from the "History of Sumter County"
by Jack F. Cox
Just across the river from Danville was a little town called Drayton, a place that was settled sometimes before Danville. It was once a place of considerable note, and was at one time the county seat of Dooly County. It was settled by Sam Bonds and the Dawsons Thomas, a lawyer of considerable note;and Same, who was afterwards deputy sheriff of Sumter County under Calvin Cutts and was killed at the battle of McDowell in Virginia in 1863, Henry Peter, Babe Faircloth, Please Morgan and others.
Drayton and Danville were separated by the Flint River and many were the spats between the two little sisters, especially from 1840 to 1846 when politics was very high. The citizens of Drayton were all Democrats and those of Danville all Whigs. Both parties declared war on each other. If one of the Draytonites crossed the river to Danville he was certain to get whipped before he got back and vice versa. Things continued on that way until 1847 when they buried the hatchet, and united in building a steamboat to ply the river from Danville to Appalachicola to ship the cotton crops from both sides of the river, which was a considerable amount.
As we had no market this side of Macon or Hawkinsville prior to that time, they either had to haul the cotton on wagons to market or build cotton boxes, and float it down the river. So, seeing the necessity of doing something they called a meeting of the planters and decided on building a steamer. They formed a company and opened a subscription and soon got the money enough to build a little boat which was named the "Magnolia." It was built by James Butts of Macon and when finished it was floated down the river to Appalachicola to have the machinery put in.
With the experienced engineer and pilot to steer her, the "Magnolia" made her first trip, bringing a cargo of salt, sugar, rice, coffee, and other articles of merchandise to Danville. On the second trip under Capt. A.C. Butts of Macon, she lodged on the shouls near Adams Creek, just above Albany, where she lay for eighteen months before there was a rise in the river to get her off. While lying there she was sold to Elijah Butts of Dooly County who sent her around to Savannah and resold her.
From that time Danville began to decline. And now there is not a site left to mark the spot where the proud little town once stood.
The above articles concerning Drayton was taken from the Americus Times-Recorder of December 9, 1931, the Centennial Edition, courtesy of Mr. Jim Littlefield of Americus.