At­lanta man do­nates items to the Rock­mart His­tory Mu­seum

The Standard Journal - - Front Page - By AGNES HAGIN

Danny Wil­liams of At­lanta has pre­sented not only fam­ily pho­tos to the Rock­mart Mu­seum but added AfricanAmer­i­can his­tory.

Wil­liams met with Pat Samp­son at the mu­seum to present a photo of Robert H. “Pop” Allen, his great grand­fa­ther.

Allen, born in 1886, was an in­di­vid­ual that many lo­cal res­i­dents would like to meet if he was liv­ing to­day.

He lived what Wil­liams termed an in­ter­est­ing life and talked of the days when he was a jail- er in his­toric Van Wert. Allen car­ried a key to the lock-up fa­cil­ity and shared many sto­ries of a by­gone era with fam­ily and friends be­fore his death in 1961.

Allen was once an em­ployee of the South­ern Rail­road and Wil­liams re­calls how his great grand­fa­ther talked about how he could have been in­volved in the wreck of the Royal Palm and Ponce De Leon, which col­lided on Dec. 23, 1926. His­toric records re­veal this crash re­sulted in 13 deaths and 113 in­juries.

“My great grand­fa­ther was sched­uled to be on the train but was de­layed, a fact that prob­a­bly saved his life,” Wil­liams said.

He re­mem­bers Allen shar­ing sto­ries about the tragedy that oc­curred near Rock­mart.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Wil­liams said his an­ces­tor was the first African- Amer­i­can to work at what was once known as “the ce­ment plant” (Port­land or Mar­quette) near Rock­mart.

“He worked there for about eight years,” he said. “I be­lieve it was a thriv­ing in­dus­try at the time.”

Wil­liams also shared more fam­ily his­tory. His other great grand­par- ents were Thomas “Bud” and Florence Wil­liams of Rock­mart, who share cropped on an area farm.

His grand­mother was Lil­lian Wil­liams and he is the son of Robert Wil­liams, a na­tive of Van Wert.

Samp­son said the Rock­mart Mu­seum is filled with his­tory, in­clud­ing an­other new ad­di­tion – Buren Glad­den’s bar­ber chair. It was do­nated by his son Neal Glad­den and is now on dis­play.

“We en­cour­age the pub­lic to visit the mu­seum dur­ing the Home­spun Fes­ti­val,” Samp­son said. “Buell Hulsey, a spe­cial guest, will present a pro­gram dur­ing the af­ter­noon.”

He is sched­uled to bring items from his mu­seum in Chat­tanooga and an­swer ques­tions re­gard­ing rail­roads and their im­por­tance to Rock­mart.

Dur­ing Home­spun, the Rock­mart Mu­seum will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Fri­day and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Satur­day.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the mu­seum, con­tact Pat Samp­son at 678764-5201.

Pho­tos: Agnes Hagin/SJ

Danny Wil­liams of At­lanta vis­its Rock­mart Mu­seum and dis­cusses his an­ces­try with Pat Samp­son.

A bar­ber chair used by Buren Glad­den was re­cently do­nated to the mu­seum by his son Neal Glad­den.

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