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Three Settling Migration of the McMullan Colonists and Evolution of the Colonies in Brazil William C. Griggs Alfred Iverson Smith, Bellona's father and the patriarch of the large family that emigrated to Brazil after the Civil War with the McMullan colony, was born near Macon, Georgia. His grandparents were Huguenots who escaped to the United States after persecution of the religious sect began in their native France. The family first settled in South Carolina but moved after the American Revolution to the area around Macon, Georgia, where over the years they became relatively wealthy as farmers. Although raised on the farm, young Alfred decided that his future was to be something other than an agriculturalist, and in the early 1840S he left for Alabama to search for his star. Less than fourteen years old at the time, Smith's efforts in making a living were not as successful as he might have liked, and it was not long before he decided to return home and to wait for a more fortuitous time to pursue a new career. His return route to Macon took him through Walker County in northwest Georgia where he worked for food and lodging at the few farms and settlements through which he passed. I One Walker County farmstead at which Alfred Smith stopped was near the small community of Chestnut Hill. It belonged to a man named Hugh McMullan, whose father came from Ireland before the War of 1812 to support the American cause. McMullan immediately took a liking to the young man, who was, by then, almost exhausted from his travels. McMullan asked Smith to stay as long as he liked while he recuperated. After learning that Alfred had a better than average education, he suggested that the young man try his luck as a teacher and that he remain in the area. There was not, at that time, a school at which McMullan's children Frank (age seven), Martha Ann (five), Milton (two), and Eugene (one) would be able to attend . Having no agenda other than returning home to Macon, Alfred accepted the suggestion and boarded with the McMullan family until he could 50 Settling begin his school. During that period, Hugh McMullan became almost like a father to the young man.2 Smith's classes, which offered a general curriculum with a specialty in music, grew quickly, and the young man prospered. Young Frank McMullan, Alfred Smith's first student, was only a few years younger than the budding educator, and the two became fast friends as well as teacher and student. When Hugh McMullan decided in 1844 that it was time to move to Mississippi and a new frontier, the parting of Frank and Alfred was painful. They were determined not to let distance end their friendship, however, and they continued to correspond over the years. By 1853 the McMullans settled on new land in Hill County, Texas, but the bonds between the families were as strong as ever, although they were hundreds of miles apart.3 The letters to Smith from the McMullan family in Texas were full of praise for the new frontier, and the teacher was encouraged to come to the new state. When, in 1856, Hugh McMullan offered him a homestead in Hill County, Smith could resist the temptation no longer. He moved to the community of Spring Hill, Navarro County, with his wife, Sarah, five sons, and one daughter.4 When the clouds of war began to gather in 1860, Smith, like the McMullans , supported the side of the South. According to Bellona Smith Ferguson, in her 1935 account, Alfred Smith was "a staunch secessionist and of southern principles to the back bone. Never owned a negro in his life, but believed in States Rights; therefore he could not make up his mind to submit to Yankee rule." Smith soon joined the Confederate army, and he was stationed at Galveston, where he served as a bugler for his company. He never fought in a major battle but was involved in a "few skirmishes," before the conflict ended and the threat of Reconstruction loomed on the horizon.s Like many other Southerners, Smith was extremely displeased with the state of affairs after the Civil War. According to Bellona's account, her father had "a premonition of the reconstruction horrors that followed Yankee rule," and he decided to take his family to Mexico.6 However, when Frank McMullan outlined plans to emigrate to Brazil, Smith changed his mind...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780817389024
Related ISBN
9780817309442
MARC Record
OCLC
45730752
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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