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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

127 West Main Street | Cartersville, Georgia

The African American business district around West Main Street was developed by Jackson Burge (drayman), his daughter Angelina Peacock, Ellis Patterson and Henry Saxon (blacksmiths), and John Q. Gassett (grocer) on the north side of West Main Street, midway between Erwin and Bartow Streets. Gassett’s
Grocery Store, which opened at 127 West Main around 1893 and operated until Gassett’s death in the early 1920s, was one of the first major black-owned businesses to anchor this district, creating a customer base that allowed other nearby businesses to thrive.

Gassett, born in 1854, was the son of an unmarried white mother and, probably, an enslaved father. He was raised in Sullivan County, Tennessee, as part of his mother’s white family, and received an exceptional education as a teacher from the Freedman’s Institute where he majored in Latin and the Classics. One of his
first teaching positions was in Cartersville where he is listed in the 1880 census as a schoolteacher, age 22, living as a boarder with Angelina Peacock. Shortly thereafter, he married his wife Alice and started building a large family, who later lived in a big house on the corner of Main and Fite Street. He was also a real estate entrepreneur, actively engaged in developing lots from the former Lewis Tumlin estate to help settle black families into what would become the Summer Hill residential district, northwest of the downtown business district.

John Gassett also provided space for the first African American doctor in Cartersville – Dr. William Riley Moore – to establish his practice. Dr. Moore rented the space above Gassett’s Grocery from roughly 1910 until Gassett’s death in 1921, when he moved his practice to an office near Summer Hill. Dr. Moore, born in Florida in 1881, was the only black physician in Cartersville from 1910 until he brought in a partner not long before his death in 1954. Both Gassett and Moore are buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Erwin Street among other prominent Cartersville citizens.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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