Historic Markers Across Georgia

Contributions of Enslaved African to the Area

Marker ID:  
Location: At the Lee and Gordon Mansion, 217 Cove Rd (GA 341), Chickamauga, GA
County: Walker
Coordinates: N 34° 52.293    W 085° 17.689
  34.87155    -85.29481666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMC9N6
Contributions of Enslaved African to the Area Marker  


Contributions of Enslaved African Americans to the Area

Enslaved Africans created the Gone with the Wind-like society of prewar Georgia. James Gordon came to this area shortly after Cherokee removal. He bought several of the land lottery lots and established a slave plantation. As his wealth grew, he decided to build a magnificent house that would be the most imposing residence in the area. He hired a superintendent to oversee the work and construction was started in 1840. The craftsmen who did the work were enslaved Africans. Except for nails, all the materials used to build the house came from the property. Bricks were made from local clay, limestone was burned to form plaster, and timber was cut in sawmill at Gordon's Mill. The construction proceeded slowly, and all aspects were closely and carefully performed with skill and perfection. The full effort took seven years, and in 1847 the splendid mansion was complete. Flanking the stately two-story brick house there was a brick smokehouse and six two room brick slave houses. Five of the former slaves are buried near the Gordon family in the Chickamauga Cemetery.

When the war came to the local area, Robert J. Lynn was on sick leave from the army and his wife was convalescing with a newborn baby. As the fighting approach, a slave called "Uncle" Dick told Robert to carry the baby, and he wrapped Susan in a quilt and carried her in his arms a mile or more to a safe place. Robert followed with a baby and three other little children, ages two, four, and six. In later life, Dick Glenn was one of the first persons in the Chickamauga area to learn to drive a motor car.

A family named Broyles had a young enslaved African child, who they had found abandoned as a baby. Her name was Hagar, and she was seven years old when the war ended. As a young woman, she worked as a maid for the Lee family for a few years, but felt that the wide world beyond the Georgia Mountains had more to offer. She went to the gold fields in Colorado. There she became wealthy with a laundry and later a restaurant. Although a rich woman, she never forgot her childhood and made frequent visits back to the local area to spend time with friends.

Mark Thrash was an enslaved African who helped bury the dead after the battle of Chickamauga. He became a full-time park employee in 1894, and proved to be the ultimate in a living history exhibit. After twenty-eight years of service, Mark retired with a federal pension in 1922, but he continued to live on the park. When he died at the age of 123 in 1943 he had been recognized as the oldest man in the world, and he was buried south of Chickamauga in the District Hills Cemetery.

Rude Suttle, from the Suttle plantation, was a member of Company F in the 1st Georgia Calvary Regiment, a part of General Joseph Wheeler's command. He is one of three African American men who are listed on the Confederate Monument at Lafayette. "Aunt" Millie Anderson kept that plantation running while the white owner was away in Savannah during the war.

Philemon Bird, a wealthy millwright who built Bird's Mill and Glass Mill, took as his first wife a free Negro woman who was part Cherokee named Willow. After she died he developed a second Mill in Tennessee where he found an attractive enslaved African girl named Mary who he bought and married as his second wife. Their sons inherited the Tennessee Mill.

Erected by Historic Chickamauga


Contributions of Enslaved African to the Area


For more information on the Battle of Chickamauga:

Civil War Historic Markers Across Georgia - Battle of Chickamauga

Wikipedia - Battle of Chickamauga