Passports issued by the Governors of Georgia

passports issued governors Georgia

This special publication, “Passports issued by the Governors of Georgia” from the National Genealogical Society (NGS), is a most important source for US passport history. I found this publication randomly online, and I am happy to grab it for my archive. I don’t know why the society back in 1964 published this specific research, but I asked the NGS for a statement. However, the book consists of 53 pages listing the passports issued by the governors of Georgia from 1810-1820, including an index of persons receiving passports from 1785-1820. Here is an example of a Georgia passport, which is extremely rare to find!

William Odum and William Thornhill Jr’s Passport issued 1811

This passport was prepared for the following person to travel through the Creek Nation of Indians (Alabama), to wit, One for Messrs. William Thornhill and William Odum, the former with his wife and five children, and his wife’s mother all from Beaufort District South Carolina.

Here we can see it was not unusual to issue one passport for several people, a group or collective passport, so to say. This kind of passport was not intended to identify a person but to give them permission to travel and safe passage.

The publication describes the content of passports, which is very gripping to read and gives us a fascinating insight into how the wording of early US travel documents was chosen back then. Here are some examples.

“That passport to be prepared for the following persons to travel through the Creek Nation of Indians, to wit, one for Mr. John Moore, with his wife, five children, and seven Negroes from Sumpter District, South Carolina, and one for Mr. James Perkins with his wife and one Negro – which were presented and signed.”

“That passport to be prepared for Messrs. Richard Richardson and Edem Leslie, the former with twelve Negroes, and the latter with his wife, eight children, and two Negroes from Sumpter District, South Carolina to travel to the Creek Nation of Indians, which was presented and signed.”

“That a passport to be prepared for Mr. Charles McDougall, Daniel MacDougall, and Mary McDougall, a little boy named Dan McDougall. John Tucker, and Archibald Smith with his wife and four children, all from Robinson County, North Carolina. Which was presented and signed.”

“That a passport to be prepared for…to travel thro the Indian Nations to the Western Country…”

“This will certify that Georges H. Hughes a citizen of the State of Georgia resident in Wilkes County, is about to pass into the Creek Nation to apprehend and bring into Georgia a Negro fellow named Grigg, lately the property of General John Clark, but now the property of Col. Wyllie Pope1 of the said County of Wilkes, and a Yellow Fellow named Greene, lately the property of Col. John M. Dooly, but now the property of Wyllie Pope. And I do hereby authorize the said Georges H. Hughes, to apprehend and bring back to Georgia, any other Slave and Slaves, which he may find in the Creek Nation, belonging to any of the Citizens of this State.”

P.S. Sadly the eBay seller reported the item as lost and I won’t get it. I just wonder why it took him only to report so after two weeks and only I opened a complaint with eBay. At least I got a full refund.


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