My Georgia History

Amanda America Dickson

Augusta was home to one of the richest black lady’s in the Southeast.  Well, let me tell you her story.  The Dickson family was of the wealthy planter class   They lived in Hancock County and owned more land in the county than anyone else.  One day in February of 1849, David Dickson was out riding his horse, checking on his fields.  As he rode up to one field, he saw the slaves working.  Beside the field, were some of the slave children playing.  David Dickson recognized one of the young females playing there.  She belonged to his mother.  With purpose, he rode over to her, reached down, lifted her up, and sat her on the horse, behind his saddle, and then rode off.  As her family remembered, years later,  “and that was the end of that.”

The slave girl’s name was Julia Francis.  She was only 13 years old.  David at the time was 40.  Even though it was against the law,  David Dickson had sex with Julie.  She became pregnant and on November 20, 1849, Julia’s childhood ended, as she gave birth to a daughter.  Her name was Amanda America Dickson.  Unlike some other white father’s, who having mulatto children, gave them over to slavery, David Dickson didn’t.  David Dickson said that Amanda was his child.  David brought Amanda into the big house as a member of the family.  She stayed in Elizabeth Dickson’s room  Elizabeth, was David Dickson’s mother, and Amanda’s grandmother.  Julia, Amanda’s mother, worked in the kitchen.  Throughout her childhood, David enjoyed time with his daughter.  He wasn’t afraid, to tell people visiting him, Amanda was his.  Amanda grew up with love, money and great opportunities.

Amanda America Dickson, a mulatto child, grew up in her father’s home.  She was treated as a part of the family.  She learned to read and write.  Amanda even learned to play the piano.  After the Civil War, in 1865, Amanda America married her 29 year old, white cousin, Charles Eubanks.  Amanda left home in 1865, moving to a new plantation to live with her husband.  They had their first son, Julian Henry, in 1866 and their second son  Charles Green in 1870. On July 31, 1873, after only eight years of marriage Charles Eubanks died.  Twelve years later, in February 1885, David Dickson, died at the age of 76.  He was buried in the garden of the Dickson home in Hancock County.  Almost two weeks later on March 2, 1885, David Dickson’s will was read.  Her father had made Amanda and her children the largest property owners in Hancock County, Georgia.  The will warned that if any person contested the will, his or her legacy would be revoked. Instantly, however, 79 of David Dickson’s white relatives came forward, objecting to the will being admitted to probate.  This started a huge court case.  The Superior Court ruled in favor of David Dickson’s will in November of 1885.  The Georgia Supreme Court upheld that ruling on June 13, 1887.  On July 15, 1886, Amanda moved to Augusta, purchasing a large brick home at484 Telfair St. The cost was $6,098.  By the way, Amanda received in the will a little more than half a million dollars.  On July 14, 1892, Amanda married Nathan Toomer of Perry, Georgia.  They were only married about a year when Amanda America Dickson Toomer died on June 11, 1893.  She was only 43 years old when she was laid to rest, wearing her wedding dress.  Amanda was one of the great historical people of Augusta.  You can see her grave at Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Written by Mark Woodard

Research resources:

Woman of Color Daughter of Privilege. Leslie, Kent Anderson. The University of Georgia Press. (1995)

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