Historical Roswell

Roswell King

 Roswell King—native New Englander, manager of the Pierce Butlercoastal plantations, and industrialist and businessman in Glynn and McIntosh counties—was in his seventies when he founded his namesake town, Roswell. He established the Roswell textile mills in the late 1830s and enticed wealthy coastal families to join his enterprise, thus changing the economy and the population mix of northern Fulton County.

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Thomas E. King

Roswell lore says Capt. King was mayor when the battle of Chickamauga began and he rushed to join the fray.  He was on the staff to  He was a member of the staff of Brig. General Preston Smith when in the twilight they came upon a group of Union soldiers and were both killed.  he magazine, Southern Bivouac (1887) mentions his death: "Thomas was true, noble, and unselfish - when wounded and dying, he insisted that the friends who were moving him out of the way of shells and balls, should not go farther, but lay him under a tree nearby and then return to the fight. He knew that he had done his duty and that God was with him - the testimony of a friend of him and his."   In 2008, The Roswell Mills Camp members erected a monument at his gravesite. 

James Dunwoody and Irvine Stephens Bulloch

James Dunwoody Bulloch and Irvine Stephens Bulloch were Confederate naval officers during the War Between the States. They were also uncles of the 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt .

who married their sister Martha "Mittie" Bulloch, a Roswell, Georgia resident.

 James was the Confederacy's chief foreign agent in Great Britain. Irvine   

was an officer in the Confederate Navy and the youngest officer on the famed warship CSS Alabama. He fired its last shot before it was sunk off the coast of France at the end of the American Civil War.

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Rev. Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt


Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt (1796-1879), an ordained Presbyterian minister, was married to Catherine Barrington King (1810-1895), daughter of Roswell King, founder of Roswell, Georgia. They had ten children: Horace Alpheus, Henry Barrington, Nathaniel Alpheus, Francis Lorinda, Bayard Hand, Charles Jones, Sara Anna, Isabelle, William Nephew, and Catherine Quintard. Rev. N. A. Pratt was first pastor of the Roswell Presbyterian Church, established in 1839.

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Dr. Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt

Third son of Rev. Pratt, he received his early schooling at Roswell and graduated from Oglethorpe University in 1856 with the degree of M.D.  Dr. Pratt never practiced medicine, but devoted his live to scientific pursuits as a physician especially to chemistry, mineralogy, and geology.  After his graduation he followed his scientific studies at the Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard University, studying geology, chemistry and engineering.  He was a man of the most methodical habits and untiring industry.  

In 1861 he was a professor of chemistry and geology at Oglethorpe University.  At the outbreak of the war he organized a company under the name of "Jordan Grays".  However, after a few months, the Confederate government recognized his scientific ability and assigned him to "Nitre and Mining Bureau" rank of Lt Col.  He became the chief scientific ad visor and was used particularly in connection in material and supply of potash for gunpowder.

Roswell artist Mary Jane Warren Stone.  CR Roswell Mills SCV 1547

The Lost Mill Workers of Roswell

Sherman's Crimes Against Civilians

 On July 5, 1864, Federal General Kenner Garrard's cavalry reached Roswell and finding it undefended, occupied the city.  General Garrard reported to General William T.Sherman on July 6, 1864 that..." there were fine factories here. I had the building burnt, all were burnt.  The cotton factory was working up to the time of its destruction, some 400 women being employed."

 Former Associate Dean of Emory University, Webb Garrison writes of the destruction of the Roswell Mills.  He says..."incidents of this occurred repeatedly throughout the Civil War.  Had the usual attitudes prevailed, the destruction of the industrial complex would have ended the matter. That it did not was due to the temperament and inclination of the man (Sherman)."

   What General Sherman did next would shock good people in the North and create a mystery that has endured to this day.  On July 7,1864, Sherman reported to his superiors in Washington... "I have ordered General Garrard to arrest for treason all owners and employees, foreign and native (of the Roswell Mills), and send them under guard to Marietta, whence I will send them North."

   On July 7, 1864, Sherman wrote to General Garrard..."I repeat my orders that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard to Marietta, then I will send them by cars to the North."

   A northern newspaper correspondent reported on the deportation... " only think of it!  Four hundred weeping and terrified Ellen's, Susan's, and Maggies transported in springless and seatless army wagons, away from their loved ones and brothers of the sunny South, and all for the offense of weaving tentcloth."

 On July 10,1864 General Thomas reported the arrival of four to five hundred mill hands, mostly women, in Marietta.  Other documents indicate that an undetermined number of children accompanied their mothers.  Webb Garrison writes of the women's arrival in Marietta..." for the military record that closed the case in which women and children were illegally deported after having been charged with treason." He further writes... " had the Roswell incident not been followed immediately by major military developments, it might have made a lasting impact upon opinion.  In this century, few analysts have given it emphasis it deserves."

 In conclusion Dr. Garrison writes..." The mystery of the Roswell women, whose ultimate fate remains unknown, is one of major importance in its own right.  Even more significant is its foreshadowing of things to come."

   The mystery of the Roswell women is made up of four to five hundred tragedies.  Most of these stories are lost to history; however, three men involved in the monument are either related to or descended from the mill workers.  Wayne Bagley of the Roswell Mills Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is related to Adeline Bagley Buice.   Adeline was a seamstress working at the Roswell Mills while her husband was off to war.  

While the details are sketchy, Adeline Bagley Buice and her four children also among those sent north. Her fifth child was born a month later in Chicago.

A recent contact provided this information:

Because Joshua had taken the oath in May, there is a very good chance he was near Louisville and read about the women prisoners in the newspaper.  It appears he was reunited with his family, but they would have to find a means of making a living until the war was over before returning home. Sherman was forced to issue an order in September; the government would provide transportation to any freed prisoner who wanted to travel more than 100 miles from Louisville. Perhaps this is how they were able to get to Chicago.

While in the north they had two more children Mary Buice born in 1865 and John Henry Buice born in April, 1867. The 1870 census list Joshua age 28, Adeline age 45 and family living in Alpharetta Georgia. Richard Venable was 19 Ebba Venable was 17, William Buice age 10, Sallny Buice age 7, Mary Buice age 5, and John Henry Buice age 3. Taking into consideration she had a child in 1867 is a very good indication the family come home together on foot from Chicago in 1869 and were living in Milton County by 1870.

Adeline died in 1910 and was buried in Sharon Cemetery in Forsyth County.
Her descendents placed a headstone on her grave in the early 1990s: "Adeline Bagley Buice wife of Pvt. J. Buice, 1825-1910, Roswell mill worker caught up and exiled to Chicago by Yankee army-1864-returned on foot 1869."

 George Kendley, also a member of the Roswell Mills Camp, is descended from John R. Kendley who served early as a Sargent in Company H, known as the "Roswell Guards", 7th Regiment, GVI, Army of Northern Virginia.  He was captured, paroled, and returned to work in the mill.  Johnlater served as a Lieutenant in Company A, Roswell Battalion.  Because he was paroled, he had to leave early when Union troops got close.  If captured, he would have been shot on the spot.

 Wayne Shelly is a member of the Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Rome, Georgia.  His grandmother was a teenage mill worker and her mother and her grandmother also worked at Roswell Mills.  All three were charged with treason and deported.  The mother died on a train between Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee.  The grandmother died on steamship on the Ohio River, after being carried aboard in a rocking chair.  Wayne's grandmother married a Confederate Veteran in Louisville, Kentucky.  The two tried to make a new life in Indiana; however, the deportation had ruined the health of the young mill worker and a doctor advised that she would not live through another Indiana winter.  The couple moved south to Cartersville,Georgia.

 The War Between the States was without question Roswell's moment on the stage of world history.  If Roswell has a history, it is surely in part the mill workers story.

Excerpt from the Dedication Program for the Mill Workers Monument
July 8, 2000

Confederate Units from Roswell:

The Roswell Battalion
Local Defense Troops
Company E, Cobb's Legion Cavalry Battalion
"Roswell Troopers"
Company H, 7th Georgia Volunteer Infantry
"Roswell Guards"

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A number of books have been written on this topic.

The Women Will Howl

North Across The River

Charged With Treason

Check out the website by clicking on the link below created by the author of The Women  Will Howl, Deborah Petite, who was a Roswell resident and did through research. Also, retired Roswell Police Officer Michael Hitt's book Charged With Treason.

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