Experience the stories and heritage of the historic Eddy Neighborhood which helped shape Milledgeville’s African American history for over a century. The people who lived within the neighborhood and the events that took place within these blocks played an intricate role in building the city's diverse heritage.
Pick up a self-guided walking brochure, which is available in the green box outside the Sallie Ellis Davis House or from the Visitor Information Center, to learn more about the churches, historic sites and individual histories that have shaped the landscape of both historic and modern Milledgeville.
Sallie Ellis Davis House
Make time to explore the Sallie Ellis Davis House, the home of a passionate woman dedicated to the education of hundreds of local African American children. Born in 1877 to an African American woman and Irish man, Davis is renowned as an inspirational figure and a pillar of the African American community during segregation in the United States. Davis’ commitment to her community and the children of Baldwin County led her to serve as a local schoolteacher and later become the first African-American principal of Baldwin County at Eddy High School. Ms. Davis always put her students' needs above her own, housing them when the commute to school was too far to make throughout the week. This legacy is preserved in her home which she moved into in 1911 after marrying Jack Davis until her death in 1950. The home is open for tours Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To schedule a tour outside these hours, please call their office at 478-445-5889.
Sallie Ellis Davis is buried in Bone Cemetery (Row H, Lot 8 Grave 1) which began in the 1940's when it was determined that Milledgeville needed an African American cemetery.
Genie Andrews House
Genie James Andrews worked alongside Sallie Ellis Davis and lived next door. The home was purchased in 1893 by her father and passed down through generations. Andrews, an African American woman, dedicated her life to teaching children at Eddy High School. Although Ms. Andrews was widowed with no biological children of her own, she became a mother figure to many. She shared her talent of the piano, often going over to student’s homes within the neighborhood, causing harmonious music to fill the streets.
Olivia Thomas House
Ms. Olivia Thomas lived in this quaint blue home along Clarke Street, while taking care of a much bigger home, Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion, beginning her role in 1947. She was known as the “Guardian of the Old Governor’s Mansion” as she kept it looking elegant and gave personal tours of the inside. She served under five college presidents and was highly esteemed in this position for her dedication and hard work--a truly beloved woman. Thomas retired in 1980 only to continue serving 6 additional years part time. She’s fondly remembered by those who knew her for her hard work, delicious lemon bars and the kind advice she always had to share over a cup of coffee. Here is a poem that was dedicated to Ms. Thomas for her love and care of Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion:
Only thirty-nine years at the mansion---
How can it be?
For she is a WELLSpring of knowledge for all to see
She STANds for duty, constancy, and loyalty.
LEEding the way she wears the BUNTING proud for G.C.
May she SPEIRhead into retirement with the same vitality.
Renowned as Milledgeville’s first African-American Church, Flagg Chapel Baptist Church was organized in 1830 by a small group of freedmen, under the leadership of the recently freed Wilkes Flagg. Flagg, who was born into enslavement but worked to purchase his own freedom, was motivated to create an environment where African-Americans could freely worship after being denied membership rights to the local First Baptist Church of Milledgeville. Flagg purchased the acre of land where Flagg Chapel now stands and built a home and blacksmith shop. During the church’s early days, Flagg was the congregation’s first Deacon with Sr. Rev. Milus Wilbun having presided as the first pastor. Flagg served as the head pastor of Flagg Chapel Baptist Church from 1845-1878. After the American Civil War, he built Flagg Chapel and used his leadership role to advise others on economic and social matters. Under his leadership, the church served as an inspiration and catalyst for other churches to form within the community including Shiloh Baptist Church, El Bethel, Union Baptist, and Trinity CME.
During his tenure, the church also served as the first opportunity for African-American education in Baldwin County, opening its doors as the educational home of 350 African-American students while Eddy High School was being built in 1868.
While the original Flagg Chapel burned in 1973, the congregation rebuilt the church in 1976 and it is still open for worship today. To join them in praise and celebration, visit 400 West Franklin Street on Sundays at 11 am.
Eddy High School
Education was extremely important to African Americans after the American Civil War, knowing that in order to succeed in a life of freedom they must be educated. Eddy High School was established by The American Missionary Association and Freedman’s Bureau and was the only black school in Milledgeville at that time. It was located directly behind Flagg Chapel. Five white teachers helped educate over 350 African American students in Flagg Chapel until the High School was built in 1869 when it opened officially as Eddy High School. Students of all ages came to be educated in the two classrooms within the school which later expanded to 6 classrooms fitting about 200 students each. The school tragically burned down in 1925 and the community pulled their resources to rebuild the center of education for the African American community. Another fire started in 1946 which burned the building to the ground forcing the students to transfer to Carver High School and then integrate to various other schools as segregation became outlawed. Today the old Eddy High School grounds now serves as a bus depot for Georgia College and State University.
Memory Hill Cemetery
Established in 1810 and governing 30 acres sits Memory Hill Cemetery. Formerly known as Milledgeville City Cemetery up until 1945, the cemetery contains over 7,700 identifiable graves and at least 1,200 unmarked graves. The segregation is clear when you enter the gates of the cemetery where you will find the upper class white individuals placed in the front and the African American’s, freed and enslaved buried in the back on uneven ground. The unmarked slabs of stones mark the resting place of many African American slaves who died and were buried in the cemetery. Fancy tombstones were expensive and so many African Americans could not afford the typical tombstones you see placed in rows throughout the rest of the cemetery. Both the left and right rear sections are where slaves and free African-Americans were buried, there are almost 500 unmarked graves and almost 550 unknown graves.
Burials of special note include:
Dr. B. J. Simmons, Milledgeville’s first African American physician. He was known as an incredible diagnostician and moved to Milledgeville after attending Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee where he graduated in 1893, taking first place in anatomy.
Three Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Cavalry in Troop H (Sol Sanford, Robert E. Lee, and James Arthur Gibson). Buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War. They were famous for their saying: “We Can, We Will”.
For specific burial locations, see the cemetery map located at the entrance.
To learn more, self-guided walking brochures are available in the green box outside the Sallie Ellis Davis House or from the Visitor Information Center.