Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23 June 1810: Partnerships Created and Dissolved

On this day in 1810, the following two notices were published in the Georgia Express newspaper:
Athens, June 23. Married, on Tues. evening last by the Rev. Hope Hull, Mr. Thomas G. Lamar of SC, to Miss Martha L. Cary of this place.


Co-partnership Dissolved. The public are hereby informed, that the co-partnership of John Harwood, and Elizabeth, his wife, is this day dissolved by mutual consent; we therefore hereby forbid all persons trusting either of the said firm, on account of the other, on any conditions whatever, as we are determined to pay no debts for each other, from the date hereof.
John Harwood, Jun. Elizabeth Harwood.

Marriage records from this time were short two-line entries handwritten in the marriage book, and were easily lost. There is no record of the marriage of Miss Cary and Mr. Lamar in Clarke County's records.

Miss Cary was possibly a daughter of John Cary, who ran Athens' first hotel starting around 1803, and "housed a number of students before campus lodging became available." It is possible that is how Miss Cary met Mr. Lamar "of SC", as not all students at the early University of Georgia were from Georgia. Starting in 1811, Thomas G. Lamar's name appears on plats for Edgefield, South Carolina, approximately 100 miles from Athens.

The fate of the Harwoods is equally fuzzy. There is a marriage record from 27 October 1795 in Richmond County for John Harwood and Elizabeth Dawson, and they do not seem to have been living in Athens at the time. Divorce was complicated during the early years of the United States, and this sort announcement was an easier and cheaper way of alerting those with whom they might do business that they were no longer a single entity for the purpose of debts.

Despite the public announcement of their separation, five months later, on November 30th, a John Harwood from Richmond County, Georgia was issued a passport by Governor David B. Mitchell "to travel through the Creek Nation of Indians." The passport included "his wife, three children, and eight negroes." To gain a passport at this time, one had to provide character references and promise to behave well while in Creek territory, even though some of the purposes for entering the territory were "to view the country" with plans for later settlement.

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