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.
Helen H. Waters
At the time of his death in 1835, John Waters was a successful planter and landlord and perhaps one of the wealthiest men in Savannah. He owned both a cotton plantation and a rice plantation as well as numerous city tenements. He was a well- respected citizen, serving numerous terms on the Grand Jury and on the County Board of Health, but more than once refused to be a candidate for city alderman. Ironically, he seemed to possess a curious lack of regard for legal and civic issues; in one well publicized case blatantly disregarding a city ordinance which ran contrary to his interests. He married twice, survived both wives, and was himself survived by three daughters.
David N. McCullough Jr.
John Young Noel, a prominent attorney and Mayor of Savannah for four terms, was born in the City of New York on June 18, 1762 of parents illustrious for pity. He was practicing law in Elizabethtown, New Jersey where he married his wife, Sarah C. (Dennis) Stites, the widow of Richard Stites and the mother of Richard Montgomery Stites. The date of his arrival in Savannah is unknown, but Noel was appointed Judge of the Courts in Upper Georgia prior to 1789 Tax Digest for Chatham County. He was also noted to be the Solicitor General of Georgia in 1794.
Joseph Burke was born in 1820 in Wicklow, Ireland. He probably spent some time in the state of New York before arriving in Savannah in 1841. He may have married Ellen Burchel Phelan in 1845, but, if he did, neither his wife nor any children they may have seem to have survived him. Burke’s offices as a cotton merchant and exchange broker were at 66 Bay Street. He was also a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Commerce.
Joseph L. McAllister, son of George. W. McAllister, was a planter from Bryan County Georgia. After the death of his father in 1850, Joseph inherited Strathy Hall, a large plantation in South-East Bryan County, and entered the ranks of the "gentlemen-farmers." Then in 1861, the life of Joseph McAllister made a drastic change. With the outbreak of the American Civil war, Joseph enlisted in Confederate Service. He allow the construction of an earth fortification at Strathy Hall with the condition that the fortress built there would be named for his father, George Washington McAllister. From 1861 to 1864, Joseph participated in the defense of the city of Savannah, and in April 1862, Joseph mustered into service a company of mounted infantrymen called "The Hardwicke Rifles" to serve his state. Then in 1864, Joseph's command was transferred to the 7th Georgia Cavalry and ordered to Virginia. It was at Trevilian Station that Joseph gave his most for his beliefs. On the 12th of June, 1864, Joseph L. McAllister died in battle bravely fighting against overwhelming odds. He is buried at Louisa Courthouse, Virginia.
Joseph Robert Thompson was born in Savannah in 1798 and died in Savannah in 1855, He was a master carpenter; his renowned skill displayed in his beautiful home on Bull And Perry Street where he lived from 1830 until 1817 with his wife and seven children. My paper begins with his heritage and proceeds with an account of his life story by informing the reader of the data in the following order, heritage, rnarriage, trade, property, civic affairs, death, and then the lives of his children,
In 1847, Joseph Sullivan emigrated to the United States from Kerry, Ireland. Along with him came his wife, Mary, a son, John, a daughter Margaret, and a Mary Sullivan. By 1850 the Sullivan family move to Savannah, Georgia from New York. However, they do not become citizens until 1852. While in Savannah, the Sullivans experience the birth of two daughters-Mary and Ellen. Joseph Sullivan's occupations included being a laborer, porter, janitor. However he worked as a clerk at Southern Bank for ten years. By 1887 Joseph Sullivan's life comes to an end.
Karen H. Hebling
Joseph Woodruff was born in England around 1735. He acquired land in St. Andrew's Parish and lived there with his wife, Mary Forrester. Eventually earning the
rank of Colonel, one of his many duties during the Revolutionary War was that as Quartermaster General for Georgia in 1781. In 1782 he was elected Collector
for the port of Savannah. He was reelected 1783 and 1784. He was also active in Savannah as a vestryman of Christ Church.
Josiah Penfield was born in Connecticut but spent most of his 43 years down south in Savannah. He contributed much to the city during its formative years by participating in every social, religious, and political function he could. When he died, most of his modest fortune he had worked so hard for was brilliantly distributed by him to causes which resulted in very fruitful results. Josiah was loved by many, not because of his unique business mind but because he used it to help so many.
William E. M. Belford
Joseph Wilkinson, from St. Peters Parish, South Carolina sold the house on lot 13, Washington Ward to Susannah Miller, his mother-in-law in 1807.Joseph married Susannah Miller Wilkinson in 1805 or 1806. They had two children, Joseph Isiah and Sarah Ann Wilkinson. Joseph and Susannah District, South Carolina, Sometime before 1830.died within 3 months of each other in 1815 and 1816. Susannah Miller took custody of the children until her death in 1817. The children were then taken to Colleton District, South Carolina by their uncle, William Wilkinson. Sarah Ann Wilkinson married J.I. Coachman in Colleton District, South Carolina sometime before 1830.
Patricia A. Singleton
Julius Koox moved to Savannah from Cologne, Germany around 1856. His Bavarian wife, Madalena, accompanied him to America. Madalena gave birth to a daughter, Anita, and a son, Anton, during their Marriage. Julius bought lots thirty-five and thirty-six of Brown Ward for $5000 on June 10, 1867. These two lots were bounded on the north by McDonough Street, on the east by Drayton Street, on the south by Perry street and on the west facing Chippewa Square. From 1867 to 1877, Mr. Koox involved himself in both the grocery and liquor businesses. His grocery store and residence were located on 63 Drayton Street while his saloon, The "Theatre Shades", stood on McDonough Street across the street from the Savannah Theatre. His club memberships included the Democratic Party, Brown and Greeley Club of Georgia Committees and the Schnetzen Society. He served on the grand jury at the Chatham County Superior Court on several occasions. The Bavarian Brewery of St. Louis, Missouri, E. Anhowser and Company, proprietors, appointed Mr. Koox as the Savannah agent 1875-1877. Anton Koox died of yellow fever on October 1,1876. Unfortunately, due to unpaid state and county taxes 1876, the Chatham County Sheriff placed Mr. Koox' s property up for sale to be auctioned in August 1877. Not being able to face the fact of losing his grocery store and saloon, Julius Koox committed suicide on August 8, 1877 and was buried at Bonaventure Cemetery, Section E, Lot 107 Anita Koox married James J. Connor in 1878 and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Madalena Kook died in Savannah on August 2, 1901.
Dorothy H. Stewart
Kate Flannery Semmes lived from 1868 to 1958. She was born into the Irish Catholic community of Savannah, Georgia. She inherited nearly a million dollars from her father, Captain John Flannery, a native of Ireland and citizen of Savannah, Georgia. She married Raphael Semmes of Mississippi and Atlanta, Georgia. They had no children. Both Mrs. Semmes and her father, Capt. Flannery, were awarded the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifici" medal from the pope of the Roman Catholic Church for their benefactions to the Church. Kate Semmes was also the cousin and benefactress of the Southern author, Flannery O'Connor.
Laurence Connell immigrated from Ireland and arrived in Savannah in 1837. He was a shopkeeper and held a number of public offices, both elective and appointive. Constable, Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, Port Harden, Notary, member of the Board of Health and Chief Pailiff of the County Court. Indications are that he left Savannah in 1890. There is no record of any living descendants.
Debra D. McNeal
An Irish immigrant who came to Savannah in about 1851, Laurence Dunn quickly established himself in financial and community affairs. His business interests included real estate, a grocery store and saloon, and some involvement with the shipping industry. Mr. Dunn married Catherine Mitchell in 1854 and together they had five or six children, three of whom lived to maturity. He enlisted to serve in the Con federate Army in 1862. Catherine M. Dunn died in late 1889 and Mr. Dunn survived her by five years, dying in January, 1895. The Dunn descendants were and are active members of the Savannah community in the fields of education, medicine, commerce and law.
Richard J. Landolt Jr.
Lazarus Mohr: Born approximately 1844. Died March 16, 1906. Wife: Ida Mohr. Children: Gustav Lazarus Mohr. Sigo Mohr. Blanche Mohr. Edna Mohr. Rita Mohr. Born in Bavaria approximately 1844. Immigrated to United States prior to 1867. Was a partner in Oppenheimer, Mohr and Co. and later in Mohr Bro. Co. Was listed as helping to form the Liberty Mfg. Co. With Amson, his brother, he formed the American Mfg. Co. which manufactured pants, Was of Jewish faith and associated with Mickve Israel Temple, Lazarus died March 16, 1906,
Lorraine N. Abraham
Levi Sheftall D'Lyon born October 23...Savannah, died August 28, 1862 Savannah. A descendant of some of the original Jewish families that settled in Savannah in 1733. A prominent attorney in Savannah from 1809 until his death, a member of the Georgia Legislature from 1820-21, and a city alderman: 1815-17, 1819-22 and 1827-29. He was a judge of the Court of Common...from 1838-45 and a city court judge from 1861-63. In the Georgia Hussars he attained the rank of cornet. D'Lyon was a lifelong Democratic Party activist. He married Leonora Delamota in 1818 and then after her death in childbirth, her sister Rebecca in 1820. He was the father of five children, including Leonorean D'Lyon, a professor of languages, James W. D'Lyon, a Westpoint graduate and Leonora H. Randall, a Hebrew scholar.
Mr. Louis B. Toomer was an early civil rights activist in post-Civil War Savannah. Although born in Charleston, South Carolina, Toomer was a moving force of reform in Savannah for blacks. He entered politics in 1870, and, despite holding only one office, remained politically active throughout his life. As for other occupations, Mr. Toomer worked for the Postal Service, taught at a local school, and co-founded and edited newspapers. Louis was married, had several children, and was a devout Christian.
Lonnie B. Powers
Major Odingsells was a man of many talents. He was a Revolutionary War soldier, state legislator, wealthy planter, and a widely acclaimed man about town. He appears to have come from South Carolina where he was also a man of fame. He lived for the most part on Skidaway Island, but owned property in Chatham, Effingham, and other locations too numerous to mention. He had only two children by his wife Sarah Livingston Odingsells. Both children, Charles Spencer and Mary Susannah Odingsells died at very early ages. His wife remarried to a David E. Adams and they had no children that I could locate.
John W. Lee
Major Edward White was born in Brooklyn, Massachusetts in 1758. He came to Savannah in 1785 as a soldier in the Revolutionary Army. He married Hildred Scott Stubbs in 1792. They had three children by 1806, when Major White drew up his will. Major White held several important social and civic positions in Savannah. He acquired real property in several counties. He died in 1812 and was interred in Colonial Cemetery.
Glenn C. Godbee
John Foley was a native of Ballinclave County, Kerry Ireland, born in the year 1813. Foley was married in early life, but his wife passed away in Europe many years ago.
They had no children from the marriage. He came to the United states in 1836, and on to Savannah, Georgia in October of the same year. He did contract work for the Central of Georgia
Railroad and Banking Company until circa 1840. By 1840, Foley opened a successful merchandise-grocery store business on the corner of Columbia Square (fronting present day Habersham, President, and State Streets). During the 1840's, he joined the Hibernian Society (1844), was a member of the Republican Blues military unit (1845); joined the Irish Jasper Greens military unit (1849). He became a Freemason in 1851, joining Solomon's Lodge No. 1, F.A.M.
Margaret C. Williams was more than just a "lady of leisure." She was a wife, a mother and even a business woman. She was born in 1815, in Chatham County. Her life began as most young girls lives do. She grew up and got married at the young age of 17. She had eight children, two girls and six boys. After the death of her husband she became the head of her house. Because of her ability to deal in business, she was able to take care of her children.
Mark T. Powell
David Cutler Braddock, captain and mariner of His Majesty’s Provinces Georgia and South Carolina, was part of General James Edward Oglethorpe’s regiment of soldiers and sailors and acted as a privateer for the Crown against the Spanish empire in America. He first appeared in colonial records in 1740 and was an active participant in the War of Jenkin’s Ear (1739-1748) and the French and Indian War (1756-1763). In the late 1740’s, he and his family settled in the area of the Great and Little Ogeechee Rivers in Christ Church Parish on what is now known as Wild Heron Plantation. Shortly thereafter, Captain Braddock began to participate in the government of the Province as a representative for the Village of Acton. Toward the last years of his life, Braddock sold much of his land and petitioned the government for a smaller plot (only 650 acres) in St. Matthew’s Parish. Finally, on February 8, 1769, David Cutler Braddock passed from this life, exiting Georgia as quietly as he had entered it.
History has shown that all societies have their myths and mysteries. They play an integral part in any culture. Savannah, so full of historical significance, is not immune. The name of Mary Marshall is well-known to those knowledgeable in the architectural and family histories of Savannah. Outside this realm the name of Marshall is known through its association with Marshall Row and the old Marshall House. But the character, background and life of this remarkable lady have remained a virtual mystery. Through time, mystery elicits myth, but history has proven that all myths have enduring roots.
Mary Savage Anderson was raised in the household of her maternal grandfather, William Neyle Habersham, where she was exposed to many of the finest things in life such as good music, excellent wine and Savannah’s most elite society. Her grandmother, Josephine Clay, was a tireless and enthusiastic task master who saw to the education of her three half-orphaned grandchildren. Both Josephine Clay and Anna Wylly, Mary’s mother, kept journals during the Civil War which were later published. Growing up in such an environment prepared Mary for a life of leadership and writing. In 1905 she married Clarence Gordon Anderson, an up and coming bank executive. As an adult, she was involved in several societies and garden clubs. Several of her historical writings were published, although perhaps the best of them was not. Childless, she doted on her nieces and nephews and is remembered fondly by all.
Roddy J. Hatch II
Matthew Salfner was born November 20, 1737b His parents, Matthias Salssner and Agnes Zarner, moved to this country in 1752 from Wurttemberg, Germany, with a group of Protestant immigrants led by Rev. Christian Rabenhorst. They settled in the White Bluff district and had four children , Matthew being the eldest. He grew up and settled in the White Bluff district, also, on 100 acres granted to him through the English Crown Grant, granted December· 4, 1759. A planter, he married Dorothy Gnann of Effingham County. He and Dorothy had four children including Matthew Ill, John Isaac, Susan and Ann. Matthew died March 13, 1806. Dorothy died March 27, 1847.
Michael Philip Usina was born in August 23, 1840 in St. Augustine Fl. He moved to Savannah, GA in 1855. He served with the Oglethorpe Light Infantry in 1861 and was wounded in the first battle of Manassas. He transferred to the Confederate Navy in 1862 and served in the Savannah squadron. In 1863, Usina joined the blockading service, making 28 successful runs through the Union blockade.
During the war, he married Camilla Neligan, also from St. Augustine. After the war the couple settled in Savannah. Michael was a river pilot and in the early 1870's joined ... M. Jones in forming the Savannah Dry Dook Company. In the late 1870's, he returned to his old occupation of piloting and commanding steamers to pay the ... incurred by operating the dry dock. In his later years he was very active in the Confederate Veteran Association. On July 4, 1893, he delivered a speech "Blockade Running in Confederate Times," which is one of the best descriptions of blockade running in print. Usina served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Savannah Pilots Association form 1894 until his death. He died at Post Graduate Hospital in New York on July 4. 1903.