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A Brief History of Cook County Georgia

Back to the Taylor Family Free Genealogy Home Page TERRITORIAL BOUNDARIES
Back to the Pioneers of South Georgia Home Page LAND GRANTS
Back to the Georgia Genealogy Home Page TRAILS AND HIGHWAYS
Back to the Genealogy and Family History Resources Page INDIAN TROUBLES
Back to the Cash & Hairston Site BATTLE OF BRUSHY CREEK

The following is a history written in 1930.  It is interesting for the history it presents as well as the insight it provides into the perspectives the people of that time had.


In presenting the history of Cook County, it is essential that we know something of the territory from which it was created. Irwin County was created in 1818, surveyed in 1818 and 1819 and the people began to draw the land about 1820. Irwin County originally contained sixteen land districts; four small ones on the north side, nine large ones in the middle and three small ones on the south side covering to the Spanish border (or Florida line). The Four small districts on the north lay broad side to the Ocmulgee River. The nine central districts of original Irwin contained four thousand seven hundred and sixty one 490 acre lots of land.

"Old Irwin" was surveyed first from east to west by Broodnax and from north to south by Johnson. Original Irwin cornered northwest of Sylvester, Ga., on the Flint River. The northeast corner was a little above where the present town of Ocilla, Ga., now stands, the southeast corner at Irwin Lakes below Valdosta and the southwest corner is southwest of Thomasville, Ga., on the Florida line.

In 1825, nine districts were cut off of "Old Irwin" to form Lowndes County. The line between the two counties was the line between, the 9th and 6th land districts.

Berrien County was made from Lowndes and Irwin in 1856. It consists of Four whole land districts and a Fraction of another. These are the 5th and 6th, 9th and 10th and part of the 11th of original Irwin and Lowndes.

Cook County was created from Berrien County in 1918. It is wholly in the 9th and 10th land districts of "Old Irwin." Cook County is bounded on the north by Tilt County and New River, on the east by New and Withlacoochee Rivers, on the south' by Lowndes, County and on the west by Little River.
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About 1820, great areas of land were granted by the state to individuals. It was cut into squares of 490 acres each, which were later granted by the state under the lottery system. These lots were sold on an average of five dollars per lot. The taxes were 14 cents per lot per year.

Among those who received these land grants in What is now Cook County were: A. Harper, H. E. Moore, Zachariah Nester, B. Hancock, Berry Wells, T. W. Baker, Robert N. Parrish, Sr., J. T. Hancock, R. P. Hutchinson, William Gaskins, A. Edwards, William McCranie, Daniel McCranie, Jr., Malcom McCranie, John Futch, Thomas Futch, Martin Shaw, Jr., Mitchell Griffin and William G. Smith.
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With the coming of the first settlers, roads were soon opened. Until this time only Indian trails were found. The first public road to be built through this country was a stage road which traversed the county from north to south. The road was known as the Union Road. It passes by Hutchinson mill pond on through the eastern part of Adel and up through Sparks and on through the county, the present National Highway embracing it part of the way.

Since the departure of the Indians, who did most of their traveling on foot, many changes have been made in our modes of travel. In the pioneer days many oxen were used on the farms. The towns were quite far apart and if it became necessary to go to town or to a neighbor's house the family would ride in a cart. This was nothing more or less than a large wooden box fitted on an axle. Only two wheels were used to pull this contraption. An ox or a mule was used to pull the vehicle. Road carts were often used. This vehicle had only two wheels, but instead of a big box fastened on to hold the occupants or load, a small seat for two was arranged upon the axle.

Later, one and two horse wagons came into use. They were built with two axles and four wheels and a body or bed as we see them today. The ox carts and wagons had either a tongue or pair of shafts, according to the desired loads to be transported, heavy loads requiring more horse or ox power than light ones. Then a tongue was attached to the vehicle and two oxen or two mules were used. Those citizens in better circumstances owned buggies and carriages. These often had tops to protect the occupants from the sun and rain.

Through the country the stage coaches often came. These were large vehicles, usually closed and driven by a special driver seated on a specially built seat at the front of the coach. These coaches were drawn by two or four horses according to the number of passengers. These were used for long journeys and for the transportation of mail. As the country developed and inventions became more numerous, trains, automobiles, auto trucks, and buses came into use.

The coming of the train through our country was a source of untold benefit in transporting passengers and freight. In later years, the automobiles, trucks and buses have furnished a wonderful means of transportation and with these conveniences have come improved roads and in many instances paved roads.

Our county has a paved road, the National Highway, traversing it from north to south. A paved road has been completed between Adel and Nashville. The right-of-way has been cleared by Scott Concrete and Pipe Co. and the county convicts for a paved road from Adel to Moultrie.

The community roads are such an improvement over the past muddy, bumpy ones, that one would scarcely recognize them as the same roads they traveled a few years ago.

Elsewhere we will mention our railroad facilities. We have the three railroads traversing our county. This, too, makes transportation easy for those without cars. At present the roads and highways are so good that great quantities of freight are transported in trucks.
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Since possession is nine points of the law, the Indians naturally looked upon themselves as rightful owners of this territory.

In 1833 Wilson Lumpkin was made governor of Georgia. The two political parties in Georgia at the time styled themselves as the States Right and the Union Party.

White pioneers were rapidly filling the country. This caused discontent among the Indians and they became quite troublesome. The United States Government wanted to move the Indians west of the Mississippi River. This they resented.

From Bill Arm's History of Georgia, we learn that in 1835, the Cherokee nation sent two men to Washington for the purpose of forming a treaty. One Deputy was John Ross, who was opposed to immigration. The other was John Ridge in favor of it.

Ross offered to cede lands in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to the United States for the sum of 20 million dollars. The government refused this offer and appointed Mr. Schermerhorn to confer with Ridge.

A compromise was finally effected and after violent opposition, accepted by Ross and his party. The principal points of this treaty were as follows: The Cherokees were to relinquish all claim to lands east of the Mississippi River. In return they were to receive 7,000,000 acres west of the Mississippi. The government was to remove them to their new home and support them for one year and give them $100,000 yearly for the poor of the Indian nation. They were promised the protection of the United States. They were not to leave this country before two years had passed.

About 1835, William Schley was elected governor. Soon after his election, the Seminole Indians in Florida declared war, because the government endeavored to move them west of the Mississippi. They began murdering the whites. General Winfield Scott and his men were sent to protect the whites. They fought with the Indians for months.

The Creeks, hearing of this, gathered in great numbers and began murdering the people. It was during these two years that the Roanoke trouble and the Battle of Brushy Creek were fought.

The first Indian trouble near here of which we know anything was the attack upon the small village, Roanoke, on the Chattahoochee River. The village consisted of a few homes and four or five stores. The Indians surprised the whites one morning and burned their village, killing part of the inhabitants and burning their two boats, the Georgiana and the Hypernia. The Indians were driven south but continued pillaging and killing until the governor ordered the people into forts.

In our immediate section, the families had lived in peace with the Indians until this outbreak at Roanoke occurred. Fearing for their lives and in obedience to Governor Williams Schley's orders, the people, of what is now Cook County, gathered themselves into three different groups and built three forts.

The Wellses and Rountrees and their neighbors built a fort at the Rachel Morrison place which is now the John Rountree old field. This was Morrison Fort and the company of soldiers formed there was known as Pike's Company.

The Futches and Parrishes and others built their fort at the Futch place on the Withlacoochee River where the ferry was located.

The McCranies and their neighbors built their fort on Brushy Creek where the George Moore farm is now located. Their company of soldiers was known as the Hamilton Sharp Company.
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Scarcely had the people of the present county gotten into forts and formed companies for fighting when the hostile Creeks and Cherokee Indians, coming from the North to join the neighboring Seminoles in Florida, began murdering families along the way.

The soldiers of the Hamilton Sharp Company at the McCranie Fort looked out one morning about the 10th of June 1836 and found the woods just across the Musket Branch from their camp, literally full of Indians. They saw they were so completely out-numbered that they sent Mr. Ashley Lindsey through the country to the Morrison Fort to get aid from Pike's Company.

While he was gone for help, Hamilton Sharp, Captain of the McCranie Fort, sent out Robert N. Parrish, Richard Golden, Penuel Folsom and William McCranie as scouts to guard the Indians until help could come. The Indians out-witted the scouts and decoyed them away from their camp and attacked them.

They wounded Robert N. Parrish and Penuel Folsom. Folsom was mortally wounded and just as the Indians got to him to scalp him, Pike's Company came up in the rear, began firing and the Indians fled across Brushy Creek.

The companies were all soon united and together they pursued the Indians, killing men, women and children. Numbers of Indians were killed that day. Pike's Company lost three brave soldiers, James Therrell, Edwin Shanks and Edwin Henderson.

Penuel Folsom, the first soldier killed in the Battle of Brushy Creek, was buried in what is now known as the Rountree Cemetery, his being the first grave in it. After this terrible battle with the Indians, it was found that an Indian maiden had been captured and held at the fort on Brushy Creek. That night she asked permission to yell and this permission was granted. Her mother soon came out of the darkness to the child and she was released to go with her mother.

To the astonishment of all the whites, when morning came, every Indian corpse that could be found had his or her hands folded and each lifeless body had been straightened, but not buried. Their bodies were never buried. The companies drove the Indians south of Milltown, now Lakeland, Ga. There, they killed one of their biggest warriors.

Everyone thought all the Indians were driven from the country after this terrible battle and not an Indian was seen for a whole year. An occasional shot was heard, but each one thought it a shot from a neighbor's gun.

Just a year after the Battle of Brushy Creek. John J. Hancock was butchering a hog just before nightfall one afternoon and a gun was fired nearby. The bullet went into a post near his hand. On turning to run for his gun, Mr. Hancock saw some Indians. He gathered his family and left immediately for help and protection. He had scarcely gotten across the first branch when he looked back and saw his home in flames. The Indians were wreaking vengeance for their injuries of the previous year.

After these and other desperate battles, the chiefs were anxious for peace. As soon as possible, they were sent to the Indian Territory and the state was freed of the troublesome Indians. Only a few Seminoles remain in the Everglades of Florida.

Following is the Pay Roll of Captain H. W. Sharp's Company for services rendered during the Indian War of 1836:

Archibald McCranie, Capt. $124.93
John Lindsey, 1st Lieut. 45.79
John McCranie, 2nd Lieut. 42.27
John D. Hancock, Ensign & 4th Lieut. 26.43
Martin Shaw, Sr. 19.75
Daniel McCranie, Jr. 35.50
Joseph Anderson 5.75
Jas. J. Burman 5.05
Thomas Belote 2.38
Wm. Coone 3.75
Samuel Connell 8.75
Peter Connell 12.00
Ebin Deloach 6.75
Wm. Durrance 12.00
D. J. Durrance 3.75
Martin Folsom 7.25
Elijah Folsom 12.25
Wm. H. Fountain 6.50
Randal Fulford 11.50
J. B. Golding 23.25
Wm. Griner 6.00
Samuel Griner 2.60
Richard Goldlng 13.00

Anderson Goldlng 1.98
Wm. Gaskins 5.25
Jeremiah Hancock 15.00
Henry Hancock 8.75
Durham Hancock 8.75
Jordan Hancock 5.75
Jas. T. Hancock 2.38
Lewis Harrell 2.38
Wm. Kirby 9.75
Daniel Kinard 12.00
Arthur Lindsey 8.75
Joshua Lovett 15.75
McKeeny McLoud 5.75
Malcolm McCranie 21.50
William McCranie 21.75
Neil E. McCranie 16.75
John D. McCranie 5.75
Daniel McCranie, Sr. 15.00
John McDermid 27.75
Norman McDonald 26.00
Malakiah Monk 11.75
Wm. Monk 9.00
Rice Mathis 7.25
C. J. O'Neal 2.00
R. N. Parrish 9.50
A. A. Parrish 10.50
James Parrish 16.50
E. W. Parrish 11.50

Joseph Parrish 5.50
Alexander Patterson 15.55
West Rountree 17.20
Thomas Rooks 14.00
D. C. Smith 5.25
John R. Varner 52.50
S. G. Williams 13.50
E. J. Williams 7.50
TOTAL $872.70

The above is a true transcript of the original Muster Roll audited at the executive department with the amount due each officer and soldier annexed to their names.

The accounts of subscriptions and forage furnished the Volunteers in the Creek War in 1835 or 1836 is as follows:

Malcolm McCranie $ 17.00
Samuel Griner 25.20
David Mathis 14.00
Lewis Harrell 8.71
David McCranie, Sr. 21.00
Malici Monk 7.80
John Lindsey 7.50
J. G. Goldin 2.00
Daniel McCranie, Jr. 9.33
Richard Goldin 5.50
E. J. Williams 10.75
A. A. Parrish 10.00
Nancy Parrish 16.65
R. N. Parrish 19.17
Elijah Folsom 8.65

Besides being interesting as a relic of the Creek War of 1836, the list contains the names of many of the fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers of some of our most honored citizens.
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After the Indians had been dispelled forever, the pioneers began to feel a sense of security. They settled down in earnest to the task of making permanent homes. There was a continual influx of new settlers from the north and east.

The homes the first settlers built were log houses with hewn floors and wooden shutters. Near this home would be found a log barn surrounded by a crude fence to form a barnyard. The field fences were of the zig-zag type built of rails. The wells were dug deep, usually having a hewn sweep and a long, slim rope for a chain. Everything bore a home-made appearance.

Most of the families who settled in Cook County were in fair circumstances, but few of them were rich. A more honest and hospitable group hardly could be found. They were a thrifty people, too. Some of the most prosperous families owned slaves. These slaves helped with the house and field work. Farming was then and is yet the leading industry of the county.

Clothes were made from cloth manufactured by themselves. The women carded cotton and wool into small rolls. These were spun into thread in spinning wheels roll of this thread was called a hank. They dyed the thread and then wove it into cloth in a home-made loom. Indigo blue, soft brown and yellow were popular colors. Some of the ladies were quite expert in this art and made beautiful cloth as well as lovely blankets and coverlets.

The spinning wheel and loom are almost unheard of now. Occasionally you can find one which has been preserved as a relic of colonial days.

Kerosene lamps were unknown at that time. Tallow candles made in home-made molds were used to illumine the homes.

The houses were usually built with one large room for the fire room and another smaller room at the back for sleeping quarters. The kitchen and dining room were in most instances a separate house adjacent to the "big house." This small house, or kitchen, usually had a chimney at one end. The floor to this building was often made of clay. The chimneys were made of sticks and clay. The fire places were broad and in many of them the women did their cooking. Stoves were quite rare with the poorer families. The women used large covered iron pots, spiders and bakers for their utensils. The kettle, where water was heated, was often hung from a crane above the fire. Meat was often roasted on spits hung before the fire.

In many of these pioneer homes the round dining or turn tables, were found. The plates, knives, forks and spoons were placed on the outer and lower circle which was about one and one fourth feet broad. The next circle was raised about six inches. This center section would revolve. At intervals about every two feet around this inner circle were pegs. Upon this upper section, the food was placed and instead of asking for what one wanted at the table, he took hold of a rig and turned the inner section until he brought the desired dish to his plate.

In some of the richest homes they had grand pianos. They were so big and long that they almost filled a room.

Churches in this section in the early days were few and far between. Services at these churches were held only once a month on the Sabbath and the preceding Saturday. The people were quite religiously inclined. They looked forward to these monthly appointments with the keenest anticipation, as they were hungry for the Word of God.

As soon as these pioneer settlers had built themselves comfortable places of abode, they began clearings for fields. There was much virgin timber which was used for homes, barns, fences, etc. After the clearings were made, crude plows were used for breaking the land. Oxen were often used when there was a scarcity of stock. The first settlers raised their stock as quickly as possible.

It was found that the land, while comparatively smooth, was quite fertile. Almost anything would grow. Corn, cotton and potatoes did exceptionally well.

The country was full of wild animals. Fox and wild turkey hunts were great sports. The wolves often came out of the creeks and branches at night and devoured fat hogs and calves if these were not carefully housed. Many did they get even in the day time. Bears were not infrequent. Deer were also plentiful. Most of the wild animals are gone today. An occasional fox hunt is about all the sport one has to remind him of the early days of our section.
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Philip Cook, soldier, was born in Twiggs County, Georgia, July 31, 1817. He sprang from a soldiery and distinguished lineage. His great-grandfather Cook was a wealthy citizen of Brunswick County, Virginia. His grandfather, John Cook, was a Captain in Colonel William Washington's calvary legion, and married Martha, of the noted revolutionary family of Pearsons.

His father, Major Philip Cook, 8th U. S. Infantry, who was stationed at Fort Hawkins, Ga., about 1812, wedded the gifted beauty, Anna, daughter of Major John Wooten who was killed at Fort Wilkinson in 1812.

General Cook was graduated from Oglethorpe University and began the practice of law with Zach Harmon in Forsyth, Ga., in 1841. He bought a farm in Sumter County in 1843; settled later in Lanier, and removed thence to Oglethorpe, to practice law until 1869, when he took up his residence in Americus, living there until a few years ago, where he made his home on a plantation in Lee County.

He was state representative in 1854, and state senator in 1859, 1860 and 1863. Enlisting in 1861, a private in the Fourth Georgia Infantry, he became Lieutenant, Adjutant, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel and Brigadier. After the war he was in President Johnson's reconstruction Georgia constitutional convention; elected national representative in 1865 to the thirty-ninth congress, but excluded by political disabilities, and in 1872, 1874, 1876 and 1880, to the forty-third, forty-fourth, forty-fifth, forth-sixth and forty-seventh congresses; appointed Georgia Capitol Commissioner in 1882, and in 1890 appointed and then elected Georgia Secretary of State, which position he continued to hold up to the time of his death.

General Cook has been an excellent lawyer, heroic general, valuable legislator, and in all private relations a model citizen. His war career was signally gallant and distinguished. He won by rapid strides the splendid sobriquet of "The Old War Norse." His brave conduct carried him at one leap from Adjutant to Lieutenant Colonel.

At Malvern Hill he was badly shot through the body; and again at Chancellorsville was so desperately wounded that amputation was at one time necessary, and after four months he went to the State Senate and returned to service on crutches, having to be assisted for months into the saddle, and still never missed a battle. His brigade, with the sharpshooters of his division, led the attack on Fort Stedman, and he was badly wounded after his men had taken it, and got some distance into the Federal lines.

When Petersburg was evacuated, he was left behind disabled, and paroled four months after the war. His activity was even somewhat impaired from his wounds, when he passed away.

In Congress, while Chairman of the important committee on public building and grounds, from both houses, together with the architect of the Capitol, were appointed commissioners to erect the annex to the National Museum.

General Cook was the embodiment of manly courage, combined with strong common sense. He was married in 1842 to Miss Sarah Lumpkin, who died in 1859. He has two children, Philip Cook, Jr., and Mrs. Lucy Peel, an intellectual and social leader of Atlanta society.
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Well-known natives include publisher, author, educator, and businessman John R. Taylor and his daughter Mrs. Georgia International 2007 Sarah Taylor Burton. The NFL football player, Kenny Tippins was born in Adel and was a standout on the Cook County High football team.


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