Friday, March 7, 2014

Jones County, Georgia (1807-1907)

Through the library system of Inter-Library Loan (ILL) I was able to get the book, History of Jones County Georgia: For One Hundred Years, Specifically 1807 - 1907 by Carolyn White Williams.  I requested the book because my paternal great-grandparents, Turner WILLIAMS and Mary Jane BROWN, are from Jones County, Georgia and I wanted to get a feel for the area during the time they lived there.

There was information that I could further research, like:

" . . . the slaves in Jones County came in from the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland and were about four generations removed from the savage African Negro." page 32  (Okay the "savage" is a bit much but being four generations removed is very interesting.)

" . . . Until emancipation the negroes had no surnames, though often they used their owners.  After freedom they did, on most occasions adopt the family name of those with who they had lived."  page 68  (Is this why my last name is Williams)

 "The Negroes before the Civil War worshiped in the same buildings with the whites in the country churches" (page 66) and the list of "colored churches"  with organization dates, ministers, trustees and other information (pages 71, 72).

There are laughable statements such as  "In the North the slaves were never profitable, the negro was not suited for the cold climate.   The agricultural south suited him better as to climate and as to work. The work was manual, uncomplicated and routine; plowing, planting, cultivating and picking, from February to December.  He liked the South and was thriving in it." (page 100)  This particular statement had me laughing because (1) I have lived in the North all my life and so have both of my parents; and (2) it reminded me of a class in my freshman year of college.  I don't know what the topic of discussion was, but I clearly remember the philosophy class discussion in which a student said that Blacks didn't play hockey because their skin disintegrates in the cold.  This was in the northern winter cold when I had to take two buses to get to the college.  (I was the only Black person in the class and one of a handful in the entire college.)

There are also many statements about the loving "Mammy" and familial ties between the negroes and their white families.

But way in the back of the book were family names with brief genealogies that really caught my attention. "The first Williams came to America from Wales about 1620 to Culpepper, Co, Va.  John Williams and Mary Childers moved to Warren Co., Ga. in the late 1700s.  They had a family of four boys and six girls.  When Jones County was formed from Baldwin Co., these four boys were living near Blountsville. Samuel, Henry, John and Thomas Jefferson Williams.  . . . " (page 701).


(1)  There is a 13-year old Turner Williams (possibly my great-grandfather) listed in the 1870 Clinton, Georgia census on the same page as Thomas Jefferson Williams  --  and on the previous page is John Williams.
(2)  My European DNA is mainly from the Great Britain area.
(3)  A DNA cousin of European descent contacted me who is directly related to John and Thomas Williams.