World's #1 Company for Original Stock Certificates & Old Stock Research Services Since 1880 - Rated A+ by Better Business Bureau

Historic Stocks and Bonds                                              
Quality Research Service Since 1880                                   


What our customers say:




 




Georgia Lumber Company - Montgomery County, Georgia incorporated in Portland, Maine 1835  

Georgia Lumber Company - Montgomery County, Georgia incorporated in Portland, Maine 1835

Product #: newitem98396041

Normal Price: $595.00
Our Sales Price: $495.00

(You Save: 17%)

Qty:

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION  
Beautiful certificate from the Georgia Lumber Company issued in 1835. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Henry Goddard and Secretary, William Cutter and is over 172 years old. Certificate has embossed corporate seal.

Scripophily.com is a name you can TRUST!
Henry Goddard signature


In July of 1935, Granite was found for the job, 2 or 3 miles from the river, on the Beachwood rd. It was examined by Geologists and found to have superior properties. It was straight grained, of uncommonly firm texture and split well. Specimens were heated to 800 degrees and then suddenly doused with cold water. There was no cracking or damage to the stone. This was unusual. The promise of profits was comparable to the granite quarries of Hallowell and Quincy, Massachusetts.

The quarry on Beachwood Road was named The United States Quarry, as it would supply the granite to build the government piers. A company, which was incorporated as, "The Maine Quarrying Association" owned it. The Officers of the Association were Portland speculators; John Neal, Daniel Winslow, Mason Greenwood, Nathaniel Mitchell and William Cutter. Greenwood and Cutter had been on the building committee of the High Street Church in Portland in 1830. According to Bradbury, the 1000 available Shares of stock in the company that originally sold for $75, sold for $83,000. Farmers who had cursed the ledge in their pastures were being offered huge amounts of money on speculation that they to would yield similar valuable granite.

Several other Quarry companies were incorporated in 1836. The officers of The Kennebunkport Granite and Railroad Company were local men, Daniel Lord, Robert Towne, Jacob Mitchell. Perhaps they intended to circumvent the expensive transportation issue by connecting a railroad branch from the quarries to the lines of the Boston and Maine Railroad, which was in South Berwick by 1842.

The First Geologic Survey of Maine by C. T. Jackson, published in 1838, also refers to Hill's granite field, close to the Biddeford line, The Emmons Ledge, 1/3 mile from the sea at Goose Rocks and ledge a plenty along the road from Kennebunk to Kennebunkport.


The lands lying between the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers and generally south of Interstate Highway 16 was the focal point of the largest land title litigation in the history of Georgia. Most of the land was filled with virgin long leaf and yellow pines. The lands were granted through a lottery system in the Land Lottery of 1807. Grants were made in lots of 202.5 acres with some fractional land lots running along the rivers or land district boundaries. Many of the lots were extremely isolated from the populated areas around Dublin, Hawkinsville, and Jacksonsville. The residents, mainly farmers, put little or no value to the trees. Peter J. Williams of Milledgeville sought out and purchased many of the lots from dissatisfied owners. Many other lots to which the grants had lapsed were purchased by Williams from the State of Georgia.

In the 1830s a group of New England land speculators became interested in the land. Williams sold the land, about the size of the state of Delaware, to Stephen Chase of Maine, Abram Colby of New Hampshire, and Samuel Crocker of Maine on February 28, 1834. The Georgia Lumber Company was created by an act of the Georgia Legislature on December 17, 1834. Three weeks later the three men sold the land, measuring 296,055 acres, to the Georgia Lumber Company on January 5, 1835 for the sum of $5.00. The property was sold to the State of Indiana for a quarter of a million dollars in settlement of lawsuit over the dissolution of the company. At the time of that sale in September, 1842, Elisha B. Strong was the president of the company.

During the 1840s and early 1850s some of the land was sold by local sheriffs to satisfy property tax liens. These lots were purchased by local people who immediately moved onto the land and improved it. On December 1, 1849 Gov. Paris C. Duning of Indiana quitclaimed the lands to Martin Green of Indiana in settlement of a $240,000.00 note involving the state, the lumber company, and the Bank of Western New York. Green then sold a 7/16 share for 9,187 dollars to Amos Davis of New York on June 12, 1850. Green then sold another 7/16 share to Samuel Brooks of New York for the same amount two years later. Green sold the remaining share to William Chauncey of New York on the same day. Davis then divided his interest selling to William Chauncey, Charles Illins of New York City, Edmund Munroe of Boston, and Charles Peabody of New York City. Samuel Brooks divided his interest selling to Randolph Martin of New York City, Joseph M. Sanderson of New York, and Joseph Bolesier of New York. During the height of reconstruction William Pitt Eastman of New York City began buying all of the shares of the lands. Eastman sold the property to Anson G. Phelps Dodge on June 8, 1870. Dodge then transferred the lands to a new company, the Georgia Land and Lumber Company. On February 6, 1877 George E. Dodge purchased the property from the company and appointed Anson G. Phelps Dodge as his attorney in fact to manage the affairs of the business in Georgia. The Dodge family, especially the Rev. Anson Dodge, Jr., were central characters in Eugenia Prices's "Beloved Invader."

History from Wikipedia.

One of the earliest large-scale businesses in the Montgomery County, Georgia was the Georgia Lumber Company, chartered in 1834. By the late 19th/early 20th century, large quantities of naval stores (rosin and turpentine) and lumber were being produced in the county for shipment to Savannah and the world. The annual output of lumber was approximately 150,000,000 board feet, and there were 209 50 sawmills and 12 turpentine distilleries in operation. The population was 16,359, a gain of 7,111 since 1890.


Early Pioneers of Northern Wiregrass Georgia Part one A - L Compiled by Scott B. Thompson, Sr. The Gem City Company, Dublin, GA, 1997

The lands lying between the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers and generally south of Interstate Highway 16 was the focal point of the largest land title litigation in the history of Georgia. Most of the land was filled with virgin long leaf and yellow pines. The lands were granted through a lottery system in the Land Lottery of 1807. Grants were made in lots of 202.5 acres with some fractional land lots running along the rivers or land district boundaries. Many of the lots were extremely isolated from the populated areas around Dublin, Hawkinsville, and Jacksonsville. The residents, mainly farmers, put little or no value to the trees. Peter J. Williams of Milledgeville sought out and purchased many of the lots from dissatisfied owners. Many other lots to which the grants had lapsed were purchased by Williams from the State of Georgia.

In the 1830s a group of New England land speculators became interested in the land. Williams sold the land, about the size of the state of Delaware, to Stephen Chase of Maine, Abram Colby of New Hampshire, and Samuel Crocker of Maine on February 28, 1834. The Georgia Lumber Company was created by an act of the Georgia Legislature on December 17, 1834. Three weeks later the three men sold the land, measuring 296,055 acres, to the Georgia Lumber Company on January 5, 1835 for the sum of $5.00. The property was sold to the State of Indiana for a quarter of a million dollars in settlement of lawsuit over the dissolution of the company. At the time of that sale in September, 1842, Elisha B. Strong was the president of the company.

During the 1840s and early 1850s some of the land was sold by local sheriffs to satisfy property tax liens. These lots were purchased by local people who immediately moved onto the land and improved it. On December 1, 1849 Gov. Paris C. Duning of Indiana quitclaimed the lands to Martin Green of Indiana in settlement of a $240,000.00 note involving the state, the lumber company, and the Bank of Western New York. Green then sold a 7/16 share for 9,187 dollars to Amos Davis of New York on June 12, 1850. Green then sold another 7/16 share to Samuel Brooks of New York for the same amount two years later. Green sold the remaining share to William Chauncey of New York on the same day. Davis then divided his interest selling to William Chauncey, Charles Illins of New York City, Edmund Munroe of Boston, and Charles Peabody of New York City. Samuel Brooks divided his interest selling to Randolph Martin of New York City, Joseph M. Sanderson of New York, and Joseph Bolesier of New York. During the height of reconstruction William Pitt Eastman of New York City began buying all of the shares of the lands. Eastman sold the property to Anson G. Phelps Dodge on June 8, 1870. Dodge then transferred the lands to a new company, the Georgia Land and Lumber Company. On February 6, 1877 George E. Dodge purchased the property from the company and appointed Anson G. Phelps Dodge as his attorney in fact to manage the affairs of the business in Georgia. The Dodge family, especially the Rev. Anson Dodge, Jr., were central characters in Eugenia Prices's "Beloved Invader."

By the mid 1880s much of the land lying along the Macon and Brunswick Railroad had been stripped of timber. In 1884 a federal government study revealed that there was a billion board feet of virgin pine timber still standing in southern Laurens County alone. That is enough lumber to build a 4 inch by inch plank all the way to the moon and back or to build a seven foot wall around the circumference of the Earth. George E. Dodge sold the land to Norman W. Dodge in June of 1888. As more and more railroads were cut through the area, more and more timber was cut. The choice heart pine timber was shipped all over the world. Timbers from the area were used in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

For the most part the timber lands had been kept intact by the owners for nearly a half century. Norman W. Dodge immediately began selling off tracts on which the timber had been cut. As the area became more attractive to settlers many squatters and bona fide settlers claimed land belonging to Dodge. The area was subjected to a small war in which nearly three dozen people were assassinated.

After nearly all of the good timber was gone Norman W. Dodge filed a suit in the Federal court to quiet title to the lands. The suit was tried in a Georgia Federal Court and a decision was rendered giving Dodge title to some of lands outright and to others upon the payment of money. Other lots were decreed to be the property of the defendants outright or upon the payment of money to Dodge. Norman Dodge died shortly after Judge Emory Speer rendered his opinion on December 2, 1902. Eventually all of Dodge's lands were sold by his heirs ending one of the most bitter and most fascinating times in the history of northern Wiregrass Georgia.

The lands covered in this lawsuit lie in current day Laurens, Dodge, Wheeler, Telfair, Pulaski, and Bleckley Counties.


THE DODGE LANDS AND LITIGATIONS. (p. 90-109)

WE ARE INDEBTED TO Judge J. N. Talley of the Federal Court in Macon for the story of the Dodge Lands and Litigations. Judge Talley was connected with the Federal Court and participated in the trials had before that body during all the years of litigation, he having been appointed by the court as commissioner to receive evidence in the different cases submitted.

Before going into the story of the long years of litigations we wish to state that the people against whom these cases were brought had purchased these lands in good faith, believing the transactions legal. Many of the people had purchased the lands, lived on them for years and reared families, only to find that they were really not in legal possession of same. This naturally caused them to feel bitterly against the Dodges, because they felt that they were being cheated out of their rightful claims to the property bought and paid for by them. But to understand the technicalities of the laws regarding the titles to these lands we will have to read the court decisions through. We give in part a speech prepared and read by Judge Talley before the Forty-Second Annual Session of the Georgia Bar Association at Tybee Island, Georgia, June 4, 1925.

Judge Talley says:

"At a session of the United States, Court held in Macon on May 28, 1923, Judge William H. Barrett signed an order disposing of the case of Norman W. Dodge vs. Lucius L. Williams and three hundred and eighty other defendants. This judicial act marked the end of the Dodge litigation which had been pending in that court during forty years."

To discover its remote fountainhead and as well the more immediate causes of the great controversy, we must go back in time ninety-two years, in distance journey to the Pine-tree State, and trace for half a century the story of the Dodge lands.

In 1832 Stephen Chase, a distinguished lawyer, was living in Fryeburg, Maine. The substantial colonial house which he built and occupied in that historic village is yet standing, and across the street from it is still pointed out the academy in which Daniel Webster first taught school.

Chase was also a Democratic politician, and among his friends were Augustin S. Clayton, a Congressman from Georgia, and Joseph M. White, a delegate in Congress from the territory of Florida. Through these Southern statesmen, the New Englander became convinced that the timber lands of south Georgia and Florida offered a splendid opportunity for investment and speculation.

The following year he came to the capital of Georgia, and there met Peter J. Williams, to whom had been granted by the State two hundred and seventy-five thousand acres of wild land in what was originally Wilkinson County. Chase was entertained by Williams at his residence, which is today one of the most notable of the many imposing homes in the city of Milledgeville that survive from antebellum times. Enthusiastic over the contemplated purchase, the visitor returned to Maine.

At Portland was soon formed an association, known as the Georgia Land Company, and it was agreed to invest not over forty thousand dollars in the purchase of pine lands in Georgia, at a price not to exceed ten cents an acre.

The promoters sent to Georgia as their agents Abram Colby, gentleman, of New Hampshire; Samuel E. Crocker, merchant, of Portland; and Stephen Chase, Esquire. Three hundred thousand acres of land were purchased by them from Peter J. Williams, who, to complete the necessary quantity, had acquired an additional twenty-five thousand acres.

The fifteen hundred lots embraced in the purchase then lay in the counties of Lauren s, Montgomery, Telfair and Pulaski, and were widely dispersed over that mighty primeval forest lying between the Oconee and the Ocmulgee and extending to the junction of those rivers to form the Altamaha.

At that time water afforded the principal means of heavy transportation, commercial fertilizers were unknown, and cultivated fields were usually confined to alluvial bottoms. So we find in this, as in other sections of the State, large plantations adjacent to the rivers.

It is perhaps not generally known that many of the planters living in the four counties named were among the outstanding men of that day.

General David Blackshear, in Laurens, held almost feudal sway upon his country estate, "Springfield," overlooking the Oconee. The memory of the planter is perpetuated by the capital of Pierce, while that of his estate is preserved in the county seat of Effingham. On the Oconee also lived Governor George M. Troup, and the name of his famous plantation in Laurens is now borne by the beautiful city of Valdosta. On the Ocmulgee, in Talfair, was the home of General Mark Willcox, and that of his father-in-law, General John Coffee, who, when a member of Congress in Washington, lived at the White House with his friend, Andrew Jackson.

The great expanse between the two rivers was sometimes called the "pine barrens." It was then very sparsely settled, except in a few localities in Telfair and Montgomery where the pasturage afforded by the wiregrass of the upland and the cane in the creeks had early attracted from North Carolina a large company of Highlanders, who emigrated from Scotland because of their continued loyalty to the House of Stuart. Of them the historian, George C. Smith, says:

"They were a thrifty people and were independent from the start. They had their kirk and their schools, and had services in their native Gaelic . . . There is no part of Georgia where there are so many Highlanders, and there was nowhere a more contented and well-to-do people than those who dwelt in these pine forests. A finer type of people than the Scotch who settled so largely Telfair, Tattnall and Montgomery counties was not to be found in America." ("The story of Georgia and the Georgia people," p. 224).

The deed from Williams, dated February 28, 1834, was taken in the individual names of Colby, Chase and Crocker. By another purchase was acquired a tract of twenty thousand acres in Telfair County. This included the Robert Flournoy plantation on the Auchee Hatchee River and a mill near the mouth of that important stream, now more generally known as the Little Ocmulgee.

Upon the application of Chase and others, a charter was granted to the Georgia Lumber Company by the Legislature of this State on December 17, 1834, and in the following month all of the lands in question were conveyed to that corporation by Colby, Chase and Crocker, as its agents.

Superintendents and experienced lumbermen were sent down from Maine. The old Flournoy mill was put in operation and became, it is said, the largest sawmill in the S-outh. Between two and three hundred people were employed. Lumber was drifted down the Altamaha. The old steamboat "Macon" was purchased in 1835. Cottages were erected about the mill and to the colony was given the name Lumber City. The present town of that name is not far from the original site. The capital stock of the company was increased to $200,000 and its shares were freely sold in Boston and New York. For several years there was the appearance of great prosperity.

Abram Colby, one of the promoters, visited the mills, but spent much of his time about Brunswick. He knew that the waterpower at Lumber City was insufficient and uncertain, and became interested in a movement to construct a canal from Darien to Brunswick. His plan was to raft logs down the Altamaha to Darien, and thence through the proposed canal to Brunswick, where it was designed to erect steam sawmills. In order to encourage and give publicity to this project, Colby joined with Messrs. Dexter, Rice, Davis and Thomas P. Carnes and established the first newspaper published in Brunswick. Upon his suggestion, Charles Davis, of Portland, Maine, was engaged as editor. In the language of the Georgia Gazetteer, "The Brunswick Advocate sent out its first rays of light in June, 1837."

The contemplated canal was not constructed. The Lumber Company was heavily indebted to the Bank of Western New York at Rochester. It became increasingly difficult to finance the mills. The Flournoy plantation showed an enormous loss. Brooks, its manager, had been "highly recommended," but appears to have had no experience in farming, his previous occupation having been that of a leather dresser in Boston.

By an amendment to its charter in 1838, the Georgia Lumber Company was given many banking privileges, and the right to transfer its property as security for debt. This last power was quickly and fully utilized. All of its property was soon conveyed to the Fund Commissioner of the State of Indiana to cover obligations that could not be met.

The end was at hand. By 1842, those in charge and most of the employees had returned to Maine. The cutting of timber ceased. The lands were abandoned. Actual possession and the title parted. The Flournoy plantation grew up in bushes, the Auchee Hatchee River flowed through the broken dam, shy swamp birds sang in the ruins of the mill, and the pines in safety slumbered, while the vagrant title wandered long in distant states.

Title passed out of the lumber company, and during nine years Indiana owned, of the territory of Georgia, five hundred square miles. From the Governor of Indiana the title passed through several links to William Chauncey and others of New York. There, caught by the outbreak of the War Between the States, it remained for a time captive in the enemy country. Peace restored, it went to William Pitt Eastman, of New Hampshire, who became owner in 1868.

In that year A. G. P. Dodge, William Pitt Eastman, William Chauncey and others organized the Georgia Land and Lumber Company, under the laws of New York, and established an office in Georgia, at Normandale, so named for Norman W. Dodge. The president of the corporation was William E. Dodge, the father of A. G. P. Dodge, George E. Dodge and Norman W. Dodge. Born in Connecticut, he had become a wealthy merchant of New York, and about this time purchased the famous country estate of John Couper at Cannons Point, on St. Simons Island. He was a Republican in politics and had represented New York in Congress.

Dodge and his associates proposed to develop on a mammoth scale the timber resources of the lands purchased by Eastman in Telfair, Laurens, Pulaski and Montgomery Counties.

The coming at this time of these capitalists was hailed by the war-impoverished people of this section as the harbinger of an era of peace and prosperity. A village was called Chauncey. A town was laid out in the heart of the pine belt and named for William Pitt Eastman. A county was created, and the Legislature, in 1870, added to the gilded roll of heroes, statesmen and benefactors memorialized by the counties of Georgia the name of William E. Dodge. (A letter communicating to William E. Dodge the action of the Georgia Legislature was couched in the following language: "Appreciating your successful efforts, as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of New York, in inducing Congress to remove the burden of taxation from the great staple of our State and of the South; mindful also of the great interest taken by yourself and friends in the commercial prosperity of our State, Georgia has, by an Act of her Legislature, given the new county your name." Mr. Dodge erected at his own expense a court house at Eastman, the county seat, and presented it to the county authorities.)

The lands in question were formally conveyed to the Georgia Land and Lumber Company, arid the great development began. Gigantic sawmills were erected on St. Simons and supplied by timber rafted down the Altamaha. Others were built on the recently completed Macon and Brunswick Railroad, and logs were brought in on tramways extending for miles out into the forests. Large distilleries were constructed for the production of turpentine and rosin.

At once claimants under tax deeds sprang up in every direction to dispute the title of the corporation. The State of Indiana had failed to pay its taxes for the year 1844. A fi. fa. against the Georgia Lumber Company had been issued by James Boyd, Tax Collector of Telfair County. It had been levied upon the entire acreage formerly owned by the company, and hundreds of lots had been sold, many at private sale, the usual price being about six cents a lot.

For relief the Georgia Land and Lumber Company, a foreign corporation, in 1876 appealed to the United States Court at Savannah. Through Richard K. Hines, as solicitor, a bill was filed against Josiah Paine and twenty others. Paine was claiming thirty-one lots under a tax receipt of $1.93. The defendants were represented by John M. Guerard and W. W. Paine. Two other similar suits were filed, one being against W. W. Paine, who, himself, was claiming sixteen lots. On final hearing the tax sale was declared void by Judge Erskine.

At the next session of the Legislature, in 1877, an act was passed requiring all foreign corporations holding more than five thousand acres of land in Georgia to incorporate under its laws within one year. Two days before that law became effective, the Georgia Land and Lumber Company conveyed all its lands to George E. Dodge, a citizen of New York, but a natural person. The title remained in George E. Dodge, and his successor, Norman W. Dodge, also a citizen of New York, but the development continued to be carried on by foreign corporations. The turpentine and lumber industry were now assuming large proportions throughout southern Georgia, and hordes of squatters poured into all those sections where grew the long leaf pine.

Dodge sought the State courts, the small amount involved in the individual cases not being sufficient to give the Federal court jurisdiction. Beginning in 1877, more than two hundred and fifty ejectment cases were filed in five counties. His local attorney was John F. DeLacey.

Appearing for the defendants, frequently, was Luther A. Hall, of Eastman. He had been a school teacher, was a lawyer of ability and skilful in ejectment practice. Opposing a New York plaintiff, before a local jury, Hall was seldom at a disadvantage.

In this litigation, Dodge relied upon what was known as his "short chain of title." An important link extending from 1834 to 1875, consisted of deeds from the executor and heirs of Peter J. Williams to William Pitt Eastman, conveying the same lands sold by Williams to Colby, Chase and Crocker.

Oliver H. Briggs, from Massachusetts, a clerk in the office of Dodge's land agent, knew that the deed from Colby, Chase and Crocker to the Georgia Lumber Company had been lost, that it had not been properly executed and was not entitled to record. This information was imparted to Henry G. Sleeper, a lawyer, also from Massachusetts, but then living in Eastman. Hall himself had discovered, as he thought, many defects in Dodge's recorded title, and also believed that the State of Indiana could not hold lands in Georgia.

Hall, securing the co-operation of Briggs and Sleeper, ferreted out the heirs of Colby, Chase and Crocker and procured from them deeds conveying their supposed interest in the Dodge lands to Silas P. Butler, of Massachusetts, a clerk in the office of J. L. Colby, a son of Abram Colby. The three hundred thousand acres of Silas P. Butler were then advertised for sale at low prices and on liberal terms. The slogan employed was "Homes for the Homeless." Eager buyers thronged the land office opened in Eastman by Butler's land agents, Briggs, Hall and Sleeper. Luther A. Hall became the hero of the hour, and at the crest of his popularity in 1883 was elected to the Legislature by the people of the county named for William E. Dodge.

The rival title drove Dodge to his long chain of conveyances, but at the same time delivered his adversaries into the equity jurisdiction of the dreaded Federal court.

In 1884 George E. Dodge filed his bill in the United States Circuit Court at Macon. The defendants were Briggs, Hall and Sleeper, fifty persons who had purchased from them, the heirs of Colby, Chase and Crocker, and Silas P. Butler.

The plaintiff set up his title through Williams, Colby, Chase and Crocker, the Georgia Lumber Company, and the State of Indiana, and prayed that it be declared valid, that the deeds to Butler be cancelled, and that the defendants be perpetually enjoined from asserting the rival title or in any way interfering with plaintiff's possession and ownership of the lands in dispute. .The plaintiff was represented by Robert S. Lanier, Clifford Anderson, and R. K. Hines, the principal defendants by Hall, Sleeper, C. C. Kibbee and John H. Martin.

John Erskine was District Judge, but the early orders were signed by Judge J. W. Locke of the Southern District of Florida. Before the final hearing John Erskine retired and Emory Speer succeeded him as judge. The hearing extended over five days. The voluminous testimony, taken by deposition, showed that the lands had been purchased from Williams by Colby. Chase and Crocker, as agents and with the money of the promoters in Maine, who subsequently organized the Georgia Lumber Company. It was held by the court that title vested in that company regardless of the defectively executed deed.

In disposing of the contention that the State of Indiana could not hold lands in Georgia, Judge Speer said:

"It must be understood that when the State of Indiana bought these lands, it came as a subject and not as a sovereign. If the State of Indiana is to be regarded as an alien, it is laid down in Washburn on Real Property that an alien may purchase and hold lands against all the world except the State; and Briggs, Hall and Sleeper may not say with Louis XIV: 'I am the state.'" (27 Fed. 160).

On April 5, 1886, a final decree was entered granting the relief sought by the bill and perpetually enjoining the defendants, as prayed.

Alex. N. Sexton, the land agent of Dodge, had printed thousands of handbills, and Ed McRae, just entering his long service as woodsman, traveled throughout the five counties posting and distributing the circulars proclaiming that Dodge had the true title and quoting the injunction order signed "Emory Speer, United States Judge."

The bill in this case was the beginning of the Dodge litigation in the Federal court at Macon, but the final decree was not to mark its end.

A few months later, on the ground of local prejudice against the plaintiff, Dodge vs. Dodson, et al., was removed to the Federal court from the Superior Court of Dodge County. Luther A. Hall was attorney for the defendants. Judge Speer, by decree, rendered in 1886, declared defendants' entire chain of title to five lots a forgery, cancelled the deeds, and enjoined the Clerk of the Superior Court, a defendant, from recording certain deeds forged by Dodson.

Among the important cases filed in the Federal court during the succeeding eight years were Dodge vs. Vaughn, Dodge vs. Woodward, et al., Dodge vs. Laurens Lumber Co., et al., Dodge vs. Powell and twenty others, Dodge vs. Cadwell and eighty-nine others.

The litigation was not confined to the Federal court. In many cases the State court was of necessity the forum. There Luther A. Hall contended that the final decree of the Federal court was not admissible in aid of Dodge's title, as against defendants not parties to the decree. The weakness of Dodge's "short chain" had already been exposed by Hall. It was impracticable in each case for Dodge to rely upon his long chain of conveyances and submit the elaborate proof, upon which the final decree of the Federal court was based, in order to show a perfect equity himself as plaintiff. The serious difficulty confronting Dodge was soon removed by a decision of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

Upon the trial in 1889 of Dodge vs. Spiers, ejectment in Telfair Superior Court, the plaintiff introduced his "short chain" of title, which included a deed from the heirs of Peter J. Williams to William Pitt Eastman. Spiers, through his attorney-at-law, Luther A. Hall, tendered a copy of the deed from Peter J. Williams to Colby, Chase and Crocker, thus breaking plaintiff's chain. Plaintiff in rebuttal offered the decree of the United States court in Dodge vs. Briggs, Hall and Sleeper, the heirs of Colby, Chase and Crocker, et al. Judgment was for the defendant Spiers. It was reversed, the Supreme Court saying:

"The court below held that this record and decree of the United States Court did not show title in Dodge; and this ruling we think was error. We think the effect of the decree was to put into Dodge a perfect equity, and as to the heirs of Colby, Chase and Crocker his equity was complete; so that he could maintain and recover upon his equitable title." (85 Ga. 585).

Dodge's title had been recognized by both the State and Federal courts, but the fight against him continued. Parties to the suit of Dodge vs. Briggs, Hall and Sleeper, and bound by the decree of the Federal court, did not long cease their activity. Luther A. Hall, the chief counsel for the defendants, became the leader of those defying the court's injunction. At the instance of John C. Forsyth, agent of Dodge, rules for contempt were issued. A sensational trial was had before Judge Speer in March, 1890. Dodge was represented by R. K. Hines, Hill and Harris, and Lanier & Anderson, while for Hall appeared as counsel Marion Erwin, Alexander Proudfit and James A. Thomas. Hall was adjudged guilty and sentenced to five months' imprisonment in Chatham County jail.

Growing out of the contempt proceeding was an indictment by the grand jury of the United States court charging Hall with perjury. He was later tried and convicted, but sentence was deferred. The prosecution was conducted by John L. Hardeman, special United States Attorney, the defense by Bacon and Rutherford and Dessau and Bartlett. (U. S. vs. Hall, 44 Fed. 864.)

Released from jail, Hall again announced as a candidate for the Legislature. In the active campaign he posed as a martyr who had suffered imprisonment in the cause of the people. He denounced Dodge, his agent, Forsyth, and the Federal court.

There were some eight or nine who had gotten themselves so deeply involved in the land troubles that they seem to have come to the conclusion that something desperate had to be done to overthrow Mr. Dodge in the successful assertion of his rights, or they themselves would be overwhelmed when their trespasses on the Dodge lots were brought to light. Hoping that by striking terror into the hearts of Mr. Dodge and his agents the former would be forced to abandon the prosecution of the rules then pending in the Federal court, desist from further proceedings to carry the decree in favor of his title into execution, and make terms and concessions at their dictation, sprang the most diabolical, cold-blooded conspiracy and murder that has ever blackened the annals of our State. John C. Forsyth, Dodge's agent, was the victim. These men hired for this dastardly deed a negro by the name of Rich Lowery or Rich Herring, a notorious outlaw and desperado who had come to this section from North Carolina to work turpentine. He belonged to a peculiar mixed race of people who have their principal habitat at a small town or village in North Carolina known as "Scuffletown" from the characteristic disorders of the population. They are said to be a mixed race of white, Indian and negro blood and are usually designated as "Scuffletonians." "Lowery, when employed to kill Forsyth, did not know him by sight. During the period he was at the home of one of these plotters waiting for the word to go on his mission, it was learned that Forsyth would be at Chauncey on October the first. The farmer loaded up a wagon with a supply of eggs, butter and country produce and, in company with Lowery, set out for Chauncey. Before reaching there the Scuffletonian separated from him and they went into town apparently as strangers to each other. The farmer found Forsyth, and going up to him, made some remarks in the nature of pleasantry and touched him on the arm. Lowery, who was standing near, understood the signal, the victim was known, and the object of their visit was accomplished."—Marion Erwin, in Land Pirates.

On the evening of October 7th John C. Forsyth was in his comfortable home at supper, his wife and children about him. (This home was in Normandale, now Suomi, and the home is the large two-story residence near the highway and is at present owned by Mathias Burch.) Having finished the meal, he arose and, lighting a cigar, walked into the living room, where he sat down in an easy chair. Outside a gentle rain was falling. The dark Scuffletonian stood peering through a window, and leisurely aimed his gun at the designated victim. Startled by the report, young Nellie Forsyth rushed to her stricken father, then braving the near presence of his assassin, ran out into the night for a physician. Within a few hours John C. Forsyth was dead, and the immediate object of a great conspiracy had been accomplished.

The identity of the murderers for a time remained a mystery. A month passed, when a relative of one of them casually and unwittingly divulged the details of the conspiracy and the names of the assassins to one whom he thought knew much of the murder and was in sympathy with its purpose. After consulting his father and his friend, Judge W. L. Grice, this man communicated the information to R. Oberly, the agent of Dodge, although in so doing he ran counter to his business interest and imperiled his personal safety.

The first man arrested was taken to the office of the District Attorney in Macon. Overcome by remorse, this man confessed his part and told all about the plot, naming those who had taken part in it. True bills were returned by the grand jury of the United States circuit court against ten. A large reward was offered for Rich Lowery, who had fired the fatal shot, but he could not be found. Marion Erwin, in his account of the conspiracy trial, says that after the murder Rich Lowery went to Montgomery County, deposited two hundred dollars with an old colored man, and "sporting a new suit of clothes and a fine gold watch, he cut quite a swell among his fellows," that he was engaged to carry a raft down the river, and returning stopped at Jesup where, in a barber shop, he saw a copy of the Macon Telegraph giving an account of the arrest of the men involved in the conspiracy, that he made his way back to the colored man in Montgomery County, received his money, and "plunging into the thicket he disappeared, and that is the last authentic account we have of Lowery."

Indictments framed under 5508, Rev. Stat., charged that a conspiracy had been formed by the defendants to injure, threaten, oppress and intimidate Norman W. Dodge who had succeeded George E. Dodge as owner of the lands in question, because he had exercised and was exercising his right to prosecute in the United States court rules for contempt for violation of the injunction granted by the final decree in Dodge vs. Briggs, Hall and Sleeper. It was further charged that in pursuance of the conspiracy Lowery had murdered Dodge's agent, Forsyth, and that the other defendants were accessories before the fact to the murder. (See U. S. vs. Lancaster, 44 Fed. 885.)

The defendants at once moved in the Supreme Court of the United States for permission to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the matters charged in the indictment did not make an offense cognizable by the circuit court. The motion was denied. (137 U. S. 393.)

The trial began at Macon on December 8, 1890. The court room was crowded. One hundred and forty witnesses were in attendance. Four hundred jurors had been summoned. Friends of the prisoners from five counties struggled for a look at the trial or a word of the proceedings.

The prisoners were in a group. Near them were their attorneys, A. 0. Bacon, Washington Dessau, Charles L. Bartlett and C. C. Smith. Hugh V. Washington represented the one who accompanied Lowery a part of the way when he went on his murderous mission.

At the desk of the District Attorney was Marion Erwin. On the second day of the trial he was joined by the special counsel of the Government, Fleming G. duBignon, who had just completed his service as President of the Senate and shortly before had ended a brilliant term as Solicitor-General of the Eastern Circuit.

The gravity of the offense charged, the novelty of the jurisdictional questions involved, and the widespread public interest the case had aroused, were to stir to the highest pitch of effort, all these eminent counsel engaged. Not attorneys in the case, but representing Norman W. Dodge, were Walter B. Hill, later to become Chancellor of the State University, and his law partner, N. E. Harris, a future Governor of Georgia.

Judge Emory Speer was on the bench. Distinguished as a lawyer and speaker, as a prosecuting officer in both the State and Federal courts, and as Congressman, now in the prime of his splendid mental and physical vigor, for five years he had been District Judge.

All preliminaries disposed of, the fight now centered on the jury.

The first important witness was young Nellie Forsyth, whose description of her father's death was calculated to give to the prosecution's case from the outset a tone of tragedy. Coming into the court room she was somewhat confused by the gaze of so many men, and seeing two girls, she took her seat beside them. They were the motherless daughters of one of the prisoners. This accidental association of the innocent victim of the crime and the equally innocent victims of its consequences perhaps diminished the dramatic effect of her appearance as a witness. But on the stand, her modest demeanor and the simple story of her awful experience created a profound impression, and as she walked away there seemed to follow a wave of sympathy that so winsome a girl should have been orphaned in so tragic a manner.

Witness after witness was called during a period of sixteen days. The attorneys were constantly on the alert and no vantage point escaped them. Always an interested audience keenly followed the proceedings. Three days were consumed in arguments to the jury. Marion Erwin opened for the prosecution. Hugh V. Washington, Charles L. Bartlett, C. C. Sonith and A. 0. Bacon followed for the defense, and Fleming duBignon closed. The facts and circumstances were variously assembled and presented according to the genius and skill of each of these masters of forensic oratory and fused by the fire of eloquence into an image of the truth as he beheld it. The concluding argument of duBignon has been termed the most eloquent jury speech of his career. As he marshaled the evidence and went from one flight of oratory to another, it was easy to perceive that he was fast brushing from the minds of the jury all lingering doubts of the guilt of the accused. He was interrupted. An attorney for the defense, after squirming under the onslaught, arose and made some objection. The courtly duBignon, turning toward the ruffled attorney, raised his hand and, as he let it slowly fall with a movement of graceful agitation, said, "The wounded pigeon flutters." The angry scene and the subsequent apology have been forgotten, but duBignon's cameo-like profile, exquisite poise and elegance of gesture have converted that trifling incident into an enduring memory.

In concluding his able and comprehensive charge, Judge Speer deprecated those ad captandam observations of counsel which "drop the poison of prejudice into the mind of the unsuspecting juror and thus palsy and paralyze his best and most honorable efforts in the direction of a stern and inflexible performance of duty." (44 Fed. 896.)

All the defendants on trial were convicted except one, and all those convicted were sentenced to imprisonment in the Ohio State Penitentiary. One was given ten years, three were sentenced to imprisonment for life, and one received a sentence of six years.

It was commonly believed that Rich Lowery would never suffer for the crime he had committed, but years later the truth became known that, far from escaping punishment, he had been the first of the guilty to meet his doom. Some of the conspirators, mistrusting and fearing the hired assassin, had again turned murderers. This time they did their own work and under the black water of a stagnant pool deep in a cypress swamp they left the body of the Scuffletonian.

The criminal cases having been disposed of, attention was again directed to the many civil cases pending in the courts.

The easy current of that litigation in the State courts however was obstructed in 1894 and diverted to the Federal court. On the 29th of August of that year the Supreme Court of Georgia, in Bussey et al. vs. Dodge, 94 Ga. 584, argued at the October term, 1893, in effect overruled its former decision in Dodge vs. Spiers, and virtually sustained the contention made in the latter case by Luther A. Hall, on the occasion of perhaps his last appearance as counsel in Georgia's highest court.

Dodge had filed in the Superior Court of Dodge County a suit against Bussey et al. and relied upon his title traced through Colby, Chase and Crocker and the decree of the Federal court. The defendants were represented by E. A. Smith. There was a judgment in favor of Dodge. This was reversed by the Supreme Court, and it was held:

"If the case of Dodge vs. Spiers was correctly decided, it was because the defendant therein, by introducing and relying on the deed to Colby, Chase and Crocker subjected himself to be treated as in privity with their heirs, who were parties to the decree and against whom the decree itself established a perfect equity by requiring them to convey to plaintiff.

"Except in so far as that case is supported upon this distinction between it and the present case, it cannot be adhered to or followed."

This decision was to afford no comfort to the many persons trespassing upon and setting up claims to Dodge lands, for after Bussey vs. Dodge had been argued and two months before it was decided, Norman W. Dodge undertook in one proceeding in the Federal court to bring in as parties all those, so far as known, who claimed to hold adversely, and on June 25, 1894, filed a bill of peace, naming as defendants three hundred and eighty-one persons.

It was alleged that the title and lands of Dodge were well known, and that a general scheme had been formed by the defendants to deprive him of the lands, by means of forged deeds and supported by false testimony as to possession. The jurisdiction of the court was seriously questioned by an able array of counsel. Particularly was it urged that the plaintiff could not join in one proceeding so many defendants, scattered over so great a territory and relying upon separate and unconnected claims of ownership. The bill, however, in effect charged a combination on the part of the defendants, thus raising an issue of fact rather than of law. After lengthy arguments, the jurisdiction was sustained.

The record of the pleadings alone covers twenty-two hundred pages. The evidence was taken by a commissioner appointed by the court. Hearings were had by him at Macon, Dublin, Eastman and McRae. In addition to a mass of documentary evidence, the commissioner's report was filed in seven volumes.

Decrees pro confesso had been taken as to a number of defendants. With others settlements were made and consequent decrees taken. A final decree was entered in 1902 generally sustaining the contentions, of the plaintiff.

The bill of peace was filed through Hill, Harris & Birch, and Marion Erwin, as solicitors for plaintiff, with whom were associated John F. DeLacey and James Bishop. Among the attorneys for the defendants were A. 0. Bacon, A. L. Miller, William Brunson, Olin J. Wimberly, Clem P. Steed, Walter M. Clements, E. A. Smith, Tom Eason, B. R. Calhoun, F. R. Martin, J. W. Preston, and B. B. Cheney.

So great was the bitterness aroused by the conspiracy trial, so many the defendants and parties interested in the civil litigation, and such the supposed hostility to the Federal court on the part of the people who lived in the counties where the lands were situated, that for twelve years prior to 1907, there was placed in the jury boxes of the United States court at Macon the name of no man who resided in any of the great and populous counties of Laurens, Dodge or Telfair.

The decrees on the bill of peace were not fully observed. Dodge had writs of assistance issued. A multitude of applications were made to the court to enjoin their enforcement by the marshal. The usual ground was that the party sought to be ousted was for some reason not bound by the decree. For the purpose of having complicated claims of this character determined, the executors of Norman W. Dodge, in 1908, filed a bill against several persons. The case was referred to a master. His reports were made from time to time over a period of six years. No exceptions were taken, and the conclusions of the master were embodied in decrees of court.

For the record we will state here that the commissioner who heard and reported the evidence on the bill of peace, and also the master in the litigation last mentioned was Judge J. N. Talley, of Macon, the author of this article.

A few years after the filing of the bill of peace, Walter A. Harris was admitted to the bar and became associated with Hill, Harris and Birch, the general attorneys for Dodge. Before the final announcement in that case was made by him as leading counsel for the plaintiff, he had achieved distinction at the bar and served through the World War as Brigadier-General.

By 1917 the magnificent growth of long leaf pine had been removed. For years past as titles were settled by the decrees of court, the cut-over lands had been sold by Dodge in small parcels and to many purchasers. In that year the remainder of the Dodge lands was sold to Judge John S. Candler, of Atlanta. He in turn sold a large part of it to Walter M. Clements, J. H. and Paul Roberts, of Eastman, but also made gifts of substantial tracts to Wesleyan College, of Macon, and the South Georgia College at McRae.

This was not the first contribution made to education and religion from the wealth of the Dodge lands. Many years before, A. G. P. Dodge, Jr., of New York, a youth of about eighteen, while visiting the pine forests of Telfair County, decided to enter the ministry of the Episcopal church. Soon afterwards his marriage to a first cousin was the culmination of a youthful romance. The happy couple went abroad. In far away India the young wife died. She was buried at old Frederica, on St. Simons Island, and Christ Church there is her memorial. Her fortune was left to education and religion. To it was added that of the husband, who devoted his life to the service of the church. It was authoritatively stated in 1910 that of the fifty-two mission stations in the Diocese of Georgia, thirty-nine owed their existence to the Dodge fund, and many of them to the personal exertions of that consecrated man.

Husband and wife, the grandchildren of William E. Dodge, now sleep on St. Simons by the sea. Near them also lie the murdered agent, John C. Forsyth, and his daughter, Nellie, who became the wife of Major Ernest Dart, of Jacksonville, formerly of the Brunswick bar. From beneath the gray moss of the live oaks, their last resting place looks across the Marshes of Glynn, immortalized by the poetic genius of Sidney Lanier, whose father, as counsel, signed the original bill which commenced the Dodge litigation.

All of the lands had passed from the ownership of Dodge. The occupation of his agents and woods-riders was gone. Thomas J. Curry and Ed McRae for twenty-five years had been on guard. They were men of high courage and character. The bill of peace had been verified by Ed McRae, he being the agent most familiar with the alleged trespasses of the hundreds of defendants. His father, John F. McRae, for forty-four years Clerk of the Superior Court of Telfair County, had, as a very young man, taught the children of the little Maine colony at old Lumber City. Oberly, the general agent, and Curry promptly obtained other employment.

Judge Emory Speer died in 1918. The Dodge litigation had extended over his entire judicial tenure, and it is a remarkable fact that throughout its long course there was never an appeal from any decision he made and no final action of the court, when he was on the bench, was ever carried to a higher court for review. When Judge Speer was appointed in 1885, the Federal court was to the masses of the people of the Southern District a foreign, an unknown and an unpopular court. Speaking in the parlance of the business world, Judge Speer "sold" the Federal court to the people, and it is a tribute to his distinguished service when it can now be declared that there is perhaps no district court in the United States where the people are more attached to the Federal court than in the Southern District of Georgia, and that nowhere is the office of District Judge .regarded as one of so much honor as by the people of the district over which Judge Speer presided for a third of a century.

The last contested case was on trial before Judge Beverly D. Evans, who had resigned as Presiding Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia to hecome District Judge of the Southern District. This was the case of Clark vs. Dodge, an aftermath of Dodge vs. Clark litigated many years before. Clark was represented by Charles Akerman, of Macon, and Judge R. Earl Camp, of Dublin, the nominal defendant, Dodge, by Walter A. Harris, John B. Harris and M. J. Whitman, and the real defendants, the purchasers, by John R. L. Smith and Grady C. Harris. The decision of Judge Evans, rendered in 1920, was affirmed by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. (260 Fed. 784.)

When in May, 1923, Judge Barrett made the formal order removing the litigation from the dockets of the court, Judge Erskine, and Locke and Speer, and Lamdin, and Evans had passed away, and of the great lawyers who, in their prime, had appeared for the parties contending in the original equity suit, in Dodge vs. Dodson, in the Hall contempt case, in the perjury case, in the great conspiracy case, and in Georgia vs. Kelly, only four—Nathaniel E. Harris, Marion Erwin, Charles L. Bartlett and James A. Thomas—accompanied by honor and "troops of friends," remained to "counsel and advise."

Jurors were again being returned from all parts of the district, and the United States Marshal who called them in court was George B. McLeod, of the old county of Montgomery.

A great population scattered over six counties had been made secure in their homes and lands by the effective decrees of the once hated Federal court, and upon the Dodge lands, so long in controversy, had descended the harbingered era of peace and prosperity.

Vanished long since are the tribes, That once roamed over valley and upland, Yet lingers their speech, in the name of the fair sister rivers, Oconee, Ocmulgee and murmuring Altamaha.

Gone is the forest primeval, and silent forever its sighing Of music aeolian, that breathed over earth and to heaven. And gone are the strangers who journeyed* from out of the Northland, To gather the harvest the pines had amassed through the ages.

Yet lingers their memory still in the name of a county, In the names of the cities of Eastman and Chauncey forever. And where Lumber City looks out over rolling Ocmulgee, And Normandale nestles, their work will never be forgotten.

Instead of the croon of the pines or the wail of the sawmill, The song of the ploughman and the lowing of cattle are mingled, And where once was solitude, now are glad homes of contentment.

From out of the soil, men are reaping a harvest of gold, The past is forgotten and gone, like a story that's told.

Additional Comments: From:

HISTORY OF DODGE COUNTY

COPYRIGHT 1932 By MRS. WILTON PHILIP COBB

Printed by FOOTE & DAVIES CO., ATLANTA.

Product #: newitem98396041

Normal Price: $595.00
Our Sales Price: $495.00

(You Save: 17%)

Qty:
 

Scripophily.com and Old Company Research Press Releases

See Stock Certificate Expert Bob Kerstein, CEO Scripophily.com
discuss Stock Certificates in Bloomberg ,  the Associated Press ,
CNBC with Jane Wells discussing the Facebook IPO,
Inside Edition and the Today Show

Subscribe to our New Free RSS New Products Feed in a Reader

Subscribe to Our New Product Additions Feed by Email


We will always maintain our founding commitment to customer satisfaction and the delivery of an educational product with an enjoyable shopping experience.  Please let us know how we may be of service to you.



Scripophily has been
fully tested by
Norton Safe
Web


Bookmark and Share


Scripophily has been featured on CNN, CNBC, CBS, WSJ, Barrons, and many other fine publications
See Scripophily.com in the News at Scripophilynews.com


Note:
All Old Stock and Bond Certificates are actual authentic certificates and are sold only as collectibles. We do not sell reproductions and offer a lifetime guarantee to the authenticity of everything we sell.

All Rights Reserved. © 1996 - 2017

 
Scripophily.com is a name you can TRUST!
American Institute of
Certified Public Accountants

Scripophily.com is a name you can TRUST!
Virginia Society CPA's
Bob Kerstein, Member
Click to Verify Trust Certificate - Yahoo is a licensee of the TRUSTe� Privacy Seal Program



  Scripophily.com is a name you can TRUST!
American Numismatic Association

Securities and Exchange
Commission Historical Society


Society of Paper Money Collectors
Member
Scripophily.com - Gift of History -  BBB Membership Seal
Better Business
 Bureau Member
Rated A+