Leonard Harper Sr. is the progenitor of the large Harper Family of
Irwin and Coffee Counties, Georgia. Leonard was born abt. 1735 in
Peas Creek, NC, according to Huxford's Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia.
To date Peas Creek has not been located but may well be Pea Creek, SC.
According to Huxford, Leonard Harper Sr. came to Liberty Co., GA
(which was later cut into McIntosh Co.), with his son, Leonard Jr., during
the Revolutionary War.* In the Surveyor's General Dept. in Atlanta, GA,
there are four headgrants issued to Leonard Harper and perhaps his
son, Leonard Harper Jr. The claims are:
Upon arriving to survey the ground for one of his headgrants (which
you could receive by paying a a filing fee of 5.00) Leonard found a
house had been constructed and someone was living in it. The man
residing there invited Leonard in, gave him a meal and a bed for the night.
The following morning Leonard rose, pulled the title for the headgrant
from his pocket, and told the hospitable gentleman that the property
now belonged to him.
Life on the new frontier was perilous and indians were an everyday part
of the lives of Leonard and his family. The Creek Indians made a raid on Leonard's plantation in Liberty Co., in 1788. The indians made away with his horses and hogs and, according to family lore, the house was burned and
all of Leonard's tools along with miscellaneous items were taken.
Leonard's wife and children hid in the bushes during the raid. Leonard
later found the tools and other items buried in his field when he was
plowing. Leonard Harper Jr. filed a claim with the Indian Claims Bureau
on behalf of himself, and his siblings, as a result of this raid. The claim
was paid. (These records can be obtained from the Bureau of Indian
Affairs, Washington, D.C.)
Emily Gray Martin, Gentlemen and Their Ladies - Gray Family History,
states that Leonard fought in the Revolutionary War, participating in
the battles of Troy and Sumpter. It is said that he had the fastest horse
of any, having outrun the British on at least one occasion. With the
British in pursuit Leonard approached a wide gully. He and his horse
jumped, the British came to the edge and stopped.
It is not known who Leonard's wife actually was but it is said that she
was Dutch (according to records found in Irwin Co., GA). Emily Gray
Martin states that " . . . Leonard Harper Sr. met the boat carrying
five females from Holland who came here looking for husbands.
It was told Leonard Sr. married one of them (black-Dutch)."
*I personally feelthat there is a discrepancy in Huxford's work. He
states that the son of Leonard Harper Sr., Leonard Harper Jr., was
born in 1788 in Liberty Co., GA. However, I believe that there was a
third Leonard Harper, b. abt. 1735, and known as Leonard Sr.,
husband of Elizabeth. Elizabeth applied for administration of his estate
on April 12, 1804 (McIntosh Co.). I believe that this is the Leonard Sr.
that Huxford was referring to and that he came to McIntosh Co., GA,
with his son Leonard during the Revolutionary War. Upon the death of
the father the son became Leonard Sr. - this would be the Leonard Sr.
who died in McIntosh Co., GA, in 1822 and was probably b. abt. 1750.
His son, Leonard Jr., born 1788, died in Irwin Co., GA, in 1845. This
opinion is further strengthened by the fact that Leonard reportedly
did not bring a wife with him to Georgia but married a Dutch woman
after his arrival.