Site of Holmesville Masonic Lodge #195, Appling County

Appling County GA Holmesville Masonic Lodge Historic Marker Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Located in a roadside park on Georgia Highway 15, south of Baxley, this granite marker notes the charter site of the Holmesville Masonic Lodge, No. 195, Free & Accepted Masons.Other markers and monuments (a Confederate memorial is pictured in the next post) here pay tribute to the first county seat of Appling County, Holmesville. A bronze tablet (not pictured) placed by the Colonel Daniel Appling Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution notes that Holmesville was incorporated here on 8 December 1828, on the property of Solomon Kennedy. At the time of its founding, present-day Appling County, encompassed all or part of 12 counties: Appling; Atkinson; Bacon; Brantley; Charlton; Clinch; Coffee; Echols; Jeff Davis; Pierce; Ware; and Wayne.

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1 Comment

Filed under --APPLING COUNTY GA--, Holmesville GA

One response to “Site of Holmesville Masonic Lodge #195, Appling County

  1. Jesse M. Bookhardt

    Brian,
    Holmesville, the old county seat of Appling, is now a “paragraph” or two in local history, but it was once the center of government transactions and local commerce. From Holmesville, an old road led directly west into what is today Jeff Davis County to a community that was occupied by pioneer families such as the William Ashleys. Before intersecting with the old Tallahassee Trail near the Ocmulgee River, it passed through what was then a place named Ocmulgeeville. This community had a US post office located at the Matt Ashley plantation, a short distance east of the river.
    Mr. Ashley was a Confederate supporter in the area who helped the CSA cause through his leadership and family connections. It is obvious that the old road that connected the Ocmulgee River near Burkett’s Ferry and Ocmulgeeville with Holmesville saw lots of traffic before the Civil War. It was used by travelers from Coffee and Telfair Counties as well as those from western Appling. I wonder what it would have been like to have traveled this road…. deep sandy ruts, lots of Saw Palmettos, huge virgin Longleaf Pines, some dark water creeks to cross, spans of Wiregrass plains, and lots of Spanish Moss hanging from Turkey oaks.
    Matt Ashley was a colorful gentleman and after the Civil War was involved in a dispute that led to a shoot-out in Hazlehurst. The other man ended being mortally wounded. It appears that Mr. Ashley escaped to Texas to a place called Beaumont. Later on, he moved on to Austin. I believe that he is buried in Austin. His widow Letitia remained in the area and is buried in the Hazlehurst City Cemetery.
    Eventually the Macon and Brunswick Railroad was completed and the center of government shifted from Holmesville to Baxley, the new county seat on the railroad. As time passed, Holmesville and the old Ocmulgeeville road slipped into history. Years ago I visited the general area around what the old maps showed as Ocmulgeeville and found no physical evidence of the community. Several old maps clearly show the community and the road to Holmesville in Appling County.
    Jesse M. Bookhardt

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