A Southern Writer – Diane Story in Georgia

Wrightsboro Village

If we give you a pistol, will you fight for the Lord? But you can’t kill the Devil with a gun or a sword. ~ Old Quaker Saying

Wrightsboro Village first called Brandon, was founded in 1754 by pretending Quaker, Edmund Grey. Real Quakers, Joseph Mattock and Jonathan Sell, petitioned the Royal Governor Sir James Wright for land in 1768 after the Treaty of Augusta was signed. They were granted 40,000 acres and renamed in Wright’s honor.

The Rock House near Thomson, Georgia, is a lasting remnant of those pioneer days. The house was built by Thomas Ansley in (1785?) 1782. Thomas designed the house after New Jersey homes with inside chimneys and thick walls. The Rock House doubled as the stagecoach stop.

Thomas Ansley was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, January 14, 1737. While leaving New Jersey, Thomas (and his brothers Benjamin and William) joined a group of Quakers. They wound up in Georgia with a close-knit community of about sixty families. Thomas was a weaver, served in the Continental Army as a forager. He did not bear arms. He was awarded bounty grants and applied for more land, thus owning 4500 acres in Richmond and Wilkes County.

Ansley, Cox, Duckworth, Story, and Carter Neighbors

Thomas Ansley, builder of that marvelous Rock House, married Rebecca Cox in 1760. They were my 5th great grandparents. This is how it happened.

Thomas Ansley and Rebecca Cox had Rebecca Ansley who married William Duckworth; their daughter Stacey Duckworth married widower, Samuel Gaines Story; their son Henry Allen “Buck” Story married Rachel Montgomery; their son Rad Story married Sallie Gunby; their son Horace Lawton Story married Nancy Elizabeth Bentley. Lawton and Nancy had nine children including Tom Story my father.

Samuel Gaines Story and Stacey Duckworth’s children: Rebecca, Francina, Andrew, Martha Ann, Elizabeth, William, Susannah, Lilly, Wilanty, Samuel Gaines, Sanders Walker, and Henry Allen “Buck” Story. Samuel Gaines Story was born May 13, 1776, probably in Warren County, Georgia.

Thomas and Rebecca Cox Ansley’s granddaughter, Ann Ansley, married Wiley Carter in 1821. Wiley sold out in Warren County in 1851 to move to South Georgia twenty miles north of Plains – Ellaville Friendship Road.

Puritan Influence

Wrightsboro was known as a Quaker community, though few Quakers documented. Many were Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian as nearby graveyards witness. Many feigned Quaker roots to join the movement to Georgia, a place free of Puritanical influence. Back in the day, not uncommon for a person to hang for any crime. A viable witness: an apparition. Such as the man who hanged for arson, simply because someone dreamt, he did it. His pregnant wife pleaded, “He is innocent.” She named her newborn, Innocent, as a reminder of that wrongful death.

Revolution Influence

People came to Wrightsboro Village for other reasons. One such instance was the burning of the Few Family Home in Orange County, North Carolina, 1771. They hung carpenter James Few, no trial. He was a suspected Regulator, making James Few the First Martyr of the American Revolution.

James Few’s brother, William, made his home in Wrightsboro Village, “not by choice but last resort.” A historical marker on Cobbham (Highway 150) commemorates the location of the William Few Home built in 1781 (burned down in 1930). William Few signed the U.S. Constitution. He neighbored Basil and Millie Briscoe O’Neal’s Happy Valley Plantation.

Samuel Gaines Story

Many found Wrightsboro Village. Non-arm bearing Quakers led the way, some surely hoping a gun totin’ Protestant lived nearby. When did Samuel Gaines Story enter the community? Did he feign Quakerism as the desperate? Was he born in Georgia? Or did he meet up with a migrating group in New Jersey or North Carolina?

This is what is known about my great-great-great grandfather. Samuel Gaines Story was born in 1776, 52 days before the Declaration of Independence. He was a gun totin’ Baptist, a successful planter who owned five hundred acres in Wrightsboro Village. He neighbored the Ansleys, Duckworths, and Carters. He married Thomas Ansley’s granddaughter, Stacey Duckworth; Samuel was thirty-six, Stacey was eighteen. Wrightsboro Village is where Story roots took hold in Georgia. Roots established by Thomas Ansley, a man from the Delaware Valley in New Jersey, a man seeking religious freedom, a man who built a home standing strong three hundred years later, a man who did not tote a gun, a man who made cloth and lived off the land, a man who offered his home as a stagecoach stop, a man who gave America a president.

Many Wrightsboro descendants can be found up the road a piece in Lincoln County. Land where my great-great-great-great grandfather, Captain William Bentley II, received 100 acres on Little River, near what is now Salem Baptist.

Sam and Winnie Note

Samuel Gaines Story married Winifred Brooks 1795 in Warren County, Georgia. He called her, “Winnie.” They had many children. After her death, he married Stacey Duckworth in 1812.

Rock House Location

Travel south on Washington Road toward downtown Thomson. Take a right on Tom Watson Way. Bear right onto Hickory Hill Drive. Go 3.8 miles, turn left on Three Point Road. Go 1.2 miles, turn right onto Rock House Road. About .25 mile down on the right, is the incredible rock house. Stagecoach Road and Wrightsboro Road nearby.

Carter Genealogy

Thomas Carter Senior, arrived in Virginia about 1637 from England. Kindred Carter was 5th generation descent from Thomas. Kindred moved from North Carolina to Georgia settling in Richmond (now McDuffie) County near Little Germany Creek. Kindred had James, born 1773 in North Carolina. James married Eleanor “Nellie” Duckworth in Columbia County, Georgia. James and Nellie Carter had Wiley Carter (1798-1864). Wiley married Ann Ansley; they had Littleberry Walker Carter (1832-1874) who was killed by partner in a financial dispute involving a carnival machine known as a Flying Jenny. Littleberry’s wife, Mary Ann Diligent Seals, born in Warren County, Georgia, died on Littleberry’s burial day. Littleberry and Mary Ann had William A. Carter, then came James Earl Carter, and finally James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, POTUS.

(Upper Richmond County, Georgia, became Columbia County in 1790.)

Nellie Duckworth Carter

Nellie Duckworth’s parents were Christiana Ramsey and Jeremiah Duckworth. Nellie’s brother was William Duckworth, William was Stacey Duckworth’s father. Stacey married Samuel Gaines Story. Stacey was Nellie’s niece.

Few Family

Genealogy.com: The name, “Benjamin Few, Rebel Officer, Richmond”, appeared on the blacklist of British Governor Wright, and subsequently The Georgia Gazette on March 14, 1782 announced that “A Georgia Parole” (hanging) had been reserved for the “virtuous Few.”  Benjamin Few was brother of William and James Few of North Carolina. Ignatius Alphonso Few (1789-1845), born in Columbia County, Georgia, was son of Captain Ignatius Few and Mary Candler. Ignatius Few (b. 1789) was Founder of Emory University. Cousin, Asa Griggs Candler, was Emory’s greatest benefactor, donated 75 acres to establish Emory University in Atlanta (donated over 8 million dollars).

Wrightsboro Methodist Church

Quaint historical Wrightsboro Methodist is nestled in the woods located on US 78 near the intersection of Stagecoach Road. Buried in the Colonial Cemetery are Veterans of the Revolutionary War, as well as the Civil War – Gettysburg, Shiloh, and Fredericksburg. Also found are ancestors of Asa Griggs Candler, founder of Coca Cola Company, Mayor of Atlanta.