1829: S. W. Nichols to John B. Wick

Georgia Land Lottery

Georgia Land Lottery

This letter was written by S. W. Nichols. The Augusta Chronicle (Agusta, Ga) published an account by Nichols, described as “an agent of known integrity and judgement” employed to survey extensive parcels of land in Georgia as suitable for growing sugar cane, in January 1829. He reported that he had purchased Fourteen Thousand Five Hundred and Eighty acres in Mongomery, Telfair, Laurens and Pulaski Counties claiming that the lands might produce as much as 1650 pounds of sugar per acre. The published article was clearly intended to promote speculative investing in Georgia real estate.

The identity of John B. Wick could not be learned. It is presumed he was merely a land speculator in the Georgia lands who resided in New Jersey.

There is a reference to the “Cherokee” lands in the letter which were distributed between 1805 and 1832. This land was taken from the Creek and Cherokee Nations and distributed by lottery to white males over 18, orphans, or widows, for the mere cost of a nominal fee to cover the cost of administering the lottery. Almost ¾ of the state of Georgia was distributed under this lottery system.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

Addressed to Mr. John B. Wick, Newark [forwarded to Morristown], New Jersey

Clinton [Georgia]
24th June 1829

Mr. John B. Wick
Dear Sir,

I have the pleasure to inform you that myself and family are well and we hope yourself and lady are well and your friends. I have found it necessary to write you on some of our old business as it respects the executions against Andrew Chambers. He has now returned to this county and is making a crop. He has also had a yoke of oxen which he has sold and I have written to Chaston for the execution but Chaston says you never left them with him and I have since been to Freeman in Macon but does not know anything of them — not [that] it is necessary that I should have them for I don’t condemn his ox. I may condemn his crop. You had best write me where they are and also an order to get them as these steers may be sold from our reach before you return and there is two notes which I give you on men in Bryan which will be out of date before long and the money lost will be lost if you have not collected them and I don’t think you have. One of them on Williams and the other on Beasley — both of Bryan County. These men are both good and if you have not collected them you had better order them sued as they will be out of date before Christmas. There is also an execution in Twiggs against Joyner. You sued it at the time you had a store at Granbury’s old store. Joyner is perfectly good for the debt now.

As it respects your land, you wrote me to sell all or any of your land. I have been in Lee [County] but did not see but one of your lots there and was offered fifty dollars for it. It is in the 29th District of Lee and in your letter to me you priced it at $300 dollars but fifty or seventy-five is all it is worth. But as you had not seen it, I would not sell unless I get the price you placed on it. As to the others, I have no offer as yet and land is very dull sale at this time. The prospect of the Cherokee lands together with the scarceness of moneymaker the article very dull. I am trying to sell my own land or a part of it and will sell for one half its value for the purpose of settling my debts. It is not impossible that you could make a sale of or two hundred thousand acres of sugar and rice land during this summer if you can at $100 per acre. We will give you five hundred percent for selling it. Will not cost you anything to make the trial. We have about one hundred thousand acres of the purchase we made on the Florida line which is first rate land and actually worth ten dollars per acre if there is any land in Georgia worth that but we will sell even the best for five dollars per acre if an opportunity offers and there is twenty thousand acres of that land immediately on the Savannah River which is navigable and very thickly covered with live oak timber which would be valuable if carried off to the shipyards. And I have no doubt in a few years there will be a canal cut from St. Mary’s River to intersect [the] Savannah [River] about 20 miles below our land which will save the dangerous route to Cape Florida. All these advantages will make that country preferable as any in the southern country.

Your friend truly, — S. W. Nichols


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