History & Genealogy
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Battle of Shephard's Plantation
The Creek Indians occupied most of Gwinnett County until about 1826 when they were pushed across the Chattahoochee River. In 1836 when they burned a village in Stewart County called "Roanoke", Governor William Schley called for volunteers. Three companies were organized into a Creek Indian War. Captain Garmany and his mounted volunteers left Lawrenceville on May 26, 1836, and arrived in Columbus on June 3rd, then continued down the river to Shepherd's Plantation. Twenty five of the men were sent to guard a fort situated on the river. Then, on June 9th when shots were heard, the men were dispatched. They discovered Indians preparing for battle. A skirmish caused Captain Garman to be seriously wounded. But Major Jernigan soon arrived with his men and charged the enemy from Fort Stewart. Eight soldiers were killed, viz: J. S. Lacy, Orderly-Sergeant James C. Martin, James H. Holland, Robert T. Holland, James M. Allen, William M. Sims, J. A. V. Tate, and Henry W. Paden. The following year a meeting was held in Lawrenceville to decide to have the bodies of the eight young men who had died at Shepherd's Plantation brought back to Gwinnett County and buried with military honors in a common grave. The burial occurred on February 17th, 1837 in the northwest corner of the courthouse yard.
When Events are Measured by Time
When a soldier goes to war and returns home wounded from a musket ball, he lives the rest of his life with a decided limp. Everything that he did that day at Valley Forge becomes a measure of his devotion to family, friends and neighbors. Perhaps he was one of those unfortunate prisoners who slept in the filthy belly of the prison ship "Jersey" where so many were flogged to the bones. And the later struggle of working his farm with that limp just to feed his children and restore order to a land shredded and torn by war. The chores sap his strength and steal his youth, until one day he settles down to write the story of the battles which scarred his body all for one cause....freedom! The application for a pension is sketchy, at best, as it describes the red coat who fired the musket and the pain of the musket ball riveting through his leg. He does not always recall the name of his captain, because he was shifted from command to command, but the name of General Washington leaves his thoughts. And sadly he remembers that those who advocated for war, wrote the Bill of rights and American Constitution, lost everything. For it was his generation who knew all too well the mark of tyranny and injustice to human dignity suffered under a king. And wanted better. Therefore, although he did not realize it at the time, he fought for the future of all Americans, past and present.
The Year of Probate Defines Many Clues
Wills filed by the county clerk reflect the date of probate, not the date of the last will and testament itself. One can figure that the actual death occurred within two to three days within which it was filed. The heirs usually filed as soon as possible in order to facilitate and pay for the funeral. Still, one may sometimes expect a long rage of dates in the will book, despite its title. For example, Book D 1798 to 1800 could actually contain wills dating from 1776 to 1810. It is simply a matter of who recorded them at the time.
During the 1830s the Bedingfield Inn once served as a stage coach stop and the office of Dr. Bedingfield. The Greek Revival structure stands on its original site on the Courthouse Square in Lumpkin.
Samuel Johnston, the son of John Johnston, a Revolutionary War Soldier who served under Elijah Clarke, was a pioneer from North Carolina to Stewart County, first settled in Lincoln County. He built his home on the road leading from Lumpkin to Columbus, which was about 4 miles from Lumpkin. He was a planter and surveyor, and owned a grist and flour mill on the creek near his home. Johnston was listed in the History of Stewart County, Georgia, Volume I as serving as a First Lieutenant in the Stewart Guards, 1831 to 1850. A monument was erected to Johnston "Upon a knoll overlooking Colotchee Creek Valley about three and one half miles north of Lumpkin on the Columbus Road, there was unveiled and dedicated a memorial honoring First. Lieut. Samuel Johnston (1798-1843) yesterday, Sunday, May 19th, 1957." (Columbus Newspaper).
Stewart County Wills, Estates, Marriages, Church RecordsStewart County was created from Randolph County in 1830 Later, portions of Stewart County were used to create Quitman County in 1858. County seat: Lumpkin, Georgia. Early Settlers: Sampson L. Lampkin, county surveyor; Edward Studevant, coroner; Thomas R. Mangham, clerk of the superior court, Jonathan F. Bridges, sheriff; Joseph Williams; Sampson Bell; William C. Grimmer; Robert Applewhite: and H. M. Jenkins.
Stewart County Databases Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Digital Images of Stewart County Wills 1850 to 1852
Testators: Burke, John; Culpepper, John ; Gates, Samuel; Hall, Josiah ; Horton, Daniel ;Hughes, Nancy; Thornton, Robert ;West, Mary ;Williams, John
Digital Images of Stewart County Annual Returns and Estates
Testators: Allen Belcher, William Disharoon, Theophilus Hardie, Stephen Harris, Moses Matthews, Patterson Orphans, Joseph Powell, Matilda Price, John Stevenson, Peter Thompson, James White and Alexander Wilson.
Abstracts of Stewart County Wills
Indexes to Probate Records
- Wills, Bk A, 1837-1849
- Will Bk A, 1837-1849.
- Harmony Church, Richland, 1839 members.
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