Remembering the “Primrose Path” and the cry of the Georgia legislators when they burned the Yazoo titles earlier, an unknown person or persons shouted that “these papers must be destroyed by fire from heaven.”
After seizing them from the Primrose agents, they proceeded to set them afire with a sunglass and a tinder box. The Primrose people quickly left town.
Unbelievably, they showed up in Bulloch County again in the mid-1850s, when they then accosted the Bulloch Clerk of Court David Beasley.
Handing him a “writ of mandamus,” essentially an order from a higher court to a court official to do what they were asked, they demanded he file their certified survey papers.
Beasley, not wanting to do what they asked, simply chose to immediately resign his office. The Primrose people then went and tracked down Sheriff Erastus Waters, and presented him with the writs.
The sheriff promptly handed them back, took off his badge, and after ushering them out of the building, locked the doors and nailed them shut and then went home.
When Judge William Bennett Fleming arrived for the next scheduled Superior Court of Bulloch County, he was surprised by the same representatives, who had been lying in wait for someone in a position of legal authority to accept their writ.
He found an empty courthouse, with no employees in sight. Almost immediately a large and angry crowd assembled, and they told Judge Fleming that they promised to “resist this claim even to the point of shedding blood.”
Judge Fleming, being no fool, knew what to do: He informed everyone that court could not be held, as there were no court officers, and then promptly departed from Statesboro.
At this, the Primrose people departed for the last time, never to return. The claims disappeared, never to resurface again. In relatively short order, Sheriff Waters, Clerk Beasley, and several other county officials were reinstalled in their positions with some fanfare and many expressions of gratitude.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.