Cumming City Hall
Gateway to Leisure Living
|Named for||William Cumming|
|• Mayor||Troy Brumbalow|
|• Total||6.73 sq mi (17.42 km2)|
|• Land||6.69 sq mi (17.32 km2)|
|• Water||0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)|
|Elevation||1,217 ft (371 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||953.49/sq mi (368.14/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
30028, 30040, 30041
|GNIS feature ID||0331494|
Cumming is a city in Forsyth County, Georgia, United States, and the sole incorporated area in the county. It is an exurban city, and part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. Its population was 5,430 at the 2010 census, up from 4,200 in 2000. Surrounding unincorporated areas with a Cumming mailing address have a population of approximately 100,000. Cumming is the county seat of Forsyth County.
The area, now called Cumming, was first inhabited by Cherokee tribes. They came in 1755. The Cherokee and Creek people developed disputes over hunting land. After two years of fighting, the Cherokee won the land in the Battle of Taliwa. The Creek people were forced to move south of the Chattahoochee River.
The Cherokee coexisted with white settlers until the discovery of gold in Georgia in 1828. Settlers that moved to the area to mine for gold pushed for the removal of the Cherokee. In 1835, the Treaty of New Echota was signed. The treaty stated that the Cherokee Nation must move to the Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi River. This resulted in the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee territory was then formed into Cherokee County in 1831. In 1832, the county was split into several counties including Forsyth County.
In 1833, the town of Cumming was formed from two 40-acre (16 ha) land lots that had been issued as part of a Georgia State Land Lottery in 1832. The two lots designated as Land Lot 1269 and Land Lot 1270 were purchased by a couple of Forsyth County Inferior Court justices who realized that it was necessary to have a seat of government to conduct county business. The boundaries of the two lots ended at what is now Tolbert Street on the west side, Eastern Circle on the east side, Resthaven Street on the south side, and School Street on the north side. In 1834 the post office was established and began delivering mail. The justices of the Inferior Court divided the town land into smaller lots and began selling them to people over the next several years, reserving one lot for the county courthouse. During that same year, the Georgia State Legislature incorporated the town of Cumming into the City of Cumming and made it the official government seat of Forsyth County.
The community is commonly thought to be named after Colonel William Cumming. An alternate theory proposed by a local historian posits the name honors Rev. Frederick Cumming, a professor of Jacob Scudder, a resident of the area since 1815 who owned land in present-day downtown.
During the 1830s and 1840s, Cumming benefited from the gold mining industry as many businesses were created to meet the needs of the miners. However, the California Gold Rush in 1849 put the city into an economic depression. Newly built railroads bypassed the city and took traffic from the Federal Road that ran near Cumming. The city was spared during the Civil War because William T. Sherman did not pass through the city during his March to the Sea. In 1900, the county courthouse was destroyed in a fire; it was rebuilt in 1905.
1912 racial conflict
In 1912, Governor Joseph M. Brown sent four companies of state militia to Cumming to prevent riots after several rapes of young white women allegedly by African-American men.
Ellen Grice was assaulted on Wednesday, September 4, 1912. Tony Howell was charged with "Assault with intent to Rape" (Book 4 p. 391). After several adjournments, the case was "nol prossed". Howell continued to live in Forsyth County until the 1940s, when according to a neighbor he moved to Alpharetta to reside with his daughter.
Mae Crow was assaulted on Sunday, September 8, 1912. She died Monday, September 23, 1912. Rob Edwards was indicted for the rape of Mae Crow. On Tuesday, September 10, 1912, Edwards was shot, dragged from the Cumming jail and hung up on the telephone pole at the intersection of Main Street and Tribble Gap Road (the northwest corner of the Square). The coroner's inquest held Wednesday, September 18, 1912, found the cause of death to be a gunshot.— Donna Parrish, Shadow of 1912
The governor then declared martial law, but the effort did little to stop a month-long barrage of attacks by night riders on the African-American citizens. This led to the banishment of Blacks, and the city had virtually no black population (see sundown town).
Racial tensions were strained again in 1987 when a group of black people were assaulted while camping at a park on Lake Lanier. This was widely reported by local newspapers and in Atlanta. As a result of this a local businessman[who?] decided to hold a "Peace March" the following week. Civil rights leader the Reverend Hosea Williams joined the local businessman in a march along Bethelview and Castleberry Road in south Forsyth County into the City of Cumming, where they were assaulted by whites. The marchers retreated and vowed to return. During the following "Brotherhood March" on January 24, 1987, another racially mixed group returned to Forsyth County to complete the march the previous group had been unable to finish. March organizers estimated the number at 20,000, while police estimates ran from 12–14,000. Hosea Williams and former senator Gary Hart were in the demonstration. A group of the National Guard kept the opposition of about 1,000 in check. Oprah Winfrey featured Cumming and Forsyth County on her Oprah Winfrey Show. She formed a town hall meeting where one audience member said:
I'm afraid of [blacks] coming to Forsyth County. I was born in Atlanta, and in 1963, the first blacks were bussed to West Fulton High School. I go down there now and I see my neighborhood and my community, which was a nice community, and now it's nothing but a rat-infested slum area because they don't care.
However, most of the audience members agreed that Forsyth County should integrate. Rev. Hosea Williams was excluded from Oprah's show and arrested for trespassing.
Today, the city is experiencing new growth and bears little resemblance to the small rural town it was mere decades ago. The completion of Georgia 400 has helped turn Cumming into a commuter town for metropolitan Atlanta. The city holds the Cumming Country Fair & Festival every October. The Sawnee Mountain Preserve provides views of the city from the top of Sawnee Mountain. In 1956, Buford Dam, along the Chattahoochee River, started operating. The reservoir that it created is called Lake Lanier. The lake, a popular spot for boaters, has generated income from tourists for Cumming as well as provides a source of drinking water. However, because of rapid growth of the Atlanta area, drought, and mishandling of a stream gauge, Lake Lanier has seen record-low water levels. Moreover, the lake is involved in a longstanding lawsuit between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Because of a recent ruling, the city may not be able to withdraw its water. However, the city is looking into different sources of water such as wells and various creeks.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Cumming has a total area of 6.1 square miles (15.9 km2), of which 6.1 square miles (15.8 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.58%, is water.
Cumming is a municipal corporation; since 1845 it has been governed by a mayor and a five-member city council. The mayor and council members serve staggered four-year terms.
On December 22, 1834, Cumming was officially incorporated and five councilmen were appointed: John Jolly, William Martin, Daniel McCoy, John H. Russell, and Daniel Smith. The town of Cumming's charter was revised on December 22, 1845, resulting in new councilmen William F. Foster, Arthur Irwin, Major J. Lewis, Henry L. Sims, and Noah Strong.
House Bill 334 was enacted on October 10, 1885, giving Cumming a mayor and five-person city council.
Former mayor H. Ford Gravitt was first elected to the city council in 1966, and went on to be elected mayor in 1970. Gravitt was mayor of Cumming for 48 years before losing to rival candidate and current mayor Troy Brumbalow, who has held the office since January 2018.
|Post 1||Chad Crane||2018–2021|
|Post 2||Jason Evans||2018–2021|
|Post 3||Lewis Ledbetter||1971–2019|
|Post 4||Linda Ledbetter||2016–2019|
|Post 5||Christopher Light||2016–2019|
Previous city council members
- Rupert Sexton, 1970–2015 (Post 1; mayor pro tem)
- John D. Pugh, 1993–2016 (Post 5)
- Quincy Holton, 1969–2017 (Post 2)
- Dot Otwell, 1956–1957
- Charles Welch, 1972–1986
- Chuck Welch, 2015–2017 (Post 1)
- Ralph Perry, 1979–2016 (Post 4)
- Kenneth J. Vanderhoff, 1987–1990
Many historical records have been destroyed in fires, leaving some information unavailable or unverifiable.
- W. W. Pirkle (possible)
- T. J. Pirkle (possible)
- E. F. Smith (possible)
- Charles Leon Harris, term dates unknown (also Forsyth County School Superintendent, 1912–1916)
- Alman Gwinn Hockenhull, term dates unknown (also Cumming Postmaster, 1913–1922)
- Enoch Wesley Mashburn, 1913–?
- Marcus Mashburn Sr., 1917; 1961–1966
- Joseph Gaither Puett, 1918–1919
- Henry Lowndes "Snacks" Patterson, 1920–1921 (also Georgia General Assembly representative, 1884–1885; Commissioner of Public Instruction, 1892–1910; Blue Ridge Circuit Court judge, 1912–1917)
- John Dickerson Black, 1922–1923 (also Georgia General Assembly representative, 1933–1936)
- Andrew Benjamin "Ben" Tollison, 1926–1927 (also Forsyth County School Superintendent, 1920–1932)
- Roy Pilgrim Otwell, 1928–1956; 1959–1960
- Marcus Mashburn Jr., 1957–1958
- George Ingram, 1966–1970
- H. Ford Gravitt, 1970–2018
Pedestrians and cycling
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,430 people, 1,893 households (of which 57.1% were families), and 1,081 families residing in the city. The population density was 787.0 people per square mile (276.6/km²). There were 2,037 housing units at an average density of 295.2 per square mile (98.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.6% White, 31.4% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 16.9% from other races, 2.9% Black, 1.7% from two or more races, 1.4% Asian and 0.5% Native American.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,118, and the median income for a family was $48,947. Full-time, year-round male workers had a median income of $35,402 versus $31,892 for similarly situated females. The per capita income for the city was $18,326. About 27.9% of families and 22.0% of the adult population were below the poverty line.
Cumming is served by Forsyth County Schools. The following schools are located in the county:
- Big Creek Elementary
- Brandywine Elementary
- Brookwood Elementary
- Chattahoochee Elementary
- Coal Mountain Elementary
- Cumming Elementary
- Daves Creek Elementary
- Haw Creek Elementary
- John's Creek Elementary
- Kelly Mill Elementary
- Mashburn Elementary
- Matt Elementary
- Midway Elementary
- Sawnee Elementary
- Settles Bridge Elementary
- Sharon Elementary
- Shiloh Point Elementary
- Silver City Elementary
- Vickery Creek Elementary
- Whitlow Elementary
- Veritas Classical Schools
- DeSana Middle
- Liberty Middle
- Little Mill Middle
- North Forsyth Middle
- Otwell Middle
- Piney Grove Middle
- South Forsyth Middle
- Vickery Creek Middle
- Riverwatch Middle
- Lakeside Middle
- (https://www.pinecrestacademy.org/ Pinecrest Academy High School)
- Forsyth Central High School
- Lambert High School
- North Forsyth High School
- South Forsyth High School
- West Forsyth High School
- iAchieve Virtual Academy
- Alliance Academy for Innovation
- Denmark High School
- Pendleton Brown, famed fountain pen nibmeister
- Zac Brown, leader of the Grammy-winning Zac Brown Band, was born in Cumming
- The town of Cumming (incorporated 1834) is named in honor of Col. William Cumming, distinguished officer in the War of 1812
- Skyler Day, actress born in Cumming
- Luke Appling, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player
- Geoff Duncan, businessman and Lieutenant Governor of Georgia since 2019
- Kelli Giddish, actress born in Cumming
- Ethan Hankins, Cleveland Indians baseball player
- Billy Magnussen, Tony Award nominated actor
- Gene Ray, creator of Time Cube
- Ron Reis, former World Championship Wrestling wrestler also known as The Yeti, lives in Cumming
- Junior Samples, comedian on the TV show Hee Haw
- Glenn Sutko, former catcher for the Cincinnati Reds
- Hasher Jallel Taheb Muslim jihadist arrested for planning multi-faceted attack on the White House
- Roger L. Worsley, college administrator, formerly resided in Cumming
In popular culture
- American Reunion was partially filmed in Cumming at Mary Alice Park.
- "City of Cumming, Ga "Gateway to Leisure Living"". Cityofcumming.net. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "2018 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Feb 12, 2020.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 4, 2019.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-11-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "New Georgia Encyclopedia: Cumming". Georgiaencyclopedia.org. 2006-06-22. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "Cumming GA History". Cumming.com. 1956-02-01. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "Georgia Counties by Date of Creation". Georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "Administration". City of Cumming. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- Krakow, Kenneth K. (1975). Georgia Place-Names: Their History and Origins (PDF). Macon, GA: Winship Press. p. 55. ISBN 0-915430-00-2.
- Whitmire, Kelly (25 Jan 2019). "What's in a name? Historian talks about where road, area names originated in Cumming, Forsyth County". Forsyth News. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- "Forsyth County GA 1912". Donnaparrish.com. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "1912 September and October". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Archived from the original on 2011-01-02. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "Memorable Guests". Oprah.com. 2006-01-01. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- Atlanta Business Chronicle - by Dave Williams (2009-07-17). "Federal Court ruling on Lake Lanier goes against Georgia | Atlanta Business Chronicle". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "The Forsyth County News Archive". Forsythnews.com. 2010-10-08. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001), Cumming city, Georgia". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- Barrett, Gladyse K. (1993). Historical Account of Cumming.
- Estep, Tyler (November 10, 2017). "This Georgia mayor has served for 47 years. Meet the man who beat him". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- Sturgeon, Kathleen (November 6, 2015). "Linda Ledbetter, Christopher Light win Cumming Council elections". North Forsyth. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- Torpy, Bill (January 23, 2015). "Something crazy in the water in Cumming". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- "Service Delivery Strategy Manual for the City of Cumming" (PDF). May 4, 1998. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- "Linda Ledbetter, Christopher Light elected to Cumming City Council". Forsyth County News. November 3, 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
- McNulty, Timothy J. (January 25, 1987). "Civil Rights Throng Marches in Georgia". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
"We're just the battleground for these two forces," said Charles Welch, a member of the Cumming City Council for 14 years. He and others seemed perplexed that suddenly their county was in the glare of national attention, and they tried to analyze what it meant.
- Bramblett, Annette S. (March 1, 1999). Forsyth County: An Album from the Garland Bagley Collection. Arcadia. ISBN 9780752404196.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Skyler Day (Maggie from Gigantic) Interview!". TeenNick. November 17, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
- "Truth is cubic?", by Kate Duffy,The Phoenix, Swarthmore College, September 19, 2002. Archived by the Internet Archive, archive copy retrieved July 25, 2010.
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