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.
Mordecai Myers (1794-1865) is a bizarre character in the history of Savannah. He appears in many newspaper articles in name only, participates in many organization, committees, and even as a member of the House of Representatives. He had a large family with a great, great-grandson as a modern day descendent. He owned in Chatham County and outside the county. He is a sketchy figure with still many questions to be answered.
Jeffrey E. Sanders
Morgan Rawls was born in Bulloch County, Georgia in 1829, He later moved to Effingham County where he married Selina Elkins in. 1851, Mr. Rawls was Lieutenant Colonel of the 54th Georgia Infantry during the Civil War until he was wounded at the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864. After the war, he represented Effingham County in the Georgia legislature from l868-1872, 1886-1889, and from 1896-1904. Morgan Rawls died October 18, 1906. he is buried in Guyton Cemetery.
Moses Abram Cohen was born in Charleston, South Carolina on October 22, 1815. He came to Savannah in 1834 and very rapidly entered the steamship business. In 1836 M. A. Cohen served as a Pheonix Rifleman in the Seminole War. During the American Civil War, Mr. Cohen served with the Savannah Artillery at Fort Pulaski for a short time. Socially, M.A. Cohen was a long-time member of the Zerubbabel Lodge of Masons. He also was an organizer of the Savannah Yacht Club in 1869. The only political position Mr. Cohen ever held was that of Mayor of Vernonburg (White Bluff).6 In the early 1890's he served as president of the Jasperville Lawn and Improvement Co.7 M.A. Cohen died on November 12, 1899 at the age of 84. Before his death he had been the oldest merchant living in Savannah and was also the oldest living member of the Chatham Artillery.8 on June 3, 1962 the family of Mary Newcomb Bull, relatives of M.A. Cohen, were killed in an Air France plane crash over Paris, France.9
Pamela A. Jarvis
Mr. John Stoddard, Esq. was born at Northampton, Mass., in 1809. He died at Savannah, Ga in 1879. During his seventy years, he proved himself to be a man of ambition and non-stop energy. He was a leader in community and business affairs. He marred Mary L. Mongin of South Carolina and had five children with her.
Caroline C. Overstreet was born in 1802, the oldest child of Adam and Mary Cope. She lived for most of her seventy-three years in the city of Savannah, Georgia. She was married to a young merchant who died tragically, leaving her to bring up ·their two small children alone. She lost her only son to scarlet fever shortly after, and so lived until her death in 1876 with only the company of her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
William Cleghorn was born in Savannah to Harriet Clark in 1822. A black man, skilled in the baking profession, was given his freedom, along with his wife and two children in 1846. Cornelia, his wife was a seamstress and Francis M. Stone was her guardian. In 1850, Mr. Cleghorn began to be noted in Savannah for his fine catering to social gatherings hosted by white society members. His reputation grew and more opportunities for his services were presented throughout his career.
Nathan B. Brown was born in Orange County, New York, on the 31st of July, 1835. His parentage, early life, and details of his marriage and migration to Savannah, Georgia remain a mystery due to an unfortunate lack of information.
Wensley H. Hobby
Nathaniel Pendleton was born in Culpepper County, Virginia· on October 27, 1756 and was a descendant of an English man named Phillip Pendleton, who came to Virginia in 1674. Pendleton served with distinction in the Continental Army from 1775 to 1J83 attaining the rank of major as an aide-de camp to General Nathaniel Greene. Pendleton settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1785 and began the practice of law. While in Georgia, he held notable public offices, that culminated in the honor of being chosen by President Washington to be the first United States District Judge for the State of Georgia. In 1796, when his name became associated with the Yazoo Land Fraud, Pendleton left the state to reside in New York.
There, he was a member of the bar and judiciary and was a law partner of Alexander Hamilton. In the fatal Burr-Hamilton duel, Pendleton served as Alexander Hamilton's second. Judge Pendleton resided at his home in Hyde Park, New York until his death in 1821. He was survived by several children and his grandson, George Hunt Pendleton ran on the presidential ticket with McClellan, in 1864, against Lincoln.
Bethany Lee Ford
Nicholas John Jones was born in Ireland in 1825. He came to Savannah, Georgia, in 1870, after havinq been in this country for some time. He was a private in the Savannah Police Force from 1870 through 1884. He was married twice; his first wife, Mary, died in 1887, and he married his second wife, Annie, the next year. He had no children. Nicholas was by no means a flamboyant man, but he was active in buying and selling property and was quite good at turning a sizeable profit. From 1888 until his death, he lived at 402 East Liberty Street, on the corner of Habersham. He died on
June 21, 1910, of kidney disease and is buried in the Catholic Cemetary.
Horace H. D. Smith
Nicholas .John Jones was born in Ireland in 1825, He came to America when he was young lad, However, he did not come o Savannah, Georgia, until 1870, From May 26, 1871 through 1884 he was a private in the Savannah Police Force. He was married twice, His first wife Mary died in 1887, He married Annie the next year. In 1882, Nicholas and Mary built a row of houses on East Liberty Street. They rented these houses, He was active in buying and selling property. He died on June 21, 1910, of kidney disease and is buried in the Catholic Cemetery.
Mary Ann ones was born in Dublin Ireland on October 20, 1842, She came to Savannah, Georgia, in 1870 with her husband Nicholas, They had been living somewhere else in the United States before coming to Savannah, Mary and Nicholas built a row of houses on East Liberty Street in 1882. They rented these houses, Mary opened a second-hand clothing store in 1880 and ran it until her d8ath, Mary died on June 20, 1887, of fatty infiltration o·f the heart, and is buried in Catholic Cemetery
Nina Anderson Pape, an educator and humanitarian, influenced many lives in Savannah, Georgia and the nation. She was born on August 29,1869 in Savannah, Georgia, and she died on March 5, 1944. Daughter of Edward Pape and Mary Stites Anderson Pape, she founded the Pape School which was dedicated to an excellent and thorough education. The Pape school became the nucleus of Savannah Country Day School in 1955. Her involvement in social reform was extensive. She gave of herself fully to help other people. She was also a prominent figure in the Girl Scouts, holding many positions during her lifetime. One of the women at Louisa Porter's home on March 12, 1912, she was part of the founding of the Girl Scouts. She was honored both during her lifetime and after her death for her work in education and social reform. She was a prominent lady both locally and nationally.
James A. Scott
Mr. Noah Knapp Barnum was a dealer in hats and caps and hailed from the town of Danbury, Connecticut, an early leader in the "hatting industry." He was a resident of Savannah for a period of about 11 or 12 years (1852- 1863-4?) and during that time operated a prosperous business at 153 (now no. 119) W. Congress Street. He was active in community affairs and was a member of the Trinity Methodist Church.
John Mark Jordan
Henry McAlpin came to America through the port town of Charleston, South Carolina. He was listed among Chatham County Superior Court records as a citizen of Scotland that came to Charleston at the age of twenty seven on October 16,1804. He came to Georgia in 1812 and was declared a citizen. Having come through Charleston, McAlpin must have made...mentions the marriage between Henry and Helen McInnis of Charleston. It did not occur to me until I read the will that there was another Mrs. McAlpin, both of which he must have outlived. Neither of which are mentioned in the will, only the seven children.
Oliver Bowen was born in Providence, Rhode Island on November 17, 1742 and was a Revolutionary War naval hero. He was the first Commodore of the Georgia Naval and his capture of the gunpowder laden, ship, the Phillippa, was the first capture made by any order of any congress in America. Bowen was later dismissed as Commodore because of a difference of opinion with his superior, but was vindicated of the charges against him. After the war he serves as a United States Federal Marshall in Chatham County. He died at August, Georgia on July 11, 1800 at the age of 59, leaving a wife, but no children.
Dewey C. Butler
Patrick B. Connelly was born in 1802. From information gathered. It seems that in a few short years he became a prosperous farmer in the Jefferson County area of Georgia. Mr. Connelly was a major slave owner throughout his lifetime.
J. R. Silva
Paul H. Wilkins was born in the year 1768, in the Savannah area. He presumably grew to manhood in this locale and took up the carpenters trade as a young man. With the passing of his father in 1789, young Paul struck out on his own to make his fortune during this great era of opportunity that was creating a new nation. He became active in the building and real estate business and obviously possessed and aptitude for making sharp land and business deals. Through the advantage of the free land lottery he accumulated vast land and property holding in the outlying areas of Liberty County. Ho became respected citizen and planter and was a devoted family man that actively participated in the church and public affairs of the Sunbury-Midway-Savannah community. His accidental passing, in his late sixties, left a virtual empire of land and slave resources to his surviving children.
The life of Peter Beranc can be roughly divided into three parts. Of the first part of his life it is only known that he was born in Bordeaux, probably in 1827. The second part of his life-from 1850-1870-was occupied with his efforts to build his own business. Relatively little is known of the decade 1850-1860, and very little is know of the decade 1860-1870; he probably alternated his stay in Savannah and in Cuba. 1870 marks the beginning of the third and last part of his life. The years following 1870 were not happy for him; he lost not only his business, but also his house which he built in 1855 on Abercorn Street. The years 1875-1885 found him working as a clerk; he retired in 1885. Three years later, at the approximate age of 61, Peter Beranc died. The year of his death was 1888.
Barbara A. Ross
Corning from a family of civically and commercially active individuals, himself having been a leader in the youthful German community, Peter John Ott chose for himself a quieter world. The mature Ott found his happiness in his own home, in the joys of his children and the beauty of his flower garden.
Robert P. Bennett
Deep in the heart of everyman, the question arises "when I'm dead and gone will people still know who I am fifty or even a hundred years from now". Strangely enough, however, very few people lead such a life that creates an impression on history so that their deeds and accomplishments can be recognized. Philip Dickinson Daffin was a rare exception. As one rides around the city of Savannah, one can easily notice the work of Philip Daffin. Born and raised on the gulf coast of Florida; served faithfully the Civil War and lived the rest of his life in Savannah, very little can be found in this man's history. He was a good family minded man, an excellent businessman, and a great all-around citizen.
Ransorn Stone was born somtime during the month of December, 1767 in the region of Virginia. It is fascinating to realize that he lived during the ouster of British rule and witnessed the birth of a new nation. He was quite young when he arrived in Savannah, being between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. In the interim between his arrival and 1794 nothing is heard of Ransom. Although we may assume that it is during this time that he marries and establishes himself in the baking profession. It is during this same period that our esteemed baker begins to have financial problems. One can almost visualize him sitting at the local tavern, discussing the economic ills of the baking business. Ransom's financial troubles must have been very great at this time for it is during this time frame that Lot. number 12 on Columbia Ward was auctioned off at a Sheriff's Sale. He had been paying ground rent on this property since 1799.
James Folker, a native of Charleston, SC came to Savannah as a young man to earn a living, marry and to raise a family. Folker lived a long and productive life as a father, husband, Churchgoer, employee, and participator in community life.
Julia A. Powers
"Dorothea was born in Anastasia, West Indies, in 1779. She married Abraham De Lyon Abrahams in 1803. She died in 1853. In her will she left monies to open the Abrahms Home for indigent widows of Savannah."
Richarad West Habersham Jr. was born into a famous Revolutionary family of Georgia. He was born in Savannah in1812 to the Prominent Hon. Richard W. Habersham and his wife Sarah E. Habersharn. The senior Richard W had been born in Savannah on December 10, 1786. He followed the family tradition by graduating from Princeton with a law degree in 1805 and was soon admitted to the bar. He quickly gained prominence as both a lawyer and active participant in the political life of the time. In 1828, Richard and Sarah E. were to give birth to another son bv the name of Francis B. Habersham who was to join the family along with Richard Jr. and a sister by the name of Catherine E. Habersham. Richard Jr. was known to have at least one other sister.
Robert Habersham (1783-1870) was a Georgia planter and merchant who lived from the time of the Revolution until the days of Reconstruction. He was part of the Habersham clan which had so much to do with the founding and growth of Georgia. Robert's grandfather, James, came to Georgia with George Whitfield. Robert's father, Joseph, was active in the Revolution and the early Republic, serving in the Provisional Congress and as this country's first Postmaster General. Robert Habersham added to the family honor during his own life in Savannah. He was a merchant for some sixty years, owned several well-known Savannah plantations (Causton's Bluff, Deptford, etc.), and was a faithful, long-time vestryman for Christ Episcopal Church. Treasurer for Chatham County.He was also Robert Habersham was extremely successful in his business, leaving an estate valued at over $164,000 (despite his loses during and following the Civil War). He was also a family man, Marrying three times. He married Mary O'Brien of Beaufort, South Carolina; Elizabeth Neyle; and his first cousin, Mary Butler Habersham. He had several children. Robert lived a full life and died of old age. He is buried in the Habersham family section of Laurel Grove Cemetery.
Robert Milledge Charlton was born in Savannah, Georgia, on January 19, 1807, and died here on January 18, 1854. The son of Judge Thomas Usher Pulaski Charlton and Emily Walter, he married Margaret Shick on October 26, 1829, and had nine children, five who lived to be adults. The son of a lawyer and judge, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a notable lawyer and judge. He served in the Georgia House of Representatives, as judge of the Eastern Circuit, as U.S. District Attorney, as Mayor of Savannah three times, and as U.S. Senator from Georgia. Robert M. Charlton was also noted for his literary talent, having several books published and contributing numerous articles, stories and poems to various periodicals.