New Roswell museum spotlights early settlers, enslavement and indigenous history

2023-01-13 00:52:48 By : Ms. Angel Fan

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New Roswell museum spotlights early settlers, enslavement and indigenous history

Roswell history is on display in a new city museum.

A renovated space on the second floor of Roswell Cultural Arts Center is now a history museum. Photographs, artifacts, documents on early settlers, enslaved people brought with them, millworkers and farmers are displayed. And there’s more dating back to the Civil War and thousands of years of indigenous people living in the area.

Credit: Courtesy City of Roswell

Credit: Courtesy City of Roswell

A large replica of a map showing Cherokee Indian territory in 1831 is located along a wall of the permanent exhibit. The map shows how the land was divided into lots when Georgia took portions of Indian territory in land lotteries. The display includes a grant document and, separately, a leather seal that landowners received after taking properties.

The Roswell Historical Society and city officials were joined by a crowd of nearly 60 people for a ribbon cutting and opening of The Roswell History Museum on Wednesday. The museum will be open Wednesdays-Saturdays, 3-7 p.m.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

“Roswell is about its history and this is really something that demonstrates and can show the history of Roswell and preserve it for generations to come,” Councilwoman Christine Hall said.

Roswell donated $150,000 from the city budget for renovation of the museum space, which was previously shared office space of the Roswell Historical Society and Georgia Ensemble Theatre. The Historical Society raised an additional $70,000 for the design and construction of the exhibit by Building Four Fabrication, archivist Elaine DeNiro said.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Kevin Bamford, president of the Roswell Historical Society, and DeNiro worked since fall 2021 to plan and curate items for the museum.

“This is just a small piece of what’s back here,” Bamford said. “It’s going to take years and years for you to see all of the items in the organization’s archives.”

A permanent exhibit is along the periphery of the space. Rotating temporary exhibits located in the center will be displayed twice each year, the historians said.

Displays on activities of Union troops in Roswell are depicted in the first temporary exhibit with artifacts belonging to Union soldiers including a patriotic coin inscribed, “Union Forever 1864.”

Union troops set Roswell’s cotton mill on fire destroying its buildings but that was not in their original plans, DeNiro said, adding that they were traveling through Roswell to get to Atlanta.

“It was when they got here and saw (mill workers) were making supplies for the Confederate Army that they decided to burn it,” she said.

A part of the permanent exhibit shows the ownership of enslaved people such as Luke Monroe. Known as “Daddy Luke,” historians believe he lived to the age 105 and came to Georgia with the Bulloch family.

When the family moved to New York, Monroe stayed at what is now Bulloch Hall and worked for the son and grandson of Roswell’s founder Roswell King. A photo of Monroe and a record noting payment in 1861 for him and the home in the amount of $2,000 is displayed.

Census schedules, ledgers, a bill of sale and placards showing the name, age and amount paid for enslaved people, as well as the name of the person assuming ownership are also shown in the museum.

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@ajc.com

Adrianne Murchison covers local government in north Fulton County for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Credit: Natrice Miller / Natrice.Miller@

New Roswell museum spotlights early settlers, enslavement and indigenous history

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