The following information has been shared with us by Sherman Gibbs. It comes from a thesis that he wrote for his EdS degree in 1994, and he gives special thanks to Cindy Gibbs, who endured the project, and without whom, Walker County would have remained unknown to him. Neither Sherman or I have any information on the Walker County Citizens listed in this paper. For more information on them, please contact either the Georgia Archives or the Georgia Room of the Walker County Library, both have the microfilm that this information was taken from. No part of this transcription may be copied or published without the written permission of Sherman Gibbs or Sherry Osburn


By Sherman Gibbs

When the Civil War came to Georgia in 1861, Walker Countians, located in the extreme northwest corner of the state, like many of the more mountainous sections of the South, found themselves with a divided loyalty. The vote on secession was negative, with a majority of the county's population opting to remain in the Union rather than to form a seperate nation with a seperate government. Walker County's three delegates (Dr. G. G. Gordon, R. B. Dickerson, and T. A. Sharp) to the Secession Convention in Milledgeville voted against secession. This was in line with the delegates from twelve of Georgia's northwestern counties. Of the twenty-nine delegates representing this area of the state, only eight voted in favor of secession. Three of these represented Floyd County, the only northwestern county to favor disunion.

Once secession was accomplished, however, most of the county's citizens supported the newly formed Confederate States of America. But there remained a considerable number of people who continued to support the Union cause throughout the War. And of course, as in most situations, there were those, such as Dr. and Mrs. G. G. Gordon, whose precise sentiments are difficult to fathom. That many Walker Countians were not in favor of a Southern victory has been silenced in the unpopularity of the choice, or buried in the myth of Southern Solidarity.

One of the best sources to dispute the myth of a Solid South is the reports of the Southern Claims Commission. On March 3, 1871, the U. S. Congress passed a law which allowed for reimbursement of pro-Union Southerners whose property had been damaged or confiscated by Union troops during the war. Three agents toured the South in the 1870's taking applications for claims made against the United States. Much evidence was required to prove both the loyalty of the claimants and to the actual damaged reputedly done by Union soldiers, as mere residence in the seceded states made the allegations suspicious. Those seeking compensation from the government had to prove their loyalty as well as the type and amount of damages done. Often several witnesses, themselves usually loyal, and in many cases, also claimants, supplied evidence and gave affidavits to prove the claims. Often neighbors disputed the claims, revealing the depth of division within the communities. These claims and the accompanying affidavits and testimony, long held in the various divisions of the national government, are now more available for public viewing. At least 117 Walker Countians applied for claims. Of these, the thirty-eight approved claims are on microfilm at the Walker County Library.

The claimants can generally be classified into one of two categories: (1)those truly loyal to the Union, and (2)loyal-to-the-South Southerners, who did not hesitate to be somewhat dishonest in getting what they considered just recompense from a government they saw as their permanent enemy. Many claims were no doubt motivated by the desire for badly needed money in a region devastated by years of War. This desire must have led some claimants to exaggerate the damaged done by Union troops. About two-thirds of the claims were disallowed as not legitimate, either as to loyalty or as to the amount claimed.

Regardless of the reasons for the claimant's application, the claims and the testimony of the many witnesses contain much historical information about the county and its people during and after the war. Family historians will find much information of a genealogical nature. Historians can learn much about the life of the people, especially as to the state of agriculture and farming practices, and military buffs can learn of troop movements and military actions during the war. The impact of the war on the common people can be better understood in reading the testimonies of these people in these claims. The history of the period and its people should be more real to students as they examine these primary source documents.

The following is a list of Walker Countians who made claims before the Southern Claims Commission. Those marked by an asterisk are those accepted by the Commissioners and are on microfilm at the LaFayette-Walker County Library.

Wm. P. Allison
Robert Anderson*
Wm. Arnold Bayless
G. Atkins*
Charles B. Atkins*
Wm. J. Atkins

George Bailey
John Bailey
Wm. Bailey
Jno P. Bayless
Philip H. Bird*
James B. Bostick*
Andrew J. Boyles*
Austin Bradley
J. S. Brand
Linsey Brigman
James Brock
Lucinda Brock*
Levi W. Brooks
Royal Brooks*
Jno. Brown

James Campbell
James M. Cannon
Joseph Carson
Odian Castleberry*
Jno. M. Catlett*
David Childress
James H. Clarkson*
Jason Cloud
Hudson Colquitt*
Wm. L. Conolly
Jeremiah Cordell*
Charles Coulter
Elizabeth Cudd

Adam A. Davis*
Sally S. Duke
John C. Dunn

Jane Edge
Hezekiah Ellenburgh
James H. Evatt*

Joel A. Fowler*
Lucretia Fraliex
LaFayette Fricks

Sarah M. Gardner
Wm. N. Garmany
Mary Gordon*
Jerusha Griffin*
Thomas Griffin*

David Hall
J. W. Hamilton
Jennet Harmon
John Hawkins*
John Hefner*
Jacob B. Hendrick
Charles M. Holder
Middleton Hollis*

Allison Jackson
Wm. M. James

Nathan L. Keown*
Wm. Key

John M. Lawrence*
James M. Lee
John C. Lee*
Ephraim Liles
Wm. J. Love
John C. Lumpkin

Robert H. Mahan
James Mattox
Mary Mitchell*
John Moore
Wm. D. Moore
George Moselly

E. Caney Philips
John Phillips*
Jesse P. Pike
S. J. Poe
Gree O. Powell
Sevier Powell

William P. Ranney
Washington Ranson
Eleanor Rawlings*
George W. Reed
James M. C. Reynolds*
Francis Richardson
Robert J. Richardson
S. D. Roberts*
James H. Rogers
Hugh J. Rutherford*

Samuel Sharger
Ann M. Shahan
James M. Shields
Jesse P. Siler
A. A. Simmons
Louisa Sims
J. H. Smith
John M. Smith*
Julia A. Smith
Elizabeth Sparger
Jesse Stephens
Daniel Stout*

Wm. N. Thomas
Gideon B. Thompson
F. W. Thornton*
Elizabeth Thurman*
Thomas J. Tipton
Clark Turner*

Anthony Voils

Jesse Wallin*
Elisha Walling
James M. Welborn*
Newton White
Nancy Whitely
Francis Whitley
Harney M. Williams
Lewis J. Williams
S. A. Williams
Jno. Wilson*

Union and Conferderate Flags