Sunday, March 30, 2008

Black Firsts in Coweta County

We know we do not know all of the firsts that occured in our little county, but we will attempt to let you know about the ones we do know.

The first colored marriage recorded in Coweta Co was Issac Long and Martha Fambrough on Oct 11, 1865.
The second was James Alexander Garrison and Malinda Herring on Oct 26, 1865.

The first slaves mentioned in the Coweta History were slaves of Dr. A. B. Calhoun and Silas Reynolds:
Henry and Sinai Reynolds; they had six children.
According to Mrs. Gail Buckley, daughter of Lena Horn, one of Henry and Sinai’s children was sold to a Mississippi slaveholder and another who was sent to colonize Liberia. Around 1839, Sinai and her son Felix were sold to William Nimmons. Eventually Sinai earned enough money selling items to purchase freedom for herself, Henry, and their sons. In 1859, they moved to Chicago where Sinai died in 1869. Before they left their daughter, Nellie had been sold to Dr. A.B. Calhoun. Sinai’s son Moses moved to Atlanta after the Civil War and married Atlanta Mary Fernando. Their daughter Cora married Edwin Horn. Cora and Edwin’s son Edwin Jr. married Edna Scottron, and are the parents of Lena Horn. The Calhoun plantation was the land where the New Justice Center Complex is today (2008).

Dr. John Henry Jordan was the first black Doctor in Newnan.

Dr Jordan organized the first Medical Aid Organization for black people in Coweta. The organization met bi-monthly and held lectures on sociology, hygiene and various diseases.

Dr. Millard McWhorter came later as the second black doctor in Newnan and also on the Pinson Street.

Mrs. Fannie Jenkins opened the first funeral home for blacks in 1911, on Robinson St.

In 1920 Sellers-Smith Funeral home was established by James Horrace Sellers of Baxley.
In 1930 there were 42 black schools with 48 teachers and 2,360 students.

In the 1930’s Mr. Carlisle, a local builder, supervised the building of the Powell Chapel School, next to Powell Chapel UMC, on Country Club Road.

Dr. Brown was the first black Dentist in Newnan

The Dixie Shoe Shop opened downtown Newnan in the 1940’s.

Wilburn Clay was the first black to serve on the Coweta County Commissioners Board.

Mr. Willie Lynch was the first black Newnan City Councilman, born 1917—died 1998.

Miss Willie Boyd, a retired schoolteacher, was the first black woman elected to a position in the county, to the Board of Education.

U. B. Ware was the first to go to the courthouse to register to vote.

Mrs. Bernice Sutton Poythress was the first black woman to work at American Can.

Mr. James Gay was the first black to work in the Post Office.

Mr. Mitchell was instrumental in helping to de-segregate Newnan Hospital.

Moses Martin and Sonny Arnold were the First Two Black Police officers in Newnan in 1964.

Sally Willie Adams ran the colored Hospital on Spring Street.

Mr. Frank A. Dodson was the last principal at Howard Warner High School and the first principal at Central High.

Jo Anne Rush was the first black teacher to teach at Elm Street. (daughter of Josephine Whatley Rush)

Josephine Rush, Mary S. Reese, Fannie Freeland, and another lady (Mrs. Rush couldn’t remember her name), all went to the “March on Washington in 1963 with keynote speaker Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Billy Reese was first black to go to Temple Avenue School. (son of Loyd & Mary S Reese)

The first black library was the Sara Fisher Brown Library. It was built on Savannah Street, it is now (2008) the Community Action For Improvement Center.


Charles W. Keith said...

Reference the first black student to attend Temple Avenue School.

In 1964, Lloyd "Billy" Reese, Charles W. Keith, Bobby Cook, Charlie Paul Heflin, and James Stanley Hall transferred from Fairmount Elementary and Janice Houston(Walton) transferred from Ruth Hill. Billy, Bobby, and Charlie paul are now deceased. Charles Keith, Janice Houston(Walton) and James Stanley Hall currently live in Newnan.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on this issue. They all went to Temple Ave School the same year, the same time?

Anonymous said...

I was in Ms Rush's 6th grade class. She was my first black teacher, however, she was not the first black teacher at Elm Street--or at least she was not alone.
A Mr. Hickman was also at Elm Street and I beleive he was there the year before Ms. Rush. Hickman taught the PE classes for 5th and 6th grades.

This Temple Avenue school you speak of, is this the old Newnan Junior high on the Corner of Jackson and Temple?

Karen said...

Thank you for this wonderful history. I am Dr. John Henry Jordan's great-granddaughter, and I just wanted to correct one thing. He was the first black doctor in Coweta County, but he was the second black doctor in Troup County, Georgia. The first black doctor there was actually his father-in-law, Dr. Edward B. Ramsey.

Anonymous said...

in reference to Howard Warner high school,could i have a little history on Howard Warner.