Friday, March 22, 2019

12 things I learned about James M. Lankford this week

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “12.”

I spend a lot of time searching the Georgia Historic Newspapers, a free resource provided by the Digital Library of Georgia. If you’re researching families from Georgia and you’re not using this online resource, you’re missing out! I’ve found a lot of good stuff in these newspapers. Some are very informative news articles and some are just nuggets of information, but when pieced together, they help tell the stories we’re all working so hard to write.

My 3rd great grandfather, James Meriweather Lankford, was a prominent member of his community (Penfield, Greene County, Georgia) so was often in the news. Since this week’s theme is “12,” I thought I’d see if I could find 12 new things about him. I knew he was a farmer, stock trader, slave owner, and a veteran of the Civil War. It’s turns out, he was quite the businessman in Penfield. Here’s what I learned this week from the Georgia Historic Newspapers.

1.  He owned and ran the Penfield Daily Hack.

Daily Chronicle & Sentinel, Augusta, Georgia, February 4, 1852
Penfield Daily Hack. The subscriber will convey Passengers from the Depot in Greensboro’ to Penfield, daily, upon the arrival of the Passenger Daily Trains at 11 o’clock, A.M. 
Leaving Greensboro’ at 11 ½ o’clock, A.M., and arriving at Penfield by 2 o’clock, P.M.
Leaving Penfield for Greensboro’ at 8 ½ o’clock, A.M., so as to connect with the Trains going East and West.
fe1-d1w&tw2t JAMES M. LANKFORD.
2.  He was a merchant.
The Temperance Banner, Penfield, Georgia, June 10, 1854
LARGE SALES & SMALL PROFITS. The subscribers respectfully inform their friends and the public that they have united in business under the firm of Williams & Langford, and have opened a large and well selected stock of Family Groceries, &c. at the old stand of A. S. Williams. Their stock comprises the following articles, viz:
Stewart’s Refined Sugar
Fine New-Orleans Brown Sugar
Crushed Sugar
Rio Coffee, Rice, and Vinegar
Molasses and New-Orleans Syrup
Salt, Nails, Irish Potatoes, Saot, Powder and Lead
Mackerel, Cod Fish, Sardines, Belogna Sausages
Star and Tailow Candles
Cheese, Black and Hyson Teas
Black Pepper, Spice, Race and Ground Ginger
Table and common salt,
Almonds, English Walnuts, Brrzil and Pecan Nuts
Tobacco, Segars and Snuff, &c. &c.
Confectionaries, &c.
Preseves, Lemon Syrup, Oranges, Lemons, Raisins, Figs, Candy, Kisses, Sugar, Plums, Toys, &c. &c.
Medicines, Paints, Oils, &c.
Sand’s Sarsaparilla, Turpentine, Castor Oil, Sweet Oil, Linseed Oil, Train Oil, Alum, Epsom Salts, Borax, Coione Kathairon, Military Shaving Soap, Cakes Soap, Tarpentine Soap, Essence of Lemon, Essence of Peppermint, do. Rose Water, Landanum, Paregoric, Blacking, Cloves, Lamp Oil, Matches, &c &c.
From the above list it may be seen that our Stock comprises the largest and best selected assortment of Family Groceries, &c. ever offered in this market.—This being the case they can afford to sell for very small profits. Students will find that a portion of the stock has been selected with especial reference to their wants. The subscribers will give their individual attention to all who favor them with their patronage.
A. S. Williams,
James M. Lankford
Penfield, April 1 13 1y
3.  He owned a livery stable in partnership with W. T. Doster and J. T. Dolvin. The partnership was dissolved in 1855.
The Temperance Banner, Penfield, Georgia, December 1, 1855
NOTICE.—The Copartnership heretofore existing under the firm and name of Doster, Lankford & Dolvin, and J. M. Lankford & Co., is this day dissolved by mutual consent.
The Books and accounts of Doster & Lankford, Dolvin, Lankford & Dolvin, and J. M. Lankford & Co., are in the hands of J. M. Lankford for collection. All persons indebted will please come forward and settle and save cost.
W. T. Doster,
J. M. Lankford.
J. T. Dolvin
Oct. 15, 1855.
Having this day bought the interest of J. M. Lankford in the firm of Doster, Lankford & Dolvin, and J. M. Lankford & Co., I now inform the public that the Livery Stable business will be continue in the name of Doster & Dolvin.
J. T. Dolvin
Oct. 15, 1855. 42—6t
4.  He was elected Constable of his district in 1856.
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, January 12, 1856
County Elections, On Monday, the 7th inst., E. L. King was elected Ordinary; A. T. Scott, Tax Collector; Wm. English, Receiver; V. Sanford, Clerk; A. L. Willis, Justice of the Inferior Court; and J. G. Holtzclaw, Surveyor.
On the 5th inst., James M. Lankford, Esq., was elected Constable of our District by an overwhelming majority.
5.  He sold Sarsaparilla extract to the public, presumably from the Williams & Lankford store. 
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, February 2, 1856
HELMBOLD’S HIGHLY CONCENTRATED Compound Fluid Extract Sarsaparilla. For Purifying the Blood, removing all diseases arising from excess of Mercury, exposure and imprudence in life, chronic constitutional disease, arising from an impure state of the Blood, and the only reliable and effectual known remedy for the cure of Scrofula, Salt Rheum, Scald Head, Ulcerations of the Throat and Legs, Pains and Swellings of the Bones, Tetter, Pimples on the Face, and all Scaly Eruptions of the Skin.
This article is now prescribed by some of the most distinguished physicians in the country, and has proved more efficient in practice than any preparation of Sarsaparilla yet offered to the public. Several cases of secondary Syphilis, Mercurial and Scrofulous diseases have entirely recovered in the incurable wards of our Public Institutions which had for many years resisted every mode of treatment that could be devised. These cases furnish striking examples of the salutary effects of this medicine in arresting some of the most inveterate diseases, after the glands were destroyed, and the bones already affected.
Notice.—Letters from responsible Physicians and Professors of several Medical Colleges, and certificates of cures from patients will be found accompanying both Preparations.
Prices—Fluid Extract of Buchu, $1 per bottle, or 6 bottles for $5, Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla, $1 per bottle, or 6 bottles for $5, equal in strength to one gallon of Syrup or Sarsaparilla.
Prepared and sold by H. T. HELMBOLD, Chemist, 168 Chesnut Street, near the Girard House, Philadelphia.
To be had of JAMES M. LANKFORD, Penfield.
And of Druggists and Dealers everywhere.
All letters directed to the Proprietor or Agent receive immediate attention.
June 2 22—1y
6.  He sold M’Lane’s Vermifuge, a medicine used to expel worms from the body, again presumably from the Williams & Lankford store. 
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, November 29, 1856. 
Worms, Worms, Worms. A great many learned treaties have been written, explaining the origin of, and classifying the worms generated in the human system. Scarcely any topic of medical science has elicited more acute observation and profound research; and yet physicians are very much divided in opinion on the subject. It must be admitted, however, that after all, a mode of expelling them and purifying the body from their presence is of more value than the wisest, disquisitions as to their origin.
Such an expelling agent has not been found. Dr. M’Lane’s Vermifuge proves to be the much sought after specific—its efficacy being universally acknowledged by the entire medical faculty. As further proof, and the following from a lady—one of our own citizens:
New York, October 15th, 1852.
This is to certify that I was troubled with worms for more than a year. I was advised to use M’Lane’s Celebrated Vermifuge, prepared by Flemming Bros. of Pittsburg. I took one bottle, which brought away about fifty worms; I commenced improving at once, and am now perfectly well. The public can learn my name, and further particulars, by applying to Mrs. Hardie, No. 3 Manhatten place, or E. L. Theall, Druggist, corner of Rutger and Monroe sts. 
Purchasers will be careful to ask for Dr. M’Lane’s Celebrated Vermifuge, manufactured by Fleming Bros. of Pittsburg, Pa. All other Vermifuge in comparison are worthless. Dr. M’Lane’s genuine Vermifuge, also his celebrated Liver Pills, can now be had at all the respectable drug stores.—None genuine without the signature of FLEMING BROS.
Sold by J. M. Lankford, Penfield: and W. Griffin, Greenesboro, and by one agent in every town in the South.
7.  He and J. W. Jackson ran a daily hack line from Penfield to Greensboro, Georgia. They also had livery stables in both cities.
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, February 19, 1857
TO THE TRAVELING PUBLIC. Having bought out the HACK LINE from Messrs. Wilson & Thompson, the undersigned now run a Daily Line from Penfield to Greenesboro’, connecting with the daily passenger trains.
They also have Livery Stables in both places, where they are prepared to accommodate persons with Horses and Buggies to go to any point they may desire. With good Carriages and harness, gentle Horses, sober drivers, and reasonable prices, they respectfully solicit a liberal share of public patronage. Having learned the folly of a contrary course they will require the cash in all cases.
J. W. Jackson will always be found at Willis’ Hotel, Greenesboro’, and J. M. Lankford, at their Stables in Penfield.
Jan. 22, 1857. 1y 4
8.  He ran another livery stable with Messrs. Wilson and Raden. They dissolved the business in 1857.
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, December 17, 1857
Notice.—The firm of Lankford, Wilson & Raden has this day been dissolved by mutual consent, and no debts made against this firm will be paid after this date. All persons having claims against said firm will present them to James M. Lankford, and all persons indebted to said firm will come forward and pay up, as the cash we are compelled to have to pay our debts.
LANKFORD, WILSON & RADEN, December 5th, 1857.
9.  Joseph Raden sold his part of the livery stable to satisfy a mortgage to James M. Lankford. I enjoyed this notice because it provides details of the inventory the men had in their livery stable.
Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, December 17, 1857
Greene Mortgage Sales. Will be sold in the City of Greenesboro’ on the first Tuesday in February next, between the usual hours of sale, the Interest of Joseph N. Raden in the Livery Stable of Lankford, Wilson and Raden. It being the sixth part of said firm, the following property to-wit: Two old grey Horses known as the Ellington horses, two black Horses known as the Williams horses, two black Mules.
One bay horse known as the Sharp horse; one sorrel Horse known as the Grady sorrel; one bay horse known as the Jackson horse; one sorrel known as pot gut; one bay horse known as the lame bay; one grey horse known as the Jackson grey. Seven buggies and harness; Four hacks and harness; one two Horse Wagon and harness; one one Horse wagon and Harness; one four seated Buggy and harness, all levied on as the property of Joseph N. Raden to satisfy a mortgage fi fa in favor of James M. Lankford issued from Greene Inferior Court against said Raden.
T. F. Foster, D. Sheriff. Greenesboro’ Nov. 14th, 1857.
10.  His son was wounded and it was reported that his hand might have to be amputated. A week later, the newspaper retracted part of the story saying that it was a mistake to report that amputation was a possibility. The injured person could have been my 2nd great grandfather James C. Lankford.
Planters’ Weekly, Greensboro, Georgia, May 9, 1860. 
A son of Mr. James M. Lankford of this County, was badly wounded in the wrist by the accidental discharge of his gun on Saturday last. The physicians think amputation necessary. It seems to be the misfortune of our County, that we have more distressing accidents, more Coroner’s inquests, more murders, more hoaxes to chronicle, than any other county paper in the State.
Planters’ Weekly, Greensboro, Georgia, May 16, 1860. 
We were in error last week, when we said, that the physicians thought amputation of the hand necessary for Mr. Lankford’s son, who had been wounded by the accidental discharge of his gun. They never thought or said so, and our mistake was in publishing the first report which reached us.
11.  He bought the States right to a rotating harrow in 1860, an implement that was pulled by a horse or mull to break up clods of dirt, etc.
Planters’ Weekly, Greensboro, Georgia, April 3, 1861. 
DeWitt & Barrett’s. 
Rotating Harrow.
Patented 2nd March 1858
The First premium Harrow of the empire and Green Mountain States.
The Harrow that has taken the premium, at every State and County fair where it has been exhibited and Tested.
I wish to inform the citizen of Greene and the adjoining Counties, that I have bought the “STATES RIGHT” to the above Harrow; and that I am manufacturing them at PENFIELD GEORGIA.
I have fifty nearly finished. I will sell the Harrow at $15.00, or the “Farmers Right” for five Dollars. Any one who can make a plough stock, can make one of these Harrows, as they are very simple in construction, except the centre piece of iron which is cast, it however costs but two Dollars and twenty five centers. A gentleman who has used this Harrow says, I would state for the benefit of the farming community, that it is the most simple and complete pulverizer that ever was invented. I have one in use on my farm (two miles from Auburn,) and I testify that it will do more work in one hour than a common Harrow will in two, I tested the Harrow in hard soil, and in corn subble; and I find it comes up to your statement to the very letter &e.,
Any person wishing to purchase a Harrow, can take it on his plantation and if it does not suit he may return it, and I will charge him nothing. It is the very thing for leveling the land, and breaking clods, consequently is invaluable in putting in wheat.
October 24th, 1860.—1y.
12.  He was a realtor of some sort.
The Georgia Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, February 4, 1858
For Sale or Rent. A comfortable house and lot in Penfield, situated in the eastern part of town. It contains four good Rooms—all the outbuildings are in good repair, and a small family will find it to be a pleasant residence.
Mr. Henry English occupied it during the past year. Apply to J. M. Lankford. Penfield, Ga.
Jan. 7, 1858. tf.
All of this information was news to me and exciting to learn. The livery stables didn’t surprise me but I had no idea about the store. Now back to the newspapers to write a story for next week’s theme “in the paper.”


  • Penfield Daily Hack, “Daily Chronicle & Sentinel,” Augusta, Georgia, February 4, 1852.
  • Large Sales & Small Profits, “The Temperance Banner,” Penfield, Georgia, June 10, 1854.
  • Notice, “The Temperance Banner,” Penfield, Georgia, December 1, 1855.
  • County Elections, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, January 12, 1856.
  • Helmbold’s Highly Concentrated Compound Fluid Extract Sarsaparilla, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, February 2, 1856.
  • Worms, Worms, Worms, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, November 29, 1856.
  • To the Traveling Public, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, February 19, 1857.
  • Notice, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, December 17, 1857.
  • Greene Mortgage Sales, “Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, December 17, 1857.
  • “Planters’ Weekly,” Greensboro, Georgia, May 9, 1860. 
  • “Planters’ Weekly,” Greensboro, Georgia, May 16, 1860.
  • DeWitt & Barrett’s, Rotating Harrow, “Planters’ Weekly,” Greensboro, Georgia, April 3, 1861. 
  • For Sale or Rent, “The Georgia Temperance Crusader,” Penfield, Georgia, February 4, 1858.

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