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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chatham County's Old Wills and Documents

The first will book in Chatham County touts wills having over 50 pages. This is because the testators had helped to build an thriving economy with their plantations, farms and laborers. Yes, even before the Revolutionary War, Savannah was the place to settle. You might be interested to know that Benjamin Franklin's illegitimate son, William Franklin, born 1729 in Philadelphia, died 17 Nov 1813 in London, resided in Savannah. Wife, Mary Johnson d' Evelin. He was a loyalist and Governor of New Jersey. He was named in the will of Benjamin Franklin who also named his grandson, William Temple Franklin, born 1760 in London, died 25 May 1823 in France. The grandson was bequeathed 3,000 acres of land in Georgia granted by the government. William Temple Franklin apparently never went to Georgia to claim his grandfather's land grant, but Selby Franklin did. According to Selby's estate papers in Chatham County, he was born 1778 in Philadelphis and died 1817 in Savannah. Selby was a merchant and was married Sarah who herself died at the age of 20 in Savannah on 11 May 1820. has a wide collection of Chatham County wills (digital images) dating from about 1771, as well as will abstracts, marriages, and a an easy reference (completely typed record) of all estates in that county. If you are researching Georgia's people, Georgia is your launching pad.

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