The Earliest Settlements in Wilkes County Georgia

By Alex M. Hitz

Alex M. Hitz was an attorney at law, who retired after thirty-five years of active practice in Atlanta. In 1956 he was in charge of the Surveyor-General Department under the Secretary of State of Georgia.

From 1733 until 1773, the Parish of St. Paul was the most northern territory to which the Province of Georgia could claim any right or title under previous treaties with the Indian Nations. The dividing line between that Parish and the Indian lands began on the Savannah River at the mouth of Little River, and ran thence in a westerly direction along the south side of Little River to the mouth of Williams Creek, thence in a southerly direction along the east side of Williams Creek approximately seven miles to the southwest corner of Wrightsborough Township, thence in an easterly direction along the line of Wrightsborough Township approximately fourteen miles to the head of the south branch of Brier Creek, thence in a southeasterly direction along the north-east side of Brier Creek to the Creeks’ Lower Trading Path, thence in a southwesterly direction along the southeast side of the Creeks’ Lower Trading Path to the Ogechee River.[1]This paper is based on the Grant Books and Survey Books in the Surveyor-General Department; colonial books and papers in the Georgia Department of Archives and History; Allen D. Candler, ed., The … Continue reading

It was not until the Treaty of June 1, 1773 that the Province acquired the land north of that line, which land then became known as the Ceded Lands and later became the large original county named Wilkes by the Constitution of 1777. Yet there is indisputable proof that both of the Governors and the Council of the Province encouraged and sanctioned two settlements in the Indian lands some sixteen years prior to that treaty. One was short-lived, but the other existed until and after the creation of Wilkes County.

Beginning in 1757, a sizeable settlement was established along both sides of Little River, Williams Creek and Reedy Creek, in what is today parts of Wilkes and Taliaferro (originally Wilkes) counties. The Governor and Council issued warrants for survey to at least ten settlers, of whom six had wives and twenty-one children, for a total of 2,000 acres of land in that section. Warrants for survey, all describing the land as being in the Parish of St. Paul, were issued to:

_____ Gray150
John Kemp3007 Feb 1755
James Larrimore3004 Sep 1759
Thomas Lee20014 Feb 1759
_____ Loyd100
William Macclemurry30014 Feb 1759
Alexander McCulpin2504 Sep 1759
Joshua Sanders1005 Jul 1757
Thomas Williams3005 Jul 1757
Hugh Willson100

There are today no records remaining in the Surveyor-General’s Department to prove or disprove that any surveys were made, even though the settlers actually entered on their tracts, but it is certain that no grants were ever issued.

This settlement was directly affected by Governor Ellis’ proclamation of October 14, 1759, which declared that “all and every person and persons who are settled above Augusta further than ten miles back from the main stream of Savannah River . . . [should] remove, with their effects, on or before the 1st day of January next ensuing, as they will answer to the contrary at their peril.” As this Little River-Williams Creek settlement was further distant than ten miles from the river, it can be presumed that the proclamation destroyed it.

That presumption is confirmed by Thomas Lee’s petition for land on the Savannah River, dated 1760, wherein he stated that “he had had granted [?] him 200 acres of land above Augusta which he settled and improved, which land was afterwards vacated by a proclamation whereby he lost his possession.” Moreover when warrants for survey in the Ceded Lands were issued in 1773 and thereafter, Daniel Gunnills obtained land described as Kemp’s old place, William Downs obtained Macclemurry’s old fields, Thomas Harford obtained Gray’s old place, Jesse Pugh obtained part of Macclemurry’s old place and Hugh Gilliland obtained Loyd’s old place.

Grays Creek, Kemps Creek, Loyds Creek, Hardens Creek and Sherrills Creek, still shown on today’s maps, are permanent memorials to at least five of those early settlers.

At the same time, at least twenty-one other persons, with their families, settled in the Indian country along the Savannah River, Broad River, Fishing Creek and Pistol Creek, none of whom were affected by the proclamation of 1759. This settlement was in what is now Lincoln (originally Wilkes) County.

Warrants for survey, all describing the land as in the Parish of St. Paul or the District of Augusta, were issued by the Governor and Council to the following:

Aaron Berreston200
Cornelius Brown10014 Feb 1759
John Burns2001 Jan 1765
Gideon Chevers (free Black)100
Matthew Chevers (free Black)10014 Feb 1759
John Gilmore1004 Sep 1759
Ezekiel Harlan1007 Feb 1758
John Herd3003 Aug 1762
William Kilgore20017 Oct 1755
William Kilgore20014 Feb 1759
Thomas Lee3002 Dec 1760
Hugh Middleton100
Hugh Middleton2006 Dec 1768
William Payne2007 Feb 1758
John Thornton10014 Feb 1759
John Vann1007 Feb 1758
Joseph Vann1007 Feb 1758
Bryan Ward1007 Feb 1758
Christopher Watson4003 May 1763
Charles Weatherford1501 Nov 1757
Martin Weatherford1007 Feb 1758
William Weatherford4007 Feb 1758
Isaac Wood1007 Feb 1758

Of the above named persons, the petitions of ten showed that they were married and that there were not less than twenty-five children in the settlement.

Nine of those settlers in the Indian country travelled to Savannah and received the Governor’s grants for their tracts, all expediently described as located in the Parish of St. Paul or District of Augusta. These were issued and recorded in the Colonial Grant Books as follows:

Aaron Berreston1 May 1759Book B140
John Burns7 May 1765Book E145
Ezekiel Harlan7 Dec 1762Book D246
Hugh Middleton2007 Nov 1769Book G463
Hugh Middleton1003 Jan 1775Book M907
John Vann7 Dec 1762Book D242
Bryan Ward7 Dec 1762Book D249
Charles Weatherford7 Dec 1762Book D243
Isaac Wood7 Dec 1762Book D248

Long after the close of the Revolutionary War, when all of this settlement was in Wilkes County, the surveys which had been made for eight of those trespassers were re-recorded in the State’s Survey Book C. This would have been an utterly pointless and unnecessary thing to do, unless those persons or their descendants or vendees were still in possession of the same land. As all of the original Colonial Survey Books had become lost during the War, they evidently considered the re-recording of their surveys, some thirty years after the original recording, a matter of vital importance in protecting their titles.

Those re-recorded surveys had been made for:

NameSurveyed dateBookPage
Ezekiel Harlan16 Apr 1758Book C77
Thomas Lee13 Jul 1761Book C133
John Vann6 Mar 1758Book C429
Charles Weatherford16 Apr 1758Book C431
Martin Weatherford16 Apr 1758Book C431
William Weatherford16 Apr 1758Book C431
Isaac Wood6 Apr 1758Book C431

None of the persons named in the first list above ever applied for or received the State of Georgia’s grant to the land set out opposite his name, although a number of them received grants to other land in Wilkes County. They undoubtedly relied upon the three earliest Land Acts passed by the General Assembly, which contained the following provisions:

Sect. 2 of Act of June 7 1777

All and every person or persons who heretofore have had allotments of land in the province, now state of Georgia, and have continued and resided in said State; and all and every person or persons who have settled on lands not allotted or granted heretofore, shall be continued on the said lands and confirmed in a title thereto, in preference to any other person or persons: Provided such person or persons so settled on and possessing such lands have rights, and are entitled to have the same granted to him or them, according to the true intent and meaning of this act. [2]Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 204.

Sect. 2 of Act of Sep. 16 1777

If any person or persons have heretofore had allotments of land within this State, or any special contract heretofore made, and have paid the deposit money required, such person or persons shall have a grant or grants for the same. [3]Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 206.

Sect. 13 of Act of Jan. 23 :78o

Where it shall appear the commissioners under the former government sold and made allotments to any person who have settled and still possess the same, such persons shall have grants in preference to any other persons whatever. [4]Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 234.

It appears that the quoted sections made it obligatory upon the State to issue grants to those early settlers without requiring of them any petition or application or payment of grant fees; however, no such grants were ever made.

In Colonial Conveyances Book U, page 561 there is recorded a deed from William Kilgore to John Heard conveying his 200-acre tract, and in Book CC-2, page 914 there is recorded a deed from John Heard to Edward Barnard conveying the same tract; in Book CC-1, page 471 there is recorded a deed from Joseph Vann to John Giles conveying his 100-acre tract; in Book CC-1, page 533 there is recorded a deed from Charles Weatherford to Bryan Ward conveying his 150-acre tract, and in Book CC-1, page 531 there is recorded a deed from Bryan Ward to Thomas Waters conveying the same tract. In Colonial Conveyances Book CC-i, page 534 there is recorded a deed from Bryan Ward to Thomas Waters conveying his 100-acre tract; in Wilkes County Deed Book A, page 63 there is recorded a deed from John Heard to William Germany conveying his 200-acre tract; in Wilkes County Deed A, page 64 there is recorded a deed from Ezekiel Harlan to Zachariah Lamar conveying his 100-acre tract; and in Wilkes County Deed Book CC, page 13 there is recorded a deed from Hugh Middleton to Isaac Herbert conveying his 100-acre tract.

A map of the Ceded Lands, made in August 1773 immediately following the cession, from a survey by Edward Barnard, William Barnard, LeRoy Hammond, Joseph Purcell and Philip Yonge, Deputy Surveyor-General of the Province, shows eleven houses on the west side of Savannah River, all between Little River and Broad River and all within the lines of the cession. It might be reasonable to think that these houses had been built by Aaron Berreston, John Burns, Thomas Lee, Isaac Wood, Ezekiel Harlan (or Zachariah Lamar), John Herd (or William Germany), High Middleton (or Isaac Herbert), Joseph Vann (or John Giles), Bryan Ward (or Thomas Waters), Charles Weatherford, William Kilgore, John Gilmore or John Thornton.

Inasmuch as John Giles, John Gilmore, John Heard, William Kilgore, Bryan Ward and John Thornton’s heirs were still living in Wilkes County as late as 1783, which was the first year the State began to grant land in that County, they are certainly among those entitled to be recognized as the first and original permanent settlers in that part of Wilkes County which is now Lincoln County.

There were two factors leading to the execution of the Treaty of June 1, 1773 between the Creek Nation of Indians and the Cherokee Nations of Indians, signing jointly, and King George III of England, represented by Sir James Wright, Governor of the Province of Georgia, and Capt. John Stuart, the King’s Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Strangely enough, the less important factor or cause seems to be the best remembered.

After the peace Treaty of 1761, the merchants of Augusta, Savannah and Charles Town carried on an extensive trade with both Nations. Those merchants, who were undisclosed principals, acted through their agents who were known as traders. By the year 177o the accumulated and overdue debts owing by the Cherokee Nation to the traders and merchants amounted to approximately forty-five thousand Pounds, and the debts of the Creek Nation may have been even greater. But whereas the Cherokees were becoming convinced that they could not pay their debts by the sale of hides and were anxious to get rid of the burden in some other manner, the Creeks were rather indifferent as to the time and manner in which they would pay. At this period, although the two Nations were nominally at peace with each other, there was a bright spark of hostility, ready to burst into flame at any moment, over the ownership of a large tract of land between the Savannah, Broad, Ogechee and Little rivers.

A far more important factor was the necessity for the expansion, security and protection of the Province. The narrow strip then occupied was only sparsely settled, and far better productive land to the northward, westward and southward was in the possession of the Indians.

Depredations, massacres and robberies by the Indians, who crossed the unprotected borders at will, were matters of daily occurrence and the need for pushing them further back was vital. The Province was caught in a circle; the small area and the small population made growth and protection almost impossible, but immigrants would not come in to increase the population, wealth and commerce until there were both land and protection.

The traders began to persuade the Cherokees, as early as 177o, to convey some of their land in payment of their debts and, in fact, Governor Wright had informal and inconclusive talks with both Nations in May and June, 1771. Although they acted without any authority or sanction from the King and Governor, and were later disavowed by the merchants, the traders were successful to the extent that the Cherokees, in June, 1771, actually ran and marked a line to represent the northern boundary of the land they proposed to convey for their debts. In November, 1771 they conveyed to Governor Wright a tract bounded by that line, but that deed was never accepted by him. However, it and a plat of the marked northern boundary were subsequently laid before the King and were considered when his approval of a formal treaty of cession was given. That marked line, thereafter known as the “Cherokee Line,” was of importance in that it was twice referred to in the 1773 Treaty, and knowledge of its location was vital. Actually, it ran from a marked tree still known as Cherokee Corner in now Oglethorpe (originally Wilkes) County, northeastwardly to the Savannah River at a point somewhat south of Van Creek in now Elbert (originally Wilkes) County.

In 1772 Governor Wright went to England to present to the King a memorial praying his consent that a treaty be entered into with both the Creek and the Cherokee Nations for the cession of this same tract of land claimed by both. The Board of Trade in London supported the proposition, stressing the many advantages to the Province and the Kingdom, but saying very little about the advantages to the merchants and traders. Finally in November of that year the Governor was authorized to institute proceedings leading to a treaty. It was stipulated that the lands to be acquired should be sold, but with the purchasers exempted from quit rents for ten years. No tract should contain more than 10o acres, and no sale should be made to any person then residing in the Province. Governor Wright optimistically represented that six hundred families were ready and anxious to purchase and settle immediately, and it was estimated that the sales would bring in one hundred twenty-five thousand Pounds, which would be applied first as payments to the merchants and traders and thereafter to the needs and purposes of the Colony.

The Governor and the Superintendent of Indian Affairs met with the headmen and chiefs of both Nations at Augusta, and on June 1, 1773 three instruments were executed. The first was a release and discharge of all debts due to them, signed by all of the creditor merchants or their representatives, in which they stated the consideration to be their expectation of being paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the lands to be ceded. The second was an agreement by the merchants with the Governor that they looked only to the fund to be raised for the payments due them and that they would not expect any deficiency to be paid from any other source. The third was the Treaty, couched in language and terms no Indian could have comprehended even if translated and read to him, in which the Indians were made to appear to beg the King to take their lands in satisfaction of their debts, and in which the King graciously consented, saying nothing of the estimate that the value of the lands far exceeded the debts. No other consideration, cash or otherwise, was paid to either Nation.

The King’s representatives demanded and received much more land than was first considered by the Cherokees or was included within the line they had originally run. The description of the cession in the Treaty read as follows:

To begin at the place where the Lower Creek Path intersects Ogechee river, and along the main branch of said river to the source of the southernmost branch of said river and from thence along the ridge between the waters of Broad river and Oconee river up to the Buffaloe Lick, and from thence in a straight line to the tree marked by the Cherokees near the head of a branch falling into the Oconee river, and from thence along the said ridge twenty miles above the line already run by the Cherokees, and from thence across to Savannah river by a line parallel with that formerly marked by them. . . [5]Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 764.

That vague description can be better understood today if transposed into the following words:

Beginning on the Savannah River at the mouth of Little River, and running thence in a westerly direction along the south side of Little River to the mouth of Williams Creek, thence in a southerly direction along the east side of Williams Creek approximately seven miles to the southwest corner of Wrightsborough Township, thence in an easterly direction along the line of Wrightsborough Township approximately fourteen miles to the head of the south branch of Brier Creek, thence in a southeasterly direction along the northeast side of Brier Creek to the Creek’s Lower Trading Path, thence in southwesterly direction along the southeast side of the Creek’s Lower Trading Path to the Ogechee River, thence in northwesterly direction along the northeast side of the Ogechee River to a fork, thence in a westerly direction along the south branch of Ogechee River to its head, thence in general northerly direction along the crest of a ridge, following the meanderings thereof, to Buffalo Lick, thence in a general northwesterly direction along the crest of the same ridge, following the meanderings thereof, to a marked tree known as the Cherokee Corner, thence in a northerly direction along the crest of the same ridge, following the meanderings thereof, approximately twenty miles to the south fork of the north branch of Broad River, thence in a northeasterly direction to a fixed corner on the Savannah River, thence along the center line of the Savannah River, following the meanderings thereof, approximately sixty miles to Little River, the point of beginning.

As soon as the Treaty was signed the Governor appointed Deputy Surveyor-General Philip Yonge and four citizens of St. Paul’s Parish to survey the lines and limits of the ceded tract, and their work was completed within two months. They computed the cession as 1,616,298 acres, but the many irregular lines coupled with the short time consumed in the survey render those exact figures somewhat subject to doubt. They also graded the land into six classifications according to quality. The Governor then immediately appointed John Graham to be the Receiver of the proceeds of the sales, and also appointed Edward Barnard, Joseph Maddock, James McKay and Henry Yonge to be Commissioners to evaluate the lands and to conduct the sales thereof. Even while the survey was being made the Governor, on June II, 1773, broadcast throughout all of the Colonies his proclamation declaring the Ceded Lands open for settlement, inviting prospective settlers to inspect, setting forth the terms of sale (except the price per acre) and in general extolling the many desirable features and advantages, including the protection of a newly formed troop of horse.

After changing the name of Broad River to Dart River, in honor of the Earl of Dartmouth, the Governor, on September 19, 1773, issued the following sales instructions to his Commissioners:

1st. The lands to be valued in general according to their quality and situation from one to five Shillings per acre, so as the whole – supposing a million of acres – to average at three Shillings sterling per acre.

2nd. Lands of the best quality whereon is an extraordinary mill-seat at ten Shillings per acre as far as one hundred acres.

3rd. Lands of an indifferent quality whereon there is but an indifferent mill-seat five Shillings per acre, and so on in proportion for every hundred acres whereon mills can be erected.

4th. All lands situated on Savannah River four miles above and below the Town of Dartmouth to be rated at one Shilling six Pence per acre over and above the valued quality.

5th. All lands situated on Savannah River from four to eight miles above and below said Town, one Shilling more than the valued quality & from eight to twelve miles at nine Pence more than the valued quality.

6th. Land situated on the River Dart four miles above the said Town on each side of the River, one Shilling more than the valued quality; from four to eight miles, nine Pence; and from eight to twelve miles, six Pence more than the valued quality.

7th. That eight hundred acres be laid out and reserved for the Town of Dartmouth and other public uses, in the fork of Savannah and Dart Rivers.

8th. That all single families applying for land may be allowed from three to six, or nine months if necessary, to come in and settle with their families.

9th. Lands on reserve for three months for single families, the reserve, as usual, to be two Pounds per hundred acres, and if unable and it appears satisfactory to the Commissioners, they may be allowed three months more.

10th. Immediate settlers are to pay ten Pounds per hundred acres, and the remainder when the lands are surveyed and valued.

11th. All persons paying down ten Pounds per hundred acres by way of deposit to be allowed months, in lieu of one month, to pay the remainder after the lands are surveyed and valued; this concerns only immediate settlers.

12th. That two hundred acres of land be reserved for the use of the public at a high hill on the north side of the North Branch of Ogechee River about one and one-half miles above the falls, whereon a stockade fort may be erected for the rendesvous of an officer and twenty men . . . the fort to be one hundred foot square.

13th. That a fort [Fort James] be erected at the point of the fork of the Rivers Savannah and Dart, at the place already marked out by his Excellency the Governor. The fort to be one hundred twenty feet square, with four bastions made of square logs, two of them to be covered and two left open on the top; the curtains between the bastions to be lined by puncheons, officers’s house, barracks, gaol-house and magazine.

14th. That the land heretofore reserved for Miller and Beard be not allowed to any person. . . .

15th. That the Commissioners endeavor to choose out persons of the best repute for honesty to be chain-carriers, and that they put them on their guard respecting that service, and also occasionally to make trial of their fidelity by resurveying or going over some of the lines surveyed. . . .

Between September 27, 1773 and June 12, 1775, Commisioners Barnard and Maddock met monthly at either Augusta, Wrightsborough or Dartmouth, to receive applications for land, determine the value and price thereof, receipt for payments made and issue warrants for survey. Most of the purchases were on reserve with down payments of two Pounds per hundred acres. The only records now in existence, some of which are incomplete, show that sales were made to and warrants for survey issued for approximately three hundred persons.

To the acute disappointment of Governor Wright, settlement was very slow, and even before the Revolutionary Council of Safety seized control of the government on January 18, 1776 it had ceased altogether. Moreover, by the latter date many of the early settlers had moved from the Ceded Lands or had failed to make their final payments. Several factors contributed to this situation. Without sufficient protection provided by the King, despite the appeals of the Governor and Council, the Indians constantly violated the Treaty and attacked the settlers, even to the extent of murdering the entire White and Sherrill families. Then too, the growing dissension between all of the American colonies and the British government not only diverted the Governor’s attention from his pet project, but also killed any desire for settlement in those residents of other colonies and other countries who had been expected to come into Georgia. In fact, the report of the Receiver, made on August 1st 1775, showed that instead of the several hundreds of thousands of Pounds originally anticipated as the proceeds of sales, he had taken in only three thousand nine hundred Pounds, representing at best only four hundred thousand acres sold.

With a single exception, no record of the registration of any survey can today be located in the Surveyor-General Department. This is due to the fact that all of the Colonial Survey Books were forever lost during the Revolution, but it is not likely that more than twenty-five surveys were ever recorded in those Books. The one exception is the survey made of John Nelson’s five hundred acres, which was re-recorded many years after the Revolution in the State’s Survey Book M at page 49. For his personal satisfaction, in 1792 Nelson also carved a copy of his survey and the words “land granted in 1775” on a large rock which stood for many years on his plantation but today rests before the Court House at Washington.

There is today in the Surveyor-General Department no record of even a single grant of land in the Ceded Lands. The minutes of the Governor and Council contain only two references to any such grants. On January 9, 1775 the Attorney-General was directed to “prepare the form of a proper grant to be given the purchasers of Ceded Lands, to be laid before the Board for consideration.” On March 21, 1775 “His Excellency signed seven grants for lands sold, being part of the lands ceded to his Majesty by the Creek and Cherokee Indians” (no names given). However, the following possibility might be considered. The Surveyor-General Department has all of the Colonial Grant Books from A through M, but as the last entry in Book M at page 1,119 was dated June 6, 1775, there may have been a Book N, now lost, which contained the records of grants from June 6, 1775 to January 18, 1776 and from December, 1778 to July, 1782. If there ever was such a Book N, it might have contained the records of those seven grants, but that is merely conjecture.

Although only seven grants appear to have been signed, twenty-three fiats authorizing the issuance of grants to various purchasers were signed in 1775, ten before March 21st and thirteen after that date. If seven grants were signed by the Governor on March 21, 1775, under fiats previously issued, then it is a reasonable presumption that those grants were made to James Aycock, John Douglass, William Downs, John Jones, Jr., Henry Kennedy, Greenberry Lee and John Nelson, although the names of Thomas Owen, Thomas Shannon or Nicholas Smith could be substituted for any of those. In addition to John Nelson’s re-recorded survey and rock carving, there is recorded in Wilkes County Deed Book A, page 31 a deed from Greenberry Lee’s executor wherein he refers to his testator’s land as “granted March 21 1775.”

Inasmuch as none of the persons to whom warrants for survey had been issued and who held the Commissioner’s receipts for their payments ever subsequently received from the State of Georgia any grants to the same land, it is evident that they relied upon the Acts of June 7, 1777, September 16, 1777 and January 23, 1780 as vesting perfect title in them. Evidently the State considered their titles valid without the necessity for new grants, because the Commissioners of Confiscated Estates, in 1783, 1784 and 1785, sold and conveyed the lands of at least sixteen Tories who held no other paper titles than warrants for survey. Among those whose lands were sold were Edward Crawford, John Douglass, John Forlow, James Gordon, John Howard, William Jones, William Manson, Lewis Metteir, Daniel Phillips, Andrew Robinson, Reuben Sherrill, Benjamin Thompson, Thomas Waters, Abraham Wilkins, Samuel Wilkins, and Henry Williams. From Wilkes County records, it appears that among those who conveyed their holdings in the Ceded Lands, by deed or will prior to 1784, were James Anglin, James Aycock, Richard Aycock, John Brooks, Granberry Chaney, John Coleman, Jacob Colson, John Cook, Henry Duke, Demsy Hinton, David Holliman, Thomas Jones, Ralph Killgore, Zachariah Lamar, Greenberry Lee, Josiah Man, Thomas Richardson, and Jesse Webb.

Warrants for Survey

AbneyNathanSC100Savannah River10/12/1773
AllenBenjaminNC200Long Creek10/17/1773
AmbreeJohnSC300Williams Creek1/13/1775
AndersonGideonNC200Welch Road12/7/1773
AndrewsJames100Ogechee River10/10/1774
AnglinJamesNC200Rocky Creek12/7/1773
AnsleyBenjaminNJ200Uptons Creek11/8/1773
ArmstrongJohn100Soap Creek12/7/1773
ArnoldBenjaminVA100Broad River10/10/1774
AutryJohn100Beaver Dam Creek10/15/1773
AwtrayAlexanderNC200Fishing Creek10/15/1773
AycockJames200Broad River9/30/17732/7/1775
BagbeyGeorgeNC150Beaver Dam Creek12/7/1773
BardenRandolSC250Pistol Creek12/7/1773
BarnardBenoniNC100Rocky Creek9/30/1773
BarnardNathanNC150Broad River1/13/1774
BarnsJacobNC200Brier Creek9/30/1773
BealWilliamSC200Broad River12/7/1773
BeddleAbsalom200Little River
BenefieldJohnNC100Chickasaw Creek10/10/1774
BensonRobertPA100Fishing Creek11/19/1773
BentleyWilliamSC100Little Creek1/13/1775
BewerJoabSC100Buttrams Creek11/16/1773
BishopJamesSC100Long Creek11/8/1773
BishopStephen150Long Creek2/17/1775
BlackEdward200Little River10/15/1773
BowlingAbelSC200Beaver Dam Creek12/7/1773
BradshawJohnSC100Mill Creek10/10/1774
BrownAndrewSC400Dry Fork1/13/1774
BrownJamesNC150Upton Creek11/9/1773
BrownThomasEngland350Kettle Creek12/7/1773
BrownWilliamSC100Chickasaw Creek12/7/1773
BuchananJohnNC150Scrubby Ridge11/26/1773
BurkhalterJohnSC200Brier Creek11/9/1773
BurksJohnVA350Sherills Creek12/7/1773
BurneyJohnNC200Little River11/22/1773
BuschIsaacSC200Red Lick Creek11/8/1773
CallwellAlexanderVA200Long Creek10/10/1774
CampbellHughNC150Ogechee River12/7/1773
CampbellJamesSC100Fishing Creek4/14/1775
CampbellWilliamSC250Savannah River10/15/1773
CandlerWilliam2300Broad River10/12/1773
CarnRobertNC100Beaver Dam Creek1/13/1774
CastellawThomasSC250Red Lick Creek11/8/1773
ChildreeThomasSC300Rocky Comfort Creek11/22/1773
CimberettWilliamNC200Fishing Creek9/27/1773
ClarkElijahSC150Red Lick Creek9/30/1773
ClowerJohnNC100Ogechee River9/28/1773
CobbJames300Broad River11/22/1773
ColemanJohnVA200Broad River10/10/1774
ColemanJohnVA600Savannah River10/10/1774
ColeyGeorgeSC400Savannah River11/4/1773
CollinsJoelSC100Chickasaw Creek11/16/1773
CollinsWilliamNC100Ogechee River12/7/1773
ColsonJacob100Long Creek2/17/1775
ColsonJacob100Savannah River10/12/1773
CookJamesNC500Little River12/7/1773
CookJohn200Rocky Comfort Creek
CoxJohnSC100Ogechee River11/8/1773
CoxThomas200Rocky Comfort Creek9/29/1773
CrawfordEdward300Ogechee River
DanielWilliamSC200Reedy Creek11/9/1773
DeanWilliamSC100Savannah River10/12/1773
DennisIsaacNC100Little River12/7/1773
DoolyJohnSC250Savannah River10/15/1773
DouglassJohnEngland335Savannah River Island1/12/1775
DowlingJohnSC350Broad River9/27/1773
DownsWilliam350Little River11/8/17733/15/1775
DukeHenrySC100Fishing Creek11/16/1773
EvansJosephSC250Reedy Creek12/7/1773
FavorJohnSC200Rocky Creek11/16/1773
FilsonJohn100Long Creek6/6/1775
ForlowJohnNC150Brier Creek10/10/177411/3/1775
FosterAndrewPA150Funderburg Branch1/13/1774
FreemanGeorgeVA200Broad River10/10/1774
FreemanHolmanVA400Chickasaw Creek9/27/1773
FulsamBenjaminNC100Ogechee River12/7/1773
FunderburgAnthony500Fishing Creek12/7/1773
GalespieMathew150Sarahs Creek2/13/1775
GauntNeboSC100Little River11/9/1773
GauntZebulonSC200Sherill's Path11/9/1773
GermanyJames200Long Creek6/6/1775
GillilandHughNC100Loyds Creek4/14/1775
GlascockThomas1000Buffalo Creek9/29/1773
GlascockWilliam1000Buffalo Creek9/29/1773
GoldenHenry100Rocky Comfort Creek1/13/1774
GordonJamesScotland1000Broad River11/16/1773
GordonJames4000Chickasaw Creek11/16/1773
GrayJames100Wawahatchee Creek2/13/1775
GreenWilliamNC100Power Creek1/17/1775
GrierRobertPA450Ogechee River12/7/17731/--/1776
GunnillsDanielSC200Little River10/15/1773
GuyHillary200Lamars Creek1/13/17746/9/1775
HaginRobertNC100Uptons Creek1/13/1775
HammettWilliamSC200Beaver Dam Creek1/13/1774
HammockBenedictNC200Little River1/13/1775
HarfordThomasNC150Little River11/8/1774
HarkinsThomasNC150Little River11/22/1773
HarlandEzekiel100Savannah River12/7/1773
HarrisJamesNC200Ogechee River10/13/1775
HarrisJohn150Broad River10/12/1775
HarrisJohnPA200Scrubby Ridge12/7/1773
HarrisSamuelNC100Ogechee River11/13/177312/29/1775
HarrisSamuel300Ogechee River11/26/177312/29/1775
HarrisWilliam550Ogechee River12/7/1773
HarrisWilliamNC200Broad River9/30/1773
HarveyJohnSC200Ogechee River1/13/1775
HaynsEllisPA300Fishing Creek11/9/1773
HerdCharlesSC200Fishing Creek12/7/1773
HerdGeorgeSC100Fishing Creek10/15/1773
HerdJohnSC150Fishing Creek10/15/1773
HerdWilliamNC100Fishing Creek12/7/1773
HightowerJohnNC100Ogechee River11/8/1773
HillJohnNC150Broad River11/16/1773
HillJoshuaNC100Rocky Comfort Creek1/13/1774
HintonDemsyChickasaw Creek
HintonJoabNC100Long Creek10/10/1774
HodginsRobertNC200Uptons Creek12/7/1773
HoggJames200Fishing Creek9/30/1773
HolladeyRobertPA250Broad River12/7/1773
HollimanDavid850Williams Creek
HollingsworthJacob100Ogechee River9/29/1773
HollingsworthThomasSC100Brier Creek9/30/1773
HoofSamuelNC100Kettle Creek11/8/1773
HowardJohn500Falling Creek
HowardJohn300Little River
HutchingsJohnSC100Long Creek11/6/1773
HuttonSamuelSC100Long Creek12/7/1773
HuttonSamuel100Uptons Creek1/13/1774
JenkinsRobertNC350Ogechee River12/7/1773
JohnsonJohnH.SC100Long Creek11/16/17736/9/1775
JollieMartinDominica1000Falling Creek12/7/117
JollieMartin300Uptons Creek12/7/1773
JollieMartin1000Ogechee River12/7/1773
JollieMartin1500Broad River12/7/1773
JollieMartin1500Broad River11/16/1773
JonesFrancis200Little River1/13/1774
JonesJohnJr.SC100Rocky Creek9/30/17732/7/1775
JonesWilliam850Fishing Creek
JourdanSamuelNC100Ogechee River1/13/1775
JourdanThomasSC100Fishing Creek10/15/1773
KeatingEdward300Savannah River10/12/1773
KeatingEdward150Savannah River12/7/1773
KennedyHenry50Soap Creek11/16/17731/3/1775
KerkElizabethPA250Reedy Creek11/22/1773
KillgoreRalphSavannah River
LackyMaryNC200Fishing Creek12/7/1773
LamarBasilSC250Broad River11/16/1773
LamarThomasSr.SC100Fishing Creek10/15/1773
LamarZachariahSC400Broad River10/12/1773
LandrassAbrahamNC100Little River1/13/1774
LeeFrancisNC200Brier Creek11/26/1773
LeeGreenberrySC100Brier Creek10/15/17733/15/1775
LewisJeremiahNC250Fishing Creek1/13/1774
LindseyJamesNC100Little River10/10/1774
LittleFrancis600Savannah River10/12/1773
LittleJamesSC100Savannah River12/7/1773
LittleWilliamSC100Savannah River12/7/1773
LittleWilliamNC100Broad River10/12/1773
LowEbernezerNC100Little River1/13/1774
LowJohnNJ100Fishing Creek11/8/1773
MacclemurryJamesSC100Soap Creek10/10/17746/9/1775
MaccordJohnSC100Savannah River12/7/1773
MackalpinAlexanderSC100Savannah River10/13/1773
MansonWilliam1040Rocky Creek
MartinDouglassVA100Little River1/13/1775
MartinOftonNC100Uptons Creek12/7/1773
MartindessHenry100Red Lick Creek11/24/1773
MathewWilliamSC300Little River12/7/1773
McClarySamuelNC200Little River12/7/1773
McClendonIsaacNC300Fishing Creek2/13/1775
McClendonJacobJr.NC100Fishing Creek2/13/17756/9/1775
McCollersDavidNC200Long Creek1/13/1775
McHairArchibaldNC100Savannah River10/13/1773
McLeanJamesNC150Long Creek12/7/1773
McMunnJamesNC100Little River12/7/1773
MeitteirLewis150Palmetto Branch
MendenalJosephPA100Reedy Creek10/10/1774
MendenhallJamesNC600Little River12/7/1773
MendinghallPhineas100Reedy Creek11/8/1773
MercerJames150Hardins Creek12/7/1773
MercerSilasNC200Hardins Creek1/13/1774
MiddletonHughSC300Pistol Creek10/12/1773
MiddletonHugh300Pistol Creek11/22/1773
MillerAlexanderNC200Uptons Creek11/8/1773
MillerJohnSC100Savannah River10/13/1773
MillsAlexanderSC150Pistol Creek10/13/1773
MimmsDruryNC150Brier Creek12/7/1773
MimmsJohnNC100Broad River10/15/1773
MimmsRobert100Ogechee River11/9/1773
MoatesDavidSC200Hardins Creek11/9/1773
MoatesDavid200Little River11/9/1773
MoatesMatthewSC350Little River11/9/1773
MosleyBenjaminNC100Soap Creek9/27/1773
NealJosephVA200Broad River10/10/1774
NelsonJohnMD500Camp Creek3/14/17753/15/1775
NewtonRobertNC100Little River12/7/1773
NicholsGeorgeSN100Reedy Creek12/7/1773
NixonEdwardSC100Brier Creek1/13/1774
NordikeAbrahamSC100Hardins Creek2/17/1775
OatsWilliam200Brier Creek9/30/177311/3/1775
O'NealJohn100Fishing Creek10/12/1773
OwenThomasSC100Savannah River10/12/17733/15/1775
OwlseyNewdigateVA200Fishing Creek9/27/1773
PaceDreadSC100Broad River11/23/1773
PalmerSolomonNC450Ogechee River12/7/1773
ParksJosiahVA100Little River1/13/1775
PattenJacob100Pistol Creek11/9/17736/9/1775
PattenMatthewNC200Long Creek11/16/1773
PattenThomas100Richland Creek11/16/1773
PaullAndrewSC100Red Lick Creek9/30/1773
PayneJohnSC100Little River10/12/177311/3/1775
PerkinsAvingtonNC100Savannah River10/12/1773
PerkinsBenjamin100Fishing Creek9/30/1773
PerkinsBenjamin100Fishing Creek10/10/1774
PerkinsJohn100Savannah River2/17/1775
PerkinsJoshuaNC300Long Creek12/7/1773
PerkinsJoshua100Broad River9/30/1773
PhillipsJoelNC200Reedy Creek10/15/1773
PhillipsJohnSC150Little River12/7/1773
PhillipsWilliamNC200Little River12/7/1773
PhillipsZachariahNC500Little River11/22/1773
PickensIsraelSC100Savannah River2/13/1775
PowellCaderSC100Red Lick Creek9/29/1773
PowellMosesSC400Ogechee River9/29/1773
PughJesseNC100Little River9/30/1773
PullumJohn200Beaver Dam Creek2/13/1775
QuernsJohnMD200Hardins Creek1/13/1775
RedockAbrahamSC100Broad River10/13/1773
ReedNathanSC100Long Creek12/7/1773
ReesJoseph200Soap Creek10/15/1773
RichardsonThomasSC100Fishing Creek6/6/1775
RobertsWilliamSC100Ogechee River10/10/1774
RobinsonAndrewSC750Long Creek11/16/1773
RobinsonAndrew500Broad River11/16/1773
RogersDrurySC300Ogechee River11/8/1773
RossJamesPA100Ogechee River11/26/1773
RossWilliamNC100Stephens Creek12/7/1773
SaundersHardy750Beaver Dam Creek2/13/1775
ScottThomasEngland250Brier Creek1/13/177411/3/1775
ShannonThomas200Savannah River9/30/17733/15/1775
SherrillDavidSC100Little River12/7/1773
SherrillReuben400Sherrill's Creek
SherrillWilliamNC200Little River12/7/1773
SidwellDavidPA300Rocky Creek1/13/1774
SillJohnSC200Little River10/15/1773
SimmonsSternSC100Soap Creek1/13/1774
SmithBenjaminNC100Long Creek10/10/1774
SmithJacobNC100Fishing Creek10/10/1774
SmithJohnNC200Three Lick Creek11/26/1773
SmithNicholasSC100Fishing Creek6/6/17753/15/1775
SmithWilliamNC100Fishing Creek10/10/1774
StaplerAmos100Uptons Creek12/7/1773
StaplerJohn100Uptons Creek12/7/1773
StephensMosesSC200Stephens Creek11/22/1773
StewartRobertNC300Little River11/22/1773
StewartRobert200Ogechee River12/7/1773
SweenyNathanNC100Little River1/13/1775
TaylorLeviSC100Fishing Creek10/12/1773
TaylorWardSC150Soap Creek12/7/1773
ThompsonBenjaminSC750Rocky Creek10/15/1773
ThompsonBenjamin3500Rocky Creek
ThompsonJohnNC150Beaver Dam Creek11/22/1773
ThurmanElijahVAPistol Creek10/10/1774
TillettGilesVA500Broad River11/16/17736/9/1775
TruaxIsaacPA100Red Lick Creek11/24/1773
UnderwoodGeorgeSC100Long Creek
VannJamesSC100Savannah River12/7/1773
VannJosephSC500Long Creek11/16/1773
WalkerSamuelSC200Little River12/7/1773
WalkerSilvanusNC100Little River11/22/1773
WatersMathewSC275Savannah River10/13/1775
WatersMathew225Cullinens Island10/13/1775
WatersThomasSC200Savannah River9/27/1773
WatersThomas150Savannah River10/10/1774
WatersThomas100Log Fort
WebbJesse200Broad River
WestbrookJohnVA100Broad River10/13/1773
WelchMichaelIreland100Ogechee River10/10/1774
WebbRichardNC150Broad River9/30/1773
WhealyWilliamNC100Long Creek2/13/1775
WhealyWilliam100Ogechee River12/7/1773
WhitacreMarkNC200Chickasaw Creek10/15/1773
WhiteJamesNC100Little River11/19/1773
WhiteJames100Little River12/7/1773
WhiteJosephNC650Kettle Creek12/7/1773
WhiteWilliamNC200Ogechee River12/7/1773
WhiteWilliamJr.NC200Ogechee River12/7/1773
WiattWilliamNC100Brier Creek11/19/1773
WickershamJohnNC200Reedy Creek11/8/1773
WilkinsAbraham100Broad River
WilkinsJohnNC400Fishing Creek12/7/1773
WilkinsSamuel200Milestone Creek
WilliamsCharles500Savannah River
WilliamsEzekielSC350Rocky Creek10/28/17738/20/1775
WilliamsFrederickNC50Little River11/26/1773
WilliamsHenry1000Fishing Creek
WilliamsThomasNC150Ogechee River11/8/1773
WilliamsThomasVA350Ogechee River11/4/1773
WillsonAndrewNC100Little River12/7/1773
WilsonHughNC200between creeks11/8/1773
WilsonJohn150between creeks11/8/1773
WiseJosephNC100Long Creek10/10/1774
WoodIsaacSC100Savannah River12/7/1773
WoodsRichardNC200Pistol Creek11/16/1773
WootenThomasNC200Beaver Dam Creek2/13/1775

The vast territory acquired under the Treaty of June 1, 1773 and known as the Ceded Lands was formed into the original County of Wilkes by the Constitution of 1777. That large county has since been divided and subdivided so that today it includes the counties of Wilkes, Elbert, Lincoln, and Oglethorpe and parts of the counties of Greene, Hart, Madison, Taliaferro and Warren.

It is ironical that the merchants and traders who initiated the idea of the cession in order to recover the debts due to them, received nothing out of the thirty-nine hundred Pounds derived from the sale of the lands so ceded. However, the General Assembly by its Act of January 23, 1780, Sec. 23, provided for payment, after just audit, of the claims of those who had been on the American side during the War of the Revolution. [6]The story of the attempt of the Indian traders to secure payment of their debts did not end with the act which the Georgia legislature passed in 1780. In the meantime the traders had consolidated … Continue reading


Hitz, Alex M. “The Earliest Settlements in Wilkes County.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 40, no. 3, 1956, pp. 260–80.


1This paper is based on the Grant Books and Survey Books in the Surveyor-General Department; colonial books and papers in the Georgia Department of Archives and History; Allen D. Candler, ed., The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia (25 vols., Volume XX was never published. Atlanta, 1904.1908); Allen D. Candler, ed., The Revolutionary Records of the State of Georgia (3 vols. Atlanta, 1908); Horatio Marbury and William Harris Crawford, comps., Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia . . . (Savannah, 1802); Robert and George Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of the State of Georgia . . . (Philadelphia, 1800); Collections of the Georgia Historical Society. III (Savannah, 1873).
2Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 204.
3Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 206.
4Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 234.
5Watkins, comps., Digest of the Laws of Georgia, 764.
6The story of the attempt of the Indian traders to secure payment of their debts did not end with the act which the Georgia legislature passed in 1780. In the meantime the traders had consolidated their claims by assigning them to George Galphin, the principal trader, who had long maintained an important trading house at Silver Bluff on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River below Augusta. Soon after the Treaty of 1773 and before the British government could pay the claims, the Revolution broke out. Galphin took an active part in support of the patriotic cause, and, of course, thereby forfeited any chance to make collections from the British. Although for a time Georgia practically assumed the obligation, she later changed her position on the grounds that the claim should be paid by the United States government. Georgia argued that the Revolution was a united struggle and that Galphin’s services were as much for the United States as for Georgia, and that the lands which had been secured by the Treaty of 1773 had come into possession of Americans generally, and had not gone exclusively to Georgians. In the course of time Galphin died and his heirs took the case to the Federal government, where Congress wrestled with it for many years. Finally the claim which had bee nacknowledged by the British as being £9,791, was paid by the United States government in 1850. The amount, including interest, was $234,871. This long struggle to get the claims paid gave rise to a political expression, now gone out of use, called “Galphinism,” its meaning being an attempt to make fraudulent raid on the United States treasury by way of urging false claims. For the story of this affair, see Wm. P. Brandon, “The Galphin Claim,” in Georgia Historical Quarterly, XV, 2 (June, 1931), 113.42. (Editor.)

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