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Georgia Vanderfords

In the 1790s Richard Vanderford (2005) moved to northern Georgia. Good farming land was opening up and it was an opportunity to get a good start in life. It also meant living in close proximity with the local Indians. In 1801, Richard's in-laws, the Bonnors, had two horses stolen by the Creek Indians.

In Georgia when a new county was opened for settlement there was a land lottery. To be eligible for the drawing you had to be a free white male over 21, a U.S. citizen and have lived in Georgia for over a year. District surveyors would number the available lots and once a week there was a drawing. A name was drawn and then a lot was drawn and the recipient was required to pay a small fee to cover the expenses of the lottery. Each recipient received a deed signed by the Governor and the great seal of the State stamped on a wax pendant was attached by a ribbon. In the 1805 land lottery, Richard drew two blanks (no lots). But in the 1820 lottery he drew lot 354, section 8 in Appling County.

As the northern lands in Mississippi opened up, many of the Georgia Vanderfords moved west. Most of them were farmers and did most of the work themselves, owning very few slaves. Richard (2005), the original Vanderford in Georgia, owned about half a dozen slaves. The other Vanderfords remaining in Georgia were not slave owners. Of the seven Vanderford households in Mississippi in 1860 only three owned slaves.

During the Civil War the southern Vanderfords lost heavily. Many saw the value of their personal property drop drastically: Barzillai Vanderford (3038), a large land owner and an influencial man in Alcorn County, saw his personal property drop from $40,000 in 1860 to $700 in 1870, and Jonah saw his drop from $9,000 to $1,380. These were losses in crops, livestock and property. But the real cost of the war was is in human lives, lost or wounded, defending the Confederacy and their homes. Sherman's march through Georgia was particularly devastating. This account is from the diary of Thomas Maguire of Gwinnet County, Georgia:

November 16, 1864: Up nearly all night. We are now waiting for the worst to come. Yankees are expected to be here by 9 o'clock. It is now 7. I went to see David Anderson and while I was there the Yankees came. I did not like to go home, so I stayed with Anderson until about 10 o'clock. Slocum's corps came and camped all around the house. On every side hogs and sheep were being shot and dressed to regale the palates of the Yankees. Anderson and I slept in the woods all night. This was not very pleasant for either body or mind.

November 17, 1864: We are still in the woods. Slept but little. We were dodging about trying to see the Yankees from our hiding places. The Yankees all left about 11 o'clock. I went home at 2 o'clock, tired enough and sleepy, but glad to find the home folks were not abused, although there was great destruction of property. The gin house and screw were burned, stables and barn in ashes, fences burned and destruction visible all around. Carriage, wagons, corn, potatoes, horses, steers, sheep, chickens, geese, syrup and many other items carried away or destroyed.30

Barzillai Vanderford (3038) and John Vanderford of Mississippi made claims in 1876 and 1877 to Congress for compensation for provisions taken by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Barzillai's claim was for $4,766.50 and John's was for $1,273.00; both claiming the loss of horses, mules, oxen, hogs, sheep, poultry, produce and fodder. Both of the claims were disallowed.

James Vanderford (3052) of Jefferson County, Alabama presented a claim for $331.00 and was paid $281.00 for 125 bushels of corn, 600 pounds of bacon, 4 bushels of wheat and 2400 pounds of fodder. James' description of the event:

The parties that came to my house to take my property said that they needed it to feed the army and that they had orders to take all necessary supplies for the use of the army and that they had to take it, that they were sorry that they had to do so, but that it was the only way that they had to get supplies for the army. It was all taken from my premises. It was taken on the 27 or 28th of March 1865. It was all taken by United States soldiers. I saw more than one soldier engaged in the taking of this property. This property was taken on three or four different days. They took some of each article each day. There was present the first day about 40 soldiers, and on the second day there was 15 to 20, on the third day there was about 10 and on the fourth day there was about 10 or 12 of them. All of them were engaged in the taking of my property. They were engaged in the taking each day about one hour in the taking.31

Even though four of James' brothers served in the Confederate Army, two dying, James was a Union sympathizer. During the war he harbored Union soldiers and rebel deserters in his woods. The three affidavits to this effect may have helped in the favorable decision on his claim.


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