Submitted by cleveland on Fri, 12/08/2017


The Yazoo land fraud was “one of the most significant events in the post–Revolutionary War history of Georgia,” according to its entry in the New Georgia Encyclopedia written by Chris Dobbs. “The bizarre climax to a decade of frenzied speculation in the state's public lands, the Yazoo sale of 1795 did much to shape Georgia politics and to strain relations with the federal government for a generation.”

“On January 7, 1795, Georgia Gov. George Mathews signed the Yazoo Act, which transferred 35 million acres in present-day Alabama and Mississippi to four companies for $500,000. To achieve this successful sale, the leader of the Yazooists, Georgia's Federalist U.S. Sen. James Gunn, had arranged the distribution of money and Yazoo land to legislators, state officials, newspaper editors, and other influential Georgians. Cries of bribery and corruption accompanied the Yazoo Act as it made its way to final passage. Angry Georgians protested the sale in petitions and street demonstrations. Despite the swelling opposition, the Yazoo companies completed their purchases,” according to the NGE.

The collected papers of Thomas Carr, a principle in the Yazoo fraud, and his son, William A. Carr of Columbia County, Georgia, cover 1730-1891 and have recently been digitized and made available via the Digital Library of Georgia. Carr’s papers are held by the UGA Hargrett and Manuscript Library. The collection includes correspondence, bills, receipts, land grants, court records, bonds, and slave records. Materials mainly related to late 18th and early 19th century land speculation in Camden County (Ga.), Yazoo purchase, and northeast Georgia. Also includes some material relating to William Low (Mrs. Carr's grandson by her first husband).


More information on the Yazoo Land Fraud can be found in the NGE at: