Signs of the Times (1800 – 1807)

The most important new community in Liberty County by 1800 was Taylors Creek. The creek was a feeder to the Canoochee River and it, and the community which grew up alongside it, got their names because James and William Tay­lor settled in the area before 1800. Early residents of Taylors Creek were Samuel and Jacob Delk, brothers, and families with the surnames of Bradley, Caswell, Daniel, Darsey, Gaulden, Hendry, Laing, Martin, and McFail.


One of the best-liked Liberty County officials during these years was Samuel Harville. He migrated to the county from Virginia around 1800, married Rebecca Hodges, and they had nine children. Harville was Justice of the Peace and Justice of the Inferior Court.


When the nineteenth century began, there was a real need for more public roads and bridges in Liberty County. The Inferior Court was responsible for building and main­taining public roads and bridges in the county. But it some­how was not getting the job done. The state on December 10, 1803, ordered the Inferior Court to appoint commissioners to build and maintain more public roads and bridges. The commissioners were empowered to assign duties to be per­formed to private citizens, and set the time of working within their respective divisions and districts. This system of build­ing and maintaining public roads and bridges, and streets in towns, by unpaid citizens continued in Liberty County for the next more than 100 years.


The incorporation of Sunbury Academy was amended by the state legislature on December 10, 1803, to provide for seven rather than five commissioners. Joseph Law and John Stevens were appointed new commissioners for the school, and because John Bettis had died, John Jones was named to the slot. The school at that time owned more than 500 acres of land in Bryan County, Georgia, had bonds worth more than $1,000, and was considered to be one of the few really good schools in the state.


Some of the teachers at Sunbury Academy over the years were James E. Morris, Reverend Thomas Goulding, Uriah Wilcox, Reverend John Boggs, Joseph William Hughes, Sr., G.C. Lee, Reverend A.T. Holmes, Reverend S.G. Hillyer, John Winn, and Oliver W. Stevens.


The state legislature in 1805 passed a law requiring Liber­ty County to pay $10,000 annually for the support of the state government. The Inferior Court, or the county sheriff, was authorized to enforce the collection.


The hard-pressed Inferior Court was authorized by the state on December 6, 1805, to permit the erection of a toll bridge over the Canoochee River at Wells Ferry. It was also authorized to fix a toll charge at the crossing.


It was also during the early years of the nineteenth cen­tury that grants of land were made by the state almost in the center of Liberty County. In a few years, those grants of land would be on site of, or adjacent to, the third county seat of Liberty County.


John Martin, David Zoucks, and Charlton Hines re­ceived grants of land either adjacent to, or near, a parade ground established by the state for the local militia. Martin acquired a part of the Zoucks property which he had used as a cow pasture. A part of the Hines land later became the Hines Hill Plantation of his son, Robert Charlton Hines.


Municipal affairs at Sunbury had deteriorated so badly by 1805 that the state legislature had to issue orders for an election of town commissioners. The Inferior Court. the state claimed, had neglected to hold such elections, “to the great injury of said town.” The Inferior Court was ordered to hold an election of such commissioners, giving ten days notice in advance at the most public place in Sunbury.


In was in 1806 that Woodmanston Plantation became the property and home of Louis LeConte. He developed it into one of the show places of Liberty County, largely because of a botanical garden he maintained adjacent to his home.


One of the most important groups of families in Liberty County during these years was the Quartermans. The progenitor, John Quarterman migrated from South Carolina to the county with its first settlers. His descendants were related, either by blood or marriage, with many families in Liberty County.


Sheriff Joseph Jones advertised in the Georgia Gazette in 1806 that there would be a sheriffs sale at Riceboro of seven slaves on foreclosure of a mortgage at the suit of Lockwood and Banks, a Savannah law firm, against Elizabeth Johnson, administrator of the estate of her late husband, George Johnson. Names of the slaves to be sold were listed as Old Nancy, Little Nancy, London, Wick, Winter, Chloe, and Bristol.


It was on July 4, 1807, during the Independence Day cele­bration at Sunbury that members of the Liberty County Blues changed the name of their organization to Liberty Independent Troop. It was the only volunteer militia organi­zation in Liberty County at that time.