Scott W. Owens
Thu May 24 15:22:22 2001
In pursuing genealogical research in SC, I have come across several instances where property and legal records are abscent before 1865. Of courthouse fires (accidental) plague genealogical researchers everywhere, but the trail of courthouses through SC (and GA) where critical property and legal records are missing prior to 1865 closely follows the paths taken by Sherman's corps. An account of what happened in one courthouse in GA was probably repeated numerous times: The deed books in particular were REMOVED from the probate office, piled in the street, doused with lamp oil, and the torch applied. There seemed to be some particular concern on the part of the officers of the United States Army that the county property records be destroyed utterly. Of course, when the courhouse proper had inciniares applied, any other records were comsumed as well.
The only reason I can think of that such particular care be taken to destroy evidence of property ownership would be for the intended confiscation of the same. I have never seen this as an expressed policy of the Lincoln Administration (don't guess that would look too good for Honest Abe) but it seems that Sherman in particular had this purpose in mind. I don't see this being carried out by Croxton in west Alabama, though Sutherland did apply the torch to the Pickens County Courthouse in Carrollton. The Tuscaloosa County Courhouse was not molested, to my knowledge, and Croxton made no determined drive on Eutaw for this intention. Did Wilson follow this practice through the rest of AL and GA? Did Sherman, knowing he was buddies with Grant and Abe, know he could get away with this?
Re: Sherman's Purposes
Scott W. Owens, Fri Jun 1 16:49
Paul McLaughlin, Fri May 25 14:30