John M. Gunn House, 1853, Cuthbert

cuthbert ga john m gunn house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2012

Thanks to owner James Webb for identifying the house. One of the best-known in Cuthbert, it was built by Mr. Gunn for his new bride. It was later owned by the Brown family.

cuthbert ga gunn house photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2012

On a trip to Cuthbert in August 2018 I had the pleasure of meeting James Webb and getting a tour of the house.

James has been restoring this treasure, room by room, for several years.

The impressive scale of the house is evident in the rare 9 over 9 windows.

I enjoyed the wonderful view of the recently restored Randolph County Courthouse from the courtyard.

National Register of Historic Places

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19 Comments

Filed under --RANDOLPH COUNTY GA--, Cuthbert GA

19 responses to “John M. Gunn House, 1853, Cuthbert

  1. sherry jones

    Does anyone have information about the Hunt family who lived in Cuthbert during the time of the Gunn family and the Castellow family? My grandmother was Dorothy Hunt from Cuthbert who married Congressman Dan R. McGehee from Meadville, Mississippi.

  2. Sandra Missildine

    I remember the house well. Mrs. Glynn Lokey raised me. I remember when the house was apartments, and when Dr. George Patterson had his office there, also remember Boyd Patterson. The house was constantly needing repairs, to be expected as old as it was.

  3. Wade Finch

    My Mother Barbara A Finch own the home from 1990 to when I sold it after her death in 2001. Unfortunately the house came with Miss Brown who tricked my mother into letting her live in the back half of the ballroom\cooks kitchen. This prevented my mother from renovating that back half as Miss Brown was trying to extort more money from my mother to buy her out. This put the house in flux to get restored. My mother past before she ever gained the back half of the home. I had to force her daughter Patty into telling me that Miss Brown had past before I could sell the home.

  4. John McKenzie Gunn (the one born in 1924)

    In my reply earlier this year I should have added some detail. The house was built in 1853 by John McKenzie Gunn, my greatgrandfather, whose name I bear, as a wedding gift to his wife, Susan Douglass. I can supply much more information about the house and the family to those interested.

  5. Frank

    The house looks remarkable. Congrats to the new owner for doing a fine job. A friend of mine purchased that house from Wade & his mother about a decade ago. I spent some time in that house cleaning tons of wisteria that had overgrown part of the house. When I was there, I’d photographed and documented the Gunn cemetery:
    http://www.usgwarchives.net/ga/randolph/photos/cemetery/gunn/gunn.html

  6. John McKenzie Gunn

    My thanks to Mr. Webb for restoring my childhood home to a condition I judge to be better than it ever was before. It was a cold, drafty old house, with wide pine floor boards over no subfloor and no basement, the underside of the house not enclosed. The ceilings on the first floor were 16 feet high, and windows did not fit tightly. My grandfather, John Douglass Gunn, was born and died in the same room in that house. My father, another John McK., was born there. My grandmother called it “a woman killer.” My mother hated it. My siblings and I were the fifth generation to live in that house, my great-great grandmother having joined her son and his family there after she was widowed. The house was sold out of the family in 1941 or 1942, after my parents and my siblings and I moved to Montgomery. We have no close relatiives still living in Cuthbert. I loved Cuthbert as a child, and my memories of life in that house are only of the warmest kind. I have lived most of my adult life in Lexington, Virginia. I’d be pleased to hear from other relatives with whom I am not regularly in touch.
    John McKenzie Gunn (the one born in 1924) gunnj@wlu.edu

  7. Adrian Emilio Menendez

    James
    My Great Great Aunt Annette Gunn McDonald Suarez was born in the Gunn House…I remember how year after year it fell into disrepair even as it was rented out. I grew up visiting Annette across the street at the George McDonald House another Cuthbert icon, on Lumpkin Street.
    On my next visit to Cuthbert I will be sure to come by and introduce myself.

    You certainly have made Annette and her family extremely proud.

    Adrian Emilio Menendez

    • John McKenzie Gunn

      Mr. Menendez, It was Annette McDonald Suarez’s mother, Gertrude Gunn, who was born in the Gunn House, along with her two sisters, my grandfather, and another son who died in infancy. I’m pretty sure Annette Suarez, whom I knew intimately as a child and as an adult, was born in the McDonald house, across the street and one house up from the Methodist Church, now the home of the president of Andrew College. Cousin Annette was perhaps the best educated of all my numerous Cuthbert relatives, with a master’s degree in history from Smith College. Her marriage to Emilio was unsual but deeply meaningful to both, I think. You may know: he was a widower, deeply grieving for his first wife, when he met Annette. She was grieving from the death of her fiancee, a young Presbyterian minister whom she adored, and who died literally in her arms. Their common experience brought them together. They lost their only child, who was still born, but then they were active in the care for at least three of Emilio’s nephews, especially one whom I got to know well, and briefly, as I recall, for one niece.
      The current John McKenzie Gunn

      • Adrian Emilio Menendez

        Dear John
        I was always told that Annette was born in the Gunn House…but I could be mistaken….
        I always looked upon Annette as my Grandmother and loved her deeply.
        The three nephews of Emilio you refer to were Carlos, Alphonso and Manuel, my father. My father was raised by them from 1930 to 1939 when he moved to Tampa to join the family tobacco firm. As for the niece it was probably Maria who taught Spanish for a time at Andrew College.
        Emilio’s first wife was Jessie Walters from Albany. They lost a son who died in Albany in 1912 at the age of 5 months. Jessie and Annette were cousins…so we were always told.
        I am actually traveling to Cuthbert this weekend to re-connect with Cuthbert.
        I would be interested in sharing our experiences. My father always fondly remembered Uncle John who I always assumed was a Gunn.
        Feel free to contact me at yomenendez@hotmail.com.
        Sincerely
        Adrian Emilio Menendez
        July 2,2013

      • John…. I would love more information about the house. I am writing a book about my life and part of the story will include my childhoon in Cuthbert. I was in the 3rd grade when my family moved to Cuthbert. I do not know if we rented or purchased but my family lived in the Gunn house across from the Methodist Church. Our last name was Patterson. My step-father at the time joined a medical pratice there when we moved from Columbus Georgia, Dr. George Patterson. He had the back part (servants quarters) remolded and turned it in to his office and partient rooms when he left the physician group and started his own practice. I have such fond memories of my time there as well as my share of tragic times. I used to go over and visit Annette almost daily. She was such an amazing lady and I was always amazed at the many historical stories she would tell. My legal name at the time was Boyd Patterson. In later years I had my name legally changed to my professional work name… Lanny West. I now live in Nashville TN with my wife Leslie. I would love to chat some time but if nothing else maybe there are other photos available from when we lived there. I am hoping to travel to Cuthbert in the near future. Thank you. My contact information: cell (615) 913-1455. Email: Lanny@TippingPT.coach

  8. Wade

    Nice to see her getting fixed up. Wish my mother could have seen it happen. She tried with well intent but it was to much for her. James, shes looking good. Did the family ever tell you why the molding on south side of the porch was different to the west side? Way back when there was a large pecan tree on that side. It fell and hit the top porch. This was well before Ms. Brown own the place.

  9. rob patrick

    beautiful!

  10. jwebb578

    Hello Brian,

    Karen Pittman sent me a link to your website. I’m the owner of the Antebellum Greek Revival you have pictured above.
    The house was built in 1853 and is known as the Gunn house built by John McKenzie Gunn. And is one of Cuthberts oldest homes.
    When my partner and I purchased the house in 2005 it was in pretty bad shape. Since starting the renovation we have had the pleasure of meeting two of the original family members who have shared a great deal of history not only about the house but about the family as well.
    We absolutely fell in love with the house and have so enjoyed restoring her back to the original grandeur that she once was. If your interested in learning more about the history of the house please let me know.

    Sincerely, James Webb

    • Thank you so much for sharing this history, James! I’ll change the title to reflect your information, and thanks for your efforts in restoring this gem! I also sent you an email…

    • rob patrick

      i would love to hear the history!

    • Mr. Webb, Is there any possibility that the house was built by a Taylor, whose brother built a matching house across the street where the methodist church is now located? I think both brothers were attorneys? This was some history shared with me that may be wrong. At one point one of my ancestors, a Frances Castleberry, who married a Mr. Allison lived in the house after it was purchased by the William Castleberry family of Clay county for Frances (Fanny). I will try to locate that information. I own the old Castleberry plantation house in Clay and restoration work is hard but so rewarding. Good luck to you and thank you for saving a historic home!

      • Cammie

        I was wrong about the home bought for Mrs Alison. It was not the above house.

      • John McKenzie Gunn (the one born in 1924)

        Ms. Wadsworth, unless “your ancestors” lived in that house sometime after the 1950s, (and I don’t recall anyone with that name owning it in a series of changes of ownership, but I was living far away by that time and no longer in close contact with anyone in Cuthbert) this is not the house in which they lived. And certainly no one named Taylor built it.

        It was built by my great grandfather in 1853 as a wedding gift to his bride, “built” I think in the sense that he was his own contractor, and I am unhappy to report primarily by slave labor. He was a merchant primarily, selling “everything except whisky” in a store at the Southeast corner of the town square, I think in a building that is still standing. During a brief period in the 1860s he also operated a private bank within that building, of which I have a one-dollar bank note. He also served in the Confederate Army as a quartermaster, was captured during the Battle of Atlanta, fell desperately ill in a Union prisoner-of-war camp, was freed in an exchange of prisoners, and given a medical discharge in the expectation that he would not live long. But he did. He was elected to the town council, and was one of the leaders in urging the citizens to support approval of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, so that Georgia could rejoin the Union, “and we can get on with out lives.”

        From the date of its construction until 1940 the house was never occupied by anyone not named Gunn, except for my great great grandmother, Susan Douglass, who moved in in her very old age to live with my great grandparents.

        My grandfather, John Douglass Gunn, the 4th surviving child of John McK and Susan Gunn, was born and died in the same room in that house, and his funeral was held there in 1938. Ownership passed then to his three children (all also born in that house), of whom my father, another John McKenzie Gunn, was one.

        The house next door, North on Lumpkin Street, was built by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Hood, Mrs. Hood being Eugenia Gunn, the middle daughter of John McKenzie Gunn, who either gave them the lot for their house or sold it for a nominal price. And directly across the Street from that, the MacDonald house that is now the President’s home for Andrew College belonged to Mr. and Mrs. George McDonald, Mrs. McDonald being Gertrude Gunn, the youngest daughter of John McKenzie Gunn. Their daughter, Annette McDonald Suarez, was the last descendent of John McKenzie Gunn to live in Cuthbert. She died in the 190s; I don’t remember the exact year,
        mu sons and I visited her last in the early 1970s.

        My parents with me and my siblings moved to Montgomery Alabama in the summer of 1940. In the Fall of 1941 the house was sold out of the family to Mrs. Glenn Lokey, who converted it into apartments. In the ensuing decades it went through several changes of ownership, and fell into severe disrepair, until the present owners bought it and restored it to what I judge to be a finer condition than it ever had before. I have not seen it in person but have seen numerous pictures of it, taken by my brother, a cousin, and some others, including pictures on line.

        There was a Taylor house nearby. If my memory is clear, it was across the street from the Presbyterian Church, on Peachtree Street, that church itself immediately behind the Methodist Church to which you referred.

        John McKenzie Gunn (the one born in 1924)

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