Rabun County Wills and Estates

Rabun County was created on December 21, 1819, from lands ceded by the Cherokee Nation and from part of Habersham County It was named after William Rabun, who served as the 11th Governor of Georgia from his election in 1817 until his death in 1819. County seat: Clayburn.Rabun County was created in 1819 from Cherokee lands ceded by the Indians. Early Settlers were: Samuel Beck, James M. Smith, David Green, A. R. James, E. C. Hix, and John Shork.

Indexes to Probate Records

  • Wills 1857-1867.
  • Wills 1863-1888.
  • Wills 1885-1930.
  • Letters of Administration, Guardianships, Wills 1891-1900.
  • Administrators, bonds, guardians, 1869-1912.


  • Marriages from newspapers 1885-1886.
Images Wills 1857-1867

Testators: Allen Gaines, Baley Dover, Daniel Duncan, David Ledford, Drury Wall, D. T. McKinsey, George Wilson, James Dillard, John Jordan, William McCurry and William Owens.
A Note from Jeannette Holland Austin If you really want to find your ancestors, you need to search county records. This is essential to establishing facts, such as dates and places of marriages, death dates (wills and estates in the probate court), and places of residence (deeds and tax digests). Searching all the old records is time-consuming and tedious, yet rewarding. Answers are found in the details of each record. One must examine every piece of paper! Although many records are online, one should periodically visit the State Archives to make certain that every possible record has been examined. Do not forget the special microfilm collections of bible records, churches, muster rolls, etc. All county records were not completely indexed, and if that is the case, then one must examine the record, page by page.

Ships Lost at Sea

For 169 years vessels crossed the Atlantic into the American colonies. The adventure cost numerous lives and property and vessels went down in storms and were caught on sand bars. Some vessels bound for Virginia, for example, found it necessary to unload their cargo in the ports of New England. When General Oglethorpe engaged the first vessel to the Colony of Georgia, the captain refused to go any further south than Port Royal. Hence, its passengers had to travel by foot into Georgia. Only today through the use of sonar equipment are we realizing that thousands of vessels sank in the shipping lanes traveling their routes from Europe and the West Indies to the American ports. An examination of the deed records of Sunbury, Georgia in Liberty County reveals contracts between ship captains and colonists. The content usually specifies that if the goods do not arrive by a date certain, or if the cargo is spoilt, the captain will not be paid. There is a good reason because the seas were fraught with storms, hurricanes, and sandbars. As one studies these deeds, it is quite obvious that deliveries were not always made in a timely fashion which prompted the captain to bring an official complaint. Ultimately, the resort town of Sunbury was destroyed by a hurricane in about 1800. A visit to the site is laughable. It is privately owned today and one cannot help but wonder how this remotely situated site between Charleston and Savannah housed more than 400 homes and a thriving economy. Yet the records reflect that it did. The loss of thousands of vessels during the colonial years means that the ship’s manifest and passenger lists also sank. This means that the collection of Immigration records at the National Archives is but a small percentage of a truer picture and it serves to emphasize the need to examine more closely ” all surviving” county records from the earliest times. All of Charleston, South Carolina’s records are intact, including affidavits and deeds pertaining to the affairs of the colonists.

The Genealogy Vault Continues to Grow

Collections of traced families and rare documents continue to grow on the Georgia Pioneers website. It includes private collections of families in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.