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Spalding County, Georgia History

Historical Collections of Georgia.

Compiled From Original Records and Official Documents.

Illustrated by Nearly One Hundred Engravings of Public Buildings, Relics of Antiquity, Historic Localities, Natural Scenery, Portraits of Distinguished Men, Etc., Etc.

By The Rev. George White, M. A., Author of the "Statistics of Georgia."
New-York: Pudney & Russell. Publishers.
No. 79 John Street.


Pg. 634


This county is bounded on the north by Henry, on the east by Monroe and Butts, on the south by Pike, and on the west by Fayette. Length, 20 m.; breadth, 11 m.; area square miles, 220. Laid out in 1851.

The streams are, the Flint River, and Potato, Cabin, Grape and Head's creeks.

The soil and productions are similar to those of Pike.

Griffin is the county town, situated on the Macon and Western Railroad. It is called after General L. L. Griffin, its founder.

The Synodical Female College is located at Griffin. It is under the care of the Synod of Georgia. The college edifice is built of brick, 100 feet long, and 50 wide; two stories high. It contains on the lower floor a large chapel-room for the primary department, and a parlour. On the second floor are four large recitation-rooms, and a large study-room, well furnished with desks and chairs. The building occupies a commanding situation, and is surrounded by beautiful grounds. The funds for erecting this building were mostly contributed by the citizens of Griffin.

Among the early settlers were, John G. Hill, A. A. Gaulding, John B. Reid, Wm. Cline, General E. P. Daniel, Curtis Lewis, Miles G. Dobbins, Wm. S. Herronton, Jas. A. Beers, Absalom Gray, A. M. Nall, Thos. D. Johnson, James S. Jones, A. W. Humphreys, Hugh G. Johnson, David Johnson, Dr. Jno. R. Clark, Joseph P. Manly, James Butler, Ishmael Dunn, William Ellis, Garlington Leak, Burrell Orr, Simeon Spear, John H. Akins, Robert Walker, Garry Grice, Dr. James S. Long, William R. Phillips, and Wm. Dismuke.

Hon. Thomas Spalding, after whom this county was named, was born at Frederica, on the Island of St. Simon's, Glynn County, on the 26th March, 1774, and was of Scottish descent.  He was the son of James Spalding, Esq., who married the oldest daughter of Colonel William McIntosh, the latter being the same person who, when a lad, with his younger brother, Lachlan, (afterwards General McIntosh, of the Revolutionary War,) followed their father, John More McIntosh, a Highland chieftain, when, with a band of intrepid Highlanders, he accompanied General Oglethorpe to the wilds of Georgia, in 1736, and from whom sprang many of that name, who perilled their all for the independence of their country during our Revolutionary contest.

Mr. Spalding's father was a gentleman of fine abilities, and a great reader of men and of books, the advantages of which he seemed to have early and indelibly impressed upon the mind of his son, who read everything, and whose surprisingly tenacious memory, retaining all that he read, made him as a living book and depositary of literary treasures, especially those of historic interest.

For those gentle and benevolent traits which he so liberally practised in mature manhood, he was indebted to the influence and example of his excellent and venerated mother, of whom he ever spoke with the most filial tenderness.  He was their only child.  AT the time of his father's deceased he was a student of law, in the office of Thomas Gibbons, Esq., of Savannah, whose practice was extensive and profitable; and had circumstances at this period permitted Mr. Spalding to "pursue the profession of his choice, he doubtless would have been eminent in it; but his fortune being ample, and requiring his personal attention, he declined to proceed int he practice.  He married the daughter and only child of Richard Leake, Esq., which union added much to his already comfortable estate.

About this time, though very young, he was elected to the Legislature, and shortly after, with his family, visited Europe, and took up his residence in London, where he remained two years a regular attendant on, and observer of, the proceedings of Parliament, and in the enjoyment of that society to which his pecuniary means and position among his countrymen abroad entitled him in the British metropolis.

The lady whom he married was of rare accomplishments, good sense, and of singular beauty; yet she alone seemed unconscious of those irresistible fascinations which secured her the respect, admiration, and love of all.  They had born to them many children, five only of whom survived their parents, and are still living.  Mr. Spalding had the misfortune to lose his oldest son, James, while a member of the Legislature from McIntosh County, during its session in 1820--an amiable young man, of superior talent, and of great promise.  The Legislature erected a monument to his memory in the capital of the State.

On his return from England, Mr. Spalding was elected to Congress, and served two sessions, and was for many years afterwards a prominent and leading member of the Senate of his native State, and until he retired from public life, to superintend his extensive private affairs, and to enjoy the repose and comforts of his attractive home, surrounded by his books, and friends, and strangers visiting our country, to whom he was ever attentive.

For the various measures which he advocated during a long political career, through anxious and perplexing periods of our history, he acted always from a conscientious conviction of being right, and for the interest of his country.  There never was a more ardent or a purer patriot.  At the close of the war of 1812, in compliance with a commission from the General Government, he proceeded to Bermuda, and negotiated relative to the slaves and other property taken from the South by the British forces.

in 1826, he was appointed Commissioner on the part of the State to meet the Commissioner of the United States, Governor Randolph, of Virginia, to determine on the boundary between Georgia and the Territory of Florida, but which was not conclusively settled, the Commissioners disagreeing as to what should be considered the true source of the St. Mary's--the Georgia Commissioner insisting on the southern and most distant of the two lakes from the mouth of the river discharging its waters into the Atlantic, which lake has since been called after him.

The limit assigned for biographical sketches in this work admits of nothing more than a mere outline of the life of Mr. Spalding.  He was a fluent, energetic speaker, and a fine writer.  Ease of style and originality characterize the productions of his pen.  He was the author of the Life of Oglethorpe, and of many other sketches, and furnished much useful matter for various agricultural journals of the country, was among the earliest cotton planters of the State, and introduced the cane, its successful culture, and the manufacture of sugar, into Georgia.  He was the last surviving member of the Convention that revised the Constitution of the State in 1798.

In personal appearance he was agreeable, of middling stature, of easy, unassuming manners, courteous and affable.  His hospitality was boundless, and accessible to all; and it may be truly and emphatically said of him, that he was the friend of the distressed.  Kind in all the relations of life, his slaves, of whom he had a large number, felt neither irksome toil nor disquiet under his mild and indulgent government.

He felt intensely interested in the Compromise measures of Congress, and, though in delicate health, declared his wish to go as a delegate to the Convention in Milledgeville, even if he should die in the effort.  He reached that city in a very feeble state, was elected President of the Convention, and commenced his duties by a neat and appropriate address, remarking in the conclusion, that "as it would be the last, so it would also be a graceful termination of his public labours."  After the adjournment, he passed on homeward through Savannah, greatly debilitated, and reached his son's residence, near Darien, where he expired in the midst of his children, calmly relying on his God for a happy futurity, January 4th, 1851, in the 77th year of his age, and in sight of that island home in which it is hoped no spoiler will ever be suffered to trespass, but long to remain a sacred memorial of his taste for the sublime beauties of nature.  His residence was a massive mansion, of rather unique style, int he midst of a primeval forest of lofty, out-branching oaks, of many centuries, arrayed in the soft and gracefully-flowing drapery of the Southern moss, waving in noiseless unison with the ceaseless surges of the ocean, which break upon the strand of this beautiful and enchanting spot.

Rev. William Moseley resides in Griffin.  He is the son of Elijah Moseley, and was born in Elbert County, Georgia, on the 21st of October, 1796.  His education was limited, not having attended a school altogether more than nine months.  When he was about twenty years old, he was commissioned as first lieutenant of a company intended for an expedition against the Indians.  In 1819, he was elected Receiver of Tax Returns for Putnam County.  In 1820, he removed to Dallas County, Alabama, where he connected himself with the Baptist Church, and two years afterwards, began his ministerial career.  Returning to Georgia, he resided a year in Jasper County, and then went to Henry County.  In 1843, he was elected to the Senate and in 1846 was nominated by the Whig party for Congress, and was defeated by only one hundred and fifty-seven votes.  In 1847, he was elected to the representative branch of the Legislature, in 1848 was chosen an elector, and voted for General Taylor and Mr. Fillmore, and in 1851 was again sent to the Legislature as Senator.

In 1836, there was a division among the Baptists in the Flint River Association.  Mr. Moseley took sides with that portion called the Primitive Baptists, "who hold to the predestinarian doctrine, repentance, faith, good works, the final perseverance of the saints," & c.  The denomination of which Mr. Moseley is a minister believe that "the Church alone is the institution of Heaven, and that all the combinations of men, irrespective of the Church, are wrong."

He is a friend to education, and has been heard to say, that he will never die satisfied unless he sees a system adopted by which every child in the country will receive an education.  Mr. Moseley is an orator by nature.  His mode of speaking fixes attention; and although he pays no regard to the decorations of language, it is easy to perceive that he understands his subject.  "It is remarkable" says one, "that Mr. Moseley was born in October, married in October, his son was born in October, his daughter born in October, and the only slave he ever owned died in October."

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