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Descendants want street in Roswell to keep ancestral name
by Joan Durbin
November 08, 2013 10:56 AM | 3110 views | 1 1 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
King, Bulloch, Smith, Etris, Hembree — the names of many of Roswell’s earliest families are well-known. Streets, historic homes and even a school bear tribute to them.

But one family that was also here for the city’s beginnings isn’t as high -profile. Although a street in one of the oldest parts of Roswell was named for Simon Fraser decades ago, the family’s name is misspelled on the sign as Frazier St.

“Whoever was in charge of putting up that sign, they were the wrong person for the job,” said Gary Fraser, great great grandson of Simon Fraser’s youngest son George. “In 1990, we tried to get the spelling changed, but it didn’t happen.”

Now Fraser’s descendants might see their ancestor’s name disappear from road maps entirely. With the imminent demolition of the low-income Frazier Street Apartments, Lennar Homes, the developer building new luxury apartments at the site, floated the idea of changing the street name to Forrest Street, which is what the street is called after it crosses Norcross Street.

“Sometime when it was platted in the ‘50s or ‘60s, there was a request to change it to Fraser,” said Clyde Stricklin, the city’s land development manager. That is apparently when the misspelled street sign went up.

Councilwoman Betty Price relayed the developer’s request for the city to consider the change, Stricklin said. “Our procedure calls for the city to get approval from property owners” on the street, he said.

Of the six people sent a petition for the change, three signed that they did not object, two did not want it to change, and the last one told Stricklin verbally that he was opposed to it. The split vote was enough to quash the idea for the time being.

Gary Fraser said he found out about the petition from a local historian. He attended a council committee meeting last week to apprise council members about his ancestor’s history with the city. Born in Scotland in 1801, Simon Fraser came to America with his parents at age 4. He grew up on one of his uncle’s plantations in Liberty County near Savannah, Ga.

Well-educated, Fraser moved to Roswell to work for Barrington King. Historical accounts show him as the manager of Roswell’s first store in 1839 and later the bookkeeper for Roswell Manufacturing.

Fraser, who remarried after his first wife died, had a total of 12 children. He is buried in the Old Roswell Cemetery on Woodstock Street.

Little more than a block long, Frazier Street has an ancient oak tree that Gary Fraser’s father told him marks the spot where Simon Fraser’s home used to be. The Fraser descendants would like to have the street renamed Simon Fraser Way.

Council members told Fraser, a Roswell resident, to float the Simon Fraser Way appellation past the affected property owners to see if he could get their assent.

“At the very least, we’d like to see it remain Frazier Street even with the spelling as is,” he said. “But the next thing is we’d like to get the spelling corrected. And if you’re going to put up a new sign, you might as well go all in and call it Simon Fraser Way.”

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