Albert Suggs: Proud Citizen of Collierville

Article and graphic submitted by Carole (Suggs) Bender

Albert Suggs was born on May 29, 1846 in Early County, Georgia, the son of a merchant, Johnathan Thomas Suggs and his wife, Anne Eliza Dunn.  After serving in the Confederate Army in Georgia, Albert returned home to Fort Gaines, setting up his law practice there.  By 1869, he felt the need for a fresh start, and he boarded a train bound for Memphis.  In a beautiful calligraphic hand, he sent long letters to the sweetheart he left behind, Georgia Burtz, describing the beauty of the terrain in incredibly poetic language.  By the time he made it to Memphis in 1870, he knew he’d found his permanent home when he visited Collierville.  He set up his law practice on the town square and built a home for his new bride, Georgia, at what is currently 163 South Street. 

Albert’s most noted (and probably first) official act for the town of Collierville was to write the Town Charter in 1870.  The rest of his legal career was spent writing deeds, contracts and wills and conducting auctions for the citizens of Collierville.  A receipt for a deed he wrote between W.H. McGinnis and T.J. Mills shows that Mr. Suggs was paid the princely sum of $3.50.  Lawyers in those days may not have gotten rich, but their services were no less important to a thriving community. 

He was active in the local Democratic party, serving on the committee representing “country” for the 1874 Bartlett Convention in Memphis that prepared for the Fall elections.  He was nominated for criminal court judge in 1876.  He was well known for his eloquent speaking, especially at events for the Collierville Masonic Lodge #152.  He was an active lifelong member, serving at different times as secretary, officer and finally as Senior Warden in 1880.

Albert and his wife both died young when a flu epidemic swept through the area - she in 1900 and he in 1901.  

He was devoted to Collierville, serving it in every way he could until his death, and he raised a family that always felt the same way. His son, Albert Thomas Suggs (also a lawyer) married Ethel May Alexander soon after his parents' deaths and took on the task of raising his younger siblings in addition to the six children he and his wife had.  Members of the Suggs family occupied the home Albert Suggs built and were vibrant members of the community until 1983, when they sold the property to the City, and it became Suggs Park.  

Albert Suggs is buried in Magnolia Cemetery along with many other members of the Suggs family.