Georgia Pioneers

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The Famous Vessel Sovereign of the Seas.

Clipper ShipA celebrated clipper ship known as the Sovereign of the Seas was used for emigrants. It's maiden voyage sailed from Liverpool in June of 1852. It was built by Donald Mackay for the American Swallowtail Line and was hailed as the largest merchant ship in the world, the measurement of her keel being 245 feet and overall length 265. She was commanded by the younger brother of Donald Mackay, Captain Lauchlan Mackay, one of the best known skippers in the United States. Somer of the Mackay families found their way to brunswick and Darien, Georgia. Her first voyage carried 2950 tons of cargo when it sailed from New York to San Francisco on 4th August, 1852; and considering the season of the year, she made a wonderful run south, crossing the equator in 25 days. It took her nine days to make the passage of the Horn; but shortly after rounding the Horn she carried away her fore and main topmasts and sprang her foreyard. Captain Mackay, however, kept the seas and refitted his ship in 14 days, during the whole of which time he is said to have remained on deck, snatching what little sleep he allowed himself in a deck chair. The Sovereign of the Seas despite this mishap arrived in San Francisco only 103 days out, and this was considered the best passage ever made at such an unfavourable season of the year. From San Francisco she went across to Honolulu in ballast and there loaded a cargo of sperm oil; it being the custom of American whalers to call in there and leave their oil for transhipment so as to clear their holds for a fresh catch. She departed Honolulu on 13th February, 1853, for New York, and once again made a most remarkable passage in spite of a sprung fore topmast, jury fore top gallant mast and a weak crew; no doubt. A large portion of her original crew deserted in San Francisco in the hope of reaching the gold diggings, but were probably only to be shanghaied on some homeward bounder. When Donald Mackay crossed the Atlantic on July 2nd, he spent his entire time watching her every movement, and it was probably the experience gained on this passage which had much to do with the wonderful success of the construction of his later vessels. On her arrival in Liverpool the Sovereign of the Seas was at once chartered by the Black Ball Line. Captain Lauchlan Mackay, however, did not remain in her, but returned to New York, his place being taken by Captain Warner, who had been in the ship since she was launched.

The Parallel Universe of Archaeology and Genealogy

Ft. Frederica, Georgia One might suppose that archaeology is a parallel universe to tracing ancestors, but actually it is so close to what we are doing! Archaeologists sift dirt through a sieve and dig for evidence, then take soil samples to determine the age. Old burial tombs and graves and the building materials play significant roles in discerning age and era. While the archaelogist does not usually locate written proof other than upon monuments, he gathers bits and pieces which assist in establishing a time-line. The genealogist and historian would do well to adapt the findings of the archaeologist to other historical evidence. One tiny example is to consider how people named their children. Have you observed how many surnames appear as a given name? The practice of naming the first son after the parents of the couple frequently includes a surname. This interesting practice preserves the history of a particular family and possibly its origin. During 1947 a dig was commenced on St. Simon's Island, Georgia at the site of Fort Frederica and it was discovered that the old town was laid out in an orderly fashion and strategically to defend the fort against Spanish invasion. It featured two wards divided by a 75-foot-wide main corridor called Broad Street and eighty-four regularly spaced lots. Barracks Street, the cross street, led to the regimental quarters of the regiments of General Oglethorpe. The discovery revealed a star-shaped fortress with a magazine and spur battery of cannon. The citadel was constructed of tabby, a concrete-type mixture of sand, lime and shells plentiful in the region. As part of the plan, the military support town covered forty acres of land. It was in this town that Oglethorpe brought the first settlement of thirty men during February of 1736. What they discovered was an old Indian corn field with a commanding view of inland waterways and salty sea marshes. A description was provided by John Percival, the earl of Egmont, in his Journal remarked that the "bay within was very secure for shipping" and the southern mouth of the Altamaha River was "land lock'd from the Winds." Oglethorpe traced out a fort with four bastions, "dug enough of the ditch and raised enough of the Rampart for a sample for the Men to work upon." The first residents of Frederica came from England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, as well as Creek Indians of the Yamacraw tribe. According to records kept by the Trustees of the Georgia Charter, certain persons were appointed to positions of importance before arriving in the colony. Such was the case of the uneducated Mr. Anderson, who owned an apothecary shop but was also the local magistrate. Generally speaking, although a substantial number of emigrants paid their own passage, others were poor persons who went to Georgia at the expense of the Trustees. Sources: Journal of John Percival, Candler's Colonial Records of Georgia.; Fort Frederica National Monument

Battle of Bloody Marsh

Battle of Bloody Marsh Battle of Bloody Marsh When an English trader by the name of Jenkins violated a trade agreement with Spain, and the ear of Jenkins cut off as an example, a war was declared. General James Edward Oglethorpe was promoted to the office of General and given the assignment to fight the Spanish in Northern Florida. The war is known to historians as the "Battle of Jenkin's Ear". On July 7, 1742, several Spanish vessels landed on St. Simon's Island and commenced walking towards Ft. Frederica expecting to fight european-style in an open field. Meanwhile, the highlanders hid in the woods and attacked guerrilla-style in an open marsh. This battle is known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Although the English were significantly out numbered, the confusing guerrilla tactics of the Scottish Highlanders, resulted in an important English victory. The Spanish galleons left Georgia and sailed for Cuba. Although General Oglethorpe won the land war with Spain, he had been in the colony for fifteen years and by the time that he returned England the victory went unlauded by his contemporaries.

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They Fought Guerrilla Warfare

Map of Ft. Frederica General Oglethorpe first put settlers on St. Simon's Island in 1736; the transport was primarily Englishmen and highlanders from Scotland. The protestant highlanders, known for their guerrilla warfare against the British, were hand-picked by Oglethorpe for the purpose of establishing regiments at Midway and on St. Simon's Island to protect Savannah and Charleston from the Spanish in Florida. After 1748 when Oglethorpe won the land war with Spain and disbanded his Georgia regiment and returned to England, settlers began to desert the military post and find land grants in other parts of the region. Many of them removed into McIntosh and Liberty Counties. The Colonial period was divided by the parishes of St. David, St. Patrick and St. Jones, organized in 1758. Glynn County was created in 1777 and named in honor of John Glynn, a member of the British House of Commons who defended the cause of the American Colonies in the difficulties which led to the Revolutionary War. Research should also include the Colonial Records of Georgia by Candler; McIntosh and Liberty Counties.

The Threat of Castillo San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos The Spanish held Northern Florida beginning in 1565. On September 8th, Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed on the shore of what is now called Matanzas Bay and began the founding of the Presidio of San Agustin. Later the settlement was called St. Augustine, Florida. The castle or fort was constructed on the site of an ancient Native American village, and near the place where Ponce de Leon landed in 1513 in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth. General James Edward Oglethorpe held a siege against the fort in 1742, however, cannon balls were unable to penetrate the well-secured stone fortress and a fleet of ships promised by Governor Johnson of South Carolina designed block the harbor became stuck on a sandbar. Meanwhile, the regiments of Oglethorpe suffered from yellow fever and dysentery, and Oglethorpe himself had to be transported on a litter back to Ft. Frederica. The Spanish waited two years before they retaliated.

Georgia History Unfolds in Old Wills


Sidney Lanier Bridge

Christ Church


Glynn County Wills, Estates, Marriages, City Directories

Glynn County Court House

General Oglethorpe first put settlers on St. Simons Island in 1836; the transport was primarily Englishmen. The first parish church was located on the island. After 1848 when Oglethorpe won the land war with Spain and disbanded his Georgia regiment and returned to England, settlers began to desert the military post and find land grants throughout the county. Many of them removed to McIntosh and Liberty Counties. The Colonial period was divided by the parishs of St. David, St. Parick and St. Jones, organized in 1758.Glynn County was created in 1777 and named in honor of John Glynn, a member of the British House of Commons who defended the cause of the American Colonies in the difficulties which led to the Revolutionary War. Research should also include the Colonial Records of Georgia by Candler; Mcintosh and Liberty Counties.

Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers

Wills and Estates

  • Wills & Appraisements 1809-1843
  • Wills & Appraisements 1842-1849
  • Images of Originals of Wills and Estates 1809 to 1845

Online Images of Wills & Appraisements 1856-1866

Names of Testators: Bell, W. W., Brooks, Samuel,Burnett, Samuel M.,Clubb, James W.,Corbit, Samuel, Couper, James Hamilton,Dart, Anna,Davenport, William G., DuBignon, Felicitt,Fins, Job,Gignilliat, John M.,Golden, Thomas, Hamilton, James,Harris, Horace J., Hazlehurst, Frances L.,Hazzard, Thomas T. (Dr.),Hillier, Thomas,Hinkman,, R. S.,Holland, John, Hooker, Ann O.,Hubbs, James S. Sr., Jenkins, William,Johnston, P. C., Jones, Daniel,King, Ann Matilda,King, Matilda, wife of Thomas Butler King,King, Thomas,Lamb, Celia,Mc Conn, P. H.,Moore, J. W.,Moore, Sarah, Moore, S. B.,O'Sullivan, Florence,Pettigrew, George W.,Piles, John, Ratcliff, James M.,Roden, John,Royall, Horace J.,Rumph, John R., Spears, Anderson,Stafford, Robert,Stevens, Charles, Tison, Job, Ira and Mrs. J. L.,Troup, James, Truscott, William, Turner, William,Welbourne, Charles,Westmoreland, Eardly G.,Wood, John R.,Woolley, Vardy.

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Wills, Inventories, Appraisements, Bk D 1810-1843
  • Wills, Inventories, Appraisements, Bk D 1844-1853


  • 1818 to 1852.
  • 1885 to 1886.


  • Map of Blythe Island.

City Directories

  • 1890 Brunswick
  • 1892 Brunswick.
  • 1892 St. Simons Island.
  • 1898 St. Simons Island.

Traced Genealogies of Glynn County Families

  • Couper
  • Dubignon
  • Harris
  • Mackay
  • McIntosh
  • Tyson