Golden, William A. (1826-1889)


Born a slave to slave parents on the plantation of R.M. Gaulden between McIn­tosh and Midway, where Dorchester Academy would later be situated. His wife was named Harriet, and she may have been related to Jonathan Gaulden, who died in 1853, be­cause the R.M. Gaulden plantation was owned by Jonathan Gaulden after 1850, and later by his son, William B. Gaulden, who inherited Millhaven Plantation, built by his father between Hinesville and Taylors Creek after he migrated from South Carolina to Liberty County after the Revolutionary War.


William B. Gaulden owned more than 100 slaves in 1860. He may have been aware that Harriet Golden was the daughter of R.M. Gaulden, because after the Civil War he deeded parts of the old R.M. Gaulden plantation to a few slaves who most likely were related in some way to William A. and Harriet Golden.


The U.S. Census of Liberty County for 1870 says that former slaves with the surname of Golden, probably a distortion of the surname Gaulden, living in Liberty County that year were Mack and Chloe Golden, and John Golden; Joe and Emily Golden, and Andrew and Joe Golden; Joseph and Peggy Golden, and Peggy, Jennie, Joe, and Charles Golden; Evans and Rose Golden, and Catherine Golden; Major and Phyllis Golden; Patience Golden, and Camille, Bell, Moses, Elisha, and Judy Golden; Jessie and Caroline Golden, and Patsy Golden; Patrick and Clarissa Golden, and Margaret, Chloe, John, and Ned Golden; Maria Golden, and William A. Golden, 57, and his wife, Harriet, 54. It says William A. Golden's property in 1870 was worth $200, while his personal possessions were worth $1,000. His occupation was listed as "Member State House of Represent­atives."


Since William B. Gaulden was a college graduate, attorney, and politician it is likely he encouraged William A. and Harriet Golden to become involved in education and politics after the Civil War. Both were responsible for found­ing a school for black persons in a one-room building on their land in 1868. He was a Liberty County delegate to the Geor­gia constitutional convention in 1867-1868, and a state representative for Liberty County in 1867-1870.


Although Reverend Floyd Snelson assumed a leadership in education and politics after he came to Liberty County in 1872, both William A. and Harriet Golden remained involved in educa­tion in the county for several years. There was undoubtedly some political rivalry between Reverend Snelson and William A. Golden after 1872. Reverend Snelson was active in Republican Party politics in Savannah, Georgia, and stories about his political activities often appeared in the Savannah Morning News, while the name of William A. Golden was not mentioned at all.


One biographer of  William A. Golden says he served as a janitor in the U.S. Customs House in Savannah, Georgia, during the latter part of his life. But he and his wife spent the last years of their life in their home on the old R.M. Gaulden plantation. Both are probably buried in unmarked graves in the Hutchinson Baptist Church cemetery near McIntosh. They most likely have descendents still residing in Liberty County.


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 217; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office



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