Monday, August 18, 2014

+Atlanta Georgia Colliers Part 1

   I was trying to decide who to write about for my next post when I came across some twin brothers on my husbands Collier side. Their story peaked my interest so I went to the internet to search for more information and discovered more than a handful of books written about these two brothers and their children. So this is what I found.

Merrell and Meredith Collier were born on May 10, 1782 in Randolph, North Carolina to John Jeremiah Collier and Sara Wood.
They were the first born children after which came:

Nancy Collier    b: 1783-1862
Jessie Collier    b:  1794-1870
Thomas Collier  b: 1798-1880
William Collier  b: 1802-1850
John Collier      b: 1805-?
Joshua Collier   b: 1808-1897

Merrell I found in the 1820 census:

He was married to Patsy Burton on Sept 22, 1807 Jackson Co. Georgia, but she must have died because he's already married to Elizabeth Ward by Nov 20, 1813, Jackson Co. Georgia.

Meredith Collier married Elizabeth Grey on Dec 21, 1806 in Wilkes, North Carolina.  I found him in the 1830.

Meredith is living in DeKalb, Georgia and unfortunately he owns 2 slaves.  Meredith and Elizabeth had 8 children:
Edwin Gartell Collier
Nancy Collier
Merrell Collier
Sarah Ann Collier
George Washington Collier
John Collier
Aaron Collier
Emiline Collier

Most of what I've learned about Merrell and Meredith has to do with them either buying up real estate, and building commercial buildings in the Atlanta Georgia area.
Merrell moved to Georgia about 1820 from what I've found so far he arrived with very little money to his person. Merrell raised one son and the rest girls. his daughter Laura married T.J. Flake, the other daughter Charlotte married Honorable Eli J. Hulsey his son Henry went to medical school and afterwards married and had two children. Merrell was justice of the peace for a while in Panthersville.

Below is an article by Tommy H. Jones titled
G.W Collier House (c.1868)

Meredith Collier

Meredith Collier was born on 10 May 1782, in Randolph County in the central piedmont of North Carolina.[1] On Christmas Day, 1806, Collier married Elizabeth Grey in Wilkes County, North Carolina, in the mountainous northwestern part of the state, and according to family tradition, the couple moved to Georgia a short time later. They settled first somewhere in northeast Georgia, probably in southwestern Jackson County, and it was there that the first seven of their fifteen children were born, including their fifth child, George Washington Collier, born 29 November 1813. In 1818, Gwinnett County was organized out of newly-ceded Indian lands west of the Appalachee River in northeast Georgia and may have encompassed the Colliers’ old homestead, since Gwinnett County incorporated part of the southwest side of original Jackson County. They cannot be located in the Second Federal Census in 1810, but when the Third Census was taken in 1820, Meredith Collier and his family, including seven-year-old George, were among the 4,500 white residents listed in Gwinnett County.[2]

There were already several thousand white settlers in residence in DeKalb County when it was formally organized in December 1822. Earlier that year, Joel Pritchet hired Meredith Collier, one of his neighbors in Gwinnett County, to help him move to a new house that he had built a couple of miles northwest of what would become downtown Atlanta. In doing so, Collier is reported to have liked what he saw of the new country, especially the land along Clear Creek in Land Lot 104 and soon himself decided to move. His son George remembered during the course of two newspaper interviews in 1896 and 1897 that his father “went to law over some land he owned there [in Gwinnett County] and finally grew tired of the worry.” As a result, “he made a trade with the fellow that owned it and it came around that we moved down here from Gwinnett County.” Any record of Collier’s purchase of Land Lot 104 was apparently destroyed in 1842 when the DeKalb County courthouse burned, but his son remembered that Meredith Collier built a house for his family “on the spot” where the present Collier-Bentley House now stands at the crest of a small hill above Clear Creek in Land Lot 104, 17th District. He also remembered that he and his younger brother John planted two walnuts behind the house in 1826, trees that survived until well into the twentieth century and were the progenitors of a second generation of walnut trees that is still present on the site.

In the spring of 1823, the county’s Inferior Court justices began appointing men “to view and designate the different routes on which roads are intended to pass” through the county. Peachtree Road, which had been laid out in 1814 between Hog Mountain in northeastern Gwinnett County and Standing Peachtree, the site of an old Indian village on the Chattahoochee River at the mouth of Peachtree Creek, was one of the first roads formally designated, along with “the Shallowford road” that connected Decatur with “the Shallow Ford,” an important river crossing into Cherokee country, now submerged by the upper reaches of Bull Sluice Lake near present-day Roswell.

In July 1823, the justices instructed Meredith Collier, Charles Harris, Joel Pritchett, Joseph Morris, and Naman Hardman to survey a road from Decatur to Standing Peachtree, the site of another important river crossing where another of Collier’s old Gwinnett County neighbors James McConnell Montgomery would open a ferry in 1837.[3] Although it is difficult to trace the entire route of this road today, it left the Shallowford Road (now Clairmont Road) north of Decatur and survives generally in the existing routes of North Decatur Road, Rock Springs Road in Morningside, and continuing along Montgomery Ferry Road through Piedmont Heights into Ansley Park. After crossing Clear Creek in Land Lot 104, the route of the road as it continued in a northwesterly direction has been obliterated by modern development but can be picked up again in Collier Road, which took its name from Meredith’s son Andrew Jackson Collier, and DeFoor’s Ferry Road, which was named for a subsequent ferry operator at Standing Peachtree.

Meredith Collier had probably already built his house when he helped lay out the road between Decatur and Standing Peachtree. He built at the crest of a small hill just a few hundred feet above Clear Creek and oriented his house toward the west and Peachtree Road, the original route of which apparently ran somewhat east of its present route.[4] According to legend and Collier’s reminiscences in 1896, Peachtree Road followed an old Indian trail in the vicinity of the Collier’s house and survived as the long drive to his house until the construction of Ansley Park in 1904 and, in Land Lot 104, until the construction of Sherwood Forest in 1949. The road from Decatur to Standing Peachtree ran just north of the house as it passed in a northwesterly direction through Land Lot 104.

Post offices were established at Standing Peachtree in 1823 and at Decatur in 1825, and as the county grew, a third post office, called Clear Creek, was established in November 1831.  In July 1833, Meredith Collier succeeded Ulysses Montgomery as postmaster of the Clear Creek Post Office, which was apparently operated out of Collier’s house in Land Lot 104 until the post office was discontinued in February 1839. The position helped make Collier well-known, and in 1838 he was elected to the State House of Representatives, where he served two or three terms.  He was also later elected to the State Senate and served as Justice of the Peace for a number of years.

Meredith Collier died on 28 February 1863, and was buried in the family cemetery near his first homestead in Land Lot 104.

One of Merrell's children George mentioned in Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia below:

George Washington "Wash" Collier (29 November 1813 – 20 June 1903) was one of the first recognised settlers in the Atlanta area.
Wash Collier came to the Atlanta area when his father, Meredith Collier, purchased Land Lot 104 in 1822.[1] On that land Meredith Collier built a four room house. Wash Collier was one of 15 children and he purchased the house and land from his father. Around 1868, Wash Collier built on the site of his father's house a new house, which still stands today in what is now Ansley Park.[2] He was the first postmaster in the area running mail from the fort at Standing Peachtree on the Chattahoochee River. He held on to his undeveloped land lot 104 most of his life which left the northern part of Midtown in a rustic state.
In 1899 he gave an extensive interview to the Atlanta Journal which is an important primary source for the early history of the area.
Collier built and owned the Hotel Aragon, one of the city's principal hotels.

About Merrell Collier Excerpts  from the Atlanta Environs:

 1) Wikipedia free encyclopedia on Wash Collier;
2)  1820 US Census from
3)  1830 US Census from
4) gmeaders from
5)  Atlanta Environs, A Chronicla of it's People & Events, 1820. - 1870 by Frankliin M Garrett
6)  The Chinaberry Tree Chronicles ( A Collier Genealogy) an unpublished by Dwight A. Collier  
7)  DeKalb County Minutes of Inferior Court 1822-1842.      
8)  G.W. Collier House (c.1868) by Tommy H. Jones.   

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