Williams presents new items, history to local museum - : Local

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Williams presents new items, history to local museum

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Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2014 9:00 am

Danny Williams of Atlanta has presented not only family photos to the Rockmart Museum but added African-American history.

Williams met with Pat Sampson at the museum to present a photo of Robert H. “Pop” Allen, his great grandfather.

Allen, born in 1886, was an individual that many local residents would like to meet if he was living today.

He lived what Williams termed an interesting life and talked of the days when he was a jailer in historic Van Wert. Allen carried a key to the lock-up facility and shared many stories of a bygone era with family and friends before his death in 1961.

Allen was once an employee of the Southern Railroad and Williams recalls how his great grandfather talked about how he could have been involved in the wreck of the Royal Palm and Ponce De Leon, which collided on Dec. 23, 1926. Historic records reveal this crash resulted in 13 deaths and 113 injuries.

“My great grandfather was scheduled to be on the train but was delayed, a fact that probably saved his life,” Williams said.

He remembers Allen sharing stories about the tragedy that occurred near Rockmart.

Additionally, Williams said his ancestor was the first African-American to work at what was once known as “the cement plant” (Portland or Marquette) near Rockmart.

“He worked there for about eight years,” he said. “I believe it was a thriving industry at the time.”

Williams also shared more family history. His other great grandparents were Thomas “Bud” and Florence Williams of Rockmart, who share cropped on an area farm.

His grandmother was Lillian Williams and he is the son of Robert Williams, a native of Van Wert.

Sampson said the Rockmart Museum is filled with history, including another new addition – Buren Gladden’s barber chair. It was donated by his son Neal Gladden and is now on display.

“We encourage the public to visit the museum during the Homespun Festival,” Sampson said. “Buell Hulsey, a special guest, will present a program during the afternoon.”

He is scheduled to bring items from his museum in Chattanooga and answer questions regarding railroads and their importance to Rockmart.

During Homespun, the Rockmart Museum will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

For more information about the museum, contact Pat Sampson at 678-764-5201.

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