Bell Research Center
Center for the Study of History and Migration Trail Genealogy
Located in the Historic Cumming School
Col. Lovick Pierce Thomas
In 2012, the Bell Research Center acquired the Civil War and Post-War Collection of Col. Lovick Pierce Thomas of the 42nd Georgia Infantry. The collection, which is centered around a scrapbook compiled by two of his daughters, was secured from a rare documents dealer in Williamsburg, Virginia. The collection of 91 items includes original letters, military orders, photos, and rare Confederate reunion items. It includes original signed documents by important men of the time, including Gov. Joseph E. Brown, Atlanta newspaperman Henry Grady, Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon, and Confederate Generals John B. Gordon and James Longstreet. One of the original Orders of Surrender from Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and the subsequent Terms of Surrender from Gen. W.T. Sherman are part of this collection.
Lovick Pierce Thomas, Jr. grew up in Gwinnett County. He participated in the 49er Gold Rush, but returned to Lawrenceville in 1856 and set up a mercantile business on the town square. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lovick organized the “Gwinnett Beauregards” and was elected captain.
His company was part of the 42nd Georgia in Stovall’s Brigade, along with companies from DeKalb, Fulton, Milton, Newton, and Walton counties. The 42nd fought in 22 battles for the Army of Tennessee. It covered the retreat of the Confederate Army at both the battles of Champion Hill and Franklin. It lost 130 men in a fierce assault at Resaca and provided one of the few Confederate highlights in the Battle of Atlanta with the capture of the DeGress Battery.
Thomas was promoted from captain to colonel during the war. He took command of the regiment at Resaca. Col. Thomas and the men of the 42nd were present at the final surrender of the Army of Tennessee in North Carolina in April 1865. After the war, he moved to Atlanta and became a leading figure in civic and veteran affairs. He was sheriff of Fulton County, an elected member of the City Council, and commander of the Atlanta United Confederate Veterans. Lovick was married twice and had twelve children. He died in 1910, at the age 75, and is buried at Oakland Cemetery
Bell Center Open House
Below we have a collection of photographs taken February 2013 for the Bell Center Open House.