Pre civil war, John Lyon arrived in Yatesville coming from the East side of Macon. He was a preacher of sorts and founded the New Hope Church in Yatesville. He had a knack for acquiring land and Read more...
Pre civil war, John Lyon arrived in Yatesville coming from the East side of Macon. He was a preacher of sorts and founded the New Hope Church in Yatesville. He had a knack for acquiring land and at the time of the civil war he and his brothers owned some 10,000 acres.
Most of this land was in one block called Sugar Hill and was much of it was sold and paid for in Confederate money to support the war effort. When the Union soldiers arrived they took control of the main plantation house which had been converted into a hospital. Preacher Lyon hide out in the swamps of Tobler Creek and an old slave would bring him provisions once a week. The Yankee commander learned of this and threaten to string up and hang the slave if he would not give up my great great great grandfather's location. The slave refused the order and was hanged by the Union soldiers hung him for his loyalty.
After the war was over the slaves now free came to Preacher Lyon saying, "Preacher Lyon we are free we are free!" His reply was, "yes so you are, what are you going to do now?" The now free slaved replied, "Wize we don't know, don't know what to do." John Lyon told them, "well, men, we got some corn still in the barn, and they did not burn the store of cotton seed. If we don't get a crop in we are all bound to die of hunger." The slaves stayed on and my grandfather showed me a community down Logtown Road which he says, "You're great grandpa John Lyon, saw to it that this area was to be given title to the slaves who stayed and who were now free men in exchange for labor to rebuild the farms." Our land left the family during this period and Grandfather V.B. Ellis and my Grandmother Etta (great granddaughter of John Lyon) bought this 100 acres back and paid it off working the land and my grandmother worked in the local cotton mill for 23 years.
My grandmother would often tell me two lessons in life. Lesson one: The good men of all religions will die and go to heaven and the bad men of all religions will die and go to hell. Don't get caught up in the politics of religion, for God is in our heart and soul.
Lesson two: Understand that the children of the slaves and the children of the family all played together and were welcomed at the big house. Always remember this about us.
So the practice of owning a man, was not as black and white as history tends to tell it. The truth is as they did not understand the biology of the soil, and let it wash away turning the land "poor" they all became slaves, both the white farmer and the black slave freed or not. Survival depended upon learning to work together and to respect each other.