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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Family heritage and landownership by African Americans in Fulton County

Duke describes briefly his family's history and property ownership in the Fulton County, Georgia, area dating back to the Civil War. As Duke explains, following the Civil War, an African American family gained access to a large tract of land in the area (an unusual 200 to 300 acres), which they held onto well into the twentieth century. Around 1960, Duke offered legal aid to descendants of the Shropshire family, at which point he acquired one fourth of the land.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Daniel Duke, August 22, 1990. Interview A-0366. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DANIEL DUKE:
Properties that my great-grandfather owned . . . he was what they called a hard-shelled Baptist preacher. The old home sits over yonder on the corner of Fayette County, now Fulton County, and Coweta County.
JOHN EGERTON:
And it's still there, the house?
DANIEL DUKE:
The old house has been patched up and all that and the road runs right close to it now because at one time the old Campbell County which was merged with Fulton County, the three counties converged there and part of the house was in each county. Somewhere and I don't know exactly when they moved the county line about 300 feet South so now the old house sits in a place. There's a burial ground up there where they use rocks or cedar trees for the markers. There are a few people left in there. There was a little old fence around it. I've been over there.
JOHN EGERTON:
Are some of your people buried there?
DANIEL DUKE:
Yes, some of them. There was a family, my grandmother's mother was named Head. There's some Heads way back in here now. I don't know them. My father was named Waymond Head Duke.
JOHN EGERTON:
This is your growing up place.
DANIEL DUKE:
This was part of the property. Now, after the Civil War a family of black people named Shropshire, pretty smart people, came into this part. I don't know exactly where they came from, I understand it might have been down around what is now Henry County, back in there. These black people, one or two of them were bright, articulate enough to be able to . . . They bought two or three hundred acres right in here. This is part of it. The Shropshire people, some of their names appear in the deed records here. Old man Shropshire, I think it was Otis Shropshire, died and he left two or three children. I know when I acquired this land afterwards I had to get a quit claim deed from Mrs. Gray who was a Shropshire, she was a very old woman, to state that her father after his wife died never remarried. When checking the title they wanted to know if he remarried because somebody would have been entitled to part of it when they administered the estate because he died intestate. So, I didn't need but one affidavit even though there were three or four of them. She said he was a very old man and she and her husband lived in his household until he died. He never remarried. That satisfied it. I put it on record over at Fayette County and it helped a lot of other people. The people across the road and up there. There were four pieces of it and I got a fourth of it. I came into possession of this property in this manner.