Gabriel Toombs (1813-1901) was the
father of Sarah Richardson Toombs (1856-1953),
who married Thomas Edward Fortson (1848-1931).


Death Was the Result of a Stroke of


Deceased Was a Brother of the Late
General Robert Toombs and
Was One of the Most
Prominent Citizens
of Wilkes.

Washington, Ga., November 30 [1901].—(Special.)—Gabriel Toombs, 88 years old, and one of the most prominent citizens of this place, died at his home here at an early hour this morning.

Mr. Toombs was stricken on Monday last with paralysis and from that time until the end came he remained in an unconscious state.

The funeral service will be held in the Methodist church here tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock. The body will be laid beside that of his brother, the late General Robert Toombs, in the Washington cemetery.

A Sketch of His Life.

In the death of Gabriel Toombs, brother of the illustrious Robert, there passes from the world the last of a family which has left its imprint upon the state’s history. There were three brothers—James, Robert and Gabriel—and one sister. Gabriel, the subject of this sketch, was the youngest and was the peer and equal of his brilliant brother, the general, in every respect except robustness of constitution. In physique and personal appearance he was not unlike Alexander Stephens

When quite an immature lad he was compelled to leave college on account of ill health. He was sent by his parents to Baltimore to consult the highest medical authority at that time in the United States. His physician gave him no encouragement whatever and added that, if he wished to see his friends again he must lose no time in hastening back to them. That was seventy years ago. This same delicate youth lived to be 89 years old, and to fulfill the highest destiny bequeathed by God to man—that of an honored citizen, an unswerving Christian and a pure, unspotted name.

His long life was [here was a blurred word that cannot be read] to constant obedience to the laws of nature and health; his habits were regular, he rarely ever took medicine, and never indulged to excess any harmful appetite. Up to the day of his death his mind was clear, he attended to all of his business affairs, attended church regularly, and took his daily walk or drive.

On last Sunday he attended the Presbyterian church to witness the installation of a new minister. He asked the choir to sing “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” to the tune of “Old Hundred,” saying he hoped it would be the last thing he heard on earth and the first in heaven.

On account of his weak constitution Mr. Toombs gave up all thought of a professional career and followed the south’s leading industry, cotton planting. He was the owner of many slaves, and of large landed estates, both in Wilkes county and in south Georgia, near Columbus. Before the war he counted his cotton bales by the thousand, and when the great crash came he never lost his balance, as did so many of his fellows, but with a shrewdness for which he was unequaled quickly shifted his methods to suit the changed conditions, and went on planting cotton and making money.

No greater contrast ever existed between two brothers than that between General Robert Toombs and his brother Gabriel. The one possessing great physical strength, aggressive brilliancy and audacity, while the other, frail and delicate, held the “divine spark” in his soul only for those nearest and dearest to him. Mr. Gabriel Toombs was, so to speak, the power behind the throne in all of General Toombs’ movement, that is, so far as any power on earth could control the movements of one so impulsive and spontaneous as General Toombs. The older brother always consulted the younger in politics, finance and business, saying that his judgment was as unerring as instinct. Mr. Gabriel Toombs told the writer of this sketch that during the whole of his experience in agriculture, as a cotton planter before the war and a landlord since, he had never lost a year’s income but once, and that was due to a fatal drought.

Mr. Toombs was born in 1813 on the old Toombs place in Wilkes county, near Washington. This place has never passed out of the family, but belongs to Mr. Toombs’ estate at present. Here are the graves of four generations.

Mr. Toombs’ father was Robert Toombs, an officer in the revolution, and his grandfather was Gabriel Toombs, an officer under Braddock. His mother was Catherine Huling, of Wilkes county.

Toombs (or Tombs), the original emigrant, was a follower of Charles II, and fled to this country on the rise of Cromwell. He settled in Virginia, as did all the cavaliers, and his descendants came to Georgia about the close of the revolution.

Mr. Gabriel Toombs married at the age of 26, Miss Mary Richardson, of Elbert county. She was an aunt of Mrs. Samuel Lumpkin, of Atlanta. Mary Richardson was one of the most beautiful women of her day, and retained her beauty to the day of her death. The daughters of this union inherited a rare beauty and charm of manner, which seems destined to be transmitted indefinitely to posterity. Mrs. Henry B. Tompkins and Miss Cora Toombs, of Atlanta, are granddaughters, and representative types of the house. Mr. Toombs’ daughters are Mrs. F. H. Colley, Mrs. Thomas E. Fortson, Mrs. S. R. Palmer and the late Mrs. Samuel Hardeman. They were all famous belles and beauties of a generation ago.

Mr. Toombs also leaves three sons, Judge William H. Toombs, Robert Toombs and Augustus Toombs. The last two are unmarried. Judge Toombs is a leading citizen of Washington, a lawyer of high standing, and judge of the city court. Mr. Toombs leaves twenty grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Mr. Frank Hardeman, of Athens, is a grandson, also Gabriel T. Palmer and Blanton Fortson, of Atlanta; Miss Kathleen Colley, of Atlanta, and Miss Marion Colley, of Washington, are granddaughters. 

                                                                                                          MRS. T. M. GREEN.


The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia., Sunday, 1 Dec 1901, p. 7, cols. 4-5, with obvious typographical errors having been corrected, available on