For those of us who relish local history celebrations, recent times have been especially eventful

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For those of us who relish local history celebrations, recent times have been especially eventful. The past few years have seen several of our local counties, towns and historic churches (Tattnall 2001, Candler 2004, Statesboro 2003, Upper Black Creek Baptist) celebrate their centennials and bicentennials. This past summer was no exception when the town of Pembroke (Bryan County) and county of Toombs celebrated their respective centennials. Both events were in August and they shared some delightful common festivities.

Most enjoyable was the SAM shortline train ride from Vidalia (Toombs Co.) to Pembroke (Bryan Co.). {The SAM shortline is a late 1800’s vintage train operated by the Georgia DNR. It is named for an original railroad line, the Savannah-Americus-Montgomery. For more info: visit online.} The train took celebrants from Vidalia to the site of the Pembroke Centennial in downtown Pembroke.

The ride was a little over two hours long and riders soaked up every historic moment. They were alternately thrilled in the morning and then lulled to sleep in the afternoon by the train’s clickety-clack and gentle rocking past fields and farms, and rivers and roads. My wife and I concluded it was one of the best entertainment bargains we ever had.

The parade featured a modest but enthusiastic group of entries highlighted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans float and uniformed marchers. After the parade attendees enjoyed a afternoon of music, food and historical exhibits in the pecan grove. The train departed at 4. p.m. back to Vidalia.

Later on August 25th, Vidalia hosted the Toombs County Centennial celebration. At the campus of Ogeechee Tech, the celebration included music and fireworks. The city of Lyons hosted a partial reprise of Tales of the Altamaha at the newly remodeled theatre.

Evans Co.’s historical society placed a marker near Hwy. 301 in honor of the Lumbee Indians. The Lumbee of N.C. came to Georgia for the timber industry. The marker honors their history and their burial ground.

Volume 1, Issue 2

Centennials, Festivals & Markers Highlight Summer & Fall Seasons

November-Dec 2005

Of Note:

  • Copies of Tattnall County Superior Court Records of 1805-1832 are going fast.

  • Call 912-685-3347 to reserve your copy.

  • Local history books make great Christmas gifts.

  • Place an order today to insure delivery before Christmas!

  • Rabun’s “History of Tattnall County 1801-1865” Now Available—See Below

New Song Written about the CSS Georgia


Revolutionary & Confederate Soldiers Honored


Updates– Corrections to Kinfolks Across the River


Douglas and Walker Genealogies Now Available


Slave Honored in 1856 for War of 1812


Catalogue of Books and Videos for Sale


Profile of John Grace– Revolutionary Soldier


Inside this issue:

Hencart road review nov-dec 2005 page 7

The Hencart Road Review

An Update From Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

Thompson’s Books

of Southeast Georgia

A History of Tattnall County 1801-1865 by John P. Rabun is Now Available to Researchers

Tattnall County native John P. Rabun has published his research paper A History of Tattnall County 1801-1865. The 8 by 11 inch book features 50 pages plus end notes and index. Originally written in 1954, this stands as one of the rare pieces of research done on early Tattnall county history. A few copies of the book were made available to local libraries a decade ago. Since that time, interest in the paper has grown and many researchers have hoped to acquire a copy. Rabun’s book comes in a spiral binder with a cardstock and clear Mylar cover.

A very limited number of copies are available. Cost: $12.50 plus $2.50 postage. Ga. residents add 88 cents sales tax.

Claxton native Gary C. Coleman is a man of many talents. After a long career in engineering, he is planning to undertake some “retirement” projects soon. Coleman is an avid fan of local history, especially military history. That passion led him to his latest project; composing a song about the sinking of the Confederate ironclad, the C.S.S. Georgia. Coleman and other area musicians worked on the project at length, making sure the history of the song was accurate. “We wanted to incorporate ‘historically accurate’ lyrics into the song,” said Coleman. The C.S.S. Georgia was sunk by Confederates near Old Fort Jackson to keep it from falling into the possession of Union naval forces.

Coleman said the group also used ‘period-style’ instruments and vocals in the song. “Our goal was to produce a song that told the story of how the boat was sunk, and one that would also reflect the style of music from that period.” said Coleman. “Some of the chorus sounds a bit like a bunch of drunken sailors,” he laughed. The reaction to the song from local historians has been enthusiastic. The 3 minute song is titled “Scuttle Her Down” (The Sinking of the CSS Georgia). Coleman recently donated a copy of the song to the Coastal Heritage Society of Georgia that helps curate the museum at Old Fort Jackson where artifacts from the ironclad are housed. Coleman is a member of the Dixie Guards, Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #1942 in Metter. For copies of the song, write to Coleman at 3613 Kennedy Bridge Rd., Claxton Ga. 30417.

Several families combined recent reunions with a celebration of their ancestor’s military service. This is has become a popular way to educate youngsters about their family while also teaching patriotism and history. Many old soldiers graves are either unmarked or poorly marked. These occasions serve as an opportunity to spruce up or mark a grave for the first time.

On the 20th of August in Statesboro, The Mikell Family marked the graves and dedicated a monument to their Revolutionary ancestor, James Mikell Sr. and his five sons who served in the Confederate Army. The sons were James Edward Mikell, Thomas Henry Mikell, William Alexander Mikell, George Washington Mikell and Seaborn Mikell. The Archibald Bulloch Chapter NSDAR and the Mill Creek Chapter SAR assisted with the Revolutionary honors. The Ogeechee Rifles SCV Camp and other area Sons of Confederate Veterans assisted with the Confederate honors.

On Sept 10th, the descendants of Edward Anderson placed a Southern Cross of Honor at his grave in conjunction with their 50th Annual Reunion in Tattnall County at Hopewell Methodist Church (near Tison). Edward served in the 47th Georgia Infantry, Company G, The Tattnall Invincibles. They also recognized Edward’s brother Charles, who was killed while serving in the Florida CSA infantry. The Jesup Chapter UDC and the Tattnall Invincibles SCV Camp assisted with the honors, along with reenactors and SCV members from area camps.
On Oct. 9th, the Garrison-Garrason family of Long County placed a headstone for Confederate soldier James Garrison of their family at Rye Patch Baptist Church outside of Ludowici. They were assisted by the Jesup Chapter UDC, The Thomas H. Anderson SCV Camp of Hinesville-Ludowici and SCV members from area camps.
Editors note: It is very fortunate that families, and especially the SCV and the UDC still care to remember their confederate ancestors. Most Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations now purposefully omit any reference to confederates. Such celebrations promise to honor “all Veterans.” Yet, despite the hundreds of confederate soldiers buried in our soil, most modern memorials do not acknowledge them at all. Some memorials make no mention of Revolutionary soldiers either.
If your family has a grave they want to see marked they should contact their local SCV, UDC, NSDAR or SAR chapter for assistance. Better yet, if you like what these groups are doing, consider joining or making a contribution.

Most modern Memorial & Veterans Day celebrations omit any reference to Confederates.”

Families Honor Revolutionary and Confederate Ancestors

Claxton Native Gary Coleman “Instrumental” in Song

About Sinking of the C.S.S. Georgia Ironclad

This song strikes a note with historians!


Hencart road review nov-dec 2005 page 7

The Hencart Road Review

An Update From Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

Volume 1, Issue 2

Have you ever met someone for the first time and had a hunch you might be related? That’s just what I felt when I first spoke with author Mary Lois Forrester. It turned out we were double-cousins! Now, that we’ve established our kinship, she has generously allowed me to make her books available via my website and newsletter! :)

Forrester’s book ,The Douglas Genealogy was published in 1992, hardback with

gold letter cover. It features 150 pages plus a 20 page index. It traces the Douglas family lineage from North Carolina, thru Washington Co., Ga, then Tattnall Co., Ga and on into Florida starting with Alexander Douglas who was born in 1757. $25+ $4 postage &Ga. Sales tax ($1.75). If ordering other items use the postage rates on the catalogue page.Forrester’s Walker Genealogy starts with Isham Walker of South Carolina and traces the family line on to south Georgia (Glynn Co, Tattnall Co., Charlton Co., Camden Co., Wayne Co., Pierce Co. etc. and Florida. This book is spiral bound with cardstock cover and features 60 pages of information including a 17 page descendant supplement. $20 plus $4 postage and Ga. Sales tax ($1.40). Save on postage with multiple items. Use the rates page. Mrs. Forrester also has books on the history of Newnansville, Florida ($20) and High Springs, Florida ($15). She also wrote “Our Towns, The Way They Were” featuring Alachua, Archer, Cadillac, Forest Grove, Newberry, Traxler and others ($15). She also wrote a book of essays on religious philosophy called “Think on These Things”($15) . These books are available too. Call or write to place an order.

During the past two years author Tony Thompson has spoken to members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Huxford Genealogical Society, various County Historical Societies, Kiwanis Clubs and Rotary Clubs in the Altamaha and Wiregrass area. If your favorite group needs a program, you might consider Thompson. He has programs on the early history of the Tattnall Court on the Ohoopee River, the early Circuit Judges who served Tattnall and surrounding counties, a profile on Robert Raymond Reid- the namesake of Reidsville, Ga., Thompson genealogy of the Tattnall-Bryan area, and his study of Georgia History textbooks from the past 100 years. He can also tailor his talk to meet the needs of your particular group. Email at

Or Call 912-685-3347

Liberty County Slave named Boston Granted Freedom for Heroism in the War of 1812, Fidelity and Service

The Douglas Genealogy & The Isham Walker Genealogy by Mary Lois Forrester Available Now

Need a Speaker for Your Historic or Civic Group?

Thompson can tailor his talk for your favorite group

On the 6th of March 1856, a black man named Boston in Liberty County was granted freedom from his condition of slavery. The act was granted by the Georgia General Assembly at the request of Boston’s former masters. They petitioned the Assembly to formally recognize Boston as a free man and to honor him for his particular service to his state during wartime. Their names were E.B. Way, Catherine P. Wheeler, Thomas B. Wheeler, H. R. Wheeler and Eugene Bacon, all of Liberty County. John Savage of Chatham County was also listed as master and also requested the manumission. How these six people became masters of Boston is uncertain but clearly they wanted him to be set free and recognized as such. The bill to grant Boston his formal manumission was accompanied by a petition from the several owners. Here are key excerpts from the bill:

WHEREAS: during a long life, the Negro man slave, named Boston, has served his…..

Continued on pg. 6

Historic High Bluff Primitive Baptist Church where the Walker Family worshipped

he is hereby manumitted and forever set free”


Hencart road review nov-dec 2005 page 7

The Hencart Road Review

An Update From Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

Volume 1, Issue 2

Tony Thompson

Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

625 Dorothy St.

Metter, Ga. 30439

Thompson’s Books

of Southeast Georgia

Gene Nail is a gracious man. When a group of researchers looking for the site of the Ohoopee Saw Mills contacted him about poking around his property to see if it was the location of the original Tattnall Court House, he readily agreed. Three visits were made to Nail’s property to investigate. Through collaborations with Dr. Fred Brodgon of the Altamaha Heritage Center, Mark David Baxter of Macon and Tony Thompson of Metter it was surmised that Nail’s grandfather had built his homeplace very near the site of the original courthouse and the village called Ohoopee Saw Mills. The site is off of Ga. Hwy. 56 near the Ohoopee River. A descendant of one of the village residents Jestern Hancock-Drake, Mrs. Gail Hughes and other Hancock researchers accompanied Thompson on one trip to Nail’s property. Jestern Hancock was the south Georgia version of Miss Kitty (Gunsmoke). She ran the ferry, operated a tavern and was a female pioneer. Mrs. Gail Hughes is a living historian who portrays Jestern Hancock for demonstrations. She and the Hancock descendants wanted to see the site where their ancestor(s )lived.

After discussion and evaluation it was generally concluded that the site most likely was where the village was located. Further analysis from an archealogical team would be required to ascertain the location of specific structures but there is clear evidence of an old road bed, a well, and several trash “mittens” consistent with a village from that period. There was discussion about

a historical marker for the site in the future. The site served as the county seat from 1801 to 1833 before the courthouse was moved to the newly created town of Reidsville. After the move, the town slowly became less traveled and finally ceased to be a village.

The historical significance of the village cannot be overstated. It was a frequent stopping point for westward travelers. When the village was a focal point on the frontier, prominent people visited the village. Among the judges who journeyed through the town were William Few (of the Constitutional Convention) and George Walton (Signer of the Declaration of Independence).

Group Tours Suspected Site of Ohoopee Saw Mills– Tattnall County’s First County Seat

Phone: 912-685-3347



Preserving South Georgia’s Unique History & Heritage

We’re on the web!

History & Heritage

Thompson’s Books of S.E. Georgia

Postmaster Please Deliver to

Catalogue of Available Titles [Ga. Residents add 7% sales tax and add shipping-rates on pg. 5]
1. A Soldier’s Story of his Regiment by Pvt. G.W. Nichols, written in 1898, reprinted in 2002. Rare Regimental history of the 61st Georgia Infantry CSA, written by a private, not a general. This regiment served under Stonewall Jackson, John B. Gordon, A.R. Lawton & Clement Evans. Has company rosters, individual details. Companies formed from Tattnall, Bulloch, Brooks, Montgomery, Quitman, Bibb, and Wilkes Counties. Among the top collectible books about the War Between the States and the South. You’ll see it listed in the famous collection called “In Tall Cotton”. Hardback 294 pages $42.50

2. This is Our Life- Anderson Families of Tattnall County. Originally done in 1966 by James M. Anderson. Updated in 2002 by Laura A. Sweat and Allen Jesse Anderson. Card stock cover. 8 x11. Updated classic family history about one of the most prolific families of Tattnall County. History of Hopewell Methodist Church. 260 pgs. $25.00

3. Kinfolks Across the River- A history of the Thompson families who settled along the Ogeechee, Canoochee, Ohoopee and Altamaha Rivers. Written by Tony Thompson in 2002. Helpful to researchers of many Tattnall families. Maps, timelines, CSA history. 249 pgs, perfect bound $40.00

4. Tattnall County Inferior Court Records 1805-1832 transcribed by Gordon A.(Tony) Thompson in 2003. This book has information on nearly all the early Tattnall pioneers, especially for the years before the first extant census(1820). A wealth of genealogical and historical data for Tattnall researchers. 194 pgs. perfect bound. $25.00 Save $12.50 when you order Items #4&5 together for ……………………………..$55.00

5. Memorial Service of Pvt. John Thompson, 4th Georgia Cavalry. Video footage, edited, digitally enhanced of reunion and memorial service in Odum, Ga. 2002. Includes introduction, history, candid shots, reenactors in period dress and uniforms, credits, music, speeches and cannon firings. If you want to see what a Confederate Memorial Service looks like, or if you are planning one for your ancestor, you’ll appreciate this one. 65 minutes. $10 VHS $15 DVD

6. Bulloch County, Georgia, Genealogical Source Material 1985, Alvaretta Kenan Register. Abstracts of Deeds, Inferior Court Records, Marriage Records, Wills, Church minutes etc. Vital information from 1790’s through 1850’s. Fabulous book. 5x8 Hardback 464 pgs. $45.00

7. The Thomas Story Books Vol. 1-3 written in 1981 by Aaron Thomas. covers the descendants of Gilshot and James Thomas, Revolutionary Soldiers, of Effingham, Screven, Tattnall, Long, Liberty, McIntosh, Ware, Appling and Brantley County areas. Hardback. 300 plus pages each volume. Loaded with pictures and family profiles. I don’t think these books will be reprinted anytime soon and they are going fast. You will soon be unable to get a complete set. All three volumes Set: $125.00

8. Shirley Temple’s Classic Movie on VHS “The Littlest Rebel: The original full length movie in black and white. Runs 70 minutes. Professionally reproduced by Crown Rights Media, this is one of Temple’s best dramatic roles. Features music, dancing and lots of smiles. Great for the whole family. You’ll be singing “Polly Wolly Doodle” all day and enjoy Temple’s classic rendition of “Dixie”. In protective hard shell case. Your children or grandchildren will thank you for this one. They don’t sell this at Movie Gallery or Blockbuster because of political correctness, but there’s nothing offensive here, just good old fashioned family entertainment. VHS $10.00 DVD $15.00

9. The Gallant Little 7th: A history of the 7th Georgia Cavalry Regiment

By John W. Latty, 2004 New to the market. This is the author’s second book and it is fabulously done

Professionally researched, edited and hardbound, it is a handsome book that reads like a classic. If you have ancestors from Bryan County or nearby counties, it is highly probable that some of them served in this regiment. Complete with muster rolls and thorough index to help you find your ancestor. If we had a South Georgia Book of the Month Club, this would be a feature selection. (For that matter, so would all of these books.) Who knows if this book will make a second printing. Get your copy now to be sure. 250 pgs. hardback $30.00

10. In The Saddle, Exploits of the 5th Ga. Cavalry by Timothy Daiss

Excellent profile of this legendary coastal Ga. unit that saw action in major battles. The author is a professional writer from Savannah and his love of the south shows throughout. He’s done a great job with this book. If your ancestors hailed from Liberty County or surrounding areas you probably have some kin who served in this regiment. Over a thousand men were involved in this regiment, including men from Chatham, Bulloch, Liberty, Tattnall and surrounding counties. hardback 120 pgs. $30.00

11. Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller, with an afterword by Elizabeth Fox- Genovese. This 1934 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Literature was written by a Baxley native. This is her story about the people of the South Georgia piney woods before the War Between the States. This book was largely responsible for the discovery of the more famous book, Gone With the Wind. Though not as famous, THIS is a south Georgia story, of the people who did not have mansions or slave plantations but who were close to the land on the Georgia frontier. Handsomely bound, newly reprinted, and with an attractive dust cover. 357 pages hardback $30.00

  1. A History of Reconstruction in Georgia 1865-1872 This reprint of a 1916 UDC booklet begins with

the quote: “He who is ignorant of what happened before he was born remains a child all his life.”

Perfect for students. 60 pages, cardstock & vinyl cover, spiral bound. $7.00

  1. It’s Not What You Know: The Battle to Control How You Feel About History by Gordon A. (Tony)

Thompson 2004. There is a battle being waged for control of our history. This book shares my ob

servations. Refutes revisionists James Loewen and Howard Zinn. 60 pgs. perfect bound $5.00

14. A Durrance-Durrence Family History From England to North Carolina to Wiregrass Ga. by Evans

Co. Historian Dorothy Durrence Simmons, 2000. Fabulous history of the Durrence family. Well re

searched and wonderfully written. Loaded with maps, pictures and documents. A classic that will not

be around for long. Lots of allied family and Tattnall County related information.

Handsome 8x11 hardback, 149 pgs. plus index. $40.00

  1. The Tattnall County, Ga. Superior Court Records 1805-1832 by Gordon A. Thompson Companion to Tattnall Inferior Court Records 1805-1832. 400 pgs. Hardback 6x9 inches $50.00

  2. Order # 15 and # 4 (Superior and Inferior Court Records Books 1805-1832) Together for a special price of $80 –Includes sales tax and shipping. $80.00

17. Houses of Heartpine by Pharris Johnson . Excellent groundbreaking work on the antebellum architecture of Evans Co. Ga. 177 pgs. Perfect bound, 8 x11 inches $30.00

18. Bellville, Georgia-The 1st 100 years by Pharris Johnson Comprehensive history of the early Tattnall/Evans Co. town, including photos, profiles. 305 pages 8x11 hardback $45.00

19. Under the Southern Cross- Soldier Life with Gordon Bradwell and the Army of

Northern Va. (31st Ga. Infantry). by Pharris Johnson Excellent first person account based on letters of Gordon Bradwell. 6x9 inches. Hardback 273 pgs $30.00

20. Evans County and the Creation of Fort Stewart, Georgia by Pharris Johnson Inspired by Dot Simmons’ report on the topic, Johnson gives a complete overview of the history and effects of the Fort’s creation. 103 pgs. Spiral bound 8x11 inches. $20.00

  1. South Georgia Rebels by Alton J. Murray [1976] True wartime experiences of the 26th Reg. Ga. Volunteer Infantry of the Lawton-Gordon-Evans Brigade. Excellent companion book to A Soldier’s Story of His Regiment (#1) as both regiments were in the same brigade and many modern wiregrass descendants had ancestors in both regiments. Includes maps, rosters, bios, profiles. Formidable research. 330 pgs. 6x9 hardback $42.50

  2. The Family of Bridger and Rachel Barry Jones of Bulloch County Georgia and Some Affiliated Families by Ted Evan Lewis 1999 Gateway Press, hardback 6x9 , 270 pgs. Plus 46 pg. maiden & married name cross index . Loaded with photos. First class history, excellent book. $45.00

  3. The Douglas Genealogy by Mary Lois Forrester 1992 Genealogy Publishing Service hardback 6x9 150 pgs. Plus 20 pg. Index. Loaded with photos and documents. Excellent book, limited no. $30.00

  4. Isham Walker Genealogy by Mary Lois Forrester 8x11 softcover, spiral bound. 60 pgs. Plus 17 pg. Descendant supplement. Loaded with info. Relevant to Walker, Kemp other allied families. $20.00

  5. Tattnall County Newspaper Extracts 1812-1891 by Tad Evans 1998 8x11 hardback 240 pgs.

With index. Great research book. $30.00

  1. Song of the South– Family Classic– Uncle Remus, Brer Rabbit, VHS only $15.00

  2. Dixie-Story of Dan Emmett and the classic song– Bing Crosby & Dorothy Lamour VHS only $10.00

Ga. residents [only] add 7% sales tax to the total. Unless otherwise noted for individual books, Shipping Rates Are:

For orders over $5 add $1.50, over $10.00 add $2.50, over $20.00 add $5.00 , over $40.00 add $7.50, over $60 add $10.00, over $70 add $12.50, Over $ 90- FREE SHIPPING Books shipped via USPS Priority Mail.

Circle selections from the list above or list separately and mail to Tony Thompson

625 Dorothy St., Metter, Ga. 30439 or call 912-685-3347 Email:

Volume 1, Issue 1 The Hencart Road Review—Catalogue- Page 4 June-July 2005

Volume 1, Issue 1 The Hencart Road Review— Catalogue– Page 5 June-July 2005

Tony Thompson

Editor-Publisher of

The Hencart Road Review

Enclosed is your copy of:

The Hencart Road Review

Boston, Slave Freed and Recognized for War of 1812 Service

Continued from pg. 3

his owners with uniform fidelity, and whereas, during the war of 1812, he served with his master in the company from Liberty county, which marched to Darien, and remained there under arms in momentary expectation of an engagement with the British who threatened a landing, and other important services to the public.”

“Be it therefore enacted &c., That in consideration of the services stated in the foregoing preamble, and the petition accompanying this bill, the Negro man slave Boston, the property of E. B Way, Catherine P. Wheeler, Thomas B. Wheeler, H. R. Wheeler and Eugene Bacon the of county of Liberty, and State aforesaid, and John Savage of the county of Chatham, and State aforesaid, said owners all consenting thereto, be and he is hereby manumitted and forever set free, and shall hereafter enjoy all the rights and privileges to which free Negroes in the State of Georgia are entitled.”

The story of Boston and his manumission represents a part of our history that has been heretofore largely ignored. Liberty County and to a lesser extent neighboring Tattnall County had prominent slave owners who were widely regarded as some of the more benevolent owners in all of Georgia. Sadly, the role of southern slave-owners and churches in the Southern Emancipationmovement has been mostly forgotten or dismissed. We would do well to remember that it was the Northern Radical Abolitionists who derailed the peaceful Southern Emancipation movement which advocated gradual manumission over forced abolition. The peaceful manumission of Boston sheds light on the history of slavery in our area.

Grave Location for Boston Sought - Editors note: Any information on the burial location of Boston would be greatly appreciated. His grave deserves a military service marker if it does not have one. Call 912-685-3347.

Family Seeks info on Bacon Family Slaves, Freed Blacks

Members of the Bacon Family of Long County are researching the history of the Bacon slaves and other black families from the Liberty and Tattnall county areas. Any information on the descendants of the slave named Boston would be greatly appreciated. Call Novia Nesbitt at 912-545-

Altamaha Heritage Center Continues to Solicit New Members

The Altamaha Heritage Center seeks to place historical markers in our area and curate a museum dedicated to the history of the people of the Altamaha River basin. The museum will be located in Lyons (Toombs County). A membership form and information is available at . To join or make a contribution contact Heritage Center President Ann M. Carswell at 912-557-3501 or write to Altamaha Heritage Center P.O. Box 1085 Lyons, Ga. 30436

Profile: John Grace Revolutionary Soldier of Tattnall County

Tattnall County was created (in 1801) after the Revolution from the interior and sparsely inhabited parts of two colonial parishes: St. Philip’s and St. John’s. It is said that Liberty County, formerly of St. John’s parish, was so named because of the fervent spirit of Liberty and support for the Revolution among its populace. It is worth noting that a large portion of the original Tattnall County came from that same parish. After the war, many Revolutionary soldiers from other states acquired land grants and moved into Tattnall County. Over 45 Revolutionary soldiers were among Tattnall’s early settlers. Today, only a handful of the graves of these Revolutionary soldiers are identified in Tattnall. Some have unmarked or forgotten graves. Many moved from Tattnall and are buried elsewhere. Some are buried outside the modern county boundaries.

Much of what we know about our local Revolutionary soldiers comes from their payroll and pension records. From the beginning of the Revolutionary War, there were problems with paying soldiers for their service. Depreciation of continental currency was one of the first. Providing assistance to those who were disabled or lost limbs in the war was another. In 1780, Washington urged Congress to pass a pension of half pay for all officers who served the duration of the war. Because of suspicions among officers that Congress would not honor the pensions, Washington pushed Congress to pass the “commutation act” of 1783 which offered pensioners five years full pay or interest bearing securities instead of a life pension. In 1785, a lifetime pen-

sion was authorized for disabled soldiers of all ranks.

After the Revolution there were several pension reform acts passed. Some of the acts extended pensions to widows and orphans of soldiers. Others targeted the widespread instances of fraud and abuse associated with dispensing the pensions. On 7 June 1832, Congress passed a sweeping pension law that extended pro-rated pensions to many who previously did not qualify. The act also required more details and evidence to substantiate claims. In October of 1832, testimony and applications for these pensions began to appear in the Tattnall County Superior Court Records.

John Grace first appears in the extant records of Tattnall County as a juror for the Superior Court in the spring of 1805. Tax digest returns for the same year show him as the owner of one hundred acres. Tax digests records for 1812 show him as the owner of 220 acres originally granted to McLendal, located in Capt. Blackmon’s militia district. Below is the sworn Revolutionary soldier pension testimony of Tattnall County resident John Grace and his witnesses.

Profile of John Grace– Revolutionary Soldier of Tattnall County

Continued from pg. 6

“Now sitting John Grace a resident of the county and State aforesaid, who was born in North Carolina on the twenty seventh day of August One thousand seven hundred and sixty one the record of which is lost or mislaid, is aged seventy one years who

being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath make the following decoration, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress passed June seventh One thousand eight hundred and thirty two, That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated. “

“He entered the service in the year One thousand and seven hundred and eighty two under a draft and served three months and twenty days under Captain John Giles and Colonel Lit Graves he and four hundered others rendevouzed (sic) at Kington on Nuse River from there he marched up the country and was stationed at Smithfield from thence to Rockfish bridge near Cape Fear River, the British then were in Wilmington, they marched up against us, fired three cannon, the horse company on our back and we had to give ground & The Second Campaign I served under Capt. Johnson and Col. John Spicer of Onslow County. We marched into Wilmington with about three hundred Militia. The day of (sic) after the British evacuated the Town, there we finished the tour, twelve of us were discharged by orders from the Captain which discharge is lost.”

“In the year One thousand seven hundred and eighty three, After having served seven months, He was a resident of the county of Wayne of the State of North Carolina at the time he was drafted and since the revolution has been a resident of the State of South Carolina and Georgia and is now a resident of the County of Tattnall for the last twenty five years. He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except (sic) the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of this State or any other.”

“Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid. John Grace”

“We John Coward a Clergyman residing in the county of Tattnall and James Smith residing in the county of Tattnall hereby certify that we are well acquainted with John Grace who has subscribed and sworn to the above declaration that we believe him to be seventy one years of age, that he is reputed and believed in the neighborhood where he abides to have been a soldier of the Revolution and that we concur in that opinion. Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.”

John Cowart

James Smith
“And the said court hereby declares its opinion after the investigation of the matter and after putting the interrogation prescribed by the War department that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier and served as he states. And the court further certifies that it appears that John Coward who has signed the preceeding certificate is a clergyman resident in the county of Tattnall and that James Smith who has also signed the same is a resident in the county of Tattnall and is a credible person and that their statement is entitled to credit.”
A year later, on 23 December 1833, John Grace was named by the Georgia General Assembly as one of the trustees for the new Pleasant Grove Campground. The legislation reads as follows:

“SEC. 2. And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That Joshua Dasher, John Grace, William Grace, John Johnson, and Joseph J. Bell, and their successors in office, be, and they are hereby declared to be a body corporate, under the name and style of the Trustees of the Pleasant Grove Camp-Ground, in the county of Tattnall.” Signed by Gov. Wilson Lumpkin.

According to “A History of Evans County, Georgia”, Joshua Dasher deeded land for a campsite near Providence Church on 17 January 1820. Today the site is in Toombs County, west of the Ohoopee River, off of Ga. road 147 about 5 miles east of the intersection with U.S. 1. There is a cemetery there known as The Old Campground Cemetery. There is no marked grave at that cemetery for John Grace. However, there is a marked grave for his fellow campground trustee, South Carolina native Joshua Dasher (b. 1781- d. 1855).

From Tattnall County census records of 1830, it appears that John Grace, who would have been 79 at the time, had either passed away or moved. The church with which he was associated became part of Toombs County in 1905. The story of John Grace is typical of many of Tattnall’s Revolutionary soldiers and pioneers who made their mark in Tattnall County. With the passage of time, their own migration or the changing of county boundaries, they came to be associated with the history of other places, counties and states. In other cases, they have simply been forgotten and their graves never permanently marked. That does not erase the contributions they made to the early history of Tattnall County, Georgia.


The Tattnall County, Georgia Superior Court Records 1805-1832, Gordon Thompson, Gateway Press, 2005 p. 324-327

A History of Evans County, Evans County Historical Society, Dot Simmons p. 224-226

Sketches of By-Gone Days, Joseph T. Grice, 1958 p. 11-12

Georgia Laws and Legislation Database, University System of Georgia, Online Virtual Library Initiative, Galileo. 2005

Cemeteries of Toombs County, Moses Coleman p. 14

Hencart road review nov-dec 2005 page 7

The Hencart Road Review

An Update From Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

Hencart road review nov-dec 2005 page 7

The Hencart Road Review

An Update From Thompson’s Books of Southeast Georgia

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