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Milledgeville's African American Physicans

Dr. Benjamin Judson Simmons
Practiced 1897 -1910

     Dr. Benjamin Judson Simmons, Milledgeville's first African American physican, was born in Laurens County, Ga.  October 16, 1870. His education was largely the result of his own efforts.  He attended  public schools in  Laurens County, working the farm during vacations.  He attended Ballard's Normal school in Macon and the Georgia State Industrial school at Savannah. He graduated from the Meharry Medical college, Nashville, Tenn., in 1893, taking first prize in anatomy. Successfully passing the Georgia state board of examiners in 1897, he began the practice of medicine in Milledgeville the same year.
        In 1900 Dr. Simmons was boarding with Rev. Carl Brighthart of Flagg Chapel Baptist Church and living next door to Alonzo Slater, a  well known carpenter of the town.  He fell in love with his 20 year old daughter Petronia,  and despite  parental objections, (they wanted their daughter to finish college in Virgina ), Dr. Simmons married  Petronia, June 26, 1901.   They were blessed with children  Benjamin, James Slater, Doris Beatrice, and Phillip.
       Sucessful and recognized as a fine physican by his patients and the local doctors,  he had a good practice in Milledgeville until he had an operation in 1907 which prevented him from pratice and died, age 40,  on January 7, 1910. He and his family, except for James Slater Simmons, are buried at  Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Ga. James Slater Simmons became a doctor, praticed in North Carolina and died in North Carolina, age 97 in 2002.

Sources: Atlanta Constitution, The Union-Recorder; census records,,

Eileen Babb McAdams copyright 2005