Sunday, May 10, 2009

GEORGE LINDER, GENTLEMAN

GEORGE LINDER,
Gentleman


George Linder, born into slavery, grew up in Laurens County in the last three decades of the pre Civil War South. Over the next eighty years or so, George Linder, through his determination to learn and his dedication to hard work, rose to become one of the most respected men in 19th century Laurens County. In the process, he established at least three churches and served as Laurens County's only Black legislator. At the same time, Linder maintained a farm and raised and educated a large family.

George Linder was born in February of 1834. He grew up in the Buckeye District in the 1830s. George was probably named for George Linder, one of the original Linders who settled along the Milledgeville-Darien Road in the 1810s. He had at least one brother, Jerry, who was two years his junior. George's master named the boy after himself and saw to it that he had the best education available, teaching little George how to read and write. George Linder entered the ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Linder founded Strawberry A.M.E. Church, the oldest African-American church in Laurens County, in 1859 on the old Cooper Plantation. The church is still in existence on Country Club Road. During the second year of the Civil War, Rev. Linder and Ezekiel Pullen founded Mt. Pullen A.M.E. Church on the Wrightsville Road. The church was composed of former members of Boiling Springs Church. Seven years later, Revs. Linder and Pullen organized New Bethel A.M.E. Church on the Buckeye Road.

During the days of Reconstruction, the Republican Party and the Federal Government governed the state of Georgia. Rep. Linder was one of twenty four black representatives elected to the Georgia Legislature in 1868. They were not independent. They had a voice, but the Republican Party was controlled by a few white outsiders. Representative Linder was one of many A.M.E. Ministers in the Georgia Legislature. Of those whose occupations are known, eighty percent were A.M.E. ministers.

George Linder was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868. Linder was one of thirteen black men who served in the Constitutional Convention and Georgia Legislature. He was the only black man in our area to be elected. The closest others were Daniel Palmer of Washington County and Isaac Anderson of Houston County. Linder, known as "Uncle George Linder," was respected by both races in Laurens County. Rep. Linder and all of the other black Republicans were unseated on September 9, 1868. Rep. Linder was replaced by E.D. Barrett, who doesn't appear to have been from Laurens County. Racism was tearing Georgia apart. The Klu Klux Klan, was turning more violent, getting away from its original purpose of protecting white "victims" of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Each member was given one hour to speak before being expelled from their seats. George Linder, while not to the point of threatening war with the white population, said "Roust us from here and we will roust you!" Racial incidents, while few in number, broke out in the state. Some of Linder's colleagues were threatened with violence. One was killed and a few were injured. On October 22, 1869, Congress enacted the
Congressional Reorganization Act of 1869, through which Linder and the other black representatives were reseated. George Linder served the remainder of his term until the legislative election of 1870, when the Democratic party gained control.

George Linder was a family man. He married his first wife in the mid 1850s. Since census records did not enumerate slaves by first names, the first Mrs. Linder's name will probably never be known. She appears to have died in the mid to late 1870s. George and his first wife had at least six children, namely, Charlie, Annie, James A., William, Isabelle, and Martha. A seventh may have been George W. Linder. Rev. Linder married again in 1880 to Mary, who was twenty seven years younger than he. George and Mary had ten children, namely John W., David B., Sarah J., Hansel, Alice, Mary D., Thomas, Joseph, Kathi, and Etta M. Rev. Linder, like so many other farmer-preachers, always had a ready made group of field hands, who would go a long way to filling up the Church on Sundays. George and Mary made sure that their children received an education. Sarah was teaching school at the age of seventeen. John W. Linder was a successful physician in the city of Atlanta.

In 1874, Rev. Linder began to accumulate a large farm just above the old Blackshear Mill Pond. His good friend, David S. Blackshear, sold him forty six acres on Parrot's Creek, which fed the mill pond, now Ben Hall Lake. In 1883, Rev. Linder bought the home of David S. Blackshear, which was surrounded by seven hundred acres of land on the waters of Big Creek. Over the next twenty-five years, Linder purchased another five hundred acres or so. It appears that he had to sell most of his lands, either to pay the bills after bad crops years or to support his large family. In 1907, Rev. and Mrs. Linder moved to Dublin. He bought a house near the southwest corner of South Jefferson Street and Rowe Street. The house, 803 S. Jefferson Street, still stands and is currently owned by Carrie Moss.

Rev. Linder served the Lord until his death on the last day of January in 1915. When he died, he had only his home and a one hundred and nine acre farm in Buckeye. His property had to be sold to pay the debts of his estate. Much like another George, George Bailey of "It's a Wonderful Life," he was one of the richest men in Dublin. He was loved and respected by thousands. Rev. Linder is buried in the Linder Cemetery north of Ben Hall Lake. It is disappointing that Rev. Linder's grave remains unmarked - a woefully lacking tribute to a man who meant so much to his community - a man like, George Linder, Gentleman.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm the 6th generation of George Linder and I am soo very proud of my family history and to know that someone soo powerful made a difference in the community.

Donovan Linder said...

I think we may be related...My Linder heritage leads back to Dublin, GA. And this man's description highly favors my family as well.

Anonymous said...

email me if u are a Linder. lets get this grave marked. macqdor@gmail.com

Anthony Adams said...

My maternal great great grandfather was George Linder (Isabelle Linder married my great grandfather Cupid Wright

Anonymous said...

My grandmother, Viola Linder Stanley, father was Jerry Linder- George Linder's brother.

Keisha Stewart said...

Good afternoon! My great, great relative is a descendant from George Linder's son James (from) his first union. Anyone has any more info...

Anthony Adams said...

We were just in Dublin were my mother's first cousin had her home coming. Homie Knight ...Look in ANCESTRY.COM for my tree...

Anthony B Adams