The Cedars, Circa 1864, Jefferson County

The Cedars Antebellum House Jefferson County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This grand country home is surrounded by ancient cedar trees, many of which are showing their age and the scars of wind and weather. Samuel Bennett Tarver, father of Charlotte Tarver and Judge Andrew Eldred Tarver owned a grist mill on the property which is now Lewis’s Lake and where The Cedars is located.  Charlotte got the property as a wedding gift when she married William Gainer Salter. The house was built between 1863-64 but apparently not completed until the 1890s. Sherman’s men went past the house, which was still under construction and it was not burned but it has been said that slaves were freed, decimating the work force necessary for the construction to be completed. I’m using the 1864 date for its significance in relation to the Civil War and the family’s history. It has been in the Salter family for many years. PLEASE NOTE that this is private property and is not for sale. Due to vandalism and looting in the past, the property is monitored. I have shared this with the owner’s permission. Below is an illustration from the 7 January 1865 Harpers Weekly.

Tarvers Mill Georgia Illustrated in Harpers Weekly 1865 Image in Public Domain



8 responses to “The Cedars, Circa 1864, Jefferson County

  1. Buddy Moore

    Historical information at the Bartow museum nearby says Sherman’s men tried to burn it by setting fire to piled up furniture but, slaves extinguished the flames.
    Also the man seated on the steps of the little cabin on the right of the Harpers Weekly drawing is supposed to depict General Sherman.

  2. In truth, the house was not finished until 1890. When Sherman came by he liberated all the slaves which were building this house. In 1864, only the frame had been put up. It would be a while before people and supplies were available to finish the house. My grandfather told me that it was a hard time following the war. Not many people had the resources to even live much less build a house.

    • Perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough that it wasn’t finished during the war. I didn’t mean to cause confusion. My information came from the home’s owner and he didn’t mention the story about the slaves being liberated. I’m working on some photos now of houses built “during” the war, and I, too, imagine supplies of any kind were hard to come buy.

  3. Jane Rutherford

    Hi Brian, I always enjoy your beautiful pictures! I just wanted to let you know that you should visit Marshallville, GA (close to Perry) when you are in our area. It is a historical town and has lot’s of beautiful old homes (and church and cemetary). Marshallville & Fort Valley are close to Massee Lane Gardens, known for their beautiful camellias. The address for the Garden is:: 100 Massee Lane, Fort Valley, GA 31030. Visit their website at: for tour dates and times. Keep up your good work!!

  4. John Ingersoll

    Hi Brian. I’ve driven from Bartow to Wadley, taken pictures in both towns, but missed this beauty!

  5. Nancy Komlos

    this is beautiful!!

  6. Sandy

    Beautiful! Any other information on the house? Occupied, etc.

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