The Savannah Biographies is a collection of unedited biographies written by history students of Armstrong Atlantic State University. The papers were written between 1975 and the spring term of 1994 for Dr. Roger K. Warlick's Historical Methods course. These papers contain biographies of 19th and 20th century Savannahians - ordinary people from all walks of life who in some small way contributed to the history of the city of Savannah.
Below are the Savannah Biographies that have been digitized after receiving permission of the student biographer. The original and complete set of biographies is housed in 25 bound volumes in the Florence Powell Minis Room of Lane Library. Subject Index to the collection provides a complete list of the biographies.
William E. Christman
George A. Nicoll was born in Savannah on October 26, 1830. He was the son, of United States Judge John C. Nicoll. Nicoll learned the trade of engineer in, New York. He then, served as engineer on several steamships of the Philadelphia line. Shortly before the war Nicoll returned to Savannah. During this time he married Sallie Parker. Nicoll fought with the Confederacy during the War Between the States and was captured at Fort McCallister in 1864. After the war, Nicoll became a Savannah bank officer, a position he held until his death in 1879. He was forty-seven when he died.
Aaron R. Altmayer spent his years in Savannah operating a dry goods store, A. R. Altmayer & Co. He came from New York around 1875 and operated his business in Savannah and in New York. After a number of years in Savannah, Aaron Altmayer sold his business to Leopold Adler and returned to New York.
Hatel D. Desai
Edward Clifford Anderson, Sr. (1815-1883), Naval Officer, Confederate Officer, businessman, and Mayor of Savannah was born on November 8, 1815.
John A. Daily. Son of Joseph and Bridget Daily, was born January 19, 1879. He continued in the family grocery business and served with the “Irish Jasper Greens” from 1899 until after WWI.
Emma M. Adler
John Morel is among those of consequence in the early history of the Georgia Colony at Savannah. The eldest son of Peter Morel, he was born in Savannah at the dawn of the colony. He was a man of property, a man of letters, a merchant and a sea island planter. He was active in governmental affairs and was a patriot in the early days of the Revolutionary War. He was a member of Christ Church, the mother Church of the colony. During his brief lifetime of forty-three years, he was married twice and was the father of eleven children. In his will, written from "Bewlie" on the Vernon River, June 1774, John Morel bequeathed an extensive estate including Ossabaw Island, property in Savannah and at Yamacraw, property on the great Ogeechee and on the Vernon to his four sons. He provided amply for his wife during her widowhood, and left substantial dowries to his daughters. His descendants continue to live in Savannah and to take an interest in the life of. the city.
Charles Seton Henry was born in 1791, and came to Savannah from Albany, New Y.ork. He was an attorney, a city alderman, Commissioner of the United States customs house, a judge, and a founding member of the Georgia Historical Society. He married Sarah Aborn in 1827, and died in Savannah on August 19, 1864. Judge Henry is buried in laurel Grove Cemetery.
John B. Edwards
Robert Flournoy was born into an affluent family in Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1763. After moving to Georgia and fighting in the Revolutionary War, Robert amassed large land holdings in 11 counties. Mr. Flournoy married Mary Willis Cobb and fathered 9 children. Robert served several terms in the Georgia legislature as a Representative and Senator. Capt, Flournoy moved to Chatham County late in his life and purchased three plantations. Mr. Flournoy separated from his wife and died in Lexington, Georgia.
Alexander Harris lived from 1818 until 1909. He was born to a Free Black family. He lived most of his life in the same house on Williams Street;. He was married and had three children. He was employed as a dreyman, a musician, a soldier, and a Pastor. His appointment to the ministry almost split his church. He served at this post until his death. During his term as Pastor, he was instrumental in developing various social and civic groups in the lively Free Black community in Savannah.
William C. Hamilton
This is certainly true of Alexander Telfair. He was born to the Governor of Georgia and the daughter of a wealthy Savannah planter. Shortly after graduating from Princeton, Telfair's father died. This left him with the responsibility of managing his father's vast estate. His older brothers died leaving him as the only man in the family of a mother and sisters,.
Telfair preserved the family, the family wealth, and took his place as a religious and civic leader. He is mainly remembered for the house he had constructed which is now a museum.
Mary G. Speir
Algernon Sydney Hartridge was one of three sons born of Charles and Mary Hartridge. Algernon set up his business at 92 Bay Street as a cotton factor and commercial merchant. Some time in 1855, Algernon marries Susan E. Knight of Richmond County. The Hartridges had five children and their names were Ada, Charles, Gazaway, Algernon, Jr., and an infant who was still born.
During the Civil war, Algernon served as a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army. He was responsible for many army commands that were made in the interest of the people of the city of Savannah.
In the years to follow the Civil War, Algernon S. Hartridge became a member of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Board of Directors for the Oglethorpe Insurance Company (1864), the Savannah National Bank (1865-1868), the Tyler Cotton Press Company (1871), and the Central Railroad and banking Company of Georgia (1871-1876).
Dominick O'Byrne Esq. was an Irish immigrant who lived in Savannah from 1820 to 1850. He increased his wealth through wise business and real estate decision. His local business was primarily lumber. He was an active Catholic and a Hiberian. He was an Alderman for the last year of his life. He died of tuberculosis at age 67.
Charles Green immigrated from Liverpool, England aboard the William Donald which arrived 15 October l833 in Savannah, Georgia, a young and growing town whi.ch had been founded by the English just 1()() years e:arlier. Green left a country many centuries old steeped in tradition to seek his fortune in the fledgling United States of America which had only fifty years earlier gained its independence from England.
Edith T. Brunjes
Daniel Gugel or (Gugie) was born on November 1, 1766, and died on April 10, 1832. He was the eight child out of nine. His parents, Anna Maria and John Christopher Gugel, Sr., were first generation Salzburgers. They settled at Ebenezer, Georgia around 1750. There is no information on the childhood of Daniel. During his adult life, Daniel resided in Savannah, Georgia. In Savannah, he owned several pieces :of property; earned his living as a blacksmith; belonged to The Lutheran Church of the Ascension; and had a wife named Maryann.
Ellen McAlphin, daughter of Angus and Sarah Rucker McAlphin was born on August 14, 1856 at the Hermitage Planation along the Savannah River. Shew grew to be a charitable person, giving of herself to others. This was seen in her work with the Savannah Society where she organized and served as President of the Port Sewing Society for fifty-fur years. She was instrumental in the formation of the local chapter of the YWCA and served as its first president for more than five years after which she was made honorary president for life. She was an active member of the Independent Presbyterian Church where she served in the Women's Auxiliary and the Ladies Foreign Mission Society.
Francis Juan Cercopuly was born on March 15, 1805 in St. Augustine, Florida, the son of Greek and Spanish immigrants. He came to Savannah while a young man and worked on the small barges and boats traveling along the Savannah River. He became a captain on the steamers “Ida” and “Beauregard,” both of which played important roles in Savannah’s history during the Civil War. He died on July 26, 1869 and was buried in Cathedral Cemetery in Savannah.
Brett M. Campbell
James Wallace McAlpin was born October 29, 1831, son of Henry McAlpin a wealthy businessman. Mr. McAlpin was one of eight children. He was educated as a civil engineer, and worked on the construction of the South-Western Railroad between Albany and Macon. Mr. McAlpin served in the Confederate Army for the entire war. He became a wealthy planter on the Savannah River with his wife, Maria S. Champion. Mr. McAlpin and his wife had five children together. Mr. McAlpin died August 3, 1905, outliving his wife, Maria, and leaving a large estate behind.
John Dorsett came to Savannah from New York City sometime prior to July 1838. During: his brief eight year residence in Savannah he became well known in both the social and business communities. At the time of his death he left a wife and three children but the absence of a will has decreed that the value of :his estate be lost in history.
John Murchison was born August 11, 1793 in Lochalsh Parish in the county of Ross, Scotland, came to Savannah in 1820, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States December 1829. On March 22, 1836 he married Mary Ann Summers Purse in the Lutheran Church of Ascension, and they had two children, Mary Ellen and James Wallace, ho died at an early age of scarlet fever. To his family Murchison as a devoted husband and father. He also ran a grocery store on Market Square and became a successful business man. In later years he was a stockholder to the Central Railroad of Georgia, the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, and the Augusta and Savannah railroad. He was a member of the St. Andrew's Society, the Union Society, the Union and States Rights Party, a lifelong member of the Independent Presbyterian Church, and at one time a director for the Merchants' and Flanters' Bank. In 1851 he built a house on Lot 30, Pulaski Ward which is still standing at 114-116 West Jones Street. He died in Savannah August 30, 1869 of tuberculosis after having retired several years earlier. He was survived by his wife Mary Ann, his daughter Mary Ellen and her husband Cornelius D. Rogers, and their children(Mary Ellen's and Cornelius's) from whose lines may be traced living descendants of John Murchison.
Lisa M. Coughlin
Mary Savage (Jones) Anderson was a descendant, both by birth and marriage, of the Habersham and Noble families. Both of these families’ roots can be traced back to the founding of Georgia. This is a brief sketch of her life. The purpose of this paper was to give an idea of what it was like to grow up one hundred years ago in a prominent local family, and to give an insight on the personality and attitude of Mary Anderson.
Georgianna J. Laroche was born Georgianna J. Roberts to Mr. James Roberts and his wife the former Miss Mary Henley on January 8, 1820. Georgianna attended Chatham Academy. She excelled at history and arithmetic. At the age of 14 Georgianna married Mr. Isaac D. Laroche on December 1, 1834. They had a total of twelve children seven of whom reached maturity. She died giving birth to her last child on Sept ember 14, 1860.
Philip Ulmer, a wealthy planter in southeast Georgia was born in 1783 probably in western Chatham County, Georgia. During his life, he fathered eleven children by two wives and died a wealthy man 1856, at the age of seventy-three. Since both Philip's father and granr1rather also had the name of Philip Ulmer, this report will refer to the grandfather as Philip 1, the father as Philip II, and the son, the focus of this report, as Philip III.
Cynthia A. Johnson
I, Quintin Pooler, arrived in the fair thirteenth colony from Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Friday, the 6th of December,1768, on board the ship Prince George, captained by Robert Beatty. Also on board the ship was Reverend Mr. David MacKay, appointed pastor or the Williamsburg congregation of South Carolina and 144 settlers or whom I was one. Obviously, they thought me quite the gentleman, for I signed in the name of them with David MacKay and Clothworthy Robson, in thanking Captain Beatty for their safe passage across the Atlantic.
Richard Dennis, son of John Dennis and Mary Jacque (maiden name), was born in the state of New Jersey in 1770. During Richard's lifetime he made his way south into the state of Georgia where he established himself within Savannah as a merchant. By 1800 Dennis was fully active in the local business society and town government. If duty called then.Richard Dennis answered because, not only was he a successful merchant but Dennis was appointed commander of the local Savannah militia.
Dennis had fruitful ten year period in Savannah until for one reason and another he evacuated the city. Sources support the idea that Dennis ventured into states such as Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Whatever his reason was for leaving he did in fact continue his career as a merchant. On 8 November 1845, after three marriages and the births of three children, Richard Dennis died in the state of Kentucky.
Patrick A. Bonard
It is my intention that the information I will present will bring the reader to the conclusion that Richard J. Davant, Jr. was a progressively minded citizen who put the well being of those around him in higher regard that his own and who contributed significantly to the betterment of Savannah during the period 1903-1915.
Michael E. Bowman
Samuel Butler Palmer was both a wise and successful business man. He transformed a small neighborhood business started by him and his father into one of the Southeast's largest hardware wholesale outlets. He was a staunch successionist and served his state to the bitter end. He was a generous member of the Savannah Benevolence Association. He was a husband twice and a father twice, although sadly enough in the end he died a single man with no living offspring. He was a credit to the Palmer family.