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Washington County, Georgia

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This project is a compilation of the research recently done for Washington County, Georgia.

Washington County around established February 25, 1784 from the Creek Indian Cession of November 1, 1783. The county originally included all the territory "from the Cherokee Corner, north extending from the Ogeechee River to the Oconee River, south to Liberty County." It approximately ten times larger than it is now. About 10 surrounding counties were detached from the County by 1858. A part of Washinton County was set off to Greene County, 1786; a part to Hancock County, 1793; a part to Montgomery County, 1793; a part to Laurens County, 1811; a part to Baldwin County, 1807, 1812, and 1826; and a part to Johnson County, 1858. The county seat is Sandersville, Georgia. Washington County and Franklin County, which was erected the same year as Washington County, were the two counties where bounty grants were made to soldiers of the Revolutionary War. These soldiers were eligible for bounty grants upon proof of their service no matter what state they served, and soldiers from every state applied for and received bounty grants--many of them settling on their land. There was a fire in the Washington County courthouse in 1855 which destroyed many of the early records of the county, and the courthouse was burned by General on his march to the sea, November 1864. A few records of the 1840s survive, but generally the extant court records begin after the Civil War. Therefore, the majority of the records given here are from sources other than the courthouse.

Seven times between 1805 and 1832 Georgia used a lottery system to distribute the land taken from the Cherokee or Creek Indians. These lotteries were unique to the state; no other state used a lottery system to distribute land. Lot size varied widely, even in the individual lotteries. The largest lots distributed were 490 acres in the 1805 and the 1820 land lottery. The smallest lots were the 40-acre gold lots distributed during the Gold Lottery of 1832.

Many people, including the state of Georgia, combine the Land Lottery of 1832 and the Gold Lottery of 1832 and represent it as a single lottery; however, both the enabling legislation and the drawings themselves were independent, hence there were seven lotteries, not six.

Prior to 1803 Georgia distributed land via a headright system. Designed to prohibit corruption, the system actually encouraged it. During early administrations the government abused this system and created what today is generally known as the Yazoo Land Fraud. These abuses led to the adoption of the lottery system in May, 1803 under governor John Milledge. The first lottery under the new system occurred in 1805.

Almost 3/4 of the land in present-day Georgia was distributed under this lottery system. During the 27 years that land was distributed under the system the rules and the methods of the lottery remained virtually unchanged. Applicants could be white males over 18 (or 21 depending on the lottery), orphans, or widows. Fees depended on the lottery and the size of the lot won, but in general they only covered the cost of running the lottery. The state did not profit from allocating these lands. Fractional lots were sold in each of the lotteries and some lands, especially those near major rivers, was exempt from the lottery. These were distributed by the state using alternate, frequently corrupt, methods.

(Note, De Lamar and Rothstein; see also Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, Georgia Headright and Bounty Land Records, 1783-1909, Georgia's Land Lottery, et al).


Washington County Timeline

  • 1790 Census
  • 1800 Census
  • 1805 - Land Lottery - This encompassed Creek Indian lands just west of the Oconee River ceded to the state in 1802 and a small strip of land in the southeast section of the state.
  • 1807 - Land Lottery - Included additional Creek lands.
  • 1810 Census
  • 1820 - Land Lottery - After the Creek War (1814), Andrew Jackson demanded the secession of the southern third of present-day Georgia. A second section of land in northeast Georgia was included. This defined the eastern end of the Cherokee Nation for 12 years.
  • 1820 Census
  • 1821 - Land Lottery - Further Creek cessions
  • 1827 - Land Lottery - Signaled the end of the Creek Indians in Georgia.
  • 1830 Census
  • 1831 ? - Georgia's Gold Rush
  • 1832 - Land Lottery - This lottery, along with the 1832 Gold Lottery, gave the Cherokee Nation to Georgia settlers. Sparked the "Trail of Tears."
  • 1832 - Gold Lottery - By the time of the gold lottery Georgia's Gold Rush was winding down. The state did not guarantee that gold existed on the lot.
  • 1840 Census
  • 1850 Census
  • 1860 Census
  • 1870 Census
  • 1880 Census
  • 1890 Census
  • 1900 Census
  • 1910 Census
  • 1920 Census
  • 1930 Census
  • 1940 Census

War Records

Washington County has at different times furnished soldiers for six wars: Revolutionary War of 1775, War of 1812, War with Mexico 1846, War Between the States (Civil War)1861, Spanish-American War 1898, World War I 1917.

Many of the old records were burned by General Sherman, but the D.A.R. Chapter at Tennille found one grave marked 1812.

Dr. Asa beach was in two wars, 1846 and 1861. His widow received a pension for his services in the Mexican War.

The roster of 1861 shows that Washington County sent more soldiers to the front than any other county of Georgia.

Roster of Confederate Soldiers

In 1861, the population, according to the census of the preceding year (1860), numbered 6,143 white males and females. Of that number, the males were 1,460, from 15 years to 50, ages suitable for military duty.

Military Units (Draft)

•Regiment: xx Infantry Regiment Georgia

•Date of Organization: 1861

•Muster Date: 1865

•Regiment State: Georgia

•Regiment Type: Infantry

•Regiment Number: xx

•Number of Companies in Infantry:

The companies were organized in Washington County and served in Virginia, the West, Georgia, and home defense.

Washington County, Georgia Civil War Units

  2. Irwin Volunteers, Capt. Tull Graybill, 76 men.
  3. Sandersville Volunteers, Capt. T.J. Warthen, 127 men.
  4. Ohoopee Guards, Capt. Johnson, 89 men.
  5. Washington Guards, Capt. Carter, 86 men. (First military company in the county, organized 1821).
  7. Jackson Guards, Capt. Collins, 110 men.
  8. Martin's Battery, Capt. Howell, 132 men.
  9. 12th Georgia Battalion, Capt. George Peacock, 126 men.
  10. Georgia Light Artillery, Capt. H.N. Hollifield, 115 men.
  11. Washington County Cavalry, Capt. Thomas E. Brown, 54 men.
  12. Wayne Guards, Capt. Thomas F. Wells, 60 men.
  13. 2nd Georgia State Troops, Co. H., Capt. B.D. Evans, 77 men.
  14. Rudisill Artillery, Capt. J.W. Rudisill, 139 men.
  15. Mount Vernon Rifles, Capt. J.P. Jordan, 83 men.

This totals 1,502, but possibly some 150 names were repeated, as some companies were merged into others, or when time of service expired were transferred into other regiments. However, this proves that it is evident that no other section can show a better record. (Signed) M. Newman, Ordinary.

To these might be added Washington County boys, members of the Georgia Cadets, college boys who were in a military school at Marietta.

Battles Fought (Example)

•Fought on 28 May 1861 at Chickahominy River, VA.

•Fought on 5 Aug 1861.

•Fought on 15 Aug 1861 at Wilderness, VA.

•Fought on 15 Aug 1861.

•Fought on 28 Aug 1861 at Fredericksburg, VA.

•Fought on 15 Oct 1861 at Fredericksburg, VA.

•Fought on 9 Dec 1861 at Evansport, VA.

•Fought on 9 Dec 1861.

•Fought on 15 Mar 1862.

•Fought on 31 Mar 1862 at Seven Pines, VA.

•Fought on 15 Apr 1862.


1864. Nov. 25 - Skirmish near Sandersville: Illinois 101st Infantry. Indiana 37th Infantry.

Nov. 26 - Skirmish, Sandersville: Illinois 9th (Mounted) and 16th Infantry. 13th New Jersey Infantry. New York 17th Infantry (Detachment). Ohio 108th, 113th and 121st Infantry. Union losses, 100 killed, wounded and missing.

Spanish-American War

There were 28 soldiers in the Spanish-American War. However, several others from the County enrolled from other places. Only one man saw service in Cuba, Forrest English of Sandersville, because he had been transferred to the Third Georgia Regiment.

World War I

Black soldiers served in the First World War, just as they served in the Civil War (on both sides), and the Spanish American War.

The war started in 1914 and ended in 1918, mostly in Europe, but also spread to the Far East and Africa.

The United States did not get involved until 1917, when president Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany.

  • My wife's grandmother's youngest brother, Willie B. Daniel, served in this war.

World War II

  • About four of my wife's uncles served in this war, as soldiers (Wilson Rawlings Jr.) and sailors (Fred L. Rawlings).

Korean War

Vietnam War

  • One of my wife's first cousins, James Rawlings, served in this war (about 2 and years).

References and External links