Pioneer Trails and Tales south georgia today

This is part three 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.

When Lowndes, Thomas and Ware counties were created they joined four other counties to form the Southern Judicial Circuit of Georgia. A Superior Court Judge and his Solicitor Generals would convene Superior Court in each county within the Southern circuit on a quarterly basis. Inferior courts also met quarterly on preannounced and published dates. As opposed to a Superior Court Judge, the jurisdiction of a Justice of the Inferior Court was restricted to his home county.  

The Court of the Ordinary came under the auspices of the Inferior Court. It was responsible for matters which today would be adjudicated in the Probate Court. The Lowndes County, Georgia record, Annual Returns 1861-1871, provides good information on what the Judge of the Court of the Ordinary charged estates and guardians for receiving, reviewing, drafting and recording documentation. In order to be paid, the Judge and or his clerks were required to submit an invoice to the administrator, executor or guardian. The invoice acknowledged why, when and by whom the Court had been paid. Collective invoices of that this type became a part of an estates’ documentation and were referred to as Vouchers.

Voucher No. 4 J.S. Wilson as Adm of J. S. U. Wilson deceased to J. W. Harrell Ordinary

February 4, 1861 taking bond for temporary letters $1.50, letter $2.50, recording office and citation $1.25, Warrant of Appraisement $0.62, copy $0.62, Bond for permanent administration $1.50, letters $2.50, Order for sale of lands $0.62, copy $0.62, Recording warrant of appraisement $0.50, Recording inventory and account of sale $4.85, Order for division of slaves $0.62, Citation to division $0.62; total $18.32

Received payment December 8th 1861 J.W. Harrell Ordinary

Mrs. Nancy B. Folsom & Shadrack Bradford Adms Est of George Folsom  Decd to J.W. Harrell Ordy

Voucher One for May 4, 1863 Drawing & Recording application for Citation and Drawing & Recording & Forwarding Citation $4.00, Drawing & Recording application for Letters and Executing Bond $6.50, Drawing & Recording application for Appraisal & Order for Widow’s Support $6.00, Warrant for Widow’s Support & apportionment $1.25. Drawing & Recording application for sale and Advertising $7.00, Receiving application & citation and Temporary administration $7.75; total $32.50

Received of Shadrick Bradford Adm on Est George Folsom
 Decd $32.50 in full this August 3rd 1863. J.W. Harrell Ordy


The Estate of R.T. Roberds In A/C current with Wm. Zeigler Adm up to February 24th 1865

Voucher 7 Wm. Zeigler Adm of R.T. Roberds decd to Wm. Smith Ordy for Citation & Postage $1.35, Bond $1.00, Letters $1.50, Recording $0.50, Copying $0.50, Warrant Appraisement $0.50, 3 Orders $3.00, Recording appraisement $1.50, ditto Warrant $0.50, Orders for sale of property $1.00, Copy of same $0.50, For Widow’s Support & Recording $2.50, Advertising in Southern Recorder $5.00, “Certificate & Real for South Carolina” $1.50; total $20.85

Received payment of Wm. Zeigler Adm 6th December 1864 Wm. Smith Ordinary

Some of the lawyers working out of Troupville prior to 1850, excluding Southern Judicial Circuit Solicitor Generals, were John J. Underwood, Charles Rockwell, Thomas O. Townsend, Thomas H. Hines and John Ashley. As time passed there was sufficient legal business in Troupeville, and later in the newly formed town of Valdosta, to support additional lawyers. The names George W. Behn, William L. Morgan, Sumner W. Baker, J.W. O’Neal, James W. Patterson, Powhattan B. Whittle, A.J. Bessant, W.H. Dasher, George T. Hammond, Richard Peeples and William B. Bennett became well known in the legal circles of Lowndes County, southwest Georgia and north Florida.

Lawyers of the day in Lowndes County provided a variety of services and represented clients in various ways and at various levels of the Courts. The following excerpts are transcriptions from the author’s work on Lowndes County, Georgia original record Annual Returns 1861-1871. They describe legal actions which would have come before the Judge of the Court of Ordinary.

Est of Thomas Newsom to T.B. Griffin Adm July 1st 1867

Voucher 5 1857 Georgia Lowndes County} Solomon Newsom Jr. to S.W. Baker for prosecuting Crawford for assault with intent to murder $50.00: 1859 for Defense in a suit in Lowndes Superior Court on a Bond $50.00; 1857 Arranging the papers & business of Est S. Newsom decd between Adm & Adm de bonis non $50.00; total $150.00

J.W. Boyd & M.E. Ashley Adms In a/c with Estate of J.M. Ashley decd

Voucher 12 Johnathan M. Ashley to W.W. Paine Atty at Law Feb 12, 1868 for Drafting Codicil to the Will of his mother $21.00, Credit $1.40 on account due J.M. Ashley by W.W. Paine in 1858; net due $18.60

July 10, 1860 Estate J.S.U. Wilson deceased

Voucher No. 31 Received of J.S. and James Wilson five dollars for professional services rendered the estate of J.S.U. Wilson deceased December 6, 1861 Patterson and Peebles Attys at Law

Georgia Lowndes County} Account Current of James A. Dasher Adm of Orrin P. Dasher By amount of Cash Received 1862

Voucher No. 2 1862 James A. Dasher Adm Est Orrin P. Dasher to S.W. Baker for Legal services as an attorney rendered said estate $15.00. Received payment of James A. Dasher Adm of the above stated account March 6th 1862 S.W. Barker

William M. Peacock decd Annual Return 1865 to Paul Pritchard & D.B. McDonald Executors

Voucher 12 Sept 1865 Georgia Lowndes County} Dr. P. Pritchard & D.B. McDonald Executors of M. Peacock decd to S.W. Baker for Preparing and having Bond of indemnity and for titles and general service and Counsel as Attorney for the Estate $20.00. Recd payment Sept 5th 1865 S.W. Baker

For any future services for the estate for the balance of the year I am willing to make no charge unless it shall be necessary to file a bill of equity or like service which latter kind of service will not probably be necessary Yours, S.W. Baker


Owen Smith and J.E. Griffin Administrators of the Estate of M.S. Griffin in account current For the year ending July 31st 1867

Voucher 3 Recd of Owen Smith Adm on Est M.S. Griffin deceased Fifteen dollars for arbitrating Controversy between A.D. Beaty & said Adm. This 11th August 1866 Jno. W. O’Neal, G.T. Hammond, A.J. Liles

Estate W.J. Beaty to A.J. Bessant

Voucher 3 To A.J. Bessant Attorney at Law Nov 1867 for Professional services in preparing 2 Deeds to lots of land No. 188 in 11th Dist Lowndes County Geo & lot no. 6 in Block 14 Town of Valdosta $10.00

Recd payment from A.D. Beaty Adm this 14th November 1867 A.J. Bessant Atty at Law

Mrs. Nancy Beaty Guardian for W.W. Beaty heir w.J. Beaty decd

Voucher 5 1867 Mrs. Nancy Beaty Guardian of Willis Beaty minor to A.J. Bessant Atty at Law June 15 for your portion of Professional services rendered in equity case at instance of Est W.J. Beaty & other services rendered you as Guardian $15.00 Received payment of Mrs. Nancy Beaty Guardian of Willis Beaty A.J. Bessant Atty at Law

Recorded 30th January 1868 William Smith Ordinary

1867 The Estate of Jacob Bradwell decd with Joseph M. Howell Adm

Voucher 3 Received of Joe M. Howell Agent of the late Jacob Bradwell forty-two dollars in full of a judgement vs said Bradwell as garnishee in favor of R.P. Jones. This Feb 3rd 1868 Baker & Hammond Attys at Law

H.W. Sharpe adm in account with the estate of James Folsom 
decd from 1st May 1868 to 1st May 1869

Voucher 4 Recd Valdosta 20 June 1868. From H.W. Sharpe adm of estate of James Folsom decd $200 as retaining fee & for Professional services rendered & to be rendered said estate June 30, 1868 A.J. Bessant Atty at Law


E.W. Parrish Guardian of the minor heirs of John E. Edmondson in a/c with said minors July 1st 1868 to January 2nd 1872

Valdosta January 12, 1869 Recd of E.W. Parrish administrator on the Estate of John E. Edmondson of Said County $10.00 for my legal fees in the said case of B.A. Edmondson against said Estate A.J. Liles Attorney at Law

H.W. Sharp Adm on the Estate of James Folsom decd

Received of H.W. Sharp Administrator of James Folsom by the hands of West Rountree $150 for professional services in case H.W. Sharp et al vs said H.W. Sharp Adm this 10th day December 1870 G.T. Hammond Atty at Law

Cases coming before the Superior Court in Lowndes County between 1828 and 1872 involved a variety of crimes and offenses. That included larceny, perjury, malicious mischief, affray, riot, assault, assault and battery, stabbing, murder, assault with intent to murder, rape, adultery, fornication, assisting a prisoner to escape, gambling with a Slave, being a common cheat and swindler, vagrancy and keeping open a Tippling house. While the Bench State Docket Lowndes Superior Court May Term 1828 to November Term 1872 does not provide the fees charged by defense lawyers, it does list court dates, charges brought, presiding Judges, Solicitor Generals, defense Lawyers and the outcomes of the cases tried. Between 1830 and 1840 John J. Underwood and Thomas O. Townsend were the two most active defense lawyers appearing before the Superior Court in Lowndes County. As one moves through the docket into the period of 1850 to 1870, they will find the following defense lawyers appearing regularly before the Superior Court. Listed in order of appearance in said Docket, they were: A. T. McIntyre, Charles S. Rockwell, Thomas H. Hines, William L. Morgan, William H. Dasher, Sumner W. Baker, Powhattan B. Whittle, James W. Patterson, Richard A. Peeples, J. W. O’Neal, Andrew J. Liles, Abraham J. Bessant, George T. Hammond, Pendleton, J. N. Davis and William B. Bennett.

Some defendants charged and tried in the Superior Court of Lowndes County retained lawyers from Albany, Hawkinsville or Thomasville.  Although practicing in the Southern Judicial Circuit those lawyers did not necessarily maintain offices in Troupeville or Valdosta. Many of these “outside” lawyers became household names within Georgia legal circles. Some eventually became Superior Court Justices within the Southern Circuit: James L. Seward, Peter E. Love, Carleton B. Cole, Ephriam H. Platt, Augustin H. Hansell, Edward T. Sheftall and Peter W. Meldrim.

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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