Coastal Georgia Biographies

Counties of Warren, Benton, Jasper & Newton, Indiana, Historical & Biographical, Illustrated”; Chicago:  F.A. Battey & Co., Publishers 1883; pgs. 527 & 528.

            R. FENDIG, merchant, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, was born in 1836, and is a son of Benjamin and Nancy (Abraham) Fendig, the former a native of Germany. These parents had several children, three of whom are deceased. Our subject emigrated to America in 1854. He went first to Hartford, Conn., for two years, thence to Macon, Ga., in which State and in Alabama he resided and did business six years, and in 1862 removed to New York, dodging the rebel forces on the way. He was in business at Chicago until 1870, when he came to Rensselaer and became a partner with Mr. Leopold, and afterward began general mercantile business on his own account. Mr. Fendig was married in Milwaukee to Miss Ruble, from which union descended five children—Tillie, Benjamin, Albert, Louis and Samuel. Mr. Fendig has been successful, although utterly without means after coming to the United States. He is Treasurer of a Masonic Lodge, and has been School Trustee. He is a liberal, enterprising man, and greatly esteemed in the community.


GALE, Hoyt Willoughby
“This Cleveland of Ours, Vol. IV” Wilfred Henry Alburn & Miriam Russell Alburn, 1933; pgs. 621-622

HOYT W. GALE—Insurance interests of importance are under the capable direction of Hoyt W. Gale, a Cleveland business man whose success is based upon close application and broad experience in this line of commercial activity.  A product of the south, he was born in Valdosta, Georgia, December 17, 1875, but his parents, Alvan Davis and Amanda (Hoyt) Gale, were natives of New Hampshire, whence they removed to Georgia about 1842, when the former was nineteen and the latter sixteen years of age, and were married in New Hampshire.  The mother of Hoyt W. Gale was a second cousin of President Grover Cleveland and a distant relative of Moses Cleaveland, the founder of the city of Cleveland.  Alvan Davis Gale served as a chemist for the Southern Army in the Civil war.  As a young man he took up contracting and while engaged in that business was a student of medicine and of dentistry.  Preferring a professional career, he abandoned the work of a builder to become a dentist and practiced in various parts of Georgia, finally locating at Brunswick, where both he and his wife passed away.
            Hoyt W. Gale is the youngest of thirteen children and the only surviving member of the family.  After acquiring a high school education he gained a knowledge of newspaper work as a printer’s devil in the office of the Brunswick News, published by Sam Small, at that time an editor of note.  Mr. Gale was next in the employ of the Brunswick Bank & Trust Company, proving so adaptable and dependable that he was advanced to the office of cashier when but twenty years of age and remained with the institution for ten years.  On the expiration of that period he entered the general insurance business at Brunswick and in 1908 went to Huntington, West Virginia, as general agent for the Columbia National Life Insurance Company of Boston.  In 1910 he was transferred by that corporation to Columbus, where he spent two years, acting as their general agent for the states of Ohio and West Virginia.  On the 1st of January, 1913, he severed his connection with the Boston concern to become general agent for the Home Life Insurance Company of New York, establishing his headquarters in Cleveland at that time, and has since been with the corporation.  He is in charge of their interests in northern Ohio, and has materially augmented the business of the company in his territory.  His own organization, known as the Hoyt W. Gale Company, of which he is president, has also prospered, handling a large general insurance business.
            In 1902 at Cartersville, Georgia, Mr. Gale was married to Miss Louise Purse, by whom he has five children:  Hoyt W., Jr., Alvan Davis, Ben Purse, Frank W., and Louise.  In the management of his insurance interests Mr. Gale is assisted by his sons, all of whom have inherited his business sagacity and enterprise.  He is a member of the Mid-Day Club, the Acacia Country Club and the Aintree Riding Club.  On the island of St. Simon [sic], off the coast of Georgia, he has his winter home, and his business in Cleveland is located at 1010 Euclid avenue.

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McDONALD, Alexander & Jesse Campbell (1797-1879 & 1835-)

Written for J. Campbell McDonald by Rev. J.H. Campbell

            My first recollection of your father, Alexander McDonald, was about the year 1822.  He had come over from McIntosh County where he had resided from his youth, and where perhaps he was born, and was managing a farm for Rev. Wm. McWhin, a few miles below Sunbury, Liberty Co.  I was residing with my father on his plantation on the Col’s Island, and Alexander McDonald was in the habit of visiting us.  He was then a widower with one child, Elizabeth, having lost his first wife (a Miss Dean I think she was) before he left McIntosh County.  He was not the religious man and was unstable in his habits.  He remained in Liberty only one or two years when he returned to McIntosh and took charge of the Indianton plantation on Harris Neck, owned by two English ladies who had an agent in Savannah, Joseph Cumming, by whom your father was employed.  As the agent had unlimited confidence in him, he managed that farm without interruption and with great success.  His reputation as a farmer increased to such extent that he soon had the management of two or three other neighboring plantations, beside running a farm of his own, and was making money rapidly.  He was a man of sound judgment, great energy, and indomitable perseverance.
            It was in 1829, I think, that he married my sister Margaret Crawford Campbell, who had great influence over him, and who, as he told me himself, was instrumental in his salvation.  In 1831 he became pious, joined the church and was soon made a deacon and was a consistent and useful Christian as long as he lived.  How long he remained at Julianton (note or Indianton as writing was indistinct) I cannot now remember but think it must have been ten or twelve years.  Thence he removed to his plantation near Waynesville, from which time you can remember his history.  When I first knew your grandfather, Wm. McDonald, he was a profane man and wicked.  Your father was the first of the family who became religious.  His conversion very soon was followed by that of his sister, Mrs. Island (I think that was her name) then of his parents, his brother Daniel, and others of his brothers.  Indeed his conversion marked an epoch in the history of the family, all of whom according to my recollections, became pious and useful citizens.  Your mother died in 1834 – or 6? – and your father married (as his last – and 4th wife) Miss Georgia Houston, a descendant of Sir Patrick Houstoun, an English nobleman, and whose monument may still be seen in the old cemetery at Savannah as his remains rest there.  She was a lady of culture and refinement, a devoted Christian, an ornament to society and in all respects a model woman.

McDonald & Campbell families, Pg. 2

            Jesse Campbell, your grandfather, on the mother’s side was a descendant in a direct line of the Campbell Clan of Scotland so distinguished in the days of Wallace, and immortalized by the ballad “The Campbells are Coming” &c.  He was the youngest of three brothers, sons of Col. Campbell a cavalry officer in the British Army during the Revolutionary war.  Of his older brothers, one died in Florida, on the St. John River where he was a large stock drover; the other died in Henry County in this state.  The latter had a son, Rev. Robert Campbell a Presbyterian minister of much distinction in Miss., two of whose sons (Robert and James) married daughters of Judge Sharkie of that state and were officers of high standing in Gen. Joe Johnston’s army during the late war (The Civil War) James died in a Yankee prison but Robert was living at last accounts and stands high as any lawyer in that state.  He is a splendid specimen of humanity.  My recollection is that your grandfather, Jesse Campbell, was born in South Carolina, but at the age of fifteen was living with his stepfather in McIntosh County.  His sister had married Capt. Wm. Harris, a prominent citizen of that county and a member of the Legislature, who owned the place on Harris’ Neck known as “The Grove” from a large orange grove on his premises.  At that early age he ran away from his step-father with his mother’s consent, taking with him a gun which had belonged to his father, and a negro girl Kate who rightfully belonged to him, and made his way to the residence of his brother-in-law Capt. Harris.  I have often heard him tell, with much gusto, how his step-father went in pursuit of him and Kate next morning and how Capt. Harris met him at the gate, and advised him that he and his wife had had no agency in getting the fugitives to come to them, that they were in the house and that he was welcome to take them with him, provided he could induce them to go without using harsh means, but that he would not stand by and see Jesse treated with violence in the presence of his sister.  He warned him however that the boy vowed that he never would return to him, that he was armed, and said he would shoot him if he attempted to interfere with him or with Kate.  He came, in a great rage, to the front door where he was met by a boy with a gun, smooth-bore cocked and at his shoulder ready to fire.  He went around to the back door where the same demonstration awaited him (Kate had taken refuge upstairs and was terribly frightened).  Seeing the old man(?) was hacked(?), he warned him to leave and never interfere with him again at risk of his life, which he did greatly to the amusement of Capt. Harris and wife.  He made his home with them for years, until he married Miss Jane C. Dunn in 1797.
            By her he had seven children, four daughters and three sons, of these three died in infancy, three daughters (Jane, Margaret, and Sarah) and the writer having lived to be grown.

McDonald & Campbell families, Pg. 3

            Your mother was above medium height, rather slender in form, of as perfect a figure as can well be imagined.  She had a wealth of bright glossy hair, which curled naturally and fell in ringlets on her snow white shoulders.  Full of humor and animated in conversation she was the life of every circle in which she entered.  She had a splendid voice which was highly cultivated and was often used in song for the gratification of friends.  This was especially the case after she became pious, which was in her early womanhood.  In social and public worship her services were in great demand and were always rendered with delight and to the edification of those who enjoyed them.  She lived to be the mother of only three children, the youngest of which died in early infancy.  Her death was from consumption, in the fall of 1834.  Her mother died of the same disease in 1824.
            To resume the history of your grandfather, Jesse Campbell; the war of 1812 found him a resident of the Col’s Island Liberty County.  His home was on the south side of the island, on a point afterwards occupied by Mr. Audley Maxwell and his son-in-law Mr. King.  The teo [sic] last years of the way [sic] the British became troublesome, making raids on the Plantations, destroying the crops, taking the stock, and running off his negroes.  In consequence of these things, nearly all the farmers moved their families and servants a few miles from the coast, and out of the reach of the enemy.  Your grandfather, however stood his ground, went on farming as usual and made splendid crops of sea island cotton.  It was ginned and packed as fast as it was gathered and hauled off into a thicket, where it was protected from the weather.  When the war closed he had two crops of this valuable staple on hand, which were sold at a very high price.
            During the Revolutionary War, Sunbury, then a considerable town, was taken by a rear attack.  To guard against similar calamity, your grandfather, tho a member of the garrison at that place, was detailed as a sort of picket to watch the movements of the enemy in that direction and to report daily at headquarters.  This duty he performed faithfully for months.  The Yankees, in small sloops and schooners, carried on a considerable inland trade between Savannah and the then Spanish town of Saint Augustine.  These vessels were frequently taken by the British barges sent in to the and [sic] rivers, from their men-of-war lying on the coast.  I have often seen them on fire and have a distinct recollection of seeing three burning at one time in the sound between Saint Catherine and Ossabune [Ossabaw?] Islands.  The British made several demonstrations as if they would land but [illegible] they were closely watched, kept at a respectful distance and Sunbury was not attacked.  [It appears that there may be a few words here but they are illegible—ALH.]

McDonald & Campbell families, Pg. 4

Soon after the War, your grandfather settled his plantation known as Oak Grove on Col’s Island where his wife died in 1824 just after the Great Hurricane, and where he died about a year thereafter.  He never made a public profession of religion but his friends had hopes that he was prepared for death.


Written on back of this document is the following note:

Dear Campbell;
            I have done the best I could in preparing this paper.  I hope you will have Capt. Harper and Georgia to read it.  It would also be interesting to Col. Scarlet and daughters.
            Affectionately, J.H.C.


Above is an exact copy of this document, the original of which is in the possession of J. Campbell McDonald’s daughter Mrs. E.T. McMillan, Fort Valley, Ga.


Copied by

Sent in Governor Treutlen Chapter.  Fort Valley, Ga. Feb. 1932

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McKINNON, William Boston Jr.
by Amy Lyn Hedrick

In 2008 I received an email from one William Boston McKinnon, Jr. (a.k.a. Billy) about his family history.  Without knowing me from Adam’s housecat he invited me into his home and into his life.

I wasn’t familiar with Billy’s personal life or his family history other than in the genealogical sense but upon our first meeting, we just clicked and were friends.  I visited him at home several times in the few short years we were acquainted, helping him with family history projects, computer “lessons”, and figuring out the functions of his camera while applying it to the computer.  He learned of my passion for local history and books, so one day paid me for my services with books.  One day I made the mistake of telling him how I always wanted a Boston Terrier; my next payment for lessons was, you guessed it, a Boston Terrier.  I learned to keep my mouth shut after that.

Billy’s death went unnoticed by me for several reasons; one being that I was only friends with him and his wife so no one could tell me, I certainly wouldn’t expect a call from a grieving widow telling me of her husband’s death; another, I work so much and don’t keep up with local news or any newspapers so I never even saw an obituary.  I learned of his death from the only mutual acquaintance we shared, and this was nearly two months after his passing.

While I have many anecdotes, what I remember the most about Billy was his friendliness, his approachability on anything, and his warmth of hospitality; a true southern gentleman.  He was born William Boston McKinnon, Jr. on 30 September 1935 in Milledgeville, Baldwin, Georgia to parents W.B. McKinnon, Sr. and Mary Ethelyn Nightingale (names synonymous with southern history).  He was one of only three children and lived most of his life in Savannah with his mother; his father having passed when Billy was only 13 years old.  A very interesting item in his collection of family memorabilia was a letter concerning the appraisal of a portrait in the family; while this was not unusual in and of itself, the appraiser was.  The letter was written by a friend of Billy’s mother and local antique dealer, Jim Williams, immortalized in the book and subsequent movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

According to various online obituaries, Billy graduated from the Hun Prep School in Princeton, New Jersey then on to the University of Georgia where he majored in business administration obtaining a bachelor’s degree that he took to a firm in New York City.  He entered the United States Naval Reserve in 1953 and served until 1961 after which he removed from New York and came home to Georgia settling in Atlanta working as a stockbroker; a profession he just did not seem suited for.

A wife and family soon followed but his happiness at work was dissipating.  Billy just wasn’t suited for the life of a stock broker.  Using his wife’s family connections, he was pointed in a new career direction in the way of a little restaurant on Bourbon Street in New Orleans called Galatoire’s.  He worked without pay for the first few months, learning the ins and outs of the “food biz”, and soon became a master of Cajun and Creole cuisines.

Taking this knowledge and his newfound passion for cooking, Billy came back to Atlanta and opened his own restaurant in 1972 called McKinnon’s Louisiane which is still in operation today offering a fine dining atmosphere, which was lacking at that time in Atlanta, and down home Louisiana cooking at its best.

Billy “retired” to Darien, McIntosh, Georgia where he and his wife made a home with their two little dogs overlooking the marsh and Sapelo Island.  He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and former member of the National Restaurant Association, the American Institute of Wine and Food, the International Association of Cooking Professionals, the Pickwick Club of New Orleans, the Oglethorpe Club of Savannah, and the Savannah Yacht and Country Club.

On Tuesday, 15 June 2010, while visiting at his mountain home, Billy suffered a major heart attack and died instantly; he was interred in Palmetto Cemetery in Brunswick, Glynn, Georgia.

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