The Early Years
In April 1832, the surveyors came from the State of Georgia to survey the Cherokee Indian Nation in Georgia. They divided what is now Forsyth County into land lots, each lot being 40-acres. These land lots were 1/4 mile square. 03 Dec 1832 Forsyth County was created from part of Cherokee Co.
It was necessary to have a seat of government to conduct county business, so the Justices of the Inferior Court purchased Land Lot 1270, Third District, First Section, on 12 November 1833, from John H. Dyson, Clerk of Superior Court, Wilkes County, Georgia, through his agent, Jacob Scudder. (A-190).
On 6 May 1834 the Justices of the Inferior Court bought Land Lot 1269, Third District, First Section, at a Sheriff’s sale for $1.00.
The town was laid out on two forty acre lots, side by side, so it was 1/4 mile North-South, and 1/2 mile West-East.
John Heard Dyson, Clerk of the Superior Court Wilkes County, GA born ( ca 1802/3) – died (1863). Believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in Washington, GA. Married Emily Caroline Sneed on 10 Oct 1832 in Washington, Wilkes Co. GA. (after his death, Emily moved to Forsyth, Monroe Co. GA and is buried there) They had at least 6 children: Archibald S. Dyson (ca. 1834) Mary S. Dyson (ca. 1836) Annie Dyson (ca. 1839) Abigail Latham Dyson (1 May 1842) Emily C. Dyson (ca. 1845) Grace L. Dyson (ca. 1849) John H. Dyson was the son of John Dyson (10 Feb 1763 Charles Co. MD – 27 Nov 1828, Wilkes Co. GA) and Ann Heard (1 May 1776, Wilkes Co. GA – 15 May 1842, Wilkes Co. GA). John Heard Dyson’s father preceded him as Clerk of Court in Wilkes Co. GA. John Heard Dyson’s brother, George W. Dyson, succeeded him as Clerk of Court. Information in this box contributed by Jim Blain
What did these Land Lots look like then? Trees I would assume. There is no record of indian improvments ever existing on the lots. There was an existing road shown on the original surveyors plat that ran about slightly to the east of the joint land line.
They bought the last lot on May 6, 1834 and on 16 Jul 1834 Thomas Burford left office as surveyor and William W. Vaughan became surveyor. Since the original dividing line between the lots falls across the middle of some town lots, we would assume that the survey was not done until both lots had been purchased. The line between 1270 and 1269 falls through the middle of some of the square lots on the East of the Public Square which makes me believe that the survey was set to the existing original road which shows on the 1832 survey of Land Lot 3 – 1. This road left the Federal Highway west of the current intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 369 at Coal Mountain. It traveled south and entered the Town of Cumming where Ingram’s Funeral Home now stands on Ingram Avenue. It probably looked like a one lane rutted wagon road. Something like this
It went straight south down what is now a narrow street between the Administration Building parking lot and Classics, then on down in the alley between the County Parking Deck and the Dairy Queen on through what was the Library and now is one of the Sheriff’s buildings, beginning to curve just past that building to the Southwest and on out of LL 1269. Records would indicate that it went past there, but the surveyor of Land Lot 2-1 did not show it. The original survey of the town of Cumming was lost long ago. It is my belief that William W. Vaughn did the actual survey work and that the plat may have gone to Tennessee with him in the 1850s. Reference: Gwinnett County Families. See Existing Road
Reconstructing from deeds, John Shinall and I determined that there were 128 lots around the square each “72 feet squared” numbered 1 through 128. There were 48 – one acre lots “more or less” numbered 129 through 176. John Shinall was responsible for working out that the square lots were numbered in a counter clockwise spiral starting where Goodson Drug stands now (1995 & 2000). From studying other old town plats, the numbering makes one think that the surveyor was left-handed. Setting to the existing road apparently caused a slight tilt to the lot layout which resulted in the Commissioners trading some property with Grief Williams to fill out the northwest corner of the Town.
The original town ended just before current Tolbert Street to the west and at Eastern Circle to the east. It ended even with Resthaven Street to the south and School Street to the North.
On 16 November 1834, William H. Ray, as Deputy Clerk of the Inferior Court of Forsyth County, sent an ad to “The Federal Union”, a newspaper published in Milledgeville, Georgia, offering lots in the town of Cumming for sale. On 22 December 1834, Wilson Lumpkin, Governor, signed “An Act to Incorporate the Town of Cumming in the County of Forsyth”. The First Five Commissioners 22 Dec 1834 were John Jolly, Daniel McCoy, John H. Russell , Daniel Smith, and William Martin.
What we now call the Courthouse Square was referred to as Publick Square
It was a square with roads leading out at the four corners. It would have been used then for people to tie their horses up, or their mule or wagon teams. On court day and or shopping day, families probably camped out and built fires to cook on, right in the square. One wonders how many of the trees they took out to make the original square or whether they left some to shade the people in summer and protect them in winter. If you have lived in North Georgia long, you know that the whole town was woods when they laid it out. There is no evidence to show that those particular Land Lots had ever been cultivated and if it had improvements before, they would have shown up on some of the Cherokee lists or evaluations.
The Justices of the Inferior Court sold the Town Lots of Cumming. In the Probate Court vault of Forsyth County, there exists today a book headed Receipt Docket. It records “Sales of Lotts” from 23 January 1836, through 14 December 1838. (pp 1-12). Many of the lots were sold on time payments (1/4 down) and some reverted to the county to be sold again.
Let’s move around the square and talk about what was where.