History

11/07/04

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The History of Colquitt County, Georgia
And Her Builders
Compiled By, Mrs. Mattie Oglesby Coyle, Moultrie, GA
1925

      Originally, Colquitt was part of Irwin County, which was created in 1818, but in 1825, it was cut off into Thomas and Lowndes, what is now Colquitt being then Thomas County.  Colquitt County was created February 15, 1856, from Thomas County, with the exception of a small area which was crated out of Lowndes, so the early history of this section is the history of Thomas County.
  We are indebted to Mr. Irwin McIntyre, who gives an interesting account of the early days of this section in his History of Thomas County.   "According to Jones History of Georgia.  Desoto spent the winter of [illegible and guessing: 1539 - 1540 at Achaia, near the present city of Tallahassee, Fla. where Spanish armor and other relics have been exhumed.  On Wednesday, March 3rd, 1540, Desoto marched North. and on the 4th day of the month crossed the 'Oclockny' River near Hadley's ferry in Grady County, former Thomas, having passed between Lake [illegible Ianomia] and Jackson on March 21st, he had reached  a point [illegible] being
Irwin County, having gone Northward [illegible] Ochlocknee River.

  After General Jackson [next paragraph illegible]

  On an old map, dated 1818, no town is shown in the vicinity of what is now Thomas County, except Miccosukee, Florida, and the words 'Pine Barrens' are written over the area now known as Southwest Georgia.  The only inhabitants of this vast section

 

[continued on page 4]

at this time were roving bands of Indians, and we are indebted to the Tifton Gazette for the following information on the historical spots of Colquitt County.

    6The earliest inhabitants of Colquitt County during the Revolutionary Period were Indians and white settlers, chiefly Indians.  Therefore the historical spots were centered around Indian mounds, trading posts, relics and wars.

    An old Indian trading post, where the Indian traded their beads, skins, and valuable trinkets
 among the settlers, was located upon the site which is now Murphy's Bridge, three miles Southwest of Moultrie, the County site of Colquitt County.

  A famous Indian mound is still in evidence on the farm of Mr. ? J. Marchant, a few miles from Crossland, GA., in Colquitt, County.  The Indian arrows were removed from this mound.

   On the bank where Warrior Creek and Little River join, a few miles East of Ellenton, in Colquitt County, a great battle was waged between Creek Indians and the White Settlers, July 15th, 1836.  The Indians were almost annihilated.

   The most famous of all these historical spots is the well known Thigpen Trail.  This trail is located in the western part of Colquitt County one mile this side of Hartsfield.  The Moultrie and Camilla road crosses this trail near the farm of Mr. Darling Gay.  This road was built by James Thigpen, of North Carolina.  Who was appointed overseer of highways in 1704.  The road passed through four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.  It is the oldest road in Colquitt County, having been built two hundred and twenty one years ago.  This trail made a direct route from North Carolina to Pensacola, Florida and was used for the following purposes:

   1st - Military purposes.  Troops marched from North Carolina to Georgia, during the Revolutionary War.

   2nd- To bring provisions from Tallahassee, Florida, especially salt, to different places in South Georgia.  Although this road passes through the thickly settled portion of Colquitt County it has never been put in first class condition.

     To the late Mr. John Norman, who was County Surveyor, and who knew more of the County perhaps than any man in it, as he had a remarkable memory and had made an interesting collection of facts, dating from its early settlement, we are indebted for a good deal of unwritten history of the County.

[next paragraph illegible]

  Heads of Households of Families living in the Eight District  of Colquitt County in 1840
 

Heads of Households, Dist. 8, 1840

 
William [illegible]
Hardy H. Akridge
next three names illegible
[illegible]
[illegible]
[illegible]
James Bryan
Douglas Black
Ezekiel Crawford
Elisha Cutts
William P. Cutts
Robert Crawford
Jesse Carlton
Peter Crosby
Cannon Cason
Daniel Davis
Wright Douglas
Catherine Eason
Artaxerxes B. Norman
James Newton
Sarah Richardson
William Sloan
Levi Sapp
John Sloan
John Sellers
Daniel Sloan
Henry C. Tucker
John Tillman
Moses Vick
James P. Vick
Joseph Watson
Reuben Watson
Redick Watson
Shadrack Wells
William Watson
Henry Hamans
Phebe Highsmith
Thomas Jordan
Murphy Lanier
Nathan Land
Henry Murphy
Holmes Mauldin
Colin Mercer
James McLendon
James A. Newton


Chapter II

   The vast pine forests of which the County consisted were mainly the property of the State, but for five dollars ($5.00), one could secure a lot of land containing 490 acres.  Some acquired theirs by squatters' rights, that is, after they had occupied the land twenty years, they secured a title.
   The area of the County is 547.5 square miles.
   The few inhabitants in early days engaged in stock raising for a livelihood, marketing their products in Thomasville, Albany and other places.  In the 60s, 70s and 80s, there was little growth in population.  There were some excellent families that increased rapidly, among them being the Normans, Newton's, Monks, Weeks, Tillman's, Crofts, Murphy's, Sobers, Tuckers, Gays, and many others of whom there are hundreds in the County at the present time.
   From 1840 to 1860 we have no knowledge of any unusual events transpiring, except the formation of the County in 1856.   It was named for United States Senator Walter T. Colquitt.  Ma. A. B. Butts, of Macon, deeded the County fifty (50) acres of land, and Moultrie was laid out, and became the County site.
   The first Superior Court was held at Winchester, four miles North of Moultrie.  Judge Peter F. Love, of Thomasville, was the first Judge.  He was succeeded by Judge A. H. Hansell, who resided for fifty four years, and Mr. Hansell Merrill and Robert Mitchell, both of Thomasville.   Judge W. E. Thomas, of Valdosta, is he present Judge of this Circuit.  The late Captain John Triplett, Editor of the Thomasville Times Enterprise attended Court in this County, it is said, for thirty years or more, never missing a session, and it was largely due to articles in his paper that Colquitt County and Moultrie became known to the world.
   The next interesting period in the County was the declaration of the Civil War in the 60s.  There were only a very few owners of slaves in the County (27 with 110 slaves among them), and as its citizens had little intercourse with the outside world they were not concerned very much about the War and the issues at stake.  When they were called to vote for secession at Moultrie, only three men cast their votes in favor of it, and they were South Carolinians, John D. Dalton and Allen and Darling Creed, brothers.   Colquitt County's representatives to the Secession Convention were H. C. Tucker and John G. Coleman.  The citizens of the County were patriotic, however, and the following company was mustered from this County.  Of this number, only one man survives, so far as we can learn. The venerable "Uncle" Joel Norman, eight even years of age, and from him we secured this roster.

 

Muster Roll of Company "H" 50th Georgia Regiment, C. S. A.

 

Jerry Wells, Captain
J. J. Johnson, 1st Lieutenant
John Tucker, 2nd Lieutenant
E. Tillman, 3rd Lieutenant
Jakes Algier, Orderly Sergeant

   
Privates:
Wilson Algier
Jackson Allred
Vince Algier
John Alderman
Thomas Alligood
Dan Alligood
Andy Alligood
Jack Allred
Aaron Allred
Allen Allred
Burrell Baker
W. W. Baker
W. Bryant
Calvin Bryant
Calvin Bryant
Thomas Baker
Lewis Bloodworth
John Bowen
Simon Connell
Jake Croft
James Castleberry
Jake Creed
Paul Creed
Isaac Carlton
David Culpepper
John Crosby
Miles Dukes
Wyatt Dukes
William Denman
Elisha Davis
Elijah Field
N. Flowers
J. Ganey
Hiram Gay
Matthew Gay
Jack Green
Moses Guyton
David Giles
Jack Hancock
William Hall
Jesse Hollingsworth
Wash Hollingsworth
James Horn
Watt Hancock
Harrison Hancock
James Hood
Allen Hart
Harden Hancock
Simon Hunt/Hart?
James Hardwick
John Henley
Jake Kinard
John Low
Marion Lee
Wright Murphy
Solomon Mercer
John Mercer
James McMullen
J. J. Norman
J. S. Norman
W. H. H. Norman
Malley Nesmith
Joe Norwood
John Owens
Willis Price
James Red
James Robertson
Thomas Roland
Robert Royals
Charles Royals
Joe Simpson
George Sober
Mitchell Tillman
Elbert Tillman
Jordan Tillman
John Tillman
Thomas Tillman
John A. Tillman
Harrison Tillman
Lot Townsend
James Thompson
Richard Tucker
Henry Varnadoe
P. O. Wing
James Weeks
Pink Weeks
   

  The census of 1860 shows that Newton was the largest town in Southwest Georgia, having a total population of 2,225.  Albany had 2,, 674, Valdosta 166, Bainbridge 1,859, Savannah 22,292, Atlanta 9,554, Tallahassee 1,932, Monticello 1,080 and Newport 441.  The population of Thomasville is not given in the census of 1860, but in the town census of 1858, Thomasville had 1,458 people, of whom 911 were white.
   At that time, Moultrie was only a small village with a few families: Mr. Robert Bearden and wife, A. D. Patterson, Amos Turner and his daughter, Mrs. Dukes, Mother of Mrs. Faison, who still lives here.
   From the State Directory, where the roster of the House of Representatives is given from 1777 to the present time, we secured the following list of Colquitt County's Representatives:
 

Colquitt County's Representatives:

 
1857-58 Henry Gay
1859-60 Henry Gay
1861-63 Ex. Henry Gay
1863-65 Ex. J. W. Wells
1865-67 Willis W. Watkins
1868-70 Ex. Willis Watkins
1871-73 Adj. Isaac Carlton
1873-74 John Tucker
1875-76 John B. Norman
1877 James Vick
1879-79 Adj. James Vick
1880-81 M. E. McClellan
1882-83 John Tucker
1884-85  H. Watkins
1886-87 ? E. Newton
1888-89 John Alderman
1890-91 ?Can not make out name
1892-93 ? Can not make out name
1894-95 ? Newton
1896-97 G. Henderson
1898-99 Can not make out name
1900-01 Robert Shipp
1902-04 George W. Newton
1905-06 William Covington
1907-08 William A. Covington
1909-10 J. M. Walters
1911-12 J. H. Hiers
1913-14 John A. Carlton
1915-17 Robert L.  Shipp
1917-18 M. E. NeSmith
1919-20 William A. Covington
1921-22 Richard J. Lewis, R. G. Clark (Aug. 31, 1922)
1923-24 Robert L. Norman, William A. Covington
1925 Richard J. Lewis, Hoyt H. Whelchel


Chapter III

  The first settlers of the County were for the greater part Primitive Baptists.  They were good people, honest, unselfish.  Pious and punctual in the payment of debts, and meeting all contracts.  So far as we can learn, the first church in the County was Sardis, a Primitive church, located a few miles East of Moultrie on Indian Creek.  The next historical church and first brick building in the County is the old brick church, Greenfield, near Autreyville, built by Mr. Eli Graves, a Northern man who settled in this County during the period of the 40s. It was a Presbyterian church, as Mr. Graves was of that faith, but not for years after this church was built is there any record of any Presbyterians in the County, with the exception of his family.  There was also a factory nearby for making buckets, which went by the name of   "The Bucket Shop."  Following the Primitives, the Missionary Baptists and Methodists came into the County. The Presbyterians being the last to enter. 
   The County had the misfortune to lose its first Court House by fire in 1881, and valuable records wee lost and much confusion ensued on account of land titles.  In 1880, the census gave the population and taxable property as follows:


 

   Population              Taxable Property
1880   2,527      
1890   4,794    1890 $    811,842.26
1900 13,636    1900    1,787,940.00
1910 19,786    1910    4,582,949.00
1920 29,332    1920    9,438,744.00

 

 

Professional Men of Moultrie

Attorneys   Physicians   Dentists
 
P. Q. Bryan   Everett Daniel   T. P. Tison
J. L. Dowling J. G. Culpepper W. S. Pearce
L. L. Moore C. C. Fletcher W. G. Hitchcock
Joe Gibson J. E. Lamer  (Lamar?) R. E. L. Pattillo
Hoyt Whelchel C. M. Hitchcock R. H. Rogers
Waldo DeLoach S. M. Withers  
John T. Coyle C. C. Brannen  
Martin Luther Bivins H. T. Edmondson  
  J. F. Covington  
  W. L. Bennett  
  E. L. Lawson  
  H. H. Trimble, Osteopath  
  C. L. Dean, Chiropractor  
     

 

Oldest Firms Of Merchants And Grocers

Heard Shoe Company
A. R. Rogers
Hall Hardware Company
Horkan Hardware Company
Matthews Webb Company
T. E. Lewis, Millinery
G. G. Henderson Furniture
Friedlander Brothers, Dry Goods
W. C. Applewhite
R. C. West, Grocers

 

Citizens of Moultrie and Colquitt County  who have made contributions in various lines in the County other than mentioned in sketches, and who have passed on:
 
Maj. J. McK. McNeill   W. B. McPhaul
Thomas McNeill J. D. McKenzie
James Humphreys Dr. P. B. Crenshaw
W. S. Humphreys O. A. Beall
R. L. Stokes Dr. W. R. Smith
Dr. W. L. Jerkins Judge John A. Wilkes
G. G. Henderson C. L. Stevenson
V. F. Norman D. A. Fish
J. J. Battle Dr. J. H. Cook
W. A. Spivey Charles Beatty
R. G. Clark J. H. Lewis
Duncan Sinclair Mr. McCormick
W. H. Gibson A. E. Milligan
M. C. Hutchings A. D. Patterson
C. L. Austin Robert Bearden
Duncan Smith James Hall
E. H. Bryan Dr. Joel B. Coyle
J. A. Millsap W. D. Scott
T. H. Parker C. W. Isom
D. N. Horne J. J. Vickers
Dr. W. J. Hicks J. H. Williford
G. W. Spivey G. W. Daugherty
Miles Monk, SR. John M. Norman
W. B. Dukes J. H. Hiers
P. B. Allen Warner Culpepper
James Holmes  

Roster of County Officers


 

 

 


Colquitt County Churches

 

 

First Presbyterian Church

    In October, 1892, sixteen Presbyterians met for the purpose of organizing a church in Moultrie, Rev. T. J. Allison, Evangelist in Savannah Presbyterian officiating, and the church was dedicated in June, 1893.  Rev. J. B. Mack, preached at intervals, followed by W. A. Wynne, G. L. Cook and N. M. Templeton, during 1894-95;  Malcolm McGillary, J. P. Ward and L. T. Way during 1896--99.  In 1900 Rev. W. H. McMeen came as stated supply, and remained until 1901, followed by Rev. J. C. Tims, who came as regular pastor on Feb. 1st, 1902.  He resigned Feb. 1st, 1907, and was succeeded by Rev. J. G. Venable on Oct. 1st, 1907, who remained until Nov. 1st , 1911.

   Rev. J. W. Tyler, deceased too charge of the church during April, 1912, and upon his resignation, in order to take up the Mountain Mission work, the Church called Rev. J. B. Meacham.

 

 

 

 

.[General Colquitt was commander of the 6th Georgia Infantry, and a hero at the Battle of Ollustee, Florida, February 20, 1864. He later served as Governor of Georgia (1876-1882) and as U.S. Senator from Georgia (1882-1894).    General Colquitt

 

 

 







Jacob Frederick Reichert, JR. was the first Sheriff of Colquitt County.

Jacob F. Reichert

 History of Colquitt County and additional photos coming soon.

 

 

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