Privy, Wefanie

Abandoned Privy Outhouse Wefanie GA Long County Picture Image Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Old privies, or outhouses as they’re more commonly known in our neck of the woods, are quite rare these days. They’re still found at some country churches and a few people have retained them on family properties, but most seen today are reproductions put to other uses, such as tool or potting sheds.

9 Comments

Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--, Wefanie GA

9 responses to “Privy, Wefanie

  1. Allan Cason

    Just a bit of old Southern ‘logic’. Papa had electricity and plumbing installed in his farmhouse early on. He even had a crank telephone. His bathroom was plenty spacious enough but there was only a clawfoot tub and pedistal sink. A good ways behind the house down a brick walkway with scupergnon vines on each side (for making wine) was a two seater outhouse. As kids, on our way back to the house, we would eat so many grapes we would have to turn around and go back. Now for the logic, when asked why he never installed a toilet in the bathroom Papa replied ‘because I don:t sleep in the yard and I don’t **** in the house.’ By the way, Granny passed years before I came along and when I eventually found the phone in his storage shed I asked why it wasn’t in the house. Papa told me that the phone was for Granny but he never liked it so the day she died he took it out. He said that when he spoke to someone he did it face to face.

  2. Jesse Bookhardt

    Brian,
    Your photo of this old outhouse has stimulated some discussion of old times in the country. I too recall the old outhouse as being a regular and necessary fixture on most farms of my day. At that time, they were on the way out, as indoor plumbing replaced them. Yet many were still being used. Could they speak, some of these old buildings have stories to tell of their own.
    Once in the early 1950’s when I was just a boy, we owned an old red rooster that was mean and as aggressive as a Cotton Mouth Moccasin . He often challenged those of us who shared the yard with him. He staked out his territory between the back porch of our house and the old two holed privy on the cleanly swept sandy backyard. The outhouse had probably been built back in the 1920’s or 30’s for it was very old during the 1950’s. Anyway, one day when our indoor toilet was occupied by another family member, I decided to use the old outhouse. When I started across the yard I didn’t see Big Red. All I could see was our little red wagon parked about half way to the privy. As I approached the back side of the Radio-Flyer wagon, I noticed Big Red there pecking and scratching away. As soon as he saw me in “his” yard, he immediately rushed toward me in attack mode with feathers flared and wings spread, ready to defend his domain. With the fighting rooster on my heels attacking me as I ran, I made a dash toward the outhouse. He was making all kinds of chicken sounds and flailing me with his wings. I attempted to kick him off but he didn’t stop. He was bound and determined to remove me from his space. For a short while we were fully engaged in “mortal” combat.
    When I reached the outhouse door, I thought that I would be safe. I rushed inside and tried to close the old door behind me, keeping Big Red outside. The door dragged the ground and was slow in closing. When I reached the interior of the privy, I turned around and there he stood with his head and neck extended and his feathers and spurs still in fighting condition. My heart sank as I looked around for something with which to defend myself, only to find a few corn cobs and a Sears and Roebuck catalog. As the rooster attacked again, I remembered that Mama always kept a Gallberry yard broom stored in one corner of the building. While kicking at the large rooster, I grabbed the broom and swung at him. I missed and hit the wall. The space was cramped and wielding the broom was difficult, but finally I made a few accurate hits and was able to positioned myself next to the door. I threw the yard broom at the rooster and ran out the door. When I got to the porch of our house and looked back all I could see was rising dust that we had made. The battle had ended but I knew that the war would continue as long as Old Red walked the backyard.
    Though the engagement had been a draw that particular day, it wasn’t long after that encounter that Mama made chicken and dumplings and the brave and regal old fighting rooster, Big Red, was no more.
    Brian, keep up your work. It helps some of us old South Georgia boys relive our younger days.
    Jesse Bookhardt

  3. Apparently in New Zealand they are called “long drops”. Makes sense!

  4. Ben Dooley

    Even though my grandma’s house had indoor plumbing installed in the late 30’s, the outhouse, or “convenience” as she called it remained standing well into the 70’s. My male cousins and I loved to use it when we were growing up in the 50’s. It was a fun thing to do until one of my cousins went in one day and, after his eyes adjusted to the dark, discovered he was sharing the facility with a very large black snake! That pretty much put a stop to our use of grandma’s outhouse.

  5. Wendell

    Hi Brian, Should have sign on door—“USE AT YOUR OWN RISK”

  6. This brought back memories. There are places, still, where these privies are not so rare. In 1981 I went to Oklahoma to work on a Federal dam project and was amazed to discover a valley full of homes and small businesses that had no water! It was hard to imagine that in 1981, in the US, there were large communities in which the residents trucked in water every day and all had privies. The ground was rocky and many people could not even dig a hole. The privies in the area where I stayed were up about 10″ or so off the ground. There was runoff down the mountain. I’m NOT making this up! When the pile under the privy began to also start to “overflow”, the privy was moved to a new location. Needless to say that dam was a necessity and brought water to the area. Now, so many years later, I still suspect that there are places in this country, possibly still in that area of OK, where privies are not a rarity but a necessity.

    Another funny thing about that place, the house I stayed in had an actual bathroom and kitchen with all the fixtures but no plumbing. Water was hauled in daily and there was a jerry-rigged outdoor shower which used a barrel of water as it’s source.

  7. Jim

    Thank you, Brian. The next time you visit Douglas I will share a “state issued” specification for outhouses. Thanks for your preservation efforts!

  8. brendaseabrooke

    I remember one on the south bank of the Ocmulgee east of the landing back when my family fished on the river at the House Creek entry.

    Sent from my iPhone

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