Wilkes County, Georgia Abstracts of the 1787 Tax Returns

One of the most used and popular educational resources here at Georgia Public Broadcasting is the video series and website GEORGIA STORIES.

This series and website support the teaching of the economic and social history of our state. It has a special place in my heart not only because I am a Social Studies teacher and historian, but also because the history of my family is part of the history of Georgia.

My fourth great-grandfather was a young Irish immigrant named John McElhannon. John was born in Londonderry, Ireland, and after the death of his father, John’s mother apprenticed him for a period of seven years. For whatever reason, John left his master and took passage on a ship bound for the American Colonies as a cabin boy. During the Revolutionary War John enlisted in the Continental Army and saw action in a number of battles. After the war, John applied for and was granted a pension and land bounty. He joined a group of other Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlers and moved from Pennsylvania to what is now Wilkes County Georgia.

There is an excellent video on the story of these back country settlers from the Georgia Stories series. [The section about the settlers starts at 9:20 into the video and runs to 14:06.]

I love that through the study of Georgia History and the use of the Georgia Stories videos and website I can gain insight into what life might have been like for my ancestors. They had to have been a tough, self-reliant and resilient bunch. I can only hope that I inherited some of their strength of character and pluck.