Court document regarding land owned by a mixed Cherokee-white family seized by the State of Georgia for redistribution to white settlers. William Harris.

Court document regarding land owned by a mixed Cherokee-white family seized by the State of Georgia for redistribution to white settlers

Forsyth County, Georgia: 1834. Unbound. This handwritten document dated “3rd Sep 1834,” is testimony from a case related to the Georgia Land Lottery of 1833 in which ‘unused’ Cherokee land was redistributed to white settlers and speculators. The testimony reads in part: "William Harris further showeth . . . that he intermarried with Susan Collins in the month of February 1833 on the fourteenth day of that month, and . . . went into possession of the said Lot. . . of the formerly Cherokee now Forsyth County, and that he resided on the same in the year 1833. That when he removed off said Lot about Christmas last, that he left Martin Branham in possession of the said lot as his tenant . . . and that he has never been out of the possession of the land and that his property was on said lot at the time the said McGinnis placed his negroes in said lot, [and] attempted to take possession of the same. . . ." Very good. Item #009345

Nancy Cordery, a Cherokee, married a white man named Parker Collins (who is listed in the Reservation Roll for 1817) and lived on Cherokee land along the Chattahoochee River, where Parker operated a ferry until his death in June of 1833. Shortly before, their daughter, Susan, married a white man, William Harris. The couple inherited the Collins land, but chose not to remain on it, instead renting it to a tenant. The State of Georgia considered the land as no longer occupied by Cherokees and included it in the Land Lottery of 1833, where it was won by a man named Tate. After a series of quick sales the property ended up in the hands of James McGinnis, who also owned land on the opposite bank. It would appear that the Harris’s lost their case as today the road crossing the river at the old ferry site is named McGinnis Ferry Road. (See “Notes to the Will of Parker Collins” at Rootsweb.com, Shadbum’s Cherokee Planters in Georgia 1832-1838, and answers to Bonnie Morris’s query at the “All Things Cherokee” website.) The Georgia Land Lotteries of 1832 and 1833 sparked dissension within the Cherokee Nation that led to the split between rival leaders John Ross and John Ridge, the Treaty of New Echota, and the Trail of Tears. It appears that the Harris family relocated during the Trail of Tears in 1838 as descendants are listed as residents of Muskogee, Oklahoma in Bower and Miller’s Eastern Cherokee by Blood, 1906-1910. A scarce testament documenting one Cherokee family’s fight against the Georgia Land Lotteries that ultimately forced the removal and relocation of the Cherokee Nation to present day Oklahoma. As of 2019, nothing similar is for sale in the trade. Nothing similar has been sold at auction per the Rare Book Hub, although eleven lottery tickets and land grants have been sold over the past 115 years. OCLC shows nothing similar held by any institution, although the Georgia Historical Society holds one land grant.

Price: $750.00

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