our distressed situation, and to remove all difficulties; this day the land under us we have given up, the trees around us, the water, fine for mills, and good land, and a great deal of it. The good that will arise from the land will have no end; in the summer there will be the grass for stock, and other things in the winter; I consider

these things, and I have given them up. The way of the red man is this; they are a poor people; if there be any oak trees, they get the acorns from them, and from hickory trees they get hickory nuts, and the blackberries in their season. I address myself to Colonel Hawkins, and I find the white people do the same; they suppose you favor the red people, but we believe you hide nothing from either side, and you are the friend of both. When people buy or sell, or bargain for anything, they take care to understand each other rightly, before they put a price on it; I think that a hundred measures of land (acres) should be two hundred dollars; there are a great many charges against us by the white people; they do not spare in their charges for things that are not lasting, and therefore, we ask a price for that which is lasting. You will consider the debts we owe, and fix them, and first pay them; then what remains, to be paid us, as our annuity. It may be thought that I ask a great price for land, but I know that hogs, cattle, and horses, know not bounds, and they will eat our grass to Ocmulgee, and we must set this value on our lands; I mention this business now, that you may hear it. It was the talk of the old President, that the military should be put down to protect them; they are now left behind, and we wish they may be brought forward, and posted at the corner where the line turns from the Indian country road out side. There is a greater opportunity now than formerly, for wild people to transgress, and, of course, a greater necessity for the aid of the military. We have agreed that where the Apalachy path crosses the line, old Mr. Philips, his sons and families, shall have lands; it is to be outside of the lines now ceded, and Coweta and Cussetah will fix the place for them, and will point it out, and these people are to keep a store there for the red people. Perhaps you may want to run your line, now offered, immediately; if so, we will appoint four men from each town to run it with you; we mention this as perhaps you may think that man (meaning Bowles) may do something to prevent it. Here you may see the inconvenience from drinking, and we wish our young people may have no temptation to go among the white people for drink, but be

confined to these trading places. We wish our stipend may be paid us in hard dollars; when we take it, we can divide it, and lay it out as we please.

I turn to another subject; I am now going to speak about the lines of Tombigby; I want to know who the people are who live there that I may know who to address myself to for redress of the complaints there. The reason I ask is, I want to know who owns the land where the old British line is, that when I turn them over the line, I may know whether I can apply to them for their for assistance; the people of Tombigby have put over their cattle in the fork on the Alabama hunting grounds, and they have gone a great way on our lands; I want them to be put back; the Indians begin to complain, and will soon begin to do mischief. We all know the owners of these cattle are Americans, on this side of the line of limits, and here it is that we mention it to the commissioners.

I am a sufferer, and I expect it will be considered that I am one. I hope you will consider me so, and that you will not turn my talks aside, or consider them as trifling. My people are a poor people; and the reason I speak so much upon the subject is, because I wish you to consider us so. You have seen me, my country, and my people; and I hope the President may see my talks as they are delivered, that, in future, we may not be pressed upon. It must be considered in this way, that we have spared that which is necessary to us, and we have not enough for our own use. As we are the aboriginals in this land, we hope it will be considered that the land is ours; and this is the talk of all the chiefs present. The President, as you have told us, sent his talk, and it must be so; we receive it as such; we have gone as far as we well can; it is like splitting us in two, and giving away half of us; we do this, and we are in hopes, in future, we shall be safe. Now I lay down this line plain, that you may see, you are a great people, if any should come over and encroach upon our lands, they will trespass upon our rights, and violate our peace, and we are poor and unable to help ourselves; and we hope great people in authority will prevent these things, and save our lands. Here are the masters

of the land; we are all together; we have done this; and from this day forward, if any men should come among us after land, we shall look upon him as not coming from the President. I have now talked to the men from the President and if, in future, a man should come among us after land, we now declare we shall look upon him as not coming from the President, and I shall direct all my men to take notice of this accordingly. My request is to the commissioners now, that as the garrison has been useful heretofore, in stopping mischief makers, as was promised us, we wish they may be continued, and put down on our frontiers; and that there may be horsemen as well as foot, to repress the evil doings, as well of my own people, as the white people; to preserve peace when I am at home, and that in force, sufficient to keep the mischief makers within bounds.

We have considered it so, that Philips and his friends must be put down, not on the land we have sold, but outside; it is a plan that we have got, that he and his friends may guard that quarter; he has been a great friend to our nation, and in consideration thereof, we have done this. Another thing I mention to you in this light, is, that there are people traveling with families, with negroes, and property of value; and I caution you, that my young men, when they see this, are tempted to injure them, and I am not able to prevent it; if so many go through as they do, scattering through all parts of the country, I am appraised that bad consequences will follow from it; let a path be found for them down the Tennessee. It is known that there is a path for people towards Natchez; all who go with families, should be directed to that path, to prevent a breach of the peace, and to preserve it. There is one way for travelers I have mentioned,there is another, round our country, by water, which is safe. I speak in this light; I do not love my land from people who are coming after cattle, horses, or hogs, or to trade with us, or single persons coming with papers on business; I confine myself to families, and the crowds with their property; these I object to. I now take upon myself to speak to the Quakers; I have found that the tools they have sent us, as a token of their friendship, have been useful to us, and

we are better able to judge now, than when we first received them, as we have tried them, and found them useful to us; and we hope they will send some more of them to us; they know what is useful, and we will be grateful for them. Micco Thiucco, of Cussetah, says he has tried them, and found them useful; his plough is worn out, and he is much in need of another; he understood that, after experiment, if they were really found to be good, they might expect more; he has tried them, found them to be good, reports it as such, and asks for more.

We considered to have Mr. Hill near us, for our accommodation, to attend our talks; and we know he must have cattle for his own use, and that of Colonel Hawkins, when he comes our way, or while he directs our talks. It has been judged proper to have him near the Tussekiah Micco, who can co-operate with him, in suppressing disorders. I hope you will consider the blacksmith is not to leave Mr. Hill, but to be put near him. One blacksmith is not sufficient; we want another for the Lower towns, and Tuskenehau Chapco, of Coweta, is pointed out to place and to protect him.

Coweta Tuskenehau Chapco requests that a woman weaver may be placed with the smith, to teach their young women to weave, as they have already spun a good deal of cotton.

Tussekiah Micco requests that a woman may be placed with Mr. Hill and the smith, to weave for his village; they are desirous of instruction, and there are many women in his village.

As for cropping, it was advised to pay attention to, and make it the fashion, to plant; as yet, we have a little hunting; it was what we have been brought up to; it is an old custom, we cannot lay it aside, and we must attend to that, too. Whenever our young people find a skin, if it be but one, we wish a place where we may carry it, and get something for it. The hunters they have liberty to work or hunt. We do not throw away cropping, stock, or weaving; we will attend to them all, and will attend, also to hunting; if we get a little by the latter, it will

be something to add to our chance in the former, if it be but little, it is something. The first day the Indian found a white man, they found a friend; and although they had no interpreters, they found a way to trade, and two be useful to each other and we wish to preserve trade. There is another thing, the Cherokees have found a good price for raccoons, foxes and wild cats; for large ones, they have a chalk (quarter of a dollar) and when they are small, they put two on each other. We find it not so among us, and we wish one price for these things could be found at the factories. Another thing they mention, is what I have seen myself, since I came here; the goods have risen in price; can it be that they are small things growing out of the ground, and as such, we purchased them when we came, and they have now grown larger, and a price accordingly appear on the same thing?

I am now going to speak on another subject; the treaty at Coleraine, some articles of which are not fulfilled. I am now going to make an effort to progress; I have not the power to lift up an arm against our neighboring towns; we consider that, after this treaty, when we go home, we shall try to put in force our warriors, there are a good many towns here present who speak upon it; there is no other way to fulfill the promise of the old treaty. There are but two keys; the United States have one, and a store, and Spain has the other now in Pensacola; these two keys must lock the doors, and be put in the pocket. I do not say how many months, or how many years, it can be done, and then for this door to be opened. It is to be left to me to order the door to be opened, as soon as we have done our business, by carrying the treaty into effect. If a white man, as factor or trader, should take any goods from the United States or Spain, to the nation, there must be a rule by which they are to be punished; and the regulation must be in force, till the nation gives satisfaction, in the cases complained of. We blame not the white people, we blame ourselves; and this is to remain a law, until the nation complies with her treaty stipulations. When we have done this, the doors must be opened, and let trade take its course. This is a law we have now made, and it

must be sent to the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws, that they may know it. And it is our law that these nations shall not supply any goods to a Creek. Now, Cherokees, our brothers, some of our people are running to you for trade; you must put a stop to it, as well as the United States and Spain; the same we address to the Chickasaws and Choctaws.

There is this proviso in our law; people in debt may go pay their debts, and if they have a balance due them, let them take money or due bills, and keep them till a regular trade is restored. This law is passed by our own chiefs; if injury is done any one, we are to feel the misery of it ourselves, from a want of trade. I think my talks have been extended as far as in my power, to preserve peace. I hope that you, Colonel Hawkins, will first put it in force, sending it to the agents of the other three nations, and assist us in carrying it into effect, and see to the execution of it, till our object is effected. As this is the finishing of the talk, I have to regret that our women, with the hoes, are behind us; that they and their children are likely to have poverty and hunger for their lot. I consider all this, and it is my care; it presses heavily on my mind. I think I have done all in my power to save my land. I want, in three days, at farthest, to try to set out, that we may not entirely lose our crops, and all suffer with hunger. This is the end of my talk, and I hope it will be for the benefit of all, when we are dead and gone.



THE narrow strip of land along the Oconee acquired under this treaty was a most bitter disappointment to the Geor-

gians who were expecting to obtain all the lands to the Ocmulgee. The most scorching criticism was heaped upon the three Commissioners for obtaining such a small cession. The Grand Jury of Wilkes County passed a resolution condemning it.

So bitter became the denunciation by the Georgians that even General Wilkinson was made to feel the weight of it. After completing all the details of the treaty he went to Augusta, and although as the commander of all the Federal troops in the South yet he was accorded a most cool reception. True to his character General Wilkinson was found passing the buck to the other two commissioners and blaming them for the failure to obtain the lands to the Ocmulgee.


Likewise in the Creek nation as the news of the cession was received, the storm of indignation burst in all its fury. It was an opportunity not to be neglected by Bowles to fan the flames of passion and prejudice of the Indians.

Following the treaty of Fort Wilkinson the venerable Efau Haujo had abdicated as Chief Speaker of the Creek nation and Hopoi Micco had been chosen in his stead. Now he found his hands full in controlling the discordant elements of his dominions.

Hawkins realized that a serious crisis was facing the

Creek nation and that the most drastic action was necessary to save it from all the horrors of a civil war as well as the frontiers of Georgia from the massacres which had prevailed only a few years previous. Bowles being the evil genius spurring on the refractory elements of the Creeks it was absolutely necessary that he be removed. In this he was aided by the Spaniards in Florida who had suffered so severely at Bowles' hands. Already the Governor of Florida had offered a reward of $4,500.00 for Bowles' capture, but the Indians had never seen fit to deliver him and claim the reward. Hawkins determined upon his capture and delivery to the Spaniards. Collecting some of the Creek warriors in May, 1803, he succeeded by stratagem in capturing Bowles and turned him over to the Spaniards who sent him to Moro Castle.

Although the Creek nation was thus rid of the main leader of those in opposition to the treaty, yet this element was exceedingly strong and the loss of their leader did not end the troubles. On the contrary it only the more enraged many of Bowles adherents at the manner in which Bowles had been taken.


In May, 1803, Hawkins, Wilkinson and General Robert Anderson were appointed Commissioners to bring about a new treaty with the Indians and purchase the lands to the Ocmulgee.

A meeting of the Creeks was called in August of that year and was held at Ooseoochee, a town of the Lower Creeks especially friendly to Bowles. Hawkins and Anderson were the only Commissioners present, Wilkinson not arriving.

From its very beginning it was evident that the meeting was doomed to end in failure. Though Bowles was a prisoner in the hands of the Spaniards he had left able lieutenants to carry on his work, who felt outraged at the capture of their leader. By holding secret meetings beforehand these friends of Bowles had a perfect organization, and had their plan of campaign completely mapped out. All the towns on the Flint River besides the Seminoles had joined them. They now

had the meeting in one of their own towns, thus having the advantage in their favor from this standpoint, and they took the precaution to pack the convention by having all the friends of Bowles on hand. The Chief Speaker of the nation, Hopoie Mico and the other chiefs favorable to the treaty of Fort Wilkinson had been kept in the dark concerning the plans of the opposition and their towns were not so well represented. Although the Chief Speaker of the whole Creek nation was present, the rebellious element elected a speaker to represent them, and to the utter astonishment of the other Indians, from the very beginning steam-rollered the convention. They refused to ratify the treaty of Fort Wilkinson, and when the money due the various towns under the treaty was offered them, refused to accept it, at the same time serving notice that they would prevent the marking of the Indian Boundary lines. The most bitter denunciations were heaped upon all who had taken part in the treaty, even President Jefferson was charged with cunning and duplicity, and the Commissioners insulted.

Bowles had convinced his adherents that war between England and France would soon draw the United States into it, and that the British would return, bringing with them the rich gifts with which they had in former years been accustomed to supply their red allies. Some one had spread the rumor among them that one of the motives of the meeting was to invite the aid of the Creeks as allies on the side of the Americans.

However, after two days, Hopoie Micco, Chief Speaker, and the other chieftains of the Upper Creeks, having recovered from their discomfiture at the tactics of the opposition, set to work and began to assert their authority in the convention. The debates now grew in warmth as the Indians argued pro and con the situation confronting the Creek nation, and this was, perhaps, one of the most hotly contested councils in the history of the Creeks. The Chief Speaker of the nation and the chiefs of the Upper Creeks agreed to accept the payments due under the treaty, but the opposition persistently refused to accept theirs and it was returned to the Commissioners. The support

ers of Hopoie Micco having accepted their portion, now served notice on the others that the line should be marked and that the Upper Creeks would attend the markings and see that it was done. (Letter of General Anderson, Augusta Chronicle, Sept. 24, 1803; Letters of B. Hawkins, p. 438.)




IN the meantime necessary delays prevented the Georgia Legislature from acting in regard to the settling of the newly acquired lands. The Treaty had to be approved by President Jefferson before it could become valid. Another was that it would be dangerous for the surveys to be made before the Indian Boundary Line should be marked. Thus it was in May, 1803, before the Legislature could pass an act authorizing the surveys of the lands, but on the 11th of that month the bill became a law, providing for a line to be run from Fort Wilkinson southwest to the Indian Boundary line, and all the territory below that line and east of the Indian Boundary Line to be called Wilkinson County.

The act further provided for the laying off of five land districts and numbering them from one to five. The lands lying in these districts to be surveyed into lots of two hundred, two and one-half acres each.

Meanwhile the war-clouds continued to gather in the Indian nation as the attempts were being made to survey and mark out the Indian Boundary Line. Threats to burn Hawkins' establishment on the Flint river and to kill him were being openly made by the Indians. Chiefs friendly to the whites were threatened with the war stick.

The hostility of the Bowles faction of the Indians holding up the marking of the boundary line thus delayed the work of the surveyors for still another year, in the face of the impatient clamors of the people of Georgia.

Finally in 1804, the duty of marking out the Indian Boundary line was consigned to the fiery David Adams of Hancock County. It is extremely probable that in selecting him to perform this dangerous job in the face of the Indian threats, the Georgia authorities took pains to choose a man

whose past reputation would tend to discourage any molestation by the Indians to the running of the line. Suffice to say, he experienced no trouble.

The act of 1803 also provided for the distribution of the lands by lottery. The narrow strip of land acquired was insufficient for the great masses of people who were desirous of moving into the new country, and it was provided that after the surveys should be made, tickets should be provided, some having a lot number on them which lot should be the prize, others to be blank. Each free male white person, twenty-one years old and upwards, should have one draw; those having a wife or children, or a widow with orphan children should have two draws.


With the treaty of Fort Wilkinson there came an inflow of squatters, even before the lands were surveyed, and so great was the number that the Legislature took cognizance of the fact and passed laws prohibiting settlers from coming over until the drawing of lots took place. However, it seems that very few if any were ever prosecuted for this infraction. Immediately after the lottery of 1804, the real rush began, many pouring across the Indian Boundary Line into the Indian lands. Lucky drawers first had to locate their claims and we can picture them seeking out their lands. In all probability those who moved over first came on horse back with insufficient provisions for the trip but with the long-barreled flintlock rifle to kill such game as would be needed to supply his wants, and to protect himself from outlaws. It was not necessary to bring food for his horse as the illimitable fields of wild oats supplied this necessity and all the pioneer had to do was to hobble his horse whenever he stopped for dinner or for the night.

Upon reaching his lands, the pioneer's first object was to find the most desirable spot for the building of his cabin. This was selected with several things in view. First and foremost the finest spring of water on the land usually determined the location of the new home. This, of course, was to a

certain extent qualified by the proximity to the trails, if any were near the particular lot. Here he built his one-room cabin.

The cabin being finished the fields had to be cleared. This was not as big a job as it is today when one clears land. The annual burning of the woods by the Indians for ages past had kept much of the smaller shrubbery destroyed and it was mainly the larger pines that had to be contended with. These large pines were not cut down except for fence, but merely "deadened" by cutting a ring around them and interfering with the flow of sap - pines that would today be worth fortunes. Later when these dead trees blew down the community log rollings came into use. With the clearing of the lands it became necessary to build fences to keep out the cows, wild and domestic hogs, deer, etc. Wire fencing was unknown and hence it became necessary to split rails. Easy-splitting yellow pines were then chosen and split into rails and the fences built. There are instances where such fences would last near half a century.

Occasionally, wealthy slave owners moved into the county and in such cases the building of homes was not such an undertaking. In all probability, however, many of the very first settlers were men of small property, some adventurers, speculators, many squatters, and those who preferred to live as far away from their old haunts as possible for reasons best known to themselves. As the county rapidly filled up with the law-abiding classes, the undesirable elements drifted further on to newer and cheaper lands.

Many lucky drawers of lots for one reason or another failed to settle on their lands immediately and later on when they got ready to settle found squatters living on and claiming the land. The law was very strict against these squatters and would force them to move when the real owner showed his titles.

A lucky drawer of a desirable lot found it possible to sell out at a handsome profit immediately after he had built his cabin and cleared a few acres. This was often the case, where the lot was in a good location and the land was fertile, for the

eyes of the wealthy slave-owners were turning to this section. Besides this, lands to the South and Southwest which had not yet been settled could be bought cheaply. Later on when other Indian lands were open to settlement there was a general exodus to these cheap lands.

The settler once located on his lot, making a bare living, was a comparatively easy job. The woods teemed with deer, turkey, squirrels, rabbits and other game. For clothing, his flocks of sheep and his cotton patches furnished his wife with the necessary materials and the spinning wheel, the loom and the knitting needles were the machinery necessary to turn it into clothing. However, this purchased no luxuries, and in the early days after the settlement few were known. Coffee and sugar were practically unknown. Doctors were few and far between. Home remedies were largely relied on and in many cases charms and conjure doctors were resorted to, for this was a day when the belief in witches was widespread. The education of the children was of necessity neglected for as yet there were no schools in Wilkinson.


The confusion in the Indian nation during these years which prevented the running of the boundary line, as well as the expected cession of the lands to the Ocmulgee caused great perturbation in Georgia. Nearly two years had passed since the treaty of Fort Wilkinson, and still the Georgians were held back from the surveying of the lands. After the failure of the Commissioners appointed to treat at Ooseoochee, the people of Georgia were so insistent that Benjamin Hawkins was appointed as sole Commissioner by President Jefferson to make another attempt in May, 1804, at the National Council of the Creeks held at Tuckabatchee. General David Meriwether, General John Clark and other prominent men had been appointed by the Georgians to represent the State at this council.

Upon their arrival at Tuckabatchee a welcome was extended them by the Upper Creeks. Hopohiclthle Mico, however, had succeeded to the leadership of the opposition

and now remained away, with a great part of the nation. There being an insufficient number of Indians present to execute a treaty, the chiefs present determined to hold a council at Coweta town where none but Indians should be present and where matters should be fully discussed by them. Hawkins was later informed that never had the Indians had such a stormy meeting. At this meeting both factions were organized and the fragments of their discussion as given in "The Letters of Benjamin Hawkins," indicate the bitterness with which the debates were conducted. The question of a sale of the lands to the Ocmulgee seems to have aroused the fury of the opposition. Hopoi Micco, Chief Speaker of the Nation, in his speech, declared the Ocmulgee should be made the line or he would die in the attempt. Tuskenehau Chapoco, one of the leaders of the opposition at once replied that if he made the Ocmulgee the line, his life would be lost.

Unable to reach any agreement, Hopoi Mico notified them all to meet him at Tuckabatchee within ten days to give an answer to Hawkins. All efforts to execute a treaty failed at this time but the Indians promised Hawkins and Meriwether that a deputation of them would go to President Jefferson in the fall and discuss a treaty with him.


During the latter part of October of 1804, all the Indian towns had elected representatives to go to the City of Washington to treat with President Jefferson. However, due to the illness of Hopoi Micco and the death of some of the Indian delegates, it was necessary to postpone the journey to Washington., Hopoi Micco, although covered with sores which made him unable to ride, walked all the way to the Creek Agency on the Flint to inform Hawkins the reason why it was impossible for him to carry out his promise. The opposition chiefs also being present, as well as representatives from a large number of towns, Hawkins suggested that they enter into a discussion as to what would be accepted by the Indians for the lands east of the Ocmulgee. Hopoi Micco doubtful of its success con

sented to it as an experiment. Hawkins opened the discussion. No sooner had he done so than the leaders of the opposition began to talk against it and continued to oppose it for several days, with exceeding bitterness.

Hopoi Micco during all this time was keeping in the background but seems to have had a most excellent knowledge of Indian psychology. The opposing leaders having fully expressed their views and talked until they were tired, he opened his talk by suggesting that the United States pay each Indian town the sum of five hundred dollars annually and to pay the debts of the Indians amounting to near one hundred thousand dollars. This was far in excess of the amount Hawkins had been authorized by the Secretary of War to pay for the lands but it was a price that appealed to the cupidity of the chiefs of the opposition. Negotiations tending towards a treaty at this price were at once entered into, all the chieftains taking part. Hawkins' final offer to them was two hundred thousand dollars, subject to the approval by the President. This offer was accepted by the Indians and the treaty was signed and forwarded to President Jefferson, who did not ratify it.


In the fall of 1805, a deputation from the Creek nation consisting of Oche Haujo, William McIntosh, Tuskenehau Chapco, Tuskenchau, Encha Thlucco, and Checopeheke Emauthlau went with Hawkins to Washington to execute a treaty with the President. Dearborn was appointed to treat with them and on the 14th of November, 1805, the treaty was agreed upon and signed, the price paid being approximately what had been offered by Hawkins, on an annuity basis, less interest, the Indians granting a right to a road through the nation in addition to the Ocmulgee lands.

Hawkins at once wrote Governor Milledge of the fact that the chiefs had signed the treaty, the letter arriving on December 6th. The legislature was in session at the time and so important was the news to the people of Georgia that Governor Milledge delivered a special message to the legisla

ture reading the letter which he had just received. Throughout Georgia the whole people were rejoicing as the news spread, that the lands which they had been seeking for fifteen years were now to be delivered to them. President Jefferson approved the treaty in June, 1806, and the title of the Indians to all the lands passed into the hands of Georgia.

No sooner had the official notice of the ratification of the treaty reached Georgia than the legislature passed an act by which the line from Fort Wilkinson running due southwest should continue until it touched the Ocmulgee river and that all the territory below that line should be annexed to Wilkinson county. The act further provided for the surveying of the lots in the same manner as in the former cession and also provided for the distribution of the lands by lottery, but debarred those having drawn prizes in the former lottery from drawing in this.


One can easily wonder why it was that Milledgeville was not located on the broad level lands lying between Little Black Creek on the south and Camp Creek on the north instead of its present location. It was the evident intention of two separate legislatures for the principal city that was to be built on these lands to be placed here. We first find in the act of the legislature of 1794, that two thousand acres of land opposite the Rock Landing should be set aside for a city. This act of the Legislature being in conflict with the Indian claims and causing federal protests, became nugatory.

However, after the treaty of Fort Wilkinson when the legal title to this land was in the State of Georgia, Commissioners were appointed by the legislature to select a site for Milledgeville, and they were instructed to select this at or near the head of navigation of the Oconee River. (Clayton's Digest, 107.) For years the Rock Landing had been considered the head of navigation of the Oconee. Had the Commissioners followed the evident intention of the Legislature Milledgeville would have built several miles lower down the river.

The mistake which was made in placing the city so far up the river was destined to cost Georgia many thousands of dollars annually for years to come as well as to limit the town's growth. The overland routes to seacoast markets in bad weather were too expensive for profitable trade. Navigable rivers offered the cheapest methods of transportation and those towns on such rivers rapidly outstripped the inland towns. Every possible effort was made to make the Oconee navigable to Milledgeville. Thousands of dollars were appropriated by the State for this purpose. Able-bodied men living along the river were required to do work on the river in keeping it open. Part of the time it was kept open by slaves purchased by the State, an experiment which proved very unsatisfactory. The expense mounted and was the cause of much criticism as well as an investigation by the legislature. Small boats managed to navigate the river but the cost of keeping the river open was prohibitive.

Well might the site have been selected for Georgia's capital near the site of the Old Oconee Indian Town; the site where McGillivray demonstrated his power to the American Commissioners; the site where David Adams stormed the Indian camp and then threatened to cross the river and storm Fort Fidius; the site from which Elijah Clarke started on his ill-fated San Culotte expedition and later the site of his Trans-Oconee metropolis. Surely no spot in Georgia is richer in history than this.


The need for more land was so great that speculators began to take advantage of the situation. Crossing the Indian Boundary Line they had surveyors to survey lots and begin selling them to the new settlers. Deeds are on record at the courthouse bearing the dates of 1803, to lands which still belonged to the Indians. Such deeds were on their face void, and soon a reckoning was to be had at the expense of those who thought they were acquiring good titles, who built their homes in good faith, cleared their lands, and only later would be

confronted by those who drew the lot in the lottery. An instance of this was that of William Davidson who purchased the lot now owned by Q.J. Butler, paid for it in full, receiving a deed for it, and years afterward a man rode up to his gate, showed the original grant, and demanded the land. However, taking into consideration the many improvements on the land, the claimant offered to accept a price for it based on what its value would have been had no improvements been made, which was accepted.


In the surveys of lots made in 1804, the lots being in perfect squares, it was necessary to have a large number of fractions of lots along the Old Indian Boundary Line and along the Oconee river, some of which were small, others large. These fractions of lots were not distributed by the lottery method but in December, 1805, the legislature chose commissioners who were authorized to sell these fractions of lots to the highest bidders after advertising same in the gazettes. The sales were conducted in Milledgeville, but the commissioners seem to have had matters so arranged that buyers were discouraged from bidding and the lands were bought up by those acting as "fences" for the commissioners for a "song." The secret soon leaked and a scandal, second only to the Yazoo Act resulted. An investigation was held which was sufficient to convince all of the fraud that had been committed.


The disturbing situation in the Indian nation, and the growing dissatisfaction of the Bowles faction at the treaty of Fort Wilkinson with their continued threats of violence was sufficient to keep the frontiersmen of Wilkinson in a state of nervous apprehension. The memories of the terrible days of the recent past had not been forgotten.

Until April, 1806, the only means of defense against the Indians were the garrison at Fort Wilkinson and the rifles

of the settlers. No provision being made for the organization of the militia, it was necessary for each community to band themselves together for protection. Family tradition tells that the home of Major Elijah Hogan, whose plantation was near Pleasant Plains church and adjacent to the Old Indian Boundary Line, was the place where all the families of that section would gather when Indian alarms were given.

The Act of 1805 authorizing the organization of the county taking into consideration the need of the county for protection provided for five companies of militia, directed the citizens to elect officers for the militia, and attached the militia of the county to the second brigade of the second division. Every able-bodied man between the ages of eighteen and forty-five was subject to military duty and their captains were required to muster them at least four times a year in their militia district for drill, and as often as the Colonel of the regiment should order.

The Indians, however, seem not to have attacked any of the settlers. Occasionally some redskin with a sense of humor, knowing of the jumpy condition of the nerves of the settlers while their husbands would be away in the fields, would scare some of the women into fits. Tradition is handed down that one day while Mrs. Susan Smith, a sister of Elijah Hogan was busily spinning, she glanced out the door and to her horror, saw a big Indian warrior standing almost in reach of her, imitating the motions she was making in turning the spinning wheel. She let out a yell that alarmed the settlement and the Indian departed.



ALTHOUGH the act of 1803 created the county of Wilkinson yet no provision was made for a county organization, the legislators evidently realizing that it would be some time before an organization would be necessary, and thinking that the remainder of the lands to the Ocmulgee would be shortly acquired which would necessitate rearranging the county lines. However, the survey of 1804 was made and still the Indians had not ceded the remainder. The county then consisted of the narrow strip lying below Fort Wilkinson, and east of the Old Indian Boundary Line which passes through the city limits of the town of Gordon, thence near White Springs, Bethel, and Pleasant Plains churches, touching Turkey Creek near Horace Adams, and on down the creek to its mouth below Dublin.

The rapid rush of settlers to these lands made necessary some form of government. Without a sheriff, or other civil officer to enforce the laws of Georgia, the pioneer settlers had to protect themselves. Outlaws, criminals who had escaped justice found this a refuge and by these as well as by the Indians the families were menaced.

Finally, in December, 1805, the legislature passed an act providing for a county organization. The act named as Justices of the Inferior Court, Samuel Beckom, William Randolph, Lewis Lanier, William O'Neal, and Thomas Gilbert. They were directed to select some central place in the county as the site for the holding of the superior and inferior courts and to meet there on the 1st day of April, 1806, to mark out five militia districts, and to nominate two justices of the peace for each militia district. They were also directed to fix a date for the holding of the first county election, to name the

places where the voting should be held and to advertise same.

By this act Wilkinson was placed in the Middle District, or circuit of the superior court and court was held on the fourth Mondays of January and of June of each year. The Inferior court was fixed for the 1st Mondays in June and November.

Pursuant to instruction these Justices of the Inferior court met, and according to information given the author by Hon. J.W. Lindsey, the place chosen for the meeting and for the sitting of the courts was in the forks of the road just south of Ebenezer church, where the road leading from Irwinton, intersects the Toomsboro-Dublin road. Provisions were made for the holding of the election and duly advertised. At this, the first election ever held by the voters of Wilkinson county, the following officers were elected:

Sheriff - Edmund Hogan.

Ordinary - Drury Gilbert.

Clerk Superior Court - Archibald McIntire.

Clerk Inferior Court - William Brown.

Surveyor - Britton McCullers.

Coroner - Charles Ray.

Senator - Robert Jackson.


Barely had the county officers of Wilkinson elected in 1806 been commissioned that the act of June 26, 1806, extended the limits of the county to the Ocmulgee River. Wilkinson county now embraced all the lands lying in the forks of the Oconee and Ocmulgee below the line running from Fort Wilkinson, southwest to the Ocmulgee, a vast fertile territory exceeding in area many of the smaller nations of Europe. De Soto's famed land of Ocute was now Wilkinson county.

Although the jurisdiction of the county officials extended over all this county, and the continuous influx of squatters covered the lands to the Ocmulgee, yet all west of the Old Indian Boundary line was still unsurveyed, the title to

them being in the state. Crimes committed in this vast expanse, or civil cases arising therein were tried at the court ground near Ebenezer church. The first Superior court appears to have been held here in January, 1807, by Benjamin Skrine, Judge, and Robert Walker, Solicitor-General. The first jurors and grand jurors were selected by the sheriff and clerk and the justices of the inferior court, and their names having been placed in a box were drawn by them for this term, they being authorized to do this by the legislature, June 26, 1806. No courthouse was built here, the home of the owner of this tract probably being used.

The lottery of 1807 now brought in a deluge of bona fide owners of the lands. The treaty of Washington seems to have pacified the Indians and there was less to dread from them. The illimitable possibilities for the development of these fertile lands were enough to inspire the imagination of all adventurous spirits, besides all those who desired to amass fortunes.

For those who desired adventure, there was the savage just across the Ocmulgee who was ever a menace to the Georgians; there was the Spaniard of Florida who was ever furnishing the red man with arms and ammunition and encouraging him to war against the Georgians; most of all was the agents of the British who were incessantly at work poisoning the minds of the Indians and arousing them to a religious fury against the Americans. Sooner or later a war must burst forth which would in all probability involve the United States against both Spain and England, with the Indians united against the Americans. And when such time should come, Wilkinson county's frontiers along the Ocmulgee in their exposed position must bear the brunt of their attacks.

But while there was that ever-present element of danger, there were factors which irresistibly drew the settlers hither. Everyone realized that it was only a question of a few years until all the lands east of the Chattahoochee would be obtained. This territory must then be the very heart of Georgia, on the one side bounded by the navigable Oconee; on the other

by the navigable Ocmulgee and through them and the Altamaha a direct route to the Atlantic seaboard, on which could be floated the great rafts of yellow pine timber, laden with cotton and other products; cities and towns must necessarily spring up in many places; lands which could now be purchased for a small price would doubtless soon command a much greater figure.

Wealthy slave-owners attracted by the red lands so suitable for growing cotton, as well as to the transportation facilities offered by the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers as arteries of commerce, soon poured into the new lands. Likewise, the lists of the early settlers contain large numbers of the veterans of the Revolution. Many of the most prominent and influential men of Georgia found their way here, and helped settle the lands of this county. The plan of cultivation of lands in many of the older sections of the state had exhausted the fertility of the lands and there was a general exodus of those able to acquire lands here. Frequently large tracts were purchased and whole communities would move and settle on them. There were instances where congregations would follow their pastors here. Hence, Wilkinson county was largely settled by the cream of the citizens of Georgia, as well as of Virginia, North and South Carolina.


The rapid rush of settlers into the new lands brought untold problems to the county officers whose duty it was to execute the laws. In order to attend the courts many citizens, especially the frontiersmen living along the Ocmulgee below Fort Hawkins, were compelled to ride from forty to sixty miles. Such conditions were intolerable and during 1807, the Legislature was besieged with petitions and petitioners, asking the erection of new counties. Therefore, In December, 1807, the Legislature passed an act materially changing the lines and area of Wilkinson. Beginning on the Oconee at the mouth of Big Sandy Creek, the act provided for a line to be run

south, sixty degrees west to the Ocmulgee, this being the present upper lines of Laurens, Bleckley and Pulaski counties. The territory above this line remained Wilkinson, and all below the line was carved into the counties of Laurens and Telfair. Changes were also made in the line running from Fort Wilkinson to the Ocmulgee. The new line began on the Ocmulgee at the lower corner of the Fort Hawkins reservation and ran north, fifty-six degrees east to Commissioner's Creek along the boundary of Jones County. Another change was made in the line separating Wilkinson County from Baldwin, in that a new line starting on Commissioner Creek where the former line crossed, now ran north, sixty-five degrees east, thus taking part of Wilkinson and adding it to Baldwin. (Clayton's Digest, 359.)

Wilkinson County then stretching from the Oconee to the Ocmulgee and comprising all the present territory of Wilkinson, Twiggs, and portions of Bibb and Baldwin counties was a county of enormous size. For a time, though, it was thought small enough for one county, and plans were made to this effect. The old court ground near Ebenezer church was now far from being a suitable place to hold court and the legislature fixed the new temporary site for the holding of the courts at the home of Willis Anderson, who was at the time the Sheriff of the county, and having prisoners in his charge his residence naturally was selected as the temporary place of holding court. (The author was informed by Mr. Ira S. King several years before his death that Willis Anderson lived a short distance east of the present town of Jeffersonville.)


The increase in the number of counties lying between the Oconee and the Ocmulgee now required a new judicial circuit and the Ocmulgee circuit was thus created, with the following counties composing it: Wilkinson, Laurens, Telfair, Baldwin, Jones, Putnam, Greene, Morgan and Randolph (the latter's name to Jasper, a few years later). The first judge of

this circuit was Peter Early, and the first Solicitor-General was Bedney Franklin. The dates for holding the Superior court in Wilkinson were now changed to the 3rd Mondays in April and October, and the Inferior court to the 4th Mondays in July and January.



IN a resolution of December 10, 1807, the duty of selecting a county site was imposed on the Justices of the Inferior court of the county. They were directed to select the site as near the geographical center of the county as conveniences permitted, to purchase or accept the donation of four acres of land for the purpose of building the courthouse and jail on; to cut the remainder up into lots and sell them after giving sixty days notice in the Augusta Chronicle and posting notices in three places of the county.

The Justices of the Inferior court, however, seems to have failed to act on the matter and on the 22nd day of December, 1808, the legislature appointed the following Commissioners to select a site for the public buildings; Arthur Fort, John Hays, William Bivin, Elkanah Loftin, and Jesse Brown. The act provided: "The seat of public buildings in the county of Wilkinson, so far as relates to the court house and jail shall be in the centre of said county, or such other place as may be adjudged most convenient for the citizens thereof; provided the same be within two miles of such centre." The act also provided that the Commissioners should purchase not less than one hundred and not more than two hundred, two and one-half acres of land for the use of the county and to let out the building of the court house and jail to the lowest bidder after giving thirty days public notice of their intentions.

The act further provided that in the meantime while the building of the courthouse and jail was in progress the house of Willis Anderson should still be considered the temporary court house of the county.

As a means of defraying the expense of the building of the court house and jail the act provided that the Inferior court should have the power to sell any part of the land purchased for

the county site. (Clayton's Digest, 482.)

It would seem that with the foregoing instructions it would be an easy matter for the Commissioners to settle upon a spot for the county site, They did settle upon a site, same being lot No. 111 in the 26th district, it being located across the present county line a short distance west of Ball's Church, the lands being purchased from Samuel Dick. No sooner had this spot been decided upon than there arouse a storm of protest over the selection. Petitions were circulated addressed to the Legislature charging that the Commissioners had violated their instructions. So violent became this storm that when the legislature met it felt that it was necessary to send surveyors to the scene of trouble and measure the distances from the four corners of the county. The report of the surveyors was in favor of the Commissioners and the legislature approved of the spot selected, as being within the authority given by the act. And thus the work on the building began and was soon nearly completed. (House and Senate Journals, 1808.)

In the meantime, the disappointed element was not idle. Arthur Fort, one of the Commissioners, seems to have espoused the cause of those who opposed the establishing of the county site at this place and ran for the legislature apparently on the platform of cutting the county in two. He was elected and immediately set to work to cut the county to carry this out. John Thomas Fairchilds was Senator from Wilkinson at this time. Wilkinson being entitled to one representative and one senator. No objection seems to have been raised as to the division of the county and the act was passed providing that the line between Wilkinson and Twiggs should begin where the "upper county line crosses the main south fork of Commissioner Creek and thence on a straight line to the first branch which the present line crosses dividing Pulaski and Wilkinson on a southwest direction from the corner that divides Laurens and Pulaski counties and lower line of Wilkinson." Daniel Sturges was the Surveyor who ran this line. The act provided that Twiggs County should pay for having this line surveyed. It also provided that both counties should levy a tax for the

payment of building the now useless courthouse and other debts, the house to be sold for the mutual interest of each county, the lot of land purchased from Samuel Dick to be returned to him upon his paying back the consideration, and all the public records to remain in Wilkinson. (Clayton's Digest, p. 567.)

Not only was Fort bent upon cutting Wilkinson County in two but the same act when first passed by the House provided for the entire obliteration of the name of Wilkinson, Gen. James B. Wilkinson in the meantime having fallen into disrepute by reason of his western intrigues. The Senate concurred in the changing the name of Wilkinson but refused to agree to the new name submitted by the House, and in its stead submitted another. This, the House refused to agree to and a committee was appointed from each body. A great deal of time was lost in the repeated wrangling. First one name was suggested and then another, none of which would suit. Among those suggested were "Marion," Emanuel," etc. Finally, at the end of the session nothing had been agreed to. Otherwise we would not be "Wilkinson," today. (House and Senate Journals, 1809.)

The successive carvings of Wilkinson County were in a way necessary owing to its vast size and the numerous creek swamps which cut sections off from each other. When the part now composing Laurens, Bleckley, Pulaski, Dodge, Telfair, and Wheeler was cut off it was the concensus of opinion that the county site of the remaining territory would have to be located on the divide about midway between the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers. By so placing it the settlers living between the creeks could follow the old Indian trails and only have to cross the large watercourses at shallow points. Thus when the point was selected in 1809, on land lot No. 111, of the 27th district as the spot most accessible to the county as a whole, it would have been hard to find any place better adapted for such a large scope of territory. It must have been pretty well suited for Twiggs county as its present county site is now only five miles from the identical spot. It was far more easily accessible

in bad weather to all points south of Big Sandy creek than was Irwinton on account of the hills and streams. Had it remained where it was first built all the territory north of Commissioner would doubtless have been added to Baldwin. And yet it is not surprising that this has been the case for all this section found it easier to reach Milledgeville than to reach Irwinton even after the cutting off of Twiggs, for Commissioner Creek becomes a raging torrent when the heavy rains come.

Upon the severing of Twiggs from this county, it became necessary for a new county site to be selected for Wilkinson. Thus on the 14th of December, 1809, the legislature appointed Stephen Johnson, John Eady, Sr., Elkanah Lofton, Philip Pitman, and William Crawley (or Cawley), as commissioners to fix a site for the public buildings, to purchase for the county's use not less than one hundred acres and not more than two hundred, two and one-half acres, to lay out what number of lots they may think proper and sell on twelve months credit, the proceeds of which to be used in the building of a court house and jail, any overplus to go to the county. (Clayton's Digest, p. 566.)

This body seems to have had much trouble agreeing upon a site and probably all resigned in a body for we find that no action had been taken in 1810. On December 15th, 1810, the following Commissioners were appointed to carry out this duty: John Hatcher, Abram Lewis, Matthew Carswell, William Stubbs, and John Horne, the act providing that the place selected should be "within two miles of the most convenient place in the county for same." (Clayton's Digest, p. 623.)

Information handed down to the author by Hon. John W. Lindsey, says the spot where the home of T.A. Brundage now stands was used as the place of holding the courts and for other county purposes.

In December, 1811, no action having been taken to make permanent the county site, the legislature passed the following act:

An Act to make permanent the site of the public buildings in the county of Wilkinson.

Sec. I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, That the seat of the public buildings for the county of Wilkinson be, and the same is hereby declared to be permanently fixed upon tract or lot of land, number eighty-three, fourth district of Wilkinson County (provided, good and sufficient titles can be procured for the same, within the term of six months from the passing of this act; the titles to be made and executed to the Inferior Court of said county and their successors in office, to and for the use of the county aforesaid, which said public site shall be called and known by the name of Irwinton.

Sec. 2. That John Proctor, Robert Barnett, John Speight, John Ball and Daniel Hicks, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners fully authorized to lay out and sell whatever number of lots they or a majority may think proper, in the following manner, to wit: one-fourth part of the purchase money payable in two years; one-fourth part, payable in three years, and the remaining fourth part in four years thereafter; and shall take notes from the purchasers with approved personal security, made payable to the Inferior Court and their successors in office, as well as a mortgage on the premises, executed to said courts; and the money arising from the said sales is hereby appropriated to the building of a Court house and Jail, under the direction of said commissioners, who are hereby authorized and empowered to contract for the same, as soon as they or a majority of them may think proper, or deem it expedient, first giving thirty days public notice in one of the Milledgeville Gazettes, and at three or more public places in the county, which shall be let out to the lowest bidder at public outcry; the undertaker or undertakers shall be bound in a bond with approved security; in double the amount of the sum or sums undertaken for, to the Inferior Court and their successors in office, for a faithful compliance to such contract, entered into with the commissioners aforesaid.

Sec. 3. That the said commissioners or a majority of them shall lay out and reserve one or two lots as they may think most proper in an eligible part of said site for the purpose of

erecting a Court house and jail thereon, first strictly observing that in laying out the lots intended to fix the public buildings upon, or those to be sold for county purposes, they shall be so arranged as not to interfere with the lines or lands of any other tract or lot of land, except said lot, number eighty-three, in the fourth district as aforesaid, within the time allowed them by this act, then and in that case, they or a majority of them are fully authorized to purchase not less than one hundred acres, or more than two hundred tow and a half acres, within two miles of the centre of said county, and proceed as before pointed out in all respects; and in all cases it shall be the duty of the Inferior Court of said county to give such aid to said commissioners as may most facilitate the completion of the public buildings, or so far as they may have the power of public funds.

Sec. 5. That the courts, elections and other county business shall be held at the house erected for that purpose, on the tract or lot number eighty-three in the 4th district as aforesaid, until the Court house is completed, and the same reported to the Inferior Court by the commissioners appointed to superintend the building of the same. (Acts 1811, p. 123, Laws 1811-20 p. 191) December 16, 1811.

We find this act was later amended by John T. Fairchild in the form of a resolution December 4, 1812, appointing in addition to those already appointed in the act, William Wicker, William Lord, John Smith, and Charles Culpepper, with powers the same as the other commissioners. (Laws 1811-20, p. 1119. House Journal, 1812.)



WITH the extension of her lines to the Ocmulgee river, the filling up of the territory with new settlers, and the proximity of those living near the Ocmulgee to the Indian towns west of the Ocmulgee, there was the necessity for adequate protection. Bitter experience had taught the hardy frontiersmen that their best hope for protection was in their own well-trained yeomanry, for Washington City was too far away to depend upon in case of sudden emergencies and the band of federal troops located on the frontier was entirely too small.

Thus, immediately, the militia districts were fixed and in each a well-organized company of militia under the command of a captain solved the problems of defense. These companies were also organized into battalions and regiments. Once a year there was a muster day at the county site when every militia man was expected to lay down everything and attend, armed and equipped as if ready for active service. During the period that Twiggs county was a part of Wilkinson the old drill ground for the militia of the county to use on General Muster Day was near the present home of W.T. Chappell, in Twiggs county, a short distance from the old county site. Necessity compelled a rigid observation of the military laws for the lives of the families, the homes of Wilkinson depended upon her strong battalions. Hence, at these musters, the old drill ground was covered with companies of militia from each section of the county, with cavalry companies, with brilliantly uniformed officers. Stories of the old Muster Days have been handed down to the author by I.S. King, of the pride Wilkinson County took in her splendid military organizations, of the commanding appearance of her officers would make in the parades on such days; how, after the drills were over, the indulgence in the beverages which were always dispensed on such occasions could always be

depended on to produce a general hilarious condition among them; of the diversity of opinion that would arise as to the physical strength of the strong man of each company; the fights that would arise to determine who was the strongest man; which fights would sometimes spread among the sympathizers and a general civil war threaten.

The growing seriousness of the international situation which was drawing America into war was fully realized in Wilkinson, and every precaution was being taken to prevent the recurrence of the terrible massacres of 1792-1793. The Colonel commanding the militia of the county was under orders that if Wilkinson County should be invaded by a hostile force he must first call out, instantly, every company of the whole county or as many as necessary to repel the enemy. Should he deem his own forces inadequate to cope with the situation he must at once call upon the commanding officers of the adjoining counties for such aid as he might think necessary, and they were under orders to assemble their men and lead them against the enemy.

Many of the men subject to military duty were not able to own a rifle such as would be needed in case of war coming on. Thus as the war-clouds continued to rise, the State of Georgia hastily purchased ten thousand stand of small arms, accoutrements, artillery and ammunition and had them distributed where needed. (Clayton, 363, 444.)

Upon severing of the territory of Twiggs county from Wilkinson, many changes were necessary to be made in regard to the militia. The annual musters were then held at or near Irwinton.


Immediately after Twiggs county was cut off, Wilkinson consisted of eight militia districts. North of Commissioner there were two, 328 and 329. The 328th district corresponds to what is now 328 and 1505, the latter being cut off after the War Between the States. Bloodworth received its name from Captain Henry Bloodworth. The 329th district in much of the earlier records is referred to as Fork district (from

its being located in the fork formed by Commissioner Creek and the Oconee River, now known as Passmore in honor of Alexander Passmore a prominent planter. The territory lying between Big Sandy and Commissioner Creeks was divided into three militia districts; 327th, now known as Irwinton district; 330th now Lord's, and 331st, Ramah; Irwinton District of course derived its name from the town of Irwinton; Ramah, from Ramah Church; and Lord's in honor of William Lord, Sr., the Revolutionary veteran and well-known Baptist who settled in this district, dying there several years later. The line separating Ramah and Irwinton has never been moved, except when Bethel district was formed. However, the line separating 327 and 330 has been changed more than once. Originally, it is said on good authority, that the line crossed the Ball's Ferry road in the bottom just beyond the home of T.A. Brundage, probably striking the stream on the west side of that road and following that branch to Big Sandy Creek. Later this was moved by the Inferior Court at least twice, once being on account of the citizens living in the upper section of Lord's which was a "Fence Law' district, petitioning the County Commissioners to change the line, so as to include them in Irwinton district which was done. The territory south of Big Sandy was also divided into three militia districts, 332, 352 and 353. The 332nd district is often referred to as Griffin district in honor of Captain Jonas Griffin who lived there. The 353rd of Turkey Creek district, of course, gets its name from the stream that runs through its central parts. It was a comparatively easy matter to mark off these districts by streams, roads and an occasional land line, but when this was done there was left a long strip of territory. This was 352. Some called it "Fractions' district on account of its being composed of so many fractions of land districts and fractions of land lots.

It has also been often referred to in the earlier records as High Hill district and now goes by that name. It was aptly named High Hill, and we can easily picture the early settlers of this district naming it thus on account of the steep hillsides bordering on the creeks, from the Twiggs County line to the

Griffin district line. The scenery along the roads of this district in a great many places give one the feeling of being on the top of a high hill. After the War Between the States there was a re-alignment of districts. Bethel was carved out of Irwinton and Ramah. The territory lying between Big Sandy and Porter's Creek was joined to Irwinton district.


The earlier records often cannot be well understood on account of their referring to certain militia districts under the name of the Captain who was then commanding the militia of that particular district. The only way it can be determined is by knowing what section the particular Captain lived. Thus in 1812, there were eight militia districts and they are referred to in the report of John Hatcher, Jr., R.T.P. in the following clipping of the Georgia Journal, Oct. 21, 1812.

Agreeable to the returns made to me by the Captains commanding the several company districts in the county of Wilkinson, the following is a list for the year eighteen hundred and twelve.


Reuben Kemp, William Holder, Robert Warren, Wiley Jones, Francis Williamson, Elijah Jones, Samuel Oliver.


John Dominy, Isham Payne, Jesse Gilbert, William Wright, Robert Saulter, Daniel Wise, Joseph Rye, James Taff, Wiley Ogletree.


William Slawter, John Gary, Jr., Sanders Colley, Powel Brown, Mark Brown.


William Davis, William John, Hector Bowie, Ebenezer Dunham, Wilson Williams, Adam Kimbrough, Thomas W.

Mitchell, Colson Copeland, Jonas Mathis.


Moses Smith, Nelson Thompson, James Couie, Joshua Spears, John Brown, Frederick Lord.


John Turner, Jonathan Childs, Anthony See, James Dennard, Nathan Hudson, Jesse Dennard, Charles Anderson, Elisha Hogan.


James Johnston, Samuel Brewer, James Richardson, Shadrach Adams, Jesse Sampford, William Darby.


William Oglesby, William Taylor, Clem Grizzle, Presly Mathis, Alexander Adams, James Robinson, James Low, John Shepherd, Joel Miller, John Dixon.

Oct. 13, John Hatcher, Jr., R.T.R.

(The numbers in parenthesis indicate which Militia District is evidently indicated.)


The fame of the virgin fertility of the lands lying between the Oconee and Ocmulgee had spread into the States to the North, and the climate, water, game and the resources made these lands very desirable. As was natural, owing to the proximity, the Carolinas and Virginia furnished the greater numbers, and such was the hegira from these states that there is hardly a descendant of any pioneer family now living in the county but can claim descent from these settlers. The Carolinas furnished the great majority, but Virginia was well represented. Many had recently moved to the eastern counties of the State and lived there long enough to acquire citizenship and


thus qualify to draw for a lot.

Among these Virginians may be mentioned a settlement around the present site of Toomsboro, where it seems that there was an entire community which was composed of Virginians and it is probable that Charles Culpepper and his brother, Sampson Culpepper, Joel Culpepper, John Ross, James Ross and others came in a body from that State and purchased lands near each other.

The Virginians seemed to have formed one clan while the Carolinians seemed to have formed another in the earlier days. The Virginians prided themselves upon the blue blood and stressed the education of their children possibly more than the Carolinians and the native Georgians. The Virginians adhered to the Crawford Troupe and succeeding parties, while the Carolinians rallied to the Clark party. The Carolinians so vastly outnumbered the Virginians that the party factions in Wilkinson during the first years did not develop that intensity which they did in other counties. Virginians whenever more capable were elected to office in preference to their fellow Carolinians. Hence the lists of early officers show a great many Virginians, as a result of their superior educational qualifications.




FOR several years following the settlement of Wilkinson County, there were no organized churches. Everybody was so busy getting their homes in livable condition, that little time could be found for the building of churches. Large numbers of the settlers had their membership in the community from whence they had moved. The lottery plan of distributing the lots had widely scattered the members of the various denominations, and before particular churches could be organized it was usually necessary to bring together several who were already members of that particular denomination. The many dangers faced by these pioneers, the wars and rumors of wars, the presence of the Indian Nation just across the Ocmulgee, the great crisis which every one realized was fast approaching when the American government must inevitably be drawn into the conflict then raging in Europe, was stirring the people of this section and none but the stoutest hearts escaped the dark mantle of dread that enveloped the whole people. All this tended to bring the citizens to a more religious frame of mind. Spiritually, Wilkinson was ripe for a great revival.

There was another aspect which paved the way for the building of churches, the dire need of a meeting house for social intercourse on Sundays. The loneliness of these frontier settlements, the utter impossibility of going long distances, made imperative that each community have some central place where not only the younger people but the older ones as well, could meet. Thus Wilkinson County was indeed ripe for the advent of the missionary.

Thus, two Baptist preachers, Charles Culpepper and John Ross, sensed the great opportunity which was lying before them. Moving to the county and making it their home, they at once became valiant crusaders for the Baptist faith. From one community to another they went visiting the ones already members of this church, and using these as nuclei,

began having services, inviting the neighborhood to take part. Others would join and soon there would be a sufficient number to organize a church. Mt. Nebo was the first church of any denomination to be organized in the county, according to tradition, this being in 1808. Rapidly following this, during the following year, churches at Ramah, Big Sandy, Cool Springs, besides many others in the nearby neighboring counties, were organized. In 1812, Myrtle Springs church was organized by Charles Culpepper and Rev. Shirey.

This was the day of the itenerant preacher, the various churches preferring this plan to the local preacher method. The plan was for the preachers to go in couples from church to church and hold services. Culpepper and Ross were the ones living in Wilkinson County who for years followed this arrangement. To these two men the Baptists of Georgia are greatly indebted.

The religious fervor of the times continued to increase with the rapid growth of the Baptist churches. As the turbulent conditions incited by Tecumseh in the Indian nations and the religious fanaticism broke out among the red men, the people realized more than ever that the Great Crisis was fast approaching. Days for fasting and prayer were set aside and rigidly observed. The dread was heightened in many people by an earthquake and the appearance in the heavens of a comet, which was firmly believed to portend dire events. The date of the Declaration of the War of 1812, was fixed as a day of fasting and prayer. Likewise the date Washington City was captured and burned by the British was so set apart.

So numerous became the churches of this denomination that the Ebenezer Association was formed in March, 1814, at Cool Springs church at Allentown, in this county, by fourteen churches, dismissed from the Ocmulgee Association and the Hepzibah Association. The Hepzibah sent Charles Culpepper, George Franklin, N. Robertson and J. Shirey; the Ocmulgee appointed Joseph Baker, V.A. Tharpe, D.Wood, H. Hooten, and Edmund Talbot as presbyteries. (History of Georgia Baptists.)


While Charles Culpepper and John Ross were busily sowing the seeds of the Baptist faith, the Methodist church was not idle. Prior to the settling of the county, Lorenzo Dow's fiery eloquence in the counties east of the Oconee had won numerous converts, and as they scattered throughout Wilkinson, County, they clamored for organizations of their own belief. In 1805, the Oconee District was created by the Georgia-South Carolina Conference, which extended from the Ogeechee River to the Indian Boundary Line, and Samuel Cowles was appointed Presiding Elder. Following close on the heels of the extending of Wilkinson County's territorial limits to the Ocmulgee and the carving out of other counties in 1807, the Ohoopee Circuit was created composed of this county and the counties to the south and southeast. Angus McDonald was sent hither as a missionary. This was the day of Camp Meetings and Shouting Methodists. Methodist Camp Grounds sprang up throughout the section. One of these was near Camp Ground Branch not far from the site where the first court was held. From this camp ground sprang Poplar Springs Methodist Church. Another Camp Ground is on Big Sandy Creek, at the spring above the road near Thompson's Bridge. From this Camp Ground sprang the Irwinton Methodist church. Another Camp Ground was near the old County Site not far from the Twiggs County line, and it is probable that Ball's Church resulted from this. The work of McDonald must have borne fruit, for in 1808 the Ocmulgee Circuit was created largely taking the place of the Ohoopee Circuit, Jones County being added to the circuit, while Laurens was placed elsewhere. Lovick Pierce was appointed the Presiding Elder.

The early Methodist meetings in Wilkinson were largely dependent on local preachers or exhorters. The vast territory which the "circuit rider" had to cover made it impossible for him to give these meetings the needed attention. He was expected to devote his full time to work and usually had enough appointments on his circuit to give but one day in each

month to each community. The meager salary allowed as well the hardships incident to such a strenuous life tended to discourage many from entering the ministry as a life work. Hence, many would locate and would then be at liberty to preach when and whenever they chose.

The Camp meetings were great events and would always be attended by large crowds who would come for miles and remain for days at a time, spending the nights on the ground or at the homes of the nearby citizens.

The continued growth of this denomination made necessary a reduction of the territory of the circuit rider and in 1816 the Ocmulgee circuit consisted of Wilkinson and Twiggs and parts of Jones and Pulaski counties. Charles Dickenson was assigned here that year and James Dunwoody was his helper. There were twenty-eight appointments for these two men to meet each month. (History of Georgia Methodism.)

For many years after the town of Irwinton was built there was no organized church here, the members attending nearby churches. The Methodist Church was the first to be organized at Irwinton, and in all probability about 1820, as tradition handed down by B. Wynn is to the effect that Salem Church, which was organized in 1818, was the first Methodist church to be organized in the county. Mention is made of the Methodist Chapel at Irwinton in 1829. So rapidly did Methodism take hold in and around Irwinton that in 1834, Irwinton was taken from the Ocmulgee Circuit and made a separate charge, with Rev. James B. Payne as pastor. In that year the membership of the church here was given as being five hundred, seventy-seven members. The Methodist church probably owes as much to Payne as does the Baptist church to Charles Culpepper and John Ross, for the dissemination of its teachings. Smith in his History of Methodism says of Payne: "From his entrance into the ministry James B. Payne had a wonderful success in winning souls."




AS to what the people of Wilkinson county were doing towards educating their children during the first few years after the settlement, we have no means of knowing. All written records covering this particular phase seem to be destroyed. In all probability, however, there were but few who received any education during the first few years after the settlement, for this was a period when everyone was being strained towards getting fields cleared, houses built and the new homes in a condition fit to dwell in. Education was looked upon more as luxury than as a necessity. Money with which to pay teachers was scarce. Market for produce were in far away Augusta and Savannah, and tutors could not well accept produce as pay.

MT. ETNA. The veil of obscurity covering the schools of Wilkinson county is first lifted in 1814. We find in the Georgia Journal, published in Milledgeville, of March 2nd, 1814, the following advertisement:

"Mount Etna School in Wilkinson county was opened on February 3rd under the direction of E. Underwood, where a few more scholars will be received. The Director of this school, from considerable experience and unremitted attention, hopes to give general satisfaction to such scholars as are entrusted to his care. The situation is very healthy, the water good, and board may be had at respectable houses on moderate terms. Terms of tuition for Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, $2.50 per quarter - for Grammar, Geography and Mathematics, $4.00."

While we have no means of knowing the exact location of Mount Etna, yet we have every reason for believing that it was either at or near the present town of Irwinton. It was known at that time where the county site would be likely to be fixed and we find that during the same month that the half acre town lots were being advertised for sale by the Commissioners

appointed for this purpose. It is probable that this school was the same one which was out in the field a few hundred yards east of the home of T.A. Brundage, as the mother of R.W. Adkins, deceased, during her lifetime told of attending a school at that place when she was young. It is likely that the school remained at that place until the County Academy was built at Irwinton.

THE COUNTY ACADEMY. It is probable that Mt. Etna School was the same as the Wilkinson County Academy. The laws of Georgia during the years after Wilkinson county was settled provided for the support of a county academy in each county. Apparently no provision was made for any academy in Wilkinson until after the territory south of the line from the mouth of Big Sandy Creek to the Ocmulgee river was cut off. Until this time no man knew what parts would be cut off and as everyone was busy settling his lands had no time for schools. After this line had been run and it was thought that Wilkinson county had assumed its permanent form, we find the first mention made of the Wilkinson County Academy. To John Thomas Fairchilds belongs the credit of introducing this resolution in the House. John Ball carried it through the Senate, which provided for this academy and appointed as Commissioners of the academy, Arthur Fort, Stephen Johnston, William Lord, John Hays and William Bivins, the date of this being December, 1808.

As to whether these commissioners ever acted we have no record, but it is probable that due to the confusion resulting from the selection of the county site, nothing was done towards making definite arrangements for a County Academy.

In 1810, a new set of Commissioners was appointed for the county academy, these being Major John Hatcher, Matthew Carswell, Daniel Hicks, Stephen Gafford, and Jeremiah Lofton. In 1813, the legislature appointed Stephen Hoge, Nicholes Thompson, and Thomas Ard as Commissioners to fill vacancies.

The county academy provided in each county during

this period was not intended to be used for education of the masses, but for the children of the wealthier classes. The Academy was thus used mainly by those who lived near the county site, by those who could afford the expense of boarding their children, and those who could furnish a conveyance for their children to ride. Many of the wealthier families found it more convenient to employ private tutors to educate their children. Among the masses there had not yet been felt that need for universal schooling which years later resulted in such a clamor for more schools that the legislature saw fit to grant them.

As the years passed, the struggle for a livelihood became less severe, times became more prosperous, and the wealthier citizens over the whole country become more interested in the culture and education of their children. The Academy at Irwinton was rapidly growing in popularity. In addition to this, here and there community schools began to appear, supported by a few men of the community who realized the need of educating their children. Usually these community schools grew up in churches. Teachers were few and hard to obtain. Often-times some "Yankee" passing through would be hired to do the teaching, but his methods of instruction would hardly be approved by the educators of today. Instead of encouraging the rank and file to educate their children, many impediments were thrown in the way, and the great mass of the poorer children were allowed to grow up without any schooling at all.

One of the results of this system of education was a development of two classes of citizenship, an aristocratic element and a "poor white trash" element. The one became wealthier and wealthier as the years passed, the other remained stationary or became poorer. The growth of the plantation system, cultivated by slave labor was rapidly reducing the poorer families to almost serfdom. The big plantation owners as their wealth increased would purchase all the available lands near him, and the opportunities for the poor man to obtain land were few. Large families was the rule in

these days and in order to give the children opportunities to acquire property it became the custom to move to more thinly settled portions of the state and there take up the cheap lands. Hence, from year to year, there was an exodus of citizens from Wilkinson county to other counties. Likewise, many of the wealthier classes would sell out their plantations and move to cheaper and sometimes better lands.


As the wealth of Wilkinson continued to grow, we find direct results in the increasing interest in the education of the children. In 1821, Samuel Beall who had recently made Wilkinson County his home, and John King, were appointed as commissioners of the Academy of the County of Wilkinson in the place of David Roland and Jeremiah Lofton. Three years later, in 1824, the Wilkinson County Academy was incorporated, with William Beck, James Neal, Alpheus Beall, John F. Simmons, Charles Culpepper, Lluellyn Roberson and Richard Whitaker as Trustees. The fact that Samuel Beall was in the Senate at this time leads us to believe that he was largely instrumental in having this act of incorporation passed. Suffice to say, that from this date, Irwinton has born the reputation of being an educational center. Immediate steps were taken towards providing a suitable school building. The lot whereon Talmage Institute was later built was acquired and about the spot where the residence of F.G. Byington now stands, there was erected a brick schoolhouse. The following advertisement found in the Georgia Journal, dated Dec. 28, 1824, gives us an attractive picture of Irwinton and the surrounding country:

WILKINSON ACADEMY. This academy, agreeable to the progress of the building and the arrangements made by the Trustees, will be prepared for the reception of students on the 3rd Monday in Jan., next. The Trustees beg leave to inform the public that a teacher competent to teach as well the ordinary scholastic duties and rudiments of science as the

Academical branches, preparatory to an entry in college, will be expected from him, and whose recommendation is requested to be accompanied with a reputation of sobriety and morality, such a one will be gladly received to take charge of this institution and will meet with proper encouragement and an adequate salary. This institution is established in Irwinton, whose inhabitants have hitherto enjoyed as great a share of health as any place below the mountains, who are also in their habits quite consonant to the strict rules of morality and decorum. The place affords excellent water, its contiguity to the Mineral Springs, being but four miles from Irwinton, recently discovered and much resorted to the past summer, which from their salubrious effects will probably increase in resort in the succeeding. Irwinton is surrounded with plentiful country, abundantly affording all the necessary comforts for subsistence of students who are placed at this Academy for education. Parents who choose to place their children at this institution for instruction may be assured that the guardianship while in school and examples when out of school in the private families of Irwinton, will be of such moral character as will be perfectly consonant with the rules of good order as are most admirably calculated to impress the tender mind. Any application by any person desiring to take charge of this Academy will please address it to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees at this place.

Alphous Beall,

Sec. of the Board."

(John S. Barry of Vermont, then only twenty-two years of age, answered this advertisement and with his wife moved to Irwinton and took charge of the school for the following two years, at the same time preparing himself for admission to the bar. After practicing law at Irwinton for a few years, serving as Captain of the Irwinton Military Company and later appointed as military aide by Governor Forsyth, he removed to the State of Michigan where he was elected Governor three different times on the Democratic ticket.)


This was the day when the prevailing line of thought was that it was the duty of the individual to pay for the education of his children, and not the duty of the state. The result of this was that there was a great mass of children, whose parents were either unable or unwilling to pay for their schooling, growing up in ignorance in Wilkinson county. For years the state paid nothing at all to any school except the County Academy, and to that very little. Later the Poor School Fund was provided for the various schools. It was slowly being realized by the statesmen of Georgia that it was the duty of the state to provide an education for those children whose parents could not afford to pay a teacher. In 1826, Wilkinson's share of the Poor School Fund was $460.71. In 1830, the Wilkinson County Academy received only $388.55 as its share of the state school funds. In 1836, however, Jeremiah Beall was Trustee for Poor Schools of Wilkinson county, and in this year the state appropriation for the county was $790.21.

The name, Poor School Fund, as it was unfortunately called, antagonized the pride of many parents who considered they were objects of charity whenever they accepted schooling for their children paid by this fund. This was strikingly illustrated in one of these years while C.C. Beall was Trustee of Poor Schools when the fund received was $651.43 and only $342.93 was expended.

During this period the management of the school funds was in the hands of the Inferior Court and Ordinary, the latter being ex-officio County School Commissioner and was required to make an annual report to the Grand Jury.

Teachers were examined by a board of examiners appointed by the Inferior Court. In 1859, Rufus J. Cochran, R.A. Stanley, William O. Beall, and Nathaniel C. Hughs were the examining board.

Taxes for the maintenance of the "Poor Schools" as they were called were levied by the Inferior Court upon recommendation of the Grand Jury. Returns of names of those children whose parents were not able to pay for their tuition

were kept on file by the School Commissioners. The teacher in each academy was required to file with the School Commissioner monthly reports giving the names and number of days each one of such children attended his school, and he was allowed five cents per day for these.

The report to the Grand Jury made by the commissioner in 1855 shows receipts from all sources of $546.90. This report further showed 515 children whom the county was under obligation to educate and approximately the same number whose parents could pay their tuition.

In addition to the small amounts paid the teachers of the Poor Schools, the Inferior Court was authorized by an act of the Legislature of 1854 to supply needy pupils with books and stationery. Judge Arthur E. Cochran being the author of this. The amount paid the teachers in 1855 was five cents per day for each pupil unable to pay tuition; in 1859 this was increased to seven cents per day, as is deduced from the old accounts filed by the teachers found in the court house. The account of C.O. Davis, who taught in Bloodworth district in 1855, and in 1859, is very valuable in giving the above information. It is made out against the "School Commissioner of the County of Wilkinson." the Ordinary then serving as such, and after giving a list of the pupils taught, the number of days each attended, there was added his affidavit that he did not expect to get any pay for teaching them from any other source.

Traditions are handed down by the descendants of John Tomberlin that about 1820, the planters about the line of Turkey Creek and Griffin Districts combined together and employed a Yankee school teacher to teach their children and sent them ten months in the year to him. This length of term seems to have been general over the county, which goes to explain the superior state of education and culture boasted of by the aristocratic families of the counties prior to the emancipation of the slaves.

Not only did the leading families of the county patronize the district schools but it was no uncommon thing for a

planter to send his sons to finish their education in northern colleges. An instance of this was Elijah Hogan who sent his son, Elijah Columbus Hogan, to a university in New York.


In 1835 an act was passed making the Academical Fund a part of the Poor School Fund for Wilkinson. The following year, 1836, will always stand out as a red letter year for the schools of Wilkinson county. In each of the eight militia districts, with the exception of the County Site where the County Academy was located, there was incorporated a local academy. As trustees of these schools we find the outstanding men of these districts.

BLACK CREEK ACADEMY in (Bloodworth) Bond's District with John Hall, George Shinholser, Bryant O'Banion, Oathneel McCook, and Thomas Underwood, trustees.

LIBERTY HILL ACADEMY in the Fork (Passmore) District with James Hatcher, Lewis Clay, Ratliff Boone, John Meredith, and Daniel S. Pierce, trustees.

MOUNT PLEASANT ACADEMY in Currie's (Lord's) District with Joel Dees, William Lord, Wiley Miller, Hansford Davis, and Jethro Dean, trustees. (The writer is informed that Mrs. Epsy Brady, the wife of Franklin Brady gave the lot at Poplar Head upon which this school was built.)

UNION HILL ACADEMY in Ramah District with Richard Lewis, James Gibson, Samuel Bragg, Joel Rivers, and Archibald Smith, trustees; this academy was located near the home of Joel Rivers and was called the Rivers Academy. When Sherman came through his soldiers burned it.

GRIFFIN DISTRICT ACADEMY with Robert Rozar, William B. Smith, Elisha Hall, William Cawley and Daniel Hall, trustees.

HIGH HILL ACADEMY in High Hill District, located at Pleasant Plains Church, with Isaac Hall, James Ross, William Carswell, Joel Hardie and William Herndon, trustees.

TURKEY CREEK ACADEMY in Turkey Creek District with John T. Harrison, Timothy Sears, Anderson Ingram, William Payne and Joel Butler, trustees. (This school was erected on the lands formerly owned by I.I. Hall.)

LAFAYETTE ACADEMY in High Hill District with William E. Carswell, Williamson Calhoun, John Smith, Samuel M. Carswell and Green B. Burney, trustees. (This school was incorporated in 1837 and was located at Bethel Church.)

(As an indication of the interest the state manifested in the support of these academies, the sum of $32.75 each, was paid them in 1838.)

WASHINGTON ACADEMY was incorporated in 1840, with Green Burney, Solomon Arnold, John Breedlove, Ellis Harvill and Lewis Spears, trustees.

HARRISON ACADEMY in Turkey Creek District was incorporated in 1850 with A.W. Jordan, Nimrod Burke, R.E. Rozar, John Burke and Samuel Meredith, trustees. (This was located on lands donated by Allen Davidson and is now known as the Manson School.)

COOL SPRING ACADEMY, located at Allentown was incorporated in 1856, with Anderson Ingram, Willis Allen, John Gainey, William F.M. Brown and Eli Sears, trustees.


In all the history of Wilkinson, no institution has played a greater part in the affairs of her citizens than has this school. It was the pride of the whole of Wilkinson county for almost three-quarters of a century. Each section during these

years while it was in its prime was accustomed to send hither the young men and young women for the finishing touches of their education. None but the ablest teachers were employed, and the fame of this school attracted boarding pupils from other counties.

The act of the legislature incorporating this school was due to the efforts of Judge Arthur E. Cochran who as representing the county in the Senate of 1854, and provided that the trustees should be Green B. Burney, Thomas N. Beall, William Fisher, Eleazer Cumming, F.J. Gilbert, N.C. Hughs, Leroy Fleetwood, F.D. Ross, James Jackson, Joel Deese, R.I. Story, R.J. Cochran, N.A. Carswell and William Taylor. These trustees were given authority to borrow money for the school, to have perpetual succession and in case of vacancy, the remaining trustees should have the power to fill the vacancies and to increase the number of the trustees to a maximum of twenty-one, besides such other rights and privileges necessary to the management of the school.

The original intention of Judge Cochran was for the school to be used as a training school for teachers but it was found impractical to use it for that purpose. Therefore, it having been named Talmage Normal Institute in honor of Dr. Samuel Talmage, the name was abbreviated to Talmage Institute about 1874.


The Grand Jury of the April term, 1855, in its presentments will go down in history as the originators of the idea of Compulsory Education Law. Their recommendations are as follows:

"We have carefully examined the books and the report of the school commissioner; and in them we find cause of much to regret and deplore. There were three hundred and seventy-seven children returned and we have ascertained forty-nine others that we also considered. Making four hundred and twenty-six in all entitled to the benefit of the fund.

Two hundred and ninety-two of this number were taught by the different teachers throughout the county, an average of but thirty-nine days each during the past year, and the other one hundred and thirty-four, we have no reason to believe, received a day's schooling. These facts speak for themselves - proving either the want of suitable and convenient schools, or the deplorable ignorance or criminal indifference and neglect of parents and guardians. We have serious apprehensions that the time when the entire mass of our rising population shall be properly educated, is for Wilkinson county at least, far in the distance. The remedy for this evil, we are unprepared to suggest but would respectfully commend to the serious consideration of the Legislature, whether some act, compelling parents to permit their children to be educated to some extent may not be necessary. Forty-six of the children whom we mention as having been taught were not legally returned to the Commissioner - he therefore was not entitled to pay the accounts of their teachers. We believe these to be equally entitled and commend that he be allowed to pay them."

Those serving on the Grand Jury at this April term were: Thomas H. Parker, foreman; John Van Landingham, Littleton Branan, Joseph N. Miller, Archibald M. Smith, John H. Freeman, Eason Green, Abram Pitts, Joel Hardie, Charles Hooks, Zenus Fordham, James Pittman, Allen Chambers, James Fountain, James A. Dean, William Taylor, Etheldridge Ogburn, Wriott C. Adams, Edward Hickman, James Hoover, Alexander Nesbit, John J. Todd, Francis Fordham.

The following are names of Wilkinson county school teachers, as taken from old Poor School Records, covering years 1852 to 1859:

Norman McReany, C.B. Anderson, Wm. H. Golden, R.I. Cumming, L.D. Rees, Wm. McGawin, F.C. Hogan, Timothy Bloodworth, Wm. Carlton, Wm. S. Johnson, M.B. Johnson, Henry I. Dunlap, Jas. M. Lovit, B.S. Carswell, B.I. Aycock, Mary Lavender, Wiley Shepherd, Theophalus Hardie, Robert Smith, I.K. Walter, J.B. Ursery, Jeremiah Smith, Charles T. Cushing, Jacob R. Walters, Iverson L. Harville,

A.D. Breedlove, Sydney A. Warren, Alphaus Breedlove, Larkin Smith, I.S. Jenkins, Luiza Jackson, Francis A. Bishop, J.N. Ray, James M. Neil, Meredith Honeycut, M.H. Esom, F.F. Stubbs, John D. Vann, Joseph McCook, John H. Strong, Harriett M. Powell, Obadiah Dumas, J.W. Payne, A.M. Bridges, J.K. Byington, N.B. Nyles, F.A. Kittles, J.B. Murphy, Austin Todd, R.A. Stanley, W.W. Deen, Andrew F. Frazer, W.M. Dean, Thomas Walters, W.L. Holland, John W. Leyan, Wm. R. Pixley, Charles M. Carter, J.B. Ursery, Lydia Jackson, B.T. Castillo, W.S. Castillo, James Adams, John P. Califf, John A. Clements, Joseph D. Bond, C.O. Davis, Caroline Waters, Iverson L. Harvill, Frances Todd, Benjamin Breedlove, J.W. Blackshear, H.E. Harville, Miss Martha Sinclair, A.N. Ladd, M.N. Murphy, A.V. McCardle, J.F. McDonald, Benjamin Green, James A. Bush, John M. Russell, Miss M.R. Anderson, Wm. R. Stub, Byd S. Collins, Lucius I. Robson, James T. Castillo, P.A. Ashley, W.T. Hollland, S.T. Player, Joseph McCook, J.D. Shaws, A.R. Harvill, Sarah Jackson, Joel F. Loftin, James F. McBeth, J.F. Ross, Wm. N. Ryle, John M. Smith, John H. Strong, Hamilton Shepherd, Nancy McLeods, Welcome Ursery, Thomas Freeman, F.F. Methvin, Minard F. Olph, Phillip Clancy, George W. Boatwright, Joseph S. Hair, D.C. Walker, Margaret I. Rose, I.F. Saulter, F.I. Chambers, Martha Kemp, N.M. Green, N.B. Jackson, Emma Butler, J.M. Langford, Sophiah Taylor.




PROBABLY no road in the State of Georgia has had such a history as has the Old Hartford Road, which formerly led from Milledgeville the capital of the state, through the counties of Baldwin, Wilkinson, Twiggs, and Pulaski to the then frontier at Hartford, where Hawkinsville now stands.

The world crisis was directly responsible for the building of this road, the crisis that was affecting the destinies of the entire world, the crisis which was threatening Wilkinson county as well as all Georgia with utter destruction. Such was the case, and no one realized it more than did the people of Wilkinson.

For years before the declaration of the War of 1812 the people of Georgia had forseen the approaching conflict. They had experienced the machinations of the British agents who were eternally stirring up trouble for Georgia among the Creek Indians just beyond the Ocmulgee. They had not forgotten the terrible experience during the American Revolution when all Georgia was drenched in the blood of the patriots, when the Indians were turned loose upon the state by the British. They realized that no state was in a more dangerous position than Georgia, that the British would doubtless land troops in the Indian country where thousands of redskins would flock to their standard and march through the very heart of Georgia. Or should the British use Florida as their base or attack the coastal country below Savannah the effect would be the same and the section here between the Ocmulgee and the Oconee would become the objective of the invading forces. It thus became necessary for Georgia to be able to rush troops, artillery, and

ammunition to Hartford which must necessarily become the point of attack.

The approaching crisis thus made necessary the building of the road to Hartford, and every able-bodied man between the ages of sixteen and fifty living within three miles of this road was drafted to build it. The act of the Legislature named as commissioners for this road Aaron Feagan and B.M'Crary of Baldwin; John King, Thomas M'Ginty and Thomas Durham of Wilkinson; Robert Sherrard, John Hays and Thomas Dennard of Twiggs.

The Hartford road had been built not a moment too soon. Along the road was soon heard the roll of drums, the rumble of artillery wagons, the tramp of soldiers, as they hurried to the frontier. Galloping couriers carried the despatches to and from Milledgeville and General Blackshear along this road which became his line of communication.



Perhaps never in the history of the civilized world has a universal fear seized the whole people as during this period of time. The great dread that seized the whole of Europe at the monster armies of Napoleon on the one side and his enemies on the other had spread to the New World. It seized upon the Creek Indian nation, where their superstitions prepared the way for any cult that might be introduced.

The British, recognizing the trend of events was inevitably drawing America into maelstrom of war which was engulfing Europe and that she would be aligned on the side of her Revolutionary ally, France, was not slow to grasp the opportunity of arousing the Creeks into a religious frenzy against the Americans. She could not have selected a more powerful agent to produce this than Tecumseh. With his band of Shawnees, he came from Detroit into the Creek nation. From tribe to tribe he went, even into the Seminoles of Florida, teaching them the "Dance of the Lakes," converting all the disgruntled elements to his faith immediately and from them

spreading to those who had always been loyal to the Americans. His prophecies of destruction for those who refused to believe in him, death by quagmires, earthquakes, thunder and lightning and all the forces of nature, which he claimed to be at his beck and call, while the bullets of their enemies would prove harmless to the true believers; all this was rapidly having its effect on the Indians. As he went from tribe to tribe, the mantle of Tecumseh was cast upon other able local prophets, and these took up the work with such a spirit that the whole nation was soon in an uproar. Chieftain after chieftain was converted, and town after town began rapidly to join the war party until nine-tenths of the whole nation was arrayed against the Americans. Here and there, however, a chieftain would remain loyal to the Americans and hold his followers in line.

Chiefest of these was Big Warrior of the Tuckabatches, Chief Speaker of the nation. He treated with derision the teachings of Tecumseh and his converts. Tecumseh, however, had been informed by the British that a comet would appear in the fall and that he could safely prophesy concerning its approach to the Indians and use it to further his ends. Tecumseh therefore prophesied that Big Warrior would see his arm extended across the heavens in the fall and when he, Tecumseh, returned to Detroit, he would stamp his feet and shake down every house in Tuckabatchee. The next month after he made this remarkable prediction, a mighty rumbling was heard in the earth and the houses of Tuckabatchee reeled and tottered in an earthquake. (Pickett's History of Alabama, ap. 515.) Soon the comet appeared. To the superstitious red men it was Tecumseh's arm extended.

But still the staunch old chieftain, though with fear and trembling, refused to take sides against the Americans. With him, remained the greater part of the Tuckabatchee tribe as well as the Coweta, the Cusseta and a few other tribes.

Both the British and Tecumseh, himself, seems to have overestimated the power their plans would have upon the superstitious minds of the Indians. Their success overstepped

their most sanguine expectations and perhaps saved the southern states from one of the greatest massacres in history. The British had calculated upon, and had timed the Indian outbreak to coincide with the arrival of their fleets and land forces to be sent from Europe. But the religious fanaticism of the Indians could not be restrained. Killings and disorders broke out throughout the whole Indian nation. A civil war among the Creeks was imminent in 1813. Hoboheilthle, the Tallassee king, famous in Georgia history, now grasped the war club. Though a delegation of Indians loyal to the Americans hurried to him and urged him to desist, he vowed he would not only capture and destroy all the Indian towns lying between him and the Georgia frontiers but would not pause in his victorious march through Georgia until he had reached the Ogeechee; that with his bows and arrows and war clubs and magic powers, aided by the British and Shawnees who were already en route, he would crush the Americans. (Indian Affairs, p. 847.)


The disaffection of this famous old chieftain was a serious blow to the Americans. For his were no idle threats. His influence throughout the Creek land would now rally hundreds of braves to the British arms. Only too well did the uneasy families of Wilkinson and the adjoining counties realize the peril that now faced them as this news reached the Georgia frontiers, for WILKINSON LAY IN HIS THREATENED LINE OF MARCH, with only thinly settled Twiggs county lying between it and the Indian country, and the small federal garrison at Fort Hawkins to stand guard.

In June 1813, news reached the Indian nation that the Shawnees from the Great Lakes were coming. This seems to have been taken by them as the signal for their outbreak. The civil war now burst forth and the towns loyal to the Americans began to feel the weight of Indian vengeance. The Indian chieftain, Cornells, hurried to Milledgeville and urged the

governor of Georgia to rush troops to the aid of the loyal Indians but the governor was dilatory and the civil war continued to rage. In July another appeal was sent to Benjamin Hawkins by the Indians offering a part of the Indian lands if aid should be sent them. At the same time, Big Warrior, whose town was now beseiged by the hostiles was sending appeals to the ancient allies of his tribe, the Cherokees, for aid. The combined forces of the hostiles were now turned against Tuckabatchee whose warriors still stood firm. The Cussetah and the Coweta chiefs now vowed they would die in the defense of Big Warrior and gathering two hundred warriors ordered their war chiefs to fight their way to Tuckabatchee and bring back to Coweta the beleagured braves of Big Warrior. Welcome news arrived by runners that the Cherokees were on the march to the aid of the loyal Creeks.

The Cussetah and Coweta warriors having succeeded in saving Big Warrior and his tribesmen and bringing them back with them, the Indian towns along the Chattahoochee were fortified against Hoboheilthle, who was now the recognized head of the war faction, and was putting into effect his threats of systematic destruction of all the Indian towns which refused to dance the "Dance of the Lakes." These fortified towns along the Chattahooche now constituted the first line of defense for the people of Wilkinson county against the threatened destruction.

And yet, the governor of Georgia as well as the federal authorities seemed unaware of the great crisis facing this section. Tardiness and delays were making the weak Indian towns fight their battles against overwhelming odds.

Suddenly in August the massacre at Fort Mimms filled the nation with horror and awakened it to the fact that a crisis was upon this section. Their success in this attack on Fort Mimms now convinced the Indians that their prophets were worthy of belief, and it was immediately decided to attack the well fortified Coweta town with all the forces that could be brought to bear and after reducing it, sweep Georgia to the Savannah river where the British would co-operate. The date

fixed for the storming of Coweta town was about October 1st, 1813. News also reached the friendly Indians that the Seminoles well armed by the Spaniards in Florida were on the march to join in with the attack. Frantic appeals were sent to the governor of Georgia stating that unless help arrived the loyal towns would have to join the hostile "Red Sticks" to prevent being destroyed. The governor of Georgia now thoroughly alarmed hastened General Floyd with his Georgia militia to the aid of Coweta and they arrived in time to prevent its fall.

In the meantime the inhabitants in this immediate section threatened by Hoboheilthle were in a panic of fear. Knowing his ability to make good this threat with his thousands of fanatic warriors, those living nearest the Ocmulgee frontier were in a high state of alarm and were fleeing into the interior. Immense numbers left their homes in terror, for the comparatively small forces of militia which could be depended on were no match for the red tribesmen of Hoboheilthle. Brigadier-General David Blackshear, of Laurens county, was in command of the Second Brigade of the Fifth Division, composed of the regiments of Wilkinson, Twiggs, Laurens, Pulaski, and Telfair counties.

In the early part of August, 1813, the situation along the frontiers guarded by this brigade became so serious that Governor Mitchell ordered him to repair at once to the Ocmulgee and take such steps as would make the inhabitants secure. Hastening to Twiggs county he hurriedly had three forts erected along the river at strategic points. From this county he went to Pulaski and Telfair where he had seven other forts built. Col. Ezekiel Wimberly commanding the militia of Twiggs was ordered to assemble sufficient men to garrison the forts along the Twiggs border and to provide mounted spies to patrol the territory lying between. Col. Allen Tooke of Pulaski and Major Cawthorn of Telfair were given similar orders to garrison the forts of their respective counties. The Wilkinson county militia under the command of Col. William Cawley and that of Laurens county was now ordered out to relieve

these garrisons in the guarding of the frontier. Those parts of the first class militia not in active service were required to assemble at Irwinton every two weeks to be drilled and disciplined.

Although the militia of this whole section was now under arms, it began to be realized that the state was totally unprepared for a war such as was bursting upon it. It was found that there were insufficient arms, especially in Telfair county, with which to provide the militia. General Blackshear at once sent urgent demands on the governor for more. It was now also discovered that the powder and balls provided by the state arsenals were practically worthless. Thus, badly armed and equipped, the militia formed a weak second line of defense along the Ocmulgee against the impending extermination by the hostile Creeks. On every breeze came rumors of British warships filled with thousands of British troops which were expected to be landed on either the Atlantic coast or the Gulf coast and march through Georgia, and against any well armed body of men the militia would fare badly. However, the arms and ammunition problem was partly remedied.

In the meantime events were happening in the Indian nation which gave relief to the fear-stricken settlers of this section. General Floyd had arrived at Coweta and reinforced by the friendly Indians had defeated the Indians at Caleebee, in which battle the Tallassee King fell. Likewise Andrew Jackson at the head of his West Tennesseans had arrived in the Indian nation, and Cocke with his East Tennesseans was approaching. Battle after battle was fought, the Indians fighting with a fanatical ferocity never equalled in the history of the Creek nation. Had the overzealous prophets been able to have restrained their converts and co-ordinated their uprising with the arrival of the British forces, the history of Wilkinson county would have told a far different story. As it was, the Creeks could not withstand the overwhelming armies that were sent against them and their power was crushed before the British arrived.

General Blackshear during this time had assembled

his forces at Hartford (Hawkinsville), as his headquarters and extended his line of operations to the Flint river where he stationed a force for the protection of the Ocmulgee frontier. This released the line of forts from so rigid a guard. All the first class militia of this section was now organized and surrendered to the use of the federal government to be sent to whatever front deemed necessary (Bench & Bar of Ga., Vol. 1. p, 419). It now became essential for the second class militia of these counties to guard the Ocmulgee line of defense.

As the year 1814 wore on dark days fell upon Wilkinson county. Washington city had been burned by a victorious British army. The great Napoleon on whom America had so fondly based her hopes of invincibility when she had entered the war met his downfall at Leipsic and was sent into exile. News reached Georgia that the hosts of British redcoats fresh from the battlefields of Europe would now be poured into Georgia, either from the Gulf or from the Atlantic coast. Irwinton was now made the recruiting rendezvous of Lieutenant Gresham, 2nd Lt. 8th U.S. Infantry.

A new Indian peril now faced this immediate section. Ten British ships having arrived at Apalachicola, the Seminole tribes which had become greatly augmented by large numbers of other Creeks upon the utter defeat of the Creek nation by Jackson, Floyd and others, had flocked to the Seminoles and now seized upon this opportunity to get revenge. Thus in September of 1814, the citizens of these counties between the Ocmulgee and Oconee were thrown into great excitement over well substantiated rumors that the Seminoles would shortly attack Hartford. Col. Allen Tooke commanding the militia of Pulaski county, recognizing the dire straits that section was now in by reason of all the first class militia having entered the federal service hurried a courier to Governor Early informing him of the perilous situation.

The forts guarding the Ocmulgee were now reinforced with a body of scouts was thrown across the river to explore the Indian country throughout that section, and locate any

hostiles on the march.

It became increasingly apparent that New Orleans would be the first objective of the victorious British armies and fleets. Major-General Andrew Jackson, who was in command of the federal forces throughout the southern states, began hastening thither with his army and sent urgent calls to Governor Early to rush the first class militia to Mobile with the utmost despatch. Col. Ezekiel Wimberley's regiment was detached from General Blackshear's brigade and ordered to rendezvous at Fort Hawkins. Arriving there with less than its full complement, the regiment was completed by recruits from the second class militia of Jasper and Morgan counties.

The Seminole troubles now caused a change in the plans. General McIntosh immediately proceeded on the march but General Blackshear was ordered to march with Col. Wimberley's regiment from Hartford together with other troops to the Flint river and after establishing a depot to keep McIntosh informed of any forces of hostile Indians. Meanwhile Major Blue of the 39th regiment with sixteen hundred mounted men, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Creeks were on the march against the Seminoles. Likewise, Col Benjamin Hawkins' regiment of Creeks was ready to march against them, and should it be necessary, General McIntosh's command was also to turn aside from the march to Mobile and aid in the extermination of the Seminoles.

On December 19, 1814, General McIntosh, receiving more disturbing information by Indian runners of the activities of the British at Apalachicola, hastily sent a courier to Blackshear informing him of the dangers the southwestern part of Georgia was in, from not only the British and Indians but also the further fact that hundreds of negroes which had fled to the Seminoles were now being armed and drilled for the purpose of being turned loose on the state, and at the same time ordering Blackshear to rush his command with all speed to the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers.

Although Blackshear's forces were almost totally without any supplies, having less than a days's rations on

hand, the emergency was so great that he immediately took up the line of march at the same time sending requisitions to Governor Early to have supplies sent forward, in order to prevent a failure of the expedition. Food and munitions were sent on after Blackshear's army as fast as they could be collected; but on January 3rd to add to the troubles, the flat which was being used to ferry them across the river at Hartford sank and it was some days before it could be put back into service. In the meantime Blackshear's men were approaching the Flint river.

The arrival in the Gulf of Mexico of the British war fleet with one hundred, fifty boats and barges loaded with soldiers was now learned, its objective being New Orleans, and Mobile its second place of attack. This made necessary that all available Georgia troops be rushed to that point. General McIntosh leaving the Seminole problem for Blackshear to solve was now en route there.

News arriving that Major Blue had defeated the Seminoles to such an extent that extensive depredations against the Georgia frontiers were improbable, Governor Early ordered General Blackshear to change his destination and proceed as rapidly as possible towards Mobile and if possible overtake McIntosh's army before its arrival there. Blackshear's brigade, unable to carry its baggage through the old Indian trail to Fort Mitchell, had to turn about and march back to Hartford, thence strike the road leading through Twiggs county to Fort Hawkins.

This, he had done and was already on the road to Fort Hawkins when Governor Early received the astounding intelligence that the British had landed troops on Cumberland island and was ravaging that whole section of the state. The Seminoles were hurrying their bands to unite with them and hundreds of negroes were turning against their former masters and joining the British with the resultant horrors of the threatened race war.

With the impending attack on Mobile, which, if successful, would let in the vast British armies reinforced by

thousands of Indians for a triumphant march through Wilkinson county to the capital of the state; with the bulk of her military forces en route to Mobile to prevent this very threat; now from the southeast invaded by strong forces at her most vulnerable point, all Georgia knew that her crisis had arrived.

Blackshear's army including the Wilkinson county soldiers had been inducted into the federal service and was under federal orders to proceed to Mobile, and hence Governor Early had no legal right to control his movements. However, this was the only available force that could be rushed to the coast to stop the invaders. The governor, therefore, on the 19th of January, sent a courier to Blackshear urging him to change his course and hurry with all possible speed to the relief of the panic stricken citizens of the coastal counties. Although it might mean a court-martial for disobedience of orders, Blackshear realized that the fate of Georgia might depend upon his decision, and without a moment's loss of time, he swung his army around and started on the road through Telfair to Darien, at the same time writing McIntosh of his reasons for deviating from the instruction to join him.

Although with less than half the number of men the British had landed on the Georgia coast, badly supplied with arms, ammunition and provisions, Blackshear by forced marches, lost no time in rushing aid to that section. The road along which his army was marching, however, was filled with refugees, fleeing into the distant parts of Georgia from the imminent perils, and his march was retarded by their baggage-laden wagons frequently blocking the road.

Never did an army march more eagerly than did Blackshear's. They were going not merely to the defense of their fellow Georgians on the coast, but they were striking at a peril which threatened this section, their families, their homes. Blackshear's despatches gives a vivid picture of the morale of his men as they marched for the coast, telling of how many of his men were ill and in the hospitals when the order came to rush to Darien, but in spite of this, large numbers of them overtook his army on the march and rejoined their


On the day before Blackshear reached Darien, he received the news of Jackson's victory at New Orleans. The arrival of Blackshear's army together with this glorious news completely changed the aspect on this front. Detachments of his command soon occupied Sapelo island. Others picketed the approaches to the British lines cutting off bands of negroes attempting to join the British. Before Blackshear's army could attack the enemy, the news of the treaty of Ghent arrived and hostilities ceased.

(Documents and letters in Sketch of David Blackshear, Bench and Bar of Georgia, Vol. I, pages 411, et seq.; Pickett's History of Alabama; Indian Affairs, Vol. I; Augusta Chronicle.)



THE fragments of history picked up here and there describ-

ing the conditions in Wilkinson County following the closing of the War of 1812, strikingly remind us of the conditions of our own times since the World War. There was a high price for anything the farmers of Wilkinson had to sell. The demand for cotton to be exported to Europe was pouring a flood of gold into the county. Land values rose rapidly as all the available acreage was planted. The white population in 1820 was 5,144, and the black population 2,663. More and more slaves were brought in and sold to the planters at enormous prices, this requiring more land for them to cultivate. Rents for land were high where any could be found.

The distance to the seaport was the main drawback. Savannah, one hundred fifty miles, and Augusta more than one hundred miles distant were considered the best markets and in the falls when the cotton was ready to be sold, communities would co-operate in providing their carts and wagons and several would journey together to these towns carrying their produce. Some of the larger planters employed wagoners by the year, keeping them constantly on the road carrying their farm produce thither and merchandise back. Although the Oconee River could be used as a means of transportation, yet, it seems the planters preferred hauling their cotton overland. Direct connection with Savannah by an economical artery of commerce was now the urgent need of the day, and the best minds of Georgia were trying to solve the problem. In spite of the handicaps of transportation the wealth of the county rapidly grew.

The growing wealth brought tremendous changes in the economic life of the county. More tradesmen came to make this their home. Irwinton was now growing rapidly.

There was a great demand for educated men and the opportunities for the young man have never been exceeded in the history of the county. For those agriculturally minded, there was the demand for overseers for the large plantations; for those who craved military honors, there was the great military organization of the State which required well trained officers, with the constant prospect of the nation being engaged in some war on short notice; for the professional man there was the vast rapidly growing hinterland which was demanding more and more lawyers, physicians, etc.; for the man who preferred the schoolroom, there was the clamor for teachers and private instructors by the wealthy planters who wanted to give their children an education; especially for the politically minded were opportunities such as have never been again. The rapid-fire creation of new counties throughout the State brought with it the necessity for new officers to govern them, and the man with the ability for leadership who arrived first could almost always count on a political career. Likewise there was a spirit of unrest among the settlers to a large extent, the craving for greener pastures, the urge to seek new lands. Thus we find numbers of the earlier families of Wilkinson completely disappearing from the records here, only to re-appear in some other section of the State or in Alabama. If there is anything to the old adage, "Blood will tell," it is well indicated by the numerous instances of striking successes made by these emigrants from Wilkinson.

The post war boom brought other changes, the counterpart of which we have here today. There seems to have been almost a complete cessation of spiritual growth. During the period when the Great Crisis was approaching and while the war was in progress the people were religious, but now that the war was over, the dangers had passed, wealth and good times were at hand there was a backsliding and falling from grace so pronounced, that the preachers were commenting on the "low state of religion and abounding iniquity." (History of Georgia Baptists.)

However, about 1819, the boom began to lessen and

prices began to fall. It was during this year that the first steamboat began to ply the Oconee River, and with the growth of Darien into a prominent cotton market coupled with the cheaper transportation by water it was inevitable that the planters here should choose this method of getting their products to market. Cotton could now be shipped to Darien for $1.25 per bale. The advent of the steamboat thus gave to the farmers adjacent to the river great advantages over those less favorably located. This, in a manner, greatly compensated for the falling prices.

The day the first steamboat arrived, hundreds of people flocked to the landings to witness the sight. Recollections handed down to the writer state that Susan Hogan, sister of Elijah Hogan, later wife of William Smith, was present on this occasion and that the name of the first boat was "Lady Washington."



IRWINTON, so named in honor of Governor Jared Irwin, owes its origin as a town to the establishing of the county site here. Being at the crossing of the road leading from Savannah to Fort Hawkins, and that from Milledgeville to the counties and towns lying to the southeast, together with the principal reason of its being approximately in the geographical center of the county, it was thus logical that it should be placed in this immediate vicinity, as soon as the Twiggs county portion was cut off.

Old hearsays handed down from the earlier settlers tell us that far back in the Indian days, the present site of the courthouse was an Indian trading post; that the Indians throughout middle Georgia flocked here to do their trading; the monster gullies just east of the courthouse were caused by hundreds of horses of those coming hither to trade being led down the paths to the springs under the hill for water, thus making deep paths which became deeper with every rain.

Information given by J.H. Hoover says that his father, Jack Hoover, came to Irwinton in 1810 and at that time there were only two small cross-road stores here, both of which specialized in groceries, and grog.

For the first few years after the Legislature had designated this immediate vicinity for the county site, the town evidently grew very slowly. No one knew exactly what lot would be chosen. Land values here no doubt grew with leaps and bounds and in all probability one of the reasons for the slowness of the commissioners to act, was the price asked for the land. Another reason affecting the selection might have been the war raging. The topography of the entire section, cut up as it was by hills and valleys, rendered it impossible to find a lot sufficiently level to be suitable for a town site. Finally,

after lengthy delays according to tradition, the lot owned by W.C. Pearson was selected. When it became known that this lot had been purchased, there was raised such a howl that although more than a century has elapsed, yet its echoes still reverberate, and the criticism heaped upon the commissioners, linger in the traditions of the town.

It seems that no lots had been sold up to 1814 and in the Georgia Journal of March 23, is found an advertisement stating the lots would be sold on May 5th, the lots to be of one-half acre in size. The commissioners, after having set aside certain portions for the public buildings, advertised the lots for sale at public outcry. The results of the same seems to have been disappointing. One reason was, probably that the building lots as surveyed were not attractive for residences. Another reason was, that the outcome of the war was extremely in doubt, and the sale came off at a time when it looked as if Georgia was doomed to be overrun by the British. Insufficient funds were derived for the building of the courthouse and jail and neither seems to have been built until after 1818 when a special tax was levied on the property of the county for this purpose.

In the meantime the town was being built largely upon the lot of land lying to the northeast of the lot chosen by the commissioners.

Up to 1816 there was no municipal government at Irwinton, but in December of that year the Legislature attempted to incorporate the town. However, the drafter of the bill overlooked the very material clause designating just how far the limits of the town should extend, and this was amended the following year specifying that the town should extend four hundred yards each way from the courthouse.

The Legislature appointed as Irwinton's first commissioners; Solomon Worrell, David Rowland, Adam Hunter, Peter McArthur, and William Beck. An unusual feature of the authorities granted these commissioners was the power and the duty to improve and repair the springs of the town. For violations of their ordinances, however, they were forbidden

to inflict the penalty of corporal punishment except on slaves and persons of color.

The map of the town with the names of the streets seems to have been lost. But an old advertisement in the Georgia Journal gives the names of two of the streets and indicated that the street leading east, toward Ball's Ferry was Washington street and the one leading southeast by the courthouse toward old Sumpterville in Laurens county was Sumpter street.


POLITICS, 1812 TO 1860

WILKINSON County seems to have been so busy with other matters for a few years following the war that she had little time to devote to politics. Party lines were not so tightly drawn. However, in 1819, and following that year as the quarrels of the Clark and Troupe factions grew in virulence throughout the State, Wilkinson promptly lined up with John Clark and few counties in the State were more loyal to him than Wilkinson. Although there were quite a few Virginians in the county and practically all the lawyers of the county took sides with Troupe and in addition to that, the proximity of Troupe's home a comparatively short distance southeast of this county in what was then Montgomery, yet, the Clark faction dominated the politics of the county at all elections. We are able to get a picture of the political situation here in 1825, the year the Governor of Georgia was first elected by popular vote. The returns of this election gave Clark the overwhelming majority of 716 as against 116 for Troupe.

For several years thereafter whenever any test of strength came between these parties, Wilkinson was found in the Clark column. In the 1828 presidential election, Major John Hatcher, political leader and a staunch Clark supporter, threw the weight of his political strength in favor of Andrew Jackson, and Major Hatcher was chosen as one of Jackson's electors. In the 1829 gubernatorial race, the Clark faction had no candidate, while the Troupe faction had two, Gilmer and Crawford, thus giving the Clark faction the balance of power. This was thrown to Gilmer, giving him 480 and Crawford only 65. However, in the election held in 1831 Gilmer was opposed by Lumpkin, and Wilkinson polled the handsome vote of 696 for Lumpkin and only 119 for Gilmer. (It will be noted that

John Clark having left the State, there was a change in the names of the parties, the Union party taking the place of the Clark party and Lumpkin ran on the Union ticket. The States Right Party now began to take the place of the Troupe party - the same parties under different names.)

Among the strong supporters of the States Rights party we find W.F. Bond, Isaac Hall, and Charles C. Beall, being chosen to represent Wilkinson County in the State convention to nominate a candidate for Governor.

The election for 1833 in Wilkinson was another victory for the Clarkites or Union party, although in the county offices there was no such issue made. The poll for Governor gave Lumpkin 686 and Crawford 172.

As an indication of Wilkinson County's rule to vote for the best qualified men regardless of party, in spite of the fact that Wilkinson voters were predominantly Clarkites, yet all through these years we constantly find Samuel Beall, an ardent Troupeite and States Right advocate, being elected to the highest offices that the county could offer.



In 1844, the system of electing Senators was changed from one to a county, which had been the rule heretofore so that Wilkinson and Laurens counties formed the 10th Senatorial district. Wesley King, of Wilkinson, nominee of the Whigs, was opposed by a son of Governor Troupe, nominee of the Democrats, from Laurens. The battle of Clark against Troupe now for the first time in a local office seems to have been waged. Although the leavening influence of strong States Right Democrats in Wilkinson had been winning large numbers of converts to this party, Beall having been elected to the Senate in 1841 running on a States Right platform and Irwinton under the political leadership of Samuel Beall having become a veritable Democratic hot-bed, yet, when the real contest between the two old parties of Clark and Troupe was revived, the old Clark element rallied to the aid of King. Some of the echoes of this struggle are yet handed down. Many of the

old Troupe adherents espoused the cause of Troupe. A strong element in the southern part of the county, the Carswells, the Stanleys, the Burkes, and others, swept that entire section for King. Though such a strong Democrat, yet Samuel Beall forgot party lines and in this contest took the field for his friend Wesley King, who was elected. (Accounts given the writer by I.S. King, a son of Wesley King).

During the Forties the Whig party had many supporters in Wilkinson County. Joel Rivers seems to have been for a time the leader of the Whigs. Other leading Whigs were Alexander Nesbit, Josiah Whitehurst, Sr., Dave Pool, Tom Connelly, Jack Lavender, Sr., W.M. Whitehurst, Joel Deese, and James Jackson. However, the county as whole ordinarily leaned strongly to the Democratic party. The American or Know Nothing party seems never to have gained extensive headway.


The law in regard to the Senatorial districts of the State having been changed so that Wilkinson County elected her own Senator during the years following 1852, there arose a hot political race in 1854 between the Whigs and the Democrats. Eli Cumming was nominated by the Democrats. At first two candidates were opposing him, N.A. Carswell and James G. Ockington, all three leading attorneys of Irwinton. With both these opponents in the race it soon appeared that Cumming would have an easy victory. Ockington seems not to have had the extensive family connections that Carswell had, for the latter, in addition to his political strength at Irwinton and in the other sections of the county could especially count upon his kinsmen in Turkey Creek and High Hill Districts to carry that entire section almost unanimously for him. Therefore Ockington withdrew, throwing his strength to Carswell.

A battle royal was now on. The Burkes, Carswells, Stanleys, Wesley King of the districts south of Big Sandy, Joel Deese of Lords, James Jackson of Passmore, the whole Rivers

generation of Ramah, and other prominent Whigs arrayed their forces on the side of Carswell.

On the other hand Samuel Beall, Ordinary of the County, now getting on in years sounded the political warwhoop of the Democrats and rallied them to the aid of Cumming. I.S. King, the son of Wesley King, a youth not yet in his teens but who was already a staunch Whig and a strong supporter of Carswell, volunteered his services in the campaign. To him was dedicated the duty of "getting Sam Beall's goat." The following song was memorized by him and he would stand near the Ordinary's office each day while Beall was in and sing:

"Carswell ate the watermelon;

Cumming ate the rind;

Carswell went to Milledgeville

And left Cumming behind."

The result of the election, however, was in favor of Cumming.

(Account given the writer by I.S. King).

The storm over the Slavery question which was agitating the nation during the Fifties found its counterpart in Wilkinson County. There was a large part of its citizens who owned no slaves and who were frequently irritated by slave-owners, who were continuously enlarging their estates. Samuel Beall was still the veteran leader of the States Rights Democrats and under his leadership the small minority of those voting the Troupe ticket in former years were now frequently dominating the elections of the county.

While the States Rights question was agitating the State, a convention was thus called at Irwinton in April, 1851, which was destined to be of state-wide interest. The resolutions prepared by the committee and adopted by the Convention so forcibly set forth the contentions of the party that when they were published county after county convention seized upon and adopted these resolutions. "The Wilkinson Resolutions" became the Battle-cry of the Democratic party of



"As meetings are now being held for the appointment of delegates to the Convention on the 20th of May, we again lay before our readers, and commend to notice, the resolutions adopted in Wilkinson:

`Resolved, That in the present eventful crisis of our country's history, when all the tendencies of the Government are to the consolidation of its powers, that it is essential to the preservation of the Constitution in its purity, and of the liberties it was designed to secure, that those great fundamental republican principles should be cherished and sustained which have conducted our country to the proud elevation which she now enjoys among the nations of the earth.

`Resolved. That among these great fundamental republican principles we recognize as cardinal and paramount that the Federal Government is a Government of limited powers, having no control over the States or the people thereof, except that expressly conceded, or that necessary to carry into effect conceded powers that, as a necessary consequence, the States are sovereign as regards all the rights not there conceded; and that it becomes the people thereof at all hazards as they love the Constitution and the Union, vigilantly to guard and protect themselves against all encroachments upon those rights reserved to the States.

`Resolved, That these doctrines, taught and illustrated by Jefferson and Madison - doctrines which gloriously triumphed in 1800 - have ever been recognized and adopted by all real republicans; and that they are doctrines concerning which Troup men and Clark men, Union men and States Rights men, in Georgia never hereto differed.

`Resolved, That these are now, as they have ever been, the doctrines of the Democratic party; and we still hold their maintenance essential to the preservation of the Constitution, the Union, and the liberties bequeathed to us by our fathers; and that inasmuch as the States of the Southern section of this Union are in a doomed minority and vitally interested in an

institution secured by the Constitution, it is suicidal, especially on their part, not pertinaciously to adhere to it as the sheet-anchor of their safety.

`Resolved. That upon the agitating question which now divides the North and the South, Georgia, in her sovereign capacity, by her Convention in December last, defined her position; that, as Georgians Loyal to the Expressed Will of the People, we acquiesce in that position, and pledge ourselves to sustain it, and to do all that we can to see that Georgia `takes no step backward.'

`Resolved. That we approve of the convention proposed to be held in Milledgeville by the friends of republican principles, of democracy, and of the rights of the States, which can be no other than the friends of Southern Rights, for the purpose of nominating a candidate for Governor, and earnestly but respectfully suggest that the convention assemble on the last Wednesday in May next."

(Bench and Bar of Ga. p. 288-9).


To a large extent slavery was responsible for the rapid development of Wilkinson's agricultural industry. The vast yellow pine forests, which would now be worth untold riches were ruthlessly slaughtered to make way for the crops of cotton. The swamps were cleared and ditched for other crops all of which required much manual labor. Then, too, the cultivation, picking and preparing of cotton for market demanded more labor than the white population could furnish, in spite of the prolific families which were customary in those days.

While there were a number of planters in the county with large holdings of lands and slaves yet there were many small slave-owners with one or two slaves and owning comparatively small farms. There were many others who owned no slaves at all but cultivated their farms with their own labor or hired others to assist them. There were others who owned nothing, wanted nothing above a bare living who eked out

their existence by occasionally grudgingly performing some task for their neighbors. It was this latter class which was called the "poor white trash."

As good times came, the slave-owning class rapidly grew larger especially among those with initiative. The need for more land among the plantation owners frequently caused friction, as the lands increased in value. Quarrels over boundaries would result and traditions says that frequently when some big slave-owner desired a farm owned by a less fortunate neighbor who possessed no slaves or few of them and who refused to sell his lands, the large planter would instruct his slaves to make life miserable for his neighbor. And whenever his neighbor should leave home for a short while, he would invariably return to find his hogs or cows had gotten out and were devouring his choicest crops. Other methods were sometimes used to make him sell. Thus many were forced to sell and move away to other counties. The tendency was for the plantations to increase in size. Especially was this noticeable in the sections of the county where the soil was well adapted to cotton growing, as cotton could be raised by slave labor much more profitably than other crops. In the sections where the soil was mostly sandy or otherwise unsuitable for cotton, the small land owners were allowed to own their land in peace.

The large acreage of such soil in the county were mainly responsible for the slave population not increasing more rapidly. In 1830, the census showed 5,144 whites and blacks or a little less than one slave to every two and one-half white persons. In 1854 there were only 374 slave-owners in the whole divided as follows:

Irwinton District, 55; Bloodworth, 37; Passmore, 22; Lord's, 52, Ramah, 64; Griffin, 31; High Hill, 75; Turkey Creek, 38.

The demand for more and more slaves caused the prices for them to be raised by slave dealers. In the earlier years after the county was settled slaves would frequently run away and join the negro towns in Florida where they found refuge and protection among the Seminole Indians. Many lost their

slaves in this manner. The ever-receding boundary line separating the Indians from Georgia helped solve this problem, and likewise the acquisition of Florida by the United States. There was another factor that affected the slave-owners here in a vast slave-thieving organization known as Murrel's Band with its ramifications extending into several states. Slaves would be stolen in one State and carried hundreds of miles to another and sold. An instance of this was Old Betty, who made her home on the lands of James T. Davidson, after emancipation. She would often recount how she had been stolen while a child by a robber band in Virginia and brought to Georgia and sold. Frequently slaves would be stolen here and carried away elsewhere. Near Pleasant Plains Church is an old cave which tradition whispers was used by a black sheep member of a prominent family in Wilkinson to conceal a slave he had stolen until he could have time to spirit him away. Another such member of a prominent family in Bloodworth district got a slave and trained him, according to the story, he would carry his slave to some distant town and sell him to some person and collect, after directing his slave how to escape and to rejoin him in some other distant place. The slave was loyal and would always follow his master's instructions, while his purchaser would mourn the loss of a prize slave. The process of sale and delivery would be repeated in some other town and another purchaser would mourn. The slave was proving a veritable gold mine until heavy drinking caused his trainer to talk too much, and the trickster had to shift his operations. This time his own father began to lose negroes and suspicion was cast on a neighbor who was indicted and brought to trial in the Superior Court of Wilkinson County. The State introduced a part of its witnesses but soon the evidence took an astounding turn. It began to be forcibly brought out that the man indicted was innocent but that there were strong reasons to believe the guilty man was none other than the slave-owner's son. At the request of the father a verdict of not guilty was returned against the indicted man and it required much effort on his part to prevent the conviction of his own son.

As a rule the slaves were treated with great consideration in this county. Occasionally a master would punish his slaves brutally but public opinion always frowned upon it with such force that the man who mistreated his slaves continuously was practically ostracised by his neighbors.

It was nothing uncommon for a slave-owner to desire that at his death for his slaves be set free. The laws of Georgia, however, discouraged the freeing of slaves on account of the fact that so many were unable to make their own living, and their upkeep would constitute a problem for the State and county to solve. In 1821 Zadock Simmons in his will provided that his executors should transport his slaves to the Coast of Africa and there set them free.

Slaves as a rule were not regarded by their owners as mere chattels but as human beings. Those who manifested religious tendencies were permitted to attend and join their master's churches. Slave galleries were built in many houses of worship among these being Big Sandy and Irwinton churches. The Irwinton slave gallery is still to be seen. Separate churches for the two races were unknown until after emancipation.

Visiting of slaves belonging to neighboring plantations was not prohibited. It was no uncommon occurrence for some dark swain to become smitten by the charms of some dusky damsel. He then had two problems on his hand; first, to win the coy maiden's heart; second, to sing her praises to his master so incessantly as to induce him to purchase her. He would tell his master how hard he would work to help make money to pay for her; how hard she would also work. He would appeal to his master's cupidity by picturing to him a yard full of little slaves.

Sometimes, however, there would be insurmountable obstacles that prevented the union of both husband and wife on one plantation. An instance of this occurred when Bennett Whipple's Buck was surreptitiously wedded to Allen Davidson's cook, Hannah. For some reason the couple could not be united. Buck, however, solved the problem. He knew

of a gully on the Davidson plantation near Hannah's cabin. One night he slipped away from the Whipple plantation carrying with him a hoe. At the head of the gully he digged a cave in such a manner that it could not be detected. Here for weeks he made his home. Hannah providing him with food purloined from her master's table. Finally the secret leaked out and Hannah's master learning of Buck's whereabouts sent him back home.

The growing number of slaves in the county was an increasing problem to the citizens. It was necessary to have patrols in every militia district. The great responsibility resting on the patrol commissioners caused the Grand Jury of 1855 to ask "such citizens may be selected as we have reason to believe feel the responsibility of the trust and will try to execute it faithfully." Slaves were forbidden to be abroad at night without a pass and those caught without one were subject to be whipped.

The following persons were appointed Commissioners of Patrols for the year 1856:

Dr. Flemister, J.R. Bragg, V.W. Tharp, Rahma District; G.B. Burney, J.C. Brown, E. Cumming, Irwinton District; J.R. Billue, E. Green, Wiley Fordham, Griffin District; W. Dickson, James Lord, Allen Chambers, Lord's District; W.W. Lee, Nimrod Burke, Wyatt Meredith, Turkey Creek District; L. Clay, James Jackson, S.J. Stubbs, Fork District; I.T. Hughs, D.W. Smith, L. Asbell, High Hill District; W.L. John, John Eady, G. Jones, Bloodworth District.

The following old negro tune evidently originated during these days:

"Run, nigger, run, de patterol `l ketch you

Don't ketch me, but ketch dat nigger behind dat tree

He stole money, I stole none.

Put him in de chain gang jest for fun."


This was the time when the roads were kept up by the work of the citizens. Each man between the ages of sixteen and fifty years of age was required to respond to the summons of the road overseers to meet on a certain day and perform such work as was necessary to keep the roads in repair. Three Commissioners were appointed for each militia district, and it was their duty to assign the citizens to work on certain portions of the roads, and to appoint overseers for each section.

The following persons were appointed Commissioners of Roads for the year 1856:

Ramah District; Solomon Arnold, H.M. Cook, John King; Irwinton District: Jesse B. Carroll, F.J. Gilbert, James Branan; Griffin District; Joel J. Loftin, T.J. Holliman, James Hartley; Lord's District; W. Ussery, J.A. Dean, Joel Deese; Turkey Creek, Eli Sears, Allen Davidson, John Burke; Fork District: L. Clay, Bryant O'Banon, John Hatcher; High Hill District: Nelson Stuckey, J.F. Burney, N.W. Hughes; Bloodworth District; D.M. Cook, J.S. Ethridge, P.T. Youngblood.


It is remarkable that there are as many records of Wilkinson County still in existence when we consider the number of times the courthouse has been destroyed. Following the severing of Twiggs County in 1809, the old records were removed to Irwinton, but for ten years there was no permanent courthouse in which to store these, and besides that, what records were kept were largely in books which easily came apart as evidenced by some of the old fragments seen by the writer. The records of Estates seem to have been kept at some place other than the courthouse for these escaped the fire of 1828, which destroyed the courthouse, although all the records in the other offices were burned. The same thing

happened in 1854, when again the courthouse burned and the greater portion of all other records with the exception of those of the Ordinary's office was lost. Samuel Beall was Ordinary at the latter time and probably kept these records in his home. In 1864, when Sherman's troops were approaching, Judge Frank Chambers and Dr. Fleetwood got wagons and removed all the records in the courthouse to Big Sandy swamp and buried them. In 1924, when the courthouse burned, the vaults in the Clerk's and Ordinary's offices saved the most of the more valuable records. However, many valuable ones which were not in the vaults were destroyed.

Following the fire of 1854, there was a several months delay in building a new one. Provision for building it had to be made by the levying of taxes by the Inferior Court. The question came up before the Grand Jury of April, 1854, as to whether it should be rebuilt that year. The majority of that body was opposed to it but the minority brought in a minority report recommending it be built and pursuant to this a two-story frame building was erected.

For several years after Sherman's destruction, court was held in some rooms rented for the purpose. However, about 1870, while C.M. Lindsey was Ordinary, a brick building was erected, Pat Ward, "the Irishman," being the builder. A tradition is handed down that when he was building it, whiskey was being sold at Irwinton and getting a quart of the finest Bourbon, he incased it in a hidden spot in the masonry, saying that come what would, Irwinton should not be tee-totally dry. Following the fire of 1924, while the old walls were being torn down, a thorough search was made by some thirsty souls but only a broken bottle was found after the walls fell.