Rockdale County Genealogical Society Publication
                                             August, 2002

                        Speakers Scheduled for 2002

We will be having some interesting speakers in the coming months.
Judy Bond has been working hard at finding people who can bring something
of interest to you at the meetings. We will have Mr. Terry Manning
at the meeting on August 11, 2002, who will speak on researching deeds
and court records. This is someting we need to know.

On September 8, 2002, we will have Mr. Darrell Huckaby, a local author
and newspaper writer. He has a history degree and can speak on many
subjects. We hope that he will speak on the Revolutionary War.

On October 13, 2002, we will have Mr. Bill Boyd, a columnist for the
Macon Telegraph and an author of several books.

On November 10, 2002, we will have Mr. William Paul, the author of
“The Road He Chose”.

                     New Books on Shelf for Use in Research

Fulton County, Ga. Marriage Records 1854-1902 Ga. R 975.823 BRO
Clarke County, Ga. Marriage Records 1803-1909 Ga. R 929.3758 POS
Elbert County, The Official History 1790-1935 Ga. R 975.8163 MOI
Georgia Citizens & Soldiers of American Rev. Ga. R 973.3458 DAV
Wilkes County, Early Records of Ga. Vol.1 & 2 Ga. R 975.8172 DAV
Hall County, Ga., Index of Marriages Ga. R 975.8272 JON
Revolutionary War Soldiers of Western N.C.Vol.2 Ga. R 929.3756 WHI
Membership Roll and Register of Ancestors NSDAR Ga. R 369.135 KIL
Cobb County, Ga. Gen. Soc.Family Tree Quarterly Ga. R 929.1072 FAM
Habersham County, Ga., Heritage of Ga. R 975.8125
Hall County, Ga., Heritage of Ga. R 975.8272
Douglas Register, The Ga. R 929.3097 DOU
Georgia Rivercare 2000 River Assessment Ga. R 363.73 GEO
Evansville Then & Now (The Evansville Courier) Ga. R 977.233 MEL
Houston County, Ga., A Land So Dedicated Ga. R 975.8515 NEL
Syllabus Genealogy Seminar 21 Sept. 1985 M. Ch. Ga. R 929.1 SYL
Lincoln County, The History of Ga. R 975.6782 NIX

              Library Visitors List Surnames Researched

Joyce Soliwada, 3346 Berkshire Blvd., Conyers, Ga. 30013, researching
Berry, Brook, Voss, Washburn

Roy C. Peek, 4421 Hwy 20 NE, Conyers, Ga. 30012, researching Peek,
Rice, Trimble

Carolyn Dorminy, 2467 Hwy 138, Conyers, Ga. 30094, researching Israel,

James Borland, P. O. Bocx 404, Clayton, Ca. 94517, No names given.

Margaret Sheets, 11323 Black Walnut St., Hudson, FL. 34669, researching
Hamby & McLemore

Jo Ann Atkinson, 5664 Frazer Rd., Buford, Ga. 30518, researching Johnson

Sharon Buice, 44121 Alderwood Ter., Ashburn, VA. 20147, researching
Stewart and Harrison

Renee Clemons, 4611 Pembrooke Ct., Conyers, Ga. 30094, doing family
history research

Michael D. Wynn, PSC 1003 Box 27, FDO AF 09728-0927, researching Wynn

            South Carolina Research Trip Report

On July 16 & 17 a group of seven avid genealogists left Conyers at
the wee hour of 5:30 A.M. to travel to Columbia, SC for two days of
research at the South Carolina Archives. Going along on the adventure
were: Jackie Smith, Linda Ethridge, Ann Walker, Cheryl Johnson, Ellen
Trainer, and Martha Brown. While some of the group perused county
histories others delved into census microfilms, historical publications,
and war records from the Revolutionary and Civil War. Ann Walker found
her husband’s elusive ancestor, Martha Brown found the marriage settlement
that she had been looking for dating back to 1790 for her Scottish
family and traced her German line in Charleston and Jackie Smith found
relatives of her ancestor..

The Archives is only one of several research places in Columbia -
two other notable places being the Carolina Library and the Law Library
both housed on the University of South Carolina campus. As South Carolina
was on the migration route from Virginia and Pennsylvania, many of
our ancestors stayed in South Carolina for a while before continuing
on to Georgia and other points south and west.

For information on the next research trip contact Martha Brown at
770-483-6949. Some of the places the society has been this year are:
the Washington Genealogical Library in Macon, the Georgia Room at
the Cobb County Library in Marietta, the Georgia Archives in Atlanta,
and Wilkes County Courthouse and library. Next trip is planned for
August 3, leaving the Nancy Guinn Library at 7:30 A.M. bound for Franklin
County Historical Society in Carnesville, GA. If you have not signed
up already please contact Martha now!

           New Books Are Filling The Shelves

The shelves have been getting somewhat crowded with the new books
which have been added to the special collections room by the Heritage
Book Committee. Jackie Smith has shifted the books and opened up some
area to allow for easier shelving of the new books. If you visit the
library, you will find the books easier to use.

The new books are easy to spot. They have “Gift” pasted on the spine.
The new locations of certain sections such as the Civil War collection
and the census indexes may take a little getting used to at first.
We have gotten used to having them at their familiar places on the

The money for new books has been nearly expended. Future additions
will have to be made from donations. We have mentioned in the past
that donating a book in memory of someone for whom there is a special
need for recognition is an excellent way to remember that person.
We also note that the person has been recognized by a special mention
in the newsletter.

                    World War II - A Time to Remember

Here is a project that begs to be done. The end of World War II is
approaching sixty years. There were a significant number of Rockdale
men who served in that war. Their story needs to be recorded for posterity;
otherwise, the facts and feelings will slide into oblivion gone forever.

The letters and papers of that war would make a very impressive addition
to our library if they were compiled and bound and put on the shelves
for the young people to use. What better way to present how life was
during those turbulent years than the collected materials of those
from Rockdale who were there.

There is a book called “The Generation that Saved the World”. Those
men and women from Rockdale were part of that generation. They contributed
their part in saving the world. It would be very impressive if the
photographs, letters, papers, and other materials were brought together
in one publication so that they could be used in research. What better
organization to compile the information than the Rockdale County Genealogical

This project doesn’t have to be done overnight. It can be an on-going
work-in-progress. Materials could be brought in and copied and filed
and indexed day by day until sufficiently completed so that they can
be bound. What is needed is a committment and a public relations effort
to get the individuals to present the materials which they have.

                    Multi-Search Engine May Be Usefull for Research

Rob Kuijsten ( Subject: Mega search engine for
surnames Newsgroups: soc.genealogy.misc Date: 2002-07-24 10:41:22

Surname Navigator, a one window megasearch jump-start engine for surnames
- can simultaneously search various databases, using only one input


CGI (LDS), Ancestral File (LDS), Geneanet, Google genealogy, Google
News Genealogy, Rootsweb message board,, Email Finder,
White Pages and more.
Researchers can save many hours using megasearch engines such as these.
Some have reported excellent results.

 Go to Search Engine

Ed:  I haven't tried this search engine.  I hope it works.

         Susan Vaughn Reports Sherman Trail Progress

To: Trails Committee Members,

Hi everybody! Hope your summer has been great. After a long absence
from the Trails...we have some exciting news. The trails first marker
will be dedicated this Sunday, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in Atlanta at 12:30. The church is located at Central and MLKing Drive.
Mass will begin at 11:30 with the dedication immediately following.
The right honorable Monsignor Gratz will speak briefly, followed by
William Hasty, Chairman of the GDOT Board. I will be going and if
you want to go with me just let me know.

The second marker will be dedicated in Macon at 9:30 AM at the Macon
City Hall on Poplar Street. Following this dedication, Steve Longcrier
will address the Gov. Commission on Historic Tourism, then the plan
is to go to the new branch of the Blue Willow Inn in Macon for lunch.
I will not be able to be in Macon, But can get information to you
if you are interested in attending.

We need a local meeting I am thinking about Tuesday, September 9th,
at the depot? What do you think? I’ve missed you all and hope to have
a date for our signs soon!!! Susan Vaughn

           The Story of Lithonia, Georgia From One who Was There

Since my first writing of Lithonia and her progress, I have been requested
to tell more about who were the first citizens of the town. In answer
to that request, I wish to say that, in my first writing, I went as
far back as I could, which is a little more than seventy years.

I have tried to confine myself to such facts as I know to be true.
I doubt there is anyone living today who could tell just who were
the first citizens of Lithonia at the time of the arrival of the railroad
in 1846.

I have been told that trains were in operation between Augusta and
Union Point three years before coming to Lithonia. If that be true,
perhaps that was the origin of the name Union Point.

I wonder how many people in Lithonia, or the adjacent territory, know
that the railroad was first built with wood rails? The rails, as well
as I remember, were six by eight inches square, sawed from the best
pine timber. The crossties were laid 36 to 48 inches each from the
other. A square notch was cut on top the tie at both ends. The wood
rail, (“stringer” as they were called in their day) was closely fitted
in the notches. This was done to prevent spreading of the track. On
the top of the “stringer” and flush with the insides of the “stringer”
were cleats of iron, half inch thick, and about three inches wide.

Just how long the “stringer” rail was in use, I cannot say. However,
the “stringer” rail was succeeded by iron rail called “U” rail. It
was hollow, and of light weight and when inverted it resembled the
letter “U”, hence the name “U” rail.

Soon after the Civil War, a new type of rail was used. It was much
heavier, and was called “I” rail. However, the “U” rail was not entirely
discarded for many years after the Civil War.

For several years the load capacity of freight cars was only sixteen
thousand pounds. But in course of time the capacity was increased
to thirty-two thousand pounds.

For a short while after the coming of the railroad, there was a wood
and water station at Lithonia. It was located at about where the west
portion of the present depot now is. The well was on the south side
of the track, and the sawing machine was on the north side. The machine
was operated by mule power. Some time prior to the Civil War, the
wood and water station was removed to what is now Redan. There it
was operated by mule power for many years under the supervision of
Mr. Kinkston McCarter. Mr McCarter was the father of Mrs. J. L. Marbut,
late of Lithonia.

For many years, the Georgia Railroad track was five feet wide from
rail to rail. However, in the early eighties (1880s) the track was
changed to the standard gauge, which I think is four foot and nine

For a short while after the Civil War, the railroad was short on rolling
stock, especially box cars. Therefore, they used flat cars for hauling
cotton to Atlanta or Augusta. That mode of shipping proved to be rather
costly, and was soon abandoned. In those days, like the present day,
there were men who preferred to get things by an easy way. So that
type of man would, at some isolated place, roll one or more bales
of cotton to a confederate who was waiting with wagon to haul it away.
However, this way to get rich quick was soon discovered, and no more
cotton was hauled on flat cars.

In the first years of the Georgia Railroad, the rolling stock was
mounted on spoke wheels, but for many years the spoke wheel has been

When Sherman tore up the railroad, the ties were piled in large heaps
and burned. The iron rails were put upon the fire, and when they came
to a red heat, they were bent and twisted until they resembled hairpins.
I can’t, at this time, remember how long it was before the railroad
was rebuilt. However, during the rebuilding of the railroad, the first
killing of a human being in Lithonia (so far as Old Timer knows) occurred
in the school house.

It was believed at the time that negro laborers on the railroad were
gambling in the school house at night, and had a fight and a man was
killed. Anyway, a man was killed and his body was buried in the woods
a short distance west of the school house and between Stone Mountain
Street and what is now Randall Avenue. Since that incident, Lithonia
has had more than a score of tragic deaths.

The school house referred to above was the first school house built
in Lithonia. I do not know in what year it was built, but it was several
years prior to the Civil War.

I am inclined to believe Professor Peek was the first teacher at this
school. I also believe that Professor Hunter was the next teacher
of the school. I did not have the pleasure of knowing Professor Peek
but did know Professor Hunter. The school house was located on the
site on which the Methodist Church is now located.

The first Masonic building was erected in the year 1850 or 1852 by
Hosea Johnson. Mr. Johnson told Old Timer that he built the house.
That is to say that Mr. Johnson was the head workman. Mr. Johnson
was a Mason.

Here I will relate an incident that occurred during Sherman’s bonfires
in Lithonia. A short distance southwest of the railroad depot there
was a large two-story dwelling house. The house at that time was occupied
by a family by the name of Morris. Mr. Morris was away at that time,
(perhaps to the Southern army). Mrs. Morris, realizing that the fire
from the burning depot would also burn her house, retaining her presence
of mind, she resorted to strategy. Her husband being a Mason, she
secured some articles of Masonic regalia and waved it in the face
of the enemy, instantly someone, (supposed to be an officer) saw,
and recognized the signal for help. Instantly orders were given to
the private soldiers to remove Mrs. Morris’ household goods to the
J. N. Swift house which was vacant at that time. (The Swift house
is now the Webb Hospital). This act on the part of an hostile army
proves the loyalty of Masonry.

Relating the incident above reminds me of another during one of the
raids made by Sherman’s men.

There was an old man in Lithonia who was an inveterate chewer of tobacco,
the indication of which was very much in evidence on his chin and
shirt front. One of the Yankee soldiers asked the old man if he would
give him a chew. The old man drew from his pocket a liberal square
of tobacco and told the Yankee to help himself. The Yankee cut off
a large quid, put it in his mouth and offered to return the remainder
to the old man. The old man wishing to be on good terms with the Yankee
said no, you just keep that. I have about fifty pounds in the house.
The Yankee said no, “you keep this small piece, I would rather have
the fifty pounds,” and he got it. That, I suppose was amusing to the
Yankee, but very provoking to the old man. If so inclined, I could
write of many events in those troublesome days, some humorous, some

Lithonia now has her fourth depot building. The first was burned by
Sherman in 1864. The present depot building is large, well arranged
and unexcelled in beauty by any small town depot. Old Timer has seen
the four depots while in use.

Lithonia has three pretty church buildings each of which will compare
well with the church buildings of the larger cities.
When Old Timer first knew Lithonia, there was but one church in the
town. That was the Baptist Church, It was a frame structure, and located
on the site of the present church. It must have been an old building
when I first saw it. The old building was torn away and the present
building was erected in the year 1860. The walls are built of cobble
stones, the kind we commonly call flint rock. The walls are built
in concrete form.

As to when the Methodist Church was built, I am not sure, but I am
inclined to think it was built during the Civil War days. In each
of those churches I have attended some very interesting meetings.
The Presbyterian Church was built long after the Civil War.
There are only eight dwelling houses in Lithonia now that were there
during the Civil War.

There are only two citizens in Lithonia now that were there during
the Civil War; one man and one woman. I doubt if there are fifty people
in Lithonia now that were there fifty years ago.

I love to visit Lithonia, but when I do I miss so many of my friends
and neighbors that have gone on.    -  Old Timer

Jeans & Genes is a publication of the Rockdale County Genealogical

President: Judy Bond
Vice President: Rev. Carl  Smith
Secretary: Beverley Beale
Treasurer: Charles Read
Program Chairman: Robera Wingo

Editor:  MarionT. Farmer   770-483-7180
  1500 A. Pine Log Rd. NE
        Conyers, GA  30012