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FAMOUS HOMETOWN FOLKS
GENERAL SOLOMON WOOD, the leader of the first European settlers in the area, was in charge of all Georgia troops who served in the American Revolution. He was also Jefferson County's first senator and a leader in the repeal of the infamous Yazoo Fraud Act, which attempted selling what are now the states of Alabama and Mississippi to private speculators for a few cents per acre. Fort Wood, a log and brick structure he constructed on the banks of Grey Colt Creek, served as a haven against Creek attacks for the Europeans and Africans in the area.
HERSCHEL V. JOHNSON purchased a large plantation just outside of town, where he farmed and practiced law. Johnson served as Governor of Georgia from 1853 to 1859 and led the failed movement to prevent Georgia's secession from the Union. He ran for Vice President of the United States on the ticket with Stephen Douglas in 1961, and many historians believe that if the team has won, the War Between the States could have been avoided.
LONNIE COLEMAN became a best-selling author, Broadway playwright, and motion picture screenwriter of the 1950s and 60s. While his BEULAH LAND trilogy, the novels CLARA and MARK, as well as the play NEXT OF KIN (film title: HOT SPELL) were his most widely known works, Bartow is especially partial to the novel KING. As this story of a boy and his dog unfolds, you are led, step by step, through the streets of Bartow in the mid 1920s.
ROY EVANS, fatherless from age seven, literally worked his way through grammar school, high school, and Georgia Tech. His love of cars led him into the automobile business, and he became the joint owner of the world's largest used car dealership and the sole owner of the American Austin Car Company. During the 1930s, he produced the sporty and economical line of Bantam automobiles. Evans suspended production of Bantams to pioneer and manufacture what the U.S. Army recognized as the greatest single contribution to the winning of World War II: the jeep. His first jeep (general-purpose vehicle) was designed, built, and delivered to the U.S. Army in an astonishing 49 days. The original jeep is now among the national treasures of the Smithsonian.
WILLIE AND MAE TARVER, nationally recognized folk artists, grew up outside of Bartow and now live four miles away in Wadley. Willie applies the welding skills he learned in Ohio steel mills and his construction skills to create both cement and welded iron sculptures. Mae, who works primarily in cement, became his star pupil. Together they created 35 relief sculptures for Atlanta's Folk Art Park, which were unveiled for the 1996 Olympic Games. Their works are in the collections of many major museums. Visit their studio and gallery at 531 Tarver Street, Wadley, GA 30477. Phone: 478-252-5566