Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society recently dedicated a new sculpture at the William Root House, built circa 1845 for Hannah and William Root, early settlers of Marietta.
Born in Philadelphia in 1815, William moved to Marietta in August 1839 to open a drug-mercantile store on the Marietta Square. During the 1990s, the Root House was restored meticulously to its original appearance, and now is operated by Cobb Landmarks as a historic house museum.
Situated on the Root House property is the circa 1830s Manning Family Cabin. Cobb Landmarks uses the cabin to help tell the stories of the enslaved individuals who labored at the Root House property, and who would have lived in a similar cabin. The 1860 census shows Marietta had 297 households and a population of approximately 2,600. Of the 297 households, 137 (46%) held slaves. According to the 1860 slave schedule (census), Marietta’s slave population in 1860 was roughly 1,200, meaning that almost 45% of Marietta’s total population was enslaved at that time.
To honor and remember the more than 1,200 enslaved people living in Marietta prior to the end of the Civil War, Cobb Landmarks partnered with Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) School of Art and Design to create a new garden sculpture. For the sculpture, KSU students used state-of-the-art scanning technology to 3D scan living history interpreter Misha Harp.
The scan was used to print a maquette of the sculpture, using a 3D printer, which helped inform sculptors as they crafted the full-size sculpture. The unveiling, which attracted a large crowd, included remarks by myself, Harp, master craftsman Page Burch, and a poetry reading by Sprayberry High School student Courtney Brown.
Lights Over Atlanta, a company that specializes in exterior lighting, approached Cobb Landmarks about donating permanent outdoor lighting for the Root House’s new garden sculpture, titled “Forget Me Not, America.” The lighting ceremony took place in December.
The sculpture represents the work of students, poets, artists and historians who came together for a common purpose — to shine a light on the 1,200 enslaved individuals whose names were not recorded and now are lost to time.
– Trevor Beemon is the executive director of Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society and the chairman of the Acworth History Preservation Commission.