The Old Magnolia Cemetery
(Known as the Flipper Cemetery)
• Henry Ossian Flipper, son of Festus and Isabella Flipper began his life March 21, 1856, in Tomasville, GA as a slave. Flipper’s father was a cobbler and carriage trimmer, who was owned by the slave dealer Ephraim Ponder. Ponder allowed Festus to earn money for his work, which eventually gave him the means to loan Ponder the money to buy his wife and son from Rev. Reuben H. Lucky, a Methodist Minister.
At the age of 21, Flipper became the first black graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In July 1877, he was assigned to the 10th U.S. Cavalry, one of two black cavalry regiments organized aſter the Civil War.
In the fall of 1880, Flipper was court-martialed for embezzlement of commissary funds and for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Flipper pled not guilty to both charges, but was still convicted of the latter charge for making a false statement and signing false financial records. Tis conviction carried with it an automatic sentence of dismissal from the army.
In 1976, the Department of the Army granted Flipper an honorable discharge retroactive to 1882. In 1978, Flipper’s remains were reinterred in the Old Magnolia Cemetery in Tomasville.
In 1998, Tomasville’s newest post office was named Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper Station during a dedication ceremony which was attended by dignitaries from West Point and the U.S. Army Inspector General.
• Dr. William Mosley was a medical doctor who maintained a small family practice in Tomasville that began in 1913 and lasted into the 1930s.
Lt. Flipper’s 1978 re-interment Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper
Lt. Henry Ossian Flipper
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