Saturday, July 25, 2009

THE DODGE LANDS

EARLY PIONEERS OF NORTHERN WIREGRASS GEORGIA

The lands lying between the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers and generally south of Interstate Highway 16 was the focal point of the largest land title litigation in the history of Georgia. Most of the land was filled with virgin long leaf and yellow pines. The lands were granted through a lottery system in the Land Lottery of 1807. Grants were made in lots of 202.5 acres with some fractional land lots running along the rivers or land district boundaries. Many of the lots were extremely isolated from the populated areas around Dublin, Hawkinsville, and Jacksonsville. The residents, mainly farmers, put little or no value to the trees. Peter J. Williams of Milledgeville sought out and purchased many of the lots from dissatisfied owners. Many other lots to which the grants had lapsed were purchased by Williams from the State of Georgia.

In the 1830s a group of New England land speculators became interested in the land. Williams sold the land, about the size of the state of Delaware, to Stephen Chase of Maine, Abram Colby of New Hampshire, and Samuel Crocker of Maine on February 28, 1834. The Georgia Lumber Company was created by an act of the Georgia Legislature on December 17, 1834. Three weeks later the three men sold the land, measuring 296,055 acres, to the Georgia Lumber Company on January 5, 1835 for the sum of $5.00. The property was sold to the State of Indiana for a quarter of a million dollars in settlement of lawsuit over the dissolution of the company. At the time of that sale in September, 1842, Elisha B. Strong was the president of the company.

During the 1840s and early 1850s some of the land was sold by local sheriffs to satisfy property tax liens. These lots were purchased by local people who immediately moved onto the land and improved it. On December 1, 1849 Gov. Paris C. Duning of Indiana quitclaimed the lands to Martin Green of Indiana in settlement of a $240,000.00 note involving the state, the lumber company, and the Bank of Western New York. Green then sold a 7/16 share for 9,187 dollars to Amos Davis of New York on June 12, 1850. Green then sold another 7/16 share to Samuel Brooks of New York for the same amount two years later. Green sold the remaining share to William Chauncey of New York on the same day. Davis then divided his interest selling to William Chauncey, Charles Illins of New York City, Edmund Munroe of Boston, and Charles Peabody of New York City. Samuel Brooks divided his interest selling to Randolph Martin of New York City, Joseph M. Sanderson of New York, and Joseph Bolesier of New York.

During the height of reconstruction William Pitt Eastman of New York City began buying all of the shares of the lands. Eastman sold the property to Anson G. Phelps Dodge on June 8, 1870. Dodge then transferred the lands to a new company, the Georgia Land and Lumber Company. On February 6, 1877 George E. Dodge purchased the property from the company and appointed Anson G. Phelps Dodge as his attorney in fact to manage the affairs of the business in Georgia. The Dodge family, especially the Rev. Anson Dodge, Jr., were central characters in Eugenia Prices's "Beloved Invader."

By the mid 1880s much of the land lying along the Macon and Brunswick Railroad had been stripped of timber. In 1884 a federal government study revealed that there was a billion board feet of virgin pine timber still standing in southern Laurens County alone. That is enough lumber to build a 4 inch by inch plank all the way to the moon and back or to build a seven foot wall around the circumference of the Earth. George E. Dodge sold the land to Norman W. Dodge in June of 1888. As more and more railroads were cut through the area, more and more timber was cut. The choice heart pine timber was shipped all over the world. Timbers from the area were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

For the most part the timber lands had been kept intact by the owners for nearly a half century. Norman W. Dodge immediately began selling off tracts on which the timber had been cut. As the area became more attractive to settlers many squatters and bona fide settlers claimed land belonging to Dodge. The area was subjected to a small war in which nearly three dozen people were assassinated. After nearly all of the good timber was gone Norman W. Dodge filed a suit in the Federal court to quiet title to the lands.

The suit was tried in a Georgia Federal Court and a decision was rendered giving Dodge title to some of lands outright and to others upon the payment of money. Other lots were decreed to be the property of the defendants outright or upon the payment of money to Dodge. Norman Dodge died shortly after Judge Emory Speer rendered his opinion on December 2, 1902. Eventually all of Dodge's lands were sold by his heirs ending one of the most bitter and most fascinating times in the history of northern Wiregrass Georgia.

The lands covered in this lawsuit lie in current day Laurens, Dodge, Wheeler, Telfair, Pulaski, and Bleckley Counties.

LAND DISTRICT 6 WHEELER COUNTY AND TELFAIR COUNTY
LOTS 65, 98, 109, 120, and 211.

LAND DISTRICT 7 WHEELER COUNTY AND TELFAIR COUNTY
LOTS 4, 8, 37, 39, 40, 42-46, 48-50, 81, 120, 122, 125-27, 163-66, 170, 209-10, 217, 447-8, 450-2, 489, and 496.

LAND DISTRICT 8 TELFAIR COUNTY
LOTS 11, 16-8, 22, 23, 26-8, 56, 59, 62, 65, 68, 71, 74, 96-9, 106-8, 133, 138, 152-3, 186-9, 192, 224-5, 263, 267, 268-9, 271, 296, 299, 301-3, 327, 329, 331, 333, and 360.

LAND DISTRICT 9 TELFAIR COUNTY
LOTS 1-3, 7, 10-13, 17-9, 22, 24-5, 29, 31, 33, 35-7, 44, 46, 55, 56, 60, 63, 67-70, 75, 83, 92-3, 99-100, 108-110, 116, 118, 123, 125-7, 133, 135, 137-8, 140-1, 143, 147, 149-51, 158, 160, 162, 168-9, 171, 173-6, 178, 183-185, 192, 199, 205, 208, 211, 213-5, 223, 225, 228, 234, 236, 239-40, 242-45, 247, 253-58, 263-65, 267-8, 276, 280-1, and 283.

LAND DISTRICT 10 TELFAIR COUNTY AND WHEELER COUNTY
LOTS 4, 7, 8-10, 14, 17-8, 20-4, 27, 28, 30-1, 34, 39, 41-2, 46, 58-63, 66-7, 75, 77, 83, 86, 88, 90, 91, 94-100, 109, 111, 114-118, 120, 123, 126, 130, 133, 135-7, 139-41, 145, 152, 159, 161, 165, 167-9, 171, 178, 181-2, 191-2, 197, 206-9, 213-5, 225, 229, 239, 265, 267, 275, 278, 280, 282-4, 290-5, 297-99, 301-3, 306-8, 310, 311, 316, 319, 324-7, 336-8, 340, 352-55, 357, and 360.

LAND DISTRICT 11 WHEELER COUNTY
LOTS 9, 10, 13-17, 27, 28, 31, 37, 44, 47, 57, 76, 82, 84-7, 89, 93-5, 97-9, 106, 111, 113, 114, 116-8, 121-2, 124, 125, 126, 129, 132, 140, 141, 143-7, 149, 152, 156-61, 165-7, 169-71, 174, 176, 177, 179-81, 183, 188-90, 201, 204, 207, 224, 239, 244, 263, 268, 272, 275, and 291.

LAND DISTRICT 12 LAURENS COUNTY AND WHEELER COUNTY
LOTS 13-4, 20-22, 26-7, 29, 32, 33, 36, 39-42, 49, 52, 54-7, 60, 63, 64, 65, 67, 70, 72-3, 75-7, 78-80, 84, 85, 88-91, 93, 98, 100, 102-4, 106-10, 113-4, 116-7, 119-25, 129-30, 132, 134, 136-8, 140, 145-6, 150-1, 153, 164-5, 179-81, 189-91, 195, 198, 200, 231-334,
236, 242, 246, 250-2, 258-62, 265-70, 273, 276, 282-3, and 290.

LAND DISTRICT 13 LAURENS, WHEELER, AND DODGE COUNTIES
LOTS 2, 4, 5, 16, 23, 27, 28, 31-3, 38, 44-6, 64, 66, 67, 71, 74, 76, 79-82, 84, 86-90, 93, 95, 96, 98, 99, 101-4, 107, 111-2, 116-8, 120-1, 129, 134, 142, 143, 150, 158, 163, 167, 169, 173, 177, 191, 208, 210-11, 214, 215, 200-23, 226, 229, 230, 247, 256, 270, 271, 277, 280, 286, 289, 296, 301, 308, 312, 313, 317-18, 320, 323, 326, 330, 332, 340, 342, 343, 344, 347-8, 351, 352-3, and 355.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 14 DODGE COUNTY
LOTS 7-10, 12, 33, 35, 37, 38, 40, 42, 52, 53, 57-8, 63, 64, 67, 71, 74, 83, 86, 88, 94-97, 100, 102, 104, 110, 114-6, 121, 126, 119, 133, 134, 138, 142, 143, 147, 158, 160-63, 166, 170, 172, 175-8, 180, 182, 192-3, and 197.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 15 DODGE COUNTY AND PULASKI COUNTY
LOTS 3, 22, 117, 119, 148, 150, 156, 175, 176, and 183.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 16 DODGE COUNTY AND LAURENS COUNTY
LOTS 4, 9, 22, 23, 24, 26, 30, 31, 33, 38-9, 55, 56, 59, 60, 64-5, 68-73, 77, 79, 81, 84, 101, 102, 106-7, 110, 121, 125-6, 128, 130, 131, 136, 137, 139, 142, 144, 150, 155, 160, 162, 167, 175, 209, 222, 272, 276, 285-6, 289, 294-6, 298, 303, 305-6, 314-5.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 17 LAURENS COUNTY
LOTS 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 26, 35, 37, 50, 57, 62, 75, 81, 87, 89, 90, 93, 94, 96, 104, 107-8, 117, 119, 128, 138, 141-2, 147-8, 150-1, 153, 154, 158,149, 176, 232, 243, 248, and 275.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 18 LAURENS COUNTY
LOTS 7, 8, 11, 17, 22, 32, 33, 39, 51, 68, 85, 91, 111, 112, 113, and 119.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 19 LAURENS COUNTY, DODGE COUNTY
LOTS 1, 3, 5, 6, 59, 65, 89, 98, 112, 115, 119, 126, 133, 162, 156, 198, 218, 219, 221-2, 229, 234, 238, 240, 241, 243, 245-7, 249, 259, 261, 27-9, 274.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 20 DODGE COUNTY AND PULASKI COUNTY
LOTS 46, 69, 80, 94, and 195.

LAND DISTRICT NO. 21 PULASKI COUNTY AND BLECKLEY COUNTY
LOTS 53 and 245







________________________________________________________
The following is a list of the defendants in the Case of Norman W. Dodge vs. L.L. Williams, et al filed on June 25, 1894 in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Western Division of the Southern District of Georgia. The courts final decree is filed in Deed Book 22, pages 214, et seq.
________________________________________________________





Abbott, Jordan
Adams, Charles D.
Anderson, Robert H.
Andrews, W.H.
Baggett, John R.
Ballew, A.
Barber, J.F.
Barber, Jane F. *
Barron, J.W.
Bass, James
Bass, Joe
Bedingfield, B.J.
Bedingfield, John W. *
Bedingfield, W.A.
Berryhill, J.T.L.
Boney, A.J.
Bowen, A.J. or A.M., admr.
Bowen, M.E.
Branch, Dave
Branch, Thomas
Braswell, K.
Brewer, H.D.
Brown, Jesse
Brown, W.
Browning, Sarah
Bryant, Allen
Burch, Ben
Burch, B.T.
Burch, B.W.
Burch, C.O. *
Burch, D.W.
Burch, Rebecca E.
Burch, R.F.
Burch, W.G.
Burney, Calvin
Burney, Green
Busby, Oliver
Bussey, P.W.
Bussey, W.K.
Byron, John
Cameron, John by W.T.
Yawn, Admr.
Carpenter, Jane
Carter, William
Cates, J.H.
Clark, Elizabeth Ann
Clark, H.M.
Clark, Harlow
Clark, Henry S.
Clark, J.A.
Clark, Jerry
Clark, J.C.
Clark, J.M.
Clark, J.T.
Clark, Newton
Clark, R.N.
Clark, T.A.
Clark, Tom
Clark, W.A., Agent
Clements, J.C.
Clements, Wesley T.
Cobb, Mary L.
Coffee, John B.
Coleman, Amy B.
Coleman, A.T.
Coleman, Sam
Coleman, W.A.
Coleman, William
Coleman, W.R.
Collins, W.C.
Comer, Henry
Conley, Green
Conley, James R.
Conley, William
Corder, Newton *
Couey, Eliza now Saturday
Couey, P.D.
Couey, William
Cravey, D.C., agt. for wife
Cravey, John A.
Cravey, L.M.
Cravey, W.H.
Curry, D.M.
Curry, John F.
Curry, J.T.
Curry, Rebecca, now Ryals
Daniel, A.B.
Daniels, B.
Daniels, J.W.
Daniels, M.
Darsey, Ann
Darsey, Mrs. M.
Davis, Tom
Dent, J.D.
Donaldson, Cynthia A.
Dowdy, Carrie
Dowdy, Elizabeth
Dowdy, John J.
Dowdy, Tom F.
Dowdy, T.I.
Dowdy, W.H., agt for wife
Dowdy, W. Henry
Dumas, Mrs. W.T.
Early, Harriet
Edge, William
Evans, Doc
Evans, Elisha
Evans, Joseph
Evans, J.R.
Evans, Lat
Evans, N.
Evans, N.
Fausett, R.N.
Fielder, J.F.
Floyd, Archie O.
Floyd, Dempsey
Floyd, Mary E.
Floyd, Mary E.
Floyd, Martha
Fordham, J.M.
Fordham, S.W.
Fountain, W.C.
Frizzells, B.M.
Fussell, Jacob agt for wife
Garrison, E.C.
Garrison, W.M.
Gay, A.M., admr. N.F. Gay
Gay, Clem
Gay, Frank
Gay, J.B.
Gay, Joe
Gay, Joseph V.
Gay, Maggie L., widow of R.A.
Rountree
Gay, N.F. *
Giddings, Bunk, or William B.
Gilder, Freeman
Gilder, John
Gilder, W.M. and his wife
Gillis, Hugh G.
Gillis, Hugh, Sr.
Gillis, John *
Gillis, John N.
Gillis, N.
Graham, A.A.
Graham, D.B.
Graham, Nancy A.
Green, D.I. or D.J.
Green, Frank
Grimes, Jackson
Guest, B.J.
Hall, Joe and as agt.
for wife
Hall, Mary J.
Hall, Morgan
Hall, W.
Hall, W.T.
Hamilton, Joe (colored)
Hand, H.A.
Hardeman, N.H. or Hardin
Hardin, N.H. or Hardeman
Harrell, Charles
Harrell, W.A.
Harrelson, Elizabeth
Harrelson, H.H.
Harrelson, R.R.
Harrelson, Sam
Harrelson, W.O.
Harrison, D.R. and as agt.
for his wife
Hart, John
Hill, Roland
Hobbs, Jordan
Hobbs, Lem
Hobbs, T.J.
Holliday, Fred
Holliday, W.F.
Horne, Lee
Horton, James N.
Hughlett, A.D.
Hughlett, A.J.
Hughlett, D.J.
Hulett, F.E. agt for wife
Hulett, J.J.
Hulett, Lou
Hulett, Mary
Joiner, J.W.
Joiner, Warren
Johns, Mrs. M.J.
Johnson, E.
Johnson, Ed
Jones, J.G.
Jones, Robert
Kelly, D.O.
Kelly, James A.
Kinchen, Mrs. E.E.
Kinchen, James
Kinchen, J.E.
Kinchen, J.T.
Knight, R.G.B.
Knight, W.T.
Knowles, David
Knowles, Reuben
Lamb, Doctor
Lancaster, George
Lancaster, Miles A.
Law, A.J.
Lewis, Sam
Livingston, B.C.
Livingston, W.W.
Lock, J.R. *
Lott, Henry
Lowery, B.L.
Lowery, Cullen
Lowery, Isiah
Lowery, J.H.
Lowery, Mrs. Mathias
Lowery, S.L.
Lowery, W.A.J.
McCranie, Dan
McCranie, D.J.
McCranie, John
McCranie, John, Sr.
or John L.
McCranie, Mary E. now Pope
McCranie, Neal
McCranie, R.G.
McDaniel, A.J.
McDaniel, J.D.
McDaniel, W.R.
McDonald, John
McDuffie, J.E.
McDuffie, W.P.
McDuffie, W.S.
McEachin, Alexander
McGray, Jasper
McLaughlin, Jesse
McLean, John
McLean, Martha
McLendon, Dennis or J.D.
McLendon, Lewis
Mallen, H.
Maloy, E.G.
Martin, James
Melton, Laura J.
Merchant, J.I.
Miller, Lamar *
Miller, S.L.
Morgan, Doctor
Morgan, W.A.
Moore, Tobe
Morrison, D. Frank *
Mullis, Charles F. & Mary
Mullis, J.N.
Mullis, W.H.
Pace, Jim
Parker, J.C.
Parkerson, James
Parkerson, John
Patten, H.W.
Patterson, A.G.
Peacock, L.M., admr.
N. Rawlins
Perry, E.
Perry, J.E.
Perry, L.C.
Pettis, George W. or Pitts
Phillips, Axom
Phillips, Gabe
Phillips, J.W.
Phillips, William
Phillips, Willis
Pitts, George W. or Pettis
Pitts, J.C.
Pitts, William D.
Pope and Ansley
Pope, George W.
Pope, Mary E. fka McCranie
Pope, W.W.
Purvis, D.G.
Purvis, H.M.
Quinn, Mrs. F.A.
Ranew, Margaret J.
Rawlings, A.M.
Rawlings, Callie
Rawlins, D.M.
Rawlins, Isaac
Rawling, N. (Estate)
Register, Charlotte
Register, Elijah
Register, Elizabeth
Register, E.R. and E.P.
Register, J.J.
Register, John
Rivers, J.F.
Roberson, John, agt for
wife
Rogers, Ellen
Rogers, J.E.
Rogers, John
Rogers, Sallie S.
Rogers, William B.
Rogers, Mrs. W.B.
Rogers, Mrs. William
Rose, Carrie
Rose, Robert
Rountree, G.W.
Rountree, R.A. *
Rowe, Thomas H.
Rowe, Wallace
Ryals, John C.
Ryals, M.C.
Ryals, M.J.E. or C.
Ryals, Rebecca fka Curry
Saturday, Bryant
Saturday, Eliza fka Couey
Savannah Naval Stores Co.
Sears, Harrison
Selph, Oliver
Shaw, E.D.
Sheffield, B.
Sheffield, B.F. or B.S.
Shepard, J.R.
Smith, T.J.
Smith, J.D.
Smith, Noah
Studstill, Annie E.
Studstill, G.J.
Studstill, G.T.
Studstill, George T.
Studstill, J.J.
Studstill, J.W. and Nancy
Swinney, W.E.
Taylor, Martha
Taylor, Nancy J. widow of
Bedingfield, W.J.
Taylor, William
Thomas, D.W.
Thomas, Wash
Thompson, John S. *
Thornburg, H.M.
Thornburg, Jennie
Tripp, Boothe
Tripp, G.J.
Tripp, Henry
Tripp, Jack
Turner, J.B.
Ussery, Jerry
Vaughn, J.C.
Vaughn, J.H.
Walker, William
Wallace, Ray or Rowe
Warren, Mrs. Joel
Warren, Joel W. *
Warren, Mrs. Joel W.
Warren, Mrs. J.W.
Warren, W.E.
Warren, Mrs. William
Warren, William J. *
Webb, P.F.A.
Weeks, Thomas
Wells, Newton R.
West, James T.
Westbrook, W.H.
Wheeler, W.W.
White, Berrien W.
White, Bryant
White, Ellen
White, Thomas J.
Whitehead, J.W.
Whitehead, John B.
Wilcox, George R.
Williams, D.J.
Williams, D.S.
Williams, John D.
Williams, Lucius *
Williams, J.M.
Williams, L.L.
Williams, T.J.
Williams, William
Williams, W.H.
Williams, W.M.
Winstead, B.T.
Womble, W.T.
Woodard, J.L.
Wynn, James F.
Wynn, Willis
Yancey, G.W.
Yancey, John
Yancey, Elvin
Yawn, J.W.
Yawn, W.T., admr.
John Cameron
Yerty, Crawford
Yerty, Marion *
Yerty, Mary A.
Yerty, W.F.

* Defendants who died during the pendency of the litigation.

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