We can imagine that the decade of Revolution (1775-1883) and the fearful British occupation Georgia- including the capitals of Savannah and Augusta, had a disastrous effect on the security of the new settlers in Georgia.
After the revolution, Georgia claimed lands all the way westward to the Mississippi River.
The Georgia government used these lands to issue land grants to those Georgia patriots who had fought the British. However, the government soon realized that there were many fraudulent certificates being issued by former commanding officers to their troops in the patriot army, as well as to Georgia citizens who had remained supportive of the patriot cause. Elijah Clarke and Ignatius Few were among those who issued many certificates during this time.
The Land office in Augusta, Georgia, opened its doors on May 29, 1784, to accept the vouchers in exchange for land warrents, only to find that there were numerous duplicates. There was a riot, and the documents were scattered outside the building.
A private in the Georgia Militia, or refugee private (those who had to flee from their homes during the British occupation and who had then fought in other colonies) was entitled to 287 1/2 acres of land. The amounts of land issued went up with rank, with captains receiving nearly 600 acres of land and brigadier generals receiving nearly 2000 acres.
Jesse Womack was one of those patriots. On October, 1784, he received a certificate from Brigadier General John Twiggs for 787.5 acres in Washington County, Georgia. This land was surveyed on March 25, 1785. It was on Deep Creek in Washington County, bounded on one side by E Lamar, and vacant on the other sides.
p. 421- Georgia's Roster of the Revolution compiled by Lucian Lamar Knight,
A head of household could receive 200 acres of land for himself, and more for family members or slaves. Many of those receiving land grants from the war sold them. It does not appear that Jesse settled in that area, preferring to move farther westward- in 1802 he received a passport to travel through the Creek Nation to lands further west.
The hunger for westward lands increased with a great momentum, fired by the Yazoo Act of 1795, which sold over half of the land in present day Alabama and Mississippi to four companies for $ 500,000. It appears that the Womack family received lands in the area disbursed by the Georgia Mississippi Comany.
|Courtesy of Georgia Info, Digital Library of Georgia|
In 1796, amidst claims of bribery and corruption, Georgia's legislators issued a Rescinding Act, nullifying these claims. The Act was signed by the Womack family's friend and neighbor, now Governor Jared Irwin.
The records connecting with the sales were burned outside of the State Capital building in Louisville.
In the Compact of 1802, Georgia agreed to relinquish its claims to Alabama and Mississippi to the Federal government in exchange for $1.25 million. This money was used to settle disputed Yazoo claims.
In 1805, Georgia held the first land lottery, selling land for 4 cents an acre to Georgia residents. Any family could enter the lottery, and names were picked from a drum to choose those who won. Seven other lotteries followed (1805, 1807, 1820, and 1827), with former Creek lands being dispersed at an average of 7 cents per acres. More and more Georgians were heading west.
Gigantino, Jim. "Land Lottery System." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 02 August 2016. Web. 22 February 2017.