Greene County Marriages, Wills, Estates, Tax Digests
Greene County was created from Washington County in 1786 and was named after Revolutionary War hero Major-General Nathaniel Greene who issued many land grants to his veteran troops. After the war, Greene and wife Catharine built a home near Savannah called Mulberry Plantation but Greene soon died, on June 19, 1786. In 1825 parts of Greene County were used to help create Taliaferro County as well as Oglethorpe and Clarke Counties between 1794 and 1877. The County Seat is Greensboro [originally spelled Greensborough and named for Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene]. Early Settlers: John Adams, John Armor, Richard Bailey, James Blythe, Walker Brockman, Edward Cannon, Joseph Carmichael, James Fuller, Hugh Hall, John Jeter, Edward Lumpkin, Phillemon Martin, Landon Palmer, James Stewart, Thomas.
If you are looking for details in family life, read the old newspapers! Most begin with the National News on the first several pages, followed by gossipy local information about its residents. In the notation below, one learns of an old China tree
which was planted by one or more residents. A familiar tradition was for people to bring seeds and plants from their old homes abroad or in the colonies to a new home site. The Redlands District lies mostly within Greene County, with small areas in Oglethorpe and Oconee Counties. The Chinese privet, a forest-killing plant, is considered an invasive shrub and
threatens to take over, but to choke out all other plants in the local forests in Greene County. It was removed from heavily infested riparian forests in the Georgia Piedmont in 2005 by mulching machine or chainsaw felling.
"In Mr. J. H. Hillman's yard there is an old China tree, which has been deprived of its branches and shows some signs of decary. Sprouting from one of the crevices near the top of the trunk is a small oak shoot. How the acorn which produced it ever became lodged there no one can say. Another curiousity in the tree line may be seen in Capt. A. H. Smith's yard. That also is an old China, which for several years has been covered from the bottom of the trunk to the top with ivy vines." Source: The Weekly Bee published Union Point, Greene County, Georgia Friday, June 21, 1889.
How Tax Records Help the Genealogist By Jeannette Holland Austin
The tax digests in any given county in the State of Georgia provides essential data to the researcher as it lists all of the parcels of land which the person owned and in what counties. In Georgia, one can easily define the acquisition of properties from lotteries and the approximate date simply by noting the amount of acreage in the tax record. For example, the 1805 and 1807 land lotteries offered 202-1/2 acres in Baldwin and Wilkinson Counties; and 490 acres in Wayne County (1805). During 1820: Appling (490), Early (250); Gwinnett (250); Habersham (250) (490); Hall (250); Irwin (490); Rabun (490)(250) and Walton (250). The 1827 Land Lottery gave 202-1/2 acres in Carroll, Coweta, Lee, Muscogee and Troup. The 1832 lottery consisted of 202-1/2 acres in Cass (now Bartow), Cherokee, Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding and Union Counties. These are all Indian lands belonging to the Creeks and Cherokees. There was also a lottery encompassing North Georgia lands formerly owned by the Cherokees where people drew for 40-acre gold lots and one can assume the occupation was "gold miner".
The best route to information is to first search the lottery records, then the tax digests in specific counties. In many instances, the names of waterways and creeks are provided, also the type of timber on the land, and the name of the adjoining landowner (if there was one). The digests were not indexed and are listed by districts. It is a good idea to search through the time period during which the families resided in that county. In the back of each book is a section of "Defaulters". That is important in discerning whether the family had moved on, or died. A good rule of thumb is that any person listed as a defaulter who was 60+ years of age, probably died in that county. A thorough study of the tax digests becomes essential especially if no other books survived for that county. This is where the tracts of land of each person having the same surname should be compared from one year to the next. For example, John Smith was listed for a number of years. Then, there was an administrator beside his name. (This is the approximate date of his death). Then, following through the years, another persons with the same surname has that exact acreage added to his accounting. This would be an heir, probably the oldest son.
A good practice is to make copies of the digest for later comparisons between probable heirs, neighbors and friends. John Smith may appear many times, but how do you know if he is the same John Smith? The answer is to always take notes of the neighbors. Everyone listed in the same district are friends and relatives. It is the community as well as the history of the times!