Pioneer Trails and Tales south georgia today

Merchants and their Wares

This is part one of a four-part series regarding what citizens of Lowndes County, Georgia and the surrounding area paid for goods and services between 1854 and 1873.

The Court of Ordinary for the period in question was responsible for what today comes under the authority of the Probate Court. The Administrator or Executor of an estate, among other requirements, was responsible for finding out what debts were owed by the estate, collecting money due the estate and distributing anything which remained to the lawful heirs. This involved an accurate inventory of property, both real and personal, belonging to the deceased at the time of his or her death. An estate sale normally followed the filing of the inventory. Guardians were responsible not only for the general and legal protection of their Wards, but also for accounting for funds paid out or received on behalf of those Wards.

Invoices paid on behalf of an estate and those paid by a guardian on behalf of a Ward, often came from doctors, lawyers, merchants and schools. When invoices were rendered specific details were required. Those submitting an invoice had to swear before the Judge of the Court of Ordinary or a Justice of the Peace that the amount being charged was “fair and just.”

Annual Returns 1861 to 1871 provides a good record of the merchants who operated in Lowndes County, Georgia between 1854 and 1873. Merchants of the day operated what may rightfully be called stores. They carried a wide variety of products, and in some cases offered what some would consider non-traditional services. The following merchants are listed in order of their mention in Annual Returns 1861-1871: L.C. Creech & Son, William W. and James M. Clyatt, John May, Solomon Kubitschek, Robinson & Williams, Briggs & Ashley, Thomas B. Griffin, W.H. Sharpe & Co., John T. Allen, G.W. Roberts, J.D. Clayton, William A. Carter, Pease & Davis, R.Y. & A.H. Lane & Co., J.M. & M.B. Hunter, Edward Remington, Wm. G. Bentley & Co., Dekle & Wisenbaker, William A. Smith, Simeon A. Smith, Newton & Rountree, Rountree & Allen, Lane & Brinson, R.T. Roberds, B. Wells & Son, Hitch & Durham, Simeon A. Smith Jr., C.C. Varnedoe, Charlton & Pardee, C.T. Stewart, J.J. Polhill & Co. and E.H. Pike

Annual Returns 1861-1871 contains over 700 hand written pages. It is impossible, within the context of this article, to fully present the cost of all goods and services revealed in that original record. The author has selected excerpts and examples which hopefully will provide the reader with a good feel for the subject matter. Two of the most extensive estate and guardian accounts within Annual Returns 1861-1871 are for Benjamin F. Lane (1797-1860) and Moses Smith Jr. (1823-1864).

Benjamin F. Lane was born 1797 in Georgia and died December 20, 1860 in Lowndes County, Georgia. He was an early settler of Lowndes County, arriving about 1832 from Emanuel County, Georgia. The two-story home he built about 1842, still stands one mile east of today’s community of Clyattville. At the time of his death Mr. Lane’s older children, all daughters, were married and had families of their own. He did however have two sons, Benjamin F. Lane Jr. (1842-1923) and Henry Clay Lane (1846-1927), who were minors when he departed this life. The executor of the estate of Benjamin F. Lane Sr. was his son-in-law Solomon B. Smith, husband of Elizabeth Ann Lane Smith.

Voucher 16 Estate of Benjamin Lane to Robinson & Williams for 1860

January 7 and 16 1 Pr Caps, 2 Iron foot tubs, 1 Large Tin pan $1.75; January 26 and 28 2 Skeins Flax, 1 Silk handkerchief, 1 Gum Tube, 1 lb. Shot $1.45; February 25 1 Box Per. Caps, 1 Pr Boys Shoes, 2 lbs. Powder $2.25; March 3, 6 and 7 1 Pr Shoes, 2 yrds. Chambray, 2 yrds. Velvet ribbon $2.22; 1 Blk Belt, 1 Butcher knife, 1 Tin pan, 6 Lawn Handkerchiefs $3.90; 2 Pr White Hose, 1 ½ yrds Velvet Ribbon, 2 Pr White Hose $2.45; April 1 Six lbs. nails, 1 Spittoon, 2 Bottles Pain Killer $1.29; May 14 Three yrds Grass Linen, 2 Pr Suspenders, 3 Cedar pails $2.80; May 28 six yrds. Farmer’s Linen, 1 yrd. Grass Linen $2.00

January 9 Hair Pins, 1 lb. Shot, 1 Pr Fine Shoes, 1 Pr Boys Boots $7.50; January 22 1 ½ yrds. Marseille, 1 ½ yrds. Chambray, 9 yrds. Gingham $4.40; January 26 2 Pr Half Hose $0.50; July 7 One Linen Coat, 1 Cedar Piggin, 1 Tin Pan $4.50; ½ yrd. Chambray, ½ yrd. Chambray, 1 Black Book $0.55; August 15 Two Cedar Tubs, Manilla Bed Cord, 1 Pitcher $2.37 ½; September 25 2 lbs. Shot $0.25; October 5 Two Bars Lead, 1 Marking brush $0.70; October 12 22 yrds. Prints, 15 yrds. Shirting, 1 Buggy Collar $6.12; October 24 Three Papers Needles, 2 Leather Collars, 5 Blankets, 1 Work Basket $8.74; October 25 One Pr Blankets, 2 ½ lbs. Bees Wax, 8 yrds. Homespun $3.10 ½; November 17 ½ lb. Tea, 2 Skeins Silk, 2 ½ yrds. Ribbon, 24 yrds Prints $3.70; November 26 2 ½ yrds. Prints, 25 yrds. Prints, ¾ yrds, Cotton Jeans $1.85; November 30 5 yrds. Prints $0.50; December 3 One Bed Pan, 1 Pr Lynch Pins $3.10; December 18 One Large Tub, 6 yrds. Black Ribbon, 3 Bunches of Tape $3.27 ½; 2 Papers of Tacks, 15 yrds Muslin, 1 ½ yrds. Linen Drill $0.97 ½; Total $81.95; less credit for Prints $3.00 and Tub $1.62 ½, Account $77.32

Georgia Lowndes County} C.C. Williams came before me M.M. Caswell JP and swore the within account is just and correct to the best of his knowledge this 5th February 1861

Received of Sol B. Smith Executor $77.32 in full for the above account May 2nd 1861 Robinson & Williams

Voucher 18 Clyattville Gen Benjamin Lane to Wm. W. Clyatt 1860

March 7 1 Bottle Ink, 1 Paper of Brads, 1 Pr Shoes, 1 Pr Gun Wipers $2.08; March 26 1 Paper of Tacks, ½ doz. Fish Hooks, 1 Fish Line $0.28; April 4 1 Bottle Brandy, 1 Wheat Sieve, 1 Coffee Mill, 1 lb. Shot $2.57; April 27 1 lb. Tobacco, 1 Bottle Whiskey, 1 Box of Blacking, 1 Quire of Paper $1.95; April 30 1 Bottle Spirits Turpentine, 2 ½ yrds. Linen Drill, ¼ lb. Candy $1.57; May 9 1 ¾ lbs. Wax, 1 Brass Bucket, 11 ½ yrds, Brown Drill $3.15; 1 Dozen Spools Thread, 5 Bowls, 2 Mugs, 3 lbs. Tobacco $3.52; 2 lbs. Wax, 5 yrds. Brown Drill, 1 Cravat, 1 yrd. “Nansuk” $3.10; May 19 11 ¾ yrds. Brown Drill, 1 lb. Epsom Salts, 2 ¾ lbs. Hinges $2.17; 1 Pr Wrought Butts, 7 yrds. Homespun, 1 Pr Pants, 1 Coat $11.83; June 1 15 ½ lbs. Potash, 6 lbs. Soda, 2 Bake Dishes $4.08; 2 oz. Nutmeg, ½ doz. Fish Hooks, 5 yrds. Grass Linen $3.46; ½ dox. Spools Thread, 11 ½ lbs. Potash, 3 doz. Buttons $2.40; 1 Coat, 4 yrds. Linen Drill, 4 yrds. Grass Linen $6.90; June 9 1 ½ yrds. Grass Linen, ½ Gross Screws, 4 ½ yrds. Ginghams $1.66; June 27 1 Pr Shoes, 1 Quire Paper $1.95; July 7 2 lbs. Peppers, 1 Whip Thong, 1 Pr Shoes $2.10; July 17 3 ½ yrds. Ginghams, 1 Bunch Envelopes, 1 doz. Steel Pens $0.95; 1 Pen Handle, 3 Hand Saw Files $0.42

July 19 1 Rice Linen, 3 yrds. Gingham, ¼ yrd. Gingham, 1 Dish $1.96; July 26 1 Tin Pan, 1 Buggy Collar, 1 yrd. Muslin, ½ yrd. Linen $2.63; August 1 1 Spool Thread, 5 ½ yrds. Linen, 5 yrds. Bled Homespun $3.30; August 6 3 yrds. Linen, 1 Mug, ½ lb. Tea, ¾ yrds. Homespun $3.72; August 15 5 yrds. Linen, 2 Bowls, 1 Bottle Sweet Oil $4.30; 1 Pint Spirit Turpentine, 9 yrds. Calico, 1 Egg Beaty $1.08; 1 Spool Thread, 2 Salt Cellars, ½ lb. Ginger $0.53; September 20 3 Bars Lead, 3 Sheets Sandpaper, 1 lb. Powder $0.81; September 28 1 Pencil, 1 Wood Bowl, 26 yrds Prints $3.70; 2 ½ yrds. Linen Osnaburg’s, 1 yrd. Black Homespun $2.63; October 1 Spool Thread, 1 Pencil Sharpener, 1 Pencil, 5 ½ yrds. Stripes $1.12; 1 Box Oysters, 2 Linen Shirts, 1 Wool Hat $4.25; October 12 1 Plug Tobacco, 1 Bunch Envelopes, 2 ½ yrds. Linsey, 1 Buggy Whip $3.00; October 15 3 ½ yrds. Tweeds, 3 yrds. Blue Jeans, 1 lb. Salts $3.95; October 16 ½ yrd. Flannel, 1 ½ yrds. Linsey, 4 lbs. Shot $0.98; October 24 11 yrds. Checks, 2 yrds. Bed Tick, 1 Pr Shoes, 1 Saddle Girth $3.75; 1 Pr Shoes, 2 yrds. Cambric, 1 Box Buttons $1.75; October 27 ½ yrd. Col Cambric, 11 ¾ yrds. Tweeds, 10 yrds. Bed Tick $7.15; 3 yrds. Col Drill, 1 ¼ yrds. Alpaca, 1/8 gal. Spirit Turpentine $1.02; 8 yrds. Col Drill, 1 Pr Shoes, 1 Pocket Knife $3.40; November 7 2 lbs. Shot, 1 ½ pts. Castor Oil, 2 Pocket Knives $2.05; 1 Tooth Brush, 1 Hat, 1 Shawl Pin, 1 Bottle Ink $2.95; 1 Yrd. Col Drill, ½ yrd. Black Cambric, 3 ½ yrds. Tweeds $1.76; 3 ½ yrds. Col Drill, 1 lb. Powder, 2 lbs. Shot, 1 Pr Shoes $2.68; November 17 1 Pr Shoes, 1 Box Pr Caps, 3 lbs. Shot $2.12; November 20 3 Skeins Sewing Silk, 18 yrds. F Calico, 1 yrd. Calico $4.00; 1 ½ yrds. Ribbon, 4 yrds. Calico, 1 Paper Tacks, 1 lb. Shot $1.17; December 11 1 lb. Powder, 2 Horse Collars, 1 lb. Lead $1.02; December 17 2 Goods Boxes, 1 Large Tub $2.75; December 20 7 yrds. Bled Homespun, 8 yrds. Velvet, 2 Papers Tacks $5.37; 1 yrd. Ribbon, 1 Pr ½ Hose, 7½ lbs. Hinges $1.03; January 3, 1861 1 Pr. Shoes, 1 Whip, 18 yrds. “S.J.” Homespun $5.25; February 1, 1861 1 Quire Paper $0.25, total $132.97

Credits

March 23 13 ½ doz. Eggs $1.35, April 21 22 doz. Eggs $2.20 for $3.55; May 11 12 ¼ lbs. Butter $2.45, 1 Pr Pants returned $6.00 for $8.05; June 1 9 ½ doz. Eggs $0.95, 9 ½ doz. Eggs $0.95, 24 lbs. Butter $4.80 for $6.70; July 19 22 ½ lbs. Butter 4.50, 24 lbs. Butter $4.80, 20 doz. Eggs $2.00 for $11.30; September 3 1 Mug returned $0.15, Amt received of Moseley $4.66 for $4.81; October 3 16 lbs. Butter $3.20, December 3 1 Tub $1.25 returned, total credits 39.26; Account due $93.71

Georgia Lowndes County} Personally appeared before me Wm. W. Clyatt who swore the above & within accounts are just and true this 16th February 1861 M.M. Caswell JP

Recd Payment in full for the above accounts of Solomon B. Smith Executor February 20th 1861 Wm. W. Clyatt

Moses Smith Jr. was born 1832 in Georgia. He was the son of Moses Smith Sr. (1794 Rhode Island-1873 Lowndes County, Georgia) who is said to have been the first merchant in the town of Troupeville. Moses Smith Jr. was Captain of Company A 20th Georgia cavalry. This unit was also known as the Georgia Partisan Rangers. He was wounded in action at a place called Serevena’s Ferry on December 18, 1864. He died in a Charleston, S.C. hospital on December 24, 1864. His wife, Jane Ashley Smith, and four children survived him. The estate of Moses Smith Jr. was administered in Lowndes County, Georgia by William Henry Briggs, a well-known merchant in the town of Valdosta and also the brother-in-law of the deceased.

The Estate of Moses Smith decd in a/c current with W.H. Briggs administrator

Voucher 45 1867 Wm H. Briggs Adm Est Moses Smith Jr. bought of B. Wells & Son for Dec 3 3 ½ lbs. Rope $0.56, 1 Well Bucket $1.00, 83 lbs. Nails $8.30; Dec 12 1 Pr Butts $0.50, 1 Pr Butt Screws $0.15; Dec 19 1 Pr Butts $0.20; total $10.91
Recd payment Dec 19th 1867 B. Wells & Son

Jane A. Smith Annual Return for herself and as Guardian for her four children to wit Nathaniel, Moses, Manning and Georgiana Smith

Voucher No. 6 Mrs. J. Smith bought of Charlton and Pardee for July 1 2 lbs. Butter $0.60, 1 Peck Salt $0.50, 3 lbs. Sugar $0.75, 10 lbs. Beef $0.90; July 2 1 lb. Starch $0.25; July 3 14 lbs. Sugar $2.80; July 5 11 lbs. Lard $2.20; 2 ½ lbs. Butter $0.75, 12 Chickens $3.60; July 6 Flour $1.00, 1 doz. Cakes $0.50, 2 Mackerel $0.20; July 8 2 Bars Soap $0.50, 14 lbs. Ham $3.50, 1 lb. Soda $0.20; July 10 Coffee $2.00; July 13 2 lbs. Butter $0.60, 1 doz. Cakes $0.50, 1 Loaf Bread $0.10; July 11 2 doz. Eggs $0.40, Flour $1.00, 2lbs. Butter $0.60; July 12 Flour $2.00, 1 doz. Cakes $0.25; July 13 2 doz. Eggs $0.40, 8 lbs. Lard $2.00; July 15 18 ¾ lbs. Shoulders $4.13,  3 lbs. White Sugar $0.90; July 15 1 doz. Cakes $0.25; July 17 3 lbs. Starch $0.75, 1 doz. Cakes $0.35, 2 doz. Eggs $0.40; July 18 2 Mackerel $0.20, ½ doz. Cakes $0.25; July 22 1 Gal Vinegar $0.75, 3 doz. Eggs $0.75; July 23 Apples $0.75, Chickens $3.00; July 19 1 doz. Nutmegs $0.20, 4 lbs. Butter $1.20, 5 Bars Soap $0.50; July 20 2 doz. Eggs $0.40; July 22 Rice $1.00, 3 lbs. Lard $0.60; July 23 Cakes $0.50, 6 Mackerel $0.60; July 25 12 Chickens $3.00, 10 lbs. Lard $2.00; July 24 3 ½ lbs. Butter $0.75, 3 lbs. White Sugar $0.70, 2 Mackerel $0.20, 3 doz. Eggs $0.60; July 26 Baking Cakes $1.00, 3 lbs. Butter $0.90; July 27 Coffee $2.00, Tea Cakes $0.25; July 29 2 doz. Cakes $0.50; July 30 Rice $1.00, 7 Chickens $1.75, 2 doz. Eggs $0.50; total $60.83 E.O.E. $0.90 / Balance $59.93
Received payment in full Charlton & Pardee

Voucher 19 Mrs. Jane Smith bought of A.H. Lane & Co Valdosta Ga 1867 for Feb 4 2 lbs. Butter $1.20, ¼ bu. Potatoes $0.75, Rice $1.00; Feb 6 1 Gal Syrup $0.75, 10 Chickens $3.00, 15lbs. Lard $2.40, 1 doz. Eggs $0.35; Feb 9 2 lbs. Butter $1.20; Feb 11 6 lbs. Coffee $2.00; Feb 17 7 ½ lbs. Rice $1.00; Feb 18 3 Boys Hats $4.50, 4 yrds. Calico $1.00; Feb 18 4 Spools Cotton $0.50, 6 lbs. Coffee $2.00, 1 doz. buttons $0.25, Paregoric $0.25, 1 Gal Syrup $0.75; Feb 19 1 Gal Kerosene Oil $1.50; Feb 21 11 lbs. Ham $1.92; Feb 22 11 ½ lbs. Ham $5.42, 4 ½ yrds. Ginghams $1.35; Feb 21 6 Pr Hose $1.80, 3 yrds. Cloth $0.50, 1 Lamp $1.25, Chimney & Wicks $0.75; Feb 23 4 Towels $1.00; Feb 26 45 lbs. Lard $9.00; Mar 1 ¼ bu. Onions $0.50; Mar 4 Cash $0.55; Mar 8 6 Chickens $1.80; Mar 11 35 yrds. Calico $8.75, 1 Dress Pattern $4.00, 12 yrds. Muslin $2.70, 1 Box Hair Pins $0.25; Mar 12 1 Set Table Knives & Forks $11.00, 1 ½ doz. Spools Cotton $2.25, 1 Quire Paper $0.30; Mar 16 2 Pr Shoes $3.25; Mar 19 6 yrds. Jeans $4.50; Mar 21 1 ½ yrds. Calico $0.25, 5 ½ yrds. Cascade $3.30, 1 yrd. Edging $0.75; Mar 26 17 lbs. Pork $2.00; Mar 28 1 lb. Rope $0.40; Mar 30 21 Chickens $6.30; April 13 5 ½ yrd. Calico $0.13, 6 yrds. Linen $1.80, 2 doz. Buttons $0.40, 1 Card Buttons $0.25, 1 Card Buttons $0.75, 2 Spools Cotton $0.25, 1 Lamp Chimney $0.25; April 13 1 Pr Shoes $1.25; April 15 1 ½ doz. Buttons $0.25; April 17 3 yrds. Mohair $1.80; April 18 2 ¼ lbs. Butter $1.10; April 20 1 Balmoral $3.00, 1 Pr Shoes $3.00; April 27 ¼ bu. Salt $0.50; May 11 1 doz. Whalebone $0.25; Aug 30 1 Bell $1.00, 2 Hats $4.00; Aug 31 Soap $1.00; Sept 3 Coffee $2.00; Sept 9 2 lbs./ Lard $4.00, 1 Side Bacon $4.00; total $125.35; Feb 12 Credit by cash $12.68
Received payment in full Jan 4th 1868 A.H. Lane & Co

These are but a few examples of the detail contained in Annual Returns 1861-1871. This original record holds as much specific genealogical and historical data for Lowndes County, Georgia and the surrounding area as the author has found in any single source.

Please note: These articles are based on research conducted by the writer/author utilizing a variety of reliable source material. Those wishing to learn more regarding source material utilized or those who may have any other questions, should contact the writer/author via South Georgia Today.


Reproduction of this material is prohibited without express written permission from the author.

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C.E Hightower, Jr.
Mr. Hightower’s family/ancestors purchased their first land in Lowndes County, Georgia in 1827. He grew up just outside Valdosta, attended Lowndes High School and holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Valdosta State University. After leaving VSU he went to work for a European firm based out of Hamburg, Germany. He then traveled for 33 years, at times based inside and outside the United States, with a variety of International companies. Genealogy and history have always been two of his favorite areas of interest. Since retiring and moving back to Valdosta he has published one book pertaining to the historical records of Lowndes County, Georgia and currently has another on similar subject matter pending publication. He has formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Huxford Genealogical Society and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Lowndes County Historical Society.

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