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In Their Own Words

February 06, 1744

Stephens Journal Entry on Livestock

Georgia president William Stephens had to deal with a variety of disputes among the Georgia colonists. One of these was proving ownership of free-roaming cattle and horses, as Stephens noted in his journal:

“The President and Assistants met again, and the whole day was taken up in deliberating principally on two Affairs that would need a thorough Examination. The first of them was relating to Joseph Barker, formerly Cowpen Keeper, who had the Confidence to lay Claim to a large number of Cattle, as well as Mares and Colts, that he alleged were his property, nor running in the same Range with the horses and Cattle belonging to the Trustees. But in this as well as in all former Enquiries, we soon discovered his Knavish Design, and after the Stricktest Enquiry we could possibly make into this dark Affair … we allowed him a few heads of such only as he had an unquestionable Right to; but they were indeed few, in Comparison of what he pretended to, under false tokens, as we had good Reason to Suspect… .”

Source: E. Merton Coulter (ed.), The Journal of William Stephens, 1743-1745 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1959), p.68.