David and Giles Lupo of Houston & Dooly Counties, Georgia

Letter from David Lupo to son William, 1860.
1 April 1860: First page of a letter from David Lupo (Jackson County, FL) to son William (Dooly County, GA). Preserved by Dr. Carl Wilton Lupo.

In a letter to his son William, written in April of 1860, David Lupo states he was born “56 years ago” along the “big Ohoopa” river in what was, at the time David was writing, Emanuel County in Georgia. Most likely, this area was part of Montgomery County at the time of David’s birth. That’s where John Lupo was living in the “Upper Big Ohoopee” district in 1805 and 1806 according to tax records.

Today, Montgomery County is a shadow of its former self, having spawned all or parts of the counties of Dodge, Emanuel, Tattnall, Toombs, Treulen and Wheeler and now separated from one of it’s parents, Washington County, which it once bordered. It is possible that David was writing on the occasion of his birthday, which caused him to reminisce about where he was born. If so, this suggests he was born in March or April as the date of the letter is April 1.

At the time of his letter, David and family were living in Jackson County, Florida, along with his son Nathaniel and brother Giles with their respective families. They appear to have been there for a number of years as David mentions the results of their farms, which suggests they have settled into their new homes. He announces that his daughter Matilda has given birth to a new child, and makes mention of a child William and his wife Eliza lost within the preceding months. This appears to have been their son, Hiram Moses, who was born in 1859 but who lived less than two years according to his headstone in the family cemetery.

William married Eliza Ann Jordan in Dooly County in 1850 and by 1860 had the beginnings of what would be a sizable family. Many of the Lupos in and around present-day Dooly County are descendants of William.

David first shows up in tax records in Washington County, Georgia where he pays a poll tax in 1825 which he would have first done at age 21. This is consistent with his statement that he was born around 1804. While no marriage record has been found for him, David married between 1825 and 1830 and family history, supported by the death certificate of his son Thomas J. Lupo from 1932, states that his wife was Nancy Calhoun, though where they met and were married or who her parents were is unknown. The 1830 Census lists two sons under five years old. One is undoubtedly William, who is said to have been born in 1828. The identity of the other son or what became of him has not been discovered. David seems to be the first of his family to migrate to Dooly County, appearing there around 1850. Another family which was to be associated with the Lupos, the Cones, also migrated to Dooly County around this time.

Exactly when and why David and family moved to Florida is subject to speculation. The marriage of his daughter, Catherine Matilda to Louis Mashburn, is recorded in Jackson County in 1856, but on the 1860 census, all David’s children as well as the children of his son Nathaniel, who were born between 1855 and 1859, are all said to have been born in Georgia. The two youngest of Giles’ family, Laura, age 5 and Susan, age 1 in 1860 are listed as being born in Florida, so it’s safe to assume that Giles and David moved there with their families between 1852 and 1856. There appears to have been a general exodus of related families from Houston and Dooly Counties, as several other families, including the Coppedges, who had some connection to the Lupos, traveled to Jackson County around the same time.

In 1850, there are two males in Giles Lupo’s household, Thomas and John Lupo, who appear to be too old to have been Giles’ sons. Thomas is listed as sixteen years of age and John is listed as fourteen, though ten years later, John, still listed with Giles’ family is said to be twenty and Thomas, now listed with Levi Harrell in Pulaski County, Georgia is listed as being twenty-four. Along with Thomas are several young children, each named Lupo, but unfortunately, neither the 1850 nor the 1860 census lists family relationships. The oldest of the children, Mary J. Lupo, was listed as Mary J. Harrell on the 1850 census and appeared in Pulaski County while Thomas was in Houston County in Giles Lupo’s household. Other researchers have identified Thomas as a son of David Lupo, but while David did have a son by this name, census records show he was much younger and was listed in David’s household in Dooly County at the same time the older Thomas was listed in Giles’ household in Houston County. Also, the older Thomas was killed during the first day’s battle at Gettysburg in 1863, whereas David’s son, too young to enlist during the war, appears to have survived into the twentieth century.

In an 1859 letter from Thomas, written, presumably to William Lupo, though the recipient isn’t specified, he refers to the recipient as “cozen” or cousin, suggesting that David and Giles were his uncles. Given that Giles purchased the land in Houston County owned previously by his father and brother, and that William had been living on this land as well as being appointed guardian to Giles after the death of their father, the most likely possibility is that Thomas and John Lupo were the sons of William Lupo, the brother of Giles and David and that Giles had been appointed their guardian, though no records have survived to support this conclusion.

No record has been found to indicate what happened to David and Giles after 1860. Evidence suggests both families remained in Florida at least until 1865 when marriage records are recorded for Mary Jane and Emily Lupo. Giles Lupo, presumably Giles, Jr., and Adeline Lupo each married in Jackson County in 1863. Giles, John and James (also listed as E. J. and Edward J.) Lupo are among the enlistees in two Florida Confederate units, but they appear to have seen action only in Florida. Neither family has been found on the 1870 census in Florida or Georgia, but there are two Lupo families, headed by Wm. M. and E. J. Lupo who appear on the census in Dooly County, though they cannot be definitively connected to David’s family, and a younger William Lupo, who appears to be Nathaniel’s son, can be found in the household of Nelson Moye.

Nancy Calhoun Lupo, David’s widow, can be found back in Dooly County in 1880, surrounded by her sons, daughters and grandchildren. David’s son, Nathaniel, was killed in action in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1863 and appears to be the only one of David’s sons to die during the war. William, David’s oldest son, survived and remained in Dooly County until his death in 1904. David’s youngest son, Thomas, lived into his eighties and can be found in Irwin, Colquitt and Tift Counties later in life.


  1. 1850, 1860 & 1880 Census, Dooly County, Georgia.
  2. 1860 Census, Jackson County, Florida.
  3. 1900 & 1910 Census, Irwin County, Georgia
  4. 1920 Census, Colquitt County, Georgia
  5. Dooly County Marriage Books A, B and D.
  6. Jackson County, Florida, Marriage Books A & B.
  7. Unpublished letters from David Lupo, dated 1860, and Thomas Lupo, dated 1859, preserved by Dr. Carl Wilton Lupo and currently in the possession of his family.
  8. Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia.
  9. Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers, housed at the Georgia Department of Archives and History.
  10. Historical and Genealogical Collections of Dooly County, Georgia, compiled by Watts and Nora Powell.
  11. The Passing of the Pines: A History of Wilcox County Volumes I, II and III, by Mary Lou McDonald and Samuel J. Lawson III.
  12. Georgia Death certificate number 32-23622 of Thomas Jefferson Lupo.
  13. Social Security Death Index.

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