Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Moses Formwalt, 1820 - 1852

Moses Formwalt was the first mayor of the City of Atlanta.  He was born in Tennessee in 1820, moved to Decatur, Georgia about 1836, and opened a tin shop, where his bestselling product was stills.  He was elected the first mayor of Atlanta (formerly Marthasville) in January 1848, representing the Free & Rowdy Party.  The Rowdies were opposed by the Moral Party, which advocated temperance and chastity.  Many of the Rowdies were operators of brothels, bars and distilleries, lucrative businesses in what was then just a rough town on the railroad line. 

The city council met at Jonas Smith's store (in what is now Five Points) and during his term, roads were dug, a jail built and some form of law and order established.  He was just 28 when he was elected and served for a year.  Two years later, Formwalt was Deputy Sheriff of DeKalb County, when he was stabbed to death by a prisoner he was escorting to jail. 

He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in downtown Atlanta, where this monument was later erected to his memory.  There is also a Formwalt Street near the cemetery.

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