I can’t remember how I stumbled across the Old Marietta Facebook page months ago, but I was quickly fascinated by the wealth of historical photos [over 8,000 of them] and information about the area where my mother was born. My Butler and Hasty ancestors are from the Marietta Georgia area, and so it has great significance for me. The man who runs the page, Davis McCollum, has deep roots in Cobb County – back 6 generations or more. His family trees include names like Stanley, Dobbs, Durham – all longtime residents of the area. His Ancestry.com family trees have more than 600,000 names.
Davis: “Stanley Road in Kennesaw is named after my Great Great Grandfather and his farm was what is now "The Overlook" at Marietta Country Club and Barrett Green subdivisions.”
Davis is a true Renaissance man, a native son who loves building projects (he is a real estate and marketing professional), history, historic photos, historic preservation, and much more. Davis’ passion for the past extends to the present. He hates to see historic homes demolished (not documented) in the name of unplanned progress. He was actively involved in the effort to save the Acworth Depot. He has also been on the Board of Directors of The Marietta Museum of History, the Georgia Historical Society, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, Georgia Genealogical Society, Sons of the American Revolution, Alpharetta and Old Milton County Historical Society. He was also honored in January 2014 by the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society for his contributions.
It didn’t take too much digging to determine that Davis and I are cousins, through my great great grandmother Nannie Putnam Phillips, whose sister Joanna married William McCollum. I found that out by looking at a website called Find a Grave, and Davis has his own page there – and more than 284 messages have been left on his page.
Davis got started doing genealogy research about ten years ago, after his mother passed away. As he explains, “It started just after my mother died. I got into the family history after looking at the family bible. That family bible went all the way back to England.”
He explains further, “It continued by me going to Facebook and seeing a blog where everyone was talking about Marietta.”
After Davis started his own Facebook page in 2010, things really got busy. The page now has over 10,000 likes and 4-5,000 visits daily. “It’s a resource now for anyone researching Marietta and Cobb history,” he explains. “The Marietta Daily Journal and several private entities have contacted me many times about using my photos.” There are 35 different albums and more than 5,000 photos.
Davis is related to not only me, but some famous folks, too, like Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson and former Secretary of State Dean Rusk. He likes speaking to groups, and enjoys particularly speaking for and meeting senior citizens. At one speaking engagement he was able to prove that most of the audience was related to him, one way or another.
Davis is not just my cousin he’s one of the most interesting guys I’ve ever met.
What is your full name?
Davis Eugene McCollum [for a long time he wouldn’t reveal what the “E” stands for but he was named after his mother’s father Ernest Eugene “Hop” Dobbs – “That’s where I connect with Maynard Jackson, through the Dobbs family.”
Where would you live, if you could live anywhere in the world?
St. Simon’s Island Georgia. My uncle had a house down there. That’s where we went on vacation every summer.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Cold Mountain. It relates to my 2nd great grandfather William Pickens Stanley. He walked home to Kennesaw after the Civil War. Stanley rd in Kennesaw is named after him and ironically, my brother lives on Stanley Rd. now.
What was your least-favorite subject in school when you were a kid?
Science, never could get into it.
What was your nickname when you were a kid?
Bugsy – my cousin gave it to me, years ago, after I made a remark about Bugsy Siegal, the gangster.
Do you believe in God?
Yes. I was born a Baptist and all the pretty girls were Methodist, so I’ve been to both churches.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound of a creek running
If you could do anything other than what you do, as a profession, what would it be?
If heaven exists, what do you think it is like?
The Augusta National [where the master’s tournament is played]
Do you have siblings?
I have a brother and sister
What is your favorite memory of childhood [something specific]?
Going out to the family reunions at Old Marietta Campground. The Stanley family, the McCollums and the Walkers, every year there would be 200+ family members, all weekend. There’s a photo of me at 1 year old, on the lap of Mrs. Rusk, mother of Dean Rusk, who was born in Cherokee County. He’s part of the Stanley family, a cousin.
If you had to choose between one week traveling around the USA by car, or one week traveling around Europe on a train, which would you choose and why?
Europe by train because I want to go to the homeland, Scotland. My McCollum ancestors are from Argyll.
What inspires you?
Being successful – not just professionally, but personally, at all sorts of things - finishing a meal, closing a deal, finding a grave – whatever it entails.
Which holiday do you prefer, Christmas or July 4th?
I would say Christmas. I like July 4th because of weather but Christmas – too many memories there..
What project or idea are you most passionate about, right now?
Development, building, construction. Personally, my work in genealogy and history, what I’ve accomplished in ten short years.. When I’m dead and gone that will be my legacy, more than any warehouse I’ve built.
Do you know how to cook?
Yes, I love to cook local meats and create dishes – pastas, goulashes .
What is your favorite thing to cook/eat? Crawfish.
If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world, for 2-4 weeks, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Probably County Galway Scotland, just to tour the homeland
Who do you love the most in the world?
My dad. He’s 84 years old.
What question has nobody ever asked you, but you wanted to answer?
Would you like them in large or small bills?
Marietta Fire Department - Testing the new fire equipment on the highest structure - Marietta Court House - 1916 [this is from the Old Marietta website]
Mrs. Nancy Stanley Rusk (1873-1962) The Stanley Reunion at Old Marietta Campground in 1960
Davis, brother Andy McCollum and sister Angie McCollum Durham
The Stanley Reunion – 1962 – Old Marietta Campground