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Category Archives: genealogy research

a tiny snapshot of Georgia history – and “Cousin John” Thrasher

“Cousin John” Thrasher – my 3rd Great Uncle

“Cousin John Thrasher” had the first mercantile store in what became Atlanta, Georgia.

There is a bronze plaque on The Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta, Georgia, which reads as follows:

Site of First Mercantile Business, 1839, The General
Store of Johnson and Thrasher.  Home, 1842-45, of Mr.
and Mrs. Willis Carlisle and their daughter Julia
Carlisle (Withers) Atlanta’s First Baby born August 17,
1842.  First Presbyterian Church was built here in 1850
rebuilt 1877 and occupied until 1915.

_________________________________________

In his Atlanta and Environs, Franklin Garrett, Historian of the Atlanta Historical Society, gives the following references to “Cousin John,” and the part he played in establishing the first settlement at the location of what is now the great City of Atlanta.

THRASHERVILLE – TERMINUS – MARTHASVILLE – ATLANTA

In 1839 “Cousin John” Thrasher started what is now Atlanta when he built the railroad construction settlement, which was called THRASHERVILLE, around the present site of the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta.

As a young man of twenty-one, he was the successful bidder for the construction of a large embankment to enable the laying of railroad tracks for the future use of the Monroe Railroad near the site that was planned to become the southern end of the Western and Atlantic Railroad.  This major construction project extended from the Terminal Station to Foundry Street and required over two years to complete. (The World Congress Center is built over a portion of this project.)

John Thrasher went to this place in the wilderness to fulfill his contract.  He brought in many laborers, including many Irishmen, to do the work and rough shelters were built to house the workmen.  Other necessities for their living had to be provided; consequently, a commisary for this purpose became the first store in THRASHERVILLE (called Johnson & Thrasher), and John Thrasher became its first merchant.  As the building of the railroads and the laying of track progressed the settlement of THRASHERVILLE was referred to more and more as the TERMINUS until expansion led to the incorporation of MARTHASVILLE, on December 23, 1843.  It was re-incorporated as the Town of Atlanta in 1845, and again re-incorporated as the City of Atlanta in 1847.

Many narratives have been told why John Thrasher became familiarly known as “Cousin John” in early Atlanta history.  According to early census records of Marthasville and Atlanta, many of his relatives came to the area to assist him and to enjoy his generosity and success.  This friendly and gregarious entrepreneur was called “Cousin John” by so many kinsmen that other Atlantans began doing the same, and he became famous by that name over much of the South.  He represented Fulton County in the State Legislature for many years, and his beautiful Atlanta home was one of two residences used by General Hood as his headquarters during the final days of the Confederate defense of Atlanta.

MARTHASVILLE had about 2,000 inhabitants in 1845. The census of the town for that year listed two of his uncles and a number of cousins with large families.  By 1853, more of his relatives from Morgan, Newton and Henry Counties had arrived in Atlanta to live.  He was a friendly fellow who claimed kin with his relatives, and as a merchant with a business in town, in such association he naturally was called “Cousin John” or “Uncle John.”  He was an outstanding and colorful character and has been the subject of many articles which have appeared in historical collections and newspapers.

 

 

My Thrasher Lineage

Family is everything.  It defines you–the heart of your spirit, the heritage of your smile, not only the color of your eyes but how they see the world.  You are bound by kinship.  You add your own link to the chain, and that is where you strengthen or weaken what you have been blessed–or burdened–with.  That is where you use the indefinable quality that belongs to only you, the bit of uniqueness you pass on to your children for good or bad, the part of you that will always be separate from those who share your name, your blood, and your past.

– Deborah Smith [Blue Willow]

1 John THRASHER I
—————————————-
Birth:       ABT 1725/1730, Probably Virginia
Death:       1788/1790, North Carolina

Spouse:       Ruth (link to Isaac not proven) CLOUD
Birth:       Probably Virginia
Death:       Perhaps North Carolina
Father:       Isaac (Perhaps) CLOUD
Mother:       (Cloud, Isaac, wife of)

Children:       Joseph Cloud (-1810)
Mary (-1783)
Isaac Cloud (~1755-)
John (1758-1844)

1.1a Joseph Cloud THRASHER*
—————————————-
Death:       1810

Spouse:       Margaret (LEWIS??)

Children:       Margaret (-1802)
Joseph
Richard
Cloud (-~1803)
Isaac (-1815)

Other Spouses Zenith “Zena” GREER

1.1b Joseph Cloud THRASHER* (See above)
—————————————-

Spouse:       Zenith “Zena” GREER

Children:       John

Other Spouses Margaret (LEWIS??)

1.2 Mary THRASHER
—————————————-
Death:       1783

Spouse:       Daniel McCOLLUM
Birth:       about 1700, Scotland
Death:       April 1, 1779, Guilford County, North Carolina
Marr:       about 1765

Children:       William (1763-1833)
David (~1763-1833)
Isaac (1767-1848)
Jacob (1763-<1806)
Thrasher (>1770-1814)
Cloud (>1770-)

1.3 Isaac Cloud THRASHER
—————————————-
Birth:       ABT 1755/1760

Spouse:       Ruth BARTON
Birth:       about 1760
Father:       David BARTON (~1730-<1772)
Mother:       Ruth OLDHAM (~1734->1807)

1.4 John THRASHER Sr.
—————————————-
Birth:       April 16, 1758, North Carolina
Death:       June 5, 1844, Clark County, Georgia

Spouse:       Susan BARTON
Birth:       February 14, 1766, Virginia Or North Carolina
Death:       April 21, 1837, Clarke Or Oconee County, Georgia
Father:       David BARTON (~1730-<1772)
Mother:       Ruth OLDHAM (~1734->1807)
Marr:       April 16, 1782

Children:       Mary (1783-1788)
Ruth (1784-1858)
Barton (1788-1867)
Elizabeth (1790-1818)
Isaac (1793-1878)
David (1796-1882)
John (1798-1839)
Frances “Fanny” (1801-1879)
Susannah “Susan” (1802-1892)
Mary Oldham (1806-1871)

I descend from John Thrasher and Ruth Cloud through their son John Thrasher, Jr. and Susan Barton.

John Thrasher, Jr. and Susan Barton had a son – David Thrasher who married Mary “Polly” Hughey.  My ancestors.


Will of David Thrasher is on file in the records of Newton County, Georgia
Records Book 3, pp. 156-159

WILL of DAVID THRASHER
State of Georgia)
Newton County)

In the name of God!  Amen.  I, DAVID THRASHER of said State and County being of advanced age, but of sound and disposing mind and memory.  Knowing that I must shortly depart this life, deem it right and proper both as respects my family and myself that I should make a disposition of the property yet remaining in my hands with which I have been blessed by a kind Providence, I do, therefore make this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and annulling all others by me heretofore made.

First.  I desire and direct that my body be buried in a decent and Christian like manner, suitable to my circumstance and condition in life – to wit: My grave to be protected and fenced as that of my departed wife and the expenses of my burial and fixing of my grave to be paid by my daughter ELIZABETH SAMMONS, she having been paid by me to do so.  My soul I trust shall return to rest with God who gave it as I hope for Salvation through the merritts and work of Jesus Christ.

Second.  I desire and direct that all my just debts be paid by my executor herein after named and appointed.

Third.  It is my will and desire that the following heirs to my property shall not share in the remainder of which I am now possessed.  I having given them their full share and to some of them more than an equal share: to wit:  MARY O. SCOTT, ELIZABETH S. SAMMONS, FRANCES J. HARPER, LOUISA C. VANDERGRIFF my daughters and DAVID H. THRASHER, JOSEPH A. THRASHER, my sons, and the bodily heirs of my son, JAMES C. THRASHER.  My grandchildren all of whom shall not share as stated in the remainder of my property.

Fourth.  It is my will and desire that my other heirs: to wit: JOHN J. THRASHER, WILLIAM W. THRASHER and my grandchildren the bodily heirs of my daughter, MARTHA C. GREER, shall share and share alike in all my property of every kind of which I am possessed or may be possessed by my death, provided that my executor herein after named and appointed shall in the division of my remaining property charge to and collect from JOHN J. THRASHER six hundred dollars due Dec. 25, 1882 and ten per cent thereafter until paid.  Also the sum of six hundred dollars from my son WILLIAM W. THRASHER due December 25, 1882 and ten per cent thereafter until paid money loaned them by me for which I have their notes.  Also shall charge and collect from bodily heirs of THOMAS B. THRASHER my grandchildren the sum of two hundred dollars which I advanced to them, also charge and collect from the bodily heirs of ALBERT C. THRASHER, my grandchildren the sum of two hundred dollars advances to them by me.

Fifth.  I desire and direct that my Executor herein after named and appointed shall collect from my daughter MARY O. SCOTT and her husband or either of them the sum of four hundred and twenty dollars being a balance due me for land sold to JAMES SCOTT, the husband of my daughter, MARY O. SCOTT, with interest paid me by my other children per annum from October 1, 1878.  Also my Executor herein named and appointed shall collect from my daughter MARY O. SCOTT or her husband JAMES SCOTT the further sum of five hundred dollars advanced to them in a certain land trade or land sold to JAMES SCOTT, the husband of my daughter.  Said sum five hundred dollars due me or my estate on the 25th day of December 1882 and said executor shall charge and collect the rate of ten per cent per annum on said amount of five hundred dollars advanced to them after the 25th day of December 1882 if said amount is not paid by that time.

Sixth.  I desire and direct that if any of the heirs of Estate shall interfere, hinder, or contest this my last Will and Testament, my Executor shall not distribute to them their share and shall collect from them, if possible what may have been given them by me in person heretofore.

Seventh.  I hereby constitute and appoint my friends and neighbors

LEONIDAS F. LIVINGSTON
Executor of this my last Will and Testament.

This February 11, 1882.

DAVID (his X mark) THRASHER

Signed, sealed, declared and published by DAVID THRASHER as his last Will and Testament in the
Presence of the undersigned who subscribed our names hereto in the presence of each other.

This February 11, 1882.

L. F. LIVINGSTON
J. G. LASTER
C. W. TURNER
______________________________

 

Lizzie (and Borden ancestry)

If I had not had another commitment last night, I would have been at the Mosheim Mansion to see the performance about Lizzie Borden.  I am sure it was great fun!  The Asylum Ensemble of Texas presented “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe: The Lighter Side of Axe Murder.”

There will be another performance in November and if possible, I hope to see this show.  We are so fortunate to have businesses such as the Mosheim Mansion who give to the community in so many ways.

The Asylum Ensemble of  Texas is a group of local actors.  Its founders include Carol Hirshi (owner of the Mosheim Mansion), Griffin Darklighter and Brandi Atchley of Seguin along with Steve Zingraf of San Marcos.

Lizzie Borden and I share the same Borden ancestor: Richard Borden, born February 22, 1595 in Headcorn, England (died May 25, 1671 in Portsmouth, New Jersey) and Joane Fowle.  One of the earliest Borden ancestors I’ve researched is one Henry Borden who died 1370 in Headcorn, England.

The Bordens or Bourdens originally came to England from Normandy.

Lisbeth Borden Dies After Short Illness, Age 68 [67]

Lisbeth [sic: Lizbeth] A. Borden died this morning [in 1927]  at 306 French Street, where she had made her home for about 30 years.  She had been ill with pneumonia for about a week, although for some time she had been in failing health.

A member of one of the old Fall River families, having been the daughter of Andrew J. and Sarah Anthony [sic: Morse] Borden, she had lived here all of her life.  With her two maids, she lived a quiet retired life, paying occasional visits to out-of-town friends and receiving a few callers whose staunch friendship she valued highly.

Taking an intense pride in the surroundings in which she lived, she did much to improve the locality, purchasing adjoining property, that the same refined atmosphere might be maintained.  Greatly interested in nature, she was daily seen providing for the hundreds of birds that frequented the trees in her yard, taking care that the shallow box where they gathered with filled with crumbs, seeds and other foods that they favored.  She had miniature houses erected in her trees and, in these, frivolous squirrels made their homes.  Her figure as she visited with her wild callers, many of whom became so friendly that they never seemed to mind her approach, was a familiar one in that section.

Another pastime in which she greatly delighted was riding through the country roads and lanes.  She made frequent trips about town in her motor car, but was never so pleased as when winding through the shady country by-ways.

The death of Miss Borden recalls to many one of the most famous murder trials in the history of the state.  On the fourth of August, 1892, Andrew J. Borden and his wife, Abby D. Borden, were found murdered in their Second Street home.  After a preliminary investigation, Lisbeth Borden was arrested and formally charged with the murder of her father.  After a hearing in Fall River she was indicted by the grand jury and in November 1892 [June 1983], was tried and acquitted in new Bedford.

The trial attracted statewide interest.  No further arrests were ever made and the murder has remained an unsolved mystery since.  Following her acquittal, Miss Borden lived a rather retired life and devoted much of her time to private charities of which the public knew but little.

Gail Borden (inventor, architect, surveyor) is also in this Borden family.  If memory serves (although that isn’t a given these days!), Gail Borden also laid out the plans for Galveston, Texas.  Of course, what one most readily remembers about Gail Borden is his patent for condensed milk.

Stories.

Plain folks.

Infamous folks.

Interesting folks.

We ALL  have these family stories and I find the research fascinating.

“woven into the life of our ancestors”

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.  For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

inter-connectedness

Although genealogy can be used to justify privilege, it can also be used to impart values.  While in certain eras it has appeared to be the preserver of society’s elites, its universal application bespeaks the importance of origins for all humanity.  It can be used to divide, yet the myriad relationships it uncovers imply the interconnectedness of the human race.

– David Thackery, “Editor’s Note” [Communities of Kinship Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier by Carolyn Earle Billingsley]

My ancestor, Susan Elizabeth “Susie” Glenn with her sisters (Mary Ellen, Ethel Mae, and Emma Jane) when they attended Cherokee Female Seminary at Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

They were the daughters of Jesse Edward Glenn (1848 – 1902) and Margaret Leann Cowan (1851-1895) and granddaughters of Henry Glenn (ca 1805 – before 1880) and Jennie Foreman (1816 – 1881).

Jennie Foreman’s Cherokee ancestor was Richard Bark “OO-YA-LU-GI ”  Foreman (ca 1779 – after 1843) and Julia Talley (died approximately 1816).

Register of Persons Who Wish Reservations under the Treaty of July 8, 1817

July 1817

#11 – Bark Forman – two in family – on the road from McNairs to Knoxville
No. of Reservation:  12

Richard Bark Foreman’s mother was Susie Gourd “Kah-tah-yah” /Gourd (Rattling-gourd), a full-blood Cherokee of the Paint Clan.  His father was John Anthony Foreman, a Scotsman (perhaps born in Scotland . . . and perhaps in Pennsylvania), who was a trader among the Indians.

TENNESSEE PASSPORTS
Knoxville
11th March 1797

Sir,

My instructions from the Honorable the Secretary of War require that I report to you the names of all persons residing in the Cherokee country not natives of the land.

For this purpose I have collected the following Schedule of their names & employments which I am induced to believe is tolerable accurate.

[Listed are names, nation, employments; among those include John Anthony Foreman.]

Anthony Foreman (no nationality listed), “Trader & idler”

The blanks in the “Nation” column are either Americans or unknown.  Those whose characters are noted in the third column I have represented according to the best information I have been able to receive.

I am very respectfully, Sir, . . .
Silas Dinsmoor

To His Excellency Governor Sevier
_____

“[Human beings] look separate because you see them walking about separately.  But then, we are so made that we can see only the present moment.  If we could see the past, then of course it would look different.  For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents.  If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, would look . . . like one single growing thing–rather like a very complicated tree.  Every individual would appear connected with every other.”

– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

flood damaged – but resurrected

My 4th Great-Grandfather John Sammon's Will - 1812

John Sammon, Sr. was born approximately 1750 and died 1812 in Greenville County, South Carolina.  John was the son of William Sammon, Sr. and Rebecca (Rebecca may have previously been married to an Ivey).

The quest never ends!

While searching through boxes and boxes of flood-damaged photos and materials, was surprised to discover a copy of this will.  Was also happy to find it!

My Dutch Ancestry

Posted on

Descendants of Harmen Coerton of Voorhuysen

Descendants of Hendrick Matthyse Smock

Genealogy research is a passion, I suppose.  An addictive passion.

There are  many nationalities coursing through my veins and I track one or another – often quite surprised with the results.

My 4th great-grandfather William Poland was of German lineage. He married Mary Swadley, daughter of Nicholas Swadley and Elizabeth Hevener.  The Swadley family lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia and Pendleton County, West Virginia before moving to Highland County, Ohio.

In William Poland’s will, he names twelve children. Those not mentioned are: Peter, Phebe and Elizabeth.

Eliza McBee could be Elizabeth.

Marion County Will Book C, pages 45-46

‘My sons & daughters intended & spoken of in this will are John, William, Nicholas, Katharine Newman, Nathaniel, Mary Evans, Eliza Magbee, Samuel, Henry, Mahala Stamin and Martin.  Matilda Troth in addition to what she has already received to have the sum of five dollars.’

PROPERTY:  Public Sale of the Real Estate of William Poland; Indianapolis January 26, 1856.  About 220 acres in Marion County.

_____________________

Nicholas Swadley was the son of Marcus (Mark) Swadley and Catren (surname perhaps Maus).

There is a tradition that Mark accidentally shot a daughter while cleaning a gun and was so shocked that he is said to have never spoken again and died shortly thereafter.

Marcus (Mark) Swadley’s personal property was sold at public venue  September 15, 1772 [Augusta,Virginia  Will Book #6, page 10].

Final settlement of the estate was made March 18, 1772 [Augusta, Virginia  Will Book #6, page 10]
Mark’s wife’s name was Catren; there is a tradition that her last name was Maus (Mouse).  She may have later married John Clore, a widower.  They had no children and she outlived him.

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