Tuesday, April 8, 2014

George Land Lotteries

Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr (1752-1832) was my sister-in-law's five times great grandfather. He was 25 when he joined the Continental Army in 1777 under Captain Thomas Ridley, a Southampton County, Virginia, neighbor. After Ridley was promoted, he served under Captain William Rogers. He was at the Battle of Brandywine, the encampment at Valley Forge, and the battles of Monmouth Courthouse, Petersburg, and Yorktown[1]. He served in both the Third and Fourth Virginia Line.

He must have spent some time just across the border in North Carolina after the war, perhaps visiting his brothers, John and William, who were living in Chatham County at the time of the 1790 census. For it was there he met and married Sarah Hunter, who was the daughter of Elizabeth and Elisha Hunter of Chatham County, North Carolina.

By 1785, Henry Crawford (or Crofford or Crafford) Tucker was established in Georgia. Over the course of his life he amassed a large amount of land in Montgomery, Jefferson, Wilkinson, Irwin, and Thomas counties. In 1826 he and his wife were among the founding members of Bethel Church.[2] Though Henry was the first Tucker to live in Georgia, he is certainly not the last. Nine generations of the Tucker family have called the Peach State home since Henry Crawford Tucker arrived in the state.

Bethel Primative Baptist Church Historical marker; photograph by David Seibert

Georgia was sparsely settled when Tucker arrived and just opening its frontiers. Virginians and Carolinians came in droves. Bounty land was available to veterans and headright grants were strong incentives to relocate. Tucker acquired 202-1/2 acres in the 1805 Georgia land lottery and more land in the 1825 lottery. The lotteries were a system of land distribution that replaced the headright grants after the Yazoo land scandal. Under the system, qualifying citizens could register for a chance to win lots of land that had formerly been occupied by the Creek Indians and the Cherokee Nation. The lottery system was used by Georgia from 1805 through 1833. Although other states also used land lotteries, none were implemented at the scale of the Georgia contests.

Grant issued to a lottery participant in the 1832 Cherokee Land Lottery
Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

The lotteries changed the political power structure in Georgia. The elite planter aristocracy that controlled the state before the Revolutionary war made way for the "common man" once land ownership was more broadly established among the state's citizens.

An illustration of the land lottery courtesy of the New Georgia Encyclopeida
[1] I believe every Revolutionary War soldier I have in my family tree claimed to be at Yorktown!

[2] Elders of the church eventually excommunicated Henry Tucker in 1829 for drinking and in-attendance.

Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr. was born on 23 February 1752, at Southampton County, Colony of Virginia, to Benjamin and Elizabeth (Crofford) Tucker. He served in the Revolutionary War under Captain Thomas Ridley. He married Sarah "Sally" Hunter sometime before 1785 at Chatham County, North Carolina. By 1826 he was living at Lowndes County, Georgia, amassing land and assisting in the founding of the Bethel Primitive Baptist Church. He was awarded 202 acres in Wilkinson County, Georgia, in the 1805 land lottery, and more property in Washington County, Georgia, in the 1832 lottery. He died sometime after 1832 at Lowndes, Georgia. He and his wife, Sally, had nine known children.


  1. That's so cool you can trace your genealogy back so far. One of my cousins is researching our family and so far he's only able to go back to the late 1800s or so in Italy. I can't understand any of the documents he sends me! I need to learn Italian.

    PS Your Captcha is still on.

    1. My sister-in-law's Tucker family has been so interesting to trace. I thought I had finally successfully "crossed the pond" and gotten back to 1453, but a previous Tucker researcher confused three Henry Tuckers, who all lived in Colonial Virginia. So no dice. I have your "Italian" problem with my mother's side of the family. They were German but lived in Russia. Family letters are in German but official documents are in Russian. I am completely lost.

  2. Hi Schalene, talk about cousins! I suspect you and I are ! I don't see your tree on my Beard DNA matches, but we also have hogg, and Muir in common. Plus, I have a lot of kin folks from Bedford County, Virginia, like the Steptoes and Callaways! I know you came by my blog and I appreciate it, but did y ou think we might be cousins? I hate to say it, but I haven't developed my Beard line, of course I will now! On ancestry, my user name is hyholshouser, the tree you'd want to see would be "Old Virginia Families", I think my DNA looks the same!

    1. Helen, it sure sounds like we are cousins! I will look at your tree over the next few days. David and Samuel Beard's grandfather and father each had several children. I have not worked on all of those Beard lines yet so the connection may not be apparent. But after I look at your tree, I'm hopeful I'll find a likely starting point. My Ancestry.com username is sdagutis and my tree is named Jennings/Lange/Muir/Schalin

  3. I was inducted today into the Sons of the American Revolution under Henry Crawford Tucker, my (8th) Grandfather.

    1. Congratulations! I am waiting on the final approval of my application to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) under Benjamin Jennings, my four times great grandfather.

      I think the Tucker family is fascinating! This is my sister-in-law's paternal line.