John Robert Green Sr

John Robert Green Sr (1790-1882) was born in South Carolina in 1790. During his lifetime, he accrued some wealth, earned the respect of his neighbors as a local politician and teacher, and saw his family devasted in a Civil War that swept the nation.

Alabama Department of Archives, John Robert Green Sr
Alabama Department of Archives, John Robert Green Sr

The Treaty of Mount Dexter in 1805 opened up 4M acres of land in southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama to settlement by white North Americans. Family groups often pooled their resources and traveled together – it was safer and more efficient to share the labor of building and planting that was required to make a new home. In 1817, John Robert Green traveled with a large group from Jackson County, Georgia that included many members of his wife’s extended family, Nancy Betts Jones (1800-1881).

Choctaw cessions in Mississippi and Alabama

The Federal Road is a postal road that joins Georgia to southwest Alabama. This is the route that was followed by the Jackson County settlers. They followed the Federal Road to the end of the trail near Burnt Corn, Alabama.

The population of the state tripled between 1810 and 1830. Many of these newcomers arrived with slaves. Over-cultivation of cotton in Georgia and the Carolinas had reduced crop yields and forced many planters to look elsewhere for arable land.

Early Alabamians demonstrated what observers would describe as the characteristic mania of the Alabama Fever, in which planters sold cotton to buy more slaves to produce more cotton, meanwhile always acquiring new acreage to maximize output. Roughly one third of the migrants were slaves, about 40,000 of whom were moved to the new state between 1810 and 1820. Alabama Fever thus greatly expanded the institution of slavery, allowing established holders to profit not only from cotton production but also from the sale and relocation of enslaved people for labor and reproduction. Beginning in the early nineteenth century, a significant number of the enslaved would be relocated more than once, to Alabama then to parts farther west, as dwindling cotton yields continually expanded the frontierAlabama Fever | Encyclopedia of Alabama

John Robert Green was a veteran of the War of 1812. He may have obtained patent to his land through a land grant.

The first year in Alabama was devoted to building housing and planting food crops. This area of the state was subject to raids from Seminoles in northern Florida. Choctaws were largely peaceful but the Florida tribes had a fearsome reputation. During the first year, panicked settlers began to take refuge in a community stockade instead of working in the fields.

Every distant sound was construed into a danger signal, and so much time was thereby lost, that the result was an almost total failure of the crop. John Greene, Sr., bravely refused to enter the stockade, but remained at his home and continued to cultivate his crop, and the consequence was he reaped a full harvest in autumn.   History of Conecuh County Alabama

John Robert Green wasn’t going to let a little thing like blood thirsty natives deter him from planting. He worked hard, planned well, and his plantation began to prosper.