Rose Hill, 1902, Vienna

vienna-ga-rose-hill-mcdonald-deliesseline-couch-house-photograph-copyright-brian-brown-vanishing-south-georgia-usa-2013

This is among the grandest homes in Vienna, which has a wonderful historic district full of surprises like this one. It was built by P. G. McDonald from timber cut at his Dooly County farm. In the years following, it was owned by longtime Vienna mayor Jack DeLiesseline and his wife Ethyl, who was a well-known poet and camellia cultivator. It was purchased in 1976 by the Couch family, who have beautifully maintained and restored it ever since. Thanks to Laura Couch Fokes and her delightful mother, Diane Couch, for sharing the history of this special place. Diane’s love for the house and its history is truly inspiring.

Claire DeLand writes: The home has always been known as “Rose Hill” by the family. It was…the family home of the McDonalds. Ethel McDonald married John Thompson (Jack) DeLiesseline, a native of Charleston, SC., on June 18th 1912. They lived in Atlanta for quite a while and Jack was the Southeastern District Manager of the Remington Typewriter Company.
It was after he retired that they moved to Vienna to live in the family home [of] Ethel and her sisters – Vera Claire McDonald Shipp, Lilla Mae McDonald Ketchum, and her brother Middleton McDonald. Jack was elected Mayor and served for a number of years in that position. Ethel taught piano, voice and violin. She wrote several books, and was Poet Laureate of the State of Georgia. Her gardens were gorgeous places of peace and loveliness, and she started several new Camellia varieties over the later years of her life. She was my Great Aunt and I spent many wonderful summers with her and Uncle Jack at Rose Hill.

Vienna Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

12 Comments

Filed under --DOOLY COUNTY GA--, Vienna GA

12 responses to “Rose Hill, 1902, Vienna

  1. Pam mullis

    Loved this house as a child, went to many piano lessons and recitals with a childhood friend . My grandmother lived two doors down.The house always had a mystery to it because they would never let you go upstairs ( it was roped off) so as children we had our on imagination. Still very beautiful home

  2. Henry Ingram

    Actually this home is known as Rose Hill and was the family home of the Middletons. Ethel Middleton married Mr. deLiesseline who later became mayor of Vienna. Mrs. Ethel DeLiesseline was a poet and at one time was Poet Laurette; of Georgia. Mr. Deliesseline was not a native of Vienna.

    Henry Ingram heningr@aol.com

    • The home has always been known as “Rose Hill” by the family. It was, however, NOT the family home of the Middletons, but the McDonalds.
      Ethel (NMI) MCDONALD married John Thompson (Jack) DeLiesseline, a native of Charleston, SC., on June 18th 1912. They lived in Atlanta for quite a while and Jack was the Southeastern District Manager of the Remington Typewriter Company.
      It was after he retired that they moved to Vienna to live in the family home where Ethel (and her sisters – Vera Claire McDonald Shipp, Lilla Mae McDonald Ketchum, and her brother Middleton McDonald.) Jack was elected Mayor and served for a number of years in that position. Ethel taught piano, voice and violin. She wrote several books, and was Poet Laureate of the State of Georgia. Her gardens were gorgeous places of peace and loveliness, and she started several new Camellia varieties over the later years of her life.
      She is/was my Great Aunt and I spent many wonderful summers with her and Uncle Jack at Rose Hill.
      Just thought you might want to know.

    • Georgia Music Maker

      I wrote you a rather lengthy reply, Henry, only to have it go to cyber-space. I have many details about Rose Hill that I can fill in for any who are interested.
      I need to correct something you said – – – it was NOT the family home of the Middletons, but the McDonalds. One of the children was NAMED Middleton, but the home belonged to Mary Elizabeth Busbee McDonald and Perry G. (known as P.G.) McDonald. They had four children – Lilla Mae McDonald Ketchum, Ethel (NMI) McDonald deLiesseline, Vera Claire McDonald Shipp (my grandmother), and Middleton (NMI) McDonald.
      She was not only a poet and Poet Laureate of the State of Georgia, but a very FINE classical musician (studied opera in New York with Dudley Buck before marrying Uncle Jack) . My Uncle Jack (John Thompson deLiesseline) was descended from French Huegenots and was a native of Charleston, SC.
      If you are interested in more information, please let me know. I’d be happy to fill you in.

  3. wendell theus

    This is my idea of an extremely grand house by any standards. Unbelievable architecture for that time and now. How many “grand homes” do you see built today even remotely compare to the craftsmanship you see here? Great photos Brian.

  4. Alyce Black

    This is my dream of a home. I did not know that the DeLiesslines had a son. He was a fine old gentleman and I think they drove a Packard. They did not build the house and I have forgotten who did, but Ms. Couch knows. I never saw either of them out of their Sunday clothes. What dignity they had. Good memories.

    • Georgia Music Maker

      Alyce – they had no children. Not sure where you saw the comment about a son, but they were childless. They drove a Lincoln in later life, but Jack had an old Packard with a rumble seat . . . he drove that occasionally.
      The house was built by P.G. McDonald, Ethel’s father, out of timber that he cut from his farmland which was out on Hwy. 41 near Senator George’s home.
      Ethel and Jack went back to live in the old home place after Jack retired from the Remington Typewriter Company where he was Southeastern Manager during his working career. The other children didn’t want to live in the house (I can’t imagine why) so Ethel and Jack lived there and managed the house and the farm. She was really the logical choice out of the four children because they were living in scattered places, Middleton in Miami, Vera Claire in Atlanta, and Lilla Mae in Tallahassee,in Tallahassee.
      Ethel taught me MANY life lessons, not the least of which was how to be a “lady” and she tolerated no infractions of the rules!!! I spent many of my summers in Vienna visiting with them, and I treasure those memories.
      By the way – I am Ethel’s Great-Niece, and that’s how I have my information. I have a feeling I might have known you . . . are you a Peavy?

  5. Judith Braswell-VanScoy

    This is indeed a grand home! I can just imagine the details on the inside are as intricate and delightful as the outside…..and to have a bowling alley on the third floor! How magnificient. As a retired history teacher,I try to grasp every opportunity to study the communities of my state. Thanks for allowing us all to get a glimpse of the past.

    • Georgia Music Maker

      The inside of the house is magnificent!!! My Uncle Mid used to bowl with his friends in the alley on the third floor. I spent many summers in Vienna visiting with them and continuing my music education under Aunt Ethel’s EXCELLENT tutelage. I have memories of those days I wouldn’t trade for ANYTHING!

  6. Melvin Wright

    I am sure my friend John Davis an attorney there can give you the history of this home.

    Melvin B. Wright Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter, LLC The Florida Firm 801 N. Orange Ave. Suite 830 Orlando, Florida 32801 (407) 712-7300 MWright@TheFloridaFirm.com

    • Peggy Anderson

      What a grand old house. Hopefully it is on the historical register and will always be preserved. Thanks for sharing, Brian. This made my day.

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