M & B Railroad Program

Scott with toy trainJamie Reid

The M & B Railroad was the subject of the February program of the Upson Historical Society.  Speakers Scott Robinson of Barnesville (L) and Jamie Reid of Zebulon  (R) shared their knowledge with a full room.  (Photographs by Ellen Tew)

DVDs are available for purchase for $5.00 at the Thomaston-Upson Archives from the Upson Historical Society.

Upcoming programs are:  March 23, 7:00 p.m. in the Thomaston-Upson Archives Conference Room:  Jeff Sanders, “The True Story of Molly.”  On April 27, the speaker will be Jerry McDonald, “Popular Teachers from R. E. Lee.”

The programs are free and open to the public.


A Researcher’s Goldmine: Upson County Minute Book Index, 1825-1854

Mary N.

The Thomaston-Upson Archives has received another invaluable research tool from professional genealogist and Upson Historical Society Newsletter columnist, Mary Nowell. For this year-long project, Mary has read through the Upson County Minute Book, 1825-1854 and indexed an enormous amount of historic and genealogic information. Mary has compiled several indexes including the following: the names of jurors, road commissioners, deeds, promissory notes, and criminal cases. A second index is a compilation of Upson County Poor School records of children and teachers. In a third index Mary has titled “Points of Interest” which includes 13 bridges, 41 mills, 10 plantations, 24 roads, 5 stores and 6 gin houses. The fourth index includes Census Takers, Deaths Implied, Declaration of Citizenships, Merchants, Name Changes, Paupers, Peddlers, Salves and Free Persons of Color.   Mary also has an enormous amount of family names indexed. This invaluable resource compliments her former project of indexing deed records and plats. Mary’s many hours of diligent work deciphering nineteenth century handwriting will benefit researchers and genealogist for decades to come. Mary’s hard work on both of these projects is paying off. Already, patrons are finding missing links. It is because of volunteers like Mary, that the Archives is able to offer such treasures. Please ask us to see her work and we will be happy to pull the material for you.

Mary writes a popular monthly column for The Newsletter entitled “Genealogy Favorites.”

Volunteer Britty Dickens Sews Up Veterans Appreciation Day Research on Textile History

Britty 2015

“Textiles Made in Upson County to Support the Armed Services” was the Upson Historical Society, Veterans Committee program, November 8, 2014.  Volunteer Britty Dickens created a record on not only of this program, but of the importance of the textile industry in the nation and also in Upson County.  Britty is pictured in this photograph holding his research “The Textile Industry — World War II and Upson County” as well as research on the Purple Heart.

Volunteer Joe Hungate Donates more Transcriptions


Long-time Thomaston-Upson Archives’ volunteer Joe Hungate of Snellville, Georgia visited us recently to bring in three more family histories he has transcribed from Mr. Jack Morgan’s hand-written records.  Joe types in the material from Mr. Morgan’s books, creates an index and also a CD.  Joe also double checks information on Ancestry. So far, these are the family genealogies Joe has transcribed:  Barker – Birdsong – Boyt – Brooks – Brown – Colquitt – Corley – Dawson – De Loach – Dickens – Watson – Ellerbee -Ferguson – Flewellen – Fortner – Gibson – Green – Hardage – Harrison – Haygood – Hightower – Farr – Mallory – Mangham – Mann – Martin – McKinley – Moore – Persons – Rogers – Slater – Smith – Stewart – Thompson – Tisinger – Torbert – Turner – Vining – Wade – Weaver – White – Woodson.

We are thankful to Joe and, for Joe’s wife Myrna, for sharing personal time working on Archives’ projects.

We appreciate this diligent and meticulous volunteer!

Grady Kelley Maps Cemeteries

Since 2008 Grady Kelley has been travelling the roads and byways of Upson County, looking for cemeteries.  Some were well-known and others lost to memory, until Grady found them.  Grady, with the help of his wife Brenda, has plotted the location of the 163 cemeteries on a laminated map of Upson County.  Brenda typed up the names alphabetically which can be easily located by looking them up in a binder.  In addition, the cemetery location is included. Grady has divided up the county into four sections so it is easier to find the locations of the cemeteries.  For example, Rocky Mount Cemetery is in section 2, number 119.  The cemetery is located on Hwy 19 North at McCorkle Curve Road.

Combine these helpful tools with Grady’s Forgotten and Found Cemetery Books which have detailed maps printed on the back of the photographs of the cemeteries and you have an invaluable resource.  In addition, Grady has information on veterans of several wars and their names and information are in various binders such as Confederates, Spanish American War (1898), World War I, and World War II.  He has begun binders for later wars.

We at the Thomaston-Upson Archives are grateful to Grady and Brenda for this labor of love.


Thomaston Soldier Awarded Posthumous Medals from the Republic of Vietnam

April 30 will be the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War which ended in 1975. On the Upson County courthouse lawn is a monument remembering the 14 Upson casualties who lost their lives across the world in Indochina.

PFC Jimmy Bussey is one of the names engraved on the monument. 48 years ago, he was 11 days short of his twentieth birthday. In the Vietnamese province of Gia Dinh on February 2, 1967 his young life was cut short. The government of the Republic of Vietnam announced in September 1967 that they “were awarding the Military Merit Medal and the Gallantry Cross with Palm for his actions prior to being killed.”

The Thomaston Times printed the story of his posthumous award on September 14, 1967. The article reads: A citation accompanying the medals presented to PFC Bussey’s parents by Major Douglas Harris, read: “Courageous combatants, well known for their sacrifices, who always exhibited a spirit of good will and cooperation. They assisted the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces in blocking the Red Wave of aggression from engulfing South Vietnam and Southeast Asia. With their enthusiasm and exemplary devoted manner, they willingly executed all of their entrusted missions and set a brilliant example for their comrades-in-arms. They died in the performance of their missions. Their losses have been greatly mourned by both their American and Vietnamese comrades-in-arms.”