Saint Catherines Island (Ga.) property records and maps
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Saint Catherines Island (Ga.) property records and maps

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Unknown.
Title: Saint Catherines Island (Ga.) property records and maps
Dates: 1784-1943
Extent: 1.1 cubic feet (1 box, 7 oversize folders)
Identification: MS 1696

Biographical/Historical Note

St. Catherines Island, off the coast of Georgia, is approximately 50 miles south of Savannah.  Currently owned and regulated by the St. Catherines Island Foundation, St. Catherines Island (14,640 acres) is home to Georgia's oldest known church, Mission Santa Catalina de Gaule (1595-1680). The St. Catherines Island Foundation aims to advance conservation of natural resources, the endurance of endangered species, and the preservation of historic sites on the island.

Previous to the Foundation's ownership, the island had a long chain of owners, renters, and the like dating back to the late 1700s. Prior to the time period in this collection, the island had been inhabited by Native Americans, the Spanish, and then owned by the King of England. Some of the previous residents of St. Catherines Island are well known figures in Georgia history such as Mary Bosomworth (1700-1766) and Button Gwinnett (1732-1777).

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists primarily of indentures documenting the chain of ownership of Saint Catherines Island, starting with Mary Bosomworth and ending in 1943 with New York businessman Edward J. Noble. Some indentures are originals however, quite a number of them are "true and exact" contemporary copies from the Secretary of the State of Georgia or clerks from Chatham and Liberty counties. Several of the older documents are too fragile for use. Also in the collection are contains two maps related to St. Catherine's Island. One map shows the whole of St. Catherine's Island and distinguishes marsh land from vegetation. The second map is exceptional because of its handwritten explanation. These notes, written by James McHenry Rauers, detail land divisions and give the names of those who own or lease particular properties.

The folders containing maps are noted as "VM" (visual materials) in the collection inventory.

Index Terms

Bosomworth, Mary Musgrove Matthews, 1700-1766.
Bosomworth, Thomas, approximately 1720-1782.
Brown, Charles E.
Brownson, Nathan, 1742-1796.
Conveyancing--Georgia--Saint Catherines Island.
Golden Isles (Ga.)
Gwinnett, Button, approximately 1735-1777.
Johnston family.
Kollock family.
Land subdivision--Georgia--Saint Catherines Island.
Land surveys.
Letters (correspondence)
Maps (documents)
Noble, Edward J., (Edward John), 1882-1958.
Owens family.
Rauers family.
Rauers, James McHenry, 1885-1948.
Rodriguez, Anna M., active 1876.
Saint Catherines Island (Ga.)
Saint Catherines Sound (Ga.)
Waldburg, George M., 1795-1856.

Physical and Technical Access Restrictions

Due to their fragile condition, some documents are restricted from use.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], Saint Catherines Island (Ga.) property records and maps, MS 1696, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information



Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Physical Access Restrictions

Due to their fragile condition, some documents are restricted from use.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Separated Material

My First Deer Hunt, Christmas, 1922 by Chas E. Brown has been separated from the collection and cataloged with the rare pamphlets.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List

Indenture documents



11Mary Bosomworth to Robert Porteous, 1800-1899
2Thomas Bourke, 1793-1800, undated
3Waldburger to Rauers, 1807-1893, undated
4Rodriguez to Rauers, 1874-1938, undated
5Correspondence, General R. Toombs, General A.R. Lawton, Waldburg, and K.K. Stevenson, 1869-1870
6Moss Island, quit claim deed, Lancaster King to Jacob Rauers, 1893
7Indenture of St. Catherines Island to Button Gwinnett, Photostat copy made in 1925
8Correspondence to John J. Rauers, 1927-1928
9Regarding sale of St. Catherines Island to Edward J. Noble from the estate of Jaob Raeurs (deceased), 1942-1943
10Abstracts of Ownership, undated



11Signed by Nicholas Long, Philip Clayton, James Armstrong, Josiah Tatnall, Cunningham Newell, Michael Burke, Thomas Bourke, etc., June 1, 1796
1Mary Helen Johnston, the State of Georgia, and Phineas M. Kollock, March 31, 1853
1Mary Bosomworth from the King of England for 6.200 acres of land in St. John's Parish (true and exact copy), July 6, 1891
1Thomas Bourke and O'Brien Smith, October 13, 1790
2Division of St. Catherines by the Commissioners appointed by authority... recorded, February 15, 1792
2Writ of partition in behalf of Nathan Brownson, Esquire, November 13, 1785
2Indenture to David Johnston and James Johnston, April 13, 1812
2Chain of ownership lists, July 8 and June 27, 1800
2Grant to Ashmore and Jackson for 800 acres of land in Liberty County attached to map with a seal, August 17, 1883
2Indenture from Phineas M. Kollock and George G. Johnston to Jacob Waldburg, January 21, 1857
3Survey for Joseph Law, April 10, 1801, and indenture to Joseph Law from Governor John Milledge for 23 acres "in an Island Hammock," December 23, 1802



14Elizabeth L. Waldburg, Houston M. Clinch, Thomas M. Cunningham, and Anna M. Rodriguez, December 5, 1872
4James R. Johnston, Phineas M. Kollock and George Jones, December 9, 1841
4Mary Bosomworth and the King of England (true and exact copy), January 19, 1888
4George Jones to P.M. Kollock, June 3, 1842
4David Johnston, September 27, 1811
4James Eppingin and Hazrn Kimball, May 5, 1819
4Phineas M. Kollock and George H. Johnston to Jacob Waldburgh, January 21, 1857
5Owen Owens and David Johnston, July 1m 1797
5Josiah Tatnall, Nicholas Long, Philip Clayton and Thomas Bourke, February 14, 1796
5Owen Owens and David Johnston, March 16, 1812
6Abraham Ravott, Hugh Lawson, and Hepworth Carter, December 1, 1784



11"St. Catherine's Island and Vicinity, Georgia Surveyed between 1858-1867. Published by U.S. Coast Survey, A.D. Bache, Supt. Scale 1 inch = 20,000 feet. North to North Newport River; South to Sapelo Sound; East to St. Catherine's Island; West to Harris Neck. Ink on linen; copied from Archives of the U.S. Coast Survey for Mr. Winchester and Mr. Prince
1"Tybee Island to Doboy Sound" and "U.S. Cost and Geodetic Survey Number 1241." Surveyed up to 1920; printed 1921. Published by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Size 108 cm x 90 cm. Scale 1 inch = 80,000 feet. Handwritten notations by J. McH. Rauers detailing land divisions, property owners and renters; shows depth soundings in feet