Warthen Law Office, 1860s, Sandersville

Warthen Law Office Transylvania Club Old Library Sandersville GA Washington County Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This neoclassical gem has a fascinating history. There is some confusion as to its date of construction. Some sources suggest that it’s antebellum (which wouldn’t surprise me) while prominent architectural historian John Linley put its construction shortly after the Civil War. Ray Irwin, whose husband is a descendant of Warthen, shared this, which should clear it up: It was built before the Civil War. There is a partially burned book formally owned by R. L. Warthen with the inscription in the front that states the book was scorched by a fire set in his office in November 1864 by General Wm. T. Sherman of the U.S. Army. It is signed by RLW. It is believed that his office fire was a result of the burning of the Wash. Co. Courthouse. The book is in the Brown House Museum.

Colonel Richard Lee Warthen built this as his home and law office. In 1925, the Transylvania Club moved here. The club was founded in 1908 by Mrs. C. B. Chapman and soon thereafter, at the suggestion of President Mary Tarbutton, set about establishing a public library for Sandersville. They opened to the public, with over 7,000 volumes, in the Masonic Hall in 1909. That structure was lost to fire in 1921. The ladies of the Transylvania Club moved forward and acquired enough books to reopen the library here in 1925 where it remained until 1998. It’s still home to the Transylvania Club. They’re perhaps best known for their Wedgwood series of Georgia Historical Plates.

Sandersville Commercial & Industrial District, National Register of Historic Places

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3 Comments

Filed under --WASHINGTON COUNTY GA--, Sandersville GA

3 responses to “Warthen Law Office, 1860s, Sandersville

  1. Ray South Irwin

    Sounds great, Brian. Thank you for the interesting post.

  2. Ray South Irwin

    It was built before the Civil War. There is a partially burned book formally owned by RL Warthen with the inscription in the front that states the book was scorched by a fire set in his office on Nov. 1864 by General Wm. T. Sherman of the U.S. Army. It is signed by RLW. It is believed that his office fire was a result of the burning of the Wash. Co. Courthouse. The book is in the Brown House Museum. My husband, Chris Irwin, is a descendant of this branch of the Warthen family and we own a portrait of this distinguished man. I hope you find this information useful. Ray Irwin

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