Google+ Georgia On My Mind: Great Georgians: Rev. Wilkes Flagg

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Great Georgians: Rev. Wilkes Flagg

Rev. Wilkes Flagg began his life as a slave in Virginia where he remained until he was purchased by a physician named Tomlinson Fort from Milledgeville, Georgia. He became a blacksmith, saved his money, and finally bought his family’s freedom for the sum of $2,000.

Flagg continued in the blacksmith trade and soon bought his own farm six miles outside of town. An obituary I found online mentions he mixed freely with the movers and shakers of Milledgeville, was well respected, and sat in on discussions regarding politics. During my research I found it amazing that Rev. Flagg apparently crossed barriers between the races very easily yet he had a part-time job that placed him back in the role of servant. He served as head waiter for state dinners at the Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville beginning with Governor Lumpkin’s term through the term of Governor Brown’s.

Following the Civil War, Rev. Flagg assisted newly freed slaves by creating a colony on 100 acres of his land to assist people with instruction in citizenship and to provide a place where they could sharecrop. He also established a school at Flagg Baptist Church. Eventually the Freedmen’s Bureau became involved and provided equipment and teachers for the school.

When Rev. Flagg passed away in 1878 many whites attended his funeral including clergy, merchants, lawyers, physicians, editors, and mechanics. Also in attendance was John P. Fort of Macon-----a member of the family that had once owned him per the obituary I found online in the Southern Recorder dated November 19, 1878.

There is a bit more about Rev. Wilkes Flagg here.

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