Finding Your Folks: The Byroms of Pike County

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

I had fully intended to give you a nice column filled with goodies from the Pike County Courthouse on the family of Beverly Byrom of Pike County. Beverly was the older brother of James Byram whose family was featured in a series of columns several months ago. Beverly lived and died in Pike but many of his descendants lived in the area served by Bethel United Methodist Church on Luther Bailey Road in Coweta. Last week, I had answered a message on the Rootsweb message board from Heather Byrom Hannah who was inquiring about the Byram book and said she was related to the Coweta Byrams. I had not studied the Pike County Byrams and really wanted the opportunity to do so. I could still connect this family to mine through the other Byrams and then through the Tidwells.

However, the best-laid plans … didn't pan out.

I went to Zebulon on Wednesday morning, intending to stay the whole day investigating the resources in both the probate office (wills and estates) and superior court (deeds) office. I took probate first and was very disappointed in what I found. Please understand I'm not telling you this to criticize the way they do things. I'm trying to give a heads up to other researchers so they will know to allocate a lot of time for research there.

In most probate offices, there are huge books, Indexes to Estates, where every reference to every estate, by book and page number, is listed in alphabetical order. If you are looking for an estate, my Beverly Byrom, for instance, you would look in the "B" books and it would tell you whether there was a will and, if so, who the executor was. If there was no will it will tell you who the administrator was, plus the book and page numbers where you can find bonds, inventories, sales, annual returns - anything related to the estate. From there, it's just a matter of finding the book and copying or abstracting the information.

Unfortunately, there is no such system in Pike County. The old books are there but they are not well marked and you just kind of have to go through them all to find what you're looking for. Because of the old-fashioned handwriting, it's slow going. The marriage books are well marked, as are the court minutes. But annual returns are haphazard and estate inventory books are nonexistent. Needless to say, I did not find what I was looking for - an estate inventory and annual returns for the estate of Beverly Byrom. However, now that I know what to expect, I will go back and look through one book at a time, page by page within the time frame I'm after. I'm bound to find some kind of treasure.

The Superior Court grantee and grantor indexes and deed books are in perfect order and it took only a short time to jot down the Byrom grantors and grantees, look up the actual deeds, abstract what I needed, and I was on my way. Copies, by the way, are 25 cents each in both offices. I also walked across the street to the tax assessor's office and purchased one of those great county maps that have land lots and districts plainly marked ($4). Despite the disappointment at the probate office, it was a profitable day. All the court folks were awfully nice.

So, what about this Beverly Byrom? First, you will notice that most of his descendants spelled the name "Byrom" rather than "Byram" as his brother's children did. In fact, in the deed book, it was Byram, Byrom and even Byron.

Beverly was named after his mother, Mariah Beverly, who married his father, James Byram, and lived in Virginia. Beverly later moved to Mecklenburg County, N.C. and then to Pike County, Ga.

While he was in Mecklenburg, Beverly married Sarah Williamson in 1807, sister of his brother's wife, Hannah Williamson, and they had several children. And here's where it gets sticky. I do not have any verifiable source for the names of the children, except his son James, who was executor of his estate. The documentation may be out there, but I have not seen it.

Children were said to be John, b. 1809, James b. 1813, Mariah, Clarice, Sara, and Mary Phoebe. These names came from a family file on the private Website for Bethel UMC in Coweta sent to me via email by Heather Byrom Hannah. I know parts of this file are in error so please check those names out before you accept them as final. That was why I wanted the annual returns on Beverly's estate. He did leave a will but did not name all his children. The annual returns may have listed the names of his heirs and their distribution share.

On 29 July 1826, for the sum of $200, Beverly bought Land Lot 124 in the first district of Pike County from John Waid of Gwinnett County. This land currently is in the center of Hollonville and, strangely enough, is owned by my sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Bobby Polk. I didn't realize that fact until I got home and compared the deed with the map. She is going to be very surprised when I tell her.

There was only one land record for Beverly in Pike County and it shows where he bought land but not when he sold it. My guess would be that he lived on the land until his death in 1849 and the children sold it later.

There were several land transactions made by a John Byram as early as 1823, also in the first district. I will try to find out how this John was related and expound more on this family next week.

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog