Georgia Genealogy Trails

"Where your Journey Begins"


While on the round with General Cook, during his canvass recently in the lower counties, we passed a night with Mr. James Paulk, Sr., of Irwin. Mr. Paulk gave us the names of two colored men in his county who are free holders and pay taxes each upon eleven hundred dollars worth of property. Their names are "Judge L. Paulk" and July Jones. They have farms, and own cattle, sheep, horses, etc., are out of debt and are living with ease and comfort.

[Source]: Hawkinsville Dispatch. The Daily Constitution, Atlanta Georgia, October 24, 1876-submitted by Shaua Williams

Mitchell's Plantation-On July 13, 1836, during the Creek war, Captain Levi J. Knight, with a company of about seventy-five men, came up with a party of Indians on the Allapaha river, near the plantation of W. H. Mitchell, in Irwin County. In the engagement which ensued all the Indians except five were killed, their arms, camp equipage, etc., falling into the hands of the whites. Considering the small number of men engaged, this was one of the sanguinary and decisive battles of the war.

[Source]: Georgia Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Person, Vol. 2, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Tracy McAllister.

Seriously Burned.

The little eighteen-months-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Ellis northeast of Tifton was severly burned on the hips and body Monday. The child's clothing caught fire while it was playing near an open fireplace. Friends of the parents through this section hope that the injuries will not prove serious.

It is not the high cost of living that is causing so much trouble but the habit of spending. Take the case of Robert C. Fargason as an illustration. He stole $7,000 from the Southern Express company, left his young wife in bed with their first-born, an infant, at her side, and ended a career of three weeks as a spendthrift behind the bars of a prison. When arrested, he was opening champagne, throwing away the stolen money on actresses and fast companions. His case does not seem to have one redeeming feature that would entitle him to mercy.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 19, 1912 -- Page 4;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Head-On Collision

The South Atlantic Limited, due in Tifton at 4:25 a.m. was wrecked Thursday morning at 1:20 at Jonesboro, by a head-on collision with a Central railroad freight train. One white man, Engineer W. T. Clark, of the freight, and four negroes were instantly killed, and two white men, Baggage-master Puckett and Engineer Collins, and a negro fireman of the passenger train were severely injured. The collision was caused by a mistake on the part of the crew of the freight, which had orders to pass the Dixie Flyer and South Atlantic Limited north of Macon. The Dixie Flyer was in two sections and the crew doubtless mistook the last section for the Limited and thought they had a clear track. The collision was at a curve, and the passengers were considerably shaken up but none except the negroes hurt. The train passed Tifton in the afternoon, twelve hours late.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 19, 1912 -- Page 4;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Little William G. Fitzgerald Jr., of Jackson, was struck by a passing automobile Monday afternoon and received painful injuries. The car that struck the boy was one driven by a Mr. Sheely, mananger of a garage at Doerun. He was bringing a party of Doerun people to Moultrie when the accident happened.--Observer.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 19, 1912 -- Page 4;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Bill Atkins Brought Back.

Deputy Sheriff Shaw went to Waycross Sunday afternoon and returned Sunday night, bringing with him Bill Atkins, white, who escaped from the Tift county gang two weeks ago, by securing a key and unlocking the chair to which he was fastened. A boy escaped with Atkins but was caught in a chimney in one of the negro houses in Tift's quarter. Deputy Shaw found that Atkins had been in correspondence with several parties, from letters which had been received at the camp after his departure, and notified the Ware county authorities to be on the lookout for him. It is supposed that he spent some time in Tifton after his escape and went from here to Brookfield, where he boarded a train for Waycross. He was working for a livery stable at Waycross, and went under the name of Frank Adams. He was arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cason, and the Tift county authorities notified. Atkins is quite well known in Tifton, where he did several cow-boy stunts and was a trained horseman. He got into trouble by fooling with the state and city prohibition laws.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 19, 1912 -- Page 7;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Deputy United States Marshal E. H. Calhoun brought John Wiggens, colored, to Valdosta Friday from Sylvester, charged with operating a moonshine distillery, which was found about three-quarters of a mile from the negro's house. It was a thirty-gallon still and was destroyed by Deputy Collector C. D. Williams and Deputy Marshal Calhoun. William Green, a negro, testified that he saw the defendant and Jim Kincher, also colored, making whiskey. Wiggens was tried before Commissioner Powell and his bond was fixed at $150, in default of which he was sent to jail at Albany.--Valdosta Times.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 19, 1912 -- Page 7;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Tifton Home Meets with Unusually Sad Bereavement.

Robert Murray, the eighteen monts old son of Mr. and Mrs. R. M. Smith, was fatally burned at an early hour Sunday morning, dying from the effects of its injuries Tuesday morning at 2 o'clock. Mrs. Smith had arisen early and kindled a fire and had left the room for a moment to get a bucket of coal. She had only put a few coals into the bucket when she heard the little boy scream and ran to him. The little boy had arisen and was standing in his night-dress before the fires, when by some means his garments caught. His aunt, Mrs. Gifford, was sleeping in the same room and his screams awakened her. She look, his gown was ablaze. Mr. Smith was in an adjoining room and almost instantly he and Mrs. Gifford ran to the little boy, both of them getting their hands burned, Mrs. Gifford severely, in extinguishing the flames. Medical aid was summoned at once, but the burns on the little fellows stomach, left side, arm and face were so severe that little could be down for his relief. All that was mortal of the bright little one was laid to rest in the cemetery at Zion Hope church, Tuesday afternoon at 3 o'clock, Rev. C. W. Durden of the Baptist church conducting the funeral. The stricken family, parents, grandparents and relatives, have the sympathy of many friends in this terrible affliction.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 26, 1912 -- Page 1;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Gus Adams

The articles on the old families of Irwin, written by Mr. Gus Adams, and which are now appearing in the Gazette, are attracting much deserved attention. Few people realize the amount of labor necessary to collect a series of articles of this kind. These, besides the work of writing them out, represent and entire summer's work by Mr. Adams, he having spent the time since May of last spring until late in the fall gathering this material together. Every old family of Irwin county will be taken up in detail and as will be seen by the articles already appearing, the scope is surprising, as they touch, directly or indirectly, every person who has for any length of time been a resident of this section of the state. As soon as the newspaper publication of these family histories has been completed, it is Mr. Adams' intention to revise them up to date and issue them in book form. It will be one of the most interesting volumes ever published in this part of the state, but only to the citizens in this immediate section, but through South Georgia and Florida.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jan. 12, 1912 -- Page 3;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Uncle Jack Willis celebrated his 87th birthday Thursday at the home of his son, Orville Willis. He is the oldest resident of the old families of Irwin, born thirty years after Irwin county was established. He can remember when South Georgia was comprised of Early, Appling and Irwin counties. When this whole country was a vast pine forest.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Dec. 18, 1914 -- Page 8;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Among the list of obituaries were men of prominence in the railroad world, bankers, merchants and statesmen. Congressman S. A. Roddenbery, our eloquent representative, and a number of others have crossed the great divide, including several members of the old families of Irwin. Among them were: Black Jim Fletcher, Mrs. Sarah Fletcher, Green Henderson, Mrs. Millie Hogan Paulk, Steve Cobb, Mrs. Lee Hogan Cribb, Rev. Wm. Paulk, Mrs. Mary Paulk, Rev. W. Hardin, Aunt Sally Mims Hutchinson, Aunt Martha Roundtree and Joe M. Sumner. Those who departed from our midst were: J. H. Lineberger, Ben Sumner, Ashley Yawn, Aubry Branch, child of Jehu Branch, Mrs. Jonah Butler, Mrs. Etheridge, Mrs. Wiley Branch, Jr., and Mrs. Geo. Crawford.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Dec. 18, 1914 -- Page 8;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Mrs. Jane Branch Celebrates Her 72nd Birthday.

Aunt Jane Branch spent one of the happiest days of her existence Tuesday, July 28th, surrounded by children, grand-children, and great-grand-children and friends at her home participating in a family reunion in honor of her birthday. She entered into this world of strife at Sycamore, 72 years ago, the daughter of Lott Whiddon. Married Bill Branch before the war, 55 years ago. Moved to Waterloo during the war, while her young husband was serving his country in Virginia--Eli, her oldest son was a child: W. W. D. was born during the war. After the surrender the family moved near Chula, the present old homestead, where Dave, John, Jehu, Elias, Judy, Rachel, Leacy, and Millie were born. (She preceded her father to the grave 12 years ago.) Judy married J. F. Ross, of near Ty Ty, and is the mother of W. A., Arthur, Owen, Aden, Lacy, Cora, Nora, and Data; grand-mother of Tom and Elza Ross. Rachel married Walter Young, of Worth county. Her children are: Henry, Millie, Janie. Leacy married J. R. Paulk, of Ocilla. She is the mother of Albert, Eaton, Vinson, Dewey and Sammy, Ommie, Anty Ann, Janie, Cleotilla; the grand-mother of little Albert and Baby Paulk. W. W. D. is the father of Geo. W., of Tifton; Wm. M. of Tift county, and Mrs. Eunie Paulk, of Irwin county; the grand-parent of Frank, Vernon, Willie and George Branch and Versi Cola, and Bill Paulk. Eli is the father of Mrs. Martha Jane Fletcher, Mrs. Millie Davis, of Thomasville; Mrs. J. Seagraves, Mrs. Plemmie Lineberger, Mrs. Leacy Rogers and Mrs. Julian Fletcher, all of Tift county. W. D. of Fitzgerald, and Albert, of Chula; the grand-parent of Maggie Hull, Ruby and Buddy Fletcher; James Bard and son Davis, Cady, Marion, ????? Lineberger, Lillie Rogers, Sonny Fletcher. Dave John is the parent of Chesley, of California; Wallace, Tipnor, Nettie and Daisy. John is the father of Cooper, Maggie and Gussie. Mrs. Branch is the aunt of Judge J. B. Clements, J. A. J. Henderson, Dan Henderson, Wm. and Robert Henderson, of Irwin county; Jim Henderson, Mrs. Lott Whiddon, and Mrs. B. Cravy, of Turner county; Mrs. T. B. Young, of Florida, D. W. Whiddon and all his brothers and sisters. Mrs. E. J. Young and Speed Paulk, of Irwin county. She is the great-aunt of J. H. Young, of Tifton; Drew Paulk, of Fitzgerald; Wiley Whitley, Clerk of Superior Court of Ben Hill county; Mrs. Quincey, Mrs. W. Lennon, Mrs. Lucius Tucker, James Whitley, Ordinary of Irwin county; O. N. Harper, candidate for the legislature from Irwin county. Dave John is the father of Chesley, Walter Wallace, Tignor, Nettie, Daisie and Millie. Leacy Paulk grand-mother of Leslie, Loy and Myrtle Paulk, Eli Branch grand-father of Russell, Felicie, Myrtle and W. D. Branch. Rachel's children are: Henry, Janey, Mrs. Mollie Watson, Judy, Willie, Jimmie, Billy and Gordon. Grand-children: Sally Young and Joe Watson. Among the guests were: J. H. Young and family, D. W. Whiddon, Uncle Jim Whiddon and Aunt Lucy, Aunt Unie Clements and Louise, Jacob R. Paulk and family, J. Albert Paulk, Mrs. J. L. Paulk, Mrs. R. V. Paulk, Mrs. W. Ashley, Mrs. J. A. J. Henderson, Mrs. Virginia Ashley; Bud Ashley, A. Paulk and family, of Ocilla; Sheriff J. M. Shaw, John Branch, Wiley Branch, Sr., Wiley Branch, Jr., E. T. Fletcher, J. Fletcher, D. J. Branch, of Turner county; L. Ross and family, of Ty Ty; Mary Fletcher and a host of others numbering about 200 participated in this birthday anniversary. There were eight children, fifty-six grand-children and thirty-two great-grand-children present. The weight of the five sons of the family present aggregated 1, 150 pounds, divided as follows: Eli, 200; W. W. D., 260; Dave John, 225; Jehu, 235, E. D. 230. Total, 1,150. This is too much weight for a Branch. It is enough for a big creek or a small river. She is connected with all the old families of Irwin. May she enjoy many more birthdays in the midst of her offspring and friends who bestowed a number of valuable, useful and very desirable presents to the most appreciative hostess--who furnished the guests with a sumptuous repast.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jul. 31, 1914 -- Page 8;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

A National Park in Irwin.

ALBANY AVENUE, JULY 28.---The article in the Macon Telegraph referring to the spot where Jeff Davis was captured, seeking aid from the state in erecting a monument, is not only a question of state but it is a national question. Instead of two acres that Judge Clements wishes to donate, the government could purchase two lots of land for a National Park, erecting monuments to all the generals of the war on both sides. If J. A. J. Henderson gets to Congress he will be the man to push it if the people desire it. His uncle was one of the delegates to the convention that voted for secession, besides his nearest relatives and friends were in the struggle.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jul. 31, 1914 -- Page 8;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

McNeese Shot by Son.

John H. McNeese, a prominent farmer of near Ocilla, died Saturday morning from a gunshot wound inflicted by his seventeen year old son, James. McNeese had chastised the boy Friday afternoon, and this angered the son to such an extent that he rushed into the house, procured a shotgun and fired upon his father, the shot striking the father in the shoulder and arm. Physicians were called out but McNeese died from loss of blood.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Jun. 28, 1912 -- Page 1;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Drank by Mistake for Bitters. Tragic Death of W. W. Branch.

W. W., better known as "Billy" Branch, died at the home of his father, Mr. John A. Branch, near Waterloo, Tuesday afternoon about 4 o'clock from drinking an antiseptic solution by mistake. He was buried at the family cemetery near Waterloo Wednesday afternoon, the funeral services being conducted by Rev. G. B. Felts. Mr. Branch had been in bad health for several weeks and his condition became alarming to the family. That day, however, he had gone to his father's home and it was thought by careful attention he might improve. His wife and baby had just left that morning for a visit to her parents at Reynolds. Some time after dinner Mr. Branch found a bottle of Black Draught disinfectant or dip, a preparation containing a large per cent of carbolic acid, and took one large drink of it if not more. On a previous visit he had left a portion of a bottle of bitters, the bottle closely resembling that which contained the disinfectant, at his father's home and it is almost certain that he mistook the bottle of poison for the one he had left. He was discovered by the family soon after he had taken the fatal draught and it is said spoke once, saying he thought it was bitters, before he became unconscious. A physician was summoned by telephone and every means tried to give him relief, but death followed in a short time. Mr. Branch was a social, companionable man and when at himself a good business man, and many friends all through this section deeply regret his tragic end. About two years ago he married Miss Mittie Payne, of Reynolds, Ga., who with one child survives him.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Mar. 22, 1912 -- Page 1;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


A woman known as Frankie Carswell, but whose real name was Annie Hatto, was shot and killed by night policeman, C. Bush, of Cordele, about 8 o'clock this morning. The woman had been in this city about two months, coming from Cordele, where she had known Bush. The testimony all tended to show the shooting was accidental but a number of letters found in the dead woman's trunk bearing Bush's signature and containing various threats of what the writer would do in case she did not return to Cordele, resulted in the coroner's jury rendering a verdict recommending that Bush be arrested and brought to preliminary trial. Mr. Bush is undr arrest.---Fitzgerald People, 24th.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Oct. 27, 1905 -- Page 4;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

The Irwin county papers are throwing some deserved boquets to Judge Jim Clements, of the county court of Irwin. During its session last week, thhis court disposed of sixty-two cases within five days, some of them very complicated ones. When he was appointed to the judgeship, with the organization of the county court, Judge Clements, besides not being a lawyer, was the youngest judge on the Georgia bench. From that day onward, he has made his court one of the most marked in the state for the administration of justice, and his record has been one of which his family, friends and old Irwin are all justly proud.

[Source: The Tifton Gazette, Oct. 27, 1905 -- Page 4;] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


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