History of the Courts of Troup County Georgia


The Supreme Court of Georgia was created by the General Assembly of Georgia in the session of 1845, under which act the state was divided into five judicial circuits. The district in which our courts and their decisions were reviewed was the Third District, and continued in that district, until the ambulatory character of the court was abolished in 1868.


The Superior Court of Troup County, the tribunal which had the highest jurisdiction in the county, including the trial of every form of civil and criminal wrongdoing, the review of appeals from the in ferior courts, and the control of all county activities, was shifted from circuit to circuit in the arrangement of the gradually increasing business. The original number of circuits was eleven, and the present number is thirty three.

  • 1826-32 Chattahoochee Circuit
  • 1833-69 Coweta Circuit
  • 1869-74 Tallapoosa Circuit
  • 1875- Coweta Circuit, a change of name only


The following is the roster of the judges of the Superior Court in the circuits named above, and includes many names well known in Georgia legal lore:

  • 1826-32 Walter T. Colquitt
  • 1833-40 Hiram Warner
  • 1841-44 William Ezzard
  • 1845-53 Edward Young Hill
  • 1854-55 Obediah Warner
  • 1855-61 Orville A. Bull
  • 1864-65 Benjamin H. Bigham
  • 1866-67 Hiram Warner
  • 1868-69 John Collier
  • 1869-71 John S. Bigby
  • 1871-72 William F. Wright
  • 1872-80 Hugh Buchanan
  • 1881-82 Francis M. Longley
  • 1882-03 Sampson W. Harris
  • 1903-04 Thomas A. Atkinson
  • 1904-16 Robert W. Freeman
  • 1917-20 J. Render Terrell
  • 1921-30 Charles E. Roop
  • 1931– Lee B. Wyatt

In the above roster the names of Edward Young Hill, Orville A. Bull, Benjamin H. Bigham, Francis M. Longley, Thomas A. Atkinson, and Lee B. Wyatt, indicated by italic type, were citizens of Troup.


The roster of Solicitors General of the Superior Court of Troup County contains many names of brilliant legal lights. Those who lived in Troup County are indicated by italic type:

  • 1826-29 Samuel A. Bailey
  • 1829-32 John W. Hooper
  • 1832-33 James P. H. Campbell
  • 1833-36 Young Y. Long
  • 1836-39 George D. Anderson
  • 1839-42 Noel B. Knight
  • 1842-44 Kinchen L. Haralson
  • 1845-46 Augustus C. Ferrell
  • 1847-48 Dennis F. Hammond
  • 1849-52 Mial M. Tidwell
  • 1853-55 Logan E. Bleckley
  • 1856-60 Herbert Fielder
  • 1861-63 M. Kendrick
  • 1864-65 Joseph A. Glanche
  • 1865-66 C. T. Forsyth
  • 1867-68 John S. Bigby
  • 1869-71 William A. Adams
  • 1872-74 Albert H. Cox
  • 1874-76 Thomas W. Latham
  • 1877-82 Sampson W. Harris
  • 1882-90 Harry M. Reid
  • 1891-03 Thomas A. Atkinson
  • 1903-16 J. Render Terrell
  • 1917-20 Charles E. Roop
  • 1921- William Y. Atkinson

Those who lived in Troup County are indicated by italic type.


The clerk is strictly speaking a county officer, being the recording officer of the courts, and also of the county records of deeds, mortgages, and charters. The roster follows:

  • 1827-34 N. Johnson
  • 1835-42 Robert F. McGehee
  • 1842-48 Moses Lee
  • 1848-50 H. B. Williams
  • 1850-62 William M. Latimer
  • 1862-66 Inhn R Awtrev
  • 1866-75 R. S. McFarlin
  • 1875-81 John W. Sledge
  • 1881-87 John Edward Toole
  • 1887-96 E. T. Winn
  • 1896-14 William L. Cleaveland
  • 1914- G. Thomas Travlor


The sheriff, or his deputy, is required to be present at sessions of Superior and County courts to receive the mandates of the court in reference to any prisoner arraigned, and to serve subpoenas and the like. The following is the roster:

  • 1827 Willis Whatley
  • 1828-29 Daniel S. Robertson
  • 1830-31 Willis Whatley
  • 1832-33 Daniel S. Robertson
  • 1834-35 John Arnold
  • 1836-37 Daniel S. Robertson
  • 1838-39 Samuel J. Thompson
  • 1840-46 Henry Faver
  • 1847-49 Jonathan Taylor
  • 1850-51 Alphonse Hemphill
  • 1852-53 Thomas Davis
  • 1854-55 R. F. Maddox
  • 1856-57 Waters B. Jones
  • 1858-61 Thoma, C Miller
  • 1862-66 William H. Cooper
  • 1866-69 Jarrell O. Towns
  • 1869-75 Thomas C. Miller
  • 1876-84 William G. S. Martin
  • 1885-91 E. B. Edmondson
  • 1891-98 Edward M. Henderson
  • 1898-04 H. N. Brady
  • 1904-06 W. T. Birdsong
  • 1906-14 Oscar H. Florence
  • 1914-17 W. B. Shirey
  • 1917-20 Samuel A. Smith
  • 1920-24 John F. Carley
  • 1924- H. N. Brady

Note. Sheriff Shirey was killed in execution of duty.


Among the short-lived experiments in court procedures was the establishment of the 37th District Court by the General Assembly in 1870. It was abolished by the same body in the year 1871; therefore, the personnel of officers is limited to one: J. H. Caldwell, judge; Thomas H. Whitaker, solicitor-general; R. S. McFarlin, clerk.


From the organization of the county until 1866, the Inferior Court filled the needs of a county court, and in that year a county court was established and continued until October 26, 1870; the district court above mentioned replaced the functions of the county court by its quarterly sessions until 1872. The justices of the peace of the county were clothed with the powers of a county court on August 23, 1872, but after four years of trial of this plan, and in response to the criticisms of the bar, the county court was again created on February 23, 1876, and continued until the establishment of the present City Court of Troup County, created on December 19, 1899. Thus it will be seen that our county had several experiments in court procedure with a very variable jurisdiction in both civil and criminal suits. First, Inferior Court, 1827-66; County Court, 1866-70; 37th District Court, 1870-71; Justice Courts, 1872-76; County Court, 1876-99; City Court, 1900 to date. The following roster of judges and solicitors of the County and City Courts, excepting the justices, and the judges of the Inferior Court:


  • Blount C. Ferrell 1866-70
  • William W. Turner 1876-78
  • James M. Beall 1879-82
  • Thomas H. Whitaker 1883-86
  • William W. Turner 1887-94
  • R. A Freeman 1895-98
  • Frank P. Longley 1899-01
  • Francis M. Longley 1901-04
  • Frank Harwell 1905-16
  • Edward T. Moon 1917-18
  • Duke Davis 1919-24
  • William T. Tuggle 1925-


  • John A. Speer 1866-70
  • Orville A. Bull 1876-78
  • James H. Pitman 1887-94
  • William T. Tuggle 1899-01
  • Henry Reeves 1901-16
  • Leon L. Meadors 1917-


In the early history of Troup County the judges of the Inferior Court were important factors in the organization and the development of the county. For a long time their duties were three-fold in character: First, as county commissioners to plan the county town, to authorize the passage of roads, to oversee the construction of bridges, to fix rates of taxation and license for the county, and to purchase the necessary supplies for the use of the county; second, as a court of ordinary, to probate wills, to appoint guardians and administrators, to approve the care of orphans and the mentally incompetent; third, as a court of justice, to hear all cases involving controversy of debt, to try criminal cases not involving capital punishment. This court was composed of five justices, and the presence of three constituted a quorum for the transaction of business, yet the records frequently show the attendance of the full court of five. The records of each function of the court were kept in separate books and the minutes always were preceded by the phrases: “The Inferior Court convened for county purposes” or “for ordinary purposes.” The functions as ordinary ceased in July, 1852, when the Ordinary was made an official of the county. Their functions as a court of justice ceased with the establishment of the County Court in 1866. The Inferior Court was shorn of all its duties by the creation of County Commissioners on February 28, 1876. The court was formally abolished on February 27, 1877. The following roster of the judges of this court is given below:

  • Amoss, B. B. 1857-58
  • Atkinson, Nathan L 1861-64
  • Bacon, Thomas 1851-52
  • Bailey, Samuel A. 1833-35
  • Bass, Eaton 1829-30
  • Beall,Elias 1835-36
  • Beall, James 1836-45; 51-52
  • Boddie, Thomas A. 1866
  • Bond, Lewis A. 1842
  • Cameron, Ben H. 1836-43; 57-60
  • Chivers, Joel 1854
  • Cook, Thomas I 1837-41
  • Cox, Albert E. 1845-46
  • Culbertson, James P. 1828-32
  • Darden, William C. 1858
  • Dennis, 1863-64
  • Dougherty, Robert 1835
  • Douglas, John 1843-50
  • Douglas, John F. 1855
  • Dozier, Nathan 1853-56; 59-64
  • Dozier, Woody 1831-32
  • Evans, Daniel 1833-34
  • Fannin, Augustus B. 1846-47
  • Fannin, William F. 1849-52
  • Ferrell, Blount C. 1845-46
  • Gage, John E. 1828
  • Geer, Levi 1847-48
  • Gorham, John 1863-64
  • Gorman, Thomas E. 1853-56
  • Greenwood, Thomas B. 1853
  • Greer, John 1843-46
  • Harris, Edmund T 1833-34
  • Herring, Arthur 1827
  • Hughey, W. W. 1855-59
  • Hussey, Levi H.* 1827
  • Johnson, Sankey T. 1833-37
  • Kennon, Charles 1827
  • Lee, Moses 1848
  • Lesley, Peter W. 1839-43
  • Lewis, John S 1836-37
  • McLendon, Jesse 1846-48
  • Maddox, James 1828-31
  • Miller, Thomas C 1856-58
  • Morgan, Robert J 1850-51
  • Newsom, Joel D. 1831-36
  • Reid, Samuel 1828-29; 49-52
  • Renwick, Nathan 1847
  • Ridley, Robert A. T. 1843-45
  • Roberts, Alexander A 1853-54
  • Rogers, Collin 1832-33; 37-42
  • Simmons, James B. 1829-32
  • Sims, W. H. 1857-58; 61-63
  • Sledge, Whitfield H.* 1827-28
  • Speer, Alexander 1853
  • Speer, John A. 1860-61
  • Swanson, Sherwood W. 1849-50
  • Taylor, James* 1827
  • Tharp, R. D. A. 1849-52; 54-55
  • Thomas, William C 1829-30
  • Thornton, Thomas J. 1859-64
  • Traylor, John 1837-39
  • Wagner, William 1859-62
  • Ware, Daniel 1843-46
  • Wilson, Wilie 1834-36

*Those so marked were judges in the county before it was subdivided, in December, 1827.


The courts of the Justice of Peace in our county history were unique in their operation; the rules of procedure unless set forth in “the Code” were in accordance with the pleasure of the incumbent judge. At the request of the litigants in any case, a jury of five could be summoned to decide the facts in the case, increasing the costs in the case by $1.25, for the jurors always received “two bits” for each case decided; in case no jury was demanded, the justice decided the facts in the case. The rugged justice meted out by the old time justices could always be recognized as just, whether legal or not, and technicalities seldom were allowed to interfere with the decisions of the court, and flimsy excuses for continuance were never recognized. The greatest abomination of the old country justices was for city lawyers and Supreme Court decisions, and in the arguments before the justices by the lawyers the paragraph of the code of Georgia carried more weight than the most profound interpretation of any legal authority. On one occasion two lawyers met to represent opposing sides of some controversy in a justice court, the facts were admitted and there was no recourse to a jury. The justice listened carefully to the recital of the facts, and followed the citation of code paragraphs by turning to each as fast as they were mentioned. One of the lawyers rose to argue the case and talked for a few minutes, the justice in the meanwhile squirmed on his seat, and then interrupted the lawyer and said, “Well, gentlemen, it looks like it is going to rain, and I want to go home and plant some turnips, and when you two have finished your arguments, you will find my decision written here in the book.” Needless to say the arguments closed at once. The question of costs of the case, the only income of the justice, were some times confusing and difficult of placing in an unsettled case, or in case of appeal to a higher court. Many of the old timers will remember the decision of the justice in one such case of controversy over the ownership of a cow to which both claimants had some rights. His decision was that “the costs follow the cow.” But when all is said and done, a tribute is due to these honest old pioneers of the law for their unfailing honesty and integrity in maintaining the power and majesty of the law under the most trying circumstances.


The Court of Ordinary has jurisdiction over the probation of wills, the returns of executors, administrators and guardians, and is the tribunal for the determination of lunacy, and also the authority for the issuance of marriage licenses. The pensions for Confederate soldiers with their attendant records form a division of the office. Since 1884 the county officers take their oath of office before the ordinary, who records the oath in the minutes. The functions of this office were formerly lodged in the judges of the Inferior Court, but in 1852, a special county officer was designated to care for this part of the Inferior Court. The roster of the ordinaries in consequence commence with 1852:

  • 1852-56 Wiley H. Sims
  • 1856-58 Thomas C. Evans
  • 1858-64 Samuel Curtright
  • 1864 James Turner
  • 1864-68 Littleton Pitts
  • 1868-72 Henry H. Cary
  • 1873-77 Littleton Pitts
  • 1877-88 William C. Yancey
  • 1888-93 Robert M. Young
  • 1893-01 John B. Strong
  • 1901-25 Henry T. Woodyard
  • 1925- J. Forest Johnson


The functions of the County Commissioners were formerly vested in the Inferior Court. The change was made by the creation of a Board of Commissioners on February 28, 1876, elective by the Grand jury, and afterward in 1895 made elective by the voters. The functions of the Commissioners are the control of the county convicts, the supervision of the roads and bridges, the management of the county finances, and the fixing of the tax rate for county purposes. The following constitutes the roster:

  • 1876-78 John F. Awtrey
  • 1876-78 J. W. Birdsong
  • 1876-78 Dr. B. C. Cook
  • 1876-78 John Hogg
  • 1876-78 T. I. C. Timmons
  • 1878-83 W. W. Cato
  • 1878-88 Milledge H. Hart
  • 1878-80 Francis M. Longley
  • 1878-86 Robert B. Traylor
  • 1878-80 W. B. Whatley
  • 1880-86 Littleton Pitts
  • 1880-82 Edward T. Winn
  • 1882-86 Sanford H. Dunson
  • 1886-90 Robert L. Christopher
  • 1886-88 Edward M. Henderson
  • 1886-88 A. B. Jones
  • 1886-88 John B. Reid
  • 1888-90 J. W. Birdsong
  • 1888-90 L. G. Cleaveland
  • 1888-96 Moses L. Fleming
  • 1888-90 A. C. Williams
  • 1890-96 James P. Baker
  • 1890-91 W. Hammett
  • 1890-92 J. E. Smith
  • 1890-92 Luther S. Turner
  • 1892-96 L. G. Cleaveland
  • 1892-94 W. Scott Hendon
  • 1892-94 J. D. Johnson
  • 1894-06 J. M. Callaway
  • 1896-98 John H. Covin
  • 1897-04 Charles H. Griffin
  • 1897-08 W. J. Hardy
  • 1897-04 J. F. Market
  • 1899-04 Frank Word
  • 1905-06 Benjamin F. Carter
  • 1905-06 Virgil E. Dallis
  • 1905-06 C. D. Philpot
  • 1907-10 J. C. C. Freeman
  • 1907-14 Charles H. Griffin
  • 1907-08 T. B. Jones
  • 1907-10 J. L. Lovelace
  • 1911-12 Virgil E. Dallis
  • 1911-12 D. B. Freeman
  • 1911-14 J. W. T. Glass
  • 1911-13 Charles W. Smith
  • 1913-14 T. B. Jones
  • 1913-16 George W. Poer
  • 1914-32 John H. Hardy
  • 1915-16 D. B. Freeman
  • 1915-16 J. W. Strickland
  • 1917-20 J. Ellie Borders
  • 1917-20 W. T. Cofield
  • 1917-20 Philip Lanier
  • 1917-20 J. C. Todd
  • 1921-30 E. D. Daniel
  • 1921-24 Bryant Fuller
  • 1921-24 George S. Hanson
  • 1921-28 G. T. Whitley
  • 1924-32 H. G. Woodruff
  • 1925-32 B. F. Rosser
  • 1929-32 J. H. Darden
  • 1931-32 J. C. Lanier
  • 1931-33 F. Jesse Pike
  • 1933- John H. Hardy
  • 1933- Charles A. Parker
  • 1933- William H. Turner, Jr.
  • 1933- Grady Webb
  • 1933- G. T. Whitley

2 thoughts on “History of the Courts of Troup County Georgia”

  1. LOVE YOUR SITE! You’ve put a lot of time and great effort into it! Have a question about my 3 G-Grandfather, 1827-34 N. Johnson (Nicholas), Superior Court Justice who died between 1834/1835, leaving his widow Margarett Ann Jordan Johnson and small children. Has anyone done a biography on him? He is most probably the son of and descended from Col. Nicholas Johnson and Mary Hastings Marks (Oglethorpe then Jasper Co GA), descended from Thomas Johnson (Louisa, VA) and Elizabeth Meriwether but I need hard corps proof to support my findings. From what I have, the 2 Nicholas’s didn’t name their children in their wills….the younger Nicholas left it up to his wife because the children were all minors. Hoping you have a bio source about the family. Thanks!
    Lisa Gail McLendon Novarro

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