Cryptures August 2016

Thomas Dance Goodwyn was born February 27th, 1813 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.

His father, Burwell Goodwyn, was a well to do Virginia planter and also a Lieutenant in the War of 1812 and most likely helped to defend Washington, D.C. Upon his death in 1834, Thomas, his mother, Nancy Anne Dance and his siblings moved to Coweta County, Georgia as so many other Virginians were doing at that time.

They participated in the land lottery which was selling off the Indian lands in Coweta. These lots were either 202.5 acres or 490 acres and went for an average price of 7 cents per acre. They acquired lots 1, 17, 32 and bought lot 16 from Elijah Bailey sometime between 1834 and 1840.

They built some cabins on the property to live in while their Greek revival Catalpa Plantation was built on lot 16. Nancy signed her name on the rafters of the plantation house. After Thomas was married she lived on lot 32. Thomas brought his bride home in March of 1838. Her name was Mary A. C. Griffin from Henry County, Georgia. When their first child was
due Mary, travelled to Virginia to have the baby probably because they were still living in a cabin while the plantation was being completed. During those early years, folks would think nothing of walking 5 miles to attend a party and return home the same day. After Mary’s return
I’m certain they had a party.
 
The first two children were John Burwell and Thomas Dance, Jr. There would be 12 more over the years. By the 1850’s Thomas Sr. had become a prosperous cotton planter like so many others in the area and the economy of the 
county
was booming. The railroad had come to Newnan, there was a cotton warehouse and seminary schools were built. The Girl’s College was built and so was the College Temple.
 
The circus, concerts, astronomical viewing, and bear shows came to Newnan. The Newnan market was bustling selling a bushel of corn for 30 – 40 cents, pork for 7 cents a pound, lard for 15 cents a pound, flour for 3 cents a pound and a gallon of whiskey went for 30 cents. Country butter was
scarce
though. A dollar today was worth about 3 cents in 1853. Times were so prosperous many folks were worried about the moral fabric being torn asunder. Newnan would frequently erupt in pistol and gun firing, whooping, and hollering. The southern cotton crop was projected to reach as high as 3 million bales as reported in the “Nashville Union.”

Many a plantation was being used for church services with itinerant pastors. The Goodwyn plantation could well have hosted services. They also served as hospitals during the Civil War for both Union and Confederate men and it is known that the Goodwyn plantation and Rev. George Edward Smith plantation were two of the many.

When the war broke out Thomas Sr. joined the 36th Military District Reserve and Police Force of Coweta County as the 1st Lieutenant. Son John joined the 1st Ga. Vol. Inf. then the 12th Ga. Vol. Inf. as a 1st Sargent. He was wounded in the right leg and left chest at the battle of Cold Harbor then he was trapped in a train wreck near Ringgold, Ga. Both legs and an arm were pinned. He was scalded by steam and was among the dead and dying men and horses. The car caught fire but he was saved as a bucket brigade extinguished the flames in time. He was captured near Appomattox at the time Lee was surrendering to Grant.

Thomas, Jr. joined the Ga. 1st Vol. Inf., 53rd Ga. Vol. Inf. and Ga. 12th Bttn. Light Artillery as a Private. He was wounded at the battle of Knoxville, Tn. and lost a finger as a result. He too was captured near Appomattox at the time of Lee’s surrender.

Thomas, Sr. died September 24, 
1866
and his mother Nancy died January 5th, 1867 only a year or two after the war. Thomas, Mary, and Nancy can be found in our cemetery.
 
Catalpa Plantation stayed in the family until the early 1900’s. The house still stands today at 2295 Old Poplar Road.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thom McCague,

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