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Annual Returns Help Tell the Story
Even if a person dies intestate (without a last will and testament), the heirs can still be found. This is done by examining the annual returns for every year until the estate is closed. The first thing which happens is that an administrator is appointed who makes an inventory of the estate, has a sale to sell off the items and subsequently files a return every year thereafter to the probate county in the county which the person died. This return lists all disbursements ranging from funeral expenses to distributions to the heirs which may occur at any time over the period the estate is active. The heirs provide receipts, called vouchers. Examine the expenditures closely. Then try to ascertain the identity of the payees. One easy method is a study of the census records for that county. Some of the heirs are husbands of daughters, so check out these names in the marriage records.
The 1820 Land Lottery
Georgians drew in the land lottery because it was an opportunity to possess free land. After the Revolutionary War, tobacco crops had worn out the land, families found themselves travelling from Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas into Georgia seeking new opportunities. According to custom, the old family seat was occupied by the eldest son, thus necessitating the younger sons to seek more abundant and richer soil elsewhere. Thus, as the Indians began to be removed from Georgia, this became a popular destination. Actually, the Lottery of 1820 created free land in Southwest Georgia including Calhoun County and was available to all citizens, especially veterans of the Revolutionary War. If a Revolutionary soldier had already drawn a lucky lot as a citizen in 1805 or 1807, he was allowed another draw in the lottery of 1820. If the soldier had not taken an extra draw, he was allowed two in this lottery. The survey continued until the first Monday in May 1827 when the lottery ended. Therefore, if behooves the genealogist to search for the plat with its original boundaries, then follow-up through the deed records. As people settled the region, their names became boundaries (listed in the deed description) as well as creeks, rivers, pine land, barren land, etc. It is always a good practice to acquire a local county map from the tax assessment office at the court house. Use the legend to locate old roads, churches, railroads, etc.
The Spencer Repeating Rifle Used by Confederate Soldiers
The Spencer Repeating Rifle was a breech-loading, magazine-fed, manually cocked, standard issue weapon during the Civil War. About 200,000 of these guns were issued. There were at least four Confederate regiments who served from Calhoun County in the Georgia Infantry, viz: 12th Regiment,Company D, 25th Regiment, Company L, "Calhoun Repeaters" 42nd Regiment, 51st Regiment, and Company E.
The pensions of those who served from Calhoun County are included to members of Georgia Pioneers
Calhoun County Wills, Estates, Marriages
Calhoun County was created in 1854 by an Act of the General Assembly. It was taken from Baker and Early Counties. The county name came from the South Carolina Senator, John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), a strong supporter of States' Rights.
Calhoun County Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers
Calhoun County Wills
- Index to Calhoun County Marriagess 1880 to 1909
Indexes to Probate Records
- Abstracts of Wills 1855-1910
- Index to Calhoun County Estate Vouchers 1869 to 1885
- Index to Calhoun County Estate Vouchers 1879 to 1884