Jul 25

Military Monday: War of 1812 Widow’s Pension & Beyond

Rebecca A. Tatum, widow of Edward Tatum, applied for a War of 1812 pension under the Act of 9 March 1878. Edward served as a private in Capt Cannon’s Company in the South Carolina Militia. Copies were made of all of the documents in Rebecca’s pension application file #36382 (certificate #27906), at the National Archives, Washington, DC.

Rebecca was last paid $12 to 4 August 1908 and was dropped from the pension roll at her death on 16 August 1908. The pension records also tell us that Edward Tatum died 5 April 1870.

It is interesting to note that the 1870 U.S. Mortality Schedule for Pickens County, Georgia; National Archives microfilm series T655, reel 9 (viewed and abstracted at the National Archives Southeast Region in East Point, Georgia, in September 1997) shows an Edward Tatum, born in NC, died in April 1870 at the age of 78. The household reporting the death was family 612.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved

Jul 13

Scudders Bones or Not?

Jacob Scudder was a early white trader in the Cherokee Nation (now Forsyth County) and ultimately the first State Senator of Cherokee County. The family cemetery now being restored by the Forsyth County Historical Society had been damaged by vandals. Very recently bones were discovered at the site. Are they really the bones of Jacob Scudder, the bones someone else buried in the family cemetery, or bones of someone meeting foul play in the area many years ago? The Forsyth County Historical Society claims the bones to be those of Jacob Scudder, but the recent article in the Forsyth News (read the article), leads one to believe they are Scudder’s bones. Apparently no testing will be applied to the remains.

Color me skeptical, but the remains in Blackburn Cemetery in Forsyth County announced to be those of James Vann, murdered Cherokee, were not!

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


Jul 12

Guyequoni-Time of the Ripe Corn Moon

Friends of New Echota  (FONE) Announces Guyequoni-Time of the Ripe Corn Moon

DATE:                   July 30, 2011
TIME:                   10:00 am to 4:00 pm
LOCATION:       New Echota State Historic Site; 1211 Chatsworth Hwy 225; Calhoun, GA 30701. One mile east of I-75, exit 317 on GA Hwy. 225
COST:                    $ 6.00 adults / $5.50 seniors age 62 and over / $4.00 youth ages 6-17
INFORMATION:     706-624-1321 or visit our website.

DESCRIPTION: Guyequoni-Time of the Ripe Corn Moon at New Echota, Sat. July 30, 2011, 10am to 4pm.  During the Ripe Corn Moon, the field plants begin to produce, and wild plants like black berries and mulberries begin producing ripe fruits in good quantity. Traditionally, Cherokee stick ball games and dances were held in earnest to celebrate the earth’s bounty and to thank the Creator for blessing the people. Come celebrate with us as New Echota State Historic Site comes alive with historic demonstrations, featuring Cherokee watercolor artist, Billy Mack Steele, who will create a special painting depicting the Cherokee storytelling tradition. The historic buildings will be open with volunteers from Friends of New Echota available to answer your questions.  Admission fee allows access to museum, film, and self-guided tour of historic grounds, buildings, and nature trails. All proceeds support programming, preservation, and education at New Echota State Historic Site.

ABOUT NEW ECHOTA:  New Echota State Historic Site attracts 10,000 visitors and generates almost one million dollars for the local economy annually.  The site is located one mile east of I-75, exit 317, on GA Hwy. 225.  Admission is $4 – $6. For more information, call 706-624-1321 or visit our website.  Georgia’s state historic sites are operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Donna J. Myers, PhD
FONE President


Jun 28

Tombstone Tuesday: Gail O. Lance

“She was an angel unto us & now in heaven” is the inscription on the grave marker of Gail O. Lance. She was buried in Bethel (former Shoal Creek) Baptist Church Cemetery in Dawson County, Georgia.

Bethel Baptist Church is located on Georgia Highway 136 near the intersection of Ga. 136 and and Shoal Creek Road about 2.7 miles north of Dawsonville.

These photographs were taken16 April 1999.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All rights Reserved.

Jun 27

Breaking the Heartland: The Civil War in Georgia

Press Release courtesy of Robert Scott Davis, Jr.

The Confederate flag of Pickens County's Company E "€œTate's Guards,"€ 23rd Georgia Confederate Infantry, is now in the Chicago Historical Society


One of Georgia’s most popular legends has been the story of how a group of citizens in Jasper raised a United States flag in front of the courthouse in 1860 in protest to Georgia seceding from the Union. That incident begins the first chapter of John D. Fowler and David B. Parker, eds., Breaking the Heartland: The Civil War in Georgia, published this month by Mercer University Press in Macon. That essay, “War on the Edge: Civil War Politics and Its Legacy in an Appalachian County,” is by Robert S. Davis, a former resident of Pickens County with deep in roots and many ancestors in the area’s Confederate and Union Civil War past. Professor Davis teaches History and operates a genealogy program at Wallace State College in Hanceville, Alabama. He has recently appeared on the History Channel concerning lost Confederate gold and interviewed on Georgia News Network concerning his books on Civil War Atlanta and Andersonville Confederate prison. His mother Elizabeth Holbert Forrester lives in Hickory Flat.

Davis begins his story with the documented facts of the flag incident to illustrate how the county rigidly divided. Pickens County eventually gave 500 volunteers and conscripts to the Confederate army, 100 men to three Union companies, and other citizens to local home defense units. A Pickens County doctor helped men to escape the draft by falsely declaring them unfit. During the last years of the Civil War and afterwards, differences became deadly and men walked the streets of Jasper with guns and others fled to the West. In 1864, Sheriff David S. McCravey even formed a permanent posse to protect the citizens from Captain Benjamin Jordan’s Confederate Conscript Bureau Company.

Opposition to the secession or to the war or to both could be found in many parts of Georgia but Pickens County’s dissention became the most famous, perhaps because it remained to modern times. Until recently, the funeral home for a local resident would depend upon the politics of the deceased and politicians ran as independents so as not to offend voter sensibilities. Pickens County has the oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration in Georgia. This history of local remembrance received notice in numerous histories and television shows.

Breaking the Heartland: The Civil War in Georgia, published in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, stands as a landmark work because so many prominent scholars contributed chapters to it. Much of the book deals with North Georgia including Keith S. Hébert, “`The Bottomless Pit of Hell’: The Confederate Home Front in Bartow County, Georgia 1864-1865.”


Jun 27

Military Monday: David Caylor

David Caylor and family were enumerated in the Grassy Knob District of Pickens County, Georgia. He at age 35, born in North Carolina, was head of house. Other household members included Permelia, age 31, born in North Carolina and six children all born in Georgia: Martha, age 13; George, age 12; Lucinda, age 8; Minerva, age 7; William W., age 5; and Amanda, age 4.[1]

On the 25th of July 1870, David and his family were residing in Pickens County.[2] The family consisted of David, age 45, b. North Carolina; Mary, age 41, b. North Carolina; Martha, age 23; George, age 22; Elija L., age 19; Nancy M, age 18; William W, age 16; Amanda, age 14; and John, age 4. The later seven were all born in Georgia, and all but John were assisting on the farm.

At the age of 78, Mrs. Mary P Caylor applied for a Confederate pension as the widow of David Caylor who served in Company D of the 23rd Regiment, Georgia, Volunteer Infantry. Mary provided vital data: She was a resident of Pickens County, Georgia, and received mail through the Talking Rock Post Office.  Mary stated that she was born 4 March 1825 in North Carolina, and that David Caylor was born 1 March 1820 in North Carolina. The couple was married in 1844 in Pickens County (Pickens County, Georgia, was created in 1854 from Cherokee and Gilmer counties).

Mary reported that David Caylor’s died in 1896. [3]

David was buried at the Hinton Cemetery. The dates on his tombstone differ from those given by his widow in her pension application—the military grave marker state that he was born 9 March 1807 and died 9 December 1877.  Mary is buried beside him and again the vital information differs from that she supplies in her pension application. Her tombstone indicates she was born 11 April 1811 and died 9 Aug 1901. [4]

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 1860 U.S. Census, Free Population Schedule, Grassy Knob District, Pickens County, Georgia, page 967, dwelling 745, family 632; National Archives micropublication M653, reel 133, viewed at the National Archives-Southeast Region, East Point, Georgia.

[2] 1870 U.S. Census, Population Schedule, Pickens County Georgia, Page 54A, dwelling 851, family 851, lines 17–25; National Archives micropublication M593, reel 169; viewed on ancestry.com, 10 October 2010.

[3] Mary P. Caylor’s Application, Pension Applications of Confederate Soldiers and Widow’s Who Applied from Georgia, Pickens County; Georgia Archives micropublication GCP 372.

[4] Grave markers of David and Mary Caylor, Hinton Community Cemetery, located on Georgia 136 Connector near the intersection of Georgia  53 in Hinton; viewed and photographed by Linda Woodward Geiger,


Jun 21

Tombstone Tuesday: Private William W. Dilbeck

Private William W. Dilbeck served in Co. C of the 11th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A. According the the National Park Service website, “Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System,” Dilbeck served the 11th Battalion, Georgia Infantry (State Guards. The solitary grave of Dilbeck  is located on Cantrell Rd., a dirt road near the Dawson-Pickens County line.

To locate the grave site, travel north on Steve Tate Highway (intersects with Georgia Highway 53 in Pickens County at the shopping area called Foothills. In about 5 miles turn right onto Afton Rd. (located just north of Big Canoe’s North Gate). From that intersection the Dawson County line is two tenths of a mile. Go another two tenths of a mile and turn right onto Cantrell Rd., a dirt road. The single Confederate grave marker of William W. Dilbeck is on the right about four tenths of a mile down Cantrell Rd.

These photographs were taken on 10 November 1999.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Jun 14

Indexes to Forsyth Co. Obits and More

Let me introduce you to Ted O Brooke’s website. For many years Ted has been an asset to Georgia’s genealogical community, publishing several books, including the popular book, In the Name of God Amen: Georgia Wills, 1733–1860 (Atlanta: Pilgrim Press, 1976) as well as numerous county cemetery inventories.

During the years Ted has accumulated a wealth of genealogical data, much of which is not available free of charge on his websites, TedOBrooke.com and UpshawFamilyJournal.com.

Most recently, Ted has completed and posted indexes to Forsyth County, Georgia, obituaries and death notices. The partial screen shot immediately below illustrates a few of the Georgia finding aids that Ted has made available.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.


Jun 12

Obituary of John Bennett Medlin, 1933

Obituary of John Bennett Medlin, Confederate soldier, as reported in the Pickens County Progress, 2 March 1933.

Mr. J. Bennett Medlin, for many years one of the most prominent citizens of Pickens county, died on February 21st at the home of his son, Dr. W. B. Medlin, in Miami, Fla., where he had resided for the for the last few years.

Mr. Medlin took an active interest in community and religious affairs and discharged every duty entrusted to him in a conscientious way. At the age of 16 he felt the call of duty and volunteered for the defense of Dixie, serving throughout the Civil War under Lee in Virginia. No higher proof of his patriotism is needed.

He still has a number of relatives living in Pickens county and a host of friends, not only at Talmadge his old home, but throughout the county, who will be interested in the following account of his death taken from the Miami Herald of February 22nd:

“Funeral services for John Bennett Medlin, 89, veteran of the War between the States, who died yesterday at the home of his son, Dr. W. B. Medlin, following a long illness, will be conducted at 3 p. m. today in the Joseph P. McGhan Funeral Home. The Rev. H. S. Hardin, pastor of Riverside Methodist church, and the Rev J. C. Sims, pastor of Riverside Baptist church, will officiate. Burial will be in Miami Memorial Park.

“Pallbearers will be D. C. Coleman, L. D. Pearce, Dr. H. B. Keene, Dr. W. F. Cross and Dixon Pearce.

“Mr. Medlin was born in Greenville S.C., and joined the Confederate army at the age of 16, serving throughout the war under General Robert E. Lee. Following the war he settled in Jasper, Ga., where he farmed until 1918, when he retired.

“He had been a winter visitor to Miami for several years and was a member of the Riverside Baptist church. He leaves six sons, Dr. Medlin, W.L., L. W., and R. L., of Miami; P. L., of Sycamore, Ga.; I. E., Fairmount, Ga., and four daughters, Mrs. W. L. Garrett, Eaton, Ga.; Mrs. John Sanford, San Bonita, Texas; Mrs. S. R. Hamrick, Ludville, Ga., and Mrs. Maude Anderson, Fairmount. His wife, Mary Medlin, died last September.”

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

Jun 07

Military Monday

William C. Redden

Cornith Baptist Church Cemetery in Pickens County, Georgia, contains the Confederate tombstone of William C. Redden served with Co. D, 34th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A.

© Linda Woodward Geiger. All Rights Reserved.

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