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African American Families in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia

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researched and written by Dr. Pam Wilson, Reinhardt University and Cartersville Downtown Development Authority History Task Force

NOTE: More than 6000 historical African American profiles from Cartersville and Bartow County have been added to the Geni family tree database, but I've only tagged heads of family or notable family members (see list below) as part of this project. Many, many other names and families are linked in the Geni tree, sourced from census records, marriage, and death certificates.

Building upon documents such as the list of freedmen voters in 1867, the censuses from 1870 forward, and other sources, this project is an effort to consolidate historical and genealogical information about the Black residents of Cartersville, Georgia, following Emancipation and continuing for generations.

This project is part of the Downtown Cartersville African American Business History Project, 1870-1940, an effort to gather historical information, documents, photos, and artifacts about the early Black community in Cartersville, Georgia, and in particular about the various minority-owned businesses and services in the Historic Downtown District.

In 1870, the majority of recently-freed slaves in and around Cartersville were continuing to do what they had done during slavery: work as farmhands, day laborers, and—for the women, especially--domestic workers such as cleaners, cooks, laundresses, and seamstresses. Working on the railroad was also a possibility, and the most fortunate among those became Railroad Section hands.

Now that they were able to earn wages and to engage in the formerly all-white economy, the most frugal and industrious of the Black families began to invest in real estate. This was particularly true of the skilled tradesmen, who set up shop and needed to invest in the tools of their trade: barbers and blacksmiths were among the most lucrative professions for an ambitious Black man in the late 1800s, and Cartersville had quite a few of those, as well as coal miners, brick masons, shoemakers, carpenters, and well diggers, all of which required both capital and skilled labor.

Some Black workers were able to accrue a sizable amount of property in that first quarter-century after emancipation. In doing so, they established themselves as significant members of the Cartersville professional community.

In Cartersville, a central Black business district developed on the north side of West Main Street about halfway between Erwin and Bartow. It developed around land initially owned by freedmen Jackson Burge (inherited c. 1883 by his daughter Angelina Peacock), John Q. Gassett, Ellis Patterson, and Henry Saxon. Here, in the area now between Noble Street and the driveway formerly known as Conyers Alley, and several buildings to its east (as well as establishments in the alley itself), was the heart of the Black business community from the 1870s until the 1930s.

Gassett's Grocery, at 127 West Main, was an anchor for almost 30 years, welcoming other Black tradesmen and professionals to rent offices in the upstairs of the two-story building, such as Alonzo Scott's Tailor Shop or Dr. W. R. Moore's medical offices. Also renowned was the Blue Front Café or Restaurant, which appears to have been located behind the Main Street storefronts in Conyers Alley. The 1909 Sanborn maps show a Barber Shop and restaurant in the alley in 1909. A newspaper article reports a fire at the Blue Front in 1915. It is unclear if the fire destroyed the building or not, but it appears that the restaurant then relocated to a position on West Main adjacent to Gassett's Grocery.

The Blue Front building and neighboring barbershop were owned by the white Maxwell Brothers (headed by former Sheriff Robert Maxwell), but it is not clear who the proprietor of the business was. Mary L. Young and Dave Sullivan were each listed as Black restaurant proprietors in the 1910 census, and Charlie “Doc” Richardson’s name is most frequently associated with the restaurant in popular memory. He is listed in the 1930 census as a restaurant cook. The entire African American business district on the north side of West Main was often referred to as The Blue Front because of this restaurant, which served as a magnet for the Black community in the 1910s-1930s.

At the same time, the Black community was establishing residential communities as well, mainly in two areas close to downtown: (1) The first prominent area of Black residential development was on the end of West Main past Fite Street and leading to Granger Hill; this area later came to be called the West End. (2) The second area, which would become known as Summer Hill, just to the NW of downtown, developed when Black investors began purchasing lots from the former Lewis Tumlin lands as marked off in the Peacock Survey and administered by attorney James Neel, court-appointed “receiver” of the Tumlin Estate. (3) Black residential areas also ran up the east side of the railroad tracks in downtown, including the area known as Wofford Flats and other northeastern communities such as Mechanicsville and Richmond.

As the new freedman’s culture developed, certain occupational niches in small Southern towns like Cartersville began to be occupied by skilled Black workers. A 1913 article about the occupations of the “The Negroes of Athens, Georgia” (Bulletin of the Negroes of Georgia XIV #4, December 1913) explained: “The Negroes came to monopolize the artisan trades, and in time, a large class of Negro shopkeepers, barbers, restauranteurs, carpenters, masons, and blacksmiths sprang up.”

In addition to blacksmiths and barbers, one significant occupational niche occupied by African American men was that of the draymen, who drove the delivery trucks of that era. Drays were horse-pulled flat-bed wagons used to transport many types of goods. A number of families in Cartersville, such as the Wofford family, became known for this profession. The draymen who owned their own dray and team of horses (a significant capital investment) were entrepreneurs who could provide services to various businesses as needed.

Around the turn of the century, another new profession arose in Cartersville: the pressing clubs, which were precursors to the dry cleaning industry. These so-called “colored pressing clubs” pressed suits; average prices were $1 for 5-8 suits. However, at a national level, they soon gained a bad reputation because of poorly trained pressers who would scorch suits or, even worse, wear or pawn their customers’ clothing. The Columbia, S.C., City Council passed an ordinance requiring proprietors of pressing clubs to put up a bond that would ensure that customers would indeed get their clothing returned to them. The developing cleaning industry’s critics expressed concerns about what types of establishments were legitimate cleaners and began to advocate for more standardized cleaning plants. [Source: Cleaning and Dyeing World, Vol. 5, Jan 1918. J. Roe Purchase Publisher, Chicago. (a trade magazine)]

However, Black entrepreneurs often lacked the capital to purchase the most modern, cutting-edge equipment. Pressing Clubs were generally owned and operated by Black entrepreneurs, who eventually discovered that “white capital has introduced better irons, more responsibility, and delivery wagons" (“The Negroes of Athens, Georgia,” 1913). However, the article reported that even the five or six white-owned pressing clubs men relied primarily upon African American men and women to perform the actual labor. Therefore, in this industry, Black entrepreneurs began to find themselves relegated to serving as hired help and losing their prestige as business owners. A similar change occurred in barbershops. In the 1890s, most whites patronized what they called “old colored barbers”; however, by the second decade of the 1900s, Black barbers were catering mostly to African American patrons only.

Early land ownership by African Americans in Cartersville

Land ownership was clearly desired after emancipation, but the realities of acquiring capital to invest in land provided an uphill challenge with low wages. Most former slaves were farm laborers or day laborers in the first decades after freedom; only a few were privileged enough to hold a trade that was both income-generating and esteemed. Blacksmithing was clearly the most profitable trade in the decade or so after the war, and although both Black and white blacksmiths existed, ironworking was a specialized art and skill in the African American community often passed down from father to son, or through informal apprentice relationships, the roots of which extended back into slavery when certain plantations in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas would actually import African tribesmen from West African tribes known to have highly developed skills in iron technology. These slaves would form an elite corps of blacksmiths and ironworkers, not only powerful financially but also socially--and spiritually, if the African tribal traditions continued. Among the Mande tribe, for example, in addition to being revered and honored, according to Emma Ross, "the spiritual and ritual knowledge and activities of blacksmiths were also greatly feared. They were believed to control the natural forces intrinsic to all objects, a force the Mande call nyama, which is understood to be both energy and the explanation for the organization of the Mande world."

In Cartersville, the African American blacksmiths were among the elite and most prosperous members of the Black community during the 1870s. The two leading blacksmiths among the freedmen of that early period were Henry Saxon and Ellis Patterson, whose partnership as Saxon & Patterson was perhaps the earliest Black-owned enterprise in Cartersville. Henry Saxon was likely the first Black property owner in Cartersville and its wealthiest Black citizen. The best look at the financial holdings of Saxon and his partner Ellis Patterson comes from a close examination of the Georgia Property Tax records, which served both as a record of land and personal property ownership but also as a listing of those who had the right to vote and pay a poll tax. The early tax lists for Black voters also included their employers' names. In 1871/1872, Henry Saxon and his partner Ellis Patterson were listed in Cartersville as employees of J. A. Howard, and the "Saxon & Patterson" team was also listed (this was quite unusual, the only case of a partnership seen in these records). Saxon himself owned 61 acres of real estate in Bartow County, being lots 639. 640, 657 and 658 in District 4 section 3. He also owned a phenomenal $2000 of town property and $400 of other personal property (this included livestock, farm or business equipment, furniture, and tools), with an aggregate value of $2400. Saxon & Patterson's partnership owned $450 of town property and another $450 of property (probably blacksmithing tools), while Patterson himself owned $800 of town property and no other personal property.

Only 21 men of color owned property in 1871, and no other African American in the city approached Henry Saxon's $2400 level of wealth: the only two other Black men worth more than $1000 were Jackson Burge, a gardener and drayman who had a $1200 total valuation, and Peter Murray, an older blacksmith (in his 60s), at $1150.

Henry Saxon is also listed in the 1874 tax roll as working for the wealthy white planter Lewis Tumlin both under his own name and as part of the Saxon & Patterson blacksmith partnership, which has a separate listing under Tumlin's employ (as does Ellis Patterson).

By 1875, 34 Black men owned property in Cartersville (Militia District 822).

By the 1880s, the value of land--at least the land owned by Black citizens--had fallen. By this time, however, the base of land ownership among African Americans had broadened, with 70 such men in the city owning land, although the relative value of that land had dropped so that the majority of Black landowners only had net worths of $50-200. We also begin at that time to see a shift in status and wealth away from the blacksmiths and towards those who owned large farms. By 1881, the aging blacksmith Henry Saxon had dropped in standing to become the third wealthiest Black man in Cartersville, following Peter Jones ($1385) and Green Robinson ($1060), both of whom owned large farms.

Black/African American Business Owners, Skilled Trades, and Professions

(based primarily on 1870, 1880, 1910, 1930 and 1940 census records)

NOTE from Pam Wilson: I am working to link each person to the family tree on Geni. From there, anyone can add family information, if known. Please let me know if you need help doing so.


  • Saxon, Henry. Blacksmith, age 47 in 1870 census, b. GA. Owned $300 real estate and $100 personal estate.
  • Milner, Henry aka Haynes, Blacksmith, own shop. Age 24 in 1870, b. Ga. Owned $150 of real estate. Age 34 in 1880 census; age 51 in 1900 census, b GA; age 60 in 1910, b. GA. Res 108 Carter St. in 1910. age 72 in 1920 census (still own shop), res 108 Carter St.
  • Milner, Henry L. (son of Henry/Haynes) Blacksmith, own shop in 1910. age 29 in 1900 census, b GA; age 30 in 1910, b. Ga. res 206 Carter St.
  • Patterson, Ellis, Blacksmith, age 34 in 1870, 44 in 1880 census, born SC.
  • Goodwin, Alec. Blacksmith, age 47 in 1870 census, b. GA. Owned $750 of real estate so probably had own shop.
  • Daniel, Charles. Blacksmith, age 70 in 1870 census, b. SC. Owned $500 of real estate so probably had own shop.
  • Murray, Peter, Blacksmith. age 60 in 1870 census, b. VA; age 55 in 1880 census, b. GA (this second may be a son). In 1870, owned $450 real estate so probably had own shop.
  • Sullivan, Charles, Blacksmith, age 51, in 1870 census, b. SC. Owned no real estate but $200 personal estate.
  • Merit, George, Blacksmith. Age 27, 1870 census, b SC. Owned no real estate.
  • Fletcher, David, Blacksmith, Age 23, 1870 census, b. GA. Owned no real estate.
  • Travis, Daniel. Blacksmith, age 63 in 1870 census, b. SC. Owned no real estate.
  • Erwin, Milton, Blacksmith, age 18 in 1870 census, working with Aleck Goodwin b. GA. Owned no real estate.
  • Erwin, Frank, (son of Milton) Blacksmith, own shop. Age 36 in 1910, b GA; age 46 in 1920 census; age 50 in 1930, born NY; age 64 in 1940, b GA. Res 18 Cason St. in 1910; res rear, 521 Moon St in 1920; Res 38 Street not named in 1930; Res. Rear Moon St. 1940.
  • Murray, Isaac, (Son of Peter) Blacksmith. Age 23, in 1880 census, b. GA.
  • Tribble, John, Blacksmith. Age 23, in 1880 census, born SC, wife Anna. BM age 44 in 1900 census, wife Minnie. Also 1910 as Blacksmith in Carriage Shop. Moved his family to Los Angeles, California, where he died.
  • Henderson, Richard, Blacksmith, age 25 in 1880 census, born SC.
  • Henderson, Thomas, Blacksmith, owns shop. age 39 in 1900 census, res Stokely St. Age 49 in 1910, Mulatto, b GA. Res 417 Jones St. Blacksmith, age 59 in 1920 census, b GA, res 417 Mull
  • Henderson, Elijah, Blacksmith, owns shop. age 50 in 1900 census, b GA. (res Street on Town Hill with no name). Age 60-ish (no age given) in 1910, (married 39 years), b GA. Res 10 Mull St. age 37 in 1920 census, res. 208 Tennessee St.
  • Henderson, John (son of Elijah), Blacksmith, BM Age 19 in 1900 census, b GA (res Street on Town Hill with no name); age 41 in 1920 census, res. 120 Mull St.
  • Henderson, Elijah (the younger, son of Elijah), Blacksmith, owns shop. Age 25 in 1910, b GA. Res 15 Wofford St.
  • Walker, Harold, Blacksmith. age 16 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Walker, John, Blacksmith. age 25 in 1900 census, b GA. Res Wofford St.
  • Goode, William Henry. Blacksmith, Repair Shop. Age 35 in 1930, age 46 in 1940, b GA. Res. 617 W. Main St. in 1930; 404 Tabernacle in 1940.
  • Cooley, Vivian, Helper at Blacksmith Shop, 1930. Age 16, b. GA. Res. 9 Mull St.


  • King, Alex, Shoemaker, age 43 in 1870 census, b. GA. $150 personal estate, but no real estate. Age 56 in 1880 census, born GA. Owned city property consistently until he died c. 1883, when his wife Harriet took ownership.
  • Parrott, Robert, Shoemaker, age 33 in 1870 census, b. SC. Owned $500 real estate so probably had own shop. Owned city property through 1890 (when records end). In 1880 census, age 40, born Alabama. He died before 1900, and his son Charlie took over his business.
  • Parrott, Charlie, Shoemaker, own shop. Age 33 in 1900 census; age 43 in 1910, b. GA. Res 427 Gilmer St.; age 54 in 1920 census, res 427 Gilmer St.
  • McDaniel, James, Shoemaker. age 27 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Walker, Claiborne, Shoemaker. age 56 in 1900 census, b. GA. Res Bartow St.
  • Fletcher, Walter, Shoemaker, own shop. Age 34 in 1910, b. GA; MB age 49 in 1920 census; res 206 Johnson St.
  • Sidney, Luther, Shoemaker, own shop, age 15 in 1910, b GA res 501 Douglas St.

Restaurant Proprietors and Cooks

  • Kennedy, Alex [in 1880 census: b 1845 SC; could R&W, wife Kate, son Calvin], was running a “first-class eating house for colored people” acc to 1884 newspaper article
  • Johnson, Pomp, b. 1854; 26 in 1880 census as Saloon Keeper with wife Fanny B and daughter Carrie B.] 28 Aug 1890 newspaper: "Pomp Johnson moved his restaurant to a store next to Mr. White’s on Main St."
  • Young, Mary L., Restaurant Proprietress. Age 38 in 1910, b GA res 7 N. Gilmer, wife of Edward Young, a house carpenter.
  • Sullivan, Dave, Restaurant Proprietor. Age 54 in 1910, b Ga. Res 703 E. Market.
  • Johnson, Wilson, Restaurant Cook, 1910 Cartersville GA. Res 407 Bartow St.
  • Pitts, Jessie, 1918 Hotel Cook, Hyatt Hotel in Cartersville, WWI Roster. 1920, Tailor, own Shop, age 25, b GA, res 615 Cassville Rd.
  • Grimes, Lula, Hotel Cook. age 40 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 606 Johnson St.
  • Henderson, Lois, Hotel Cook. age 22 in 1920 census, b GA. Res. 20 Railroad St.
  • Johnson, Frank, 1920: Cook, Restaurant in Cartersville. Age 25, Res. 201 Bartow St.
  • Phillips, Sallie, Hotel Cook. age 30 in 1920 census, b GA. 1930/1940 Cook (private family). res 1920, 22 Railroad St. res. 1930 Back of Maxwell's Alley; 1940 Perhaps same alley, off Bartow/Carter St.
  • Mann, Lena, Hotel Cook. age 34 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 24 Railroad St.
  • Brown, Bettie, Hotel Cook. in 1910 and 1920 census, b GA. Res 108 Railroad St.
  • Lattner, Annie, Hotel Cook. age 27 in 1920 census, b. GA. Res 304 Railroad St.
  • Templeton, Laurence, Jr. Restaurant Cook. BM age 33 in 1920 census, b GA. res 214 Railroad St.
  • Tate, Charles, Proprietor of Restaurant. Age 48 in 1920 census, b. SC. Res. 127 West Main. Wife Mary Tate, 37, cook at Restaurant.
  • Henderson, Sam, Restaurant Owner. age 25 in 1920 census, born GA. Res 200 Carter St.
  • Richardson, Charles. Age 32 in 1930 census, b GA. Veteran. Res 17 Walker St.
  • Richardson, Shepherd. Cook in 1930, Hotel Restaurant Proprietor in 1940. Age 28 in 1930, age 37 in 1940, b GA. Res. 7 Guyton St. (lived in Miami in 1935).
  • Dawkins, Henry, Restaurant Proprietor. Age 42 in 1930, b GA. Res Boarder at 212 Railroad St.
  • Roberson, Joel and Mary Hopkins Roberson, ages 60 & 55 in 1930 when they were proprietor and cook at a Cafe. Res. Knodle St. Owned home ($700). Parents of Dr. Waylon J. Roberson (MD).
  • Williams, Ida. Mgr. Restaurant. Age 36 in 1930, b. GA.Res 614 W. Main.
  • Monroe Kincaid, Cook in Cafe, 1930 res. 411 Carter St.
  • Washington, William (Will). Lunch counter cook for Alfred Payne on Main St, Cartersville (1918 WWI); Restaurant Cook (1920 & 1930 Cartersville, GA); Cook at Cafe (1940).Res. 139 Courant.
  • Phillips, Adolphus. 1920 Cartersville GA: Porter at Hotel, 1930 Waiter at Hotel, 1940 Cook at Cafeteria. res. 1920 22 Railroad St., 1930 Back of Maxwell's Alley; 1940 Perhaps same alley, off Bartow/Carter St.

Cooks for Private Families

  • Martha Middlebrooks, Cook, 1900 census, Main Street, Cartersville, age 48, b. GA
  • Jackson A. Miller, Cook. 1900 census, Main Street, Cartersville, age 17, b. GA
  • Colquitt Sidney, Cook, 1900 census
  • Harris, Mattie, Cook, 1900 Cartersville, age 24, b GA.
  • Taylor, Sarah. Cook, 1900 census. Age 52, widowed, b. Alabama. Wife of John Taylor, a Barber.
  • Williams, Fanny, Cook, 1910 Cartersville, age 22 b GA. wife of David K. Williams, Barber. Res. 701 W. Market St.
  • Henderson, Viola, Cook in private home, 1910. Res. 10 Mull St.
  • Morris, Clara, Cook for private family, 1910. Res. 202 Railroad St.
  • Morris, Rosa, Cook for private family, 1910. Res. 202 Railroad St.
  • Grace Ford, age 17, Cook for private family, 1910 census. Res. 217 Wofford St.
  • Brown, Sarah, Cook for private family, 1910 census, age 70. Res. 108 Railroad St.
  • Green, Savannah, Cook for private family, 1910 Cartersville. Res. 500 Douglas St.
  • Moody, Laura 1910: Cook for private family. Res. 611 W. Main St. Age 19, b GA
  • Smith, Ora. Cook (private), 1920 census. res. Railroad St.
  • Smith, Octavia. Cook (private), 1920 census. res. Railroad St.
  • Julia Gordon Pitts, 1930, Cook for private family. Res. 304 Jones St.
  • Lila Pitts Stephenson, 1930 Cook for private family. Res. 304 Jones St.
  • Early, Ida, 1930 Cartersville GA: Cook for private family. Res. 412 Carter. Age 45, b. GA

Tailors, Cleaners and Pressers

  • Henderson, Richard, Presser, Tailor Shop (OA). Age 18 in 1910, GA. Res 417 Jones St.
  • Morris, Jerry. Pressing Club Proprietor. Age 22 in 1910, b Ga. Res 208 S. Tennessee St.
  • Craig, Oscar, Pressing Club Proprietor. Age 30 in 1910, b GA res 302 S. Tennessee St. and Annie Craig, Manager of Pressing Club. age 34 (widowed) in 1920 census, b. GA res. 302 Tennessee St.
  • Lowe, Fannie, 1910, Dressmaker (in home). Age 40, b. GA. Res. 200 Mull St.
  • Zuber, Lou T. (Lowe), 1910, Dressmaker (in home). Res. 200 Mull St. Daughter of Fannie Lowe.
  • Coleman, Emory, Owner of Tailor Shop 1910 & 1920. 1910, Res 118 Knodle St.; 1920 census, res 118 Mull St.
  • Ford, Don, Clothes Presser, Tailor Shop, Age 21 in 1910, b GA. Res 317 Wofford.
  • Shepard, Rob. Tailor, own Shop. age 24 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 10 South Ave. He also was enlisted in US Army during WWI.
  • Pitts, Jessie, 1920: Tailor, own Shop, age 25, b GA, res 615 Cassville Rd. 1917/8 Hotel Cook, Hyatt Hotel (WWI Roster).
  • O’Neal, Willie. Tailor, own Shop in 1920; Proprietor, Pressing Club in 1930. Age 22, in 1920 census, age 37 in 1930 census, b GA. Res 310 Wofford; Owned home ($800)
  • Walker, Johnny (Jr) 1930, Presser at Barber Shop Res. 309 Wofford St.
  • Scott, Alonzo (Lon). Presser/Owner of Pressing Club. Age 35 in 1930, 47 in 1940. b Ga. Res 501 W. Main in 1930, 111 Knodle in 1940. Also, 1910, House painter.
  • Morgan, Willie, age 21, 1940, Presser at Dry Cleaners. Res. 203 Carter St.

Grocers, Butchers and Bakers

  • Foster, Warren, Grocer, age 36 in 1880 census, born SC. Did not seem to own any land.
  • Murphy, Thomas, Butcher, age 29 in 1880 census, born GA. May be the same as Tom Murray in 1910 & 1920 censuses. Listed as Murphy in 1880, Murray in 1910, Murry in 1920 and ages and some other facts (years married) are irregular, but occupation, wife's name and birthplaces are consistent.
  • Smith, David, Baker. Age 25, in 1880 census. Also was a House Roofer in 1910 at age 60. Res. Douglas St.
  • Gassett, John Q. Grocer, age 23 in 1880 (at that time, occupation was Schoolteacher), age 45 in 1900 census, age 56 in 1910 (when occupation was Grocer), b TN. Boarded with Robert & Angelina Peacock in 1880. Res in 1910: 501 W. Main. (wife and 11 children) Age 64, in 1920 census, born TN, res 501 West Main.
  • Gassett, Alice, Grocer, age 54, mulatto, born GA in 1920 census, res 501 West Main (wife of John Q Gassett).
  • McDaniel, George, Grocer. age 33 in 1900 census born GA.
  • Thomas, Madison, Grocer, age 40 in 1900 census, b. GA
  • Conyers, James, Baker. age 21 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Johnson, John, Fish Dealer. age 23 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Lowe, Press, 1910 census, Laborer at Grocery Store. Age 47, b. SC. Res. 200 Mull St.
  • Scott, Robert. Salesman at Meat Market, 1920. Meat Cutter, 1930. Res. 8 Lee St. (1920), 3 Mull St (1930)
  • Carnes, Mattie, Merchant, Grocery Store, age 44, widowed, in 1930, b GA. Res 115 Jones St. owned home ($1325)
  • Rowe, Fred. Grocer. Age 41 in 1940, b Ga. Res. 16 Walker St.
  • Richardson, Ruby (wife of Shepherd). 1940: Merchant, Retail Grocery. Age 35, b. Ga. Res. 7 Guyton St.


  • Choice, Essex, Barber. Age 38, in 1870 census, b. SC. Age 45, in 1880 census, born GA. In 1900 census listed as white male age 75, Barber. In 1870 owned $500 in real estate and $150 in personal property so probably owned his own shop. Maintained small value of town property ownership on tax list consistently through 1890, when records end. An article dated 15 Aug 1872 in the Standard & Express newspaper noted that "Essex Choice, Barber, has fitted up a bathing room where people can take a shower bath."
  • Potts, Ashman, Barber. Age 35, in 1870 census, born SC. Owned $500 in real estate and $100 in personal property, so probably owned his own shop. However, he disappears from the tax record after 1872, when his city property was valued at $600.
  • Morris, Henry, Barber. Age 24, in 1880 census, born GA. Relocated to Chattanooga where he was a Barber after 1897. Son-in-law of Essex Choice.
  • Taylor, John. Barber. Age 52, in 1880 census, born VA.
  • Johnson, William, Barber. Age 23, in 1880 census, b. GA.
  • Stephens, John. age 20 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Hendrix, James, Barber. age 26 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Jackson, Samuel, Barber. age 34 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Meadows, Frank, Barber. age 55 in 1900 census, b GA (wife Alice)
  • Williams, David K. Barber, Own Shop, Proprietor. Age 54 in 1910, b. SC. Res 701 W. Market St.
  • Coleman, Wright, Barber at Barber Shop, 1910 Cartersville, Res. 11 Tabernacle St.
  • Hannon, Jerry, Barber, own shop. age 45 in 1920 census, b GA, res 122 Mull St. and 200 Knodle in 1917. Son-in-law of Ed Bell and probably worked in the Bell family Barber Shop.
  • Bell, Edward (Ed). Barber, own Shop, age 55 in 1920 census, b GA, res 8 (Mull St?); Paper Hanger, age 40 in 1900 census, b. GA. (res Street on Town Hill with no name). 1930: living in Emerson with own Barber Shop.
  • Bell, Lucy, Barber (daughter of Ed Bell). age 25 in 1920 census, b. GA, res 8 Mull St.
  • Bell, Horace (son of Ed Bell), Barber. age 20 in 1920 census, b GA, res 8 Mull St.
  • Grant, Robert, Barber, own shop. Age 45 in 1930, b GA. Res 13 Collins St.
  • Early, John, Barber Shop. Age 60 in 1930; b Ga. Res. 412 Carter
  • Decatur, Hattie Mae, Hairdresser (home). Age 41 in 1930, b Ga, wid. Owned home ($1500)
  • Scott, J. C. Barber Shop. Age 37 in 1940, b. GA. Res. 514 N. Erwin. Lived in Atlanta in 1935.


  • Jackson, Eliza, Agent, Accident Insurance. Age 40 in 1910, b. AL. res 11 Wofford St.
  • Shepherd, Marie. Agent, Toilet Articles. Age 40 in 1930, b Florida. Res 108 Railroad St.
  • Kiser, Annie L. Insurance Agent (1930), Schoolteacher (1920 & 1940) in Cartersville, GA. Res. 207 Cedar St.
  • Anderson, John F. Insurance Agent. Age 38 in 1930, b GA. Res at 11 Tennessee (?) St. Teacher in Bartow County Schools, 1940. Res. Fite St.
  • Copeland, Anena Insurance Agent. Age 53 in 1940, single. GA. Res. 8 Lee St. owned ($500)
  • Scott, Jr. Robert. Insurance Agent. Age 20 in 1940, b. GA Res 3 Mull St.
  • Emanuel, Ella (Templeton). Insurance Agent. Age 50 in 1940, b Ga. Res. 405 Bartow.


  • Myers, Mathew, Drayman, age 24 in 1870 census, b. VA.
  • Gordon, Henry, Drayman, age 29 in 1870 census, b GA.
  • Richardson, Gabriel, Draying (Drayman), Age 26 in 1880 census, born GA.
  • Burge, Jackson, Drayman, age 65 in 1880 census, b. NC.
  • Peacock, Robert, Drayman. age 39 in 1880 census, b. GA. Had been Railroad laborer in 1870.
  • McRunnells, Joseph. Drayman age 49, in 1880 census, b. GA.
  • Moody, Egbert, Draying (Drayman). Age 56, in 1880 census, born Alabama.
  • Moody, Busco (son of Egbert), Draying. Age 14, in 1880 census, b, GA; 1900, Railroad Porter; 1910, Janitor for Public Schools, res. 611 W. Main St.
  • Kay, Charles, Drayman. age 39 in 1900 census, b GA. Drayman, owned own dray. Age 53 in 1910, b SC. Res 209 Moon St.
  • Hutcherson or Hutchinson, Leroy, Drayman who died when struck by train in 1908, age 32.
  • Pickett, Willie, teamster. age 40 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Wofford, John Dock Drayman, owned own dray. 50 in 1900. Age 59 in 1910, b. Ga. Res 302 Railroad St. wife Vashti.
  • Wofford, Hubbard or Herbert/Hurbert, drayman, son of John Dock Wofford. 19 in 1900, b. GA. Age 37 in 1920, b GA. Res 512 Knodle St.
  • Wofford, James H. Independent Drayman/Driver. 16 in 1900, son of John Dock Wofford. Age 46 in 1930, age 53 in 1940. b GA Res. Cassville Rd, Renter in 1930. In 1940, owned home res. 537 N. Erwin (val $1500).
  • Wofford, John Drayman, owned own dray. Son of John Dock Wofford. Age 36 in 1910, b. GA. Res 421 Gilmer St. Wife Carrie. Woodruff46 in 1920 census, res 421 Gilmer St. Age 65 in 1930, widowed. 103 Bruce Street. Son George born c 1910.
  • Woodiff, John, teamster. age 42 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Moody, Austell drayman. age 22 in 1900 census, b. GA. Hotel Porter in 1910. Res. 208 Railroad St.
  • Harris, Joseph (Joe), Wagonner in 1900; Carpenter in 1910 & 1920. age 51 in 1900 census, b GA. age 61 in 1920, res 110 Wells St.
  • Johnson, Frank. Drayman, owned own dray. Age 35 in 1910. B. GA. Res 201 Johnson St.
  • Monroe Kincaid, 1910, Driver of Delivery Wagon; Cook in Cafe, 1930 res. 411 Carter St.
  • Brown, Guy, Driver of Coal Wagon, 1910 census, age 18. Res. 108 Railroad St.
  • Lowe, Joseph, Driver with own team. Age 22 in 1910, b GA. Res 200 Mull St.
  • Gibson, Charlie, Teamster with Own Team, 1920.
  • Jones / Jonas Reason, Driver with own team, age 59, 1910 census. Res, 305 Jones St.
  • Edward Young, Jr.. Driver, Delivery Wagon, age 18, 1910 census. res. 7 North Gilmer with parents.
  • McCay, Jack. Drayman, owned own dray. Age 45 in 1910, b GA. Res. 12 Tabernacle St.
  • McKay, Henry, Drayman for Grocery Store, 1910. Res. 12 Tabernacle St.
  • Morris, Charlie, Drayman, owned own dray. Age 36 in 1910, b Ga, age 49 in 1920 census. Res 308 Johnson St.
  • Kay, Charlie Jr. Drayman with his father, age 16 in 1920 census, b GA res 208 Moon St. Died at age 19.
  • Morris, John H.. 1920 census: Drayman, Grocery Store. Res. 18 Bruce St. Age 19.
  • Perry Saxon, Jr., Drayman for Cartersville Geo. Co. (1917)
  • Mitchel, Charlie, Public Drayman, age 48 in 1920 census, res 99 Lee St.
  • Smith, Robert. Drayman, Grocery Store, 1920 census. res. Railroad St.
  • Fryer, Henry, Wagoner. age 25 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 19 Collins St.
  • Wofford, Charlie Drayman. Age 41,1920 census, b. Georgia. Res 543 N Erwin.
  • Gibson, Walter, Public Drayman. age 24 in 1920 census. Res 600 block of West Main.
  • Allen, Joe, Public Drayman. age 29 in 1920 census, b GA, res Mull St.
  • Anderson, Clint, Public Drayman, age 45 in 1920 census, b GA, re Mull St.
  • Tompkins (Thompkins), Ben, Drayman, Transfer Service. age 38 in 1920 census; age 63 in 1940, b GA. Res. 18 or 20 Collins St.
  • Henderson, Alfred, Transfer Ice & Coal. Age 65 in 1940, b Ga. Res 516 Bartow.


  • Moore, Dr. William Riley. age 39 in 1920 census. Age 47 in 1930, age 55 in 1940. b. Florida. Wife Hattie Dora Moore. Res 410 Bartow St (owned home, val. $2000 in 1930).

Independent Nurses

Schoolteachers and Educators

  • Brown, Robert , age 20 in 1880 census, Teaching School
  • Gassett, John Q. age 23 in 1880 (at that time, occupation was Schoolteacher), age 45 in 1900 census, age 56 in 1910 (when occupation was Grocer), b TN. Boarded with Robert & Angelina Peacock in 1880. Res in 1910: 501 W. Main. (wife and 11 children) Age 64, in 1920 census, born TN, res 501 West Main.
  • Johnson, Hetty, Schoolteacher, 1880 Cartersville GA.
  • Demry, Augustus, School Principal [of Summer Hill School]. Age 36 in 1900 census, b. GA. Res Jones St.
  • Nora Jackson, Assistant Principal of Summer Hill School
  • Brown Allen, Addie, 1900 census Schoolteacher. Age 24, divorced, living with parents and her two children at 217 North Erwin.
  • Gassett, Friend. Schoolteacher in 1910 census. Brother of John Q. Gassett.
  • Jackson, Annie Mae, 1920 Cartersville: Schoolteacher. Res. 107 Wofford St. Age 24, b. GA
  • Craig, Hattie, Teacher in Public Schools, 1920 Bartow Co GA. Res. Euharlee Rd.
  • Kiser, Annie L. Insurance Agent (1930), Schoolteacher (1920 & 1940) in Cartersville, GA. Res. 207 Cedar St.
  • Morgan, Ethel, 1930 Cartersville: teaching children music in private homes. Res. 111 Carter St.
  • Younger, Caroline, 1930 Schoolteacher in Public schools. Res 303 Wofford St.
  • Young, Bernice, Schoolteacher in Public Schools, 1930, Cartersville, age 21. Res. 403 N. Bartow St.
  • Moore, Ethel, Schoolteacher, 1940 Cartersville, age 24. Res. 410 Bartow St.
  • Anderson, John F. Insurance Agent. Age 38 in 1930, b GA. Res at 11 Tennessee St. Schoolteacher in Bartow County Schools, 1940. Res. Fite St.
  • Anderson, Annie Mae Schoolteacher in Cartersville City Schools, 1940. Res. Fite St.

Boarding House Keepers

  • Hutchinson, Martha, Boarding House Keeper, age 61 in 1880 census, born SC.
  • Ramsey, Susie, Boarding House Keeper. age 38 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 8 Wofford St.
  • Johnson, Fannie, Boarding House Keeper.age 63, b GA, res 9 Stokely St.

Building Trades

  • Thomas, Mason (Mayson), Carpenter, age 37 in 1870 b. SC, age 48 in 1880 census, born Texas.
  • Fletcher, Richard, Carpenter, age 31 in 1880 census, born SC.
  • Nelson Young, 1880 House Carpenter b. GA
  • Miller, William H. Carpenter, age 50 in 1880 census, b. Alabama.
  • Thomas, Arthur, Painter. age 23 in 1900, b GA. Res Carter St.
  • Williams, Robert, Painter. age 32 in 1900 census, b GA. Res Cassville Rd.
  • Jones, Edmond, Carpenter. age 33 in 1900 census, b GA. Res Market St.
  • Harmon, Robert, Carpenter, 1900 & 1910 census, b. GA. in 1849.
  • Wallace, Daniel, Carpenter, age 62 in 1900 census, b. Tennessee. 1910, church sexton.
  • Bomar, Esquire, Carpenter. age 51 in 1900 census, b GA;.House Carpenter, age 63 in 1910, b GA. Res 501 Douglas St.
  • Bomar, Philip, Carpenter, age 21 in 1900 census, b. GA. By 1910 had moved to Los Angeles, CA where he became a police officer and lived the remainder of his life.
  • Hill, Robert, Carpenter. age 40 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Hill, George (son of Robert). Carpenter. age 17 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Towns, Charles, Carpenter. age 35 in 1900 census, b. GA. Res Jones St. (Susan Smith, mother in law, age 54, Cook).
  • Towns, George W., House Carpenter, age 53 b. SC in 1910 census, Res. 704 E. Market St.
  • Bell, Edward (Ed). Barber, own Shop, age 55 in 1920 census, b GA, res 8 (Mull St?); Paper Hanger, age 40 in 1900 census, b. GA. (res Street on Town Hill with no name). 1930: living in Emerson with own Barber Shop.
  • Smith, David, House Roofer in 1910 at age 60. Res. Douglas St. Also was a Baker. Age 25, in 1880 census.
  • Harris, Joseph (Joe), Wagonner in 1900; Carpenter in 1910 & 1920. age 51 in 1900 census, b GA. age 61 in 1920, res 110 Wells St.
  • Johnson, Houston Winters Carpenter in 1900, 1910 & 1920. b 1858 GA. Res. 407 Bartow and then 409 Mull. His three sons were also carpenters.
  • Johnson, Andrew J. Carpenter, 1900 Cartersville, Res. Bartow St.
  • Johnson, Walter, 1920 Cartersville: Carpenter. Res. 504 Mull St. Age 29.
  • Johnson, James L. Carpenter, 1900 & 1910 Cartersville, GA. Res. 407 Bartow St.
  • Perry Saxon, Carpenter, 1910 & 1930 census, born c 1858 GA
  • Young, Edward, Carpenter. age 29 in 1900 census, b GA. Res Winters St. in 1910, res. 7 North Gilmer St.
  • Pope, Wesley or Wiley, Carpenter, age 58 in 1900 census; House Carpenter, Mulatto, age 70 in 1910 census, born GA. res 305 Bartow
  • Benham, Austin, Bricklayer. age 51 in 1900 census, b. GA. Res Carter St.
  • Spencer, James, Painter. age 60 in 1900 census, b. Virginia. Re Wofford St.
  • Brown, Joseph, Proprietor of Carriage Window Shop. age 57 in 1900 census, b Ga.
  • Henderson, Louis (son of Elijah), US Army, age 20 in 1900 census, b GA (res Street on Town Hill with no name).
  • Cornelius Stokely, House Roofer (OA), 22 in 1910 census, born GA, res 22 Stokely St.
  • Hannon, Perry, Carpenter (OA). 56 in 1910 census, SC, res. 5xx Wofford.
  • Johnson, Charles (Charlie), House Plasterer. Age 36 in 1910, b GA. Res 212 Tennessee St. BM age 40 in 1920 census, res 212 N. Tennessee St.
  • Weaver, Will, Painter. age 40 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 408 Johnson St.
  • Canty, Landers, Carpenter. age 36 in 1920 census, b GA. Res 122 Ford St.
  • Green, Richard, House Plasterer, 1910 & 1920. Age 54 in 1910, b GA, res 507 Douglas St. Age 65 in 1920 census, b. GA. Res 500 Douglas St.
  • Young, Jonah, Brickmason. age 60 in 1920 census, b GA, res 317 (street not named)
  • Bell, Ed, House Painter, age 70 in 1930, res 8 Mull St, owned home ($400); formerly a Barber
  • Henderson, John Foster. Age 60 in 1940, b Ga. Carpenter. Res. 604 Wofford.

Other Occupations

(working on “own account”; did not include Laundresses and Seamstresses working out of home)

  • Erwin, John, Mattress Maker, age 28, in 1880 census, b GA.
  • Brown, Joseph, Wagonmaker, age 33, in 1880 census, b. GA. 1900 census: Carriage Woodworker; 1910 census: Woodworkman in Carriage Shop. Res. 14 Wykle St.
  • Johnson, John, Hostler, 30 in 1900 census, born GA.
  • Sidney, George, Hostler, age 50 in 1900 census, b GA.
  • Sidney, Cora E. Book agent. age 22 in 1900 census, b. GA.
  • Sylvanus Kelley, Fireman at Electric House, 1910 Cartersville census, res. 3 Vets Alley (off of Wofford St.)
  • Finley, Robert, Fireman at Cotton Factory, 1910, b. GA, res. 208 Railroad St.
  • Hutchins, Amanda, Office Janitor (works on own account), age 80 in 1910, b GA, res roomer at 401 Bartow
  • Henderson, Prickett (Richard) , Junk Buyer. age 35 in 1920 census, b GA. Res near 311 Jones St.
  • Smith, Charlie, Plumber (Proprietor). age 32 in 1920 census, b GA, res 145 W. Main.
  • Williams, Effem (Ephraim) Wood & Coal Merchant. age 44 in 1920 census, b GA, res 300 Jones St.
  • Cooley, Frank. Repair Man, Used Furniture in 1930 Cartersville. Age 37, b. GA. Res. 9 Mull St.
  • McKay, Roy, worked at Livery Stables, 1930 Cartersville. Res. 21 Tabernacle St.
  • Kiser, Sloan, Janitor at Post Office (1940). Res. 207 Cedar St.

Other early occupations and skilled trades among freedmen of Cartersville, from 1870 census

(NOTE: this does not indicate if they were working on own account or for an employer, as later census records do):

  • Nichols, John. Hostler, 21 GA
  • Tipens, William, Collier. 52 SC
  • Bomar, Cato, Carpenter, 35 GA
  • Burge, Jack, Gardener, 55 NC
  • Pearse, Kelly, Gardener, 70 GA
  • Williams, Emanuel, Gardener, 75 GA ($150 real estate)
  • Henderson, Thomas, Gardener, 65 SC
  • Hamilton, Andrew, Farm Hand 24 SC owned $200 real estate
  • Clark, Houston, Well digger, 34 GA
  • Pitt, Samuel, Laborer in Streets, 39 GA, owned $250 real estate
  • Nicholson, Sam, Railroad laborer, 35 VA, owned $100 in real estate.
  • Hill, Frank, Carpenter, 34 VA
  • White, William, Hotel Cook. 21 VA
  • Thomas, Mason, Carpenter. 37 SC
  • Hemphill, Henry, Well digger. 44 GA
  • Harris, March, Gardener, 40 GA.
  • Beamon, Nathan, Brickmason, 26, GA. $160 personal estate.
  • Clayton, Levi, Well digger, 35 GA
  • Wofford, Noah, Railroad hand, 30 GA. Owned $100 real estate.
  • Williford, Columbus, Carpenter, 44 GA.
  • Mills, Alford, Carpenter, 30 SC.
  • Stokely, John, works in Buggy Shop, 32 GA, owned $225 in real estate.

Ministers and Preachers

Milner, Jeff / Jeffrey / Jefferson / Jepthah, Founder of Mt. Zion MIssionary Baptist Church, b. 1825

Humphrey Daniel, Sr. Minister of Gospel, Cartersville, GA, 1880, 1910 censuses. Lived in Mechanicsville Section. Born c. 1842.

Workers in Industry

In 1873, Black employees of the Bartow Iron Company (J. I. McNeil, Supt) were: Thomas Gray, Isham Marshall, Joe Moore, Isaac Greenwood, Alph Scrutchen, Rick Armstrong, Essick Williams, Charles Smith, George Rowland, William Strickland, Henry Henderson, Kyar Jenkins, Pat Brown, Wash Bailey, Munro Noles, George Bird, William Taylor, Green Brown, Rans Smith, Riley Pritchard, James Moore, Oliver Pritchard, William Johnson, George Garrett, Robert Yarborough, Ed Maroney, Phil Bates, Doc Hamilton, Sam Adair. (Source: Georgia Property Tax List)

In 1874, the following men of color worked for Bartow Furnace (from Georgia Property Tax Digest): Joe Cash, Dave Johnson, Tom Gay, Elias Clark, Sol Scott, Rans Smith, Ky Jenkins, Sam Mayfield, Oliver Pritchett (Prichard?), Munro Knoles (Monroe Knowles), James Moore, Frank Perry, William Cochran, George Merritt, Isham Marshall, William Strickland, Joe Moore, Essex Williams, Harry Cook, William Taylor, Isaack (Issac) Vincent, Pat Brown, Chals (Charles) Smith, Ryly (Riley) Pritchard, John Smith, Ed Maroney, Eli Butler, Jno (John or Jonathan) Fifer, Harry Williamson, Alf Scutchens, Phil Bates, Dick Lee, Dick Armstrong, Berry Towers, George Brown, Lewis Long, Isaac Greenwood.

The week of March 14, 1915, the Cartersville Undertakers Organization of Black Undertakers elected their directors: John Walker, R. E. Craig, Haynes Milner, C. L. Williams and J. C. Conyers. (from the Cartersville News)

1871 Georgia Property Tax Digest of Freedman, Militia District 822 in Bartow County, Georgia (Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892
Bartow 1871-1875, p. 170 of 695,

Employer: I or J Johnson; Freedmen: Willis Johnson, William Conyers, Daniel Masse (Massey), Andrew Johnson; Kelly Johnson, Alfred Johnson

Employer: P. Sims; Freedmen: William Johnson Em: I. Harper: Fr: William Stephens Em: W. Buford; Fr: James Marshall, Ned Buford Em: H Hood; Fr: Henry Sheets, Sam Nicholson, Jo Wofford, Egbert Moody Em: L. Moon; Fr: Frank Morris Em: Cantrell; Lewis Wilson, Ben Red, George Willburn, Jo Hawkins, Charles Josey; Hamp Morris Em: H. Higher; Fr: Isaac Belcher, Frank Herd, Jo Clay, Wm Zachry, Saunders Boss, Jackson Henderson, Levi Buffington, Golin Smith Jno. William; Fr: Any Calhoun.

Migrations West and North

The African American community in Cartersville, as in the rest of Georgia and the surrounding Southern states, experienced several waves of significant out-migrations of families and individuals in the 20th century. The first noticeable exodus was a movement of a number of local Black families to Southern California in the first decade or so of the century. This was shortly followed by a movement beginning in the years prior to World War I, but hastening in the decade after the war, to cities in the northern midwest: Chicago, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Akron, Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and so on. The end of World War I and the 1920s saw a mass exodus of Black Georgians, including those from Bartow County, during what came to be known as the Great Black Migration. Many changes took place in the Black community of Cartersville in the years between World War I and World War II. In Bartow County, in 1900, the Black population (about 6000) comprised 30% of the county's population (14,600), but this number shrank to 4300 African Americans by 1960, just 13% of the County population of 28,200.

Churches in the African American Community

St. Luke's AME Church

One of the original churches serving the Summer Hill Community, located at 130 Jones Street on Summer Hill in Cartersville [see folder in Bartow History Center archives]

The first church was organized in 1857 by Revs. Beecher and Edwards. The second church was built in 1905, and the third structure was built from 1960-65. The church celebrated its 130th anniversary in 1997.

The Bartow History Center archives has a photocopy of images loaned by Mrs. Walter Johnson of a large group of the church congregation taken in 1906 at the dedication of the second building, as well as church programs, bulletins, Sunday School class lists, and hymns.

The official Roster and Bulleting (Mar 23-June 1, 1935) included ads from local businesses, including Knight Mercantile; J. Hugh Gilreath Insurance Agency; Cummings and Long "Complete Home Furnishers"; W. R. Moore, MD, Physician and Surgeon; "The Old Reliable" Industrial Lief and Health Insurance Company, S. Hightower, Agent, nearly 50 years in business; The Atlanta Constitution; and Layton's clothing store.

A 2003 St. Luke AME "Men Committed to Action" Event Brochure included ads by Mack Eppinger & Sons Funeral Home (210 N. Bartow); Ladds Farm Supply; Howard Insurance Agency (11 S. Gilmer since 1904, Michael & June Howard); James Turner's Dry Cleaning & Laundry, 155 W. Main; Peek's Appliance Repair, 315 Harrison Rd SW, Reuben Peek; Don Johnson, State Farm Agent in Marietta (he appears to be African American); Mail Pouch, 475 E. Main; The Basement in Cartersville Plaza selling "Tight Gear," various fashions, and EPI Records.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church

[see folder in Bartow History Center archives] The church's archives has records and old photographs prior to 1920, as well as a written church history.

Mt. Zion is the oldest Black church in Bartow County, organized by Rev. Jeff Milner, who originally held meetings "under the bush arbor) (a tradition of secret meeting places for slaves) during slavery. White masters tried to hang the Rev. Milner, the documents say, but he preached a powerful sermon. See the "Historic Milestones" clipping from the Bartow Neighbor, 18 May 2013 by Monica Burge.

Established in 1867, the church's building was constructed in 1877. A newspaper article in the Free Press dated 20 Nov 1879 announced that Mr. Lyman Chapman (a local white brick mason and builder) had built a brick church "for colored Baptists" that had cost $3300. The congregation had paid a down payment of $1000, but the article said they were having trouble paying the balance so were "beseeching white friends" for help in order not to lose "what they have so nobly won."

In 1905, Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church was established by the Rev. J. F. Bright and members from Mt. Zion. Originally built on Gilmer St., it was relocated to Mt. Olive St.

An article in Cartersville News dated 23 Sept 1915 reported that about a thousand people, both Black and white, attended a large baptising ceremony in Pettit Creek in a big eddy pool just below the W&A railroad trestle. The 87 candidates, who wore white robes for their baptisms, were new additions to Mt. Zion Baptist Church under pastor Rev. N. T. Thompson.

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church dedicated a new building in June 1970; it celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2013. Also see

Education for African Americans in Bartow County and Cartersville

[Primary Source, unless otherwise noted: History of Education for Blacks in Bartow County, Georgia by Linda Lane of Clark Atlanta University, 1991; commissioned for Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center with the support of the Georgia Humanities Council. In Bartow History Center archives.]

Some background: a Georgia law passed in 1829 forbade the education of Blacks except for trades, and these codes remained until the Civil War. Reconstruction laid the foundations for public as well as private education. In 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery. The following year, public schools for *white* children were established in Savannah and Columbus, Georgia. In 1868, the new state constitution authorized public education for both races but required segregation. The Freedman's Bureau was established during Reconstruction to assist with the process, and one goal was the development of education for Black children. This agency worked with the non-denominational American Missionary Association (AMA), the Home Baptist Mission, and the Methodist and AME Churches, as well as the local Black community. Northerners played a large role in assisting in the development of "Negro" education through churches, societies, philanthropists, and the provision of teachers.

At the end of the war, 95% of "Negroes" in the South were illiterate (this would reduce to 50% by 1900). As of 1871, there were "no colored schools in Georgia" except for a few towns and cities under the care of the AMA. By 1876, only seven counties had public schools for Black or white, although many private schools existed.

The 1870 census showed that 239 Black residents of Bartow County were attending schools of some sort. Reportedly, the fellowship of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church opened an early school for Black children in Cartersville, in the late 1870s or early 1880s, with the Rev. S. S. Broadnax as the first teacher. An early school was also said to have existed on Carter Street between Jones and Wofford. In 1888, Cartersville approved a "Public Education for All" policy, and in 1889, a school for Black students, established by Ronald Johnson, opened at the corner of Aubrey and Jones Streets in the African American residential community of Summer Hill in Cartersville. The City of Cartersville acquired the property in 1892. However, heat and plumbing were not available.

The county only had the one upper-level school serving Black students, which meant that the Summer Hill school was supposed to serve students from across Bartow County. However, at least 22 different rural elementary schools existed around the county between 1900-1951, mostly one-room schoolhouses with no heat, electricity, or plumbing, and each having one to two teachers. Prior to 1951, the county provided no school bus system for Black students, so it was hard for these rural students to attend higher grades in Cartersville at Summer Hill.

A list of "Colored Schools" in Bartow County in 1915 included: Pine Log, Brown's Chapel, Pine Grove, Conasena, Patterson's Grove, Grassdale, Euharlee, Core Springs, Kingston, Mission, Cassville (which later became Noble Hill), Emerson, and Adairsville. Other such schools from a list dated 1900-1968 also included Stilesboro, White, Taylorsville, Pleasant Grove, and Ladd. All principals and teachers were African Americans who were under the administrative authority of the all-white Bartow County School Board; however, a Black Advisory Board of Trustees existed. Black principals were paid $15-35 [date and frequency of pay not noted], as opposed to white principals' pay of $25-70. A teacher's examination was administered by the County Commissioner's Office to Black and white teachers alike. Many teachers at the "Colored Schools" were quite well-educated; for example, one applicant in 1918 was Annie Mae Jackson, a graduate of Morris Brown University with 4.5 years of teaching experience in Bainbridge, Georgia.

Summer Hill's school originally served 55 students in grades 1-6 when in opened in 1889; additional grades were added over the years, with diplomas granted after 11th grade until the addition of the 12th grade in the 1940s. By 1893, enrollment had grown to 250, and by 1920, under Principal S. L. Young, the school served 358 students. A larger structure was needed. [Needs follow-up: a 7-27-1905 news article in the Cartersville News mentioned a "Colored teachers proclamation."]

A new building was constructed on Aubrey Street in 1922 with the financial assistance of the Julius Rosenwald Foundation as well as donations from parents. According to Marian Coleman, "The Summer Hill School was a wood frame Rosenwald structure. It had a large auditorium with a stage.This was where assembly programs were held each Friday. On each side of the auditorium were classrooms. The Principal's office was a basement, which was referred to as 'downstairs'. The lower grades were downstairs, as well as the lunchroom and the Home Economics Department" (Inventory of Historic Sites Project: Significant Black Historic Sites in Bartow County, 2005, Etowah Valley Historical Society). Heat and plumbing were available beginning in the 1920s.

In 1923, Noble Hill School (also known as Cassville Colored School) opened as the first Rosenwald School in North Georgia, part of a large initiative by Julius Rosenwald, philanthropist and president of Sears Roebuck, and Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute to build schools across the South for African American children. Rosenwald provided a third of the funds for building Noble Hill School, more than matched by 47% from local African Americans and the remainder from the Bartow County and white donors. One description of Noble Hill noted that it had an outhouse, no running water, and a pot-bellied stove for heat. The building still stands and serves as a museum and archives.

Toward mid-century, Summer Hill school continued to grow its programs and structures as well as its academic reputation under the leadership of Principal and Superintendent [6000000138987975003 J. S. Morgan], who had joined Summer Hill in 1925. Although the school had been in existence since 1889, it did not graduate its first 12th-grade class until 1948. Students who had previously desired a high school degree were forced to go away to another town to complete their schooling (see interview with Dr. Susie Wheeler). " In 1925, for example, Thomas Kiser reported to the Atlanta Independent, a Black newspaper of the era, that Annie Hutcherson, Ada Thompson, and Harriet Edwards were off to Spelman Seminary, while Florence Gassett, Eva Gassett, and Robert Morris were headed for Atlanta University (Source: African American Heritage Trail, p. 22).

In 1946, a gymnasium was built, although it burned down in 1953. A football team was established in 1949. A new High School and gymnasium--a source of great pride, according to Justice Robert Benham--were built in 1955, the same year that a separate Bartow Elementary School for Black students opened. The Summer Hill elementary students continued to hold classes in the old school building until 1961. The high school's John H. Morgan Gymnasium was named in honor of the son of Supt. J. S. and Beatrice Morgan who was killed in WWII. The first building was located at the top of the hill on Aubrey Street; when rebuilt following the fire, the new gym was at the bottom of Aubrey Street next to the new Summer Hill High School. The elder Prof. J. S. Morgan ran the school until his retirement in 1962, at which time his son, J. S. Morgan, Jr., became principal through the school's closure in 1968.

Desegregation of Schools

[Primary Source, unless otherwise noted: History of Education for Blacks in Bartow County, Georgia by Linda Lane of Clark Atlanta University, 1991; commissioned for Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center with the support of the Georgia Humanities Council. In Bartow History Center archives.]

The segregation of schools in Bartow County did not end until 1968, despite legal acts which were bitterly contested. The Reconstruction-era 1866 Civil Rights Act and 1875 Civil Rights Bill (passed in 1880) were never enforced and were outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1883, effectively banning African Americans from hotels, restaurants, and theaters. Georgia passed a series of Jim Crow laws beginning in 1891 that established "a system of discrimination that pervaded nearly every aspect of life; [Black Georgians] were denied their constitutional right to vote, encountered discrimination in housing and employment, and were refused access to public spaces and facilities" (Edward A. Hatfield, 2007).

The 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson U. S. Supreme County ruling that had upheld segregation in the South as "separate but equal" was not overturned until Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954. The subsequent "Brown II" decision delegated school desegregation processes to the control of district courts, mandating desegregation "at all deliberate speed"--which allowed for massive white delay, resistance, and evasion tactics at the state and local levels. Eight years later, only ten percent of Southern school districts had begun desegregation.

Georgia's response to the Brown rulings was to pass a 1955 law to curtail state funds to any schools that were integrated (a law challenged and repealed in 1961), and by 1963, only the city of Atlanta had integrated by court order). The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Elementary/Secondary Education Act threatened to cut federal funds to still-segregated school systems, countered by "freedom of choice" plans in place in many systems that only allowed black students into white systems if they passed a rigid application process. The Georgia Department of Education was ordered by U.S. Courts to desegregate in 1969.

Bartow County's desegregation efforts started in 1965, beginning with the "Freedom of Choice" plan. The first Black students to enter all-white schools were Renee Callahan at Douglas Street Elementary School and Daniel Wheeler, Jr., at Cartersville High School. In 1966, Superintendent Ray Hill filed for a year's moratorium. Teacher contracts began to include language that they agreed to teach all students, regardless of race. A few teachers from the Black system moved to teach at the white Cartersville High School.

With the influence of the New Frontier association, Summer Hill High School became fully integrated into the Cartersville City Schools in the fall of 1968, "with only one demonstration." The main concerns were where to place revered Summer Hill Principal J. S. Morgan, Jr.--who became Asst. Superintendent of the Cartersville City School System--and the community's mourning the loss of the Summer Hill school name and identity.

Cartersville resident and Noble Hill graduate Dr. Susie Weems Wheeler wrote her doctoral dissertation about the Bartow County desegregation process (see her interview in the article). Led by Carl A. Merrill, she charted the progression from a dual to a unifed school system in three phases. The first, February-April 1965, was marked by a Board of Education resolution and plan, the seeking of legal advice, announcement in media, and the establishment of the Freedom of Choice policy. The plan had to be approved by the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. By late spring, students could request transfers to any school, and 45 out of 502 Black students did so for Fall 1965. Phase II (1966-67) was marked by efforts to unify the curriculum system-wide. Students could choose schools for the Fall of 1966, and just two Black teachers were assigned to white schools. The third phase, 1967-1969, was marked by the announcement that all schools, students, and faculty would be desegregated by the 1968-69 school year. Students were assigned to schools nearest their homes, and a mixture of Black and white teachers were assigned to each school.

Community Life

Prior to the early 1930s, Cartersville's African American community enjoyed a thriving business district on West Main Street in the area around and including a small street that crossed between W. Market (now W. Cherokee) and West Main that was called Conyers Alley. That street no longer exists, having been closed off on the end near the Courthouse; all that remains of the former Conyers Alley is a driveway entering a parking lot. It was similar to the current Noble Street, just a few lots farther west, which did not exist as a cross-street at that time.

In addition to the neighborhood schools and churches, mutual assistance societies and fraternal organizations played a major role in the Black community during the century bridging slavery and the Civil Rights era. Georgia Supreme Court Justice Robert Benham, a Cartersville native and graduate of Summer Hill High School, explained in a 2003 interview why mutual aid societies had a central place in African American community life: "After the Civil War, no insurance companies would write insurance policies for African-Americans. We could not get insurance, could not get health insurance." Benham described three such organizations in the early African American community in Cartersville: the Colored Burial and Benefit Association, the Brotherhood Lodge, and the Masonic Lodge.

The Colored Burial & Benefit Association, established by former slave Austin Benham, a brick mason, in April of 1890, became one of the first Black benevolent organizations in Georgia, serving sick and shut-in members of the community. The lodge building on the corner of Bartow and Wykle Streets, which served a community meeting place, remained in existence until the early 1960s.

The Brotherhood Lodge on Summer Hill was a combination of two separate but interrelated organizations: the Masonic Lodge and the Benevolent Brotherhood Society.

The Masonic Lodge, established as Mount Zion Lodge #6 on Dec. 11, 1896, is one of the oldest continually active African American freemason lodges in Georgia. It is associated with Prince Hall Freemasonry, a distinctively African American fraternal organization established in the late 1700s as a Black alternative to the white-only fraternal lodges that rejected Black members). The cornerstone of the lodge building on Aubrey Street was laid in 1913 when W. H. Hendrick served as the Worshipful Master.

The locally organized charitable group, the Benevolent Brotherhood Society, was established on Nov. 16, 1898 by former slave Ben Tompkins, an iron miner who lived in the Mechanicsville section, “to provide for the needs of the sick, poor, hungry, homeless, shut-ins, and downtrodden.” It utilized the downstairs of the Brotherhood Lodge for community meetings and events, while the Masons held their meetings upstairs. "Every person in the Summer Hill community, from schoolchildren up to senior citizens, contributed a nickel or dime a week to the fund. Most had no other form of “insurance” available in case of disaster. If someone had need of funds for an emergency, they could request aid from the Benevolent Brotherhood" (Source: African American Heritage Trail. p. 23).

The Brotherhood Lodge, as Benham explained, provided mutual aid and assistance throughout the Black community, being "designed to care for sick and shut-ins and the burial of people who died. So if you came into the Brotherhood Lodge, you also had to have a skill: you had to be a carpenter or a leather maker, tanner; you had to bring a skill because when somebody died, you had to build the coffin, all of those things. And then the Brotherhood Lodge, if you were sick and could not harvest your crop, then members of the lodge were responsible for harvesting your crop and taking care of your family during your period of illness or bereavement. And as a member of the Brotherhood Lodge you paid a dollar a year, I believe, that was one of the early fees. And then during the time of your disability the Brotherhood Lodge would pay you maybe a dollar a week. And that organization still exists, although most of the people have died. I was a member of the junior lodge and they taught you principles: hard-working, law-abiding, God-fearing, and self-respecting. Those were the principles they taught. And then also located in the Brotherhood Lodge was the Masonic Lodge, and of course, that was sort of like a secret society just as the Masonic Lodge is here today, and they provided services for the bereaved. But all those institutions were near the black school and had daily exchanges with the school system."

The parents and local community on Summer Hill and throughout the Black community of Bartow County were also actively involved in supporting their schoolchildren, especially in providing for material needs not funded by the Cartersville CIty Schools, such as classroom materials, school trips, and band uniforms. The Summer Hill PTA, established in 1923-1924, served as "the backbone of fundraising and student support efforts. At its peak, the PTA boasted 348 members, some of whom traveled throughout the U. S. to work with other associations."

Bartow Street was a center of cultural life for Cartersville's African American community. In the mid-20th century, an entrepreneur named Paul Thomas built a number of businesses there, as well as Slab Stadium (constructed of wooden slabs), which became the site for baseball games featuring Negro League teams on Sundays throughout the summers. Each fall, a Negro Fair with a full array of Black shows would come to Cartersville. The Scott Family also performed vaudeville shows on Bartow Street.

Also developing along Bartow Street around 1950 was the Wheeler-Morris Service Center, a small shopping center with Black-owned businesses. Prior to Urban Renewal in the late 1950s, Dan Wheeler owned a barber shop, beauty salon, and ice cream parlor on Jones Street, which moved to the Bartow Street shopping strip, named the Wheeler-Morris Service Center, in the 1960s. The Delican Ice Cream Shop was for years a favorite gathering place for young people on Summer Hill.

In 1947, a Faith Cabin Library was established on Summer Hill at the intersection of Mull and Guyton Streets as part of the larger Faith Cabin Library initiative, which established about 100 libraries for Black communities in South Carolina and Georgia that did not have access to public libraries because of segregation. The Atlanta University Library School provided assistance in curating and organizing book collections. The building was an old Army barrack that was brought from Chickamauga, Georgia. Dr. W. R. Moore was a major fundraiser, while Dr. Susie Weems Wheeler assumed leadership for the project, working with local schoolteachers and administrators. In recent years, the Faith Cabin has been relocated to the intersection of Jones and Bartow Streets. (Source: Marian Coleman, Inventory of Historic Sites Project: Significant Black Historic Sites in Bartow County, 2005, Etowah Valley Historical Society)

A 1957 U. S. Congressional study "Urban Renewal in Selected Cities" listed Cartersville's Summer Hill Urban Renewal project,which involved 220 dwelling units deemed as substandard on 84.2 acres (costing local government $114,000 and the federal government $228,000). 70 out of 90 housing relocation projects approved were for non-white residents.