museumofbuford.com
Our Beginnings - Museum Of Buford
In the 1860s there were few permanent inhabitants of the area now occupied by Buford. Silas King and his family lived in what is now downtown Buford. William Sudderth owned land to the south and east of King. Wyatt Wilson owned more than 1,000 acres north of Buford. Other early families were William Scales, Benjamin M. Bagby, Willis Benson, James M. Dodd, Jacob Moulder, John Calloway, all of whom were large land holders and, for the most part, slave owners. Others were William Garner, Burton C. Cloud, George and Noah Brogdon, Isham Born, Daniel O. Born, Harrison R. Brogdon, and Hope J. Brogdon. Soon after the Civil War, construction began on the railroad from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina. Among the original stockholders were Thomas S. Garner, Thomas Alexander, Amos Fox, B. Y. Saye, and Mr. Larkin Smith.While the road was under construction a camp was set up on the property of Silas King for the road crew. Silas King was the first non-Indian to occupy the area of the town of Buford. He was an evangelical Baptist minister, born in South Carolina in 1779. He moved to Gwinnett County in the 1820’s and lived for several years near Mt. Mariah Baptist Church where he served as pastor. Mr. Garner and Mr. Larkin Smith bought property and divided it into lots for a town, and named the town after A. S. Buford, President of the railroad. After the depot, the next building in Buford was a hotel, and the mother of Thomas S. Garner came from Alabama to run it. The second building was a store across the railroad from the hotel, owned and operated by Mr. Mellville S. Garner. T. S. Garner bought out the interest of Mr. Smith, and gave land for white and African American churches, schools, streets and a city park. In this way Buford was established as a town in 1871. The town of Buford was incorporated August 24, 1872. The first Commissioners were Adam Pool, A. G. Harris, John F. Espy, W. R. Chamblee, J. R. Stringer, and J. A. Pattillo. Adam Pool came to Buford in late 1870. He was born in Anderson County, South Carolina in 1809, and came to DeKalb County, Georgia around 1830. The next year he moved to Cain’s District in Gwinnett County. He served as Tax Collector, Confederate State legislator, and postmaster. He was one of the first merchants in Buford. Austin Gilliam Harris lived in the Sugar Hill area as early as 1860. He was a successful farmer and owned a cotton gin. He was a delegate to the Democratic Congressional District Convention, operated a retail store in Buford briefly, and was a Buford postmaster. John Ferdinand Espy was a teacher who moved to Buford from the Lawrenceville area. It’s possible that he was related to the Silas King family, his mother’s maiden name being King. He served in the Confederate army, and throughout the rest of his life he was known as “Captain Espy.” He built the first brick home in Buford, which is still standing at 583 South Hill Street. William R. Chamblee was an …