Thanks to Wayne Blue, who obtained this photograph from a grandson of John L. Evans, we now have an idea of what this Ashburn landmark looked like in its early days. I just heard from Lynette Robison that she and her husband have purchased the house and are in the process of restoring it. I was so glad to hear this, as it’s one of the most beautiful and important houses in Turner County.
On 30 June 2014, David Baldwin shared this fascinating history of the house: The house was built in 1897 by John West Evans according the the Ashburn Advance newspaper. Mr. Evans was associated withe the Betts Saw Mill in Dempsey, near Eastman, and he came over with the crowd in late October 1888 after the Georgia Florida and Southern railroad line connected north of Ashburn completing the line from Macon to Palatka, Florida. Mr. Betts and Mr. Evans married sisters Ella & Josephine Bohannon of Dodge County. He was originally from Hawkinsville. He attended Sparta Academy in Hancock County. His teacher was William Northen, who later became Governor of Georgia and who signed the charter establishing Ashburn as a city. Mr. Northen also served as President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention and would stay in homes like this one, as he traveled the state doing his duty. Mr. Evans was the first Postmater in Ashburn. He served in the Georgia Militia during the War Between the States. He died early.
This is the only house in Ashburn that is noted for being truly haunted. In 1935, a young lady who ran the local theater was leasing the second floor and decided to have a Christmas party. They hired a young black woman (Aza Martin) to cook the chicken. Supposedly the young lady got drunk and did not have the chicken ready. A young man with a bad temper carried her to the third floor attic and beat her with a wooden chair. Sheriff Story later found the chair with blood on it. At 3 am the boys of the party brought her body down to put it in the trunk of a car. Mrs. Evans, the daughter in law of Mr. John West Evans (deceased), opened her downstairs door and saw them bringing the body down the stairs. They took the body to a negro named James Worthy, a coal suite operator. He placed the near dead girl in the loft in his house. He was arrested in the following weeks but then let go. She continued to be reported missing. Finally,in March her body was found in Little River by some black loggers. Her mother identified her by the shape of her teeth and her dress. An inquest was held by main men of the town who determined the death was by unknown origin. The young man that committed the crime was reported to have attempted suicide between December and March, but survived. He went on the live as a Christian but no doubt he had to live with this crime all his life. The boys there that night committed to forever hold a secret as to what happened and as far as this writer knows they have. The murdered lady is said to haunt the house by those that have lived there. Milton Cravey was one.