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In Their Own Words

May 14, 1796

Tempers Flared over Yazoo Fraud

Perhaps the most infamous episode in early Georgia history was the Yazoo land fraud case. Georgia Senator James Jackson became embroiled in the case, though he stedfastly maintained his innocence. The passions involved in the case are evident in a letter written by Jackson in Savannah to John Milledge, future governor of Georgia:

“Dear Milledge, … I am still fired at in the papers - abused in the Coffee houses & furnish Table talk for all Yazoo Scrip holders but I have the People yet with me. Mr. Watkins & myself have had another encounter - he insulted me during the Federal Court & I at him - the people interfered - would have tarred & feathered Watkins if they could have found him… . I was too much in a passion this last time & did not manage so well as I did at Louisville - It occasioned however no injury to either - a small scratch on the Face was all I got… .”

Source: Harriet Milledge Salley (ed.), Corresppondence of John Milledge, Governor of Georgia, 1802-1806 (The State Commercial Printing Company, Columbia, S.C., 1949), pp. 44-45.