Queensborough Township, Jefferson County, Georgia

Here is an excerpt from "Scotch-Irish," "Real Irish," and "Black Irish": Immigrants and Identities in the Old South by Kerby A. Miller (in Andrew Bielenberg, ed., The Irish Diaspora (London, 2000):

"Private land speculators also encouraged Irish immigration. For example, in 1765 John Rea, an Ulster-born Indian trader, advertised in the Belfast News-Letter for 'industrious' immigrants from the north of Ireland to settle at Queensborough Township, on his 50,000 land grant in the Georgia backcountry, promising the newcomers one hundred acres per family, plus horses, mules, and other supplies.

'The land I have chosen,' he declared, 'is good for wheat, and any kind of grain, indigo, flax, and hemp will grow to great perfection, and I do not know any place better situated for a flourishing township than this place will be. People that live on the low land near the sea are subject to fever and agues, but high up in the country it is healthy [with] fine springs of good water. The winter is the finest in the world, never too cold, very little frost and no snow.' Rea candidly admitted that he would not advise any person to come here that lives well in Ireland, because there is not the pleasure of society [here] that there is there, [nor] the comfort of the Gospel preached, no fairs or markets to go to. But we have greater plenty of good eating and drinking, for, I bless God for it, I keep as plentiful a table as most gentlemen in Ireland, with good punch, wine, and beer.'

"Rea concluded with the clinching enticement that, 'If any person that comes here can bring money to purchase a slave or two, they may live very easy and well.' ...

"Outside the Middle Colonies, a large minority of Irish immigrants were Loyalists during the American Revolution, and in the Carolinas and Georgia the conflict degenerated into a vicious, bloody civil war between rival Ulster-American factions, some motivated by political ideals, others by greed and revenge—eager to ride to wealth and power at their neighbours’ expense. For example, most of John Rea’s Ulster settlers in Queensborough Township, Georgia, remained faithful to their king, and in reprisal the victorious patriots confiscated their lands and obliterated the very name of their settlement.

"Many ships brought Protestant Irish immigrants from Belfast, Ireland to Savannah, 1768 to 1774. Not all of them had manifests and not all have left records.

"Queensborough Township was a rectangular 50,000-acre reserve, set aside in 1767, for Protestant Irish immigrants. It extended mainly northeastward from present day Louisville, Jefferson County, Georgia, with its southwestern boundary the Ogeechee River and its southeastern boundary, Dry Creek, a branch of the Ogeechee. A 250-acre town site, about 50' X 90', a town common and a glebe area was included for a church.

"A William Little (Sr.), had a warrant dated December 12, 1769, and his 300-acre grant was dated September 6, 1774, with the words "Queensborough Township" underlined.

"Numbered town lots were entered on land grants if individually requested by the Irish immigrants. There is some doubt as to whether any houses were built on the town site, but the records show that meetings were held at "Queensborough". Apparently either a meeting house or a church was built in the "glebe" area.

"William Little's 300 acre grant does not show a numbered lot in the town site. His grant was located approximately 4 miles from the site.

"The entire town site was granted, book BBB page 272, October 20, 1793, to the Rev. David Bothwell, Reformed Presbyterian Minister, who came to the area in January 1790.

"Records show that a large number of the remaining passengers in Savannah, who had landed December 10, 1769, had warrants for survey of land in Queensborough Township, (inland about 125 miles), dated December 12, 1769, with an ending fixed date of July 3, 1770, for the grant of land."

"On the 12th of January 1796 was the marked date of the first session of the General Assembly in Louisville. It was begun and held at the town of Louisville in the County of Burke. Jefferson County was created. Jefferson County was home to many Scotch-Irish in which they founded Queensboro before the Capital era days. The General Assembly in 1766 had passed an act to encourage settlers to come into the province and granted 1,800 pounds sterling for this purpose. George Galphin and John Rae had advertisements appearing in the newspapers in Ireland during 1766 telling about this wonderful new country and the township which would be established. Galphin would send a ship for the settlers. By 1768 no Irish had arrived to live on the land reserved for them. They had refused to leave their native soil until their passage was paid and land laid out free of expense to them. Thus was the beginning of the township Queensboro as nearly 100 immigrants arrived in Savannah in December 1768 aboard the ship 'Prince George.' Another 200 came in 1771." Welcome To Jefferson County, Georgia. See: Old Town: The Forgotten Years, 1780-1810.

"The records indicate that William Little Sr. gave the 300 acre property to his son, William Little Jr., who gave it to his son, Robert. Evidence of this found in a Jefferson County deed dated the 6th of October, 1804, deed book pps 308, 309, when Robert Little sold the lower 2/3rds or 200 acres of the 300-acre tract to George Washington Chisolm, wherein it was stated that the 300 acres was 'bequeathed' by William Little d. 1800, the father to Robert Little. (Robert would have been 17–18 years old.) Robert had previously sold the upper 100 acres to Elizabeth Ronaldson, widow of Rev. William Ronaldson of pre-Revolutionary War fame. The date of Robert Little's marriage to Mary Collins Spikes was October 18, 1804. The marriage was twelve days after he completed the sale of the 300-acre original home place." Robert Little's Journal and other pieces of information.

The 300-acre "old home place" was on Black Jack Creek around four miles outside Queensborough Township, Jefferson County, Georgia. Jefferson County was originally part of Wilkes County. Just west of Savannah. (Matthew Rea was the land promoter for this settlement.)


Early Church History