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William Zeigler: the Man, His Vault, & His Woman Slave Mary

William Zeigler: the Man, His Vault, & His Woman Slave Mary

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Published by Stephanie Lincecum
William Zeigler was a wealthy man. He was laid to rest in an infamous vault at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, GA. But there was more to the life of Zeigler than met the eye.
William Zeigler was a wealthy man. He was laid to rest in an infamous vault at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, GA. But there was more to the life of Zeigler than met the eye.

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Categories:Types, Research, Genealogy
Published by: Stephanie Lincecum on Jul 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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William Zeigler: the Man, His Vault, & His Woman Slave Mary
William Zeigler was born 18 November 1799 in South Carolina to Nicholas Zeigler.William came to Georgia in 1827 and spent his life farming. He amassed quite afortune and died 11 June 1855 in Crawford County.Records surrounding the death of William Zeigler are most fascinating. His obituaryand will were transcribed and put online for easy access. I also found him in censusrecords and newspaper items. The 1830 Crawford County, GA Federal census listsWm. Zeigler with another male and 22-25 slaves. In 1840, Wm. had 66 slaves of which 26 were under the age of ten (thirteen boys and thirteen girls). 35 of theteenagers and adults were "employed in agriculture." I presume the other five werehouse servants. Mr. Zeigler was the only free white person counted in the household.By 1850, William Zeigler had to be near or at the height of his fortune. He was listedas a planter from South Carolina living alone in Division 20 of Crawford County, GA.His real estate was valued at $40,000 to $60,000 (I can't quite make out the figure).William owned 90 slaves, ranging in age from 1 to 48 years. After William's death in 1855, an upcoming executor's sale was noted in the
MaconWeekly Telegraph
(Georgia) regarding his lands. Most were in Crawford County,"containing in all about eightthousand acres." Zeigler had the lands divided into nine plantations: Home Place, theSimonton, Colbert, Boon, Dugger, Atkinson, Hatcher, Worsham, and Miller. He also owned land in Bibb County, and waspart of The Macon Manufacturing Company co-op, producers of cotton and wool.William Zeigler's obituary, transcribed by Cheryl Aultman and contributed to the USGenWeb Archives, was recorded in the
Georgia Journal & Messanger 
on 27 May 1855:Died at his residence in Crawford county, on the 11th instant, in the 56th year of his age, William Zeigler. He wasborn in Edgefield District, S.C., whence he removed to Crawford co. GA, in 1827, where he remained engagedin agriculture to the time of his death.In his business habits he was very attentive and economical, whereby he was enabled in twenty-eight years toincrease his capitol from ten thousand to three hundred thousand dollars; thus furnishing indubitable evidence 
that a farmer may become rich.In his dealings he was strictly honest. In times of scarcity he would bid the rich and monied, who wished to buyprovisions of him, to go to a distance and buy; that they had money and credit and could buy anywhere, andsubmit to the inconveniences and expense of transporting or carriage; that many of his neighbors had neither money nor credit, and that they must have corn and meat; thus he was a benefactor to the less fortunate. Henever attached himself to any Church, but his faith was right. Over a year ago he remarked to the writer of thisnotice, that he relied upon the mercy of his Maker, and hoped for salvation through the merit's of the Redeemer'sblood.For the information of distant relatives and friends, it is proper to remark, that his remains now rest in atemporary vault in Rose Hill Cemetery, in Macon, Ga., where they will remain until a permanent vault shall becompleted according to his directions. He selected this place himself, while in life, from its peculiar fitness for the purpose intended. There let him rest in peace.Friend.Since William Zeigler's will was also transcribed and donated to USGenWeb, we are able to read what the directions werefor the vault in which his bones would repose: "My Body I direct my Executor hereafter to be appointed to dispose of in thefollowing manner to wit -- To procure a patent Coffin (Fetche, Metalic or some other Patent Coffin of like nature). Let it beplaced therein in a neat Christian Manner in a shroud of the neatest and best material. Let it there remain until the followingpreparations are made. Obtain a plat of ground in Rose Hill Cemetery Macon Ga -- sixteen feet square, as near the platupon which is Erected the Monument to the late Oliver H. Prince & Lady as may be practicable. And erect thereon a vault of sufficient thickness to Guarantee its durability above the ground Plat, the ground having been first leveled -- to be suppliedwith a suitable Iron Door & proper & secure fastenings -- and arched roof made of the best brick and the bestWorkmanship. The whole of the said vault to be cemented with the best Hydraulic cement and the whole Plat to besurrounded with Iron paleings & proper Gates of Iron with security fastenings. The vault to be of sufficient size to admit theCoffin and persons to arrange it.Then let my Coffin be placed therein with a proper Monument in front of my vault -- suitable to my condition in Life and theExpenses I direct to be paid by my Executor out of my Estate for which a sufficient sum is hereby appropriated andbequeathed to my Executor for the use & Purpose aforesaid."Here is how that vault looks today, more than 150 years after it was first built. 

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