Muscogee County - Clapp Factory Bios


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BIOS of Families of Clapp Community


Those who governed the Columbus Factory, a.k.a. Clapp's Factory, as named by Etta (BLANCHARD) WORSLEY in "Columbus on the Chattahoochee" (1951):
The very earliest mention of a mill location was the "Columbus Mercant Mills" completed in1834. It was run by James SHIVERS and Co., and was three miles above Columbus. How long this factory continued is not known, but in 1849 the "Columbus Factory" was incorporated, "the location of the Factory to be three or four miles above Columbus on the river." The leading incorporators were Charles D. STEWART, John FONTAINE, Henry D. MEIGS, J. R. CLAPP and George STEWART, brothers and brothers-in-law....

[Following the Civil War, one of the leading stockholders was a Mr. Todd, brother-in-law of General R. H. CHILTON, who had been General R. E. LEE's Adjutant General. General CHILTON was president, and Robert B. GUNBY, secretary and treasurer. This mill was still in operation in 1878, with R. H. CHILTON as president and A. ILLGES as secretary. The office of the company was in town at 32 Randolph Street (12th Street). In 1880, Clapp's Factory (the Columbus Manufacturing Company) had 4,296 spindles and 134 looms. The officers were: J. Rhodes BROWNE, president; A. ILLGES, secretary; R. B. GUNBY, treasurer. Directors: J. Rhodes BROWN, C. E. DEXTER, Charles PHILLIPS, T. M. N. PHILLIPS, John PEABODY, A. ILLGES, Joseph KYLE.

In the online index to Muscogee Co, GA, Marriage Books A & B (posted by Lea DOWD), I find the following:

CLAPP, Julius R. - m. 05 SEP 1839 Muscogee Co, GA to Eleanor HOWARD FONTAINE, William D. - m. 21 OCT 1839 in Muscogee Co, GA to Nancy BATES

I did not find marriage records for MEIGS, or STEWART/STEWARD/STUART men. There were several marriages for HOWARD men, but none connecting to FONTAINE, MEIGS or STEWART.

The online index to the 1850 federal census of Muscogee Co, GA shows:

CLAPP 297A-410A

City of Columbus, p. 297A:

36 BACKER family
37 CLAPP William C. 36 NY
37 CLAPP Martha 34 MA
37 CLAPP Isabella W. 4
37 CLAPP G. S. 1 Male
37 ANDREWS William B. 28 CT
38 GRAY family

According to my assessment, the section of the 1850 census in which p. 410A falls is not posted. I would guess it is within the enumeration of the 8th Dist, which I have not found online (the 9th Dist. appears twice). Does anyone know if it is available anywhere, or if there are plans to add it to the online posting of the 1850 Muscogee Co. census data? I would imagine we will find our J. R. CLAPP, for whom CLAPP's Factory, community and cemetery are named, with his family on that page of the 8th Dist. The only MEIGS household indexed is also on p. 410A. The only FONTAINE indexed appears in the transcription as follows (probably our man):

City of Columbus, p. 308A
239 PATTERSON family +
239 DAWKINS John 19
240 FONTAINE John 58 SC
240 FONTAINE Mary 42
240 FONTAINE John 17
240 FONTAINE Mary 15
240 FONTAINE Benjamin 10
240 FONTAINE Theophilus 7
240 FONTAINE Francis 4 Male
240 FONTAINE George 1
241 PHELPS family

The STEWARTS indexed do not appear to include our founders (Charles D. and George). I found four entries, plus one for STEWARD (but no STUART):

City of Columbus, p. 310:
277 BAUGH Hampton S. 2
277 LEVY John B. 50 VA
278 STEWART John D. 42
278 STEWART Mrs. O. C. 37
278 STEWART James A. 14
278 STEWART Sarah E. 12
278 STEWART E. G. 11 AL Male
278 STEWART Virginia E. 10 AL
278 STEWART Emily D. 9 AL
278 STEWART Hampton S. 6 AL Male
278 STEWART Frances M. 3 AL Female
278 STEWART John B. 1 AL
278 DELANNAY? St. John

City of Columbus, 321A:
424 MADDOX family
424 WILLET Josiah 26 NC
424 WILLET Sarah 16
425 STEWART Jeremiah 40
425 STEWART Nancy 30
425 STEWART Mary A. 13
425 STEWART Charles W. 11
425 STEWART L. J? (I?) 10 Male
425 STEWART John T. 5
425 STEWART Jeremiah T. 2
426 JONES family

City of Columbus, 324B:
478 CAMPFIELD family
478 STEWART Malinda 18
479 PEABODY George 43 CT
479 PEABODY Mrs. Elizabeth 35 NY
479 PEABODY Edward R. 16 CT
479 PEABODY Ruth 7
479 PEABODY Mary L. 5
479 PEABODY John 3 AL
479 PEABODY Callie 1 Female
[Note PEABODY family - there is a John PEABODY listed on the Board of Directors in 1880.]
City of Columbus, p. 336:
686 HOLSTEAD family
687 STEWART Theophilus S. 32
687 STEWART Susannah 28
688 McDOUGALD family

McNorton Dist., p. 395A:
44 McKENZIE Mary [widow of Henry?] & family
45 STEWARD Ishmael 50
45 McKENZIE A. J? (I?) 22 Monroe Co., GA Male
45 McKENZIE Cathorine 18 mo.
Regarding the founder of the first mill, I find indexed SHIVERS 359B-384B-385A (I don't find anything in the online transcriptions corresponding to pp. 384B and 385A - our James SHIVERS may be enumerated there, if this is not he):
p. 359A - Russell Dist. - SHIVERS
115 DAWSON family
116 SHIVERS Thomas J. 40 Hancock Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Sarah H? 40 Greene Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Robert M. 12 Muscogee Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Charles A. 10 Muscogee Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Mary C. 9 Muscogee Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Lucretia A. 7 Muscogee Co., GA
116 SHIVERS Mary E. 5 Muscogee Co., GA
116 PLANE William T. 22 AL
116 ISHAM John 30 VT
116 HURT Benjamin K. 11 AL
116 HURT William 8 AL
117 MUNROE family
Regarding the officers and directors mentioned in the 1878-80 timeframe [see also PEABODY above]:
City of Columbus, p. 299A:
77 JOHNSON Mary Jane 5
78 KYLE David 45 Ireland
78 KYLE Mrs. L?B. 34 NC
78 KYLE E. M. 13 VA Female

City of Columbus, p. 300:
100 KYLE John 32 Ireland
100 KYLE Ann E. 23
100 KYLE Lucy E. 6 AL
100 KYLE Sarah E. 3 AL
101 KYLE Joseph 35 Ireland
101 KYLE Elizabeth 30 VA
101 KYLE John H. 10 AL
101 KYLE Elizabeth 8

[The second family in this household above could be our Joseph KYLE.]

City of Columbus, p. 317B:
393 GUNBY Robert 39
393 GUNBY Jane L. 33
393 GUNBY Raenna 6 Female
393 GUNBY Robert 3
393 DANIEL Robert 6 AL
393 DANIEL William E. 4 AL

City of Columbus, p. 332B:
621 CHISHOLM family
622 ILLGES J? (I?) P. 35 PA Male
622 ILLGES Lucinda 20
622 ILLGES Abraham 20 PA
622 ILLGES C. F. 1 Female
623 GUNN family

I did not find TODD, CHILTON or DEXTER indexed and did not research BROWN(E) or PHILLIPS. I found a record in the LDS Ancestral File stating that Brigadier General Robert Hall CHILTON was b. ca. 1820 in Richmond, VA, d. ca. 1900 in Richmond, VA, and m. ca. 1847 in Richmond, VA (wife's name not given).

I picked up some records on some of these individuals in the 1880 census of Muscogee Co, which I'll post when I have time. Any input appreciated. Indexed on the 1860 federal census of Muscogee Co, GA, I find:

CLAPP, Julius R. - p. 363
CLAPP, T. J. - p. 174
CLAPP, Z. H. - p. 200

GUNBY, M. - p. 297

ILLGES, J. P. - p. 307

MEIGS, H. V. - p. 245
MEIGS, Wm. - p. 281

STEWART, Calvin - p. 209
STEWART, Chalres - p. 258
STEWART, F. - p. 203
STEWART, John D. - p. 184
STEWART, Joseph - p. 348
STEWART, Thomas - p. 191
STEWART, Walter - p. 223


In 1880, I find the following:
p. 502A in Nances Dist, Muscogee Co, GA: Robert B. GUNBY, married male, age 33, employed in the treasury department of a manufacturing company [Clapp's Factory], with wife, two children, and one servant - all individuals and parents b. GA. So far he is the only executive I've found who seems to be residing near the mill - the rest are in Columbus. There are CLEGG families on p. 489C and VINSON/CHURCH/MORRIS families on p. 508A

p. 511C in Nances Dist, Muscogee Co, GA: George CLAPP, married male, age 23, b. GA (fa b. MA, mo b. GA), a farmer, with his family. No direct evidence tying him to Julius R. CLAPP, but the MA connection may indicate some link.

p. 571D in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: John PEABODY, married male, age 46, a lawyer, with wife and ten children, plus a cook in the household, all individuals and parents b. GA. He is likely the same John PEABODY named in the 1880 Board of Directors. Next door is M. M. MOORE, a married male, age 46, clerk for the city council, with wife Sallie MOORE (age 36) and four children, plus sister-in-law Mary PEABODY, a single female, age 46, a teacher, and two servants. So Sallie and Mary are probably kin to John PEABODY.

p. 629D in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: John BROWN, married male, age 60, b. MA [Massachusetts], both parents also b. MA, a banker. He is likely J. Rhodes BROWN(E) named as president of the company in 1880. He is with his wife and four children (including a son Rhodes), plus five servants. One of his sons, Henry BROWN, age 30, b. NY, is only four years younger than the wife, so she is evidently a second wife and Henry a son by the previous wife; Henry is listed as a manufacturer of cotton goods.

[Clapp's-related BELCHER and NEWSOM families appear on p. 634D of Columbus]

p. 647A in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: Catharine KYLE, a widowed female, age 37, b. AL (fa b. AL, mo b. NC) appears with four children Annie, Elisabeth, John, and Joseph, (all b. GA, as was their fa). Next door, in the household of Frances McDOUGALD are three DEXTER individuals: Amory (married male, age 50, b. MA, as were his parents), with evident wife Helen (married female, age 31, b. GA, as were her parents), and apparent son Amory (single male, age 3, b. GA); no occupation given for Amory, Sr., but another couple is present, Tom & Sarah BLANCHORD, he being a broker. Is Amory kin to Charles E. DEXTER (see below)? Note also that there is a McDOUGALD family next door to a STEWART couple on p. 336 of the 1850 census of the City of Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA.

p. 687C in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: Charles E. DEXTER, married male, age 57, b. MA (as were his parents), a merchant, with wife and six servants in the household. He is likely the C. E. DEXTER listed in the 1880 Board of Directors

p. 688A in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: Joseph KYLE, married male, age 68, b. Ireland (as were his parents), a merchant, with wife Nameza, age 54, b. SC, a step-daughter Rosa CROOK (age 19, b. AL), a granddaughter Elizabeth NUCKOLLS (age18, b. GA), and three servants. He is likely the Joseph KYLE listed on the Board of Directors. See notes for 1850 census of City of Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA, p. 300

p. 689C in Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA: Julius J. CLAPP, single male, age 40, b. Greece (fa b. Austria, mo b. Prussia), a music teacher, heads a household including Ella A. CLAPP, single female, age 14, b. GA (as were her parents) and Horace J. CLAPP, single male, age 12, b. GA (as were his parents) - their relationship to Julius is not given. There are eleven other individuals in the household, with no indication of relationship to Julius given. Surnames include LEWIS, MILLER, SMITH, SALAMON, BLOOM, BALDWIN, LOBB, WAGNER, and FREDERICK. Most are born outside of GA (four abroad). Don't know if/how this Julius CLAPP is kin to our Julius R. CLAPP, but it seems likely; note that Julius R. m. in 1839, and this Julius was b. ca. 1840 (birthplace info may be incorrect).

When I'm in Columbus, I plan to do some courthouse research. I hope to look for tax returns, incorporation documents and other business-related filings pertaining to Clapp's Factory and the Columbus Manufacturing Co. Some of these records may be indexed under the name of the officer submitting the information to the county, so I thought it would be good to be familiar with who these folk were.

Candis Dorinda NEWSOM was born at Clapp's Factory on 29 JUL 1869, the daughter of Henry M. & Permelia A. (PAGE) NEWSOME Dorinda's father had been married previously on 16 DEC 1855 in Muscogee Co, GA, to Mary Ellen ABNEY (1837-1863, dau. of Absolom P. & Rosanna (HALL) ABNEY), and none of Henry's five children by her are known to have survived. It's quite possible that she and at least some of the children from this first marriage are buried at the Clapp's Factory cemetery, although I don't have a record of this John Land

Richard Ivy (also Ivey) MORRIS, b. 28 FEB 1818 in Elbert Co, GA, d. 16 APR 1888 in Phenix City, Russell Co, AL, buried APR 1888 in Clapp's Cemetery, Columbus, Muscogee Co, GA
Son of Joseph & Nancy (ALLGOOD) MORRIS, Ivey was a lay Methodist preacher in Troup, Harris and Muscogee Cos, GA, and Russell, Chambers and Clay Cos., AL. The source credits him with founding the Methodist Church at Langdale "on the west bank of the Chattahoochee River" in Chambers Co, AL. He m. 03 MAR 1839 in Meriwether Co, GA to Mary Joice CHRISTIAN (15 FEB 1814 Madison Co, GA-17 MAY 1862 Randolph Co, AL), daughter of Obed Mask & Joanna (BARNES) CHRISTIAN; Mary is buried in Flat Rock, AL. Ivey and Mary were still in Meriwether Co, GA, in 1840; in Harris Co, GA, ca. 1842; and in Muscogee Co. by ca. 1844. They appear with children in household #22 on p. 353A of the Russell District on the 1850 federal census of Muscogee Co, GA.
Their eldest child, Nancy Elizabeth J. MORRIS (1840-1920) m. 12 DEC 1863 in Muscogee Co. to James Carter NEWSOM (1846-1921), son of John & Talitha C. (PIKE) NEWSOM. John is brother to Penelope NEWSOME (ca. 1833-1890) and James NEWSOME (ca. 1834-NOV 1897) who are buried in Clapp's Cemetery, and also brother to my gg-gf Henry M. NEWSOM (1836-1899).

I believe I have located Louisa J. HELMS (1816-1880) on the 1880 federal census of Nances Dist., Muscogee Co, GA, p. 510A. She evidently died between 01 JUN and 31 DEC in 1880, since the census data are *supposed* to be based on circumstances as of Census Day, which in 1880 was 01 JUN. Also, Louisa does not appear on the Mortality Schedule for 1880 (which covers deaths within 1 year prior to Census Day, 01 JUN1880) in Muscogee Co. Evidently, she was not well at the time of the census, as she was at home, but her daughter was keeping house. Also, some portions of Nances Dist. were farming community, but this household is in a section of cotton mill workers, so it is probably in or near the Clapp's village. The household appears as follows:

HELMS, George W. /head/married/male/White/66/NC/Works in Cotton Mill/NC/NC
HELMS, Louisa/wife/married/female/White/64/GA/At Home/SC/GA
HELMS, Sarah/dau./single/female/White/39/GA/Keeping House/NC/GA
HELMS, Ellen/dau./single/female/White/31/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/NC/GA
HELMS, George/son/single/male/White/29/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/NC/GA
HELMS, Nancy/dau./single/female/White/21/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/NC/GA
GARDNER, Benjamin/other/married/male/White/50/RI/Works in Cotton Mill/NC/GA
GARDNER, Chalres/other/[NR]/male/White/17/RI/Clerk in Store/RI/RI 
       [Perhaps this was a Clapp's Factory store]
HIGHTOWER, James/other/widowed/male/White/72/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/GA/GA
HIGHTOWER, John/other/single/male/White/22/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/GA/GA
HIGHTOWER, Robert/other/[NR]/male/White/15/GA/Works in Cotton Mill/GA/GA
JENKINS, Mariah/other/widowed/female/Black/40/FL/Wash & Iron/FL/FL

George W. may be kin in some way to a Sampson Dawster HELMS, b. 1824 Mecklenburg Co, NC, who m. 1846 in Muscogee Co. to Missouri Caroline PARKER. Sampson served in Company D of the 32nd Georgia Infantry, CSA, along with five other HELMS men, four of whom were brothers and sons of Charles & Holly HELMS, who moved from Mecklenburg Co, NC to Muscogee Co, GA in 1836. One G. W. HELMS is among the men who served. Charles & Holly had a son George W. HELMS, b. 1836, so they apparently are not the parents of Louisa's husband George W. b. ca. 1814. (Info on Sampson from a descendant of his, Gene HELMS.) The following was posted by Sandra LUNSFORD in a message about the AUSTIN family on the Muscogee Co. board:

Thursday, September 1, 1836 NOTICES Lost or mislaid, one] promissory note given by S. J. Austin, Bellord Sanders, James Nickson and George W. Helms and made payable to myself for seventy dollars. (Signed) J. C. Austin
It is my understanding that the given name George W. recurs throughout the HELMS family, many of whom settled in Barbour Co, AL, so we may have a time of it determining more about Louisa's husband's family connections, but perhaps we can at least locate a marriage record and determine her maiden name, and from that her parentage. The eldest child present in the 1880 household, Sarah, was b. ca. 1841 GA; this family does not appear among the HELMS households indexed on the 1850 census of Muscogee Co, GA:

p. 371A:
31 BROWN family
32 HELENS [= HELMS] Uriah C.   28 NC
32 HELENS Martha E.            22 Washington Co., GA
32 HELENS Elonzo D.             2 Muscogee
32 HELENS Malessa D.            1 Muscogee
33 HARRIS family

p. 373B:
63 HELMS Elizabeth            58 Mecklenburg, NC
63 HELMS Wilson               25 Mecklenburg, NC
63 HELMS Wade H.              20 Mecklenburg, NC
63 HELMS Harriett E.          14 Muscogee
64 HELMS Williams             23 NC
64 HELMS Nancy                22 NC
64 HELMS Lafayett              2 Muscogee
65 HELMS Robert B.            28 NC
65 HELMS Lousa? J.            25 Laurens Co., GA
65 HELMS Walter T.             9 mo. Muscogee
66 THOMPSON family

pp. 394A-394B:
26 HELMS Charles              56 Mecklenburg, NC
26 HELMS Holley               49 Mecklenburg, NC Female
26 HELMS Elbert               33 Mecklenburg, NC
26 HELMS Sarepta              28 Mecklenburg, NC Female
26 HELMS Turissa              24 Mecklenburg, NC Female
26 HELMS Milus R.             20 Mecklenburg, NC Male
26 HELMS Nancy S.             18 Mecklenburg, NC
26 HELMS Eliza D.             16 Mecklenburg, NC
26 HELMS George W.            14 Muscogee Co., GA
26 HELMS Noah                 12 Muscogee Co., GA
26 HELMS Judge W.              9 Muscogee Co., GA
27 HASTINGS family
Seeking information on the descendants and background of George W. HELMS, age 66, b. NC (both parents b. NC), who heads a household on p. 510A of the 1880 census of Nances Dist, Muscogee Co, GA. His wife Louisa J.(1816-1880) is buried in Clapp's Cemetery in (now Columbus) Muscogee Co, GA. Their children include (all b. GA): Sarah (b. ca. 1841), Ellen (b. ca. 1849), George (b. ca. 1851), and Nancy (b. ca. 1859). Also present are two GARDNER men from Rhoda Island and three HIGHTOWER men, all laborers at the cotton mill where George W. worked (evidently Clapp's Factory), as well as a black domestic named JENKINS. There is an effort under way to restore Clapp's Cemetery and mark the graves there. Any information on this family and their kin would be appreciated, and I'll be glad to share further details.

John M. Land - Author

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