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History of the Old Coffee County Court House

1891 Coffee County Court House The first court house in Douglas, Georgia was made of logs and was erected ca 1855. Fireplaces and pot-belly stoves caused court house fires in the old days and it is uncertain as to how often this structure was rebuilt. Supposingly, in 1889 this building was replaced by another log structure which burned to the ground in 1898. The court house pictured on the above postcard was dated 1891. The present two-story court house was erected in 1840, with subsequent additions.

Reading India Ink on Old Documents

inkwell The process of making India ink traces back to China during 3,000 B. C. The traditional Chinese method of making the ink was to grind a mixture of hide glue, carbon black, lampblack, and bone black pigment with a pestle and mortar, then pour it into a ceramic dish to dry. Then a wet brush would be applied until it reliquified. The ink used in ancient China was in the form of ink sticks made of lampblack and animal glue. Many of the ancient cultures employed a common ingredient in India ink known as "carbon black." The ancient Egyptians and Greeks both had their own recipes for "carbon black." Most all of the old English documents were written in Latin with India Ink. And this tradition was carried forward by American colonists into official records. For many years, India ink was in use by American schools up until about the middle of the 20th century. The genealogist is quite familiar with the beautiful formation of old script in old wills, deeds and marriages. Not only that, but India ink hundreds of years old is sometimes worthy of framing. The genealogist learns to recognize the artistically leggy colonial alphabet and its transitions into modern times. Yet the survival of the ink upon documents depends upon the manner in which the documents were stored. Sunlight, dampness and other exposures has affected some of our most important documents. The result is that pages or portions of pages are faded and difficult to read. I have visited courthouses where the ink was so faded that I gave up on transcribing the records. However, the eye of the camera has gotten so sophistocate that I later returned and it captured the paragraphs which were almost completely faded from the page.

Map of Coffee County

Genealogy History

blog Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin Profile


The Reason for Monuments

R. E. Lee If you are in a historical area, is it not more convenient to read the details on a monument than to guess at what occurred on that site? The story gets changed as time passes along. Thus, the sooner the monument is erected (or story is written), the more accurate the details. Historians and genealogists want truth in their historical facts. Also, some of the earlier monuments were made with "casts". George Washington and General Robert E. Lee both had body casts made. Robert E. Lee sitting on his horse Traveller in the Virginia Park in Charlottesville is an accurate replica of the general. The timeless art of creating such statues cannot be replaced. I was thrilled when I visited Richmond and saw a true replica of Robert E. Lee as a young man on his horse, and later as an older gentleman. If such monuments are broken down or removed, that means that the truth will get perverted, and history re-written to suit spoilers and protaganonists. The purpose of remembering the valor of our ancestors as they fault for their beliefs and the part that moment played in history is important. How else can we teach our children about freedom AND how else can we correct the mistakes of the past? To learn true history, one must research their genealogy. Because people were involved in making history, all people, the little details of their lives create the "ifs, ands, and whys." George Washington was not alone when he won the war against Great Britain. Those soldiers suffering the icy winter on the Delaware River were ordinary people who took up arms for the cause of freedom. And, it was the tenacity of such people which brought about its conclusion. Everyone suffered. The soldiers. Those at home. The same is true of the Civil War. Great suffering occurred before that war, and afterwards. By planters, farmers and slaves. Everyone suffered for the cause.

The Revolutionary War Soldier in your Family



Coffee County Wills and Estates

Douglas, Georgia


Coffee County was created in 1854 from Creek lands and was formed primarily from the region of Telfair County south of the Ocmulgee River, with smaller portions added from Irwin, Clinch, and Ware counties. The county was named for former soldier, state legislator, and congressman General John E. Coffee (1782-1836). Some of the earliest settlers were: Wiley Byrd, Joseph Bailey, William Dent, Joseph Durham, John Gasper, Leon Hargraves, James Isaac, Mark Lott, Elijah Paulk, Alfred Peterson, Matthew Summerlin, Arthur Turner and J. W. Wilcox.

Coffee County Genealogy Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers

Online Images of Wills 1874 to 1898

Testators:Ashley, Caroline; Creech, William ;Curry, Daniel ;Douglas, Robert;Ellis, Thomas ;Friar, Narcissa ;Henson, James ;Hill, J. J.; McGovern, Matthew ;Meeks, Hymrick;Meeks, John ;Pearson, Benajah ;Roberts, Margaret ;Smith, Catherine ;Spivey, Edward ;Vickers, Young ;Wilcox, Daniel ;Wilcox, George ;Wilcox, James M.

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Wills 1899 to 1931
  • Annual Returns, Vol. A 1877 to 1898.
  • Divisions of Estates 1901 to 1941
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Georgia Wills

Remember the Day?

Remember...
  • When no one locked their doors?
  • We sat on the front porch counting different makes of cars? In those days models like the Cadillac coupe de ville were more glamorous.
  • Everyone had a front porch and we were invited to sip lemonade and chit chat?
  • When we acquainted ourselves with neighbors by walking the streets?