Monday, November 11, 2013

Unblemished Character Saves John Rae

Antrim, Ireland
The Rae families came out of Antrim, Ireland into Savannah, Georgia during the 1740s.  John Rae was Conservator of the Peace in Savannah in 1741. In 1756, he was one of those who petititioned to build a church in Augusta. Then in 1768, he petitioned for lands on the Ogeechee River to be reserved for three years, in hopes of getting Irish settlers there. He printed copies of law and sent this to friends in Ireland, but the encouragement was much less than what was being given to South Carolina settlers, for in that State, free passage was provided, as well as other advantages. His friends wrote they would come to Georgia only if their passage was paid and they had use of lands free of expense and were exempted from taxes for ten years. The Georgia Trustees granted this wish to the Irish potentials, calling it "An Act for Encouraging Settlers to Come into the Province." John Rea lived on 200 acres on Stony Creek, three miles above Augusta, adjoining the lands of George Galphin, where he had a grist mill.  John Rae had a negro slave, Nero, who was convicted in 1772 of felony, for breaking open a store of rice and taking several barrels. (Ten other slaves of his were found in the records, however there were probably a good deal more slaves who cultivated his lands).  In 1771, John Rae was convicted of the manslaughter of Mrs. Ann Simpson, at Savannah, but was later pardoned. All his friends petitioned in his behalf, stating that he had been in the province for nearly forty years and had an unblemished character and had filled many offices of public trust. He has also been a Member of the Georgia Assembly, which was a very highlyr espected position in the province.  The genealogy of the Rae family is available to members ofGeorgia Pioneers

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