From the Spring of 1854 through 1863, Seaborn J. Hawk of Jasper County, Georgia, kept a farm journal. The journal was carefully saved and preserved for a hundred years, and in 1960 Mrs. Edgar Lancaster of Shady Dale, Georgia presented the document to the Georgia Department of Archives and History for microfilming. In 1999 I obtained a copy of this document intent on gleaning it for any genealogy data it may offer.
|1855 January||February grid||May grid||May||June||July||October||December||Bills||Cash paid|
As I read and studied the document, however, I was more taken with its value as a contextual record, its details of daily life as a farm manager. I was taken with Seaborn's medicinal tables and remedies transcribed from other reference works; his notes about livestock, planting, the weather; his spreadsheet entries where he charts the productivity of his slaves. In short, all the details and observations that would have been important to any farm owner in the south in the time before the war between the states. My eventual desire was to transcribe the entire work, but I did not make it very far. I did complete the genealogical extract, however.
If anyone cares to do a full transcription, I will gladly post the results here. Email me at the link above if you care to take on this task. When I recently bought a scanner, it occurred to me that the entire work in its original form could be made available as a primary resource for other interested genealogists and historians. As of July 2000 I am about halfway through scanning the document. **Note, some of the information may appear unreadable - but if you save the image and then convert it to a negative, you will find that the words often pop out.
Shady Dale is a small community in the northeast corner of Jasper County, near Morgan and Putnam counties. On the other side of the county is Hillsboro, a place where I grew up walking the railroad tracks and deer trails. In the summer I worked in the fields hauling hay, gathering eggs in chickenhouses, doing forestry work at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, pumping gas, mowing yards.
|1857 February||March||April||May||June||July||At Providence||August||September||December|
The most fun part of working at Piedmont NWR was that I learned of some back roads - forestry roads and logging roads - that I would never have seen otherwise. There are some truly remote areas in the county. One morning after a long ride over a heavily rutted dirt road to a remote clearing in the woods, I jumped out of the truck, looked down at my feet, and saw an indian arrowhead sticking out of the red clay. This prompted a brief scavenger hunt but no other artifacts were found. Now, Georgia has laws regarding such antiquities, but after some discussion among the group leaders, the arrowhead found its way back into my pocket, and the site was noted for future investigation. Georgia is rich in such artifacts, and I am told that an archaeologist can find such things almost anywhere they look. The same is said of civil war era items such as buttons and bullets. Nevertheless it made a lasting impression on me.
|1858 January||February||March||April||May||May (rest)||June||June (rest)||July||August||September||October||November|
I went to school in Monticello, the county seat, and worked a few summers at the Georgia Pacific plywood and panelboard plants there. As a boy I bicycled all over the place; a favorite bike tour was out to remote Hillsboro Lake. During all of the time I was growing up there were no other Hawk families in the county, and so I believed we were the first. After all, my father's kin were in Walton County to the north, and whenever we went to visit family it was always a long drive - and a long visit - for a boy.
|1859 January||February||March||April||May||May (rest)||June||June (rest)||July||August||October||November||December||Contract|
Jasper County is a rural area, dominated by pine tree forests, and clear cutting is unfortunately a common sight In addition to the pulpwood and lumber industry there is a feldspar mine, and deer hunting is a big draw for the county. Each November the Monticello town square is home to the Deer Festival, and the whole town turns out for it. There is also the most nearly perfect football field anywhere in central Georgia, a place called Rose Bowl Field. Set into a bowl shaped area, and maintained zealously by the high school coaching staff, it has the softest, greenest playing surface that I ever have seen at any level. Under the Friday night lights of October, the feel of the grass damp with dew, the smells of distant burning pecan leaves, are impressions I will never forget.
|1860 January||February||Feb (more)||March||March (more)||April||April (more)||April (more)||April (more)||May||May (more)||May (more)||May (more)|
This is an old county, old enough that its pine forests have been harvested several times over. Before it was in pine the county was mostly in cotton, until the boll weavil decimated cotton production in the 1920's and 30's. A man cannot make a great living today in farming; but when cotton was king a hardworking free man could make his fortune farming it. Before cotton the area was a mixture of old growth hardwood and pine. Jasper was formed in the 1807 land lottery along with Morgan, Putnam, and Jones counties, from the original Baldwin county, which was itself formed in the 1805 lottery. Initially Jasper was known as Randolph County, but the name changed in 1812 (when the namesake argued against going to war with the British) and has remained Jasper since. Follow these links to learn more about this area.
If you want to know still more, get the book: History of Jasper County, Georgia. A primary contributor to this book was John P. Harvey, an eminent historian, and the father of the finest friend a young man ever had, William Matthew Harvey. Matt died in 1980 at the age of 19, in a freak auto accident in south Georgia. Twenty years later I still think of him often, and I still hope to hear a knock on the door and see him standing outside. The memory of loved ones such as this is a powerful motivator to perform my life's work to the best of my abilities.
|1860 (cont) June||June (more)||June (more)||June (more)||July|
It came as a great surprise to me last year as I was tracing my Hawk line, that all three brothers of my progenitor William Hawk lived in Jasper County for many years, their families appearing in deed records from 1815 through 1908. Although I am not directly connected to this branch of the tree I have been researching it to build as complete a picture as possible. My hope of course is that this will shed light back on my William Hawk line.