Friday, September 17, 2010

Warren County, Georgia

I'm in Georgia this week, visiting Cousins Bobby Gene and Vivian at their beautiful home in Bonaire.  My mother and Aunt Tootsie are with me, and after dropping them off and saying a quick howdy-do, I made my way over to Wilkes County, specifically the town of Washington.   Wilkes County bills itself as the the mother of upper Georgia since so many other counties came out of the original county of Wilkes.  Because of its historical significance, I was expecting great things genealogically and unfortunately was disappointed.  The town has many beautiful homes and a lovely downtown.  Their library was the first free public library in the state of Georgia and was designed by a noted Atlanta architect.  It has the county's only public genealogical book collection, housed in a gorgeous room, albeit tiny, with stained glass windows and wonderful wood wainscoting and shelving.  I had the entire room to  myself, being the only room there, but unfortunately, for my purposes of research (pre-1800) there was very little of interest.   The genealogical collection is not maintained by the library, but by volunteers as I understand it, and there is no dedicated genealogy librarian (unlike over in the smaller library in Lincoln County).

My experience at the Wilkes County courthouse was mixed.   The folks at the Superior Court  (land records) office couldn't have been nicer, but the clerk of the Probate Court (was downright rude and indifferent.     The next day at the courthouse in Lincoln County, everyone was very helpful, and the records were well-maintained.  At the library in Lincolnton, there was a fairly large area devoted to genealogy, and the librarian there - also a genealogist - was very knowledgeable and helpful.   

My next stop was Warren County, and its beautifully restored courthouse is pictured above.  The staff in the Superior Court office were also very nice, which brings me to the point I want to make.  Warren County was not on my list of places to visit, and if there had been access to the probate records in Wilkes County then I might not have even made it to Warren County.  The short time spent in Warren County, at the courthouse and at their small genealogy section (think walk-in closet) in the local library, was well worth the visit.  There was no "big find" or an "aha" moment, but I was able to develop a better understanding of the area.  Ralph Kilgore bought up several tracts of land in colonial and post-revolutionary Georgia, and after his death his heirs sold off this land.  One of these tracts was sold in Warren County, 350 acres on the mouth of Kilgore Creek, a branch of the Little River.  Based on the maps I found in Warren County, this land was just over the county line from Wilkes County, formerly St. Paul's Parish.   I was also able to find the 1795 deed and get copies of the full record where Ralph Kilgore's heirs sold the land.   

Who was Ralph Kilgore, and why is he important?   From the records I've seen, it appears that Ralph was the father-in-law of William Dulaney.   William owned land on Mill Creek  near the Savannah River in what was then Wilkes County, now Lincoln County, and I think he was Daniel's brother, or perhaps even his father.  (Thus, my interest in Ralph and William.)   The 1785 tax list for Wilkes County includes Daniel Dulaney, and he was living in the district that included Mill Creek.   Later, in 1795 in Pendleton District, South Carolina, a Robert Kilgore gives Daniel his power of attorney to sell his land in Richmond County, Georgia.

Today has been spent visiting with kinfolk.  Tomorrow I'm headed to the wonderful Washington Memorial Library in Macon, Georgia to further research the Kilgore family.   

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