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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Richard's Story- 1795-Friends and Relations in Georgia

Despite being spread out on their frontier plantations, most several hundred acres in size, getting together to socialize with neighbors and relatives was the spice of life then just as it is now.
Friends and relatives would have visited on Sundays, traditionally the day of rest, but also a time to gather for a picnic or meal and socialization. The men might have gathered during the week to assist each other with building a new cabin or barn, or with extensive clearing, or seasonal harvesting. At such times the women would eagerly bring their quilts to work on together, in between cooking meals to set out on boards for the men at the mid-day dinner. Birth, death, and marriage were times for families to gather and support each other. There were few if any doctors; the women would help their female family members through that ordeal and celebration. Death was a constant companion, and lifetimes were often greviously short, although many of the Womack’s tended to be a long-lived sort. Marriages were among the happiest of celebrations; a joining of families, and an expectation of new lives to come. Families were generally large- 8-10 children, and due to the hazards of childbirth and health in general, many men, like Jesse, had survived one wife and started a new family with a second wife. Children were used to living in extended families with half-siblings, step-siblings, full-siblings, and multiple generations under one small roof. This probably produced some inherent conflicts, but it seems that families kept close contact even over vast distances. 

The Womack family was one of the earliest settlers in the area. Other early settlers, who received “head rights” in the area included the Harveys, Priors, Fussells, Boykins, Taylors, Walkers, Paces, Kemps, and Colemans. We see most of these names again later in the lives of the Womack family. It appears that neighbors formed close bonds in those days. Communities were tiny, and the young people from neighboring families often courted and married. Indeed, Richard Womack was already related to two of these families.

Richard's half-brother Jack, now 24, had married 19 year old Frances Coleman and their first child, John N. Womack Jr., was born in 1799. Jesse was no doubt delighted in his first grandchild. Frances’ family plantation adjoined that of the Womack’s. Her father, Frances Coleman, and her mother, Margaret, were their closest friends and neighbors. Their sons were mostly grown now, and two married Womacks- Francis Jr., 28, had married Mary Womack, Richard’s cousin- the daughter of his Uncle Abraham. Benjamin, 22, would marry Elizabeth Womack. The Coleman’s had a younger daughter, Vashti, who was 14, and one little boy, Daniel, who was 8, and no doubt a close friend of Richard’s 9 year old brother, Frank.

Richard's uncle, David Womack, age 65 and Aunt Mildred Pryor Womack, age 59,  had also migrated from Caswell County NC in 1784 and were living in Burke County in 1795. 1  Their eldest son was 32 year old Richard Mansel, and they had a 30 year old daughter Dolly (Dorothy) who married David Mitchell. David II was 26,  Abner 22, Abe 18 and Jacob Green 15. Richard remained close with this family for years.

Another uncle, Abraham Womack, lived about 40 miles north, in Hancock County. Richard’s grandfather  had been visiting him when he passed away, in July, 1785. Now Abraham was sick- so sick that he had written his will and was leaving his lands and possessions to his wife and children. He had a good sized plantation on Graybill's Creek and had 22 negroes helping farm it. Most of the children from his first marriage were grown and married and the girls were living on their own, (including Mary who had wed Francis Coleman Jr.)  But Abraham had lost his first wife, and then married Martha, who had five younger children. Elizabeth, age 15 was the eldest of that family. (see Abraham’s will below)

Richard’s aunt Patsy Womack, had married Captain Jonathan Kemp, who had also moved from NC to Georgia and bought land on Rocky Creek. He had fought in Burke's Regiment in the NC Militia during the war and then returned to serve in the Georgia Legislature. He and Patsy had 6 children who were cousins to Richard- the closest in age being Dempsey, age 18. But Patsy had died soon after Dempsey’s birth, and Jonathan Kemp had remarried Elizabeth Cox and started another large family.

Richard's aunt, Sarah Womack, and her husband, James Archdeacon Cody, had both died in 1795, but they and their family had also migrated from Caswell County, NC to Warrenton Georgia, about 20 miles away from Richard’s home. He had grown cousins still living in that area, too.

Other Womack family members probably kept touch with letters. Another uncle, John Womack, and his wife Lucy- Mildred’s sister, had lived near them in Caswell Co NC. Uncle Jacob Womack had also moved to North Carolina, and then for a time, on to Tennessee.

1- Deposition of William Womack, Son of David Womack Sr, records of St. Helena Parish


Will of Abraham Womack, Hancock County, Georgia Will Book A, page 219, signed 2 Jun 1797.

In the Name of God Amen
I Abraham Womack being weak in body but of sound memory blessed be God, do this day, June the second in the year of our Lord A.D. 1797, make and publish this my last Will and Testament in names and form following (vizt):

First, I give my body to the earth to be buried in a decent manner, and my spirit I Recommend to God who gave it.

Secondly, I lend unto my loving wife Martha Womack two negroe women Jude and Hannah during her natural life and after her decease for the said two negroes Jude and Hannah and their increase to be equally divided between my five youngest children Elizabeth Sarah Lucy William And Jesse. And should either of them die under age or before marriage for the survivors to divide equally.

I also lend unto my wife two other negro women Doll and Nann while my son
John becomes of age and after he arrives at the age of twenty-one years for them and their increase from this date to be equally divided between my three sons-in-law William Stone, Clement Glenn and Francis Coleman. I also give unto my wife her bed, square table and walnut Chest. I lend unto my wife my young bay mare until she has three folds [sic, foals], the first for my son John, the second for my son William, and the third for my son Jesse and then the said mare to remain the property of my wife forever. I lend my wife one hundred & twenty five acres and during her natural life, beginning at a hickory corner John Reeds line, running along Colemans line to a pine corner, Rogerss line, thence down my old line to Frazers line, thence across to said Reeds line including half of my present dwelling house, Spring and priviledge of other out houses.

I give unto my son John one hundred acres of land adjoining his brother Shearward and my wife and after her decease I give and bequeath all my track of land containing two hundred and twenty acres unto my son John with all and singular their rights and appertainnances in any wise belonging including my present dwelling house, orchards, household, kitchen furniture, plantation tools and work horses. I also give unto my son John one feather bed, also one negro boy named January which is to remain with my wife until he arrives at the age of twenty one years and then he is to receive him and the hall and the stair room should he want them and the hundred acres of land before mentioned.

I give unto my five youngest children, five little negroes (to wit) David, Isom, Sam, James, and Amy to be divided as they become of age, I give unto my three daughters Elizabeth Sary and Lucy all my black walnut in my kitchen loft to be equally divided.

I give unto my son Shearward Womack my Folding table, also one negroe man named Bill to be received the twenty-fifth day of December 1798. Also my coat to be taken at my death.

I give unto my son David Womack one negroe man named Walt to be received the twenty-fifth day of December 1798. Also my mixed coat at my death.

I give unto my son Mancil Womack my green hand [?] cloth coat at my death.
I also give him Eighty five dollars and seventy cents to be paid the twenty-fifth day of December 1798.

I give unto my daughter Susannah Glenn one negroe girl named Chancy, also one feather bed...also Eighty five dollars and seventy five cents to be paid the twenty-fifth day of December 1798.

I give unto my daughter Mary Coleman one feather bed, one hair trunk, also one negroe girl named Cealey, also Eighty five dollars and twenty five cents to be paid the twenty-fifth day of December 1798.

I give to my granddaughter Patsey Howard Eighty five dollars and seventy five cents to be paid the twenty- fifth day of December 1798.

The work horse, wagon, and plantation tools, houses and kitchen furniture to remain on the plantation for the support of the family. The stock of meat cattle and sheep to remain on the plantation until December 1798 and equally division to take place between the children and as far as the young children's part, I trust my wife to take them and keep and give off as they become of age.....

If my son John should die under age his property must be equally divided between my sons Shearward Womack, Mancil Womack & David Womack.

I do appoint my sons Shearward Womack, Mancil Womack, & James H McFarland Executors of my Last Will and Testament to take care and see the same be performed according to my true intent & meaning. In Witnesses whereof I here unto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered in presence of
John White
Thomas Lightfoot
Waller Brown.

Abraham Womack
Martha her + mark Womack

An Inventory of the goods and chattels of the Estate of Abraham Womack late deceased
Slaves Bill, Nann, Doll, four small boys, Hannah, January, Jude, Cealy, Walt
225 acres oak and hickory land
3 horses, 23 meat cattle, 25 hogs
Various farm equipment, household furniture, harvested crops (mainly tobacco and corn), etc
Total $5154.14

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