Georgia Pioneers


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Finding the Way Home

broken tombstones Somewhere there is a road to the old home place. It may be covered over with dirt or cement, but it exists. The past is not completely hidden. We learn that in archaeological digs. As erosion, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, lava and fire help sweep away former times, we forget. As communities and villages disappear into towns and cities, the world turns. Somehow we think that we are the substance of all civilization. Yet the surface has not been touched so far as discovery is concerned. There still remains the written records which genealogists crave to help explain and complete their own history. Despite the loss of important documents, clues remain. At this moment, genealogists are beginning to share their information over the internet. A recent discovery of my own was that someone had shared a photograph of my great-grandfather over the internet. For years, I searched for this soldier who died during the Civil War. Seems that he was a surgeon who served in an Alabama regiment. Imagine the joy which I experienced in seeing this photograph! Did you realize that people hid important documents behind wooden walls, under floorboards and in wells? An afternoon in the woods near the the old home place might turn up broken tombtones buried in pine needles, or tincans buried in the dirt containing items of interest.

Clues to Finding More Ancestors

sandbars at St. Simons One needs to really dig into old boring records to piece together the genealogy puzzle. The Colonial Records of Georgia denotes an vessel from London wrecking on a sandbar near St. Simon's Island about 1740. This ship sank and all its passengers were lost, including the infamous magistrate, Thomas Causton, who had traveled to London to clear his good name of charges brought against him for the mishandling of estates. Causton had arrived in February of 1733 along with General Oglethorpe, the first shipload of passengers to settle Georgia. For obvious reasons, it is impossible to find the names of all passengers who attempted to cross the seas. John Wesley kept a diary of his tenure in Georgia. It is full of interesting details about the early settlers, but also provides names of the settlers and his notations concerning baptisms, marriages and deaths. German immigrants and their origins as well as biographies of the first settlers to Georgia is available to members of Georgia Pioneers

183 Years Later, the Cherokees Return to the Silver Mines in North Georgia

wagon trainDuring the infamous Trail of Tears which left North Carolina, Tennessee and North Georgia during the 1830s the Cherokees planned ahead by disguising and hiding their silver mines. The Cherokee Trail of Tears result from the enforcement of the Treaty of New Echota according to the provisions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which exchanged Native American Land in the East for land West of the Mississippi River. This agreement was never accepted by the tribal leadership nor the majority of the Cherokee people. Although the removal began in 1833, it was not handily enforced by the U. S. Government until 1838 when about 2,000 Cherokees were re-located in the Indian Territory known today as Oklahoma. Upon examining the Dawes Rolls applications (1903) wherein descendants applied for (free) land in Oklahoma, it is quite obvious that not all of the Cherokees left Georgia because there were still Cherokee families residing in North Georgia having as much as 1/32nd Indian Blood, some of whom remembered the names of relatives listed on Indian Rolls. It was not until the final trek of 1838 that an estimated 4,000 Cherokees died en route. About 1914 a wagon train of Indians suddenly appeared on the horizon of several North Georgia Counties carrying tools and maps! These were the children and grandchildren of those who were driven West. The families went about collecting silver and other valuables from hidden mines. The mines were scattered throughout Forsyth, Paulding, Lumpkin and White Counties. Before the wagon train, some of the silver had already been discovered buried inside black pots along creek beds and ditches.

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Indian Legends which "Live On"

Young Deer Burial youngdeergrave However, there are some legends which live on, such as " Young Deer" of Forsyth County. John Tidwell is believed to have been a full-blooded Cherokee who resided in North Georgia, around Paulding County. He was married to a white woman, Winnafred (Winnie) Tidwell. Their union produced a son, Indian John Tidwell. He died near Allatoona in Bartow County, Georgia after being shot by an unknown killer. The stone contains the prayer - " Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset". Many descendants of John Tidwell applied for money from the U. S. Court of Claims (1906-1910), claiming that John Tidwell was a Cherokee Indian, the son of Youngdeer, and that he went west ca 1835 to the reservation in Arkansas, but later returned to Georgia. All of their applications were rejected because of inconsistencies.

Genealogy Hint: Native American Records are available to members of Georgia Pioneers.

Tracing Native Americans

Cherokees Should you be tracing your roots in the Georgia records, the 1830 Census is a beginning. The counties of North Georgia, such as Gwinnett, Forsyth, Paulding, Hall, etc. is where to search. Mostly Indian names are found on these census records. Other than that, Indian rolls must be examined. Do not overlook the Dawes Rolls whereby about 1903 the US Government attempted to deed Oklahoma lands to anyone who could prove has much as 1/32nd Indian lineage. About 33,000 applications poured in. Most of the applicants could not prove lineage, and based information upon what they had been told. But let us return to the days of the "Trail of Tears" when government officers escorted the Cherokee from Georgia. Every Indian did not leave. During 1833 the Cherokees took an Oath to remain Georgia (This list is available on Georgia Pioneers). Since this group of people were allowed to remain behind, then it is only logical to assume that others were not forced to leave. That is where the 35,000 applications enter the story. During 1906, according to the applicants, they all had Indian lineage. Some of them could identify the name of their full-blooded ancestor. Dating from the first Roll of 1818, records were kept of the names of Native Americans. Therefore, if the name of the applicant's ancestor did not appear on any of them, then they were rejected. One must respect the meticulous existence and maintenance of the Rolls. While tracing ancestors, this is where one establishes true lineage. One must also take into account that during the Civil War, slaves escaped and joined renegade Indians known as "Seminoles ", and disappeared into the swamps of North Georgia and Florida. If one has visited the Okefenokee and viewed several old houses and the primitive methods of farming in the swamps, it is easy to understand how people get lost to genealogists. Finding any records of these groups is almost impossible, unless something could be discovered in the records kept in Spanish-Florida. From the early 1500s, there were Indian tribes settling in St. Augustine, Florida and living among French and Spanish settlements. There are several old cemeteries worth viewing facing the river on San Marcos Avenue.

There is a Road to the Past


Poole's Hall

Suwanee, Georgia

Forsyth County Online Genealogy Records: Wills, Estates, Marriages


Vanns Tavern Forsyth County was formed in 1832 and given away in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery. It was formerly occupied by Cherokee Indians, most of whom were removed west as a result of the Act of 1832. Before leaving, the silver and gold mines were hidden, but marked on maps. During the early 1920's a caravan of wagons of Cherokees from Oklahoma were seen loading their minerals into wagons. Gold deposits were found in the county during the Georgia gold rush. A visit to this county discovered that the surving will book beginning in 1856 was virtually not readable. Many pages were blank due to the fact that the ink had faded. I filmed the blank pages, then used the photo enhancer to bring them up. Although most of the pages are readable, one must examine each word separately. Otherwise, no one would know whose wills are in this book. The early settling families were: Braselton, Bruton, Porter, Julian, Jackson, Hutchins, Merritt, Mills, Harding, Sanford, Cochran, Wills, Strickland, McGinnis,Westbrook, Creamer, Whitmire, Owens, Kellogg, Wofford, Ezzard, Bell, Garrett, Williams, Gilstrap, Patterson Sewell, Pilgrim, Lindsey, Mangum, Hansard,Vaughn and others.

Documents Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers

Marriages

  • Index to Marriages 1833-1848
  • Marriages from newspapers 1885-1886

Online Images of Will Book 1856-1892

Testators: * Allen, Beverly * Baily, John * Barnett, Casander * Bell,George W. * Billis, Phillip * Blake, John M. * Braselton, Mary * Brown, Robert * Burrass, Phillip * Burton, Young J. * Camp, John * Cawly, Frances M. * Chastain, James W. * Cochran, Nevel * Cox, Phillip * Creamer, Matthew * Dollar, James * Echols, Charles B. * Edwards, Andrew * Ezzard, John T. * Garrett, Daniel * Garrett, Jacob * Hendrix, William * Holbrook, Hannah * Hope, Ellison * Hutchens, Alman G. * Jackson, Charles * Jackson, James * Julian, George H. * Kellogg, George * Lummus, Andrew J. * Martin, Peter H. * Mayfield, Balus * McAfee, Alexander * McCormick, Hector D. * McGinnis, Sarah * Merritt, William G. * Mills, William E. * Monroe, Dugald * Monroe, Jesse * Morehead, Majer * Morgan, C. C. * Orr, Samuel * Owen, Sumpter * Owens, Wiley * Page, William * Pool, Young P. * Rump, John * Sample, Jesse * Sanford, George * Sewell, Joshua C. * Sims, Thomas * Strickland, John * Townly, John R. * Wallis, William * Westbrook, Samuel * Whitman, Christopher * Whitmire, Christopher * Williams, William * Wills, James H. * Wofford, John * Woodliff, Josiah * Yott, John * Youngblood, James W.

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Annual Returns, Vouchers, Sales, 1827-47
  • Will Book C 1892-1936
  • Annual Returns, Appraisements, Inventories, Vouchers 1877-1883
  • Miscellaneous Estates 1848-1852
  • Miscellaneous Estates 1854-1855
  • Estates 1833-1844
  • Estates 1844-1848
  • Estates 1855-1856
  • Estates 1857-1858
  • Estates 1861-1866

Traced Genealogies of Forsyth County Families

  • Fincher
  • Whelchel
Map of Forsyth County Map