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The most remarkable woman who lived in Georgia during the Revolutionary War, perhaps, was Sarah Gilliam Williamson. Considering her loyalty to the cause of the colonies, her courage in managing the plantation and large number of negro slaves during the absence of her husband in the army, her sufferings at the hands of the enemy, together with the success of her descendants, she stands ahead of any of the Georgia women of her day.

 

Sarah Gilliam was born in Virginia about the year 1735. Her father was William Gilliam, and her mother Mary Jarrett, the sister of Rev. Devereau Jarrett, the distinguished Episcopal minister.

Sarah Gilliam married Micajah Williamson, a young man of Scotch-Irish parentage. In 1768 the young couple moved to Wilkes County, Georgia, and settled on a fine body of land. It was while living here in peace and abundance, with their growing family around them, that the difference between the mother country and the colonies began.

Sarah Williamson and her husband both warmly espoused the cause of the colonies, and when hostilities commenced a Georgia regiment took the field with Elijah Clarke as Colonel, and Micajah Williamson as Lieutenant-Colonel. Micajah Williamson was present in all the conflicts of this regiment and in the battle of Kettle Creek Col. Clarke gave him full credit for his part in winning the victory.

Many scenes of this nature were enacted in the neighborhood of Sarah Williamson's home, and this fearless woman not only witnessed the conflicts, but sometimes participated in them. Her husband was twice wounded and to him she gave the care of a devoted wife, nursing him back to health and to the service of his country.

Year after year during this long struggle Sarah Williamson bravely assumed the part of both the man and the woman. Under her excellent management the plantation was cultivated, supplies were furnished the army, and spinning wheels were kept busy making clothes for husband, children and slaves. Thus she toiled in the face of ever-present danger, threatened always with hostile Indians, cruel Tories and British soldiers.

Finally, one day the dreaded Tories, incensed at her husband's activity in the cause of the colonies, made a raid on the home and after taking all they wanted, destroyed by fire every building on the plantation, and their fiendish hearts not being yet satisfied with the suffering of this loyal woman, they hung her eldest son, a handsome youth, in the presence of his mother.

Her courage undaunted by this great calamity, Sarah Williamson had the faithful slaves gather up the remaining livestock running at large in the woods, and with her entire household went as a refugee to the mountains of North Carolina, where they remained until the close of the war, when they returned to the plantation.

A few years later the family moved to Washington, Georgia. Here again it became necessary for her to manage for the family when her husband was commissioned Major-General of Georgia troops and led an army against the hostile Cherokee Indians. Peace was made, however, before a battle was fought.

Now Sarah Williamson began to reap the reward her love, sacrifice, energy and labor had won. Her five sons grew to be successful men, her six daughters to be refined, educated and beautiful women, who became the wives of prominent men. One daughter married John Clarke who became Governor of Georgia.

To this Georgia mother belongs the distinguished honor of being the first American woman to furnish from her descendants two Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States; Justice John A. Campbell of Alabama was her grandson, and Justice L. Q. C. Lamar of Georgia and Mississippi was her great grandson.--Ruby Felder Ray, _State Historian, D. A. R._