Monday, January 10, 2022

Found on a Roadside Marker:
My Fourth Great-Grandfather


When we push so far back in our family's history, it sometimes begins to seem as if the ancestors named in the pedigree aren't real people. They are so far removed from us, from our time period, and sometimes even from the places where we live. Though in some ways I do feel that sense of being so removed from him, in other ways, there is no such disconnect with my fourth great-grandfather, Job Tison. There is a marker on a roadside in Georgia which claims his existence for me.

True, Georgia's "Old Post Road" Historic Marker 063-4B spells the man's name as Job Tyson—a spelling switch I've grown accustomed to over years of trying to trace him and his descendants—but the history and the documentation line up with what I've found.

According to the roadside plaque, which I first learned about courtesy of another researcher, Job Tison's efforts, no matter how small, have gone down in history.

     This road, formerly an Indian trail which paralleled the coast, was used by the Spanish and British. In 1778 it was traveled by Revolutionary soldiers who marched against Fort Tonyn. The first mail service south of Savannah was established over this road in 1763. Later it became a regular stagecoach route.
      At Coleridge, a short distance north of the present Waycross Highway, Job Tyson maintained a tavern for travelers along the post road. It was the only hostel between the Altamaha and Satilla rivers and was a regular stagecoach stop.

There are some problems trying to learn more about the man, though. Just taking a closer look at the text on this historical marker can give an idea of what I mean. For instance, that Old Post Road was used by soldiers who marched against Fort Tonyn. But where was Fort Tonyn? I googled it to learn that either it was "believed by some" to have been located on Amelia Island—wherever that was—or was located somewhere in what is now Nassau County, Florida.

Granted, that doesn't help a researcher discover just where that stagecoach stop might have been. But let's move on to another way marker: "at Coleridge." Right: that detail isn't producing helpful results, either. Google wasn't helpful, and Wikipedia certainly didn't have anything to say about Coleridge. One note on the blog Roadside Thoughts laid it out straight: "So far, we have found very little information about Coleridge." They conceded that the place must have been "historic."

At least they speculated the town was likely in Glynn County, a promising detail, since that is where I've found my Job Tison—supposedly one and the same as the marker's Job Tyson. One of Georgia's eight original counties, Glynn County was established in 1777, in plenty of time to establish the courthouse where Job Tison's estate stood frozen in a messy probate case from the time of his death in 1824 until the close of 1858.

Glynn County was not Job Tison's native home, however, and that is my quest to discover for this month's research goal. There are researchers who say Job was born in colonial North Carolina, and that may well be true. I would like to explore that for myself, and assemble the documentation to trace him back to the place where he was born—and to the as-yet-undiscovered couple who could claim him as their son. We'll start tomorrow by laying out what is already known, and then delve into the unknown after that point.

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