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Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Trail of Georgians

Although some of the earliest settlers to Georgia were in Savannah prior to the Revolutionary War came from the New England States, for the most part Georgia's emigrants were from the Carolinas and Virginia. The most important estate which the first colonists could have was land. The more the better. Virginians grew tobacco, a crop which quickly diminished the soil. So the idea was to have as much land as possible and to let some of it lie dormant for several years. Rotating crops. By 1800 then, you had the family seat going to the eldest son, while the others went looking for land. That is how the family seat did not stay in the same place. In South Carolina absentee landlords were the norm and parcels having thousands of acres were sewn in rice crops all along the coast and into Georgia. Take Major Pierce Butler of Philadelphia, for example,  who married the actress Fanny Kemble. Well stationed in life and from a wealthy northern planter, Major Butler came South and established rice plantations upon thousands of acres along the South Carolina-Georgia coast, probably between 3 to 4,000 acres. Fanny wrote her famous book against Georgia plantations, however, for those days, she lived like a queen. After Georgia kicked out the Creeks and Cherokees and commenced its land lotteries to encourage settlement, hoards of families came out of Virginia and the Carolinas. They drew in the 1820 (removal of Creeks 1819), 1821, 1827 (upper Creeks) and 1833 (Cherokees) lotteries.  Before that, if you wished to travel into Indian territory, you had to obtain permission from the Governor who would issue a passport. After the Trail of Tear in 1835 (all Cherokees did not leave. Read the Dawes Report), people began going past Troup and Meriwether Counties into Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  Therefore, if your people were in Georgia prior to 1819, the counties to search for them are the 13 coastal counties. If they were in Georgia prior to the Revolutionary War, look in Chatham, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn Counties and Camden Counties.
If they were Loyalists, search the islands of Barbadoes and Florida.

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