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Charnick and Elizabeth (Jefferson) Tharp

Charnick Tharp
Charnick Tharp
Elizabeth Tharp
Elizabeth Tharp

Charnick writes about his birth in his diary, "I was born as the record of my parents says, on the 27th of February, 1790, in the State of Georgia, Warren County, shortly after the close of the Revolutionary War. My parents, being poor in early life, though not in old age, consequently I received a limited education, though I was a considerable lover of books and read considerable in the middle and latter part of life. I had tender religious impressions from the early part of my life. My Father moved to Twiggs County in 1811, though I came 2 years previous with my oldest brother with some hands (slaves) to make improvements against the rest of the family coming."

Charnick A. Tharp was married to Elizabeth Jefferson, daughter of John and Lucy (Andrews) Jefferson, in Twiggs County July 18, 1816. Elizabeth was born in Claremont County, South Carolina on December 29, 1799.

To this union seventeen children were born (note that all have the middle initial A. This was the generation that the Allen part was dropped from the name Allentharp and the middle initial A. indicated the Allen part of the name): 1. Leanah A., born July 7, 1817, married September 8, 1836 to William D. Horne, died November 25, 1887 2. Benjamin A., born September 5, 1818, married in 1839 to Susan Chappell, died June 3, 1863 3. Luezer A., born October 30, 1819, married December 20, 1836 to Seaborn Jones Passomore, died November 14, 1897 4. Lucy A., born 1821, died December 16, 1823 5. Joseph A., born August 30, 1822, married Mary ___, died September 1, 1875 6. Vincent A., born December 21, 1823, died August 1826 7. David A., born August 2, 1825, married Elizabeth Jefferson, died 1852 8. Simeon A., born November 13, 1827, married 1849 to Nancy Chappell, died April 2, 1891 9. Jefferson A., born July 20, 1829, married January 19, 1854 to Cordelia Land, died January 6, 1881 10. Martha Ann A., born October 21, 1831, married Thomas Henry Jones 11. Elizabeth A., born April 9, 1833, married Issac Jessup 12. Washington A., born September 20, 1834, married (1) Margaret Hawkins (2) Martha Buchannon 13. Francis A., born November 26, 1836, married Bennett Jones 14. Emaline A., born May 26, 1838, died January 24, 1879 15. Judson A. , born November 14, 1839, died August 10, 1862 16. Jeremiah A., born June 24, 1841, died August 22, 1841 17. Charnick A., born January 18, 1843, died July 10, 1862.

The History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia states, "Charnick Tharp was baptized by his father, March 22, 1812, and soon afterwards was elected Clerk and a few years later was chosen Deacon of his church. He was subsequently licensed, and preached his first sermon at Stone Creek Church January 24, 1824. He was ordained November 27, 1825, and called to serve Beersheba Church in Twiggs County and Mount Moriah Church in Jones County. He spent his life in the Ebeneezer Association, of which he was elected Clerk in 1829, and Moderator in 1832, continuing as such until 1855, when he was compelled to decline on account of his health. During the two decades he served as Moderator, he delivered two Association Doctoral sermons and brought the missionary sermon on six occasions. He was also pastor of Stone Creek Baptist church from 1826-1856." Charnick never received any pay for his services as a minister. He explained that in his diary by saying that one in his early life there was an earthquake. He was very frightened and promised the Lord that if he would take care of him he would serve Him the rest of his life. Once a congregation gave him a set of books that he highly prized, however. They were in the possession of his grandson, Geroge Tharp, and were burned when his house was destroyed by fire in 1930. Charnick as a pastor always had four appointments for each month, traveling on horseback from church to church, and never allowing business to prevent him from meeting his engagements. Rev. Tharp was on the committee sent from Stone Creek to help constitute the First Baptist Church in Macon in 1827. He was sound in faith and though modest and retiring, was bold when necessity required, in defense of the faith.

Charnick built a large two-story home in Twiggs County, Georgia. They had a large plantation and a number of slaves. It was said at the time of the Civil War that Charnick freed these 50 slaves. The Tharp's always had plenty. In his diary he often lists the amounts of money he received when he sold his cotton, corn and produce. In 1858 he sold cotton at 11 cents a pound and received $4,000 for that crop.

Stone Creek Church, was established in 1808, and was built on the top of a high rocky hill and very hard to reach. So, in 1850, the church was moved. Charnick deeded six acres to the Deacons of the Church and a new building was erected approximately two miles from the original site. Charnick's home was only a short distance from the new church building.

The first known school for this section of Twiggs County, was the Stone Creek Academy. This school was provided for in an early deed by Rev. Charnick A. Tharp. It was here that his children attended. The Academy was officially incorporated by the State of Georgia December 26, 1831. The one-room academy of log construction with wooden shutters was located just to the rear of the present church. It was said of Charnick that he gave each of his children the choice of work or an education and saw that no time was lost in carrying out that decision.

Charnick was a very tall, slender man. Father of seventeen children, he was very fond of them and from all accounts he was a just and affectionate father. At that time divorce was not acceptable, however, he maintained that he did not raise his daughters to be "a doormat for any man." Charnick was a man of considerable wealth, owning a large plantation Before his death he began to share his wealth with his children. Each child being given a receipt for the amount of money he/she received.

Elizabeth was only sixteen years old when she married. Her husband was a very tall man and she was small in stature. She also had a quick temper. Her mother, Lucy Andrews Jefferson Jones, her step-father, Rev. William Jones and their family, had moved to Twiggs County very near the Tharp home from old Claremont County, South Carolina. Her husband teased her and said that when he went to see her and would talk to her mother he thought she would be even-tempered like her mother. But Elizabeth was the mother of seventeen children and certainly should be forgiven if she was impatient. Outside the house was a large barn-like structure with a fireplace at each end, known as the "loom house." Here the slaves wove cloth for their garments. Elizabeth took her sewing during the winter months to supervise the work and so the children would have a warm place to play. She could sit and do beautiful handwork. Some descendants still have quilts that she made.

Memoirs of Georgia says, "C.A. Tharp, his character and life were remarkable; he was a typical self-made man. He devoted his life to farming and to the ministry of the Missionary Baptist Church. He was ordained at the age of twenty seven and preached for nearly forty years, serving four churches without ever accepting any compensation except a copy of "Commentaries of the Bible" presented by one of his congregations. He received but two weeks schooling in his life, but was a man of wide influence in Twiggs County, and a student to the day of his death."

Charnick was an ardent secessionist and when Capt. Folsom presented the flag to the first company that went from Twiggs County, he made an eloquent and soul stirring address.

One of the last acts of his life, and which gave him unspeakable satisfaction was, after witnessing the ordination of his son, Washington, to give him this charge: "My son, I charge you, in the name of Almighty God, that you preach not for filthy lucre, nor worldly honor, but from love of the Gospel and for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Charnick died November 19, 1867 of consumption (tuberculosis to us) at home in Twiggs County, Georgia. Elizabeth remained in the family home until her death on October 8, 1872. Elizabeth had been ill a long time before she died. It is said, "She never had a doctor until her last illness." She lived with her son Jefferson Tharp those last years. Both are buried in the Charnick Tharp Cemetery, Dry Branch, Twiggs County, Georgia.

Tharp Papers - Georgia State Archives Microfilm
Notes on the Allentharp and Tharp Families - Eleanor Pearl Davis 1944
Memoirs of Georgia - Southern Historical Association
Sifting Through the Ashes - Eleanor Davis McSwain

Charnick Tharp's Diary

Charnick Tharp's Will

Charnick Tharp's House

Charnick and Elizabeth Tharp's Tombstones