Cities & Communities

 

Hinesville

by Lennox Fraser Bishop

 

Although Hinesville as a township is young in years, it is located in a county with a long and proud history. The unrecorded history of this region lies buried in the secret reaches of time; the recorded history dates back to the time of Spain's colonial empire in America. It was on St. Catherines Island that the first white settlement in Georgia was made in 1565. The great Spanish explorer, Menendez de A viles, placed a garrison and mission here in the midst of a tribe of Indians, headed by an old chief named Guale. This entire region became known as Guale following the Spanish settlement. Menendez had founded St. Augustine that same year before sailing up the coast to Port Royal, South Carolina.

 

For more than a hundred years, Spain stood firm against England and France in the war to gain possession of the debatable land along the Atlantic Seaboard.

 

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the English, Scots, Germans, Acadians and Scotch ­Irish began moving into this region, many of them coming from Virginia and the Carolinas to receive land grants. They settled mostly along the coast, and at Midway where the Dorchester, South Carolina Puritans had settled in 1752.

 

In 1837 the Liberty County seat of govern­ment was moved from Riceborough to Hines­ville. This was a more central location in the county and was nearer to the state capital which was then at Milledgeville. Also, Hinesville was more accessible to the Gulf & Western, the only railroad in the county.

 

The established communities in the county at this time were Sunbury, Midway, Walthourville, Flemington, Riceborough and Taylors Creek. Settlers were rapidly coming in from other areas of the county, and from surrounding Georgia counties to locate in the upper part of the county along the Canoochee River and the Sunbury road that led from the coastal town of Sunbury to the town of Greensboro in Greene County.

 

Hinesville was named for Charlton Hines, an early settler who was serving as senator from Liberty County in the Georgia Legislature in 1837 and was instrumental in having the county seat moved to Hinesville. Mr. Hines represented Liberty County in the senate for eight years and was elected from the second senatorial district for a year. He served as Justice of the Inferior Court of the county and was elected a presidential elector in 1836. Before moving to Hinesville, Mr. Hines lived at Sand Hills (later known as Walthourville), where he had an original land grant of one hundred acres. A survey of land for the town was completed in March, 1837, by John W. Stacy, the county surveyor. The land was purchased from the heirs of John Martin. It adjoined the field originally owned by David and Celia Zoucks, and was known as the Zoucks old field. In April of that same year, fifty-four lots were sold at public outcry for the sum of $1,395.50. Six of the lots which were included in the survey were reserved for public buildings, including a Methodist church. According to the county records, money was paid out that same year for the construction and painting of a courthouse, and for the painting of courthouse chairs. The two-story building of wood construction was erected in the center of the surveyed land with space reserved for a green on all sides. A watering place was provided on the southeast corner of the square for horses, which were used for transportation, and a pump was installed for public use. Commissioners for Liberty County in the year the land was surveyed and the court house built were William Way, Enoch Daniel, E. H. Bacon, Newman Bradley and John Shaw. 

 


 

Mr. Hines of Liberty; reported a bill to remove the Seat of the public buildings in the county of Liberty, from Riceboro to the General Parade Ground (or Azouche's old field) or one mile within that place; and to vest in the Commissioners herein appointed full and ample power to accomplish the same, and to provide for the purchase and survey of lands, and erecting suitable buildings thereon, and to make the same the permanent seat where general county business must be transacted; which was read the first time. 

 

 

COUNTY SITE.

AN ACT,

 

To remove the site of the Public Buildings in the county of Liberty, from Riceborough, to the General Parade Ground, (Zoucks' old field) or within one mile thereof, and to vest in the Commissioners herein appointed, full and ample pow­er to accomplish the same, and to provide for the payment of the expense of purchasing lands, and erecting suitable buildings thereon, and to make the same, the permanent site where general business shall be transacted.

  

SEC. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Repre­sentatives of the State of Georgia in General Assembly met, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That John Shaw, Newman Bradley, Enoch Daniel. Edwin H. Ba­con, and William J. Way, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners for the purpose of taking all measures which they, or a majority of them may think proper, towards the change or removal of the present county site of Liberty coun­ty, to the general parade ground, (Zoucks' old field) or with­in one mile of it; and with a view to the full and complete ef­fectuation of the wishes of a majority of the voters of said coun­ty of Liberty, in this matter, the said committee are hereby authorized and empowered to purchase at the expense, and for the benefit of the county, such quantity of land, at or near the place herein designated, for the purpose of erecting thereon, a Court House, Jail, and such other public buildings as are required by public convenience, and to layoff around such Court House, such town lots as they may deem expedient, and to advertise and sell the same, after having given thirty days notice by public advertisement, upon such terms as in their judgment will most contribute to the benefit of said coun­ty of Liberty.

  

SEC. 2nd. And be it further enacted, That the proceeds of the sale of such town lots as may be sold by the commissioners, herein appointed, shall, when collected, be paid over to the county treasurer, or Justices of the Inferior Court of said county, in the event there is no county treasurer.

  

SEC. 3rd. And be it further enacted, That the commissioners herein named, or a majority of them, at any time after the passage of this act, are hereby empowered to draw, by their written order, upon the person or persons having the cus­tody of the county funds, for such sum or sums of money, as they may think necessary, to carry into effect, the powers conferred upon them in the premises, and it shall be obligatory on such officer, or persons holding such funds, to pay such order whenever drawn, until the county funds shall be exhausted,

  

SEC. 4th. And be it further enacted, That the Justices of the Inferior Court, are hereby authorized to sell and dispose of the present Jail, and Jail lot, in Riceboro.'

  

SEC. 5th. Also be it further enacted, That whenever the public buildings contemplated in this act, shall have been erected, or are in such a condition that public business may be transacted therein, it shall be the duty of the commission­ers appointed, to notify in writing, the Justices of the Inferior Court of the same; which said Justices, thereupon, shall order, direct, and superintend, the removal of all the pub­lic, and county, and Court records, which are now kept at Riceborough, to the new site.

  

SEC. 6th. And be it further enacted, That the Superior­ and Inferior Courts of said county of Liberty, and such oth­er Courts as pertain to the county, (Justices Courts being ex­cepted,) shall after such notice, be held at the limes fixed by law, at said new site.

  

SEC. 7th. And be it further enacted, That Riceborough, be and is hereby declared a precinct election ground: elections at which place, are to be conducted as elections at the other precincts in the county, all laws to the contrary notwithstanding.

 

JOSEPH DAY,

Speaker of the House of Representatives

 

ROBERT M. ECHOLS,

President of the Senate,

 

Assented to, Dec. 30th, 1836.

WILLIAM SCHLEY, Governor.

 


 

The following is a schedule of the

sale of lots in the town of Hinesville

that took place in April 1837

 

Lot #

 

Amount

 

Lot #

 

Amount

1

Reserved

 

 

31

Charlton Hines

18

2

Angus Martin

$18.00

 

32

Charlton Hines

51

3

Angus Martin

27

 

33

Charlton Hines

61

4

Andrew Floyd

20

 

34

William Hope

61

5

James Brewer

14

 

35

William Hope

45

6

James Brewer

12

 

36

William Way

11

7

James Brewer

10

 

37

L. B. Daniel

9

8

Reserved

 

 

38

William Hope

39

9

Edward Way

6

 

39

William Hope

37

10

Robert Hendry

14

 

40

Reserved

 

11

Robert Hendry

15

 

41

William Way

25

12

Reserved

 

 

42

Charlton Hines

41

13

Enoch Daniel

40

 

43

Charlton Hines

33

14

William Hope

14

 

44

Charlton Hines

24

15

William Hope

14.5

 

45

Joe F. Gammon

16

16

William Hope

5.5

 

46

Charlton Hines

31

17

E. H. Bacon

6

 

47

Charlton Hines

50.5

18

William Hope

43

 

48

William I. Way

25

19

William Hope

41

 

49

Reserved

 

20

Enoch Daniel

40

 

50

William Hope

23

21

Reserved

 

 

51

William Hope

17

22

Robert Hendry

28

 

52

L. B. Daniel

6

23

Robert Hendry

30

 

53

Robert Hendry

9

24

Edward Way

8

 

54

Rhesa Floyd

11

25

James E. Martin

13

 

55

Robert Hendry

12

26

James E. Martin

61

 

56

William I. Way

7

27

James E. Martin

60

 

57

William I. Way

10

28

Robert Hendry

67

 

58

E. H. Bacon

15

29

Robert Hendry

50

 

59

John Shaw

14

30

Robert Hendry

25

 

60

John Shaw

12

 


 

Organized shortly after Hinesville was settled in 1837, the Hinesville Methodist Church served as a place of worship for all denominations for about a hundred years. It was the only church in the town for that length of time. The first services were held in a small frame building, which was later replaced by a well-furnished large structure, which was used for a longer period of time than the first. Both churches were located in the same block as Bradwell Institute. The first recorded trustees of the church were Edward Way, E. Q. Andrews, John Wells, Thomas Sheppard and David Zoucks. A bell in the tower was used to call the worshippers to church and was tolled on other special occasions.

 

In 1890 trustees for the church included Olin C. Smith, Dr. A. I. Hendry, Dr. S. Z. Calder, J. E. Butler, John A. Theus and John M. Darsey. The first ministers of the church were the Reverend Capel Haiford, the Reverend W. D. Bussee, the Reverend Burell Wells and the Reverend Charles McAlister. Outstanding ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who were descendants of original settlers in Liberty County, were the Reverend John Andrews and Bishop James Osgood Andrews. Mr. Andrews was the first native-born Georgian to attain the position of bishop.

 

The Hinesville settlers established a school beside their church, and in 1841 C. Hines signed a contract, as a commissioner, with Colonel James Sharpe Bradwell, as the first principal of the Hinesville Academy.

 


 

On record in the Liberty County courthouse is a bill to the commissioners from the building com­mittee of the Hinesville Academy, with S. G. Moody, chairman, as follows:

 

First bargain to Andrew Andrews ......... 61.00

Second bargain to Andrew Andrews ..... 64.00

Extra work done by Andrews ................  1.50

Getting and delivering shingles .............. 

by Wm. Hope 40.00

Lumber and hauling to Daniel & Bisel .... 100.00

Hussey for making the shutters ............  15.00

Hussey for making two benches. . . . . . .75

Nails............................................... 12.50

Hinges............................................

Desk by Bird...................................

Paint furnished by C. Hines...............

Five gallons of oil by C. Hines...........

Hussey for painting the academy ....

----

 

$349.12Y2

 


 

Bradwell Institute was established in 1871 from the Hinesville Academy which was organized in 1841. The academy was closed during the War Between the States but was reopened and reorganized following the war by Samuel Dowse Bradwell, the son of Colonel Bradwell and Isabelle Fraser Bradwell. He was captain of the Liberty Volunteers, a military organization in the county. The name, Bradwell Institute, was given the new school honoring the founder of the first school in Hinesville.

 

The first building was a small frame structure located in the same block as the church. It was paid for by the county commissioners, and tuition was paid by the students. This building was soon replaced with a two-story frame building. In the beginning the classes were conducted by Captain Bradwell, who served as principal of the school for more than twenty years. In 1877 an advertise­ment of the school appeared in the Hinesville Gazette announcing the faculty and courses. High standards were set for the school and the long scholarly essays, which were read at commence­ment, exhibited a knowledge of the classics.

 

Bradwell Institute became famous throughout the state, and large numbers of students were enrolled from surrounding counties. The Moore House and other inns furnished accommodations for the boarding pupils.

 

Following his retirement from the school, Cap­tain Bradwell was elected state senator in 1888-1889 and later served as school commissioner for the state. Later, he became president of the State Normal School in Athens, which today is the University of Georgia.

 

The Hinesville Gazette was established in 1871 by Captain Bradwell. The press was in the upstairs of a two-story wooden building, located across the street in front of the courthouse. Bradwell's father had operated a crude press in his home for a short time.

 

The Gazette, a weekly newspaper, was pub­lished each Monday, and had a wide circulation in surrounding counties. The papers were carried by horse to the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad at McIntosh and thence to Savannah, where they were circu­lated. Others who assisted with the paper in various capacities were D. W. Folsom, E. G. Clif­ton, S. A. Calder, James Bradwell McCall, Newton Andrews and Smart Bradley.

 

Professional cards appearing in the newspaper in the late 1800s listed the following lawyers: Levi Nelson, Donald Fraser, J. W. Farmer, W. S. Nor­man, Newton Norman, Ben A. Way, Theo N. Winn, Wallace W. Fraser and John E. Sheppard. The doctors were Dr. Alexander Martin Fraser, Dr. Charles E. Ovens and Dr. Alfred I. Hendry. Others were a dentist, Dr. S. A. Calder; real estate agents, Farmer, Bradwell and Edwards. Mrs. M. D. Lovell was listed as a dressmaker, and Mrs. S. A. Calder, as proprietress of the Moore House.

 

Advertisements of the local mineral springs appearing in the Gazette attracted many visitors to the town, which soon became known as a health resort. Bath houses were provided and local boarding houses offered accommodations for the visitors.

 

The mail was brought by horse from McIntosh, which was a stop on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad. In the early days the mail was brought to the central store in the town and the townspeople called there each day. The earliest postmasters were Jesse Brewer, James Robert Ryon, and Mrs. Beulah Hines Fraser McCall.

 

Among the active organizations in the late 1800s were the Hinesville Library Association, the Agricultural Society, the Liberty County Medical Society. The officers were Dr. Mooney, President; Dr. J. P. Mell, Vice President; Dr. H. R. Mooney, Recording Secretary; Dr. A. I. Hendry, Corresponding Secretary. Other groups were the Hinesville Educational Society and a Masonic Lodge No. 271, with J. D. Zorn as Worshipful Master.

 


 

Hinesville Gazette

Vol. VI. Hinesville, GA, Monday August 28, 1876. No. 23

"There is Life in the Old Land Yet" 

The Hinesville Gazette reminded subscribers of the life in the land after the war.

 

When Assize of Arms became mandatory in the early days of the country, every white freeman was enrolled in the militia of his state and required to supply his own gun and equip­ment and report at stated intervals for a "muster" or drill. In May, 1755, the inhabitants of the Midway District had their first "muster" and the militia law was read. When the settle­ment was threatened by the British, an Infantry Company was formed and also a Horse Company, which was the first cavalry unit raised in the district and which later became the Liberty Independent Troop. Colonel John Baker was in command of this company.

 

In the early days of the settlement, the threat came from the Indians and the French along the coast, and later from the British, when in 1788 the district was invaded by Prevost, who dispersed the troops at "The Bridge" later known as Rice­borough, and again at Midway, where General James Screven was killed. General Screven had commanded the st. John's Rangers. A series of skirmishes followed between the Whigs and Tories. The names which figured in the warfare were Colonel Baker, Colonel Cooper, James Maxwell, Major Charles West, Captain Elijah Lewis and Andrew Maybank. The private who distinguished himself above all others was Robert Sallette. Other outstanding soldiers were Daniel Stewart, who later became a brigadier general, and James Nephew. In 1788 a Light Horse unit was organized with Michael Rudolph as captain, John Whitehead as first lieutenant and John Croft, second lieutenant.

 

The first record book of the Horse Company was lost. The second book which is a continua­tion of the first lists Ferdinand O'Neal as the first commander and Major Simon Fraser as the second. In an address to the Liberty Independent Troop in 1856, Charles C. Jones stated that Major Simon Fraser was chairman of a committee to revise and amend the rules of the troop, and he added, "They no doubt form the basis and substance of the rules now in use, and we suppose, that on the revision of the rules the distinctive name was given to the company which it now bears - The Liberty Independent Troop."

 

Other commanders from 1792 to 1856 in succession were John Bohun Girardeau, Samuel Spry Law, Captain Joseph Jones, Captain William Maxwell, Captain Joseph Law, Captain Peter Winn Fleming, Captain David Anderson, Captain Edwin H. Bacon, Captain Abial Winn, and Captain Cyrus Stevens Mallard. 

 

The ladies of Liberty County displayed their patriotism when in January, 1847, they presented to the troop a deed of title to a parade ground in Riceborough, the first ever owned by the troop. Later parade grounds were established at Gravel Hill, later known as Flemington; Goshen, near McIntosh; and Walthourville. In the early 1900's land which was originally the Simon Fraser home site was acquired for an armory and parade ground. This has remained the headquarters for the troop until the present time.

 

On special occasions colorful tilting matches were staged at the parade ground by skilled riders of the troop wearing bright colored plumes in their hats. The winners were presented cakes made by the ladies. These festivities followed by dances at the armory drew crowds from every sec­tion of the county.

 

In the course of time the many militia groups in the county included the St. John's Rangers, the Horse Troop, the Altamaha Rangers, the Saber Club, the Liberty Guards, the Liberty Volunteers, the Liberty Mounted Rangers and the Constitutional Guards.

 

 

The Battalion of Liberty Coun­ty,

Commanded by Daniel Stew­art, Col., Wm. McIntosh Jr. Lieut. Col.,

and Simon Fraser, Major. All Three Commissioned

 

1st Company, commanded by Audey Maxwell, Capt, Jonathan Fabian 2nd Lieut. but recommended to be commissioned as first, as the 1st Lieut., Jno, Whitehead had resigned, Joseph Way Jr. recommended as 2nd Lieut Fifty-two effective.

  

2nd Company, commanded by Joseph Way Sr., Capt. Galen Brownson  1st Lieut., and Andrew Maybank 2nd Lieut. All commissioned.

Seventy-eight effective men fit for duty, not very well armed, and mostly transient men who remain in the county only during the winter season.

  

3rd Company commanded by James Gignilliat, Capt., Thomas Houston 1st, and Robt Houston 2nd Lieut. All commissioned.

Thirty-three effective men fit for duty, boldly armed.

  

4th Company, commanded by David Rees, Capt., (now resigned) Jno. Baker Jr. 1st Lieut., and Andrew McLean 2nd Lieut. It is my wish that the Lieutenants be promoted and that George Hen­ry Schmidt be added.

Nineteen effective fit for duty.

  

5th Company, commanded by Joseph Clark, Capt., Jas. Bailey 1st, and Gilbert Bailey 2nd Lieut. The two latter only recommended, and not yet commissioned.

Thirty-nine effective menu fit for duty, but indifferently armed.

  

One Troop of Horse command­ed by John Crott 2nd Lieut., the Capt. having been promoted and the 1st Lieut. having resigned, it is my wish that Lieut. Crott be promoted, and Andrew Wal­thour and Wm. Peacock be his Lieutenants.

Eighteen Troopers well equiped.

 

Battalion of General Daniel Stewart recorded in the Hinesville Gazette.

 


 

In the early days, Hinesville became a health resort due to the mineral springs located within the town, which provided excellent drinking water and a place for the baths. Bath houses were built for the convenience of visitors who came from surrounding counties for extended visits. Early inns and hotels furnishing accommo­dations for the visitors and for the boarding students at Bradwell Institute were the Moore House, operated by Mrs. S. Calder, the Magnolia Hotel and the Caswell Hotel.

 

The earliest mercantile business in the town was operated by William Harrison. Other early merchants were J. Charlton Hines, Elbert Calhoun Miller and James Robert Ryon. All the stores were located across the street from the courthouse square, and all were well-stocked with provisions which were hauled by horse and wagon from McIntosh, where they were brought from Savannah and other places by the Gulf & Western Railroad. At an early date James R. Bagley purchased the Hines store and conducted a business there for many years. He had previously owned a soft-drink bottling works and he also operated the Singer Sewing Machine Company. A building near the Herald office housed these businesses.

 

One of the best remembered places in the town was the Tabernacle, which was located on the armory grounds. It was used as a gathering place for the Liberty County Sunday School Association for a special day known as "Jubilee." This important occasion was attended by members of all denominations within the county. The pavilion was also used for picnics and other activities.

 

Following an election held by the citizens of Hinesville to incorporate the town, the Superior Court of Liberty County at the November term, 1894, ordered the charter to be granted. The first town officials were: Mayor, Dr. A. I. Hendry; Councilmen, J.B. Fraser, T.S. Layton, J.D. Marlowe, J.M. Caswell, C.W. Hendry; and Recorder, S.B. Brewton. At the first council meeting, J.R. Bagley was elected town marshal.

 

Names of the early settlers include: Hines, Martin, Fraser, Zoucks, Bradwell, Andrews, Way, Calder, Smith, Darsey, Daniel, Hendry, Caswell, Laing, Bacon, Brewer, Stafford, McCall, Floyd, Hope, Shaw, Butler, Gammon, Farmer, Ovens, Beasley, Girardeau, Ryon, May, Bird, Brewton, Lovell, Mills, Miller, Wells and Ashmore.

 


From Liberty County a Pictorical History; Page(s) 120-134; Used by the Permission of the Liberty County Board of Commissioners

 

 

 

LIBERTY COUNTY GEORGIA

liberty1830map

 

Mailing Address

Liberty County Historical Society
PO Box 982
Hinesville, GA  31310

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