A Short History of Sumter County

Formerly a Portion of Lee County


Joseph Absolom Cobb

"Americus Daily Press"

December 16,1902



            Shortly after the treaty with the Creek Indians, made at Indian Springs, on the 12th of February, 1825, and was ratified April 22d of the same year by the government, Lee county was laid off and surveyed and divided into districts and lots.  The land was drawn for in 1827, when Jacob W. Cobb drew lot No. ___ in what is now known as the 28th district, and the following year he and Avery Wheeler moved to it, it being situated on Line creek, or rather in the forks of Line creek and Boggy branch, now known as the Gipson plantation, with a few other pioneer settlers, viz.:  Thomas Key, Thomas Eaton Ward, Isom West, Edmond Nunn, ____ Dorminy, Hardy Pitman, Thomas Kimmey and a few others not now recollected, made the first settlement this side of Flint river.

            In the year 1828 Jacob W. Cobb, Avery Wheeler, John W. Cowart, Thomas Key, Edmond Nunn, Isom West, Augustus Nunn and two negroes, Richmond and Judy, his wife, all cropped the Flint river at Shelby's ferry and settled about six miles this side on the waters of Line creek and commenced clearing up the lands just after the Creek Indians had moved across the Chattahoochee river into Alabama.  The country was all new except a few little clearings that had been made by the Indians.

            In 1829 the country began to be settled up pretty thick.  Lovett B. Smith, William Jordan, who is now living, Ebenezer J. Cottle, Joseph H. Daniel, S. Montgomery, William Pilcher, S. Dozier and W. Reed settled in and around what was known as Pond Town.  Jacob Little, William Hughes, Solomon Snelgroves, Peter Faust, Anthony Miller, Allison Culpepper and Leven Adams settled in the western part of the county on Kinchafoonee creek.  Jacob Little on Muckalee four miles south of Americus at which place Little's bridge is now situated.

            `In 1830, Hardy Hay, a man by the name of Dorminy, Elias Hodges, Lamb Hodges, Josiah Suggs and Johnny Suggs settled on what is now known as Philema creek.

            Sumter County, Ga. was laid off from Lee county by an act of the legislature in 1831, and the following named persons were chosen to lay off the town:  John W. Cowart, Green M. Wheeler, Wright Brady and Jackson Tiner.  They selected the lot of land No. 156, in the Twenty-seventh district, on the waters of Muckalee creek and south of Little creek, now known as Town creek.  The surveyors pitched their tent near where the Central freight depot now stands.  After laying off the streets and court house square, the commissioners met for the purpose of selecting a name for the county site.  Each had a name selected and agreed to put all the names in a hat and blindfolded the writer of this article and let the name that I drew out be the one the town should be named, when Lovett B. Smith, one of the commissioners, told the balance of them that he had selected a name that he thought would suit them all, and Americus was the name, which was selected and agreed to by all.

            The early settlers of the town were Thomas Harvey, Green M. Wheeler, Wright Brady, Jacob W. Cobb, Gid. Thomas, Jackson Tiner, John Tiner, John Kimmey and others.  The first house built was a small pine log house built by Pat Brady, on the lot known as Artesian corner.  His stock of goods consisted of a barrel of whiskey, a box of tobacco, a box of chalk pipes, keg of powder, lead in bars and a small lot of gun flints.  The next house was built by Jacob W. Cobb, on the corner where the tower now stands - Lamar and Lee streets - which was used for a hotel.  The first term of the Superior court ever held in this county convened in this building, presided over by Judge Sturgis, of Columbus.  The next house was built by Thomas Harvey, on the lot where now stands the McMath store.  In 1834 a contract was let to Thomas Gardner to build a court house - a two-story wooden building - the lower story for a court room and the upper story for a jury room and for offices for county officials.

            The first school house built in the town was constructed on Town creek, at the north end of Lee street, just above Elbert Head's fish pond, Thomas Harvey being the first teacher.  The first church was built in the old negro cemetery, and the first sermon was preached by Allison Culpepper.  The first campmeeting in the county was also at the same place in 1834, conducted by John P. Duncan and John Talley.  On the 29th of August, 1834, Robert E. Cobb was born - the first white person born in the town.

            After the court house was finished the court room was used for church purposes by the Primitives, represented by Allison Culpepper; Methodist by John Talley; Missionary, by Jonathan Davis, and Universalist by Rev. Shehan.  The first Methodist church was built where the new church is now going up. 

            The first man murdered in the town was one Boasman, said to have been killed by James Little.  The second school taught in the town was at the place opposite W.H.C. Dudley's, on the lot known as the Gibons Taylor lot, where a big sycamore tree now stands.  The writer was going to school there when that tree was set out by the teacher, Horris Dickson.

            The first lawyer in the town was E.R. Brown.  The first doctor in the town was Dr. W.M. Hardwick.  The first death occurring in the town was Kinchen Morgan, who died in the year 1835.

            As this brings me up to the year 1836, I will stop here, and will probably in the future give a history of all the early settlers of the county, together with their customs and peculiarities.  I am only writing from memory, and possibly may have made some mistakes.

Sumter County Communities
Danville Drayton
Old Pineville

Sumter County History Files
Calendar of Events in Local History History of Americus Rotary Club
Chronology of Sumter County
History: 1540 - 1914
History of Rees Park
Chronology of Sumter County
History: 1915 - 1961
Americus School History
Chronology of Sumter County
History: 1962 - 2006
Notes on Koinonia
Chronology of Local Black History Historic Rylander Theater
Chronology of Spring Street Historical Homes
Chronology of Leslie, Ga A.S. Staley High School
Presidents of Sumter Historic Trust

From the Newspaper
Andersonville Prison Civil Rights Protest Era
Building Construction History Double Murder

To Submit Historical Information.
Alan Anderson

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