Why am I here?
For me this isn’t a metaphysical question; but a thoroughly modern one,
of family and family origins. My immediate family is scattered from Connecticut to Virginia, with siblings
ranging in age from 61 to 44, engaged in vocations from Farrier to Professor to Mechanic. How did we
Lacking a family oral history, much of my genealogy research was spent rummaging through
dry-as-dust books and microfilm, trying to unearth another long-buried item, hoping to squeeze one more
fact out of the paper trail that remains of my long-dead ancestors’ lives. With God’s grace, persistence
and luck, I was rewarded with a broad chronology of my forebearers’ lives festooned with names, dates,
begets, census enumerations, and tax references.
Despite years of my best efforts, I found
I’d assembled a canvas of facts as lifeless as the paper they laid upon; the essence of my ancestors’
lives eluded me.
To breathe life into these scraps of paper, to make their lives live again,
I found I needed to weave the forces of history that shaped their lives, into these facts. It was then
they blossomed, turned into actual people, plump with life.
By combining the remaining records
of my ancestors’ lives with United States, Georgia, and Washington County history, I was able to piece
together a broad history of the Langston family in early Washington County, Georgia. I hope this history
helps others better understand how these times influenced their ancestors’ lives.
emphasis has been on the often overlooked side of history. I found Washington County’s history compelling
in conjunction with the Indian Nations, natural disasters, conflagrations, and wars that shadow its early
history; I hope you do also.
Genealogy and history are but avocations of mine; I know I have
only scratched the surface of these times. While I’d like to have traced the Langston origins back into
the mists of time, to the days of Charlemange, or Zoroaster, in truth our story is really an American
one, and it’s here where I’ve concentrated my focus, beginning in Washington County, Georgia.
At best, this an imperfect history, but I hope it aids those in search of their families who also lived
in early Washington County.
Please feel free to contact me; I welcome all inquires, comments,
Falls Church, VA
A History of Early Washington County, Georgia Through the Langston
1775 - 1835
The Lack of Early Washington County Records
Few documents chronicling the early days of Washington County remain. The standard genealogy
sources from Washington County’s frontier days have been lost to the ages, destroyed by wars, fire, and
Washington County’s records are available only from the end of the Civil
War to the present. In the 1850’s the Washington County Court House caught fire, incinerating the land,
tax, and estate records from its inception in 1783. Adding insult to injury Sherman’s troops, in their
March To The Sea, burned the records from 1850 through 1864.
Another genealogists staple, the
United States Government Censuses, begins only with the 1820 Census for the State of Georgia. During
the War of 1812, British forces burned many United States records housed in Washington, D.C. including
Georgia’s 1790, 1800, and 1810 censuses.
Another significant loss for Washington County was
the destruction of all the early grave markers and their inscriptions. These markers where pine crosses
and were destroyed in forest fires through out the decades.
Despite the paucity of county and federal records, there are Georgia State records and sources from
neighboring counties that can provide information for researchers; references will be noted, as appropriate.
Originally, Washington County encompassed what are now Johnson, Emanuel, Toombs, Treutlen,
Chandler, Montgomery Counties. These were spun off by 1800 and Washington County took its current boundaries.
Some early records of significance can be found in these adjoining counties.
In 1802, two states,
Alabama and Mississippi were carved out of what had been the western reaches of Georgia. Researchers
can often find information in these states if their ancestors migrated westward through the cotton belt.
Georgia’s Colonial Period
Colonial Georgia (1732 - 1775) laid claimed to
a vast territory. All lands from the Savannah River west to the Mississippi River were claimed by the
Crown under the Royal Charter for Georgia; the Spanish settlement of Florida was its southern boundary,
the English Colony of Carolina was its northern boundary.
The Royal Charter ignored the fact
that the territory was already inhabited by a loose confederation of Indian tribes that became known
as the Creek and Cherokee Indian Nations; it had been their ancestral homelands for centuries.
The founder of the Georgia Colony, James Olgelthorpe, could not ignore this when his boats sailed up
the Savannah. He negotiated with the Indian Nations and secured the banks of the Savannah River, west
to the Ogeechee River, for the new Colony. The Anglo settlements that developed along the river became
Georgia’s original counties.
The relationship between the Colony of Georgia and the Indian
Nations turned antagonistic as aggressive Anglo settlers took Indian lands and competed for the same
limited food sources and natural resources. There were numerous bloody incidents between settlers and
Indians during Georgia’s first forty years. Treaties were renegotiated by the British but the slow steady
encroachment of Anglo settlers continued.
Ironically, one of the major stumbling blocks to
attract new settlers to Colonial Georgia was its initial prohibition of slavery. Carolinians and Virginians
of money were reluctant to settle new territory without their slave work forces, thus in the colony repealed
its slavery prohibition in the 1750’s, in part to increase settlement.
War and the Beginning of Washington County
The relationship between the Indian nations
and colonists had been strained to the point that by the start of the Revolutionary War the border between
the two was under duress all the way from Canada to Georgia.
When the war began the Creek and
Cherokee Nations of Georgia, and most of the Indian Nations along the entire north/south border, allied
themselves with the British and actively waged war upon our fledgling nation.
The Indian Nations
choose to support the British as they viewed them as the lesser of two evils. While the colonial settlers
incessantly claimed Indian lands, complaints to the British Crown at least brought attempts to rein in
the colonists; whereas complaints to the Colonial Governments fell on deaf ears.
the successful completion of the war for independence, the new State of Georgia demanded that the Creek
and Cherokee Nations atone for their support of the British; the Creeks were forced to cede 3 million
acres of their eastern lands.
In 1783, Georgia incorporated this land and formed five new counties.
Its new frontier was now Washington, Montgomery, Hancock, Greene and Jackson counties -- all named for
Revolutionary War heroes. The Georgia territory open for Anglo settlement now stretched to the Oconee
River, effectively doubling the size of Georgia’s territory.
The new United States government
was eager to settle Georgia in part to strengthen the frontier against the Spanish threat in Florida
- Florida was still a Spanish possession. For their service in the war, Georgia Revolutionary War Veterans
were given 250 acre tracts, known as “Bounties,” in these new counties to provide the basis for a militia.
Some veterans settled their Bounties, others chose land speculation.
The State of Georgia was
also eager to settle these new counties and the state provided free parcels of land, known as “Head Right
Grants,” to those who wanted to settle the frontier.
Bounty And Head Right Grants
of the First Langstons In
The earliest recorded Langstons in Washington
County are Samuel and Benjamin. Samuel was the 11th child of John Langston - commonly referred to as
John III in Langston Genealogy - and his second wife Elizabeth Parson (Pearson, Person). John III Langston
was probably born in Nansemond County, Virginia in 1710. He moved to Granville, North Carolina about
1745. Shortly before the Revolutionary War he and almost all of his family moved to the Greenville,
South Carolina area.
Son Samuel appears to have moved to Georgia rather that South Carolina.
He obtained three Bounties from the State of Georgia in 1784 for his service in the Revolutionary War,
serving in Georgia’s Revolutionary Militia. This places Samuel in Georgia about 1776.
Roster of the Revolution: Knight’, it’s noted that Samuel Langston received ‘287 1/2 acres, Washington
County, bounded N. Wm. Matthews, E. Altamaha river, S. Joshua Inman, W. vacant, survey 418. June 6,
1784’ - this parcel would now be in Appling County. Samuel also received two Bounties in Franklin County.
Although one source reported that Samuel's will was recorded in the ‘Columbia County Will
Book A, 1790 - 1793', Columbia County, and neighboring Richmond County, have no record of his will.
Samuel was also listed as a Tax Defaulter in Washington County in 1791 (my apologizes, I have to find
my source of this facts).
The aforementioned Benjamin Langston obtained a Head Right Grant
in Washington County in 1785 where he lived until his death about 1807. He was noted as being in default
on his Washington County taxes in 1791 (again, my apologizes for not noting my source). To date, Benjamin’s
pre-Georgia life remains uncovered.
Life and Justice in Early Washington County
Historians record the first settlers of Washington County, such as Samuel and Benjamin Langston,
as hard-scrabble yeoman farmers. Few had the means to own slaves. Almost all the new settlers migrated
from Virginia or the Carolinas.
Accounts of early Washington County detail it as fiercely frontier;
the locals were often referred to as crackers.
Travelers to Washington County frequently mention
the abundance of one-eyed men in the county. Individuals determined the law and fist fights were commonplace
to settle disagreements. Fights often ended when one opponent popped an eyeball out of his adversary’s
head, hence the abundance of one-eyed men.
Justice in early Washington County was swift and
brutal. The accused often had a jury-of-his-peers show up at their cabin with a rope. A brief trial
ensued. If the defendant was found guilty, a noose was hung over a strong pine bough and the guilty
Travel through Georgia’s thick pine forests to frontier Washington County was perilous
business. Many accounts of the times report that travelers were often waylaid by road thieves and displaced
Creek and Cherokee Indians.
Creek raids on settlers were common through the early 1800’s as
they rebelled against the terms of the treaty resultant from the Revolutionary War. They waged a sporadic
war against frontier settlers known as The Oconee War.
James Langston and Family On
the Keg Creek
My first direct descendants in Washington County were James Langston, his
wife Dorcas - maiden name unknown – and young sons Jabez and Jason. James was a grandchild of the aforementioned
John III Langston and Samuel Langston would have been an uncle.
It appears that James decided
to migrate to Washington County after his mother’s death. She died between the 1790 and 1800 censuses
- South Carolina’s early censuses survived the War of 1812. James’s father, Jechonias Langston, died
in 1788 and left James and his sister Mary, the family estate after his wife’s death. James and Mary
sold the estate. James pocketed his profits and moved to the Georgia frontier.
and family trekked over 150 miles on horseback and feet with James driving the oxen cart that carried
their possessions. Undoubtedly, James drove the cart through the perilous Georgia pine forests with
gun astride his lap. Children of Jabez’s age often recalled these times as the highlight of their childhood’s;
it was grand adventure sleeping under the stars with campfires ablaze, hunting game for the family.
They settled and cleared the 800 acre Keg Creek watershed which lies about halfway between Sandersville
and Deep Step, Georgia. The family arrived in Washington County sometime between 1794 and 1802 from
Spartanburg, South Carolina; the exact year has been lost.
As James was neither Revolutionary
War Veteran nor Head Right Grant recipient he had to buy this property. It would have been a sizable
purchase as the Bounty and Head Right Grants were about 250 acres parcels; the Keg Creek Plantation was
over three times the size. Only 10 percent of the families in early Washington County were able to afford
slaves and there are later references to the family owning at least two slaves, so it appears that James
and his family were relatively affluent.
Because of the chaos of the Land Grant system and
its subsequent abuses, the State of Georgia implemented a lottery system to allocate the remaining lands
appropriated from the Creek Nation. The first surviving reference to James Langston in Washington County
is the first Georgia lottery known as The 1805 Georgia Land Lottery; he and Benjamin applied for the
lottery in Washington County. Both drew blanks.
Fortunately, the 1805 lottery recorded all
entries and land recipients; unfortunately, the later lotteries record only the land recipients. Some
of the requirements for the 1805 Lottery were that an individual be a Georgia taxpayer from May 1802
- May 1803 and at least 21 years of age. As James participated in this lottery, he and his family had
to have been in Washington County by 1802.
In 1807, another land lottery was held by the State
of Georgia. Benjamin Langston, of Washington County, is noted as drawing a lot in Wilkinson County.
Earthquakes and Cotton in Washington County
With the advent of the cotton
gin in Georgia in 1793, James Langston’s cash crop on the Keg Creek Plantation was cotton. From 1793
to 1820 the cotton crop grew to dominate not only Washington County’s economy, but the entire State of
Georgia. Travelers from Augusta in Washington County were forever being pestered as to the price of
cotton in Augusta where the crops where sold.
A sizable corn crop would have been grown by the
family for food, both for their needs and farm animal fodder. Numerous hogs and chickens, several cows
and oxen, and a horse or two had free range of the plantation.
But a week before the Christmas
of 1811, in the middle of the night, a mammoth earthquake centered 400 hundred miles away brought a new
meaning to rough-and-tumble for Washington County residents. Many were thrown from their beds by the
vicious rolling of the ground. Chimneys tumbled. Windows as far away as New York City rattled. Church
bells rang in Charleston. For the next two months, huge aftershocks permeated life not only in Washington
County and but along the entire east coast.
The quakes and aftershocks were centered in the
town of New Madrid, Missouri. During the nearly three months of quakes, blocks of earth tens of miles
wide, rose and fell tens of feet. During one of the crustal movements, the resultant ‘tsunami’ caused
the Mississippi to flow north for a time. After the quakes subsided, the course of the mighty Mississippi
was changed forever at New Madrid.
The War of 1812; Georgia and the Creek Nation At
The residents of Washington County barely had a respite from the quakes before
the U.S. declared war upon the British. The effects of the War of 1812 determined Georgia’s expansion
for next thirty years.
At the onset of The War of 1812, the State of Georgia erected numerous
forts on their frontier to protect its settlers from Creek attacks; the frontier was now 60 miles west
of Washington County, on the banks of the Ocmulgee River. About half the Creek Nation in Georgia - they
became known as the Red Sticks - allied themselves with the British. The remainder of the Creek Nation
- the White Sticks - allied themselves with the United States.
The first year of the war brought
minor skirmishes between the Red Stick and the United States forces. But in August of 1813 the Red Stick
Creeks, in a surprise attack on one of the forts, slaughtered 500 settlers and soldiers. Accounts of
the attack described disemboweling, fetuses torn out of women’s bodies and hung on tree branches, childrens’
heads splattered against the palisade, and cannibalism. The British offered the Red Sticks a $5 bounty
for American scalps, and many of the 500 had been scalped.
President Madison ordered the Tennessee
Militia, lead by future President Andrew Jackson, to Georgia to subdue the Red Sticks. 7,000 United
States soldiers, with the aid of the White Stick Creeks, subdued the Red Sticks by the spring of 1814.
After the Red Sticks were subdued by Jackson and the White Sticks, Jackson demanded that the
Creek Nation cede 20 million acres (2/3rds of their lands!) to recompense for the Red Sticks aggression.
The stories of Red Stick butchering of settlers and soldiers galvanized white-American sentiment
against any Indian Nation, and both ally and enemy nation received equal distrust and hatred. Serious
decisions began throughout the southern states, at the federal level, to find a permanent solution to
‘the Indian problem’.
For the next six years, the Creek Nation steadfastly refused to sign
Death on the Keg Creek Plantation
There are no remaining
records that date the death of James Langston, but it would have been around the time of The War of 1812.
Some tranquil spot on the plantation was chosen for the grave site and Jabez, about 25 years old, pounded
the pine cross into the ground at the head of his father’s grave, knowing full-well the survival of the
plantation was now upon his young shoulders.
The first mention of James’s estate is in the
‘Genealogical Abstracts From the Georgia Journal, 1809 - 1840’. The Georgia Journal was the paper of
Baldwin County, the county west of Washington County, and a valuable source for Washington County’s missing
His estate was administered by an Abner Rutherford and Mary Langston; Mary was probably
his sister, who shared the family estate in Spartanburg. As these two were appointed by the Court, James
Langston possessed no will at the time of his death and his death was sudden.
Sadly, only several
years later, The Georgia Journal records the application for administration of Jabez Langston’s estate
in May 1816. Abner Rutherford and Mary Langston were again appointed the administrators showing he had
no time to draft a will before his death.
It’s probably no coincidence that Jabez Langston, in
the prime of his short life, died during the year that became known as ‘1800 and froze ta death’.
Disaster Befalls Washington County and The United States
On April 12, 1815 a
volcano in the Java Sea, later named Tamboro, in one titanic explosion blew 36 cubic miles (1.7 million
tons!) of itself into the atmosphere. Roughly 150 times more ash was thrown into the stratosphere than
the eruption of the Mount St. Helens in the 1980’s; 15 times more volume than the Mt. Pinatubo eruption
in the 1990’s.
The people of The United States knew not what caused the tragedy that befell
them the year of 1816. The massive dust cloud migrated around the globe and through out Europe and the
eastern United States the year of 1816 produced no summer. In New England, it snowed every month of
the year. Crop failures in the north were almost total, and widespread through out the south. Warm
spells, when planting took place, were followed by killing cold, freezing rain and frost which destroyed
the tender seedlings.
Bearing the weight of the plantation’s survival, Jabez himself succumbed
to fatal pneumonia.
Stunning sunrises and sunsets are often mentioned of this year. Hazy, milky,
halos circled the moon. But for the families of the United States, it was a disastrous time. People
had to eat; cattle, if they weren’t slaughtered, had to be fed. Many families went into debt to buy
As a postscript to the horrible year of 1816, a group of writers in Switzerland banded
together that summer to find comfort from the dismal weather. They traded ideas, plots, and readings.
But most of all, they traded ghost stories. Each sought to upstage the other and Mary Shelley, a member
of this group, upstaged them all by writing her classic ‘Frankenstein’.
To many in Washington
County it must have seemed that God wielded a heavy hand upon them. Like bookends, the natural disasters
of 1811 and 1816 capped the War of 1812.
The Fall of the Plantation
Langston was dead, and almost all of the crops failed. Jason Langston, approaching his mid-twenties,
took stewardship of the plantation. The spectacular sunsets that English painter J.M.W. Turner recorded
for posterity brought little comfort to Jason as he dug a grave next to their recently departed father.
He pounded the pine cross into the Georgia red clay. The weight of the plantation now upon his shoulders
in a year that brought few blessings.
Dorcas would suffer as only a mother can know; she had
lost her husband, and her first child.
Comparable to milking stools, plantations require three
legs to stand: slaves, land, and money. The ‘Genealogical Abstracts From the Georgia Journal’ recorded
how quickly the Langston Plantation tumbled. Abner Rutherford and Mary Langston continued to assist
with Jabez’s estate.
In January of the 1817 ‘one Negro man’ - his name is not recorded - part
of James’s and Jabez’s estates was sold. It must have been out of dire necessity to sell one leg of
the tripod; the sale generated needed cash. Jason was now left as the sole male to farm the plantation.
Later in 1817, and for each of the next three years, the family sold off 200 acre parcels of the
plantation. Several of the sales were noted to satisfy creditors and judgments. By 1820, only 128 acres
remained in the family’s possession.
1820: The First Remaining Census of Georgia
In the 1820 United States Georgia Census there are two Langston families enumerated in Washington
County: Dorcas and David. David Langston was probably a son of Revolutionary War Veteran Timmothy Langston
from Virginia. Two of his brothers, John and Lazarus, also appear in Georgia during the early 1800’s;
David had been in Georgia since the 1790’s.
Dorcas Langston is enumerated as Head of Household
in Washington County, Floyds District. Tallied in the household are:
(1) male 26 - 45
(This would be Jason, 26 - 30 years old)
(1) female 26 - 45
(Jason’s wife Sarah)
(1) females over 45
(1) female slave over 45
engaged in agriculture
(Jason, cash crop of cotton)
At some point, probably close to
the 1820 census, Jason had married a woman named Sarah. No record of their marriage exists, but she
is named in later censuses. The female slave was probably kept by the family to help with household
chores and perhaps to be a nanny for Jason and Sarah’s son born later in the year. In a touching memorial,
he was named Jabez, in memory of Jason’s older brother.
This census enumerated about 10,600 souls
in Washington County; about 1/3 were black slaves.
Seeds for the Removal of the Creek
Nation; More Lotteries
Since 1814, the Creek Nation had steadfastly refused to sign Jackson’s
treaty, believing the terms unjust. They argued that the White Stick’s assistance in subduing the Red
Sticks was invaluable to Jackson’s success. But by 1820 they had exhausted all their options and the
Creek Nation reluctantly signed the treaty. They moved onto their diminished lands.
As a result,
20 million acres of land became available for eager settlers and Georgia held a land lottery in 1820
to disperse the lands. Both Jason Langston and his mother Dorcas were lucky and won land in newly formed
Within a year the Creeks sold more of their lands to repay debts. Their remaining
lands proved too small to support their people and the Nation began to founder. The once self- sufficient
people became dependent upon the U.S. government for the necessities of food, blankets, and such.
Georgia held another land lottery in 1821 to disperse these lands; neither Dorcas nor Jason drew lots.
By now both the state of Georgia and the federal government agreed that the Creeks needed to
be removed from Georgia -- permanently. Numerous strategies were discussed, but the seeds for their
removal had already begun. In 1817, former Governor of Georgia David Mitchell - a rabid anti-Indian
- was appointed the Indian Agent to the Creeks and was charged with oversight and distribution of federal
The Langston Family Moves Out of Washington County
February or March 1822 Dorcas Langston died, at some age over 45. The ‘Genealogical Abstracts From the
Georgia Journal’ record the events of her estate.
Jason, about 30, applied to be the Administrator
of her estate; he placed her grave next to James and Jabez.
By October of that year Abner Rutherford
was noted as Administrator of her estate; he must have been a wonderful family friend as this was the
third Langston estate he administered.
Weary of the bitter memories of the Keg Creek Plantation
Jason and Sarah and their toddler Jabez, moved in the intervening months. Jason had buried his father,
mother, and only brother on the plantation; under his stewardship the plantation shrank to a fraction
of its original size.
About September 1823 ‘the real and personal estate of Dorcas Langston’
was sold off. In April 1824 Dorcas’s remaining land, the 128 acres in Washington County and 490 acres
in Irwin County were sold.
By mid-1824 the Langston family had moved out of Washington County.
Dorcas was still mistakenly listed in the 1825 Washington County Tax Digest as owing 36 cents tax on
‘490 acres of pine land’ in Irwin County, her winnings in the 1820 Land Lottery.
As five generations
before, Jason packed up and moved to the frontier, to start life anew 60 miles west. Jason and family
moved to the rich red clay farm lands on the banks of the Ocmulgee River near where the township of Macon
was springing up upon the lands the Creeks had ceded only four years earlier.
All that remains
of the Langstons three decades of life in Washington County is some disparate records, and now this history.
Golden Coffin Nails
The last two sections of this history deal with
Washington County in an indirect way. We are past midstream in the history of the Creek and Cherokee
Nations in Georgia and it would be an injustice if their story was not brought to its conclusion as it
impacted the lives of many in Washington County. The story of how they were forced to leave Georgia
The Creek Nation was unable to support itself on its diminished lands and survived
only through relief provided by U.S. Indian Agent David Mitchell. He befriended a Creek named William
McIntosh and put him on his payroll. McIntosh proved to be easily bought.
drew up a new treaty that ceded all the remaining Creek lands to the State of Georgia. He granted McIntosh
plenipotentiary rights for the Creek Nation.
In a stunning betrayal of his Nation, for a small
sum of money in 1825, McIntosh signed the treaty for the Creek Nation. When the Creek elders learned
of his treachery, McIntosh was dragged from his cabin and executed.
Georgia and the U.S. had
their excuse. By the time the Creek elders learned of the treaty, it was a fait accompli; momentum for
their removal from Georgia gathered with each passing day.
The drive to remove the Creeks festered
for next four years as state and federal officials urged them to move west, over the Mississippi.
But in 1829 everything changed. Gold was discovered on the lands of the Cherokee Nation which occupied
the northwest corner of Georgia and part of Tennessee. The nation had its first gold rush and Georgia
was overtaken with gold fever; gold became the nails in the coffin for all the Indian Nations in the
The State of Georgia moved quickly to purloin the Cherokee lands. The state
legislature passed numerous illegal laws that hog-tied the Cherokees: Cherokees were officially forbidden
to mine gold; barred from testifying against any white person in court; and tribal leaders were prohibited
barred from gathering, except to cede land. As a final measure, the Cherokee Nation was striped of their
sovereign nation status.
The Cherokees were aghast; they had seen what had happened to their
neighbors the Creeks. They quickly brought legal proceedings against the State of Georgia and pursued
appeals to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled that Georgia had no right to dissolve
their sovereign Nation status. But Andrew Jackson, now the President, arrogantly said ‘(the court) has
rendered (their) decision: now lets see (them) enforce it!’ He ignored the Supreme Court’s ruling.
In 1831 and 1832, while the Cherokee Nation still occupied their land, the State of Georgia held two
more land lotteries, The Gold Lotteries, to distributed the lands of the Cherokees. Many in Washington
County received title to these lands.
By the mid-1830’s, Indian issues throughout the southeast
came to a head. In 1835 a united front composed of the States of Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Tennessee, and the United States Government decreed that all of the Indian Nations in the southeast must
move, forever, west of the Mississippi.
A most appalling and hateful chapter in American history
began in 1836; the Creeks of Georgia, the Cherokees of Tennessee and Georgia, the Seminoles of Florida,
the Choctaw of Alabama, and the Chickasaw of Tennessee were forced to move off their ancestral homelands
to new lands west of the Mississippi. The forced migration quickly became known as The Trail of Tears.
The Trail of Tears
In 1836, President Jackson ordered the Creeks of Georgia
to leave. Late in the year 15,000 Creeks were rounded up by United States Troops and forced west, wrangled
as cattle. They marched through the winter snows and freezing rains, some nearly naked, many manacled.
The old, the weak, the sick, the newborns, anyone unable to walk was left by the side of the trail to
An estimated 8,000 Creeks died that winter on The Trail of Tears; only 7,000 made it to
their new homeland. Of these, 3,500 died within the first year of resettlement: disease, suicide, alcoholism,
and starvation were rampant.
The next year President Jackson ordered the Cherokee Nation of Georgia
and Tennessee onto The Trail of Tears. They faired slightly better, only 4,000 Cherokees died on the
The Seminoles, the Choctaws, and the Chickasaw all were removed from the south eastern
states. A century later, Adolf Hitler, admiring Andrew Jackson’s technique of forced removal and resettlement,
perfected it in his pogroms of the European Jews and carried it to a monstrous conclusion with his extermination
One Civil War Veteran, recalling his experiences on The Trail Of Tears said, “I’ve seen
men shot to pieces and slaughtered by the thousands, this was the cruelest work I ever knew.”
With the Creeks and Cherokees gone, the last barrier to full white settlement of Georgia was removed:
many Washington County families quickly moved onto the former Creek and Cherokee lands. Georgia took
its current boundaries.