By Jean E. Blackmon
(Note: Some records refer to the Georgia Sterling Bartlet as Sterling and some records refer to him as Starling.)
Starling Bartlett’s first known records appear in Hancock County, Georgia, in 1807. In that year, on December 24, he married Betsy Archer. A justice of the peace, Zephaniah Harvey, performed the ceremony. From later census records, it appears that Starling was born between 1782 and 1784. The 1850 census says that he was born in South Carolina, and the 1860 census says he was born in Virginia.
Coincidentally, a Sterling Bartlett with very similar birth and death dates
lived in Harrison County, Virginia, with a separate and different family. The two Bartletts may have been cousins, named for the same ancestor. Harrison County is now in West Virginia. That Sterling Bartlett bought 150 acres on Lambert’s Run adjacent Thomas Bartlett in Harrison County in 1808.
The Georgia Sterling Bartlett is not listed as a Hancock County resident eligible to draw in the 1805 Georgia land lottery. The residency requirement for this first lottery was one year in Georgia. He probably had not moved to Georgia by 1804.
Sterling Bartlett did not win a land lot in the 1807 Georgia lottery drawing. For this second lottery drawing the residency requirement was three years prior to the drawing. He still would not have yet fulfilled the requirement if he had not moved by 1804. Only the winners were listed, though, so the point is moot. He is, however, listed in the Hancock County, Ga., tax digest for 1808. He owned no land at that time but paid a poll tax in Captain Pinkston’s district. In the Estray Records (marks and brands for livestock) for Captain Pinkston’s district, Sterling “Bartly” registered a speckled cow about 9-10 years old marked with a crop, 2 slits and a hole in each ear and branded on the left thigh was a “ .” It was appraised for $8.00 and registered December 28, 1809. Written over the record in large letters at some unknown date were the words “MOVE(D) AWAY.”
Sterling Bartlett was listed in the tax digest for Hancock County in 1812. He paid 38 ¾ cents on 100 acres of pine land that lay on the Buffalo Water Course next to “Archer.” The land was in “Captain Moffeit’s District.” [The record says that the person who had originally received the grant for the land was named “Still.” He appears to be Robert Still, but to date, no record of a sale of land by him to Sterling Bartlett has been found. However, Robert Still of Morgan County did sell land to Frederick Archer in Hancock County in 1812 (Deed Book N, page 66.) It was adjoining the land of Vickers and Hamilton. The deed was written on February 11, 1812, and it was recorded on July 12, 1824. It was for 200 acres of land on the waters of the Buffalo in Hancock County. Whether Sterling rented part of this land from Frederick Archer or had his own land (see Thomas “Bartly’s” tax paid in Hancock 1796 for 100 acres of pine land next to P. Brantley) is left to the imagination of the reader.]
The only two Archers in Captain Moffeit’s district in the 1812 tax digest were William Archer and Frederick Archer. (William is assumed to be Frederick’s son.) To date, no record has been found concerning the disposal or sale of either tracts of land by Sterling Bartlett (or Thomas Bartly) or by Frederick Archer. Perhaps William Archer inherited the 200 acres from Frederick.
Sterling Bartlett does not appear to have served in the War of 1812 or the Indian Wars.
In 1820 Hancock County, Georgia, there were two separate Bartlett families listed in the census: Starling Bartlett’s and John Bartlett’s.
Starling was listed as age 26-45 (most likely 36-38 years old.) There was a grown female in his household who was over 45 years old. This may or may not have been his wife Betsy. If it was, she was at least seven years older than Starling. A female who was in the 16-25 year old range lived in his household also ( born between 1795 and 1804), making her appear to be too young to be Betsy, who married Starling in 1807, unless Betsy married Starling when she was 12 or younger. This person was also too old to be Betsy’s daughter by Starling, since Betsy did not marry Starling until 1807. (Of course, this female could have been a sister, cousin, servant, etc. See Thomas Bartlett’s 1810 S. C. census and Richardson Bartlett’s South Carolina censuses.)
There were three females in Starling’s household in 1820 who were in the range of 10 to 16 years old. They would have been born between 1804 and 1810. If they were all Starling and Betsy’s daughters, they would all have to have been born between 1807 and 1810. One of these girls may have been a daughter of a first marriage of either Starling or Betsy or again it is possible that one or two were relatives, but not daughters.
There were two young boys in Starling’s household that year who were between the ages of infant and 10 years old, making their birth dates anytime between 1810 and 1820. We can assume that they could both be Betsy’s sons.
Starling Bartlett was living in Miller’s district in Hancock County and was allowed two draws in the 1820 Lottery. A married man with a wife/or son under 18 or unmarried daughter, was allowed two draws in this particular lottery. He was not a winner, however. [Frederick and William Archer lived in the same district and got 2 draws each. James Archer lived in the same district, but got only one draw, indicating that he was probably single.]
On October 11, 1826, Sterling Bartlett served on the jury for Hancock County.
Two of Starling Bartlett’s daughters were married in Hancock County, Georgia.
Rhoda Bartlett married Trimmakin Richardson on October 2, 1825. Mary Bartlett married Thomas Gilbert on August 30, 1828. Both of these girls and their husbands were named in Starling’s will written in 1857 in Taylor County, Ga., and he specifically names them as daughters. (But the writer of Starling’s will referred to Trimmakin as “Tennison” Richardson. All of these differences in the spelling of names go back to the clerks who recorded the documents by hand in the courthouse record books. As today, mistakes were easy to make.)
Sterling Bartlett was listed as a lucky winner in the 1827 land lottery. He was living in the 118th district of Hancock County, Ga., when he drew lot #32 in district 9 of the newly opened area of the state. At that time, the lot was said to be in Troup County, but that county was immediately divided into Troup, Harris, and Meriwether. Sterling received his grant (copy attached and also copy of plat attached) on November 24, 1828. [Ga. State Archives microfilm drawer 285 Box 99 page 55. Plat is in microfilm drawer
51, box 52, page 203.] The land appears to be in present day Meriwether County’s 9th district.
Sterling Bartlett paid taxes in 1829-1832 in Hancock County as shown by the available lists. He paid as a resident of the 118th district and paid for 374 or 379 acres of land adjoining the lands of Archer.
Sterling Bartlett, still living in the 118th district of Hancock County, was also a lucky winner in the Gold Lottery of 1832. He won lot # 911 in the 17th district, 2nd section of Cherokee County. This grant was claimed and assigned to Sterling Bartlett on June 7, 1838. [Copies of the grant and plat are attached to this report. They were found on microfilm at the Georgia State Archives in Atlanta. Drawer 53, Box 31 and Drawer 286 box 48.] The area in which this land lay was split off from Cherokee County, and this land wound up in Cobb County. The Cobb County deed records were mostly destroyed in 1864, so we may never know what happened to this 40 acres of land.
Sterling Bartlett was not on any Hancock County Tax list after 1832, indicating that he had moved away from the county.
Starling Bartlett “of Marion County” purchased lot #212 in the 12th district of Marion County (formed in 1827 from Lee, Muscogee, and Stewart Counties) from John Holly (of Pike County) in 1838 for $50. (John Whittington was his witness. He was either already Starling’s son-in-law, or was soon to be.)
In 1848, Starling Bartlett purchased lot #205 in the 12th district in Marion County (now Taylor County), from William H. Robinson, a lawyer from Macon County. Both deeds were not recorded until November 12, 1853. William Brown was his witness.
On May 17, 1855, Starling Bartlett purchased the east half of lot #204 in the 12th district (originally Muscogee, now Taylor County) containing 101 ¼ acres from John W. Cox. (Remember this Cox name for later.) This was recorded in Taylor County deed book “A” page 454, on May 17, 1855.
At some unknown date, Starling’s wife Betsy (Elizabeth) died and he remarried. “Sister Elizabeth Bartlett” had joined Bethel Baptist church on June 15, 1838 (a charter member) and her death was recorded in the Bethel Baptist Church records as 1843 (then
in Marion County.) As mentioned earlier, she joined the same day as “Sister Dorothy Shealy” and James S. Bartlett, Elizabeth “Betsy’s” daughter and son.
Sterling had remarried by 1850 but no record has been found of the marriage. Marion County records burned in 1845, so if he married her there, the record is forever gone. (Note: when his new wife Mary’s age on the census was analyzed, it is apparent that she was actually 53 instead of the originally reported 23. The census taker made his “5”s in a strange way, but when compared to the “2”s, it is plain that the number is actually a “5.”) A girl named Penelope (presumably a daughter, but no last name was specified) lived with them. She was 16, born in Georgia. In the 1860 census for Taylor County, Sterling’s age was 78, Mary’s age was 62 and she reported being born in S.C. A little girl named Mary Huey (?) age 9, lived with them.
“Penelope” is probably the “Pamphylia” who married Eli H. Shepherd and was found in the 1860 census. Eli H. Shepherd was born ca. 1832 and died by 1870. Mary Bartlett, age 73, (presumably Starling’s widow) lived with “Pamphylia” Shepherd in 1870 in Marshallville in Macon County. Pamphylia was a seamstress. She had two children, Alonzo who was 12 and was afflicted. The other child was Luther, age 10. No record has been found of her marriage either, to help determine her surname. Knowing her surname might help us find out Mary Bartlett’s first husband’s surname, which COULD possibly lead to finding out her unmarried surname. “Phamphi” Shepherd was found in the Macon County census in 1900 in household #24-63. She was 64 by then, still a seamstress, and son Alonzo, age 43, still lived with her. In the Macon County land records (Book A page 707) Marcus E. Sperry sold to “Painphile” Shepherd and the heirs of Eli H. Shepherd , all of Macon County, lot #42 in the 155th district, originally Houston County, now Macon County, containing 1 acre bounded by C.W. Nixon and Marcus E. Sperry. She bought it for $50. [Pamphylia is a name found in the Bible in Acts 2: 10.]
In Starling’s 1857 will, he wanted his wife Mary to have an equal share of his property to that his daughters were to receive. He stated in his will that he had already given his sons their inheritance, but the writer has found no legal record of that. (Perhaps it was money.) After Starling Bartlett died in late 1861 or early 1862, his will was probated on February 3, 1862 and twelve months’ support was set aside for his widow on February 14, 1862. The record was specific that his “family” consisted of Mary only, indicating that Penelope/Pamphylia was not Starling’s blood child. He also did not name her in his will. The inventory and appraisal of Starling’s estate were recorded on the same date. (Taylor County Inventories and Appraisals Vol. A-C, covering years 1852-1952.) His executor/son James S. Bartlett sold Starling’s three land lots to the highest bidder, C.W. Wade, on January 17, 1863 for $1025. From the sale were excluded 10 acres on the southeast corner, which may give a clue of Starling’s burial area. The sale was recorded on June 27, 1863 in Taylor County Wills and Deeds book “B” page 505. The sale of the perishable property of Starling’s estate was recorded in Estate Sales Vol. A A pages 231-234, Taylor county. Buyers were John Whittington, Jesse Garrett, A. McNeil, Mary Hill, J. R. Harman, E. Garrett, and E. Garrett, Jr., D. O. Smith, E. B. Waters, C. W. Wade, and John J. Garrett. For a separate report on Sterling's children, see the next "reply."