29 June 2018

Susan Bullock & Her 2 Husbands, Plus a Brother & Daughter

The following marker is found in the Magnolia Ridge section (block 1, lot 44) of Rose Hill Cemetery. This family burial lot was purchased by the "estate of Susan Sims" November 1851.*


Here Lie the Remains of
Frederick Sims (1794-1848)
Mason, Legislator, Mayor of Macon, Postmaster
Susan Bullock, Wife of Frederick Sims (1800-1851)
Susan W. Sims, Daughter of Susan Bullock & Frederick Sims (c. 1840)
Charles Bullock, Brother of Susan
Nicholas Waters Wells, First Husband of Susan
Bullock and Wells owned a Tavern at Newtown, near Fort Hawkins, and later operated
the Mansion House, a hotel in early Macon.

About Frederick and Susan

Frederick Sims, born about 1794, appears to have been married three times. First was to Amelia Rogers 18 August 1819 in Jones County, Georgia. Second was to Catharine W. Welborn 25 June 1821, also in Jones County. Third was to Mrs. Susan Wells 4 October 1832 in Bibb County, Georgia.

I have not found any children attributed to Frederick and his first wife. He and Catharine had at least three children: Frederick William, Catharine M. (1824-1851), and Sarah A. E. (d. 1849). The elder Frederick and third wife Susan also had at least three children: Charles Combs (1834-1893), Mary B. (1837-1913), and Susan W.

Frederick Sims died in late August or early September of 1848. A railroad accident was the cause. Following is from a blurred / smudged article in the 5 September 1848 Macon Telegraph (Georgia):

Death of Frederick Sims Esq.
We are pained to announce the sudden death of Frederick Sims Esq., of this city. He was killed on Monday last a few miles above this city; on the [Macon?] & Western Rail Road. The particulars of [the death] as near as we can learn appear to be __?__. Mr. Sims, was acting as conductor of one of [the passenger] trains in the absence of the regular __?__, and while standing on the steps of the cars was struck from his position and killed by a [protruding?] post of fence running quite up to the track. He survived the accident but a few moments.

Mr. Sims was one of the oldest and most respectable [citizens] of Macon. He has left a wife and several children…

The Children, Including Daughter Susan

- Frederick William Sims was likely born in Jones County, Georgia. He first married Catharine M. Sullivan 12 September 1850 at Bibb County. This couple had at least four children: Willa (d. 1863), Mary (1855-1856), Kate Fay (d. 1859), and Freddy. Not a single child made it to adulthood, and all were buried at Rose Hill Cemetery. Frederick and Catharine went to Savannah, where she died 17 September 1858. Catharine was also returned to Macon and buried at Rose Hill.

Frederick then married Sarah Lois Munroe 10 December 1862 at Bibb County, and they had at least six children: Emily Hephsibah (1864-1922), Frederick William (d. 1869), Charlotte M. (1870-1871), Arthur V. (1872-1875), Sarah R. (1874-1875), and Elizabeth E.

Frederick William Sims, Sr. died about October 1875 at Chatham County, Georgia.

cstow- Catharine M. Sims was born 13 September 1824. Before she turned seventeen, Catharine married John B. Stow on 14 July 1841 at Bibb County. This couple had at least four children: Harriett S., Stephen Frank, John B., and William E. before Catharine died on her birth day in 1851. Burial was at Rose Hill Cemetery (image of tombstone at right).

- Sarah A. E. Sims was born about 1828. She married William Hoadley Bray 28 June 1848 at Bibb County. This couple had at least one child, Sarah Sims Bray (d. 1850), before mother Sarah died in May 1849. Both mother and daughter Sarah were buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

- Charles Combs Sims was born 13 March 1834 in Georgia. He married Eleanor Harris 23 February 1860 at Bibb County, and they had at least three children: Roff, Nellie Caliborne (1862-1893), and Charles Combs Jr. (1863-1898). Charles Sr. died in 1893, and all members of this immediate family (excluding Roff) were buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

- Mary B. Sims was born 29 August 1837 at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. After the death of her half-sister Sarah, Mary too became the wife of William Hoadley Bray (1820-1898). Mary moved with him to Eufaula, Barbour County, Alabama and gave him at least four children. She died 22 June 1913.

- Susan W. Sims, mentioned on marker pictured at top, was likely born between 1840 and 1842. While she was listed with her mother and siblings in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia for the 1850 federal census, she was alone in an institution for 1870, 1880, and 1900. For each of these decades, Sarah was confined to the Georgia Lunatic Asylum in Milledgeville (later called the State Lunatic Asylum, and then the Georgia State Sanitarium). For the 1870 and 1880 censuses, Susan was specifically noted as Idiot and Idiotic, respectively. I believe Susan died some time after 1900.

About Charles Bullock and Nicholas Wells

Charles Bullock was possibly some years older than his sister Susan. The one-sentence notice in the 19 September 1829 (Savannah) Georgian stated he was aged 45 at the time of his death nine days earlier.

I did find a newspaper source that stated Capt. Charles Bullock was married to a Mrs. Grantland the year before he died.

Less than two months after the death of her brother, Susan was dealt another tragic blow with the death of her first husband, Nicholas Waters Wells:

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
5 December 1829 - pg. 3 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]

DIED – In this place on Wednesday the 2d inst. after a lingering and protracted illness Nicholas W. Wells, formerly of the firm of Bullock & Wells.

Mr. Wells was one of the earliest settlers of this county and held from its first organization the office of clerk of the superior court, he was a man much esteemed in society and died deeply regretted by a numerous circle of friends and relations.

Following from 30 January 1830 Macon Telegraph:

Executrix's Sale.
ON Thursday the eleventh day of March next, will be sold at the Store room in the house lately occupied by Bullock & Wells as a Tavern, all the personal estate of the late Nicholas W. Wells deceased, except the Negroes, consisting of hogs, horses, a gig, household and kitchen furniture, and various other articles -- There will also be sold at the same time and place, such of the effects of the late firm of Bullock & Wells, as have come to the hands of the subscriber, consisting chiefly of the furniture used in the public parts of the Tavern, and a part of the kitchen furniture... SUSAN WELLS, Executrix of N. W. Wells deceased.

It's hard to imagine what it must've been like for Susan, a widowed woman in 1829 Georgia – in a pioneer town that was still in its early stages of formation. Here is how Charles and Nicholas contributed to those early days of Macon [From History of Macon: the First Hundred Years, 1823-1923 (History Club of Macon, 2007 reprint, Imedia Group)]:

Fort Hawkins (1938 reconstructed southeastern blockhouse). Public Domain image by Macondude via Wikipedia.[Pg. 18] ...The settlement was called Fort Hawkins until about 1821, when the name Newtown was adopted, but throughout Georgia at Washington City, the locality was ever called Fort Hawkins.

In 1820 a double log house was built a few hundred yards beyond the fort, and the first hotel in the limits of the section which was subsequently part of Bibb county. The hotel was kept by Messrs., Charles Bullock and Nicholas Wells, who were also engaged in merchandising and, in 1822, they issued the first change bills in this section of the country. Several of the bills were for many years kept in the hands of our oldest citizens as relics of primitive banking...

[Pg. 21] The first election for members of the General Assembly from Bibb county took place in October, 1823, resulting in the choice of Charles Bullock for the senate, and Dr. Stephen M. Ingersoll as a member of the House of Representatives.

The first effort to secure a bank for Macon was made on November 8, 1823, before Macon was even incorporated. On that date Senator Bullock introduced the following resolution:

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, in General Assembly met, that it is recommended to the Board of Directors of the Bank of Darien to remove the branch of said bank from Marion (Twiggs County) to Macon, if they should deem it inexpedient to establish an additional branch at the town of Macon."

[Eventually, an amendment with "after two years" was added, so] ...The branch bank of Darien was not opened in Macon until October 30, 1825.

[Pg. 118] ...The place grew rapidly, and in 1818 its name was changed to Newtown, and it was so known and called locally, but was still known abroad  as Fort Hawkins.

About this time Charles Bulloch [sic] and Nicholas Wells erected a double log cabin which they ran under the name of Newtown Tavern. This was the first hotel in these parts. Its location is fixed near the junction of Clinton and Main Streets, East Macon...

*Note: Since Rose Hill Cemetery began selling lots in 1840, and the lot where the marker pictured at top is located was supposedly sold in 1851, it's up for conjecture whose remains are truly located there. It's not hard to fathom this being the original and/or final resting place for Frederick Sims (1794-1848). Charles Bullock and Nicholas Wells, on the other hand, died in 1829. Were their remains really moved from another location twenty or more years later?

18 June 2018

Iverson Fowler Holt (1847-1927) and wife Katie G. Stevens

holt19323phIverson F. was born June 1847 in Georgia (likely Houston County) to Fowler and Martha Compton (b. abt 1815) Holt. After the death of his father in 1855, it seems Iverson spent at least some time with his uncle Milton Holt (b. abt 1798) in White Sulphur Springs, Meriwether County, Georgia. They were together there for the taking of the 1860 census. And it's from Meriwether County that Iverson enlisted in the Confederate States Army, about a month before his sixteenth birthday.

Rumor has it Iverson was "...Wounded at Hatcher's Run, VA Apr. 5, 1865. Sent to Richmond, VA hospital. Pension records show he was sent home on wounded furlough Apr. 9, 1865." [FindAGrave Memorial Bio]

It was also recorded in Robert S. Davis's Georgia Black Book that an Iverson F. Holt of Bibb County was admitted to the Georgia Lunatic Asylum some time between 1853 and 1870. I wonder if his admittance has more to do with his Civil War wounds than him truly being a "lunatic."

holt1267nphI have yet to locate Iverson in census records for 1870 or 1880, but a marriage record shows he married Katherine "Katie" Grimes Stevens 29 January 1879 at Bibb County. Katie, born 25 March 1858 in Georgia, was a daughter of Miles G. Stevens and wife Letitia.

According to the 1910 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia Federal census, Catherine had six children. Only three were living at the time, and it seems those were the only three to make it to adulthood:

  • Mildred L. Holt was born 29 September 1883 in Georgia. She married Clarence D. Williams about 1907, and they had at least three children. Mildred died 15 June 1972 at Duval County, Florida, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery at Tallahassee, Leon County.
  • Miles Fowler Holt was born 18 May 1886 in Georgia. He married Esther Sutton (1888-1973) about 1910, and they had at least three children. Miles died 30 April 1967 in Bibb County, and was buried in Macon Memorial Park.
  • Albert Sharp Holt was born September 1890 in Macon. He married Maybelle (1892-1967) about 1917, and they had at least one son. Albert died 18 June 1970 at Bibb County, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery at Griffin, Spalding County.

By 1910, Iverson was working as a clerk for the railroad. He likely followed this same (or similar) occupation until retirement. Iverson's last address was 1716 Second Street, Macon. He died there 4 September 1927, and Katie lived on for almost twenty-one more years. They both were buried in Rose Hill Cemetery's Central Avenue Division.

An obituary for Iverson ran in the 5 September 1927 Macon Telegraph under the headline, Veteran Dies After Illness: I. F. Holt, Long in Bad Health Succumbs at Home.

Also buried in Rose Hill is Iverson's sister, Mary Chandler Holt. She died in 1870 at the age of twenty, and was buried in a lot purchased by her and Iverson's uncle, Pulaski S. Holt.


See also >> "Pulaski S. Holt Outlived Them All"

16 June 2018

James R. Butts and Steamboat Navigation on the Ocmulgee

butts2656nphJames Rogers Butts was born August 1802 in Connecticut, a son of Elijah Butts. A biography of James's son-in-law, W. H. Atwood, in Memoirs of Georgia (Southern Historical Association, 1895) states James "was the great-grandson of Josiah and Elizabeth Butts, who were the parents of fourteen children. At one period of the revolutionary war they had seven sons and eight grandsons in the patriot army."

By the late 1830s, James was settled in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. He remained there until his death – due to "congestion of the brain" – in 1869. James was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, in a family lot he purchased in 1855.

[For more detailed information about James's wife and their seven children, go to >> Louisa Polhill Butts (d. 1892).]

While researching the life of James, I uncovered a short item in the 19 March 1839 Macon Weekly Telegraph. It was referencing an informal dinner –

…given by the citizens of Macon in honor of their enterprising fellow-citizen JAMES R. BUTTS, proprietor of the new Steamboat Sam Jones, which had just arrived. No one individual, perhaps, has contributed more to advance the prosperity of this city than Mr. B. He may almost be said to be the father of Steamboat Navigation on the Ocmulgee. The class of Boats, with stern wheels, were invented and first put into successful operation on our River by him…

For a little background, I offer this excerpt from an article about the Ocmulgee River by Keith Hulett for the New Georgia Encyclopedia

…Because the river was frequently narrow and winding, and unnavigably shallow in the dry months, however, it had never been particularly well suited to commercial boat traffic. The best that steamboats could do in the 1820s was to make the trip partway from the coast and transfer their goods to poleboats, which could be pushed the rest of the way to Macon by slaves. The first steamboat reached Macon in 1829, and the first commercial steamboat to make the full Darien-to-Macon run arrived in 1833. In late 1835 three steamboat companies operated on the river, and by the end of the decade there was a steady flow of traffic transporting cotton and lumber to the markets of Savannah and Darien from the wharves of Macon, Hawkinsville, Abbeville, Jacksonville, and Lumber City, and from the river landings of prosperous Ocmulgee River plantations.

DailyConstitutionalist28Jul1869-ButtsWhen James died, several Georgia newspapers printed death notices. He was described as being involved "with the commerce and business enterprise of Macon" for more than thirty years. It was also noted, "He was a man of very active, original mind and considerable inventive power." Full obituary follows:

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
Friday, 30 July 1869 - pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]

JAMES R. BUTTS, ESQ. -- The memory of this old and prominent citizen of Macon, demands more at our hands than the brief announcement of his death. His public services to the State, his exemplary life, his indomitable energy and perseverance in all his undertakings, would furnish the material for a most interesting biography; but we must leave that work for some one more familiar with the subject, and confine ourselves to a brief review of some of the leading features of his career.

James R. Butts was born in the State of Connecticut, on the 22d day of August, 1802, and died in Macon on the 26th day of July, 1869 -- aged sixty-six years, eleven months and four days. He was the oldest son of Dr. Elijah Butts, of Connecticut, and when quite a young man he left the State of his birth and became a citizen of Twiggs county, Ga., where he soon afterwards entered into the mercantile and boating business -- running his boats to Macon, where he soon after located.

About the year 1830, he conceived the idea of adapting steamboats to the navigation of the Ocmulgee river, and constructed the steamer "Pioneer" -- the forerunner of a line of steamers called the "Pioneer Line," extending from Macon to Darien, Savannah and Charleston. To the success of this enterprise Macon owes much of its prosperity. During this interval he was associated in business, first with Mr. Coats, and son afterwards with our esteemed citizen, Mr. Charles Day.

The building of the Central Railroad from Savannah to Macon, changed the route of trade from the river, when Mr. Butts extended his enterprise to the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers.

In 1850, Mr. Butts was elected Surveyor General of the State, which office he filled with marked distinction during Gov. Town's administration. In 1856 he returned to Macon, and in 1857 compiled an authentic map of the State, which to this day is an admirable and accurate work for reference to the geographical student.

In 1862 he was captured at St. Mark's, Florida -- whither he had gone to establish Salt Works -- by a party of Federal cruisers, and was incarcerated for nine months in the prison at Fort  Lafayette, with the distinguished Dr. Ould, of Ohio, and others. On being released from his long imprisonment, he immediately returned to his adopted State and family, and was known as a most zealous and undeviating friend of the South and her brave defenders in the field.

Since the war he was the senior partner in the real estate firm of Butts & Brother, of this city, and whilst conducting the business of the office he conceived the plan of throwing into the markets of the world, by means of floating saw-mills, the magnificent timber resources of the State which line the banks of the Ocmulgee River.  Through his efforts, the Georgia White Oak Lumber Company was organized, of which he was the President, and during last year he built at our city wharf the "Tallulah," a substantial and admirably constructed boat, for getting out ship-knees, pipe and barrel staves; but which, for some cause not yet clearly defined, met with a disaster soon after it arrived at the field of operations, which checked and stopped the further prosecution of an enterprise which will yet be carried out, and confirm the views of Mr. Butts, as often expressed to the writer, that from the timber along the banks of the Ocmulgee, vast fortunes would some day be hewed out, by public spirited and enterprising men.

Up to within a short time of his death, Mr. Butts was in the enjoyment of good health, for one of his years; but when disease, at last, came, his enfeebled frame could not withstand the shock, and it broke suddenly as the dried reed. He was seized about 9 o'clock, on Saturday night last, with an attack of bilious cholic, which terminated in congestion of the bowels, and he expired on Monday afternoon, at 5 P.M., calmly and quietly, "like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams."

15 June 2018

Louisa Polhill Butts (d. 1892) & the Georgia Lunatic Asylum

Louisa Mary Polhill was born about 1822 in either North Carolina or Georgia. According to the granite marker placed at her burial site in Rose Hill Cemetery – likely added some years after her death – Louisa was a daughter of Harriet Allen Taylor and John Goldwire Polhill, a judge of the Superior Court of Georgia. (Harriet was also buried in Rose Hill upon her death in 1873.)


Louisa married James Rogers Butts (1802-1869) on 7 July 1841 at Baldwin County, Georgia. This couple had at least seven children:

  • Catharine G. Butts Atwood (d. 1870)
  • Tallulah Ellen Butts Atwood (d. 1909)
  • Harriett Laura Butts (1854-1855)
  • Elijah Polhill Butts (d. 1892)
  • Jessie C. Butts (1859-1953)
  • James Albert Butts (d. 1930)
  • John G. Polhill Butts (d. 1913)

James and Louisa settled in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia after their marriage. Per the 1860 census, James owned real estate valued at $90,000. He worked as a land agent and surveyor until his death in July of 1869, and the 1870 mortality schedule of the US Federal census provided James died of "Congestion of the Brain."


It's possible Louisa did not handle the death of her husband well. Her name – Mrs. Louisa Butts of Bibb County – appears on a list of Georgia Lunatic Asylum Patients in Robert Davis's Georgia Black Book: Morbid, Macabre, & Sometimes Disgusting Records of Genealogical Value, admitted between the years of 1853 and 1870. Louisa is a head of household in Macon for the July 1870 census, so it's possible she was admitted to the Milledgeville hospital shortly thereafter.


1937 view of front, Milledgeville State Hospital. Parts of central building date back to Civil War.
Photographer L. D. Andrew, public domain.

According to the 1880 Baldwin County, Georgia Federal census, Louisa was still a patient at the "State Lunatic Asylum," and noted specifically as "insane." I presume Louisa was a patient at the asylum until her death in 1892. Though I have not come across a specific record that states as much, her obituary noted she died at Milledgeville.

For that same year census, Louisa's three youngest children (Jessie, James, and John) were residing with their oldest living sister, Tallulah Butts Atwood, in McIntosh County, Georgia.

Louisa's Legacy: Notes on Her Children

  • Catharine Butts Atwood at Rose Hill CemeteryCatharine G. Butts was born 10 September 1843 in Georgia. She married William Henry Atwood, son of Henry Skilton Atwood and Ann McIntosh, 16 August 1867 at Bibb County, Georgia. They had one child, Louise M. Atwood, before Catharine died 8 October 1870. She was buried in the James R. Butts lot at Rose Hill Cemetery. (Image of her tombstone at right.)
  • Tallulah Ellen Butts was born 5 October 1850 in Georgia. Tallulah, after the death of her sister Catharine, also married William Henry Atwood on 17 October 1871 in Fulton County, Georgia. This couple had at least six children: Henry G., Maud A. (1875-1957), James R., Jane C., Elliott McIntosh, and Sibyl Jessie (1890-1919). Tallulah died 1 November 1909, and was buried at the Atwood Family Cemetery in McIntosh County.
  • Harriett Laura Butts was less than a year old when she died 17 January 1855. Hers was the first burial in the family lot at Rose Hill Cemetery, James purchasing the lot the day after her death.
  • Elijah Polhill Butts was born in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia about 1856-1857. He married Ada Creswell after 1880, and they had at least four children: Carolee J., Adrienne C. (1887-1950), Julia P., and Catharine Isle (b. 1891). Elijah met an accidental death 11 January 1892 while working as the "Resident Engineer" on a reconstruction project on the Burlington Bridge in Des Moines County, Iowa. He "was struck on the head by a stone, receiving a fracture of the skull which proved fatal. No one saw the accident, but he was found unconscious under [a] pier."
  • Artist unknown - Mary Baker Eddy, "Rudimental Divine Science," first published in the United States 1891, courtesy of Project Gutenberg, Public DomainJessie C. Butts was born 22 May 1859 in Macon. By the early 1900s, it seems she had devoted herself to the Christian Science belief. In a 1903 Christian Science Journal, Jessie was noted as a "first reader" for services at the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Terre Haute, Indiana. The 1910 McIntosh County, Georgia Federal census gave her an occupation of "Doctor, Scientist," and her 1953 death certificate stated her usual occupation as "C. S. Practitioner." Jessie, who never married, died at "Mrs. Della Anderson's Rest Home" in Austin, Travis County, Texas.
  • James Albert Butts was born 12 August 1861 at Macon. Some time after reaching adulthood, James made his way West. I'm not certain how he spent his time between 1880 and 1910, though I should note his death certificate gave him the occupation of miner dating prior to 1903. – For the 1910 Maricopa County, Arizona Territory census, James was an inmate at the "Territorial Insane Asylum." He was at the same institution in April 1930, then called the Arizona State Hospital for the Insane. James died 8 months later. His death certificate noted he had been a resident of the institution for 27+ years. Cause of death was chronic myocarditis, with a contributory factor noted as psychosis.
  • John G. Polhill Butts was born in Macon just before Christmas in either 1886 or 1887. He became a civil engineer for the railroad, and maintained a residence in Macon. On 11 April 1906, John married Sara Wright Flournoy in Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. This was noted as his second marriage. John contracted pulmonary tuberculosis, and died at a sanitarium in El Paso, Texas 8 December 1913. Per his death certificate, John had been at the Homan Sanatorium 10 days; in the state of Texas 6 months. The disease was contracted at Macon, Georgia, and the same location was noted to be his usual residence. Burial was at Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso.

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