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Davis Smith Plantation

Smith Plantation
Davis Smith Plantation, built ca 1824 in Brent, Georgia. Seated in middle is Jane Smith Clements Brent (named by her mother after "Jennie" Linn). Eudora Plantations Old Fairfield Plantation Ockstead and Bathurst Plantations When Families Left the Plantation Fitzgerald Plantation. How Quickly the Past is Swept Away White Hall Plantation The Plantation Journal of Seaborn Hawks Jarrell Plantation Meadow Garden, Home of George Walton Berckman Plantation in Augusta

Smith Plantation of Brent, Georgia

Swedish Soprano Inspires Voice and Piano Lessons to Smith Family of Monroe County

Jenny Lind When the Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind was brought to America by P. T. Barnum in 1850, she presented 93 large-scale concerts on tour, earning more than $350,000, most of which was donated to charities. She was affectionately known as the "Swedish Nightingale," Lind became famous after her performance in Der Freischutz in Sweden in 1838. However, thereafter suffered vocal damage, but the singing teacher Manuel Garcia saved her voice. She was in great demand in opera roles throughout Sweden and northern Europe during the 1840s, and was closely associated with Felix Mendelssohn. Lind was in Charleston, South Carolina when Colonel Davis Smith of Monroe County took his wife, Elizabeth, to hear the soprano. Colonel Smith came to Monroe County from Laurens County and built his plantation in Brent, Georgia in 1824. Elizabeth was a talented pianist, and during the couple's visit to Charleston, purchased a piano and brought it back to Brent. For the longest while, this instrument was known as the first piano in Monroe County! Elizabeth's daughter, Jennie Smith, was sent to study music at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, the first college of its sort in Georgia for women. More information on Wesleyan Female College

Forsyth, Georgia


Monroe County Map


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The Sad Tale of Every Cemetery

Jane Smith Luckily Sherman did not burn down the Smith house at Brent, Georgia. It was built in 1824 when Davis Smith left his home in Washington County to start a new life with his second wife. Sadly, the first wife, Hannah Ferth, had died in childbirth, but not before giving birth to two sons. The first child died soon after birth and was named after the father of his grandmother, William Franklin. The second child was likewise named, but he did not survive either. This sad tale is seen in so many cemeteries.

Although Smith was considered a planter, owing to his acreage, the house was a typical frame farm house with a hall in the center and a narrow staircase to the upstairs. Davis married secondly, the widow, Elizabeth Dixon Jordan, a talented lady whose musical talents were passed down to her children. Her daughter, Jane, attended Wesleyan, the first female college in the State. During the war, the married daughters moved into the big house with the aging Davis Smith, his sons never to come home from the war. Although the plantation was not on Sherman's path to Savannah, however, the families were stripped clean of all domestic fowls and foodstuffs by menacing yankee patrols. Some surprising persons were found buried in the cemetery across the street from the house. After digging a sunken area, a cement slab was discovered to be the grave of the brother of Davis Smith. This was someone I had been searching for, without much luck in the records.

The husband of Jane had served as a surgeon with the Alabama Confederate troops and never returned home from the war. Another discovery was the grave of Tom Clements, their son. It is said that it rained heavily on the day of his funeral and that the pre-dug grave was filled with water. This history was related to me one hundred years after wards by an old relative who kept up the cemetery and lived nearby.

Jane married again, this time to Confederate soldier, Thomas Young Brent from Kentucky. Ty, as he was called, tried to revive the plantation and built a store to sell surplus crops. But times were not the same after the war. The plantation was sorely in need of laborers which they could not acquire. Reconstruction was a period during which many persons lost their homes and fell into poverty. The trend was to search for work in surrounding cities. Jane and her family went to Atlanta and settled in a house in Grant Park. The fate of Ty Brent was the Old Soldier's Home. Jane died five years later and her body was taken to Brent and buried in the family cemetery.

There are stories to be told about such things. They await to be told us by neighbors and others who visit cemeteries. Daniel Bonnell was Executed for Robbery Tales of Woe "Light Horse" Harry Lee died at Dungeness The Case of Hog Smith The Romance of John Wesley Thomas Jones of Wales Capt. John Collins of Acworth William Few Peter Gruber and Neighs Forced out of Austria There were Two Margaret Hollands Dr. N. G. Long He Came Over in a Barrel The Heartbreak of George A. Benson of Lawrenceville The Old Woman and Toccoa Falls They Traveled Far in Search of a Home The Enduring Escapades of Thomas Ramsey Major James Hicks Jeremiah Lamar The Flemings of Sunbury Lorenzo Dow Smith Wilson Conner If Only I Could Tell My Grandmother the Rest of the Story Grannie Stories told over Chicken Every Sunday Anthony Bonnell Old Dan Tucker

Rats are Deadly

Sidney Street My great-grandmother, Jane Smith (above) was a Seventh-Day Adventist whose faith did not to believe in receiving medical care. She raised seven children. During the 1940s, however, the family was stuck down with typhoid fever. They resided together in the old neighborhood of Grant Park (Atlanta) at 137 Sydney Street (home torn down) in the typical house with high ceilings and one bathroom. The heat was provided by fireplaces and coal brought up from the cellar to fire an old furnace. In those days, flea and tick-carrying rats could easily enter the cellar and plague family members. Typus epidemics were not unusual. In fact, during Napoleon's retreat from Moscow in 1812, more French soldiers died of typus than were killed by the Russians. A major epidemic was disastrous to the Irish when over 100,000 people died between 1815 and 1819. It raged throughout the Civil War and after wards. Things got bad. The children were critically ill. The mother brought in a physician to treat the children. But she did not take the medicine for herself, so died.

Footnote: According to wikipedia, rats in New York are widespread today and thrive in densely populated areas. These brown rats (from Norway) carry pathogens which cause diarrhea, vomiting and fever, and carry fleas which are vectors to bubonic plague, typhus and spotted fever, as a starter.

Did your Ancestors Fight with the Patriots?

Patrick Henry 1733-1799) If you think that your family members did not associate with famous historical figures of their time, you are wrong. Isaac Smith of Monroe County enlisted from New Kent County, Virginia in the Virginia State Troops during the latter part of 1775. He must have been a true patriot to enlist so early in the Revolutionary War, for he went to Williamsburg where he served under Captain Robert Ballard for one year before going to Norfolk on a small scouting party where he was wounded by "a ball in the forehead." At the time he was in a regiment commanded by the famous Patrick Henry! During August of 1779, he was with General Washington in the battles of White Plains the taking of the Hessions at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. But that was not enough, because after he was discharged in 1779 by General Muhlenberg, he joined the Militia of Kent County and was with that Militia at the siege of York and surrender of Lord Cornwallis. In other words, Isaac Smith stood side-by-side with the "bravest of the bravest" and most valiant heroes of the American Revolution. He was a person who believed in freedom and the American way; he never gave up the cause and fought until the very end of the war. If you wish to learn more about the good character of your progenitors, the names of their friends and neighbors and how they helped to build America, read the Revolutionary War pensions. The details of the battles and names of their officers were essential elements of their lives. And, perhaps tell a little bit about you?

How well did Isaac Smith know Patrick Henry and his friends? Dig a little deeper into the life of Henry and you might find out!

Tales of Woe

ladder on roof One can just about read the history of any given community by reading gravestones. The proxmity of the dates of death, particularly of children and mothers, help to define epidemics such as measles, cholera, smallpox, diptheria and typus, to name just a few. American has gone through many medical transitions, from cures and vacines to the discovery of new strands of virus. The health of a community helps to tell the story of families and answer "why?" to certain situations. My grandmother was cautioned by her mother not to consider a certain beau for matrimony because he had health issues. In those days, women were considering marriage as a life-time-experience and one in which the husband supported her needs. Reading the old newspapers helps to determine more. When a wife left her husband, he posted a notice in the newspaper stating that he was not responsible for her debts. Too, she returned to the home of her parents. If she was abused, it was the duty of a brother to confront the husband. This sort of behavior spread like wildfire, and sorely affection reputations in all facits of business. Because a bad marriage could disrupt the good reputation of families, the parents assisted in locating a proper husband. My grandfather was a good person, never ill a day in his life. But one day, he climbed up on the roof to make some repairs, and fell off. The result was that he died. That left my grandmother, a young woman in her early forties, a widow for the rest of her life!

Map of Monroe County, Georgia



Monroe County Genealogy, Wills, Estates, Maps, Marriages

Monroe County Court House

The first court house was built 1825 in Forsyth and served the community until 1895 or 1896 when a two-story brick edifice was erected. Monroe County was created on May 15, 1821 by an Act of the General Assembly after Creek Indians ceded lands between the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers on Jan. 8, 1821 in the first Treaty of Indian Springs. The land was istributed by the 1821 land lottery and named for James Monroe, President of the US. Later, portions of Monroe County were used to create the following counties: Bibb and Pike in 1822; Butts in 1825 and Lamar in 1920. Many families who lived in Bibb County also resided in Monroe.

Monroe County Records Available to Members of Georgia Pioneers

Digital Images of Monroe County Wills 1824-1847

Testators: Adams, Benjamin; Allison, David; Allright, David; Alston, Charity; Barron, Willis; Beall, James ;Beckham, Thomas; Bird, Clarissa ;Bird, James ;Bivins, Samuel ;Black, William ;Brantley, Benjamin; Brantley, Jeptha; Brantley, Nancy; Brewer, Henry; Cabaniss, Eldridge; Chancely, William; Chapman, Isaiah; Chappell, John ;Clower, Jesse; Clower, John ;Cochran, John ;Cohron, Elizabeth ;Colbert, James ;Colbert, John ;Colbert, William ;Coleman, David; Coleman, Robert ;Collier, Cuthbert ;Congleton, Allen; Cook, Nathaniel ;Cowles, Judith; Crowder, Frederick; Culloden, William ;Curry, Elijah ;Darden, Jethro; Darden, Stephen; Darden, William; Davis, Thomas ;Dillard, Arthur; Douglas, Miller; Dunn, Jone ;Dunn, Obedience; Durham, Matthew; Durham, Singleton; Durham, Thomas ;Durkee, Lewis; Dyess, Thomas; Edge, Obadiah; Edwards, John; Elder, Catharine ;Evans, John ;Fambrough, William ;Finch, Robert ;Fleming, James; Freeman, Edward; Freeman, Mathew; Freeman, Polly ;Gibson, Churchill; Gibson, John; Goggins, Abraham; Greer, John ;Hagood, Benjamin ;Hagood, Benjamin; Hamlin, Richard; Hamlin, Richard (2) ;Hanson, William; Harman, Zachariah; ;Harman, Zachariah (2)Harris, John ;Heath, Benjamin ;Hickman, John ;Hill, Henry ;Hogan, James; Hogan, William; Horn, John; Hudgens, Josiah ;Hunt, Turner Sr. ;Hunter, David; Jenkins, Francis; Johnson, Angus ;Johnson, Gideon ;Johnson, Larkin; Johnston, Archer ;Jones, Zedock; Jordan, Theophilus ;Keadle, Jeremiah ;Kelsey, Noah ;Lockett, Anna; Lockett, Cullen; Low, James; Malone, William; Mann, John Sr. ;McCary, Elizabeth; McGinty, Robert; McMullen, Fielder; Middlebrooks, Robert ;Middleton, John ;Milner, Peter; Mitchell, Margaret; Monk, John ;Moore, Joseph ;Morgan, James B. ;Moody, Jabez; Nelson, William S.; Nun, William; Owen, John; Partridge, William; Penn, Edmund; Phillips, Obadiah; Phillips, William ;Pinckard, James ;Pittman, John ;Ponder, John; Ponder, Margaret ;Pool, William; Pope, Jesse ;Pope, Wiley; Pratt, John (deed) ;Pye, Ann; Roberson, Mary; Rogers, John; Rogers, John (2) ;Rogers, Wiley ;Rutland, Riddick; Slack, John ;Smith, Augustus G. ;Smith, John D.; Smith, Seaton ;Stallings, John; Stallings, Sarah; Standard, John ;Stubblefield, Catharine; Switzer, Bird ;Tatum, Milly ;Taylor, Eden; Turner, Abednego; Turner, Ezekiah; Vandiver, Marcus; Walker, Sylvanus; Wallace, Mary; Wallis, Richard ;Watson, Benjamin; Watson, John Sr. ;Wilder, William ;Williams, William; Wilson, John; Wilson, Larkin ;Womack, Abraham; Wood, Henry ;Woodard, Orren ;Woodward, Keziah

Monroe County Wills (abstracts)
  • Monroe County Wills 1824-1847 (abstracts).
  • Monroe County Wills 1848-1875 (abstracts).
  • Monroe County Wills 1868-1878 (abstracts).
  • Monroe County Wills 1876-1927 (abstracts).
Indexes to Monroe County Probate Records
  • Index to Monroe County Wills 1824-1847
  • Index to Monroe County Wills 1866-1876
  • Index to Monroe County Miscellaneous Estates 1861-1869.
  • Index to Monroe County Annual Returns, 1823-1858.
Miscellaneous Records
  • Bass, Joshua (estate)
  • Browning, Elizabeth deed to Marcus Culpepper (Digital Image).
  • Chambliss, John, LWT (1879) (Digital Image).
  • Chambless, Thomas, Guardian of Charles J. Chambless (Digital Image).
  • Chambliss, Zachariah, LWT (1874) (Digital Image).
  • Ethridge, E. N., Estate, Z. H. Chambless, executor (Digital Image).
  • Evans, Elizabeth, estate (Digital Image).
  • Evans, Thomas, estate (Digital Image).
  • Harman, Rebecha, LWT (1830), transcription.
  • Head, George W., LWT (1898) and (1956) (digitalImages0
  • Head, Peter estate)(digital image)
  • Head, W. H. (1887) digital images)
  • Joiner, Hiram P. Estate (Digital Image).
  • Job Taylor deed to Eli B. Browning (Digital Image).
Maps
  • 1821 Monroe County Boundary Map
  • 1822 Monroe County Map
  • 1865 Monroe County Map
  • 1915 Forsyth Map
Marriages
  • Monroe County Marriages 1824-1850 (transcription).
  • Monroe County Index to Marriages 1824-1845 (from county)
  • Monroe County Marriages from newspapers 1885-1886.

Traced Genealogies:
Monroe County Families

Ball Banks Battle Bittick
Bowdoin Brent Browning Buckner
Castlin Castleberry Chambliss Cheney
Childs Cleveland Cocke Cole
Collier Cotton Darden Dewberry
Dumas Durham Edge English
Etheridge Gardner Goggans Hanson
Harmon Haygood Huguley Lawrence
LeSueur Littleton Mabry Maxey
McCord McGinty McGough McKinney
Millican Moore Nelms Nobles
Norris Oxford Parker Pearman
Perdue Ponder Potts Proctor
Pye Redding Sappington Scott
Searcy Shannon Shattles Sikes
Smith Tapley Taylor Teakell
Zellner