Autumn 2020
News & Updates from
the Milton Historical Society
Part Two - Johns Creek: Cities are new,
names have been around awhile
By Aubrey Morris

Editorial note: This article, donated by the Aubrey Morris estate, was first published in the Alpharetta-Roswell Revue & News on July 27, 2006 when the cities of Milton and Johns Creek were being formed. Part One - Milton was covered in the Summer newsletter.
"What's in a name? In the monikers of North Fulton's two newest towns, plenty.
Both Johns Creek, Ga., and Milton, Ga., were born without significant natal pains on July 18. And, though infant municipalities, each came into being already firmly rooted in the early history of this area."

"As of now, though, Mike Bodker, chairman of the Committee for Johns Creek, avers: 'I just wanted to get started and have a really great city.'"

"Johns Creek bears the appellation of John Rogers, (1774-1851), great-great-grandfather of the late Will Rogers (1875-1935), world-famed cowboy actor, homespun philosopher/humorist and Broadway super star."

"I was just a kid during the height of Will Rogers' popularity, notably as a radio entertainer. Now every single Johns Creek kid should make sure to see funny man Will's statue in the U.S. Capitol on the family's next visit there."

"Will Rogers' great-great-grandfather, and his full-blooded Cherokee Indian wife, Sarah Cordery, daughter of Susannah Sonicooie Cordery, farmed a large spread through which the stream flowed, long before the infamous Trail of Tears. Johns Creek still meanders quietly through suburban homes to the Chattahoochee River, through the hustle and bustle of a new municipality at every crook and turn."

"According to Roswell Historian Clarece Martin, John Rogers was a wealthy white planter who farmed hundreds of acres along and adjacent to the Chattahoochee. He and his Cherokee wife built their still-extant two-story home on Bell Road in 1803."

"I phoned the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma, the day after Johns Creek came into being as a city. Michelle Lefebvre, executive director of both the museum and the adjacent Will Rogers Library, heard the news of one of the newest towns in booming Metro Atlanta for the first time."

"'Wow. This is great!' Ms. Lefebvre yelled to her fellow staff members, then excitedly told me: 'Thanks for letting us know.' The home in which Will Rogers was born in Indian Territory to part-Cherokee parents is now an elegant state park, Ms. Lefebvre told me."

"The history books tell us that only some of the John Rogers Family, including Will Rogers' forbears, elected to join their other Indian, or part-Indian, kinfolks in Oklahoma. Others were allowed to remain in these parts, and I'm told some of their descendants are around today, having been born in Old Milton County."

"So history does, indeed, sometimes revisit us, choosing not to rest eternally in the dusty records of libraries and archives. As one newspaper headline blared out: 'Johns Creek, Milton opt for city hood.'"
Will Rogers' birthplace near present-day Oologah, Oklahoma
Will Rogers in 1922
Will's Wit:
Rogers once quipped that his ancestors did not come over on the Mayflower, but they 'met the boat'. In 1928 he mounted a mock campaign for the presidency, running on the Anti-Bunk Party. His campaign promise was that if elected, he would resign. On election day he declared victory and resigned.

Charles Lathrop Pack, president of the American Tree Association, told how Rogers gave him advice in handling an educational campaign in tree planting. "Will Rogers told me," said Pack, "that I was on the wrong track in trying to educate people to the value of putting idle land to work growing trees. 'Pack,' he said, 'you go down to Washington and get Congress to pass a law prohibiting tree planting and you'll have everybody doing it in a week.'"
Will Rogers - Ambassador of Good Will Prince of Wit and Wisdom by P.J. O'Brien 1935

2020 Fall Programs On Hold

Early Post Offices of Old Milton County
Speakers: Ed Malowney, Barbara Latham, Connie Mashburn

History of Sweet Apple
Speaker: Ann Foskey, Author

Presidential Paramours
Speaker: Dr. Ron Grossman

December: TBD
Holiday Luncheon - Patrons and Guests

Note: All programs are on hold due to gathering restrictions caused by the current pandemic. Our fall speakers and their topics are listed above. We will keep you informed as venues open up and we can confirm dates and places. Thank you for your patience and support!
Helen Gilleland, Shirley Morgan, and Byron Foster present a framed deed from Land Lot 260 from the 1832 Georgia lottery to Jeff Dufresne.
Shirley Morgan, Byron Foster, and Helen Gilleland in the garden of the Foster home sign the official Deed of Gift transferring ownership of a collection of historic documents to the Milton Historical Society.
Milton Historical Society Receives Gift of
Rare 19th Century Documents

The Milton Historical Society has been presented with a donation of a private collection of 35 historic documents by local residents Byron Foster, his sister Shirley Morgan, and their cousin Helen Gilleland. The documents consist of original deeds for Land Lots 260, 187 and 246 from the 1832 lottery of 40-acre land lots from lands previously owned by the Cherokee Indians. 

Helen Gilleland found the documents in the basement of her house in Sandy Springs which she inherited from her Uncle and Aunt Henry and Corrie Pearson. The documents were in an old cardboard box and had been there for many years according to Gilleland. In addition to the land lot deeds, numerous bills of sales, deeds, and other documents were in the box.

Helen gave the documents to Byron (Society Board member) in part because his property on Westbrook Road in Milton is located on Land Lot 260.

The land lotteries method of land redistribution was organized by the State of Georgia between 1805 and 1833. Under the system, qualifying citizens could register for a chance to win land lots that had been acquired by the State from the Cherokee and Creek Indians.  

Byron said “These documents have great significance to my family, and we are proud to share them with the citizens of Milton. They have remained hidden far too long. While they are in good condition, time, temperature and humidity have already caused some deterioration.”

Jeff Dufresne, President of the Milton Historical Society, noted that “the Society welcomes donations of historic documents and artifacts. We will carefully preserve them for researchers and others interested in the story of our past. Often such treasures are found in attics and albums where they may rest unnoticed for generations, suffering gradual deterioration.

So the next time you are tidying up your attic and basement, before you discard an old cardboard box, check it out - you may find treasures to share with the community!
Framed deed of Land Lot 260 from the 1832 State of Georgia lottery of 40-acre land lots from lands previously owned by the Cherokee Indians. Land Lot 260 was within the boundary of current day Milton and contains the property where Byron and Laura Foster currently reside.
About our Vendors
Many thanks to the following folks whose great work made the Foster deed project a success:
Herb Kuper at Advanced Photo and Imaging in Sandy Springs for professional high-resolution photography.

Barry Glustoff at Digital Arts Studio in mid-town for graphic manipulation of deed fragments and output to archival rag paper.

Bryan Williams at Olde Silos Art and Frame in Crabapple for excellent matting and framing.
Milton Moments in History
by Connie Mashburn, Resident Historian
In late 1857 the Georgia Legislature created Milton County from parts of Cobb, Cherokee, and Forsyth Counties. Looking for a place to locate the new county seat, the Milton County Inferior Court Justices selected a spot that was somewhat centrally located, and near the intersection of two roads which were heavily traveled for the time. The site was on a ridge where drainage was good and where several freshwater springs bubbled up from the ground. In April 1858, a name was chosen for the new town, and plans were made for building a courthouse and jail. In July, the justices decided to change the name of the town to Alpharetta. The original name? Milton.
Summit View Farm
This 1950s photo shows Dr. John R. Walker at his Summit View Farm on Brittle and Summit Roads. In the background is the well-known Walker Barn, which still stands today. With Dr. Walker is farm manager Albert Reece who lived on the property. A prominent Atlanta physician, Dr. Walker drove up to inspect his farm every Wednesday afternoon. He was descended from early settlers Joseph and Drucilla Walker, who along with neighbors Abner and Nancy Phillips, founded Providence Baptist Church in 1834.
Note: The Walker Barn was recognized in 2018 by the City of Milton with an historical marker.
Muse of the season!
"Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it."
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist who was instrumental in gaining women's right to vote. She was arrested in 1872 in Rochester, N.Y. for voting, but was fined and released. (She refused to pay the fine.) This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which was added to the U.S. Constitution when the Tennessee Legislature passed the amendment by a vote of 49-48. One vote (by Harry Burn) made the difference!

Carl Jackson and Robert Sorcabal Elected to Milton Historical Society Board of Directors

Welcoming new board members, Milton Historical Society president Jeff Dufresne said, "We are very fortunate to have two such highly qualified individuals join us. Carl and Bob have been respected leaders in their professional careers. Their areas of expertise, enthusiasm, and love of history will make important contributions to our organization and to our community."
Carl Jackson
Mr. Jackson is a retired educator and business executive who most recently served as Principal of Harlem Middle School in Columbia County, Georgia. During his 17 years as an educator, he also served as a school administrator and teacher in Forsyth County. Previously, he had a 23-year career in telecommunications, leading BellSouth's Emergency Services business and completing his career as Senior Director of Government Affairs for Intermedia Communications, a leading provider of secure communication products to more than 125,000 business customers throughout the world. Jackson earned a BA degree in Journalism from Georgia State University and a Master of Education from the University of North Georgia.
Robert Sorcabal
Mr. Sorcabal has been in Corporate Finance for 25 years in various leadership positions with companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Bose Corporation, General Electric, and Serta Simmons Bedding LLC where he served as Chief Financial Officer for a major e-commerce startup operation. He currently serves as a CFO for Omnimax North America, a global manufacturer of building and transportation products for original equipment manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and home centers. Sorcabal has a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from San Diego State University and an MBA in International Business from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
Legislative Update 2020
The Georgia General Assembly completed its work on Friday, June 26. The following bills were relevant to the history- and preservation-minded community:

House Bill 1035 tabled in the Senate - This legislation would have abolished over 20 state tax credit programs, including the effective Historic Preservation/Rehabilitation Tax Credit.

House Bill 906 defeated - Controversial legislation that allowed the Department of Natural Resources to remove Heritage Preserve Properties from the State's inventory and sell them to third parties. This bill passed the House but died in committee.

Courtesy of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation
Milton Historical Society 2020 Patrons

Many thanks for your support!
Lifetime Patrons
Mark and Amy Amick
Felton Anderson Herbert
Johnny Herbert
Bill Lusk
Robert Meyers
Adam Orkin
Charlie Roberts
Sarah Roberts
Kevin and Marsha Spear
Karen Thurman

Sustaining Patrons
Kathy Beck
Philip Beck
Jeff and Josephine Dufresne
James Farris
Linda Farris
Byron Foster
Carl and Sheryl Jackson
Steve Krokoff
Family Patrons
Marc and Sheree Arrington
Laura Bentley
Wayne Boston
Gregg and Mary Cronk
Lara Dolan
Amy Dubroc
Laura Foster
Seth Garrett
Burt Hewitt
Robert Jamison
Courtney LaFon
Ed and Mary Jo Malowney
Barry and Suzanne Mansell
Paul Moore
Robert and Jennifer Sorcabal

Individual Patrons
Elizabeth Montgomery
Corporate Sponsor
The William B. Orkin Foundation
We Love our Founding Members!
Ron Wallace
Felton and Johnny Herbert
Adam Orkin
Pat Miller
Dawn and Keith Reed
Amy Christiansen
Kathy and Philip Beck
Jessica and Warren Cheely
Joe and Heather Killingsworth
Ronnie Rondem
Seth Chandlee
Curtis Mills
Mary Ann and Clarke Otten
Mark Amick
Joan Borzilleri
Norm Broadwell
Jeff Dufresne
James Farris
Byron Foster
Kim Gauger
Bill Lusk
Connie Mashburn
Bob Meyers
Charlie Roberts
Kevin Spear
Karen Thurman