Monday, September 8, 2014

John Williams and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock

John Williams Medlock - My Family History Journey - Debbie LowranceSarah Jemison Ware Medlock - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance

John Williams Medlock and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock are my paternal 3x great grandparents. John Williams Medlock was born in Greenville, South Carolina 4 Apr 1803, and died 5 Nov 1882 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock was born in Green Co., Georgia 21 Nov 1807, and died 16 Dec 1883 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. They were married 7 Nov 1822 in Gwinnett Co., Georgia. John was 19 and Sarah was 15. They had 13 children with 2 dying in infancy. Their children are:

Thomas Landrum Delony Medlock
Susannah Eliza Medlock
James Isham Henry Medlock
John Oliver Medlock
Robert Medlock
Martha Margaret Ann Medlock
William Parks Medlock
Eli Wren Medlock (my paternal 2x great grandfather)
Sarah Jemison Medlock
Caroline Medlock
Georgia Ann Medlock
Zachry Taylor Medlock
Clark Smith Medlock

1830 John (27) and Sarah (23), lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

1840 John W. Medlock (37) and Sarah (33) lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

1850 John W. Medlock (47) and Sarah (43) lived in Gwinnett, Georgia.

In 1851 John W. Medlock bought 102 acres of land from Allen L. Johnson for $1000.

Buying Land Lot Forty-eight they made their home near a spring on land that is now near Grace United Methodist Church on Ponce de Leon Avenue.  (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History  By: Sharon Foster Jones)

The Medlocks did make use of slave labor, but they were not the stereotypical plantation owners of hundreds of slaves in the antebellum South; they reported six slaves in Atlanta in 1850 between the ages of one and thirty-one years and ten slaves in 1860 between the ages of four months and forty-four years.  (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History  By: Sharon Foster Jones)

1860 John was a farmer in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

The Civil War took it's toll on the family in many ways. Five sons, as well as four son-in-laws fought in the Confederate State Army (CSA) better known as the Confederacy. The family was forced to leave their plantation in 1864 when the Union army marched through Georgia. When the war ended, they returned to their home to find their house burned, timber cut down, and life as they knew it, gone.  One son, Thomas Landrum Delony Medlock, committed suicide shortly after coming home from the war. William Parks Medlock was wounded in both hands, with the bullet remaining in his left hand until his death. Eli Wren Medlock (my paternal 2x great grandfather) was wounded at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock wrote this letter to her daughter Martha Margaret Ann Terry in Longview, Texas. It will give you a better understanding and glimpse into the life of the Medlock family after the war.  

Atlanta, Georgia

March the 12, 1866

Dear Children:
I will try to write you a few lines in answer to your very kind and affectionate letter received a few days ago.  We wsd truly glad to hear from you and hear you were all well.  Your lines found us only in tolerable health.  Ellen and Ciscero are at the hospital.  He has had the smal pox.  Ellen had it very light.  Ciscero came very near dying.  His toes are coming off.  He has been there two weeks tomorrow.
I cannot say I am ever well but keep up the most of my time.  I feel this morning like I could not hold out to finish my letter with a numbness in my arm and hand.  It has troubled me for four years at least, but it gets worse.  I do not rest with it after I lie down and get to sleep, it pains me.  I have to rub it very often.  If you really knew how it is, you would be surprised at my attempting to write.  It is raining a little this morning, I suppose makes it worse.
The small pox is more common than you every knew the measles, yes is five times as much.  I believe there has been thousands of cases.  There is and has been more negros died around here than belong to the place before the war.  The Yanks is throwing them out... The blacks is with us except Jude and Mary.  Jude is with S.J.W.   Mary is with Rebecca Medlock.  Charles is hired at 10 dollars per month and will feed him, his family is at Chattanooga; Ellen and her oldest girl and four boys - three of them not able to do any thing.  The burned one and the one she called Noah, died in 1864.  We left home in July '64 the 12th day.  We left our furniture.  We took a few chairs and bedding, the best or the most of our clothes - our cattle we sold to the government except three cows and calves.  We have one cow and calf is all the stock except two mules.  We lost our hogs and horses.  We refugeed at Washington County, stayed there September '64 until November '65.  The fighting was mostly from Peachtree Road around to Decatur.  Our houses burned, our timber cut down on the home lot, our shade trees and pretty well all of our fruit trees.
There has been thousands of pounds of lead picked up on our land.  People supported their family picking up lead.  They got 50 cents a pound before the surrender.  The bomb-shells is plenty, many with the load in them.
I mailed a letter to you in January.  I told you that Georgia was to be married the 30th of January.  She married at 3 o'clock on the 30th to Joel Yarborough.  He is the one we spoke of when you was there.  He has been raised an orphan, he is very steady.  I think he is doing business in town on his own hook - has been clerking before the war.
I also told you about the boys, they are all home except Thomas, poor fellow - his body lies in the nearest grave yard to his house - he shot his brains out.  He was wounded in the 7 days fight before Richmond in '62 - shot himself in '64.  He never enjoyed life after he was wounded.  John came home unhurt, only his constitution somewhat impaired.  B.F.W. is alright at home.  W.P. badly hurt, has lost his left hand and fore-finger on his right hand, neither amputated.  Robert is also at home, has bad health.  E.W. is living in Troop County.  Was wounded at Sharpsburg, hurt badly but has, I learn, got over it.  I have not seen him since the surrender.  Fletcher Tilly and Albert was both wounded, not serious.  Now I must say the connection is on foot as far as I know.  I forgot to tell you that Wiley is dead.  He died in the fall of '64.
You seem to think of coming back to Atlanta, there is as much ground here as there ever was, but not as many trees.  It is not my wish to try to persuade you against your will but it is a great terror to me - not only me but all of the connection, to think of being deprived of seeing Ann and her children when they all think you could do as well here.  I believe the Lord heard my prayer on behalf of my children.  I feel some time that I ought never to cease shouting and praising my God, for his mercy and goodness to my children.  My prayer has been that I might live to enjoy Ann's company in life, but if I am not permitted, I hope I shall in heaven.  It seems to me that I  could write a week if my arm would hold out - it is so dead I will have to close.
Kiss the children for us.  Write soon.  I remain your mother in love.
Sarah Medlock
  •  S.J.W. is her daughter Sarah Jemison Walker
  • Rebecca Medlock is the wife of her son Thomas  
  • Georgia who married Yarborough is her daughter
  • Thomas who shot himself is her son
  • John is her son
  • B.F.W. is her son-in-law Benjamin F. Walker
  • Robert is her son
  • E.W. is her son Eli Wren Medlock
  • Fletcher Tilly is her son-in-law
  • Albert is the brother of Fletcher
  • Wiley who died could possible be her son William
  • It is unknown who Ellen and Ciscero were.

This letter is courtesy of atlandows (user name) on

1880 John (77) and Sarah (73) lived in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

John Williams Medlock died 5 Nov 1882 in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia and Sarah Jemison Ware Medlock died 16 Dec 1883 in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia.

In 1883 - the year following John Williams Medlock’s death-three hundred acres of his land near Ponce was auctioned for development; it had been divided into fifty lots. (Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History By: Sharon Foster Jones) The land sold for over $79,000.

Life was hard for the Medlock family. As a mother, I cannot imagine all of my male children going off to war. John and Sarah lived during turbulent times and never gave up.  They worked hard, starting with next to nothing and working their way to a large parcel of land. The strength that John and Sarah had, both physically and mentally, shows the type of people they were, strong. Developing the area which is now the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, they were true pioneers in every sense of the word.


A special thank you to Sharon Foster Jones - Atlanta's Ponce de Leon Avenue: A History for the history and insight.


  1. Today we were sitting in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Austell, Ga. We were looking for Eli Wren Medlock and Martha Edmonson graves. This is my husbands great-great grandfather. They had a daughter Annie that married Thomas Andrew Godfrey. They had a son Thomas Wren Godfrey(my husbands grandfather).
    He has done extensive research on the Medlock family. So if we can help you in any way we will. We lived in the Atlanta area for many years and areas we lived in were once Medlock farms.
    I found your blog today because we were checking to see if Edmonson's were buried in this area too, One of the first things to pop up was your posts. It was a delight to read as we sat in front of the graves in a beautiful old cemetery. We hope to go back soon and explore more. We will get pictures of all of this than and will be glad to share them with you.
    A side note is a older lady was there and was proud to tell us someone is restoring the Medlock family house. (Eli's). So we are anxious to research that also,
    We love this letter.....we had read it before but as we learn more it has so many hints in it.
    Thanks for your blog.
    Donna Godfrey

    1. Thank you for your wonderful, kind comments. Your husband's great
      grandmother Annie is the sister to my great grandfather Charles Woodson
      Medlock. I am so excited!!
      I would love to share any information that I have on the Medlock family
      with you. And would love any pictures you would like to share with me.
      Thank you again!!!

      This is where we were sitting when I found your blog.
      I will dig some photos out tomorrow.
      I am excited too!

  2. Deb, I have John Williams Medlock as my 1st cousin 5x removed. I have no family for Sarah Ware, do you have her parents? Thanks