Gary Lassiter, a descendant of Hannah and William Root, recently contacted Cobb Landmarks to say that he had something to give to the organization. The imaginations of the Cobb Landmarks staff members went wild. The last time Lassiter had stopped by the William Root House Museum, which is owned and operated by Cobb Landmarks, he ended up donating a stack of some forty Root family letters written between 1830 and 1890, as well as a collection of books, countless family photos, and a variety of personal items from Hannah, William, and the Root children. A direct descendant of Mary Root, Hannah and William’s only daughter, Lassiter has collected and preserved Root family heirlooms his entire life.
Lassiter arrived at the Root House on January 17th with a large package in tow. Before revealing the contents, he began to tell a story that sounded familiar to Cobb Landmarks Executive Director Trevor Beemon. The story was about a Presbyterian Minister named John Simpson, an ardent patriot during the Revolutionary War and grandfather of Hannah (Simpson) Root.
A resident of Chester County, South Carolina, John Simpson had been the pastor at Fishing Creek Church since 1774, but decided to join the local militia led by Thomas Sumter in 1780. That same year, Lord Cornwallis, the British commander in the south, ordered British Legion commander Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton to find Sumter and his men. Notorious Loyalist commander Christian Huck was sent to capture Simpson at Fishing Creek Church on Sunday, June 11, 1780. Huck had intended to find Simpson and his congregation at the church, but he found no one there. Huck ordered the church be burned and started toward Simpson’s home.
Simpson’s wife, Mary, was informed of Huck’s impending arrival and took her children to hide in an orchard near the home. When Huck arrived, his men ransacked the house and set the house, library, and barn on fire. When the British soldiers departed, Mary ran into the burning library to save as many books as she could. Suffering from burns, Mary was able to save two aprons full of books, including the family Bible - this family Bible, which Lassiter now held in his hands.
If the story sounds like something straight out of Hollywood, you’re right. Both Banastre Tarleton and Christian Huck inspired the character Colonel William Tavington in the movie, The Patriot. The film’s character, Reverend Oliver, is loosely based on John Simpson. The events of June 11, 1780, are also commemorated each year during a reenactment held at Historic Brattonsville in South Carolina. The event includes a reenactment of the burning of Simpson’s home and his wife’s retrieval of the family Bible.
Beemon, who had studied the Revolutionary War in college and had attended the reenactments held at Brattonsville several times, was shocked to be holding the Bible that had been part of such an incredible Revolutionary War story.
Research into the Bible confirms that it was published in 1700. Likely damaged during the fire, the Bible was rebound in 1788. The Bible was handed down to Hannah Root’s father, Leonard Simpson, and was then handed down to Hannah and William Root upon Leonard’s death in 1856. The Roots had the Bible rebound again in 1860, and a final time in 1888. Though the Bible has been rebound several times, it still retains its original front and back covers, which include signatures from Rev. John Simpson, William Root, and William’s sons, “Willie” and “Jim.”
Cobb Landmarks plans to build a special case and design an exhibit panel to tell the story of this rare artifact. The Bible will be displayed in the Root House, returning it to the place it resided during the mid-1800s when the Root family owned it. “Cobb Landmarks is truly honored to have this Bible in our collection and we thank Gary Lassiter for his generosity and his faith in our organization to care for this treasure,” said Beemon.
MARIETTA, GA, September 25, 2019 - During the 1850s, Hannah and William Root shared their home with their children and extended family. Hannah Root's father, Leonard Simpson, lived with the family and died on October 11, 1856. During the month of October, visitors to the William Root House Museum will see the home decorated for Leonard Simpson's funeral. Curtains will be drawn, and rooms will be adorned with black crepe and ribbons. Visitors will be able to view 19th century embalming equipment, mourning jewelry (made from human hair), and other curious artifacts related to death and mourning in the Victorian era.
WHAT: Death and Mourning in the 1850s
WHEN: October 2-31, 2019
WHERE: William Root House Museum & Garden; 80 N Marietta Parkway NW, Marietta, GA 30060
TICKETS: Included in the cost of regular museum admission. The museum will also be open for night tours on Saturdays throughout October. Details: roothousemuseum.com/mourning
Earlier this year, Marietta City Schools announced plans to relocate its Central Office to the site of the old Lemon Street High School near the Marietta Square. The new structure would be designed to replicate the c. 1930 Lemon Street High School building that had been demolished in 1967. Plans for the new building included a museum dedicated to telling the story of Marietta City Schools from 1892 to the present day. The plan was very exciting, but one thing wasn't clear - the future of the c. 1950 Lemon Street Grammar School located directly across the street. The district needed more space, and the old Grammar School building was in need of substantial upgrades and repairs. A rumored demolition plan prompted Trevor Beemon, Executive Director of Cobb Landmarks, to reach out to Marietta City Schools.
"For me it was important for Cobb Landmarks to get in touch with Marietta City Schools early in the planning stages of their project," said Beemon. "I want Cobb Landmarks to be a resource for our partners. I have found that opening up a dialogue and helping walk through different options usually leads to a successful outcome for everyone." When Trevor met with Grant Rivera, Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, he was happy to hear that preserving the Lemon Street Grammar School was a priority of his. "We have always known, due to its unique history, that the building is worth saving," said Rivera. Cobb Landmarks expressed the importance of maintaining the historic exterior of the structure at the very least, but hoped for more. "The question was whether we could afford to save the building while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Rivera. "We are pleased to say that, after careful study, we will be able to do both."
Currently used as a warehouse for the District, the Lemon Street Grammar School will be returned to its original use: educating Marietta's students. Marietta City Schools plans to preserve the building's exterior and key architectural features while rehabilitating the interior, making it conducive to a modern learning environment. The building is slated to open in 2021 as the new home to the Marietta Performance Learning Center, a division of Marietta High School. A small exhibition inside the school will further tell the story of the once-segregated school system, while outdoor interpretive panels will focus on the history of the surrounding community. "When historic buildings are torn down, a part of the past disappears forever," said Beemon."Preserving buildings like the Lemon Street Grammar School means we care about the places where our community's character was shaped."
The Marietta Board of Education voted unanimously to support the rehabilitation of the Lemon Street Grammar School during their June 11, 2019 meeting.
When Cobb Landmarks learned that BAMM Real Estate was going to demolish the house and redevelop the site, the historical society’s Executive Director, Trevor Beemon, requested the opportunity to document the structure so that a photographic and written record of the building, its history, and its architectural features could be made.
While surveying the structure, members of the Cobb Landmarks Preservation Committee noted that some elements of the house were in good condition and worth saving and that some of these materials might be used in the construction of the new interpretive center being developed at the William Root House campus in downtown Marietta. They requested access to these items for preservation and re-use in the Root House project. BAMM agreed and gave Cobb Landmarks permission to identify and remove elements of historic importance from the Fowler House. "We were thrilled to work with Cobb Landmarks to preserve parts of the Fowler house,” said Michael Sunshine, Managing Partner of BAMM. “Preserving the history of Marietta is extremely important to us and as we begin development of multiple properties in Marietta, we look forward to our continued partnership with Cobb Landmarks and other local businesses."
Cobb Landmarks partnered with Marietta Reclamation to salvage the materials. Items saved from the house, including doors, windows, shutters, lighting fixtures, and hardware, will be incorporated into Cobb Landmarks’ new interpretive center and headquarters. Cobb Landmarks is pleased to be able to give pieces of the historic Fowler House a second life.
Watch news coverage from CBS46 News.
MARIETTA, GA, October 11, 2018 - Marietta's c. 1845 Martin Slaughter House was recently at risk of being demolished. After a rewarding discussion with the developer, Traton Homes, plans were revised so that the house can remain as part of the new residential community. Furthermore, Traton now plans to rehabilitate the house as a private residence. Cobb Landmarks will provide recommendations for preserving historically significant aspects of the house.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Slaughter House is one of only a few remaining homes in Marietta dating back to the 1840s. "The importance of saving and preserving this home cannot be understated," said Cobb Landmarks Executive Director, Trevor Beemon. "Cobb Landmarks looks forward to working with Traton Homes on this project."
ABOUT COBB LANDMARKS: For over forty years, Cobb Landmarks has served as a catalyst for community preservation action, working with policy makers, developers, and others, to preserve local history. When historic buildings are torn down or allowed to deteriorate, a part of the past disappears forever. When that happens, people lose opportunities to live and work in the kinds of interesting surroundings that older buildings can provide. By protecting and enhancing the buildings, communities, and landscapes that tell America's story, preservation allows individuals to have physical contact with the places where the region's identity was established and community's character was shaped. One such building is Marietta's c. 1845 Dr. Martin Slaughter House.
ABOUT TRATON HOMES: Family-owned Traton Homes is headquartered in Marietta, Georgia. Founded in 1971 by brothers Bill and Milburn Poston, Traton Homes is one of metro Atlanta's oldest home building companies. Traton is also one of the most innovative, combining traditional building practices with a passion for the latest systems and styles. From full-featured townhomes to single-family estate homes, Traton builds outstanding quality and value into every home.
Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society is honored to be the recipient and guardian of two important and substantial collections of historical documents, correspondence, photographs, maps, and newspapers donated by the Marietta Daily Journal and the Bill Kinney family. These collections form a unique picture of the history of Marietta and Cobb County over the last century and will provide an invaluable tool to local history researchers in the future.
Bill Kinney, Jr., who died in 2016 after a lifetime in Cobb County, was longtime editor of first the Cobb County Times and then the Marietta Daily Journal when those papers merged. His obituary refers to him as "a living, breathing encyclopedia for everything Cobb County." He retired in 2013 after 75 years covering the people and politics of Marietta and Cobb. His "Around Town" column was the premier source of local news for many years, and his name still appeared on the masthead as Associate Editor Emeritus until his death.
The Kinney collection contains some personal items - including his typewriter - as well as personal papers and correspondence covering events ranging from the establishment of Kennesaw Battlefield Park, the Leo Frank case, the building of the Bell Bomber Plant, the founding of Kennesaw College, and much, much more.
The Marietta Daily Journal collection comprises a vast collection of reporter notebooks, film, photography, and audio recordings.
Cobb Landmarks thanks the MDJ and the Kinney family for entrusting us with this rich collection of local history materials. Cobb Landmarks' long-term plan is to digitize each collection. This project will be funded through grants and/or private donations. Cobb Landmarks is currently seeking funding. The vision is to provide access to these and similar files through a searchable database through the Cobb Landmarks website and to establish a research library located in Marietta.
Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society has received the personal works and research materials of the late Joe Kirby, local historian and longtime columnist and Editorial Page Editor at the Marietta Daily Journal.
The family of the late Joe Kirby has donated his personal collection of photographs, books, research materials, notes, and awards to Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society. Longtime columnist and Editorial Page Editor at the Marietta Daily Journal, Joe wrote several local history books, including The Marietta Country Club: A Centennial History, 1915-2015, The Bell Bomber Plant, and The Lockheed Plant. He also co-authored Then and Now: Marietta and Then and Now: Marietta Revisited, and served as Contributing Editor to Civil War News for many years. Joe passed away on October 30, 2015.
Joe earned a degree in history and communications from James Madison University in 1977. Following graduation, he worked as a general assignment reporter for The Chieftain in Toccoa, Georgia. After moving to the Roswell Neighbor in 1986, Joe took a job at the Marietta Daily Journal in 1987 and was named Editorial Page Editor in 1992. Joe held this position until his death. During his time with the Marietta Daily Journal, Joe received numerous awards, including The Freedom of Information Award, as well as awards from the Georgia Press Association and the Associated Press (Georgia).
Joe was also very involved in the community and served on the boards of the Cobb Library Foundation, Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association, the Marietta Kiwanis Club, and the Marietta Museum of History, and was a longtime member and supporter of Cobb Landmarks.
Cobb Landmarks has recently embarked on a $600,000 capital expansion project entitled The Next Generation, which will enlarge Cobb Landmarks' William Root House Museum campus, adding executive offices, a lecture and event space, and a conference room and research library. Because of the significance of the collection and the donation, Cobb Landmarks is pleased to announce that it will be naming the new research library the Joe Kirby Research Library in his honor. Cobb Landmarks is pleased to be the permanent home of the Joe Kirby collection and looks forward to making these priceless materials available to researchers and historians in the future.
ABOUT COBB LANDMARKS: Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society has succeeded in preserving and protecting some of Georgia's most historically relevant buildings through the generosity of dedicated supporters - people who care deeply about local history. Each year, Cobb Landmarks provides engaging programs and activities that reach thousands of preservationists, tourists, teachers, college students, and school-age children. Many of these programs are centered on the organization's two historic properties, the William Root House Museum & Garden and the Power Cabin.
ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION: Cobb Landmarks plans to move the historic 1830s Manning Cabin to the William Root House Museum property. Once relocated to the Root House site, the 875 sq. ft. cabin will be used as an exhibit space and as an event and lecture space. A large addition to the cabin will contain executive offices, a research library and conference room, public restrooms, and a small catering kitchen. Cobb Landmarks also plans to make the space available to rent for private events and meetings.
LEARN MORE: cobblandmarks.com/nextgeneration
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Union Major General William T. Sherman invaded Georgia in May 1864. Moving into Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Union Army was on a mission to occupy Atlanta, and would follow the Western and Atlantic Railroad all the way down. As the Union Army approached Marietta, William Root made plans for his family to refugee south. The Root family gathered their most treasured belongings and made their way to Washington, Georgia. The Root family would remain in Washington through the end of the war and would not return to Marietta until 1865.
The Union Army occupied Marietta on Sunday, July 3, 1864. While most of Marietta’s citizens had refugeed south, some had stayed behind. A northern news correspondent observed that “probably not more than twenty houses are occupied.” As reported in the Lamoille Newsdealer on August 10, 1864, “throngs of soldiers are now roaming over the half destroyed gardens, or strolling through the mutilated mansions, thumbing on the ruined piano and lolling on the sofas…” Used as a supply hub, the city was occupied by Union troops until November 13, 1864. That evening Union Major General William T. Sherman was returning to Marietta from a visit to the nearby village of Allatoona. When he arrived he found the Cobb County Courthouse ablaze, with fires spreading to other structures around the Square.
This program is included with the cost of regular museum admission and free for Cobb Landmarks members. Special thanks to the Sons Union Veterans, Sons Confederate Veterans, and the 30th Ohio Vol. Inf. Regiment for their support of this program.
Historic Acworth smokehouse to be reconstructed at the William Root House Museum & Garden in Marietta
For years, this historic smokehouse sat unnoticed behind a home on Northside Drive in downtown Acworth. The home, which had been vacant for some time, was purchased by a local developer and was slated for demolition. Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, Inc. (CLHS), immediately reached out to the developer to see if there was any interest in preserving the smokehouse. The developer had no plans to preserve the smokehouse but was interested in donating it to CLHS.
Because of the poor condition of the smokehouse, it was determined that dismantling the building would be safer than moving it in one piece. The bricks were removed and are now being stored. Insurance records from the 19th century indicate that a smokehouse used to stand behind the 1845 William Root House in Marietta. As part of The Next Generation capital expansion project, CLHS plans to use the bricks to reconstruct a smokehouse at the Root House. The smokehouse will be a wonderful addition to the Root House Museum, and will give visitors a better understanding of daily life in antebellum Marietta.
Learn more about The Next Generation project
Learn more about the William Root House Museum & Garden
In the 1850s, Hannah and William Root shared their home with their children and extended family. Hannah Root’s father, Leonard Simpson, lived with the family and passed away on October 11, 1856. During the month of October, visitors to the William Root House will see the home decorated for mourning as it would have been at the time of Leonard Simpson's death. Curtains will be drawn, and rooms will be adorned with black crepe and ribbons. Special tours will teach visitors about 1850s mourning practices and superstitions about death.
WHAT: Mourning in the 1850s
WHEN: The Root House Museum is open Wed.-Sat., 11am-4pm. Special night tours will be offered every Fri. and Sat. night in October from 7pm-10pm, and also Halloween night, Oct. 31.
WHERE: William Root House Museum and Garden; 80 N Marietta Parkway, Marietta, GA 30064
INFORMATION: 770-426-4982; roothousemuseum.com/mourning
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: During the 1850s, Hannah and William Root shared their home with their children and extended family. Hannah Root’s father, Leonard Simpson, lived with the family and passed away on October 11, 1856. In the 1850s, only those invited would attend a funeral. Special funeral invitations were made with a black border; the width of the border would indicate how closely related the guest was to the deceased.
Antebellum parlors were used for guests, family gatherings, and special occasions such as weddings and funerals. During a funeral, the coffin would have been kept in the parlor with the feet of the body facing towards the door. Many of the items in the parlor would have been draped in a black fabric. The fabric, called crepe, was commonly used for funerals because it was inexpensive and had a matte, lusterless surface that was deemed appropriately solemn for mourning. It was also customary to have flowers for a wake. Lilies were the most commonly used flower at this time because, in the “language of flowers,” lilies symbolize purity.
In the dining room, some of the furnishings would have been moved around according to need. During a funeral, furniture would have been moved to the side to make room for chairs for the ceremony. Funeral guests would have been seated across the hall from the parlor so they could view the ceremony through the doorways without being too close to the family and the body. They would be permitted to see the body one at a time after the ceremony. A traditional food for funerals was funeral biscuits. These were shortbread cookies made especially for funerals. They would have an image imprinted on the cookie, such as a heart, cherub, winged head, hourglass, or skull. It was customary to serve the funeral biscuits with beer or ale, and they were usually dipped in the ale before being eaten.
ABOUT THE WILLIAM ROOT HOUSE MUSEUM AND GARDEN:
Owned and operated by Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society, the William Root House Museum and Garden offers an authentic look at life for a middle class Georgia family in 1850s. The simple frame house is more typical of its time and place than the grand plantations and columned mansions people typically imagine when they think of the Old South.
Visitors to the museum will learn the story of the house, the Root family, and life in antebellum and Civil War Georgia. Tours include opportunities for visitors to actually handle historic artifacts and to test their skills with various 19th century games. Using electronic tablets, visitors can analyze historic records, family photos, archaeological information, and more. These primary resources help explain how the Root family lived, and how the house has evolved over time.
For information about the Root House, hours of operation and admission call 770-426-4982 or visit http://www.roothousemuseum.com/.