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

101 West Main Street | Cartersville, Georgia
corner of Main and Erwin Street

These two blocks of Erwin Street, on either side of Main Street, were heavily populated with liveries, smithies, and warehouses. Blacksmithing was an important way that freed black men used their skills in the local economy. It involved considerable investment in equipment as well as shop space; and was a profession often passed from father to son, or shared by brothers in a family. Historic Sanborn Maps indicate where blacksmith shops were located but do not provide the names of the proprietors. We know that African American blacksmiths operated along West Main and Erwin Streets as well as on East Church Street (now under the bridge), often near the livery stables and carriage shops. Early African American blacksmiths in Cartersville included Henry Saxon, Ellis Patterson, Peter Murray, Haynes Milner and son Henry, the Elijah Henderson family, Frank Erwin, and Will Goode.

In addition to blacksmithing, another occupational niche was that of the draymen, who drove the delivery trucks of the day: horse-drawn, flat-bed wagons (known as drays) that were used to transport many types of goods. The draymen who owned their own dray and team were entrepreneurs who could provide services to various businesses as needed and who became financially independent. Notable early draymen included Jackson Burge and his son-in-law Robert Peacock, while the Wofford family subsequently established their dominance over this profession in the early 1900s. (Drayman John Wofford and his wife Carrie, a laundress, were the grandparents of Nobel-Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, born Chloe Wofford in 1931, whose father George migrated from Cartersville to Ohio in the 1920s to work in the steel mills.)

Skilled barbers were also in demand by both white and black customers, and this profession became a significant occupational niche for African American men in the late 1800s. Barbershops only required a small amount of space but flourished in the black business district along West Main Street. Early barbers who also owned their own shop were Essex Choice, Ashmon Potts, Ed Bell, David Williams, Jerry Hannon, Robert Grant, John Early, and J. C. Scott.



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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