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Native American History of Telfair County, Georgia

Telfair County is located in south-central Georgia. It is named after Edward Telfair, an important leader of Georgia during the Revolution and early days of statehood. He had just died when Telfair County was created from ceded Creek lands. The county seat is McRae. Edward Telfair was born in Scotland in 1735 and died in Georgia in 1807. After immigrating to Virginia to be an agent for a Scottish mercantile firm, Telfair first moved to North Carolina and then settled permanently in Georgia. He immediately began assembling large tracts of land in St. Paul’s Parish, what was to become Burke County, GA and also held a significant amount of real estate in Christ Church Parish (Chatham County, GA.) In 1768, he was elected to the Commons House of Assembly. By 1774 he was an active revolutionary, being one of the original members of the Liberty Boys. In May of 1775 Telfair joined other Liberty Boys in the theft of 600 pounds of gunpowder from the Royal Magazine. The next month, he was elected to the Council of Safety, which was Georgia’s government during the Revolution. During the American Revolution, Telfair was a member of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1783. He was named by the British Parliament as a person guilty of high treason and had a bounty on his head. After the Revolution, he was a signer of the Articles of Confederation. Telfair was governor of Georgia in 1786 for a one year term. Much of his energies were applied to mitigating the new state’s financial crisis and negotiating with the Creek Nation to prevent an outbreak...

Slave Narrative of Berry Clay

Interviewer: Adella S. Dixon Person Interviewed: Berry Clay Location: Macon, Georgia Age: 89 Telfair County was the home of some colored people who never were slaves, but hired their services for wages just as the race does today. Berry Clay, half Indian, half white, was the son of Fitema Bob Britt, a full blood Indian, who died shortly after his son’s birth. His mother later married William Clay, whose name was taken by the children as well as the mother. The family then moved to Macon. Clay, next [TR: ‘to the’ scratched out] oldest of five children was 89 years old on August 5, 1936, and while he was never a slave, remembers many incidents that took place then. Not many years after his mother remarried, she became very ill and he recalls being lifted by his step-father to kiss her good bye as she lay dying. After her death, the family continued to live in South Macon where the father was employed as overseer for a crew at the Railroad yard. This position often called for the punishment of slaves but he was too loyal to his color to assist in making their lives more unhappy. His method of carrying out orders and yet keeping a clear conscience was unique—the slave was taken to the woods where he was supposedly laid upon a log and severely beaten. Actually, he was made to stand to one side and to emit loud cries which were accompanied by hard blows on the log. The continuation of the two sounds gave any listener the impression that some one was severely beaten. It...

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