Baxter (Family)


Origin of the Baxter families of Liberty County is along the southeastern border of Scotland. Some of the family members emigrated from Scotland to the Albemarle Sound region of North Carolina about 1670. Some of them migrated to South Carolina and were residing there by 1750. John, Theophilus, and Israel Baxter were all members of the South Carolina General Militia during the Revolutionary War. All of them received grants of land in the 18th Militia District on the upper reaches of the Canoo­chee River in Liberty County because of their war service. John Baxter established a home on his grant of land in 1798. Stephen H. Baxter, one of their kinsmen, migrated from South Carolina to Liberty County in 1806. He resided with Israel Baxter until he established his own home nearby after the War of 1812.


Other members of Baxter families in South Carolina followed Stephen H. Baxter to Liberty County. Stephen H. and Israel Baxter Jr. were both members of Blackmon's Regiment, Second Brigade, Georgia Militia, during the War of 1812. They served along the Altamaha River in 1814 protecting Liberty County from hostile Creek Indians. Some of the earliest marriages recorded after Baxter family members settled in Liberty County include John Baxter to Sarah Everitt in 1807; Israel Baxter Jr. to Mary A. Futch in 1809; Mary Ann Baxter to William Smith Jr. in 1810 (see William Smith Jr. in this appendix); Stephen H. Baxter to Rebecca Carter in 1814; John H. Baxter to Nancy Delk in 1824; Harriet Baxter to Solomon Parker in 1832; Asenath Baxter to George W. Parker in 1840; Eliza J. Baxter to Alan Flowers in 1845 ; Jane Baxter to Solomon Parker in 1846, and Laurana Baxter to William B. Darsey in 1863.


By the middle of the nineteenth century, only two families with the Baxter surname remained in Liberty County. They were Stephen H. Baxter (1783-1873) and his brother, John H. Baxter (1795-1873), both of whom changed their places of residence from the 18th Militia District to the 16th Militia District of Liberty County at Jones Creek about 30 years before the Civil War. Their homes were located adjacent to the residence of their sister, Mary Ann, who married William Smith Jr. It was their son, James Madison Smith, who com­manded the Altamaha Scouts from Liberty County during the Civil War. Three members of his company were George W., Henry H., and Stephen G. Baxter. The first died in a prisoner-of-war camp after capture by federal troops at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee. The second died in 1862 of an illness contracted while he was in the service. The third survived the war. Stephen G. Baxter married Isabella Caswell in 1853. After the war they resided at Riceboro.


The Stephen H. Baxter home at Jones Creek, in the 16th Militia District of Liberty County, was for many years considered the family seat. John H. Baxter (1863-1922) was the son of Stephen H. and Caroline Poppell Baxter. He married Estell Pinholster, daughter of James H. Pinholster. He and TJ. Harrington helped established Donald, Georgia, and secured a Georgia, Coast & Piedmont Railroad depot for the town. John H. Baxter was a cotton farmer in Liberty and Tattnall counties, and served as sheriff of Liberty County from 1914 to 1918, during which time he maintained a residence on North Main Street in Hinesville.


Other Baxters who derived from Liberty County ancestors are Hampton G. Baxter of Jones Creek, Redding Baxter of the Elim community, and Mitchell Baxter of Riceboro. The latter had a daughter, Jewell Baxter, whose daughter became a trapeze artist with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. Carlton H. Baxter (1906-1963) served two terms as chairman of the Long County Board of Commissioners, and was a member of the Long County Board of Education. S.M. Baxter was a 1949 graduate of the University of Georgia, was a member of the Liberty Inde­pendent Troop (Battery B, 101 st Separate Coast Artillery Battalion) from 1945 to 1952, was with the unit when it was placed on federal active duty during the Korean Conflict, and in 1984 was a timber operative in Tattnall County, Georgia. His son, David Mark Baxter in 1984 was an attorney practicing law in Macon, Georgia. Also in 1984, Clifton H. Baxter was a physician in Douglas, Georgia, while Carlton J. Baxter Jr. was a pharmacist in Americus, Georgia. John J. Baxter III and Hillis G. Baxter in 1984 were farmers in Pierce County and Long County, Georgia, respectively.  


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Appendix Number 39, Page(s) 211; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office