This 1894 map of Forsyth County from the United States Geological Survey shows where roads and businesses were located throughout most of the rural county. Prominent Black landowner Joseph Kellogg's property was at the base of Sawnee Mountain, which is located just north of Cumming.
Courtesy of University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library.
In a letter read at the beginning of the 1913 State Senate session, Governor Joseph Mackey Brown expressed his frustration with abandoned farmland in Forsyth County as a result of the violence.
Courtesy of University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library, Georgia Government Publications.
Black people could not safely return even to live on land owned by white people, as this 1913 official proclamation from Governor Joseph Mackey Brown in the North Georgian, a Cumming-based newspaper, shows.
Courtesy of Georgia Newspaper Project, Georgia Historic Newspapers.
During the fall of 1912, when white mobs forced Black residents from the county, Black landowners faced the agonizing decision of selling their property below its value or attempting to retain ownership. According to the historian Elliot Jaspin, only twenty-four of the county’s fifty-eight Black landholders managed to sell. One man, Alex Hunter, bought a farm for $1,500 in mid-1912. He sold it in December for only $550. For thirty-four landowners, though, there is no record of sale. Their white neighbors simply took the abandoned land through a legal process called “adverse possession” and gained ownership over the following decades by paying the property taxes. The issue of stolen land would spark a debate about reparations in the 1980s.