A different George family came to reside in Florala area

Published 11:59 pm Friday, November 6, 2009

Another George family who lived in Covington County was the descendants of Moses Andrew George, Sr. Moses was born in 1835 and lived until 1918. He was a veteran of the War Between the States, having served as a private in New Company G., First Florida Infantry, C.S.A. His descendants and area Confederate heritage supporters paid tribute to him by conducting a memorial ceremony at his gravesite in the Greenwood Cemetery in Florala. On May 1, 1994, the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans assisted the family in dedicating a new marker that depicts his service in the Confederate Army.

Jimmy George, a “real son,” had requested that the program be conducted for his father. A grandson, Albert George, Jr., presented a brief history of veteran Moses A. George highlighting his service in the Confederate Army. A great-grandson, Kermit George, Jr. voiced the invocation. Other portions of the program were conducted by friends and members of the Covington Rifles Camp.

It is not known exactly when Moses George moved to Covington County, but there is a record of him purchasing public land, 40.01 acres, in 1881 in the Red Oak community. He continued to acquire considerable acreage in the same area over the next years: 80.02 in 1882; 40.01 in 1884; 80.11, 30.07, and 40.67 in 1885; 40.01 and 641.60 in 1887; and in 1894 he homesteaded 160.51 acres of land set aside for railroads.

Moses became a leader in the general area and was especially influential in the establishment and growth of the First Baptist Church of Florala. From 1888 to 1891, he along with J. A Hart and N.R. Stewart represented the Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church at the Zion Association meetings in Florala. Pierce D. Bulger was preaching there as well as at Chapel Hill during those years. During the early 1900s, Shady Grove was reorganized as the First Baptist Church.

Also in 1889, Moses A. George, Sr. was a leader in the organization of the Yellow River Singing Convention, which was organized at the Shiloh Baptist Church, located near Williams’ Mill. He served as an officer during the conventions.

When checking the 1900 federal census for Covington County, Moses A. George and his family were not listed. They could have been missed, or they were probably residing just south of Florala across the Florida state line. Moses built a large house in Florala at 205 Fifth Street during 1902, so the family would have moved to that location at that time. During more recent years, this house became the Magnolia Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Moses A. George, Sr. was listed as head of a large household in 1910 in Florala. He had lost his first wife by this date, and he was listed as being 74 years of age. He was then married to Susan P., 36 years old, and they had the following children with them: Maggie, 43, daughter by first marriage; Frankie, daughter, 5; Lena P., 3: and twins, Albert and Alva, 1. Susie M. George Sharpe, a niece,19; and Frank Brown, 53, a boarder, were also living in the house.

The names of all of Moses A. George, Sr.’s children are not known, but he did have a son, Moses Andrew George, Jr. by his first wife. Moses Jr., born in 1864, was married in 1894 to M.E. Hart. They were only married about 18 months before her premature death in 1896. (A glowing tribute was paid to her in one of the local newspapers at that time mentioning her being “one of Covington County’s most beloved.”

In 1905, Moses Jr. was married to Eva Jones. Moses A. George, Jr. and Maggie were buried in the Wing Cemetery.

There was a James George, 53 years old, residing in the Fairfield precinct in 1910, but his relationship to this family has not been determined. He had with him his wife, Ira (R.?), 35; Amanda, 15, stepdaughter; 3 stepsons, and an unnamed daughter, 1.

By 1920, Moses A. had died, and his widow, Susan P. George is listed as head of the household. She is 44 years old and has the following residing with her: Frankie, 15; Lena Pearly, 13; Albert, 11; Alva, 11; James, 8; Maggie, 53, stepdaughter; Susie Mae Sharpe, 19, niece; and William F. Brown, 70, boarder.

Moses Andrew George, Jr. also purchased considerable land in the nearby communities of New Hope and Yellow River. He purchased the following tracts from in 1894: 40.10 and 80.84 acres from the government and 81.66 and 39.98 acres from the state. It appears that his sister, Maggie A. George, homesteaded 160.51 acres of land set aside for railroads in 1898.

In the 1920 census, Moses A. George, Jr. and his family were residing in the Florala community. He was 55 years old, and his wife, Exie, was 37. They had one son with them, Kermit, 10. There was a Molt George who was most likely related to this family who served as a postmaster in Florala.

Thomas J. George who is probably another son of Moses A. George, Sr. purchased 40.06 acres of land in the Red Oak community in 1884. He later in 1897 homesteaded 161.03 acres in the Blue Pond community. There was a Thomas J. George, 57 years old, residing in Covington County in 1920. His wife, Mary A., was 49 years old, and they had the following persons listed in their household: Louise, 14; Walter H. Huston, 36, son-in-law; Cullen Huston, 8, grandson; and Aletha, 4, granddaughter.

Also, there was a William L. George, 39 years old, who lived in Florala with his family in 1920. He wife, Margie, was 33, and they had the following in their household: Bradie C., 10; Elam, F., 8; Nebie, male, 5; Avie D., 3; infant son, 8 months, and John O., 19, brother.

There was not as much data available on this family as this writer desired, but it is hoped that this narrative will create additional interest in this family and that some George descendants will share more genealogy.

Sources for today’s column include census records, local county histories and newspaper articles, and Wyley Ward’s histories on Covington County. Appreciation is expressed to one descendant in this family, Kermit George, of Florala who assisted in collecting family records.

Anyone who might find any corrections that need to be made to any of the above information is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

QUERY: Someone has an old photograph made in 1927 of a football team at Rawls School. Help is needed to identify the players, coach and principal. If you might be able to identify anyone of these, please contact Curtis Thomasson at the above numbers.

CEMETERY RESTORATION: There is to be a Cemetery cleaning in the Children’s Home community on Saturday, November 28, beginning at 9:00 a.m. The cemetery is located on Frost Lane in Walton County between Florala and Laurel Hill. Any one willing to help may call Peggy Chesteen at 334 222 4742.