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Past Tense

Opinion: The Reed family moves to Roswell

In 1905, Posey Reed and Feriba Mitchell Reed moved their family from the Mount Bethel community in Cobb County to Roswell. As tenant farmers, the family had already moved a few times. There were six girls and two boys in the family. One of the daughters was Eula Reed, the mother of Richard Adams. One of the sons was Nolan Reed, who wrote down this story and shared it with his family.

past tense - covered bridge

The old covered bridge leading into Roswell.

Richard Adams, son of Eula Reed, has shared many family stories and memories with me over the past several years, including this one. This history is also in the archives of Roswell Historical Society. 

Posey Reed, born in 1866, was one of eight children of James W. Reed and Nancy Emily Powers. In 1887, Posey married Feriba Mitchell, born in 1860 to John and Nancy Mitchell.

The Reed family were tenant farmers in Mount Bethel, in what we now know as East Cobb.   Everyone in the family picked cotton, including the children. Feriba sometimes picked cotton while the youngest baby lay on a pallet nearby. In addition to picking cotton, the children worked at a sorghum mill.

Posey and Feriba Mitchell wanted to buy a home in the town of Roswell and improve life for their family. To earn wages, Posey began working construction at Morgan Falls Dam. Feriba and her daughters prepared and sold lunches to workers at the dam.

The family saved enough money to purchase a house in Roswell, with an agreement to pay the remainder over the next few years. The distance they traveled was between 5 and 6 miles, but the roads were narrow with deep ruts from wagons. Much of their journey was along Roswell Road, leading to their home at Oak Street and Ellis Street.

Nolan Reed wrote, “Moving day came and all our belongings loaded on our two-mule wagon, the cow had to be walked by Papa, so Mama drove the mules and wagon.” At the Chattahoochee River, the mules refused to cross the covered bridge. Posey Reed encouraged the mules with oats. Once the family made it across the bridge, they had the steep hill to Roswell awaiting them.

The house was painted white with green shutters and had a large front porch. Since it was larger than their previous home, items were purchased from Sears, including an $18 organ, a sofa and a rug. Two large oak trees shaded the front yard.  

The two oldest girls, Charlotte and Eula, began working at the nearby Oxbo Pants Factory.  Conditions and pay were better at the pants factory than at the cotton mill in Roswell. They worked from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. five and one-half days a week. The younger children began attending school.

The family settled into their new home and property which included a barn, well and smokehouse. A vegetable garden was planted, and everyone in the family had chores to do.

“We did not have much land with the place only three acres, however it was good rich dirt and could produce much of our family needs,” Nolan Reed recalled.

You can email Valerie at pasttensega@gmail.com or visit her website at pasttensega.com.