Tag Archives: Richmond County

Amanda America Dickson Toomer, Georgia

Sparta, Hancock County & Augusta, Richmond County

This is Amanda America Dickson, who became one of the wealthiest African American women after her father left his wealth to her. This was an unusual act because most white planters did not recognize the children born of the women they enslaved. Dickson’s relatives contested the will, but the Georgia courts ruled in favor of Ms. Dickson.

The plantation where Amanda was born and her mother, Julia, was enslaved still exists in Sparta. I’ve been told that the house shown is the house that Amanda Dickson lived in with her mother and sons. It sits on Dickson Plantation on the outskirts of Sparta. David Dickson owned significantly more land than what makes up the modern day Dickson Plantation.

I’ve been told this is the home of Amanda Dickson Toomer. It sits on what is left of the Dickson Plantation.

Through the woods, near the plantation, is the St. Paul’s CME Church where Julia worshipped. If you visit, you will notice the graveyard is filled with Dicksons. The mother is buried there, but she seems to be without a headstone because I’ve been unable to locate it in my visits. The congregation is still active with a newer brick church down the road from this building.

St. Paul’s CME Church is the church, through the woods from the Dickson plantation, where many Dicksons are buried. It is said that Julia Dickson, Amanda’s mother, rests here. If true, she is without a headstone.

After winning her court case, Amanda moved to Augusta with her sons and mother and lived in the yellow home on Telfair Street. Amanda married Nathan Toomer (Toomer was the father of Jean Toomer, the author), but she died only one year after they got married.

This is Amanda Dickson’s home in Augusta. It’s currently under restoration.

Her funeral was held at the Trinity CME Church in Augusta. Her final resting place is in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Augusta. Even though her husband remarried, he rests next to Amanda.

Trinity CME Church is where Amanda Dickson Toomer’s funeral was held. This church was slated for demolition, but the community and church leaders rallied to get it saved.

This is a small look into Amanda’s life. There is a book about her life written by Kent Leslie. There’s also a movie, starring Jennifer Beals of Flashdance and L-Word fame, called “A House Divided.” It’s available via YouTube.

Amanda’s marker in Cedar Grove Cemetery.
Nathan’s marker is next to Amanda’s.
This is Julia Dickson’s home in Sparta where she lived after Amanda passed away.

Lucy Craft Laney House-Augusta, Georgia

Lucy Craft Laney (1854-1933) was an educator and founded the first school for Black children in Augusta, Georgia. She served as the principal of the Haines Institute for Industrial and Normal Education for 50 years.

Under the leadership of the Augusta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the house was fully restored into a museum of Black history that honored the legacy of Lucy Craft Laney. The full story of the restoration and how the museum came to existence can be found here. It is a contributing property to the Laney-Walker Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Properties in 1985.

Summerville Cemetery-Augusta, Georgia

Richmond County
Sophie (1845-1908) and James (1842-1910) Barrett Monument

There are two Summerville Cemeteries in Augusta, Georgia, one Black and one white. They are separated by a block. These photos are from the white cemetery. This cemetery was founded in 1824 when land was deeded by Thomas Cumming for the creation of a cemetery for the families who lived in the area known as Summerville. It’s simultaneously a family and neighborhood cemetery. It is cared for by the Trustees of Summerville Cemetery.

Some notable burials are John Milledge, George Walker Crawford, and Joseph Rucker Lamar.

The cemetery has examples of original Victorian funerary work. It is part of the Summerville Historic District.

Source: Augusta Genealogical Society. (1990). Summerville Cemetery. McGowan Printing Company.

Mary Coskery (1825-1896)
Julia Langdon (1834-1918)
Baker Family Monument
Robert Harper (1829-1830)
Mary (1833-1848) and Sarah (1842-1848) Jenkins