Kossuth's Visit to Atlanta
September 19th, 2011
Written and Researched by Ron Feigenblatt
Originally posted on Atlanta Hungarian Meetup Group website on September 18, 2011
Link to original post - http://www.meetup.com/atlantahungarian/messages/boards/thread/15988682/0...
K O S S U T H ' S V I S I T T O A T L A N T A
You are probably aware that Kossuth Lajos was lionized in the United States in his day, and made an extensive tour of it in 1852.
His Cook's Tour included stops in Cleveland (something of an immigration prophesy) and a very rustic town in Georgia, then recently renamed Atlanta. A story which includes the visit of Kossuth to Atlanta is recorded in History of Atlanta, Georgia: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers, Wallace Putnam Reed, editor (D. Mason & co., 1889). (Link to book - http://books.google.com/books?id=IpgO3_OF724C)
It reads in part so:
Colonel D. N. Sloan, one of Atlanta's old and enterprising citizens, came to the place in the year 1850... he [had] left his home in South Carolina with the determination to see at least a part of the country. His money was stolen from him on his way to Macon, Ga., and when he reached Macon he was destitute of funds. Consequently he had to go to work. Through a friend in Macon he obtained letters of recommendation to Mr. Emerson Foote, superintendent of the Macon and Western Railroad, and president at that time of the Macon and Western Telegraph Line. Thus Mr. Sloan obtained a position as telegraph operator at the station in Atlanta, and was the first telegraph operator Atlanta ever had.
...Atlanta was a country town, and almost every one had his or her garden of potatoes, onions or other vegetables... Nearly everybody kept their own cows... The cows were allowed perfect liberty to graze where they pleased, and so were the hogs, which were owned by many of the citizens... At the time Mr. Sloan lived here Mr. Jonathan Norcross was mayor; there was a council, but it met when it pleased, and made laws at random.
...General Kossuth, the noted Hungarian patriot, was at that time visiting the United States, and with a large body of soldiery passed through Atlanta, on his way to Savannah. He went into Mr. Sloan's office for the purpose of sending a telegram to Savannah. Mr. Sloan asked him for the money for the telegram, whereupon he replied that he was not in the habit of paying for telegrams, and told him, in very emphatic terms, who he was. Mr. Sloan replied that he had no instructions not to charge the general, whereupon the Hungarian became very angry, but paid the bill.
Atlanta has changed not a little since 1852, so it is unreasonable to expect that the telegraph office of that time still stands. On the other hand, perhaps a little detective work could reveal where it stood. That location might make a good place for a group photo, followed by a lecture on Kossuth at some reasonably nearby facility. It appears that Kossuth's visits to the Georgia towns of LaGrange, Atlanta and Augusta took place during April 7-9, 1852. Thus, it might be fun to schedule an event next April, near the 160th anniversary of the visit. (I wish I could explain why Sloan is quoted as stating that Kossuth was on his way to Savannah, whereas other sources implicitly deny he ever went there - perhaps a reply to his Atlanta telegram made him change his plans.)
Attached map of Kossuth's Trip - http://clevelandmemory.org/Hungarians/pg082bi.htm