THE EARLIEST EVERETT FAMILIES IN GEORGIA
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War the largest settlement in the colonies south of Virginia was Charleston, South Carolina, which had developed into a busy and cultured seaport. The central and western lands of North Carolina and Georgia were held by the Cherokee in the foothills and mountains, and the Creek Indians across the Georgia interior. A handful of small settlements, comprising eight counties, clung to the banks of the Savannah River and the southern coastal lands of Georgia.
The first emigrants from England arrived in Georgia in 1732. There were 114 selected by the trustees to travel with James Oglethorpe to establish a political buffer between the Spanish in the Florida territory and the South and North Carolina colonies. Survival on the new frontier was difficult - 25% were dead within the first year and within ten years 41% had died and another 18% had returned to England. By 1742 a total of 1,847 settlers had immigrated into Georgia and approximately 55% of these were British citizens. However, all of the available records that we have searched on these earliest arrivals have revealed no Everetts.
Following the close of the Revolutionary War settlers began to flood
into Georgia from eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia. Many were
small farmers looking for new land, some were the younger sons and the daughters
of North Carolina pioneer families who would not inherit their fathers
land, and others were the restless adventurers and traders who followed
the moving edges of the frontier to initiate business with the Native Americans.
The earliest Everett in Georgia that we have found a record of was a JOHN who was in Burke County, south of Augusta, by 1782. He had served in the Georgia Militia with General Wayne. Another JOHN settled nearby in Liberty County in 1793. Farther north a large family of Everetts had settled in Elbert County in 1790, the year that county was formed from Wilkes County: BENJAMIN, JAMES, JOSEPH, THOMAS, UNITY, MARY. In the northern most area, Wilkes County, a THOMAS served as a juror in 1790 and was joined in 1805 by a SIDNER and a TRAVIS.
Two families who spelled their names as AVERITT/ETT were in Washington County by 1791 (ALBRIGHT and ARCHIBART; joined by HENRY in 1804 and BENJAMIN in 1805) and Warren County by 1805 (ALEXANDER and WILLIAM). A group of Everetts in a few southeastern counties of North Carolina began spelling their surnames with an "A". We believe these were related to the NATHANIEL EVERETTS of Tyrrell and Martin counties, North Carolina. It is possible that these early Averitts in Georgia carried their surnames from their North Carolina relatives, or the names may simply have been misspelled by the individuals themselves or the recordkeepers. (We will add a page regarding patterns and issues of the spelling of the surname in the future.)
By the beginning of the 19th century many more Everett families are settling throughout the new lands opening-up in Georgia. 1805 is a marker for Georgia researchers because that is when the first land lottery was held to give away newly acquired Native American lands. In lieu of a census, it marks the presence and location of males in the state, and whether or not their name was drawn to receive a land allotment. Thus, in 1805, a JESSE and a JAMES were identified in Jackson County; a DAVID, ARCHELAUS, JEREMIAH, JOHN, and MATTHEW were in Hancock County; a SAMUEL was already a Justice of the Peace in Franklin County; and JEHU and JOSHUA were identified in Bulloch.
We know that the latter two were descendants of the North Carolina NATHANIELs family. In fact, perhaps the largest early settlement of Everetts in Georgia was in Effingham and Bulloch Counties (the latter was formed out of the former in 1796) when JOHN, a grandson of NATHANIEL, with his large family, arrived from the area of Tyrrell County, North Carolina. JOHN and his wife SARAH (FAGAN) sold their land in North Carolina and moved to this area of Georgia in 1785. Their first six children, who were born in Tyrrell County, moved to Georgia with them: JOSHUA, JOSIAH, ENOCH, JEHU, HANNAH, and JOHN FAGAN. Their last son, AARON, was born after they arrived in Georgia. This entire family has been researched extensively after their arrival in Georgia by Alvaretta Kenan Register and documented in her book, Everett/Everitt Family: A Genealogical History (see our Acknowledgements page of this website).
Due to the destruction of many Georgia records from fires and the Civil
War, it is often difficult to piece together family connections here. However,
we know from correspondence on the internet that many Everett family researchers
are working in this area. When settlers failed to be drawn to receive land
from the early land lotteries, they began to look toward the frontier again
and new sources of cheap land. The vast Mississippi Territory was beginning
to open at this time, so many of these settlers and their descendants began
to move westward