Cumming

Cumming

The area now called Cumming is located west of the historic location of Vann's Ferry between Forsyth County and Hall County.

Early history[edit]

The area, now called Cumming, was inhabited earlier by Cherokee tribes, who are thought to have arrived in the mid-18th century.[citation needed] The Cherokee and Creek people developed disputes over hunting land. After two years of fighting, the Cherokee won the land in the Battle of Taliwa. The Creek people were forced to move south of the Chattahoochee River.[7][8]

 
1834 map of counties that were created from Cherokee land. Cumming is shown in the middle of Forsyth County.

The Cherokee coexisted with white settlers until the discovery of gold in Georgia in 1828. Settlers that moved to the area to mine for gold pushed for the removal of the Cherokee. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed. The treaty stated that the Cherokee Nation must move to the Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River. This resulted in the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee territory was then formed into Cherokee County in 1831. In 1832, the county had been split into several counties including Forsyth County.[9]

In 1833, the town of Cumming was formed from two 40-acre (16 ha) land lots that had been issued as part of a Georgia State Land Lottery in 1832. The two lots designated as Land Lot 1269 and Land Lot 1270 were purchased by a couple of Forsyth County Inferior Court justices who realized that it was necessary to have a seat of government to conduct county business. The boundaries of the two lots ended at what is now Tolbert Street on the west side, Eastern Circle on the east side, Resthaven Street on the south side, and School Street on the north side. In 1834 the post office was established and began delivering mail. The justices of the Inferior Court divided the town land into smaller lots and began selling them to people over the next several years, reserving one lot for the county courthouse. During that same year, the Georgia State Legislature incorporated the town of Cumming into the City of Cumming and made it the official government seat of Forsyth County.

A second charter was issued in 1845, decreeing that Cumming's government would follow the mayor–council model of government.[10]

The community is commonly thought to be named after Colonel William Cumming.[11] An alternate theory proposed by a local historian posits the name honors Rev. Frederick Cumming, a professor of Jacob Scudder, a resident of the area since 1815 who owned land in present-day downtown.[12] Yet another theory is that the town is named after Alexander Cuming, the son of a Scottish baronet.[13]

Modern history[edit]

During the 1830s and 1840s, Cumming benefited from the gold mining industry as many businesses were created to meet the needs of the miners. However, the California Gold Rush in 1849 put the city into an economic depression. Newly built railroads bypassed the city and took traffic from the Federal Road that ran near Cumming. The city was spared during the Civil War because William T. Sherman did not pass through the city during his March to the Sea. In 1900, the county courthouse was destroyed in a fire after being struck by lightning; it was rebuilt in 1905.[7][8]

1912 racial conflict[edit]

In 1912, Governor Joseph M. Brown sent four companies of state militia to Cumming to prevent riots after several rapes of young white women allegedly by African-American men.

Ellen Grice was assaulted on Wednesday, September 4, 1912. Tony Howell was charged with "Assault with intent to Rape" (Book 4 p. 391). After several adjournments, the case was "nol prossed". Howell continued to live in Forsyth County until the 1940s, when according to a neighbor he moved to Alpharetta to reside with his daughter.

 

Mae Crow was assaulted on Sunday, September 8, 1912. She died Monday, September 23, 1912. Rob Edwards was indicted for the rape of Mae Crow. On Tuesday, September 10, 1912, Edwards was shot, dragged from the Cumming jail and hung up on the telephone pole at the intersection of Main Street and Tribble Gap Road (the northwest corner of the Square). The coroner's inquest held Wednesday, September 18, 1912, found the cause of death to be a gunshot.[14]

— Donna Parrish, Shadow of 1912

The governor then declared martial law, but the effort did little to stop a month-long barrage of attacks by night riders on the African-American citizens. This led to the banishment of Blacks, and the city had virtually no black population (see sundown town).[15]

Racial tensions were strained again in 1987 when a group of black people were assaulted while camping at a park on Lake Lanier. This was widely reported by local newspapers and in Atlanta. As a result of this a local businessman[who?] decided to hold a "Peace March" the following week. Civil rights leader Reverend Hosea Williams joined the local businessman in a march along Bethelview and Castleberry Road in south Forsyth County into the City of Cumming where they were assaulted by whites. The marchers retreated and vowed to return. During the following "Brotherhood March" on January 24, 1987, another racially mixed group returned to Forsyth County to complete the march the previous group had been unable to finish. March organizers estimated the number at 20,000, while police estimates ran from 12 to 14,000. Hosea Williams and former senator Gary Hart were in the demonstration. A group of the National Guard kept the opposition of about 1,000 in check. Oprah Winfrey featured Cumming and Forsyth County on her The Oprah Winfrey Show. She formed a town hall meeting where one audience member said:

I'm afraid of [blacks] coming to Forsyth County. I was born in Atlanta, and in 1963, the first blacks were bussed to West Fulton High School. I go down there now and I see my neighborhood and my community, which was a nice community, and now it's nothing but a rat-infested slum area because they don't care.[16]

 
Buford Dam, impounding Lake Lanier on the Chattahoochee River southeast of Cumming

However, most of the audience members agreed that Forsyth County should integrate. Rev. Hosea Williams was excluded from Oprah's show and arrested for trespassing.

City growth[edit]

Today, the city is experiencing new growth and bears little resemblance to the small rural town it was mere decades ago. The completion of Georgia 400 has helped turn Cumming into a commuter town for metropolitan Atlanta. The city holds the Cumming Country Fair & Festival every October. The Sawnee Mountain Preserve provides views of the city from the top of Sawnee Mountain.[7] In 1956, Buford Dam, along the Chattahoochee River, started operating. The reservoir that it created is called Lake Lanier.[8] The lake, a popular spot for boaters, has generated income from tourists for Cumming as well as provides a source of drinking water. However, because of rapid growth of the Atlanta area, drought, and mishandling of a stream gauge, Lake Lanier has seen record-low water levels. Moreover, the lake is involved in a longstanding lawsuit between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Because of a recent ruling, the city of Cumming may not be able to draw water from the lake.[17] However, the city is looking into different sources of water such as wells and various creeks

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Last updated on May 24, 2024 8:17:am.