Cemeteries often hold mysteries, and there’s a good one in the Whitaker Hill-Harrison Cemetery, the final resting place of a woman who is said to have been a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Sibbiah Earl Blair. Sibbiah [also referenced as Sabbiah in some sources] Earl was the daughter of John Earl, who came to Screven County, Georgia, from North Carolina in 1760. She married William Blair (c.1740-c.1780) of Queensborough [now Louisville] at Jerusalem Church at Ebenezer, Effingham County, on 26 October 1771. Blair migrated to the Georgia colony with his father, James Blair, from Northern Ireland, circa 1770, and served with the Liberty Boys of St. George’s Parish [now Burke, Jefferson, and part of Screven County] as a Revolutionary soldier. William and Sibbiah had five children, Jane, William, Henry, Mary, and Martha. William died before the end of the war, whether in service or of other causes is not evident. He is believed to be buried at Whitaker Hill-Harrison Cemetery, but there is no marker, and considering that he died at Queensborough, he may have been moved from that location at some point.
The Whitaker Hill-Harrison Cemetery is located on the historic Post Road at the Brantley-Glynn county line, in an area identified on maps today as Popwellville. This was located in Wayne County until 1920, when Brantley County was created. There are no Whitakers to be found in this cemetery, so I’m presuming Whitaker Hill was an early plantation or place name.
The Blairs’ daughter Jane is the connection to this cemetery and to this section of Georgia, as she married Robert Stafford (1765-1829), also a Revolutionary soldier. Stafford most likely came to this area through land granted him for Revolutionary service. Birth and death dates for Jane Blair Stafford have not been confirmed, but she died after 1838. Other than the marker related to Sibbiah Blair and the Stafford markers, all other known burials date to the 20th and 21st centuries. [Note: The marker for Robert Stafford seems to be missing from the cemetery; there’s a photograph of it on Findagrave, but I couldn’t locate it].
Another mystery remains for me. The grave markers for Sibbiah Earl Blair and Jane Blair Stafford were placed by the Brunswick Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in the early 20th century. For such a memorial, the DAR would have vetted the service records and genealogy. My presumption is that they concluded that Sibbiah Earl Blair assisted in the war effort in Screven County, after William’s death in 1780. Sibbiah must have moved to Wayne County to live with or near her daughter Jane.
Thanks to Cynthia Jennings for sharing some of the background information.